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".

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30 April, 2015

Australian Warmists breathing steam over Bjorn Lomborg

Australian universities are full of Warmists but appointing just one person who questions their dogma to a university post is outrageous, it seems.  Bias and bigotry anyone?  Certainly no willingness to debate ideas or engage in civil discourse there

HIS own country stripped him of funding and he’s famously known as a “climate contrarian” so why is Australia giving Dr Bjorn Lomborg $4 million to set up a university think tank?

That’s the question being asked in the scientific community, which has been left reeling by the decision. It comes after the government abolished the Climate Commission, because its $1.5 million annual operating cost was considered too expensive.

While Dr Lomborg doesn’t deny that climate change exists, the Danish author has been internationally criticised for his controversial research which many believe downplays its effects.

He is famous for suggesting the problem has been overstated and priority should be given to tackling other problems such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.

His controversial Copenhagen Consensus Center has now partnered with the University of Western Australia to establish a new research centre called the Australian Consensus Centre, which the government will fund to the tune of $4 million, in a move that has been criticised for being “politically motivated”.

Certainly no one seems eager to claim ownership of the controversial move, with the university and Education Minister Christopher Pyne being blamed at first. The decision has now been traced back to the Prime Minister’s office, according to Fairfax sources, and at least one international research fellow at the university is reportedly set to transfer their fellowship in protest..

School of Animal Biology head Sarah Dunlop has complained that Dr Lomborg does not have the necessary academic track record to justify his appointment as an adjunct professor.

“Existing PhD students in the school are concerned that this appointment will tarnish their accomplishments as graduates from this university,” she reportedly wrote in the letter.

Meanwhile, the decision has been described as an insult to Australia’s scientific community given the deep cuts to the CSIRO and other scientific research organisations.

Many of Australia’s best climate scientists, economists and energy experts lost their positions in 2013 when the government axed the Climate Comission, saying its $1.5m operating costs were too expensive.

“To see the best Australians, the best qualified Australians in the field, be let go because there was no money and then have someone from overseas just a few years later put in their place with abundant funding struck us as being odd,” environmental science and climate change writer Tim Flannery told Lateline.

Mr Flannery was the chief commissioner of the former Climate Commission, which relaunched as the Climate Council after thousands of Australians donated to keep the organisation going.

Dr Lomborg seems to be a favourite of the Prime Minister, who praised him in his 2009 book Battlines. He was also invited to launch the Department of Foreign Affiars and Trade’s development innovation hub.

The National Tertiary Education Union has questioned the Commonwealth funding, saying there appeared to have been no competitive process.  Union president Jeannie Rea said the cash “seems to have arisen from discussions between UWA, the government and departmental officials”.

Why are Dr Lomborg’s views so controversial?

Dr Lomborg has been referred to as a “climate change refugee” after funding for his Copenhagen Consensus Centre was cut by the Danish government in 2012. But he has managed to continue operating with the help of private funding in countries like the US, where there are more people sympathetic towards his views.

His centre has denied receiving funding from fossil-fuel companies but the DeSmogBlog claims to have uncovered donations from organisations with links to the billionaire Koch brothers, who have funded climate-denying think tanks in the US.

In Australia, the government’s $4 million contribution towards the centre is expected to cover just one-third of its operating costs, with the UWA saying other financial support would be drawn from corporate sponsors and government grants.

Dr Lomborg has been accused of cherrypicking data to understate the threat of climate change, and has questioned whether the benefits of efforts to curb climate change justify the costs. He believes funding would be better spent on adapting to changing conditions, investing in renewable technology and tackling poverty.

His books The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It have been criticised by climate scientists for underplaying the rate of global warming.

“Mr Lomborg’s views have no credibility in the scientific community. His message hasn’t varied at all in the last decade and he still believes we shouldn’t take any steps to mitigate climate change. When someone is unwilling to adapt their view on the basis of new science or information, it’s usually a sign those views are politically motivated,” the Climate Council said in a statement.

The Australia Consensus Centre will commission economists to “generate evidence and rational arguments” that will “result in the adoption of smarter, more cost-effective policies”.

The UWA Student Guild said the $4 million in “politically motivated” federal government funding should be rejected.

“While Dr Lomborg doesn’t refute climate change itself, many students question why the centre’s projects should be led by someone with a controversial track-record,” guild president Lizzy O’Shea said. “Students, staff and alumni alike are outraged.”

But UWA vice-chancellor Paul Johnson said Dr Lomborg was not leading the research and was not being paid as an adjunct professor.

“Lomborg is a contrarian but he is not a climate change denier,” Professor Johnson told AAP.  “His contrary stance is around the use of economic efficiency and effectiveness of mitigation and adaptation strategies.  “Contrarians are, I think, useful, particularly in a university context.”

He said a cost benefit analysis was one way of ranking possibilities in order to make decisions on how to tackle climate change.  “The United Nations is currently considering what to do for the period 2016 to 2030, and there are over 1400 proposals that have to be whittled down.”


Global warming IS making our weather worse and man-made emissions are to blame for 75% of extreme heatwaves, claims study (?)

Just another application of models already known to lack predictive skill

The majority of heatwaves and almost a fifth of extreme rain storms can be blamed on human activity, a new study has warned.

Researchers say that three quarters of extreme hot weather and 18 per cent of heavy precipitation is being driven by global warming that has occurred due to man-made emissions.

They warn that as climate change pushes global temperatures higher over the coming decades, humans will become responsible for 40 per cent of extreme rainfall events.

The scientists claim it is the rarest and most destructive events that seem to be the most responsive to human influence.

Dr Erich Fischer, from the institute for atmospheric and climate science at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich who led the study, said: 'Climate change includes not only changes in mean climate but also in weather extremes.

'With every degree of warming it is the rarest and the most extreme events and thereby the ones with typically the highest socio-economic impacts for which the largest fraction is due to human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.

'We show that at the present-day warming of 0.85°C about 18 per cent of the moderate daily precipitation extremes over land are attributable to the observed temperature increase since pre-industrial times, which in turn primarily results from human influence.

'For 2°C of warming the fraction of precipitation extremes attributable to human influence rises to about 40 per cent.

'Likewise, today about 75 per cent of the moderate daily hot extremes over land are attributable to warming.'

The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Nature Climate Change, examined the probability that heatwaves and heavy rainfall events could be attributed to humans using 25 climate models.

The models examined the weather between 1901 and 2005 using historical simulations.

They analysed daily temperatures and daily rainfall totals from climate models and looked for events that would be expected to occur once in 1,000 days in an unperturbed climate - referred to as moderate daily extremes.

They then used the models to look at predictions of extreme weather between 2006 and 2100 under an emissions scenario that is expected to lead to 2°C of warming around the world.

While attributing individual extreme weather events such as hurricanes, floods and heatwaves to climate change is notoriously difficult, climate scientists have predicted they will become more common as the world warms.

Dr Fischer and his colleague Professor Reto Knutti, also based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, said taking a more global perspective made it easier to examine the role that human activity was having on such events.

They say their research demonstrated a strong signal for human influence in the extreme weather that is having impacts around the world today.

They found that the longer the period of the event - such as a heatwave, the greater the fraction is attributable to global warming.

Dr Fischer said: 'A warmer and moister atmosphere does clearly favour more frequent hot and wet extremes.'

Professor Peter Stott, a scientist at the Met Office's Hadley Centre in the UK, pointed to the extreme weather that has happened in the past year - one of the warmest on record.

He said Bangladesh was hit by flooding in 2014, Australia suffered heatwaves and Kenya was battered by downpours.

California, for example, is in the grip of one of the most severe droughts on record.

He added that human-caused climate change had 'loaded the dice' in favour of heatwaves like the one that hit Europe in 2003 and the flooding that hit the UK in autumn 2000.

Writing in the journal, Professor Stott said: 'As each year goes by, evidence continues to accumulate that our climate is changing and that human influence plays a dominant role in observed warming.

'The prevalence of extremely hot temperatures is expected to increase with warming and more moisture in the atmosphere leads to a tendency towards more extreme rainfall events, changes that have been detected in the observational record.

'But what has been lacking up to now is a robust calculation of how much more likely extreme temperatures and rainfall have become worldwide.

'The idea that in a two-degree world almost half of heavy rainfall events would not have occurred were it not for climate change is a sobering thought for policymakers seeking to mitigate and adapt to climate change.'


Now every EU nation joins the battle to banish plastic bags

This crap never seems to die.  It is a classic case of preconceptions swamping the evidence.  See two accounts of the truth of the matter here

Every nation in the EU is to follow Britain’s lead and introduce tough measures to slash the use of plastic bags after a vote yesterday.

The European Parliament backed strict new targets to cut plastic bag use by 80 per cent before 2025 in a huge boost for conservationists.

They have fought for years to stop billions of bags ending up as litter, harming the environment and killing marine life.

The campaign led by the Daily Mail has resulted in a 5p charge on supermarket carrier bags in England to start in October.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have already introduced the charge, slashing litter as a result. Now the rest of Europe will have to bring in similar measures or face large fines.

Each nation can choose what action to take but most are expected to introduce a charge for bags or tax shops giving them out for free.

The directive orders that the EU’s 28 members reduce disposable plastic bag use by 65 per cent by 2019 and 80 per cent by 2025.

That equates to a drop in the average number of bags used per person each year from 200 to 40.

An estimated 100billion carriers are used every year in Europe, with eight billion ending up as litter. Many blight seas and rivers, where they suffocate countless animals each year.

Recent studies show that plastic pollution hits 395 marine species, including puffins, seals, whales and every type of sea turtle.  The toll includes 67 which are on the international Red List of threatened species. A recent report suggests that an astonishing five trillion pieces of plastic litter are floating in the world’s oceans.

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder said: ‘This is a huge step in tackling the plastic waste in Europe’s oceans that kills thousands of marine animals each year.’ But she criticised Tory MEPs who abstained from the vote.

They responded that the directive was poorly drafted and claimed businesses would be burdened by new reporting obligations and labelling rules.

Plastic bags kill marine animals by getting trapped around their heads or when they are swallowed. Sea turtles suffer as they mistake floating or billowing bags for their jellyfish prey.

Latest research suggests that they are vulnerable as they hunt using vision whereas other sea creatures rely on their hearing.

Danish MEP Margrete Auken, who steered the law through parliament, said: ‘This will create a win-win situation.

‘We’re talking about an immense environmental problem. Billions of plastic bags end up in nature. It damages nature, harms fish, birds, and we have to get to grips with this.’

But Left-wing Irish MEP Luke Flanagan warned: ‘If you force member states, they won’t do it right. Leave it up to them.’


No need to go veggie: Bill Gates says you can eat meat and STILL care for the planet

For many of those concerned about the future of the planet, giving up meat is seen as a major way for people to reduce the impact they have on the environment.

Producing beef, for example, requires large amounts of water, land for grazing and emits tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

But now Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft and philanthropist, has said it may in fact be possible to keep eating meat and still care for the planet.

In his most recent blog post, the world's richest man, has defended meat eating, saying was unrealistic to expect large numbers of people to become vegetarian.

He also explains that some of the impacts of meat farming have been overstated.

Instead he believes it will be possible to provide enough meat for the world's growing population as demand in developing countries increases.

He said: 'Although it might be possible to get people in richer countries to eat less or shift toward less-intensive meats like chicken, I don't think it's realistic to expect large numbers of people to make drastic reductions.

'But there are reasons to be optimistic. For one thing, the world's appetite for meat may eventually level off.  'Consumption has plateaued and even declined a bit in many rich countries, including France, Germany, and the United States.  'I also believe that innovation will improve our ability to produce meat.'

The consumption of meat has met with considerable criticism in recent years as climate change experts have warned about the harm it is doing to the planet.

A recent report from Chatham House said that the global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than cars, planes, trains and ships combined.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also found that dietary change was also necessary to 'substantially lower' emissions.

Lord Stern, the economist appointed by the British government to assess the financial impacts of climate change, has also urged people to give up meat.

However, calls for widespread vegetarianism have been deeply unpopular with the general public.

Some researchers have also estimated that it takes several thousand litres of water to produce just one kilogram of beef due to the water needed to grow feed for them.  This makes livestock farming increasingly difficult in areas hit by drought.  Cattle grazing can also take valuable land that could be used to grow more affordable agricultural crops.

Demand for meat is expected to soar over the next 30 years or so, with global beef consumption rising from 64 million tonnes in 2005 to 106 million tonnes in 2050 according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations.

It also says pork demand will rise from 100 million tonnes to 143 million tonnes and chicken consumption will increase from 82 million tonnes to 181 million tonnes.

However, Mr Gates, who set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife to fund research into sustainable technology that can tackle poverty around the world, said some of the impacts of meat have been overstated.

He points to research that suggests most of the water needed for livestock production is known as green-water, which is used to grow grass.

Most of this green water comes from rainfall and also evaporates back into the atmosphere, meaning it is not lost. He said: 'One study that excluded green water found that it takes just 44 litres – not thousands – to produce a kilo of beef.'

Mr Gates has also been funding new research projects aimed at producing meat substitutes and says he has been impressed with the results.

Companies like Beyond Meat and Hampton Creek Foods have been experimenting with turning plant proteins into foods that taste and look like meat and eggs.

Mr Gates also explains that he once dabbled with being vegetarian himself in his late twenties but found he couldn't keep it going.

He argues that meat is an important source of nutrition needed to help children develop healthy and said it was important that people in developing countries have access to these foods.

He said: 'With a little moderation and more innovation, I do believe the world can meet its need for meat.'


Media, Environmentalists Were Wrong: How the Gulf Coast Roared Back After Oil Spill

Five years ago this week a blowout of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig 40 miles from the Gulf Coast tragically claimed 11 lives and spilled 3 million barrels of oil from the damaged wellhead into the Gulf. It’s hard to forget the video images of thick oil day after day gushing into the region’s waters.

It was a horrific accident that caused substantial damage to the ecology and commerce of the region. Gulf area wildlife, portions of the shoreline, tourism, fishers and shrimpers, and energy sector employment suffered large losses in the aftermath of the spill.

BP has paid close to $27 billion in penalties, payments to aggrieved parties, and clean up costs in one of the largest payouts for an accident in American history. This is enough money to hand every man, woman, boy, and girl in Chicago or Houston a $10,000 check. In addition, as the result of a court ruling last fall finding BP acted with willful misconduct and gross negligence leading up to the spill, BP could have to pay another $13.7 billion in Clean Water Act penalties.

But the good news on this fifth anniversary is that the lasting ecological damage from the spill that was originally feared, has not happened. The dire predictions by the media and the major environmental groups proved wildly off base.

Today, the Gulf region affected by the spill is enjoying a renaissance of energy production, booming tourism, and a healthy fishery industry. Scientific data and studies over the past five years show the Gulf environment is returning to its baseline condition. The remnants of the spill are hard to find.

A July 2011 report from the Coast Guard’s environmental assessment found that none of the dispersant constituents found in the thousands of water and sediment tests conducted exceeded the EPA’s chronic aquatic benchmarks. Five years later, wildlife populations have proven largely resilient. For instance, NOAA commercial fishery landings data show that after a drop off in the year of the spill, catch levels bounced back in 2011 to levels not seen in 11 years and they remain strong today.

Why has the damage been contained? First, thankfully, the vast majority of the 3.2 million barrels of crude leaked into the Gulf dispersed naturally, evaporating into literal thin air or biodegrading. Microbes, which already feast on the up to 1.4 million barrels of oil that scientists estimate seep naturally into the Gulf each year, increased in number following the spill — aiding greatly.

The massive $14 billion human clean-up response, with 100,000 personnel, 6,508 vessels, and 13.5 million feet on boom was unprecedented and effective. Dispersants successfully assisted natural dissolution by reducing the size of the oil compounds.

Some of the apocalyptic damage estimated proved to be mere propaganda. The National Center for Atmospheric Research predicted at the time that oil would enter the so-called “loop current”, reaching Florida’s Atlantic coast within a week. Synte Peacock, a NCAR scientist, warned “the scope of this environmental disaster is likely to reach far beyond Florida.” Not to be outdone, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers breathlessly reported that “there will be tar balls all the way up the East Coast, all the way to Europe.”

But the oil didn’t make it to Tampa — let alone Europe as the requisite combination of winds and current failed to materialize. By the end of July, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco admitted that “For southern Florida, the Florida Keys, and the Eastern Seaboard, the coast remains clear … ”

And what of the long-term effects on the fishing and shrimping industries?

Advocacy groups such as the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s Jon Williams predicted the spill could last 40 years. CBS News Network’s Melanie Warner suggested that “this could mean a permanent end” to the Gulf’s seafood industry and that “ten years from now … there will very likely still be seafood — shrimp, bluefin tuna and maybe snapper and grouper — that are contaminated with BP’s oil.”

Not to be outdone on the contamination concerns, CNN correspondent David Mattingly worried about the “cascading effect on the entire food chain” from the spill.

Fewer than four months after the spill stopped, NOAA’s director of Sustainable Fisheries Science Center reported, “It appears so far that the impact on the larval population is relatively small.”

Data from NOAA confirm that post-spill Gulf fish populations are robust and that commercial seafood landings have generally been consistent with pre-spill ranges. And more than 10,000 government tests show it’s safe to eat.

The Audubon Society director Gregory Butcher warned the spill “could be the strikeout punch” for Louisiana’s state bird, the brown pelican. The executive director of the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Cecilia Riley, cautioned, “The disruption of the food web and lack of adequate food supplies could reduce avian productivity for several years.”

But in fact, Louisiana’s brown pelican population was still strong just a year after the spill, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

The effects of the spill were predicted to have long-term negative effects on tourism as well. The managing director of Oxford Economics USA opined, “History and current trends indicate a potential $22.7 billion economic loss to the travel economies of the Gulf Coast states over the next three years.”

In actuality, tourists have flocked to the Gulf every year since the spill, shattering records the summer immediately following the disaster in numerous locales, including Panama City and the Emerald Coast.

Big Green has tried to capitalize on the BP spill as the reason to block any further offshore drilling. And while there are critical caution signals from the accident, what is needed most is rational offsetting of costs versus tens of billions of benefits and hundreds of thousands of jobs, increased access to energy, community development and so on.

Most in the environmental movement portray the ecology of our planet as fragile and weak. No. The story of horrific accidents like this and natural ecological occurrences like Katrina, is that Mother Nature adapts and she has awesome healing powers.

The Gulf recovery has been swift and impressive and the doomsayers were thankfully wrong. When something like this happens, we should listen to the sage advice of the world’s most famous lawgiver, Moses, who warned us of false prophets:

“If the thing does not come about or come true … the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Deut. 18:22).

Good advice when it comes to the Green Movement prophets of doom.


UK: The pottiest and costliest mistake of our times: Forget his tax and spend plans. Red Ed's climate change law in the Brown years will cost £50,000 per home


One astonishing fact not getting a mention in this bizarrely unreal [British] election campaign is that Ed Miliband can already claim to have been by far the most expensive politician in Britain’s history.

This is because it was he more than anyone else who in 2008 was responsible for pushing through the final version of the Climate Change Act — on official figures easily the most costly law passed by Parliament.

Thanks entirely to a last-minute amendment by Miliband, this Act commits us within 35 years to cutting Britain’s emissions of carbon dioxide, or CO2, by a staggering 80 per cent — to a level so low it hadn’t been seen since the early 19th century.

Even on figures sneaked out by the Government a few months later, the cost of this law was then estimated as high as £734 billion, or £18 billion every year until 2050.

But more recent estimates made by the EU and the International Energy Agency suggest that the cost of meeting Mr Miliband’s target will be even higher, at £1.3 trillion — almost equivalent to our entire current national debt, or more than £50,000 for every household in the country.


The story behind how this unprecedentedly far-reaching law came to be passed almost unanimously is itself one of the weirdest political episodes in our history.

The idea for it originated with a young climate activist, Bryony Worthington, when she was the campaign director on climate change for the green lobby group Friends Of The Earth.

In 2007, when hysteria over global warming was at its height — thanks not least to Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth — Ms Worthington was co-opted by then-Environment Secretary David Miliband to join his department’s staff.

As she described in a talk which can still be seen by googling ‘Bryony Worthington YouTube’, she was put in charge of a small group tasked with drafting a Bill to make Britain the only country in the world committed by law to slashing its ‘carbon emissions’ by 60 per cent.

But in 2008, when the Bill was already well on its way through Parliament, David Miliband was promoted by Gordon Brown to become Foreign Secretary. A new ministry was created, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), to be headed by his brother, Ed. It was Ed Miliband who decided, following pressure from green lobby groups, to up the emissions reduction target from 60 per cent to an even more mind-boggling 80 per cent. This alone, on his department’s figures, nearly doubled its cost.

What seems barely credible, if one reads through the lengthy debates in Parliament on this Bill, is that scarcely a single MP showed the slightest interest in how the new target could in practice be met — any more than did Mr Miliband himself.

The CO2 emitted by fossil fuels, such as coal, gas, oil and petrol, is inseparable from pretty well every activity which keeps our economy functioning, from the way we make 70 per cent of our electricity to virtually our entire transport system.

As for electricity alone, we no longer use this just for lighting, heating and refrigeration, as we did in those far-off ‘three-day week’ days of the Seventies.

In the age of the computer, we are now dependent on it for everything from our work and mobile phones to shop and supermarket tills, the cashpoints where we collect our money and the signalling and traffic lights which keep our trains and roads running.

Yet thanks to Mr Miliband, and those MPs who mindlessly voted for his Bill, we are committed to cutting back on what currently makes this possible by such a colossal amount, it is impossible to see how it could be realistically achieved without closing down virtually all our economy.

What our ministers and officials fondly imagine — as we can see from their speeches and policy papers — is that we can somehow meet Mr Miliband’s target by closing down all those old ‘CO2 polluting’ coal and gas-fired power stations, to replace them with tens of thousands of wind turbines and a fleet of ‘zero carbon’ new nuclear reactors (though it looks increasingly unlikely we will get even one of those in the next decade).

The fossil fuel plants we still rely on for more than two-thirds of the electricity we need will be allowed to survive only if they are fitted with ‘carbon capture and storage’, to pipe away their ‘carbon emissions’ to be buried in holes under the sea — a hugely expensive technology which is pure wishful thinking, since it has never yet been made to work commercially, and would treble the cost of electricity even if it were viable.


The drive to ‘decarbonise’ our economy by piling on ‘green taxes’ and building ever more hugely subsidised windfarms has already added hundreds of pounds a year to individual electricity bills, helping to drive millions more households into fuel poverty. But even now we are scarcely scratching the surface of meeting our legal commitments.

The one lesson above all we might have learned from Ed Miliband’s brief spell in charge of our ‘energy and climate change’ policy is that he is quite astonishingly out of touch with any practical reality.

So lost was he in his green fantasy world that his only concern was the ‘climate change’ part of his job title. He showed no interest in the other half of the job he was paid for, the ‘energy’ bit, i.e. how to keep our lights on.

Informed observers at the time noted how the only people Secretary Miliband seemed to want to talk to were green lobby groups, such as Friends Of The Earth, Greenpeace and the canny chancers making millions out of windfarms and the ‘renewables’ subsidy bonanza.

The ‘Big Six’ energy giants — who, whatever we think of them, were actually keeping the lights on — he treated with disdain or outright hostility, as ‘polluting’ capitalists, interested only in making ‘obscene profits’ (unlike those green, clean developers of the wind farms which were increasingly disfiguring our countryside).

Many may recall their shock in September 2013 when Mr Miliband, by then Labour leader, announced one of his first acts on becoming PM would be to ‘freeze energy prices’ for three years (instantly knocking £3 billion off the share value of the big energy companies).

But what made this even more ludicrous was that no one had done more to push up Britain’s fast-rising energy bills than Mr Miliband himself.


It was he who had set in train the policy which made this inevitable, with his Climate Change Act.

And it was this same policy which was then so enthusiastically carried on after 2010 by his Lib Dem successors at DECC: first Chris Huhne (until he had to resign before being jailed for lying), and now that lacklustre green zealot Ed Davey, so dim that he has shown no more practical grasp of the technicalities of electricity production than Mr Miliband himself.

All this alone should raise a huge black question mark over the man now aspiring to become leader of our country next week. It shows he is so obsessively blinkered by woolly ideology that he has no practical judgment at all — about money or anything else.

We should remember that, in an earlier time, he and Ed Balls were the most intimate Treasury advisers of Gordon Brown when, in 1998, our formerly ‘prudent’ Chancellor took the reckless gamble of announcing he intended to double Britain’s public spending in ten years.

This was what happened, leading of course to the most disastrous public spending deficit our country has ever known: a catastrophe from which we shall be struggling to recover for years to come.

Ed Miliband was right behind that gamble. It should show us it is not only his stupidity over the Climate Change Act which made him our ‘most expensive politician’ in history. Worse still, his lack of judgment also marks him out as easily the most dangerous man who has ever come within touching distance of becoming our Prime Minister.



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29 April, 2015

Change in the climate debate? Climate models start converging towards reality

And a Lindzen hypothesis is vindicated.  Paragraphed copy of the journal abstract appended. It's not hard to follow

On many occasions we have brought up the discrepancies between observed global data and the values of the latest IPCC climate models (CMIP5)

Recently Thomas Mauritsen and Björn Stevens, a clouds and aerosols modeling expert of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, examined the matter. In a very recent paper appearing in Nature Geoscience (hereinafter MS15) titled “Missing iris effect as a possible cause of muted hydrological change and high climate sensitivity in models“, they took up the actual situation (a somewhat difficult to understand press release on this can be read here).

1) Apparently the models overreact to the greenhouse gas effect. Recent papers also have found from the observations a significantly lower value for forcing. The climate sensitivity (ECS) for a very long-term period after an increase in greenhouse gas is determined to be on average 3.3°C of warming while the observations indicate a value of about 2°C.

2) The global hydrological cycle is not taken correctly into account in the models (too small).

There’s also another phenomenon: According to the models, the troposphere in the tropics was supposed to warm up much more than at ground level. But this is not being observed, and we’ve written about this in an earlier post “Houston, we have a problem: We can’t find the hot spot“.

Here the authors searched for an explanation for the discrepancies. Perhaps a cooling effect was missing in the models. They found an explanation: an old hypothesis from Richard Lindzen and his colleagues from 2001: The earth has an “iris”, a negative feedback where more heat is released when there is more warming than when the temperature is cool. This mechanism, according to Lindzen, acts in the tropics and in the subtropics.

This “self-regulation” of the earth’s temperatures proposed by Lindzen of course was rejected by “mainstream” climate science. Chambers et al. wrote in the Journal of Climate 2002:

"As a result, the strength of the feedback effect is reduced by a factor of 10 or more. Contrary to the initial Iris hypothesis, most of the definitions tested in this paper result in a small positive feedback.”

Kevin Trenberth and colleagues rejected the iris-theory in the Geophysical Research Letters in 2010:

"…and their [Lindzen et al.] use of a limited tropical domain is especially problematic. Moreover their results do not stand up to independent testing.”

The authors of the latest Nature article obviously had not been impressed by Trenberth’s claim, and made the effort of integrating Lindzen’s iris effect into an advanced model. The result is somewhat surprising.

The increase in the tropical temperature trends between 7 and 14 km elevation in the model without the iris (Figure 3 left) and with the iris (right). The modeled hot spot with profound effect at about 10 km and above has disappeared…which is very much like what the observations have been telling us:

The iris shifts the ECS of the used models from 2.81 to 2.21. That’s 22% less sensitivity with respect to the warming effect by greenhouse gases. Also the discrepancy in the hydrological cycle (basically the increase in precipitation due to warming) could be resolved by taking the iris into account.

Even when the impression has been given here from time to time that we distrust models, we point out that precisely in climatology models can be very useful when they are fed with all the right information. We are not able to experiment with the atmosphere and so we have to rely on computers. It is essential that the models accurately reflect reality and do not produce a fictitious world that supplies catastrophe scenarios.

Climate models are extremely complex, and thus it is all the more critical that their programming be clean and that all the possible physical factors be correctly taken into account. The latest paper shows that modeling has taken a step in the right direction. It shows 22% less climate sensitivity due to the iris component.

Not everyone was happy to hear this news. Kevin Trenberth was quoted saying the following words (translated from the German):

"The paper is poorly written and misleading. It wasn’t necessary to blow the iris horn.”

Trenberth seemed almost infuriated: The authors even wrote it in the damn title.”

What fear has suddenly gripped the “climate establishment”? Could it be that among policymakers the word is out that the climate catastrophe has been called off?

Björn Stevens’ research results may go down as being the turning point in the history of climate science debate.


Missing iris effect as a possible cause of muted hydrological change and high climate sensitivity in models

Thorsten Mauritsen & Bjorn Stevens


Equilibrium climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 falls between 2.0 and 4.6 K in current climate models, and they suggest a weak increase in global mean precipitation. Inferences from the observational record, however, place climate sensitivity near the lower end of this range and indicate that models underestimate some of the changes in the hydrological cycle.

These discrepancies raise the possibility that important feedbacks are missing from the models. A controversial hypothesis suggests that the dry and clear regions of the tropical atmosphere expand in a warming climate and thereby allow more infrared radiation to escape to space. This so-called iris effect could constitute a negative feedback that is not included in climate models.

We find that inclusion of such an effect in a climate model moves the simulated responses of both temperature and the hydrological cycle to rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations closer to observations.

Alternative suggestions for shortcomings of models — such as aerosol cooling, volcanic eruptions or insufficient ocean heat uptake — may explain a slow observed transient warming relative to models, but not the observed enhancement of the hydrological cycle.

We propose that, if precipitating convective clouds are more likely to cluster into larger clouds as temperatures rise, this process could constitute a plausible physical mechanism for an iris effect.


Debate on the Merits, Anyone?

Marching under the banner of “transparency,” there is a growing movement in the U.S. to limit truly free speech. The movement claims to be attacking “dark money,” but the reality is that its adherents want to shut up its ideological opponents. Independent expressions of support or opposition for candidates or political issues are marginalized by irrelevant questions about funding sources. Honest research and well-formulated arguments are denounced as “biased” or “untrustworthy” because of who the donors are rather than based on the merits of the arguments presented.

One doesn’t need to look further than the tragic case of Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist Dr. Willie Soon to see how calls for transparency can unjustly harm others and deter future quality research. Soon was recently smeared by the New York Times and organizations like Greenpeace for his allegedly biased scientific research into the theory of catastrophic man-caused climate change.

The Times and others attacked Soon because he did not openly and immediately disclose that he received funding for his research from organizations that have a financial interest in the energy sector. It didn’t matter that Soon’s research was of the highest quality, that Smithsonian received much of the funding itself, or that numerous organizations and individuals who support the theory of manmade climate change also receive funding from parties who have financial interests in the climate debate.

Another attack last week on the Smithsonian was launched last week by, the activist group founded in the wake of the Clinton impeachment scandals. Activists want to see David Koch – the philanthropist – removed from the boards of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History for being a “denier” of climate change. Koch has donated tens of millions of dollars to these museums for research and exhibits.

Regardless of what you may believe about global warming, it’s undeniable that these attacks and related calls for “transparency” are simply tools used by one side of the debate in an attempt to silence the other.

Rather than debate those who disagree with them, these progressive activists have learned it is far easier to bully, to retaliate, and to destroy. But to blackball people effectively, they need to know donor names so they can isolate and disrupt funding networks. You can only get so far with smears of the messenger and innuendo about disclosed funders. That’s why this transparently intolerant movement has transitioned from ad hominem attacks and boycotts to enlisting the coercive power of the state.

For a while, the campaign operated below the radar, using the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to conduct inquisitions against Tea Party and conservative groups about their funding sources and affiliations in the course of applying for tax exempt status. Around the same time, Wisconsin prosecutors quietly launched secret “John Doe” investigations exclusively targeting subpoenas and surveillance to legions of center-right political groups and interests who were aligned with the policies of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

But then, far from being shamed by public revelations about Lois Lerner’s coordination of the IRS campaign against conservative nonprofits, the aggressive transparency movement targeting the center-right upped the ante.

Like the opening shot of a starter pistol, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) deployed his official letterhead during the summer of 2013 to demand that dozens of conservative think tanks confess that they had supported the American Legislative Exchange Council’s “Stand Your Ground” laws.

In late 2013, the Center for Media & Democracy and ProgressNow repackaged public form 990 information into lazily crafted so-called exposés to launch ad hominem assaults on private donors and successful advocates of conservative causes, labeling center-right public interest groups “stink tanks.”

By the summer of 2014, Arshad Hasan, executive director of ProgressNow, was openly declaring, “The next step for us is to take down this network of [conservative non-profit] institutions that are state-based in each and every one of our states.”

Supporters of this manifestly totalitarian transparency movement insist the public has the right to know who is financially responsible for various social, cultural, and political movements, because if they don’t know, greedy corporations, manipulative religious zealots, or some other allegedly biased group of people will use their deep pockets and political connections to push oppressive policies regular working Janes and Joes don’t actually want. Transparency, they say, is the only way to hold people accountable.

In reality, as the escalation of ad hominem into coercive state action demonstrates, this campaign is really nothing more than an attempt to silence political opponents. Fear of political or social retribution is used to prevent particular causes from being funded. That’s why legal protections for private civic engagement are necessary to ensure that individuals feel safe donating and advocating for causes they believe in without worrying about being personally attacked as a result. Towards that end, the Heartland Institute recently published a Policy Study, titled “In Defense of Private Civic Engagement: Why the Assault on ‘Dark Money’ Threatens Free Speech–and How to Stop the Assault.”

The study advocates several methods for protecting the right to private civic engagement, but the passage of two pieces of model legislation are particularly important to protect the First Amendment rights of Americans on all sides of the political spectrum.

The first proposed law is called the “Free Speech Privacy Act,” and it would act as a “federalism shield” for free speech, “prohibiting the enforcement [by the states] of any law directly or indirectly conditioning the exercise of the rights of free speech and association on the disclosure of the identity of a person or entity who fears a reasonable probability of social, political, or economic retaliation from such disclosure.”

The second important reform proposal is the “Publius Confidentiality Act.” Publius would empower individuals by allowing them to register for an official pseudonym that could be used in political and cultural debates of all sorts, thereby forcing opponents to focus attacks on ideas rather than on individuals, their families, or their businesses.

Increasing privacy protections for individuals is an essential part of ensuring the marketplace of ideas is free from coercive fear tactics designed to silence honest debate. Without these protections, politics will continue to devolve into a political war of all against all, rather than focusing on whose ideas are more likely to improve the nation and promote liberty.


A message for Pope Francis: Energy restrictions based on climate fears threaten the poor

Paul Driessen

Pope Francis plans to deliver an encyclical on climate change this summer. To pave the way and outline the Pope’s positions, the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences is holding a workshop on the topic, April 28 in Rome. The Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Heartland Institute will be there.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, director of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and an author of the draft encyclical, says the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has determined that “our planet is getting warmer.” Christians have a duty to help the poor, “irrespective of the causes of climate change,” and address what Pope Francis apparently believes is an imminent climate crisis. The encyclical will likely present global warming as “a critical moral issue” and increase pressure for a new climate treaty.

That raises serious questions, which I have addressed in many articles – and which prompted Dr. E. Calvin Beisner and the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation to write an open letter to Pope Francis. The articles and letter reflect our years of studying climate change assertions and realities, and the ways climate-related restrictions on energy harm poor families far more than climate change will.

At the most fundamental level, too many IPCC reports and the apparent new papal position represent the rejection of Judeo-Christianity’s illustrious tradition of scientific inquiry, which has brought monumental improvements to our understanding of nature and creation – and to humanity’s once “nasty, brutish and short” lives on this planet. As Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman explained, we begin with a guess about a law of nature. Then we compute the consequences that would result if our hypothesis is correct – and compare actual observations, evidence and experimental data to the predicted consequences.

If the hypothesis and predictions are borne out by the observations, we have a new rule. But if the hypothesis “disagrees with the experiment, it is wrong,” Feynman says. That is honest, genuine science.

Alarmist climate science is precisely the opposite. That distorted version of science began with the hypothesis that carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels cause global warming. It served as the basis for computer models that assume rising CO2 and GHG levels will cause planetary temperatures and sea levels to soar, and hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts to increase in number and intensity. The models predicted many such “scenarios” over the coming decades.

But Earth stopped warming 18 years ago; no major hurricane hit the USA for a record 9-1/2 years; seas are rising at barely seven inches per century; and even IPCC experts agree that long-term trends in weather disasters are not out of historic norms and are not attributable to human causes. The CO2-driven global warming disaster hypothesis and models do not reflect reality and are obviously wrong.

So alarmists began talking about “climate change,” blaming extreme weather events on human emissions and manipulating temperature data. They say terrible things are happening at unprecedented levels, when they are not. Worst, they say we must slash hydrocarbon energy use that has brought once unimaginable health, prosperity, living standards and life spans to billions of people, after countless millennia of crushing poverty, malnutrition, disease, and death before age 40. Fossil fuels still represent 85 per cent of the world’s energy – and they are essential if the rest of humanity is to catch up and improve their lives.

Denying humanity the use of still bountiful hydrocarbon energy is thus not simply wrong. It is immoral – and lethal. This is the real reason that climate change is a critical moral issue. No one has a right to tell the world’s poor they cannot use fossil fuels to improve their lives, or to tell others they must reduce their living standards, based on speculation and unfounded fears about a manmade climate crisis.

As Dr. Beisner notes, “Alongside good science in our approach to climate policy must be two preferential options: for humanity and, among humanity, for the poor.” This does not mean pitting humanity against nature, any more than to pit the poor against the rich. It means any effort to protect the environment must be centered on scientific truth and human well-being, and in particular the well-being of the poor, because they are more vulnerable, and less able to protect themselves. Climate alarmism does not do that.

Over the past three decades, fossil fuels helped 1.3 billion people get electricity and escape debilitating energy poverty – over 830 million because of coal. China connected 99 per cent of its population to the grid and increased its steel production eight times over, mostly with coal, energy analyst Roger Bezdek points out.

Abundant, reliable, affordable motor fuels and electricity empower people and support mobility, modern agriculture, homes and hospitals, computers and communications, lights and refrigerators, job creation, life and study after sundown, indoor plumbing, safe drinking water, less disease and longer lives. In conjunction with property rights and entrepreneurship, protected by laws enforced by limited, responsive, responsible governments, fossil fuels will continue transforming lives and nations the world over.

They will also enable people to respond and adapt to future climate changes and extreme weather events, floods and droughts, heat waves, new “little ice ages” and other disasters, natural or manmade. More plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would enhance wildlife habitats and food production.

However, 1.3 billion people (the population of the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe combined) still do not have electricity. In India alone, more people than live in the USA still lack electricity. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 730 million (equal to Europe) still cook and heat with wood, charcoal and animal dung. Hundreds of millions get horribly sick and four million die every year from lung and intestinal diseases, due to breathing smoke from open fires and not having clean water, refrigeration and safe food.

Imposing fossil fuel restrictions and renewable energy mandates – in the name of stabilizing planetary climate that has never been stable – would perpetuate Third World poverty, disease and death. In developed nations, it would reduce living standards, affect everything we make, grow, ship, eat and do – and cause thousands to die during cold winters, because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly.

It would be a needless tragedy – an unconscionable crime against humanity – if the world implemented policies to protect the world’s still impoverished and energy-deprived masses from hypothetical manmade climate dangers decades from now, by perpetuating poverty and disease, and killing millions tomorrow.

Just eight years ago, Pope Benedict XVI warned that any proposed “solutions” to global warming and climate change must be based on solid evidence, and not on computer models, unsupported assertions and dubious ideology. He suggested that concerns about man-made emissions melting ice caps and causing waves of unprecedented disasters were little more than fear-mongering. He argued that ecological concerns must be balanced against the needs of current and future generations of people.

Pope Francis apparently does not share his predecessor’s view about climate change fears. However, if he is truly committed to advancing science, the poor and creation, he should reject climate chaos claims unless and until alarmists can provide solid evidence to back up their assertions and models.

He should recognize that the issue is not global warming or climate change. It is whether human actions now dominate climate and weather fluctuations that have been common throughout Earth and human history – and whether those actions will cause dangerous or catastrophic changes in the future. Science-based answers to these questions are essential if we are to forecast future climate and weather accurately – and safeguard poor families, modern living standards and environmental quality.

Dr. Beisner has posted his letter to Pope Francis for others to endorse this commonsense approach. It is unwise and unjust to adopt policies requiring reduced use of fossil fuels, unless it can be conclusively shown that doing so will stabilize Earth’ fickle climate and prevent future climate disasters, Dr. Beisner concludes. “Such policies would condemn hundreds of millions of our fellow human beings to ongoing poverty.” We therefore respectfully ask Pope Francis to advise the world’s leaders to reject those policies.


Reporters Explain Why Balance Isn’t Needed On Global Warming

Elite journalists explain why they have no need for ‘balance’ on the global warming issue. So much for scientific and reportorial inquiry

Is it morally permissible to allow “climate deniers” to appear in print and televised media?

Columbia University journalism students wrestled with this question recently at a screening of the new documentary, “Merchants of Doubt.” “Merchants,” based on the 2010 book by science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, endeavors to smear skeptics of anthropogenic global warming as the henchmen of the fossil-fuel industry. The film is light on evidence, as I show here, but heavy on verve. Director Robert Kenner (“Food, Inc.”) traces the stories of sly 1950s tobacco reps who hired scientists to cast doubt on a growing consensus that smoking was unhealthy. The film’s implication, insinuated rather than demonstrated, is that global warming doubters are likewise mercenary.

If you buy that argument, then it makes some sense to keep “deniers” from deluding the public. In a room full of journalism students in training to ask tough questions and root out the truth, everyone bought it.

Global Warming Opposition Equals Propaganda

“It is a lie to say that global warming poses no danger,” New York Times reporter Justin Gillis told the crowd as part of a panel after the screening. He was responding to a question from the editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, who had asked him whether news outlets present a “false balance” when they cite both proponents and skeptics of anthropogenic global warming. Since the science is “settled,” and “consensus” has been achieved, why not quote only the proponents? “Journalists care about the truth—that’s my only care in life, to find the truth,” Gillis added. “To act as if the evidence is half and half is to tell a lie. I refuse to perpetuate that lie.”

Wendell Potter from the Huffington Post recommended that newspapers create a new “propaganda beat” with reporters devoted solely to unmasking the “deniers” as frauds.
“Accurate information about climate change is a human right,” insisted Emily Southerd, campaign manager for the advocacy group Forecast the Facts. “Accurate information” in this case apparently means “consensus” information. Southerd shared that her organization is petitioning news stations to quit booking “deniers” like Marc Morano of, one of the “merchants” shown in the film. Wendell Potter from the Huffington Post recommended that newspapers create a new “propaganda beat” with reporters devoted solely to unmasking the “deniers” as frauds.

It’s hard to take such caviling seriously when the New York Times is running beguiling hit pieces on respected (but climate-skeptic) astrophysicist Willie Soon and cheering a McCarthyite investigation into seven other professors who expressed skepticism towards the idea that global warming is dangerous and man-made. In the United Kingdom last summer, after global warming-skeptic Lord Nigel Lawson appeared on the BBC, the head of the BBC Complaints Unit announced that “minority opinions and sceptical views should not be treated on an equal footing with the scientific consensus.” Lawson has not been on the BBC since.

Skeptics are not exactly popular in the media. Gillis acknowledged a tacit pact among print journalists to stop giving credence to climate skeptics. He called this an “enlightenment” that began ten or 15 years ago. American television, he noted, still lets a few skeptics onto the air; broadcasters have yet to come out of the Dark Ages.

Denying the Deniers

The merits of the term “denier” also got some play among the panelists. Southerd cast a strong vote in favor of the term: “these people need to be labeled what they are: climate change deniers.” Gillis explained the need to maintain the appearance of impartiality. “This is much like the abortion wars: what term you use signals what side you are on.” His own preference was to describe the “deniers” as “people who oppose climate science.” He was adamant, though, that these opponents-of-climate-science should never be called “skeptics”; all scientists are professional skeptics, and it would be inappropriate to honor the climate-doubters with such a term.

Paper trails indicate that federal agencies solicited climate science research that supported their conclusions, cherry-picked peer reviewers known to be sympathetic to the pro-global warming cause, and overlooked conflicts of interest.
One member of the audience thought to ask about the funding for pro-anthropogenic global warming scientists. What if someone investigated the money that supports global warming research, and made a “Merchants of Doubt” sequel about the consensus scientists? An excellent question, especially since in the last 15 years pro-sustainability and global warming research has enjoyed nearly $400 million in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); $3 billion from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; $600 million from the National Institutes of Health; $1.7 billion from National Science Foundation; and even $2 million from the National Endowment for the Arts.

No worries about that, Gillis responded: “99.9 percent of climate science is funded by the government.” That means, he explained, that each grant is disclosed by number to the public, making every transaction transparent and trustworthy.

But Gillis neglected to explain that studies from two different organizations have uncovered in this federally-funded research cozenage and artifice of exactly the sort “Merchants” espies in climate change doubters. Paper trails indicate that the EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other federal agencies solicited climate science research that supported their conclusions, cherry-picked peer reviewers known to be sympathetic to the pro-global warming cause, and overlooked conflicts of interest by assigning research papers to be reviewed by members of the same organizations that produced the research in the first place. In response to concerns such as these, the House of Representatives is considering the Secret Science Reform Act and the Science Advisory Board Reform Act to try to bring transparency to the research these federal agencies use as the basis for their environmental regulations.

But none of this was relevant, apparently, in an evening’s conversation about threats to the integrity of climate science. Perhaps such obstinate belief in the credibility of global warming research should itself be labeled a kind of doubt-denialism.


EPA does something useful

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded $5 million in grant funding for clean diesel projects at U.S. ports.

The selected projects in California, Oregon, New Jersey and Texas will improve the air quality for people who live and work near the ports, and reduce emissions of the greenhouse gasses that lead to climate change, EPA said.

“EPA and ports have a shared interest in working together to find practical solutions to reduce pollution for the benefit of workers and communities,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said at a conference hosted by American Association of Ports Authorities, where she announced the grant recipients. “The key to our success, the key to healthier families and strong economic growth, is all of us working together.”

Most of the country’s busiest ports are located near large metropolitan areas and, as a result, people in neighboring communities are exposed to high levels of diesel emissions, which contribute to smog and soot that can cause illness, hospitalization, or premature death. Since most ships and equipment at ports run on diesel engines, clean diesel projects at ports produce immediate emissions reductions and provide health benefits to those living and working in the area. Depending on the type of equipment, new diesel engines are 90% cleaner than the old engines they replace.

The grants are funded through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and are located in areas where communities need the most help with local air quality. Since the start of the DERA program in 2008, EPA has awarded more than 700 grants in 600 communities across the country. And 150 DERA grants have been targeted to improving air quality at or near ports, with about $175M in funding. EPA estimates that every $1 in DERA funding generates up to $13 in health care savings. In addition, every dollar of DERA funding, leverages $2-3 from project partners.

The DERA grant recipients are:

California - The City of Los Angeles Harbor Department will replace a diesel-powered crane with an all-electric crane that produces zero emissions at the San Pedro Bay.

New Jersey - The N.J. Department of Environmental Protection will replace Tier 1 engines on marine vessels with Tier 4 certified engines significantly reducing particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (Nox) and other pollutants. These vessels operate between Atlantic Highlands in New Jersey and terminal locations in New York City.

Oregon - The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will retrofit cargo handling equipment with diesel particulate filters and replace 23 drayage trucks with ones powered by certified engines that are model year 2011 or newer at the Port of Portland.

Texas - The Port of Houston Authority will replace 25 drayage trucks with drayage trucks powered by certified engines that are model year 2011 or newer. These drayage trucks operate in the Port of Houston and along the Houston Ship Channel.


University of Western Australia think tank is not a climate consensus centre: Lomborg

Climate action sceptic Bjorn Lomborg says he is surprised by the level of opposition towards a think tank at the University of Western Australia that he says is “not a clim­ate consensus centre”.

Dr Lomborg, a Danish political scientist who has criticised the effect­iveness of climate change reduc­tion strategies, says global development issues will be at the heart of academic research at the proposed Australian Consensus Centre, which has received $4 million in federal funds and is due to open at UWA later this year.

Speaking from the US, Dr Lomborg declined to say who he had approached to propose the centre, which will be modelled on the US-based Copenhagen Consensus Centre, which he runs.

“I’m not going to say specific­ally. I can only do my job if the ­people that I approach know I’m not going to talk about everything that happens. Fundamentally I made a suggestion to make a project, and the final proposal that we sent from UWA was accepted by the commonwealth.”

Dr Lomborg, who has been invited by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to advise the government on development aid spending, said the centre would examine “where Australia’s $5 billion in aid, and the world’s $US140bn ($180.65bn), spent every year can be spent ­better. It’s about the 2.5 billion people who are desperately poor and need access to clean water and sanitation.”

Issues such as global warming “are a problem, but only one of many issues we need to fix”.

UWA’s vice-chancellor Paul Johnson told a closed audience of 150 university staff yesterday that Dr Lomborg was not a climate denial­ist. He said the university had a history of defending its clim­ate change research staff against the most extreme views of climate change deniers.

Academic freedom was at stake, Professor Johnson said: “We should always avoid in universities being forced by pressure to resile from our commitment to academic freedom.  “We must be prepared to engage in difficult discussions.”

He said he was not surprised by on-campus hostility. “Anything to do with climate always involves passionate interest,” he said.

The UWA Staff Association and several heads of school have expressed concern about Dr Lomborg’s appointment, saying he was censured by a Danish scientific committee in 2003 for misleading science in his book The Skeptical Environmentalist.

Professor Johnson said that censure motion “was then itself subject to censure by the Danish ministry”.

He said academic work should always be open to peer review to maintain academic standards, “and that will be applied to the Australian Consensus Centre.”

The director of UWA’s Centre for Social Impact, Paul Flatau, who negotiated the centre proposal with the federal government, told the staff meeting he felt there had not been sufficient discussion of the issue.

Professor Johnson told reporters it was not standard for such proposals to go out for broad discussion, or to be put to the university’s academic board.

He said the centre would go ahead with Dr Lomborg’s involvement. “The university has signed a contract with the government.”

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said Dr Lomborg was “a deep believer in climate science and the fact of human impact on climate” but had divergent views about how to tackle it.

“The real point why he’s criticised is it doesn’t fit the narrative of those who want to punish people with higher electricity and gas ­prices,” Mr Hunt told ABC radio.

“He’s saying you can reduce emissions; you just don’t need a massive electricity and gas tax.”



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28 April, 2015

US to launch blitz of gas exports, eyes global energy dominance

The US Energy Department prepares a wave of LNG gas permits in the latest move to redraw the world's oil and gas landscape. Obama perhaps thinks natural gas has become too cheap in America so wants to drive the price up by opening export demand for it.  It could also be an attempt to shaft Putin by taking away his markets.  I think that might be the main motive

The United States is poised to flood world markets with once-unthinkable quantities of liquefied natural gas as soon as this year, profoundly changing the geo-politics of global energy and posing a major threat to Russian gas dominance in Europe.

"We anticipate becoming big players, and I think we'll have a big impact," said the Ernest Moniz, the US Energy Secretary. "We're going to influence the whole global LNG market."

Mr Moniz said four LNG export terminals are under construction and the first wave of shipments may begin before the end of this year or in early 2016 at the latest.

“Certainly in this decade, there’s a good chance that we will be LNG exporters on the scale of Qatar, which is today’s largest LNG exporter,” he said, speaking on the margins of the IHS CERAWeek energy summit in Texas.

Qatar exports just over 100 billion cubic meters (BCM), though Australia is catching up fast as the offshore Gorgon field comes on stream. It may pull ahead of Qatar later this decade.

Mr Moniz said the surge in US output from shale fracking has already transformed the global market. "We would have been importing a lot of LNG by now. Those cargoes would have gone elsewhere and have in fact had a significant impact in the European market,” he said.

Gas frackers assembled at the world's "energy Davos" in Houston said exports could ultimately be much higher, potentially overtaking Russia as the world's biggest supplier of natural gas of all kinds.

"We're just fifteen years into a 150-year process," said Steve Mueller, head of Southwestern Energy, the fourth biggest producer of gas in the US .

The mile-deep Marcellus basin stretching from West Virginia through Pennsylvania to New York state is driving the explosive growth. Interlocking fractures in the rock make it possible for a single well with advanced technology to extract much more gas than thought possible just five years ago.

Once thought to be in decline, the Marcellus alone produces 113 BCM a year. This is roughly equivalent to Russia's exports to Europe through the Nord Stream, Yamal, and Brotherhood pipelines.

Mr Mueller defiantly sweeps aside those who claim that the US fracking industry is in serious trouble, insisting that drilling costs are coming down so fast that his company - and others - are staying a step ahead of falling prices.

"Rig efficiency was flat for thirty years but since then we've cut by five times. We have set in motion something that you can't deny and is irresistible," he said.

Mr Mueller said it had taken his company 17 days to drill a 2,600 ft well as recently as 2007. It has just drilled a 5,400 ft well in six days. "The new technology is amazing. We have a drill-bit with a chip inside that makes its own changes," he said.

He is continuing to invest heavily and hopes to boost output by up to 10pc annually for the next three years, despite a drop in gas prices to around $2.60 per million British thermal units (BTU). "If it stays around $3, we'll be fine," he said.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects gas prices to rise to $4.88 in real terms by 2020, and $7.85 by 2040.

What is remarkable is that US drillers can produce a third more natural gas today with 280 rigs than they did in 2009 with 1,200 rigs. Total shale output has soared to over 350 BCM from almost nothing a decade ago. It now makes up half of US gas production.

The Obama administration has so far been slow to approve new export terminals for LNG, partly because of concerns that the US would lose its massive advantage in energy and feedstock costs for industry.

Gas sells at for $7 in Europe, and over $10 in North-East Asia, four times more expensive. This cost-gap has been a key driver behind America's so-called "manufacturing renaissance", stoking an investment boom in chemicals, plastics, and glass, and saving the country's steel mills from slow death.

A corridor from Houston to New Orleans has attracted 33 petrochemical plants worth over $1bn each since 2011. The American Chemistry Council expects over $130 billion of industrial projects along this stretch by 2023.

The administration has concluded that the US lead is now so entrenched that there is little to lose from a partial levelling of the global playing field. The expense of freezing gas for liquefaction to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit and shipping it across the Atlantic or Pacific in molybdenum-hulled vessels is enough to maintain a big cost advantage for US manufacturers.

Four LNG terminals with a combined export capacity of 70 BCM are likely to be approved soon by the Energy Department. The front-runner is Cherniere's $18bn terminal at Sabine Pass in Louisiana.

Experts are split over whether North America really can become the world's dominant LNG player. Moody's warned earlier this month that most of the 30 gas liquefaction projects planned in the US and Canada will never get off the ground, chiefly due to the linkage between LNG contracts and the price of crude. "The drop in international oil prices has wiped out the price advantage US LNG projects," it said.

Michael Smith, head of Freeport LNG, said his company will press ahead regardless with plans for a $13bn plant near Houston, and predicted that the US could soon leap-frog all rivals to become the new gas hegemon. "Our projects are very competitive and we will continue to have an advantage over the rest of the world," he said.

Russian president Vladimir Putin warned at the St Petersburg economic summit last year that US shale gas was abruptly changing the international order, with serious implications for his country. The early effects have forced down global LNG prices, creating a rival source of gas supply in Europe.

Any future American cargoes would further erode Gazprom's pricing power in Europe, and erode the Kremlin's political leverage. The EU already has a large network of import terminals for LNG.

Lithuania has just finished its "Independence" terminal, opening up the Baltic states to LNG. Poland's new terminal should be ready this year.

America's parallel drive for shale oil is equally breath-taking. Scott Sheffield, head of Pioneer Natural Resources, said his company has discovered huge reserves in the vast Permian Basin of West Texas.

"We think the Permian could produce 5-6m barrels a day (b/d) in the long-term," he said. It is a staggering claim. This would be more than Saudi Arabia's giant Ghawar field, the biggest in the world.

Ryan Lance, head of ConocoPhillips, said North American oil output could reach 15m b/d by 2020 and 25m b/d over the next quarter century, three times Saudi Arabia's current exports.

A vault forward on this scale would establish the US as the leading energy superpower in both oil and gas, a revival that almost nobody could have imagined seven years ago when the United States was in near panic over its exorbitant dependency of imported fuel. It would restore the US to its mid-20th Century position as a surplus trading nation, and perhaps ultimately as world's biggest external creditor once again.

Fracking is still an almost exclusive preserve of North America, and is likely to remain so into the early 2020s. China has large ambitions but the volumes are still tiny, and there is a shortage of water in key areas. Fracking remains mere talk in most other regions of the world.

Lukoil analysts say Russian extraction costs for shale are four times higher that those of US wildcat drillers. Sanctions currently prevent the Russians importing the know-how and technology to tap its vast Bazhenov basin at a viable cost.

John Hess, the founder of Hess Corporation, said it takes a unique confluence of circumstances to pull off a fracking revolution: landowner rights over sub-soil minerals, a pipeline infrastructure, the right taxes and regulations, and good rock. “We haven’t seen those stars align yet,” he said.

Above all it requires the acquiescence of the people. "It takes a thousand trucks going in and out to launch a (drilling) spud. Not every neighbourhood wants that," he said.  Certainly not in Sussex, Burgundy, or Bavaria.


Top scientists start to examine fiddled global warming figures

Christopher Booker

The Global Warming Policy Foundation has enlisted an international team of five distinguished scientists to carry out a full inquiry

Last month, we are told, the world enjoyed “its hottest March since records began in 1880”. This year, according to “US government scientists”, already bids to outrank 2014 as “the hottest ever”. The figures from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were based, like all the other three official surface temperature records on which the world’s scientists and politicians rely, on data compiled from a network of weather stations by NOAA’s Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN).

But here there is a puzzle. These temperature records are not the only ones with official status. The other two, Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and the University of Alabama (UAH), are based on a quite different method of measuring temperature data, by satellites. And these, as they have increasingly done in recent years, give a strikingly different picture. Neither shows last month as anything like the hottest March on record, any more than they showed 2014 as “the hottest year ever”.

Back in January and February, two items in this column attracted more than 42,000 comments to the Telegraph website from all over the world. The provocative headings given to them were “Climategate the sequel: how we are still being tricked by flawed data on global warming” and “The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest scientific scandal”.

My cue for those pieces was the evidence multiplying from across the world that something very odd has been going on with those official surface temperature records, all of which ultimately rely on data compiled by NOAA’s GHCN. Careful analysts have come up with hundreds of examples of how the original data recorded by 3,000-odd weather stations has been “adjusted”, to exaggerate the degree to which the Earth has actually been warming. Figures from earlier decades have repeatedly been adjusted downwards and more recent data adjusted upwards, to show the Earth having warmed much more dramatically than the original data justified.

So strong is the evidence that all this calls for proper investigation that my articles have now brought a heavyweight response. The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has enlisted an international team of five distinguished scientists to carry out a full inquiry into just how far these manipulations of the data may have distorted our picture of what is really happening to global temperatures.

The panel is chaired by Terence Kealey, until recently vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham. His team, all respected experts in their field with many peer-reviewed papers to their name, includes Dr Peter Chylek, a physicist from the National Los Alamos Laboratory; Richard McNider, an emeritus professor who founded the Atmospheric Sciences Programme at the University of Alabama; Professor Roman Mureika from Canada, an expert in identifying errors in statistical methodology; Professor Roger Pielke Sr, a noted climatologist from the University of Colorado, and Professor William van Wijngaarden, a physicist whose many papers on climatology have included studies in the use of “homogenisation” in data records.

Their inquiry’s central aim will be to establish a comprehensive view of just how far the original data has been “adjusted” by the three main surface records: those published by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss), the US National Climate Data Center and Hadcrut, that compiled by the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (Cru), in conjunction with the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction. All of them are run by committed believers in man-made global warming.

For this the GWPF panel is initially inviting input from all those analysts across the world who have already shown their expertise in comparing the originally recorded data with that finally published. In particular, they will be wanting to establish a full and accurate picture of just how much of the published record has been adjusted in a way which gives the impression that temperatures have been rising faster and further than was indicated by the raw measured data.

Already studies based on the US, Australia, New Zealand, the Arctic and South America have suggested that this is far too often the case.

But only when the full picture is in will it be possible to see just how far the scare over global warming has been driven by manipulation of figures accepted as reliable by the politicians who shape our energy policy, and much else besides. If the panel’s findings eventually confirm what we have seen so far, this really will be the “smoking gun”, in a scandal the scale and significance of which for all of us can scarcely be exaggerated


Amazon rainforest losses impact on climate change, study shows

This was just a modelling exercise

Widespread removal of trees has contributed to a rise in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, increasing the potential impact of climate change, researchers say.

Deforestation of the Amazon accounted for 1.5 per cent of the increase in carbon dioxide levels seen since the mid-nineteenth century, the team says.

However, this increased the total amount of carbon found in the atmosphere only very slightly compared with fossil fuel emissions, which account for the vast majority of the increase.

Had this deforestation not taken place, the rainforest would store 12 per cent more carbon in its vegetation, and cover a much larger area than at present, the team adds.

The study is the first to show the extent of Amazon deforestation by determining the impact humans have had on the ability of the rainforest to store carbon.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in order to grow. This can help offset fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide, reducing the rate of climate change, the team says.

The team made maps to show what size the Amazon would be today if humans had not deforested large areas of it.

High-resolution satellite images have been available only since 2000, so the team made virtual models to work out how the rainforest changed in earlier decades. Researchers used these to study how the loss of trees reduced the rainforest's ability to store carbon.

Destruction of large areas of the Amazon also impacts on the biodiversity of the rainforest and could lead to the loss of many animal and plant species, researchers say.

The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.

Dr Jean-Fran‡ois Exbrayat, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, who led the research, said: "Our study indicates that the impact of large-scale deforestation on the Amazon carbon balance has been partially offset by ongoing regrowth of vegetation, despite sustained human activity. Overall, our results provide a baseline to better understand the global carbon cycle."


The shonky cost of carbon

I am not sure that Americans will know what a shonk is.  Its origin is unclear but in Australian/British usage it means a fraud or a con-man.  So something shonky is of dubious integrity or worth

A new paper has appeared in Nature Climate Change which puts a social cost of global warming at $200 per ton of carbon dioxide. The authors are Frances Moore and Delavane Diaz of Stanford.

The SCC is of course is a figure that greens can manipulate pretty much to their hearts' content - witness Frank Ackerman's hilarious $1000 figure of a few years back. The entertainment comes in working out what particular dodges have been pulled to hike the figure upwards and the new paper explains that it is picking up on an earlier study by Dell et al, which sought to make revised estimates of the damage that climate change would cause by examining the effect of short-term fluctuations in the weather on economic output.

Everyone involved is admirably open about the fact that this is what they are doing, and the fact that weather damage is something completely different to climate effects. You read that they have taken steps to estimate the difference, but I'm not sure that they are going to convince anyone that what they are doing is anything other than sticking a finger in the air. But then you also read that they are working with warming in 2100 of over 4.5°C; in other words they are using the IPCC's absurdly overegged RCP8.5 scenario. Needless to say, this is described as "business as usual". They are also using the IPCC's GCM-based estimates of climate sensitivity.

At this point you realise that you are being had, and you read no further.


Record Numbers Of Drivers Trading In Electric Cars For SUVs

President Barack Obama promised to put a million more hybrid and electric cars on the road during his tenure, but new research shows drivers are trading them in to buy sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

The auto-research group found that “22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and [electric vehicles] in 2015 bought a new SUV.”

This number is higher than the 18.8 percent that did the same last year, but it’s double the number that traded in their electric car for an SUV just three years ago. reports that only “45 percent of this year’s hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle, down from just over 60 percent in 2012.”

“Never before have loyalty rates for alt-fuel vehicles fallen below 50 percent,” Edmunds notes.

In recent years, celebrities and politicians have been hyping electric car companies, like Teslas, as a hip way to help the environment and save money on gasoline. The Obama administration and some states even hand out generous tax credits to encourage people to buy EVs.

Buying an electric car can get you a $7,500 federal tax credit. It’s all part of Obama’s plan to get a million electric cars on the road by 2015. But electric cars were much more attractive when gas prices were high and customers could more easily rationalize paying more for an electric car. So far, Obama is still more than 800,000 electric cars short of meeting his 2015 goal.

“That’s the reality of the situation,” Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at, told Detroit News. “They have to push them out at those levels for people to be interested. It really seems like the cachet of EVs and hybrids has faded away.”

“EVs are just not selling; even hybrids and plug-ins are slow,” Caldwell said. “There’s some concern.”

Why are electric car sales faltering? One reason is that gas prices are far lower than they were in 2012. Edmunds notes that when gas prices were $4.67 per gallon in October 2012 it would take five5 years to make up the price difference between “a Toyota Camry LE Hybrid ($28,230) and a Toyota Camry LE ($24,460).”

With gas prices now at about $2.27 per gallon, says it would take more than twice as long to save enough on gas to make up the price difference between a Camry LE and a Camry Hybrid.

Electric cars are also facing increased competition from more fuel-efficient vehicles. Aside from market forces, federal fuel efficiency standards have been forcing automakers to increase the miles per gallon of engines.

Electric cars also suffer from issues with battery life. Each hybrid or electric car battery can cost thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars, which only helps tip the economic scale in favor of traditional vehicles.

“It wouldn’t make sense to replace a 12-year old battery with a new battery that’s going to last 12 years, because chances are the car’s not going to last that long,” Eric Ibara with Kelley Blue Book told Detroit News.


Why The Fate Of The World's Climate Is Largely In Australia's Hands (?)

I fairly regularly read the  Australian far-Left publication, "New Matilda".  Not being a Leftist, I like to see the opposite point of view. The opposite point of view gives them the horrors, judging by the way they try to suppress it.

The rave excerpted below is one of their latest.  Their argument is as usual very long-winded but is nonetheless a brilliant example of Leftist over-simplification.  They seem to think that a torrent of words will disguise the shallowness of the thinking. Their argument could be condensed into just one sentence as follows:

"Australian mines supply a significant fraction of the world's coal so Australia should stop doing that to prevent global warming".

That there has been no statistically significant global warming for the last 18 years somehow goes unmentioned.  I would be rather surprised if the writer knew what "statistically significant" meant.  But you don't need knowledge to be a Warmist. You just have to have faith in your prophets

Be that as it may, what the article overlooks is that Australia is only  the world's fourth-largest coal producer, after China, the United States, and India. And there are also in Africa and elsewhere  mines from which production could easily be ramped up.  And Britain almost floats on coal, though it is rarely mined there these days.  And lignite ("brown coal") substitutes readily for thermal coal -- and Germany has masses of that, which it is already making extensive use of.  The list of alternatives goes on .... Coal is superabundant.  Even such unlikely places as Japan and New Zealand mine some coal.  So if Australia impoverished itself by stopping coal exports, other countries would rapidly take up the slack -- meaning that coal usage would continue much as before. 

One really does wonder what Thom Mitchell and his American friend use for brains.  I suspect they just like sounding dramatic. Leftists are big on ill-founded drama.  It seems to give them a desperately-needed feeling of importance

We're told Australia's contribution to global warning is minimal. A report out today proves that's a dangerous lie. Thom Mitchell explains.  As American academic Bob Massey put it, “Australia now holds the fate of the world’s climate in its hands”.

In its pursuit of a solution to the ‘budget emergency’ Australia is using up the ‘carbon budget’ at a rate incompatible with the global goal of limiting temperature rises to below two degrees, a Climate Council report out today has demonstrated.

While Australia is under increasing pressure to announce an ambitious target to limit emissions at home, the report makes clear that it is our reliance on fossil fuel exports that is doing the real damage.

By actively seeking to prolong the dying revenue stream, which has buoyed the economy through the past decade, the Australian government is doing massive damage to the remaining ‘carbon budget’.

At a recent talk in Sydney, Massey was blunt.  “If your government and mining companies decide to develop all of the coal and gas currently planned, already on the books, our children will be forced to endure a world very different from what we know,” he said.

To avoid such a world, scientists have developed the ‘carbon budget’ which, put simply, is the amount of carbon dioxide humans can emit into the atmosphere before temperature rises reach two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

On that basis, if all of Australia’s coal were burnt, it would use up two thirds of the ‘carbon budget’. Effectively, 90 per cent of the continent’s coal must stay in the ground.

Not all of that coal is technologically and economically viable now, but even if we burnt only the nation’s ‘reserves’, a 19 per cent bite would be taken out of the carbon budget.

If we burnt the total ‘resources’ - coal known to exist but not necessarily recoverable at this point - it would constitute a whopping 67.7 per cent of the carbon budget.

Yet despite the increasingly gloomy outlook for the commodity – the price of which has collapsed by around 60 per cent in the last five years - mining companies continue to explore for it and develop new mines. Australian governments are not only approving them, they’re promoting them.



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

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27 April, 2015

Australia: Fishing impacts on the Great Barrier Reef

Mankind has impacted food species since time immemorial so this is nothing new -- and no evidence of any harm to people is adduced from it in this instance.  And vast parts of Australia's surrounding waters are in marine parks anyway. Fishing is already very restricted

It's long been known that environmental impacts such as climate change and pollution are amongst the drivers of change on the Great Barrier Reef.

Now researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University have found that removing predatory fish such as coral trout and snapper, through fishing, causes significant changes to the make-up of the reef's fish populations. [Anything else would be surprising]

"A stable and healthy reef [Define "healthy"] includes a high abundance and diversity of predatory fish and a relatively low number of herbivorous and small prey fish," says study lead author April Boaden, a PhD student at the Coral CoE.

"Predatory fish are extremely important for maintaining a balanced ecosystem on the reef, yet predators such as coral trout, snapper and emperor fish remain the main target for both recreational and commercial fishers," she says.

As part of the study, the researchers conducted extensive surveys of fish and their habitats at multiple sites across the Great Barrier Reef.

They compared fish communities in designated marine reserves (green zones), recreational fishing areas (yellow zones) and sites that allowed both commercial and recreational fishing (blue zones).

"We found that the fish communities on reefs differed greatly according to the level of fishing that they were subject to," Ms Boaden says.

"Predator numbers were severely depleted in heavily fished areas, while smaller prey fish such as damselfish, and herbivores such as parrotfish, had increased greatly in number having been released from predation."

The reduction in predator abundance through fishing altered the balance and structure of the coral reef ecosystem.

"Major disturbances such as cyclones, coral bleaching, climate change, Crown of Thorns Starfish and river run-off are thought to be the primary agents of change on the Great Barrier Reef," says study co-author, Professor Mike Kingsford from the Coral CoE.

"Despite this, we have demonstrated that great differences in the abundance of predatory reef fish, and of their prey, can be attributed to humans," Professor Kingsford says.

The findings support the continued and improved use of the existing marine networks on the Great Barrier Reef.

"The good news is that the data demonstrate that the current system of marine reserves on the Great Barrier Reef is effective in preserving predator numbers, and in doing so we can learn more about the processes affecting reefs in the face of multiple impacts," Professor Kingsford says.

"Fishing impacts are something that we can manage fairly easily compared to other threats such as climate change and run-off pollution, which are threatening the Great Barrier Reef," adds Ms Boaden.

Journal Reference:  A. E. Boaden, M. J.  Kingsford. Predators drive community structure in coral reef fish assemblages. Ecosphere, 2015; 6 (4): art46 DOI: 10.1890/ES14-00292.1


Sixty-five years of duck and cover

By Don Todd

In the 1930s, the theme song of the Democratic Party was “Happy Days Are Here Again.” What a change that is from the current unofficial theme song of the left which seems to be “Nobody Knows the Troubles I’ve Seen.” The left is in a constant state of high anxiety over impending doom. The cause of this doom changes periodically, but the message is always the same: “The end is near!”

People used to laugh at such eccentric notions; now the Democrats want to punish anyone who disagrees with their predictions of impending catastrophe.

In the 1950s, “nuclear holocaust” was just the thing to keep people up at night. Grade school children were called upon to hide under their desks with their hands over their heads as if this would protect them from a nuclear attack. Conelrad, the emergency broadcast system was advertised regularly on the radio just to remind everyone an attack could come at any moment.

Over time, people got tired of worrying about an attack that never came; so to replace the H-Bomb, Dr. Paul Ehrlich in 1968 came up with The Population Bomb. Time magazine ran a cover story, and television documentaries were produced to convince the American public that soon we would be eating our dead because of a lack of food and arable land. Dr. Ehrlich’s book became a best seller, and anyone who disagreed was labeled an idiot and a science denier. To defuse the population bomb, it was recommended that birth control chemicals be placed it the public water supply. The recommendation was made by Dr. John Holdren, who is now President Obama’s National Science Advisor. Dr. Holdren did have one caveat, and that was that these chemicals should not affect our pets.

When The Population Bomb fizzled, a new crisis appeared on the horizon, “The New Ice Age.” Soon, we were told, we would all be freezing in the dark. Newsweek ran a cover story.

When this did not happen, we were soon warned about the depletion of the ozone layer that was being caused by canned aerosol products and the refrigerant used in most homes and cars on which DuPont was about to lose its patent. A large segment of the population was predicted to imminently be in danger of coming down with skin cancer. Products were effectively banned; a new patented refrigerant was produced by DuPont; and now we seldom hear of the ozone layer.

Acid rain was a grave concern. It was going to defoliate the forest; there would be no shade; and like the other scientific emergency fantasies, the end result would be death to all humans. Cockroaches, it was predicted, would survive.

Nuclear winter had a short run as the next thing to worry about. ABC did a movie of the week on it. Dr. Ehrlich of The Population Bomb fame traveled the country scaring college students with his new horror stories. My son attended one of these sessions at George Mason University, and he reported that a young woman ran from the auditorium shrieking in fear.

Then global warming debuted in a crowded Congressional hearing room during a typically hot Washington summer day with the air conditioning turned off. The witness was sweating. How could anyone deny warming was here when you could see it right before your eyes?

Global warming did not happen, so a shift was made to climate change. Since the climate changes over time that seems life a safe bet.

What is one to make of 65 years of predictions of impending doom from the left? Part of it is “Hey, look! A squirrel!” They do this in order to distract people from the real damage the left is doing to Western civilization. Another part is that these are very unhappy people, and misery loves company.


Media Too Welcoming of Climate Skeptics? Please

In a recent interview with Think Progress, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said he believes the climate debate in America is still hotly contested because climate skeptics are provided too much leeway. “There’s this journalistic ethos saying if I get one opinion then I need to get another opinion that countervails that,” he explained. But we know the world isn’t anything other than round (something, ironically, the science community once disputed), so why should a doubter be allowed to argue it is “lest someone think you are being biased in your reporting?”

Says Tyson, “[T]hat’s absurd. You wouldn’t do that, you’re educated. You know that there are certain points of view that have no foundation at all in objective truth.”

The same concept, he suggests, applies to the alarming predictions about man-made global warming: “I think journalists are abandoning what would be their sensibility of following the emergent truths and in some cases painting a debate as though there’s a scientific debate when in fact there isn’t one — and that makes for headlines and more clicks.”

The fact that not a single prediction portending environmental disaster has materialized provides all the evidence we need to call these “emergent truths” for what they are — lies.

And Tyson’s attack on the media is especially laughable considering climate skeptics are rarely allowed to present their point of view on national television — and public opinion on this issue still isn’t on the Left’s side. According to a 2014 study by Indiana University researchers Lars Willnat & David H. Weaver, only 7.1% of journalists describe themselves as Republicans, down from 18% in 2002 and 25.7% in 1971, yet the American Enterprise Institute reports the percentage of Americans “worried a great deal” about the climate is just 32% in 2015, slightly down from 35% in 1989.

There is no vast right-wing conspiracy among the media. Even so, some lies, as public polling proves, are clearly just too pretentious to fall for.


The State of Our Planet Is Better Than Ever

[Wednesday was] Earth Day and to hear the experts like Usher and Al Gore tell the story, the planet is in a miserable state. We’re running out of our natural resources, we’re overpopulating the globe and running out of room, the air that we breathe is becoming toxic, the oceans are rising and soon major coastal cities will be underwater, and the Earth is, of course, heating up, except when it is cooling down.

This is perhaps the single greatest misinformation campaign in world history. Virtually none of these claims are even close to the truth — except for the fact that our climate is always changing as it has for hundreds of thousands of years.

Since the first Earth Day back in the 1970s, the environmentalists — those who worship the creation rather than the Creator — have issued one false prediction of Armageddon after another. Yet despite a batting average approaching zero, the media and our schools keep parroting their declinism as if they were oracles rather than proven shysters.

Here are the factual realities that we should be celebrating on Earth Day.

1) Natural resources are more abundant and affordable today than ever before in history. Short-term (sometimes decades-long) volatility aside, the price of most natural resources — from cocoa to cotton to coal — is cheaper today in real terms than 50, 100, or 500 years ago. This has happened even as the world’s population has nearly tripled. Technology has far outpaced depletion of the Earth’s resources.

2) Energy — the master resource — is super abundant. Remember when people like Paul Ehrlich nearly 50 years ago and Barack Obama just three years ago — warned the we were running out of oil and gas. Today, thanks to the new age of oil and gas thanks to fracking, the United States has hundreds of years of petroleum and an estimated 290 years of coal. Keep in mind, this may be a low-ball estimate; since 2000, the Energy Information Administration’s estimates of recoverable reserves have actually increased by more than 7 percent.

We’re not running out of energy, we are running into it.

3) Air and water. Since the late 1970s, pollutants in the air have plunged. Lead pollution plunged by more than 90 percent, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide by more than 50 percent, with ozone and nitrogen dioxide declining as well. This means that emissions per capita have declined even as the economy in terms of real GDP nearly tripled. By nearly every standard measure it is much, much, much cleaner today in the United States than 50 and 100 years ago. The air is so clean now that the EPA worries about carbon dioxide which isn’t even a pollutant. (And, by the way, carbon emissions are falling too, thanks to fracking). One hundred years ago, about one in four deaths in the U.S. was due to contaminants in drinking water. But from 1971-2002, fewer than three people per year in the U.S. were documented to have died from water contamination.

4) There is no Malthusian nightmare of overpopulation. Birth rates have fallen by about one-half around the world over the last 50 years. Developed countries are having too few kids, not too many. Even with a population of 7.3 billion people, average incomes, especially in poor countries, have surged over the last 40 years. The number of people in abject poverty fell by 1 billion from 1981 to 2011, even as global population increased by more than 1.5 billion.

5) Global per capita food production is 40 percent higher today than as recently as 1950. In most nations the nutrition problem today is obesity — too many calories consumed — not hunger. The number of famines and related deaths over the last 100 years has fallen in half. More than 12 million lives on average were lost each decade from the 1920s-1960s to famine. Since then, fewer than 4 million lives on average per decade were lost. Tragically, these famines are often caused by political corruption — not nature. Furthermore, the price of food has fallen steadily in the U.S. — and most other nations steadily for 200 years.

6) The rate of death and physical destruction from natural disasters or severe weather changes has plummeted over the last 50 to 100 years. Loss of life from hurricanes, floods, heat, droughts, and so on is at or near record lows. This is because we have much better advance warning systems, our infrastructure is much more durable, and we have things like air conditioning, to adapt to weather changes. ?We are constantly discovering new ways to harness and even tame nature.

Earth Day should be a day of joy and celebration that life on this bountiful planet is better than anytime in human history. The state of the planet has never been in such fine shape by almost every objective measure. The Chicken Littles are as wrong today as they were 50 years ago. This is very good news for those who believe that one of our primary missions as human beings is to make life better over time and to leave our planet better off for future generations.


Mass. Stuck With $113M Marine Terminal Built for Failed Offshore Wind Farm

Massachusetts taxpayers are stuck with a $113 million marine terminal started by former Gov. Deval Patrick as a construction staging area for a failed wind farm project that was supposed to provide clean energy and hundreds of jobs for the state's residents.

Touted as “America’s first offshore wind farm,” Cape Wind planned to erect 130 Siemens wind turbines five miles off the coast of Cape Cod and harness the strong winds blowing through Nantucket Sound to produce electricity.

But the $2.6 billion project’s contracts with the state’s two largest utilities were terminated in January after Cape Wind missed its December 31 financing deadline.

Last July, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz heralded Cape Wind, which was awarded a $150 million loan guarantee by his department, as the beginning of “a strong U.S. offshore wind industry.”

“With this agreement and with the investments we have made in infrastructure like the South Coast Marine Commerce Terminal, we have positioned Massachusetts as a first-in-the-nation hub for a new offshore wind industry that will bring jobs and a clean source of Massachusetts-made energy for future generations,” Patrick said last September when he announced a lease agreement for the terminal.

“I am very happy Cape Wind will be built in New Bedford… Governor Patrick’s administration deserves credit for its work to support this project and to make Massachusetts a leader in clean energy,” echoed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), just three months before the wind farm project collapsed.

The project faced stiff opposition from local communities and wealthy residents ranging from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy to billionaire William Koch, both of whom had family compounds on Cape Cod.

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound complained that the 440-foot high wind turbines would have been visible from the shore and “would look like LaGuardia Airport” at night. The group also said the wind farm would be a threat to navigation and commercial fishing in the sound while significantly increasing local residents’ electricity bills.

Instead of creating hundreds of new jobs and 360-million megawatts of clean energy, Cape Wind created a new problem for state officials: What to do with the unfinished $113 million marine terminal?

Last month, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), a quasi-governmental agency, announced it had terminated its $4.5 million, two-year contract with Cape Wind to rent the 28-acre terminal, which is located in New Bedford, Mass.

MassCEC has since received three bids for operation of the terminal, which is still under construction and $10 million over budget. The winning bidder is expected to be announced by this summer.

But Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, who chairs MassCEC, says renting the empty terminal will likely not bring in the same amount of revenue as the Cape Wind deal promised.

“I think it will be less. I think it’s just a question of how much less,” he told The Boston Herald.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the estimated levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for new generation resources in 2019 – defined as “the per-kilowatt hour cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle” – will be $204.10 for offshore wind, or more than three times the $66.30 cost for producing electricity using natural gas.


Nonsense about climate and health

H. Sterling Burnett

Following a playbook designed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as described in memos the Obama administration fought to keep secret, on April 7 President Barack Obama announced efforts to highlight the alleged public health impacts of climate change on children and minorities. Obama made the announcement personal, noting he was terribly frightened once when he had to rush his daughter Malia to the emergency room when she couldn’t breathe due to asthma.

As an asthma sufferer myself, I can attest such an attack is frightening. However, as a recent study (one in a long line of studies) shows, asthma attacks and the increasing rates of asthma have nothing to do with global warming, and everything to do with poverty, increasingly sedentary lifestyles, and indoor air quality. It is shameless of Obama to exploit his daughter’s asthma to push his politically unpopular climate agenda.

The recent study, authored by a research team led by Dr. Corrine Keet of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, found no link between outdoor air quality and childhood asthma. Rather, the study points to indoor air pollution, from secondhand smoke, mold, rodents, and the like, as a significant factor in childhood asthma cases. EPA does not have authority over indoor air pollution.

Discussing the study in Environment & Climate News, Paul Knappenberger, assistant director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, said, “Clearly, I think it undermines one of the primary excuses used by the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions and some types of air pollutants as well.”

Since science has not established a link between climate change and public health, much less a specific link between global warming and the health of children or minorities, one cannot help but wonder why the administration is pushing this line of argument.

A memo released as part of an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request examining EPA rule-making reveals the administration’s motives. The March 2009 memo shows EPA feared it was losing support for its climate efforts because opinion polls consistently showed the public ranked fighting global warming very low on its list of priorities. The memo describes EPA’s decision to shift the debate from concerns about melting ice caps and declining polar bear populations, to promoting the idea global warming poses a direct threat to public health, especially children’s and minorities health. Quoting the memo,

Most Americans will never see a polar ice cap, nor will [they] ever have a chance to see a polar bear in its natural habitat. Therefore, it is easy to detach from the seriousness of the issue. Unfortunately, climate change in the abstract is an increasingly – and consistently – unpersuasive argument to make. However, if we shift from making this issue about polar caps [to being] about our neighbor with respiratory illness we can potentially bring this issue home to many Americans.

According to the memo, EPA took steps to raise concerns about climate change among minority groups and women, using headline-catching “hooks” concerning social justice and children’s health.

Per the memo, “We must begin to create a causal link between the worries of Americans and the proactive mission we’re pushing.”

Chris Horner, an attorney and senior fellow of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, obtained the memo through FOIA. Horner said, “This memo shows EPA’s recognition the global warming case is ‘consistently – an unpersuasive argument to make,’ and thus required a facelift, from a pro-scarcity movement of wealthy white elites to a racial and ‘social justice’ issue.”

Considering how the mainstream media unquestioningly parrots every claim made by the Obama administration concerning climate change, it did not surprise me reporters failed to link the president’s April 7 announcement to the recently uncovered EPA memos. Evidently bad climate news, as opposed to the truth, sells papers.



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, 2015

New Survey Shows TV Weathercasters have been bullied into accepting global warming

TV weather forecasters aren't always climate change experts. But they are often responsible for informing the public about climate change impacts in real time, so it's important that they accurately reflect the science.

Fortunately, a new survey from George Mason University provides some hope in that regard. It found that more than nine out of ten broadcast meteorologists acknowledge that climate change is happening, and about two-thirds say human activities play a significant role.

This represents notable progress from George Mason's 2010 survey, when 27 percent of weather forecasters shockingly agreed that "global warming is a scam."

Most weathercasters now recognize that climate change has and will continue to impact the weather in their area, with rising temperatures and extreme weather events like heat waves and heavy storms.

And importantly, they feel it is appropriate to convey the science of climate change to their audiences.

So why are weathercasters coming around on climate change?

Following the last survey, a grassroots non-profit organization called Forecast the Facts launched a campaign calling on TV meteorologists to "report the facts about climate change" and drawing attention to those who weren't.

Now, most TV forecasters say they have read findings from the National Climate Assessment, a report by the U.S. government to inform Americans about the climate change impacts already occurring all across the country.

But while more and more meteorologists are accepting climate science, the forecasters at Fox News are still casting doubt and denial.

Fox News' senior meteorologist, Janice Dean, claims that "anything past a five day forecast is impossible to predict," and that "we're not going to be able to prove climate change for decades, even centuries."

And then there's the other Fox News favorite: Weatherbell Analytics Chief Forecaster Joe Bastardi. The network often turns to Bastardi for climate commentary, providing him a forum to spout anti-science denial, like his claims that man-made climate change is "an obvious fraud" and that the human contribution to carbon dioxide levels is too "tiny" to cause warming.  Fox hosts Bill O'Reilly and Neil Cavuto have both admitted that Bastardi is -- in O'Reilly's words -- a "climate change denier," and yet they and their Fox News colleagues keep hosting him time and time again.

As the nation's meteorologists continue to educate themselves about climate science, it looks like Fox News' forecasts will remain misleading with a strong chance of denial.


Ask a beetle. How fast is climate change? Temperature-sensitive beetle populations in the Arctic will help researchers study climate

This is just theory with no climate data offered

Scientists have been logging changes in weather patterns and temperatures in the Arctic for some time. Now they need to find ways to measure how these changes in climate are affecting biodiversity. One of the best places to look may be down at our feet, at beetles. That`s because, as a McGill research team discovered after doing the first large-scale survey of Arctic beetles, these six-legged critters are not only abundant in number but also diverse in feeding habits and what they eat is closely linked to the latitude in which they are found.

As a result, McGill researchers believe that Arctic beetles may prove to be ideal markers of climate change, since any changes in climate that affect the soil, plants and animals on which the beetles depend are likely to be quickly reflected in changes in the beetle communities.

A team of researchers led by Prof. Chris Buddle and Dr. Crystal Ernst of McGill's Dept. of Natural Resource Sciences, were able to identify more than 460 different species of Arctic beetles in locations ranging from the edge of the boreal forest in Northern Ontario to Ellesmere Island in the far north. More significantly, they found that there were clear differences in what beetles are found where along this north-south gradient, and the ecological roles they fulfilled differed depending on the latitude in which they lived.

"Depending on the latitude and the temperature, Arctic beetles perform a range of ecological functions such as pollinating or feeding on plants, preying on other insects, and breaking down decaying matter," says Ernst, who is the first author on the study published in PLOS ONE. "In the far north, there are generally very high numbers of predators and far fewer beetles which eat plants, while further south the reverse is generally true."

The discovery that Arctic beetles may be especially sensitive to temperature has implications for future climate change monitoring.
"As temperatures in northern regions rise or become more variable, there is a strong possibility that the beetle communities will undergo significant changes in response," says Buddle, the lead researcher. "Whether these changes will have positive or negative effects on Arctic ecosystems and the other animals and plants living there remains to be seen, but it is clear that beetles' sensitivity to climate make them ideal targets for long-term biodiversity monitoring in the far north."


Solar tax credits are not `conservative' or `free market'

By Marita Noon

The solar industry has poured a startling amount of effort and funding - much of it backed by California-based, billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, who is heavily invested in solar - into attempting to gain the legislative favor needed for it to survive.

Nationwide, the growth of the renewable power industry is dependent on a combination of big government mandates, tax credits, and subsidies - making it the perfect target of wrath from limited-government, free-market, and/or fiscally-conservative individuals and policymakers.

Some proposed legislation would prop up the industry (Florida), and force it to stand on its own (Louisiana).

In Louisiana, about 80 percent of the cost of solar installation is paid for through a combination of federal and state tax credits.

In discussing the state's dramatic $1.6 billion budget shortfall, The Advocate's Mark Ballard, on April 6, aptly pointed out that the solar industry promises a "full-court press to protect" Louisiana's generous tax credits that it says are "vital to its survival." Ballard cites State Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield, who called the solar tax credit's cost to the state's taxpayers "one of the fastest-growing. The solar credit cost $63.5 million in 2014, up from $9 million in 2013." Plans to ratchet back - not remove - the tax credit, Ballard reports, could save the state $57 million.

Facing the loss of the essential-to-survival tax credit, legislators have been besieged by solar supporters. State Senator Robert Adley says many, claiming to be "a businessman," have sat in his office to plead the case. He snaps back, "You are not a businessman. A real businessman has skin in the game; has his own money at risk. With eighty percent of your costs coming from the taxpayers, you don't depend on the market, you depend on the government. You are feeding at the trough."

Representative J. Lance Harris agrees. "This subsidy absolutely makes no sense, there's no energy crisis!  We've got plenty of oil, plenty of natural gas, and plenty of electricity. What if the taxpayer subsidized eighty percent of the cost of a new Porsche for anyone who wanted one?  There's no difference; it's misguided and ridiculous."

As part of its "full-court press," the solar industry is bringing the Tea Party's Judas Iscariot equivalent to town. Debbie Dooley, who was part of the original Tea Party movement back in 2009, has since capitalized on the affiliation by claiming - as she did in her April 7 Facebook post crowing about "speaking directly after Al Gore" at an event in New York - that she is "advancing energy choice in a conservative way through free market competition."

A power source that depends on big government handouts of taxpayer dollars for "survival" doesn't qualify as "conservative" or "free market."

During a recent trip to Louisiana, I was discussing the state's generous solar subsidies on Jeff Crouere's Ringside Politics radio show. He asked me how the solar subsidies were working. I explained that the answer depended on which side of the equation you stood. For the solar industry and homeowners, who benefited from the subsidies, it was working well. But for the taxpayers and ratepayers, not so good. We chatted for a few minutes about the situation and, then, had a caller who couldn't have been more perfect if I'd scripted him.

The caller planned to dispute my argument and, instead, ended up reinforcing it.

He told about his rooftop solar system - with which he was very happy. Why wouldn't he be happy? He got a $40,000 system for $7,000. He explained that, now, after five years of payments, his electricity was virtually "free."

I was pleased that the caller addressed the system's $40,000 cost. If one only listens to the ads, you'd think a solar system is cheap. He went on to say that he "got a generous check from Bobby Jindal" and he "took advantage of the federal incentives" - which resulted in his $7000 cost. He bragged that he amortized the cost over five years. He argued with me over my assertion that a few rooftop solar customers penalized the entire ratebase.

At the end of the call, Crouere asked for my response. I pointed out how the caller made my point. Courtesy of Louisiana and federal taxpayers, he got a $40,000 system for $7,000. Because the utility is required to buy the surplus electricity his system generates (when it does) during the sunny days at full retail, known as net metering, and he buys it back at night, his bill is essentially zero. But any business owner knows that you can't buy your product at retail and sell it at retail and stay in business for long. Because of people like the caller, who, as Senator Adley stated, are "feeding at the trough," costs for all ratepayers must increase to cover all the expenses of generating and delivering electricity that he is using but not paying for.

Yes, the caller benefited from the system, but taxpayers and ratepayers are the victims of his windfall. Like Dooley, he believed it was a free-market choice. Yet, government subsidies picking solar as a winner, make it possible -even attractive - for him.

The Advocate quotes Dooley as saying, "Conservatives want to champion free market choice, and not let the government pick the winners and losers" - though that is exactly what the state's solar subsidies, for which she shills, do. No other industry receives 63.5 million of Louisiana taxpayers' dollars in one year. Yes, the industry claims it has created 1,200 jobs, which costs taxpayers almost $53,000 per job.

In defending the subsidies, solar supporters, like Dooley, claim that the fossil fuel industry gets them too. However, in 2013, the state's oil-and-gas industry paid nearly $1.5 billion in state taxes and supports 64,669 jobs in the extraction, pipeline, and refining industries - not including indirect taxes and jobs. The petroleum industry gives; solar takes away.

As the Louisiana legislature looks at ways to fix the budget deficit, it is clear where cuts, rather than encouragement, should take place.


Lindsey Graham: `I Believe Climate Change Is Real,' But Reject Cap and Trade

In an interview with "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he believes "climate change is real," but he rejects the cap and trade solution proposed by former Vice President Al Gore.
"I believe climate change is real, but I reject the cap and trade solution of . of Al Gore. He's made a religion. It's a problem," he said.

Gore's proposed cap and trade system would penalize companies for exceeding carbon emissions limits. Last month, Gore said politicians who deny that climate change is an "accepted science" should pay a price.

Host Chris Wallace noted that in his home state of South Caroline, Graham is running fourth behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Jeb Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz (R- Texas). He asked if Graham was too far in the center of nondefense issues to win the Republican presidential nomination.

"You believe that climate change is real and the federal government must address it. You're open to raising attacks as part of a grand bargain. You support comprehensive immigration reform," said Wallace. After noting where Graham ranks among other GOP presidential hopefuls, he asked: "Are you too moderate? Are you too far in the center on nondefense issues to win the Republican nomination?"

"Not at all," Graham said, adding that not only does he believe in climate change, he would like to "clean up the air and water, become more energy independent, create jobs" and he is for offshore drilling.

"I'm for finding oil and gas that we own," Graham said. "I'm for clean coal, I'm for natural gas, but I would like a lower carbon economy over time. Clean up the air and create jobs in the process."


Green Times for Energy Efficiency, No Thanks to Government

Are you feeling green this Earth Day? You should. The White House would have you believe our days are numbered because we've failed to enter another ice age (take a moment to shiver in the irony), but statistics suggest we're in unprecedented times - in terms of energy efficiency.

But here's the kicker: Neither Earth Day nor government intervention have anything to do with our greener ways. Based on data from the Energy Information Administration, American Enterprise Institute's Mark Perry writes, "In 2014, it required only 6,110 BTUs of energy (petroleum, natural gas, coal, nuclear and renewables) to produce each real dollar of GDP, which was the least amount of energy required to produce a dollar of real GDP in US history."

That's even more extraordinary when you consider how much the economy has expanded. "[T]he US economy was 28% larger last year than 14 years ago, even though slightly less total energy was required in 2014 than in 2000 (98.324 vs. 98.819 quadrillion BTUs) to produce $3.5 trillion more real output," says Perry. "That would be like adding an economy about the size of Germany's to the US, but without requiring any additional energy to produce 28% more output!"

And consider this even crazier statistic: It cost a whopping 15,930 BTUs in 1949 to squeeze out just $2 trillion in GDP. So next time you hear demagogues claiming we're dirtying up our planet, tell them we're living in remarkably efficient times relative to yesteryear using the same old fossil fuels. And tell them they can thank capitalist innovators for the progress.


Greenie headaches for ship owners

Lloyd’s Register Issues Emissions Guidance

With key dates looming - 2016 NOx compliance and a 2018 review of fuel availability ahead of a global cap for SOx emissions, LR’s new guidelines and updated technical information supports operators’ investment decisions

This new guidance addresses operational and in-service considerations reflecting further accumulated experience from working with clients, industry groups and regulators. As well as a focus on exhaust gas treatment (scrubbers) the guidance also examines the wider scope of options for SOx/NOx compliance beyond exhaust gas treatment.

Since an earlier version of this report was issued in 2012, early adopters of the technology, mainly passenger ship and ferry operators,  have committed to fleet-wide scrubber implementation programmes. Early adopters gain valuable operational experience as well as a head start in both understanding the technology and realising any benefits.

In the majority of the tanker, bulk carrier and container segments the uptake of scrubber technology remains slow. With shorter periods inside Emission Control Areas (ECAs), lower fuel consumption (especially due to slow steaming) and typically lower asset residual values, the business case for installing scrubber technology on deep sea tank, bulk or container ships is not, yet, either strong enough or urgent enough.

The bunker price collapse during 2014 has been another factor. While the price difference between heavy fuel and distillates has remained relatively constant, the fuel costs inside ECAs have reduced giving operators more time to consider their options.
Recently, several suppliers have released new hybrid fuel products for ECA compliance. These are aimed to address the operational risks of operating on distillates but they also present several challenges of their own.

Looking ahead, there are two key years: 2016 and 2018

Ships constructed after January 1, 2016 will need to comply with NOx Tier III when trading to US/Canada and we explore some of the technological options. Other ECAs for NOx may be introduced in the future affecting, however, only newly constructed vessels.

In 2018, IMO will publish a fuel availability study determining whether the global 0.50% sulphur limit will enter into force in 2020 or 2025. If it is 2020, the implications will be widespread: a possible rapid uptake of scrubber technology (with a question mark on whether supply could cover the demand) and the potential for a dramatic increase in operational costs for those who choose to operate on distillate fuels.

Whether LNG will make the leap from niche fuel to mainstream is a big question. Early adopters of LNG-as-fuel could start seeing a real return on their investment and any 'LNG-ready' ships may start converting to LNG-fuelled, if and when the bunkering infrastructure develops sufficiently.

The time for decisions is fast approaching. If in 2012 the industry needed to start considering their options, today, in 2015, time is running out. The compliance options are clear. Ship operators need to evaluate compliance strategies specific to their ships, operation and risk criteria. At Lloyd’s Register, we are ready to offer our independent support on the journey from making decisions to implementing them.



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, 2015

Predictions of doom scaled back

The authors below rightly point to the fact that there is a great and unpredictable variability in climate events and say that natural variability is enough to account for the recent "pause" in warming.  They also point out that only the more modest predictions of doom fit in with what has actually happened. 

So they show that the models are not necessarily wrong but can offer no evidence that they are right.  To do that they would have to dig out some of the mythical warmth from the deep oceans. 

They do not face the fact that their research shows that all the climate variations to date fall within the range of natural variability -- so manmade CO2 effects do not need to be invoked to explain any climate events so far

I have appended the journal abstract to the article below.  I have paragraphed it in the hope of making it more widely comprehensible

Global warming more moderate than worst-case models, empirical data suggest


A study based on 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it would under the most severe emissions scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Natural decade-to-decade variability in surface temperatures can account for some much-discussed recent changes in the rate of warming. Empirical data, rather than climate models, were used to estimate this variability.

We are seeing "middle of the road" warming. Natural variability in surface temperatures -- caused by interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, and other natural factors -- can account for observed changes in the recent rates of warming from decade to decade, new data suggests.

A new study based on 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it would under the most severe emissions scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"Based on our analysis, a middle-of-the-road warming scenario is more likely, at least for now," said Patrick T. Brown, a doctoral student in climatology at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. "But this could change."

The Duke-led study shows that natural variability in surface temperatures -- caused by interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, and other natural factors -- can account for observed changes in the recent rates of warming from decade to decade.

The researchers say these "climate wiggles" can slow or speed the rate of warming from decade to decade, and accentuate or offset the effects of increases in greenhouse gas concentrations. If not properly explained and accounted for, they may skew the reliability of climate models and lead to over-interpretation of short-term temperature trends.

The research, published today in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports, uses empirical data, rather than the more commonly used climate models, to estimate decade-to-decade variability.

"At any given time, we could start warming at a faster rate if greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere increase without any offsetting changes in aerosol concentrations or natural variability," said Wenhong Li, assistant professor of climate at Duke, who conducted the study with Brown.

The team examined whether climate models, such as those used by the IPCC, accurately account for natural chaotic variability that can occur in the rate of global warming as a result of interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, and other natural factors.

To test how accurate climate models are at accounting for variations in the rate of warming, Brown and Li, along with colleagues from San Jose State University and the USDA, created a new statistical model based on reconstructed empirical records of surface temperatures over the last 1,000 years.

"By comparing our model against theirs, we found that climate models largely get the 'big picture' right but seem to underestimate the magnitude of natural decade-to-decade climate wiggles," Brown said. "Our model shows these wiggles can be big enough that they could have accounted for a reasonable portion of the accelerated warming we experienced from 1975 to 2000, as well as the reduced rate in warming that occurred from 2002 to 2013."
Further comparative analysis of the models revealed another intriguing insight.

"Statistically, it's pretty unlikely that an 11-year hiatus in warming, like the one we saw at the start of this century, would occur if the underlying human-caused warming was progressing at a rate as fast as the most severe IPCC projections," Brown said. "Hiatus periods of 11 years or longer are more likely to occur under a middle-of-the-road scenario."

Under the IPCC's middle-of-the-road scenario, there was a 70 percent likelihood that at least one hiatus lasting 11 years or longer would occur between 1993 and 2050, Brown said. "That matches up well with what we're seeing."

There's no guarantee, however, that this rate of warming will remain steady in coming years, Li stressed. "Our analysis clearly shows that we shouldn't expect the observed rates of warming to be constant. They can and do change."

Journal Reference:
Patrick T. Brown, Wenhong Li, Eugene C. Cordero and Steven A. Mauget. Comparing the Model-Simulated Global Warming Signal to Observations Using Empirical Estimates of Unforced Noise. Scientific Reports, April 21, 2015 DOI: 10.1038/srep09957

Comparing the model-simulated global warming signal to observations using empirical estimates of unforced noise

Patrick T. Brown et al.


The comparison of observed global mean surface air temperature (GMT) change to the mean change simulated by climate models has received much public and scientific attention. For a given global warming signal produced by a climate model ensemble, there exists an envelope of GMT values representing the range of possible unforced states of the climate system (the Envelope of Unforced Noise; EUN).

Typically, the EUN is derived from climate models themselves, but climate models might not accurately simulate the correct characteristics of unforced GMT variability. Here, we simulate a new, empirical, EUN that is based on instrumental and reconstructed surface temperature records.

We compare the forced GMT signal produced by climate models to observations while noting the range of GMT values provided by the empirical EUN. We find that the empirical EUN is wide enough so that the interdecadal variability in the rate of global warming over the 20th century does not necessarily require corresponding variability in the rate-of-increase of the forced signal.

The empirical EUN also indicates that the reduced GMT warming over the past decade or so is still consistent with a middle emission scenario's forced signal, but is likely inconsistent with the steepest emission scenario's forced signal.


The White House is Lying About Climate Change and Health

By Alan Caruba

Let us begin with the understanding that there is no connection between the climate and health. The climate is something measured in decades and centuries, so what happened in the last century has nothing to do with whether you are sneezing today.

The weather surely can help generate health problems. For example in the northeastern states, the Lyme disease season is beginning. Between 1992 and 2010 reported cases of Lyme disease doubled to nearly 23,000 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but CDC officials believe the actual number of those infected may have been three times that number.

Lyme disease is transmitted by deer ticks and since these tiny insects will hitch a ride on birds, squirrels, mice and small animals as well, even if you live in an area without deer, the possibility of being bitten by a deer tick is just as likely. This increases for people who love gardening or outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and camping. Children, too, are particularly susceptible.

The fact that Lyme disease shows up in the Spring simply tells you that the warm weather facilitates the tick population. The weather has always been tied the mating habits and activities of various species, but that does not mean that is constitutes a massive threat to everyone's health.

That's not the way the White House sees it. On April 7 the administration made it official. It announced that it is "committed to combating the health impacts of climate change and protecting the health of future generations."

Since the climate changes over extended periods of time, not just month to month, one has to wonder what "health impacts" the White House has in mind. The last Little Ice Age lasted from around 1300 to 1850. It was cold all over Europe and North America. Does the White House propose that it can "protect" us from a new one? If so, that's absurd.

Let us understand, too, that there has always been what the White House announcement calls "extreme weather events."  Notice the change from "climate" to "weather"? Among the events identified are "severe droughts and wildfires to more powerful hurricanes and record heat waves." Has there been a time when such weather-related events have not occurred? In fact, there are times when they don't. For example, there hasn't been a single Category 3-5 hurricane hit the U.S. mainland since 2005!

The White House has launched a massive brainwashing effort using many elements of the federal government to frighten Americans using the "climate" and the "weather." How deceptive is it?

One example is sufficient. The President has claimed that climate change was the cause of one of his daughter's asthma. In its announcement, it claimed that "In the past three decades, the percentage of Americans with asthma has more than doubled and climate change is putting these individuals and many other vulnerable populations at greater risk of landing in the hospital."

Here's what the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has to say about the various causes of asthma.

"Since asthma has a genetic origin and is a disease you are born with, passed down from generation to generation, the question isn't really `what causes asthma', but rather `what causes asthma symptoms to appear?' People with asthma have inflamed airways which are super-sensitive to thinks which do not bother other people."

What the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America is telling us is that there is no direct connection between either the climate or the weather and the illness called asthma.

Those who suffer this disease however can be affected by a range of triggers such as irritants in the air, pollens, molds, and even cockroach droppings. Infections such as colds, flu, and sore throats are among the leading triggers for asthma attacks in children.

The facts, the truth, were no deterrent to the April 7 White House twelve-page announcement of all the things it intends to do to brainwash Americans into believing that there is a connection between the "climate" and health.

Here's just a few of the dozens of events and programs it will initiate so that the media will report on them and thus convey the message that climate change is the greatest threat to Americans today:

"The Administration is expanding its Climate Data Initiative to include more than 150 health-relevant datasets.this is intended to help communities and businesses reduce the health impacts of climate change."  Only there are no such impacts.

The Administration is announcing a coalition of Deans from 30 medical, public health, and nursing schools around the country, who are committing to ensure that the next generation of health professionals is trained to address the health impacts of climate change." Only there are no such impacts.

"Announcing the White House Climate Change and Health Summit." It will feature the Surgeon General who will lead discussions to "the public health impacts of climate change and identify opportunities to minimize these impacts." Only there are no impacts and nothing that could be done if there were.

From the Department of Homeland Security to the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency, many elements of the federal government will be integrated into this massive brainwashing effort.

What can be done to ignore a government determined to lie to everyone about a "threat" that does not exist? Not much.


Some Inconvenient Man-Made Global Warming Truths

By professional forecaster Joe Bastardi

 My last article went over some aspects of man-made global warming that would let me know I may have the wrong idea on the issue. But I wonder if any alarmists have stopped to look at some of their most cherished metrics going the opposite way of their forecast. People that live in the real world understand that if reality is contrary to your predictions, it means you are wrong (or at least can be).

It's been nearly 10 years since the Oscar-winning film "An Inconvenient Truth" came out, so here's a question we should be asking: Are we worse off today than the movie implied? Let's look at some of those aspects.

The movie came out at a time I believe was meant to capitalize on the monster back-to-back hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005. But it was pretty arrogant to think that peak was the new norm. Then again, arrogance is the child of ignorance - in this case ignorance of an easy to see global cycle represented nicely by the ACE (accumulated cyclonic energy) index.

Much of that peak was courtesy of the major uptick in tropical Pacific activity due to the cyclical warming of the Pacific Decadol Oscillation, meaning more frequent El Ni¤os and higher activity in an ocean where two-thirds of global tropical activity typically occurs. The Atlantic warmed in the `90s (and is in the waning stages of that warm cycle now), but the Pacific cooling started in 2007. There will still be El Ni¤o spikes, such as the upcoming hurricane season that's off to a fast start in the Pacific. Globally, however, you can see there is nothing to support the hysteria "An Inconvenient Truth" was trying to push.

The fact is, it's been amazingly quiet relative to what it could be. In a way, the inconvenient truth is that a return to the '30s, '40s and '50s, with major hurricane hits on the U.S. coast, would create a big problem - because of the major build up of population, not CO2. ( has had our hurricane forecast out since March. Here is the update of it for all to read.)

The infamous prophecies of an ice-free Arctic has a long and storied history, and this article from Real Science, which documents a lot of who said what and when, says it better than I can.

In any case, global sea ice looks like this:

Here's the Arctic against the average:

The U.S. climate model looks too optimistic to me, but it suggests we can all breath a big sigh of relief because the Arctic isn't likely to melt away this summer. (Notice too we are seeing less melting in the summer, but it's still not getting winters back to normal.) This is an anomaly chart:

There also appears to be a comeback in total ice volume.

Moreover, the Southern Hemisphere ice cap continues to impress.

Now, I've heard many arguments as to why we shouldn't pay attention to Antarctica, among them the idea it's actually melting and sending fresh water into the ocean, where it's "easier to freeze.". But you can be darn sure if the northern ice cap was melting away completely each summer, or the southern ice cap was trending down instead of up, it would be trumpeted as a sign that alarmists were right. The problem though is that no matter what happens, they claim they're right.

I do think as far as really quantifying the cause for variations, both up and down, water vapor is what we should be measuring. But since we keep running to the global temperature, let's look at what the National Centers for Environmental Prediction's (NCEP) analysis is depicting over the last 10 years:

The turn of the PDO in 2007 coincides nicely with a drop in the specific humidity over the tropics, opposite the trapping hot spot theory the EPA uses in one of its three lines of evidence for its endangerment finding.

Temperatures have trended a bit down mostly because of drops after the El Ni¤o spikes of '07 and '10. We have another El Ni¤o now that should fade in 2016. This time, however, the Atlantic will be cooler. So the five-year forecast from me is another spike, followed by a greater drop than the ones before.

(Side note: As far as I know, the folks over at NCEP aren't known "deniers" of climate change. Nor am I. Quite the contrary - when the debate was referred to as global warming, I was saying it's simply the natural back-and-forth of the climate. The term "climate change" is redundant. The design of the system with the sun, the oceans, stochastic events, the placement of land and ocean, etc., argue that all we are seeing is the constant search in nature for a balance it can never attain but will always strive for. And when there is strife, there will be plenty of back-and-forth. The climate is always in a state of change; it' inherent in the very definition of climate. Example: Since there have been both rain forests and glaciers in the state of Wisconsin, given a long enough period of time, the climate of Wisconsin is such that both rain forests and glaciers can occur.)

I would expect the coming 15 years to see a more pronounced cooling since the Atlantic is starting to flip to its colder cycle. The waning days of the warm cycle has stacked much of the warm water against the United States - a pattern very similar, in the decadol sense, to the late 1950s!

Tornadoes: Again, the hysteria after the spike in 2011 was meant to capitalize on that, with no regard for actual facts. This part of the agenda has grown so desperate, I have seen climate hysterics refer to any tornado as a "fossil-fueled" event even with tornadoes near record lows. Someone must have stuck sand in the gas tank.

As of April 19, we are only six above the record low for the date.

Wildfires are also way below average. You can link here every time you hear how "bad" wildfires are to see exactly where we are against the averages.

As of April 17, we are at the third lowest total fires in the past 11 years, and fourth lowest in total acreage. This is big, because all these cherished metrics, and many more that were being pushed so hard 10 years ago, have not gone the way they were forecasted. Yet given the continued drumbeat from people pushing it, you would never know they even care about the facts.

I will leave you with this. As aforementioned, the EPA used model projections as one of its three lines of evidence in their endangerment finding, which was baffling to me. How can you use a future event as factual evidence? This chart, created by Dr. John Christy at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, shows without a doubt acceptance of models is folly, which is interesting given a quote out of Proverbs 19:3: "A person's own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD."

Those of us who bring up these issues are not God in no way, shape or form. In fact, we're quite the opposite: We believe that is very much an open question - not exactly God-like not knowing what tomorrow will bring and actually, as I wrote last time, looking for weaknesses in our own arguments. Yet it appears that when the folly is pointed out, there is rage against us. So who are the ones acting like they think they are "God" in this matter, knowing without a doubt what tomorrow will bring? Seems like folly to me.

Yes, the truth can be inconvenient, especially when confronting people that play God about tomorrow.


More Warmist chartmanship --  from the U.S Climate Panic Bureau

Chartmanship is a sub-set of lying with statistics

In the process of writing our upcoming book, The Lukewarmer's Manifesto, we wandered into the funhouse of the 2014 National Climate Assessment (NCA).

Recall that the NCA is a product of the federal government's U.S. Global Change Research Program, whose motto is "Thirteen Agencies, One Mission: Empower the Nation with Global Change Science." In their case, "empower" is synonymous with "indoctrinate."  Here is a good example:

The section on hurricanes in Chapter 2 ("Our Changing Climate") caught our eye. The NCA has a sidebar on the history of the hurricane "power dissipation index" (PDI), a well-known cubic function of the wind velocity. The NCAs graphs  begin in 1970 and end in 2009 (a full four years before the NCA was released).

They include a trend line through the PDI data beginning in 1980 that's going up for whatever reason and that is apparently convenient for drawing an association with human-caused global warming. But had the NCA authors consulted a longer record, say, from 1920 to 2013 (the last year data was available for the 2014 NCA) they could have readily ruled out any role of global warming.

The NCA's reason for not using a longer record is that "there is considerable uncertainty in the record prior to the satellite era (early 1970s)."

On the surface, that's true, but it is disingenuous. According to Dr. Chris Landsea who helped developed the National Hurricane Center's Atlantic hurricane history data (known as HURDAT2):

".some storms were  missed, and many intensities are too low in the preaircraft reconnaissance era (before 1944 in the western half of the basin) and in the pre-satellite era (before 1972 for the entire basin)"

In other words, the earlier PDI data prior to 1972 could be an underestimate, but it certainly isn't an overestimate.

Dr. Ryan Maue was kind enough to provide us with the PDI record based upon the National Hurricane Center's  HURDAT2 data back to 1920. There's no significant trend when this record is examined, despite a warming of approximately 0.75øC in the earth's surface temperature history. In this context, the NCA's trend line (indicated in our figure in red) seems nothing but absurd.

Atlantic Basin Power Dissipation Index calculated from HURDAT2 by Ryan Maue

The NCA could have used this data, which, for its 2014 volume, ended in 2013. The trend in 1980-2009 is shown as per the NCA.

A voluminous literature supports the notion that periodic changes in the north-south temperature gradient in the Atlantic Ocean (known, not surprisingly, as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO)), are related to hurricane activity in the North Atlantic.

According to Dr. Maue, the trend line drawn in the NCA basically starts during the negative phase of the AMO cycle (which promotes low hurricane activity) and ends during a positive phase (which is favorable for high levels of hurricane activity). A more accurate assessment of hurricane activity would begin in 1950 (reducing the influence of the cyclical nature of the AMO) and indicates a trend of zero (similar to the one beginning in 1920).

But such data apparently is a distraction when trying to paint an administration-preferred picture of the influence of anthropogenic climate change.


Barack Obama crusades against climate change, Republicans in Florida visit

Barack Obama travelled to Florida on Wednesday afternoon with the express intention of picking a fight with a Republican Party that refuses to acknowledge the cause and threat of climate change.

You can see how the politics made the visit irresistible to a president who has made action on climate change a central concern of his second term.

Not only is southern Florida already suffering from a sea level rise that has left aquifers saline and regularly inundates downtown South Beach, Miami; its governor, Rick Scott, has forbidden public officials, including engineers and scientists, from using the terms "climate change" or "global warming" in official communications. 

This has proved particularly awkward for those working on infrastructure being built to combat the rising sea, but made state government committee hearings more amusing, with Democrats playing a sort of parlour game in which they try to trick public servants into uttering the banned words.

With Air Force One on the ground in Miami and commanding the nation's media attention on Wednesday, the President began went about trolling Governor Scott with some zest with a speech in which he uttered the words "climate change" 18 times in 15 minutes.

In case anyone missed the point the White House twitter feed joined in with the message:  "Refusing to say the words 'climate change' doesn't mean it is not happening."

But Rick Scott was not the main target of Obama's political mission. In his sights were the two Floridians who are among the leading Republican contenders for the 2016 presidential election, Senator Marco Rubio and former governor Jeb Bush.

Rubio once believed in climate change, but as the White House beckoned he evolved on the issue, falling into line with Republican orthodoxy. "I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it," he told ABC News last May.

Bush, often portrayed as a Republican moderate with the gumption to take stands against his party, holds a similar view.

He has employed the "I am not a scientist" line often used by Republicans seeking to duck the issue, and last year he told Fox: "It is not unanimous among scientists that [climate change] is disproportionately man-made. What I get a little tired of on the left is this idea that somehow science has decided all this so you can't have a view."

Obama fears that not only would either candidate fail to act on climate change should they win office, they would wind back the advances he has made, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency's imposition of the 30 per cent reduction in emissions from coal fired power stations.

He also believes that the Republican Party is on the wrong side of history on the issue, and that their stance could prove politically useful for the likely Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

For her part, Clinton is standing by Obama's action. "The unprecedented action that President Obama has taken must be defended at all costs," she said at a dinner for the League of Conservation Voters last month, The Guardian reported.

The president is of the view that strong and demonstrable American action on climate change is key to securing international action at the upcoming Paris climate talks.

The White House was upfront about its agenda too.

"The president is hoping that his visit to the Everglades on Earth Day will prompt an elevated political debate about making climate change a priority," the White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on a conference call before the trip. "Those Republicans who choose to deny the reality of climate change, they do that to the detriment of the people they're elected to represent. The debate we seek is one that puts this issue in a prominent place on the public agenda."

Standing in the Everglades National Park, the famous wetlands that are now under threat, Obama declared in frank terms that, "2014 was the planet's warmest year on record.  Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.

"This is not a problem for another generation.  Not anymore.  This is a problem now.  It has serious implications for the way we live right now.  Stronger storms.  Deeper droughts.  Longer wildfire seasons.  The world's top climate scientists are warning that a changing climate already affects the air that our children are breathing."

What Governor Scott made of Obama's raid on his state, and the president's insouciant use of established scientific fact in political debate, is not yet clear.

In keeping with protocol the White House had invited the governor to join the president for the event, but for some reason Scott was otherwise occupied.

He responded to the president's incursion via Twitter, demanding that the federal government pony up US$58 million in funding for Everglades restoration.

"Our environment is too important to neglect & it's time for the federal government to focus on real solutions and live up to their promises," he sniffed.


Bjorn Lomborg: The Danish truth-teller

Bjorn Lomborg can still be an antagonistic provocateur. But current events are proving him right and his old enemies are being won over

At this point in his life, Bjorn Lomborg is resigned to being the skunk at the party. He knows he is scorned in left-leaning circles because of his persistent criticism of environmentalism. He knows he has become a lightning rod in the contentious debate over climate change.  "I'm a name you use to polarise with," Lomborg says to me. He's right. The discourse that involves him has a Thunderdome feel. His many detractors don't just want to refute him; they want to shred him.

Yet there are signs that the times might have caught up with Lomborg's utilitarian approach to the world's thorniest sustainability challenges.  For example, Europeans are finding it hard to swallow the economic reality of the renewable energy dream. According to a May report by the European Commission, gas prices for industry rose 35% in Europe but fell by 66% in America between 2005 and 2012.

And because of subsidies, this year German consumers will be paying 20 billion euros for electricity from solar, wind and biogas plants, whose market price is just over three billion euros.

As Lomborg wrote in a recent blog post, "Current green energy policies are failing for a simple reason: renewables are far too expensive. The solution is to innovate the price of renewables downward."

Meanwhile, he tells me, "Let's make sure we focus on things where for every dollar you spend, you do tens of dollars of good and not do so many things where you spend a dollar and do only a few cents of good." 

It's a message reprised in a soon-to-be published book he has edited: How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World? In the introduction Lomborg sets the stage by asking, "Where can we do the most good first?" This seems a reasonable question to consider in a world with competing priorities.

So why would anyone want to shred Lomborg?

It's been that way for more than a decade, since Lomborg shot to fame in 2001 with his first book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, a broad critique of the environmental movement that infuriated many ecologists and greens. The notoriety transformed the little-known Danish statistician into a globe-trotting public intellectual.

He solidified his bad-boy status in 2007 with a book called "Cool It" (spawning a documentary with the same title), which argued that global warming concerns were legitimate but often dramatically overstated, and that government policies to rein in carbon emissions were ineffective and far too costly.

Since then, Lomborg has not shied from combat. Last January in the Wall Street Journal he accused US president Barack Obama of "fear-mongering" about global warming. In pointed barbs on Twitter and Facebook, he has frequently chastised greens for exaggerating the climate threat and ecological problems. Recently, after the mysterious honeybee die-off triggered another round of anguished handwringing, he wrote an opinion piece that concluded, "Panic is rarely the way to confront problems, so let's get real. We have a bee-problem, but not a beepocalypse."

Given his high profile, it's worth asking at this stage in his career if  Lomborg is a voice of reason, a professional pot stirrer, or a trollish ankle-biter. The answer probably depends on where you sit in these debates. His combative style, he insists, is a necessary consequence of challenging conventional wisdom.

For instance, the prevailing assumption in green circles is that renewable energy can soon power the world if given the chance. But that's a pipe dream, Lomborg asserts: "A lot of people are saying, `We need to put up more solar panels and wind turbines'. We need to have someone say, `Sorry that's not going to work. That's not the solution. At best, it's just a tiny, tiny part of it. If you're going to get global warming fixed, you need to get much, much cheaper energy and that's about innovation.' And I think, fundamentally, there's no nice way you can say that."

Perhaps, but what Lomborg sees as unvarnished truth-telling others view as contributing to the climate debate's rancour and partisan divide, which is especially pronounced in Australia and the United States.

If there is a fine line between making people uncomfortable and alienating them, Lomborg hasn't straddled it well. At one juncture in our conversation, when I tell him that he seems unable to shake his reputation as a divisive provocateur, he agrees, saying this has been the case especially in his home country: "In many places in Denmark, I know families have this sort of agreement that they won't mention my name at the dinner table, because it makes for uncomfortable conversation."

If Danish families won't mention his name, it's likely that they aren't talking about his ideas. Which begs another question: what if the way Lomborg gets his points across turns people off from even considering them, despite their merits?

There is a poignant scene in the 2010 Cool It documentary, when Lomborg visits his ailing mother in a home for the elderly. In a voice-over he references the shellacking he took after the 2001 publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist, which made a worldwide splash. (From a marketing standpoint it helped that the upbeat, congenial author portrayed himself as a nature-loving former Greenpeace member.)

In the book, Lomborg argued that the state of the environment was improving overall and that an array of global problems, from the rate of species extinctions to climate change, were not nearly as bad as they had been made out to be by greens.

The blowback was punishing. Eminent environmental scientists denounced the text as deeply flawed, charging that he made his case with selective and out-of-context evidence. In 2002, Scientific American published a detailed rebuttal by four scientists entitled "Misleading Math about the Earth". An academic committee under the auspices of the Danish government accused him of "scientific dishonesty". In the film, Lomborg says that during this turbulent period he found safe harbour in the company of his unconditionally loving mother.

A movie critic might find this scene gratuitous, but it did humanise him. The same could be said for other scenes in Cool It, of Lomborg feeding impoverished children in Africa or riding his bike through the streets of Copenhagen.

Aside from these attempts to make him a more sympathetic figure, the film aimed to be a pragmatic counter to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, the mid-2000s best-selling book and Oscar-winning documentary inspired by it, which depicted climate change as an urgent threat to humanity.

Lomborg, by contrast, argued that some activists and an enabling media trafficked in global warming hysteria. His larger argument - the crux of Cool It - was that manmade climate change was real but posed a relatively distant and unclear threat and was thus not nearly as urgent as the dire problems affecting human welfare today, such as the rampant diseases, crushing poverty and lack of clean water in the developing world.

I know what you're thinking. Why can't we tackle malaria and global warming at the same time? This is a rejoinder that Lomborg hears often, that humans can walk and chew gum at the same time. His response to me: "I'm not saying we can't do more things; I'm saying we can't do everything. We have a tendency to focus on things that look scary on TV, that have great PR groups, that have cute animals, and that's not necessarily the best way to prioritise our efforts."

That's also not necessarily a line of thinking that communicates well to the average person who, as science tells us, is governed much more by emotion than reason. For instance, why is it that pictures of polar bears stranded on pieces of floating ice have become iconic totems in the climate debate? True, the polar bear is not a basis for climate policy, but it serves as a potent (albeit over-used) symbol of an extraordinarily complex issue. It activates the part of our brain that makes us think and possibly care about climate change.

Of course, translating that concern into meaningful action has proven next to impossible. This is because people are focused on the wrong kinds of actions, Lomborg says, like buying a Prius or, at the national level in some countries, swearing off nuclear power and building more solar panels and wind turbines. The latter is a noble effort, but as Germany has recently discovered, trying to meet all its energy needs with sunshine and wind has led to greater reliance on coal-powered electricity. That can't be good for the climate or polar bears.

Why, then, has Germany's grand experiment with renewable energy been much admired in the global green community? The answer, perhaps, lies in a point Lomborg stresses several times in our conversation, such as in this zinger: "The global warming conversation is filled with people who literally believe we just need a few more solar panels and we're good to go."

Fortunately for Lomborg, who is pro-nuclear, pro-natural gas and pro-biotechnology, he is no longer the only prominent skunk at the party. The respected climate scientist James Hansen has come out strongly for nuclear power; he has also ridiculed the notion that green energy can help the world kick its carbon habit any time soon. In a widely distributed essay several years ago, Hansen wrote: "Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy." The recent documentary Pandora's Promise features a roster of environmentalists making the case for nuclear power.

Another band of green writers and thinkers has started to champion economic growth and genetically modified crops as good for the environment and humanity. One of the most forceful and articulate of this group is Mark Lynas, the British environmentalist and author of several books, including an award-winning book on the dangers of climate change.

Also notable about Lynas is that he once threw a pie in Lomborg's face. It was in 2001, shortly after publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist. Lomborg was at a bookstore in Oxford, England, getting ready to talk about his new controversial text when Lynas stepped up to the podium and creamed him, yelling "Pies for lies!". Grainy footage of the incident can be seen on YouTube and is featured in Cool It as an illustration of the furious reaction to The Skeptical Environmentalist.

Lynas has since left his radical-activist self in the past and apologised to Lomborg. The two have had respectful exchanges on environmental issues. When I recently contacted Lynas, via email, he said he still thought The Skeptical Environmentalist "was highly selective in its citations and pretty biased overall", which echoes what many critics have said of the book. But he also praised Lomborg's recent work (with his Copenhagen Consensus Institute, a policy think tank) as "valuable and interesting" and observed: "I think his general effort hasn't so much been about science as about economics - in particular an insistence that cost-benefit analysis can be a valuable tool in deciding where to prioritise resources."

These nuanced attitudes on technology and economic policy seem to herald a new kind of environmentalism in the making, what some have called eco-pragmatism. If they take root, it's easy to imagine Lomborg's arguments gaining a more receptive audience. He would at least be in tune with the zeitgeist.

For his part, Lomborg says he thinks the times have finally caught up with him. "The three main messages" of The Skeptical Environmentalist  "have actually gotten through pretty well," he contends. These are, one, overall things are getting better, not worse; two, we need to prioritise our problems; and three, we need to focus on the things where we can do the most good. Lomborg says that he has "talked to lots of people who were initially very against" what he said in the book but who "have slowly come around" to agreeing.

That may be, but there's no denying the lasting fallout to his image from the beating the book took in the environmentalist and scientific communities, where he is still regarded, at best, suspiciously and, at worst, as an enemy. Lomborg chalks this up to the "you're either with us or against us" mentality that has poisoned the climate and environmental debates. Case in point: because Lomborg has been an outspoken critic of what he calls "global warming hysteria," he has for years been tagged as a "climate denier". He chafes at the charge and passionately defends himself against it.

Indeed, despite being named by Time magazine (in 2008) as one of the world's 100 most influential people, to a great extent Lomborg has not been able to shake the popular impressions of him that formed in response to The Skeptical Environmentalist. The book has cast a long shadow he can't escape, something he acknowledges: "You say Bjorn Lomborg and with that you mean everything bad in the world. It's shorthand for that. If you never read anything I wrote or heard me speak, you'd  think I must be this wild-eyed person that wants to kill everything and pave over nature."

He's telling me this via Skype from the kitchen of his 80 m2 flat in Prague, where he moved last year "after I was disowned by the Danish government". The story, according to Lomborg, is this: in 2011, the new centre-left government came into office promising to defund his Copenhagen Consensus Institute, which focuses on how to solve the world's biggest challenges in a cost-efficient manner. Lomborg says he was the intended target. After the government pulled the institute's funding, Denmark's foreign minister reportedly bragged in a speech that, "we have closed Bjorn Lomborg's institute".

I ask Lomborg why that would prompt him to leave his homeland. "I'm not going to stay in a country that doesn't want me," he says indignantly.

This latest episode in the ongoing chronicles of Lomborg vs. The World underscores the kind of baggage he can't shed.

If all these battles have taken their toll, Lomborg hides it well. At 48,  he retains his boyish blond visage and still bounds around in his trademark black T-shirt and sneakers. Despite all the blows he's taken, there have been no knockout punches. After moving to Prague, he reconstituted the Copenhagen Consensus Institute into a US-based non-profit organisation. He maintains a busy schedule, churning out a steady stream of op-ed pieces and travelling 150-200 days a year, giving speeches and attending academic functions.

When asked if he thinks he could have done anything differently over a decade ago - perhaps toned down his scorching criticism - Lomborg hesitates for a few seconds. "No," he says, then adds, "Of course with 12 years hindsight, I'm sure I could have hit it better."

Can Lomborg ever win over his adversaries? Given that some greens are now coming around to his way of thinking - embracing pragmatic solutions for the world's daunting energy and environmental problems - he may have a second chance.  Whether he makes the most of it might depend on the lessons he's learned since becoming the world's most famous sceptical environmentalist



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, 2015

John Kerry: On Earth Day, time running out for climate change

I agree that time is running out for the global warming scam. That is why they are getting so frantic.  But who would believe an old fraud like Kerry, anyway

In the 1950s and 60s, America's natural resources were in bad shape. Communities were so polluted that clouds of smog lingered over cities like Los Angeles. Rivers and lakes were filled with chemicals. In my hometown of Boston, the harbor was among the nation's most polluted waterways.

We were on a dangerous path. But on April 22, 1970, after years of mounting concern and hard work, the first-ever Earth Day took place, and a new commitment to action took hold. Thanks in no small part to campaigns begun that day, our air, water and land are in far better shape now than 45 years ago — even as our population and economy have steadily grown.

There is a lesson in that experience, because America is once again on a dangerous path — along with the rest of the world. Climate change, if unchecked, is an urgent threat to health, food supplies, biodiversity and livelihoods across the globe.

The solution to climate change is staring us in the face. It's energy policy. If we pursue a global clean energy economy, we can cut dramatically the amount of carbon pollution we emit into the atmosphere and prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

So we know how to address climate change. The question is whether national and local leaders will summon the political will to do it effectively and soon.


Rubio: ‘Humans Not Responsible for Climate Change in the Way Some of These People...Are Trying to Make Us Believe'

In an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he believes “humans are not responsible for climate change in the way” some want people to believe.

“Humans are not responsible for climate change in the way some of these people out there are trying to make us believe, for the following reason: I believe climate is changing, because there's never been a moment where the climate is not changing,” said Rubio.

Rubio questioned how much former Vice President Al Gore’s proposed cap and trade system would actually change the pace of climate change and how much it will cost the U.S. economy.

“The question is, what percentage of that or what is due to human activity? If we do the things they want us to do, cap and trade, you name it, how much will that change the pace of climate’s change vs. how much will it cost to our economy?” Rubio said.

“Scientists can't tell us what impact it would have on reversing these changes, but I can tell you with certainty it would have a devastating impact on our economy,” he added. [Well put, Señor]


UN Chief Wants Action on $100 Billion Climate Fund

More than five years after President Obama and other leaders agreed on a 2020 goal of raising $100 billion each year from public and private sources to help developing countries deal with climate change, the United Nations wants to see action.
Ahead of Earth Day on Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is pointing to a meeting next month in New York where he says he will be looking for clear indications from governments and investors as to how the ambitious goal will be reached.

“Climate change is the defining issue of our times,” he told a conference hosted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance last week. “It is also an enormous economic opportunity.”

On Saturday Ban again tackled the subject, at an International Monetary Fund event in Washington.

“We need a credible trajectory for realizing the $100 billion goal per year by 2020, as well as the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund,” he said.

“This was a commitment which was made in 2009 during the Copenhagen climate change summit meeting. We have only mobilized $10 billion as an initial capitalization of this Green Climate Fund. I would really hope that there will be a trajectory, a path, which will be shown to the member-states.”

And at a pre-Earth Day concert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night, Ban called on concert-goers to raise their voices in support.

“I want to hear from you,” he told the crowd. “It’s our last chance to slow global warming.”

Launched in 2011 as a result of that 2009 decision in Denmark, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is designed to help developing countries curb “greenhouse gas” emissions and cope with occurrences blamed on climate change, such as rising sea levels.

The aim is to reach $100 billion a year by 2020.

As of April 10, the fund had received pledges from 33 countries, totaling $10.2 billion. That includes a $3 billion pledge by Obama last November, by far the largest contribution promised to date. Some GOP lawmakers have signaled an intention to push back.

The next big date on the international climate calendar is a U.N. climate mega-conference in Paris in November that is meant to deliver a new global agreement.

Ban and U.N. climate officials want clarity on the financing issue, as a confidence booster ahead of the Paris gathering.

Subsidies in the firing line

According to the World Bank, two key ways for governments to free up funding to help achieve the $100 billion target is by “putting a price on carbon” – through carbon taxes or emission trading schemes – and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

“With a small percentage of the money that saved by ending subsidies or of the revenue raised from a carbon tax or permit sale going to climate finance, governments could help meet the $100 billion climate finance commitment and other mitigation and adaptation needs,” it said in a report Saturday on the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

A coalition of eight countries – Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland – is targeting the subsidy issue in particular. The coalition, calling itself “Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform,” said on Friday governments spent more than $548 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2013.

The group noted pointedly that this was more than five times more than the $100 billion target for climate mitigation and adaptation by 2020.

“The elimination of fossil fuel subsidies would make a significant contribution to the goal of keeping average temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” the coalition added, referring to the goal which world leaders several years ago decided was necessary to avoid what global warming advocates say will be potentially catastrophic effects on the planet.


Study: EPA Preparing to Slash Another 300,000 Jobs

The Environmental Protection Agency is putting the final touches on a rule requiring a 30% reduction of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030. An independent analysis by The Heritage Foundation predicts “[a]n average employment shortfall of nearly 300,000 jobs,” adding the U.S. may lose half a million jobs in the manufacturing sector and 45% of the jobs in the coal mining industry.

As for the EPA, it says collateral damage could cost up to 80,000 jobs. But a new American Action Forum report, whose findings mirror that of Heritage, says the EPA isn’t taking secondary impacts into consideration. All told, nearly 100 power plants may be taken offline, which will have major economic ramifications. “Based on American Action Forum (AAF) research … more than 90 coal-fired power plants could be retired across the country,” write Catrina Rorke and Sam Batkins. “Secondary employment impacts suggest that EPA’s power plant regulation could eliminate 296,000 jobs, about the population of Cincinnati, Ohio, and more than the total number of jobs the economy created in February 2015.”

The writers conclude, “EPA might tout the benefits of its proposal, but the significant job losses are just as noteworthy.” Indeed. Unfortunately, all that’s important in the minds of this administration is, as EPA administrator Gina McCarthy explained, “We have a moral obligation to act.” A very contorted moral obligation.


Paul Krugman’s Solar Delusions

Solar’s getting cheaper, but it can never be a big reducer of carbon emissions. Solar energy can solve global warming. That’s what Paul Krugman claims in his April 18 column in the New York Times, “Salvation Gets Cheap.” Krugman extolled “the incredible recent decline in the cost of renewable energy, solar power in particular.”

He used to dismiss the claim that renewable energy would be a major source of global energy “as hippie-dippy wishful thinking.” But now, he says, thanks to the falling price of renewable energy, the process of decarbonization can be accelerated and “drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are now within fairly easy reach.”

Solar is getting cheaper. And solar capacity is growing rapidly. But Krugman is still wrong. Solar won’t result in “drastic cuts” in greenhouse-gas emissions for two simple reasons: scale and cost.

Before going further, let me be clear: I’m bullish on solar. I’ve invested in solar. A decade ago, I paid to have 3,200 watts of solar panels installed on my roof. Why? Simple: I got a big subsidy. Austin Energy paid two-thirds of the cost of my $23,000 system, and those panels now provide about 30 percent of the electricity my family and I consume.

I will also gladly stipulate that Krugman is right about the plummeting cost of solar. In 1980, the average global cost of a solar photovoltaic module (which converts sunlight into electricity) was about $23 per watt. Today, it’s less than $1 per watt. Those falling costs are helping accelerate solar deployment. Between 2007 and 2012, according to BP, global solar capacity grew ten-fold and now stands at about 100,000 megawatts.

But that torrid growth doesn’t spell the end of hydrocarbons. Even if we forget the incurable intermittency of solar energy — which requires grid operators to have stand-by conventional generation capacity (from natural gas, coal, or nuclear) available for periods when the sun isn’t shining — the reason why cheaper solar panels won’t lead to major cuts in global carbon dioxide emissions is that solar’s contribution remains infinitesimally small.

Between 2007 and 2012, the same period during which solar capacity grew tenfold, global coal consumption rose by the equivalent of more than 10 million barrels of oil per day. Meanwhile, in 2012, the contribution of global solar production was equivalent to roughly 400,000 barrels of oil a day. Put another way, over the past half decade or so, just the growth in coal use is equal to about 25 times the contribution now being made by all of the world’s solar projects. And the coal-fired power plants that have been built over the past few years are likely to run for decades.

Why is coal use soaring around the world? Because demand for electricity is soaring. Since 1985, global electricity production has been growing by an average of about 450 terawatt-hours per year. The International Energy Agency expects global electricity use to continue growing by about that same amount every year through 2035.

Germany has more installed solar-energy capacity that any other country, with about 33,000 megawatts of installed photovoltaic panels. In 2012, those panels produced 28 terawatt-hours of electricity. Just to keep pace with the growth in global electricity demand by using solar energy alone would require installing 16 times as much photovoltaic capacity as all of Germany’s existing capacity — every year.

Despite the math, Krugman has been hyping solar for years. Back in 2011, Krugman claimed that we are “on the cusp of an energy transformation driven by the rapidly falling cost of solar power.” Sure, the costs of solar are falling, but it still remains far more expensive than coal, natural gas, or nuclear. Last week, the Energy Information Administration released its latest estimates for the cost of new electricity-generation capacity. By 2019, the agency projects, the cost of one megawatt-hour of electricity produced from solar photovoltaics will be $130. The same amount of electricity produced from natural gas will cost about half as much, $66, while a megawatt-hour of energy produced from a conventional coal-fired plant will cost $96. Nuclear, at $96 per megawatt-hour, will also remain less expensive than solar.

To bolster his claim that solar can save the world from global warming, Krugman cites the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, saying that the new document “asserts that the economic impact” of drastically overhauling our energy and power systems would “be surprisingly small” and would “basically amount to a rounding error, around 0.06 percent per year.”

But Krugman neglects to mention the outlandish assumptions the IPCC made in making its cost estimate. Those assumptions: “All of the countries of the world begin mitigation immediately, there is a single global carbon price, and all key technologies are available.”

A single global carbon price? If there’s one clear message from the last decade or so of climate-change meetings in places like Copenhagen, Bonn, Durbin, and elsewhere, it’s this: The countries of the world will not agree to a carbon tax. Hell, we can’t even get universal agreement to ban land mines, and yet the IPCC is making cost projections based on a universal price on carbon!

If Krugman and the IPCC scientists think that the transition to an economy based on renewable energy will be cheap, they haven’t been paying attention to what’s happening in Europe. In Spain, subsidies for renewables have resulted in some $35 billion in governmental debt that must now be retired.

Since 2000, Germany alone has spent about $100 billion on renewable energy, and Germany’s environment minister recently estimated that the country may have to spend as much as $1.3 trillion over the next 25 years as it attempts to reach its targets of producing 35 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

Krugman may not want to admit it, but here’s the truth: For all of its merits and rapidly declining cost, solar energy cannot even keep pace with the growth in global electricity demand, much less replace significant amounts of hydrocarbons or allow “drastic cuts” in carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate change is among the most difficult issues of our time. If we are going to be serious about it addressing it, we have to be serious about the low-carbon sources that can provide the vast quantities of energy that the world demands at prices consumers can afford. Yes, solar will play a role in the years ahead. But the fuels of the future are N2N: natural gas to nuclear.


The Abbott government has put Australia's renewable energy industry into limbo -- and almost no-one seems to care

Well done!  The writer below is a Warmist but his facts are pretty right

18 months after the election of a government supposedly “open for business”, the renewables industry in this country is in ruins.

Investment has fallen off a cliff – down a stunning 90 per cent since early 2013. More than 2000 jobs have disappeared. Almost no new large-scale renewable energy is being built in Australia, so hostile has the environment become. Banco Santander, the world's third-largest clean energy lender, packed up and left in March.

The reason? The government has sabotaged the industry. According to international energy consultants Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “the Australian large-scale clean energy industry has become practically uninvestable due to ongoing uncertainty caused by the government's review of the Renewable Energy Target.”

As we’ve chronicled here at New Matilda, the Renewable Energy Target was once the tripartisan policy of the Coalition, Labor and the Greens. The law, which was passed under the Howard government, mandates that there must be 41,000 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity fed into the grid by 2020.

Before the 2013 election, the Coalition promised many times to keep the RET. “We have no plans to change the renewable energy target,” Tony Abbott said in September 2011. “We will be keeping the renewable energy target,” Environment Minister Greg Hunt said in February 2013. “The Coalition supports the current system, including the 41,000 gigawatt hours target,” Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham said in July 2013.

The promise was broken in early 2014, when the government announced that former Caltex boss, noted climate change denier Dick Warbuton, would head up a review. Surprise, surprise: the review recommended abolishing the RET altogether. Energy Minister Ian Macfarlane then used the report as political cover to attempt to slash the RET, to 26,000 hours.

But the RET is a law which requires amendment, and Macfarlane has been unable to get any cross-bench support for his changes. He instead said he would “negotiate” with Labor over a revised target. After first refusing any kind of compromise, Labor eventually came all the way down to 33,500 hours. Macfarlane is holding out for 32,000. In the meantime, renewables investment tanked, and has never recovered.

You get the impression the Coalition is quite happy that negotiations have stalled. No deal on the RET means the renewables industry stays in limbo, killing investment and destroying the medium-term prospects of the sector. Meanwhile, carbon permit-free coal makes windfall profits. And Macfarlane doesn’t even have to do anything. He can just fiddle while the renewables sector burns.

If this wasn’t the Abbott government, and we weren’t talking about renewable energy, it would be difficult to believe. Imagine a government that set out, quite openly, to destroy an entire sector of business activity, for purely ideological reasons – breaking an iron-clad election promise in the process.

But that’s precisely what’s happened in renewable energy, which depends upon the RET to leverage new investment into the Australian grid. It might be the biggest scandal in economic policy in recent history – and almost no-one seems to care.



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, 2015

UN Secretary General to Visit Vatican to Discuss Climate Change

As one religious leader to another.  Neither is a scientist

In a speech at the National Press Club on Thursday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that he will visit the Vatican later this month to meet with Pope Francis to discuss common concerns, “including the encyclical on the environment that he plans to issue in the month ahead.”

“The world is now recognizing a basic truth of our times: We need to buy insurance for the planet,” Ban said. “We must all be ambitious as we look to conclude on our agreement at the climate change conference in Paris in December.”

“There’s a strong moral dimension to this effort,” he said. “Today I’d like to announce that I will visit the Vatican this month and meet with his Holiness to discuss common concern, including the encyclical on the environment that he plans to issue in the month ahead.

“I think this should be first time for any secretary general to be invited by the pope,” he added.

Also in attendance at the April 28 meeting will be the pope’s top representative on the environment Cardinal Peter Turkson and American economist Jeffrey Sachs, the Associated Press reported.

The pope will deliver what is considered the first major encyclical of his papacy this summer on the issue of global warming and the environment.

Although Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI took stances in favor of the environment, Pope Francis will be the first to address climate change in “a significant way,” the AP reported.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences said the purpose of the workshop is to “raise awareness and build a consensus that the values of sustainable development cohere with values of the leading religious traditions, with a special focus on the most vulnerable; to elevate the debate on the moral dimensions of protecting the environment in advance of the papal encyclical; and to help build a global movement across all religions for sustainable development and climate change throughout 2015 and beyond.”

In turn, Ban has invited the pope and other world leaders to the UN for a special summit meeting in September.

“For my part, I have invited Pope Francis to the United Nations and also President Obama and all the leaders of the world to a special summit meeting in September at the United Nations, asking them to adopt this visionary and ambitious sustainable development agenda, and I’m sure that all the leaders will come and declare their visions to the world as a way of celebrating 70th anniversary of the United Nations,” he added.

“There are still some people who do not want to acknowledge climate change, but there is climate change,” Ban said. “By any standard,” the scientific evidence “clearly” shows that “climate change is happening,” and “it’s approaching much, much faster” than expected.

“Tackling climate change is an urgent part of the picture. This climate change is a defining issue of our times,” he said.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are the first generation that can end poverty and we are the last generation to address climate change. This is a fact, and we must act now,” he added.

The secretary general’s speech at the National Press Club comes two days before the Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., an event to mark the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. Musical guests at the event include: Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Fall Out Boy, Usher, Train, and Common. It will be hosted by Will.i.Am and Soledad O’Brien.

Saturday’s event was timed to coincide with the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Earth Day takes place on April 22. The first Earth Day took place on April 22 in 1970, according to the Earth Day Network.


The Environmental Insane Asylum

By Alan Caruba

Earth Day was declared in 1970 and for the past 45 years we have all been living in the Environmental Insane Asylum, being told over and over again to believe things that are the equivalent of Green hallucinations. Now the entire month of April has been declared Earth Month, but in truth not a day goes by when we are not assailed with the bold-faced lies that comprise environmentalism.

Around the globe, the worst part of this is that we are being victimized by people we are told to respect from the President of the United States to the Pope of the Catholic Church. Their environmentalism is pure socialism.

Organizations whom we expect to tell the truth keep telling us that “climate change is one of the biggest global security threats of the 21st century.”  This was a recent statement by “world leaders” like the G7, a group of finance ministers and central bank governors of seven advanced economies, the International Monetary Fund, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. On April 17 they adopted a report about the “threat” put together by think tanks that included the European Union Institute for Security Studies and the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

When I speak of “climate” I am referring to data gathered not just about decades, but centuries of the Earth’s cycles of warming and cooling. When I speak of “weather”, the closest any of us get to it other than today’s, are local predictions no longer than a few days’ time at best. The weather is in a constant state of flux.

Climate change is not a threat and most certainly there is no global warming. As Prof. Bob Carter, a geologist at James Cook College in Queensland, Australia, has written, “For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco.”

The fact that the Earth is now into the nineteenth year of a natural planetary cooling cycle seems to never be acknowledged or reported. “The problem here,” says Prof. Carter, “is not that of climate change per se, but rather that of the sophisticated scientific brainwashing that has been inflicted on the public, bureaucrats and politicians alike.”

In a book I recommend to everyone, “Climate for the Layman” by Anthony Bright-Paul, he draws on the best well-known science about the Earth noting that “Since there is no such thing as a temperature of the whole Earth all talk of global warming is simply illogical, ill thought out, and needs to be discarded for the sake of clarity. The globe is warming and cooling in different locations concurrently every minute of the day and night.”

“Since it is abundantly clear that there is no one temperature of the atmosphere all talk of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is simply an exercise in futility.” A look at the globe from either of its two poles to its equator and everything in between tells us with simple logic that being able to determine its “temperature” is impossible. The Earth, however, has gone through numerous warming and cooling cycles, all of which were the result of more or less solar radiation.

The Sun was and is the determining factor. The assertion that humans have any influence or impact that can determine whether the Earth is warmer or cooler is absurd.

The Earth had passed through warming and cooling cycles for billions of years before humans even existed, yet we are told that the generation of carbon dioxide through the use of machinery in manufacturing, transportation or any other use is causing the build-up of “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere. We are told to give up the use of coal, oil and natural gas. That is a definition of insanity!

Here’s the simple truth that most people are not told: The Sun warms the Earth and the Earth warms the atmosphere.

As for carbon dioxide, the amount generated by human activity represents a miniscule percentage of the 0.04% in the Earth’s atmosphere. There has been more carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere—well before humans existed—contributing to the growth of all manner of vegetation which in turn generated oxygen.

Without carbon dioxide there would be no life on Earth. It feeds the vegetation on which animal life depends directly and indirectly. As Anthony Bright-Paul says, “A slight increase in atmosphere of carbon dioxide will not and cannot produce any warming, but can be hugely beneficial to a green planet.”

The Earth’s atmosphere is approximately 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, 0.9% Argon, 0.04% Carbon Dioxide, and the rest is water vapor and trace gases in very small amounts. They interact to provide an environment in which life, animal and vegetable, exists on Earth.

When you live in a Global Environmental Insane Asylum, you are not likely to hear or read the truth, but you can arrive at it using simple logic. We know instinctively that humans do not control the waves of our huge oceans, nor the vast tectonic plates beneath our feet, the eruptions of volcanoes, the Jetstream, cloud formation, or any of the elements of the weather we experience, such as thunder, lightning, and other acts of Nature.

Why would we blindly assume or agree to the torrent of lies that humans are “causing” climate change? The answer is that on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, we will be deluged with the propaganda of countless organizations worldwide that we are, in fact, endangering a “fragile” planet Earth.  We hear and read that every other day of the year as well.

The achievement of the human race and the last 5,000 years of so-called civilization is the way we have learned to adapt to Nature by creating habitats from villages to cities in which to survive and because we have devised a vast global agricultural and ranching system to feed seven billion of us.

As for the weather, John Christy, the director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, says he cringes “when I hear overstated confidence from those who describe the projected evolution of global weather patterns over the next one hundred years, especially when I consider how difficult it is to accurately predict that system’s behavior over the next five days.”

“Mother Nature,” says Christy, “simply operates at a level of complexity that is, at this point, behind the mastery of mere mortals—such as scientists—and the tools available to us.”

Whether it is the President or the Pope, or the countless politicians and bureaucrats, along with multitudes of “environmental” organizations, as well as self-serving “scientists”, all aided by the media, a virtual Green Army has been deliberately deceiving and misleading the citizens of planet Earth for four and a half decades. It won’t stop any time soon, but it must before the charade of environmentalism leaves us all enslaved by the quest for political control over our lives that hides behind it.

We must escape the Environmental Insane Asylum in which they want us to live.

Via email

What Are You Willing to Give Up for Earth Day?

Comrades, Earth Day is just around the corner. We’re not talking about Christmas or Easter or Yom Kippur, we’re talking about Lenin’s Birthday!

Now some outdated, religious traditions include themes of guilt and forgiveness. You know the routine. We are guilty before God and justly deserving of His punishment, but He lays our sins on His Son, Jesus Christ, and that by believing in Him we can find forgiveness of sin and eternal life. But that’s so two millennia ago.

On the other hand, Earth Day (Lenin’s Birthday!) is so progressive that it offers guilt and more guilt! See, in this advanced, highly evolved, and inclusive belief system, you are guilty before Gaia for exhaling and destroying her atmosphere, turning it into an “open sewer” to quote the Prophet Algore (PBUH). Now with Gaia, there’s none of this nonsense about atonement, justification, or propitiation. Those are big words and too hard for you to understand. You’re guilty because you might drive an SUV, consume food, once used electricity, or maybe you’re just plain white. You may have accessed healthcare to prolong your selfish, resource sucking life, and that means some poor minority child or kitten was denied healthcare – just because of you.

Forgiveness? Are you serious? When it comes to the Green Gospel, there’s only one solution, and that’s extermination. If it wasn’t for man, Bambi’s mother would be alive today instead of having her head mounted over some redneck’s fireplace desecrated with a bandanna and non-union manufactured sunglasses. We need a plan for sustainability. That’s a big word, but what it means is that we get to decide who’s a burden to Earth Mother, and who isn’t.

So who’s guilty, you ask? Probably you. Why do you think you dig holes in the ground on Earth Day? One happy day, perhaps Next Tuesday™, our government will be empowered to recycle its non-productive, Earth exploiting citizens. It’s called giving back, and it’s the only way you can redeem yourself. If we don’t take action now, all the furry animals will be dead in just ten years.

But until Next Tuesday comes along, you need to do your part. You need to confess your guilt. You need to give back. So in the days leading up to Earth Day, you need to tearfully, publicly, and loudly proclaim your sins against Gaia. You need to publish your shame by wearing awareness ribbons and riding a bicycle. In so doing, you induce feelings of necessary guilt in others, and you get a smug sense of self-righteous satisfaction because you care more. What’s not to like?

So come on, comrades, what are you willing to confess and give up in the days left before Earth Day?

SOURCE [Satire]

The True Costs—and Beneficiaries—of Green Energy

Earth Day is celebrated once a year, but policymakers make lasting choices about natural resources day in and day out. Legislation dealing with some aspect of fossil fuels or clean energy, for example, comes up frequently in state houses and the halls of Congress. Wind power has been the leading beneficiary of the alternative-energy zeitgeist, but as Independent Institute Research Fellow Randy T. Simmons explains in a recent piece in Newsweek, subsidies for this technology have cost taxpayers far more than they realize--$30 billion over the past 35 years.

One reason, according to Simmons, is that the public overlooks key costs associated with wind power. The venerable financial advisory firm Lazard estimates that wind power costs $37 to $81 per megawatt hour, but after factoring in hidden costs, such as the need to run coal or natural gas plants when the skies are still (i.e., “baseload cycling”), the true cost of wind power is more like $149 per megawatt hour. Moreover, electricity consumers typically have little say in energy policy. Consequently, state-level mandates for renewable energy usage ensure that they are forced to buy more expensive but ostensibly “clean and green” power such as wind energy. If not consumers, who benefits? Foreign-owned wind companies, who in 2010 were awarded 84 percent of U.S. clean-energy grants.

Ethanol is another product that has benefited from government mandates. As Independent Institute Research Fellow Randall Holcombe explains, the requirement that gasoline refineries add ethanol to their fuel products has doubled the price of corn, resulting in a transfer of $32 billion from consumers to farmers in 2011 alone. That amounts to an average benefit of $79,875 per U.S. corn farmer. Holcombe writes: “This is a good example of how legislation providing concentrated benefits to an interest group and imposing disbursed costs on everybody can maintain political supports.”


Obama Warns U.S.: ‘Climate Change Poses Immediate Risks to Our National Security’

President Barack Obama warned the American people in his weekly address today that “there’s no greater threat” than climate change and that it “poses immediate risks to our national security.”

He said Americans need to work against climate change because “it’s about protecting our God-given natural wonders.”

“Wednesday is Earth Day, a day to appreciate and protect this precious planet we call home,” said Obama. “And today, there’s no greater threat to our planet than climate change.”

“This winter was cold in parts of our country--as some folks in Congress like to point out--but around the world, it was the warmest ever recorded,” said Obama.

“And the fact that the climate is changing has very serious implications for the way we live now.  Stronger storms.  Deeper droughts.  Longer wildfire seasons,” he said. “The world’s top climate scientists are warning us that a changing climate already affects the air our kids breathe. Last week, the Surgeon General and I spoke with public experts about how climate change is already affecting patients across the country. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security.”

Obama said we need to counter climate change in the interests of families and children.

“This is an issue that’s bigger and longer-lasting than my presidency,” he said. “It’s about protecting our God-given natural wonders, and the good jobs that rely on them. It’s about shielding our cities and our families from disaster and harm. It’s about keeping our kids healthy and safe.”


Preventing a Coming Ice Age

By S. Fred Singer

Geo-engineering has become a buzzword again, thanks to a recent two-volume report of the US National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council [NAS-NRC 2015;].  Driven by exaggerated concerns about greenhouse (GH) warming catastrophes, the reports pursued mainly two project ideas:

Reducing atmospheric levels of the GH-gas CO2, starting with fairly innocuous schemes like planting tree farms to fertilizing the Southern Oceans by adding missing micro-nutrients (an idea much favored by the late oceanographer Roger Revelle) – all the way to full-scale engineering proposals that involve the direct removal of ambient CO2, with subsequent underground sequestration – a vastly more expensive undertaking of dubious technical feasibility.

The other favored approach would try to increase Earth’s albedo to reduce the amounts of solar energy reaching the surface.  In analogy with volcanic eruptions, reflective aerosols would be injected into the stratosphere – a costly and unproven scheme, likely to constitute an environmental hazard to stratospheric ozone.

It is doubtful that either project will gain approval – beyond further studies and some feasibility tests.  Costs and risks are too high, and they may not even be needed.  Yet geo-engineering seems to make perfect sense when used to overcome a sure-to-arise ice-age glaciation.


Earth has been cooling for about 65 million years (ma) and has experienced a series of some 20 glaciations (“ice ages”) for the most recent 2-3 ma (“Quaternary”).  Ice-core data indicate a typical duration for each glaciation of 41,000 and then 100,000 years – with a gradual onset, but with a sudden termination into a warm Interglacial period of typical duration of 10,000 years.  [Imbrie, Science 1976; Ice Ages, 1986]

Our present Interglacial, the Holocene period, has now lasted over 11,000 years and (some think) may soon end, making way for the next ice age.  (Some calculations [by A. Berger], however, suggest that the Holocene may last much longer than 10,000 years.) 

According to the “astronomical theory” of Milankovitch, the timing of these cycles is controlled by changes in the Earth’s orbit eccentricity, inclination of the spin axis, and its precession.  Although Milankovitch provides a useful guide on timing, there is still much research required to understand the full physics of the glaciations [Roe, GeophysResLett 2006].

The timing of these cycles

According to theoretical speculation, the onset of glaciation is caused by a positive feedback at a sensitive “tipping point.”  Judiciously planned intervention there might destroy this positive feedback and thereby delay or even cancel an ice-age cycle.  It is widely believed that a glaciation initiates when a high-latitude (at about 65 degN) snowfield survives during summer and then expands year-by-year as a result. [The initiation may occur stochastically during a (cold) sunspot minimum or after a major volcanic eruption.]  Weather satellites provide a ready means for digitally identifying and tracking such critical snowfields.  They can then be controlled or removed by the deposition of solar-energy-absorbing soot.

In any case, ice ages impose severe stresses on human populations and on the ecology.  During the most recent ice age, some 20,000 years ago, mile-thick ice sheets covered much of North America and all of northern Europe.  Global sea levels were 120 meters lower than today.  The English Channel was a huge river, draining the Rhine, Maas, Thames, and the melt water from the ice sheets, into the Bay of Biscayne.

In addition to the ice ages, less severe coolings and warmings have occurred on an irregular, 1500-year cycle (the so-called Dansgaard-Oeschger-Bond cycles) [see Singer & Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming, 2007].  Their likely cause is solar variability [according to Bond, Science 2001].  The most recent events include the Medieval Warm Period (around 1000 AD), the Little Ice Age, and the Modern Warming that started around 1850 AD [Loehle & Singer, Can J Earth Sci 2010].  Historic records, gathered mainly from European data, indicate that the cold periods had severe economic impacts, causing failed harvests and widespread starvation and disease [Lamb, Climate, 1972].  In his forthcoming book “Climate & Collapse: The Secret of Human Sustainability,” my colleague Dennis Avery, an agricultural economist and historian, has greatly elaborated on these themes of climatology pioneer Lamb.

There is little that can be done to mitigate the 1500-year cycles, if indeed they are controlled by solar activity.  Here, adaptation may provide the only means of dealing with the disastrous effects of the cold periods.  Research should be directed to discovering the best methods of countering the damaging impacts of cooling on human populations.

The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) occurred about 18,000 years ago, with the Great Lakes a remnant of this recent glaciation.  A wide swath of land south of the ice was treeless tundra, unsuitable for agriculture.  The human population was small but survived.  [See Van Alden and Davis, Neanderthals and Humans in the European Landscape during the Last Glaciation, Cambridge Press, McDonnell Institute monograph. Also: Soares et al, Climate Change and Postglacial Human Dispersal in Southeast Asia, Molecular Biology and Evolution 25, 2008; as well as other references cited by Avery].

The onset of the next glaciation, another ice age, is widely expected.  It would spell a severe test for humanity but would probably not terminate human existence on the planet.  It would not match the ultimate catastrophe, the impact of a large asteroid, such as occurred 65 million years ago at the beginning of the Tertiary, which wiped out the dinosaurs.

The survival of the human race depends very much on advanced technology.  This is especially the case for climate change.  Good-quality agricultural land will be limited; but hothouse yields could be high.  An efficient distribution system could alleviate the threat of starvation for a reduced population.  Nuclear energy, based on uranium/thorium fission and on fusion reactors, may provide the mainstay of civilization.  We may well be living underground, but not necessarily in caves.

An international cooperative project to stop ice ages

I can visualize a possible international collaboration that might involve three teams in North America, Europe, and Asia, working independently and using their own satellite systems -- but coordinating their efforts under WMO (World Meteorological Organization) auspices.  The satellites, using simple TV cameras, could keep track of any long-term growth in surface albedo from snow and ice; an averaging interval might be 3-10 years.

Once such secular growth has been detected, each of the three teams would carry out a plan to stop such growth.  Though operating independently, they might consult widely on the best techniques for generating and depositing soot and for keeping track of albedo changes.

The aim, of course, is to break the positive feedback cycle that presumably leads to the growth of an ice-age glaciation.  One can think of various practical problems that could arise; yet none of them seem insurmountable or particularly costly.  But a test would certainly be worthwhile.

Stopping the next ice age appears to be well within our technical capability and carries a huge benefit-to-cost ratio.  An investment of millions would prevent the loss of trillions of dollars.



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, 2015

Jeb Bush is a RINO

Has drunk the climate Kool-aid

Jeb Bush on Friday in New Hampshire called for the U.S. "to work with the rest of the world to negotiate a way to reduce carbon emissions.”

The remarks at a "Politics & Eggs" event brought praise from billionaire Tom Steyer's group NextGen Climate, which has spent millions in recent elections blasting Republicans on climate change.

"Jeb Bush demonstrated leadership today on the issue of climate change—distancing himself from the other Republican presidential hopefuls and demonstrating why climate change doesn’t have to be a partisan issue," the group said in an email to reporters. "Today in New Hampshire, Bush expressed his concern about the fact that the climate is changing and pledged to “to work with the rest of the world to negotiate a way to reduce carbon emissions.

This is a critical step forward for the Republican candidate, but it can only be the beginning if America hopes to truly lead the world in combating climate change once and for all. In the coming weeks, we urge Jeb Bush to outline his specific plan to reduce carbon emissions and tackle the greatest challenge of our generation.

Providing strong solutions to reduce carbon emissions will not only mitigate the impacts of climate change but also strengthen our economy and create good-paying jobs across the country."


The Environmentalists’ Civil War

It’s a manifesto , a fight among the members of the green Left for the intellectual and moral high ground. It’s also a fight that reflects the growing schism within American environmentalism.

On one side are the pro-energy, pro-density humanists. They call themselves ecomodernists and are led by the Breakthrough Institute, a centrist, Oakland-based environmental group. On Wednesday, it released what it describes as an “ecomodernist manifesto,” a document that, at root, states the obvious: Economic development is essential for environmental protection.

    On the opposite side are the anti-energy, pro-sprawl absolutists. Their views are evident in the ongoing protests this week in Harvard Yard. A group called Divest Harvard is pushing the Harvard Corporation, the school’s governing body, to divest the school’s $36 billion endowment of any investments in companies that provide coal, oil, and natural gas to consumers. This group’s manifesto, issued in February, demonizes energy use. 

The absolutists like to use the squishy term “climate justice.” They believe that the threat of climate change trumps all other concerns, including the welfare of people living in energy poverty. For the absolutists, the only path to salvation is through the exclusive use of renewable energy. And in that regard, Divest Harvard falls smack in the middle of mainstream liberal-left environmentalism in America.

The anti-energy, pro-sprawl absolutists — a designation that, in my view, fits the Sierra Club,, Greenpeace, and Natural Resources Defense Council — are anti-nuclear, anti-hydrocarbon, and anti–hydraulic fracturing. They routinely peddle slogans such as “fossil-free” and continually claim that we can rely solely on increased efficiency and renewable energy. They push these claims despite overwhelming evidence from Germany and Japan that shuttering nuclear power plants and relying too much on renewables results in higher electricity prices and decreased reliability. (For more on that, see this April 13 Reuters piece about the potential shuttering of dozens of conventional power plants in Germany.)

The absolutists are anti-energy. In a Divest Harvard video posted on YouTube, the group stated that its goal is to “stigmatize the fossil fuel industry.” The absolutists try to do that all the time. Just last week, the Sierra Club announced the expansion of its “beyond coal” campaign. The group’s backers — who include former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg — have pledged some $60 million in funding for the effort, which aims to shutter half of U.S. coal plants by 2017. Celebrating the fundraising effort, the group’s executive director, Michael Brune, declared, “Dirty, outdated, deadly coal is a thing of the past.”

Never mind that coal remains the world’s fastest-growing source of energy and that it has been the fastest-growing source of energy since 1973. Never mind that countries from Germany to Bangladesh are building hundreds of gigawatts of coal-fired power plants. Never mind that the United States has more coal reserves than any other country does. Coal must be stigmatized.

Based on the logic that the Sierra Club and Divest Harvard put forward, companies such as Coal India Limited must be stigmatized. Coal India is deemed untouchable because it provides coal to generation stations in a poverty-stricken country that gets about 70 percent of its power from coal. Coal India provides fuel to 82 of India’s 86 coal-fired generators. Therefore, it must be stigmatized. Never mind that more than 300 million Indians — a group approximately equal to the entire population of the United States — lack access to electricity.

To be clear, the absolutists at Divest Harvard don’t mention Coal India in their manifesto. But the open letter published in mid-February and signed by about three dozen Harvard graduates — including founder Bill McKibben, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., author Susan Faludi, former U.S. senator Tim Wirth, and actress Natalie Portman — condemns investment in what it calls the “dirtiest energy companies on the planet.”
The manifesto lays bare Divest Harvard’s anti-human outlook. They write: “Global warming is the greatest threat the planet faces. . . . This issue demands we all make changes to business as usual — especially those of us who have prospered from the systems driving climate change.”

Who might be included in “those of us who have prospered” from the use of coal, oil, and natural gas — fuels that, when burned, emit carbon dioxide and therefore contribute to climate change? My back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that it would include nearly every person in America, (approximately 319 million), as well as anyone who has ever made money by taking a car, bus, plane, or ship to work, baked a loaf of bread, or delivered a piano. In all, the number of who’ve prospered thanks to the availability of hydrocarbons probably totals 3 billion to 4 billion people.

Despite energy poverty that afflicts hundreds of millions of people in countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia (all of which, by the way, are in the process of adding huge amounts of new coal-fired generation capacity), the absolutists equate energy use with evil. In their February manifesto, the absolutists claim that selling the Harvard’s investments in hydrocarbon producers will make the school “accountable for the future” and that the school should divest because “Harvard eventually divested from apartheid, from tobacco, and from the genocide in Darfur.”

By comparing energy producers (and therefore, energy consumers) with the people involved in racist repression and mass murder, the absolutists are, in effect, saying that consumers who use gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas, or coal-fired electricity are as morally bankrupt as those who aided racial repression and mass murder. This is nonsense on stilts.

Even if the divestment push at Harvard were to succeed — and dozens of other institutions were to follow suit — it wouldn’t halt the consumption of any hydrocarbons. It won’t give us a “safe climate.” The investments that Harvard sells will simply be purchased by another entity. To argue that divestment of companies that produce coal, oil, and natural gas will make a difference on climate change is akin to arguing that if investors sell their equity in a McDonalds or Burger King franchise, hungry people will quit buying cheeseburgers.

The divestment movement is predicated on the fantastical assumption that we humans can, as the organizers of have repeatedly claimed, live “fossil free.” And they continue to claim, wrongly, that the world can be run on nothing more than solar panels and wind turbines. The absolutists claim that we only need to “do the math” to understand their position.

Okay. Let’s do some math. And by doing so, we will show how the absolutists favor sprawl and therefore the destruction of the very environment they say they want to protect. To make it easy on the Harvard grads, let’s focus solely on Massachusetts, which consumes about 56 terawatt-hours (1 terawatt-hour is equal to 1 trillion watt-hours) of electricity per year. To create that much electricity solely with wind energy would require, in rough terms, about 31 gigawatts of wind-energy capacity. (The annual productivity of wind energy, based on the BP Statistical Review 2014, is 1.8 terawatt-hours per gigawatt of capacity. That’s the average over nine years, from 2005 to 2013.) The power density of wind energy — as I have repeatedly proven — is 1 watt per square meter. Therefore, the land area needed to produce that much renewable electricity would total about 31 billion square meters or 31,000 square kilometers, which is about 12,000 square miles.

Put another way, just to meet electricity demand in Massachusetts with wind energy would require an area larger than the state itself, which, including water area, covers about 27,000 square kilometers, or 10,500 square miles. And remember, these calculations ignore the essentiality of oil for transportation and home heating. The latter is important because about 30 percent of all Bay State residents rely on heating oil to stay warm in the winter. Staying warm can be a challenge in the Boston area, which got about 100 inches of snow this past winter.

The absolutist, pro-sprawl outlook touted by McKibben and his allies provides a stark contrast to the pro-human outlook the ecomodernists support. Perhaps the key line of their manifesto is in the concluding sentence, which says they want to “achieve universal human dignity on a biodiverse and thriving planet.”

Toward that end, the 18 signers of the manifesto — a group that includes Breakthrough Institute founders Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, as well as Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, and the University of Tasmania’s Barry Brook — support increased energy use. They note, rightly: “Climate change and other global ecological challenges are not the most important immediate concerns for the majority of the world’s people. Nor should they be. A new coal-fired power station in Bangladesh may bring air pollution and rising carbon dioxide emissions but will also save lives.”

That’s it exactly. While the absolutists want one of America’s most prestigious universities to sell some of its investments — with the only goal being to stigmatize the world’s biggest and single most important business — the ecomodernists are arguing not only that greater global energy consumption is inevitable, but that it’s good, that more energy use will allow more people in the developing world to live fuller, freer lives. As part of that, they are adding, rightly, that nuclear energy must be a central element of climate policy if we are going to reduce the rate of growth in global carbon dioxide emissions.

The ecomodernists oppose sprawl. Their manifesto talks of the need to intensify “many human activities — particularly farming, energy extraction, forestry, and settlement — so that they use less land and interfere less with the natural world.” Increasing density, they continue, “is the key to decoupling human development from environmental impacts.”

The absolutists don’t have any credible plans for producing the vast quantities of energy the world demands. They not only ignore energy poverty in the developing world, they also have worked to block the American government from providing any financing for coal-fired power plants in developing counties. (See my 2013 piece on that issue here.) At the same time, they promote landscape- and wildlife-destroying schemes such as wind energy that will result in unprecedented sprawl. That’s the very same energy sprawl that property owners all over the world are objecting to. (Among the property owners who don’t want wind turbines near their property, of course, is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The Divest Harvard proponent vociferously objected to the Cape Wind project, the now-dead proposal to install more than a hundred 440-foot-high turbines in Nantucket Sound, near the Kennedy family’s vacation compound at Hyannisport.)

The manifesto smackdown exposes our need to rethink what it means to be an environmentalist. The ecomodernists have laid out a thoughtful position paper that dares the absolutists to go beyond sloganeering and stigmatizing. I will be pleasantly surprised if Divest Harvard,, Sierra Club, and their allies respond to that dare. But I’m not holding my breath.


Pareto Speaks to Us About Environmentalism

Vilfredo Pareto, who died in 1923, was an Italian economist and sociologist. In the spirit of Machiavelli, he developed theories concerning human belief and the rise and fall of elites. His insights can be applied to explain much about contemporary America.

Pareto believed that men form their beliefs from emotion or sentiment and that rational justifications for beliefs are constructed after the belief has been subscribed to. In other words, the rational justification is window dressing. Pareto also thought that men deceive themselves about the origin of their beliefs, not recognizing that their beliefs are the consequence of sentiment. Men claim, and believe, that their beliefs are the result of rational thought.

Because belief is emotional at its root, it is extremely difficult to make ideological conversions by logical argument. Logical arguments won’t work because the believer will mount a logical defense to every argument and will be impervious to rebuttals. Successful ideological conversions are made by using emotional tactics, such as applying psychological pressure.

The religious group, the Moonies, has been successful in recruiting new members by the technique of “Love Bombing,” a term they invented. The technique is to lavish flattery, affection, and attention on the prospective recruit. This emotional technique is highly successful. Love Bombing is far more promising than explaining Moonie theology to the typically youthful recruit.

Charles Manson recruited middle class youths into his criminal "Family" through the use of powerful emotional stimuli involving psychotropic drugs, promiscuous sex, and shared illegal acts.

Patty Hearst, the kidnapped heir of a wealthy family, was converted to the revolutionary beliefs of the Symbionese Liberation Army after being locked in a closet for weeks at a time under threat of death.

If we examine belief in global warming, the believers claim scientific justification for their belief. This is window dressing. The real motivation is emotional. The scientific basis for global warming is incredibly weak and has been powerfully attacked by various skeptics. The scientific attacks from skeptics may have swayed weak believers, but strong believers, including the Obama administration, have responded with attacks on the integrity of the skeptics. For example the skeptics are accused of being in the pay of fossil fuel companies, even though there is little evidence of that.

Oddly, many of the fossil fuel companies profess to be concerned about global warming and declare that they, too, are working to reduce CO2 emissions. The executives of the fossil fuel companies fit into Pareto’s theory of declining elites who become effete and too timid to defend their privileges. Incredibly, fossil fuel companies give money to organizations, such as the American Geophysical Union, or even the Sierra Club, that attack the very right to exist of the fossil fuel companies. Groups skeptical of global warming get little or nothing from fossil fuel companies that are apparently too busy trying to appease their deadly enemies.

What is the emotional core of belief in global warming and why is the scientific justification mainly window dressing? It’s actually fairly obvious. The emotional core of the belief is fear of modern technology.

Global warming is only the latest of a string of doomsday scenarios, justified by dubious scientific claims, dating back as far as the 1940’s. In 1948 two influential books were independently published. Our Plundered Planet by Fairfield Osbourne and The Road to Survival by William Vogt. These books are considered to mark the start of the many periodic environmental scares. The scares generally have a theme that modern technology is damaging the ability of the Earth to support mankind and that it is polluting the environment, trends aggravated by reckless population growth.

Stanford professor, Paul Ehrlich’s book, The Population Bomb, was published in 1968 and has sold 2 million copies. The book Limits to Growth published in 1972 predicted, based on computer models, disasters due to exhaustion of resources, increasing pollution and population growth. During the last 60 years there have been dozens of major environmental scares. Examples include projected shortages of food, oil and even water. Pollution scares include arsenic, mercury, radon, chlorine, pesticides, acid rain, etc.

These scares have in common the theme that modern technology is backfiring. The scares play to and promote this emotional belief. To many people, technology is an object of suspicion and fear. There is romantic nostalgia for an idealized simpler time in the past. For example, the organic food movement basically advocates growing food by restricting technology to that used prior to about 1930. This is based on the idea that pesticides and synthetic fertilizer is harmful, a belief that is scientifically not supportable. Plants don’t care whether they get nitrogen from synthetic fertilizer or chicken manure. Pesticides used to kill insects are not passed into the food product except in microscopic, harmless quantities. The advocates of organic farming don’t mention that half the world population would starve if their less productive farming schemes were universally adopted.

If you are highly fearful and confused by modern technology, then the succession of environmental scares supports and fortifies your worldview. However you will not, of course, say, or even think, that you are puzzled and scared by the modern world. No, you will say that scientific research has shown that much of modern technology is dangerous and must be stopped. Ironically, the environmental movement turns science and technology against science and technology.

The scientific weakness of global warming science, and other environmental science, is demonstrated more than anything else by the reaction of the scientist and lay advocates to those who dare to raise objections to the doomsday theories. Rather than meeting the objections with scientific arguments, the critics are attacked and marginalized. This behavior is not scientific, it an attempt to defend a dogma by lashing out at those who dare to question the dogma.

When Lennart Bengtsson, a Swedish climate scientist and meteorologist, joined the advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, an organization skeptical concerning global warming, he was forced to resign a week later due to abuse he received from the climate science community. He said: “I had not expected such an enormous world-wide pressure put on me from a community that I have been close to all my active life.”

When the Danish researcher Bjorn Lomborg published The Skeptical Environmentalist a book that questioned much of the environmentalist canon, he was vilified in 11 pages of the Scientific American by such people as John Holdren, now Obama’s science advisor. Lomborg’s opponents in Denmark accused him of scientific dishonesty. Lomborg effectively defended himself and the attacks backfired, making Lomborg famous.

Numerous other examples of attacks against persons skeptical of the environmental cannon could be cited. Characteristically the attacks are attempts to discredit and smear, not to engage in an honest debate. Honest public debate on environmental issues is rare. The claim, often repeated, that the doomsday claims of global warming are settled science, is a claim intended to shut down debate. People with honest scientific questions or objections are depicted as idiots who probably think the Earth is flat.

It may seem odd that scientists are emotionally fearful of modern technology. However, attacking modern science and technology is the stock in trade of environmental scientists. That is how they get attention and funding. The global warming scare has been a bonanza for climate scientists. Indisputably there are brilliant climate scientists, but scientists from harder sciences are likely to view climate scientists as second-rate scientists who give an excessive amount of credibility to computer models that don’t work very well.

As population bomb man Paul Ehrlich said, “to err is human but to really foul things up you need a computer.” He does not take his own advice, since he is a supporter of computerized global warming doomsday predictions. Climate scientists are seen to be opportunists, profiting from poorly supported doomsday predictions.

How should he global warming scare be combatted? The scientific theories promoted by the global warming advocates are soft targets. Their science is lousy. But critical scientific arguments are highly technical and only of use in getting authoritative scientists to join the skeptical side. To influence the vast majority of citizens, including non-specialist scientists, emotional arguments are necessary. My suggestion would be to paint a picture of a future when global warming promoters get what they want and everyone else loses money, mobility, jobs, etc. Combine this with authoritative scientists saying that global warming dogma is scientifically flawed and you have a winning formula.


Sen. Mcconnell, States Challenge EPA Clean Power Plan

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) appears to have few fans. Elected officials from 32 states have made public their objections.

Two states, Pennsylvania in October 2014 and West Virginia in early March 2015, have adopted laws requiring their respective states’ environmental protection agencies to submit for legislative approval any state implementation plan developed to comply with EPA’s CPP regulations. If legislators don’t approve the plans, the agencies must start again from scratch.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has developed model legislation based on the Pennsylvania bill. Several states, including Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, are considering the ALEC measure.

In September 2014, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming together filed a motion to expedite a court review of their lawsuit challenging EPA’s rules when they are finalized. The effort, led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, argues the regulation of retail electricity sales and local distribution has been a sovereign state function and the EPA rule would necessarily intrude into that sovereign authority without any clear congressional authorization for doing so. The states’ attorneys general note the EPA plan will result in “irreparable harm to the states and to the public.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has joined the fray, encouraging states to step up and/or continue their fight against the rule. To this I say, quoting Bruce Willis as the immortal John McClane in Die Hard, “Welcome to the party pal!

According to Real Clear Politics:

"In a letter to the National Governors Association, McConnell writes of his ‘serious legal and policy concerns’ with ‘this deeply misguided plan."

McConnell charges the EPA with ‘attempting to compel states to do more themselves than what the agency would be authorized to do on its own.’ McConnell argues that the EPA [is overreaching, stating] the CPP would now require states to ‘switch electricity generating sources,’ build ‘new generation and transmission,’ and ‘reduce demand.’ None of this is authorized by the Clean Air Act.

McConnell cited a National Economic Research Associates report estimating the CPP will cause a doubling of electricity rates in 43 states, with a total national cost of “nearly $479 billion over 15 years.” Yet McConnell notes, “the EPA admits that the ‘climate’ benefits of the CPP cannot be quantified,” in terms of temperature or sea level rise prevented.

McConnell said, “The EPA’s deadlines were very likely designed to force states to develop and submit implementation plans before the courts can decide on the legality of the CPP.” If a large number of states have state implementation plans in place prior to any legal challenges, this may seem to grant legitimacy to the CPP to the court. Therefore, McConnell recommends states “just say no” to EPA’s call for state action.


John Kerry in another useless gab-fest and photo opportunity

Two of every politician's favorite things.  But it's better than them actually doing something

Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the Arctic Circle next week for key ministerial talks on climate change amid global concerns about rising seas and accelerating ice melt.

Global warming is happening twice as fast in the Arctic than elsewhere on the planet and many fear not only devastating impacts of warming but also from an influx of people and industry on the pristine environment, wildlife and Inuit culture.

Kerry will attend a meeting of the Arctic Council in the north western Canadian town of Iqaluit, on Baffin Island.

The United States on 24 April formally takes over the two-year rotating membership of the intergovernmental forum, comprising countries with territory within the Arctic Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.

The body aims to promote cooperation on environmental protection, as well as to help govern oil and mineral exploitation, shipping, tourism and fishing.

America's priorities as the incoming chairman of the body "include addressing the impacts of climate change, Arctic Ocean safety, security and stewardship and improving economic and living conditions for people in the Arctic," said acting state department spokesperson Marie Harf.


Canadian Wind Leaseholders May Be On The Hook For Billions

A recent visit by members of the Ontario Landowners Association to the Land Registry Office in Goderich (Service Ontario) has revealed the registration of a one billion dollar mortgage by K2 Wind Ontario Inc. on 100 wind leaseholder properties in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh (ACW), home of the 140 turbine K2 Wind Project. They were looking for the original deed for a property and stumbled on K2 Wind’s charge. Certified public records indicate that some properties may be encumbered at twenty times their farm land value, or more.

“We don’t know the full ramifications of what we have discovered this week”, stated Dave Hemingway, President of the Huron Perth Landowners Association. “We know that K2 Wind is not the only wind company following this practice but we don’t know at this point just how many others are involved.” Mr. Hemingway went on to say, “This raises some serious questions. Have the wind developers been smooth talkers and have rural leaseholders been too naïve and trusting? This might very well impact leaseholders’ ability to borrow money for their farming operations.”

Mr. Hemingway states that this discovery could have a profound effect on a leaseholders’ ability to borrow money, sell the farm or otherwise do what he/she sees fit with their own land.

The Ontario Landowners Association has been promoting the concept of property rights for landowners and has been encouraging them to make application for their Crown Land Patent. As part of this program the association encourages property owners to get a copy of the original deed for when the property was transferred from the Crown to private ownership. In the Huron Perth area, this happened from around 1830. The Crown sold the land to the Canada Company which then sold parcels to the local landowners of the time. The Huron Perth Landowners Association has published a Crown Letters Patent booklet to explain what a Crown Letters Patent is and how to get one for your own property. The association also recommends getting the original deed for one’s property which sets out the terms under which the first individual landowner received the property rights which have subsequently becomes the current owner’s property rights.



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, 2015

Record high temperature -- by 5 hundredths of one degree Celsius!

It's statistically meaningless, of course.  And the land-based record is crap anyway.  Only the satellite measurements give full coverage -- and are much harder to "rig"

The Earth experienced its hottest month of March since record-keeping began in 1880.  There's been no break from the globe's record heat - the first three months of 2015 have all set new high temperature marks.  Last month's average temperature soared to 56.4°F (13.6°C), averaging 1.5°F (0.85°C) above the average for the 20th century.

The data, released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) takes into account global averages across land and sea surfaces.

It follows earlier announcements from US government scientists that 2014 was the hottest year in modern history.

'This was the highest for March in the 1880-2015 record, surpassing the previous record of 2010 by 0.09°F (0.05°C),' said the report.


Hottest Year? Not According To Satellites, Joe!

Even at this early stage of the year, there is a concerted effort to make it the “warmest evah”.  Joe Romm has this graph of the GISS numbers for the first three months of the year, and Gavin has clearly been busy!

Unfortunately, the more comprehensive and accurate satellites show no such thing.

For January to March, UAH rank this as only 4th warmest behind 2010, 1998 and even 2007.

According to RSS, this year so far is even lower down the rankings in 8th place.

Given the weak El Nino conditions in place since last April, there is nothing out of the ordinary about the satellite rankings.

We have been repeatedly assured for the past year that satellite temperatures would catch up with the surface datasets. They have not, and instead the latter continue to diverge more and more.

The alarmist tactic now is to tell us to simply ignore the satellite data, as it is “not measuring the same thing”, and is therefore somehow irrelevant. This is all highly amusing, as the UK Met Office, back in 2013, was reassuring us that the surface datasets were reliable as:

“Changes in temperature observed in surface data records are corroborated by records of temperatures in the troposphere recorded by satellites”

This divergence is now becoming the elephant in the room, which the likes of NASA and their media allies are desperately trying to ignore.

It is time that the matter was fully investigated by a properly independent inquiry.

More HERE  (See the original for links & more  graphics)

Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry rips ‘manufactured consensus’ – Human influence is NOT ‘dominant over natural climate variability’

Georgia Tech Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry on The Mark Levin Show – April 15, 2015.  Selected radio excerpts – Listen to full interview (click on April 15 show – Curry begins at 57 min.)

Curry on Consensus: “I am a scientist who thinks independently  and I happen to disagree with the manufactured consensus about climate change. Just because scientists agree on something doesn’t mean its right. [If you have seen] the collapse of the consensus on cholesterol and heart disease– that one collapsed overnight. I can only hope that sanity will eventually prevail with the climate problem as well.”

Curry on Predictions: “We don’t really know what the climate is going to be like in 70 years. I am sure we will be surprised.”

Curry on impact of CO2: “The carbon dioxide that humans are putting into the atmosphere does have a warming tendency, but it’s not clear that [CO2] is going to dominate with the other things that are going on with the sun or volcanic eruptions or deep ocean circulations – the things that contribute to natural climate variability. Those are the things that could really surprise us.”

Curry on 97% consensus claims: “The so-called 97% consensus is about fairly trivial things: ‘Yes the temperature is warming; Yes, humans are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and Yes, carbon dioxide does have a greenhouse effect. But that doesn’t tell us whether human caused climate change is dominating over natural climate change and that is where the big debate is about.

On balance, I don’t see any particular dangers from greenhouse warming….[Humans do] influence climate to some extent, what we do with land-use changes and what we put into the atmosphere. But I don’t think its a large enough impact to dominate over natural climate variability. It’s become ideology driven at this point. laughs. Yes definitely.”

Curry on being targeted by Congressman Grijalva of Arizona: “I was one of seven scientists he targeted. All of us had been called to testify by Republicans and wanted our emails and grant information and our travel information and all sorts of info like that. Trying to question our integrity and make us look untrustworthy…At this point, I am used to it. It was really pointless and I think its backfired…

They were trying to smoke out if any of us were getting money from oil companies…It’s an absolute red herring. it doesn’t make any difference.”


The American Environmental Movement - The American Counter-Movement Perspective

A loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires presides over a vast well-knit network of like-minded funders, government bureaucrats, and enviro-activists who manufacture phony grassroots campaigns and churn out bogus propaganda disguised as science and journalism in an effort to control economic decision-making across America.

The green billionaires oversee America’s environmental movement which in turn steers major policy decisions and lobbies to further empower ideologically aligned government agencies, like the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), that are statutorily prohibited from lobbying on their own behalves.

Supposedly unbiased agencies like the EPA are run by career environmentalists who work hand-in-glove with their allies in the environmentalist non-governmental organization (ENGO) community. Members of this green state elite have no experience as elected politicians nor in business nor in labour. They are bureaucrats, academics, and former ENGO activists. Having seized branches of government, they now lavish tax dollars upon the ENGOs. Obama’s Administration is unprecedentedly stacked with closed-minded enviro-activists.

American environmentalism’s current agenda centres on aggressively tightening regulations on the coal and oil industries to evermore controversial levels. These and other environmental regulations cost businesses and consumers tens of billions of dollars a year. This enviro-regulatory regime is being gamed by rent-seeking crony capitalists from the renewable energy and pollution control industries who now number among environmentalism’s principal cheerleaders.

Environmentalism’s victories come at the expense of American workers and small businesses. Enviro-regulations cause unemployment, and unemployment undermines the health and well-being of ordinary Americans. Environmentalism consolidates wealth and power into the hands of the already wealthy and powerful. Environmentalism hurts the poor.

If the above passage seems eccentric, overly antagonistic, and perhaps a tad radical, then you are in for a surprise. The above passage is a faithful synopsis of an assessment of environmentalism widely held by members of the United States Republican Party.

This posting condenses and collates four publications from late 2014; two written by Republican staffers employed by the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; and two published by Republican-allied free-market think-tanks.


Heartland’s James M. Taylor Wins Debate Against Floridians for Solar Choice

Heartland Institute Senior Fellow James Taylor soundly defeated Floridians for Solar Choice chairman Tory Perfetti in a debate on creating a special monopoly carve-out for solar power in Florida, the Tampa Tribune and other media reports. The verdict throws cold water on media claims that grassroots conservatives and libertarians are uniting to support giving solar power its desired monopoly carve-out.

Floridians for Solar Choice, which receives 98 percent of its funding from the Atlanta-based anti-coal, anti-natural gas, anti-nuclear power group Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, is attempting to convince Florida free-market advocates that giving solar power – and solar power alone – the monopoly right to sell electricity directly to consumers from small-scale equipment advances free markets because it strikes a blow at regulated utilities.

In a March 24 debate hosted by the Tampa 912 Project, Taylor explained that the proposed solar monopoly carve-out does nothing to introduce free-market competition among utilities. Moreover, the solar monopoly carve-out extends and entrenches anti-free market forces by creating a new monopoly regime and giving the monopoly solely to the solar power industry.

Taylor pointed out the solar power industry would not even exist if not for its successful lobbying for government cronyism and special favors that keep the uneconomical industry afloat. Taxpayers give direct cash subsidies to the solar power industry for 30 percent of the cost of solar power equipment, and most states require consumers to purchase renewable power – including solar power – as part of their electricity mix even though solar power remains five times more expensive than conventional power.

After the debate, the Tampa Tribune reported Perfetti pitched the solar power carve-out “to about 70 members and friends of the Tampa 912 Project, precisely the sort of tea party group that has validated descriptions of supporters as ‘an unusual coalition’ that includes conservatives, libertarians and far-left environmentalists. Well, nobody asked the skeptical Tampa 912ers, and, matched against Heartland Institute senior fellow for environmental and energy policy James Taylor, the best Perfetti could manage was a golf clap.”

The American Spectator affirmed the Tampa Tribune’s verdict:

There was no vote or show of hands at the end of the presentations. No accounting of which presenter swayed more of the congregation. My subjective reaction was that the applause for Taylor was enthusiastic, for Perfetti polite. At the end, Perfetti did not ask for an endorsement of his amendment. And no one offered, though several people told me afterward that they liked the idea. More said they didn’t.


"To the Museums of Science and Natural History" - An Open Response

William Happer, Chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, is leading an effort to persuade American museums to reject calls in an open letter dated March 24, 2015, by a number of scientists that U.S. museums of science and natural history divest themselves of investments and donations from fossil fuel interests.

Not only would such an ill-advised move deny these vital American institutions much-needed funding to keep them open to the American public, it would also lend credence to the erroneous belief that fossil fuels are a great evil rather than the only cheap and efficient form of energy readily available to continue to lift hundreds of millions of our fellow human beings out of a life of poverty, starvation, and disease.

Professor Happer, along with a number of other members of the Marshall Institute board and distinguished scientists, responded to the open letter with one of their own on April 16, 2015, and urge the boards and management of America's science and natural history museums to "reject the exceptionally bad and misguided advice in the letter. Abandoning fossil fuels, aside from the economic impossibility of that proposition, would not help the environment but would likely harm it, and would be profoundly anti-human and immoral. Without the benefits of low-cost and abundant energy from fossil fuels, much of the world's poor today and in the future would be condemned to continued poverty, ignorance and exploitation."

The George C. Marshall Institute proudly supports and applauds the efforts of Professor Happer, members of our board, and the many distinguished scientists for their continued moral courage and intellectual honesty on this vital issue, and we hope that all of our friends and supporters will do the same.

Via email


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


19 April, 2015

Stinky kids: EPA Tells Kids to Avoid Baths and Asks them to Check Toilets for Leaks

As part of its effort to help save the planet from the dangers of taking too many baths, the EPA’s WaterSense program is trying to convince kids they should avoid bathtubs in favor of showers, which it says is a far more efficient use of water.

“To save even more water, keep your shower under five minutes long—try timing yourself with a clock next time you hop in!” the “WaterSense for Kids” website says.

In addition to convincing kids to stay away from the tub, the EPA’s website instructs children to be careful not to give plants or the yard too much water, to ask parents to use car washes that recycle used water, and to avoid using hoses whenever possible. The EPA even suggests kids conduct experiments with parents to test toilets for leaks.

When kids aren’t busy timing their showers to ensure they remain as unclean as possible and training to be future plumbers, they can “test” their “water sense” by playing EPA’s Pac-Man-inspired online game starring the “water-efficiency hero,” Flo. The goal of the game is to move Flo, a cartoon water drop, “through water pipes and answer water-efficiency questions while avoiding water-wasting monsters.”

There’s nothing kids hate more than those darn water-wasting monsters.

You can add this pathetic attempt by the EPA to brainwash kids into feeling guilty every single time they flush the toilet to the long list of ridiculous efforts the federal agency has made recently to control every aspect of Americans’ lives.

In February, the EPA announced it had serious concerns over the expansion of the Keystone Pipeline, a project projected to create thousands of jobs. “Construction of the pipeline is projected to change the economics of oil sands development and result in increased oil sands production, and the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions, over what would otherwise occur,” the EPA said.

Citing EPA’s findings, President Barack Obama vetoed a bill that would have finally approved the pipeline expansion in late February.

In March, it was revealed the EPA provided a $15,000 grant to the University of Tulsa to develop a device that could “modify” hotel guests’ behavior by monitoring shower times and water use, adding a whole new creepy dimension to the concept of “big brother.”

The EPA has a responsibility to ensure the United States’ environment is not absolutely destroyed by human development, and it’s reasonable to say all Americans have a legitimate right to ask its government to protect certain lands, waterways, and natural resources from abuse. But the EPA has consistently gone far beyond what’s reasonable, entering into a realm of regulation development that attempts to bring the nation back to the 17th century.

For instance, the EPA recommends businesses consider installing “composting toilets,” which are just as disgusting as they sound, to save the maximum amount of water.

Teaching our children to conserve nature is important, but unreasonable and unsanitary mandates from bureaucrats in Washington, DC—who, by the way, expel countless tons of carbon dioxide in their behemoth urban office buildings—hinder economic and cultural growth and mislead impressionable kids into believing it’s a grave sin to take a bath or wash the family car with a garden hose.


Will there be a National Conversation after environmentalist shoots energy worker?

Get ready for a week of introspection from the press, particularly the left-leaning media, as a wave of tortured self-criticism characterizes coverage of what is sure to dominate the news cycle for the foreseeable future… LOL. Just kidding!

A disturbing story flagged by The Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay out of West Virginia indicates that a man, enraged by the drilling taking place in his state, shot an employee of an energy exploitation company on Monday.

A man dressed in camouflage with his face painted black approached Mark Miller, an employee with HG Energy LLC, on Joe’s Creek near Sod, Napier said.

“At that time he played Mr. Miller a recording that said ‘Stop the drilling’ and then stuck a gun through the window of the passenger side of the truck,” [Lincoln County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy J.J.] Napier said.

A reporter with The Charleston Gazette called a member of the West Virginia Sierra Club for comment and received unequivocal condemnation of this violent incident, but the episode has received little attention in the national press.

For a media culture that is quick to blame conservatives for every episode of violence with a potential political motive, the commentary community’s silence on this incident is deafening.

The Washington Examiner’s T. Becket Adams, formerly of The Blaze, has a solid set of examples of the media’s lamentable impulse to link conservative rhetoric to episodes of violence.

It was this impulse that led ABC News reporter Brian Ross to link a 52-year-old tea party member to the mass murder of Colorado theater-goers in 2012. It was this impulse that led some to ponder whether “racism” and “the tea party movement” led University of Alabama in Huntsville professor Dr. Amy Bishop to shoot 12 of her colleagues in 2010. It was this impulse that prompted some accused Andrew Joseph Stack of being an ardent conservative when he flew a small plane into an IRS building in Austin. It was this impulse that inspired editorialists like Paul Krugman, Matthew Yglesias, and Dana Milbank to blame Sarah Palin for Jared Lee Loughner’s attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her staff.

Nor would this episode in West Virginia constitute the only example of violence committed in the name of ecological consciousness in recent memory. In 2010, James Lee took two starter pistols and an explosive device into the Maryland headquarters of Discovery Communication where he took three people hostage for several hours. “Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what’s left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture,” Lee wrote in his manifesto. Police shot and killed Lee, but not before he terrorized Discovery employees because he was allegedly enraged by Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

This incident didn’t seem to inspire many on the environmental left to lead a “national conversation” about the “culture of hate” their zealotry had wrought.

But for all the left’s efforts to impugn the tea party movement as replete with violent sociopaths, they often find it impossible to fathom the notion that their rhetoric could be prompting the violent to behave violently.

When Floyd Lee Corkins attacked the Family Research Council and shot a security guard because, as he told investigators, the group was listed as an anti-gay organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the left did not blame the SPLC for Corkins actions. When two police officers were assassinated in Brooklyn following weeks of anti-law enforcement hysteria on the left, liberals did not castigate their own for demanding posthumous justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown. And the left will not raise much of a peep over this episode of terroristic violence in West Virginia.

As the right has been pointing out for the better part of half a decade, the only people responsible for acts of violence are those who commit violent acts. If conservatives think the Sierra Club is responsible for this attack in some way, they will find a rather onerous burden of proof on their shoulders. But it isn’t a trait native to the right to blame others for the actions of one criminal individual. Too often, it is the left that is consumed with identifying societal explanations for the behavior of a deranged few. Maybe identifying those societal causes, however dubious, provides progressives with a sense of control over what are fundamentally chaotic developments that can neither be predicted nor prevented. Maybe they merely want to tar their political opponents. Who knows? But it is clear now that the root causes for violence don’t seem to bother the left so long as those roots are embedded in liberal soil.


The American people aren’t stupid enough to buy the man-made climate change crisis narrative

By Marita Noon

climate changeLate last year, the name Jonathan Gruber became part of the public consciousness for his newly public declarations that Obamacare passed due to the “stupidity of the American voter.” While there are many cases one can cite affirming that most Americans don’t closely follow politics and/or the political process and, therefore, may be called “stupid,” the campaign to sell the man-made climate change crisis narrative proves otherwise.

We are smarter than they think. We are not buying what they are selling.

Global warming has been the most expensive and extensive “public relations campaign in history” — as David Harsanyi calls it in his post at He identifies the “25 years of political and cultural pressure,” as including “most governmental agencies, a long list of welfare-sucking corporations, the public school system, the universities, an infinite parade of celebrities, think tanks, well-funded environmental groups and an entire major political party.” Yet, despite all the “gentle nudging,” “stern warnings,” and “fear mongering,” Harsanyi states: “Since 1989, there’s been no significant change in the public’s concern level over global warming.”

Based on new polling data from Gallup, Harsanyi points out that with the past 25 years of messaging, even among Democrats those who “worry greatly” about global warming has only increased “by a mere four percentage points” — with no change in the general public in the past two years.

A Pew Research Center poll on the Keystone pipeline — also the target of years of intense messaging and fearmongering — offers similar insights: “Support for the Keystone XL pipeline is almost universal,” reads the Washington Post headline. The poll results report that only those who self-identify as “solid liberals” oppose the pipeline.

Clearly, Americans aren’t that stupid after all. We can smell a rat.

It isn’t that we don’t believe the climate changes — it does, has, and always will — but, as Harsanyi states, “There is a difference in believing climate change is real and believing that climate change is calamitous.” He continues, “As the shrieking gets louder, Americans become more positive about the quality of their environment and less concerned about the threats.” He adds, “As the fear-mongering becomes more far-fetched, the accusations become more hysterical, and the deadlines for action keep being pushed right over the horizon, fewer people seem to really care.”

Harsanyi concludes, “If you haven’t been able to win over the public in 25 years of intense political and cultural pressure, you are probably down to two options: You can revisit your strategy, open debate to a wide range of ideas, accept that your excited rhetoric works on a narrow band of the Americans (in any useful political sense), and live with the reality that most people have no interest in surrendering prosperity. Or, you can try to force people to do what you want.”

With the huge investment of time and money, it appears the fearmongers have chosen the latter option. The regulatory scheme coming out of Washington reflects an acknowledgement that the PR campaign has failed, but that the effort is continually being forced on people who don’t want it — though they may not be following it closely or they may not be politically engaged.

The climate campaigners are continuing to do that which hasn’t worked for the past 25 years—somehow believing they’ll get different results (Isn’t that the definition of insanity?).

On March 6, Merchants of Doubt, “a documentary that looks at pundits-for-hire,” was released. It aimed to smear the reputations of some of the most noted voices on the realist side of the climate change debate — specifically Fred Singer who has been one of the original climate skeptics. But nobody much wanted to see it. In its opening weekend, reports Merchants of Doubt took in $20,300.

A week later, former Vice President Al Gore, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, called on attendees at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX to “punish climate change deniers” — which is the tactic being used now.

We’ve seen it in the widely-publicized case of Dr. Willie Soon, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who claims “that the variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming.” The New York Times accused him of being tied to funding from “corporate interests.”

Similar, though less well-known, attacks have been made on Henrik Moller — Denmark’s leading academic expert on noise research, who was fired by his university after exposing a wide-reaching cover-up by the Danish government of the health risks caused by wind turbine noise pollution. And on eminent meteorologist Lennart Bengtsson, who received worldwide pressure after he stated, “I believe it is important to express different views in an area that is potentially so important and complex and still insufficiently known as climate change.”

Even Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) and Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) recently joined the crusade. Paul Driessen draws attention to a letter they sent to “institutions that employ or support climate change researchers whose work questions claims that Earth and humanity face unprecedented man-made climate change catastrophes.” The lawmakers warn of potential “conflicts of interest” in cases where evidence or computer modeling emphasizing human causes of climate change are questioned — but no such warning is offered for its supporters.  Driessen states, “Conflicts of interest can indeed pose problems. However, it is clearly not only fossil fuel companies that have major financial or other interests in climate and air quality standards — nor only man-made climate change skeptics who can have conflicts and personal, financial or institutional interests in these issues.” He quotes Dr. Richard Lindzen, MIT atmospheric sciences professor emeritus and one of Grijalva’s targets: “Billions of dollars have been poured into studies supporting climate alarm, and trillions of dollars have been involved in overthrowing the energy economy.”

But somehow, only those who may receive funding from “fossil fuel companies” are suspect. The anti-fossil fuel movement has been vocal in its funding for candidates who support its agenda.

I’ve experienced this on a small scale. I wrote an op-ed for the Albuquerque Journal warning New Mexico residents about concerns over SolarCity’s arrival in the state — which included offering 30-year financing for rooftop solar panels. A week later, the paper published an op-ed that didn’t discount my data, but accused my organization of receiving funding from the fossil-fuel industry. The op-ed was written by an employee of SolarCity — but this didn’t seem incongruous.

The little attack on me allowed me to ask for people to counteract the claim that the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy is not an “alliance of citizens.” The outpouring of support astounded me—though the newspaper didn’t post every comment.

Others, with whom I have been in contact, while doing research for this writing, provided similar stories of support following the attacks.

In a Desmog post titled: “Climate deniers double down on doubt in the defense of Willie Soon,” the author states that Soon’s supporters “circled the wagons.”

In a Scientific American story about the Merchants of Doubt, Andrew Hoffman, a professor at the University of Michigan, who studies the behavior of climate skeptics, says, “Tit-for-tats between mainstream and contrarian researchers tend to raise the profile of skeptical scientists.” He concludes, “Frankly, this degradation benefits the skeptics.”

Because of the failure of the man-made climate-crisis campaign to capture the hearts and minds of the average American — who, after all, isn’t that stupid — we can expect the Gore-ordered attacks to continue. Expect the fearmongering to become more far-fetched, the accusations to become more hysterical, and the deadlines for action to keep being pushed right over the horizon. When this happens, “fewer people seem to really care.”

Like the mythical Hydra, when one “skeptic” is cut down, supporters “double down” — two more grow to take its place. While designed to silence, the attacks draw attention to the fact that there is another side to the “debate.”


Ship engine complexities after Green regulations

Since the implementation of Emission Control Areas (ECAs) on January 1, 2015, ships entering waters in the Baltic Sea; the North Sea; the North American ECA, including most of the U.S. and Canadian coast, as well as the French overseas collectivities of St. Pierre and Miquelon; and the U.S. Caribbean ECA, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands Sea had to use fuels with up to 0.1% sulphur content.

Shell Marine Products (SMP) was the first to introduce a complete line of ECA-approved marine lubricants in September 2014.  This complete portfolio includes Shell Alexia S3, formulated for use in two-stroke engines with low sulphur and distillate fuels up to 0.5% sulphur.  SMP also offers Shell Gadinia for medium-speed four-stroke engines like the one in the Harvey Energy, Shell’s new chartered offshore supply vessel (OSV) in the Gulf of Mexico.  Shell Mysella for gas-powered engines is used on Shell’s chartered barge Greenstream, the world’s first 100-percent LNG-powered barge which carries goods along Europe’s Rhine River.

“We have been pleasantly surprised by the demand that our ECA-approved lubricants have gotten.  We have been quick to expand availability of our product range throughout our port network.  Today, Shell Alexia S3 is available in over 330 ports in 20 countries, while Shell Gadinia and Shell Mysella are available throughout our global port network,” said Jan Toschka, General Manager of Shell Marine Products.

The combination of newer high-performance engines, practices like slow steaming and now, ECA zone implementation have presented increased complexity among ship operators, who tend to switch fuels and engine oils as they go in and out of ECA zones.


Why Environmentalists Will Eventually Hate Renewable Power

The proliferation of renewable energy will never please environmentalists. In fact, the more efficient and inexpensive energies like solar and wind become, the more environmentalists will fear and eventually hate them.

Currently, arguments against renewable energy are based on the accurate claim they are too inefficient to become widespread. The technology behind solar and wind power are just not where they need to be to justify widespread use.

In October 2014, data revealed the massive Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert fell well short of its anticipated output. During an eight-month period in 2013, the solar plant missed its goal by a whopping 40 percent.

Because of stories like these, many are reluctant to support large government subsidies for renewable energy projects. The lackluster performance of alternative energies have led several states to reconsider legislation requiring a portion of their energy to come from renewable sources. In January, West Virginia made headlines when the state ended its mandate in full.

The inability of alternative energies to compete with fossil fuels does not deter environmentalists. They see renewables as a solution to the problem of rising CO2 in the atmosphere and the climate change they say inevitably results from it. Their goal is to save Earth from climate disruption.

But what happens when renewable technology does become efficient enough to replace fossil fuels? What if another energy technology is developed that supplies us with abundant and pollution-free energy? The resulting scenario is one environmentalists fear the most: Civilization growth unconstrained by the threat of climate disruption.

This fear was exposed in 1989, when two scientists announced they produced excess energy through the process of cold fusion. This revelation, which turned out to be false, would have the potential to produce inexpensive and inexhaustible energy. People believed we were on the verge of creating free energy. This concept caused many environmentalists to show their true colors.

While people rejoiced at the prospect of free energy, author and activist Jeremy Rifkin was quoted by the Los Angeles Times saying, “It’s the worst thing that could happen to our planet.” Rifkin envisioned a world filled with waste—a world where people were free to use up Earth’s resources.

Biologist Paul Ehrlich said, “[It’s] like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.”

These environmentalists and many others reacted this way because the real threat, in their eyes, is human development and growth.

In the same article referred to above, environmentalists voiced concerns that abundant energy would open the door to an increase in population growth, the result being a “crowded earth.” This fear is still held today by environmentalists like Bill McKibben.

McKibben, considered to be “America’s most important environmentalist” by the Boston Globe, became a big name in the global warming debate in 1989 with the publishing of End of Nature. Since then, McKibben has written several more books about mankind’s impact on the environment, such as Maybe One: A Personal and Environmental Argument for Single Child Families.

In Maybe One, McKibben makes the case for potentially painfulpopulation control. Population control is necessary in the minds of many environmentalists like McKibben because large populations inevitably lead to more homes, office buildings, cars, shopping centers, and trash. This is why McKibben wrote in his two books Deep Economy (2007) and Eaarth(2010) that he did not want to see an increase in development but rather a “controlled decline.”

Environmentalists do not see fossil fuels and CO2 as a threat to mankind; they see mankind as a threat to the environment. Advocating for renewable energy is just an excuse to implement a constriction of fossil-fuel use and development across the world. If the time comes where renewable, clean, and abundant energies become a reality, environmentalists will surely withdraw their support in the name of protecting the planet.


Cornel West warns of 'Planetary Selma' at Harvard fossil fuel  protest

West is primarily an entertainer, though his comment on Mr Obama has something to be said for it. He has called Obama "a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats."

The outspoken civil rights activist and academic Cornel West said Harvard University risked being on the wrong side of a “planetary Selma”, culminating a week-long campaign by students and prominent alumni campaigning for the most prominent university in the US to divest from fossil fuels.

The sit-in protest shut down the campus building that houses the president’s office for the entirety of so-called “heat week”, and forced the closure of another administration building for two days.

Harvard’s administration – despite a reported $79m worth of direct investments in coal, oil and gas companies and likely much more indirectly – has stayed relatively quiet on the growing issue of divestment, but there were signs that the movement had made progress.

Drew Faust, the university’s president, had been “moved” by the protest, said Bill McKibben, a Harvard alumnus and leading environmentalist who has worked closely with fossil fuel divestment initiatives across US college campuses and with the Guardian’s “Keep it in the Ground” campaign.

Faust, who has rejected divestment as “neither warranted or wise”, even reached out to a leader of the student protest movement for a one-on-one meeting.

The student, McKibben said, told the president she wanted a public meeting instead.

“It’s climate justice, more than anything,” McKibben said in an inteview with the Guardian. “And no one has stood on the side of reason and justice more than Cornel West.”

West, in a final protest organised by the student group Divest Harvard, pushed even further on Faust.

“Ecological catastrophe is as evil as white supremacist catastrophe, anti-Jewish catastrophe, anti-gay catastrophe, anti-Muslim catastrophe,” West said to loud applause on Friday. “Doctor Faust, we now have a planetary Selma. We want you on the right side.”

McKibben said he was realistic but hopeful about the long-term effect of the week’s protests and others at universities such as Yale and Syracuse.  “I don’t believe it’ll lead to Harvard divesting right away,” he said. “But the world around Harvard is moving, and the people here making such a noise are the reason it is moving.”

West, the longtime activist and academic who was recently arrested while protesting in Ferguson, said environmental activism had parallels to a new civil rights movement.

“We’re fighting against injustice,” he told the Guardian before his remarks at the protest on Friday. “We have to get a handle on the impending ecological catastrophe.”



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, 2015

Indian government crackdown on anti-development Greenies hindered by the courts

The Indian government has stepped up its campaign against Greenpeace’s subcontinental arm by freezing the organisation’s bank accounts after a Delhi High Court twice fended off government attacks on the NGO.

The account Greenpeace India uses to store international funds has already been frozen once - purportedly because Greenpeace’s advocacy had “prejudicially affected the national interest” - but was restored by the courts earlier this year.

In January, Justice Rajiv Shakdher reversed the government’s “untenable” decision, because “there [was] no material whatsoever on record which would justify declining [Greenpeace’s] request for allowing it access to its bank account”.

“Non-Governmental Organisations often take positions which are contrary to the policies formulated by the Government of the day,” he noted. “That by itself, in my view, cannot be used to portray [Greenpeace’s] actions as being detrimental to national interest.”

Greenpeace said the government is trying to shut it down because it has been critical of its development agenda, which it argues is inequitable and damaging to the environment due to its reliance on coal and other polluting activities.

Human rights groups, as well as the courts, have met the government’s financial interventions with scepticism.

“It is clear that Greenpeace is being targeted because its strong views and campaigns question the government’s development policies,” G.Ananthapadmanabhan, the Executive Director at Amnesty International India, said.

One campaign in particular, which aims to shine a light on alleged human rights abuses connected with a mining development in Madya Pradesh province, has embarrassed the government.

The development - known as the Mahan Coal Block - would have destroyed 400,000 trees and the livelihoods of 50,000 people, Greenpeace said.

In a bid to draw attention to the issue a Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai was due to fly to London in January to meet with British MPs. When she got to the airport, though, she discovered she had been blacklisted and was not permitted to leave the country.

The government’s interference was slammed by Amnesty International India, which described the move as a further attempt “to disable an organisation for promoting the voices of some of the country’s most powerless people”.

Ms Pillai took the government to the Delhi High Court which, in January, found her fundamental rights had been infringed.

Criticism like Pillai’s may not be “palatable” to the government, Justice Shakdher ruled, but “it cannot be muzzled”.

“The State may not accept the views of the civil right activists, but that by itself, cannot be a good enough reason to do away with dissent,” he said in his judgement.

He ruled that the travel restrictions violated fundamental rights and noted that there was nothing on the record to suggest that Greenpeace’s activities “have the potentiality of degrading the economic interest of the country”.

Allowing the government to form a “subjective view” of activists as “anti-national”, Justice Shakdher said, “would result in conferring un-canalised and arbitrary power in the executive”.

Ironically, the government has since backed down on its Mahan Coal Block plans, and will only clear three of the 74 blocks it had originally intended to.

"Even as we celebrate this win for thousands of Indians, we are painfully aware that Mahan is just one of hundreds of coalmines planned in forested India,” Pillai said at the time.

Just under three weeks later, on Apirl 9, Greenpeace received a notice advising that both its domestic and international fund bank accounts would be frozen.

The notice alleges a range of tax infringements, unapproved relocation of its offices and, again, that Greenpeace International funds were used in a way prejudicial to the national interest.

The green group now has 30 days to respond, and will be forced back to the courts to have its funds unblocked.


£1 billion lagoon that could be Britain's pottiest ever green scheme


Just when it seemed that our national energy policy — alongside defence of the realm, an absolute priority, to keep the lights on — couldn’t be managed in a madder or more alarming way, along comes the most bizarre project of all.

This is a £1 billion scheme to build a colossal U-shaped stone breakwater, six miles long, enclosing the whole of Swansea Bay in South Wales, containing 16 giant submerged turbines, whose blades would be seven metres across.

The idea is that these would be driven by the water pouring through them from both directions by the 30ft daily rise and fall of the Bristol Channel’s tides, the second highest in the world.

This mammoth scheme, recently given a glowing plug on the BBC’s Countryfile, is said to have everything going for it.

It is backed by an array of financial investors, led by the giant Prudential insurance company. Also behind it are our most influential ‘green’ lobby groups, such as Friends of the Earth, the World Wildlife Fund and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The ‘tidal lagoon’ project, which would be like nothing else built anywhere before, is favoured by politicians of all parties, led by Lib Dem Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey, who can barely contain his excitement, saying that tidal power offers Britain ‘fantastic economic opportunities’.

The plan was given positive mention in George Osborne’s recent Budget speech, and has now been included in the Conservative manifesto.

On the internet, there is a picture of David Cameron meeting the chief executive of Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP), the company behind the scheme. So, the project certainly has friends in high places.

Fast-tracked through the planning process, it has already been approved by government inspectors, so all that remains to start construction is a final go-ahead from the energy minister.

In fact, the man responsible for the scheme, TLP’s Mark Shorrock, hopes five more such schemes will follow — including one six times as big which he is planning for Cardiff Bay up the coast.

Between them, it is claimed, these lagoons will not just ‘power every home in Wales’ but will put the Principality ‘at the heart of a hugely lucrative global tidal lagoon industry’.

However, when one looks carefully at the figures used to support this wave of euphoria, some rather large and troubling doubts begin to emerge.

For a start, the immense capital cost means that TLP is asking the Government to agree to it being given a uniquely high subsidy.

The project will only work, it says, if the power produced can be sold to the National Grid at the so-called ‘strike price’ of a staggering £168 per megawatt hour.

This is well over three times the wholesale price of unsubsidised electricity from coal or gas-fired power stations.

It is even more costly than the £155 per megawatt hour given to the hugely subsidised offshore wind farms the Government is erecting round our coasts. Even more than the £92.50 offered to the proposed nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

It would make Swansea’s tidal power easily the most expensive electricity in the world, paid for by every UK householder through green surcharges on our electricity bills.

But more astonishing is how little electricity the turbines are likely to produce. Although their full capacity, if they could produce at full power 24 hours a day, is rated at 320 megawatts, in fact they would turn, at varying speeds, for only some 14 hours a day, as the tides flow in and out.

So the figure coyly given by the project’s backers is merely that they will produce about ‘500,000 megawatt hours’ a year, enough supposedly to power ‘155,000 homes’.

But divide that by the number of hours in the year (8,760) and it means the average output of all the turbines would be only 57 megawatts, or 18 per cent of their capacity.

Compared with other power stations, this is peanuts. By comparison, the gas-fired power station being built by a French firm at Carrington in Manchester for the same capital cost of £1 billion will be capable of generating 880 megawatts — that’s 15 times as much.

Of course, lagoon-energy fans will point out that this Manchester power station will have to pay millions of pounds for its gas supply, while Swansea’s tides are free. But in economic terms it still makes no sense to plunge into such a colossal capital investment simply to obtain a pitiful dribble of electricity.

It is predicted that, even with a mind-boggling subsidy, the scheme would give a return of only £83 million a year. For anything less, this would surely be a total economic non-starter.

Project boss Mark Shorrock claims that if the go-ahead is given, his other plans — two more in South Wales, one across the Bristol Channel in Bridgwater Bay, others in North Wales and Cumbria — would be on a bigger scale and so generate energy more efficiently.

This, he argues, would reduce their need for subsidies and make electricity as cheap as that from nuclear or even gas-fired power plants.

But any idea that, between them all, they could generate enough electricity to power ‘every home in Wales’ is pure fantasy — not least because they will still need back-up from conventional power stations during all those hours when the tidal power falls as low as zero.

There are other aspects of the plans that seem worrying.

Since Mr Shorrock got into ‘renewable’ energy 14 years ago, he has made millions from wind and solar farms and loves to talk about how we must save the planet from global warming.

His empire’s holding company, of which he is chief executive officer and sole shareholder, is Shire Oak Energy.

Shire has a commercial arrangement whereby he sells all his heavily subsidised electricity to a firm called Good Energy — of which his wife is chief executive — which sells it on to the public.

A company document reveals that, as reward for Good Energy hiring Shire Oak to find ‘renewable’ sites and arranging their financing, her firm has, in recent years, promised commission to her husband’s company of up to £3 million.

Meanwhile, one of Shire Oak’s subsidiaries, of which Mr Shorrock is also the boss, has run into a controversy in Cornwall over its plan to reopen a disused quarry next to the little village of St Keverne, on the Lizard.

Here, Mr Shorrock hopes to create a mini-port from which 10,000-ton barges can take 1.2 million tons of stone a year to build his planned breakwater in Swansea Bay.

When he went to St Keverne in January to explain his plans, he was startled to find the hall packed with several hundred angry locals, concerned about the disruption and environmental damage quarrying would cause.

But the real £1 billion question is, how could Mr Shorrock have won top-level political backing for his project?

The answer, alas, is that politicians of all parties have become so obsessed with their commitment to cut our ‘carbon emissions’ by four-fifths under the Climate Change Act of 2008 that they have totally lost touch with any practical reality.

They can never hope to build the tens of thousands of wind turbines they dream of to meet that absurd target, as ministers wrongly continue to close down the ‘fossil fuel’ power stations which supply 70 per cent of the electricity we all need.

Lost in ‘green’ make-believe, they have fallen for as dotty an energy project as this country has seen. All that stands in its way is the final say-so of whoever becomes Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change after the election.

Tragically, anyone with such a cumbersome job title will, I fear, be so obsessed with the second part of their responsibilities that he or she will happily forget their duty towards the first.


Global Warming in Hot Water

Mark Steyn

I know the (Aussie) ABC are a bunch of doctrinaire lefties for the most part, but I always enjoy my appearances thereon and Tony Jones is a not un-agreeable host, all things considered. Still, it's sad to see them providing a platform for serial litigant and Clime Syndicate warmano Michael E Mann.

As you know, Mann is suing me for describing his famous scary "hockey stick" graph as "fraudulent", which it is. The graph shows a straight-line "shaft" of the stick representing 900 years of stable global temperature, followed by a sharp upturned blade representing the 20th century temperature rocketing up and out the top right-hand corner. The "message" (which Mann and his colleagues were concerned not to "dilute" with any subtleties or qualifications) was simple: We're all outta graph paper. This thing's off the charts with nowhere to go but up through the ceiling at an unprecedented rate. Give us all your money or the planet's gonna fry.

Instead, from the very moment Mann joined the global-warming A-listers, the actual, real-world temperature flatlined and his hockey stick got the worst case of brewer's droop since records began. As I've said before, if you graduated from college last summer, there's been no "global warming" since you were in kindergarten; if you graduated from high school, there's been none since you were born. For the generation that had Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth (heavily reliant on the hockey stick) shoved down its throat from K through 12, it doesn't feel like that, but nevertheless it's a fact: The "pause" in global warming is about to enter its third decade, and simply being a climate-pause denier (to coin a phrase) is no longer tenable.

So Mann has been given space by the dear old ABC to explain why the pause in global warming is merely, as he calls it in an ill-advised attempt at wit, a "faux pause":

"A new article co-authored by the other of us (Michael Mann), shows that natural ocean oscillations have recently acted to temporarily slow the warming of the Earth's surface temperatures, in combination with a relatively quiet sun, and active volcanoes."

The planet is still broiling, but the oceans are disguising it. In effect, the Big Global Warming Monster is hiding with Godzilla in the chilly depths of the Pacific waiting to spring to the surface when you least expect it. As Mann's paper puts it:

"Using this method, the AMO [Atlantic Multidecadal Variability] and PMO [Pacific Multidecal Variability] are found to explain a large proportion of internal variability in Northern Hemisphere mean temperatures. Competition between a modest positive peak in the AMO and a substantially negative-trending PMO are seen to produce a slowdown or "false pause" in warming of the past decade."

Ah, right. As Judith Curry politely asks:

"How can the pause be both "false" and caused by something?"

Mann, of course, is the guy whose "science" more or less abolished in the impressionable layman's mind the very notion of "natural climate variability" (his line is that the planet's climate was unvarying for millennia, and then came the Industrial Revolution), so it's interesting to find him now relying on natural (ocean) variability to explain why his surface scaremongering hasn't panned out. As Professor Richard Muller wrote, very presciently, way back in 2004:

"If you are concerned about global warming (as I am) and think that human-created carbon dioxide may contribute (as I do), then you still should agree that we are much better off having broken the hockey stick. Misinformation can do real harm, because it distorts predictions. Suppose, for example, that future measurements in the years 2005-2015 show a clear and distinct global cooling trend. (It could happen.) If we mistakenly took the hockey stick seriously--that is, if we believed that natural fluctuations in climate are small--then we might conclude (mistakenly) that the cooling could not be just a random fluctuation on top of a long-term warming trend, since according to the hockey stick, such fluctuations are negligible. And that might lead in turn to the mistaken conclusion that global warming predictions are a lot of hooey. If, on the other hand, we reject the hockey stick, and recognize that natural fluctuations can be large, then we will not be misled by a few years of random cooling."

Mann now demands we believe in both natural fluctuations and his broken hockey stick.

But, as usual, he's more concerned with the politics of climate:

"Such is the profound nature of human-caused global warming, that it has overcome these many short-term natural cooling influences.

Yet a purported global warming 'pause' (more aptly named the 'faux pause') is often used as an excuse by those who oppose taking action to curb climate change. For example, Republican Senator and US presidential candidate Ted Cruz recently said on American TV:

"Many of the alarmists on global warming, they've got a problem because the science doesn't back them up. In particular, satellite data demonstrate for the last 17 years, there's been zero warming."

This assertion is problematic for several reasons.

As all assertions by "Republican Senators" surely are, no?

"The faux pause has nonetheless been used by political partisans like Senator Cruz to cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are causing rapid global warming, simply because they find the political implications of that scientific reality inconvenient — to their ideological views and the views of the special interests who fund their campaigns."

But you don't need to assert "political partisans like Senator Cruz" kowtowing to "the special interests who fund their campaigns", do you? If Mann wants to hoot and jeer at rubes who keep yakking about this "faux pause", why not cite, say, his close buddy and fellow climate scientist Kevin Trenberth? Six years ago Trenberth emailed Mann:

"The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate."

And because they couldn't "account for the lack of warming" they hushed it up, carrying on - golly, almost like a "special interest". Four years before Trenberth - July 5th 2005 - another close colleague and head of the Climatic Research Unit Phil Jones emailed Mann:

"The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. Okay it has but it is only seven years of data and it isn't statistically significant."

"Seven years of data" isn't "statistically significant", but 17 years is harder to slough off. Hence, the scramble to come up with an explanation. But why should we accept an "explanation" that, by its very nature, says Mann's scary hockey stick is no big deal (hey, forget that graph; most of the action's underwater) and is from the same "hockey team" who denied "the lack of warming" for at least the last decade? Maybe there's something to this ocean theory, or maybe it's as worthless as emanations from Michael Mann's Magic Bristlecone. But why would you buy it from this guy?

Mann appeals as usual to authority - the "overwhelming scientific consensus". There may, indeed, be a broad scientific consensus that supports the idea of global warming ...but it certainly doesn't support fake Nobel Laureate Michael Mann and his opportunistic "pseudo-science" (as a genuine Nobel Laureate, Ivar Giaever, calls it).

Mann and his work have been called "scanty" (by Professor Mike Hulme), "simply unscientific" (Professor Tim Osborn), "truly pathetic" (Mann's original co-author Ray Bradley), "obvious drivel" (Professor Jonathan Jones), "a scientific forgery" (Professor Atte Korhola), "rubbish" (Professor Curt Covey), "worthless" (Professor Barry Cooke), "Orwell's Ministry of Information" (Professor William Happer), "shitty" (Professor Wallace Smith Broecker), "a crock of shit" (Professor Rob Wilson), and "a disgrace to the profession" (Professor Hendrik Tennekes).

Whoops, I'm giving away my witness list. I could go on, but I'll leave it with Professors Sebastian Lüning and Fritz Vahrenholt:

"It is difficult to fathom how the main players and proponents of the Hockey Sticks are still able to act as experts".

Indeed. To go back to that statistically "insignificant" seven years of data, we're now another ten years on. And 30 years is the official distinction between "climate" and "weather". In other words, as I look out the window right now,"Ha! Snow on the ground in mid-April. So much for global warming!" is merely today's weather. But three decades of non-warming is an official WMO climate. If you think Mann's a joke now, he's going to be a lot more of a laughingstock in 2027.

~Kathy Shaidle notes a supposed new publishing trend, the emergence of the climate-change memoir. I may have to corner a piece of that action myself. In the meantime, I'm honored to join some of the world's most eminent scientists as co-authors of Climate Change: The Facts. I like to think of this tome as the antidote to Mann and his Big Climate alarmism, but Brandon Shollenberger says:

"Anyone whose work is included in this book should be embarrassed by how bad a book it is."

Fortunately I don't embarrass easily. Mr Shollenberger is assiduously promoting his pan of Climate Change, so I thought we'd help him out. Here he is over in Judith Curry's comment section:

"Last week, a user here recommended the book Climate Change: the Facts. After reading a preview of it, I concluded the book denies global warming and concluded it was a bad book. A bit later, a user gave me a free copy of the book so I could read the whole thing. Now that I've done so, I can say it is as bad as I thought".

"As bad as I thought". We'll be slapping that on the cover of the second edition.


The Climate Change War Heats Up?

By Alan Caruba

There is so much at stake for the charlatans that have foisted the failed “global warming” hoax, followed by the equally dubious claims and predictions regarding “climate change”, that it should come as no surprise that they have begun to wage a propaganda war on the courageous scientists who led the struggle to educate the public about the truth and the organizations who supported their efforts.

Along the way, many groups and publications claiming scientific credentials abandoned those standards to pump out global warming and climate change propaganda. Scientists discovered they could secure grant money for “research” so long as it supported claims that the North and South Poles, as well as all the world’s glaciers were melting. “Research” that predicted vast hurricane activity or a massive rise in ocean levels became routine headlines. None of it occurred. Both the government and liberal foundations provided millions to maintain the hoax.

Now we have a President claiming that his daughter’s asthma was due to “climate change.”  It is obscene nonsense. If this was just a disagreement between scientists, we could look on as the facts determine the outcome, but there are vast agendas as stake so we have to keep in mind that billions have been wasted on “renewable energy” alternatives to replace fossil fuels; the oil, coal, and natural gas that are the heart’s blood of modern nations and our lives.

We have to ask why the United Nations Framework on Climate Change takes such a dim view of the world’s population that it cites its use of energy and other resources as a reason to reduce it instead of celebrating it. Hard-core environmentalists do not like humans because they build houses, start businesses, need roads, and generally consume a lot and then create trash. Climate change is also the platform the U.N. is using to "transform" the world's economy.

We have to ask why our government is engaged in shutting down the coal-fired plants that provide the bulk of the electricity we use. This isn’t just a war on coal. It is a war on our entire economic system, capitalism. It is a war on Americans by their own government.

Lately, politicians at the federal level have declared war on those scientists whose research and findings have helped the public conclude, along with eighteen years of a natural cooling cycle, that “global warming” is no threat and that we have far greater threats to address than the vague notion that “climate change” is a problem we humans can affect in any way. We can’t and we don’t.

A recent example has been letters sent to seven university presidents by Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee asking for information on scientists and professors who had given congressional testimony that raised questions about “climate change.”  Grijalva had no legal authority to request such information, but his intention was intimidation. In 2013, when asked about his legislative agenda by These Times, he replied “I’m a Saul Alinsky guy” referring to the activist whose book, “Rules for Radicals”, spells out ways to attack one’s political enemies.

Pete Peterson, the executive director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy, identified Grijalva’s letters as “scare tactics” concluding that we have come to a time when “The inability of politicians to confront another’s argument much less to attempt to persuade the other side, has become standard operating procedure. Now this toxic approach is extending to the broader world of policy—including scientific research.”

Around the same time, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Sen. Barbara Boxer, and Sen. Ed Markey sent a letter to a hundred companies, grade groups and other organizations “affiliated with the fossil fuel industry asking whether they spent money to support climate research.”  The message was simple: do not sponsor research that would reveal inaccuracies or falsehoods regarding claims that “climate change” was a threat. The inference was that scientific research receiving such funding would betray scientific standards in ways that government or foundation funding would not.

Suffice to say the letters evoked outrage. As a policy advisor to the free market think tank, The Heartland Institute, I was aware of the response of its president, Joe Bast who called the letters something that “fascists do.” He was not alone. The Washington Times called the Senators “climate change Toquemadas” and The Wall Street Journal said the letters were nothing more than an effort to silence science.

When Sen. Whitehouse aired his unhappiness in an April 14 blog post the Huffington Post, “Right-Wing Groups Get Overheated on Climate Questions”, Bast responded asking, “If the Senator’s letter wasn’t intended as harassment of individuals who disagree with his extremist views on the climate, why the overly broad demand, the ridiculous deadline, the implied threat of action, and the news release saying it was intended to expose a diabolical conspiracy of ‘right-win groups’?”

When “climate change” reaches the political heights of Congress and the White House, it should come as no surprise that the charlatans who want to use this hoax for their own benefit and agendas are going to unleash efforts to smear and intimidate those scientists who have put true facts before the public.

In late March, Michael Bastash of The Daily Caller reported that “A new Gallup poll shows that Americans’ concern about warming has fallen to the same level it was in 1989. In fact, global warming ranked at the bottom of a list of Americans’ environmental concerns, with only 32 percent saying they were worried about it a ‘great deal.’”

That’s what has the politicians and U.N. officers on the offensive to silence scientists and defame think tanks and other organizations that have helped Americans come to the sensible conclusion that a “warming” isn’t happening and the planet’s climate is something over which they have no control.


Scientific neutrality?

A major publisher of scholarly medical and science articles has retracted 43 papers because of "fabricated" peer reviews amid signs of a broader fake peer review racket affecting many more publications ...

Science, according to scientists, is about facts and evidence. These brave truth seekers prove their hypotheses with rigorous experimentation, and then share the newfound knowledge to make the world better.

That's the theory. Reality is different.

Scientists are no more neutral than journalists are. Some try to expand human knowledge without regard for their own self-interest. Most are like everyone else; they just want to pay the bills and find meaning in their work.

The core problem is the idea that acting in one's own self-interest is somehow wrong or shameful. This causes scientists to hide their true motivations and possibly mislead the public. The fabricated peer reviews reported in the Washington Post are a good example. The only surprise is that publishers are finally resisting.

Many great scientific breakthroughs are the direct result of profit-seeking behavior. Is this wrong? Of course not. If someone invents a product that makes your life better, you are happy to pay for it. Widely useful inventions draw bigger profits. This is perfectly natural.

Of course, the world needs purely altruistic research. Society benefits from having smart people think about long-range, remote challenges. Visionary patrons have long funded such work for their own gratification. This hurts no one, and may help us all.

Today's institutions too often fail to distinguish between pure scientific research and the practical application of their discoveries. University professors and think-tank fellows pretend to be interested only in knowledge for its own sake. Many are in fact servants of profit-seeking corporations that fund their work.

The public doesn't know the difference; we just see people with impressive credentials. They sound smart, and the media tells us they are, so we believe them.

Often we shouldn't believe them. We would all be much better off if the scientists simply admitted their motivations.

Nowhere is this truer than in the dismal "science" of economics. The mush that university economists plant in young minds is only the tip of an iceberg. The real damage occurs on Wall Street and in Washington, D.C.

Here is what happens: Large banks hire credentialed economists to give supposedly useful advice to bank clients. Those who are particularly skilled at this move through a revolving door to Washington, where bureaucrats greatly admire private sector experience.

In fact, this private sector experience offers little or no useful knowledge. This does not stop them from influencing public policy, usually for the worse. Then they go back to work for banks at much higher salaries. This cycle can repeat several times over a career.

Incidents like the peer-review scandal occur because lower-tier economists want to break into the top tier. Since the top tier should not exist in the first place, they are grasping at straws. They grow frustrated. Some will cheat – and a few cheaters will reach the top tier, making it even less valuable to anyone.

Such cheating will continue as long as people think it will reward them. The academic journals can and should crack down when they see it, but the dishonesty will re-emerge in a different form.

In one respect, scientific neutrality is almost impossible. Deciding to investigate Hypothesis A instead of Hypothesis B is not a neutral act. Maybe B has more potential benefit, but A gets attention because it has a more generous funding source. (We see a similar dynamic in the news media. Editors slant the news by publishing some stories and ignoring others.)

More transparency would benefit all branches of science. There is nothing wrong with wanting to succeed and get ahead. Scientists should simply admit it and let everyone know their angle. Consumers will reward those who deserve it.



Three current reports below

Get Them Young, Make Them Green

Education ministers do not seem troubled that a  green propaganda machine, Cool Australia, has garnered the support of thousands of teachers and schools, happily peddling slick scare campaigns and nudging students towards its militant allies and dark-green partners. If governments won't object, maybe parents should

Australian schools are handing over the  all-pervasive ‘sustainability’ syllabus to a militant green organisation, Cool Australia, whose curriculum material and projects have enjoyed a red-carpet ride into the state and private education systems, with accolades from the Australian Education Union and the Independent Education Union.

Much of Cool Australia’s program for schools is benign: recycle trash, don’t waste electricity, plant trees, embrace reconciliation. But the rest of the agenda tirelessly advances the supposedly impending global-warming catastrophe, plus, inevitably, preaching the evils of fossil fuels.

The impression of what some might see as brainwashing is enhanced by the featured endorsements of hard-line carbon-phobic groups like the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and civil disobedience advocate/ex-NASA scientist James Hansen [1]. Beyond that, there are links to Bill McKibben, of the climate-zealot lobby group[2], and the Skeptical Science website, which devotes itself to pummelling ‘deniers’ while declining to publish their demurrals on its comments threads. Such groups’ videos are  offered to students to watch in their own time, leaving more time in class for ‘discussion’ of the messages.

The success of the Cool Australia in planting its deep-green message in the minds of school children suggests a growing and structural obstacle to any rational discussion of climate matters in the future, as green-indoctrinated voters emerge from the education system and join the ranks of voters. Sadly, while green-dyed propaganda becomes a fixture in the classroom, there is not much chance that, say, the coal-mining members of the Minerals Council of Australia or a Big Four bank lending for fossil fuel  projects, will be invited to contribute a measure of balance by providing curriculum modules that deviate from the green orthodoxy.

Cool Australia claims that 42% of Australia’s 10,000-odd schools had a teacher registered with it. From early childhood to Year 10, some 500,000 students were engaged, and 120,000 “learning activities” downloaded for their use. Roughly 20,000 teachers are signed on (that’s 1-in-15 nationally) and the number is growing at the rate of 1400 a month. Teacher sign-ups more than doubled in 2013-14. Targets for 2015 are “more than 50%” of Australian schools, 30,000 registered teachers, and 600,000 children from age 3 upwards (about 20% of all students). Penetration rates are about equal in the government, private and Catholic sectors.

One Cool Australia partner and donor is the magazine Dumbo Feather. Here’s inspiration, kids, from a current Dumbo article by Paul Yacoumis, an RMIT tutor (Environment Economics), Melbourne University tutor (“Reshaping Environments”) and acolyte of the university’s nutty Sustainable Society Institute:

“This year I will be further experimenting with self-sufficiency and minimising my participation in the corporate economy. I’m delving into urban foraging, trying my hand at dumpster diving[3] [getting food from rubbish skips] and cultivating a small garden in my front yard—although the food gods have not been especially kind so far… Fortunately for friends and family, I drew the line at hemp clothing.”

“In my darker moments, I’ve even found myself hoping for some kind of global cataclysm—at least then the human race may have the chance to start anew.”

“We can choose to allow the “evil” of social or ecological collapse to fall upon our future kin, or we can start to shift the power away from this unsustainable economic system that’s caused it and build a better one in its place.”

As Cool Australia founder Jason Kimberley puts it[4]: “We understand … that all information at Cool Australia must be science-based, never politically or ideologically driven.” Regard Cool Australia and its partners as a team, however, and more than a whiff of ideology does seem to be wafting  around the classroom. Indeed, the Cool Australia material quite specifically encourages students to become political activists. In its main textbook, We Are the Weather Makers, we read:

“Tim Flannery says that community leaders ‘need to hear your voice’. Write a letter to a public figure or other influential member of the community [code for local member, TT] explaining your concerns about global warming and climate change.”[5]

Cool Australia’s long march into schools begins with three-year-olds in "early learning centres", what previous generations knew as day-care and kindergartens, where “our youngest learners" are "a long term investment in shaping our future”.[6] Make no mistake, activism is the end-goal. “Information and awareness are critical, but it’s more important to build young people’s skills and capacity to innovate and implement these solutions…" and this as well, "we educate and engage future generations in the critical thinking required for them to become the revolutionaries we need to tackle the challenges of the twenty-first century.”[7]

Despite its pleas for reduced consumerism, Cool Australia is, ironically, the brainchild of the Kimberley family, once the proprietors of the Just Jeans chain.  Craig Kimberley, who netted $64m from his group's sale  in 2001, is a director, and his son, Jason, is founder and CEO. Consumerism is bad, apparently, once you have sold your chain of stores devoted to consumerism.

Jason Kimberley endlessly recycles the story of his ‘eco-epiphany’, which happened during a 2005 visit to Antarctica. He returned an ardent eco-warrior. While he may not yet have noticed that Antarctic sea-ice  is at record levels for the satellite era, school principals love his shtick.

Kimberley claims to have spoken personally with 50,000 students, at the impressive rate of 10,000 a year. The people running Armadale Primary School in Melbourne were so impressed that, in August, 2013, they declared Jason “Principal for a Day”, with an address to the school assembly thrown in.

The Australian Education Union’s (former) National President, Angelo Gavrielatos, puts the case:

“I don’t know if the Cool Australia team fully understands what they are achieving… an incredible achievement in just six years. Only UNICEF has a greater schools penetration, and they had a 50-year head start… You are, quite seriously, the good guys in education.”

Cool Australia last year partnered with the AEU and Independent Teachers’ Union (ITU) on the “AEU/IEU Greens Conference”, featuring such activists as the global warming scholar Rod Quantock (B.Arch, Melbourne University [failed]), the comedian whose more recent laughter-generating moments are quite unintentional. The AEU called it “Greens Conference”; Cool Australia called it “Green Schools Conference”. Perhaps they’re both right.

Jason  Kimberley has scruples. According to one account, he “delights in reports from teachers of younger children who say their students see the Cool Australia learning activities more like games than serious learning. But he’s less inclined to talk global warming with his own kids: Florence, 8, Cooper, 6 and Olive, 3. ‘I don’t want to shove the environmental stuff down their throats.’ he says.”

Other wealthy backers of Cool Australia include:

Ex-Wotif tycoon and Greens Party mega-funder Graeme Wood, worth around $350m.

Aged-care tycoon Robert Purves,  WWF  president,  former board member of WWF International and Governor of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.  Purves’ foundation has distributed more than $10 million to environment, climate-change and activist causes.

A major donor (possibly THE major donor) to Cool Australia since 2012 has been Bendigo Bank, whose Bendigo Wealth executive John Billington is on the Cool Australia board and endorsed a three-year sponsoring deal in 2014.   In a cosy double-deal, Bendigo says, “Cool Australia will deliver the Bendigo Wealth brand to thousands of teachers, children and their families.”

And Cool Australia’s report re-pays the praise with interest: “[Bendigo Bank] have a conscience and a heartbeat. They are far bigger than a bank.”[8] To suggest the scale of things, bear in mind that Cool Australia’s and Bendigo Bank’s national Enviroweek in 2013 involved 1200 schools and 162,000 students who adopted 500,000 “challenges”.[9]

Here’s how Bendigo Bank gets a free kick against the Big Four:

Cool Australia strongly endorses the Australian Youth Climate Coalition's (AYCC) juvenile activists, who battle for Gaia by jumping around in  fish costumes at Lend Lease annual meetings, to name but one of their stunts, while denouncing coal financing.

AYCC boasts that it “can provide speakers and group facilitators to schools around the country. The AYCC draws on the significant experience of many of its member groups, as well as its own ‘Climate Messenger’ program to deliver excellent presentations concerning a broad range of issues surrounding climate change. To find out more visit or call (02) 9247 7934.”[10]

A current AYCC campaign is Dump Your Bank. “Could your bank use your money to fund the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and our climate?” it asks, going on to urge readers to “Take the Pledge. ‘I pledge to dump my bank  because they’ve refused to rule out funding coal ports on the Great Barrier Reef’." AYCC has made a slick little video, featuring photogenic moppets, that specifically targets the Commonwealth, a Bendigo Bank competitor, for allegedly financing the Great Barrier Reef's destruction.


France urges Australia to keep climate commitment ahead of UN summit

What the bungling and unpopular French government says won't butter many parsnips in Australia  -- or anywhere else, I would think

The French government is urging Australia to stick to an international commitment to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.

The appeal comes just a week before Prime Minister Tony Abbott sits down for talks with French president Francois Hollande in Paris, where climate is expected to be among the top issues discussed.

French ambassador to Australia Christophe Lecourtier told the ABC that France, which will host the pivotal UN Summit on Climate later this year, wanted Australia to put an "ambitious" commitment on the table sooner rather than later.

"Your country is a very influential country in the Asia Pacific region and you know that climate change is having tremendous consequences in the region," he said.

"We do believe Australia has a very important role to play during this conference, first of all because Australia has always been a strong promoter of the fight against climate change.

Have your say: do you think Australia should follow French advice and stick to the international commitments on climate change?
"Keeping temperature increase below two degrees in the coming years is a commitment and it's the commitment of 196 countries, so we do believe that it's the ultimate ambition for the world community if we want to leave a liveable planet for the next generation."

But it is unclear if the Federal Government remains committed to keeping long-term temperature rises below the two degree goal as agreed in Cancun in 2010.

The website for the Department of Foreign Affairs states that "governments agreed that emissions need to be reduced to ensure global temperature increases are limited to below two degrees Celsius".

However, the Federal Government's issues paper for the post 2020 targets released two weeks ago made no mention of the two degree goal.

Its Energy White Paper released last week highlighted the economic opportunities from predicted increases in fossil fuel use that the International Energy Agency forecasted could lead to a temperature increase of up to four degrees.

The Climate Action Tracker predicts that on current trends, the global mean temperature is expected to rise between 2.9 and 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100.

When asked by the ABC, neither the Foreign Minister nor the Environment Minister would directly respond to the question of "whether Australia remains committed to the goal of keeping long-term temperature rises below two degrees".

On Friday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia would play a "positive" role in the lead-up to the Paris talks.

"Australia contributes about 1 per cent of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions and so we will take action that is proportionate to our global greenhouse gas emissions," she said.

One target the Government is talking about is its 2020 Kyoto emissions reduction goal.

To meet it, Australia will need to reduce emissions from 2000 levels by 5 per cent.

It is a target the Government has been extremely confident about meeting and even potentially exceeding.  "Australia is on track to meet our 2020 targets," Ms Bishop said.  "Not every country, in fact not many countries can claim they will meet their 2020 targets.

"So Australia will attend Paris in a very good position having, I believe, made significant progress towards meeting our 2020 target."

The Government's confidence is based on the fact that Australia has met its previous international targets.


Victoria's government settles East West Link deal for $339m

Green/Left anti-roads zealots hit the pockets of Victorians hard

Victoria has actually sunk up to $900 million into the dumped East West Link, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy says.

The state government announced a $339 million deal to axe the $6.8 billion road project this morning.

Mr Guy said as well as the $339 million already spent by the East West Connect consortium and the $81 million in finance costs, another $400-$500 million has been spent by the state government. “These sunk costs by government include land acquisitions, project development and bid costs,” Mr Guy said.

The decision was economic vandalism that would set back Australia’s fastest growing city, he said.

“There will be no major infrastructure project underway in Victoria for years.” Former treasurer Michael O’Brien said the state government spent $190 million in 2013/14 on land acquisition and project costs, with another $290 million set for 2014/15.

The Federal Government slammed the deal with the East-West Link consortium not to build the road as “an obscenity’’ that will cost 7000 jobs.

The Victorian government this morning announced it had brokered a deal with the companies involved in the project, taking on a $3 billion credit facility while the road’s proposed builders walk away with $339m in already incurred costs.

A further $81 million in fees will be absorbed by the state government, after it was spent to set up a credit facility to borrow the project costs.

Federal Social Services Minister Scott Morrison described the payment as “an obscenity” when there were more pressing community needs, such as combating youth homelessness.

“For the Victorian government to spend $420 million to pay to a company not to build a road is an obscenity, and Bill Shorten is linked up with that obscenity in his support for Daniel Andrews’ decision on this,” Mr Morrison said.

“Taxpayers in Victoria and right around the country, when there are so many more worthy needs, would just be shaking their heads.”

The Prime Minister said he was dismayed by Victoria’s decision to not proceed with the project, accusing the Labor state government of damaging investor confidence in Australia.

“The Victorian Government’s decision to abrogate contractual responsibilities sets a dangerous precedent for future projects and threatens further investment in much-needed infrastructure in our country,’’ Tony Abbott said in a joint statement with Jamie Briggs, the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure.

“Australia can’t afford to discourage private investment in infrastructure because government alone cannot afford to build the infrastructure that our country needs. There is no alternative to the East West Link in Victoria. The East West Link is the only major shovel-ready project in Victoria. It is the only answer to easing Victoria’s traffic congestion.

“The Victorian Premier has today destroyed 7000 jobs. And the Victorian Government’s actions today mean that Melbourne’s daily traffic gridlock simply gets worse.

“Victorians should feel let down by Daniel Andrews who promised before the election that no compensation would be paid.

“The tearing up of this contract damages Victoria’s reputation as a place to do business — as has been proven by revelations this week that the French and Spanish Governments have made direct representations of concern to Victoria.’’

The Victorian Premier said the deal would mean Victorians pay no compensation and legal opportunities for the consortium to seek compensation through the courts has been extinguished.

“This concludes the matter,” Mr Andrews said. “This extinguishes any claims for the future.”

The group has already been handed and spent $339m on design and pre-construction, including buying a number of properties which the government will now own.

Mr Andrews said the costs could not be recovered, but the government will review it to see if there has been any overspending within it. A further $110m held in cash by the consortium has not been spent and will be refunded.

Mr Andrews said Victoria would benefit from a $3bn credit facility established for the road project (with the $81m in fees already incurred) which would now be used for the Melbourne Metro rail project.

The government also released a redacted version of the East West Link’s contract and confirmation from Treasury that the total cost of the road’s eastern section would have been $10.7 billion over 30 years.

Treasurer Tim Pallas attacked his predecessor Michael O’Brien for having the “insufferable arrogance” to lock Victoria into the contract when it could have been held over until after last November’s election.

He pledged Victoria would maintain its AAA credit rating in next month’s budget.

Mr Andrews said he accepted there would have been serious consequences for Victoria’s business reputation if his government had followed through on its threat to use legislation to kill the contract, but said that had never been his first preference.

“It was always preferable for us to negotiate in good faith and to reach a good faith outcome,” he said. “That is exactly what we have done.

“As part of the settlement there is no compensation for profits forgone, no compensation for any losses that might have been incurred or will be in the future and this notion of opportunity cost all of those matters are settled once and for all as part of this agreement.”

He revealed the government is now planning to introduce legislation that would block future governments from signing significant contracts close to an election without bipartisan support, saying the Napthine government had recklessly rushed into a project “in an act of complete vandalism”.

Asked if the government would consider building the western part of the link — considered by many to be the most vital part of the project — Mr Andrews said he would not rule anything out and further infrastructure announcements would be made in the weeks ahead.

The Australian Industry Group welcomed the end of uncertainty surrounding the East West Link contract, said the group’s Victorian director Tim Piper.

“The completion of an agreement on the East West Link ensures a crisis of confidence in Government contracts has been averted,’’ he said.

“Ai Group welcomes the agreement being reached as it had the potential to cast a pall over the Victorian economy. The sanctity of these contracts is vital to business and the uncertainty around this deal had sent a terrible message to industry, both locally and around the world.

“Ai Group had not supported the contract being rescinded but it is important that both the Government and industry are now able to move forward with certainty. The Victorian Government needs to act quickly to get other projects under way in Victoria, to utilise the skills available and boost the economy.

“The way is now clear, to enable the Government to pursue its projects and regenerate confidence. This should be the end of such contracts being breached.’’

Greens MP Ellen Sandell said the hefty compensation could have been avoided if the Labor government had opposed the East West Link earlier.

“If the Labor Party had come out and opposed this project earlier on rather than flipping and flopping with their position we could have avoided over $300 million of taxpayer funds going to the consortium,” Ms Sandell told reporters. “But it’s a good outcome overall.”

Greens senator Janet Rice said Victorians should “savour this win for the community” and urged the federal Coalition to fund metropolitan public transport.

“Victoria’s traffic woes are never going to be solved by more and more polluting toll roads. The fact is that the only way to reduce congestion is to give people the choice of fast, frequent, affordable, reliable and safe public transport,” Senator Rice said.



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

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16 April, 2015

Love that chartmanship!

Chartmanship is a sub-branch of how to lie with statistics.  In the example below the trick is to put up a long series that makes recent years look trivial. You are supposed not to notice that, while there was some warming in the 20th century, temperatures in the 21st century have been flat.  The facts are there in the chart but are swamped by other details.  But you can see it if you look carefully. 

And note that the "record" temperature is only higher than the previous "record" by three one hundredths of one degree.  Utterly trivial and highly artificial.  The accuracy of global temperature measurement is just not that good.  Warmists are very devious folks

Global temperature records keep melting as Japan declares March the hottest on record

The average air temperature over land and sea was 0.31 degrees above the 1981-2010 average, eclipsing the previous record anomaly of 0.28 degrees set in 2010.

Compared with the 20th century, temperatures last month were 0.76 degrees above average, the agency said.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is likely to release its March readings in coming days. Last month, the agency said both the first two months of 2015 and the 12 months to February were the hottest in 136 years of records.  [But by how much?  By less than one degree]


The great God MAY is worshipped again

Sightings of dolphins in Scottish waters up  -- and that MAY be due to global warming.  But it MAY not be too.  Why do science when you can guess?  Many marine species show wide population fluctuations from time to time -- usually for unknown reasons.  The waters around the British Isles seem to be warming more than waters elsewhere but again nobody knows why.  Something to do with cycles in ocean currents, most probably. The only thing clear is that it is NOT a global phenomenon

Encounters with common dolphins off the west of Scotland have more than doubled over a decade, according to experts.

And now research is under way to find out why, with scientists proposing that climate change may have caused the surge in numbers.

Common dolphins were once a rare sight in the Hebrides, preferring warmer waters found further south, leading experts to believe that global warming has led to pods moving north.

Monitoring by Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust teams has seen the number of encounters with common dolphins increase by 68 per cent over the past 12 years.

The dolphins come to the Hebrides in spring to take advantage of seasonal food stocks, travelling in large groups and sometimes forming ‘super-pods’ of thousands of individuals.

While they were once drawn to warmer waters above 10°C south of the area, climate change is causing sea surface temperatures in the Hebrides to rise by around 0.5 °C a decade.

And warmer water species appear to be colonising new areas further north or closer to shore, the trust said.

The shift north could be creating new opportunities for the common dolphins to find food in new areas, but may mean the species is competing for fish with other types of dolphin or seabirds.


No, global warming is not going to take away your fish and chips

Chris Mooney is a science popularizer who can be relied on to put a Green/Left spin on what he writes.  This time however there is only about a 2% spin, with a Warmist scare being competently debunked below

Nowhere do people love fish and chips more than in the United Kingdom, where the National Federation of Fish Friers calls it “the undisputed National dish of Great Britain” and claims sales of 1.2 billion pounds Sterling per year.

No wonder, then, that when a new study came out yesterday seeming to suggest that the dramatic warming of North Sea waters due to climate change could threaten stocks of fish like haddock — one of the leading “fish” components of the dish, along with cod — there was something of a media freakout.

“Global warming could make haddock and chips a thing of the past,” blared the UK Mirror. “Fish and chips on the brink of extinction due to warming seas,” added International Business Times. Many other headlines suggested more or less the same.

The study itself didn’t say this — and a key fact raises considerable reason for doubt about these headlines. Namely, whatever happens in the North Sea, much of the fish that winds up in UK servings of fish and chips isn’t caught there at present. Most of the cod and haddock consumed in the form of fish and chips in the UK instead come from the Barents Sea and Iceland, according to Seafish, a joint industry and government organization set up to ensure sustainable fish stocks.

That doesn’t mean the new research is unimportant — and it is indeed bad news, when interpreted properly. But the alarmist media headlines call to mind the buzz last year about Chipotle supposedly considering discontinuing guacamole because of climate-related changes in food costs — a story the company had to debunk on Twitter.

Let’s first go to the research itself. The study was published in a top journal, Nature Climate Change, by University of Exeter biosciences researcher Louise Rutterford and her colleagues. It doesn’t say anything directly about the loss of fish and chips.

Instead, the study begins with some crucial background observations: The North Sea has seen a staggering warming since the 1980s, “four times faster than the global average.” And this has already meant that catches of “cold-adapted” fish species, like haddock, have declined by half — even as catches of warm water loving intruders have gone up by “a factor of 2.5.”

But we’re only at the beginning of the projected warming. So the researchers used a novel model that took into account both climate projections and fisheries and other environmental data to study how distributions of the top ten most common North Sea bottom dwelling fish would change as warming of the North Sea continues over the next 50 years.

The fish species studied were cod, dab, haddock, hake, lemon sole, ling, long rough dab, plaice, saithe, and whiting. They accounted for 68 percent of fish caught commercially in the area in the last three decades, the study says. And the paper found that many of these species would not be able to shift their habitats to deeper, cooler waters in order to weather the changes that were coming — simply because they had already tried that adaptive strategy in past decades and it had been “largely exhausted.”

The study instead found that the fish might have to, in effect, weather in place, and face an additional 3.2 degrees Celsius of potential warming by 2100. ”The ecological consequences are unknown,” the study noted, especially since the fish could face invasions of competing warmer water species.

“Fish will either need to change their ecology (e.g. diet and habitat) to move, their physiology (e.g. metabolism and reproduction) to stay put and acclimate to a further 2 C warming, or decline,” explains study co-author Stephen Simpson, a biologist at the University of Exeter, by email.

Based on the research, then, many of these North Sea species could indeed face serious challenges. And that’s surely why the study was newsworthy, especially in the UK. But where did people read into this the idea that this would take away fish and chips?

The answer appears to the press release for the study — “Warming seas pose habitat risk for fishy favorites” — which was fairly cautious, but did set journalists down this path with a quotation at the end from Simpson:

Our models predict cold water species will be squeezed out, with warmer water fish likely to take their place. For sustainable UK fisheries, we need to move on from haddock & chips and look to Southern Europe for our gastronomic inspiration.

Note the phrase “sustainable UK fisheries” – if seafood in the UK is to be sourced from the North Sea, then yes, the new research might suggest a looming challenge to making fish and chips from fish caught in these waters.

But this ignores the matter of imports: Cod and haddock for fish and chips in the UK today mostly do not come from the North Sea. According to the website of the UK’s National Federation of Fish Friers:

"A total of 62% of fish sold in fish and chip shops is cod and 25% is haddock. 90% of shops use FAS [Frozen at Sea] fillets – these fish are caught by large modern trawlers operating in carefully managed fishing grounds in the icy, clear Arctic waters of the Barents Sea and North Atlantic, caught by Icelandic, Norwegian, Russian and Faroese vessels. Stringent, science-based and strictly enforced regulations have ensured good management of cod and haddock stocks in these waters, and the catches from this area accounts for 97% of the total Northern Hemisphere cod quota."

To check into this further, I contacted the Edinburgh-based Seafish, a UK-based body funded by industry through a levy on catch, but originally set up by government to ensure sustainable fisheries. The answer was consistent with the above statement.

“Cod and haddock stocks in the North Sea are at very healthy levels and the UK fishing industry places great importance on careful management of fish stocks for future generations,” said the organization’s trade marketing manager Andy Gray. “However, to meet demand, approximately 95% of the cod that we consume in the UK is actually imported from Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.”

As for haddock, a Seafish fact sheet explains that except for in Scotland, most of what is consumed tends to come not from the North Sea but from Iceland and the Barents Sea. Indeed, both cod and haddock count among the UK’s top five imported fish species, according to Seafish.

So it looks like whatever happens in the North Sea, the UK is bringing in a large volume of fish imports from different regions, especially colder and more northerly ones. That’s not to say that other fisheries aren’t also potentially subject to impacts from climate change — but that wasn’t the focus of the current research.

I also contacted the original researchers, noting that I was having a hard time directly connecting their research with the issue of fish and chips availability, due to the fact that most fish served as fish and chips in the UK seems to come from abroad.

Lead author Louise Rutterford responded by email, noting that the fish that she studied do represent 68 percent of the commercial North Sea catch. So there could indeed be a need for dietary shifts as climate change progresses. Rutterford also called the North Sea a “canary in the coalmine” since it is seeing such a rapid change in climate.

However, she acknowledged that “in terms of where fish and chips come from you’re right, since we still want to eat traditional colder water fish much of it has to be imported since the North Sea has experienced massive stock reductions due to fishing pressure and now much tighter management means less is landed.”

“The current situation is that most of what we eat in the UK we import, and most of what we catch we export to mainland Europe,” added Simpson by email. “Our diet has remained static while the fish have moved.”

So, in sum — global warming is going to change the world in many ways. And that often won’t be good for flora and fauna — those we eat, and also those we don’t. Moreover, as species shift ranges in response to changing temperatures, what counts as “local” food in a given place may also change, perhaps a great deal.

But that doesn’t mean every media doom story about climate change is true. The research in question does present cause for concern — and warmer seas will surely imperil many species. But it seems doubtful, based in this study alone, that fish and chips is going anywhere any time soon.


The Arctic methane story yet again

A refreshing change below.  The authors say that subsurface methane gas will NOT act as a greenhouse gas

Methane, the principle component in natural gas, is usually produced by organic material decomposing.

But there is another form of the deadly gas, dubbed abiotic methane, that is created by chemical reactions in the crust beneath the seafloor.

Now scientists have found vast deep water gas hydrates in the Arctic that are reservoirs for abiotic methane – a gas which is 20 times more effective in trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

The reservoirs are secure, and scientists don't believe they will impact climate change. Instead, they say similar formations could someday be used to store methane, that can later be used as fuel.

One reservoir was recently discovered on the ultraslow spreading Knipovich ridge, in the deep Fram Strait of the Arctic Ocean.

'This ultraslow spreading ridge shows that the Arctic environment is ideal for this type of methane production,' said Joel Johnson associate professor at the University of New Hampshire.

The Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment (Cage) estimates that up to 15,000 gigatonnes of carbon may be stored in the form of hydrates in the ocean floor.

'But this estimate is not accounting for abiotic methane. So there is probably much more,' said Cage director Jürgen Mienert.

Methane produced by serpentinisation can escape through cracks and faults, and end up at the ocean floor, causing a concern for future global warming.

But in the Knipovich Ridge it is trapped as gas hydrate in the sediments.

'In other known settings the abiotic methane escapes into the ocean, where it potentially influences ocean chemistry,' says Johnson.

'But if the pressure is high enough, and the subsea floor temperature is cold enough, the gas gets trapped in a hydrate structure below the sea floor.'

Bünz says that there are many places in the Arctic Ocean with a similar tectonic setting as the Knipovich ridge.

Rather than causing a concern, the study claims that active tectonic environments may serve as a stable area for long-term storage of methane carbon in deep-marine sediments.


Universities: the environmentalist enemy within

Most students and lecturers are confident they can spot threats to academic freedom. In the UK, there have been petitions, letters to the press and Twitter campaigns against the government’s proposed anti-terror legislation and the onus it will put on universities to monitor external speakers and supposedly vulnerable students. Similar proposals in Canada are also being met with protest. In America, there are longstanding complaints against tighter restrictions placed on the allocation of research funds post 9/11. In Hong Kong, the threat to academic freedom is said to come from the Beijing government. All around the world, many in higher education are quick to decry the undue influence of big business or wealthy private donors on the direction of scholarship. The verbal tic of ‘neoliberalism’ is used to alert fellow sympathisers to the potential danger.

Everywhere, threats to academic freedom that emerge from outside the university are triumphantly exposed and, thankfully, challenged. However, the satisfaction that comes with signing a petition or a bit of forceful re-tweeting can give a false sense of mission accomplished. In reality there are many restrictions on what can and can’t be said in higher education today. Academics often compromise and conform to satisfy the demands of student customers, peer reviewers and funding councils. They self-censor so as not to breach institutional equality and diversity policies, speech codes and safe spaces. Thinking out loud, and ultimately thinking itself, is checked and brought into line with the dominant green, feminist, state-enamoured perspective.

Pressure to self-censor and conform is rarely outed as a threat to academic freedom because it emerges from within universities, and more specifically from well-meaning fellow staff and students. A recently published report from the American National Association of Scholars (NAS) raises important questions about the threat to academic freedom that comes from the orthodoxies built up around the issue of environmentalism. As James Woudhuysen explored on spiked, Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism reveals how, ‘over nearly 25 years’, the campus sustainability movement (CSM) and its elite backers have ‘succeeded in transforming much of the curriculum and the practice of US higher education’.

Sustainability provides a comprehensive account of the many ways often well-funded green interest groups pose a threat to academic freedom. It suggests green-backed restrictions are not accidental but integral to the politics of sustainability, which assumes ‘curtailing economic, political, and intellectual liberty is the price that must be paid now to ensure the welfare of future generations’. The report’s central argument is that sustainability on campus has become an all-consuming tyranny that aims to shape the thinking and behaviour of academics and students. Furthermore, it is a movement that brooks no dissent.

The authors of Sustainability are careful not to take any position on the existence of anthropomorphic global warming. Instead they argue that ‘all important ideas ought to be open to reasoned debate and careful examination of the evidence’. Indeed, for over a century scepticism and the ultimate contestability of all truth claims underpinned not just the scientific method but the entire liberal academic project. Advancing and challenging truth claims made criticism a meaningful exercise and intellectual progress possible.

The sustainability movement, ‘whose declared position is that the time for debate is over and that those who persist in raising basic questions are “climate deniers”’, adds to the myriad attacks on the pursuit of knowledge that have come from within universities over the past four decades. Campus environmentalists can easily jettison fundamental tenets of the academic project because, as the NAS report reminds us, ‘sustainability is not a discipline or even a subject area. It is an ideology.’ As such, the intellectual liberty to question everything is not welcomed as the way to advance knowledge but rather poses a threat to the central beliefs and values of environmentalism.

When higher education becomes separated from the aims of advancing new knowledge and rigorously critiquing existing understanding, it is left in search of a mission. This is where the campus sustainability movement comes into its own with a raft of values for students and academics alike to take on board, with success measured in the inculcation of behaviour changes. Sustainability outlines numerous ways that campus busybodies seek to nudge everyone into making eco-friendly lifestyle choices, from doing away with trays in the canteen to the edict that students should study in well-populated areas of the library so as to minimise the use of lighting.

Green league tables that rank universities in a national competition to promote recycling and minimise resource use are now common in the UK as well as in the US. In Britain, the NUS-backed Green Impact Project encourages teams of staff and students to compete for points gained through making behaviour changes such as ‘meat-free Monday’ and ‘walk-on Wednesday’. The NAS are absolutely correct to demand universities stop nudging and ‘leave students the space to make their own decisions about sustainability’ because ‘the decision of a college to “nudge” rather than persuade sounds a note of disdain for the right of students to make up their own minds’. At present the peer pressure of eco-nudging carries weight because instead of hearing counterarguments to the sustainability movement in their lectures, students see faculty succumbing to the requirement that they ‘report yearly on their efforts to advance sustainability’ through their teaching.

Scholars seeking to challenge such restrictions on their academic freedom and the orthodoxies that have built up around the sustainability movement more broadly often face difficulties from their own colleagues. The NAS report points out the long ‘history of efforts to suppress the publication and expression of contrary views’ through processes of peer review. Academics soon learn that securing publications and promotion depend upon conforming to disciplinary and institutional norms.

The NAS report notes that those who do raise difficult questions often face a ‘tyranny of transparency’ where freedom of information requests are used to get ‘deniers’ to reveal details of private email exchanges and funding sources. Ironically, such demands are frequently made under the guise of academic freedom. These attempts to redefine academic freedom enact a double standard: scholars who go along with the consensus and receive funding from climate-change charities and campaign groups are held to a different standard than those who do not. If knowledge, and not values, was the driving force of the academy then ideas would be judged on their merit and not on the context in which they were produced.

The NAS report provides a timely and badly needed corrective to the illiberal campus sustainability movement. It reminds faculty and students of the imperative to question everything rather than accept ‘doctrinaire declarations’. We need to be suspicious of all attempts to promote values antithetical to intellectual liberty. Most important of all, Sustainability reminds us that sometimes threats to academic freedom do not come from outside the academy but from within.


What’s the True Cost of Wind Power?

Depending on which factors are included, estimates for the cost of wind power vary wildly. On the low end, the financial advisory firm Lazard claims wind costs $59 per megawatt-hour. On the high side, Michael Giberson at the Center for Energy Commerce at Texas Tech University suggests the it’s closer to $149. Our analysis in an upcoming report explores this wide gap in cost estimates, finding that most studies underestimate the genuine cost of wind because they overlook key factors.

All estimates for wind power include the cost of purchasing capital and paying for operations and maintenance (O&M) of wind turbines. For the studies we examined, capital costs ranged from $48 to $88 per megawatt-hour, while O&M costs ranged from $9.80 to $21 per megawatt-hour.

Many estimates, however, don’t include costs related to the inherent unreliability of wind power and government subsidies and mandates. Since we can’t ensure the wind always blows, or how strongly, coal and natural gas plants must be kept on as backup to compensate when it’s calm. This is known as baseload cycling, and its cost ranges from $2 to $23 per megawatt-hour.

This also reduces the environmental friendliness of wind power. Because a coal-fired or natural gas power plant must be kept online in case there’s no wind, two plants are running to do the job of one. These plants create carbon emissions, reducing the environmental benefits of wind. The amount by which emissions reductions are offset by baseload cycling ranges from 20 percent to 50 percent, according to a modeling study by two professors at Carnegie Mellon University.

While the backup plants are necessary to ensure the grid’s reliability, their ability to operate is threatened by wind subsidies. The federal dollars encourage wind farm owners to produce power even when prices are low, flooding the market with cheap electricity. That pushes prices down even further and makes it harder for more reliable producers, such as nuclear plants, that don’t get hefty subsidies to stay in business.

For example, the Kewaunee Nuclear Plant in Wisconsin and the Yankee Nuclear Plant in Vermont both switched off their reactors in 2013. Dominion Energy, which owned both plants, blamed the artificially low prices caused by the PTC as one of the reasons for the shutdown.

As more reliable sources drop off and wind power takes their place, consumers are left with an electrical infrastructure that is less reliable and less capable of meeting demand.

Lost in transmission

Another factor often overlooked is the extra cost of transmission. Many of America’s wind-rich areas are remote and the turbines are often planted in open fields, far from major cities. That means new transmission lines must be built to carry electricity to consumers. The cost of building new transmission lines ranges from $15 to $27 per megawatt-hour.

In 2013, Texas completed its Competitive Renewable Energy Zone project, adding over 3,600 miles of transmission lines to remote wind farms, costing state taxpayers $7 billion.

Although transmission infrastructure may be considered a fixed cost that will reduce future transmission costs for wind power, these costs will likely remain important. Today’s wind farms are built in areas with prime wind resources. If we continue to subsidize wind power, producers will eventually expand to sub-prime locations that may be even further from population centers. This would feed demand for additional transmission projects to transport electricity from remote wind farms to cities.

The final bill comes to…

Finally, federal subsidies and state mandates also add significantly to the cost, even as many estimates claim these incentives actually reduce the cost of wind energy. In fact, they add to it as American taxpayers are forced to foot the bill. According to Giberson, federal and state policies add an average of $23 per megawatt-hour to the cost of wind power.

That includes the impact of state mandates, which end up increasing the cost of electricity on consumer power bills. California is one of the most aggressive in pushing so-called Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), requiring the state to consume 33 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020. Overall electricity prices in states with RPS are 38 percent higher than those without, according to the Institute for Energy Research, a non-profit research group that promotes free markets.

The best estimate available for the total cost of wind power is $149 per megawatt-hour, taken from Giberson’s 2013 report.

It is difficult to quantify some factors of the cost of wind power, such as the cost of state policies. Giberson’s estimate, however, includes the most relevant factors in attempting to measure the true cost of producing electricity from wind power.

In future reports, Strata will explore the true cost of producing electricity from solar, coal, and natural gas. Until those reports are completed, it is difficult to accurately compare the true cost of wind to other technologies, as true cost studies have not yet been completed.

Blowing in the wind

The high costs of federal subsidies and state mandates for wind power have not paid off for the American public. According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, wind energy receives a higher percentage of federal subsidies than any other type of energy while generating a very small percentage of the nation’s electricity.

In 2010 the wind energy sector received 42 percent of total federal subsidies while producing only 2 percent of the nation’s total electricity. By comparison, coal receives 10 percent of all subsidies and generates 45 percent and nuclear is about even at about 20 percent.

Wind gobbles up the largest share of subsidies yet produces little power.

But policymakers at the federal and state level, unfortunately, have decided that the American people will have renewable energy, no matter how high the costs. As a result, taxpayers will be stuck paying the cost of subsidies to wealthy wind producers.

Meanwhile, electricity consumers will be forced to purchase the more expensive power that results from state-level mandates for renewable energy production. Although such policies may be well intended, the real results will be limited freedom, reduced prosperity and an increasingly unreliable power supply.



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, 2015

Dyatlov Pass: a chilling mystery solved?

A story that windfarm opponents will understand

It starts out like a horror movie. Deep in the mid-winter of 1958/59, a low-ranking army officer in a remote region of the USSR receives a phone call informing him that a group of hikers has failed to return from an expedition. He is asked to lead a search. His team arrives by helicopter on the exposed slopes of Otorten Mountain (Dead Mountain) and eventually discover a tent partially covered in snow. It is empty. Apart from a rip in the side of the tent, nothing looks disturbed or unusual. Most of the group’s clothing and all of its outdoor gear is there. In that barren environment, with the nearest dwelling miles away, what reason could the hikers have had to leave the protection and warmth of their shelter? The searchers discern tracks of nine people going away from the tent and none returning. They follow the tracks and soon find the first bodies.

The missing group of hikers were university students from Sverdlovsk, central Russia. Hiking and skiing was a popular recreation in mid-century USSR, enjoyed by members of all professions and both sexes on an equal basis. In January 1959, a team of seven men and two women, all aged between 20 and 24, set out on an ambitious trek in the sparsely populated Ural Mountains. They were led by an experienced hiker and skier, Igor Dyatlov. All had experience of climbing, hiking and snow travel. The team members knew each other well and had previously undertaken expeditions together. They were well equipped and planned their route in advance.

When they arrived in the region, they met an older hiker who asked to tag along. He was an army veteran who had planned to ski in the area and had found he could not coordinate with his own group. The students agreed to let him join them. Just before the final leg of the expedition, Yuri Yudin had to withdraw due to a painful attack of rheumatism. He decided to return and said goodbye to his nine companions. Yudin was the only member of the party to survive.

The party entered the wilderness and never returned.

As searchers discovered bodies, each find deepened the mystery. The bodies of the hikers were widely dispersed and all were poorly dressed. Only one had a hat and all were missing shoes. Two students were found at the treeline, frozen beside the remains of a camp fire made of cedar branches pulled from a tree. They had died of hypothermia yet there were unburnt branches next to them. Some of their clothes had been cut. Other hikers seemed to have been attempting to return to the tent when they died. Five bodies were found but deep snow and absence of tracks hampered the search for the remaining four hikers. There was no hope of finding them alive.

Investigators studied the hikers’ diaries and photographic film in their cameras. It seems the expedition was a model of its kind. Dyatlov was a stickler for discipline and the expedition had followed guidelines to the letter, keeping meticulous records. On their last day the hikers had experienced bad weather and camped early near a ridge on the flanks of Dead Mountain. It was calculated that whatever had happened to the group must have taken place after dark, between the pitching of the tent and the evening meal.

Had the camp been attacked? There were local Mansi tribesmen who herded reindeer and hunted in the local forests. Perhaps an animal had attacked. Forensic analysis of the tent showed that it had not been ripped but cut – from the inside. What had so alarmed the students that they had slashed their way out of the tent in order to run out – half-clothed – into a moonless night of strong winds and drifting snow? It seemed incomprehensible to investigators that the group had considered it safer to run away from the camp rather than remain there.

    What so alarmed the students that they slashed their way out of the tent in order to run out – half-clothed – into a moonless night of strong winds and drifting snow?

When the May thaw came, the remaining four bodies were discovered, compounding the mystery further. In a snow-choked ravine four bodies were gathered on and near a bed of matted branches and with loose items of clothing nearby. They were marginally more warmly clothed than the others, but all lacked shoes. Autopsy revealed that three of them had sustained life-threatening, blunt-force trauma injuries. Some of the clothing was radioactive. Relatives later described the bodies as having orange skin and grey hair. The authorities closed the investigation as unsolved and made efforts to ensure that the incident did not get wide publicity. By this time there were eye-witness reports circulating of bright, unexplained lights seen in the night sky.

The mystery of Dyatlov Pass (as the mountain pass came to be named, in honour of the group) has lasted decades, lately gaining worldwide attention online. The suppression of files by authorities has been interpreted as evidence of a cover-up. That is hardly a persuasive line, as the USSR was a secretive police state where the concealment of problematic (and even mundane) information was standard procedure. It seems that all of the Dyatlov files have been released through official and unofficial channels since the late 1980s.

American documentary filmmaker Donnie Eichar investigated the mystery, travelling to the site in search of new evidence, as well as examining investigation reports and interviewing people, including Yudin. In Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, Eichar gives us a glimpse of the Khrushchev thaw, when paranoia and the fear of arbitrary arrest of the Stalin era lessened and an atmosphere of hope and the promise of broadened horizons inspired youngsters such as the Dyatlov group. Eichar presents the last days of the group through diaries and photographs. The last journey was a happy one, it seems: photos showed students smiling and mugging for the camera, at other times working earnestly. We get a feeling for the characters involved: the tough and responsible Igor Dyatlov, the vivacious romantic Zina, the argumentative Party-faithful Lyuda, and the others. It makes their gruesome and puzzling deaths all the more troubling.

Eichar applies logic and evidence when evaluating and then disposing of competing theories.

Attack by Mansi tribesmen or others: The Mansi were peaceful and hospitable, had no history of attacking visitors and had no reason to threaten the group. Plus there was no track evidence of anyone approaching the tent.

Animal attack: There were no tracks. Why would the group abandon the relative security of the tent to run away?

High winds: Was a member outside and blown into the darkness by strong wind, which led the others to attempt to rescue that person? It is improbable such a large and experienced group would have behaved like that. Strong winds would have been enough to blow away the tent, too.

Avalanche: It is atypical terrain for avalanches and an avalanche would have untethered the tent.

Secret weapons testing: None in the area, apparently. Radioactive dispersal would have affected all of the party members and their equipment, not just a few items of clothing. (Eichar fails to mention that lamp wicks at the time were commonly made of ceramic gauze treated with radioactive thorium. They were very fragile and liable to crumble to dust if damaged.) Discoloured skin and hair of the ravine group could be attributable to partial mummification over a period of three months exposed to the elements.

The idea that a romantic intrigue led to a violent dispute is very implausible. By all indications, the group was largely harmonious and sexual tension was confined to platonic flirtation and crushes. There were no drugs present and the only alcohol was a small flask of medicinal alcohol, found intact at the scene. The group had even sworn off cigarettes for the expedition. While conspiracy theorists might have a worldview shaped by Hollywood teen-slasher movies, the Dyatlov group acted as a conscientious team in a hostile environment. The group was experienced enough to realise that they were in dangerous conditions and that anything that threatened group cohesion would endanger all of them. The coroner described the massive injuries sustained by one as equivalent ‘to being hit by a car’ – hardly consistent with a fist fight.

What Eichar deduces is that it is the decision to cut the tent and flee that is the crux of the mystery; everything before and after that event is explicable and logical. It was that act of apparent near madness to abandon their only shelter that was critical.  

Eichar supports the theory recently proposed by Yuri Kuntsevich, head of the Dyatlov Foundation, a Russian organisation dedicated to the memory of the party and to resolving the mystery. Scientists have identified a naturally occurring phenomenon called infrasound. Just as wind moving over sand dunes can produce perceptible humming, wind colliding with topographic features can produce low-frequency waves ranging from audible to sub-audible. Tests of infrasound on subjects have induced powerful feelings of nausea, panic, dread, chills, nervousness, raised heartbeat rate and breathing difficulties. Scientists believe the ridge below which the tent was located might have generated vortices producing audible and sub-audible infrasound on a windy night such as that of 1-2 February 1959.

Eichar sets out in a final chapter what sudden panic and a confrontation with an unknown weather phenomenon might have led to, tying together a compelling narrative that explains almost all of the facts. It is hard to read the last chapter without feeling both satisfaction at watching a criminal case being resolved and deep sympathy for the hikers in their terrible final hours. There are a few loose ends: does the final photograph taken by the group (an indecipherable blur) have any significance? Although there seems no connection between the group’s fate and the lights, the nature of the lights goes unaddressed. Could it be that wind rumble was mistaken by Dyatlov for an approaching avalanche and that he ordered them out? That said, Eichar’s engrossing and disturbing narrative is the most persuasive theory so far and offers a rational solution to a mystery that has troubled people for decades.


U.S. Surgeon General: 'Climate Change Could Expose More People to Triggers That Cause Asthma’

And it MIGHT expose us to flying pigs as well

“Climate change could expose more people to triggers that cause asthma,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy video-tweeted Thursday while answering questions from Americans @Surgeon_General.

“Climate change, as it turns out, has a number of impacts on health,” Murthy tweeted when asked about “the less obvious or more subtle impacts on our health due to climate change.”

”Human health is affected, for example, through extreme weather events, through wildfire and decreased air quality, and through diseases transmitted by insects, food and water. Many times people think about the direct health impact that extreme weather and issues like asthma and heat stress, but there are also other impacts that warmer temperatures can have on human health.

For example, warmer temperatures can increase the likelihood that insect-borne diseases, like dengue and chikungunya, might make their way further north into the continental United States as temperatures become warmer and the climate becomes more favorable for tropical organisms to survive.”

But the nation’s top public health official stopped short of President Obama’s assertion earlier this week that blamed climate change for his daughter Malia’s asthma.

And he did not cite climate change or asthma among his top two priorities as surgeon general even though the White House is planning a May 12 summit on the health impact of climate change.

“Obesity & tobacco are two of the biggest health risks I want to focus on. #AskTheSurgeonGeneral – VM”, Murthy tweeted.

The nation’s youngest ever surgeon general expounded on mental health (“In a given year, less than half of the people diagnosed with a mental illness receive treatment.”); vaccinations (“We need to ensure that as many people are vaccinated as possible in order to protect our children and the country.”); and provided college students with “tips for staying healthy in college on the cheap.”

Pointing to the “social determinants of health” included in the Healthy People 2020 initiative, Murthy tweeted that “making the U.S. the healthiest nation in one generation starts with ensuring equity across our communities.”

“Today we understand better than ever before that our health is not just determined by what happens in the doctor’s office or the hospital. It’s also determined by important factors in our community. It’s affected by where we live, where we work, where we play, where we eat, and how we get around,” the surgeon general tweeted.

“We’ve made a special commitment to address these social and economic factors that put people at greater risk for both chronic and infectious disease through the Affordable Care Act, which has already extended critical preventive services to millions of the most vulnerable Americans.”

However, Murthy avoided questions on a wide range of other topics ranging from Lyme disease, pelvic surgical mesh, and medical marijuana to gun safety, pit bull attacks and e-cigarettes, leading one exasperated Twitter participant to remark: “Way to read the teleprompter…could you be any more scripted? #smh.”

Other Twitter users were equally unimpressed. “OMG, 44 seconds of embarrassing left-wing CO2 insanity from Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy” another tweeted in response to the surgeon general’s remarks on climate change.

“When can we do to stop the epidemic of unconstitutional nannying in our #Republic?” another participant wanted to know.


Seven of 10 Doctors See Effects of Climate Change on Patients!

Are we sure it's not due to fluoride or acid rain?

Just within the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen Congressional Republicans join with Democrats to buy into the idea that the federal government knows how to pay doctors for “quality” and “value.” It is the main concept behind the misconceived Medicare “doc fix” bill that the Senate will consider this week. If adopted, it would add $141 billion to the national debt in ten years and increase federal control of the practice of medicine.

So, if we are going to surrender even more of this power to the federal government, it might be interesting to see what the Obama administration thinks is important:

“The challenges we face are real, and they are clear and present in people’s daily lives,” said senior presidential adviser Brian Deese in a telephone conference call with reporters on Tuesday. Seven in 10 doctors are seeing effects on their patients’ health from climate change that is “posing a threat to more people in more places,” Deese said. (Bloomberg Politics)


"… the Administration has “unveiled a series of ground-breaking hackathons, crowdsourcing efforts, and partnerships with private industry that highlight just how much the administration is betting on big data to help us mitigate the impact of the changes in our environment.” (Washington Post)

If the Obama administration really thinks that seven of 10 doctors are seeing the effects of climate change on their patients, we can expect forthcoming “quality indicators” based on your carbon footprint, which your doctor, if he wants to be paid, will be compelled to enter into your Electronic Health Record.

(Actually, the entire effort is not quite as ridiculous as I’ve described. For example, drones will be used to collect mosquitoes to test for viruses. And they did manage to mention Ebola.)


Harvard Professor’s Latest ‘Heresy’ Throws Water on Obama EPA’s Climate Policy

Is Harvard University law professor Laurence Tribe trying to become the liberal who is most despised by other liberals?

It might sound odd to hear such a question asked about an academic who once mentored a young Barack Obama about the nuances of constitutional scholarship, who liberals once embraced as a potential nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, and who represented Al Gore in the former vice president’s Supreme Court lawsuit against George W. Bush following the 2000 presidential election—but consider the evidence.

Exhibit A. In 2008, Tribe wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, arguing that the Second Amendment protects an individual right that is more fundamental than any collective right to keep and bear arms as a member of a state militia or national guard unit. The piece was noteworthy for its iconoclasm and eloquence, but it was hardly the first shot the esteemed professor ever fired in the intellectual battle over gun rights.

In fact, some believe that Tribe’s earlier scholarship on the topic, notably his revisions to his famed treatise on the U.S. Constitution, was critical to the legitimization and mainstreaming of the individual-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment among the law school professoriate and also helped secure subsequent legal victories for that view.

Some might have thought (or hoped) that Tribe’s challenge to liberal orthodoxy was a one-off case of ideological heresy, never to be replicated with other subjects dear to the hearts of progressives, but now comes this:

Exhibit B. Tribe is now representing Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest coal company, in its legal challenge to recent federal restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions at coal-fired power plants. In comments filed last December, Tribe, his Harvard colleague Carl Loeb, and Peabody argued that the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its legal bounds with its Proposed Rule on carbon emissions (79 Fed. Reg. 34830) and claimed that if it goes into effect, this would eliminate coal generation in 12 states.

“It is a remarkable example of executive overreach and an administrative agency’s assertion of power beyond its statutory authority,” they wrote. “Indeed, the Proposed Rule raises serious constitutional questions.”

Next week Peabody and counsel will have their day in court, as the Supremes hear oral arguments, but already the sparks are flying. Tribe has been called a “traitor” who “sells his soul to big coal” and “hates your lungs” and is helping to “kill the planet.” Tribe, to his credit, has taken the higher ground, highlighting critical legal and constitutional principles at stake.

In testimony before a House subcommittee last month, Tribe said: “EPA is attempting an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the States, Congress and the Federal Courts all at once. Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy.”

Whether or not the rule of law survives the latest assault by the executive branch’s regulatory apparatchicks, it’s heartening to know that there are still independent thinkers willing to risk ostracism by their former supporters in order to uphold cherished ideals.


Dysfunctional Politics, Red Tape ‘Turning EU Green Energy Into Zombie Industry’

The EU’s dysfunctional political system is turning clean energy companies into a “zombie industry” of the living dead, the head of one of the bloc’s biggest green power groups has warned.

Manuel Sánchez Ortega, chief executive of Spain’s Abengoa, said EU politicians are taking so long to decide what sort of energy mix they want, especially in the biofuels sector, that companies do not know if they should keep struggling on or shut down completely. “It’s ridiculous.”

“It is better to be alive or to be dead, but the other state no one likes,” he said. “The EU is creating a zombie industry for clean energy” thanks to bureaucratic delays.

“There’s a dysfunction in politics in Europe. People ask me ‘How is the bureaucracy in Latin America? How is the bureaucracy in Africa?’ I say it’s much better than Europe.”

The EU launched a range of subsidies and other measures mandating the use of biofuels more than a decade ago, prompting a wave of investment in an industry that was generating revenues of €15bn by 2011.

But concerns that making fuel from crops would drive up food prices and boost demand for farm land, increasing the problem of deforestation, led politicians to rethink their policies three years ago.

A vote to limit crop-based biofuels is due in the European Parliament this week but Mr Sanchez said the long delays meant Abengoa had been forced to put plants on hold in Germany, France and the UK.

A similar lack of clarity was damaging other sectors such as solar power, he said, affecting renewable energy investment across Europe. Abengoa has biofuel, solar power and water treatment operations in more than 85 countries. It derives around 20 per cent of its revenues from Europe, down from more than 50 per cent a decade ago.


Australia's renewable energy investment grinds to a halt

Still the lucky country.  No more waste of precious investment funds

Australia's large-scale renewable energy industry has entered an investment freeze, with just one project securing finance in the past six months amid political uncertainty, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The lone venture in the first three months of 2015 was worth just $6.6 million and following a complete drought during the December quarter, BNEF said. The project was a floating solar photovoltaic (PV) plant being developed in Jamestown, South Australia, by Infratech Industries.

The Australian large-scale clean energy industry has become practically uninvestable.

For the year to March, investment totalled $206.9 million, which was 90 per cent lower than the previous 12 months, the consultancy said.

"Investment has been stifled by policy uncertainty for over 13 months since the Abbott government's [Renewable Energy Target] review was announced on 17 February 2014," BNEF said. "The Australian large-scale clean energy industry has become practically uninvestable due to ongoing uncertainty caused by the government's review."

Pressure remains on the Abbott government to compromise over its plans to cut the current 2020 target by more than one-fifth to 32,000 gigawatt-hours a year by decade's end. The renewable energy industry, business groups and Labor have settled on a reduction to 33,500 gW-hours in a bid to resolve an impasse with the government.

"The government is determined to ensure the Renewable Energy Target is on a sustainable footing by recalibrating the target to a realistic and achievable level, which will ensure renewables continue to contribute to Australia's energy mix," a spokeswoman for Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said.

The 32,000 gW-hour offer "would see around 23 per cent of Australia's energy coming from renewables by 2020, and would lead to a doubling of large-scale renewable generation", she said.

Jobs go

The dive in investment comes as the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that more than 2000 jobs had been lost in the industry over the past two years. Some 12,590 people were employed full-time in the wind, solar and other renewable energy industries last year, down from almost 15,000 two years earlier.

The chill descending over the large-scale end of the sector has so far not extended to smaller-scale investments, such as rooftop solar panels. Australia added about 195 megawatts of new solar PV capacity in the March quarter, about 7 per cent more than a year earlier, Bloomberg said.

The consultancy also noted that Banco Santander, the world's third-largest clean energy lender, departed the Australian market in the March quarter in another sign of waning investor interest.

Globally, investment in clean energy totalled $US50.5 billion ($66.3 billion) in the first three months of 2015, down 15 per cent on a year earlier, Bloomberg reported last week. Weaker investment in China, Brazil and Europe accounted for the slowdown.

The government has said the electricity sector is already oversupplied because of a drop in power demand. Advocates of renewable energy say the government faces sovereign risk issues by unilaterally changing investment targets that affect existing projects.



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, 2015

New Video from Prof. Murry Salby

He was fired from his university job for pointing out holes in the global warming story

It's a bit technical but very thorough.  Another comment below:

Highly informative, if scientifically complex, answers to the question why why and by how much the atmospheric  CO2 (carbon dioxide) budget is increasing were contained in a lecture just given in London by Professor Murry Salby. The lecture has been very well captured on video, illustrated by comprehensive (and comprehensible) charts and graphs, and posted to YouTube. It runs to 1 hr 40 minutes, and is worthy every second of it. (We are hoping to be able to post in the near future, a layman-friendly summary of Professor Salby's findings that very little of the atmospheric CO2 budget can be blamed on human activity).

The Salby story here

The Obama climate monarchy

Using the EPA, CEQ and other federal agencies to fundamentally transform America

Paul Driessen

ISIS terrorists continue to butcher people while hacking into a French television network. Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons remains on track. In a nation of 320 million people, American businesses hired only 126,000 workers in March, amid a pathetic 62% labor participation rate. Wages and incomes are stagnant.

And yet President Obama remains fixated on one obsession: dangerous manmade climate change. He blames it for everything from global temperatures that have been stable for 18 years, to hurricanes that have not made US landfall for nearly 9.5 years, and even asthma and allergies. He is determined to use it to impose energy, environmental and economic policies that will “fundamentally transform” our nation.

He launched his war on coal with a promise that companies trying to build new coal-fired power plants would go bankrupt; implemented policies that caused oil and gas production to plunge 6% on federal lands, even as it rose 60% on state and private lands; proclaimed that he will compel the United States to slash its carbon dioxide emissions 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, and 80% by 2050; and wants electricity prices to “necessarily skyrocket.” His Environmental Protection Agency has led the charge.

EPA has targeted power plants that emit barely 3% of all mercury in US air and water, saying this will prevent IQ losses of an undetectable “0.00209 points.” On top of its recent “Clean Power Plan,” EPA is taking over what used to be state roles, demanding that states meet CO2-reduction mandates by reorganizing the “production, distribution and use of electricity.” The agency justifies this latest power grab through a tortured 1,200-page reinterpretation of a 290-word section of the Clean Air Act.

The injuries, abuses and usurpations have become too numerous to count, and involve nearly every federal agency – as the President seeks to make the states and Executive and Judicial Branches irrelevant in his new monarchical “do as I tell you, because I say so, or else” system of government.

Now even the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is getting involved, by dramatically retooling the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act. NEPA requires that federal agencies consider the impacts of their significant decision-making actions on “the quality of the human environment,” anytime they issue permits for projects, provide government funding or conduct the projects themselves.

The law has avoided many needless impacts but has also enabled activists to delay or block projects they oppose on ideological grounds. The new White House/CEQ “guidelines” were issued on Christmas Eve 2014, to minimize public awareness and response. They require that federal agencies henceforth consider potential impacts on climate change, whenever they provide permits, approvals or funding for any federal, state or private sector projects, on the assumption that such projects will always affect Earth’s climate.

Problems with the new diktats are far too numerous for a single article, but several demand discussion.

First, CEQ uses US carbon dioxide emissions as proxy for climate change. This assumes CO2 is now the dominant factor in climate and weather events, and all the powerful natural forces that ruled in past centuries, millennia and eons are irrelevant. It presumes any increases in US “greenhouse gases” correlate directly with national and global climate and weather events, and any changes will be harmful. It also considers emissions from China and other countries to be irrelevant to any agency calculations.

Second, CEQ employs the same “social cost of carbon” analyses that other agencies are using to justify appliance, vehicle and other efficiency and emission standards. This SCC assessment will now examine alleged international harm up to 300 years in the future, from single project emissions in the United States, despite it being impossible to demonstrate any proximate relationship between asserted global climate changes and any US project emissions (which are generally minuscule globally).

Moreover, the entire SCC analysis is based on arbitrary, fabricated, exaggerated and manipulated costs, with no benefits assigned or acknowledged for using hydrocarbons to improve, safeguard and save countless lives – or for the role that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide plays in improving crop and other plant growth, thereby feeding more people, greening our planet and bolstering wildlife habitats.

Third, the expensive, time-consuming, useless, impossible exercise is made even more absurd by CEQ’s proposed requirement that agencies somehow calculate the adverse global climatic impacts of any federally approved project that could emit up to 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide or its equivalents per year. A single shopping mall, hospital or stretch of busy highway could meet this threshold – triggering endless “paralysis by analysis,” environmentalist litigation, delays and cost overruns.

Fourth, CEQ also wants agencies to somehow evaluate “upstream” and “downstream” emissions. In cases reviewing highway or hospital projects, this would entail examining emissions associated with mining, processing, shipping and using cement, steel, other building materials and heavy equipment before and during construction – and then assessing emissions associated with people and goods that might conceivably be transported to or from the facility or along the highway following construction.

CEQ likewise wants project proponents to offset these alleged impacts with equally spurious mitigation projects, which will themselves by subjected to still more analyses, contention, litigation and delays.

Fifth, the proposed CEQ guidelines would supposedly evaluate any and all adverse impacts allegedly caused by climate changes supposedly resulting from fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions. But they do not require federal agencies to assess harms resulting from projects delayed or blocked because of the new climate directives. Thus agencies would endlessly ponder rising seas and more frequent and/or severe hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts that they might attribute to particular projects.

However, they would not consider the many ways people would be made less safe by an analytical process that results in more serious injuries and deaths, when highway improvements, better levees and other flood protections, modern hospitals and other important facilities are delayed or never built.

Nor has CEQ factored in the roles of ideologically motivated anti-development bureaucrats in the federal agencies – or the ways Big Green campaigns and lawsuits are sponsored by wealthy far-left foundations, Russian money laundered through a Bermuda law firm, and even grants from the government agencies.

Sixth, in many cases, the CEQ rules could actually be counterproductive even to the Administration’s purported energy and environmental goals. Its war on coal is intended to replace coal mines and power plants with “more climate-friendly” natural gas. However, CEQ’s new guidelines for methane and carbon dioxide could delay or prevent leasing, drilling, fracking, production, pipelining and export of new gas. That would hardly seem a desirable outcome – unless the real purpose is to keep fossil fuels in the ground, increase energy prices, compel a faster transition to unreliable wind and solar power, cause more brownouts and blackouts, destroy jobs, reduce living standards, and keep more people dependent on government welfare and thus likely to vote Democrat.

NEPA is supposed to improve the overall “quality of the human environment,” and thus human health and welfare. That means all its components, not merely those the President and his Executive Branch agencies want to focus on, as they seek to use climate change to justify shutting down as much fossil fuel use as possible, in an economy that is still 82% dependent on hydrocarbons.

The CEQ and White House violate the letter, spirit and intent of NEPA when they abuse it to protect us from exaggerated or imaginary climate risks decades from now – by hobbling job creation, families, human health and welfare, and environmental quality tomorrow. That their actions will impact poor, minorities and working classes most of all makes the CEQ proposal even more pernicious.

When will our Congress, courts and state legislatures step up to the plate, do their jobs, and rein in this long Train of Abuses and Usurpations?

Via email.

Science and power

A fascinating speech by New Zealand chemist Nicola Gaston on the subject of scientists relationship to the public reveals someone who is thinking deeply about the trials and tribulations of public funded scientists and the role that power plays. I don't think she is quite there, but this certainly represents a step forward.

Gaston notes firstly that politicians have power over scientists in a way that often prevents the latter from speaking freely, but then moves on to consider the power that scientists have over the public:

"[T]he use of expertise?—?or rather, the misuse of academic status as a proxy for expertise on a particular question of public interest, is an exercise of power. The exercise of such power is at its most blatant when it happens along the lines of ‘trust me, I’m a scientist’ and at its most useful when the scientist involved is willing to explain the science. But there is always a power dynamic in any form of science communication, and understanding that has to be a prerequisite to doing it well.
Of course this is precisely the dynamic that the Manns and the Maslins and their "supporters in higher places" have been seeking to exploit since the very beginning."

The use of science as a battering ram to achieve political ends is a worrying development, but not really one than Gaston's talk touches on. This is a pity because she expresses concern about scientists receiving unwelcome attention from politicians:

"Climate scientists have previously been subject to interference from the right of the political spectrum (e.g. the Attorney General of Virginia’s 2010 investigation of the research behind the Hockey Stick, under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act); it is a relatively recent development that now sees democratic senators digging into the funding of scientists who have published work critical of some work on climate change, among them, Roger Pielke himself."

Such tactics, she says, "hollow out the reasonable middle ground". But the problem is that if political action is going to be demanded on the basis of scientific findings then the standards of openness that science has previously accepted are no longer going to be adequate. If public policy measures are going to be demanded then the public have a right to have these demands examined in forensic detail. The argument that FOI should not apply to scientists' data and correspondence in the way it applies to other civil servants is, to put it bluntly, risible. Does anyone seriously expect Republican and Conservative politicians to roll over and accept that science demands the widespread adoption of socialism without being able to examine or question the alleged evidence? Are we really arguing that science should become a way of sidestepping the democratic process and that scientists should not be accountable to the public that pays their salaries?

Make no mistake, that is what the scientivists want.


UK: Scrap the Climate Change Act

Researcher and writer Ben Pile says the CCA is the worst example of how politicians have distanced government from democracy

It might be easy to imagine that scepticism towards claims that we face catastrophic climate change would be the main reason anybody could object to the Climate Change Act 2008 (CCA). But that would be a mistake.

The CCA was passed in the House of Commons by an overwhelming majority. Just five MPs voted against its second reading. Eager to appear as planet-savers, MPs were united by a cross-party consensus in which the various parties endeavoured to outbid each other in the scale of mandatory emissions reductions they demanded.

This absurd game of politics-by-numbers concluded with the Liberal Democrats promising to abolish the petrol engine and nuclear power, and to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050. The days of cheap energy were over, they proudly declared. One reason for objecting to the CCA, then, is that it epitomises the worst excesses of consensus politics: utter indifference to and divorce from the needs of everyday life.

The CCA mandated the creation of an expert panel to decide what the UK’s carbon emissions should be – the Committee on Climate Change. But, like most quangos, its bureaucrats were more interested in their own political ambitions than the public’s needs. Bemoaning the lack of popular support for climate policies, one CCC member, Professor Julia King, remarked that ‘we have a very selfish population’, and that enforcing ‘behaviour change’ should be a major part of the government’s strategy.

Rather than finding technological solutions to climate change, King and others wanted to engineer obedience. The second reason for objecting to the CCC is that it allows technocrats to serve themselves, and legitimises their high-minded hostility to the public.

But the main reason to object to the CCA is that it reflects the growing tendency to hide from criticism behind the comforting certainty of scientific objectivity. The CCA has been an expensive failure, but its critics were dismissed as climate-change deniers. The real objective of the CCA was not to save mankind from the weather, but to save an exhausted political establishment from the public, and from democracy.


Gavin Following In Jimmy’s Footsteps

James Hansen is famous for lying to the press, and his protege Gavin Schmidt is following in his footsteps.
“Long-term trends in Antarctic temperature are perhaps slightly rising over the continent as a whole, but are quite variable,” Schmidt told Live Science in an email
‘Freak Weather Event’ Sets Antarctic Heat Records

This is the exact opposite of what he published in a peer-reviewed paper in 2004.
ScreenHunter_07 Nov. 04 15.52
SVS Animation 3188 – Antarctic Heating and Cooling Trends

Shindell and Schmidt 2004

Shindell, D.T., and G.A. Schmidt 2004. Southern Hemisphere climate response to ozone changes and greenhouse gas increases. Geophys. Res. Lett. 31, L18209, doi:10.1029/2004GL020724. 

While most of the Earth warmed rapidly during recent decades, surface temperatures decreased significantly over most of Antarctica.

Pubs.GISS: Abstract of Shindell and Schmidt 2004

Perhaps Antarctica has warmed since 2004, reversing the trend he reported in 2004? Gavin’s own data shows that hasn’t happened.

Data.GISS: GISS Surface Temperature Analysis

Satellites show that southernmost latitudes have been cooling for 35 years.
MSU_AMSU_Channel_tlt_Trend_Map_v03_3_1979_2014.730_450 (2)

RSS / MSU Data Images / Monthly

So why did Gavin tell the press that Antarctica is warming?


Put the acid on Great Barrier Reef doomsayers

By Patrick Moore (A co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace)

There is nothing more symbolic of the natural beauty of Australia than the Great Barrier Reef.

This makes it a powerful emotional tool to strike fear into the hearts of citizens. The “ocean acidification” hypothesis, that corals and shellfish will die due to higher levels of carbon dioxide dissolved in the sea, is often used to stoke those fears.

Here’s why I don’t believe there is a shred of evidence to support these claims.

When the slight global warming that occurred between 1970 and 2000 came to a virtual standstill, the doomsayers adopted ­“climate change”, which apparently means all extreme weather events are caused by human emissions of CO2.

Cold, hot, wet, dry, wind, snow and large hailstones are attributed to humanity’s profligate use of fossil fuels. But the pause in global warming kept on and became embarrassing around 2005.

Something dire was needed to prop up the climate disruption narrative. “Ocean acidification” was invented to provide yet another apocalyptic scenario, only this one required no warming or severe weather, just more CO2 in the atmosphere.

The story goes that as CO2 ­increases in the atmosphere the oceans will absorb more of it and this will cause them to become acidic — well, not exactly, but at least to become less basic. This in turn is predicted to dissolve the coral reefs and kill the oysters, clams, mussels and algae that have calcareous shells. It was named “global warming’s evil twin”.

Seawater in the open ocean is typically at a pH of 8.0-8.5 on a scale of 0-14, where 0 is the most acidic, 14 is most basic and 7 is ­neutral. Ocean acidification from increased CO2 is predicted to make the ocean less basic, perhaps to pH 7.5 under so-called worst-case projections.

How do I know that increased CO2 will not kill the coral reefs and shellfish? Let me count the ways.

* First, contrary to popular ­belief, at 400 parts per million (0.04 per cent), CO2 is lower now in the atmosphere than it has been during most of the 550 million years since modern life forms emerged during the Cambrian ­period. CO2 was about 10 times higher then than it is today.

Corals and shellfish evolved early and have obviously managed to survive through eras of much higher CO2 than present levels. This alone should negate the “predictions” of species extinction from CO2 levels nowhere near the historical maximum.

* Second, due to its high concentration of basic elements such as calcium and magnesium, sea­water has a powerful buffering ­capacity to prevent large swings in pH due to the addition of CO2.

This self-correcting capacity of seawater will ensure the pH will remain well within levels conducive to calcification, the process whereby shells and coral structures are formed. Marine shells are largely made of calcium carb­onate, the carbon of which is ­derived from the CO2 dissolved in the seawater.

* Third, and most interesting, there are freshwater species of clams and mussels that manage to produce calcareous shells at pH 4-5, well into the acidic range. They are able to do this because a mucous layer on their shell allows them to control the pH near the surface and to make calcification possible beneath the mucous layer.

The “ocean acidification” story depends only on a chemical hypo­thesis whereas biological factors can overcome this and create conditions that allow calcification to continue. This is corroborated by the historical record of millions of years of success in much higher CO2 environments.

* Fourth, ocean acidification proponents invariably argue that increased CO2 will also cause the oceans to warm due to a warming climate. Yet they conveniently ­ignore the fact that when water warms the gases dissolved in it tend to “outgas”.

It’s the same phenomenon that happens in a glass of cold water taken from the fridge and placed on a counter at room temperature. The bubbles that form on the ­inside of the glass as it warms are the gases that were dissolved in the colder water. So in theory a warmer sea will have less CO2 dissolved in it than a cooler one.

* Finally, it is a fact that people who have saltwater aquariums sometimes add CO2 to the water in order to increase coral growth and to increase plant growth. The truth is CO2 is the most important food for all life on Earth, including marine life. It is the main food for photosynthetic plankton (algae), which in turn is the food for the entire food chain in the sea.

For some reason, the proponents of catastrophic global warming ignore this fact. They talk of “carbon pollution” as if CO2 is a poison. If there were no CO2 in the global atmosphere there would be no life on this planet. Surely, that should be enough to permit questioning the certainty of those who demonise this essential molecule.

Many climate activists are telling us ocean acidification is decimating coral reefs and shellfish. Have they read the story of ­remote Scott Reef off Western Australia? The ARC Centre of ­Excellence for Coral Reef Studies reports that in a brief 15 years this huge reef recovered completely from massive bleaching in 1998. Reefs go through cycles of death and recovery like all ecosystems.

We are told CO2 is too high and we will suffer for it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We should celebrate CO2 as the giver of life it is.



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, 2015

Microbes eating melting Artic soil will add 'substantial amounts' of carbon to the atmosphere, researchers warn

A good thing, then, that temperatures seem to be insensitive to CO2 levels

Frozen Arctic and sub-Arctic soil that thaws from global warming will add substantial amounts of carbon to the atmosphere in the form of greenhouse gases, accelerating climate change the rest of the century, but it won't come in a sudden burst, researchers say in a new paper.

A review by government and academic experts concludes that harmful carbon dioxide and methane generated by microbes digesting thawed plant and animal material will instead enter the atmosphere gradually.

But it's a carbon source that shouldn't be ignored, said Dave McGuire, a senior researcher at the U.S. Geological Survey and a professor of ecology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

In the last 30 years, permafrost in Alaska, Russia and other Arctic regions has warmed nearly 11 degrees, climbing from an average temperature just under 18 degrees to just over 28 degrees Fahrenheit, according to research cited.  [Which shows that we are looking at local processes, not global ones -- as the global warming over that period was minute]

Researchers wanted to find out how much carbon is contained in permafrost, how fast it's likely to be released and in what form it will be released.

'The estimates that we came up in this synthesis suggest that throughout the rest of this century, it could be on the order of the magnitude of what tropical deforestation currently affects the global carbon cycle,' McGuire said.

McGuire is co-lead author and one of 17 researchers who worked on a research paper with these conclusions that appeared this week in the journal Nature.

The paper is an outcome of the Permafrost Carbon Network, a group of more than 200 scientists from 88 research institutions in 17 countries who for four years have studied changes in the Arctic.

'People have been sort of proposing that there's a potential for a 'permafrost bomb,' ' McGuire said, a surge that could quickly cause trillions in economic damage to roads, buildings, runways and other infrastructure built on frozen ground.

'Our research indicates that's not likely,' he said. A gradual and prolonged release will give Arctic communities time to adapt.

Many unknowns remain, he said.

An increase in forest fires could result in faster permafrost thaw.  On the other hand, longer growing seasons could mean more vegetation and more absorption of carbon that could counter output from thawing permafrost, he said.


Study: Protecting tropical reefs need not be a zero-sum game

A new study suggests that less draconian restrictions could still put many troubled reefs on the road to recovery. This could reduce friction between conservationists and those who depend on the reefs for their livelihood

Large patches of ocean that countries have declared out of bounds for fishing have become gold standards for maintaining or rebuilding the health of tropical reefs and other key ocean habitats.

A new study suggests that less draconian restrictions could put many troubled reefs on the road to recovery. A mix of approaches – from curbs on the type of fishing gear used and clearly defined fishing rights to restrictions on the species of fish caught – also can lead to healthier, more resilient reef communities, the study suggests.

The recovery probably would take longer under such management practices than it would under a flat ban on fishing, the researchers acknowledge. And the long-term effects of ocean acidification and global warming remain wild cards.
Recommended: Climate change: Is your opinion informed by science? Take our quiz!

But the scientists say that more flexible management practices could reduce friction between conservationists and the millions of people, particularly those living in developing countries, who depend on the reefs for their livelihood. The hope is that management plans tailored to local needs will be less likely to force a Hobson's choice between long-term conservation goals and immediate livelihoods.

"Conservation is not just about walling off areas and denying access, it’s about finding effective solutions that preserve the integrity of the ecosystem," notes Aaron MacNeil, a marine ecologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, Queensland, and the lead author of the study, which is set to appear in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

Conservation groups have done a lot of heavy lifting in making the case for marine-protected areas and in showing that they can work, he writes in an e-mail.

But, he adds, "fisheries closures are not for everyone, and if they are established in places where people are poor or disinclined to comply with regulations, then they just become ‘paper parks.’ "

The new study, involving researchers from Australia, Canada, Britain, and the United States, provides a unique perspective on tropical-reef conservation that can help inform regulations that are more likely to get buy-in from local people than an outright ban, he adds.

Based on fisheries data from 832 reefs in 64 locations around the world, the study suggests a global base line from which to gauge success. It shows how fish biomass at the reefs stacks up against the base line. It estimates the time needed for a fully protected reef to return to normal. And it suggests how quickly fish biomass can bounce back if measures other than fishing bans are used.

Few question that the world's tropical-reef ecosystems – the ocean analogue to tropical rain forests and their biodiversity – are in trouble and that for now, fishing remains the dominant threat to reef ecosystems.

On average, an unfished reef system supports about 1,000 kilograms (1.1 tons) of fish per hectare (two acres), found the team, which adopted that as their base line.

A healthy reef system typically hosts at least 90 percent of that base line, the study shows. With the right mix of species, a reef system can still maintain its full range ecosystem functions with about 500 kilograms of fish per hectare.

But of the 832 reefs in the study, 83 percent had fish densities below 500 kilograms per hectare. One-third of the reefs fell below 250 kilograms per hectare. Reefs around Guam and Papua New Guinea were in the worst shape, with only 10 percent of the fish-density base line – a level at which the reef system has all but collapsed.

The team's analysis found that for reefs where fishing was permitted or under some restrictions, on average it would take 39 years for fish density to recover to the 90 percent level. The worst reefs could take up to 60 years to recover.

Meanwhile, previous studies have suggested that marine-protected areas, which have been set up during the past 20 years, also take decades to bring fish populations back to the base line.

One key finding in the new study: Fish that graze on algae – vital to preventing algae from smothering a reef – don't need to be present at "pristine reef" levels to fulfill their roles as reef cleaners. They tend to reach their ideal biomass well before the overall fish density on a reef reaches the 500 kilogram mark. That may help explain a reef system's ability to maintain its functions with only half the fish density of an unfished reef.

In general, reefs with some form of fishing restrictions sported fish biomass levels averaging 27 percent higher than those of fished reefs. Where those restrictions involved nets hurled from beaches or the catch of algae grazers, the density of grazers in general increased to about 80 percent of the levels needed to keep algae in check.

For Nicholas Dulvy, a marine biologist at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia whose conservation research focuses on sharks and rays, any surprise from the study comes less in its results than in the effort it makes to evaluate, at least in broad terms, more-traditional conservation approaches, rather than focus on marine-protected areas alone.

Over the past decade, he says, many marine scientists and conservations groups "have given up on fisheries management and instead focused on locking down the ocean into marine protected areas," he writes in an e-mail.

Yet even for marine-protected areas, accommodations are being made for some level of fishing, notes Deborah Brosnan, an independent marine biologist who works closely with governments in developing conservation and natural-hazard resilience plans.

Last summer, researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia published an analysis of several approaches to setting up marine-protected areas in an attempt to strike a balance between long-term conservation demands and those of local residents for immediate income from fishing. Depending on local circumstances, the approaches involved gradually increasing the size of a reserve, increasing the number of species protected, or adjusting the number of months a year that the reserve would be closed to fishing.

The latest study provides additional information that managers could use immediately, notes Dr. Brosnan.

"In communicating with fishermen, being able to provide an explanation with biomass numbers will be critical to explaining the level of degradation and the goals of recovery in a language that they can understand," she writes in an e-mail. This kind of communication "also will be important to help avoid a situation where the recovery of some fish triggers overfishing."

She currently is advising an agency that is having a hard time explaining to fishing interests why tighter reef-fishing restrictions are needed. The issue is raising "real tensions," she writes. The kind of information the new study provides "gives a rationale, a basis, and a way to have a dialogue instead of a conflict."


Our global whorehouse

Did you know that the small minority of climate change deniers among us, me included, are Hell bent on turning our planet into a global whorehouse?

That’s right. Unless we climate change deniers are silenced once and for all, and mankind is forced to drastically reduce his carbon footprint, the detrimental effects of human caused global warming will soon overwhelm the entire earth and drive our women into prostitution.

Thankfully, a California congresswoman is introducing legislation to save our women from a life of ill repute. Democrat, Barbara Lee, seeks to force our government to address all “policies and programs in the United States that are globally related to climate change” through the lens of gender.

This courageous congresswoman understands that “Recognizing the disparate impact of climate change on women and the efforts of women globally to address climate change,” is necessary to stop the long term and catastrophic weather changes that will result in drought and destructive weather events such as flooding, which will lead to food shortages, joblessness and disease, along with economic and political crisis on a regional scale.

Global warming if allowed to continue unchecked will cause women to become whores because “women will disproportionately face harmful impacts from climate change, particularly in poor and developing nations where women regularly assume increased responsibility for growing the family's food and collecting water, fuel, and other resources,” she explains. Consequently, they will be the most desperate and vulnerable, forced into situations, “such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage.”

The impending climate change environmental crises will force women to migrate, often into refugee camps or other vulnerable circumstances, where they will have to scrounge for food and resources for their families. Therefore government should begin to focus on poor women, as well as empower women to develop strategies to prepare for these eventualities.

If we don’t act quickly and decisively to muzzle the climate change deniers, save our women, and prevent the terrible disaster, global warming will surely turn our beautiful planet into... our global whorehouse. 


Greenie disruption behind California's water shortages

Call it potty policy. This week, California took aim at the porcelain throne, mandating that all toilets — along with urinals and faucets — sold in the state after Jan. 1, 2016, conserve water. It’s part of a frantic effort to do anything to manage the state’s severe drought without actually doing what’s needed to manage the state’s severe drought.

While it’s true that California is in the fourth year of below-average precipitation, and that January and March of this year have been particularly dry, neither of these things is fully to blame for the intensity of the drought’s impact. Instead, the culprit is bad government policy and a three-inch fish.

Despite population growth, California has not completed a major water infrastructure project in nearly 50 years. Indeed, Democrats, including Governor Jerry Brown, have opposed state and federal water projects since the 1970s. And while California voters have authorized $22 billion in water bonds since 2000, most of the money has gone to environmental projects and not to safeguarding and improving water supply.

Then there’s the Delta smelt. The little swimmers, whose most appreciated contribution to society arguably comes in conjunction with the word “fried,” have become so revered by ecofascists that they’re willing to imperil the entire state to save them. Delta smelt are native to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in northern California, and a federal rule from the 1970s limits diversion of water from this northern delta to the San Joaquin Valley and southern California — all for the sake of the smelt.

The ridiculousness becomes apparent when you consider that in the past two years more than 2.6 million acre-feet of water were let out into the San Francisco Bay because there was not enough capacity north of the delta to store the water, and the “save the smelt” policies wouldn’t allow the water to be sent to reservoirs south of the delta. So instead, the water was wasted.

Indeed, as The Wall Street Journal notes, “During normal [rainfall] years, the state should replenish reservoirs. However, environmental regulations require that about 4.4 million acre-feet of water — enough to sustain 4.4 million families and irrigate one million acres of farmland — be diverted to ecological purposes.”

And the problem is nothing new. A year ago, California, populated by thriving smelt, was in a similar situation. At that time, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the smelt and against diverting much-needed water south. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California took the issue to the Supreme Court, which earlier this year turned down the appeal, effectively raising a glass to smelt and a finger to California farmers and residents.

The water shortage has become so severe that the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which houses about one-third of California’s water reserve, is at a paltry 5% of its normal average. Given smelt priority and the mismanagement of billions intended for water improvement projects, Governor Brown has now instituted the first mandatory water restrictions in the state’s history, requiring cities and towns to cut usage by 25%, with possible fines of up to $10,000 per day for those localities that fail to meet the mandate.

While conserving water will help, it will hardly solve a problem decades in the making. For this, a good lesson is needed in prioritizing humans over fish. Now, please pass the tartar sauce.


No one is talking about Britain's utterly mad energy policy

All the major parties are signed up to the policy set in train by Ed Miliband’s Climate Change Act. They don't know what they are doing

By Christopher Booker

One reason why this election campaign seems so trivial and unreal is the number of important national issues that will scarcely be mentioned. Several of these I shall cover in the weeks ahead. But high on the list is our reckless and dangerous national energy policy. Last week, scarcely noticed south of the border, came the news of the premature closure of Britain’s second largest power station. The giant Longannet plant in Fife, with its 2,400-megawatt capacity, can still supply two thirds of all Scotland’s average electricity needs.

The reasons given for Longannet’s closure early next year were partly the crippling cost of the Government’s “carbon” taxes and the additional £40 million it is being charged for connection to the grid. But the immediate trigger for the decision was Longannet’s failure to win a contract to supply back-up for Scotland’s ever-rising number of wind farms at times when there is insufficient wind.

Even Scotland’s energy minister, Fergus Ewing, called the closure of Longannet “a national scandal”, laying the blame squarely on “Westminster” – which is curious considering that his government’s policy is that by 2020 Scotland should produce 100 per cent of its electricity from “renewables”. (In other words, that it should be able to rely on unsubsidised back-up from fossil fuel plants in England when there is too little wind, while selling heavily subsidised wind power back to England when there is too much.)

But Longannet’s real crime is that the 4.5 million tons of coal it burns each year make it the biggest CO2 emitter in Scotland. Which is also, of course, why we will hear nothing about Britain’s energy future in this election: because all the major parties are signed up to the policy set in train by Ed Miliband’s Climate Change Act committing us to reduce our “carbon” emissions by 80 per cent within 35 years.

Nuclear power plants make energy that is four times as expensive as that from coal

The policy on which they are all agreed, set out in the Coalition’s “2050 Pathways for tackling climate change”, centres on three main steps, each more bizarre than the last. Step one is that we should “decarbonise” our economy, not just by closing down the coal and gas-fired power stations that supply more than 70 per cent of our electricity, but by chucking out all those gas appliances 90 per cent of us use for cooking and heating.

Step two is that we should double our production of electricity, which we would then use, not just for cooking and heating but also for virtually all our transport (electric cars, trains etc). Step three is that all this electricity should be generated from “zero carbon” sources, mainly from thousands more wind turbines and a fleet of new nuclear power stations.

The only problem is that none of this insane make-believe can possibly come about. When the wind doesn’t blow, the only power to keep our lights on, our homes heated and our electric cars running would be that from those supposed new nuclear power stations.

At the present rate, with only one new nuclear power plant dubiously in view by 2024, producing electricity four times as expensive as that from coal, not even tens of thousands of diesel generators could produce enough back-up power to keep our computer-dependent economy functioning at all. (Last Tuesday evening, wind was producing less than 1 per cent of the power we were using).

But not a word of this will we hear in the election campaign: partly because all our main political parties have signed up to it, but even more because virtually none of our politicians have the slightest clue what it is they are signed up to.


Australia: The renewable energy bomb is set to explode

David Leyonhjelm

You know you have a dog of a policy when the government, opposition and various minor parties agree it should be reformed, but the Greens and their cheer squad think it’s great.

That policy is the Renewable Energy Target. What seemed like a good idea – to encourage renewable energy – is now a mess of rising energy costs and a distorted electricity market.

Renewable electricity generators have received $9 billion in industry subsidies over the 15-year life of the RET, in addition to the price they receive for the electricity they produce. Without change, a further $22 billion will be paid by 2030. In the words of the Warburton Review, the RET is “a cross-subsidy that transfers wealth from electricity consumers and other participants in the electricity market to renewable energy companies”.

The renewable energy legislation was designed to ensure renewable energy makes up 20 per cent of the energy market by 2020. Electricity retailers must purchase Renewable Energy Certificates – from power companies that generate renewable energy – for at least 20 per cent of the power they sell. Each certificate (representing 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity) currently trades for around $40, which retailers then add to your electricity bill.

However, the legislation also contains a hard target for renewable energy of 45,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh), which at the time was assumed would equate to 20 per cent of the market. Due to falling consumption, this is now expected to be closer to 30 per cent. The problem is – leaving aside small-scale solar (ie rooftop panels on houses), which is allocated 4000 GWh of the target – we currently generate just 16,000 GWh of large-scale renewable energy towards satisfying the target.

Put another way, in 15 years we have incorporated 16,000 GWh of new renewable energy into the RET, leaving just five years to generate another 25,000 GWh to meet the large-scale target of 41,000 GWh. Nobody believes this is possible.

If retailers cannot purchase enough certificates, the legislation requires that a penalty charge of $65/MWh be imposed. With retail margins added, this will nearly triple the cost of the scheme to electricity retailers, who will pass it on to consumers. Electricity prices will skyrocket.

Everyone with knowledge of the electricity market knows this is a political time bomb about to go off, most likely within 18 months when interim targets are not met. Electricity retailers have for some time been refusing to enter new long-term agreements to purchase power (and Renewable Energy Certificates) because they know the scheme will implode due to bill shock and political pain. The public will not stand for increases in electricity prices of up to 20 per cent.

With this problem looming and negotiations between the government and opposition stalled, late last year I developed a detailed reform package for the RET. Since most opposition to reform is based on cuts to the 41,000 GWh large-scale target, my plan is to maintain this but to recognise established hydro-generation in the calculations – essentially Snowy Hydro and Hydro Tasmania – which together produce about 15,000 GWh. There would also be no cap on small-scale solar generation, which is expected to grow to 13,000 GWh.

My proposal would ensure the renewable target is achieved, with no penalty charges kicking in.

There would be strings attached for existing hydro-generators, though. To be allowed to produce valuable Renewable Energy Certificates they would have to commit to upgrading their existing generators, thereby introducing around 3000 GWh of new renewable generation into the grid.

The only losers would be the major wind-energy generators, which are eagerly waiting to build dozens of new wind farms in an effort to meet the target and get on the subsidy gravy train. Against that, many people are hoping these are never built, among them those who suffer adverse health effects from the inaudible infrasound they generate, plus those (like me) who hate to see our majestic eagles and hawks splattered all over the countryside.

The importance of reasonably priced electricity cannot be overstated. My plan will reinforce Australia’s commitment to renewable energy while solving the RET problem before the time bomb goes off.



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


12 April, 2015

It's always CO2 that is the guilty party

There are many volcanic gases, the chief of which is that famous greenhouse gas, water vapor, but there are many others, including the very reactive H2S and SO2.  But you would never realize that from the story below unless you read carefully. The influence of H2S and SO2 is mentioned but it is CO2 that is given headline treatment.  In fact, if you read carefully, SO2 was probably the main problem

The Great Dying, which struck the Earth 252 million years ago, wiped out more than 96 per cent of the world's creatures.

And while extreme volcanic eruptions are commonly blamed for triggering the event, research has found the majority of species on the planet were ultimately killed when the oceans became more acidic.

In particular, they claim the volcanic eruptions released huge amounts of carbon dioxide which were absorbed into the oceans and changed their chemical compositions. 

The Great Dying, which struck the Earth 252 million years ago, wiped out more than 96% of the world's creatures. And while extreme volcanic eruptions are commonly blamed for triggering the event, research has found the majority of species on the planet were ultimately killed when the oceans became more acidic    +4
The Great Dying, which struck the Earth 252 million years ago, wiped out more than 96% of the world's creatures. And while extreme volcanic eruptions are commonly blamed for triggering the event, research has found the majority of species on the planet were ultimately killed when the oceans became more acidic

The study, led by the University of Edinburgh, is the first to show that highly acidic oceans were to blame.

And the researchers said that the amount of carbon added to the atmosphere to trigger the mass extinction was 'probably greater than today's fossil fuel reserves'.

The Great Dying, also known as the Permian-Triassic Boundary extinction, took place over a 60,000-year period, and acidification of the oceans lasted for around 10,000 years.

These extreme temperatures already threatened many land and marine species, but this was made worse when large volcanic eruptions began to take place.

Huge volumes of viscous basalt lava covered an area roughly seven times the size of France, explained the Natural History Museum, and sulphur dioxide from these eruptions caused vinegar-like acid rain to cover the Earth.

The Great Dying, also known as the Permian-Triassic Boundary extinction, took place 252 million years ago.

At this time, a single supercontinent called Pangaea covered the Earth. This huge landmass created extremely hot and dry conditions, and by the Late Permian, temperatures were at an all time high.

These extreme temperatures already threatened many land and marine species, but this was made worse when large volcanic eruptions began to take place.

Huge volumes of viscous basalt lava covered an area roughly seven times the size of France, explained the Natural History Museum, and sulphur dioxide from these eruptions caused vinegar-like acid rain to cover the Earth.

As carbon dioxide was released into the atmosphere, global temperatures soared and this caused oceans to get hotter.

This also caused a lack of oxygen in the world's waters, killing off marine life and destroying food chains.

But it was the acidification of the oceans that was the driving force behind the deadliest phase of the extinction, which dealt a final blow to an already unstable ecosystem, the Scottish researchers said.

Researchers believe this acidification lasted for around 10,000 years.

As carbon dioxide was released into the atmosphere, global temperatures soared and this caused oceans to get hotter.

This also caused a lack of oxygen in the world's waters, killing off marine life and destroying food chains.

But it was the acidification of the oceans that was the driving force behind the deadliest phase of the extinction, which dealt a final blow to an already unstable ecosystem, the Scottish researchers said.

Oceans can absorb some carbon dioxide, but the large volume released - at such a fast rate - changed their chemistry.

To make these conclusions, a team led by Dr Matthew Clarkson and Professor Rachel Wood analysed rocks in the United Arab Emirates - which were on the ocean floor at the time - to develop a climate model to work out what drove the extinction.

Models of ocean chemistry show that anoxia and euxinia - the presence of hydrogen sulphide - would have been closely associated with high levels of carbon dioxide, which suggests a combination of gases acted as a killing mechanism.

The rocks preserve a detailed record of changing oceanic conditions at the time.

'Scientists have long suspected that an ocean acidification event occurred during the greatest mass extinction of all time, but direct evidence has been lacking until now,' said Dr Clarkson from the University of Edinburgh's school of geosciences.

'This is a worrying finding, considering that we can already see an increase in ocean acidity today that is the result of human carbon emissions.'

The study is published in the journal Science and was carried out in collaboration with the University of Bremen, University of Exeter and the Universities of Graz, Leeds, and Cambridge.

And the findings are now helping scientists understand the threat posed to marine life by modern-day ocean acidification.

Dr Clarkson's research follows similar analysis in Italy earlier this year by geologists from Imperial College London (ICL).

They discovered evidence of vinegar-like acid rain caused by the sulphur dioxide in 250 million-year-old rocks from Italy's Vigo Meano region.

'For the first time, we can say that soils from this time had an acidity similar to that of vinegar,' Mark Sephton from ICL said.

The Vigo Meano rocks contained vanillin - the substance that gives vanilla its distinct taste and flavour - and this was a surprise because vanillin is typically broken down by bacteria.

In an attempt to explain how vanillin could exist in the rocks for so long, the researchers turned to the dairy industry, which sometimes uses vanilla in milk.

Acidifying the milk protects vanillin as the low pH deactivates the enzymes that would break it down. The same can be said for vanillin in ancient rock.

'Our data fits the idea that acid rain caused the microbes to cease functioning,' said Henk Visscher, a palaeoecologist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

The findings follow a similar study in 2013 by US scientists who simulated the Great Dying.

The MIT researchers found that sulphur emissions from massive volcano eruptions were significant enough to create extremely acidic rain, which would have affected plant growth.

They believe such acidity may have been sufficient to disfigure plants and stunt their growth, contributing to their ultimate extinction.

After the eruptions ended, the researchers found believe pH levels in rain bounced back, becoming less acidic within one year.


Obama’s stealth climate treaty

Global trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership can be used to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions” around the world. So said Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman in an April 8 speech to the Brookings Institution in favor of the Pacific trade deal.

Furman was referencing the 2015 Economic Report of the President, outlining the supposed environmental protection benefits of trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. According to the report, “Trade agreements can raise environmental standards in countries that otherwise would not be motivated to raise standards on their own.”

The report also states “strong, enforceable environmental provisions pursued as part of our bilateral and regional trade agreements can help raise environmental standards in our trading partners…”

To put the icing on the cake, the U.S. Trade Representative website on the trade deal explicitly states, “Through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the United States is negotiating for robust environment standards and commitments from member countries.”

As the Trans-Pacific Partnership is negotiated, that certainly sounds like bad news for American coal producers, particularly those in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) home state of Kentucky. The coal industry’s export interests could be adversely harmed if it turns out the trade agreement is really a stealth climate treaty.

And Senate Republicans may be prepared to put the trade agreement to an up or down vote — before they even read it.

That’s right. Next week, the Senate will be introducing so-called “fast track” trade promotion authority legislation to allow the trade agreement to come to the floor on an expedited basis without even the opportunity to amend it — after President Barack Obama is done negotiating it.

They’re not even going to review the agreement before they sacrifice the supermajority requirement to adopt it.

Who ever heard of the Senate invoking cloture on legislation members have not even had the chance to read yet? Let alone something with such broad negative ramifications against U.S. energy exporters?

Yet, that is precisely what McConnell and Senate Republicans are proposing to do with the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Now perhaps it is unreasonable to expect that Malaysia might adopt our minimum wage, or Australia to restrict coal electricity consumption the way the Environmental Protection Agency has here. But why leave it to chance?

This is no free trade deal.

Instead, this could be a stealth treaty for Obama to regulate the global economy, and in particular, to put the coal industry out of business — once and for all. Why would McConnell agree to an expedited process for an agreement that might regulate the climate before it has even been finalized?


Reporters Ignore Climate Change Skeptics

The views of researchers skeptical of the theory humans are causing potentially catastrophic climate change have become scarce in news stories covering the topic.

A recent study by George Mason University researchers published in the trade magazine Journalism found contrarian views on the subject are no longer welcome in many of the nation’s newspapers. The authors of “Covering Global Warming in Dubious Times: Environmental Reporters in the New Media Ecosystem,” interviewed nearly a dozen journalists who regularly report on climate change, formerly known as global warming.

Skeptics ‘Generally Irrelevant’

The George Mason study quotes one reporter as saying, “there is pretty much understanding across the board in the United States media now that this is real, this is true, it’s happening, [and] we’re responsible. That debate is over. [Thus] in this day and age, including climate denialists (sic) in a story about climate change is generally irrelevant.”

News editors encourage reporters to deny there is an ongoing debate over humanity’s role on climate change, the study found. Journalists (who requested anonymity in the study) reported, “this practice of ignoring skeptics was largely supported by their managers and editors. In fact, one reporter’s news organization had recently developed an explicit editorial policy discouraging reporters from quoting climate change deniers in environment and science coverage.”

L.A. Times Confirms Bias

A Los Angeles Times commentary (October 8, 2013) confirms the study’s findings. Paul Thornton, the Times letter’s editor explained the paper’s decision not to print letters to the editor questioning the theory of human-induced global warming. Thornton acknowledged he is “no expert when it comes to our planet’s complex climate processes.” Instead, Thornton stated he relies on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which he described as “a body made up of the world’s top climate scientists.” According to Thornton the IPCC, had recently concluded “it was 95% percent certain that we fossil-fuel-burning humans are driving global warming. The debate right now is not whether this evidence exists (clearly, it does) but what this evidence means for us.”

Thornton’s commentary concluded, "Simply put,I do my best to keep letters of error off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying ‘there is no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.”

‘Witch Hunt’

Jay Lehr, science director at The Heartland Institute, publisher of Environment & Climate News, identifies something more ominous at work. “There is an old saying in law schools everywhere,” Lehr said. “'If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.’ What is going on now is a witch hunt, proving there are no longer any supportable facts that indicate mankind has any significant role in determining climate. All that remains is to vilify those in opposition.”


Obama Pushes to Train Veterans for Solar Power

As if abuses of veterans by the VA weren't enough!

President Barack Obama on Friday unveiled an expansion of U.S. government efforts to train military veterans for jobs in the solar power industry during a visit to Utah.

The administration announced a new goal of training 75,000 people to enter the solar work force by 2020. That is an increase from a goal announced last year of training 50,000 workers by the same deadline. Many of those workers would be veterans, administration officials said.

The Department of Defense plans to have "Solar Ready Vets" programs at 10 bases across the country to train military members who are returning to civilian life for solar jobs.

"It's going to train transitioning military personnel for careers in this growing industry," Obama said of the program during remarks at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, standing near a set of solar panel installations.

Officials declined to provide a figure for what the programs would cost.


Canada Passed on U.S.-Mexico Climate Announcement

Canada declined a U.S. invitation last week to jointly announce climate policy cooperation with Mexico, with Ottawa saying it has not yet finalized its own domestic strategy, sources from both countries familiar with the discussions said on Thursday.

On March 24, three days before the United States and Mexico announced they would partner on a high-level bilateral clean energy and climate policy task force, U.S. officials approached Canadian counterparts asking them to join the effort, three sources said.

One source said that while Canadian officials said they were supportive of North American harmonization of climate policy they were not yet prepared to join the continental partners.

Shane Buckingham, spokesman for Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, declined to comment on the invitation but said Ottawa is preparing to submit its climate plan to the United Nations "in the weeks ahead" after it gets feedback from the provinces about their own emissions-cutting policies.

"Given the importance of this submission, Canada wants to ensure it has the most complete picture of provincial and territorial plans possible before submitting," Buckingham told Reuters.

Mexico on March 27 said it would cap its greenhouse gas emissions by 2026, becoming the first emerging economy to submit its climate plan ahead of a key U.N. summit in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

The United States on Tuesday formally submitted its own climate plan, which commits the country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 28 percent by 2025 below 2005 levels.

Buckingham said the United States and Canada already align regulatory initiatives, including harmonizing vehicle standards, reducing sulfur in gasoline and phasing down HFCs.

He said Canada also works jointly with the United States and Mexico through the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

In December, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a televised interview with the CBC that his government preferred a continental response to climate change rather than imposing a unilateral price on carbon on Canada's oil sector, its fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Harper's conservative government opposes carbon pricing policies, which have support from opposition parties.

The environment critic for the opposition New Democratic Party in the Canadian Parliament said climate policy was not a priority for the Harper government.

"They're hoping to form some kind of Axis of Denial with the next Republican (U.S.) government and they're utterly disengaged on the climate file," said Megan Leslie, deputy leader of the NDP.


Heartland Institute Not in ‘Tactical Retreat’ from Climate Realism

By Joseph Bast, President, The Heartland Institute

Washington Post column by Dana Milbank read too much into a four-month-old op-ed

Washington Post Columnist Dana Milbank wrote in his April 6 column that The Heartland Institute was making “a tactical retreat” away from the fight against global warming alarmism. I wish he had called me first, I would have told him: Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the coming months we will distribute more than a quarter-million books and reports on climate change and host the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change on June 11-12 in Washington, DC. The man-made global warming paradigm is crumbling, public support is vanishing, and except for a few last hold-outs at the Washington Post and New York Times, the whole world knows it. Human activity is not causing a climate crisis.

To invent his story, Milbank took out of context two passages from a December 24, 2014 opinion piece at Human Events by Justin Haskins, an editor for The Heartland Institute. I would have phrased it a bit differently, but I don’t disagree with the points Haskins made.

The Heartland Institute is a think tank, not a church. We don’t all sing from the same hymnal. I encourage debate and tolerate dissent, that’s how I learn new things and how my staff gets better. We agree on the important stuff: that individual liberty must expand, markets must be free, and government ought to be limited.



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, 2015

Anaesthetic is WARMING the planet: Gases used to knock out patients during surgery are contributing to climate change (?)

We're used to being nagged about gas concentrations in parts per million but now we are being nagged about gas concentrations in parts per trillion!  We didn't even get to stop on parts per billion. And the idea that the anaesthetic gases are much "stronger" in their effect than CO2 ignores completely that the magnitude of CO2 effects is very unsettled (The "climate sensitivity" debate).  There is reason to believe that the effect of CO2 is real but negligible.  The same may be true of the anaesthetic gases.  Theories take you only so far and can be too simplistic.  Certainly in the last 18 years the theoretical effect of the trace gases has not accorded with reality

Anaesthetic gases used to send patients to sleep during surgery are accumulating in the Earth's atmosphere where they are contributing to climate change.

Scientists say they have detected the gases used in anaesthetic as far afield as Antarctica and concentrations have been rising globally in the past decade.

The gases - desflurane, isoflurane and sevoflurane - are potent greenhouse gases that have 2,500 times the impact on global warming compared to carbon dioxide.

Dr Martin Vollmer, who led the study at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology in Dubendorf, Switzerland, said the anaesthetic gases were capable of storing far more energy from the sun than carbon dioxide.

He said: 'On a kilogram-per-kilogram basis, it's so much more potent.  'Modern halogenated inhalation anesthetics undergo little metabolisation during clinical application and evaporate almost completely to the atmosphere.'

The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that concentrations of desflurane reached 0.30 parts per trillion in 2014.

Isoflurane, sevoflurane and halothane have reached 0.097, 0.13 and 0.0092 parts per trillion in the atmosphere respectively.

By comparison, carbon dioxide gas currently makes up 400 parts per million in the atmosphere.

However, one kilogram (2.2lbs) of desflurane produces the same greenhouse effect as 2,500 kg (5,512lbs) of carbon dioxide.

The researchers estimate that anaesthetic gas emissions currently combine to produce the equivalent effect in the atmosphere of 3.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The research team did not examine the impact of nitrous oxide, another major component of anaesthetic, as it is released by many other sources.

The researchers have been taking air samples from remote sites around the Northern Hemisphere since 2000 while they have also obtained air samples in the North Pacific and the South Shetland Islands in Antarctic.

The team also used two hourly measurements at a high altitude observatory at Jungfraujoch, Switzerland since 2013 to track anaesthetic gases.  They then used computer modelling to produce global estimates for the concentrations of these gases.

However, Edmond Eger, an anaethesiologist at the University of California San Francisco, said: 'What the report fails to note is that a major factor determining the environmental effect is the manner in which the anesthetics are used.

'Many anesthetists deliver sevoflurane or isoflurane in a two - three liters per minute flow but deliver desflurane in a lower flow - 0.5 to one liter per minute. 'Some believe that desflurane has clinical advantages that argue for its continued use.'


Busted: Obama’s claim that global warming caused daughter’s one-time asthma attack

Here’s what actually happened.

President Obama claimed today that global warming was to blame for a one-time asthma attack that happened to his daughter Malia when she was in pre-school.

Except that, according to Michelle Obama, the attack occurred while they were at the circus — a venue teaming with peanuts.

And wouldn’t you know it, Malia has a peanut allergy.

Blame global warming? That’s nuts!


Freeman Dyson says the  Earth is actually growing greener

Eminent physicist Freeman Dyson is very elderly but still alive and alert.  He celebrates the increased levels of CO2 in the air in a recent interview

Freeman says models do a good job of helping us understand climate but they do a very poor job of predicting it.

Dyson says, “as measured from space, the whole earth is growing greener as a result of carbon dioxide, so it’s increasing agricultural yields, it’s increasing the forests and it’s increasing growth in the biological world and that’s more important and more certain than the effects on climate.”

He acknowledges that human activity has an effect on climate but claims it is much less than is claimed. He stresses the non-climate benefits of carbon are overwhelmingly favourable.

SOURCE (Video at link)

The sun and the wind are free, but converting them to RELIABLE  electricity is expensive, if not impossible

By Marita Noon

In an effort to get America off of fossil fuels, “free” solar and wind energy is often touted as the solution. However, in reality, the so-called free energy has high costs and does little to minimize fossil-fuel use or cut greenhouse gases.

Because solar and wind energy are not available 24/7 — also frequently referenced as not “dispatchable” — incorporating them into the electricity portfolio requires back-up power to be available on demand. When the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, we still expect to have heating or air conditioning, cook our dinners, charge our phones, and use our computers.

To do this, requires fossil fuels—typically natural gas “peaking plants,” but depending on what is available, it may be a coal-fueled power plant that is forced to operate inefficiently, releasing more CO2 than it would if allowed to operate as intended.

Think of it this way: If you want to cook a hamburger, and you have a charcoal grill, you go outside about 30 minutes before you plan to cook. You mound up the charcoal, sprinkle it with lighter fluid, and toss on a match. When the coals are white on the edges, you know they are ready. You put your burger on the grill and cook it for five to eight minutes. Once you remove the burger, the coals are still hot for hours. Ultimately, they burn down to ashes and are cold enough that you can throw them into your plastic trash can, or into the forest. To restart it later in the same day is not efficient.

By comparison, if you are going to cook that same hamburger over natural gas or propane, you go out five minutes before you plan to grill to heat up the elements. You cook your burger, and you turn it off. No coals, no cool down needed.

Power plants function in a similar fashion.

A coal-fueled power plant cannot easily be turned on and off. It works most efficiently — i.e. cleanly — when it burns continuously. Like the grill, you can add more coal throughout the process to keep the temperature up, which creates the steam that generates electricity.

But with a natural-gas-fueled power plant, you can easily turn it on and off. So when the wind suddenly stops blowing — with no warning, the gas plant can quickly ramp up to generate the needed power.

As Germany, with the highest implementation of renewable energy of any country, found out, to maintain grid stability, it needs coal- and natural-gas-fueled power plants. As a result of its policies that favor renewables, such as solar and wind, Germany has had to subsidize its fossil fueled power plants to keep them open.

So, by adding solar and wind power to the energy mix, we actually increase costs by paying for redundant power supplies—which ultimately, through rate increases, hurts the less fortunate who also have to cover the costs of the renewables.

In the cold weather of Albuquerque’s winter, I received a call from an “unemployed single mother living in an 800 square-foot apartment.” When I answered the phone, she dumped on me. She was angry. Her life circumstances meant she didn’t turn on her heat because she couldn’t afford it. After stating her position, she ranted at me, “I just opened up my utility bill. I see that I am paying $1.63 a month for renewable energy.” She continued: “I don’t give a f#*! about renewable energy! Why do I have to pay for it?”

I tried to steer her attention away from the utility company and toward the legislature that nearly a decade ago passed the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires increasing amounts of more expensive renewable energy. As a result, her rates went up, and she had no say in the matter — except that she may have voted for the legislators who approved the policy.

Recently, in Florida, the state NAACP chapter had an op-ed published that, essentially, said the same thing: renewable energy for some people, costs those who can least afford it.

It is not that renewable energy is bad. I have friends who live off the grid. They are cattle ranchers, who live in New Mexico’s Gila Forest. Were it not for their solar panels, they’d have no lights, no computers, no direct contact with the rest of the world. For them, solar panels on the roof — with a back-up system of car batteries — are their salvation. At a cost that worked for them, they were able to purchase used solar panels that someone else had discarded. They are grateful for their solar panels, but they have little option — and they know that; they accept it.

Without thinking of what works well in each situation, government has tried to apply a one-size-fits-all solution. Based on a phony narrative of energy shortages and global warming, err, climate change, renewables have been sold as the panacea. While they may be the right choice in a few cases, such as my cattle ranching friends, or even in the oil fields — which are one of the single biggest industrial users of solar power, many individual locales may be better served by coal, or natural gas, even nuclear, than by renewable power. But the mandates, or the EPA, have not taken that into consideration.

In New Mexico, there are two coal-fueled power plants situated virtually at the mouth of the coal mine. The coal is extracted and sent straight to the power plants that generate most of New Mexico’s power and provide enough excess to sell to neighboring Arizona and California. But, EPA regulations require that these plants, now, with years of useful service left, be shut down. Some of the units will be converted to natural gas — something the region also has in abundance. However, the natural gas has pipelines that can take it to the world markets; it is not stranded in the San Juan Basin.

In contrast, the coal cannot conveniently leave the area — there is no rail to transport it. Looking at the specifics of the basin, it makes sense to continue to generate electricity from coal and allow the natural gas to benefit markets (perhaps even our allies) without other resources — but the EPA and its environmental advocates will hear nothing of it. Their ideology drives the policy whether it makes economic, or practical, sense or not.

Just try to bring truth or logic into the discussion, and the crusaders will treat you as they have Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence.

Last month, I released a white paper: Solar power in the U.S. Using real-life data and news reports, we present the harsh realities of today’s solar market—which has reacted, not with facts, but by smearing me and the supposed funding of the organizations I lead. Apparently, when you have emotion and messaging on your side, you do not need to be impeded by facts — such as the sun and the wind are free, but converting them to electricity is expensive; converting them to reliable, albeit expensive, electricity is virtually impossible. Ah, but they never let the truth stand in the way of their feel-good story.


Using the Global Warming Hoax to Destroy America

By Alan Caruba

When President Obama announced on March 31 that he intends to ensure that the U.S. will slash its “greenhouse gas emissions” 26% below 2005 emissions levels by 2025 in order to keep pledges made to fulfill the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, he failed to mention that such levels would be comparable to what they were in our Civil War era, 150 years ago.

He also failed to mention that the U.S. has made no such pledges as regards the 1992 “Kyoto Treaty” which was resoundingly rejected by the U.S. Senate when then Vice President Al Gore brought it back from the U.N. conference.

There is no need, globally or nationally, to reduce such emissions. It would be a crime against humanity, especially for the millions that would be denied electrical power or would see its cost rise exponentially. “The President has no credible evidence to back up his claims,” said H. Sterling Burnett, a Research Fellow with the free market think tank, The Heartland Institute. “Obama’s climate actions are likely to cause far more harm to people, especially the poor, than any purported threats from global warming.”

“Global warming” and “climate change” are attributed to the use of fossil fuels to manufacture and transport ourselves and our goods, and to create electrical energy, despite the fact that the Earth, its oceans and land areas naturally generate such gases.

There are, for example, more than 1500 potentially active volcanoes and countless others under the oceans. They produce billions of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases that are identified as “greenhouse gas emissions.” The human contribution pales in comparison to natural sources such as the warming ocean surface which releases CO2.

Even so, CO2 constitutes a mere 0.04% of the atmosphere. There is no evidence CO2 plays any role in the Earth’s global temperature.

Do these “greenhouse gas emissions” trap heat? Apparently not because the Earth has been in a natural cooling cycle for the past eighteen years breaking and making records for snow and ice. In the 1970s scientists were predicting a new Ice Age. Ten years later they were predicting “global warming.”

Why then is the President intent on slashing “greenhouse gas emissions” when (1) the Earth is not a greenhouse and (2) doing so would harm our economy for decades to come?

The answer lies in his promise to “fundamentally transform” a nation that does not need transformation except for the reduction of the size and scope of the federal government. Its economic system is the best in the world. Its military is the strongest. Its agriculture feeds Americans and is exported to other nations.

As David Rothbard, the president and co-founder of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a free market think tank, noted in the wake of Obama’s announcement, “The President will have to bypass the law-making process and use executive orders and regulations” to achieve his goal of slashing emissions. “To do so requires tortured readings of the Clean Air Act and other current laws.”

Significantly, “the President offers no suitable replacement for the lost generating capacity beyond pointing toward wind and solar which is not up to the task.” When Obama took office, coal-fired plants provided 50% of U.S. electricity. It is now down to 40% and headed lower if Obama has his way.

Rothbard warns that “Global warming campaigners see this presidency and the Paris U.N. Summit as the best chance they are likely to see to take control of American energy. The ramifications are disastrous for American freedom and prosperity.”

This brings us to the what John L. Casey, founder of the Space and Science Research Corporation, (SSRC), an independent scientific research organization in Orlando, says about the forthcoming November 30 to December 15 U.N. climate conference in Paris which he describes as “doomed” and that’s the good news.

Its announced goal of imposing global limits on greenhouse gas emissions will not be mandatory and “President Obama has effectively gutted any meaningful agreement among the major industrialized nations, by having granted to the planet’s largest CO2 producer, China, free license to build as many coal power plants as they wish, and emit as many gigatons of greenhouse gases as they wish until 2030.”

This is, in fact, a global trend as many developing nations such as India do the same thing. Nor will they suddenly shut down electricity production fifteen years from now.

This huge, international farce formerly known as the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, began as an international treaty created in 1992. The U.S. Senate refused to ratify the Kyoto Treaty, but pledges to reduce greenhouse gases were made by 33 out of 195 countries, called their “Intended National Determined Contribution” are the main feature at the forthcoming Paris conference.

For all the media attention the President will try to generate for this idiocy, Ken Haapala, president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, says “It is unlikely that the current Senate would approve a binding agreement.”  Haapala notes that lawmakers that include the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)m and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), “have all insisted that the international agreement the U.N. is working on is a treaty and cannot be enforced without Senate approval.”

Sen. McConnell warned, “Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. Federal government hasn’t even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal.”

While most Americans have concluded that “global warming” or “climate change” are low on their list of fears President Obama has elevated this hoax to the top of his agenda for his last two years in office, along with the deal that would give Iran the opportunity to build a nuclear arsenal of weapons.

He doesn’t want to “transform” America. He wants to destroy it.


The whales are OK

From the IWC

It is well known that overexploitation by the whaling industry led to serious declines in many of the world’s populations of whales, although thankfully no species was brought to extinction and many are now in the process of recovering, although not all.

One reason for this is the improved management of whaling that began in the mid-1970s, when management by population or stock was introduced. This led to the development of the present highly precautionary scientific ‘management procedure’ approaches developed by the IWC’s Scientific Committee for commercial and aboriginal subsistence whaling in order to ensure that past mistakes will not be repeated.

What is status?

Normally when considering ‘status’, one is interested in (a) where a population is now compared to where it was originally and (b) where it is going in the future. In other words one does not only need information on present abundance but also on trends in abundance. The importance of long-term monitoring cannot be over-emphasised and further details of monitoring and how we can achieve it for cetaceans can be found here.

Concurrent with improved management procedures, our ability to estimate the number of whales directly, using a range of techniques, has greatly improved (see summary on pages 166-171 in this paper). Below, we provide a general (and necessarily simplified) overview of the status of large whales by species and ocean basin.

For some species/stocks there is sufficient information to assess the present abundance against unexploited population size. For others we have good estimates of present population size but not of past abundance, or of abundance estimates for only part of their range or, in a few cases, no estimates of present abundance.

Estimating the number of whales in an area is not an exact science and, of course, estimates come with confidence intervals that reflect uncertainty. For the purposes of this very general overview, we have used what in common parlance is called the ‘best’ estimate by broad geographical areas. It is important to note that any scientific work associated with management and conservation must use rigorous abundance estimates and take fully into account any uncertainty surrounding abundance estimates and population structure.


Knowledge of status is important in terms of evaluating threats to populations, assigning priorities to mitigating those threats and evaluating the success of those mitigation measures. Threats to cetaceans can be said to incorporate two broad categories. The first are those that result in death in the short-term such as direct hunting (e.g. whaling) and accidental/incidental mortality (e.g. by catches in fishing gear, ship strikes). At the level of the individual animal, this is of course always a problem; however, when considering conservation at the population level, this is not necessarily so (depending on the conservation objective chosen), provided that the level of mortality is sustainable.

The other category of threats is more difficult to identify and especially quantify – those that can be said to affect the ‘overall fitness’ of the population with respect to reproductive success and/or survivorship and that are generally related to environmental degradation. These include such factors as chemical pollution, noise pollution, overexploitation of prey, disturbance, climate change, etc.

At the level of the individual animal these may not always appear to be a problem (for example a female whose reproductive ability has been impaired may seem perfectly healthy), but at the population level they may represent a serious threat. These environmental factors can affect populations of all species; indeed the most vulnerable populations to such threats may be those for which direct exploitation would not be allowed.

Species or population

Although often people request information on status at the species level, biologically it is more sensible to consider status at the population level (although determining stock structure, particularly for populations where the breeding grounds are unknown, is difficult). A perfect example of why this is the case is the gray whale; there is one healthy population (and thus the species is not endangered) but also one critically endangered population that therefore requires immediate conservation action (see below). 

In fact only two species of large whales can be considered in danger of extinction, the North Pacific right whale and the North Atlantic right whale, both of which were severely depleted by pre-20th century whaling.


Also note that all right whales are very similar and that the Southern right whale (E. australis) is not considered to be endangered


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, 2015

We will not be moved, says American Physical Society leadership

A lot of their members are not happy with the APS endorsing Warmism so it remains to be seen what the next meeting of the society will produce.  Will the proposed new statement get a majority in favour?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is APS revising its climate change statement?
A: The American Physical Society formally reviews its statements every five years. The APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) formed a subcommittee in fall 2013 to review its 2007 Climate Change Statement and 2010 Climate Change Commentary. After reviewing the statement, commentary and recent scientific reports, POPA developed a single, concise statement on Earth's Changing Climate.

Q: Who wrote the statement?
A: The entire APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) membership was engaged in drafting the statement. The panel's membership as well as the Charge to POPA and resource documents can be found on the APS Climate Change Statement review website.

Q: What was the process to revise the statement?
A: A detailed description of the process is included in APS News and posted on the APS Climate Change Statement review website. Briefly, the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) adhered to the process outlined in the APS Board & Council Joint Oversight Policies & Procedures, starting with a standard review of the 2007 APS Climate Change Statement and 2010 Climate Change Commentary. Then, a POPA subcommittee convened a workshop to inform itself on aspects of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) consensus view of the physical basis of climate science. That was followed by the drafting of a single, concise statement that was reviewed by POPA and the APS Council. The APS Board unanimously voted to send it to the membership for comment on Feb. 21, 2015.

Q: How does this draft statement compare to the 2007 statement and 2010 commentary?
A: In this draft statement on Earth's Changing Climate, APS "reiterates" its 2007 statement in stating that: the climate is changing, humans are contributing to climate change, and rising concentrations of greenhouse gases pose the risk of significant disruption around the globe. While there remain scientific challenges to our ability to observe, interpret and project climate change, APS continues to support actions - as it did in the 2007 statement - that reduce greenhouse gases and increase the resilience of society to climate change. A primary change is that the draft is succinct and does not require an associated commentary.

Received via email

Statistician Briggs replies to Ronald Bailey

Following up on the article behind my leading post yesterday

I have already changed my mind about global warming. I was initially a believer that bad times were on their way. Why? Well, I was young, fresh to the field. I knew how smart my betters were; I knew how wonderfully complex their models could be; I saw the increasing success in weather forecasting and the improvements in short-term (out to a year or so) climate predictions.

The temperatures, back then, were on their way up, too, in accord with what some climatologists were predicting. I never made the mistake, like Bailey, to count the same piece of evidence more than once. Rising temperatures were consist with the theory that increasing CO2 caused increasing temperatures. But a melting glacier is a consequence of that heating, it is not additional proof of the theory. What an elementary mistake to think it was! Likewise, nothing that was a consequence of increased temperatures counts as additional evidence of why the increased happened.

That I saw people making these mistakes, in a big, enthusiastic way, was what started my path back to Truth. How many papers announced "This evil will befall us once the temperature increases past the point of no return"? Thousands; more; they continue in a steady stream. And all of them were taken as evidence that the CO2-theory was right.

That being impossible, and stupid, I began seriously looking into the problem.

That's when I noticed climate model forecasts had no skill. Before, I merely took it for granted they had. The predictions models made were not as good as saying "next year will look like last year", i.e. persistence. The models were poor globally, and even worse locally. The temperatures, for some two decades now, are not going in the direction the models promised.

This can only mean that the models were (are) broken. Why? Well, the theory which underlies them must be busted. Where? Who knows? It could be many things, or just one big thing. It's not my job to find out, either. Though I and some pals of mine have some guesses.

Your car doesn't start. You can then authoritatively state, "My car is busted." It would be asinine and unscientific to say, "Even though my car doesn't start, it really does work and really is taking me places." Yet that is what supporters of the current models are saying. The models don't work but proponents still claim they're still taking us to the future. This is a form of politically correct lunacy.

But therein lies my answer to the question. I would change my mind and believe the models had a good, and not a dismal, handle on reality if they were to start making good predictions. About the future.

I had to add that, what seemed unnecessary, "About the future" because of the unfortunate habit of some modelers to claim their models make good "forecasts"--of the past. Yes, they do this. It's called "hindcasting" or "backcasting". It's a way of testing model fit with observed data. It can be useful to discover wild or egregious flaws in models, but no matter how well a model hindcasts, it's no guarantee it will make good future-casts.

Future-casts, i.e. predictions, are the only test. There is none other. And models have so far failed that test.

But if they were to pass that test, and pass it consistently, then I'd have to believe the models were on to something, and that the theories which drive the models are likely true.


Viscount Monckton replies to Bailey

Lord Monckton has done a most comprehensive reply to Bailey that does not yet seem to be online anywhere.  It is very graphics-intensive so I do not have the time to get it ready for publication here but I do reproduce below some excerpts

our emissions of CO2 and its atmospheric concentration are rising, but anthropogenic CO2 represents only 3% of the total free CO2 in the Earth-atmosphere system. But in logic – it cannot be repeated often enough – mere correlation does not necessary imply causation.

Professor Murry Salby, late of Macquarie University, Australia, has established that it is the time-integral of temperature changes that causes changes in CO2 concentration, leaving little or no room for any detectable anthropogenic contribution. He is not alone in his findings. If he is right, there is no need to posit any role for CO2 or other anthropogenic influences. On that analysis, climate sensitivity  may well be zero.

Cross-correlations by Professor Salby between CO2 change and temperature change. He has found by detailed inspection that the observed record shows CO2 concentration change lagging temperature change by about 8-10 months, approximately the lag that would be expected on the basis of an atmospheric residence time of about 5 years. It is a settled principle of logic that that which occurs second cannot have caused that which occurred first.

Will greenhouse-gas emissions cause much warming?

 No - and, on the evidence to date, certainly not as much as the IPCC predicted.

Near-term projections of warming at a rate equivalent to 2.8 [1.9, 4.2] K/century, made with "substantial confidence" in IPCC (1990), for the 303 months January 1990 to March 2015 (orange region and red trend line), vs. observed anomalies (dark blue) and trend (bright blue) at less than 1.4 K/century equivalent, taken as the mean of the RSS and UAH satellite monthly mean lower-troposphere temperature anomalies.

Do temperature feedbacks amplify direct CO2 warming?

No. Measurements suggest feedbacks are negative, attenuating direct CO2 warming.

Furthermore, the range of mean global surface temperature change over the past 810,000 years was just 3.5 degrees C either side of the long-run average - about the same as the range of temperatures permitted by an ordinary household thermostat. It is difficult to alter the Earth's temperature, because the atmosphere is sandwiched between two vast heat-sinks: the oceans below and outer space above.

Via email

Has The Guardian “Rolling Stoned” Christy & Spencer?

The super-confident Warmist, Dana Nuccitelli, of The Guardian is good at "proving" his points by quoting what his fellow Warmists say but his repertoire is not limited to that.  He also does personal attacks. He has recently done a hit piece on two skeptical scientists.  His screed is mostly "ad hominem" so hardly worth replying to but one of those targeted, Roy Spencer, has replied as follows:

That tireless ecological zealot over at The Guardian, Dana Nuccitelli, took the opportunity of our 25th anniversary of satellite-based global temperature monitoring to rip us a new one. 

Comparing John Christy and me to "scientists who disputed the links between smoking and cancer", Dana once again demonstrates his dedication to the highest standards of journalism.

Well done, Grauniad.

I prefer to compare us to Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, who rejected the scientific consensus that peptic ulcers were due to too much stress or spicy food.  While they eventually received the Nobel Prize after years of ridicule and scorn from the medical research community, we have no illusions that we will ever be credited for our long-standing position that global warming fears have been overblown.  I’m sure the UN’s IPCC will find a way to take credit for that, and get another Peace Prize for it.

(I wonder if Marshall and Warren were being paid off by the spicy food lobby?)

The "97% of all climate scientists agree" meme that Dana bitterly clings to has been thoroughly discredited…. as if scientific consensus on something so poorly understood as climate change (or stomach ulcers 15 years ago?) really means anything, anyway.

To prove that Dana should probably avoid trying to interpret simple graphs, let's examine this chart he so likes, which allegedly shows that our (UAH) global temperature dataset has been continually adjusted for errors over the years, resulting in an increasing warming trend:


Now, setting aside the fact that (1) we actually do adjust for obvious, demonstrable errors as soon as they have been found (unlike the IPCC climate modelers who continue to promote demonstrably wrong models), and (2) RSS gets about the same (relatively benign) warming trend as we do, let's examine some other popular temperature datasets in the same manner as the above graph:


Looks a lot like Dana's plot, doesn't it?   Do you want to know why?  Is it really because all those other temperature dataset providers were also busily correcting mistakes in their data, too?  No, it's largely because as the years go by, the global temperature trend changes, silly

About the only thing Dana got reasonably correct is his article's tag line, "John Christy and Roy Spencer are pro-fossil fuel and anti-scientific consensus."

You're damn right we are.   But not because we are paid to say it, which we aren't.  (What are you paid to say for The Guardian, Dana?)

We are pro-fossil fuel because there are no large scale replacements available, wind and solar are too expensive, and you can’t just cut fossil fuel use without causing immense human suffering.  Yes, I’ve talked to some of the top economists about it. 

And indeed we are “anti-scientific consensus” because the consensus (which mostly just follows the average of the IPCC climate models) has been demonstrated to be wrong.

Finally, if Dana objects to me tiring of being called a "global warming denier" (with the obvious Holocaust connotations) for the last
seveneight years and fighting back, read this and then tell me where I am wrong.


Research known to be fraudulent gets published

The report below concerns the medical literature but if it happens there it surely happens everywhere

Research Misconduct Identified by the US Food and Drug Administration

Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of the Peer-Reviewed Literature

By Charles Seife


Importance:  Every year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspects several hundred clinical sites performing biomedical research on human participants and occasionally finds evidence of substantial departures from good clinical practice and research misconduct. However, the FDA has no systematic method of communicating these findings to the scientific community, leaving open the possibility that research misconduct detected by a government agency goes unremarked in the peer-reviewed literature.

Objectives:  To identify published clinical trials in which an FDA inspection found significant evidence of objectionable conditions or practices, to describe violations, and to determine whether the violations are mentioned in the peer-reviewed literature.

Design and Setting:  Cross-sectional analysis of publicly available documents, dated from January 1, 1998, to September 30, 2013, describing FDA inspections of clinical trial sites in which significant evidence of objectionable conditions or practices was found.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  For each inspection document that could be linked to a specific published clinical trial, the main measure was a yes/no determination of whether there was mention in the peer-reviewed literature of problems the FDA had identified.

Results:  Fifty-seven published clinical trials were identified for which an FDA inspection of a trial site had found significant evidence of 1 or more of the following problems: falsification or submission of false information, 22 trials (39%); problems with adverse events reporting, 14 trials (25%); protocol violations, 42 trials (74%); inadequate or inaccurate recordkeeping, 35 trials (61%); failure to protect the safety of patients and/or issues with oversight or informed consent, 30 trials (53%); and violations not otherwise categorized, 20 trials (35%). Only 3 of the 78 publications (4%) that resulted from trials in which the FDA found significant violations mentioned the objectionable conditions or practices found during the inspection. No corrections, retractions, expressions of concern, or other comments acknowledging the key issues identified by the inspection were subsequently published.

Conclusions and Relevance:  When the FDA finds significant departures from good clinical practice, those findings are seldom reflected in the peer-reviewed literature, even when there is evidence of data fabrication or other forms of research misconduct.


The trouble with Google defining "truth"

It thinks we're only entitled to seeing Google's "facts," especially on climate change

Ron Arnold

With its $385 billion share value, Google, Inc. has bumped ExxonMobil to become America's No. 2 ranked company in market capitalization.

That may not be a good thing. A February article in New Scientist announced, Google wants to rank websites based on facts, not links, and writer Hal Hodson said, "The internet is stuffed with garbage. Google has devised a fix - rank websites according to their truthfulness."

Not surprisingly, the idea of changing page rank from popularity to "truthfulness," based on a Google-made "knowledge vault," did not go down well.

Fox News reported, "Google's plan to rank websites is raising censorship concerns." Douglass Kennedy opened with, "They say you're entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. It's a concept not everyone is comfortable with."

They're saying we're only entitled to Google's "facts," which completely short-circuits how slippery "facts" can be and naively equates facts with truth. Ask any lawyer about truth.

Today's climate wars consist of arguments between highly qualified scientists about facts that some sincerely believe are true, and some sincerely believe are false, each for solid reasons. It should be an honest debate among equals, but it's degenerated into a power play by alarmists to kill debate to drive favored public policies that are pushed by certain politicians and their social and political base.

Google's truth plan is not so simple. Facts are statements about existence. Statements about existence can be true or false. Existence itself - your kitchen sink or the climate or whatever - can't be true or false; it just exists. Say anything you want about existence, and it won't change a thing. It still just exists. Existence doesn't give a damn what you think about it. Facts are statements about existence, and statements are always arguable.

But get everyone to believe Google Facts, and you can enforce political policies worth trillions of dollars to climate profiteers - and impose punitive, economy-strangling, job-killing regulations on millions of families.

You can see where this is going.

Imagine: Big Google the Universal Truthsayer. That's as scary as "Mr. Dark" in Ray Bradbury's 1962 novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, only worse. It's the perfect machine to kill all dissent and wither the Internet into a wasteland of groupthink, susceptible to disinformation campaigns from any power center from the CIA, to the rich bosses of Google, Inc. to Google's political friends and allies.

What about those rich bosses? Google's two co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, created a corporate foundation in 2005. The Google Foundation has 2013 assets of $72,412,693, gave grants of $7.9 million, and added $29.4 million from corporate profits.

Three of Google's top-ten recipients are key climate alarmists: the World Wildlife Fund ($5 million); Energy Foundation ($2.6 million); and rabidly anti-fracking Natural Resources Defense Council ($2.5 million).

NRDC is particularly influential because it also received $3.01 million in taxpayer-financed Environmental Protection Agency grants since 2009 and has 50 employees on 40 federal advisory committees: NRDC has 33 employees on 21 EPA committees, and more in six other agencies.

The big gun in Google philanthropy is Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, whose Schmidt Family Foundation ($312 million, 2013 assets) is a major armory for groups that attack skeptics of dangerous manmade climate change. The Schmidt Foundation has given $67,147,849 in 295 grants to 180 recipients since it was endowed in 2007.    

Top Schmidt money went to Climate Central ($8.15 million), a group of activist climate scientists bolstered by $1,387,372 in EPA grants since 2009.

Schmidt also gave $3.25 million to the Energy Foundation, which was almost superfluous, since EF is practically the Mother Ship of green grants, with $1,157,046,016 given via 28,705 grants to 11,866 recipients since 1999.

Among the shadier grants in the Schmidt portfolio are anti-fracking, anti-fossil-fuel grants totaling $1.19 million to the Sustainable Markets Foundation, a shell corporation that gives no recorded grants, but funnels money to climate and anti-fracking organizations such as Bill McKibben's, so that the donors are not traceable.

Schmidt supported the far-left Tides Foundation empire with $975,000 for an anti-consumer film, "The Story of Stuff." It gave the Sierra Club $500,000 for anti-natural gas activism, the Center for Investigative Reporting $985,000 for an anti-coal film, and so forth. Schmidt's list goes on for pages.

With all the massive resources of wealth and power alarmists have, we must ask: Why do they give so much to destroy the climate debate and the debaters? What are they afraid of?

Perhaps they have staked so much money and reputation on manmade climate catastrophe claims that they are terrified by the prospect that inconvenient evidence, data, debate and scientists could destroy their carefully constructed climate house of cards.

Or perhaps it's what Eric Schmidt said at January's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, when he was asked for his prediction on the future of the web. "I will answer very simply that the Internet will disappear."

How? The mature technology will be wearable, give us interactive homes and cars, and simply fade into the background - to become something that we all have, that most of us don't really know (or care) very much about, as long as it can do whatever we want.

That's the view from the pinnacle of wealth and power. On the ground, the joke is on Google.

Michael Humphrey, Forbes contributor and instructor at Colorado State University, sees younger people abandoning the public forum in favor of one-to-one connectivity. He says they don't trust the Internet.

Why? Millennials say the Internet is cheapening language, it is stunting curiosity (because answers come so easily), we are never bored so we lose creativity, it steals innocence too quickly, it makes us impulsive with our buying and talking, it is creating narcissists, it creates filter bubbles that limit discovery, it hurts local businesses, it is filled with false evidence, it desensitizes us to tragedy, it makes us lonely.

They want the real world.

Via email


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, 2015

What Evidence Would Persuade You That Man-Made Climate Change Is Real?

Ronald Bailey below has decided to move to the side of the Gods after having been a skeptic.  So his arguments for his new belief are interesting.  What he says is that warming is still going on even though we cannot detect it.  Some small changes are happening that would happen if there were warming so that is enough to convince him. 

The story that heat suddenly started to hide in the deep ocean 18 years ago is just a desperate guess propped up by shaky statistics that ignores the nature of heated molecules -- which is to rise. Even frantic Warmist Stefan Rahmstorf doesn't accept that story.  He is an oceanographer and that background  makes it clear to him how implausible the ocean story is.

Bailey seems unaware that the small changes concerning him have mostly occurred over quite a short timescale, a scale too short to be sure that there is any reliable trend.  Starting your measurements of Arctic ice from 1979, for instance, is a very short time span for estimating a trend, considering the slow and erratic pace of climate events.  And in the last few years the trend seems to have  reversed anyway

More importantly, he does not even address the problem posed by the very small scale of temperature change over the last 100  years or so.  Why is a temperature rise of less than one degree Celsius a problem?  Nobody noticed it when it was happening so why would anybody notice a continuation of that trend?  The Warmist answer is a prophecy of Armageddon. And in that we DO have a regularity of nature:  Prophecies of Armageddon always fail.

Warmists prophesy that the warming trend will not continue on its gentle way.  It will suddenly accelerate due to feedbacks.  But the principal feedback proposed (clouds) is highly speculative and on the best evidence wrong.  Take that feedback away and all the rest of Warmism could be true and yet give no grounds for concern.  The whole scare depends on feedbacks that probably won't happen and which have certainly not so far been observed

Furthermore, the focus on CO2 is tendentious.  There are many influences on climate so even if there were warming going on how would we know that CO2 was the guilty party?  Correlation is not causation, as Bailey himself admits. Global warming theory perfectly easily allows that the warming effect of CO2 will be too minute to detect.

I could go on but will close with a  comment by James Taylor of the Heartland Institute -- received via email:

"Ron Bailey presented and then debated a straw man. Few people argue against the notion “that man-made climate change is real.” The pertinent issues for skeptics regard context, pace, and consequences – and to a certain extent the relative importance of anthropogenic vs. natural forcings. Bailey habitually creates and then debates weak global warming straw men, which leads me to believe Bailey either lacks the intelligence to discern what is being debated or is deliberately misrepresenting what key issues are in dispute regarding the global warming debate".

In 2005, I changed my mind about climate change: I concluded that the balance of the scientific evidence showed that man-made global warming could likely pose a significant problem for humanity by the end of this century. My new assessment did not please a number of my friends, some of whom made their disappointment clear.

At the 2007 annual gala dinner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a D.C.-based free-market think tank, the master of ceremonies was former National Review editor John O'Sullivan. To entertain the crowd, O'Sullivan put together a counterfeit tale in which I ostensibly had given a lecture on environmental trends pointing out that most were positive. After my talk, O'Sullivan told the audience, a young woman supposedly approached me to express her displeasure with regard to my change of mind on climate change.

Continuing his fable, O'Sullivan recounted to the hundreds of diners that I had tried to explain why my views had shifted. Eventually realizing that the young woman was having none of it, I then purportedly asked her if it wasn't enough that we two actually agreed on most environmental policy issues. The young woman paused for a moment, said O'Sullivan, and then retorted, "I suppose that Pontius Pilate made some good decisions, too." Being compared, even in jest, to the Roman governor who consented to the crucifixion of Jesus is, to say the least, somewhat disconcerting.

Welcome to the most politicized science of our time.

So what evidence would convince you that man-made climate change is possibly real? Keep in mind that despite what progressive dimwits like Naomi Klein might assert, the scientific evidence does not mandate any particular program.

What about higher temperatures? Obviously, in order for there to be any man-made global warming, temperatures must be going up. Are they? Yes.

Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased from 280 parts per million in the late 18th century to around 400 ppm today. And the trend in average global surface temperatures has been increasing since the late 19th century. As I've reported before, all of the global temperature datasets, both the instrumental and satellite, find that the atmosphere has warmed since the 1950s.

By how much? Summed over the past 35 years—that is, since the advent of satellite monitoring—temperatures have increased by at most 0.56 C° (1 F°) and at least by 0.455 C° (0.8 F°). In general, the instrumental records suggest that surface temperatures have warmed on average by about +0.9 C° (1.6 F°) since the 1950s.

Let's look at the near-term trends. The average rate of increase since 1979 varies among the temperature datasets from a high of +0.16 C° to a low of +0.13 C° per decade. The rate of surface temperature increase dramatically slowed after 1998 to rate of around +0.05 C° per decade. Of course, correlation does not imply causation, but how sure can you be that the rise in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases just happens to coincide with an entirely natural increase in average temperatures? Conversely, how sure can you be that a natural decline in average temperatures is not temporarily countering a trend toward to higher temperatures caused by accumulating greenhouse gases? Explanations based on natural variability work both ways. I will address the recent “hiatus” in temperature trends below.

What about converging daytime and nighttime temperatures?

Climatologists predicted that man-made warming would produce a decrease in the differences between low nighttime temperatures and high daytime temperatures. And indeed, a decrease between day and night temperatures has been occurring in the United States, China, Spain, and other regions. This phenomenon is global, although more recently daytime and nighttime temperatures have been increasing at about the same rate. Along with the observed increases in average temperature, heat waves have become more common since the 1950s.

What about earlier spring and later fall seasons?

Many studies find that the onset of spring is occurring earlier than it did decades ago. A 2015 study reports that the advent of spring in the Northern Hemisphere occurs about 4 days earlier than in 1980. A 2006 European study found that spring is arriving about 3 days earlier, and a 2014 study reported that the growing season in the Northern Hemisphere is expanding.

Part of the reason that spring is advancing is that the extent of snow cover in March and April in the Northern Hemisphere has been falling. As a 2011 study in the journal Cryosphere reports, "The rate of decrease in March and April Northern Hemisphere (NH) Snow Cover Extent (SCE) over the 1970–2010 period is ~0.8 million km2 per decade corresponding to a 7% and 11% decrease in NH March and April SCE respectively from pre-1970 values." The decline in snow cover is broadly in line with climate model predictions.

What about disappearing glaciers and Arctic sea ice?

The Arctic-wide melt season has lengthened at a rate of 5?days per decade from 1979 to 2013, according to a 2014 study in Geophysical Research Letters. A 2014 review article looks at what satellite data are telling us about recent climate trends in the Arctic. Temperatures are rising at 0.6°C per decade, about 4 times the global average. Sea ice extent has been falling at 3.8 percent per decade, and spring snow cover is dropping by 2.1 percent per decade. The Greenland ice sheet has been losing mass at a rate of 34 gigatons per year, though that has increased sevenfold since 2002 to an estimated 215 gigatons per year.

Ice is not melting only in the Arctic. Most of the world's 130,000 mountain glaciers are also disappearing.

The growing extent of sea ice in the Antarctic over the past decades is a climate change conundrum. On the face of it, more sea ice would indicate cooling rather than warming. Researchers are still trying to figure out what is going on. One idea is that warmer waters are melting the bases of freshwater Antarctic ice shelves. The fresh water then cools the sea surface thus promoting the freezing of more sea ice. When climate researchers don't understand what is going on they often attribute the empirical trends to "internal variability."

What about stronger rainstorms?

As temperatures increase by 1 degree Celsius, global average water vapor in the atmosphere is estimated to increase by around 7 percent. It is difficult to determine the average global humidity. But a 2005 study parsing satellite data finds that the atmosphere did moisten, as predicted, between 1982 and 2004. A 2014 study confirmed the finding and suggests that the increase is mostly the result of man-made warming.

Increased atmospheric humidity suggests that precipitation should also increase. The data show that this is happening. A 2013 study that analyzed data from nearly 9,000 weather stations from around the globe found increases in annual maximum daily precipitation at nearly two-thirds of the stations since 1900. (Climate change does not appear to be exacerbating hurricanes, tornadoes, or droughts.)

What about warming oceans?

Does the recent 17-year hiatus in rising global temperatures cut strongly against the notion of man-made global warming? The pause certainly was not predicted by the computer climate models. As the researchers at the private consultancy Remote Sensing Systems have noted, "The troposphere has not [their emphasis] warmed as fast as almost all climate models predict." University of Alabama in Huntsville climatologist John Christy compared 102 climate model predictions with actual temperature data and found that "their response to CO2 on average is 2 to 5 times greater than reality." Pretty damning.

Other researchers have reluctantly come to acknowledge that there has been a slowdown in surface temperatures. But while surface temperatures may be on pause, they are convinced that "global heating" is not. Lots of researchers have been reporting that for the past couple of decades, 90 percent of the extra heat from greenhouse warming has been sequestered in the oceans. In February, Nature Climate Change asserted that planetary warming continues "unabated," with most of the excess heat being absorbed by the top 2,000 meters of the oceans. Just how and where the heat gets buried in the oceans remains controversial.

Last year an intriguing study in Science suggested that natural variability in the North Atlantic can keep transporting heat downward into the deep ocean for periods lasting 20 to 35 years. Those researchers propose that "the latter part of the 20th century saw rapid global warming as more heat stayed near the surface. In the 21st century, surface warming slowed as more heat moved into deeper oceans."

How about some falsifiable predictions?

Another February 2015 article in Nature Climate Change makes the bold prediction that the current hiatus will likely last only until the end of this decade. Around 2020, the authors suggest, the oceans will start to release the stored heat and surface temperatures will begin to rise rapidly. An even more alarming (alarmist?) article in the April 2015 Nature Climate Change asserts that the rate global average temperature increases will rise to 0.25°C per decade by 2020, "an average greater than the peak rates of change during the previous one to two millennia."

The future course of man-made warming depends on climate sensitivity, conventionally measured as how high average temperature would eventually increase if atmospheric carbon dioxide were doubled. In recent years, there has have a lot of back and forth between researchers trying to refine their estimates of climate sensitivity. At the low end, some researchers think that temperatures would increase a comparatively trivial 1.5 degrees Celsius; on the high end, some worry it could go as high as high 6 degrees Celsius. The uncertainty over this variable is largely why I think that future warming could become a signficant problem. In a 2014 article in Geophysical Research Letters, a group of researchers calculated that it would take another 20 years of temperature observations for us to be confident that climate sensitivity is on the low end and more than 50 years of data to confirm the high end of the projections. How lucky do you feel?

In his magisterial 1960 essay "Why I Am Not A Conservative," economist Friedrich Hayek observed:

"Personally, I find that the most objectionable feature of the conservative attitude is its propensity to reject well-substantiated new knowledge because it dislikes some of the consequences which seem to follow from it—or, to put it bluntly, its obscurantism. I will not deny that scientists as much as others are given to fads and fashions and that we have much reason to be cautious in accepting the conclusions that they draw from their latest theories. But the reasons for our reluctance must be rational and must be kept separate from our regret that the new theories upset our cherished beliefs."

It might be that it is just so happens that natural climate variability has boosted global temperatures and the trends discussed above are occurring coincidentally at the same time the concentrations of carbon dioxide are 30 percent above their highest levels in the past 800,000 years. Correlation does not imply causation. The data cited (and uncited) do not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that man-made climate change is real. However, in my best judgment the preponderance of the evidence suggests that the greenhouse gases produced by humanity are warming the climate and that it could be a significant issue later in this century. In the foregoing I have aimed to cite data, not model outputs. I have long been a critic of computer climate models.

To restate: The existence of man-made warming does not mandate any particular policies. So back to the headline question: If generally rising temperatures, decreasing diurnal temperature differences, melting glacial and sea ice, smaller snow extent, stronger rainstorms, and warming oceans are not enough to persuade you that man-made climate is occurring, what evidence would be?


Joe Bastardi: Is There Anything in the Global Warming Debate That Would Convince Me I'm Wrong?

    There is a constant process I go through, from a forecast for tomorrow, to when I train with weights. Unless challenged, you do not improve. So the challenge is listed in the title above. I must always seek the right answer. It’s not getting soft, it’s simply using this methodology to either confirm or deny my idea.

So, is there anything in the global warming debate that would convince me I’m wrong?

As a matter of fact, yes.

1.) The PDO, which is tracking nicely with the 1950s, turned cold early- and mid-‘50s, warmed late (as it is now) and then turned cold again. The AMO, which is in its warm endgame now, turned cold, but temperatures did not fall. However, since 2007 and the flip of the PDO, there has been a slight decrease in global temperatures based on NCEP CFSR data.

That’s one factor.

2.) Another is the top of the stratosphere, which has been cooling since the late 1970s. But since the Pacific flipped, it’s warming! That to me says there was an expansion in levels below it (warming). Now, the question becomes: Is this warming driven by the cycles of the ocean – which I believe – that reverses as it cools, leading to stratospheric warming? (We may be starting to see that now and the result would be stronger cold invasions over the continent.) Or is it truly because of the increase in human-caused greenhouse gases? (There’s nothing we can do about nature, though one may argue fossil fuel CO2 is entirely natural, since it comes front plant and animal life anyway.)

From 1979-2008, it cooled over the Arctic region.

But over the last several winters, it is reversing and warming.

3.) I am watching the Southern Hemisphere, because ice expansion in an area surrounded by water seems to be a perfect counter-balance.

Notice how total global sea ice, again since the decadal shift in the Pacific around 2007, has returned more or less to normal!

4.) Finally, I am waiting for someone, somewhere, to quantify the global water vapor, which I believe is the true measure of the climate system. Over the tropics, where the trapping hot spots are supposed to occur, water vapor varies directly with the ups and downs of the tropical oceans. Understanding that, and the relationship to global cloudiness, would be huge.

Example: The 400 mb mixing ratios anomalies over the tropical Pacific in the warm cycle of the Pacific 1978-2007:

Since the PDO flip, it has dried out, and this is in direct opposition to the trapping hot spot theory over the tropical oceans.

Objective satellite-era-based measurements in conjunction with oceanic cycles would be a much better way of measuring where the climate is going. Obviously, a sustained increase in water vapor, by far the most prominent greenhouse gas, would be indicative of a change that is meaningful. The bulk of the “warming” has been where it’s dry and cold. In the long-running record highs, it’s not getting hotter. Additionally, the current hysteria that everything is the worst ever is a function of several non-scientific, highly subjective variables. Chief among them is the fact that we can observe almost everything now, and people are not acquainted with what has happened before in detail. If we want to continue to follow along with global temperatures, then it’s a simple test: Watch what they do over the next 15-20 years as the oceans cool.

These are things I look at that can lead me to say, Joe, you are wrong.

For me, this debate is far from settled. And it’s the atmosphere that should settle it, not agendas.

Now, I ask people who don’t see things my way: Is there anything that can challenge your position on this? If not, then your position is dogma, very different from what is needed to strive for the correct idea on this matter.


Nutty Muslim Professor: “The Patriarchy is Killing our Planet,” US to Blame for Rape in Middle East

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, who has taught at University of Sussex’s School of Global Studies and and Brunel University, has written an article in which he claims that “global warming,” among other crises, are “gendered,” and men are at fault.

The piece, titled “Patriarchy is killing our planet – women alone can save her,” appeared in “The Ecologist.”

Dr. Ahmed specifically pins the world’s problems specifically on men; not specific men, but men as a whole. The way to solve it is by destroying the patriarchy.

He explains, “The global epidemic of violence against women and their systematic exclusion from the power structures that rule us are integral to man’s violent exploitation of Earth and her resources.”

Detailing the problems that face the earth, Dr. Ahmed writes, “The global crises we face today are legion, but their disparate nature is illusory.” In reality, they all have the same source: men.

Ahmed writes, “In all these cases, we see that our relentless plunder of our own planetary life-support systems, correlates with our unnerving tendency to divide, exclude and ‘Otherize’, often in ways that are so insidious we find it difficult, even painful, to acknowledge these processes.” He concludes, “But to this day, one of the most ever-present yet still unacknowledged processes is patriarchy.”

He then explains the different things that men have caused. He writes, “Climate change is gendered…Poverty is gendered… Food and water is gendered… Violence is gendered.”

To “the patriarchy,” Dr. Ahmed writes, “rape is good for business.” He even blames the rape of women in Middle East countries on “Western” arms dealers and “Western intervention”. In “Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine, to less developed regions like Africa,” the rape of women is, in part, the United States’ fault, he writes.

Ahmed then attacks capitalism, writing, “Contemporary global capitalism might be making some people richer, but it is making more people poorer and unhappier, in a context of accelerating uncertainty and conflict. And by the end of this century at least, we face the prospect, according to the consensus of our best scientific minds, of a largely uninhabitable planet if we continue business-as-usual.”

In the end, “misogyny is an integral function of planetary destruction,” Ahmed concludes. “If we want to save the planet, patriarchy must die. That means recognizing and taking responsibility for the fact that patriarchy is integral to the structures of power we take for granted, across East and West.”


Australian study finds Earth is greener than 10 years ago: Total amount of vegetation found to have increased significantly over past decade

Carbon is good for you

For years we have been told mankind is destroying the planet, felling trees and systematically ripping up forests.  So it may be a surprise to some that Earth is actually greener today than it was a decade ago.

In an authoritative new study, scientists have calculated that the total vegetation on the planet increased substantially between 2003 and 2012.

While tropical jungles are still disappearing – felled for timber and to make way for cattle pasture – tree growth elsewhere has outstripped the loss.

The unexpected findings show that the area of ground covered by plants has increased in Russia, China, Australia and Africa, leading to a net gain in vegetation cover.

Some of this is due to deliberate conservation, such as a huge tree-planting campaign by the Chinese. Elsewhere high rainfalls have resulted in faster growth of shrubs and grasses on the plains of Africa, northern Australia and South America. And the abandonment of large agricultural areas following the collapse of the Soviet Union led to forests reclaiming farmland.

But whatever the cause, the increase in vegetation is indisputably significant.

The Australian team, whose results are published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found the ‘greening effect’ has been so substantial that the world’s trees and plants are storing 4billion more tonnes of carbon than they were a decade before.

Carbon dioxide in the air is sucked up by plants’ leaves and converted through photosynthesis into the food they need to grow, locking the carbon in their wood. The 4billion tonne increase in plant carbon storage is the equivalent of 7 per cent of the 60billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted through industry and transport over the same period.

The surprising results – gathered by scientists who analysed 20 years of satellite data – comes after decades of warnings about environmental catastrophe caused by deforestation.

The scientists studied radio waves naturally emitted by the Earth’s surface to calculate the amount of vegetation covering the land. Using satellites, they were able to calculate the way forest patterns had changed over 20 years, which they say is a more accurate way of measuring deforestation than simply surveying land use.

Study author Professor Albert van Dijk, of the Australian National University, said: ‘Previous analyses of vegetation biomass focused on forest cover change. With our approach we found unexpectedly large vegetation increases in the savannas of southern Africa and northern Australia.’

Lead author Dr Yi Liu, of the University of New South Wales, warned that the gains may be easily lost as weather patterns shift with climate change.

He said: ‘Savannas and shrublands are vulnerable to rainfall – one year can be very wet, and more carbon will be fixed in plants, but the next year can be very dry, and then we will lose the carbon fixed in previous years.’ He added that huge vegetation loss is still occurring on the edge of the Amazon forests and in the Indonesian provinces of Sumatra and Kalimantan.

And while the increase in grasslands and pine forests is a rare glimmer of hope for conservationists, it only goes some way to mitigating the ongoing loss of tropical rainforest, which supports more species than any other ecosystem on Earth.


Will Rachel Carson Be the First Woman on the $20 Bill?

Isn't this racist?  Her unfounded attacks on DDT have led to millions of African deaths

There’s a movement afoot to put a woman on the $20 bill and retire the slavery-supporting, Trail-of-Tears-blazing President Andrew Jackson from his long-held post.

Among the top 15 nominees is marine biologist Rachel Carson. In 1962, Carson authored Silent Spring, a seminal book for the environmental movement that warned of the degradation of natural systems if pesticide use continued unchecked. Drawing from many scientific studies, she described how DDT enters the food chain by accumulating in the fatty tissues of animals (humans, too). Today DDT is classified internationally as a probable carcinogen that persists in the environment for long periods.

Silent Spring was a bestseller, in part because, as the President’s Science Advisory Committee under John F. Kennedy acknowledged when it examined and later defended Carson’s findings, the American public had previously been unawares that pesticides were toxic.

The scientific community also largely backed Carson up, but chemical companies and some government scientists went on the attack. Carson’s gender was regularly used as a means to undermine her work; she was called “hysterical,” a “nun of nature,” and a “sentimental woman who loved cats.”

During the several years it took to finish Silent Spring, Carson learned she had breast cancer—a diagnosis she kept secret for fear that the chemical industry would use it to discredit her. She died in 1964. Carson didn’t live to see the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency six years later or the 1972 ban of the sale of DDT within the U.S.—two events she helped bring about.


Nobody needs to be paid to be climate skeptics -- because Warmist "Science" Is so Bad

Members of the Scientific Council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) recently criticized the Royal Society’s positions on climate.

Their clear, authoritative scientific objections to the Royal Society’s positions reveal the weak scientific foundation on which the great climate fervor has been based. The public must either become conversant enough to grasp this or step back and get out of the way of those who have. Scientists don’t need to be paid to oppose the ideas of climate orthodoxy, because those ideas are just so damn bad.

To the Bitter End

Accusing scientists of venal motives when they raise questions about climate has come to be what passes for scientific debate. Unlike the GWPF critique, this is not science at all. Al Gore recently renewed calls for climate deniers (as they are pejoratively called by the dogmatists) to be punished. This follows brazen political-style attacks on scientists because of their views on climate. In particular there has been an aggressive assault questioning our ethics, morality, competence, and even sanity. It has been amazingly coordinated, coming simultaneously from a number of fronts: activists, Congress, Hollywood, and even some psychologists.

This entire assault could not be more anti-scientific. The protagonists are political interlopers in science who do not understand or respect the nature of scientific truths and how they are discovered, let alone how they are justified. One of the greatest lessons from the history of science is that humans don’t only get things wrong, but they stubbornly hang on to the stupidest of ideas to the bitter end. I do not absolve myself from this; it is my legacy as much as yours.

The Followers of Eris

What the dogmatists understand well is eristic argument, after Eris the Greek goddess of discord and chaos. Eristic tactics come to us from the ancient Greek sophists. Eristic methods manifest themselves today in the works of Saul Alinsky. As the goddess’s qualities suggest, they are inherently divisive. The objective is victory, not truth. This is foreign to the training and personalities of most scientists. I, like other scientists, go into debates with a collegial attitude, tolerant of contrary thinking, no matter how wrong it may seem. Freely doubt the ideas; respect the people. When confronted with eristic tactics though, which are often absurd, aggressive, and deeply irrational, we are left gobsmacked. Like any other humans, scientists can speak the language of political nonsense, but they speak it badly. Their famous political naivety makes them easy prey for any political operative. And so we loose against eristic tactics, even when we know they are coming.

The followers of Eris see opposition in terms of a struggle for power, while scientists see opposition as a means for testing thinking. For scientists, opposition is a feature not a bug. Authorities can proudly convince themselves to be absurdly wrong, until some brave souls stand up to them. Sometimes there is a heavy price.

An easily comprehensible example would be the case of the physician Ignaz Semmelweis. He proposed that patients would be helped if you thoroughly washed your hands between patients. The consensus among experts of his day was that he was wrong. He was driven out and ended his days in a psychiatric hospital. This phenomenon is not the exception, but the rule. In countless cases ranging from obscure technical issues, known only by experts, to grand insights like continental drift, this story, or something like it, has been played out again and again in history.

It does not mean that experts are always even mostly wrong. It only means that when humanity does take a step ahead, that step naturally concerns something that prideful experts didn’t know before. Over the generations, this lesson has been gradually absorbed into the scientific world. The heretics and crackpots might just be right, and so there is an awareness (even if grudging) that tolerance of what seems wrong is essential—the scientific version of free speech. It is probably no accident that scientific advances tend to be made in the freest environments. Scientists must ask critical questions of each other about their works to move us all ahead. It’s their job. Opposition is necessary, but only opposition with a presumption of good will, where all agree that the objective is truth, not crushing your enemies.

The Field That Never Was

Climate, as the scientific field we know today, is very young. It was cobbled together from pieces of a number of established fields and elevated into the limelight only very recently as science goes. It was particularly vulnerable to antirational inroads because there was no core body of scientific knowledge, like say physics or chemistry have. Before the great climate fervor, the term “climate science” was virtually unheard of. Instead, climatology was a tranquil, narrow, and descriptive area, with little funding and few practitioners. Today’s version, climate science, is driven as much by trumped up public fears as traditional scientific objectives. I have heard many times that what we scientists should work on “depends on what policymakers want.”

The fields and methodologies of climate science are a disjointed collection that few have anything approaching a universal command of, let alone a universal command from which to form a knowledgable consensus. Is climate research the gathering and description of data? Is it statistical time series analysis? Is it meteorology extended by supercomputers? Is it molecular spectroscopy? Is it oceanography, glaciology, geology, thermodynamics, physics, orbital mechanics, computer science, survey research, economics, biology, dynamical systems theory, solar physics, or much more? It is easy to say “all of the above,” but specialists in these subfields often wonder privately what the other specialties are actually there for. For example, “do we really need complex models when greenhouses are so simple?” Or, “We modelers can help paleontologists more than they can help us.” There are many such examples.

The shared vision of this collection of fields, as they stand, has simply not been academic for the most part. Its identity is inextricably bound to the climate fervor itself, which is created and fanned by politicians and media through relentless promotion, torrents of funding, and the punishing of nonconforming scientists. It is unclear what defines climate science as a whole academically, let alone what climate is in and of itself. No, we don’t even have a coherent, physically based, definition for climate, let alone climate change. That is not because we can’t recognize change, but we do not know what parts of the endless, ongoing ubiquitous change actually count. This is as deep a problem as there is in modern science. All we have are ad hoc definitions guarded from scientific criticism by ignorant followers of Eris. Those followers call this settled science.

Hollow Victories

The dogmatists and followers of Eris have destroyed the collegial atmosphere among scientists, and they push for scientists on the wrong side of their dogma to be treated as enemies of the state, as we have all recently witnessed. Science, as a whole, has been damaged by them. Because of them, climate science remains frozen and deeply flawed with no way to grow up, despite avalanches of funding thrown at it. Money is not enough. Academic freedom sometimes seems like a gratuitous anachronism, but climate science is the very thing it was made for. Fortunately, some academic organizations, such as the American Meteorological Society and the University of Delaware, have taken a principled position on this. But others seem to have wilted. Modern universities and academic institutions are not as independent as we would like to believe. They live on grants and government funding.

Eristic methods have proven most effective politically. But the political victories of those employing them are hollow. They cannot ultimately defeat the scientists opposed to their dogma because those scientists have never been playing a political game, no matter how much dogmatists rant and flail otherwise. They easily push us out of political and popular discourse, but Nature is the final judge. On that, they are way over their heads. No eristically-charged hyper-politics can ever trump Nature. If it is not already obvious to you that the dogmatists have egg on their faces because of this, hold on, Nature has more coming. Eventually stonewalling with, “What egg on my face?” will only leave the wider public laughing at them even more than they already are.

There is no justification for acting like vicious badgers toward scientists. The response of some GWPF scientists to the climate orthodoxy shows that scientists do not need to be paid to have reason to question the climate orthodoxy. Its positions are scientifically very weak, not strong, and it is the dogmatists that are responsible for that weakness. If they want to employ the credibility of science to support their agendas, they must learn to treat scientists holding contrary views in a credible manner. Such scientists have an important and respected role to play in advancing science. Dogmatists, of course, don’t easily change, so this stalemate may well continue until intelligent laymen have had enough and push them off the stage. Meanwhile, we are still here, and we are not going anywhere.



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7 April, 2015

Warmists discover some real feedbacks

The feedback from increasing cloud that is central to their theory is very dubious.  The best evidence isd that clouds cause cooling, not warming.  But there are various real climate feedbacks and they seem finally to have discovered some -- and put their "spin" on the discovery.  I reproduce underneath the article below some comments by Profs. Robert Giegengack and Don Easterbrook

Scientists agree that an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases causes the Earth’s temperature to rise, but they’ve also noticed that relationship seems to swing both ways: warmer temperatures also seem to correspond with an increase in greenhouse gases. But drawing conclusions about the nature of the relationship is tricky, because though scientists have seen a correlation, they haven’t been able to show causation.

Now, scientists believe they’ve untangled the relationship. In a paper published Monday in Nature Climate Change, researchers from the University of Exeter claim to have found direct evidence that as global temperatures rise, so does the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, creating a positive feedback that in turn warms the Earth even more — basically, global warming creates more global warming.

“We discovered that not only does thickening the blanket of heat-trapping gases around our planet cause it to get warmer, but also, crucially, when it gets warmer this increases thickens the blanket of heat-trapping gases,” Tim Lenton, the paper’s author, told ThinkProgress, “so we have a process called a ‘positive feedback’ that amplifies changes in the Earth’s temperature.”

This isn’t the first time this relationship has been suggested. Scientists have previously used data from Antarctic ice cores to show that historic temperature rises were accompanied by spikes in global carbon dioxide levels, but other studies cast doubt on that timing, showing a lag of some thousand years.

While several models suggest a correlation between warming temperatures and an increase in greenhouse gas, Lenton’s team is the first to prove the relationship using direct evidence, taken from ice cores nearly one million years old.

The team — comprised of scientists from the University of Exeter, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Wageningen University in the Netherlands — analyzed Antarctic ice core data from the end of ice age cycles 400,000 and 800,000 years ago. That ancient ice is important, because it offers an extremely large amount of historical global temperature and greenhouse gas concentration data, which the scientists were able to analyze to figure out how the two interact.

Combining historical data about temperature and greenhouse gas composition, the scientists used a mathematical approach known as Takens’ theorem to look at the relationship between the two. The approach, Lenton explained, is based on the idea that if one variable causes even a small change in the other, the more information you have about the first variable. The more information you have about the first variable, the better you should be able to predict the change in the second. Eventually the variables will converge, giving researchers an idea of how strong the first is in predicting change in the second.

“We find that if A and B are temperature and CO2 (or temperature and methane) we get strong reciprocal causality,” Lenton said, proving that warmer temperatures cause an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases.

The findings provide even more support to the overwhelming evidence that humans are causing global warming by pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The surprise, Lenton explained, is that the findings also show that increasing temperature eventually increases greenhouse gases.

“It implies that we should expect the ‘Earth system’ to respond to anthropogenic global warming by amplifying it with the release of additional greenhouse gases,” Lenton said.

Though the study looks at historical data, Lenton acknowledges that current implications can’t be overlooked. “The Earth is a complex system containing many feedbacks, and they are strong enough to swing the planet between the depths of an ice age and a warm ‘interglacial’,” Lenton said.

The Earth is currently warming at a much faster rate than previous warming events, roughly ten times faster than ice-age-recovery warming, according to NASA. In 2013, atmospheric greenhouse gas hit a record high, and scientists warned that the Earth’s ability to store and mediate gas, through plants and oceans, might been approaching its saturation point.

We’re already seeing unexpected changes in the climate: the West Antarctic ice shelves, for instance, is melting at a much faster rate than scientists predicted. “As we meddle with the climate system now, driving it to hotter temperatures, we should expect the Earth to reply by amplifying the changes we are causing,” Lenton said.


Comment on the above by Prof. Robert Giegengack

"We" have known for a long time that the change in insolation
represented by Milankovic variation is not adequate to bring about the change in temperature documented by the O-isotopes in the Antarctic ice cores.

From the time that the first ice-core data were published (~1980), students of climate change have acknowledged that, despite strong evidence that Milankovic cyclicity controls the timing of the glacial/non-glacial oscillation, the magnitude of temperature change recorded in the ice cores exceeds what could be expected from the Milankovic variations. Thus, positive feed-back processes have been invoked from day one. Those include:

1. albedo feedback: when it gets colder, glaciers advance at high
latitudes/altitudes, and more incoming insolation is reflected to space by ice-covered surfaces; when it gets warmer, glaciers shrink, and exposed soil and open water absorb more insolation.

2. When the atmosphere is warmer, it holds more H2O vapor, the most effective greenhouse gas; as temperature falls, the capacity of the atmosphere to hold H2O as vapor declines

3. higher temperatures drive CO2 and other gases out of solution in sea water. When sea-water temperature declines, solubility of CO2 in sea water rises.

4. higher temperatures favor respiration of soil micro-organisms over photosynthetic drawdown of CO2; when temperatures fall, activity of soil micro-organisms is reduced, and photosynthetic drawdown of CO2 gets ahead.

5. higher temperatures thaw permafrost, releasing CH4 to the
atmosphere. CH4 is also a greenhouse gas, but it quickly oxidizes to CO2 and H2O. We don't know the extent to which higher temperatures might release CH4 from methane hydrates on the continental shelves.

There may be other positive feedback processes, not yet identified.

This is not "news". The feedback processes were described in detail in the 1980s. They have operated in every glacial/non-glacial cycle represented in the Antarctic ice cores.

Prof. Don Easterbrook adds:

Ice cores leave little doubt that climatic warming ALWAYS precedes  increases in atm CO2 and studies of shorter term (months/yrs) increases in CO2 following warming confirm the cause and effect of warming ----> increased atm CO2.

It is very clear from ice cores that ice ages are brought to a close abruptly by warming that precedes increased CO2 so CO2 is not involved in the warming. The weakness in this paper is that there is no evidence that CO2 causes more than insignificant warming.

Perverse climate “morality”

Current climate policies mean energy deprivation, poverty, disease and death for billions

Paul Driessen

You’ve got to admit, liberal are masters at describing every initiative they launch as “the moral thing to do.” Their campaign for draconian energy regulations and a new global warming treaty is no exception. Protecting people, wildlife and ecosystems from climate catastrophes is the greatest moral cause of our time, alarmist scientists, activists, politicians, bureaucrats, clerics and journalists insist. Rubbish.

It has nothing to do with morality. It’s all about money, power and control. It narrowly defines “morality” to ignore the incredible benefits that fossil fuels and electricity bring to people everywhere – while dismissing the enormous harm their policies will wreak on families and ecological values that they profess to care so much about. And it makes no mention of the fact that they will rarely, if ever, be held accountable for their falsehoods and fraudulent science, or the damage and deaths they cause.

On March 31, President Obama promised to slash America’s carbon dioxide emissions 28% below 2005 emission levels by 2025 and 80% by 2050, taking us back to Civil War era emission levels, 150 years ago. He wants U.S. taxpayers to contribute our “fair share” to a new UN $100-billion-per-year UN slush fund to help poor countries adapt to and mitigate rising seas, storms and other climate change disasters that our plant-fertilizing CO2 emissions allegedly cause. He instructed his federal agencies to implement a host of new rules prior to the December 2015 United Nations climate conference in Paris.

Mr. Obama’s EPA will use “Clean Power Plan” and other regulations to shutter more coal-fired generating plants, issue new methane rules for landfills and natural gas production, funnel countless millions of dollars to activist and propaganda groups, and use sue and settle lawsuits to impose even tighter restrictions. FEMA will require that states use CO2-based computer models to determine how manmade climate change threatens communities, if they want disaster preparedness funding.

The Council on Environmental Quality will require that all applicants for federal project permits fully evaluate greenhouse gas emissions and potential impacts on climate change, to the satisfaction of bureaucrats and litigious Big Green pressure groups. The Department of Energy will issue new efficiency standards that double the cost of pickup trucks and appliances, and spend more taxpayer billions on wind, solar and biofuel loans and subsidies. The Interior Department will close more federal lands to drilling, and exempt more wind and solar projects from endangered species and other environmental laws.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation and World Bank will refuse to lend money for coal-fired power plants, and even most gas-fueled generators and hydroelectric facilities, in developing countries.

These actions will have disastrous consequences. According to the Heritage Foundation, NERA economic consultants and other experts, EPA’s actions alone will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and a $100-billion loss in gross domestic product. By 2030, America’s electricity output will drop by nearly 10% even as we add 54 million people to our population. Brownouts and blackouts will occur regularly, and we will be told to get used to using expensive electricity when it’s available, instead of when we need it.

Poor, minority and blue-collar families will have to find thousands of dollars a year for soaring electricity, vehicle and appliance costs. Small businesses will have to find tens of thousands of dollars to keep the heat and lights on. Factories, malls, school districts, hospitals and cities will have to pay millions more.

Millions of middle class workers will get laid off – in coal mines, power plants, factories, shops and other businesses. Entire families and communities will be impoverished. Bread winners lucky enough to find work will be forced to work multiple jobs, commute longer distances, and suffer severe sleep deprivation.

Families will have to cope with more stress, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse. Nutrition and medical care will suffer. More people will have strokes and heart attacks. More will die. But the White House, EPA and other federal agencies studiously ignore these impacts. The only moral issue they want to talk about is alleged impacts from exaggerated and fabricated manmade climate change.

Two-thirds of Florida’s endangered manatees survive cold winters by huddling in warm waters that flow from coal-fired power plants. EPA’s plant closures could cause hundreds of them to die, while millions of birds and bats will be slaughtered every year by proliferating wind turbines.

Meanwhile, thousands of elderly people perish every winter from hypothermia, because they can no longer afford to heat their home properly, due to soaring electricity costs under Britain’s climate policies.

In poor countries, millions already die every year from lung and intestinal diseases, because of polluted air from open cooking fires, filthy water, spoiled food, substandard hospitals and squalid living conditions – because billions still do no have access to electricity. Imagine your life following hurricanes or other natural disasters that make electricity and safe water unavailable for a week or month. Then picture living that way for decades on end. White House, World Bank and OPIC policies will save people from “climate disasters” decades from now by killing them tomorrow. This they pass off as morality.

In the years since EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus banned DDT in 1972, tens of millions of Africans and Asians died from malaria. Now his daughter is promoting similarly deadly policies, as lead author for the National Climate Assessment, which hypes every exaggerated and imaginary climate scare imaginable. Other Big Green and Climate Crisis radicals oppose GMO crops and chemical fertilizers, and insist that starving, energy deprived families limit their living standards to what is dictated by climate activists and supported by wind, solar and biofuels. The death tolls continue to mount.

African Development Bank’s president Donald Kaberuka says poor nations will no longer tolerate these hypocritical, lethal policies. His bank will continue loaning money for coal-fired generating units. But in a perverse irony, the absence of World Bank and OPIC money means those projects will not have sufficient funding to install modern, readily available pollution controls. So millions of families will finally have electricity and won’t be sickened by wood and dung fires, but new pollutants will needlessly afflict them.

Japan is also financing coal-fired power plants in Japan, India and Bangladesh – often using Green Climate Fund money! It points out that these high-efficiency units burn coal with less pollution and fewer carbon dioxide emissions than older plants – and stresses the importance of helping impoverished countries get reliable, affordable electricity to create jobs, improve living standards and save lives.

China, India, Germany, Poland and other countries are also building coal-fueled power plants at a steady clip. And Russia says it will “comply” with any new treaty primarily by emphasizing CO2 reductions due to absorption by forests. At this rate, the United States will soon be the only nation that strangles its economy and imperils people’s health and welfare in the name of stopping climate change.

But the Obama Administration is imposing its authoritarian policies anyway – and justifying them by falsifying temperature data and ignoring the reality that: (1) rising carbon dioxide levels are improving crop and tree growth; (2) temperature, hurricane, sea ice and other trends contradict climate models and manmade disaster hysteria; and (3) any human influences on the climate are drowned out by the sun, deep ocean circulation patterns and other powerful natural forces. No wonder alarmists won’t debate skeptics.

Earth’s climate and weather will continue changing, because the forces driving them are always in flux. We simply have to adjust to them. But Obama prefers the Lewis Carroll approach to climate and morality.

“When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less,” Humpty Dumpty told Alice, “The question is, whether you can make words mean so many different things,” Alice replied. No, Humpty responded. “The question is, who is to be master, that’s all.”

We the People must not let Obama & Co. be our master. Congress can and should refuse to ratify any climate treaty. It can and should defund these totalitarian initiatives. The next president can and should review and revoke every one. States can and should challenge them in court and refuse to knuckle under.

Via email

Global cooling on the way?

Russian climatologists tend to think that the evidence points to an oncoming global cooling event.  Below is the abstract from a recent peer-reviewed paper from Russia



Pulkovo observatory of the RAS, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The average annual decreasing rate of the total solar irradiance (TSI) is increasing from the 22-nd to the 23-rd and 24-th cycles, because the Sun since the 1990 is in the phase decline of quasi-bicentennial variation. The portion of the solar energy absorbed by the Earth is decreasing. Decrease in the portion of TSI absorbed by the Earth since 1990 remains uncompensated by the Earth's radiation into space at the previous high level over a time interval determined by the thermal inertia of the Ocean. A long-term negative deviation of the Earth’s average annual energy balance from the equilibrium state is dictating corresponding variations in it’s the energy state. As a result, the Earth will have a negative average annual energy balance also in the future. This will lead to the beginning of the decreasing in the Earth's temperature and of the epoch of the Little Ice Age after the maximum phase of the 24-th solar cycle approximately since the end of 2014. The influence of the consecutive chain of the secondary feedback effects (the increase in the Bond albedo and the decrease in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to cooling) will lead to an additional reduction of the absorbed solar energy and reduce the greenhouse effect. The start of the TSI’s Grand Minimum is anticipated in the solar cycle 27±1 in 2043±11 and the beginning of the phase of deep cooling of the 19th Little Ice Age for the past 7,500 years around 2060±11.

Thermal Science, 19, 2015

British National Trust boss vows to go to war on global warming

She should stick to hats

The National Trust was last night warned not to meddle in politics after it vowed to step up attempts to tackle climate change.

Critics said the charity risked damaging its popularity by getting mired in a debate that bitterly divides politicians, economists and the public.

The backlash came after director-general Dame Helen Ghosh yesterday set out how the organisation would actively campaign to slow the pace of global warming. She insisted its charitable status should not stop it taking a stance.

The former senior civil servant said: ‘Like any other charity we cannot be political with a capital ‘P’, but that doesn't stop us from campaigning on issues that strike at the heart of what our charitable purpose asks us to do.

‘All the practical evidence we have at the trust shows that the biggest challenge we are now facing concerns the threat to biodiversity and wildlife.’

The organisation – which describes itself as Europe’s biggest conservation charity – has already launched its ten-year strategy in which it said climate change ‘poses the single biggest threat’ to the places it looks after.

It pledged to meet half its energy needs with green sources such as wind, solar and hydropower by 2020.

But Dame Helen went further yesterday, telling The Sunday Telegraph she was especially concerned about the effects of climate change on the Trust’s 775 miles of coastline – saying parts of it were ‘falling off into the sea’. [Coastal erosion has been going on for over a century in Eastern England]

Insects such as silverfish, which are found in warm and damp areas including under carpets in many Trust properties, are no longer being killed off by ‘crisp, cold winters’.  [Really??]

Dame Helen, who joined the Trust two years ago, said: ‘The protection of our natural environment and historic places over the past 100 years has been core to the work of the Trust but it has never been just about looking after our own places.

‘The natural environment is in poor health, compromised by decades of unsustainable management and under pressure from climate change.

‘Wildlife has declined, over-worked soils are washing out to sea; villages and towns are flooded.’ But Peter Bone, Conservative MP for Wellingborough, last night said the subject was better left to Parliament.

‘It seems to me very surprising that the National Trust has taken this stance – it is entering a political debate with very strongly held views on both sides,’ he said.  ‘I would not have thought that is the role of a charity like the National Trust.  ‘I would suggest that the subject would be better left to politicians to debate the issue.’

Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum – a think-tank which is sceptical of the extent of climate change – added: ‘The National Trust risks alienating a lot of its members over this issue.

‘Why have they come out now after 20 years of debate about climate change? It is a very popular organisation and I fear that this step will cause lots of trouble with its membership.

‘This is a token gesture that will not change anything in terms of policy.’


The $15 Billion Failure to Store Nuclear Waste

By Alan Caruba

“The American people have spent 30 years and $15 billion to determine whether Yucca Mountain would be a safe repository for our nation’s civilian and defense-related nuclear waste.” That’s a quote of Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) reported in the April issue of The Heartland Institute’s Environment & Climate News.

Compare that with the one year and 45 days it took to build the Empire State Building or the five years it took to build the Hoover Dam in the depths of the Great Depression. In the first half of the last century, Americans knew how to get things done, but the rise of environmentalism in the latter half, starting around the 1970s, has increased the cost and time of any construction anywhere in the U.S. In the case of Yucca Mountain it has raised issues about nuclear waste that is currently stored is less secure conditions.

As reported by CNS News in January, “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has released the final two volumes of a five-volume safety report that concludes that Nevada’s Yucca Mountain meets all of its technical and safety requirements for the disposal of highly radioactive nuclear waste.” Five volumes!

So why the delay?  The NRC says the Department of Energy “‘has not met certain land and water rights requirements’ and that other environmental and regulatory hurdles remain.”

A Wall Street Journal editorial on March 30 asserted that It is not about environmental and regulatory hurdles. It is about a deal that Nevada Senator Harry Reid, the former Senate Majority Leader, cut with President Obama to keep Yucca Mountain from ever opening for use. In return, Reid blocked nearly all amendments to legislation to shield Obama from having to veto bills. He virtually nullified the Senate as a functioning element of our government.

“Since there is no permanent disposal facility, spent fuel from the nation’s nuclear reactors—‘enough to fill a football field 17 meters deep’ according to a 2012 Government Accountability Office report—is currently being stored at dozens of above-ground sites. The GAO expects the amount of radioactive waste to double to 140,000 by 2055 when all of the currently operating nuclear reactors are retired.”

The United States where the development of nuclear fission and its use to generate electrical energy occurred is now well behind other nations that have built nuclear facilities and are adding new ones. As Donn Dear, an energy expert with Power For USA, points out “there are only four new nuclear power plants under construction, all by Toshiba-Westinghouse LLC. One other plant, Watts Bar 2, whose construction was held up for several years, is being completed by TVA.”

Meanwhile, as Dear notes, “South Korea is building four nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates. The Russian company, Rosatom, is building power plants in Turkey, Belarus, Vietnam, and elsewhere. The China National Nuclear Corporation is scheduled to build over twenty nuclear power plants.”

These represent jobs and orders for equipment that are not occurring in the United States, along with the failure to utilize nuclear energy to provide the growing need for electricity here. The same environmental organizations opposing construction here are the same ones supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s attack on coal-fired electrical plants. The irony is, of course, that nuclear plants do not produce carbon dioxide emissions that the Greens blame for the non-existent “global warming”, not called “climate change.”

A cynical and false propaganda campaign has been waged against nuclear energy in the U.S., mostly notably with the Hollywood film, “The China Syndrome” about a reactor meltdown. If you want to worry about radiation, worry about the Sun. It is a major source. Three incidents, Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, added to the fears, but no one was harmed by the Three Mile Island event and Chernobyl was an avoidable accident.

More recent was the March 11, 2011 shutdown of the Fukushima reactor in Japan as the result of an earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Three of its cores melted in the first three days, but there have been no deaths or radiation sickness attributed to this event. That’s the part you’re not told about.

In the end, all it takes is one ignorant President to set progress back for decades. In this case it was President Jimmy Carter for not allowing reprocessing of nuclear waste, a standard practice in France where only one-fifth of spent fuel requires storage. In the 1980s there were three U.S. corporations leading the way on the introduction and use of nuclear energy to produce electrical power; General Electric, Westinghouse Electric, and Babcock & Wilcox. Today only Babcock-Wilcox continues as a fully owned American company.

Thanks to President Obama, we have lost another six years on the Yucca Mountain project. That fits with his refusal to permit the Keystone XL pipeline. No energy project that might actually benefit America will ever see his signature.

Some are arguing that America is a nation in decline and they can surely point to the near destruction of our nuclear energy industry as one example. That decline can begin to end in 2017 with the inauguration of a new President.


Climate 'sceptic' Bjorn Lomborg's Australian influence grows as he joins University of WA

One of the world's best-known climate contrarians, Bjorn Lomborg, will establish a base in Perth as his influence in Australia grows.

The controversial Dane has struck a four-year deal with the University of Western Australia to run a policy research centre in its business school, which will focus on the nation's future prosperity.

Dr Lomborg said he planned to spend a "significant amount of time" in Australia following his appointment this month as one of the Abbott government's advisers on foreign aid.

That appointment was criticised sharply by the Labor opposition and environmental activists, who questioned why someone who played down the effects of global warming should be advising on Pacific Island nations, which are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

Dr Lomborg acknowledged on Wednesday his work had divided audiences but said he would continue to offer "rational advice on the best way to prioritise public spending".

"Australian politics seems very dichotomous, which is not a good thing if you want people to look ahead and find common solutions," he said.

"But this is not a right or a left-wing project. We'll inevitably annoy people who support some left-wing pet ideas as well as those who hold onto some right-wing ideas."

Dr Lomborg is best known for his books The Skeptical Environmentalist and its follow-up volume Cool it, which were criticised by climate scientists for underplaying the rate of global warming.

More recently, the Copenhagen Consensus Centre he founded has studied international development issues. His trademark approach is to use cost-benefit analyses to tell governments which projects produce the most social value per dollar spent.

His latest work, The Smartest Targets for the World, says, for example, that establishing free trade, ending overfishing or fossil fuel subsidies, or eliminating malaria, tuberculosis or child malnutrition represent "phenomonal" value for money. However, encouraging sustainable tourism or reducing child marriages or drug abuse are relatively wasteful uses of aid funds.

Dr Lomborg said his Perth-based Australia Concensus Centre would allow him to apply his economic modelling "to a rich country for the first time".

He said that, as with most Western nations, policy discussions in Australia tended to focus on the few years of the election cycle.

"We're going to look at long-term issues and their consequences: pension reform, infrastructure spending, what we should do with the environment, schooling, immigration and so on. Hopefully, our research will create helpful information for policymarkers.

"But, in the end, economists are not who'll decide what happens in Australia or the world: we're just putting the prices of the different options on the menu."

The university's vice-chancellor, Professor Paul Johnson, said Dr Lomborg's centre "will become the go-to place for useful economic research to inform the national and international debate".



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


6 April, 2015

"Damning study" not so damning?

It is always amusing to find new assertions by Warmists and proceed to rebut them.  There is an angry post here on a Warmist site that runs true to form.  It purports to find fault with skeptical reports of findings by  Prof. Bjorn Stevens of the Max Planck Institute --  findings that I also have  drawn attention to.  I headed yesterday's posts with a brief mention of them.  It features a carefully-worded letter from Stevens himself denying that his findings have adverse implications for the global warming scare.

So his letter drew attention to overlooked statistics or presented new analyses?  Not on your Nelly!  It was just an expression of opinion.  It amounted to saying "Ignore the data in my paper. Listen instead to the opinions I am compelled to express".  He would not have lasted long at Max Planck unless he had asserted that he was still on the Warmist side.

And the angry post reporting his letter  was quite unashamed to lie.  Warmists themselves usually admit these days that global warming has stopped.  They use the word "paused" rather than "stopped" but that too is just an expression of opinion.  It embodies their opinion that warming will resume.  But did our angry Warmist admit any of that?  No. For him, "the planet continues to warm". Even though it doesn't.

It took me a while to figure out what the idiosyncratic expression "Soo-prahz" meant but I eventually figured out that he was trying to express "surprise" forcefully.

But by far the most amusing part of Mr Angry's post was a nice graph showing an upward leaping line and subtitled: "Meanwhile, the planet’s thermometer continues to rise".  The graph, in short, showed what Warmist would like to believe is happening. 

But one rarely has to look hard at Warmist writing to smell something fishy and the first hint that all is not as it seems with the graph comes from the note that it is calibrated in millimetres.  Temperature shown in millimetres?  Are degrees Celsius old hat?  No. The graph is not of temperature at all but rather a very finely calibrated graph of (it appears) sea-level rise.  Sea levels have of course been slowly rising for centuries -- long before the period that Warmists excoriate.

And the rate of rise shown on the graph is tendentious  -- about 3 times greater than the most usual estimate.  Measuring mean sea level is extraordinarily difficult.  That pesky water keeps moving about!  So there is a range of estimates.  Mr Angry would appear to have chosen the most extreme estimate

There are few people more crooked than Warmists  -- JR

Picture-book Greenies

The usual Greenie dishonesty.  The people-haters say that the world is overpopulated.  But it isn't.  You can drive for mile after mile in Australia without seeing people.  Bangladesh might be overpopulated but Bangladesh is not the world.  The truth is that population in the developed world is on the decline.  It is only some places that are crowded  -- and Greenie policies will keep them too poor to do anything about it

THEY say a picture paints a thousand words.  So in sending a message about overpopulation, environmental group Global Population Speak Out decided to do it with a book of photographs.

Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (OVER) aims to open the world’s eyes to the perils of overpopulation on the planet. The free e-book shows a series of powerful photographs along with expert commentary from human rights, population and conservation experts.

Dead Polar Bear: The western fjords on Svalbard, Norway, that normally freeze in winter, remained ice-free all season. This bear headed north, looking for suitable sea ice to hunt on. Finding none, it eventually died.

Ice waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway. “The Arctic situation is snowballing: dangerous changes in the Arctic derived from accumulated anthropogenic greenhouse gases lead to more activities conducive to further greenhouse gas emissions. this situation has the momentum of a runaway train.”–

Shrinking Island: One of Earth’s most vulnerable nations to climate change, the Maldives Islands are severely threatened by rising sea levels. “The island is full of holes and seawater is coming through these, flooding areas that weren’t normally flooded 10 or 15 years ago. There are projections of about 50 years [before the islands disappear]. After this, we will be drowned.”–

Etc etc.


The hysteria never stops:  Prominent Green Group Likens Fracking to Rape

An innovative oil and gas extraction technique is analogous to rape, according to a leading environmentalist group opposed to the practice.

The group, Earthworks, retweeted a message from Texas anti-oil activist Sharon Wilson that decried “Texas fracking RAPE.” Earthworks subsequently said that the retweet “was done advisedly.”

“The Texas legislature is trying to pass bill to force city to be fracked against its will,” Earthworks added in an effort to justify the comparison of legislation affecting state governments’ authority over the practice with forcible sexual intercourse, a felony.

Oil and gas extraction technologies such as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, have dramatically increased U.S. oil production. Texas has been one of the chief beneficiaries of that increase.

The legislation in question, known as HB 40, would vest more regulatory control over fracking in the state government, angering activists who want to see the issue hammered out at the local level, where they are more likely to enact policies that restrict or outlaw the practice.

Wilson’s tweet linked to a post on her website that pushed activists to oppose the bill, saying it “STRIPS control from cities allowing the oil & gas industry to RAPE people living there.”

The post featured an image of the state of Texas overlaid by a drilling rig and the word “RAPE” written in ominous red lettering.

“To me, it perfectly depicts what is happening in Texas,” Wilson said of her rape comparison.

“Fracking victims I have worked with describe it as a rape,” she added. “People wear T-shirts with this imagery and I intend to continue using it.”

Below her rape comparisons, Wilson posted a press release on HB 40’s passage out of committee. Also listed as contacts on the release were representatives of Earthjustice and the Natural Resource Defense Council, two leading anti-fracking groups.

Earthworks’ website lists Wilson as a member of the group’s staff. Alan Septoff, a spokesman for the group, said she was speaking in her personal capacity.

“One of the understandings of her employment was that she’d get to keep her individual, independent voice in addition to serving as our organizer,” Septoff said.

He also backtracked on Earthworks’ endorsement of Wilson’s blog post and tweets.

“Having your home fracked against your will is not the same thing as rape,” Septoff said in an emailed statement.

“It’s not rape because at the end of the day you can leave your home, even if the cost is enormously high,” he said. “With rape, you can’t leave your body as it is being violated.”

Earthworks is a longtime anti-fracking advocate active in state-level legislative battles over the practice. The group receives funding from some of the environmental left’s leading foundations, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Park Foundation, the Tides Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation.

According to Earthworks, Texas’ HB 40 “guts the rights of communities to protect themselves from impacts of oil and gas operations within their borders.”

As fracking has become a common practice and fueled a historic increase in U.S. oil production, groups that oppose the practice and the use of fossil fuels have seen little success in pushing for outright bans on the practice, with the notable exception of New York State, which banned it last year.

Instead, many of those groups have couched their positions in the language of “local control.”

HB 40 “attacks the longstanding rights of every town and city in the state that has passed an oil and gas ordinance,” according to Earthworks.

The legislation gives the state government regulatory control over the production of oil and gas, and reserves for local control surface issues such as the distance of well pads from residential structures.

However, it also includes provisions that prevent the latter types of regulations from being used to institute regulations that, in effect, would prohibit oil and gas drilling in a particular area.

Earthworks has used just such an approach in its attempts to effectively outlaw fracking in Dallas. It pushed city officials to ban the practice within 1,500 feet of “protected” structures, including homes. Earthworks called the measure “a de facto ban on fracking.”

The group was also involved in pushing an outright fracking ban in Denton, Texas. Industry groups are currently suing the town over that ban, and Earthworks expects HB 40 to weaken the town’s case.

“Until today, attorneys for the city felt fairly confident their ordinance would stand,” the group said.

Earthworks has collaborated extensively with a Denton-based anti-fracking group called Frack Free Denton. That group declared that Wilson “speaks for us all,” and promoted her post comparing fracking legislation to rape under the heading, “Scream rape.”

Cathy McMullen, the president of the Denton Drilling Awareness Group, Frack Free Denton’s parent organization, also promoted Wilson’s post. McMullen has received plaudits from Denton’s mayor and city council for her work on the fracking ban.


President Obama Pins Fading Legacy Hopes on Doomed UN Climate Conference

President Barack Obama is looking for a stunning feather to place in his legacy cap. He has his eyes set on the United Nations climate conference (COP 21) in Paris, France to make it happen.

The grand confab of world leaders is set for November 30 to December 15 this year. The White House goal is to have a consensus climate agreement that it will then use to signify President Obama’s coronation as the global leader who saved the planet from mankind’s climate changing CO2. At least that’s the plan.

Unfortunately, no comprehensive mandatory international agreement is forthcoming; far from it. There are many reasons for why the gathering in Paris will not produce the results the global warming community seeks and may be doomed at the outset:

Results from the recent contentious UN climate negotiations in Lima Peru (December 2014) sent a clear message to all – only a voluntary agreement can be had in Paris, at best.

President Obama has effectively gutted any meaningful agreement among the major industrialized nations, by having granted to the planet’s largest CO2 producer, China, free license to build as many coal power plants as they wish, and emit as many gigatons of greenhouse gases as they wish until 2030.

India’s economic plan is for record future coal usage not a reduction. They will demand at least equal treatment to the Chinese and probably more. In fact, as reported by the Wall Street Journal just yesterday, India is expected to consume 170 million tons of coal in 2015. At current growth rates, they may eclipse China in the next few years as the top coal powered nation on the planet.

Russia is hardly eager to sign on to anything President Obama asks for without monumental concessions by the U.S., even for a voluntary agreement. I fear U.S. friends and allies may pay the price of such a deal.

There is a simmering anger from the third world countries. They have not received their promised billions of dollars from the US and other developed nations to help them manage climate change. This may resurface in Paris as most of the wealthier nations that made commitments, are struggling with flat to meager economic growth, mounting deficits, and thus inability to honor their promises.

Importantly, the attendees will be forced to ignore that the Earth’s climate is indeed changing – to a new potentially dangerous cold one. Many scientists are now convinced that the Earth is heading into a prolonged cold era with Russian climatologists saying a new ‘Little Ice Age’ may have already begun.

These cold climate predictions are well supported by global temperature trends. For example, there has been no global warming for eighteen long years! There is now impressive on-going growth in global sea ice and colder temperatures within the Arctic and the Antarctic. Yet another brutal winter in 2014 and 2015 saw thousands of new snow and cold records worldwide especially in the northeast U.S. This comes at a time when the global warming crowd had predicted there would no longer be any snow by now, much less shattering cold temperature records over 100 years old. It’s a good thing the conference is in Paris and not Boston.

To help set the stage for the UN conference, we should expect the President’s science agencies, will once again predict that this year will be the warmest on record. Every extreme weather event will take center stage in the media. White House climate staffers must be secretly hoping for a hurricane to hit Miami.

President Obama’s real legacy, however, will be lost among the celebrations and media-hyped accolades being preplanned for the UN climate conference.

Years from now, as crops worldwide are destroyed by the new cold climate, and the world’s people scramble about for food in a much colder, more insecure world, who will remember the U.S. President who reveled in and was praised for leading the fight to save the world from man-made global warming.


Oregon AG Probing Use of State Tax Credits for Solar Power Project

SolarCity, the nation's largest solar energy provider, is under investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice, a spokeswoman for state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum confirmed to

The company, whose chairman is tech billionaire Elon Musk, allegedly installed solar panels made by federal prisoners at two green campus projects while pocketing $11.8 million in state tax credits intended to create jobs for Oregonians.

The prisoners, who were incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Sheridan, Ore., were reportedly paid just 93 cents an hour – well below Oregon’s $8.95/hour minimum wage – to assemble some 3,000 solar panels SolarCity installed at Oregon State University and the Oregon Institute of Technology.

Gov. Kate Brown asked Rosenblum to launch the investigation of SolarCity after The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that the highly-subsidized solar energy company allegedly submitted phony documents to the state after missing the deadline to qualify for the now defunct Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit program.

A $60,000 study commissioned by the state found that manufacturing the solar panels in Oregon would have generated $10 million in local wages.

The state tax credits – the most generous in the nation – were used to pay for nearly half the cost of the multi-campus solar project. Under Oregon’s False Claims Act, the state can force contractors who submit false information to return the money.

A spokesman for the Oregon University System (OUS) previously responded to’s inquiries into whether university officials were aware that the solar panels used for the state’s signature solar energy project were made by prisoners, stating that they were “not engaged” in the management of the $26.6 million solar project.

But the use of prison labor by the nation’s largest solar company has raised eyebrows, especially since SolarCity received more than $1 billion in taxpayer subsidies over the past 15 years, according to a new report by Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit, entitled Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations.

SolarCity collected $755,634,230 in state and local subsidies over the past 15 years, the report stated. In addition, it also collected another $325,999,783 in federal grants and allocated tax credits since 2000 – putting it # 36 on the largest subsidy recipient list just behind corporate giant Lockheed Martin.


Big Government, Foundations Undermine Scientific Integrity

Democrats’ attempts to paralyze climate skeptics in academia, think tanks, and companies, using intimidating letters threatening a federal investigation into their funding connections, backfired. They opened a Pandora’s Box of questions concerning where climate alarmists get their money. Now Democrat Senators Barbara Boxer (CA), Ed Markey (MA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Democrat Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva have egg on their faces.

Public-choice economics explains politicians and bureaucrats are as self-interested as anyone. They seek expanded authority and bigger budgets. Because the federal government and left-wing foundations provide the vast bulk of climate research funding, funding from these two sources certainly should undergo at least as much scrutiny as funding from private industry.

Nearly all university-based climate scientists are funded mainly by federal grants, and the ideological and political goals of those authorizing the grants could reasonably be expected to affect the kind of research universities and researchers undertake. The conflict between gaining research money and scientific integrity puts sound but nonconformist science at a crushing disadvantage.

Michael Mann, Pennsylvania State University’s notorious ClimateGate email scandal figure, has garnered close to $6 million promoting scary scientific conclusions serving government’s goal of control over energy sources, $3.6 million of it from the National Science Foundation. Both PSU and the NSF conducted investigations absolving Mann of any wrongdoing in ClimateGate, but with the offending institutions effectively investigating one of their own, would anyone expect a different outcome?

Influence, Conflicts of Interest

Princeton professor Michael Oppenheimer has written more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and testified before Congress on multiple occasions. He was the Environmental Defense Fund’s senior scientist (1981-2002) and remains as science advisor to the multimillion-dollar lobbying group (2013 assets: $208.7 million). EDF has received $2.8 million in federal grants since 2008, spent $11.3 million on lobbying, and has 55 people on 32 federal advisory committees.

Since 2008, EDF has received 3,332 grants from 600 foundations, totaling $544,487,562. EDF is deeply rooted in left-wing foundation agendas. Oppenheimer’s professorship is supported in part by private equity tycoon Carl Ferenbach’s High Meadows Foundation, which has given Princeton $6.5 million and the Environmental Defense Fund $6 million. Ferenbach is both EDF’s Chairman of the Board and a trustee of Princeton, suggesting a strong conflict of interest.

The proudly progressive Center for American Progress (CAP) has five people on federal advisory committees, spent $3.6 million on lobbying, and gave $312,400 to Democrat candidates in 2014. CAP Senior Fellow and Chief Science Advisor Joe Romm has testified before Congress on global warming and coauthored numerous peer-reviewed studies. Yet Romm failed to file conflict-of-interest disclosures for an article in Environmental Research Letters although the journal explicitly requires it.

Since 2004, CAP has been supported by left-wing foundations including Marilsa (Getty Oil fortune, $7 million), Rockefeller (Standard Oil fortune, $5 million), Sea Change (ties to Russian oil money laundering, $4.8 million), and 200 other left-wing foundations.

Government and foundation monies go only toward research advancing a pro-regulatory climate agenda. That is the greatest threat to the integrity of scientific research.



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, 2015

Damning Study Challenges CO2-Temperature Relationship

The ongoing global warming hiatus, per satellite measurements, surprised climatologists because computer climate projections never indicated a short- or long-term reprieve. Scientists anticipated temperatures to move in tandem with steadily increasing levels of CO2 – which didn’t happen – and nevertheless they insist that it’s only a matter of time before warming re-emerges.  According to NOAA, the data also shows that global carbon dioxide measurements for the last seven days average around 400 parts per million, up from 380 ppm during the same period in 2005. Without question, CO2 measurements continue to climb, which begs the question: Why haven’t temperatures?

A damning new study reinforces what skeptics have long suspected: The relationship between the two isn’t as clear-cut as we’re led to believe. In what would otherwise be labeled a “game changer” outside the mainstream media, The Daily Caller writes, “A study by scientists at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Meteorology found that man-made aerosols had a much smaller cooling effect on the atmosphere during the 20th Century than was previously thought.

Why is this big news? It means increases in carbon dioxide emissions likely cause less warming than most climate models suggest.” The study is even listed on the American Meteorological Society website. As significant as the finding is, however, expect the study to receive the same conniving response from man-made global warming evangelists as do skeptics offering their viewpoint.


Obama’s CO2 Plan Will Only Avert 0.001 Degree Of Warming A Year

President Barack Obama formally submitted his plan to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to the U.N. Tuesday and a climate scientists has already pointed out a glaring problem: The plan will have virtually no impact on global temperatures.

Obama’s carbon dioxide reduction plan commits the U.S. to 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 — a promise he made last year to secure a pledge from China to reduce its own emissions.

But Obama’s plan will only avert 0.001 degrees Celsius of global temperature rises a year, according to climate scientist Chip Knappenberger with the libertarian Cato Institute.

Knappenberger notes that Obama’s climate plan mirrors a scenario where the U.S. reduces carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent by 2050. Using this assumption, Knappenberger calculates that only about one-tenth of a degree of temperature rise will be averted by 2100. This breaks down to about a one-thousandth of a degree of averted temperature rise every year over the next century.

The cost? It’s not clear, but EPA regulations aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector is projected to cost as much as $8.8 billion a year based on agency figures. Other studies put the cost much higher — a NERA study found the costs would be $41 billion per year.

Republicans have protested Obama’s recently unveiled climate plan, saying that it would be impossible for the U.S. to make such deep cuts to CO2 emissions.

“Even if the job-killing and likely illegal Clean Power Plan were fully implemented, the United States could not meet the targets laid out in this proposed new plan,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement.

“Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn’t even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal,” McConnell said.

Democrats have backed Obama’s plan to reduce emissions. The White House says this plan will galvanize international support behind a global climate treaty — one they plan to impose without congressional approval.

“This ambitious target is grounded in intensive analysis of cost-effective carbon pollution reductions achievable under existing law and will keep the United States on the pathway to achieve deep economy-wide reductions of 80 percent or more by 2050,” according to the White House.

“The Administration’s steady efforts to reduce emissions will deliver ever-larger carbon pollution reductions, public health improvements, and consumer savings over time and provide a firm foundation to meet the new U.S. target,” the White House says.

International diplomats are preparing for a U.N. climate summit in Paris later this year. Delegates are expected to agree to a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, but it’s unclear if this agreement will have more teeth than Kyoto did.


The Backlash Against Obama’s Committing US to International Climate Agreement

Perhaps President Obama is frustrated he couldn’t pass climate legislation when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, and perhaps this frustration was compounded by the historic losses his party suffered in the off-year elections. But whatever the cause, the president is working unilaterally to commit the U.S. to international climate agreements.

This week the president promised the U.N. he would lock the U.S. into a set of energy-crushing carbon restrictions over ensuing decades. With a December, all-eyes-on-me Paris climate conference in the balance, the Obama administration seems to expect Congress, the judiciary, and the states to go along with the Clean Power Plan, the central piece of Obama’s pledge to the U.N.

The Obama administration plan calls for emissions cuts of 26 percent-28 percent (from 2005 levels) by 2025. Todd Stern, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change for the State Department, said he has assured other nations Obama’s offer will stand even with Republican opposition: “Undoing the kind of regulation we are putting in place is very tough to do.”

His confidence is shared by others in the Obama administration. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the Clean Power Plan “will be legally solid. I don’t need a Plan B if I’m solid on my Plan A.” John Podesta, former White House advisor on climate before leaving in February, said of congressional efforts to block the Clean Power Plan through legislation: “Those have zero percent chance of working. We’re committed. … There are no takers at this end of Pennsylvania Avenue.”

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others in Congress criticized the Obama administration’s overconfident power grab. McConnell warned other nations that Obama’s actions should not be depended on: “Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn’t even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal.”

McConnell’s response joins a groundswell of opposition around the country to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan—and for good reason. The Clean Power Plan to cut state CO2 emissions isn’t some esoteric policy debate to tickle the ears of D.C. bureaucrats. Although the plan is complicated and will require massive state and federal bureaucracies to manage, the aim of the Clean Power Plan is to fundamentally change how all Americans—from businesses to individuals—receive and use electricity.

Or as Harvard professor Laurence Tribe eloquently put it, “The Affordable Care Act may not compel health insurance consumers to eat or buy broccoli, but EPA seeks to interpret the Clean Air Act to allow it to regulate every watt used in growing broccoli and moving it to the market—as well as every watt used for any other activity within a State.”

The consequences for such a fundamental change would have serious consequences. Using the models employed by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, The Heritage Foundation analyzed the impacts of what a 28.5 percent cut of CO2 emissions (from 2005 levels) by 2025 would do to the American economy—only a half-point above the range set by Obama in his proposal to the U.N. this week. The impact is significant, not only in the big picture but also for individual Americans:

An average employment shortfall of nearly 300,000 jobs
A peak employment shortfall of more than 1 million jobs
500,000 jobs lost in manufacturing
Destruction of more than 45 percent of coal-mining jobs
To cap it off, the Clean Power Plan would have no noticeable impact on global temperatures—the purported reason for the U.N. climate treaty. Using the EPA’s climate model, climatologists Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger created an online calculator for estimating the impact on global warming of various CO2 cuts. They find that even if the U.S. entirely eliminated CO2 emissions (no breathing, now) the moderation of any temperature increase would be less than 0.15 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. Throw all industrialized nations into this energy-suicide pact and still the warming is moderated by less than a third of a degree.

The science isn’t settled, but apparently the dogma is: Costly CO2 restrictions need not have any climate impact. It seems they are their own virtue.


Harry Reid Retires Amidst Green Energy Scandal

One scandal that could haunt Reid for his remaining time in the Senate (and possibly beyond) was reported on recently in the Washington Free Beacon and Courthouse News. It seems the Reid helped the green energy company, Ormat Technologies, a firm that owns and manages geothermal plants in California and Hawaii, secure nearly $136 million in economic stimulus funding from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Two former employees are suing the firm, claiming Ormat executives defrauded the United States of more than $130 million by reporting false information about two projects to get government grants, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Tina Calilung and Jamie Kell filed the lawsuit against Ormat Industries in 2013 under the False Claims Act to recover money the corporation allegedly obtained illegally from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

At the center of the complaint are Ormat’s two energy-producing geothermal plants known as North Brawley, in Imperial Valley, Calif., and Puna, in Hawaii.

Calilung, an economist who worked as Ormat’s asset manager, claims the company misrepresented the date the Brawley plant was put into service, intentionally drove up costs, and misrepresented the viability of the plant so that it could qualify for the funds. Indeed, she argues that the Brawley plant is losing money but Ormat is keeping it open and fighting the lawsuit in order to prevent the federal government from taking back the money it has granted the company as allowed under the law. After 2006, when the clawback provision lapses, Calilung believes Ormat will then close the plant rather then suffer decades of losses.

Calilung claims that Ormat misrepresented the Puna project as new, though it was an expansion of an already constructed facility. Only 8 megawatts of capacity was added to the  the 30 megawatts of original capacity, yet in its stimulus filings Ormat treated the existing capacity as eligible for the grant.

“But for these purposeful misrepresentations, Ormat would not have received Section 1603 funds to support these projects and such funds could have been invested by the U.S. Treasury into truly viable geothermal projects actually qualified to receive the funds,” Calilung said in the complaint.

Reid’s ties to Ormat are deep. The company runs geothermal plants in Nevada and Reid has been a big booster of the company in D.C. As reported in the Free Beacon, “Reid bragged about securing Ormat a $350 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy (DOE) and took credit for expanding the Treasury program that the former employees say illicitly provided Ormat with millions more in taxpayer funds.”

By the same token, Ormat executives have generously supported Reid with donations for his election campaigns and causes. For instance Ormat Chairman, Yoram Bronicki, donated the maximum permitted amount to Reid’s 2010 reelection campaign.

The company has also donated to a nonprofit group founded by Reid’s top political operative, the Clean Energy Project (CEP) that employs two of his former aides as lobbyists.

The Nevada-based law firm McDonald Carano Wilson, a CEP donor with a partner on the group’s board, is representing Ormat in its 1603 litigation. One of the attorneys working on the company’s behalf, John Frankovich, a managing partner at McDonald Carano Wilson, has donated $4,500 to Reid. In 2011, Reid, then the Senate majority leader, praised Frankovich on the Senate floor, calling him “an outstanding lawyer.”

It is also worth noting that Ormat’s DOE award came a year after investors sued the company for allegedly inflating its stock price through “fraudulent accounting and overstated financial results.” Ormat settled the allegations in 2012 for $3.1 million.

So far Reid has stood by Ormat. That’s Reid, true to his donors rather then the people of the United States he has sworn to serve.


NEPA Guidance for CO2 Emissions Is Bad Policy Based on Bad Science

Marlo Lewis, senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, drafted a powerful rebuke of the Council on Environmental Quality’s recent draft guidance to require a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review of potential climate change effects caused by increased levels of greenhouse gas emissions from federal projects and projects requiring federal permits.

Representatives from 14 research and policy organizations, including The Heartland Institute, and one university signed on to Lewis’s comments.

NEPA, passed in 1970, requires federal agencies to consider the environmental effects of any major federal, state, or local project involving federal funding, work performed by the federal government, or permits issued by a federal agency. It also established the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which sets guidelines concerning the proper way for federal agencies to conduct and report environmental impact analyses.

The draft guidance would require major projects to account for greenhouse gas emissions and potential climate impacts. Lewis’s brief argues climate policy should not be made via NEPA.

Lewis and the co-signers, including myself, see the draft guidance as a case of bad policy based on bad science.

CEQ’s draft guidance is based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) acceptance of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2007 assessment that claimed humans are causing catastrophic global warming. As Lewis points out, the IPCC report missed the “18-year-plus warming ‘pause;’ the growing divergence between climate model predictions and observations; studies finding lower climate sensitivity; studies finding no global trends in the behavior of tropical storms, floods, and droughts; and studies rendering climate catastrophe scenarios implausible for the 21st century.”

Lewis says requiring environmental impact assessments for potential climate effects of all major projects will result in Keystone XL-like delays and controversy becoming the new norm for federal or federally funded projects, tying up necessary and/or economically desirable infrastructure and other projects for years. In this scenario, only radical environmentalists and other leftists who wish to destroy capitalism win.

Importantly, CEQ’s decision to follow EPA’s endangerment finding ignores these facts:

Our predominantly fossil-fueled civilization did not take a safe climate and make it dangerous. Rather, households and industries empowered with cheap, plentiful, reliable fossil energy took a naturally dangerous climate and made it dramatically safer.
Because affordable energy and economic growth are keys to human mastery of climate-related risks, blocking energy-related-development projects will do more harm than good to public health and welfare.

Lewis’s letter concludes the NEPA review is an inappropriate framework for making climate policy. All the important evidence suggests project-related greenhouse gas emissions should not be a factor when determining whether agencies grant or deny permits for individual projects and, as a result, CEQ should withdraw the guidance.


More Britons support fracking than oppose it, says Greenpeace survey the environmental group tried to bury

More people in Britain back fracking than are opposed to it, a Greenpeace survey has found.

Some 42 per cent of those polled said they supported shale gas extraction, while 35 per cent disagreed with using the controversial technique.

The anti-fracking environmental campaign group was accused of trying to bury the inconvenient survey result.

The finding – hidden in a footnote to a Greenpeace press release – shows greater backing for the shale gas industry than other recent polls.

Only 24 per cent of people said they supported fracking in a Department of Energy and Climate Change public attitudes survey published in February.

A similar poll by YouGov in January put approval for extracting shale gas at 35 per cent and opposition at 41 per cent.

The Greenpeace survey, carried out by ComRes, found greatest support among men (56 per cent) and the over-65s (58 per cent). By contrast only 29 per cent of women backed fracking.

Other results of the study suggest the issue could help to swing the result in marginal constituencies at next month's General Election, the campaign group claimed.

Nearly a third of people would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports fracking in their area, the polling found.

Only 13 per cent would be more inclined to support them, although 44 per cent said it would have no impact on how they cast their vote.

At least 35 of the seats being targeted in the Tories' election strategy are in areas licensed for fracking, as are 11 Labour and eight Lib Dem seats held with a swing of two per cent or less.

One in ten Conservative voters, nearly a quarter of Lib-Dem supporters and a fifth of Labour backers said they were 'much less likely' to vote for a candidate in favour of fracking in their constituency.

More than 800 people standing to be MPs next month have signed a pledge declaring their opposition to shale gas organised by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

They include 100 Labour candidates, 105 Lib Dems, 403 Greens, 23 Plaid Cymru, seven SNP and seven Ukip candidates. No Conservatives have added their names so far.

Ken Cronin, chief executive of fracking industry body UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said: 'This poll – ironically commissioned by people who oppose fracking – shows that when presented with the real facts about the safety and low environmental impact of shale gas operations, British people will support onshore oil and gas exploration.

'The poll also shows that 57 per cent people say that a candidate's support for fracking either makes them more likely to vote in their favour or no difference. Greenpeace's own facts simply do not support their rhetoric on fracking.'

A Greenpeace spokesman said: 'It's odd for the fracking industry to be welcoming these latest figures. Compared to a similar survey from a year ago, public support for fracking has actually fallen.

'Even Tory voters say they are more likely to vote for a candidate opposing fracking in their constituencies than for someone who's in favour of it.

'The government and the fracking lobby have thrown the kitchen sink at propping up dwindling public backing for this risky industry, and they have very little to show for it.'



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3 April, 2015

Could toxic oceans that wiped out species 200 million years ago reappear?

How one-eyed can you get?  The authors below found that gas emissions from vulcanism poisoned a lot of life way, way back.  Volcanoes do of course put out all sorts of dangerous gases.  So which particular gas was the African-American in the woodpile?  The authors finger our old friend CO2 of course!  Compared to SO2 and H2S, CO2 is in fact almost inert.  All the adverse effects they describe could be more plausibly ascribed to the more corrosive volcanic gases.  CO2 is getting a bum rap

A team lead by the University of Southampton studied fossilised organic molecules taken from sedimentary rocks that originally accumulated on the bottom of the north-eastern Panthalassic Ocean, which surrounded the continent of Pangaea.

The rocks are now exposed on the Queen Charlotte Islands, off the coast of British Columbia, Canada.

The experts found signs of bacteria which had suffered severe oxygen depletion and hydrogen sulphide poisoning which would have been caused by massive volcanic rifts in the Earth's tectonic plates.

'As tectonic plates shifted to break up Pangaea, huge volcanic rifts would have spewed carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, leading to rising temperatures from the greenhouse effect,' said Professor Jessica Whiteside.

'The rapid rises in CO2 would have triggered changes in ocean circulation, acidification and deoxygenation.

'These changes have the potential to disrupt nutrient cycles and alter food chains essential for the survival of marine ecosystems. Our data now provides direct evidence that anoxic, and ultimately euxinic, conditions severely affected food chains.

'The same CO2 rise that led to the oxygen-depleted oceans also led to a mass extinction on land, and ultimately to the ecological takeover by dinosaurs, although the mechanisms are still under study.'

She explained that although the Earth was very different during the Triassic period, the rate of carbon dioxide release from volcanic rifts are similar to those we are experiencing now through the burning of fossil fuels.

Professor Whiteside added: 'The release of CO2 was probably at least as rapid as that caused by the burning of fossil fuels today, although the initial concentrations were much higher in the Triassic.

'The consequences of rapidly rising CO2 in ancient times inform us of the possible consequences of our own carbon dioxide crisis.'


Kerry Gets Eight Out of Four Pinocchios

A fake climate warrior as well as the man with the hat

John Kerry has a long history of phony “seared memories.” From Christmas 1968 in Cambodia to the “very first climate hearings in the Senate,” Kerry just makes stuff up. The Washington Post “fact checker” took on the claim about the Senate climate hearings only to discover that “Kerry was not even a participant in the most important hearing of that time; he simply spoke at a hearing that took place the following year. And yet, like Brian Williams claiming to have come under fire in Iraq, Kerry has repeatedly placed himself at the center of the action – and the narrative.”

Not only that, a follow-up article reveals that the hearing was not, as Kerry at another time asserted, deliberately scheduled on the summer’s hottest day, nor was it “sweltering” in the hearing room. Leftists regularly assert that weather isn’t proof of climate – unless they need it to be. The fact checker concluded, “Frankly, this now puts Kerry’s statements in an even a worse light. Not only did he place himself at a hearing he did not organize and attend, but he described witnessing events that did not happen.” That’s par for the course with Kerry.


EPA's McCarthy (Sort of) Makes the Case for Approving Keystone

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Monday that building the Keystone XL pipeline alone would not be a disaster for the climate, as some opponents of the project contend.

“No, I don’t think that any one issue is a disaster for the climate, nor do I think there is one solution for the climate change challenge that we have,” McCarthy said during an interview with POLITICO’s Mike Allen.

Keystone critics have long alleged that the pipeline, if approved, would greatly exacerbate climate change.

And Environmental Protection Agency’s concerns about Keystone’s climate impact have given ammunition to environmentalists fighting the project. In comments to the State Department released in February, the agency said state should give “additional weight” to whether the sharp drop in oil prices in recent months would increase the pipeline’s environmental impact and stimulate production in the carbon-rich Canadian oil sands.

McCarthy, in her interview with POLITICO, stressed that those EPA comments did not come to any conclusion about the pipeline, and she pushed back on the criticism from Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., Gary Doer.

“I have great respect for the ambassador, but he should just relook at the comment letter that we put in,” she said.

TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper countered that despite the EPA’s comments, the current downturn in oil prices would “not significantly impact whether the oil sands will be developed.” In addition, Cooper noted, Keystone’s 700,000-plus barrels of heavy crude imports would displace “foreign heavy oil that produces similar or greater amounts of” emissions.

One anti-Keystone group said McCarthy’s statements appeared to diverge from what the agency told the State Department, which could finish its long-delayed review of Keystone within weeks or even days.

“Gina McCarthy would do well to look at comments published by her own EPA, warning that Keystone XL would accelerate development of the tar sands oil field in Canada, which in turn would mean game over for our climate,” Karthik Ganapathy, spokesman for the green group, said by email.

Once Secretary of State John Kerry finishes weighing whether Keystone’s construction is in the national interest, President Barack Obama is poised to make the final call on the pipeline — a decision that has no binding deadline.

Other green groups said they didn’t see McCarthy’s Keystone comments Monday as a shift in the EPA’s view. Jim Murphy of the National Wildlife Federation said he didn’t find her statement “concerning,” adding that the EPA “has been strong throughout” in pointing to the potential greenhouse gas emissions generated by the $8 billion pipeline.

Yet McCarthy’s prominent role in Obama’s strategy to make climate change a central part of his legacy adds extra weight to her words.

Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, circulated McCarthy’s comments on Twitter, adding that the EPA chief appeared to have “debunked the anti-#KeystoneXL crowd’s alarmism today. Cool.”


The Problems With Obama’s Plan to Slash US Greenhouse Gas Emissions By Nearly 30 Percent

The Obama administration announced Tuesday its plans to commit the U.S. to greenhouse gas emissions of 26-28 percent (from 2005 levels) by 2025 as part of a United Nations climate agreement set for this December in Paris.

The announcement is being heralded as America’s stepping up to “lead the way.” The Paris agreement is to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which the U.S. rejected.

Obama’s commitment, which was initially laid out in a lopsided agreement with China last November, doesn’t stop with cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent by 2025. The Obama administration’s submission to the U.N. is meant to set up a “pathway from 2020 to deep, economy-wide emission reductions of 80 percent or more by 2050. The target is part of a longer range, collective effort to transition to a low-carbon global economy as rapidly as possible.”

To achieve the goal, the Obama administration proposed a package of regulations which it is already well underway in implementing: fuel efficiency mandates for cars and trucks, energy efficiency mandates for everything from buildings to kitchen appliances, methane emissions regulations, an executive order to cut emissions and energy use by the federal government, and the capstone Clean Power Plan regulating state carbon dioxide emissions.

President Obama has spoken openly about his intentions to work around legislators if they did not act on climate change. His administration has dared Congress to try to stop the Clean Power Plan.

Obama’s offer to the U.N.:

* Ignores serious, honest scientific questions about the extent (or lack thereof) of global warming. Data have yet to show that the world is headed toward accelerating and catastrophic global warming. The world has not seen any warming in the 21st century and for much of the 1990s even while carbon dioxide emissions have steadily increased. Nor does the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes claim that extreme weather events are increasing in frequency. Further, it is very much up for debate about how sensitive the climate is to carbon dioxide. In other words, carbon dioxide may not even be the problem, assuming there is one.

* Challenges the Constitution. As one of Obama’s former law school professors testified, the Clean Power Plan is an unconstitutional “sleigh-of-hand [that] offends democratic principles by avoiding political transparency and accountability.” Regardless of where an individual stands on global warming, the ends do not justify the means if the means take the very foundation of American government and democracy as a casualty. Americans should further be very concerned about what the Paris agreement is ultimately to accomplish. At another preliminary climate conference in Doha in 2012, Executive Secretary for the U.N.’s conventions on climate change Christiana Figueres said, “It must be understood that what is occurring here, not just in Doha but in the whole climate change process, is a complete transformation of the economic structure of the world.”

* Sets the U.S. on course for incredible economic hardship with very little, if any, environmental benefit. If finalized, the Clean Power Plan will have almost zero impact on global temperatures, even though the plan is billed as a global warming initiative. It guts energy diversity by eliminating coal and replacing it with natural gas, which is as foolish as staking your retirement nest egg on one kind of investment. The plan threatens electric reliability and forces Americans to pay more for less power. It will shrink the economy and hit manufacturing particularly hard and ultimately consume the very resources Americans have to protect and improve their environments.

* Withholds from others the health and opportunity made possible by affordable, reliable energy. While elitists will go to Paris to barter and swap carbon dioxide emissions cuts for green financing, there are billions of people all around the world with little or no access to affordable, reliable energy and the opportunities energy unlocks. Energy heats the homes and meals, runs the schools and hospitals, and creates the products and opportunities that help lift people out of poverty. Yet too many climate policies make these opportunities further out of reach by restricting the use of conventional, reliable energy sources and forcing the use of more expensive, less available technologies. In the process they thwart the very means by which to improve environmental health as well.

* Gives the impression of leadership. Supporters praised the U.S.-China climate deal as one that “raised global hopes that developed and developing nations can come together to fight climate change.” Fighting together is an interesting way to put it as so far the many talks leading up to Paris have focused on developed countries like the U.S. cutting emissions (and their economies with it), providing financial support to developing nations (at $100 billion a year), and subsidizing politically preferred technologies. China on the other hand, and others likely to follow, “intends” to level off emissions “around” 2030, according to the deal. What some are praising as American leadership looks a lot more like unilateral disarmament.

Obama has often been accused of leading from behind on important issues. In this case, however, he is leading headlong in exactly the wrong direction.


Pulling the Plug on Renewable Energy

There is never a good time for bad public policy. For few policies is this more evident than renewable energy mandates (REM), variously known as renewable portfolio standards, alternative energy standards and renewable energy standards.

The first renewable energy mandate was adopted in 1983, but most states did not impose these mandates until the 2000s. Though the details vary from state to state, in general, renewable energy mandates require utilities to provide a certain percentage of the electric power they supply from “renewable” sources, notably wind and solar, with the required percentages rising over time.

At the height of the renewable-energy mania, 30 states and the District of Columbia had imposed REMs and another seven had established voluntary standards.

Renewable energy mandate proponents included environmental lobbyists with a hatred for capitalism and fossil fuels that make modern society possible, crony socialists who saw the mandates as way of strong-arming exorbitant payments from government and ratepayers alike, and paternalistic politicians who look down on people’s choices in the marketplace, believing they know best what sources of energy people ought to choose.

Green-energy advocates, crony socialists and government elitists have seen their fortunes wax and wane over five decades. Government subsidies for unreliable, expensive renewable fuels had risen, fallen, been scrapped and begun anew since the 1970s. The existence and amount of subsidies tended to rise in fall with various energy crises — crises often created by the same government that then proposed subsidies for renewable energy as the solution for the problems it created.

For 50 years, green-energy gurus in industry and the environmental movement have sold the snake oil that renewable power would soon be as cheap and reliable as coal, oil, nuclear and natural gas. The nation has been told the turning point has always been just around the corner, always requiring a little more public funding and tax breaks before we have abundant, cheap, clean, reliable energy materializing from thin air.

All these promises were false, and the public and more-honest politicians have seen through the sales pitch. Now, support for renewables is as unreliable as the energy it provides.

To guarantee a market for renewables, green lobbyists fought successfully for mandates ensuring green-energy producers a slice of the electricity market regardless of the price and quality of the energy they produced.

Energy prices skyrocketed, as predicted by numerous energy analysts.

Though cost is an important concern, it is not the only problem with renewable power sources. Renewable energy is not environmentally friendly. Renewable energy mandates have turned millions of acres of wild lands and wildlife habitats into a vast wasteland of wind and solar industrial energy facilities. In the process, renewable energy facilities have condemned to death hundreds of thousands of animals, including endangered birds, bats and tortoises. Finally, the construction and maintenance of these facilities have polluted the air and water. There is nothing green about all this. Still, continuing high costs, not environmental concerns, may finally spell doom for the mandates.

Citing high costs, Ohio became the first state to freeze its renewable energy mandate. Under Ohio’s mandate, utilities would have been required to provide 25 percent of the state’s electricity from qualified renewable sources by 2025. Under a law signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich in June 2014, Ohio froze its mandate at the current level of 12.5 percent, halving the mandated level.

In January, West Virginia repealed its renewable energy mandate entirely, and the New Mexico House of Representatives passed a bill freezing the state’s renewable standards in March.

Kansas has also recently held hearings on repealing its renewable energy mandate, spurred on in part by a new report from Utah State University reporting Kansas ratepayers are paying $171 million more than they would without the mandate. These additional costs have resulted in a loss of $4,367 each year in household disposable income.

What’s true for Kansas is true for other states with renewable energy mandates. States with mandates experienced 10 percent greater unemployment, due to higher energy prices resulting from the REM, than states without mandates. In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy has found electricity prices in states with renewable energy mandates have risen twice as fast as in states with no renewable requirement. Electricity prices in states with mandates are 40 percent higher than in non-REM states.

With these facts, it is little wonder that states are doing a slow walk back from their previous support of costly, environmentally harmful renewable energy mandates. It’s a classic case of legislate in haste, repent in leisure


Endangered Black-Throated Finch could derail plans to build the biggest coal mine in Australia

A BIRD no larger than a cricket ball could derail plans to build the biggest coal mine in Australia.

A legal challenge to Indian giant Adani’s plans for the $16.5 billion Carmichael mine by environment group Coast and Country began in the Land Court of Queensland on Tuesday.

If approved, the project would extract at least 50 million tonnes of coal a year from the Galilee Basin and export it through the Abbot Point coal terminal, north of Bowen.

“The environmental harm it will cause, or is at risk of causing, will be correspondingly great,” lawyer Saul Holt QC, for Coast and Country, told the court.

The case will put the spotlight on environmental and economic concerns, including the plight of the endangered Black-Throated Finch.

“If this mine goes ahead ... there is a high likelihood of species-threatening harm to the world’s most significant population of the endangered Black-Throated Finch,” Mr Holt said.

“As an environmental issue and risk, it is of the first order and it will be treated as such.”

But lawyer Peter Ambrose, for Adani, defended the company’s environmental modelling and previewed evidence by a range of experts in his opening address.

The company accepts there has been a serious decline in finch populations — which Mr Holt said was 80 per cent since the 1980s. But Adani pointed to offset and management plans that would “provide appropriate controls on the environmental impact”.

In exchange for the 9789 hectares of habitat that would be affected by the mine, there was an offset area of 30,999ha, Mr Ambrose said.

“The applicant’s evidence is they don’t have to move too far, as the offset areas are right beside where they are known to breed.”

Mr Ambrose cited estimates the mine could produce net economic benefits of between $18.6 billion and $22.8 billion.

But Mr Holt said the project would also contribute to the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef through a contribution to climate change.

Adani’s witnesses will argue that thermal coal use is generated by demand — not supply — and electricity generators would find alternative sources of coal if the mine does not go ahead.  Therefore, Adani argues, there will be no net increase in 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


2 April, 2015

Re: "The Earth is getting GREENER: Researchers reveal huge expansion in world's trees"

A comment from Hans Schreuder

A quote from the Daily Mail: "The 4-billion-tonne increase is minuscule compared to the 60 billion tonnes of carbon released into the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning and cement production over the same period, said Yi Liu, the study's lead author and a scientist at the University of New South Wales."

Just wanted to point out that the atmosphere holds about 3,000 billion tonnes of CO2 in it, so the 60-odd billion from human activities might sound impressive, but it's only 2% of Nature's efforts.

See Here for  a graph I made years ago

That 2% figure correlates well with the UN IPCC's own estimates.

Human activity puts only a few percentage points of CO2 into the air, yet those few extra billion tonnes are causing global warming ....??!!

As per your PSI quoted article, which in turn quoted a BBC article, there's plenty "fossil fuel" on Titan, so maybe one day the penny will drop that earth will never run out of them as it's produced 24/7/365 and fossils have nothing to do with it.

We live in a crazy world, to be sure!

Via email

Don't be an April 'Earth Month' Fool

By Alan Caruba

The annual calendar is filled with days and months designated for the purpose of calling attention to some event, personality, or cause. The U.S. celebrates the birthdays of Lincoln and Washington that fall close together. There’s Mother’s and Father’s Day, Labor Day and Veteran’s Day, Valentine’s, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas.

But who decided that April was “Earth Month” or that April 22 is “Earth Day”?

Why are we expected to worship the planet that was here billions of years before we showed up and will likely be here long after we manage to destroy ourselves with cataclysmic wars. And it is worship that is at the heart of these two events. That alone should tell you how essentially pagan they are.

This Earth Month will celebrate its 45th anniversary, having begun in 1970 and, not surprisingly, its theme is “Our planet in peril.” Our planet is not in peril. It’s been around for 4.5 billion years and short of a rogue asteroid or our getting sucked into a black hole, the planet will be around several billions of years more. The galaxy in which we live is relatively predictable and stable, so the notion that the Earth is in peril borders on idiocy.

Well, idiocy, if you think that it is in peril from us, the human species. This is at the core of the environmental mindset. It appears that merely using the Earth as a place to live is reason enough to hold us responsible for everything that naturally occurs to it.

Environmentalists do not like the human race and will not hesitate to tell you there are too many of us. They do what they can to reduce the population through disease by, for example, banning DDT and any other chemicals that protect us from insect and rodent pests that are major vectors for the transmission of disease.

According to the 2015 Earth Month Network, Inc. announcement “There are literally hundreds of problems and issues plaguing our global environment, i.e., climate change, global warming and their effects; and the continuation of polluting our delicate ecosystem just to mention a few.”

Which is it? Climate change or global warming? There hasn’t been any dramatic global warming in the past 19 years during which the planet has been in a natural cooling cycle, along with the Sun which we depend upon to warm us. So anyone claiming the Earth is warming is blowing smoke up your skirt.

As for climate change, that has always been occurring. Short term it’s called the four seasons. Long term it takes the form of ice ages, major glaciations that have occurred every 140 million years, and other eras such as the Great Permian Extinction, the largest in Earth’s history that wiped out an estimated 95% of every kind of life-form on Earth. It was one of four mass extinctions over the course of the 3.5 billion years that life has existed on Earth. Remember the mammoths? They died a mere 11,500 years ago.

Last year, the Earth Month theme was “Returning to Nature.” Do you really want to return to nature? No electricity. No shelter other than a nice cave. No food except for the animals or fish you would have to catch for dinner. No vegetables or fruits except those you could find wherever you lived. That’s right, no supermarkets! And, if you want to go anywhere, you will have to walk.

Yes, nature sounds wonderful and, in its own way, is wonderful, but the human species has devoted a great deal of time to finding ways to survive it.

I was reminded that April was Earth Month when I received an email from the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa which said this Connecticut site was “excited to offer a special package to honor Earth Day.” It is “a Certified Green Hotel” and you will be treated to a “unique Ecotourism Getaway” that provides an “environmentally friendly stay without sacrificing comfort.” Why would you want to pay them for their special package if it didn’t include comfort and lots of it? Mostly what Saybrook Point wants is your money, just like any other perfectly ordinary inn and spa that isn’t “certified.”

One can be confident that we are going to be regaled with all manner of “environmental” messages and events throughout April, all of which have the same theme: the Earth is in danger from YOU!

Do yourself a favor. Ignore them. Get in your car and go where you want. Go to the supermarket and don’t worry about the plastic packaging or the plastic bags. Set the temperature in your home or apartment to a level of comfort that you like. It’s your life and you pay good money to benefit from all the conveniences of modern life.

Let’s appreciate the Earth, not worship it.

Environmentalism is one of the great scams of the modern era. Its emphasis on “renewable energy” has been a huge, expensive failure. Its claims of disappearing forests are bogus and its demands for the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will only harm all vegetation everywhere. The Earth needs CO2 in the same way you and all other living creatures need oxygen.

Let’s celebrate mankind’s mastery of the Earth in the form of agriculture, ranching, sophisticated shelters from the log cabin to the skyscraper, the channeling of rivers to produce energy and the technology that provides clean water for us. And, yes, manufacturing. You can’t even imagine what the world was like before the discovery of coal, oil, and natural gas.

The Earth is not in peril, only the truth and common sense are.


Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness

Its ideas would send the West back 100 years and keep poor nations impoverished and wretched

Ross McKitrick

A few years ago, a journalist asked me for my thoughts on the importance of “Earth Hour” – which was reprised this past weekend. What I told him applies today, perhaps even more so.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.

Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as on the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.

Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of safe hot water.

Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases.

Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the Third World should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the West developed.

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that. Instead, I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness.

By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation, it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining and enjoying the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.

People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there, too.

I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.

Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply. If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations. No thanks.

I like visiting nature, but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.

Ross McKitrick is Professor of Economics at the University of Guelph, a Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute and an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute.

 Via email

Differences between Real Science and Man Made Global Warming Science

There are at least a dozen differences between man-made global warming (AGW) and real science. While science follows a defined scientific method, AGW uses political campaign tools like polls, demonizing opposition, scare tactics, deception, and propaganda.

    Real science says "Question everything".  AGW says "Questioning AGW is reckless because it threatens the planet."

    Real science never ends, but is an ongoing cycle of testing and correction. AGW tries to break that cycle by claiming "the debate is over" and "the science is settled". "SETTLED SCIENCE" IS AN OXYMORON invented by non-scientist Al Gore to avoid debating his profitable beliefs in public.
 Real science develops hypotheses that are falsifiable via testable predictions. AGW ISN'T FALSIFIABLE because it makes contradictory, changing predictions. More hurricanes (see Al Gore's movie cover) or fewer hurricanes (reality now attributed to AGW), more snow or less snow, warmer or cooler than average temperatures, etc. are all cited AFTER the fact as proof of AGW. There is no observation that AGW proponents will accept as refuting their belief. Predictive models created by warming proponents are consistently wrong:
Real science relies on skeptics to make progress. Many real scientists spend their careers try to disprove accepted wisdom. AGW, on the other hand, intimidates and SMEARS SKEPTICS as "non-believers", equating them to holocaust deniers and treating them more like the Church treated Galileo:http://business.financialpost....
 Real science grants awards for disproving accepted truths. AGW researchers, on the other hand, have a VESTED INTEREST in only one outcome. They can access billions of dollars in government money only while MMGW is perceived by the public as a threat to humanity:
 Real science has nothing to do with polls or consensus, but AGW proponents CONSTANTLY USE POLLS to defend their claims. Ironically, even when they use polls they have to spin their outcomes:
 Real science doesn't claim validity by citing the credentials of proponents. It respects only data and analysis, regardless of who is publishing it. Einstein was a little known patent office clerk when he overturned the consensus understanding of space and time in 1905 with Special Relativity. “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your guess is or how smart you are or what your name is. If it disagrees with experience, it’s wrong.”-Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize Physicist

   Real science keeps testing to remove bias and discard bad models. Einstein's Relativity is still being tested a century later. AGW ignores or HIDES DATA it doesn't like:

   Real science accepts that bad predictions imply bad hypotheses. When AGW predictions are wrong they don't question the hypothesis...they just change the predictions and REBRAND the movement.

   Real science never recommends that skeptics be JAILED:

   Real science doesn't create billionaires who get rich peddling untested theories.

   Real science tries to account for all interfering variables in studies. AGW simply ignores all the variables that have drastically impacted Earth's climate for billions of years unless those factors are needed to excuse faulty predictions.


Obama to Pledge Goals for UN Global Warming Treaty

The United States offered to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by more than quarter in a plan announced Tuesday, a move that is expected to bolster the chances that world leaders will agree on an international climate treaty this year.

The U.S. announced its commitment at the informal deadline for nations to submit their contributions to the United Nations. Although the goal of 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025 isn't new - President Barack Obama first unveiled it last year during a trip to Beijing - the U.S. proposal has drawn intense interest from the vast majority of countries that have yet to announce how deeply they'll pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions as part of the treaty.

"Today's action by the United States further demonstrates real momentum on the road to reaching a successful climate agreement this December in Paris and shows President Obama is committed to leading on the international stage," the White House said in a statement, adding that the cuts "roughly double the pace of carbon pollution reduction in the United States from 1.2 percent per year on average during the 2005-2020 period to 2.3-2.8 percent per year on average between 2020 and 2025."

Obama's pledge constitutes the opening offer by the U.S. as world leaders strive to reach a climate deal powerful and ambitious enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change. In the works for years, the treaty is set to be finalized in Paris in December. If it's successful, it will mark the first time all nations - not just wealthier ones like the U.S. - will have agreed to do something about climate change.

Along with the United States, the European Union, Switzerland, Mexico, Norway and Russia have submitted their proposed cuts. China, the world's top emitter, and India are expected to submit theirs in the coming months.

What metrics the U.S. will use to back up its claims is not yet clear. The European Union, one of the first parties to submit its contribution, pointed to per capita reductions in emissions to show how it is cutting its carbon footprint. But emissions per capita are far higher in the U.S., making it an inconvenient measure for the U.S. to use to show progress.

Instead, the U.S. is expected to focus on the fact that the Obama administration has ramped up the rate of emissions reductions nearly twofold. Early in his presidency, Obama committed to cut U.S. emissions 17 percent by 2020; his subsequent goal for 2025 pushes it to 28 percent.

The U.S. and other developed countries have been aggressively pressing developing nations to step up on climate change - especially those like China and India that are heavily reliant on dirtier sources of energy. Obama has described his strategy as "leading by example" and has sought to use the steps he's already taken to cut emissions to ramp up pressure on other countries to do the same.

But poorer countries have traditionally balked, arguing their more modest means make reductions more of an imposition and pointing out that historically, they're responsible for just a small fraction of the heat-trapping gases that industrialized countries have been pumping into the atmosphere for decades. So when Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping both committed to curbing emissions in a joint announcement in November, environmentalists hailed it as a sign that reluctant nations like China were finally getting on board.

"People know that domestically, we're moving forward," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said Monday at a luncheon hosted by Politico. She pointed to the U.S.-China pact as Exhibit A. "If the two biggest polluters and the two biggest greenhouse gas polluters can get together, and two biggest economies, then we're going to be OK moving into Paris, and we should have momentum behind our backs."

Although all nations were asked to submit their climate targets by the end-of-March target date, only a handful of countries are expected to meet it. In addition to the U.S., the EU and Switzerland, Mexico unveiled a pledge last week to cut greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants 25 percent by 2030, drawing praise from the White House and from environmental advocates.

How will the U.S. meet its goal? The Obama administration has avoided putting hard numbers on the size of emissions reductions it expects from specific steps the U.S. is taking. In its submission, the EU listed specific economic sectors - such as transportation, energy and manufacturing - where it expects major reductions, and named the specific greenhouse gases it plans to cut.

In contrast, the U.S. is expected to point broadly to the steps it is taking under the climate action plan Obama announced in 2013, such as new rules requiring sweeping cuts from new and existing power plants, stricter emissions limits for cars and trucks, and initiatives targeting specific greenhouse gases like methane and hydrofluorocarbons.

Many of those steps ordered by Obama face major legal challenges and intense political opposition, raising the risk that they could be undermined or even discarded once Obama leaves office in 2017. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the U.S. couldn't meet Obama's target even if his domestic climate plan were fully implemented.

"Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn't even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal," McConnell said.

Environmentalists welcomed the U.S. move, saying it would send a signal to the rest of the world that the United States is serious about combating climate change.

"This important commitment sends a powerful message to the world: Together we can slash dangerous carbon pollution and combat climate change," Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. "This announcement builds on America's leadership that already is delivering notable breakthroughs, such as the recent commitments by China and Mexico to join the global effort. And that bodes well for a strong international commitment to fight climate change at the Paris conference in December."

Lou Leonard, the WWF's vice president for the climate change program, said the announcement "is a big deal."

"It signals that U.S. climate policy over the next decade will begin to line up with growing majorities of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, as well as key business leaders, calling for climate action now," he said. "By developing this target based on existing authority, the United States is signaling that countries should have confidence it can deliver. To maintain that confidence, a strong final rule this summer to cut carbon pollution from new and existing power plants will be critical."


Wind farms in trouble in Australia

The article below sees that as a tragedy.  By any rational and fully informed  calculation, however, it is a Godsend for Australian public finances

Banco Santander, a major investor in renewable energy, will sell its only Australian wind farm and exit the local sector because of policy uncertainty that has dragged the industry into crisis.

Santander will seek a buyer for its 90 per cent stake in the 106.8 megawatt Taralga wind farm near Goulburn, which is not being included in the renewable energy fund it set up late last year with two Canadian pension giants because of the perceived poor prospects for the sector in Australia, say sources.

David Smith, executive director of Santander in Sydney, declined to comment.

Australia's renewable energy sector has been left in limbo by the political debate surrounding the country's 2020 renewable energy target. The government and Labor Opposition agree the 41,000GWh target for large-scale renewable energy needs to be reduced to suit the downturn in total power demand from the grid, but have been unable to agree on a compromise.

As of last week, the government was proposing a 2020 target of 32,000GWh, while Labor wants a target in the high 30,000GWh range. A compromise suggested by the Clean Energy Council at 33,500GWh, up from the current level of about 17,000GWh, has failed to find backing.

Investment in large-scale renewable energy collapsed by almost 90 per cent in 2014 as a result of the deadlock, which has been criticised by several large foreign investors in the local renewable energy sector, including GE, Spain's Fotowatio Renewable Venture and Infigen Energy cornerstone shareholder, the Children's Investment Fund. They have all warned of the harm to Australia's sovereign risk, which will deter long-term infrastructure investors.

In December, Santander struck a deal with the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board in Canada to transfer its portfolio of renewable energy and water infrastructure assets into a new company owned equally by all three parties. But despite the partners having an appetite for other infrastructure assets in Australia, the wind farm was excluded from the $US2 billion-plus ($2.6 billion) portfolio of assets in the new company because of the uncertainty around the RET and the decision by the Coalition government to ditch the carbon tax, say sources close to the company.

The new company will, however, invest in Brazil and Mexico, which are seen as offering better prospects for renewable energy investors than Australia.

"It is quite clear that the uncertainty around the RET and other changes to policy that have occurred over the past few years has created a lot of uncertainty for investors in the renewable energy space," said Richard Pillinger at BlueNRGY LLC, which owns 10 per cent of the Taralga wind farm. 

The Taralga wind farm, which has a 10-year contract to supply power to EnergyAustralia, was financed with about $280 million from Santander, CBD Energy, Danish export credit agency EKF, ANZ and the federal government's Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Production of electricity from the first of the 51 wind turbines began in December.

CBD Energy has since gone into administration and been acquired by US-based BlueNRGY LLC.

Santander is closing the Sydney office for its equity investment arm, which focuses on renewable energy, in mid-2015.



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, 2015

It's not only Warmists who do crap science

Two of the biggest predictors of health are both politically incorrect to mention:  IQ and social class.  But ignoring them leads to all sorts of foolish conclusions.  Causes and effects are regularly mis-identified.  The misidentification can be rather hilarious  -- as below, where eating your greens is said to add 11 years to your life.

The African-American in the woodpile below is social class.  Middle class people are much more likely to follow official dietary advice and are also healthier. They are also healthier if they DON'T follow dietary advice.  So in the study below both the longer lives and the vegetable-rich diet are effects of social class.  There is no reason to believe that the diet had any effect on longevity.

The reasons why middle class people live longer are probably multifarious, with less risky lifestyles and more use of medical services being two such factors.  On the other hand there seems to be a general syndrome of biological fitness, with better health and IQ being connected -- meaning that high IQ is probably an  outcome of generally better brain health.  And smarter people are more likely to get rich and be middle class.  So there are a lot of interwoven effects there -- but diet has got nothing to do with any of it.

A study found that pensioners who regularly ate spinach and other leafy greens stayed sharper for longer.  Men and women who had just one or two helpings a day had the brainpower of people 11 years younger.

The US researchers said that something as simple as eating more greens could help protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s.

The researchers, from Rush University in Chicago, quizzed 950 men and women about their diet.  The volunteers, who had an average age of 81, then did a battery of mental tests every year for up to ten years.

The brains of those who ate leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, aged more slowly, the Experimental Biology conference in Boston heard.  The effect was big, with the slowing of cognitive decline equivalent to 11 years, on average.

It is thought that vitamin K, folate or vitamin B9, and the natural colourings lutein and beta-carotene were behind the effects.

Researcher Dr Martha Morris said: ‘Losing one’s memory or cognitive abilities is one of the biggest fears for people as they get older.... ‘Our study provides evidence that eating green leafy vegetables and other foods rich in vitamin K, lutein and beta-carotene can help to keep the brain healthy to preserve functioning.’

She now wants to find out just how these nutrients nourish the brain. [I'll bet she does]


The Earth is getting GREENER: Researchers reveal huge expansion in world's trees

A BENEFIT of more CO2 in the air

The world's vegetation has expanded, adding nearly 4 billion tonnes of carbon to plants above ground in the decade since 2003, thanks to tree-planting in China, forest regrowth in former Soviet states and more lush savannas due to higher rainfall.

Scientists analysed 20 years of satellite data and found the increase in carbon, despite ongoing large-scale tropical deforestation in Brazil and Indonesia, according to research published on Monday in Nature Climate Change.

Carbon flows between the world's oceans, air and land. It is present in the atmosphere primarily as carbon dioxide (CO2) - the main climate-changing gas - and stored as carbon in trees.

Through photosynthesis, trees convert carbon dioxide into the food they need to grow, locking the carbon in their wood.

The 4-billion-tonne increase is minuscule compared to the 60 billion tonnes of carbon released into the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning and cement production over the same period, said Yi Liu, the study's lead author and a scientist at the University of New South Wales.

'From this research, we can see these plants can help absorb some carbon dioxide, but there's still a lot of carbon dioxide staying in the atmosphere,' Liu said by telephone from Sydney.

'If we want to stabilise the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - and avoid the consequent impacts - it still requires us to reduce fossil fuel emissions.'


What Time Is It? Time to Start Arctic Drilling

While the U.S. is enjoying a boom in oil production, it has been no thanks to Barack Obama's policies -- as federal lands remain closed, the growth is almost entirely on private lands.

Yet no good thing lasts forever, and even the government says we should be prepared. The Associated Press reports, "The U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future, an Energy Department advisory council says in a study submitted Friday."

It takes years from exploration to first barrel on the market, so best to get started. Thanks to economic growth in China, India and elsewhere, fossil-fuel demand is expected to grow -- in spite of leftist climate alarmism.

So why the Arctic? The AP says geologists estimate it "holds about a quarter of the world's undiscovered conventional oil and gas deposits." More oil drilling has never been a policy goal for the Obama administration, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day. That said, an Energy Department study is hardly going to persuade Obama to open up the spigots.


There are heaps of "fossil fuels" that were not produced as fossils

Evidence from other planets in our solar system continues to prove hydrocarbons (so called 'fossil fuels') are abundant outside earth's biosphere and are not the product of decayed organic matter. The following BBC article shows this. hydrocarbons on Titan

 Dropping a robotic lander on to the surface of a comet was arguably one of the most audacious space achievements of recent times.

But one concept mission being studied by the US space agency could top even that.

Scientists are proposing to send a robot submarine to the oily seas of Saturn's moon Titan. The seas are filled not with water, but with hydrocarbons like methane and ethane.

These compounds exist in their liquid state on the moon, where the temperature averages -180C.

The plan is funded by an initiative called Nasa Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), where researchers are encouraged to think out of the box.

"That's quite liberating," says the scientist behind the project, Dr Ralph Lorenz, who is outlining the concept here at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in Texas.

"You can take a step back and really let your imagination run riot."

But Dr Lorenz believes the mission is eminently achievable with the right resources, timing and technology.

Unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) are now widely used for military purposes, by search teams, in oil exploration and scientific investigation. So existing technologies could be adapted for use on another world.


First three months of 2015 show fewest U.S. tornadoes in three decades

Yesterday, the Daily Caller reported that the Weather Channel's chief meteorologist, Greg Forbes, said the number of tornadoes so far this year has been 27, with "only four tornado watches" issued, and zero touching ground in March, the fewest in nearly three decades.

Unlike hurricane season, there is no official start or end date for tornado season. What is remarkable is that "this is the slowest start to the year, tornado-wise, since the 21 tornadoes were recorded through March 12, 2003."

February was also statistically important as there were only two tornadoes reported during the entire month. "According to statistics kept by Dr. Forbes, only three other Februaries since 1950 saw two or fewer tornadoes in the U.S.: 2010 (1), 2002 (2) and 1964 (2)."

Greg Carbin, a warning coordination meteorologist at NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC), said "only four tornado watches were issued by the SPC for January and February combined." The last time there were this few tornadoes was in 1985, nearly 30 years ago, when only two tornado watches were required.

So far this year, the SPC has gone 51 continuous days without issuing "either a tornado or severe thunderstorm watch through February 25. This was the longest such watch-less streak since late 1986," according to Carbin.

The cause of this tornado drought is the "bitter cold, snow and ice" that began in early 2015, mainly affecting the Eastern portion of the United States. Coupled with the lack of moisture moving up from the Gulf Coast, and an altered Jet Stream, you have the perfect ingredients for little to no tornadoes.

"The rise in mainly weak tornadoes detected in recent decades due to meteorological and technical advancements such as Doppler radar and social media, as well as larger spotter networks, the three-year period from 2012-2014 was considered the least active three-year period on record dating to 1953," according to Carbin.

In other words, as technology improves and remote areas become more populated, people are utilizing their phone's cameras and posting videos to social media sites like YouTube and FaceBook, as well as media outlets.

Tornadoes haven't necessarily increased in frequency, but rather denser populations, tornado chasers, and advanced technology are documenting smaller, weaker tornadoes that would have gone unnoticed (and thereby uncounted) in previous years.

As for the rest of the spring and summer, meteorologists "cannot predict how the rest of the year will shape up, tornado-wise. The final tallies depend on how persistent the western ridge-eastern trough pattern described above remains into the spring, as we head toward the April-June U.S. tornado maximum."

Carbin said in a statement that, “We are in uncharted territory with respect to lack of severe weather. This has never happened in the record of [Storm Prediction Center] watches dating back to 1970.”

"Once the jet-stream pattern changes, allowing warmer, more humid air into the central, southern and eastern U.S. in spring, severe thunderstorms will follow suit," The Weather Channel reported.


What Climate Alarmists Don't Want You Knowing About CO2

Man-made global warming is junk science. So say highly-qualified experts from the ‘hard’ sciences. Poorly trained government climate ‘experts’ for too long refused to share their half-baked theories and data about the role of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) with better qualified experts. 

Below are typical well-known and established scientific facts that climate change alarmists would rather keep from you.

1. Respiration (plant and animal, unquantified)

2. Decay (plant and animal, unquantified)

3. Volcanic activity (>0.6 Gtonnes,

4. Forest & grass fires (unquantified)

5. Increase/decrease of carbon dioxide dissolved in ocean water (see analysis below).

"Man-made" Carbon Dioxide

6. Fossil fuel combustion (natural gas, petroleum, and coal: see IPCC estimates)

7. Cement production (calcination of limestone, may be included in 6.)

8. Wood combustion (deforestation and fuel wood, unquantified)

The evidence:

1. Background: CO2 in sea water:

2.      (a) Atmospheric CO2 “lags” Global Warming:


3. It is well known (within established science) that the solubility of gases in water (including sea water) decreases with increasing water temperature.  The issue then is to determine the release (not rate) of carbon dioxide from sea water with increasing sea water temperatures (average). 

The rates of release would be dependent upon the mixing efficiency of ocean currents, amongst other dynamic factors (atmospheric and otherwise).  The mechanism of point 3 is not to minimize the complexity of the "open system" dynamics, but an exercise of Occam's Razor to simplify the analysis.  Refinements can be made later (if and when desired, for rigour).  All formulae are accessible so that math can be checked.

If Global Warming/Climate Change is not attributable to accumulating "man-made" atmospheric carbon dioxide, then no amount of effort directed to the "control" of man-made carbon dioxide will have any effect whatsoever. 

Variable output from the Sun acting on atmospheric water vapour and clouds (condensed water vapour) has been identified as a much more likely explanation/driver for Climate Change (variations of "average" global temperatures), due to the enormous absorbed heat of vaporization (phase change) of the liquid water in dissipating clouds.  There is no corresponding thermodynamic explanation available to carbon dioxide (no phase change).




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. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded in the header to this blog: 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.

Leftists have faith that warming will come back some day. And they mock Christians for believing in the second coming of Christ! They obviously need religion

Global warming has in fact been a religious doctrine for over a century. Even Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, believed in it

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

Inorganic Origin of Petroleum: "The theory of Inorganic Origin of Petroleum (synonyms: abiogenic, abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, juvenile, mineral, primordial) states that petroleum and natural gas was formed by non-biological processes deep in the Earth, crust and mantle. This contradicts the traditional view that the oil would be a "fossil fuel" produced by remnants of ancient organisms. Oil is a hydrocarbon mixture in which a major constituent is methane CH4 (a molecule composed of one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). Occurrence of methane is common in Earth's interior and in space. The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust. Some oil drilling now goes 7 miles down, miles below any fossil layers

As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms.

David Archibald: "The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better life on Earth will be for human beings and all other living things."


Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

"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."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

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

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"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

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich


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

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

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.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


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.

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"

Cook the crook who cooks the books

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)


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