Monday, August 31, 2009

New skeptical paper from Germany

A big new scientific paper from Germany is just out. It's title is "Die aktuelle globale Wärmeperiode endet" (The current global warm period has ended). It is by physicist Horst Borchert. He attributes temperature fluctuations to the sun. I provide a rough translation of the intro below:

The simplest description of the climate is the study of the time course of the terestrial and sea-surface temperature. As modern climate change is generally understood, many areas of the earth in the past approx. 100 years showed a mean mean increase in temperature of an average of up to 0.9 ° C. These findings are based on measurements of meteorological stations on land and at sea as recorded and announced on the internet by such authorities as the NOAA.

The rise in temperatures in the twentieth century is not linear and is, as presented, often misleading, but shows two temporary temperature jumps: one from 1920 to 1940 (Climatejump 1) and then from about 1980 (Climatejump 2) to 2006. Between them is from about 1940 to 1980 a so-called "Little Ice Age" with a slight decline in temperature.

The signs of a cessation of the increase are there since about 2006. Only after the "Little Ice Age" of the eighties, has the general subsequent global temperature rise in the twentieth century become an alleged problem for humanity and the word "climate change" as a humanity threatening environmental phenomenon was introduced by the UN.

At this time, the IPCC was established (Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change) as a well-financed Research Institute of the United Nations to investigate the cause and effect of the modern increase in temperature and to ensure by government-backed measures to deal with the potential damage caused by this development. It was dogmatically determined that since 19th century, observed man-caused global temperature rise through the emission of so-called greenhouse gases is causing this increase and would adversely affect the quality of life on Earth by environmental catastrophes. This had been caused by man and therefore man had to compensate by appropriate life limitations.

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

A thousand words

That’s what a picture is worth. The photo below is from a Willie Soon PowerPoint lecture. What you see is the same plant species cultivated under different CO2 conditions. It drives home the point that the current rising CO2 trend is beneficial. The plant is Devil's Ivy, the Idsos conducted this extensive experiment. Link here

Carbon Dioxide: a Cure for Male Impotence

I am not sure if the statements below are right but they are at least amusing

Two of the most profitable pharmaceutical drugs sold today are Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra) and Tadalafil (Cialis). Both drugs belong to a class of medications known as PDE-5 inhibitors, which are used to treat cases of male impotence (also known as erectile dysfunction). These drugs, which block the regulatory enzyme PDE-5, are both expensive and dangerous with many scary side effects and interactions with other drugs. There are better alternatives.

There are two factors that contribute to the inability to maintain an erection: the first is a reduced ability, due to poor nutrition and/or digestive problems, to produce the nitric oxide needed, for among other things, to dilate blood vessels supplying blood to the penis. This is accomplished in a fast, but risky, way by blocking the PDE-5 regulatory enzyme. However, a much cheaper and safer way to enhance nitric oxide production is to improve your diet and/or supplement with L-Arginine, a safe and inexpensive amino acid sold in health food stores and used by athletes for its many benefits. Note: this is a food supplement and, as such, should be used daily for best results and not just before performing, as directed for drugs. (Also, a note of interest: until the mid 90’s, nitric oxide was simply considered one of the pollutants in automobile exhaust fumes; since then it has been labeled marvel of the decade with many uses. Discovery of its functions and applications won the Nobel Prize for 3 scientists in 1998 for Advances in Physiology or Medicine. Maybe we should be more careful what we label as a pollutant.)

The second factor contributing to male impotence is a low arterial blood carbon dioxide level (another “pollutant”). Carbon dioxide is needed in the formation of nitric oxide from L-Arginine and, with a half life of only a few seconds, the nitric oxide level will quickly respond to changes in the carbon dioxide level. Carbon dioxide has long been credited with the ability to relax muscles but it is only recently understood that it does this through facilitating the formation of nitric oxide. Age and stress can be contributing factors to a low level of carbon dioxide. Both cause us to breathe faster than we should (hyperventilate) thus lowering our carbon dioxide level, which then results in a lower nitric oxide level.

Various methods have been used to restore proper carbon dioxide levels and, hopefully, reset unconscious breathing habits: a conscious slowing of our breathing as taught by various breathing methods (e.g. Buteyko method) as well as supplementing with medical gas for a few minutes can help. Other methods include breathing into a paper bag for a few minutes or using a breathing device such as the Samozdrav, a Russian prize winning device used to increase arterial blood carbon dioxide levels and to train people to breathe properly. People who use this device and learn to breathe properly, as a result, often report the improvement of many and varied symptoms.

Increasing nitric oxide levels with L-Arginine (5 grams daily) and, at the same time, raising arterial carbon dioxide levels, theoretically, should produce superior results to Viagra or Cialis alone. However, no drug company is ever going to do a double blind study based on this idea so don’t wait for one. Go ahead, give it a try. You have nothing to lose and the only side effects are beneficial ones. Who knows, you might improve your health AND your sex life, not to mention save a LOT of money if you presently use Viagra or Cialis.

For a better understanding, listen to this 20 minute lecture by a medical professional on the many benefits of maintaining proper carbon dioxide levels through proper breathing. While listening, just keep in mind that this lecturer hasn’t yet caught on to the indirect role of carbon dioxide in muscle relaxation rather than the implied direct role.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Sun spot frequency has an unexpectedly strong influence on cloud formation and precipitation

By S. Fred Singer

Climate modelers seem puzzled that small fluctuations in total solar irradiance (TSI) appear to have large influence on the climate. They feel it necessary to take recourse to complicated mechanisms.

For example, Gerald Meehl of the US-National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and his team [1] have been able to calculate how the extremely small variations in TSI bring about a comparatively significant change in the system “Atmosphere-Ocean” They try to explain how ‘sunspot frequency’ has an unexpectedly strong influence on cloud formation and precipitation, according to a press release from the GFZ (German Research Centre for Geosciences), the home of Katja Matthes, a co-author of the study. One suggested mechanism is a solar-UV enhancement of stratospheric ozone, leading to circulation changes in the troposphere, a possibility explored earlier by British researcher Joanna Haigh. Another complicated mechanism suggested is increased heating and evaporation from cloud-free regions of the ocean, with the additional moisture transported into the equatorial zone, followed by some kind of positive feedback.

But the answer may really be very simple: the tiny (~0.1%) variation of TSI during the solar cycle is only the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ The much stronger variability is that of solar activity (solar wind and magnetic fields), which explains the observed modulation of Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR); in turn, the GCR affect cloudiness in the lower troposphere (the ‘Svensmark mechanism’). And what makes me so sure about the GCR hypothesis? It is the observational evidence from isotopic data in stalagmites (shown in the NIPCC summary report [2] and used there to challenge the IPCC conclusions).

But the GCR explanation is not congenial to AGW alarmists, who have been brainwashed by the IPCC. The latest (2007) IPCC report ignores the cosmic-ray effects, and by focusing only on TSI, disingenuously considers solar influences on climate to be insignificant when compared to the forcing by GH gases.

In this sense then, the paper by Meehl et al constitutes some kind of conceptual breakthrough –even if it is not correct in all its conclusions. Professor Reinhard Huettl, Chairman of the Scientific Executive Board of the GFZ agrees: “The study is important for comprehending the natural climatic variability, which - on different time scales - is significantly influenced by the sun. In order to better understand the anthropogenically induced climate change and to make more reliable future climate scenarios, it is very important to understand the underlying natural climatic variability.”


International Greenland ice coring effort driven by ideology

See the last sentence below. That sentence casts a pall of doubt over any "findings" that appear to support Warmism. The sentence reveals a non-scientific mindset

A new international research effort on the Greenland ice sheet with the University of Colorado at Boulder as the lead U.S. institution set a record for single-season deep ice-core drilling this summer, recovering more than a mile of ice core that is expected to help scientists better assess the risks of abrupt climate change in the future.

The project, known as the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling, or NEEM, is being undertaken by 14 nations and is led by the University of Copenhagen. The goal is to retrieve ice from the last interglacial episode known as the Eemian Period that ended about 120,000 years ago. The period was warmer than today, with less ice in Greenland and 15-foot higher sea levels than present -- conditions similar to those Earth faces as it warms in the coming century and beyond, said CU-Boulder Professor Jim White, who is leading the U.S. research contingent.

While three previous Greenland ice cores drilled in the past 20 years covered the last ice age and the period of warming to the present, the deeper ice layers representing the warm Eemian and the period of transition to the ice age were compressed and folded, making them difficult to interpret, said White. Radar measurements taken through the ice sheet from above the NEEM site indicate the Eemian ice layers below are thicker, more intact and likely contain more accurate, specific information, he said.

"Every time we drill a new ice core, we learn a lot more about how Earth's climate functions," said White, "The Eemian period is the best analog we have for future warming on Earth."

Annual ice layers formed over millennia in Greenland by compressed snow reveal information on past temperatures and precipitation levels and the contents of ancient atmospheres, said White, who directs CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. Ice cores exhumed during previous drilling efforts revealed abrupt temperature spikes of more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit in just 50 years in the Northern Hemisphere.

The NEEM team reached a depth of 5,767 feet in early August, where ice layers date to 38,500 years ago during a cold glacial period preceding the present interglacial, or warm period. The team hopes to hit bedrock at 8,350 feet at the end of next summer, reaching ice deposited during the warm Eemian period that lasted from roughly 130,000 to 120,000 years ago before the planet began to cool and ice up once again.

The NEEM project began in 2008 with the construction of a state-of-the-art facility, including a large dome, the drilling rig for extracting 3-inch-diameter ice cores, drilling trenches, laboratories and living quarters. The official drilling started in June of this year. The United States is leading the laboratory analysis of atmospheric gases trapped in bubbles within the NEEM ice cores, including greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, said White.

The NEEM project is led by the University of Copenhagen's Centre of Ice and Climate directed by Professor Dorthe Dahl-Jensen. The United States and Denmark are the two leading partners in the project. The U.S. effort is funded by the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs.

"Evidence from ancient ice cores tell us that when greenhouse gases increase in the atmosphere, the climate warms," said White. "And when the climate warms, ice sheets melt and sea levels rise. If we see comparable rises in sea level in the future like we have seen in the ice-core record, we can pretty much say good-bye to American coastal cities like Miami, Houston, Norfolk, New Orleans and Oakland."

Increased warming on Earth also has a host of other potentially deleterious effects, including changes in ecosystems, wildlife extinctions, the growing spread of disease, potentially catastrophic heat waves and increases in severe weather events, according to scientists.

While ice cores pinpoint abrupt climate change events as Earth has passed in and out of glacial periods, the warming trend during the present interglacial period is caused primarily by human activities like fossil fuel burning, White said. "What makes this warming trend fundamentally different from past warming events is that this one is driven by human activity and involves human responsibility, morals and ethics."


EU Chemical regulators have overreached

The costs — both in animal lives and euros — of the European REACH legislation on chemical testing are escalating. Thomas Hartung and Costanza Rovida argue for a suspension of certain toxicity tests.

More than 100,000 synthetic chemicals are used in consumer products. In 1981, both the United States and the European Union (EU) introduced comprehensive safety evaluations for novel chemicals coming on to the market. However, existing chemicals represent about 97% of those in use today and 99% of the production volume. Safety testing data are needed for most of these 'old' chemicals. Over the next decade, the EU's 2006 Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation aims to assess the toxicity of all chemicals sold in Europe in quantities of more than one tonne per year.

As toxicologists, we support the aims of REACH — it is the biggest investment into consumer safety ever. However, we feel that legislators have underestimated the scale of the challenge. Our report1, released today by the Trans-Atlantic Think Tank for Toxicology at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, is the first analysis of REACH costs to be published in 5 years. It is based, among other things, on the pre-registration of chemicals, which ended in 2008. It was expected that 27,000 companies would submit 180,000 pre-registrations on 29,000 substances. Instead, some 65,000 companies made more than 2.7 million pre-registrations for in excess of 140,000 substances. REACH aims to complete data collection on these substances by 2018. In recent decades Europe has tested some 200–300 new chemicals each year, making REACH an unprecedented challenge. Toxicologists do not have the appropriate tools — whether high-throughput methods or acceptable alternatives to animal testing — to meet these expectations.

Official estimates

When REACH was negotiated, between 2001 and 2005, several attempts were made to estimate the costs of the regulation, both financially and in terms of the number of animals used for toxicity testing. Officially, the EU is relying on estimates suggesting probable costs2 of euro dollar1.6 billion (US$2.3 billion) — range of estimate euro dollar1.2 billion–euro dollar2.4 billion — and 2.6 million animals3 (range of estimate 2.1 million–3.9 million). These estimates are based on data on chemical production from 1991 to 1994.

Our report relies on several new public sources of information that allow these estimates to be reassessed. Among the factors that have increased costs and animal numbers are changes to the final legislation, such as the inclusion of reaction intermediates, and changes to the guidance for industry on how to test. The EU also now contains 27 members (plus three non-EU countries that adhere to REACH), compared with the 12 members on which the 1994 data were based. Factors that could, in principle, reduce the costs of REACH include progress in the availability of alternative methods to animal testing and availability of safety data from other sources, such as voluntary industry databases.

The latest published list of REACH chemicals contains 143,835 substances that are supposed to be fully registered, each requiring a chemical-safety report. However, this figure is likely to be an overestimate because of redundancies or mistakes made in deposition. The final number will be somewhere between 143,835 and the official estimate of 29,342 substances2. We have re-evaluated the estimates for the number of in vivo tests required by REACH. The plausibility of our assumptions and calculations was checked by eight experts from industry, academia and regulatory authorities1.

We focused on the expansion of the EU and how that affects chemical production. Since 1994, the chemical industry in Europe has grown by about 5% per year, almost doubling its production and sales size by 2008, and the expansion of the EU further increases chemical production volume by 18%. This growth leads to an estimate of 68,000 chemicals falling under REACH, and this is the lower (optimistic) estimate in our study (see Fig. 1).

Estimates for the numbers of chemicals (a) and of animals (b) expected to be needed for compliance with REACH legislation. Our best-case estimates1 of 68,000 substances and 54 million animals are far above the official EU estimates.

Optimistic assumptions

These 68,000 chemicals were then modelled under REACH testing requirements. Total chemical production or marketing volume in Europe determines the testing requirements, which are then modified by the specific toxicity and usage profiles of the substances. In all cases, our modelling used the most optimistic assumptions (minimal animal numbers per test and neglecting the triggering of additional tests). We ignored the need for confirmatory retesting as well as tests that have not yet been defined for endocrine disruption, respiratory irritation, respiratory sensitization and developmental neurotoxicity. We also considered alternative approaches (including computational toxicology) far enough along in the validation and acceptance process to have an impact on the execution of REACH.

Our results suggest that generating data to comply with REACH will require 54 million vertebrate animals and cost euro dollar9.5 billion over the next 10 years. This is 20 times more animals and 6 times the costs of the official estimates. By comparison, some 90,000 animals are currently used every year for testing new chemicals in Europe, costing the industry some euro dollar60 million per year. Without a major investment into high-throughput methodologies, the feasibility of the programme is under threat — especially given that our calculations represent a best-case scenario. In 15 months' time, industry has to submit existing toxicity data and animal-testing plans for the first of three groups of old chemicals.

Disaster prevention

Our modelling shows that the studies contributing most to animal use and costs are from reproductive-toxicity testing — the effects of the chemicals on reproductive functions — representing about 90% of projected animal use and 70% of projected costs (see Fig. 2).

Reproductive-toxicity testing makes a huge contribution to the estimated costs (a) and the number of animals used (b) for compliance with REACH legislation.

In the short term, we recommend that testing requirements for reproductive toxicity are urgently reviewed with the goal of prioritizing the most suspicious chemicals, reviewing test strategies and allowing more time to carry out the programme.

Much of the projected increase in animal use is the result of the two-generation study for reproductive toxicity, in which toxic effects are studied in the offspring of exposed rats and then in a second generation. The EU animal estimate3 did not include offspring (despite their inclusion in EU animal-use statistics). This method consumes an average of 3,200 rats per chemical compared with 784 animals for a one-generation study with costs increasing five-fold. Moreover, changes to REACH introduced the unusual requirement of repeating the two-generation study in a second species, further increasing animal use and costs.

There are many limitations associated with the two-generation study in a second species (not least an increase in false positives) despite marginal gains in safety information4. A high number of false positives (perhaps as much as 40–60%) after REACH testing might lead to the expensive withdrawal of widely used chemicals, and cause unnecessary fears in consumers5. Over the past 25 years, only 2–3 industrial chemicals a year have been tested in two-generation studies — with REACH the challenge will be to test several hundred chemicals per year. We urgently need alternatives.

Despite concerted efforts, no acceptable alternatives to reproductive-toxicity testing have emerged, or are likely to be validated by 2018. Computational approaches are also limited by the complexity of reproductive toxicity and because half of the REACH chemicals are mixtures, inorganic, salts or contain metal atoms, rendering toxicity less predictable.

The only real alternative is an extended one-generation study, guidelines for which are under development by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This approach extends the observation period for the first-generation offspring with additional testing on developmental neuro- and immunotoxicity if triggered by test results.

We favour replacing the two-generation study with the OECD test, which would, in our estimation, reduce animal use for this test by 40–60% and overall animal use by REACH by 15%. We recommend a moratorium on reproductive-toxicity testing, or at least limiting testing to the most suspicious substances, until the OECD guidelines are completed and alternative strategies for screening lots of chemicals are available. There are political as well as technical barriers to overcome, however — two EU member states are against the extended one-generation study unless the additional testing is mandatory, which would eliminate any cost or animal saving.

In the medium term, a different approach is needed. An initiative similar to the euro dollar50-million partnership between the European Commission and the cosmetic industry (Colipa), for research into alternatives for systemic toxicity, is needed for reproductive toxicity. Colipa includes trans-Atlantic partners and the strong integration of computational and high-throughput approaches. The only serious EU investment into reproductive toxicity is the ReProTect project, which ends this year and should be continued.

In the longer term, regulatory toxicology needs to move into the twenty-first century5 — many core methods have remained largely unchanged for 40 years. The US Environmental Protection Agency understands this need. It introduced a new toxicity-testing strategy in March. The aim is to move to high-throughput methods based on identified pathways of toxicity with human cells, fish eggs, invertebrate species and computational methods. Instead of exposing animals to high doses and observing a multitude of possible effects, precise questions can be asked about whether sensitive physiological processes are disturbed.

REACH is not the only chemical testing programme coming online — others are planned in the United States, Japan and Canada — but it is the biggest and the first to come into effect. Lessons learned from REACH should be heeded by the others. Our report might be bad news for REACH as currently imagined, but it is also an opportunity. Given the EU's expansion, the growth in financial costs and animal use was inevitable — and would have been revealed in time as indicated by the pre-registration data. We are showing the challenges that lie ahead. Armed with this knowledge of the shortcomings of the current approach, regulators and industry can work together to protect consumer safety without using an excessive number of animals for toxicity testing

SOURCE (See the original for graphics)

Australia: Public transport outrage

Little girl abandoned on the side of the road over $1.20 bus fare. And governments want to get parents out of their cars??

A 10-YEAR-old girl was left by the side of a busy road in Mt Gravatt last month after she didn't have enough money for the bus, it has been revealed. The girl's mother told The Courier-Mail her daughter was directed to get off the 174 bus on Newnham Rd in late July after her Go Card had insufficient credit and she did not have enough change.

But Brisbane City Council yesterday denied the girl was told to leave, saying she was only told she had insufficient credit on her Go Card. The case breached the strict "no child left behind" policy employed by TransLink and Brisbane City Council, which states that a child cannot be left behind by a bus regardless of whether they have sufficient money for the trip.

The child's mother, who asked not to be named, said she was "horrified" and "disgusted" that her daughter, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was left behind by the bus. "She told me she was still at school and 'the driver told me to get off the bus'," the mother said. "She said: 'My bus card wouldn't work, and I looked in my bag and I didn't have enough change, and then the bus driver just said, 'Get off the bus'."

The girl's mother said she called a TransLink operator, who said the decision to leave her child behind was "up to the driver's discretion". "When I rang the first time the man said to me: 'Well, it is up to the driver's discretion'. "I said you cannot leave a child behind for the sake of $1.20 - along that road, it is a busy road, anyone could have stopped and grabbed her."

The mother later contacted TransLink again and was given an apology for the incident. The case is among four across the southeast that were investigated by TransLink this year, including one at Caboolture and one near Ipswich. A TransLink spokesman said the driver and the call centre operator had been disciplined.

"TransLink's [previously unknown, apparently] policy is that no child will be left at a bus stop under any circumstances and takes matters where a child is left at a bus stop very seriously," the spokesman said.



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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rediscovering the obvious

Big shock! Climate warming does NOT necessarily melt glaciers. As most glaciers are well below zero Celsius, the principal determinant of glacial mass is the amount of precipitation (snowfall) received -- and warmer oceans should evaporate more and hence increase precipitation

Ice, when heated, is supposed to melt. That’s why a collection of glaciers in the Southeast Himalayas stymies those who know what they did 9,000 years ago. While most other Central Asian glaciers retreated under hotter summer temperatures, this group of glaciers advanced from one to six kilometers.

A new study by BYU geologist Summer Rupper pieces together the chain of events surrounding the unexpected glacial growth. “Stronger monsoons were thought to be responsible,” said Rupper, who reports her findings in the September issue of the journal Quaternary Research. “Our research indicates the extra snowfall from monsoonal effects can only take credit for up to 30 percent of the glacial advance.”

As Central Asia’s summer climate warmed as much as 6 degrees Celsius, shifting weather patterns brought more clouds to the Southeast Himalayas. The additional shade created a pocket of cooler temperatures. Temperatures also dropped when higher winds spurred more evaporation in this typically humid area, the same process behind household swamp coolers.

The story of these seemingly anomalous glaciers underscores the important distinction between the terms “climate change” and “global warming.” “Even when average temperatures are clearly rising regionally or globally, what happens in any given location depends on the exact dynamics of that place,” Rupper said.

The findings come from a framework Rupper developed as an alternative to the [absurdly simplistic] notion that glaciers form and melt in direct proportion to temperature. Her method is based on the balance of energy between a glacier and a wide range of climate factors, including wind, humidity, precipitation, evaporation and cloudiness. [Sounds like she is a bit too good a scientist to be a Warmist]

Gerard Roe and Alan Gillespie of the University of Washington are co-authors of the new study.

Knowing how glaciers responded in past periods of climate change will help Rupper forecast the region’s water supply in the coming decades. She and collaborators are in the process of determining how much of the Indus River comes from the vast network of glaciers far upstream from the agricultural valleys of India and Pakistan.

“Their study can be used to help assess future glaciological and hydrological changes in the most populated part of our planet, which is a region that is now beginning to experience the profound effects of human-induced climate change,” said Lewis Owen, a geologist at the University of Cincinnati who was not affiliated with this study.


What is causing the Increase in Atmospheric Water Vapor?

This is delusional. Warming from ANY cause (man-made or natural) will increase atmospheric water content. And constructing models that assume human input proves nothing

Researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and and a group of international researchers have found that model quality does not affect the ability to identify human effects on atmospheric water vapor.

The atmosphere's water vapor content has increased by about 0.4 kilograms per square meter per decade since 1988, and natural variability alone can't explain this moisture change, according to lead author Benjamin Santer of the LLNL .

More water vapor, which is itself a greenhouse gas, amplifies the warming effect of increased atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, according to the LLNL press release.

The group of scientists ran a "fingerprint" analysis of 22 different climate models and tested each model individually. Regardless of model quality, each model came to the same conclusion.....Humans are warming the planet, and this warming is increasing the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. In every case, a water vapor fingerprint arising from human influences could be clearly identified in the satellite data

"One criticism of our first study was that we were only able to find a human fingerprint because we included inferior models in our analysis," said Karl Taylor, another LLNL co-author. "We've now shown that whether we use the best or the worst models, they don't have much impact on our ability to identify a human effect on water vapor."



Oil refiners, including regional giant Sunoco Inc., say that proposed federal legislation aimed at curbing global warming could impair fuel production nationally and in the region, where it is a mainstay of the economy.

A study released this week by the American Petroleum Institute (API), the industry's trade group, projects that the cap-and-trade bill in its current form could cause a 17 percent reduction in U.S. refinery output by 2030. The reduction would be made up by doubling fuel imports from foreign refiners, who may not face climate restrictions.

API said the analysis by EnSys Energy shows the "devastating" effect the American Clean Energy and Security Act would have on U.S. jobs and energy security. While the proposed bill would dramatically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from U.S. refineries, there would be only a slight worldwide reduction as fuel production shifted overseas, the study said...

The study was released as the Senate prepares to consider the climate-change bill, sponsored by Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D., Calif.) and Ed Markey (D., Mass.). The bill narrowly passed the House in June, and it is likely to be substantially amended by the Senate.

Cap-and-trade is a method to control greenhouse gases by creating a market for emissions permits. The government would set a cap on emissions, but emitters that don't use their full quota could trade their excess permits to companies needing them. The caps would become gradually more restrictive.

Refiners complain because the proposed legislation would force them to become big buyers of the permits. Though refiners emit about 4 percent of the nation's greenhouse gases, they are held responsible for 44 percent of all emissions, including the exhaust from automobiles, planes, trains, and heating oil. But the bill would allocate only 2.25 percent of the permits to refiners. "In its current form, the legislation will likely increase the cost of domestic refining so much - through the need to purchase credits, higher electricity costs, and the financial carrying costs to actually buy the allowances - that it will be cheaper to import gasoline, diesel, and other products from overseas," said Thomas P. Golembeski, spokesman for Sunoco, which is based in Philadelphia.

"Eventually, we would expect that higher domestic refining costs would force some U.S. refining capacity to close, which would mean the loss of jobs, tighter fuel supply, and higher fuel costs for consumers," Golembeski said.

Supporters of the cap-and-trade legislation say it would force a transition to clean energy by imposing market conditions that would penalize imported fossil fuels and reward development of renewable energy.

The API study said that in its worst-case scenario, the proposed law could reduce annual U.S. refining investments by up to $89.7 billion, reduce refinery utilization rates from 83.3 percent to as low as 63.4 percent, and would cut refinery production by up to 4.4 million barrels a day. Refineries on the Gulf Coast and in California would be hit hardest.

Sunoco, which has three refineries in the Philadelphia area, is not a member of API, but Golembeski said the company was aware of the study. He said Sunoco prefers a carbon tax levied directly upon sources of greenhouse gases, rather than the more complex cap-and-trade system. "A transparent and direct carbon tax would be, in our view, a much more workable solution," Golembeski said.


Climate change supercomputer makes Met building one of Britain's most polluted

And they still struggle to predict Britain's weather even a few days ahead

The Met Office's new supercomputer has scored it's second own goal since it was unveiled with much fanfare in May. After tempting the nation into holidaying in Britain by wrongly forecasting a "barbecue Summer", it has now earned the Met Office's Exeter headquarters the shame of being named as one of the most polluting buildings in Britain.

By the time it reaches peak performance in 2011 the £30 million machine's massive processing power - it can perform 125 trillion calculations per second - will require 1.2 megawatts of power to run, enough energy to power a small town.

As a result it will contribute 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide to the problem of global warming every year. That places the Met Office HQ close to the top of the list of carbon emitters - 103rd out of 28,259 UK public buildings assessed for their carbon footprint by the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Barry Gromett, a Met Office spokesman, came to the defence of the machine, claiming that its severe weather warnings could help to save lives and its predictions for the airline industry helped to save 20 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year. He also defended the Met Office building. “Our supercomputer is vital for predictions of weather and climate change," said Mr Gromett. “By failing to discriminate between office and supercomputing facilities the process reflects badly on the entire Met Office site. In fact, the general office space is rated excellent and has consistently done so since the Met Office building in Exeter was completed in 2003.”

The supercomputer analyses data from satellite images and sea temperature gauges. Its supporters say it will be able to predict previously unforeseeable weather events, such as the 1987 hurricane that unexpectedly devastated Britain. By 2011 it will offer processing power approaching 1 PetaFlop - equivalent to more than 100,000 PCs and over 30 times more powerful than what is currently in place.

Maurice Spurway, a Friends of the Earth spokesman, said it was wryly amusing that the Met Office had been fingered for damaging the climate. “Life is full of ironies and I think this is one of those situations,” he said.

Manchester University's Oxford Road campus was named the most polluting building in Britain in the government survey, followed by the Royal London Hospital and Scarborough Sports Centre.


Greenies are 'emotionalizing' the cap-and-trade debate

Environmental activists who favor anti-global warming regulations like the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill now before the U.S. Senate have long claimed that government intervention is essential to save the planet from an imminent man-made catastrophe. In fact, only Waxman-Markey threatens to be a man-made catastrophe. The bill would create billions of dollars' worth of government credits to businesses that reduce carbon emissions. Businesses that exceed the required reductions could sell the credits to firms that fail to do so. The approach won't work because it would use a government mandate to create a market for which there is no consumer demand.

Since the American economy is mainly powered by energy produced from carbon fuels and will be for the foreseeable future, reducing carbon emissions requires slowing or eliminating economic growth, with the result that 2 million more Americans will become unemployed by 2012, according to an analysis by the conservative Heritage Foundation. Similarly, the Brookings Institution -- certainly no sentinel of rightward analysis -- also predicts dire economic results from Waxman-Markey.

To overcome such objections, environmental advocates project a dire future in the hope Congress will adopt measures like Waxman-Markey to assuage public fears. At least one major environmentalist leader has confessed to "emotionalizing" the anti-global warming case as a way of capturing public attention and generating support. Gerd Leipold, retiring director of Greenpeace, in an Aug. 7 interview with the BBC, conceded that Arctic ice would not all melt by 2030, contrary to his organization's prediction earlier this year.

But when pressed by the BBC reporter to defend such predictions in Greenpeace news releases and briefing materials, Leipold admitted errors but defended them as a necessary means to an end: "What we have said by and large over the last 20 years I think was wise and was rational and reasonable. ... We are confronted with a world that has unfortunately only recently woken up to it. We as a pressure group have to emotionalize issues, and we are not ashamed of emotionalizing issues." In other words, Greenpeace is engaging in propaganda.

Waxman-Markey has already passed the House, but in September, the Senate will have an opportunity to de-emotionalize the debate over the bill. And Senate members do, they should take a hard look at the pronouncements of Greenpeace and other environmentalist groups, and separate the propaganda from the facts.


Australia: Solar power a dud

Lack of savings in S.E. Queensland said to be a "mystery" but: 1). We have had a lot of rainy and overcast weather this year in the Brisbane area and: 2). Panels vary a lot in efficiency. No doubt people were given estimates based on maximum efficiency -- not the efficiency obtainable from the actual cheaper panels used

HOMEOWNERS are fuming after spending tens of thousands of dollars on solar panels only to find their power bills have stayed the same or only marginally dropped. Each of the cases involved installations by Modern Solar, which has blamed Energex meters for the problems.

One customer said he had estimated it would take 190 years to recoup the cost of the installation, when he was promised it would take 13 years in a worst-case scenario.

Energex said it was aware of the problem but, despite repeated testing of various installations, could not pinpoint the cause. Energy Ombudsman Barry Adams said there had been a rise in complaints from people unhappy with their savings. He said it appeared some companies had "over-exaggerated" the savings. Mr Adams had raised the issue with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Queensland's Office of Fair Trading.



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


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Error in NOAA’s sea surface temperature calculations means that the July 2009 SST was likely not any kind of a record

After crunching data this week from two of our satellite-based microwave sensors, and from NOAA’s official sea surface temperature (SST) product ERSST v3b, I think the evidence is pretty clear: The ERSST v3b product has a spurious warming since 1998 of about 0.2 deg. C, most of which occurred as a jump in 2001.

The following three panels tell the story. In the first panel I’ve plotted the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) SST anomalies (blue) for the latitude band 40N to 40S. I’ve also plotted SST anomalies from the more recently launched AMSR-E instrument (red), computed over the same latitude band, to show that they are nearly identical. (These SST retrievals do not have any time-dependent adjustments based upon buoy data). The orange curve is anomalies for the entire global (ice-free) oceans, which shows there is little difference with the more restricted latitude band.

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


From Geophysical Research Letters, August 2009

How will Earth's surface temperature change in future decades?

By Judith L. Lean & David H. Rind


Reliable forecasts of climate change in the immediate future are difficult, especially on regional scales, where natural climate variations may amplify or mitigate anthropogenic warming in ways that numerical models capture poorly. By decomposing recent observed surface temperatures into components associated with ENSO, volcanic and solar activity, and anthropogenic influences, we anticipate global and regional changes in the next two decades. From 2009 to 2014, projected rises in anthropogenic influences and solar irradiance will increase global surface temperature 0.15 ± 0.03°C, at a rate 50% greater than predicted by IPCC. But as a result of declining solar activity in the subsequent five years, average temperature in 2019 is only 0.03 ± 0.01°C warmer than in 2014. This lack of overall warming is analogous to the period from 2002 to 2008 when decreasing solar irradiance also countered much of the anthropogenic warming. We further illustrate how a major volcanic eruption and a super ENSO would modify our global and regional temperature projections.


4. Summary

[15] By representing monthly mean surface temperatures in terms of their combined linear responses to ENSO, volcanic and solar activity and anthropogenic influences, we account for 76% of the variance observed since 1980 (and since 1889 [Lean and Rind, 2008]) and forecast global and regional temperatures in the next two decades. According to our prediction, which is anchored in the reality of observed changes in the recent past, warming from 2009 to 2014 will exceed that due to anthropogenic influences alone but global temperatures will increase only slightly from 2014 to 2019, and some regions may even cool.

[16] Northern mid latitudes, especially western Europe, will experience the largest warming (of as much as 1 C), since this region responds positively to both solar and anthropogenic influences. Minimal warming is likely in the eastern Pacific ocean and adjacent west coast of South America, and parts of the mid latitude Atlantic ocean, which may cool slightly at southern latitudes in future decades.

[17] The major assumption associated with our forecasts is that 'past is prologue'; climate will continue to respond in the future to the same factors that have influenced it in the recent past and the response will continue to be linear over the next several decades. The demonstrated ability of our empirical model to reproduce the historical record of monthly surface temperature changes on a range of time scales from annual to multidecadal suggests that the same atmosphere-ocean interchange (both internal and forced) that governs annual surface temperature changes may also control climate change in the immediate future.

[18] While the ability of the climate system to depart from its historical response should not be underestimated (e.g., ocean circulation changes), the demonstrated ability of our empirical model to reproduce with some fidelity the historical surface temperature record, and in particular the geographic variations of the last decade, provides cautious confidence that a similar capability may be available for the next two decades in association with the expected climate forcings. Over this time scale, anthropogenic radiative forcing is forecast to continue growing at close to current trends with all of the different trace gas emission scenarios currently being employed, while the solar cycle changes can be anticipated within a range of uncertainty. If strong ENSO cycle events and/or volcanoes arise, they can be factored into the forecasts with the method described here. In future work we plan to characterize and forecast the seasonal responses to the natural and anthropogenic effects.



A new study in the journal "Science" by a team of international of researchers led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research have found that the sunspot cycle has a big effect on the earth's weather. The puzzle has been how fluctuations in the sun's energy of about 0.1 percent over the course of the 11-year sunspot cycle could affect the weather? The press release describing the new study explains:

The team first confirmed a theory that the slight increase in solar energy during the peak production of sunspots is absorbed by stratospheric ozone. The energy warms the air in the stratosphere over the tropics, where sunlight is most intense, while also stimulating the production of additional ozone there that absorbs even more solar energy. Since the stratosphere warms unevenly, with the most pronounced warming occurring at lower latitudes, stratospheric winds are altered and, through a chain of interconnected processes, end up strengthening tropical precipitation.

At the same time, the increased sunlight at solar maximum causes a slight warming of ocean surface waters across the subtropical Pacific, where Sun-blocking clouds are normally scarce. That small amount of extra heat leads to more evaporation, producing additional water vapor. In turn, the moisture is carried by trade winds to the normally rainy areas of the western tropical Pacific, fueling heavier rains and reinforcing the effects of the stratospheric mechanism.

The top-down influence of the stratosphere and the bottom-up influence of the ocean work together to intensify this loop and strengthen the trade winds. As more sunshine hits drier areas, these changes reinforce each other, leading to less clouds in the subtropics, allowing even more sunlight to reach the surface, and producing a positive feedback loop that further magnifies the climate response.

These stratospheric and ocean responses during solar maximum keep the equatorial eastern Pacific even cooler and drier than usual, producing conditions similar to a La Nina event. However, the cooling of about 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit is focused farther east than in a typical La Nina, is only about half as strong, and is associated with different wind patterns in the stratosphere.

Are these new findings relevant to scientific analyses of man-made global warming? The Christian Science Monitor reports:

For those wondering how the study bears on global warming, Gerald Meehl, lead author on the study, says that it doesn't - at least not directly....

Global warming is a long-term trend, Dr. Meehl says in a phone conversation. By contrast, this study attempts to explain the processes behind a periodic occurrence. But, he says, a model finally able to reproduce a complex phenomenon observed in the real world does suggest that our climate models - the same ones we use to predict what will happen to global climate as we ratchet up co2 concentrations - are improving. And that will, inevitably, have an effect on the climate discussion.

A recent paper in Eos considers the evidence that we could be in for an extended period with few sunspots:

"Why is a lack of sunspot activity interesting? During the period from 1645 to 1715, the Sun entered a period of low activity now known as the Maunder Minimum, when through several 11- year periods the Sun displayed few if any sunspots. Models of the Sun's irradiance suggest that the solar energy input to the Earth decreased during that time and that this change in solar activity could explain the low temperatures recorded in Europe during the Little Ice Age."

Doesn't the Eos paper suggest that sunspot activity may not just affect weather but climate too?


Another Warmist attempt to silence dissent


The EPA whistleblower saga took a new turn this week with a report that EPA was considering shutting down the agency unit in which Dr. Alan Carlin works. Dr. Carlin is the senior EPA analyst who authored a 100-page study last March, which severely criticized the scientific basis for the agency's position on global warming. CEI broke the story in late June, when it unveiled a series of emails to Dr. Carlin from his boss, stating that his study would not be disclosed, and that Dr. Carlin was to stop working on global warming issues, because criticizing EPA's position would only cause trouble.

Dr. Carlin works in EPA's National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE), whose function is, in its words, "analyzing the economic and health impacts of environmental regulations and policies, and ... informing important policy decisions with sound economics and other sciences." EPA has long been criticized for the tunnel-vision, cost-be-damned nature of many of its policies. (See, for example, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's 1995 book, Breaking the Vicious Circle: Toward Effective Risk Regulation, written before he joined the court.) Economists are the most likely professionals within EPA to examine the real-world effects of its policies. For that reason, the NCEE is potentially a major restraining force on the agency's out-of-this-world regulatory ambitions. Wouldn't it be great for EPA to get this office out of the way?

Hopefully, the publicity and scrutiny that Dr. Carlin's report has received since it became public will carry over to EPA's plans for NCEE, and this agency, with its hollow commitment to scientific integrity and transparency, won't get its wish.


GE's green lobbying is killing U.S. factory jobs

"Government did us in,” says Dwayne Madigan, whose job will terminate when General Electric closes its factory next July. Madigan makes a product that will soon be illegal to sell in the U.S. - a regular incandescent bulb. Two years ago, his employer, GE, lobbied in favor of the law that will outlaw the bulbs. Madigan’s colleagues, waiting for their evening shift to begin, all know that GE is replacing the incandescents for now with compact fluorescents bulbs, which GE manufactures in China.

Last month, GE announced it will close the Winchester Bulb Plant 80 miles west of D.C. As a result, 200 men and women will lose their jobs. GE is also shuttering incandescent factories in Ohio and Kentucky, axing another 200 jobs. GE blamed environmental regulations for the closing. The first paragraph of the company’s July 23 press release explained: “A variety of energy regulations that establish lighting efficiency standards are being implemented in the U.S. and other countries, in some cases this year, and will soon make the familiar lighting products produced at the Winchester Plant obsolete.”

The U.S. legislation in question was a provision in the 2007 energy bill that required all bulbs sold in the U.S.—beginning in 2012 for some wattages—to meet high efficiency standards.

Given the steady death of U.S. manufacturing, this factory was going to close sooner or later, anyway. Workers tell me they were happy when they heard in June that the factory was staying open at least through mid-2011—a plan GE abandoned the next month. But the light bulb law is clearly the main driver in closing this factory. After all, the product they make here will be contraband by 2014. "That was the nail in the coffin,” Madigan says.

These men, waiting in the shade in front of the employees’ entrance to the plant on a hot afternoon, all know another pertinent fact about the light-bulb law that is killing their jobs: GE lobbied in favor of it.

Why did GE, founded by Thomas Edison, lobby to kill the incandescent light bulb? The company said in 2007 it wanted to make sure it was working under a single federal efficiency standard, rather than a patchwork of state regulations. GE also touts its compact fluorescents as one of the green products in its “eco-magination” initiative.

The workers don’t buy the green arguments, pointing to the mercury gas that’s in the fluorescents. “It’s illegal to dump mercury in the river, but not in the landfill,” two of them say in unison—it’s become a dark joke at the factory.

Robert Pifer, who will also be laid off in July if he doesn’t find a new job by then, has an explanation for GE’s support of the light-bulb law and its shift to the more expensive fluorescents. “Are they not just trying to force-feed people stuff they don’t want to buy?”

So, GE gets environmentalist brownie points for selling “clean” light bulbs, and they also get to charge more for their bulbs. But there’s another advantage—they save on labor with fluorescents, because they make the fluorescents in China. Not only are wages lower there, but so are the regulatory burdens, both environmental and labor. The Times of London recently reported, “Large numbers of Chinese workers have been poisoned by mercury, which forms part of the compact fluorescent lightbulbs.”

CFLs, however, are probably not the light bulb of the future. Right before it started lobbying for a federal light bulb law, GE announced that it would start making high-efficiency incandescent by 2010. GE doesn’t say where it will manufacturer its high-efficiency incandescent bulb, but all signs suggest it won’t be here in Winchester.

GE spokesman Peter O’Toole responded by pointing out GE has relocated its manufacturing of Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Water Heaters to Kentucky, from China. They promise 400 new “green-collar” jobs, offsetting the loss of the light-bulb jobs—but not in Winchester.

I ask the men what they plan to do when the factory closes down. Some say they’ll retire. Others can only shrug their shoulders. Pifer says he’ll just have to take a job at less than half of what he currently makes. “I live paycheck to paycheck,” Pifer tells me. He has a son, and he owns a house nearby, he says. “So what am I going to do when I’m earning $11 an hour?” These men are the victims of the green revolution —a revolution their employer is leading.



Report from Australia

Trading of emission permits around the world will become a financial rort [racket] that fails to reduce carbon emissions - and will ultimately be scrapped in favour of a simple carbon tax, a former senior official in the Clinton administration has forecast. Robert Shapiro, former US undersecretary of commerce and author of Futurecast, predicted that the US Senate would reject the emissions trading scheme proposed by President Obama, which is now before it.

Speaking by video to the Trade 2020 conference convened by Austrade and the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, Dr Shapiro said 'cap and trade' systems as proposed by the US and the Australian governments to limit carbon dioxide emissions and allow trade in permits do not work as intended. "Cap and trade has proved very vulnerable to vested interests, and therefore too weak to deliver the necessary emission reductions'', he said. ''Cap and trade creates trillions of dollars of new financial instruments to be traded, and subjected to the next financial fads. China and India will never accept a cap and trade regime.''

A better solution is to impose a carbon tax on emissions and return the revenue from it to households so people are not made worse off, Dr Shapiro said. A similar approach in Sweden has cut emissions there by 8 per cent since 1990 while GDP rose about 40 per cent.

CEDA research director Michael Porter strongly supported Dr Shapiro. CEDA today will release a report urging the Rudd Government to scrap its emissions trading scheme in favour of a carbon tax. Dr Porter warned that a carbon market would not be trading carbon, ''it'll be trading derivatives''. International trade in permits will mean the integrity of a permit is only as good as the weakest supervisory regime.

Economists are divided over which is the better way to fight climate change. Emissions trading has won widespread support because it is a market-based solution that, in theory, will deliver certain emission reductions at the lowest cost, as companies that can't reduce emissions cheaply instead buy permits from companies that can.



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


Friday, August 28, 2009


An email from Norm Kalmanovitch []

The Earth started to cool around 1942. By 1970, scientists were concerned that the world was returning to another Little Ice Age and advised governments of this prediction. The response of the governments was to put resources into initiatives that would help lessen the blow from the cooling temperatures. The most important of these initiatives was to develop crops that could withstand shorter growing seasons.

Global cooling came to an end in 1975, as the Earth returned to its previous (natural) warming trend, and within two years scientists, optimistic that the cooling had ended, started to advise the public as such.

All of the initiatives to protect against global cooling ended up being beneficial to the world's population. Most importantly the crops developed to withstand global cooling could also withstand other severe climate problems resulting in a greater food supply for the world.

The global warming trend unfortunately has not continued, and after global warming ended in 1998, global cooling took over in 2002 and the world has been cooling ever since with no end in sight.

Unlike the global cooling period, it was environmentalists, with an underlying ideological agenda, and not climate scientists that made predictions about continued catastrophic global warming, and instead of proposing intelligent measures to help society cope with the effects of this predicted global warming, they proposed measures that were supposed to stop this global warming. In reality these measures were only to serve the environmentalists' ideological agenda, and when global warming ended and cooling started, continuing these measures became far more important than honestly admitting that these measures were no longer necessary.

The world has already been cooling for over seven years, and the EPA which has a duty to the country to inform the public that global cooling is now the problem, continues to fail in its mandate and promotes measures that are not only meaningless but have crippled the economy, increased the cost of food, and increased the cost of power, all for the purpose of maintaining a self serving environmentalist agenda.

There has never been any science involved in the promotion of catastrophic global warming. When the Earth cooled from 1942 to 1975 CO2 emissions were increasing five times more rapidly than any time in history completely contrary to the AGW hypothesis proposed just 13 years after this cooling ended. None of the other greenhouse gases mentioned in the Kyoto Protocol are of sufficient quantity or affect a portion of the Earth's radiative spectrum that will result in any detectable effect on global temperature. These radiative bands are so narrow and in such low energy portions of the Earth's radiative spectrum, that even a ten-fold increase in all of the mentioned "greenhouse gases" will still not have a detectable effect on global temperature.

We breathe in CO2 at 400ppmv and breathe out CO2 at 40,000ppmv, which makes humans polluters for just breathing according to the EPA.

We already have pollution controls on our vehicles that remove all of the other pollutants mentioned as greenhouse gases, so this is a non issue.

Science is always putting hypotheses on trial and according to science protocol AGW lost its case in the opening arguments.

It is the EPA that needs to be put on trial to defend its continued promotion of economically crippling initiatives designed to combat something that ended well over a decade ago. The EPA must demonstrate current global warming; but all physical data refutes this. The EPA must demonstrate benefit of its initiatives; but there have been no benefits because the air is just as clean as it has been since actual pollution controls were mandated. The EPA must justify the cost to the economy of its measures; but the measures have only hurt the economy.

Any court case against the EPA will pit environmental ideology and consensus opinion against hard physical data, and when the global thermometers testify the trial will be over.


An email from James Rust [], Professor of Nuclear Engineering (ret.)

The BBC Earth News article on trees advancing in a warming world did not mention if the researchers had considered increased atmospheric carbon dioxide being the primary factor for trees advancing in high elevations. Carbon dioxide is the major nutrient for plants and trees and I would think the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide the past century would have been a major factor on any increase in tree growth.

The positive aspects of increased carbon dioxide needs to be explained to the general public to help dispense this foolish notion carbon dioxide is a poison gas.


An email from Will Alexander [] in South Africa

I trust that your readers have noticed the mounting resistance of African countries to what they perceive to be measures to use climate change to maintain the colonialist master-servant relationship. They perceive that climate change is intended to suppress the rise to economic competitiveness of the African nations.

Africa is fragmented as a result of historical colonialism. The African countries may find it difficult to speak with one voice but the underlying feeling is very clear. No African country will dare to impose restrictions which they perceive to be limitations on their development imposed by the Western nations. These are two examples that occurred during the past week.

The Libyan who was jailed because of his role in the Lockerbie disaster was released on health grounds. He received a hero's welcome when he returned to Libya. A South African woman athlete won the 800 m event in record time at the international athletics function in Berlin. She was immediately humiliated when the organisers publicly announced that she would undergo femininity tests. South Africans were outraged by the publicity and claimed that this was a racist reaction. She will receive a hero's welcome when she returns to South Africa.


There are two important facts that are deliberately suppressed by climate alarmists. The first is that nearly all African countries are net absorbers of carbon dioxide. This far outweighs their emissions. They should be entitled to financial benefits, not penalties.

The second is within my personal sphere of knowledge. It is the Secretary General's erroneous statement that if we fail to act, climate change will intensify droughts and floods, and that water shortages will affect hundreds of millions of people. This statement is demonstrably false. Since the establishment of the IPCC in 1988, there has not been a single loss of life in subcontinental Africa due to floods that can be provably attributed to climate change. The same applies to droughts and threats to water supplies.

The Secretary General's claim is based solely on theory that completely ignores the natural extremes that have been known since biblical times. The extreme events that were experienced in subcontinental Africa prior to 1988 have not been exceeded since then.

There is an opposing view propagated by the alarmists. The public have been informed that virtually every serious event is a consequence of climate change. This has already started to backfire. If this is the case, African countries have a right to claim compensation from the developed countries for each event.


Following on my last comment the WMO has just issued a warning that an El Niño event is developing in the Pacific. The South African Weather Service has issued a public warning that this could have serious effects in South Africa. When the drought occurs, African countries will have a strong case if they refer to the Secretary General's warning, blame it on emissions produced by the Western nations and demand compensation.

It will be a very serious mistake if the affluent nations of the West believe that they can bully the African nations into submission on this climate change issue. I have seen no evidence that the affluent nations fully appreciate the minefields that await them at Copenhagen.


Comment from Britain

Giant fly-swat shaped "synthetic trees" line the road into the office, where blooms of algae grow in tubes up the walls and the roof reflects heat back into the sky - all reducing the effects of global warming. All this could be a familiar sight within the next two decades, under proposals devised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers to alter the world's climate with new technology.

A day after John Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister and Environment Secretary, warned that negotiations for a global deal to cut carbon emissions were in danger of collapsing, the institution is recommending a series of technical fixes to "buy time" to avert dangerous levels of climate change.

It says that the most promising solution is offered by artificial trees, devices that collect CO2 through their "leaves" and convert it to a form that can easily be collected and stored.Tim Fox, head of environment and climate change at the institution, said that the devices were thousands of times more effective at removing carbon from the atmosphere than real trees.

In the first report on such geo-engineering by practising engineers, the institution calculates that 100,000 artificial trees - which could fit into 600ha (1,500 acres) - would be enough to capture all emissions from Britain's homes, transport and light industry. It says that five million would do the same for the whole world.

Dr Fox said that prototypes had been shown to work using a technology, developed by Klaus Lackner of Columbia University in New York, that isolated CO2 using low levels of energy. "The technology is no more complex than what is used in cars or air-conditioning units," he said.

Professor Lackner estimates that in production the units would cost $20,000 (£12,000) each, while the emissions associated with building and running each unit would be less than 5 per cent of the CO2 it captures over its lifetime.



The Climate Camp, which has been the focus of much overblown angst amongst the police this week, has finally revealed its secret location: Blackheath. The site has apparently been chosen for its historical connections, as the place where Wat Tyler rallied his army during the Peasants' Revolt in 1381. But is Wat an appropriate figurehead for what the Climate Campers want, or is he being hijacked wrongly?

Ironically, the two issues over which the Peasants revolted in 1381 were:

* Excessive taxation of the poor.

* Centralised state control of prices - in the aftermath of the Black Death, the number of farm labourers was reduced, so the price for their labour rose. The state sought to set prices artificially through legislation, and the peasants opposed this.

What is it that the climate campers want? Well, let's see:

* Higher taxes on: petrol, air travel, production of goods, electricity and gas.

* Centralised state control of prices.

Hmm. I get the impression that if Wat and the Campers were on Blackheath together rather than 628 years apart, they wouldn't all be signing Kumbayah together and making each other friendship bracelets, there would be an almighty scrap probably involving pitchforks.

The Climate Camp movement is part of the really extremist end of the environmentalist movement, who would happily impose vast increases in the cost of living for some of the poorest in our society. Already, as a result of green policies the average domestic energy bill is 14% higher than it would otherwise be. Millions of people who need to drive to work pay huge bills, far in excess of the social cost of their carbon emissions, of which the vast majority is taxation. (If you want to find out your own green tax bill, our Green Tax Calculator is here.)

Is this a new Peasants' Revolt? No, it is a small movement of political extremes and wealthy individuals who given half a chance would do the real poor immense harm. If they were in charge, then the real Peasants would be on the march.

PS: It's also been pointed out to me that the first action of the campers when they arrived on the Heath, which has been common land for a thousand years, was to ... erm ... fence it off.


The "Green jobs" go to China

Comment from Australia

JUST before the passage of the Rudd government's renewable energy target legislation, which was designed to ensure 20 per cent of our electricity came from solar, wind and geothermal sources by 2020 and to foster Australia's renewable energy industry, Australian Greens leader Bob Brown reassured the public about the viability of the renewable energy industry.

In Canberra on August 19 Brown responded to a statement by the ABC's Lyndal Curtis that "you can't export the sun or the wind, you can't export those renewables" with the confident declaration that indeed you could export renewables. "Oh yes, you can, and the Germans have made a feast of it and of course they've got a multi-billion-dollar export industry in renewable energy with 250,000 jobs created," Brown said.

Brown, like Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and other government ministers, was reassuring the Australian public that creation of a target for renewable energy made economic sense and would be the source of jobs, jobs, jobs.

After a compromise was reached with the Coalition in the Senate on reassurances for compensation for existing industries to protect existing jobs in Australia, the RET legislation passed, to the great relief of the Rudd government and the opposition.

Despite serious misgivings within the Coalition about supporting an RET, a political compromise was reached. Malcolm Turnbull was given credit for holding together his troops and Kevin Rudd was given credit for being prepared to negotiate and not hold national policy to ransom over the calling of an early election.

As the mid-November deadline nears for the second debate on an emissions trading scheme, it is worth considering the political processes of passing the RET and some of the policy implications in the real world of market economy and government subsidy distortions. These will end up limiting competition, pushing up prices in the long term and not cutting global greenhouse gas emissions. Which brings us back to Brown's glowing reports of renewable energy industry jobs in Germany.

Brown was right, Germany has made a feast of renewable energy. Its largest producer of solar cells, Q-Cells, indeed the world's largest producer, had been exporting huge amounts of cells, employing thousands and making millions of euros. In the first half of last year Q-Cells made a business operating profit of E119.1 million ($204m). But, six days before Brown spoke, Q-Cells announced a first-half operating loss of E47.6m, laid off 500 workers, closed a plant, put a further 2000 workers on short shifts and stepped up plans to establish a solar cell plant in Malaysia employing 2000 workers. Q-Cells production had remained almost constant, according to its business statement.

In Spain, one of the leaders in the installation of solar panels, the industry came to a halt and the main panel maker cut the shifts of 400 workers to a few hours a week. Other manufacturers simply shut down. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the collapse in Spain's photovoltaic sector "has been so drastic that jobs plunged from a peak of 41,700 early last year to 13,900 in the spring of 2009".

So what happened? In one word: China.

In its efforts to supplement its energy needs from renewable sources and fulfil its highly ambitious targets to feed in energy to supplement its growing coal-fired and nuclear-powered electricity sources, China has provided lavish subsidies to solar industries. Under these subsidies and ultra-cheap loans from Chinese banks a plethora of Chinese manufacturers has sprung up and flooded the world market with solar cells and panels, which vary remarkably in quality. (It must be said that some of the best use Australian technology.)

The biggest Chinese company, which is about to become the world's biggest solar company, Suntech, has cut the price of its panels and cells across the world. That's why Q-Cells in Germany has lost so much while maintaining the same production: cut-price Chinese products are driving down returns and making production in Europe unviable without continuing heavy government subsidies. The price of solar panels in some markets in the US has halved in the past year and in the past six months the cost of some solar panels has dropped by one-third in Australia.

This week Shi Zhengrong, chief executive and founder of Suntech Power Holdings, told The New York Times Suntech was selling solar panels on the US market for less than the cost of materials to build market share. This sounds suspiciously like dumping into a market, but there is no doubt Californian producers are pointing the finger at Suntech's prices as a reason for the global collapse in solar cell production. Another reason is that some European governments are beginning to wean the renewable energy industry off subsidies and sweetheart deals with inflated returns on rooftop electricity fed back into the national electricity grid.

All of this occurred in a two-week period when Australia's politicians were breaking their necks to do their own political deals over renewable energy, and to encourage homegrown solar industries and create instant jobs as part of the economic stimulus. The combination of a Chinese-induced price slump in Australia and the Rudd government's green stimulus, which includes roofing insulation subsidies, is that consumers have rushed to buy solar panels that may be of lesser quality and haphazardly installed because they are effectively free.

But the jobs created are for people bolting on the panels; the longer-term incentive for establishing solar cell production in Australia is diminished. Even some solar panel outlets are struggling because they have been caught with higher-priced European panels.

The supporters of the RET legislation argue that without a target and government support such industries will not get under way without a high price being set for carbon in the emissions trading scheme. This is true. The problem is that the promises of new green jobs to replace all the old brown jobs lost will be difficult to fulfil while China, for strategic reasons - not environmental sympathy - is prepared to open its bottomless pockets and distort a world market.

You'd think the global financial crisis would teach people a lesson about markets, government subsidies and intervention.



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


Thursday, August 27, 2009


Excerpt from Australian Institute of Geoscientists, August 2009, pp. 20-24. Scroll down to p. 20

By Cliff Ollier and Colin Pain

Global warming alarmists have suggested that the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica may collapse, causing disastrous sea level rise. This idea is based on the concept of an ice sheet sliding down an inclined plane on a base lubricated by meltwater, which is itself increasing because of global warming. In reality the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets occupy deep basins, and cannot slide down a plane. Furthermore glacial flow depends on stress (including the important yield stress) as well as temperature, and much of the ice sheets are well below melting point. The accumulation of kilometres of undisturbed ice in cores in Greenland and Antarctica (the same ones that are sometimes used to fuel ideas of global warming) show hundreds of thousands of years of accumulation with no melting or flow. Except around the edges, ice sheets flow at the base, and depend on geothermal heat, not the climate at the surface. It is impossible for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to 'collapse'.



The global warming doomsday writers claim the ice sheets are melting catastrophically, and will cause a sudden rise in sea level of many metres. This ignores the mechanism of glacier flow which is by creep: glaciers are not melting from the surface down, nor are they sliding down an inclined plane lubricated by meltwater. The existence of ice over 3 km thick preserving details of past snowfall and atmospheres, used to decipher past temperature and CO2 levels, shows that the ice sheets have accumulated for hundreds of thousands of years without melting. Variations in melting around the edges of ice sheets are no indication that they are collapsing. Indeed 'collapse' is impossible.



Discussing: McKay, J.L., de Vernal, A., Hillaire-Marcel, C., Not, C., Polyak, L. and Darby, D. 2008. Holocene fluctuations in Arctic sea-ice cover: dinocyst-based reconstructions for the eastern Chuckchi Sea. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 45: 1377-1397.


Writing about the Arctic Ocean, the authors say that over the past thirty years "there has been a rapid decline in the extent and thickness of sea-ice in summer and more recently in winter as well," but they state there is "debate on the relative influence of natural versus anthropogenic forcing on these recent changes." Hence, they decided "to investigate the natural variability of sea-ice cover in the western Arctic during the Holocene and thus provide a baseline to which recent changes can be compared," in order to help resolve the issue.

What was done

McKay et al. analyzed sediment cores obtained from a site on the Alaskan margin in the eastern Chukchi Sea for their "geochemical (organic carbon, δ13Corg, Corg/N, and CaCO3) and palynological (dinocyst, pollen, and spores) content to document oceanographic changes during the Holocene," while "the chronology of the cores was established from 210Pb dating of near-surface sediments and 14C dating of bivalve shells."

What was learned

Since the early Holocene, according to the findings of the six scientists, sea-ice cover in the eastern Chuckchi Sea appears to have exhibited a general decreasing trend, in contrast to the eastern Arctic, where sea-ice cover was substantially reduced during the early to mid-Holocene and has increased over the last 3000 years. Superimposed on both of these long-term changes, however, are what they describe as "millennial-scale variations that appear to be quasi-cyclic." And they write that "it is important to note that the amplitude of these millennial-scale changes in sea-surface conditions far exceed [our italics] those observed at the end of the 20th century."

What it means

Since the change in sea-ice cover observed at the end of the 20th century (which climate alarmists claim to be unnatural) was far exceeded by changes observed multiple times over the past several thousand years of relatively stable atmospheric CO2 concentrations (when values never strayed much below 250 ppm or much above 275 ppm), there is no compelling reason to believe that the increase in the air's CO2 content that has occurred since the start of the Industrial Revolution has had anything at all to do with the declining sea-ice cover of the recent past; for at a current concentration of 385 ppm, the recent rise in the air's CO2 content should have led to a decrease in sea-ice cover that far exceeds what has occurred multiple times in the past without any significant change in CO2.

CO2 Science Magazine, 12 August 2009

NOTE: the full paper discussed above is available online here (PDF)

'Cap and Trade' just another Leftist attempt to put us all under the heel of government

As "cap and trade" legislation (H.R. 2454) moves through Congress, policy analysts are sounding the alarm about the impact such legislation would have on the already troubled U.S. economy. Marlo Lewis, a global warming and energy policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, believes the bill is just one of many legislative and regulatory attempts by left-wing politicos to seize the U.S. and world financial system. "Basically, what they're trying to do is engineer a takeover of the U.S and global economies through regulation," Lewis told Newsmax.TV correspondent Kathleen Walter. "There are huge stakes here. Trillions of dollars are at stake."

Lewis said cap and trade would have a chilling effect on the U.S. economy by creating a cloud of uncertainty over all business investments relating to energy-intensive products. It would require a sharp reduction of energy use in the U.S. economy, which would drive up energy prices. The days of $4 gallons of gasoline would return, Lewis said. "The main thing to consider is that once you get a cap and trade system in place, you have an energy-rationing scheme locked into law, regulation, public policy," said Lewis. "From then on, the debate will only be over how much faster to tighten the cap, how much more stringent the restriction on fossil energy use will be."

Many government agencies and some on Wall Street stand to benefit from such legislation at the expense of the American people. The Environmental Protection Agency would see a huge increase in resources, funding and staff under a cap and trade program. Many big businesses also would stand to profit from energy-rationing schemes. "If you have cap and trade, what you have is an artificial government-created market for trading carbon futures, carbon derivatives, a multitrillion-dollar market," said Lewis. "Wall Street will get rich off this, because brokers make money whenever any commodity is bought or sold."

Still, Lewis isn't worried. Though H.R. 2454 has already passed the House, he doesn't believe it will pass the Senate. His biggest concern? A process the EPA is undertaking right now. "If the EPA makes what's called an 'endangerment finding' about carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new motor vehicles which they will likely do that will start a regulatory chain reaction under the Clean Air Act, and we could get all kinds of draconian regulations that go way beyond anything congress would ever vote for." The EPA, Lewis noted, is not held responsible by the electorate.

The global warming debate, in recent weeks, has taken a particularly nasty turn. A far-left agenda-setting Web site suggested that global warming deniers should be executed. Lewis also was the target of a widely circulated e-mail in which he was called a liar by the president of the American Council on Renewable Energy.

"The global warming agenda is part of the hard edge of left-wing politics in the U.S. and the world," Lewis said. "They know if they don't win in the political arena [on this issue], they lose. So, they have to become more and more shrill. They have to marginalize and delegitimize their opponants. This is the aging of the new left."



This post is part of the BBC's Perfect Storm 2030 coverage, where correspondents explore the forecast by UK chief scientist John Beddington, of a "perfect storm" of food, water and energy shortages in 2030.

Ed Miliband says he is in "the persuasion business". So how do you persuade people when research suggests that many of them don't trust your message? The secretary of state for energy and climate change told the BBC recently that his job is to convince people "to make big changes" in their lives. Unless that happens, he warns, the planet and our way of life will be damaged for generations to come. But Whitehall research reveals that:

"[M]istrust is a critical issue which is potentially a major barrier to people becoming more pro-environmental".

Government is suspected of "using" the environment to increase taxes. What's more, people don't like politicians telling them how to lead their lives.

There is still deep scepticism. Despite virtually unanimous academic opinion, half of us still believe science is divided on whether mankind's activities contribute to climate change. And more than a quarter of us don't think our individual behaviour makes any difference to the environmental crisis.

So Mr Miliband needs a much more subtle approach. He hopes to "nudge" us into going green, to change the way we behave without ever realising that we are being coaxed and cajoled by central government. The starting point for the strategy is a document published at the beginning of last year entitled: A Framework for Pro-Environmental Behaviours (PDF). It advises ministers to:

"[U]se 'opinion leaders' and trusted intermediaries to reach your audience". If people won't listen to elected politicians, get someone more plausible to deliver the message.

The most convincing messengers are not boffins or journalists, local councillors or civil servants - we are most likely to believe our next door neighbour. So projects like Low Carbon West Oxford (LCWO) are held up as models of how to change behaviour. The scheme, inspired in part by the extraordinary summer floods which hit their neighbourhood in 2007, sees residents challenge each other to change their ways:

* homes are undergoing eco-makeovers
* solar panels are being fixed to roofs
* five families have given up their car and use a pool vehicle when they cannot walk ,cycle or use public transport
* some have agreed to give up foreign holidays
* others have pledged only to eat local, seasonal food

You can meet some of LCWO's recruits in this short film I made for the television news.

It all fits neatly with the government's aims for behaviour change.

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


At the turn of the 20th century, a period famous for its Robber Barons, John D. Rockefeller was making his fortune in oil, Andrew Carnegie in steel, Cornelius Vanderbilt in railroads and J.P Morgan in finance. Many predict that the history books of the future, when listing the legendary fortunes made at the turn of the 21st century, will place Al Gore at the top of the list, as the first great Carbon Baron.

In 2000, when Al Gore lost his bid to become president of the United States, he had less than US$2-million in assets. Neither was Gore known for his financial acumen - annual White House disclosures of his and Tipper Gore's joint tax filings showed little income beyond the $175,000 he earned as vice-president.

To the contrary, Gore was a laughing stock in investment circles for his lack of financial sophistication, which, the press said, explained why Gore's net worth had been declining during the booming 1990s. Gore had failed to understand the significance of the new Internet economy that had so transformed the world. Instead "most of his money was in checking and passbook accounts or tied up in property," The New York Times reported, in an article entitled "Gore Has Not Bought Stocks for Decades." In an article entitled "Gore flunks investor test," Dow Jones' SmartMoney.Com mocked Gore for being irrationally risk averse, saying, "Al Gore's assets look more like 1899 than 1999. As things stand, the vice-president is without anything with a P/E, let alone an IPO: no stocks, no funds, not even a bond. What does he have? Land - as far as the eye can see. Oh, and a zinc mine he's leasing out to an Australian mining company." Fortune magazine went so far as to headline a 1998 story, "The Vice President's Financial Acumen 'Ain't Worth a Bucket of Warm Spit'" Its verdict: "This is a family in dire need of a money manager."

Nobody doubts Gore's financial acumen now. Within eight years of leaving politics, Gore had reportedly become worth well in excess of US$100-million. Many expect him to become a billionaire through his stakes in a global warming hedge fund, a carbon-offset business, a renewable energy investment business and other global warming related ventures. He is now money manager to institutional investors and the super rich through Generation Investment Management, a firm that he co-founded in 2004.

Neither does anyone anywhere any longer regard Gore as a timid investor, bereft of ambition. His goal for Generation Investment Management, as he described in 2008 to Fortune magazine, is to help drive a societal transformation that will be "bigger than the Industrial Revolution and significantly faster."

The Fortune interview explained his firm's intention to help orchestrate "a makeover of the US$6-trillion global energy business," from coal plants and the internal-combustion engine to petrochemicals and even bottled water. "What we are going to have to put in place is a combination of the Manhattan Project, the Apollo project and the Marshall Plan, and scale it globally," Gore continued. "It'd be promising too much to say we can do it on our own, but we intend to do our part."

Gore's societal plan and his investment plan are indistinguishable and straightforward: He wants to make fossil fuels uncompetitive and renewable energy competitive by convincing governments to punishingly tax fossil-fuel technologies through mechanisms such as cap and trade. In the process, Gore intends to make money at every stage of this transformation - through his stake in the carbon trading markets being created, through his portfolio of renewable energy and other so-called clean-tech investments and by acting as a broker.

In amassing his fortune, Gore has not been operating in an unfamiliar business environment, as the early detractors of his investment acumen might imagine. Rather, he has been operating entirely in his element. He has always been a lobbyist for climate change legislation, whether as a senator or as vice-president, and he remains so in his new capacities. And in his capacity as a politician, he always needed to raise funds. This is the essential skill he brings to Generation Investment Management, where he today approaches old political allies for support: Gore asks well-heeled charitable foundations, endowments, corporations and pension funds to place their assets under the management of his firm. To do their bit for the environment, and for him, they oblige.

To date, Gore has done well for himself. As for the others, they know not to expect quick profits: Gore is clear in explaining that his focus is on long-term sustainable investments.

And as for Gore's prospects of becoming a billionaire, they rest entirely on one big bet: That government legislation will create the mandates that his businesses need to boom. Without those mandates, his businesses - few of which are viable in a traditional free market economy - will go bust. As will the funds entrusted to him by the charities, endowments and pension funds seeking sustainable investments.

There is nothing unusual in furthering business interests through government mandates: Many of the Robber Barons of a century ago also relied on their ability to lobby for favourable government legislation. Where Gore departs from the Robber Barons of yesteryear is in the nature of the product being produced. Whatever else might be said of the Robber Barons, there was no disputing the value of the railroads, steel, oil and other commodities that they were producing. In the case of carbon dioxide, the basis of Gore's economy, rather than there being no dispute, there is no consensus that he isn't selling vapourware.



Non-Native Species as Allies of Diversity. This is an old article now but the points in it are still generally neglected so need restating in my view. Greenies as Canute-like enemies of evolution really is hilarious if you think about it -- JR

There is an idea, popular in some circles, that 'non-native' species are somehow harmful, that 'aggressive exotics' can invade ecosystems and destroy 'native species'. It surprises me to see the public and biologists alike uncritically accept this absurd notion.

"But the Emperor has no clothes!"—Folktale.

In this spirit I would like to point out that there is absolutely no biological validity to the concepts of 'native' and 'exotic' species, nor is there evidence that man's introduction of species into new habitats has any negative impact on global biological diversity. On the contrary, the aid we have given species in their movement around the world has served to increase both global and local diversity. It is one of the few human activities which is beneficial to the non-human creation. It cannot be distinguished from the movement of species by wind or ocean currents, or the aid other species give to their fellows, such as the distribution of seeds by migrating birds.

"All living beings have the right to engage in the struggle for existence."—L. H. Bailey.

There are no adequate definitions of 'native' and 'exotic', since there has been constant movement of species since the beginning of life. Witness the migration of species across the Bering Straits and the Isthmus of Panama. Great exchange of species has occurred between both oceanic and continental biota in these areas as they have been repeatedly submerged and exposed, alternately being corridors for aquatic and terrestrial life. In response to the Ice Ages, great movement of species has occurred. Even now, I understand that the armadillo is extending his range north from his native México. Is he an exotic invader? If we naturalize elephants in the tropical Americas, will they be exotics, or will this simply be the return of the Proboscidea to their pre-glacial range?

Apparent cases of destructive invasion by 'exotics' are usually examples of the beginning of an outbreak-crash population sequence occurring as a species moves into the niche provided by a heavily man-disturbed habitat, to be followed by the inevitable crash and subsequent adaptation and integration of the 'exotic' into the local ecosystem.

Intact ecosystems are highly resistant to invasion, and there are also many cases of 'exotics' acting as nurse-plants and revegetators, helping the native ecosystem to reclaim its man-destroyed habitat. I have seen a grassy meadow and a field of star thistles side by side, with only barbed wire separating them. The fence can't stop the thistle seed, yet it does not invade the intact meadow, showing the thistle to be an antibody-like response of the prairie ecosystem to overgrazing by cattle.

New species create niches for more species, further increasing potential diversity. Many species are extinct in their original habitat, existing only where they have been introduced to new areas by man. We are changing the world through our destruction, pollution, and now possible climate change. Local ecosystems need the infusion of new species to help their adaptation to a changed environment.

"You stay, I go."—Ishi, last of the Yana.

It is ironic to me to hear people of European ancestry accuse other organisms of being 'invasive exotics, displacing native species'.

Even the wildest unfounded claims of invasion by 'exotics' pale in comparison to the land area occupied by technological man's monoculture crops. These crop-deserts and modern man's extractive land-domination economy are the threat to biodiversity, not 'escaped exotics'.

There are documented cases in which attempts to exterminate 'exotics' have in fact pushed native species to the brink of extinction!

Attempts to eradicate so-called non-native species are impossible, absurd, and destructive to the very habitats they hope to preserve. As an alternative, I propose: The protection of all intact ecosystems from human destruction, and the deliberate introduction of species into the areas we have already damaged. Introduction priorities should be based on phylogenetic relationships - non-represented groups and taxa of restricted distribution should be given priority. Threatened and endangered species should be given full protection and introduced into new habitats whenever possible.

"Migrants of ape in gasoline crack of history."—William Burroughs.

We have only a brief moment in history when fossil fuels will continue to allow us rapid worldwide travel. Let us use this time wisely, to the benefit of all species.—J.L.H. & S.L.C., 11/89.

Natives vs. Exotics Update, November 1994.

The 'anti-exotics' movement is a growing threat to biodiversity conservation efforts. In the past 10 years, the mythology of 'invasive non-native species' has spread from a minor pseudoscience indulged in by the gullible fringe, to a growing extremist movement uncritically embraced by otherwise responsible environmental groups.

Our natural areas, from bio-preserves to National Parks are daily attacked by these extremists, using herbicide, chainsaws and bulldozers. Dozens of native plants have been falsely labeled invaders and are being exterminated. The process is driven in part by hysteria, and in part by greed- tremendous sums of money are being made on these extermination projects. For example, Monsanto, a major herbicide manufacturer was a sponsor of the 1994 California Exotic Pest Plant Council meeting, has an employee on the Council's board of directors, and was hawking their herbicides at a prominent booth. During breaks there was open discussion of ways to circumvent environmental laws restricting herbicide use in sensitive natural areas.

'Exotic Pest Plant Councils' are cropping up around the country, promoting heavy use of herbicides in our parks, and lobbying for extremist legislation, including a federal law which will prohibit any movement of any species unless the government determines it will 'cause no harm'. Only species on so called 'clean lists' will be allowed to be distributed or imported. Any species not on the 'clean list' will require expensive testing and approval before distribution. This is the final thrust towards the total corporate control of biodiversity- only they will be able to afford testing.

This will eliminate our single most effective biodiversity preservation strategy. The only effective long-term method of preserving biodiversity is the naturalization of species in new regions, where they may thrive and spread without human protection. While bio-preserves, parks, botanic gardens and zoos are important and needed, these are only temporary measures- what park will be able to withstand the future's starving billions?

Two forces are causing rapid destructive change- the rapid increase in human population, and the rapid spread of technological/industrial society. These forces are working together to cause a worldwide biological holocaust similar to past extinction events. The techno/industrial society expands, destroying indigenous, biologically-derived human cultures, replacing them with a homogenous, machine-derived pseudoculture of production and consumption. A vicious circle is created when the survival drives of an ever-expanding population force humanity to adopt the short-term resource extractive methods and values of the techno/industrial pseudoculture. Although theoretically, simple methods exist for opening this circle and exiting with minimal human and biological suffering, this is likely precluded by our biological imperatives, as well as the overpowering machine-imperatives of industrial consumption. Whether this vicious circle will reach critical mass and crash in a single, precipitous de-populating, de-industrializing event, or will unravel in a series of stepwise crashes over the next thousand years or so is anyone's guess. However, it seems likely that high rates of extinction will prevail over the next 1000 to 10,000 years or so.

It has been demonstrated that the human transport of organisms may establish new populations of species in safe refuges, preventing extinction & increasing local biodiversity. In the short term, this directly protects the naturalized species from extinction in its homeland, and the enriched diversity provides a buffer against the effects of human-induced extinctions on the local ecosystem, increasing its resiliency, helping its adaptation to change and promoting the healing of damaged areas. In the long term, this promotes evolutionary processes, since the interaction among unlike organisms is a powerful driving force of evolution. The diversifying evolutionary cascades which will result offer the chance that our species will leave the world with the potential for increased diversity, somewhat offsetting our current shameful irresponsibility.

Knowingly or unknowingly, gardeners participate in this process. Through their lifeways, all organisms modify their environment and participate in the creation of the landscapes in which they live. Corals build reefs, plants create soil, and animals transport seeds & nutrients long distances. Part of the lifeways of bluejays & squirrels is to plant acorns far from the oak, helping the forest migrate or heal burned or cleared areas. Our own lifeways of traveling about and admiring beauty cause us to gather useful and beautiful plants to grow around our homes, initiating the process of diversification. Many primates are key seed dispersal vectors in tropical ecosystems, and this is part of our evolutionary heritage.

The reintroduction of diminished or exterminated species is diversity restoration, restoration gardening or restoration ecology. We call the introduction of endangered species 'rescue gardening' or 'rescue ecology'. The study of the diversity-enhancing introduction of new species we call 'enrichment ecology'; the practice, 'ecological enrichment'.—J.L.H., 11/94.

Natives vs. Exotics Update, November 1995.

The extremist anti-exotic movement continues to grow. At the 1995 meeting of the California Exotic Pest Plant Council, an agreement was reached among existing state Councils to create a national umbrella Council to push their herbicide agenda nationwide. These Pest Plant Councils are merely front-groups for the multi-billion dollar herbicide industry; they are funded by, and have internal connections with Monsanto and other herbicide manufacturers. Like other pseudo-environmental front groups, they push destructive corporate interests in the guise of ecological concern.

The USDA is undergoing a major, cost-cutting downsizing, with the closure of many offices and loss of many jobs. Perhaps in a effort to head off future budget-cuts, they are joining forces with the anti-exotics movement, calling for sweeping new powers and regulations. Randy Westbrooks, USDA, APHIS, addressed the meeting, calling for passage of the 'clean list' law, which will prevent all new importations, and even interstate movement of plants and animals without expensive testing. Under the guise of a 'Plant Protection Act' Westbrooks said the new testing would be similar to the 30 to 40 million dollar safety testing needed to market a new toxic chemical. The New York City-based Natural Resources Defense Council supports this; their attorney, Faith Campbell has been propagandizing for such a law for several years. This clearly mis-named organization has also been accused of working with Conoco to open up indigenous Amazonian Huaorani territory to oil development.

This agenda turns environmentalism on its head; it is the direct opposite of everything we environmentalists stand for. Imagine a nation in which this industry-backed program is successful- the wholesale poisoning of our natural areas by ecosystem-destroying chemicals will be mandatory government policy profiting corporate giants, yet wild plants and animals, the very components of the natural world and basis of all biological diversity will require multi-million dollar testing for "safety"!

Also ominous is the fact that during Adolf Hitler's 'Third Reich', the National Socialists (Nazi Party) had an identical program to rid the landscape of 'foreign' plants. An interesting paper, "Some Notes on the Mania for Native Plants in Germany", by Gert Groening and Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn (Landscape Journal, Vol. II, No. 2, 1992) details this history. The extension of the Nazi pseudoscience of racial purity to the natural world is chillingly identical to the modern anti-exotics agenda, down to the details of 'genetic contamination'. With the current rise of racism, immigrant-scapegoating, & other noxious, un-American ideologies, we must be prepared to hold all those who are promoting the anti-exotics frenzy personally responsible for their part in legitimizing a pseudoscience which leads directly to the horrors we saw in the 1940's. Clearly, 'eco-fascist' is not too strong a term to describe these people.

As I have stated before, the tenets of the anti-exotics movement are entirely without scientific merit. All unbiased studies prove that man-aided migration of organisms increases biological diversity, and these newcomers are frequently highly beneficial to local ecosystems. The anti-exotics extremists disregard the mountains of research which refute their claims, and the most fundamental questions that would be addressed by basic ecological research are discarded in favor of a propagandistic presentation of anecdotal evidence....

As constructed, alien-invader theory is founded on non-operational constructs, is immune to testing, cannot be falsified, and has no predictive capacity. Its structure & conceptual elements are identical in all particulars with those of racism, fascistic nationalism, and other conspiracy theories. Instantly recognizable is the "ultimate attribution error" of Pettigrew's cognitive analysis of prejudice. Circular reasoning, low standards of evidence, self-sealing arguments, unsupported causal attribution and resistance to contradictory evidence are frequent.



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


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Greenie nonsense killed people in big Australian fires

A Greenie council has blood on its hands

RESIDENTS in one of the areas devastated on Black Saturday were not allowed to clear highly flammable, noxious tea tree on their land because it was classified as native vegetation by the local council, the royal commission into the bushfire disaster has been told. Peter Wiltshire, who suffered serious burns and damaged airways trying unsuccessfully to save his home at St Andrews on February 7, said yesterday the tea tree, known as burgan, was "extremely flammable and lets off gases in heat". Wildfire from burning burgan on a neighbouring property created enough radiant heat to cause a horsefloat at one end of his house to instantaneously burst into flame.

But the local Nillumbik Shire Council stopped landowners clearing burgan without applying for permission, Mr Wiltshire said. "They call it native vegetation and we are not allowed to clear it without a permit. It is probably the most noxious and flammable material. It really is a pest and dangerous."

Mr Wiltshire, who is chairman of the St Andrews Country Fire Authority brigade, said a massive fireball that engulfed his house and caused window glass to melt was fuelled by "black gas" above tree-top level. He suffered serious burns to his face and both arms, had damaged airways from inhaling heated air and smoke and spent 24 hours in an induced coma in hospital after escaping with his wife and daughter from their blazing home.

Twelve of the 173 people who died on Black Saturday were killed in St Andrews.

Tasmanian Fire Service fire management planning officer Mark Chladil told the hearing that Victoria's decision to allow people to automatically rebuild on the sites of their former homes using only the new national bushfire building code was "somewhat risky". Sites needed to be fully assessed for bushfire threat using the full gamut of planning issues, said Mr Chladil, who is also a member of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council. "To be blunt, rebuilding at the moment would be somewhat risky in each of these places without considering the range of siting, water supply, access, vegetation management options as well as building options," he said. "There are going to be sites where it will be seen as foolhardy to have rushed in and rebuilt in the same place without addressing these issues." The social welfare benefits of allowing survivors to rebuild as quickly as possible could be better met by providing each family with an individual building assessor to advise them on rebuilding, Mr Chladil said.

Earlier, the inquiry was told that an essential handbook vital in ensuring the effectiveness of the new national building standard would not be available until at least the end of the year. Barry Eadie, the head of the Standards Australia committee that developed the new bushfire building standard hastily introduced after February 7, said the new code would not save houses without the companion handbook, which gave crucial advice about such things as planning, water supply, access and maintenance of landscaping and vegetation. [It's common sense among the bureaucrats that is needed, not more unreadable official bumf]



The nation's largest business lobby wants to put the science of global warming on trial

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, trying to ward off potentially sweeping federal emissions regulations, is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to hold a rare public hearing on the scientific evidence for man-made climate change. Chamber officials say it would be "the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century" -- complete with witnesses, cross-examinations and a judge who would rule, essentially, on whether humans are warming the planet to dangerous effect. "It would be evolution versus creationism," said William Kovacs, the chamber's senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs. "It would be the science of climate change on trial."

The goal of the chamber, which represents 3 million large and small businesses, is to fend off potential emissions regulations by undercutting the scientific consensus over climate change. If the EPA denies the request, as expected, the chamber plans to take the fight to federal court.

The EPA is having none of it, calling a hearing a "waste of time" and saying that a threatened lawsuit by the chamber would be "frivolous." EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said the agency based its proposed finding that global warming is a danger to public health "on the soundest peer-reviewed science available, which overwhelmingly indicates that climate change presents a threat to human health and welfare."

Environmentalists say the chamber's strategy is an attempt to sow political discord by challenging settled science -- and note that in the famed 1925 Scopes trial, which pitted lawyers Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan in a courtroom battle over a Tennessee science teacher accused of teaching evolution illegally, the scientists won in the end. The chamber proposal "brings to mind for me the Salem witch trials, based on myth," said Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist for the environmental group Union of Concerned Scientists. "In this case, it would be ignoring decades of publicly accessible evidence."

In the coming weeks, the EPA is set to formally declare that the heat-trapping gases scientists blame for climate change endanger human health, and are thus subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. The so-called endangerment finding will be a cornerstone of the Obama administration's plan to set strict new emissions standards on cars and trucks.

The proposed finding has drawn more than 300,000 public comments. Many of them question scientists' projections that rising temperatures will lead to increased mortality rates, harmful pollution and extreme weather events such as hurricanes. In light of those comments, the chamber will tell the EPA in a filing today that a trial-style public hearing, which is allowed under the law but nearly unprecedented on this scale, is the only way to "make a fully informed, transparent decision with scientific integrity based on the actual record of the science."

Most climate scientists agree that greenhouse gas emissions, caused by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities, are warming the planet. Using computer models and historical temperature data, those scientists predict the warming will accelerate unless greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced. "The need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable," said a recent letter to world leaders by the heads of the top science agencies in 13 of the world's largest countries, including the head of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

The EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases, as proposed in April, warned that warmer temperatures would lead to "the increased likelihood of more frequent and intense heat waves, more wildfires, degraded air quality, more heavy downpours and flooding, increased drought, greater sea level rise, more intense storms, harm to water resources, harm to agriculture, and harm to wildlife and ecosystems."

Critics of the finding say it's far from certain that warming will cause any harm at all. The Chamber of Commerce cites studies that predict higher temperatures will reduce mortality rates in the United States.


Ludicrous EU war on airlines

The European Union has taken a stand against large global airlines by publishing a list of nearly 4,000 companies that must reduce their impact on the atmosphere or face a European airport ban.

A new EU target, adopted this year, requires that airline emissions in Europe drop by three percent by 2012, and five percent by 2013. In order to meet the target, airlines named on the new list published on Saturday in the Official Journal of the European Union must reduce their emissions or face penalties.

The list includes transportation giants such as Lufthansa, Alitalia, Quantas, KLM, Emirates, US Airways and United as well as manufacturers Airbus and Dassault, hundreds of private business jet operators, the US Navy and the air forces of Israel and Russia. Aircraft emissions currently represent three percent of Europe's CO2 output.

The EU adopted its new policy in January despite coming under fierce pressure from the majority of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) member countries and companies belonging to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

A new European law is to come into force on Jan. 1, 2012, under which all airlines - both European and non-European - operating within Europe would have to limit CO2 emissions or face being barred from European airports.



Warm ice cream is the holy grail for scientists at Unilever, owner of the Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s brands, which is developing a “low-carbon” product to be sold at room temperature and frozen at home.

Unilever hopes that a product sold at room temperature will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ice cream is one of the company’s more energy-intensive products because of the need to keep it frozen during transport and storage.

The company, the world’s largest producer of ice cream, sells €5 billion (£4.3 billion) a year worldwide of brands that also include Wall’s, Cornetto, Feast, Viennetta and Solero. The UK ice cream market is worth £789 million a year, it says.

A spokesman for Unilever said that warm, or so-called ambient, ice cream was a “very interesting idea” but one that posed tough challenges that its scientists were trying to solve. “The key question which has yet to be fully answered is: how do you ensure that, when the ambient ice cream is frozen at home it will have the right microstructure to produce a fantastic consumer experience?”

The research programme is being undertaken in Unilever’s own laboratories with help from academics at Cambridge University. Gavin Neath, Unilever’s senior vice-president for sustainability, said: “We have to look at a really radical solution.”


Another blow for the British Met office

But the Met office thinks it can predict what will be happening in 2050!

British holidaymakers are not the only people upset that Met Office predictions of a barbecue summer have proved woefully inaccurate. Tesco is so fed up with the unreliability of forecasters that it has set up its own six-strong “supermarket weather team” to help plan more accurately which types of food it will need to stock.

The UK’s biggest retailer has pulled together a dedicated team of data experts who collate weather forecasts from a wide range of sources that are then analysed using unique software. The computer program includes detailed regional weather reports for the whole of the UK going back five years and, crucially, what each Tesco store sold as a result of that weather. A rise of 10C, for example, led to a 300% uplift in sales of barbecue meat and a 50% increase in sales of lettuce.

A spokesman for Tesco said: “In recent years, the unpredictability of the British summer — not to mention the unreliability of British weather forecasters — has caused a massive headache for those in the retail food business deciding exactly which foods to put out on shelves. “The present summer is a perfect example, with the weather changing almost daily and shoppers wanting barbecue and salad foods one day and winter food the next.”

Tesco said the system has already predicted temperature drops during July that led to a big increase in demand for soup and hot puddings. The company believes that as well as boosting profits, its weather system will also help to cut food waste.


Birdwatching 'not environmentally friendly'

Once again, there's no such thing as a happy Greenie. They basically disapprove of EVERYBODY

An academic study suggests competitions to spot as many species of bird in a day, along with thousands of enthusiasts visiting a garden when a rare bird is spotted, means a heavy use of transport. Many twitchers will travel hundreds, potentially thousands, of miles just to see a bird, according to Professor Spencer Schaffner, who admits being a birdwatcher himself.

Prof Schaffner's research on "Environmental Sport" also found that many sites where new breeding grounds are being set up are often former landfill or other sites which still leak pollution. As they have been covered with grass to make a park or wildlife area, many of the environmental hazards are still present but being ignored, particularly by birdwatchers, he said.

Prof Schaffner, from the University of Illinois, said he had noticed a big increase in competitive events for the twitchers. It often involves having to spot as many different kinds of bird in a set period and can involve driving hundreds of miles a day to find another breed to tick off the list. There are even some who spend their whole lives, full time, trying to spot every one of the 10,000 breeds in the world but only a handful have got as far as 8,000. More than 5,000 people travelled to Kent recently to see a Golden-winged warbler which had been blown off course to land in Britain.

Writing in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Prof Schaffner said: "Birding is... an ostensibly green category of sport relying on both environmental protection and degradation. "Competitive birders log many hours in their cars. Some even fully to spot a single species of bird. "We tend to think getting out there in the outdoors and doing things that I'm calling environmental sport is part of saving the planet. "It's considered part of being green and caring about nature. But a lot of the environments we do that in are altered, manufactured, human-modified places. "And a lot of the stuff we do isn't necessarily in the best interest of those ideas of conservation."

Former landfill sites converted into 'natural areas' still pose "significant dangers to the environment" because of toxic chemicals just beneath the surface, he said. Twitchers ignore the problems because the bird species seem to be thriving although many may simply be moving through the area as part of a migration path, said the professor.



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


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


An email from Norm Kalmanovitch []

There is a very good case to be made for anthropogenic global cooling from CO2 emissions. The beginning of rapid increases in global CO2 emissions started in 1945 with the rapid increase in post war industrialization that has seen CO2 emissions rise from under 4gt/year in 1945, to over 31.5gt/year today. This increase in CO2 emissions over the past 63 years has resulted in over 40 years of global cooling. The only time that there was a decrease in emissions was from 1979 to 1982 when the world was warming.

This forms a positive correlation of sufficient statistical significance to make a reasonable case for this relationship to be valid. Although correlation is not causation, there is nothing in the current science literature database that demonstrates any contrary evidence so based solely on "peer reviewed" science literature (as is the case for AGW), this hypothesis could be taken as valid.

The original paper on this topic by Svante Arrhenius in 1896 can be shown to be in error because at the time quantum physics had not yet revealed the physical process of interaction between the Earth's radiative energy and atmospheric CO2.

The only part of the Earth's thermal radiative spectrum that is affected by CO2 is the 14.77micron band, but Arrhenius, unaware of this fact used measurements limited to only 9.7microns and therefore was not actually measuring the effect from CO2. He also used an experimental source for thermal radiation that was at 100°C, and the radiative spectrum from this source includes the 4.2micron wavelength band of CO2 that is not part of the Earth's radiative spectrum, so he was not measuring the actual effect from the thermal radiation from the Earth.

In 1970 the Nimbus 4 satellite measured the Earth's radiative spectrum showing that the spectral band affected by CO2 had a deep notch in it centred on 14.77microns. This deep notch demonstrated that well over 90% of the possible effect had already been achieved from just the 325ppmv atmospheric concentration of CO2, so further changes in concentration would have only minor effects, and increases in CO2 concentration could neither be responsible for either global warming or global cooling of any significant degree.

While CO2 concentration increases can be demonstrated to have little further effect on global temperatures, this has no bearing on CO2 emissions because there is no correlation between CO2 emissions and CO2 concentration, and CO2 emissions may alter the global temperature by processes other than changes to the greenhouse effect. It is easily demonstrated that there is no correlation between CO2 emissions and atmospheric CO2 concentration. Over the three years from 1979 to 1982 when CO2 emissions were decreasing due to the rapid increase in the price of oil that drastically reduced consumption, there was no change in the rate of increase in atmospheric concentration of CO2 proving that humans were not the primary source for the increase in concentration.

The science literature data base is filled with articles about global warming and CO2, but none of these articles actually relate CO2 emissions to global warming, and just falsely assume that emissions and concentration are interchangeable. All of the articles are based on projections from climate models, which also make this false assumption about emissions and concentration, and these models have yet to demonstrate a result that matches physical observation. This is because models use a contrived CO2 forcing parameter that was clearly not designed on any physical basis either experimental or empirical. In fact there is nothing in all the global warming literature, even the articles about polar bears and melting ice, that can refute the anthropogenic global cooling hypothesis.

Even though there is nothing in the literature data base that can refute the hypothesis of anthropogenic global cooling, the hypothesis can be clearly shown to be false by strict adherence to science protocol and the scientific method. There is clear observational evidence that the Earth warmed from 1975 to 1998 as emissions increased, so even though the world cooled for more years than it warmed with increasing CO2 emissions, these 23 years provide observations contrary to the hypothesis that can't be explained by the hypothesis, and therefore the hypothesis must be abandoned.

Another hypothesis that explains the current global cooling is based on solar cycles and their effect on solar output and changes to the Earth's albedo from cloud cover. The driving mechanism for this is not fully understood, but to date there is absolutely no contrary evidence to the overall hypothesis. There is in fact clear supportive evidence including observational evidence from a project called Earth Shine which measures the Earth's albedo by its reflection on the moon. The albedo measurements show reducing albedo concurrent with global warming, changing to increasing albedo concurrent with global cooling in 1998. (Figure 2 page 21). See here (PDF).

This is the way science is supposed to work, and while it is a simple matter to falsify the Anthropogenic Global Cooling hypothesis, it should be far easier to falsify the Anthropogenic Global Warming theory, because everything stated in the theory is contrary not only to observation, but contrary to established physical principles and physical laws as well. The fact that AGW still exists as a valid hypothesis seven years after the Earth started to cool in spite of the continued rapid increase in global CO2 emissions, is testament to how easy it is to misinform the public with well executed propaganda and media control.

Another comment on "OCEANS WARMEST ON RECORD"

An email from James H. Rust []

In the August 21, 2009 issue of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, on page A9 appeared an article "Oceans warmest on record" by Associated Press writer Seth Borenstein.

The article stated the July 2009 average ocean temperature was 62.6 degrees as reported by the National Climate Data Center and the hottest since record-keeping began in 1880. The article contained statements by Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria in British Columbia. He stated that breaking ocean temperature records were more ominous than breaking land temperature records because water takes longer to heat up and cool. Weaver said, "This is another yet really important indicator of the change that's occurring."

Consulting the internet showed that Mr. Borenstein and Prof. Weaver have long been advocates that catastrophic events will occur due to carbon dioxide being added to the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. One of the sites mentioned that a democratic society should have a well-informed public. This I agree with. However, that statement was followed with the public should not be informed about science disagreeing with carbon dioxide have significant effects on climate because that is misleading the public. So much for open debate in a democracy.

Further examining the data from the National Climate Data Center showed the 62.6 degrees was a global surface sea temperature which was 1.06 degrees warmer than the twentieth century average of 61.5 degrees. For the twentieth century, about half the time temperatures were increasing and the other half of the time temperatures were decreasing. If one compared the July 2009 sea surface temperature with the average for the last twenty five years of the twentieth century, the new record temperature would have been a few tenths of a degree higher.

We are presently in a period with an active El Nino in the central Pacific Ocean which should raise global surface sea temperatures. Surface sea temperatures should be a far cry from global ocean temperatures because of stratification of temperatures. Those who swim in the ocean can be quite comfortable on the surface and have cold feet six feet below. Warming from the sun only penetrates a few feet into water.

For several years we have been told that climate cooling is taking place because of reduced sunspot activity. In addition, I have read that ARGOS buoys planted throughout the oceans have indicated stable ocean temperatures or a slight decrease in temperature. This data has only existed since 2003. This information seems to contradict the findings reported by the Associated Press.


How are the Warmist politicians going to wriggle out of this one?

The leaders of 10 African countries are gathering in Ethiopia to try to agree a common position on climate change. The summit comes ahead of crucial UN talks in Copenhagen in December. Under the auspices of the African Union, the meeting will underline the chief African demand for compensation for damages caused by global warming. The move to agree a common negotiating platform for Africa is a recognition of the failure of the continent to make its voice heard to date.

One of the documents prepared for the meeting talks about the "dismal co-ordination" of the African negotiation process. So far, delegations from individual countries have had limited success in making the case that Africa needs special help as it has the lowest emissions of carbon dioxide on the planet, but is set to suffer the worst impacts.

In an attempt to change this, the African Union is bringing together the leaders of 10 countries under the chairmanship of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi. The objective is to agree a set of key ideas on the way forward on climate for Africa so that the continent can be represented by one delegation at the global negotiations in Copenhagen in December.

Proposals for discussion include the suggestion that developed countries should cut their emissions by at least 40% by 2020, and that the richer nations should provide funds of $67bn (£40bn) a year to help the least well off cope with the impacts of rising temperatures.

The reality of the UN climate negotiations is that the US, China, India and the European Union have the greatest sway. The African leaders will be hoping that speaking with one voice at Copenhagen will significantly enhance their negotiating position.



Almost half of the world's farmland has at least 10 percent tree cover, according to a study on Monday indicating that farmers are far less destructive to carbon-storing forests than previously believed. "The area revealed in this study is twice the size of the Amazon, and shows that farmers are protecting and planting trees spontaneously," Dennis Garrity, Director General of the World Agroforestry Center in Nairobi, said in a statement.

The Centre's report, based on satellite images and the first to estimate tree cover on the world's farms, showed tree canopies exceeded 10 percent on farmland of 10 million square kms (3.9 million sq miles) -- 46 percent of all agricultural land and an area the size of Canada or China.

By one yardstick used by the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization, a "forest" is an area in which tree canopies cover at least 10 percent of an area. The definition excludes, however, farmland or urban areas.

The report said that farmers keep or plant trees for uses such as production of fruit, nuts, medicines, fuel, building materials, gums or resins. Trees also provide shade for crops, work as windbreaks, boundary markers or to help avert erosion. And trees are often hardier than crops or livestock so can be a backup for farmers on marginal land in hard times.

Previous estimates of the area of farmland used in agroforestry had ranged up to only about 3 million sq kms. Farms are often portrayed as enemies of forests -- homes to a wide diversity of animals and plants. Forests are also giant stores of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. "We're pleasantly surprised -- it quantifies an under-appreciated resource," Tony Simons, deputy director general of the World Agroforestry Center, told Reuters.


The environmental dark ages

To hear some environmentalists speak you would think that we are currently in the environmental dark ages. The ever expanding economy (current hiccup exempted) means that we are using up ever more resources, spewing out ever more pollution and generally leading the way to Hell in a handcart.

That they say this when the air and the waters are cleaner than they have been for many centuries, when resources, judged by their price, are cheaper and thus more abundant than ever, causes no little amusement.

However, it is their next step which is so dangerous. We must localise all production, not eat food from outside our own region: depending upon who you talk to it might be from outside your own garden, town, county or bioregion but international trade is certainly very naughty indeed. In fact, we shouldn't be getting anything at all from other countries, let alone the other side of the world.

Localism in government is to be admired, localism in production and consumption rather less so.

A new book on the end of the Roman Empire points to this as the defining economic mark of that age:
An emphasis on "localization" as the fundamental change following the fall of the Roman Empire, and numerous micro-studies of exactly how that localization occurred. Cities shrank, trade networks dried up, etc.

Not for nothing do we decribe that time as The Dark Ages. Last time around it came about because of the collapse (for whatever reasons) of a political power. Let's not inflict it upon ourselves in the name of environmentalism, eh?


Bring on global warming: Diabetes 'most likely to occur among children in winter'

Warmists are always claiming that warming is bad for your health despite all evidence to the contrary. Below is just one example of such contrary evidence

Children under 15 are more likely to develop diabetes in winter, a large international study suggests. Analysis of data of 31,000 children from 105 diabetes centres in 53 countries found a correlation between the season and the onset of Type 1 diabetes. Of the 42 centres that exhibited this seasonal trend, 28 centres had peaks of diagnosis in winter and 33 had troughs in summer. This winter trend was more prevalent in boys as well as in both sexes from the older age groups (5 to 14 years old).

The study, published in the journal Diabetic Medicine, also found that diabetes centres further away from the equator were more likely to have greater numbers of new cases in winter.

A total of 23,000 children in Britain have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, the fourth-highest incidence in Europe, but the exact causes of the condition are unclear.

In contrast to Type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity and more likely to develop in middle age, the Type 1 form typically arises in childhood and requires lifelong supplements of insulin. The condition develops when the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. It is not known for sure why these cells have been damaged but the most likely cause is an abnormal reaction of the body to the cells. This may be triggered by a viral or other infection.

Elena Moltchanova, who led the study at the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, said: “Numerous reasons have been suggested for the apparent seasonality of the onset of Type 1 diabetes. “These include a seasonal variation in people’s levels of blood glucose and insulin, seasonal viral infections, the fact that young people tend to eat more and do less physical activity during winter months and, similarly, that summer holidays provide a rest from school stress and more opportunity to play outdoors.”

Victoria King, research manager at the charity Diabetes UK said that previous studies had shown conflicting results, “but this larger study shows a stronger correlation which is interesting, especially as we still don’t know exactly why Type 1 diabetes develops. “Investigating why we might be seeing this pattern could tell us more about what may be triggering the development of Type 1 diabetes”, she added. “Despite this, the study looked at correlations over a relatively short period of time and not all centres that took part in the study showed the correlation between seasonality and diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes so more data are needed before more definite conclusions can be drawn.”



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


Monday, August 24, 2009

Britain backpedalling?

Carbon targets may be too tough, says former deputy PM

Targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions may have to be watered down to get a deal at the critical Copenhagen climate summit, the former deputy prime minister John Prescott warns today.

Prescott, who brokered the Kyoto deal on climate change a decade ago and is heavily involved in the current negotiations, risked the wrath of green campaigners by saying it was time for a "plan B" if agreement could not be reached between the main parties.

That could involve accepting a longer timetable for cuts in carbon emissions that are supposed to be achieved by 2020 and then by 2050, he suggested, arguing that it was more important to get a deal "on the principles" of how high-carbon lifestyles are tackled worldwide.

"I am saying you had better start preparing in your minds for plan B as well as plan A," he said. "A lot of people fear that if you moved away from those targets you would get the NGOs screaming and shouting, 'you have sold out', but I had to ignore them to get the deal at Kyoto."

He explained that if it were not possible to "dot the i's and cross the t's" of targets, then the summit could agree to flesh out the details later so long as the principles of a deal to shift towards low-carbon lifestyles were clear. He insisted that common ground could be found despite resistance to targets among developing countries, but there could be "conflict" over the timetable, adding: "We might not be able to get it by 2020 or by 2050 but [we should] agree the principles."

Prescott, who remains an envoy on climate change for the Council of Europe, has been shuttling between Washington and China talking to key players in the negotiations. This week he will launch a new website,, designed to promote the idea of a fairer settlement on climate change for developing countries and to encourage the public to lobby politicians. He will follow it up with a tour of schools in the autumn.

He supports the idea of targets based on emissions per head, rather than per government – which would be easier for highly populous but relatively underdeveloped countries such as China and India to meet, but tougher on the US – arguing that "social justice" needs to be built into the deal.

Prescott, who has become an unlikely star of the blogosphere, hopes to use his mastery of social media to galvanise public support for a global warming deal. He has already used Facebook to build a campaign to curb bankers' bonuses and last week used Twitter to torment the Conservatives over MEP Daniel Hannan's outbursts against the NHS.

Asked what he was doing personally to reduce his carbon emissions, he said he was considering solar panels for his roof and a home wind turbine.


Tony Blair: Vagueness is the solution

I think this qualfies as a classic example of a good old British "fudge"

World leaders must not get bogged down in 'precise percentages' when they negotiate a successor the Kyoto climate change treaty in Copenhagen, Tony Blair has said. Speaking in Beijing on Thursday, Mr Blair said leaders should trust in new technologies to put the world on a path to a greener future.

The former British prime minister called for a "realistic and practical" deal to be struck at the UN Summit in Copenhagen this December that would unleash the potential of green technology to solve the problem of global warming. "We need to get an agreement that sets the world on a new path of sustainable consumption without getting obsessed with precise percentages," he said.

Mr Blair, who is working with the non-profit Climate Group to push for an agreement in December, welcomed recent reports that China is considering setting targets that will see its carbon emissions peak in 2030. However he predicted the key to success in keeping climate change below the UN's benchmark 2C would come down to as yet unforeseen developments in greener cars, buildings and power-stations. "It is impossible to predict now what might happen in 10 or 20 years time," he added, [Wisdom is dawning!] "the important thing is that we reach an agreement that allows China and India, the US and EU to come to a common position - though with varying obligations. "If we reach an agreement that sets the world on this new sustainable path then I think that we can see emissions peak more quickly than many people think."

Mr Blair added that China was now leading the way in some areas of green technology and investment and urged leaders of the developed and developing worlds to get away from a "binary approach" to climate change. "We must get away from seeing climate change as an East versus West issue. There are huge business opportunities in green technology whether you are in London or California, China or India."

Preliminary rounds of negotiations have shown that developing and developed world nations are still a long way apart when it comes to the "precise percentages" on cutting emissions.

China and India continue to call for a 40pc reduction in greenhouse gasses below 1990 levels by 2020 from the developed world, while European and US negotiations say 13 to 17 per cent is the best they can offer.

Acknowledging that negotiations would be tough - and get tougher as the December deal for a deadline approached - Mr Blair said that there had nonetheless been a significant change in attitudes towards climate change since his term in office. "I expect China will come out with its position, America will come out with its position and so on ...[but] the agenda for [Copenhagen], I think, is on a completely different level of credibility than previous negotiations."


Something’s Fishy With Global Ocean Temperature Measurements

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

In my previous blog posting I showed the satellite-based global-average monthly sea surface temperature (SST) variations since mid-2002, which was when the NASA Aqua satellite was launched carrying the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E). The AMSR-E instrument (which I serve as the U.S. Science Team Leader for) provides nearly all-weather SST measurements.

The plot I showed yesterday agreed with the NOAA announcement that July 2009 was unusually warm…NOAA claims it was even a new record for July based upon their 100+ year record of global SSTs.

But I didn’t know just HOW warm, since our satellite data extend back to only 2002. So, I decided to download the NOAA/NCDC SST data from their website — which do NOT include the AMSR-E measurements — to do a more quantitative comparison.

From the NOAA data, I computed monthly anomalies in exactly the same manner I computed them with the AMSR-E data, that is, relative to the June 2002 through July 2009 period of record. The results (shown below) were so surprising, I had to go to my office this Saturday morning to make sure I didn’t make a mistake in my processing of the AMSR-E data.

As can be seen, the satellite-based temperatures have been steadily rising relative to the conventional SST measurements, with a total linear increase of 0.15 deg C over the 7 year period of record versus the conventional SST measurements.

If the satellite data are correct, then this means that the July 2009 SSTs reached a considerably higher record temperature than NOAA has claimed. The discrepancy is huge in terms of climate measurements; the trend in the difference between the two datasets shown in the above figure is the same size as the anthropogenic global warming signal expected by the IPCC.

I have no idea what is going on here. Frank Wentz and Chelle Gentemann at Remote Sensing Systems have been very careful about tracking the accuracy of the AMSR-E SST retrievals with millions of buoy measurements. I checked their daily statistics they post at their website and I don’t see anything like what is shown in the above figure.

Is it possible that the NCDC SST temperature dataset has been understating recent warming? I don’t know…I’m mystified. Maybe Frank, Chelle, Phil Jones, or some enterprising blogger out there can figure this one out.

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

The Big Global Warming Debate

Editorial by S. Fred Singer

Don’t get taken in by stories of penguins and polar bears, hurricanes and heat waves, floods and famines. There is really only one key question: Is the cause of current climate changes primarily natural or is it human- caused? In particular, is there really any appreciable Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)? Aside from its scientific importance, the question has great significance for policy. If climate change is natural, if there is no appreciable AGW, then there is little we can do about it.

We’d better just adapt -- as humans have been doing for many millennia.

Climate is always changing warming or cooling on many time scales. So the overall warming of the 20th century could well be natural. On the other hand, the growing level of human activity, esp. generation of energy by fossil-fuel burning, has increased levels of atmospheric greenhouse (GH) gases, esp. carbon dioxide (CO2). So an anthropogenic cause is also plausible. How to decide? That’s the essence of the climate debate.

The opposing positions are clear-cut but difficult to reconcile. The UN-sponsored IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) claims it’s mostly anthropogenic. The independent NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change) says climate change is mostly natural, as it always has been.

The IPCC appeals to a scientific consensus (wrong!), to recent climate change as being unusual (not so!), to ice shrinking and glaciers melting (tells nothing about the cause!), to a positive correlation between increases in CO2 and temperature (frequently negative!), and to agreement between observations and climate models. But the NIPCC claims that observations disagree with GH models; therefore models have not been validated and cannot be relied on to predict future climate. This disagreement is where current debate focuses -- as it should.

If the NIPCC is correct and climate change is mostly natural, then this means that carbon dioxide contributes insignificantly to Global Warming and is therefore not a 'pollutant.' This fact has not yet been widely recognized, and irrational GW fears continue to distort energy policies and foreign policy. All efforts to curtail CO2 emissions, whether global, federal, or at the state level, are pointless -- and in any case, ineffective and very costly.

However, there are still two interesting scientific questions calling for a solution:

· Why do observations and models disagree? Why do GH models call for substantial warming trends, while the data do not and even show cooling, as since 1998?

· And if GH gases are really ineffective, as NIPCC claims, what exactly is causing climate to change on a time scale of decades and centuries?

But if the IPCC is correct, and some adjustment of observations and models could bring them into agreement, then there are still two further hurdles before one can justify any drastic policies of mitigation, aside from common-sense energy conservation.

· Is a warmer climate really worse than the present one? Economic analysis and historic evidence both indicate that, on the whole, a warmer climate is beneficial--and so are higher levels of atmospheric CO2 that feed agricultural crops and forests.

· Can practical and economically acceptable mitigation schemes really have much effect on climate or even on atmospheric GH gas levels?

These are the issues that politicians need to debate before rushing ahead with ill-considered legislation. Maybe the best policy is to abstain and do nothing. Remember the maxim of physicians: Above all, do no harm!

SEPP Editorial #26-2009 (8/22/09)


BOOK REVIEW of "Why We Disagree About Climate Change by Mike Hulme. Review by Joe Bast

More than a few people will be tempted to buy this book based on the promise, implicit in its title, that it examines the ideas and motives of both sides in the global warming debate. But that is not what this book is about. It is the musings of a British socialist about how to use global warming claims as a means of persuading “the masses” to give up their economic liberties.

That the author, Mike Hulme, is a scientist who helped write the influential reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and many other government agencies makes this book even more disturbing.

Narrow-Minded Outlook

Hulme frankly admits his perspective is colored by his politics—“democratic socialist”—and it soon becomes apparent that the only disagreements about climate change he’s aware of are those occurring between the left (people who think like him) and the far left, people he describes as “eco-anarchists,” “eco-socialists,” and “eco-authoritarians.”

Opposition from centrists, conservatives, libertarians, and non-ideological scientists who dispute his alarmist spin on the complicated data of global warming merit hardly any mention.

Warming Gospel in Doubt

The notion that science can be determined by government agencies proclaiming to speak on behalf of entire scientific communities might be passively accepted in Old Europe, but it is jarring for an American reader. Opinion polls show two-thirds of us do not believe global warming is manmade, and more than 30,000 American scientists (including more than 9,000 with Ph.D.s) have signed a petition saying there is no convincing scientific evidence that human activity will cause catastrophic global warming.

A group of scientists called the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) has produced an 880-page rebuttal of the latest IPCC report containing more than 4,000 references to peer-reviewed science. I edited that work.

There is a debate taking place about global warming in America, and it is not the one described by Hulme as being between those who favor “cap and trade” and those who favor even more radical changes in political, social, and economic behavior. Rather, it is about how much of the warming of the late twentieth century was natural and how much was manmade, whether the consequences of that warming were on balance positive or negative, and whether anything should be or could be done to prevent or delay future warming. This debate—the real public policy debate—is entirely missing from Hulme’s book.

Ideological Agenda

Convinced that the scientific debate is over and he won, Hulme devotes most of his attention to finding ways to overcome “barriers other than lack of scientific knowledge to changing the status of climate change in the minds of citizens—psychological, emotional, and behavioural barriers.” He attempts to explain the public’s failure to respond to his calls for action in terms of popular theories of irrational group behavior, such as anchoring, fear of change, and so on. He lacks the power of introspection that would have led him to understand the fountains of his own irrational beliefs.

The real purpose of this book isn’t revealed until far into it. “The idea of climate change,” Hulme writes at page 326, “should be seen as an intellectual resource around which our collective and personal identities and projects can form and take shape. We need to ask not what we can do for climate change, but to ask what climate change can do for us.”

According to Hulme, climate change can do a lot: “Because the idea of climate change is so plastic, it can be deployed across many of our human projects and can serve many of our psychological, ethical, and spiritual needs.”

In other words, socialists like Hulme can frame the global warming issue to achieve unrelated goals such as sustainable development, income redistribution, population control, social justice, and many other items on the liberal/socialist wish list.

Knowingly Telling Lies

Like the notorious Stephen Schneider, who once said, “We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts one might have. ... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest,” Hulme writes, “We will continue to create and tell new stories about climate change and mobilise them in support of our projects.”

These “myths,” he writes, “transcend the scientific categories of ‘true’ and ‘false’.” He suggests that his fellow global warming alarmists promote four myths, which he labels Lamenting Eden, Presaging Apocalypse, Constructing Babel, and Celebrating Jubilee.

It is troubling to read a prominent scientist who has so clearly lost sight of his cardinal duty—to be skeptical of all theories and always open to new data. It is particularly troubling when this scientist endorses lying to advance his personal political agenda.

Read this book if you want insight into the mind of a scientist who has surrendered all moral authority to speak truthfully about global warming. Avoid it if you are looking for a book that explains why we disagree about climate change.


Major Australian conservative political party totally rejects any Warmist laws

The rural and regional-based National party invariably forms part of a coalition with the Centre-Right "Liberal" party in government but tends in general to be farther Right. There are however many global-warming skeptics in the Liberal party too

Before we go north of the Tweed, however, let's duck down to Canberra where at the historic Hyatt Hotel, the Nationals yesterday wound up their peak federal council meeting.

And very successful it was too. In the words of the party's federal director Brad Henderson, in his report to conference: "A new treatment of our logo, new website, in our annual report and with a new visual identity our contemporary new look tells Australians that we are changing."

What that "changing" meant became clear as the weekend progressed. In danger of dying a demographic death the Nationals have decided to rededicate themselves to their base.

Again in Henderson's words: "The nub of the changes that we are making is about more assertively advocating the interests of regional Australia."

The trouble is that in doing so they will henceforth not only be seeking to differentiate themselves from Labor but from the Liberals and Turnbull too.

Henderson in his report was clear about this. This new course, he said, "will require protection from bad or clumsy policy because regional Australia has the most to lose from policies like Labor's emissions trading scheme."

The possessive noun "Labor's" as applied to the emissions trading scheme is cursory, of course. What the Nationals really mean is that they are opposed to any ETS: a position the Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce made clear yesterday morning when interviewed on the Nine Network.

Asked by Laurie Oakes whether the Nationals at the conference had decided they wouldn't vote for an emissions trading system under any circumstances, Joyce replied: "That is correct."

Translated, that is a one-finger salute to Turnbull. In other words, no matter what amendments or concessions he manages to negotiate with the Rudd government before the ETS comes back before the Senate in November, the Nationals won't be having a bar of it.

And what's more, said Joyce, making policy not so much on the run as at a gallop, if the Coalition does win government at the next election they'll be dismantling whatever ETS is in place anyway.



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


Sunday, August 23, 2009


An email from Riley Still []

The gigantic Pine Island Glacier is apparently "melting" faster than it did before. By my sophisticated mathematical computations, the PIG drainage area contains significantly less than one percent (1%) of the ice in Antarctica. According to Wikipedia, the PIG's AREA is 10% of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet (WAIS) which has 10% of the ice in Antarctica. The PIG is not nearly as thick as the ice sheet on East Antarctica.

According to the BBC article: "the new data points to a lifespan for the vast ice stream of only another 100 years." [...] "One of the authors, Professor Andrew Shepherd of Leeds University, said that the melting from the centre of the glacier would add about 3cm to global sea level."

Three cm in 100 years! Hardly noticeable in one year much less 100.

Meanwhile, with the exception of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, also relatively small, and other smaller WAIS glaciers, overall ice mass in Antarctica is holding steady.

Hijackers of the "Arctic Sea" ship now in Russian hands claim to be conservationists

Below is a VERY rough translation from the original Finnish. The Arctic Sea is a Finnish ship

Arctic Sea: The men suspected of hijacking the ship belong to environmental groups, maintains a Russian news channel in a Vesti-TV interview. According to them, they were not violent. The crew in turn maintain the opposite. One of the detainees said in Cape Verde, in an interview that they did not use violence or the threat of the gun to anyone.

"So you claim to be environmentalists. What organization you represent," the interviewer asked. "I do not know if it was a private office", arrested in reply.

"We only wanted protection from the storm. We entered the ship on July 25. Then we were left on board, but for some reason, the captain refused to refuel our boat"

Interviewed were of the man that they had not been involved in arms and relationships with the crew were "good" and "friendly". Instead, the crew gives a different version of it. In the same news story crew members showed their hands and feet on which are traces of handcuffs and ropes. "Look, here is the overall dimension of plastic tracks. They tied us in, one crew member said to the TV camera.



The amount of carbon emissions caused by world forest destruction is likely far less than the 20 percent figure being widely used before global climate talks in December, said the head of the Brazilian institute that measures Amazon deforestation. Gilberto Camara, the director of Brazil's respected National Institute for Space Research, said the 20 percent tally was based on poor science but that rich countries had no interest in questioning it because the number put more pressure on developing countries to stem greenhouse gases.

"I'm not in favor of conspiracy theories," Camara told Reuters in a telephone interview on Friday. "But I should only state that the two people who like these figures are developed nations, who would like to overstress the contribution of developing nations to global carbon, and of course environmentalists."

A lower estimate for carbon emissions from deforestation would have an impact on the Copenhagen talks, where preserving forests is a top item on the agenda. The summit will negotiate a follow-up to the Kyoto climate change treaty that could introduce forest credit trade to cut developing nation deforestation.

Camara, who stressed that he thought Brazil's deforestation rates remain too high, said recent calculations by his institute using detailed satellite data showed clearing of the world's biggest forest accounted for about 2.5 percent of annual global carbon emissions.

Given that the Amazon accounts for about a quarter of deforestation globally, a figure of about 10 percent for total emissions caused by forest destruction is likely to be more accurate, Camara said. The 20 percent figure used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was based on calculations from sampling of forests by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), he said. The FAO method came up with an average annual figure of 31,000 sq km (12,000 sq miles) deforested in the Amazon from 2000-2005. But Brazil's method of using satellite images to measure deforestation "pixel by pixel" was far more accurate and showed a figure of 21,500 sq km for the period, Camara said.



The United States approved Enbridge Inc's $3.3 billion Alberta Clipper pipeline project on Thursday, granting the project, which will deliver Canadian oil to U.S. refineries, a presidential permit, and raising the ire of some environmental groups.

The U.S. State Department said that allowing construction of the 450,000 barrel per day line serves U.S. interests by adding secure oil supplies from outside the OPEC nations at a time when political tensions in some producing regions threaten to interfere with oil shipments.

"The department found that the addition of crude oil pipeline capacity between Canada and the United States will advance a number of strategic interests of the United States," it said in a statement. The department also said construction of the line would create jobs for U.S. workers in what it called a difficult economic period.



What's the climate change scare really about? Not what the alarmists want the public to think. Just ask the retiring head of Greenpeace. In an unguarded moment, he might spill the secret again.

During an Aug. 5 interview with the BBC, Gerd Leipold, outgoing executive director of Greenpeace, admitted that his organization emotionalizes issues to influence the public. At the time, he was admitting his group had made an error in its July 15 news release that claimed "we are looking at ice-free summers in the Arctic as early as 2030." "I don't think (the Greenland ice sheet) will be melting by 2030," he said. "That may have been a mistake."

Or maybe it was one of those examples that Greenpeace embellished to stir fear in the public? If so, it wouldn't be an isolated case. Others have admitted they're willing to bend the truth in order to draw attention to the cause.

Twenty years ago, Stanford University environmentalist Stephen Schneider told Discover magazine that it's perfectly fine "to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts we might have. . . . Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."

Al Gore noted the power of propaganda when he once told Grist, a magazine for environmentalists, that "it is appropriate to have an overrepresentation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience."

So why all the distortions about global warming? To save the planet, to save us from ourselves? No. To choke economies in developed nations, particularly the U.S. "We will definitely have to move to a different concept of growth," Leipold told the BBC's Stephen Sackur in the same interview in which he acknowledged Greenpeace's mistake. "The lifestyle of the rich in the world is not a sustainable model."

This same thinking is found in the minds of so many of the global warming alarmists. They say they can make the trouble go away if they can just force the U.S. and other developed nations to cut their levels of consumption.

When all the pretense about science is stripped away, it becomes clear that the global warming scare is not about the planet, but about establishing egalitarianism across the world. It's about making everyone more equal by slowing growth in rich nations rather than increasing growth in poor and developing countries.

The mind-set can be found in campaigns such as Climate Justice, which "is not only the right tool for climate stabilization," says Jin-woo Lee, a policy analyst for the Energy & Climate Policy Institute for Just Transition, but also "the underlying principle for global equity."

Greenpeace's Leipold said he believes the world is finally beginning to take global warming seriously. But that seems wildly optimistic. The movement looks to be losing momentum. Already 20,000 overnight hotel stays that had been reserved for the December United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen have been cancelled. Either a lot of people are losing interest — or they're thinking it will just be too cold.


Cut the carbon later on

Like the junior Pielke, Bjorn Lomborg (below) does not challenge the Warmists head-on. He just tries to get them to think logically about their own aims and assumptions. He might do some good but all signs are that the Warmist religion is not responsive to facts or logic. They just trust their High Priests implicitly

At its heart, much of the debate over climate change deals with just one divisive and vexing question: How big should cuts in carbon emissions be? This narrow focus makes the debate unconstructive. Everybody wants to prevent global warming and the real question is: How can we do that best?

We should be open to other ways to stop warming, such as cutting carbon emissions in the future instead of now or focusing on reducing emissions of other greenhouse gases. Global warming will create significant problems, so carbon reductions offer significant benefits.

Cutting carbon emissions, however, requires a reduction in the basic energy use that underpins modern society, so it also will mean significant costs.

Prominent climate economist Richard Tol, of Hamburg University in Germany, has analysed the benefits and costs of cutting carbon now v cutting it in the future. Cutting early will cost $US17.8 trillion ($21.6 trillion), whereas cutting later will cost just $US2trillion. Nonetheless, the reduction in CO2 concentration -- and hence temperature -- in 2100 will be greater from the future reductions. Cutting emissions now is much more expensive, because there are few, expensive, alternatives to fossil fuels. Our money simply doesn't buy as much as it will when green energy sources are more cost-efficient.

Tol strikingly shows that grand promises of drastic, immediate carbon cuts -- reminiscent of the call for 80 per cent reductions by mid-century that some politicians and lobbyists make -- are an incredibly expensive way of doing very little good. All the academic models show that, even if possible, limiting the increase in global temperature to 2 degrees C, as promised by the European Union and the G8, would cost a phenomenal 12.9 per cent of gross domestic product by the end of the century. This would be the equivalent of imposing a cost of more than $US4000 on each inhabitant every year, by the end of the century. Yet the damage avoided would likely amount to only $US700 for each inhabitant.

The real cost of ambitious, early and large carbon-cutting programs would be a reduction in growth -- particularly damaging to the world's poor -- to the tune of about $US40 trillion a year. The costs also would come much sooner than the benefits and persist much longer. For every dollar the world spends on this grand plan, the avoided climate damage would be worth only US2c.

It would be smarter to act cautiously by implementing a low carbon tax of about US50c a ton -- about US0.5c a gallon of gas or E0.1c a litre of petrol -- and increase it gradually through the century. This would not cut carbon emissions spectacularly, but neither would it be a spectacular waste of public funds. Each dollar would avoid $US1.51 of global warming damages, a respectable outcome.

Taxing fossil fuels to reduce carbon emissions is a sensible part of the solution to climate change, but it is not the only or best way to prevent warming. There are other ways to cut carbon from the atmosphere. One of these is protecting forests, since deforestation accounts for 17per cent of emissions. If we are serious about grand promises to keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees C, we obviously need to find ways of making this cheaper. Brent Sohngen, of Ohio State University in the US, points out that forests could be important: including forestry in the control of greenhouse gases could somewhat reduce costs.

Moreover, although politicians focus nearly exclusively on cutting carbon emissions, CO2 is not the only gas causing warming. The second biggest culprit is methane. Cutting methane is cheaper than cutting carbon and, because methane is a much shorter-lived gas than CO2, we can prevent some of the worst short-term warming through its mitigation. Agricultural production accounts for half of anthropogenic methane, but waste-water systems, landfills and coalmining also create the gas.

Claudia Kemfert, of the German Institute for Economic Research, argues that spending $US14 billion to $US30bn to reduce methane would create benefits -- from the reduction in warming -- between 1.4 and three times higher.

We could also put a bigger focus on reducing black carbon, considered responsible for as much as 40 per cent of present net warming and one-third of Arctic melting. Black carbon is essentially the soot produced by diesel emissions and -- in developing countries -- by the burning of organic matter to cook food and stay warm. It can be eliminated with cleaner fuels and new cooking technologies.

Doing so would yield other benefits as well. Sooty pollution from indoor fires claims several million lives each year, so reducing black carbon would be a life-saver. A team of economists led by David Montgomery estimates that spending $US359million could realistically slash 19per cent of black carbon emissions. This would have a significant cooling effect on the planet and would save 200,000 lives from pollution.

The net annual benefits would run into several billion dollars, which equates to $US3.60 worth of avoided climate damage for each dollar spent.

Costs and benefits matter. The best solution to climate change achieves the most good for the lowest cost. With this as our starting point, it is clear that a narrow focus on short-term carbon emission cuts is flawed. The most pertinent question of all is: Why don't we choose a solution to global warming that will actually work?


The AP's lying Seth Borenstein again

I mentioned this matter yesterday but did not mention that it was yet again a misleading article from Seth Borenstein that was mainly responsible for giving erections to many Warmists. Below therefore is part of a comment on Borenstein's assertions

The Seth Borenstein AP article about the recent high sea surface temperature is misleading. There is a significant difference between what Seth Borenstein reported and what NOAA stated in the July “State of the Climate”.

Borenstein does not clarify that it is a record for the month of July, where NOAA does. NOAA writes, “The global ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the warmest on record, 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F). This broke the previous July record set in 1998.” Refer to Figure 1, which is a graph of SST for July from 1982 to 2009 (NOAA’s ERSST.v3b version).

Borenstein readers are told that July 2009 Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) were the highest since records began, but that is false. Figure 2 illustrates monthly SSTs from November 1981 to July 2009. I’ve added a red horizontal line to show the July 2009 value.

Whether or not July SSTs represented a record is also dependent on the SST dataset. NOAA’s satellite-based Optimally Interpolated (OI,v2) dataset presents a different picture. That dataset clearly shows that July 1998, Figure 3, had a higher SST. See Figure 3

And looking at the monthly OI.v2 data since November 1981, Figure 4, there are numerous months with higher SSTs.



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


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Record July 2009 Sea Surface Temperatures? The View from Space

Warmists have been having orgasms over a recent report that the world average sea surface temperature reached a record high in July. A bit more data, however reveals it as just a normal oscillation -- as Roy Spencer shows below (Excerpt). Does the big low at the end of 2007 also mean global cooling or do both figures tell us nothing about permanent trends? You figure

Since NOAA has announced that their data show July 2009 global-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) reaching a record high for the month of July, I thought I would take a look at what the combined AMSR-E & TMI instruments on NASA’s Aqua and TRMM satellites (respectively) had to say. I thought it might at least provide an independent sanity check since NOAA does not include these satellite data in their operational product.

The SSTs from AMSR-E are geographically the most complete record of global SSTs available since the instrument is a microwave radiometer and can measure the surface through most cloud conditions. AMSR-E (launched on Aqua in May 2002) provides truly global coverage, while the TMI (which was launched on TRMM in late 1997) does not, so the combined SST product produced by Frank Wentz’s Remote Sensing Systems provides complete global coverage only since the launch of Aqua (mid-2002). Through a cooperative project between RSS, NASA, and UAH, The digital data are available from the same (NASA Discover) website that our daily tropospheric temperatures are displayed, but for the SSTs you have to read the daily binary files and compute the anomalies yourself. I use FORTRAN for this, since it’s the only programming language I know.

As can be seen in the following plot of running 11 day average anomalies, July 2009 was indeed the warmest month during the relatively short Aqua satellite period of record, with the peak anomaly occurring about July 18.

The large and frequent swings in global average temperature are real, and result from changes in the rate at which water evaporates from the ocean surface. These variations are primarily driven by tropical Intraseasonal Oscillations, which change tropical-average surface winds by about 2 knots from lowest wind conditions to highest wind conditions.

As can be seen, the SSTs started to fall fast during the last week of July. If you are wondering what I think they will do in the coming months, well, that’s easy…I have no clue.

(Bigger image of the above here)

More HERE (See the original for links)

‘Save the planet’ sounds a lovely idea but . . .

. . . if we try to deal with climate change by turning our backs on economic growth, the poor will pay the heaviest price

By Oliver Kamm, writing from Britain

I took part in a Radio 3 discussion recently about the new age of austerity. A poet on the programme argued for the simple virtues. The recession, he said, would give consumers in rich societies an opportunity to rediscover thrift and conservation. The future of the planet depended on a curb to materialism and acquisitiveness.

That message is today’s green orthodoxy, and its advocates have a reassuring air of humanitarian concern. But it is a reactionary notion. To the student of economic history, it recalls nothing so much as the pocket sermons of the original do-nothing Republican, President Herbert Hoover. As the global economy succumbed to the Great Depression, Hoover looked on the bright side of financial panic. “It will purge the rottenness out of the system,” he declared. “High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life.”

Anti-materialism has perennial appeal, and there is a fringe of the modern green movement that specialises in smug jeremiad. “This time around,” writes a founder of Greenpeace International, “we’re not going to recover from global recession by consuming more resources and energy. Growth cannot solve the problems created by growth.”

Shome mishtake, shurely? A recession is, by definition, consecutive quarters of negative growth. Personal consumption is the biggest component of national income. If we consume more, then recovery will come. The question that less strident environmentalists raise is whether the use of resources can be made sustainable, so that present and future human needs are met while the environment is preserved. That sounds a moderate aim but it’s full of problems.

Green campaigners are rightly concerned with environmental degradation. There is copious evidence of global warming due to man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that trap heat. The pace of glacial retreat and a rise in sea levels confirm it. The journalists and politicians who take issue with the science are no more credible than the ones (sometimes the same people) who dispute Darwin. Climate change poses not only environmental hazards. The desperately poor state of Bangladesh faces twin threats of catastrophic flooding and Islamist militancy. Amid the devastation of low-lying areas and a mass flight to higher ground, malevolent extremism might thrive.

For all that, environmentalism is a flawed idea. Its weakness is not that it lacks justice, but that it lacks a sense of priorities. How do you rank global warming relative to women’s rights in Afghanistan or the prevention of genocide in Darfur? “Save the planet” is an exhortation, not a policy, and it doesn’t get you far. In particular, it gives no guidance on how to weigh present needs, such as eradicating poverty in the developing world, against future constraints on natural resources. In short, it does not deal with trade-offs. That is a big omission.

If the planet faced catastrophe on the scale envisaged by the theorists of the “limits to growth”, then all public policy ought indeed to be subordinated to preventing it. But not even greens, beyond a few dystopian survivalists, argue that case. They instead invoke the Precautionary Principle (the capital letters are important, apparently).

Oddly, this has no fixed definition but is cited widely and vaguely by organisations such as Unesco as a strategy for guarding against serious, and especially irreversible, damage to natural resources. The problem, as Dick Taverne, the Liberal Democrat peer, has pointed out, is that because the Precautionary Principle “operates asymmetrically and emphasises possible harm, not benefit, it is bound to tilt the balance against innovation”. And if there is one resource that is almost infinitely renewable, it is human inventiveness.

It is not fanciful to expect substitutes for fossil fuels to be developed, to the benefit of the environment. It has happened continually. The alternative to environmentalist prescriptions is not the Pollyanna Principle. It is a recognition that our knowledge of the effects of climate change is limited, and that solutions do occur as innovation substitutes new products for old. If we elevate environmental concerns above all other goals, as a matter of policy, then there will be costs. Greens should be open that the biggest costs will almost inevitably be borne by the poorest people.

As the international economy recovers, policymakers will seek to stimulate domestic demand in the rapidly industrialising nations of China and India. Making people richer in previously poor nations is a good thing. But it will increase pollution and carbon emissions.

The relationship between living standards and pollution is complex. Some economists believe the relationship is like an inverted U-curve, in which pollution increases as per capita incomes in a developing country increase, but then declines once a certain standard of living is reached. It makes intuitive sense that people value the environment more when they have enough to eat and various material wants are satisfied.

If this is right, then the most effective long-term route to preserving the environment will be to encourage growth in the developing world. Insisting on unrealistic pollution targets now will work against that goal. But in any event, there is a short-run trade-off between environmental standards and an increase in economic welfare in the developing world.

It is far from obvious that the environment takes precedence. And there are ominous protectionist currents in green campaigns. The former Vice-President Al Gore has argued that “weak and ineffectual enforcement of pollution control measures should also be included in the definition of unfair trading practices”.

No, it shouldn’t. Integration into the global trading system benefits poor countries. They can specialise in what they produce, become more productive and thereby get richer.

That is also the long-term route to a cleaner environment. Closed economies in the developing world do not benefit from the advanced clean technologies used by multinational companies. China under Mao was an extreme case of a self-sufficient economy that emphasised local production and it was an environmental disaster. A blast furnace in every village produced unusable steel and toxic fumes. Growth and open trade are the route to a better quality of life. It is a surpassing irony that today’s green evangelists won’t recognise it.


The Real Climate Agenda

So, if the orthodox climate science is wrong, what's the real motivation for action - the real agenda? First, allow me to present a brief metaphorical context for framing the answer.

On a dark December night 36 years ago, a Lockheed 1011 jumbo jet crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing over 100 people. During the final approach to Miami, the crew noticed that one green light had failed to illuminate -- a light that indicates whether or not the nose landing gear has extended successfully. The pilots discontinued the approach, set the aircraft into a circling holding pattern over the pitch-black Everglades, and turned their attention toward investigating the problem. They became so preoccupied with their search that they failed to realize the plane was gradually descending closer and closer toward the dark swamp below. By the time someone noticed what was happening, it was too late to avoid the disaster.

Put in our current context, the unlit bulb created a diversionary scare, a false warning of certain disaster and death, while the real threat was the plane's downward spiral into a dark swamp of no return. Environmentalism generally and catastrophic man-made global warming specifically is a falsified diversionary scare distracting us from the fall of our Republic into the dark, stinking swamp of statism.

The Earth's climate system, like the Lockheed 1011's landing system, is functioning normally -- as it has always functioned. But our deadly green deception is no accident. It is here by design, with purpose: it is here to cause us to discontinue America's approach -- our children and generations of children's approach -- to the destination of American exceptionalism and the liberty purchased with the blood of patriots.

Americanism, our birthright, the only true hope of this planet's peoples, is being deliberately attacked from without and from within by determined, often wealthy, statists. We no longer have representative government, but are ruled by an alien ideology. Understand that the federal government is not us, it is them. And we can count on them always being them. That is, to be the embodiment of Lord Acton's axiom that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

And where will this corruption of power lead if unchecked? More and more today, under the guise of fabricated "planetary population and environmental crises," men give sanction to the state's bursting the limits of its proper function -- with the clear and present danger of its becoming a planet-embracing Leviathan, driven by a malevolent culture of Malthusian-based eugenics. This mind-set propounds at every point of policy wealth destruction and redistribution for "social justice," and population control and reduction for "environmental sustainability."

Too dark to be believable?

Consider that President Obama's top science adviser, climate Czar, John Holdren, is a long-time globalist who has endorsed and advocated for "surrender of sovereignty" to "a comprehensive Planetary Regime" that would control the entire world's resources, direct global redistribution of wealth, oversee the "de-development" of the West, control a World Army and taxation regime, and enforce world population limits. He has castigated the United States as "the meanest of wealthy countries," written a justification for compulsory abortion and sterilization of American women, advocated drastically lowering the U.S. standard of living, and left the door open to trying global warming "deniers" for crimes against humanity.

This is the business the UN's IPCC is about. This is the eventual end-game of cap-and-trade policy. If it passes the Senate this coming September, and is signed into law, we will have passed the event horizon: the America we inherited will implode.

For the first time since America's incarnation, it will then be the official, codified policy of the federal government that the present generation must have its liberty and prosperity diminished without limits; and for the next generation, the American Dream will become criminalized. All in the name of a non-existent climate crisis.

War is upon us whether we will it or not. It is time to become angry. It is time to engage. As President Reagan said of winning the Cold War: "If not now, when? If not us, who?"


Privatize ANWR

Last year at this time, as gas prices rose and the economy tanked, the hot button issue was energy. The Left believed that humans were overindulging and the only action to take was to reduce the nation’s “carbon footprint.” While the Right believed that America should only increase production of domestic oil.

For the average American, recycling and drilling a little more probably seems like a good idea. Those ideas are very different than allowing the government to mandate recycling and subsidize drilling. This, of course, causes two major problems. The first solution restricts American’s freedoms while the second continues the spending of an already fiscally troubled nation.

But, what if there was a third option that could simultaneously get the efficient amount of energy out of America while preserving the environment? Well, there is. It is called: implementing private property rights. Private property rights allow individuals to decide what type of grass to grow after they purchase a home. And it can be applied to many of the energy problems the world faces today.

Take the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) owned by the government and the source of constant debate for drilling versus conservation. If private individuals were allowed to own the land, instead of the government, then society would get the most efficient balance of energy production versus conservation.

This is because private ownership of property allocates resources more efficiently due to people’s willingness to pay through a market price system. For example, when Adam goes to the bar he sees a beer for five dollars. The bar is expressing that at any value below five dollars they would rather keep the beer. When Adam exchanges his money for this beer, he is expressing that he values the beer at five dollars (if not more).

If this simple economic exchange were put to work in ANWR, the environmentalists and the corporations would bid for the ownership of the land. If the environmentalists value the land as a place of sanctuary more than new entrepreneurs value the oil, then environmentalists would get the property.

The environmentalists may say that they cannot possibly compete with corporations that earn profits. But the alternative is to allow greedy politicians to decide what group they can get the most votes and campaign money from, using the force of law to impose their will.

The truth is that environmentalists can compete, though they may not be able to prevent all possible efficient economic activity on the land. They would, however, be able to monitor every activity on their land while funding their causes.

Economists Emily Schaeffer and Walter Block find the example of the Audubon Society, which owns and operates the Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary. This 26,000-acre sanctuary located in Louisiana has been pumping millions of dollars worth of natural gas, while keeping the land beautiful.

The reason that the land remains beautiful is due to private ownership. The society monitors the practices of the extraction of natural gas and benefits from the profits. Implementing this solution would bring Americans the most efficient balance between energy and conservation, since those who own the property will take the most care of it and find the best uses for it.


WA: Seattle voters reject bag tax

Seattle voters firmly rejected Referendum 1, which would have made Seattle the first city in the nation to go after both plastic and paper shopping bags. The defeat — 58 percent to 42 percent, with more than half of the expected votes counted — means an ordinance passed by the Seattle City Council last year will not take effect. Had Referendum 1 passed, grocers, convenience marts and drugstores would have charged shoppers 20 cents for each bag they were provided at checkout counters.

Supporters of the charge pinned the loss on a heavily funded opponent that outspent them 15-to-1, but they said the campaign had laid the grass-roots foundation for future efforts. "Big money can come in and run deceptive scare campaigns, but in the end, people who care will defeat the people who scare," said Green Bag Campaign spokesman Brady Montz.

Most of the anti-fee campaign's $1.4 million came from the Virginia-based American Chemistry Council. Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission staff said that group's $500,000 contribution in mid-July was the largest for a local ballot measure in recent history. "I think the results confirm what the coalition has said from the beginning, that it was a costly and unnecessary tax," said Adam Parmer, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop the Seattle Bag Tax. "I think you saw Seattle voters saying that this was not the right approach to protecting our environment."

The city hoped the 20-cent charge would encourage Seattle consumers to stop using throwaway shopping bags and instead take their purchases home in recycled bags or reusable totes, reducing waste. Stores with annual revenues of less than $1 million would have kept the 20 cents to cover their costs, while those grossing more would have kept 25 percent and passed the rest on to the city for recycling, environmental education and reusable bags for low-income consumers. The City Council ordinance was to take effect this year, but opposition forces quickly collected enough signatures to put the issue before voters.

Opponents regularly labeled the charge a tax rather than a fee and called it unnecessary and misguided. They said it would backfire — that as throwaway bags were phased out, people who now reuse them at home in various ways would start buying sturdier plastic bags that are even worse for the environment.


Australia: Another Greenie scare evaporates

Would you believe the evils of dredging a deeper shipping channel into Melbourne?

THEY just won't give up. "Time will tell," moaned a Blue Wedges Coalition spokesman this week. Sure, Port Phillip Bay isn't rotten with the mutant fish the eco-alarmists predicted. Sure, swimmers don't emerge from the waters glowing fiendishly from the "radioactive" waste that Green Wedges was sure would come, making "a trip to the beach a risky outing". Eels aren't flopping weakly on the beaches, poisoned to their gasping gills by "high levels of toxins" or "toxic algae blooms". Nor do the seas roaring through the unplugged Heads now cause "flooding in low-lying areas" or lap the steps of Parliament House.

But think Blue Wedges activists, who cost us millions through their scares, could finally admit they were wrong? Could they admit that the dredging of the bay's shipping lanes, now finished at last, has not caused the devastation they so wildly predicted, with the uncritical support of The Age? Not a bit of it. Being green means never having to say you're sorry -- sorry for being a reckless scaremonger whose two court actions and endless claims of doom helped cost taxpayers another $120 million in legal costs and extra green-proofing of a project that's so vital for the state's trade, now that container ships are much bigger.

Instead, as the giant Queen of the Netherlands dredger departs this week, a good job finished, there was Blue Wedges yet again, warning of monsters. "Time will tell," its spokesman said. Already, he claimed, we'd "lost a generation of anchovies". Indeed, on the Blue Wedges website remains its warning from April: that with these anchovies gone, the penguin colony at Phillip Island could "crash" in autumn.

Well, autumn has gone, but the penguins haven't, which suggests the fishiest thing about Blue Wedges' latest scare isn't the anchovies. Sure enough, the Office of the Environmental Monitor says this claim of "missing" anchovies seems based on no more than a sampling error. Ho hum.

You may say, let it go. Blue Wedges has lost, the rest of the state has won. We have our deeper shipping lanes, and leave the activists to think they at least ensured no fish need fear for it's future. But no. How many scares have we now seen not come to pass? Count 'em -- the scares about nuclear winter, acid rain, giant famines, DDT, the Y2K bug, SARS, avian flu and this swine flu that Australia's chief medical officer warned could kill 20,000 of us this season alone. Now we're told that if we don't turn off the lights we face a warming hell few humans can hope to survive. Seriously.

Enough with the panic merchants. Hold them to account before they slip free to fight another alarmist cause. Blue Wedges was wrong, and was always going to be wrong. The Age was wrong, and was always going to be wrong. Scraping a deeper trench in a giant bay was never going to end all marine life as we know it.

Not that The Age will admit it. For instance, it still hasn't informed readers that its claim that the dredging had caused dead fish to wash up at Newport was false. Just as it won't admit the planet it keeps claiming is warming has spent the past eight years cooling. "Time will tell," comes that moan again. Actually, buster, time has told. And it's told against you.



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


Friday, August 21, 2009


An email from Don Keiller, Department of Life Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge []

I am one of those who have asked CRU for their data - on the basis that papers that rely on non-substantiated data cannot be reproduced and therefore should be withdrawn. See request to CRU, below also copied to Professor Jones. I have had an acknowledgement of receipt:
Dear Mrs Palmer,

I have been reading with increasing disbelief the litany of excuses offered by CRU FOI Officers to Steve McIntyre at "Climate Audit" ( to refuse release of original temperature data held at CRU. The refusal of FOI requests on the basis of confidentiality agreements which were either "verbal", or "lost" is clearly illegal. If you cannot substantiate these agreements, then they are null and void.

Similarly the refusal to provide data to allow fellow scientists access to original data to reproduce published findings strikes at the very heart of scientific enquiry. Papers produced without such supporting data become hearsay and must be withdrawn.

Accordingly I make the following FOI request, confirming that I am a academic who has published in the area of climate change in the past and that I currently work in an academic institution.
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (2000) "General right of access to information held by public authorities"

In this Act any reference to a “request for information” is a reference to such a request which-

(a) is in writing,
(b) states the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence, and
(c) describes the information requested.

For the purposes of subsection (1)(a), a request is to be treated as made in writing where the text of the request-

(a) is transmitted by electronic means,
(b) is received in legible form, and
(c) is capable of being used for subsequent reference.

I hereby request:

1. A copy of any digital version of the CRUTEM station data set that has been sent from CRU to Peter Webster and/or any other person at Georgia Tech between January 1, 2007 and June 25, 2009

2. A copy of any instructions or stipulations accompanying the transmission of data to Peter Webster and/or any other person at Georgia Tech between January 1, 2007 and June 25, 2009 limiting its further dissemination or disclosure.

A pesky economist

Last week, I met with representatives from Repower America about possibly participating (as a panelist) in Repower Ohio's "Made in America" Town Hall Event. In particular, they were looking for 'experts' to attest that:

Investing $150 billion a year in America's clean energy economy could generate a net increase of 1.7 million jobs. Furthermore, with comprehensive climate and clean energy policies, American households could start seeing savings within just a few years and these savings could reach an average of $900 per year by 2030.

I explained to them that I would be glad to help out and explain that clean energy could produce 1.7 million jobs, but I have an obligation to my own integrity as an economist to point out that these jobs come at a cost to other sectors and the net effect is unclear. Besides, jobs is not the right measuring stick for the success or failure of energy legislation.

From the inbox (today):
I appreciate you offering to help us for the August 27th event but I feel that we are looking for someone who is more directly supportive of our cause and can speak to their reasons why at the event. If we have other events coming up, I will definitely contact you to see if you can help point us in the right direction.

Oh well, I tried.


Some interesting comments about "required" conclusions attached to the above post


Nicola Scafetta has a new paper in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics: ‘Empirical analysis of the solar contribution to global mean air surface temperature change’. The paper finds a large influence from the sun on climate change

The Abstract states:

The solar contribution to global mean air surface temperature change is analyzed by using an empirical bi-scale climate model characterized by both fast and slow characteristic time responses to solar forcing. Since 1980 the solar contribution to climate change is uncertain because of the severe uncertainty of the total solar irradiance satellite composites. The sun may have caused from a slight cooling, if PMOD TSI composite is used, to a significant warming (up to 65% of the total observed warming) if ACRIM, or other TSI composites are used. The model is calibrated only on the empirical 11-year solar cycle signature on the instrumental global surface temperature since 1980. The model reconstructs the major temperature patterns covering 400 years of solar induced temperature changes, as shown in recent paleoclimate global temperature records.

The Conclusion states:

Herein I have analyzed the solar contribution to global mean air surface temperature change. A comprehensive interpretation of multiple scientific findings indicates that the contribution of solar variability to climate change is significant and that the temperature trend since 1980 can be large and upward. However, to correctly quantify the solar contribution to the recent global warming it is necessary to determine the correct TSI behavior since 1980. Unfortunately, this cannot be done with certainty yet. The PMOD TSI composite, which has been used by the IPCC and most climate modelers, has been found to be based on arbitrary and questionable assumptions (Scafetta and Willson, 2009). Thus, it cannot be excluded that TSI increased from 1980 to 2000 as claimed by the ACRIM scientific team.

The IPCC (2007) claim that the solar contribution to climate change since 1950 is negligible may be based on wrong solar data in addition to the fact that the EBMs and GCMs there used are missing or poorly modeling several climate mechanisms that would significantly amplify the solar effect on climate. When taken into account the entire range of possible TSI satellite composite since 1980, the solar contribution to climate change ranges from a slight cooling to a significant warming, which can be as large as 65% of the total observed global warming.


POLAR BEARS: More likely to be endangered by obesity than warming

Too many cool, wet days resulted in a lousy summer -- but you won't find any polar bears complaining. The cooler-than-usual summer produced thicker ice on Hudson Bay, giving the area's polar bear population several extra days to feed on tasty ringed seals. "This is the time of year when polar bears eat the most, and the ringed seals are so full of fat and energy," said Daryll Hedman, the northeast regional wildlife manager for Manitoba Conservation.

Hedman said polar bears stay on the Hudson Bay ice for as long as possible so they can feed, adding this year the ice was so thick that the bears stayed out for an extra two weeks. That's resulted in fatter, healthier bears this summer, Hedman said, adding the development is not likely a long-term trend. "It's probably a blip," Hedman said of the thicker ice and cooler temperatures.

Last month, the Polar Bear Specialist Group -- scientists from Denmark, Norway, Russia, the U.S. and Canada -- passed a resolution to urge the governments to take the animals into consideration when planning Arctic development.


Big backflip in Britain: "No need to cut travel to save the planet"

Personal sacrifices are not necessary in the fight against global warming, according to Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary, who promised that greener technologies would mean Britons should have no need to cut back on travel. “We don’t need to have a hair-shirt approach,” Lord Adonis said on a visit to Beijing to review China’s high-speed rail network and the latest developments in electric and hybrid cars. “If you can radically cut emissions as a result of new transport technology it is not necessary to face people with an ‘either-or’ choice between a low carbon future and big cuts in travel.”

Green campaigners have argued that sacrifices will be necessary if the world is serious about cutting carbon emissions, with conscientious consumers facing tough choices between "saving the planet" and, for example, enjoying low-cost flights to Europe.

However Lord Adonis, a former Liberal Democrat who switched to Lbaour to become head of policy for Tony Blair, said it was not realistic to expect people to curtail their travel habits in the name of global warming. Instead Briton could meet green targets through technology such as ultra low carbon cars, new generations of low-emission aircraft and electrified rail lines that cut rail carbon emissions by a third compared with using diesel locomotives.

“We’ll never sell a low-carbon future to the public if it depends on a deprivation model. I’m convinced that there’s no necessary trade-off between a low carbon future and more or less transport,” he said. “The critical factor is the deployment of technology and the intelligent use of pricing and policy mechanisms to regulate emissions.”

This December the world will meet in Copenhagen to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Treaty in an attempt to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels, the benchmark set by the UN to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Lord Adonis, who recently returned from holiday where his beach-reading included The Politics of Climate Change by Professor Anthony Giddens, is currently pushing for Britain to build a £20bn high-speed north-south rail link. A decision on whether to build the 185mph line, which would significantly cut journey times between London and the North and reduce the need for domestic air travel, is expected to be taken early next year, before the General Election.

A Government-commissioned study by Booz Allen Hamilton, a consultancy, recently raised doubts over whether a high-speed link would be more environmentally friendly than flying, particularly over short distances such as London to Manchester.

However Lord Adonis said that green considerations were only a small factor in arguing for the high-speed link which would follow the lead set up European countries like Germany and France and now being actively investigated by the US. “The primary reason for a high-speed rail link is not the environment but the need to build capacity on our rail network. Carbon reduction is one argument, but building capacity is by far the most compelling one,” he said.


Some Greenie face-saving in Australia

SOME new conditions are being placed on coal-power generators in Queensland which, on the face of it, sound like positive news for the environment.

Announced just minutes ago (from when I started typing!) as part of Queensland’s just-released climate change strategy, the Government has announced it will not allow any new dirty coal-fired power stations to be built in the state.

But there’s a get-out clause - and it’s quite a big one. Hang on - let’s put that another way. It’s HUGE, because some coal-fired power will be allowed.

While generators will have to use “world’s best practice low emission technology” they will also have to show their new power station will be ready to retrofit Carbon Capture and Storage technology - a technology still unproven. What’s more, they’ll have to fit the aforementioned unproven technology within five years of it being proven on a commercial scale.

I’d like to meet the person who has to check that the power plant is ready for something which doesn’t yet exist.

Similarly loose-fitting restrictions have been placed on new coal-fire plants in England, where the Government says it doesn’t expect carbon capture to be demonstrated commercially for at least another decade.



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


Thursday, August 20, 2009


After they have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted even to keep records of the data they are paid to collect. Crookedness is just endemic to Warmism. It's the only way they can keep their claims alive

Though a striking number of prominent scientists have recently recanted their initial belief in manmade global warming, joining an already robust community of distinguished skeptics, those who continue to advance the theory could be their own worst enemy. Whatever the truth is about anthropogenic climate change - the contention that carbon dioxide emitted by human industrial activity - the tendency among some climate-change believers to embellish the effects of planetary warming has only served to undermine their credibility in the eyes of the public and, less so, the media.

For years, global warming advocates held up every calving ice shelf, failed crop or natural disaster as proof of a dawning warming apocalypse; whether it was too much rain, or not enough - either way, it was abnormal, and the fault of Big Oil and anyone questioning that, labeled a “denier.” As Vicky Pope, a senior British climatologist, citing overblown claims of rapid melting of arctic sea ice, and the ice sheet around Greenland, bemoaned earlier this year, for scientists, “overplaying natural variations in the weather as climate change is just as much a distortion of the science as underplaying them to claim that climate change has stopped or is not happening.”

But probably nothing could damage the credibility of climate change believers [more] than the recent revelation by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) that it has lost or destroyed all the original data used to construct historic global temperature records. The CRU, at the University of East Anglia in the UK, which has been using information collected from weather stations across the globe for decades, is probably the most widely cited source worldwide for those mounting a case that the earth has exhibited an inexorable warming trend: its website boasts that CRU’s research has “set the agenda for the major research effort in, and political preoccupation with, climate research.” The critical raw climate data responsible, which scientists of all climate-creeds have a natural interest in, is now gone, apparently, forever. With the exception of a handful of countries that the CRU has agreements with to sell its data, all that remains for the bulk of the statistics are “value added” versions, which is to say, consolidated, homogenized data. Actually, the CRU says it doesn’t even have all the data for countries it has data-sharing agreements with. “We know that there were others, but cannot locate them, possibly as we've moved offices several times during the 1980s,” the CRU writes in a rather embarrassing explanation for all this posted on its website.

The Unit makes this admission now, coincidentally, as it faced a flurry of requests, under Britain’s Freedom of Information Act, to make available its data to interested researchers. The CRU, it seems, had not been much in a sharing mood prior to that. UK's register reports that Professor Phil Jones, the fellow in charge of maintaining the CRU data set, told an Australian researcher a few years back that he refused to publicly share his statistics. “We have 25 or so years 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?” The idea that scientific progress rests completely on the constant testing and retesting, verifying and refuting, of studies, seems not to be shared by Mr. Jones, even though this particular data set had massive implications for policymaking in pretty well every country on the planet.

Unfortunately for him, as part of a publicly managed and funded organization, his group was nonetheless subject to transparency laws, and so, when researchers sought to shake the data loose without his consent, it had mysteriously vanished. “We have never had sufficient resources to keep track of the exact source of each individual monthly value,” they explained in coming up dry for the FOI requests. As Stephen McIntyre, the Canadian economist famous for his addiction to poring through volumes of mind-numbing climate statistics, and occasionally finding errors (as he did, with Ross McKitrick, in deconstructing and undermining the famous “hockey stick” graph), writes on his Climate Audit blog, it appears that the impoverished CRU even lacked filing cabinets in which to store its records.

With access only to “homogenized” consolidated data, there is no way for researchers - skeptical or believers - to verify or refute the original statistics or calculations behind the CRU’s widely relied-upon weather information. The data could be accurate, or not. It could be that temperatures haven’t been warming at the rate the CRU claims, or it could be that they’re warming faster, perhaps arguing for an even direr situation for the planet. Nor can the raw data be run through different modeling programs in order to corroborate conclusions, or question them. The science is permanently frozen into the CRU’s original grid, and we are, evidently, forced to assume everything is perfectly accurate, a relatively rare thing in complex statistical calculations compiled over decades.

Which is why Mr. McIntyre (who has also found evidence that could, maybe, suggest that the CRU has been deleting important data files from its servers) isn’t the only one incredulous and indignant over the CRU’s missing records. Roger Pielke, a professor at the University of Colorado Center for Science and Technology Policy Research is a firm believer in global warming. But even he calls this a “big” “misstep,” writing on his blog that “just because climate change is important and because there are opponents to action that will seize upon whatever they can to make their arguments, does not justify overlooking or defending this degree of scientific sloppiness and ineptitude.” Scientists of all climate creeds know that access to basic data is critical to keeping research credible. Of course, the CRU is only one of a couple key organizations whose research based on historical weather data is used to support global warming theory. Given that the Unit has admitted now that it cannot fully substantiate its work, it raises the uncomfortable question of whether CRU’s historic climate research should be used any longer at all.


Ethanol nonsense

Using Ethanol leads to INCREASED Gasoline consumption, says Harry Wertheimer, who is a retired automotive engineer

Many aspects of the use of corn based ethanol in motor fuel are well known. This “renewable” source of energy was alleged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and start the nation on the path to energy independence. In the pursuit of these goals, the federal government has mandated wide usage of gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol. Billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent subsidizing the production of ethanol for use in fuel. In this report, I will show that using 10 percent ethanol blended in gasoline results in higher petroleum usage than if the ethanol were not used.

Before turning to that task, here are some salient facts regarding the use of corn-based ethanol in motor fuel:

1. Using ethanol in our fuel almost certainly does NOT cut the emissions of carbon dioxide, especially if deforestation to grow corn is considered. Further, it has been documented that ethanol leads to increased emissions of VOCs and oxides of nitrogen. California requested, but was denied, a federal exemption from mandated ethanol usage.

2. The use of corn to produce fuel has raised food prices around the world.

3. Many gasoline-powered machines, such as boats, lawn, farm, and construction equipment are being damaged by ethanol-blended gasoline. Apparently some modern cars are affected also, notably certain recent Lexus models.

4. Ethanol cannot be transported in gasoline pipelines. This means it must be moved by truck or rail. Not only does that add to the cost and to highway congestion, but there is a safety issue as evidenced by two recent horrible accidents (one truck and the derailment of tank cars in Chicago resulting in fierce fires and at least one fatality).

5. A huge quantity of water is needed to make ethanol from corn. This aggravates shortages of fresh water in many parts of our nation.

However, one aspect of ethanol has not previously been considered. That is that it very likely increases the nation’s consumption of fossil fuel. But, you say, the very purpose of using ethanol is to reduce our dependence on imported petroleum. Well, I’m not a rocket scientist, but I am a mechanical engineer with 32 years of work experience in the automotive industry and another 12 in energy distribution. I have been a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers for 52 years. Using my background and my own experience, I will show that a given trip, say, one that would require 100 gallons of unadulterated gasoline would require more fossil fuel if the trip were made with a 10 percent ethanol blend (E10).

Consider: Based on data from the EPA, a gallon of ethanol contains about 76,100 Btu, while a typical gallon of gasoline has 114,000 Btu. Crunching the numbers shows that E10 has about 3.3 percent less energy than 100 percent gasoline and thus could be expected to decrease fuel mileage by that percentage. If the only degradation in gas mileage with E10 were 3.3 percent, you would not be reading this article. However, I have been fortunate to find a local source of 100 percent gasoline near my home. I have made a careful comparison of mileage with E10 vs. that with pure gasoline. It is well known that gas mileage varies depending on whether the driving is highway or local. So in order to make a valid comparison, I have taken advantage of the trip computer in my 2008 Nissan Rogue and recorded the average speed (mph) for every tank full of fuel. (See chart below.) For the (tank average) speed range of 27 to 53 MPH, using pure gasoline gave me an average of 7.8 percent better mileage than E101. I know this is anecdotal, but others who fill up at the same station report similar savings with the ethanol-free fuel.

Return now to that hypothetical trip that took 100 gallons of pure gasoline (E0). Based on my experience, the same trip would require 107.8 gallons of E10. Agreed? Ten percent of this E10 usage would be 10.78 gallons of ethanol. Well, from that we note that the energy equivalent of the ethanol would be 7.2 gallons of gasoline. (10.78 x 76,100 / 114,00 = 7.2) But not even ethanol protagonists allege that a gallon of ethanol requires less than 75 percent of its energy content to produce. So that 7.2 gallons would need the equivalent of 5.4 gallons of gasoline to produce. (7.2 x 0.75 = 5.4) Thus the trip with E10 would need 102.4 gallons of gasoline or its equivalent. (107.8 - 10.78 + 5.4 = 102.4) Which is to say that by using 10 percent ethanol in my fuel, I am using 2.4 percent more fossil fuel than if our misguided government had not modified our motor fuel in the first place.

It is patently obvious that the government's ethanol mandates and subsidies have but one indisputable effect: They enrich the corn growers and the ethanol producers at the expense of the rest of us taxpayers. When, oh when will courageous people in government stand up to the farm and ethanol producer (think ADM) lobbies and declare that there should be an end to this blatant scam on the American public? Think of what those billions in wasted subsidies could do for our troubled economy.

SOURCE (See the original for graphic)

Barack Obama critics take aim at carbon reforms after health reform success

Opponents of Barack Obama have opened up a second front in the attack on his core political agenda by launching a campaign against proposals for a "cap and trade" carbon emissions scheme. Inspired by the success of protests against health care reform, the critics began their fight against the carbon scheme with a rally in Houston, Texas. Several Right-wing groups opposed to what they see as Mr Obama's tendency towards "big government" are involved in both campaigns, and hope to defeat or emasculate the two central pillars of the president's domestic agenda.

A coalition of 17 business and conservative groups, backed by dozens of local organisations, will stage further events in 19 other states over the next three weeks and has told its millions of members to bombard their representatives in Washington with calls and emails.

Conservative pressure has already forced Mr Obama to backtrack on key elements of his plans to provide health insurance to all Americans, such as the proposal for a government health insurance body. Like the agitators against the president's plans for health reform, the alliance, known as Energy Citizens, plans to influence congressmen and senators visiting their districts and states during the August break. The campaign will concentrate on areas where the coal or oil industry is based or where moderate Democrats are nervous about re-election in next year's midterm elections.

Many meetings on the health debate have become heated, and concerns have risen that they could turn violent after at least 12 armed men were seen outside a convention centre where the president was addressing military veterans in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday. At least two carried assault rifles and attracted the close attention of the police and the Secret Service, which guards the president. Police said the men did not need permits, as Arizona has an "open carry" gun law.

Cathy Landry, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, which is co-ordinating the energy bill campaign, said: "We will not be shouting down congressmen, but we want to surge senators that we would like them to get this right."

Democratic leaders in the Senate have set a deadline of the end of September to finalise a cap-and-trade bill, after the House of Representatives narrowly passed its own version earlier in the summer. That bill would set limits on carbon emissions and require polluting industries to buy carbon allowances from those that pollute less.

Mr Obama claims the bill will slow global warming and reduce dependence on foreign sources of fossil fuels but critics have said it would however raise energy costs and lead to substantial job losses.

Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau, a member of the coalition, said the current House plans would lead to a shortage of energy in about 2020 as alternative energy sources such as wind and solar would not develop at the forecast rate. "There are serious flaws. There is no provision for other countries to come up with comparative commitments, so it is not clear what beneficial effect there will be on climate change," he said. His organisation has encouraged its 6.2 million mostly rural member families to attend the rallies or to contact their congressmen making their objections clear. "Members of the senate and congress are hearing strong reactions against health care and on climate change," he added. "There may be a dual effect where resistance to one builds resistance to the other."

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a pressure group involved in opposing Mr Obama on both fronts, said: "Cap and trade has just come on top of everything else – the massive stimulus, the $1 trillion budget, health care. "We are just people who don't want the government to get bigger, too expensive and too intrusive, a government that will tell you what health care you can have at what price and what energy you can have at what price. It's a standard Left-Right choice."



Cap-and-trade legislation to limit U.S. carbon dioxide emissions has “gotten out of control” and needs to be scaled back in Congress, said former Democratic Senator Timothy Wirth. “The Republicans are right -- it’s a cap-and-tax bill,” Wirth, a climate-change negotiator during President Bill Clinton’s administration, said in an Aug. 14 interview. “That’s what it is because they are raising revenue to do all sorts of things, especially to take care of the coal industry, and it makes no sense.”

A system to cap carbon emissions and then create a market for the trading of pollution allowances is the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s proposal to fight global warming. Wirth, who helped craft a successful emissions-trading market two decades ago that cut sulfur-dioxide pollution causing acid rain, is among Democrats questioning House-passed legislation set to be taken up next month in the Senate.

“I’m not critical of cap-and-trade,” said Wirth, head of the UN Foundation, a philanthropy established in 1998 with $1 billion from medial mogul Ted Turner. “But it has to be used in a targeted and disciplined way, and what has happened is it’s gotten out of control.”

Wirth, who represented Colorado in the Senate, says the House-passed plan is “too broad across the economy.” Instead of capping carbon pollution generally, the measure should focus solely on coal-fired power plants, he said.

The proposal echoes a campaign pledge made in 2000 by then Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, who vowed to control carbon emissions from utilities. As president, he changed his position, arguing that a mandatory cap on such heat- trapping pollution would cost jobs and harm the economy.


Volt sticker shock

We live in incoherent times, but maybe someone can explain it to me: How does a $40,000 "economy" car make economic sense?

The $40k is the price GM will reportedly charge for its all-electric Volt sedan -- due out in late 2010 as a 2011 model. Unlike current hybrids, which mostly get going on their internal combustion engines -- with their battery packs and electric motors providing a supplemental boost -- the Volt will be propelled entirely by electric motors and batteries. The small onboard gasoline-burning engine is only there to provide the power to charge the batteries. It is basically a generator -- and is not connected to the drive wheels at all.

The Volt is thus touted by GM as being capable of returning as much as 230 miles per gallon, since it is for all intents and purposes a fully electric car that carries its recharger with it. (The Volt can also be plugged into regular 110 volt household outlets.)

But, $40,000? That is almost exactly what you'd pay for a new BMW 335i ($40,300) and not too far off the asking price of a new Mercedes-Benz E-Class ($48,050). These are fine cars, but not exactly marketed to people who are concerned about their pocketbooks.

Forty Thousand Dollars. That is a lot of coin. Even with a government subsidy (on top of the subsidy GM has built into the car's price) expected to be as much as $7,500 (thank you, fellow taxpayer), the potential Volt buyer is looking at a bottom line price that is right there in the entry-luxury range -- and roughly three times the cost of a new econobox.

Does it compute? Well, let's see... .

For the sake of discussion, we'll take GM's 230 mpg claim at face value. This figure is about four times the published mileage of the 2010 Toyota Prius (50 mpg, average). But the Prius costs just over half as much ($22k). So, the Volt buyer would have to "work off" the approximate $18,000 difference ($12,000 or so, if you subtract the proposed $7,500 government subsidy).

Twelve grand buys one helluva lot of gas -- even at $3 per gallon. Four thousand gallons, to be precise. If whatever you are driving now gets an average of 25 mpg (half what the Prius gets) that 4,000 gallons would keep you going for 160,000 miles.

That is a long time to wait to break even... .

Now let's alter the scenario a bit and use as our "demo vehicle" a new Nissan Versa 1.6 -- which you can buy for less than ten grand, brand spankin' new. It may only get 29 mpg (average, city plus highway). But the difference in up front costs between it and the new Volt Wunderwagen is a forbidding $30,000 (okay, $23k if you subtract the $7,500 subsidy).

How much gas can you buy with twenty-three thousand dollars at $3 per? Six thousand, nine hundred gallons, chief. Holy Opec! That's enough for 200,000-plus miles of motoring before you'd hit the "break even" point.

How many people even keep their cars for 200,000 miles? (Or 160,000 for that matter?)

Has anyone done the math? I assumed there were, you know, engineers (math guys) working at GM.

But maybe not.

Even leaving aside the operating costs, how many people who are really concerned about gas mileage (that is, about the expense of a car) are in a position (or desire) to spend $40,000 on a vehicle? By definition, if you are spending that kind of money on a car, you either don't care much about gas mileage -- or don't really have to care much about it.



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


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A climate skeptic gets it right

An email from Will Alexander [] in South Africa. HIS predictions come true -- and the ability to predict events is the ultimate test of any scientific theory. None of the Greenie "models" have managed it yet -- unless you believe the mysteriously "massaged" statistics of James Hansen and his colleagues at GISS

Some of your readers may be aware that my colleagues and I have developed and verified a multi-year, regional, hydrometeorological prediction model. Last year my article titled Likelihood of a Global Drought in 2009 -- 2016 was published in the South African Civil Engineer, circulation 8,000. The drought has just started in parts of South Africa.

On 12 August our Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs announced that parts of the lower Limpopo River catchment have been declared a water supply disaster area. This is in the far northern region of South Africa. The Albasini Dam that supplies the Louis Trichardt area is only 26 percent full. The Middle Letaba Dam is only 6 percent full.

On Sunday 16 August, prayers for rain were held in George, which is in the southern coastal area of South Africa. The dams in this region are also at a very low level. These two events not only confirm my prediction but also the views of others that global climatic disturbances are on the way. How will they affect the Copenhagen discussions and beyond?

Our predictions were based on observation theory applied to a wealth of hydrometeorological data. The essence was the presence of statistically significant, 95 percent, 21-year periodicity in the data. The periodicity is synchronous with variations in solar activity. This provided the causal relationships but was not necessary for the predictions. These were based solely on the observed periodicity in the data, whatever its cause.

Despite a prolonged and thorough study we were unable to detect any unexplained anomalies in the data that could be attributed to human activities. It is unlikely that our studies will influence the Copenhagen discussions, but hopefully all those participating in the discussions will have the sense to consider the likely future consequences regardless of the outcome of the discussions.

Recall the United Nations Secretary General's recent appeal. We have just four months to secure the future of our planet. If we fail to act, climate change will intensify droughts, floods and other natural disasters. Water shortages will affect hundreds of millions of people. Malnutrition will engulf large parts of the developing world. Tensions will worsen. Social unrest - even violence - could follow.

It is an all or nothing declaration with no room for uncertainties or degrees of probability. There is no way whatsoever that any emissions control measures that the world undertakes can meaningfully reduce the future occurrence of extreme floods, droughts, and threats to water resources. These are as inevitable as night follows the day. Now consider the consequences when these climatic extremes occur in the years ahead.

Here in South Africa with our economic problems, unemployment and poverty what will be the social and political consequences of the unfulfilled assurances? What will be the consequences in the African countries to the north of us? They have neither the finances nor the scientific expertise to evaluate the measures that will be agreed to at Copenhagen. Like many other nations, they rely on the knowledge and integrity of the developed nations of the world who insist that these measures be implemented.

What about the international relations, particularly the reaction of those nations that have been forced to adopt stringent emissions control measures, which the subsequent events will demonstrate are fruitless? Also, what about all those countries that accepted the IPCC recommendations in good faith? What about the universal perception of science as an honourable profession?

The assumption that large financial donations from the affluent countries will solve these difficulties is nonsensical. In my position as a member of United Nations Scientific and Technical Committee Natural Disasters we discussed all these possible preventative and adaptation measures in detail.

The problems have not yet been solved. This United Nations body is still functioning. It will serve no purpose to duplicate its work based on decades of experience with the nonsensical proposals that we see in the climate change literature.

If no agreement is reached at Copenhagen, this will not solve the problem. It will only worsen it. The whole climate change issue will become a blame game where the developed nations blame the developing nations for the breakdown and its consequences. The threats to international trade and cooperation in other fields are obvious.

The latest melting glacier scare

The Warmists are crowing about this report but with a complete lack of logic. If the glacier were melting due to global warming, lots of other glaciers should be melting similarly but the report itself notes that what is happening at this glacier is anomalous (See the last sentence below). So WHY IS it melting? There is a cogent suggestion at the foot of the article

One of the largest glaciers in Antarctica is thinning four times faster than it was 10 years ago, according to research seen by the BBC. A study of satellite measurements of Pine Island glacier in west Antarctica reveals the surface of the ice is now dropping at a rate of up to 16m a year. Since 1994, the glacier has lowered by as much as 90m, which has serious implications for sea-level rise.

The work by British scientists appears in Geophysical Research Letters. The team was led by Professor Duncan Wingham of University College London (UCL).

Calculations based on the rate of melting 15 years ago had suggested the glacier would last for 600 years. But the new data points to a lifespan for the vast ice stream of only another 100 years. The rate of loss is fastest in the centre of the glacier and the concern is that if the process continues, the glacier may break up and start to affect the ice sheet further inland.

One of the authors, Professor Andrew Shepherd of Leeds University, said that the melting from the centre of the glacier would add about 3cm to global sea level. "But the ice trapped behind it is about 20-30cm of sea level rise and as soon as we destabilise or remove the middle of the glacier we don't know really know what's going to happen to the ice behind it," he told BBC News.

"This is unprecedented in this area of Antarctica. We've known that it's been out of balance for some time, but nothing in the natural world is lost at an accelerating exponential rate like this glacier."


A comment from Hermann Burchard []

There is a subglacial volcano near Antarctica's Pine Island glacier, which could explain recent rapid melting of the glacier, as reported by BBC. Wikipedia has a paragraph on this, with the last sentence stating: "The presence of the volcano raises the possibility that volcanic activity could have contributed, or may contribute in the future, to increases in the flow of the glacier."

"Cleaner" coal a real possibility?

This might help politicians save face after making promises to the Greenies that they cannot keep. Quite aside from the chimerical carbon capture and storage possibilities, the greater thermal efficiency of the new process should cut down greatly on coal usage

A UNIVERSITY of Queensland scientist said yesterday he had successfully tested technology that delivers twice the power from coal while minimising greenhouse gas emissions. The exciting breakthrough, which could provide a billion-dollar windfall for the state, may revolutionise the way the world uses coal, a university spokesman said.

Professor John Zhu, of the school of chemical engineering, created a series of direct carbon fuel cells (DCFC) in which burning coal generates highly energy-efficient electricity. ''The very high-energy efficiency of the new technology will effectively halve the amount of coal required to create electricity,'' he said. ''When applied, it will provide industry with very significant cost and energy savings, which could then be passed on to the consumer. In addition to saving cost and energy, the direct carbon fuel cells will also provide clean power.''

Dr Zhu, 41, a father of three girls, said he worked in a ''hot and dirty'' steel factory in Hubei provence in central China while studying engineering. ''I have always wanted to do something for a cleaner environment. Now I'm feeling very positive,'' he said. Dr Zhu, the son of a primary school teacher, said traditional power stations, which burnt coal to heat water to make steam to power turbines, were outmoded. He said his process used a coal and air mix to produce electrons inside special carbon fuel cells. He said scientists in California were working on a similar process, but he believed he and his team at the university had beaten them to the punch.

He said he expected the fuel cells would enable the byproduct of coal-fired power - the harmful greenhouse gas carbon dioxide - to be trapped and stored easily and safely. ''One of the major challenges for coal-fired power is reducing its impact on the environment by developing ways to separate carbon dioxide from other gases produced in the power generation process, and ensuring it is not released into the atmosphere,'' he said. ''The DCFC produces pure carbon dioxide as a byproduct, making it much easier to manage."

He said the next stage in the development would involve consulting with the energy sector and securing industry and government funding to ''scale up'' the fuel cell technology. This could take 10 years.

Professor Graham Schaffer, dean of the university's Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology, said the new fuel cell technology was one of a number of clean energy technologies being developed at the university. ''Partnerships with industry and government have enabled our researchers to make significant progress towards these new technologies,'' he said.



Reuters has prepared a nice graphic of the three emissions scenarios considered in a recently published report by a panel from the National Development and Reform Commission and the Development Research Center of the State Council. The panel has previewed its findings a number of times over the past several months, but has now formally published them in 2050 China Energy and CO2 Emissions Report. Feast your eyes on a climate death sentence:

There is no guarantee that the Chinese government will translate any of the report's recommendations into domestic action or policy, much less make them part of its Copenhagen negotiation strategy, but the disturbing fact is that there is no chance, let me repeat that, NO CHANCE, China will agree to any scenario better that the "Enhanced Low Carbon" approach, and that isn't good enough.

I base my "no chance" assessment on the simple fact that China's top leadership will only commit to actions that have been thoroughly studied and for which costs have been estimated. This is the only purely domestic effort (there have been a few private studies: McKinsey's "China's green revolution" and the UK's Tyndall Centre China's Energy Transition: Pathways for Low Carbon Development) that has studied the issue and estimated costs; its conclusions, therefore, will inform and guide public policy to the extent China is inclined to budge from its current "no limits" official position.

In the best case scenario (which I still consider to be extremely unlikely), sometime between now and whenever a Copenhagen deal is struck (which could be after the December meeting itself), China will put in place or signal commitment to actions that will allow it to embark upon the "Low Carbon" path. China will demand significant concessions in terms of money and technology transfers to get it to the "Enhanced Low Carbon" path. Of course, there is no way those will be forthcoming from the US, especially given the relentless drumbeat from some sectors that China is beating the US in the cleantech race.

Let's assume by some miracle China does pursue the "Enhanced Low Carbon" path without strings attached. Look at the numbers and tell me how we get to an 80% reduction in global emissions in 2050? We don't. The Cost of Energy Blog has run the numbers, using all the favorite base years. Can anyone suggest how we reach a 450, much less a 350, ppm world with those kinds of emissions levels from China?



European companies are finding it increasingly difficult to covert research into innovation as politicians turn to the precautionary principle and Europeans reject science as a 'force of evil', argues David Zaruk, an environmental health risk consultant, in an interview with EurActiv. "Science is paying a big price in Europe because of the precautionary principle, both in terms of lost opportunities for innovation and loss of trust in science," said Zaruk, who is also a senior research associate at the Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Zaruk holds a PhD in philosophy and has a background in communicating science in the chemicals sector.

The most-used definition of the precautionary principle in the EU is that formulated by the European Environment Agency, he said: "Until you have enough information to be certain about something, you should take precautions." This definition has reversed the burden of proof, taking it away from policymakers and putting it onto industry and academia, Zaruk explained. "Before, scientists could develop an innovation and market it, after it was up to others to prove and test that it is dangerous. Now, you need to prove something is safe before it can be marketed."

He said EU chemicals regulation REACH was a good example of the reversal of the burden of proof: "During the process, the whole point of REACH shifted from ensuring the safe use of chemicals to that of substitution. But how can you prove that substitutes are safe?"

According to him, scientific exploration has become extremely difficult in the EU, research is not encouraged and researchers are now held "guilty until proven innocent". 'Precaution was created as a tool for policy, by those who think science has gone too far," Zaruk argued. "Precautionary logic entails that not being right is not the same as being wrong. In other words, if you use the precautionary principle, you are never wrong," he continued, stressing that "for policymakers, it is much more attractive to never be wrong than to take the risk and be right."

"We need a little bit of political courage. Precaution is a policy tool for cowards, because if you are never wrong, you don't have to take risks or be responsible for any indirect negative consequences." But while it is easy to hide behind precaution when making difficult decisions, "you affect people when you stop research" by denying them potential future benefits of nanotech research, for example, he said. "I used to believe that if you can communicate science clearly to politicians and the public, you can get better policies and improve public perception. But I'm not that optimistic anymore," Zaruk said.

"Increasingly, facts don't matter very much," he said, claiming that despite its goal of becoming a knowledge-based society, Europe is "more and more an influence-based society" in which science is under attack from "eco-religious fundamentalists," he argued.


Australia: Face-saving deal struck on renewable energy

It is setting a totally unrealistic goal that will not be reached and everyone knows that but it is meant to tell the Greenies that they have been listened to. It will however lead to a lot of useless spending of taxpayer funds on windmills etc. But there has already been a lot of that in Australia and in most of the developed world. Even India seems to have been conned into it

AUSTRALIA is in for a huge boost in renewable energy after the Federal Government and the Opposition agreed to a deal. The deal, agreed today, will see the Government's Bill to have 20 per cent of electricity come from renewable sources by 2020 pass the Senate.

"The Opposition's key concerns have been met by the Government," Opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt said in Canberra. "We are delighted that Australia is set to have renewable energy legislation, and the Coalition will support the renewable energy target of 20 per cent for Australia."

Opposition emissions trading spokesman Andrew Robb said there was now "100 per cent bipartisan support" for the Bill. "The position we got to with the Government has had the unanimous support of the Coalition party room, which is a great result," he said.

The Senate is due to continue debating the Renewable Energy Target (RET) bill this afternoon and a vote is expected tomorrow. The Senate last week voted down the proposed emissions trading scheme, which is separate to the RET.



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


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


An email from Norm Kalmanovitch [] looks at how some of the most basic climate facts have been ignored by Warmists. How come the big postwar upsurge in human industrial activity coincided with global COOLING?

Enough data has already been released to unequivocally prove scientific fraud. All of the global temperature datasets that include the actual physical measurements of the global temperature clearly demonstrate that there was a rapid rise in global temperature from around 1910 to about 1942, followed by a slow drop in global temperature from 1942 to 1975, at which time the world reverted to warming which all global temperature datasets clearly show ended after 1998, with a cooling trend that is still continuing.

Global emissions increased by just half a billion tonnes of CO2 per year during the global warming of about half a degree C from 1910 to 1942. This equates to each gigatonne increase in CO2 emissions causing a one degree C rise in global temperature.

As a result of increased CO2 emissions from post-war industrialization, from 1942 to 1975 global emissions increase from under 4 billion tonnes of CO2 per year in 1942 to over 20 billion tonnes of CO2 by 1975.

During the cooling that occurred from 1942 to 1975 the global emissions increase by 16 billion tonnes of CO2 per year and based on the previous warming this should have caused 16°C of global warming but instead there was nothing but cooling.

It was only 13 years after this global cooling with contemporaneous rapid increase in global CO2 emissions that the climate models incorporated a forcing parameter that related global warming to increases in CO2 concentration on the basis that this increase came from humans.

Since these are supposed climate specialists, these modelers would be fully aware that the globe cooled from 1942 to 1975 as the atmospheric CO2 concentration grew. The relationship of the forcing parameter of the climate models of 5.35ln(C/C0) in which C0 represents the reference level and C represents the new level of CO2 concentration, clearly shows that increases in CO2 concentration will produce an increase in temperature. This did not happen over the entire period from 1942 to 1975 and therefore this parameter is clearly not valid.

The modelers also related global warming directly to human sourced CO2 emissions, but these were increasing dramatically as the global temperature dropped over these 33 years, making this relationship completely contrary to physical observation.

Since physical data already existed that completely falsified the forcing parameter of the climate models long before the models were run using this forcing parameter, and this had to be known by the modelers, it is clearly an open and shut case of scientific fraud.

If the modelers were unaware that this physical data falsified their forcing parameter it is still fraud because the modelers misrepresented their credentials as climate specialists.

Either way it is still fraud, and as the atmospheric concentration of CO2 and global emissions of CO2 both continue to increase while global temperatures continue to drop the fraud becomes more and more obvious.

Climate bill would bloat federal agencies

Billions seen in new costs

The House-passed climate change bill, if enacted, would expand the federal government so much that it would take billions of dollars and thousands of new employees to implement. Now-obscure federal agencies such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would have to become mini-behemoths in order to handle their expanded responsibilities. Congress would have to appropriate billions of dollars for more bureaucrats, much of which is not reflected in the House bill.

"The problem is that there's a mismatch between the government's capacity and its mission," said Darrell M. West, vice president and director of governance studies at the left-leaning Brookings Institution.

One provision would almost overnight create the nation's largest commodity market in which polluters would buy and sell rights to emit carbon dioxide. These rights - called allowances - are at the heart of the measure, which seeks to slash the amount of greenhouse gases by forcing polluters to curb their emissions or pay for the right to pollute. "It could be a $2 trillion market within five years," said Bart Chilton, commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The commission, which would police the new futures market for allowances, apparently would need to expand its work force by at least 31 percent initially to fulfill its obligations under the bill. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which would oversee the day-to-day trading of allowances, has estimated that it would have to expand by 20 percent or 30 percent.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which would oversee pollution regulation, also would balloon in size. The agency regulates 330 million tons of pollution a year but would regulate 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year from 7,400 facilities under the legislation.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the government's expansion would cost $8 billion over a 10-year period. For the bill to operate effectively, nearly 1,500 regulations and mandates would have to be approved for at least 21 federal agencies. The rule-making process alone would take years.

Some lawmakers and outside critics question where the government would get the funding and whether it could be an effective monitor of such a large new market. "You have to ask yourself if it is wise policy to create a new derivatives market on the heels of the collapse of derivatives markets, and I don't think it is," said Tyson Slocum, director of energy for Public Citizen, a Washington-based public advocacy group, and member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's energy and environmental markets advisory committee.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has set aside $177 million for the trading commission's fiscal 2010 budget - a 21 percent boost from the 2009 budget. But Mr. Chilton said the agency will have to assess whether it needs more money and people after fiscal 2010, especially if the climate bill becomes law.

Mary O'Driscoll, a spokeswoman for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said she did not know how much money the agency would need for expansion but that any new funds would be generated by user fees.

"I'm not sure the government is capable of handling the bureaucracy that will come if the carbon market is set up," said William Kovacs, senior vice president of environment and regulatory affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.



For some time, German companies were the kings of the international solar industry. But the golden times are over: the industry is suffering from government-subsidized competition from China. It threatens an unprecedented wave of bankruptcies.

The young German solar industry faces an unprecedented wave of bankruptcies. After many cell manufacturers suffered losses in the first half of the year, industry experts fear the collapse of many solar ventures. "A large part of the German solar cell and solar module manufacturers will not survive," says UBS analyst Patrick Hummel.

Although Germany is the world's largest growth market for solar panels, industry sales and profits are collapsing. The situation is paradoxical: Lush state feed-in laws ensure a demand boom in solar energy systems. But Germany's solar cell and module manufacturer hardly benefit. According to the industry magazine "Photon", the real benefactors of Germany's green laws are Asian competitors, especially from China.

Last week, the world's market leader, Germany's Q-Cells, declined to provide a revenue forecast for the current year. The group suffered a high loss in the hundreds of millions, while sales fell in the first half by almost 40 percent to 366 million euros. The Bosch subsidiary Ersol too suffered a sharp decline in sales in the first six months of 2009. The loss was even more severe, by more than 200 percent, to a minus of almost 16 million euros, the company announced on Friday.

Germany's solar cell and module manufacturers are ensnared in cost trap: Their Asian rivals can always produce solar systems much cheaper - by an average of one third, according to calculations by the investment bank UBS. Moreover, the Chinese government promotes an aggressive pricing policy. As a result, prices are falling rapidly. And while the Asian manufacturers are back with their production capacity almost fully utilized, Q-Cells and Ersol have put their workers on short-time.

Experts warn that the mass production of solar cells and modules in Germany is no longer viable. "The Asian cell and module manufacturer will replace the German industry - unless German companies will also produce in Asia," says "Photon" chief editor Anne Kreutzmann.

The increased uncertainty for Germany's solar industry is reflected by the stock market. The heavyweights Q-Cells and Solar World have lost 30% of their value since May. In contrast, the value of the Chinese solar cell manufacturer Suntech rose further, by more than 200 percent since March... [transl. BJP]



Foreigners like to make fun about Germans: Little good weather - but lots of solar panels. Although Germany is not situated in the sunny part of the world, no country has more solar panels. The boom, however, is artificial. And it costs consumers an absolute fortune.

The sum can be spelled out quite precisely: the expected installation of new solar panels in 2009 alone will cost German consumers ten billion euros in the next 20 years. This will produce about 1.8 billion kilowatt hours of solar electricity each year, which corresponds to about 0.3 percent of Germany's current electricity consumption. That's near to nothing.

But the ten billion euros are just the cost for the new systems. The panels built up to 2008 will burden consumers with an additional cost of 30 billion euros, according to calculations by the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI).

And the cost avalanche is growing. If the forecast of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association were to materialize, there will be so many solar panels installed in Germany by 2013 that the cost will grow to more than 77 billion euros - adjusted for inflation.

77 billion euros! But it is not the solar technology itself which generates this massive burden. It's a legal funding clause, included in Germany's Renewable Energies Act (EEG). According to this law, the producers of solar energy are paid a fixed amount of money for each kilowatt-hour they feed into the system - and all German electricity consumers are billed for this cost. The price of the feed depends on the size of the solar system and the year of its installation. For example, 43.01 cents is the price for solar electricity produced by a small roof panel that was installed this year. The owner of the solar panels will receive this price for each kilowatt-hour - for the next 20 years, in this case until the 2029.

According to German law, this right to feed electricity from solar energy holds true for panels installed next year or the year after, guaranteeing fixed prices for 20 years.

Per kilowatt-hour, these guarantees are somewhat lower than those of older plants. Nevertheless, the costs for consumers are rising year after year: That's because they still have to pay the more expensive solar electricity generated by older plants and, on top of that, pay for the somewhat less expensive, but more abundantly flowing electricity from the new systems.... [trans. BJP]



Like the USA, Britain is very keen on increasing its energy independence -- and replacing coal imports with domestic production is an easy option in that field -- as Britain has mountains of the stuff underground. The Greenies moan but they don't like the only realistic alternative -- nuclear -- either

Coal production in Britain has increased sharply after a surge in new opencast coal mines, undermining the government's claim to be a world leader on combating climate change. Dozens of opencast coal mines have been authorised by ministers and local councils across the UK, reversing a decade-long decline in coal production in Britain and often against intense local opposition. As a result, mining companies are now sitting on 71m tonnes of coal in licensed opencast mines, compared with 55m tonnes in 2007. And over the next few months, the industry is likely to win permission to mine another 15m tonnes from across the UK.

The rise prompted condemnation from leading Nasa climate scientist Prof James Hansen. He said boosting coal production would undermine the UK's position on climate change. "[The] UK will be a joke. It is moral turpitude, depravity, to build more coal-fired power plants or open coal mines, knowing what we know now," he said. "It was one thing to dig coal when we didn't know the consequences, but quite another thing today." "The UK would not be in a position to ask anybody else to do anything," he added.

Figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) - which is leading the UK's efforts to persuade world leaders to agree deep cuts in CO2 emissions at the UN's climate summit in Copenhagen in December - indicate that coal production in the UK grew markedly this year. In the first three months, coal dug from opencast mines, which excavate from the surface, increased by 15%, while Britain's overall coal production went up by almost 10%. Coal imports also increased, by nearly 13%, compared with the same three months of 2008.

The rises will put the UK's claims to be a world leader on climate change and green energy under severe strain in the run-up to the Copenhagen talks. Ed Miliband, the UK energy and climate minister, has warned that no new coal-fired power station can be built unless it eventually includes carbon capture and storage technology to trap part of its CO2 emissions. But this technology will not be proven until 2020, and environment campaigners insist the UK must reduce coal and gas use now if ministers are serious about cutting CO2 emission by 34% over the next decade.

Jim Footner, an energy campaigner with Greenpeace, said: "Our domestic policies simply don't stack up. It's difficult to lecture large industrialising countries like China and India about their energy use while we're happily considering new coal-fired power stations and digging coal out at an ever-faster rate."

Environmental groups also accuse ministers of wrecking the countryside by allowing opencast mines to proliferate across southern Wales, northern England, the Midlands and central Scotland. For the first time, opencast mines now produce more coal than traditional underground mines.

Climate activists are now focusing heavily on the coal industry. Protesters have occupied a planned 1.7m tonne opencast site at Mainshill in South Lanarkshire, sabotaging a coal conveyor belt at another site nearby. Activists in Wales are staging a "climate camp" this weekend near Ffos-y-fran opencast mine near Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales, where 11m tonnes of coal is earmarked for extraction.

Patrick Harvie, leader of the Scottish Green Party, said: "Coal extraction is a dirty business in terms of health impacts, social impacts and environmental impacts - it's not a benign industry in any way. We need to be reducing our reliance on coal now, and looking at alternatives wherever possible."

Ministers in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh are routinely rejecting objections by local residents and in some cases local councils, to push through applications for new opencast mines. Since the 2005 general election, 54 mines have been approved across the UK and only four rejected.

The Scottish government - which boasts it has the world's toughest CO2 reduction targets after pledging to cut emissions by 42% by 2020 - has meanwhile made it easier for the coal industry by relaxing planning regulations on opencast mines. Alex Salmond, the first minister, is also supporting plans for a new 1600mw coal-fired power station to replace Hunterston nuclear power station on the Clyde. Over the past four years, 25 open cast mines have been approved in Scotland and none refused.

The Decc's figures also show that much of this coal is being stockpiled, with stores now at the highest level for a decade. By the end of 2008, more than 18m tonnes of coal was being stored - 30% more than in 2007 - suggesting that power companies are building up strategic reserves of coal to prevent electricity blackouts if the UK's energy imports are threatened or prices increase.

Figures from the British Geological Survey, the Decc and the UK Coal Authority, the agency which oversees the industry, show that last year the amount of coal available from existing open cast mines jumped to 54m tonnes, compared with 38m tonnes in 2007. There was a further 13m tonnes available last year from sites where mining has yet to begin. And this year another 3.7m tonnes of coal has been approved at four new opencast mines. A further 19 opencast mines totalling 14.6m tonnes are now being considered across Britain.

A Decc spokeswoman said: "We don't see this as counter to our climate change message. The UK is at the forefront of global efforts to decarbonise fossil fuels." Ministers are championing carbon-capture technologies by directly funding one scheme and supporting three other projects funded through a new levy on power companies...



The U.S. Senate should abandon efforts to pass legislation curbing greenhouse-gas emissions this year and concentrate on a narrower bill to require use of renewable energy, four Democratic lawmakers say.

"The problem of doing both of them together is that it becomes too big of a lift," Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas said in an interview last week. "I see the cap-and-trade being a real problem."

The resistance by Lincoln and her Senate colleagues undercuts President Barack Obama's effort to win passage of legislation that would cap carbon dioxide emissions and establish a market for trading pollution allowances, said Peter Molinaro, the head of government affairs for Midland, Michigan- based Dow Chemical Co., which supports the measure.

"Doing these energy provisions by themselves might make it more difficult to move the cap-and-trade legislation," said Molinaro, who is based in Washington. "In this town if you split two measures, usually the second thing never gets done."

The House passed cap-and-trade legislation in June.

Leaders of the Democratic-controlled Senate say they are sticking with their plan to combine a version of that bill with a separate measure mandating energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources such as solar and wind power. The legislation also provides for an extension of offshore oil and gas drilling in certain areas, broadening its support.



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


Monday, August 17, 2009

Global snake oil

"Act on CO2" advertisements on the BBC

The BBC does not of course run advertisements so it is described as a "filler" and is presumably funded by the BBC itself. It is very scary cinematography and completely unbalanced and extreme Warmist propaganda. There is no scintilla of truth in the warnings it gives. It was broadcast in the 9:00 to 9:30 timeslot on August 15 and appears to be aimed at frightening children.

You can see it here. The script is here.

'Sun's output may decline significantly, inducing another Little Ice Age on Earth'

The article below is by statistician Dr. Richard Mackey, who authored a 2007 peer-reviewed study which found that the solar system regulates the earth's climate. The paper was published August 17, 2007 in the Journal of Coastal Research

Astronomer Emeritus Dr. William Livingston and Associate Astronomer Dr Matthew Penn have for many years been measuring the strength of the Sun's magnetic fields... concluding that, broadly speaking, over the last 15 years the magnetic field strengths of sunspots were decreasing with time independently of the sunspot cycle. A simple linear extrapolation of the magnetic data collected by their special observatory (the McMath-Pierce telescope) suggests that sunspots might largely vanish in five years time. In addition, other scientists report that the solar wind (a large proportion of the Sun's output of matter in the plasma form) is in a lower energy state than found since space measurements began nearly 40 years ago.

In answer to the question: Why is a lack of sunspot activity interesting? Astronomers Livingston and Penn's Respond in the July 28, 2009 publication EOS of the American Geophysical Union: “During a period from 1645 to 1715 the Sun entered an extended period of low activity known as the Maunder Minimum. For a time equivalent to several sunspot cycles the Sun displayed few sunspots. Models of the Sun's irradiance suggest that the solar energy input to the Earth decreased during that epoch, and that this lull in solar activity may explain the low temperatures recorded in Europe during the Little Ice Age.”

Livingston and Penn wrote in July 28, 2009 a very well written feature article appearing in EOS, the professional publication of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The article is entitled, "Are Sunspots Different During This Sunspot Minimum?" EOS is a broadsheet sent every week to AGU members. It always has one feature article, but mainly lists job advertisements and notices about conferences, seminars and the like of interest to AGU members and news of members' achievements. The feature articles are sometimes about climate change, which are generally supportive of the IPCC dogma.

In their EOS article, Livingston and Penn answer yes to the question: "Are Sunspots Different During This Sunspot Minimum?" Their central finding is that regardless of the relation to the sunspot cycles, magnetic intensity in sunspots is decreasing and if this continues in the same way as it has for the last 15 years, the Sun will be devoid of sunspots in five years time: overall the Sun's energetic output will decline significantly inducing another Little Ice Age on the Earth.

In a press release the National Solar Observatory reported (dated June 17, 2009): "Drs. Rachel Howe and Frank Hill, both of the NSO, used long-term observations from the NSO's Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) facility to detect and track an east-to-west jet stream, known as the "torsional oscillation", at depths of ~1,000 to 7,000 km below the surface of the Sun. The Sun generates new jet streams near its poles every 11 years; the streams migrate slowly, over a period of 17 years, to the equator, and are associated with the production of sunspots once they reach a critical latitude of 22 degrees."

Howe and Hill found that the stream associated with the new solar cycle has moved sluggishly, taking three years to cover a 10 degree range in latitude compared to two years for the last solar cycle, but has now reached the critical latitude. The current solar minimum has become so long and deep, some scientists have speculated the Sun might enter a long period with no sunspot activity at all. The new result both shows that the Sun's internal magnetic dynamo continues to operate, and heralds the beginning of a new cycle of solar activity.

"It is exciting to see", said Dr. Hill, "that just as this sluggish stream reaches the usual active latitude of 22 degrees, a year late, we finally begin to see new groups of sunspots emerging at the new active latitude." Since the current minimum is now one year longer than usual, Howe and Hill conclude that the extended solar minimum phase may have resulted from the slower migration of the flow.

GONG and its sister instrument SOHO/MDI measure sound waves on the surface of the Sun. Scientists can then use the sound waves to probe structures deep in the interior of the star, in a process analogous to a sonogram in a medical office. "Using the global sound wave inversions, we have been able to reveal the intimate connection between subtle changes in the Sun's interior and the sunspot cycle on its surface," said Hill.

"This is an important piece of the solar activity puzzle," said Dr. Dean Pesnell, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "It shows how flows inside the Sun are related to the creation of solar activity and how the timing of the solar cycle might be produced. None of the forecasting research groups predicted the current long extended delay in the new cycle. There is a lot more to learn in order to understand how the Sun creates magnetic fields."

Astronomers Livingston and Penn conclude their EOS article with these comments: “Whether this [decline] is an omen of long-term sunspot decline, analogous to the Maunder Minimum, remains to be seen. Other indications of the solar activity cycle suggest that sunspots must return in earnest next year. Because other indications point to the Sun experiencing an unusual period of minimum solar activity, it is critically important to measure the Sun's magnetic activity during this unique time.”

'Professional societies returning to practice of true scientific debate'

Another interesting aspect of Livingston and Penn's EOS article is that the AGU published it in its professional publication. This suggests to me that the professional societies are returning to practice of true scientific debate that has been suppressed for so long.

It is worth recalling the feature article “Natural antidote to global warming” written by Sir John Maddox, then the editor of Nature and published in Nature on 21 September 1995. Sir John referred to the extensive research published up to 1995 indicating the Sun-climate relationship and that the Sun was likely to enter into a Maunder Minimum inducing state sometime during the first few decades of the new millennium.

Sir John, an enthusiastic apostle of the IPCC dogma, asked: “There remains the question of whether the Maunder Minimum will arrive in time to avoid a global carbon tax?” He answered that on the basis of his reading of the evidence published up till then there was only a small chance. However, he concluded by noting that it is a real possibility and that the moral of his commentary was “a better understanding of the Sun might now have practical value.”

Livingston and Penn and a large number of solar physicists (see, for example, the home page of the grandfather of modern solar physics, Professor Emeritus Cornelius de Jager,) would say that the likelihood of the Earth being seized by Maunder Minimum is now greater than the Earth being seized by a period of global warming. They would answer Sir John's question by saying: “Yes, the Maunder Minimum will arrive in time to save the planet from the utterly foolish global carbon tax.”

More HERE (See the original for links)

United Nations organizations targeting children with Warmist lies

The IPCC is not the only tentacle of the U.N. promoting groundless scares

Emerging leaders representing three billion people - the children and youth of the planet - will converge on the Republic of Korea to voice their demands for action on climate change at the Copenhagen meeting. FAO with other partners is supporting UNEP’s Tunza International Children and Youth Conference, in Daejeon (Republic of Korea) on 17-23 August, the biggest youth gathering on climate change before the UN climate conference in December.

This will be a key opportunity for the more than 800 participants from over 100 countries to demand that their governments reach a scientifically-credible and far-reaching new climate agreement in Copenhagen.

By staking their claim to a low-carbon, resource-efficient, environmentally-sustainable future, the generation that will inherit the planet will also remind the world that they have the greatest stake in the creation of the green economy of tomorrow.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said: "The Tunza Children and Youth Conference is an important gathering of young people and an opportunity for them to discuss and to prepare their positions surrounding Copenhagen and climate change, but it is more than that. It is a gathering of the generation that will inherit the outcome of the decisions taken in December and beyond."

"For it will be in the lifetime of the three billion children and young people alive today that the glaciers of the Himalayas will either persist or melt away; that the sea levels will stabilize or rise, swamping a third of Africa's coastal infrastructure; that the Amazon will remain the lungs of the planet or become an increasingly dried-out and disappearing ecosystem, and the polar bear will continue as the iconic species of the Arctic or, like the Dodo and the dinosaurs, merely an artifact in the world's natural history museums," he added.

Some Highlights of the Tunza Children and Youth Conference:

A Global Town Hall will use state-of-the-art technology to link the gathering to hundreds of other young environmental leaders who will be meeting around the globe - from Nairobi to Sao Paulo and from Stockholm to Bangkok - to agree on a message to deliver to world leaders.

The Seal the Deal! Global Debate will bring together high-level figures from politics and green activism, including Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-soo, Maldives Environment Minister Mohamed Aslam, Cameroon Environment Minister Hele Pierre, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and prominent environmentalists such as David de Rothschild (who will sail to the Pacific Garbage Patch in a boat made of reclaimed plastic bottles), Roz Savage (who has rowed across the ocean to raise green awareness), and Luo Hong (who raises green awareness through photography) along with young activists.

The Daejeon conference will also see the launch of Unite for Climate, a global community of youth organizations and individuals working collaboratively to address climate change. The initiative convenes actors from across sectors in a common virtual space, enabling more effective resource sharing and coordinated action. Supported by Google/YouTube, Unite for Climate will launch a series of YouTube global youth debates leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

The conference will also feature the global Awards Ceremony for the winners of the UNEP 2009 International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment.

Some of the striking and creative projects started by young Tunza participants include an award-winning original rap video by two Canadian teenagers on how to reduce your environmental footprint, a drive to distribute 500 low-energy lightbulbs in Nepal, a carpooling initiative in Samoa, the creation of a 'Navajo Green Economy Fund' to generate green jobs for Navajo youth, a recycling project in Sierra Leone and a river clean-up in Russia, among many other examples. All the initiatives will be put to a popular vote during the conference to determine the best one out of the several hundred on display.

The Children and Youth Conference is part of the global UN-wide 'Seal the Deal!' campaign being spearheaded by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to galvanize political will and public support for reaching a comprehensive global climate agreement. Over the coming months, the 'Seal the Deal!' campaign will mobilize over one million young people to march across one hundred capitals and deliver to global leaders their declaration of priorities on climate change as agreed at the Tunza Conference.


Michael Mann has a new hockeystick

If at first you don't succeed ...

Just when you think it couldn’t get any more bizarre in Mann-world, out comes a new paper in Nature hawking hurricane frequency by proxy analysis. I guess Dr. Mann missed seeing the work of National Hurricane Center’s lead scientist, Chris Landsea which we highlighted a couple of days ago on WUWT: "More tropical storms counted due to better observational tools, wider reporting. Greenhouse warming not involved."

Mann is using “overwash” silt and sand as his new proxy. Chris Landsea disagrees in the Houston Chronicle interview saying: “The paper comes to very erroneous conclusions because of using improper data and illogical techniques,”

From the BBC and the Houston Chronicle, some excerpts are below.

From the BBC: "Study leader Michael Mann from Penn State University believes that while not providing a definitive answer, this work does add a useful piece to the puzzle.... The levels we’re seeing at the moment are within the bounds of uncertainty -- Julian Heming, UK Met Office. “It’s been hotly debated, and various teams using different computer models have come up with different answers,” he told BBC News. “I would argue that this study presents some useful palaeoclimatic data points.”

From the Houston Chronicle: "One tack is based on the observation that the powerful storm surge of large hurricanes deposits distinct layers of sediment in coastal lakes and marshes. By taking cores of sediments at the bottom of these lakes, which span centuries, scientists believe they can tell when large hurricanes made landfall at a particular location. The second method used a computer model to simulate storm counts based upon historical Atlantic sea surface temperatures, El Niños and other climate factors... The two independent estimates of historical storm activity were consistent, said Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann, the paper’s lead author. Both, for example, pinpointed a period of high activity between 900 and 1100. “This tells us these reconstructions are very likely meaningful,” he [Mann] said.

What is funny is that with that quote above, Mann is referring to the Medieval Warm Period, something he tried to smooth out in his tree ring study and previous hockey stick graph. Now he uses the MWP to his advantage to bolster his current proxy.

Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit writes about “check kiting” related to this study: "The Supplementary Information sheds no light on the methodology or the proxies. The Supplementary Information contained no data sets. The proxies used for the Mann et al submission are not even listed.

The edifice is built on the SST and Nino3 reconstructions, both of which are references to the enigmatic reference 17, which turns out to be an unpublished submission of Mann et al.: 17. Mann, M. E. et al. Global signatures of the Little Ice Age and the medieval climate anomaly and plausible dynamical origins. Science (submitted).

At the time that Nature published this article, there was precisely NO information available on what proxies were used in the reconstruction of Atlantic SST or El Nino or how these reconstructions were done. Did any of the Nature reviewers ask to see the other Mann submission? I doubt it. I wonder if it uses Graybill bristlecone pines."

More HERE (See the original for links)


Four current articles below

Warmists still stuck in the past

Ever since the tiny degree of global warming stopped at the end of the 20th century, Warmists have been looking longingly at the past, even though the present is very different. Their latest claim is that snowfalls in the high-country ski fields of Southern Australia are down by 40 per cent over the last 50 years. That we had exceptionally GOOD snowfalls this year and also last year is ignored. Does CO2 work only in some years and not in others? The Scots still remember battles that took place in the 13th century. Will Warmists still be blathering on during the ice age that seems to be the biggest threat now?

AUSTRALIAN skiers may have to look overseas in search of suitable snowfalls, thanks to global warming. The average snow cover at Australia's highest altitude snow course, Spencer's Creek in the Snowy Mountains, has declined by 30 per cent to 40 per cent in the last 50 years, a conference in Brisbane will be told today. The cost of man-made snow is also likely to increase as more water and electricity are required.

Unlike skiers, specialised plants that have learnt to survive in the Australian highlands don't have the option of seeking out higher ground and may face extinction, Associate Professor Catherine Pickering of Griffith University said. "Some of these plants are found only on the lee side of mountain ridges, where snow lies late into the summer months, long after snow in the surrounding landscape has melted," Prof Pickering said. "We are about to lose two of our rarest plant communities, right before our eyes." "We need to co-ordinate the ad hoc research that is happening on our limited snow country."

Prof Pickering will attend the The 10th International Congress of Ecology, INTECOL conference in Brisbane this week. INTECOL is hosted by the Ecological Society of Australia and the New Zealand Ecological Society. This is the first time the congress is being held in the southern hemisphere.


Temperature readings in isolated Australian locations show no increases for 100 years

Weather observatories in Australia, dating back 100 years or more show cities getting hotter as they get bigger but country towns have generally NOT been warming up. Some have actually been cooling down.

Most scientists recognise that temperature measurements in cities are influenced by non-climate things such as air-conditioners. The cities in Australia also show the same trend as cities in the northern hemisphere with the rate of warming here being less than 1 degree centigrade per century. So the countryside has NOT been warming up whereas cities are getting hotter.

Substantial increases in Carbon Dioxide levels have been observed over this period, so if CO2 really was driving temperature upwards, we would expect a general rise in temperature in the bush and an even bigger rise in cities due to the combined effect of CO2 and non-climatic heating. In many parts of the world it's hard to separate these two effects, so we are lucky here in Australia to have records from isolated country locations that are `un-contaminated' by the big city effect (heat island effect).

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) provides historical weather data on the internet here. The average of the peak temperatures for each month is available and this has been plotted in the attached graphs. Graphs for the mean daily peak temperatures in January are shown for Echuca, Deniliquin and Bathurst - as examples of country sites.

The last graph is for Sydney and shows evidence of the `big city warming effect'. In Deniliquin and Bathurst, there has actually been a fall in temperatures over the last 100 years but in many other regional places there was just no trend, up or down. EM Smith reports a similar pattern of `no warming' based on a large number of world-wide locations used by IPCC. See here

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics)

Food prices to surge under Warmist laws

SHOPPERS face a jump in grocery prices of up to 7 per cent under Labor's scheme to reduce carbon emissions, prompting calls for the Rudd government to come up with a compensation package to help low- and middle-income families. Big retailers have warned the government that the proposed emissions trading scheme would add between 4 and 7 per cent to shopping bills in what would be a de facto tax on food.

Although the government has revealed plans to compensate households for increased energy prices when the ETS is expected to be introduced in 2011, it has yet to announce how it will cover the rise in grocery prices.

Reserve Bank assistant governor Philip Lowe last week told the House of Representatives economics committee that the ETS would add 0.4 percentage points to the Consumer Price Index measure of inflation in its first year of operation. However, the Food and Grocery Council believes the increase in grocery prices would be much higher, about 5 per cent.

As food and grocery shopping is estimated to take up to 20 per cent of the weekly household budget, the council's chief executive, Kate Carnell, says the price rise will amount to a GST on food - the area the Howard government exempted from the tax after a prolonged campaign by Labor and the Australian Democrats. Large retailers are understood to have also done modelling showing similar results, including a rise in food prices of as much as 7 per cent should Australia adopt the 25 per cent target on emissions reductions by 2020.

Large retailers, while privately concerned, are believed to be hesitant to voice their objections to the ETS for fear of tarnishing their reputation among environmentally conscious consumers. Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said the ETS would lead to a sharp increase in grocery shelf prices as costs increased at every stage of the production and distribution process. "It's going to be a high cost to the consumer - the food manufacturer gets an ETS charge, then there's delivery, and the retailers use refrigeration and lighting, and the cost of that is all going to be handed on," Mr Zimmerman said. "Retail is a very competitive business. There's not a lot of margin in grocery retailing, so these costs can't be absorbed."

The ARA has set out its concerns in a submission to the government's green paper on carbon reduction but Mr Zimmerman said he had little hope the government would shield consumers from higher costs. "The government has said it will cost consumers $1 a day, but that fails to accurately calculate the retail price impact on consumers, and there's no real handle on what it's going to cost consumers in the end," he said.

Retailers' anxiety is matched in the US, amid growing fears about the impact of carbon trading plans. US agriculture companies including grain giant Cargill, meat processor Tyson Foods and food-maker General Mills, have expressed concern they will bear an unfair proportion of the costs resulting from carbon-reduction legislation and warned this would lead to higher food prices. Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce has warned that the ETS, once in place, would raise the retail price of a leg of lamb to almost $100.

The revelations on food prices come as a split emerges in the business community over the ETS. The peak group, the Business Council of Australia, is divided over its position on the plan to reduce carbon emissions. The BCA is torn, with finance sector elements backing the ETS and the mining industry vehemently opposed. The split has led to the circulation of an anti-ETS paper from within the BCA that concludes 67 of its 109 members will not have a carbon permit liability under the government's proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. The overwhelming majority of the 67 are in the finance, legal or legal services sector, which the analysis says are expected to make huge profits out of the ETS.

The paper's author, who does not wish to be named, concludes: "While the BCA is held up as the voice of industry on the carbon scheme, the vast bulk of its members have no skin in the game. That is, they won't have to buy permits. In fact, the bankers and finance consultants like KPMG stand to make a fortune out of it."

The paper's author also names at least 12 senior Labor figures - seven of them frontbenchers, including three cabinet ministers - who they say have expressed doubts about the government's ETS privately to either BCA member companies or their industry group representatives.


Plans for Australian Poverty

The Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition, Mr Viv Forbes, today claimed that both the Turnbull and the Wong Decarbonisation plans were “Plans for Poverty”. Forbes explains:

“The Turnbull plan aims to reduce 2020 emissions to 90% of the 2000 level. “But we have moved on from the year 2000. To get back to 90% of 2000 would require a 20% cut on today’s activities. Moreover, the population by 2020 will be at least 30% above that in 2000. So the Turnbull carbon cuts will need to be more than 33% per capita.

“Emissions are produced by everything we do – if we use electricity, steel, cement, timber, cars, trucks, planes, ships, trains or food from farms, we will always produce emissions. Even people sleeping on the beach burn carbon food energy and emit carbon dioxide. How is each Australian going to trim carbon usage by 33%?

“2020 is just a decade away. There is no chance that wind, solar, geothermal or carbon burial will overcome their technical, engineering, infrastructure, environmental, transmission, economic and stability problems quickly enough to generate significant quantities of emissions-free base load electricity in that time. “That leaves only three ways to achieve the Turnbull cuts – the Green Option, the Secret Plan or the Unspeakable Option.

“The Green Option requires less use of modern technology - a return to candles and chip heaters, wood stoves and wind pumps, charcoal burners and steam engines, sulkies and bicycles, horse power and sailing clippers, possum stew and kangaroo tail soup, mud bricks, shingle roofs and cement floors made from ant bed and cow manure. Some things will disappear unless Malcolm has plans for airships lifted by political hot air, for night-time power generated from moonbeams using lunar panels, or for vegie-steak produced from algae growing in backyard ponds of poo.

“Reducing population will definitely achieve cuts in emissions without cuts in living standards. Is that the Secret Plan? “Or of course we always have the Unspeakable Option – a crash program to build nuclear power plants in the Latrobe, the Hunter, the Barossa, the Fitzroy and the Pilbara.

“Compared to these options, maybe a bit more harmless carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not so bad after all? "The Wong plan and the Turnbull plan are Plans for Poverty. “Both should be rejected.”

The above is a press release of 12 August 2009 from Mr Viv Forbes, Chairman, The Carbon Sense Coalition, Australia. Email:


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


Sunday, August 16, 2009

A look at the sea-level raw data shows that the level is stable

Some excerpts below from a paper by Cliff OLLIER, School of Earth and Environment, The University of Western Australia, WA 6009, Australia []. Amusing that in this case too the data have to be "corrected" in all sorts of strange ways to produce the answer that Warmists want. Cliff is at least lucky that he was able to get at the raw data. Warmists often do all they can to prevent that. They slipped up on this one. See below Cliff's article for mention of some of their obstructiveness elsewhere


Graphs of sea level for twelve locations in the southwest Pacific show stable sea level for about ten years over the region. The data are compared with results from elsewhere, all of which suggest that any rise of global sea level is negligible. The Darwin theory of coral formation, and subsidence ideas for guyots would suggest that we should see more land subsidence, and apparent sea level rise, than is actually occurring. Sea level studies have not been carried out for very long, but they can indicate major tectonic components such as isostatic rebound in Scandinavia. Attempts to manipulate the data by modelling to show alarming rates of sea level rise (associated with alleged global warming) are not supported by primary regional or global data. Even those places frequently said to be in grave danger of drowning, such as the Maldives, Tuvalu and Holland, appear to be safe.

If you ask Google for information on sea level you get pages of claims that the Pacific islands are sinking in the sea. If you Google "Tuvalu" you will get messages of impending doom. And yet the best factual data available show that the islands, including Tuvalu, are not sinking. Of course the Climate Alarmists will keep this true information out of the literature as long as they can.

A tide gauge to measure sea level was in existence at Tuvalu since 1977, run by the University of Hawaii. It showed a negligible increase of only 0.07 mm per year over two decades. Between 1995 and 1999 it fell 3 mm. The gauge was closed in 1999. A new installation was set up by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's National Tidal Centre in 1991, and was run by Flinders University of Adelaide.

Gauges are located on many islands, as shown in Figure 1. They used modern sophisticated equipment called SEAFRAME (Sea Level Fine Resolution Acoustic Measuring Equipment) shown diagrammatically in Figure 2. The sea enters a vertical cylinder whose position is kept constant by Global Positioning, and the sea level is obtained by bouncing sound waves off the surface and calculating how long it takes. It is all recorded automatically and transmitted to Australia. The results are shown in Figure 3.

The level was disturbed near the beginning because of the effects of ENSO (El nino-Southern Oscillation, often simplified to El nino), but since about 2001 there has been no significant change in sea level for any of the islands studied, including Tuvalu. Since all the stations shown in Figure1 show no change in sea level, it also shows no differential tectonic movement between the stations.

Of course the time involved is trivial compared with geological time, but the results suggest that the technique might have many more significant uses, especially in tectonically active coasts such as parts of Indonesia or California. If we had global cover we might be able to distinguish regions of differential tectonic movement. It would also be valuable to have such stations in other controversial `hot spots' of climate alarm, such as the Maldives.

One might have hoped that the number of stations would rapidly increase. Unfortunately, the stations were set up to demonstrate rising sea levels. When they so clearly failed to do so, the operation was apparently closed down.

Explaining it away

The results shown in Figure 3 have never been published in a "peer reviewed" journal. They are only available on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website in a series of Monthly Reports that are "Untitled". See the latest at:

Vincent Gray explained in his newsletter, NZCLIMATE AND ENVIRO TRUTH NO 181 13th August 2008, that something had to be done to maintain rising sea level alarm, and it was done by a paper by John R Hunter at: Hunter first applies a linear regression to the chart for Tuvalu. He gets -1.0ñ13.7 mm/yr so Tuvalu is actually rising! The inaccuracy is entirely due to the ENSO rubbish at the beginning. He then tries to incorporate old measurements made with inferior equipment and attempts to correct for positioning errors. He gets a "cautious" estimate for Tuvalu of 0.8ñ1.9 mm/yr. He then tries to remove ENSO to his own satisfaction, and now his "less cautious" estimate is 1.2 ñ 0.8 mm/yr.

Does this show the island is rising? Just look at the inaccuracy. The commonsense interpretation of Figure 3 is surely that Tuvalu, and 11 other Pacific Islands, are not sinking over the time span concerned. The sea level is virtually constant.

Similar manipulation of sea level data is reported in Church et al. (2006) who consider the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean islands. Their best estimate for sea level rise at Tuvalu is 2 ñ 1 mm/yr from 1950-2001. They wrote "The analysis clearly indicates that sea-level in this region is rising." Does this square with simple observation of the data in Figure 3? They further comment: "We expect that the continued and increasing rate of sea-level rise and any resulting increase in the frequency or intensity of extreme-sea-level events will cause serious problems for the inhabitants of some of these islands during the 21st century."

The data of Figure 3 simply do not support this excessive alarmism.

Sea level in other places

A near stability or very small rise seems to be the common finding of researchers who are not in the IPCC/CSIRO network. Moerner, for example, has shown in many papers (see references) that sea level is stable in many parts of the world. He produced a summary in the booklet The Greatest Lie Ever Told (see review in NCGT 44, 2007).

Church et al. (2006) are very critical of Moerner, claiming he has not presented evidence, but he certainly provided it in detail in his paper of 2007. The new sea level curve of the Maldives for the past 2,600 years is depicted in Figure 4. It is based on morphology, stratigraphy, biology and archaeology supported by extensive C14 dating.

Over 5,000 years there have been a number of rapid `spikes' of 60 - 100 cm that are of local or regional dimensions. Moerner, Tooley and Possnert (2004) noted that: "All over the Maldives there is evidence of a sub-recent sea level some 20 cm higher than the present one. In the 1970s, sea level fell to its present position."

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

Another Warmist refusal to release their raw data

Every time they breach this basic scientific test of veracity, even using lies to do so, they cast grave aspersions on the correctness of their own analyses and conclusions. Some excerpts below from a post by Doug Keenan

Queen’s University Belfast is a public body in the United Kingdom. As such, it is required to make certain information available under the UK Freedom of Information Act. The university holds some information about tree rings (which is important in climate studies and in archaeology). Following discusses my attempt to obtain that information, using the Act.

When a tree is cut, you can often see many concentric rings. Typically, there is one ring for each year during which the tree grew. Some rings will be thick: those indicate years in which the environment was good for the tree. Other rings will be thin: those indicate the opposite.

Scientists study tree rings for two main purposes. One purpose is to learn something about what the climate was like many years ago. For instance, if many trees in a region had thick rings in some particular years, then climatic conditions in those years were presumably good (e.g. warm and with lots of rain); tree rings have been used in this way to learn about the climate centuries ago. The other purpose in studying tree rings is to date artefacts found in archaeological contexts; for an example, see here.

One of the world’s leading centers for tree-ring work is at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), in Northern Ireland. The tree-ring data that QUB has gathered is valuable for studying the global climate during the past 7000 years: for a brief explanation of this, see here.

Most of the tree-ring data held by QUB was gathered decades ago; yet it has never been published. There is a standard place on the internet to publish such data: the International Tree-Ring Data Bank (ITRDB), which currently holds tree-ring data from over 1500 sites around the world. QUB refuses to publish or otherwise release most of its data, though. So I have tried to obtain the data by applying under the UK Freedom of Information Act (FoI Act).

I have submitted three separate requests for the data. Each request described the data in a different way, in an attempt to avoid nit-picking objections. All three requests were for the data in electronic form, e.g. placed on the internet or sent as an e-mail attachment. The first request was submitted in April 2007.

QUB refused the first request in May 2007. I appealed the refusal to a Pro-Vice-Chancellor of QUB, who rejected the appeal. The primary reason that the Pro-Vice-Chancellor gave for rejection was that some of the data was in paper form and had not been converted to electronic form. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor additionally claimed that after data was converted to electronic form, “It is then uploaded to the International Tree Ring Data Base”. There might indeed be some small portion of the data that is not in electronic form. My request, though, was for a copy of the data that is in electronic form. So, is all data that is in electronic form available at the ITRDB, as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor claimed?

QUB has in the past published the results of various analyses of its tree-ring data (most notably its claim to have sequences of overlapping tree rings extending back in time many millennia). In doing the analyses, the sequences of tree-ring data are analyzed statistically, and the statistical computations are done by computer. This is well known, and moreover has been stated by QUB’s former head tree-ring researcher, Michael G.L. Baillie, in several his publications. (Indeed, Baillie and his colleague Jon R. Pilcher, also at QUB, wrote a widely-used computer program for tree-ring matching, CROS.) Obviously the data that was used for those computations is in electronic form— and it has not been uploaded to the ITRDB. Thus the claim by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor is untrue.

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor further claimed that to organize the data in “the very precise categories which [I] have specified” [in my request] would entail a vast amount of work. My request, though, was merely for the tree-ring data that had been obtained and used by the university; that hardly seems like precise categorization. Moreover, I later submitted a second request for “the data about tree rings that has been obtained by [QUB] and that is held in electronic form by the university”. That request was also refused. And a third request that was very similar to the second was refused. All three requests were refused in whole, even though the university is required to make partial fulfillment when that is practicable.

After half a year of trying to obtain the information from QUB, I appealed to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO is charged with ensuring that the FoI Act is enforced. My appeal to the ICO was submitted on 24 October 2007. The ICO notified me that an officer had been assigned to begin investigating my case on 14 October 2008. Such a long delay is clearly incompatible with effective working of the Act.

The ICO then contacted QUB, asking for further information. QUB then admitted that almost all the data was stored in electronic form. Thus QUB implicitly admitted that its prior claims were untruthful.

QUB now asserted, however, that the data was on 150 separate disks and that it would take 100 hours to copy those disks. (These were floppy disks—the type that slide into computers and, prior to the internet, were commonly used to carry electronic data.) It takes only a minute or two to copy a floppy disk, however; so the claim of 100 hours to copy 150 floppy disks is an unrealistic exaggeration.

QUB also said that it considered photocopying a printed version of the data, but that this would take over 1800 hours. As noted above, all my requests were for data that is in electronic form; moreover, I have repeated this point in subsequent correspondences with QUB. The statement from QUB about photocopying is thus not relevant.

On 22 December 2008, the ICO sent me a letter rejecting my appeal, on the grounds that the time needed by QUB would exceed an “appropriate limit” (as stipulated in the FoI Act). The ICO had accepted QUB’s explanation for refusing to release the data without question, and without discussing the explanation with me. I telephoned the ICO to raise some objections. To each objection that I raised, the ICO case officer gave the same reply: “I’m satisfied with their [QUB's] explanation”.

I also offered to visit QUB with the case officer, to demonstrate how quickly the data could be copied (e.g. from floppy disks), and to copy the data myself. This seemed particularly appropriate because the officer had told me when she started on the case that she would visit QUB as a standard part of investigation, yet she had not made such a visit. The officer, though, declined my offer, again saying that she was satisfied with QUB’s explanation.

There is a mechanism to appeal an ICO decision, to a tribunal. I told the case officer that I wanted to do so. The officer replied that, in order to file an appeal, I would need a formal Decision Notice from the ICO. I requested a Decision Notice. The officer then informed me that the ICO would send a Notice, but that, because they were busy, it would take about two years to do so.

I discussed the above with a colleague, David Holland. Holland said that my request should not have been processed under the FoI Act. His reasoning was that the information I was requesting was about the environment: environmental information is exempt from the FoI Act and requests for such information should instead be processed under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). He pointed out that the tree-ring data clearly fits the definition of “environmental information” given in the EIR. It also clearly fits the common (dictionary) definition.

I had been aware that the EIR existed, but had assumed that the EIR was essentially the same as the FoI Act. After the discussion with Holland, though, I checked and found that there is one major difference between the EIR and the FoI Act: under the EIR, there is no limit on the amount of time that a public institution requires to process a request. In other words, even if QUB’s original claim that some of the data was only available on paper were true, or even if QUB’s revised claim that copying data from disks would take 100 hours were true, that would still not be a valid reason for refusing to supply the information.

I am not an expert in how to apply the EIR or FoI Act, though. So I telephoned the ICO headquarters to ask for guidance. There I spoke with a Customer Service Advisor, Mike Chamberlain. Chamberlain told me the following: that the information seemed obviously environmental; that there was no limit on processing time that could be used to refuse a request for environmental information; that I could freely visit a site where environmental information was held in order to examine the information; and that it was the duty of the public authority (i.e. QUB) to determine whether the EIR or the FoI Act was applicable. Chamberlain also confirmed everything that he told me with someone more senior at the ICO.

It is regrettable that I had not realized the above earlier. My initial request to QUB, in April 2007, had stated the following: It might be that this request is exempt from the FOIAct, because the data being requested is environmental information. If you believe that to be so, process my request under the Environmental Information Regulations. QUB, however, had not processed my application correctly. I should have caught that.

There is another issue. I had described the information to the ICO case officer by telephone and also by e-mail (on 24 November 2008). Hence the case officer must have known that the information was environmental, and thus exempt under the FoI Act and only requestable under the EIR. Why did the ICO not act on that? On 29 January 2009, I e-mailed the case officer, citing the above-quoted statement from my request to QUB and saying “I would like to know the reasoning that led to my request being processed under the Freedom of Information Act, instead of EIR”. Initially, there was no reply.

The EIR was enacted pursuant to the Aarhus Convention, an international treaty on environmental information that the UK promoted, signed, and ratified. Failure to implement the EIR would constitute a failure by the UK to adhere to the Convention. So, a few weeks after e-mailing my question to the ICO, and with no reply, I contacted the Aarhus Convention Secretariat (ACS), at the United Nations in Geneva. The ACS has a mechanism whereby individuals can file a complaint against a country for breaching the Convention. I had an initial discussion with the ACS about this. That turned out to be unnecessary though. The Assistant Information Commissioner for Northern Ireland contacted me, on 10 March 2009: he was now handling my case and, moreover, he had visited QUB and seen some of the data.

On 22 April 2009, I received a telephone call from the Assistant Information Commissioner for Northern Ireland. The Assistant Commissioner said that he was preparing a Decision Notice for the case, and he made it clear that the Notice would hold that the data should be released under the EIR. The next I heard anything was on 13 July 2009, when it was announced that the Assistant Commissioner had been suspended. On 13 August 2009, I telephoned the ICO: I was told that a new officer would be assigned to the case within the next few days and that a draft Notice, which had been written by the Assistant Commissioner, was in the signatory process. I am presently awaiting further word....

So as soon as someone started to co-operate, he was fired! There sure are some badly worried people there -- JR

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

Background information on why Irish tree-ring data is important: See here

Global Warming ate my data

I have already posted (on 14th) the article by Roger Pielke Jr. on this but I think it is worthwhile to add the summary below from the "Register"

The world's source for global temperature record admits it's lost or destroyed all the original data that would allow a third party to construct a global temperature record. The destruction (or loss) of the data comes at a convenient time for the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in East Anglia - permitting it to snub FoIA requests to see the data.

The CRU has refused to release the raw weather station data and its processing methods for inspection - except to hand-picked academics - for several years. Instead, it releases a processed version, in gridded form. NASA maintains its own (GISSTEMP), but the CRU Global Climate Dataset, is the most cited surface temperature record by the UN IPCC. So any errors in CRU cascade around the world, and become part of "the science".

Professor Phil Jones, the activist-scientist who maintains the data set, has cited various reasons for refusing to release the raw data. Most famously, Jones told an Australian climate scientist in 2004: "Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years 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?"

In 2007, in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, CRU initially said it didn't have to fulfil the requests because "Information accessible to applicant via other means Some information is publicly available on external websites".

Now it's citing confidentiality agreements with Denmark, Spain, Bahrain and our own Mystic Met Office. Others may exist, CRU says in a statement, but it might have lost them because it moved offices. Or they were made verbally, and nobody at CRU wrote them down. As for the raw station data,
"We are not in a position to supply data for a particular country not covered by the example agreements referred to earlier, as we have never had sufficient resources to keep track of the exact source of each individual monthly value. Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and homogenized) data."

Canadian statistician and blogger Steve McIntyre, who has been asking for the data set for years, says he isn't impressed by the excuses. McIntyre obtained raw data when it was accidentally left on an FTP server last month. Since then, CRU has battened down the hatches, and purged its FTP directories lest any more raw data escapes and falls into the wrong hands.

McIntyre says he doesn't expect any significant surprises after analysing the raw data, but believes that reproducibility is a cornerstone of the scientific principle, and so raw data and methods should be disclosed.


More details of the ducking and weaving at the CRU here

Where is the global warming A-Team?

Those apparently tasked with carrying the standard for anthopogenic global warming are increasingly resembling the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight. This has huge implications for the political struggle for resources to reduce emissions and convert our energy base to greener technologies. So what follows will look like piling on--but it isn't. We really need to get better measurements, better analysis and better communications or our efforts to control global warming will go the same way as Australia's, where they recently voted down their version of Cap and Trade.

First up is Phil Jones from East Anglia University in the UK, where he is charged with collating, smoothing and computing average temperatures from thousands of measurement stations around the world. When served with Freedom of Information requests by climate skeptics, the response from Dr. Jones and East Anglia was more or less that they lost it. Steve Macintyre from Climate Audit, who made one of the FOI requests, reports on it here. Roger Pielke Jr., who also filed one request, talks about the implications of their inability to archive data here.

Key quote:"Can this be serious? So not only is it now impossible to replicate or reevaluate homogeneity adjustments made in the past -- which might be important to do as new information is learned about the spatial representativeness of siting, land use effects, and so on -- but it is now also impossible to create a new temperature index from scratch. CRU is basically saying, "trust us." So much for settling questions and resolving debates with empirical information (i.e., science)."

Next we find the climate scientists taking refuge at Real Climate with yet another controversy. This is about a paper they published last year saying, predictably enough, that Antarctica was warming, and, predictably enough, having huge problems with their analysis. Here is a discussion of the topic from Penn State, where Michael Mann of Steig et al has an appointment.

"In an entirely unrelated development, Steig et al have issued a corrigendum in which they reproduce (without attribution) results previously reported at Climate Audit by Hu McCulloch (and drawn to Steig’s attention by email) – see comments below and Hu McCulloch’s post here.

They also make an incomplete report of problems with the Harry station – reporting the incorrect location in their Supplementary Information, but failing to report that the “Harry” data used in Steig et al was a bizarre splice of totally unrelated stations (see When Harry Met Gill). The identification of this problem was of course previously credited by the British Antarctic Survey to Gavin the Mystery Man."

This week's episode of Weird Science concludes with yet another guest appearance by Real Climate contributor Micheal Mann, who has published a study on how hurricanes have developed with greater frequency than at any time in the past 1,000 years, according to this story in the Houston Chronicle. But, as noted in the article, "This is not Mann's first attempt to use “proxies” for actual observations of conditions to tease out historical climate details.

He was among the scientists whose global temperature reconstruction of the last 1,000 years — dubbed the “hockey stick graph” because it showed a distinct upward trend since the mid-19th century attributed to greenhouse gases — received both praise and criticism. Now he appears to be doing the same with hurricane activity, and the new work is not without its detractors.

“The paper comes to very erroneous conclusions because of using improper data and illogical techniques,” said Chris Landsea, science and operations officer at the National Hurricane Center. In his criticism, Landsea notes that the paper begins by saying that Atlantic tropical activity has “reached anomalous levels over the past decade.”

This ignores recent work by Landsea and a number of other hurricane scientists who found that storm counts in the early 1900s — in an era without satellites and fewer seaborne observers — likely missed three or four storms a year. The addition of these storms to the historical record, he said, causes the long-term trend over the last century to disappear." “This isn't a small quibble,” he said. “It's the difference between a massive trend with doubling in the last 100 years, versus no trend.”

It is occurrences such as these that will condemn good energy policy to failure. It is the work of those most convinced that global warming is an oncoming freight train that will make it impossible to resolve the real climate change issues we face. While they are busy blaming the skeptics, it is their errors that will haunt them when it comes to making decisions.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Forest re-growth rediscovered

Is the Amazon rainforest recovering? New studies suggest that the long-term consequences of deforestation may not be as bad as predicted, as vegetation makes a comeback on abandoned agricultural land

In the past, scientists scorned the "secondary forests," as the new growth is called. There is no doubt that they are not nearly as spectacular as the species-rich primary forests, with their giant trees which are often centuries old, and that they are not home to nearly as many animal and plant species. But now a growing number of biologists are interested in this previously ignored vegetation. According to a United Nations study, the ecological importance of these new forests, which are "growing dramatically" all over the world, is "undervalued."

Is the rainforest truly recovering from overexploitation? And could it be that the consequences of deforestation are not as devastating as environmentalists have been preaching for years? "There are more secondary than primary rainforests in most tropical countries today," explains American biologist Joe Wright. "On the whole, the amount of land covered by vegetation is stable." In tropical countries, in particular, rural flight and urbanization have led to more and more farmers abandoning their fields, allowing new vegetation to grow rampant on the fallow ground. "The numbers speak for themselves," says Wright.

Wright is a research biologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. He works in a wooden building built by the Americans in the former Canal Zone, just a few kilometers from Felipe Garcia's hut. He has spent the last 25 years studying Central American jungles, which have long consisted primarily of secondary vegetation. "Even the Mayans were cutting down forests," says Wright. Wright recently investigated areas that were cleared to build the Panama Canal, where the Americans displaced local settlers. Since then, much of the region has reverted to rainforest. To a layman, it is hard to recognize the difference between primary and secondary forest. In the Canal Zone's newer forest, monkeys screech, colorful butterflies flutter across jungle paths and an eagle circles overhead. According to Wright, "many animals adapt to the environment, and 80 percent of biodiversity is preserved."

With his field studies, Wright has triggered a scholarly dispute among scientists around the world. "Joe is naïve," says his adversary Bill Laurance, who conducted research in the Brazilian Amazon region for many years and even works at the same institute as Wright. Privately the two men are friends, but professionally they are bitter rivals.

Laurance fears that Wright is downplaying the destruction of virgin rainforest. "The conditions in the small country of Panama cannot be generalized. In the Amazon, cattle ranchers and the agricultural industry are destroying the jungle on a large scale. The undergrowth that thrives in cleared areas is a caricature of a forest."

Even Wright concedes that Brazil is a "key region" for the future of the rainforest. Three-quarters of the Amazon jungle lie in Brazilian territory. Nowhere else is the forest being destroyed so recklessly. Nevertheless, there is a lack of reliable information about the long-term consequences of overexploitation.

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE), which monitors the jungle via satellite, reports that 17 percent of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has been deforested. But what happens in cleared areas when they are abandoned after years of agricultural use remains "a big mystery," says INPE researcher Claudio Almeida.

In Belem, in the Amazon delta region, the Brazilian scientist is currently setting up an INPE institute devoted to the study of rainforests. In his office, littered with moving boxes and electronic equipment, Almeida is sitting at a computer, analyzing satellite images transmitted by the INPE satellite-monitoring center in Sao Paulo. The current images from space only depict recently cleared areas of land. So far scientists have not looked at the question of how areas that were deforested some time ago have changed in the meantime. "We are now looking under the mask for the first time," says Almeida.

The Sao Paulo agronomist is studying secondary vegetation throughout the entire Brazilian Amazon region. Using satellite images, he selected 26 locations that were cleared years ago and eventually became overgrown with new vegetation. Then he spent two months driving from one location to the next. His conclusion? "Twenty percent of the deforested areas are recovering."

Nevertheless, Almeida is not issuing a general all-clear signal for the rainforest. "Within no more than five years, most of the secondary forests will be burned down or cut down again," he says. Cattle ranchers use the fallow fields as pasture, while farmers plant soybeans or cereal crops.

Nevertheless, the secondary vegetation provides Brazil with a significant benefit. The new forests help capture carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, thereby curbing global warming. "We have more biomass than was previously believed," says Almeida. The new forests will be a central issue at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, where the successor to the Kyoto Protocol is to be discussed.

Wright, for his part, would like to see secondary forests placed under protection right away. "In many countries, there isn't any old-growth vegetation left. We have to protect what's left to protect."


What a laugh! Warmist "model" links drought in Australia with rising human emissions

In that case emissions must be FALLING because there has been an upsurge in rain in the Northern half of Australia in the last 2 years. Most dams in Queensland have been overflowing lately. It is true that S.E. Australia has not fared well but if emissions were the culprit, the rest of Australia would be affected too. Or have we given up on "global" warming and are now concentrating on local climate changes only? Otherwise a model that explains only one corner of Australia is not much of a model. Gaseous diffusion is strong and rapid so whatever CO2 is emitted should spread widely throughout the world and not stay stuck just in S.E. Australia!

DROUGHT experts have for the first time proven a link between rising levels of greenhouse gases and a decline in rainfall. A three-year collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO has confirmed that the drought is not just a natural dry stretch but a shift related to climate change.

Scientists working on the $7 million South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative said the rain had dropped away because the subtropical ridge - a band of high pressure systems that sits over the country's south - had strengthened over the past 13 years. Last year, using sophisticated computer climate models in the United States, the scientists ran simulations with only the ''natural'' influences on temperature, such as differing levels of solar activity. The model results showed no intensification of the subtropical ridge and no decline in rainfall. But when human influences on the atmosphere were added to the simulations - such as greenhouse gases, aerosols and ozone depletion - the models mimicked what has been observed in south-east Australia: strengthening high pressure systems and the significant loss of rain.

''It's reasonable to say that a lot of the current drought of the last 12 to 13 years is due to ongoing global warming,'' said the bureau's Bertrand Timbal. ''In the minds of a lot of people the rainfall we had in the 1950s, '60s and '70s was a benchmark. A lot of our [water and agriculture] planning was done during that time. But we are just not going to have that sort of good rain again as long as the system is warming up.''

Dr Timbal said that 80 per cent of the rain loss in south-east Australia could be attributed to the intensification of the subtropical ridge. The research program covers the Murray-Darling Basin, including parts of NSW, all of Victoria and parts of South Australia.

Monash University’s Neville Nicholls, a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who has also published work on the subtropical ridge, said he believed the research program’s results were right. "We did think that the loss of rain was simply due to the [rain-bearing] storms shifting south, off the continent," Professor Nicholls said. "Now we know the reason they have slipped south is that the subtropical ridge has become more intense. It is getting bigger and stronger and that is pushing the rain storms further south." [Sorry, friend. The rain has actually moved NORTH. Don't you know anything?]

The scientific results have implications for many State Government water programs and drought funding, some of which factor in climate change and some of which do not. Projections for the water coming to Melbourne in the north-south pipe, for instance, are based on the assumption that Victoria will return to rainfall levels of last century.

The Victorian Farmers Federation new president, Andrew Broad, said he would not speculate about whether there was a connection between drought and climate change. "I have a healthy scepticism for scientists," he said. "But I will say that the doomsday people in climate change are robbing people of hope at a time when that’s all they’ve got left." Melbourne’s dams get roughly a third less water than they did before the drought began in October 1996.



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


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Everything you ever wanted to know about global warming

A BOOK REVIEW of "Climate Change Reconsidered" by By Craig Idso and S. Fred Singer (Heartland Institute, 2009)

Have you ever wondered where you can find the most authoritative, comprehensive summary of global warming and the science of climate change? Scientists Craig Idso and S. Fred Singer have ended your search by producing Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

provides more than 800 pages of in-depth scientific discussion on just about every global warming-related topic imaginable. With literally hundreds of citations to peer-reviewed scientific literature, Idso and Singer document and explain how the best, most up-to-date science refutes the assertion that humans are creating a global warming crisis.

In Chapter One, Idso and Singer demonstrate how computer models have spectacularly failed to reproduce current climate conditions. The authors explain the multitude of factors—many of which are very poorly understood—that can significantly influence current and future climate. Climate modelers, whose jobs and funding are directly dependent on the existence of a perceived global warming crisis, invariably determine that each of these poorly understood factors will lead to more rather than less warming in the future, such that climate models are predisposed to predict more warming than is reasonably likely to occur. Chapter One provides extensive scientific documentation of the warming bias of these flawed computer models.

Subsequent chapters discuss climate feedback factors, historical temperature records, glaciers, polar ice, precipitation, sea level, solar variability, extreme weather events, global warming’s impact on the biosphere, and human health implications of global warming. The highlights are summarized in an eight-page, easy-to-read executive summary.

One of the greatest benefits of owning this book is having on-demand access to a comprehensive assessment of just about any alleged global warming scare imaginable. For example, the next time an evening news story sends your spouse into conniptions regarding the plight of polar bears, you can quickly thumb to Section 8.4 of Climate Change Reconsidered and reassuringly note that polar sea ice is showing little or no sign of shrinkage due to human activity, polar bears survived extended periods of much warmer temperatures than today, most polar bear populations are growing rather than shrinking, and predictions of future population decline are dependent on heavily flawed computer models.

Idso and Singer provide citations to more than 100 scientific studies supporting the conclusion that human emissions of carbon dioxide are not threatening polar bear populations. Supporting the science presented by Idso and Singer, an additional 35 scientists from more than a dozen countries participated as contributors and reviewers of Climate Change Reconsidered.

The book also describes the Petition Project, in which more than 31,000 scientists have signed a petition stating there is no convincing scientific evidence that human emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases are causing a global warming crisis. Climate Change Reconsidered provides the names of all 31,478 scientists, as well as a concise, 12-page summary of the science that accompanies the petition.

Regardless of where you stand in the ongoing global warming debate, Climate Change Reconsidered is an indispensable resource, providing the most authoritative science on every aspect of the issue. For those who are skeptical toward over-the-top global warming claims, Climate Change Reconsidered provides the scientific studies and data that support the realist point of view.

For those who believe humans are causing a global warming crisis, such a position is untenable unless they are aware of, and capable of rebutting, the enormous weight of scientific data and studies presented in this book.


Global warming policies are the real national security threat

Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.) is trying to win Senate support for the ruinously expensive cap-and-tax global-warming bill, claiming it will prevent threats to national security, according to the New York Times. He argues that global warming will destabilize the developing world, creating climate refugees and exacerbating conflict. The American military will need to respond to these problems through either humanitarian-relief missions or armed intervention. This argument is flawed for two reasons. First, there is no reason to believe the bill being debated will stop any of this. Second, there is every possibility that the bill might make things worse.

If global warming is as bad as Senator Kerry fears, this bill will do nothing to avert its effects. Most honest proponents of the bill admit that it will do nothing to reduce global temperatures. At most, according to climatologist Chip Knappenberger, the bill will reduce warming by about nine-hundredths of a degree Fahrenheit by 2050, a difference too small to be measured.

Could anything avert those supposed effects? Yes — much more stringent climate policies, which would have adverse effects of their own. The national-security establishment uses “futurist” scenarios to establish possible national-security risks. In that spirit, it should also look at scenarios in which more stringent policies are implemented. Consider the following such scenario.

Developed countries enact strong restraints on emissions, along with high taxes on gasoline and coal energy. The coal, oil and automobile industries collapse. In America, the Gulf Coast states suffer particularly badly. Old automobiles are crushed. The second-hand car market also collapses. Poor people cannot find affordable vehicles. Poor rural families cannot get to work. They and the populations of former oil and coal producing areas move to cities where there is transportation but there are fewer and fewer jobs, leading to widespread urban discontent. Illegal immigration increases as employers bring in thousands of workers whom they house in barracks near their farms and factories. The car once again becomes a symbol of the rich. Is this a recipe for domestic tranquility?

Europe could also be destabilized by carbon restrictions. European politicians call for a de facto reduction of household income so that people will be less tempted to buy frivolous things. Car ownership reaches the level of social stigma. The European Union increases trade barriers on goods from long distances to pay for the external costs of their shipping, with leads to soaring costs. Inflation becomes a serious problem, but politicians defend it as an indicator of social good. Populist politicians rail against immigrant populations, denouncing them as environmental criminals for leaving their home countries. “Economic migrant” becomes a new insult.

Yet, even worse can be imagined. The developed countries set up a World Carbon Organization, which would impose severe economic sanctions on any country that did not enact carbon restrictions. China and India call the organization’s bluff and continue to build coal-fired carbon plants to fuel what is rapidly becoming the world’s economic base. The WCO tries to blockade Chinese exports. Western militaries, however, have been depleted by their own governments’ carbon constraints, and prove inadequate to the job of blockading. A potential “trigger” for a disaster scenario is easy to imagine: A frustrated French captain accidentally sinks a Chinese vessel carrying MP3 players to Australia. What happens then?

This is the sort of scenario the Pentagon should be examining. If global warming can destabilize the globe, so can global-warming policies. That is one reason the world has not reached an international agreement on reducing emissions that binds everyone to reductions, and why we never shall with current technology.

Senator Kerry says that he wants a world free from the dangers of global warming. But the cap-and-tax bill he is promoting is more likely to give us a world with the dangers of global warming and the dangers of protectionist nationalism. That is a bad deal for the security of America — and the world.

P.S. My colleague Marlo Lewis examined the various supposed threats to national security in very great detail for the a hearing held by House Intelligence Committee. You can read his excellent testimony here. You can also see his documentary, Policy Peril, at CEI On Demand.


Carbon capture delusions

Don’t worry about the risks of earthquakes or suffocation or water contamination. Carbon capture is good, really

If you live in or near a community that manufactures chemicals or cement, or that has a refinery or a coal or natural gas electricity generating station, or that has abandoned mines or other suitable geological formations, you may soon be asked to save the planet from global warming by hosting an underground carbon dioxide storage facility.

You and your neighbours will be told not to worry about carbon dioxide poisoning your water supplies. Yes, ruptures or large leaks of the gas could not only make the water undrinkable for you but also kill vegetation and aquatic life, the authorities will acknowledge, but inventors are working on new, improved technology that will prevent underground pipes and other infrastructure from leaking.

You and your neighbours will also be told not to worry about mass asphyxiation in your sleep in the event of an unexpected release of carbon dioxide, a gas that’s heavier than air — to their knowledge, that only happened to humans once before, in rural Africa when a release of naturally stored carbon dioxide from Lake Nyos in Cameroon enshrouded and suffocated 1,700 people. The authorities in Canada promise to take this risk seriously and double-promise to design state-of-the-art carbon dioxide storage plants that won’t fail fed by pipelines that won’t blow out. Plus, they’ll install monitors in case plants fail or pipelines blow out.

Finally, you and your neighbours will be told not to worry about the possibility that your community will become susceptible to earthquakes. Yes, the authorities will admit when pressed, these carbon-storage facilities are expected to become one of the top five triggers of earthquakes — induced seismicity, it’s called — but hey, somebody’s got to save the planet and the authorities have selected you.

In turn, you and your neighbours, having received all these assurances from the authorities — and having confirmed that the government plans to exempt the carbon-storage industry from liability in the event of an accident — will rise up in opposition and try to run the authorities out of town.

I am guessing, of course, at what you and your neighbours will ultimately decide to do — maybe your community can be bribed into acquiescence. But I am not guessing that our federal and provincial governments have a crash program underway to make Canada an early leader in the carbon-storage industry.

Last month, the Alberta government, which has already committed $2-billion to carbon-storage schemes, announced the province’s first host communities as if it had selected lottery winners. “Alberta announces three winning projects for carbon-capture funding,” reported the Calgary Herald. “[They] will each receive a portion of $2-billion in carbon capture and storage funding, if final negotiations between the province and companies are successful.”

The neighbours to the winners — Edmonton-area ventures involving Shell Canada, Chevron Canada and Epcor, among others — may feel more like guinea pigs after the public consultations begin, and concerns get aired. The government expects the storage facilities to be up and running by 2015, meaning that the pressure will soon be on to ram these projects through. Look for environmental groups to be enlisted as government persuaders — the Alberta-based Pembina Institute has already recommended that environmental groups take on this enabling role. And look for the environmental groups to be held in the same regard as the governments and companies they are working with.

Last September, a carbon-storage demonstration scheme in northern Germany — Vattenfall’s Schwarze Pumpe project in Spremberg — opened to wide acclaim. The $110-million facility was touted as the first to trap carbon dioxide at a coal plant before transporting it for burial. Last week it came out that the burial never happened. Because of local opposition, the town had refused to give Vattenfall a permit for burial. Rather than storing the gas underground, Vattenfall revealed during a conference, it has been quietly (and safely) venting the carbon dioxide straight into the atmosphere all along. Similarly, local opposition foiled Shell’s plans to store carbon dioxide in depleted gas fields under the Dutch town of Barendrecht, near Rotterdam, in March. After sitting through a public consultation, and receiving assurances from Shell that the technology is proven to be safe, 1,300 residents lodged their protests.

The Numby phenomenon — Not Under My Back Yard — is not limited to opposition by local residents: industries with a stake in safe water are also alarmed. The American Water Works Association, a trade group representing 4,700 water utilities that produce 80% of America’s drinking water, has added the carbon-storage industry to coal and the other resource industries that threaten its interests and those of its customers.

“Our biggest concern is the prevention of degradation of underground sources of drinking water” by interfering with the complex chemistry of water in underground settings, the association told Congress in detailed testimony last year, citing the numerous ways that carbon dioxide burial threatens aquifers with profound contamination, and noting that many communities don’t have alternative sources of affordable drinking water.

The association also noted that carbon-storage technology is unproven and may not even succeed in its primary goal, of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Why risk a nation’s water supplies without the evidence being in, it asked Congress. Why indeed.


Debunking 'climate change myths'

Speakers challenge global warming during Springfield, Missouri event

Those convinced that the earth is warming -- and that such warming is going to trigger catastrophic disasters -- have jumped on to the latest eco-scare that just isn't backed by science, said Marc Morano who runs a Web site called Climate Depot. Morano was among the speakers Thursday at a one-day conference called "Debunking Climate Change Myths" in Springfield. About 150 attended the conference, presented by a group called "Scientists for Truth." Attendees included high school students, local politicians and others.

On, Morano links to news stories about climate change, as well as providing his own thoughts on the issue. In his speech, he said those who believe in global warming and its dangers also post messages -- noting the different sides of the debate may not get along. "But at least they are fighting, they are engaging each other," he said.

While other speakers at the event presented scientific critiques, Morano offered quotes he's collected from various news sources, politicians and scientists. In 1975, for instance, Newsweek Magazine sounded alarms over climactic change. But the difference was writers were warning of an impending ice age, he said.

In the 1980s and the 90s, the popular eco-cause became saving the Amazon Rainforests, a topic Morano made a documentary about in 2000. But, Morano pointed out that even the New York Times reported that for every acre of rain forest being cut, 50 are growing back.

Until March, Morano worked for the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works committee, where he wrote a dissenting report that 700 scientists signed. He said more scientists and others who previously supported a belief in catastrophic climate change are looking at data and challenging conventional wisdom.

However, he expressed amazement that more aren't challenging statements made from supporters like Nobel Prize winning economist Thomas Schelling. According to Morano, Schelling was quoted in The Atlantic as wishing for natural disasters: "I sometimes wish we could have over the next five or 10 years a lot of horrid things happening, you know, like tornados in the Mid west and so forth. That would get people concerned about climate change." Morano called characterized such statement as insane. "A man who can't convince people on the science because the science isn't there, so he's now wishing for death, destruction on people through tornados," he said.

Morano predicted that the next "eco-fears" will include a so-called oxygen crisis -- a crisis caused by a shrinking supply of oxygen on earth -- and a crisis of plastic waste. Laure David, producer of Al Gore's film on global warming, has been trying to draw attention to the issue of plastic waste, calling it "in some ways more alarming" for humans than global warming, Morano said.

The conference was organized by Ron Boyer, who runs a consulting firm. He also sits on the Missouri Air Conservation Commission -- though the conference was not connected to the commission. Boyer said he wanted to hold the conference because he was tired of hearing that the debate on climate change is over. "That's not how science works. Science continues to examine," said Boyer, who has an undergraduate degree in chemistry. Boyer said future conferences will depend on whether or not the Senate passes the Cap and Trade legislation. "If they do pass it, the debate is over because it will be a done deal," said Boyer. But, he said, if it doesn't pass this year there will be a chance to continue debating the science another year.

John Lilly, a medical doctor and Willard school board member, said he attended the conference because he wanted to support the scientists who are trying to debunk global warming. "Those who support global warming do it for political reasons rather than actual scientific reasons," he said.


It's Fish Versus Farmers in the San Joaquin Valley

Crops rot and people stand in line for food while the EPA engineers a drought

In 1931, a severe drought began that within a few years engulfed the Oklahoma panhandle and a third of the Great Plains in a "Dust Bowl." Tens of thousands of people fled the region—many traveling to California along Route 66, which John Steinbeck called "the mother road, the road of flight" in "The Grapes of Wrath."

A lot of the "Okies" settled in the San Joaquin Valley. In the decades that followed, state and federal officials built dams and other irrigation projects that helped turn the valley into some of the world's richest farmland.

But today the San Joaquin Valley is being transformed into a dust bowl. Hundreds of thousands of acres are fallow, while almond and plum trees are being left to die in the scorching sun. Tens of thousands of people have been tossed out of work—the town of Mendota alone has an unemployment rate of about 40%—and the lines for food donations stretch down streets. The reason? There isn't enough water to go around this year, and the Obama administration is drawing up new reasons to divert more of it from farms and people and into the San Francisco Bay.

The valley has traditionally been a place where someone with few belongings, little education and even no ability to speak English could prosper by picking grapes, milking cows, or hoeing cotton fields. The hearty people who came here were Portuguese, Mexican, Armenian, Italian, Basque and Dutch, along with westward-traveling Americans and Okies. More recent arrivals are from El Salvador, Vietnam and India. I am the product of a Portuguese family that came decades ago.

California has the largest water storage and transportation system in the world. With 1,200 miles of canals and nearly 50 reservoirs, the system captures enough water to irrigate about four million acres and provide water to 23 million people. In many cases, as with the San Joaquin Valley, water in this system is sold to communities by the federal government.

Some claim that California is facing a three-year-old drought. But, according to the state's Department of Water Resources, California reservoirs have received 80% of their normal amount of water and precipitation in the northern Sierras has been 95% of its yearly average this year. So why isn't there more water for farms? Because theirs is a regulatory-mandated drought. The 1973 Endangered Species Act requires that the government take steps to save endangered species. In California, that's meant diverting vast sums of water into rivers and streams to protect fish. Those diversions this year have forced federal authorities to decide who to serve—fish or farmers.

On Dec. 15, 2008, the Bush administration's Fish and Wildlife Service chose fish, a decision driven by a lawsuit filed in federal court in 2006 by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups. To settle the suit, the Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to divert more than 150 billion gallons of water this year away from farmers south of San Francisco in hopes of protecting the Delta smelt—a three-inch bait fish. The water is now flowing underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and out into the Pacific Ocean.

Of course, the Delta smelt isn't a particularly attractive species to protect when it means throwing Americans out of work. On June 4, the National Marine Fisheries Service declared that delivering water to farms in the San Joaquin Valley would harm killer whales in the Pacific. And to save the whales, the Obama administration is now demanding even greater water restrictions beyond what has been diverted for the smelt.

There are 130 animal species in California on the federal endangered list, including five salmon species, five steelhead species, four trout species and the North American green sturgeon. To date, not a single fish within the California water system has been removed from the Endangered Species List over the past 35 years. Despite massive amounts of water diverted to help them, the "protected" smelt, sturgeon and salmon populations have continued to decline. It is hardly unreasonable to ask why farmers should continue to suffer if diverting water hasn't even helped the fish.

Congress has the power to solve this crisis. In 2003, a fish-versus-families debate erupted in New Mexico after water deliveries to Albuquerque from the Rio Grande River were cut off to protect habitat for the silvery minnow—another three-inch bait fish. Congress temporarily suspended portions of the Endangered Species Act and guaranteed that water would be provided to Albuquerque. The situation in California is virtually identical and repeating what was done in New Mexico would do wonders for San Joaquin Valley farmers.

It would also accomplish more than what the administration currently has in mind. Next month Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is planning to hold a hearing on the situation in California, following up on a visit he made to the valley in June.

A spokesman for the Interior Department recently declared that San Joaquin Valley's water problems are a top priority for the Obama administration and that the river that flows through the valley and eventually to the ocean to form the San Joaquin Delta is as precious a natural resource as Florida's Everglades. What is precious and what President Barack Obama should come to see for himself are the 40,000 people in the valley who are desperate for water so they can get back to work.

If it doesn't start flowing any time soon, perhaps he can tell them where they should go. Back to Oklahoma?


The humble light bulb: a victim of political stupidity green zealotry and economic ignorance

Every journalist in the land seems to be going ga-ga over the new "energy saver globe". This is the eco-friendly alternative to the devilish and grossly inefficient incandescent bulb. We are being incessantly told by our media mavens that the new alternative is cheaper in the long term than the old light bulb and that it will save just oodles and oodles of energy and that it would be irrational not to buy it.

The funny thing is that Joe Public has to be mandated by arrogant politicians into buying the next best thing to sliced bread. Why is this so? Because in the eyes of his intellectual and moral superiors in the media and politics he is just too dumb to know a good thing when he sees it. Therefore his betters must intervene to save him from his ignorance short-sightedness.

Irrespective of what smart-aleck journalists and pompous politicians think Joe Public is being perfectly rational in choosing the incandescent bulb over the new wonder light, despite the fact that calculations showing the technical superiority of the new product are correct. The principal problem is that politicians and journalists are economic illiterates. If it were otherwise they would never have confused technical efficiency with economic efficiency.

If technical efficiency was the sole determinant then consistency would demand that these advocates should also promote silver, gold and platinum as alternatives to copper wiring because they are superior conductors. But, as they would argue, these metals are too expensive for the job and that's why we need copper.

The same goes for solar panels. If these were 100 per cent efficient they would still be grossly inefficient economically because they involve massive diseconomies of scale where as centralised power generation gives us economies of scale. When it is realised that what really matters is economic efficiency the case for mandating fluorescent lighting and other alternatives falls to the ground.

Philips' figures show that the running costs of a $6 11 watt energy globe (the equivalent of a 60 watt incandescent globe) over a three year period would be $6.60 while the $1.0 alternative would cost 36 dollars for the same period. A "slam dunk deal", as Americans say. Only it ain't. Let us return to our hapless consumer, the one who is too stupid to know how he should spend his money.

In a free market he would have the choice of both products and he would choose on the basis of which one gave him the greatest satisfaction. In this case let us make it the destructive incandescent bulb. Running this light for one year will cost him $12 while the other one will cost $2.20. What is being overlooked, however, that he is not calculating costs in this mechanical way. He is comparing $1.0 for the incandescent bulb with the $6 for the so-called eco-friendly alternative.

By spending $1 he finds himself with $5 to spend on other goods. What we have here is an example of opportunity cost. It is very clear, therefore, that he values the additional goods more than he values the 'eco-friendly' light. But what about future savings? This question brings us to time preference, the preference for present goods over future goods. In other words, we value present goods more highly than those in the future.

If one were to ask these journalists if they would prefer to have a $100 today or $100 in a year's time, they would choose to have $100 today. By making this choice they reveal that they value $100 today more highly than $100 in the future. This means that these sums of money are being correctly treated as two different goods, with time making the difference. (Incidentally, this is why we have interest). If they were being treated as identical goods it would then be a matter of complete indifference to our journalists whether they chose $100 today or vice versa. The same goes for buying lights or any other goods.

Future cost savings are just that — in the future. If the consumer chooses the incandescent light then he is clearly stating that the cost of the alternative exceeds the value of its future benefits. In general, the lower the consumer's income the higher his time preference is likely to be. From this we conclude that mandating these lamps reduces the welfare of the less well off, as does the absurd tax on plastic bags. (Plastic bags v. greenie bigotry). However, this fact didn't faze [Australian politician] Malcolm Turnbull, one of the economic illiterates responsible for the policy of banning incandescent light bulbs.

This leaves our activists with the externality argument. According to them the humble light bulb is a case of market failure that is 'polluting' the environment and as this cost is not built into their price they must phased out in favour of an alternative that produces very little in the way of externalities. Two free market economists nailed this argument when they pointed out:
Taxes do not result from a market process, nor do they reflect allocation decisions of resource owners . . . In other words, taxation is a method of intervening, not an alternative to intervention or nonmarket allocation. (O'Driscoll and Rizzo, cited in Efficiency and Externalities in an Open-Ended Universe, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007, p. 13).

(For those who might be a little confused on this point, there is no fundamental difference between mandating incandescent bulbs out of the market or putting a prohibitive tax on them. As for pollution, Co2 is a nutrient and not a pollutant. Moreover, thousands of scientists are now challenging the phony science of man-made global warming. In addition, there has been no global warming for ten years. These scientists know that the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is a mere 0.38 per cent while the Martian atmosphere is 95 per cent carbon dioxide. These are facts that you will not find in our scaremongering rags)

We must now examine the greens' hypocrisy. Back in the late '60s or early '70s green fanatics whipped up hysteria about traces of mercury being found in tuna and how it would poison us. Research later found that the amount of mercury found in tuna was perfectly normal and had nothing to do with industry. I raised this case because mercury is a necessary component of the greens' new wonder lamp. So the same fanatics who railed against traces of mercury in tuna are perfectly happy to bully us into installing mercury-laden lamps in every room in the house. (This raises the question of who should be sued if someone is harmed by mercury from one of these 'eco-saving' lamps).

If I break a an ordinary bulb I merely have to sweep up the bits and put them into a bin. Not so with 'green lights'. When they break they need to be disposed of in a responsible manner. Philips, one of the companies manufacturing these lights, states:
All mercury-containing products must be disposed of responsibly. As more of us adopt CFLs to help save energy and contribute to a better environment, it becomes more important that our community has a recycling programme for mercury and other environmentally unsafe materials. (Make the switch to energy efficient lighting).

Will the policy of phasing out the incandescent raise the demand for electricity?

Minimising energy in an effort to lower production costs is self-evidently good business practice — but it also has the ironic effect of raising the demand for electricity. This is because reducing the use of electrical energy per unit of output in production processes is similar to reducing its price. What matters is not the ratio of energy to output but the ratio of the value of the output to the value of the inputs, of which the energy source is one. Therefore it does not matter for demand whether the fall in the cost of energy as an input is caused by a reduction in price or by an innovation, the result is the same. Economic history has numbers of examples of this process and only economic rationalism (market economics journalists) can explain it.

The steam engine is an excellent example of this process. Before Watt's innovations the steam engine was horrendously wasteful. The introduction of Watt's separate condenser alone improved 'energy conservation' by a factor of four. This not only increased the demand for coal but also for more steam engines which in turn led to more innovations which in turn.... This very early example of 'energy conservation' was brought about by market forces, not meddling politicians or ignorant 'journalists', and its reverberations were quickly felt throughout the economy by stimulating economic growth and raising the demand for labour.

Those who may think that the steam engine is only isolated example should look at the findings by Herbert Inhaber and Harry Saunders in a 1994 study, Road to Nowhere; Energy Conservation Often Backfires published by the New York Academy of sciences. The authors gave historical examples to support their case that as the amount of energy per unit of output falls the demand for electricity RISES.



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


Friday, August 14, 2009


An email from Dr. John Lewis [], Associate Professor, Philosophy, Politics and Economics Program, Duke University

I call your attention to a new volume, "Natural Resources, the Environment, and Human Welfare," edited by Ellen Fraenkel Paul, Fred D. Miller Jr. and Jeffrey Paul (Cambridge, 2009). This is the book version of the journal "Social Philosophy and Policy" 26.2 (Summer 2009) dedicated to "The Environment: Philosophy and Policy." This highly regarded publication is aimed at readers in the fields of the social sciences, as well as philosophy, public policy and law. See here

My own article, "History, Politics, and Claims of Man-made Global Warming" challenges readers to consider a broad view of the natural history of the earth, the voices of scientists who do not accept the truth of an imminent climate disaster, and the dangerous political consensus that threatens us with a disaster of our own making. My article follows one by Michael Mann, "Do Global Warming and Climate Change Represent a Serious Threat to Our Welfare and Environment?" Reading the two articles in series offers readers a chance to evaluate the positions of a scientist who agrees with the climate disaster claims and thinks that aggressive political action is required, and a non-scientist who thinks that the political disaster we are creating far outstrips any human impact on the environment.

A sample from my article:

"Among people who are in the position to create and enforce government policies, however, there is a consensus that human responsibility for global warming is a settled issue, and that the task now is to implement the laws required to atone for that responsibility. This political consensus is a dangerous thing, because the remedies being proposed to mitigate the AGW predictions are breathtaking in their scope, and will have negative consequences for billions of people. This conclusion is not a matter of hypothetical computer modeling, conjecture, or percentages on a graph. The governmental actions being planned now are on a scale commensurate with socialist planned economies, and would place the very heart of industrial society-the motive power that keeps its industry beating-under the control of a labyrinthine maze of all-powerful government bureaucracies. Should these proposals be adopted, the people of the industrialized nations will be subjected to controls over minutiae of daily life on a level previously thought intolerable. It behooves policy planners, scientists and citizens alike to grasp the consequences of such policies, while they consider the shaky, disputed scientific grounds on which the calls for action are based. . . .

"The purpose of this essay is to bring into focus two crucial aspects of this issue. The first is to present a basic outline of natural history as an historical context for the AGW claims, along with the evaluations of top-rank scientists who do not accept those claims. The second is to illuminate some of the regulatory proposals that these claims have engendered, as well as the economic, political, and moral meaning of these proposals. The specific focus here will be on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on July 11, 2008, along with a brief summation of its background in American and international political action. This examination should assist non-scientists in forming judgments about whether claims of man-made global climate disaster are strong enough to warrant these radical, irreversible government actions."


This is extraordinary (and not believable) for a collective academic body -- particularly one that "is widely recognised as one of the world's leading institutions concerned with the study of natural and anthropogenic climate change". Their ducking and weaving amounts to an admission that they have distorted the original data in undefensible ways and they are not going to let anybody correct that. By now they probably HAVE deleted the original data, just to make sure it never comes to light. Just another lot of Greenie crooks! If they were honest, they would have said from the beginning that they had not retained the raw data and that it was just their OPINION about the data that they were promulgating

Steve McIntyre, of ClimateAudit, is a determined individual. While this may be no fun for those who fall under his focus and happen to have something to hide, more sunlight on climate science cannot be a bad thing.

Lately Steve has been spearheading an effort to get the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia to release the data that underlie its analysis of global temperature trends. Such a request should not at all be controversial. Indeed the atmospheric sciences community went to great lengths in the 1990s to ensure that such data would be openly available for research purposes, culminating in World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Resolution 40 on the international exchange of meteorological and related data and products. The Resolution states: "Members should provide to the research and education communities, for their non-commercial activities, free and unrestricted access to all data and products exchanged under the auspices of WMO . . ."

WMO recognized the need to protect commercial activities, but placed no restrictions on the exchange of climate information described as follows: "All reports from the network of stations recommended by the regional associations as necessary to provide a good representation of climate . . ."

Obviously, the ability to do good research depends upon good data with known provenance. At the time WMO Resolution 40 was widely hailed in the atmospheric sciences community as a major step forward in data sharing and availability in support of both operations and research.

Thus it is with some surprise to observe CRU going through bizarre contortions to avoid releasing its climate data to Steve McIntyre. They first told him that he couldn't have it because he was not an academic. I found this to be a petty reason for keeping data out of the hands of someone who clearly wants to examine it for scholarly purposes. So, wanting to test this theory I asked CRU for the data myself, being a "real" academic. I received a letter back from CRU stating that I couldn't have the data because "we do not hold the requested information."

I found that odd. How can they not hold the data when they are showing graphs of global temperatures on their webpage? However, it turns out that CRU has in response to requests for its data put up a new webpage with the following remarkable admission (emphasis added): "We are not in a position to supply data for a particular country not covered by the example agreements referred to earlier, as we have never had sufficient resources to keep track of the exact source of each individual monthly value. Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and homogenized) data."

Say what?! CRU has lost track of the original data that it uses to create its global temperature record!? Can this be serious? So not only is it now impossible to replicate or reevaluate homogeneity adjustments made in the past -- which might be important to do as new information is learned about the spatial representativeness of siting, land use effects, and so on -- but it is now also impossible to create a new temperature index from scratch. CRU is basically saying, "trust us." So much for settling questions and resolving debates with empirical information (i.e., science).

To be absolutely clear, none of what I write here should be taken as implying that actions to decarbonize the global economy or improve adaptation do not make sense -- they do. However, just because climate change is important and because there are opponents to action that will seize upon whatever they can to make their arguments, does not justify overlooking or defending this degree of scientific sloppiness and ineptitude. Implementing successful climate policy will have to overcome the missteps of the climate science community, and this is a big one.


Sunspotless days, cooling and bureaucracy

A comment from the Philippines

As of last Tuesday, August 11, NASA has this tally in sunspotless (ie, zero sunspot) days:

Current Stretch: 32 days
2009 total: 174 days (78%)
Since 2004: 685 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days

Since January 1, 2009 up to August 11, 174 out of 223 days or 78 percent of all days have zero sunspot. That’s very significant. Since 1849 or over the past 160 years, the top 5 years with highest sunspotless days were:

1. 1913, 311 days, 85%
2. 1901, 284 days, 78%
3. 1878, 278 days, 76%
4. 2008, 266 days, 73%
5. 1912, 253 days, 69%

Long number of zero sunspot days means (a) less solar magnetic field, less solar wind, (b) more cosmic rays enter the solar system including the Earth, weak solar wind to push them away, (c) more low-lying clouds are formed, lots of sunlight are blocked, and (d) global cooling results. Such cooling has nothing or very little to do with CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

There are a number of proofs for the current global cooling. For instance, July 2009 was the coldest July or 2nd coldest July on record for at least 10 states in the US, see here, “July’s climate: chilly USA, torrid globe”. See herer

Here in the Philippines, cloudy skies have been the norm since almost the start of the year. The summer months of March-April-May were sidestepped by the prolonged “cold front” that started in late 2008 to April this year. The rainy season came 1 ½ month earlier, in mid-April, instead of the usual July. A number of farms planted to “summer crops” like tomato, onions and water melon were destroyed because of such early onset of the rains.

Meanwhile, the UN IPCC is preparing to produce its 5th Assessment Report (AR5) and the UN FCCC is busy conducting various global meetings prior to the big meeting in Copenhagen this coming December for a “post-Kyoto Protocol” agreements to drastically cut global emission of the “evil” gas, carbon dioxide (CO2).

Until the IPCC and many governments later demonized CO2 as an evil gas, this gas is known in the biological sciences as a very useful gas. It’s the gas that we humans exhale, that our pets and farm animals exhale, and it’s the gas that our vegetables, fruits, flowers and trees need when they produce their own food via photosynthesis. It’s actually plant food.

Now the useful gas is pictured as evil that must be drastically reduced globally. Can environmental bureaucrats and politicians do it? Yes, they think they can. That’s why they invented the Kyoto Protocol, the UN FCCC, the various “anti-climate change” bureaucracies in so many governments, both national and local. And because their grand design is plain environmental regulations, they forget or they overlook the Sun, long-term planetary (changing) orbit around the sun, the cosmic rays, the ocean, and other natural causes. For them, only the evil CO2 matters. And they play the global hero by reducing and demonizing this gas and human economic activities that emit this “evil”.

Since more objective scientists (physicists, geologists, meteorologists, etc.) say that the IPCC was lying, and more scientific data – like more sunspotless days – come out to confirm their statement, who’s the real evil now?


More Cap-and-Trade War

Ten Senators insist on a carbon tariff to avoid job losses

President Obama says his cap-and-trade energy tax won't hurt the economy, but at least 10 Senate Democrats disagree. Last week they sent Mr. Obama a letter demanding that any bill taxing U.S. CO2 emissions must include a carbon tariff "to ensure that manufacturers do not bear the brunt of our climate change policy."

Hmmm. This sure sounds like an explicit admission that cap and tax would add so much to the cost of doing business in the U.S. that it would drive factories and jobs overseas. The 10 mostly liberal Senators come from states like Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia whose economies rely heavily on manufacturing and coal. "We must not engage in a self-defeating effort that displaces greenhouse gas emissions rather than reducing them and displaces U.S. jobs rather than bolstering them," wrote the Senators.

Thus their demand that "a longer-term border adjustment mechanism"—a euphemism for tariffs—"is a vital part of this package to prevent the relocation of carbon emissions and industries" to countries that aren't as foolish as to impose a similar tax. Those countries include China and India, which have told Obama officials that they have no intention of signing on to the rich world's growth-killing obsessions.

All of which puts the President in an economic policy bind. When the House passed its cap-and-tax bill in June, he warned against a carbon tariff by saying "I think we need to be very careful about sending any protectionist signals." But these 10 Senate Democrats are saying explicitly that protectionism is the price of their support. So Mr. Obama can opt to impose a huge carbon tax and drive jobs overseas, or he can impose the tax along with a tariff, and kick off a trade war. Better to call the whole thing off.



UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has such a low profile on the world stage that he's referred to as "the invisible man". Perhaps in an effort to boost his press coverage he's given a speech in Inchon, South Korea (hat tip: Drudge), that can only be described as a bizarre PR stunt, with the sort of cataclysmic environmental statements doled out in scientifically dodgy disaster movies like The Day After Tomorrow or the forthcoming 2012.

In his address to the Global Environment Forum this week (read talking shop for unelected, overpaid bureaucrats), Ban warned of impending "droughts, floods and other natural disasters", as well as mass social unrest and violence - "the human suffering will be incalculable" - if the world's leaders did not "seal a deal" on climate change at a summit in Copenhagen in December. In the Secretary General's ominous words: "We have just four months. Four months to secure the future of our planet."

In reality, the United Nations can't even maintain its own headquarters, manage its own books and keep its tens of thousands of peacekeepers under control, let alone save the world. The UN is an extraordinarily badly run institution, rife with corruption and mismanagement, that shields some of the most odious tyrants on the face of the earth. Surely it should be focusing on implementing some much-needed management reform, cracking down on rampant corruption within its ranks, and preventing its peacekeeping troops from raping refugees in war-torn places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and southern Sudan.

If Ban Ki-moon really wants to make a bigger impact on the world stage he should condemn North Korea's barbaric enslavement of millions of its own people in forced labour camps, speak out against Iran's nuclear weapons program, fraudulent elections and mass violations of human rights, and stand up to tyrannical regimes from Pyongyang to Khartoum. He should also call for reform of the UN's ludicrous human rights organization, the Human Rights Council, which is no improvement at all over its disastrous predecessor the UN Commission on Human Rights.

The main threat to humanity at present is posed not by climate change but by dangerous madmen like Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, heading rogue regimes hell-bent on wiping their neighbours off the map. Not to mention the rise of militant Islam and a global terrorist network that seeks the destruction of the free world. As long as UN officials stick their head in the sand and ignore the world's real problems the body will remain an irrelevance.


Some Australian consumer reports on "twisty" lightbulbs

Reports from different contributors to a consumer reports site below. Note that New Zealand has reversed its ban on incandescent globes

* They claim that the energy saving light bulbs lasts 10000 hours, if the one in my son's bedroom is on about 3 hours a day, it should last 9.1 years, well it lasted about 2 years, I have 4 of those light bulbs in my house and all are used around 3 to 5 hours a day and none last more then 2 years.

* From my experience the compact fluorescent lamps are very sensitive to heat and reqire good ventilation. They do not last long in enclosed light fittings. The spiral type tubes are less prone to trap a build up of dead moths and insects and are giving me much better service. I bought a six pack of 'Nelson' brand from Bunnings and the first two didn't last two nights so I returned them and got my money back. Perhaps you get what you pay for.

* Frequent switching on and off also reduces their lifespan. Fluorescent lighting (either compact or standard) generally works best in areas where the lights are switched on and off once or twice a day. If you're going to be out of the room for less than 5-10 minutes, you're better off leaving the light on the time you are out.

* Also, you get what you pay for, and the dearer ones tend to be better quality and last longer, much like everything else. Having said that I bought two Nelson ones at Bunnings a few years ago because they were on clearance (both had different covers on them). One lasted less than 6 months, the other one is still working fine as the main living room light. Most of the packaging will only say'up to 10,000 hours', or 8 times as long as an incandescent globe, as the 10,000 hours is pretty rare.

* So it's a bit of a scam then. "you get what you pay for". Actually I got them for free -- they were giving them away at the shopping center and I got quite a few. the point is, I like the old style light bulbs better, they cost 75 cents and last long enough.

* Not so much a scam, they use about 80% less electricity than the old incandescent light globes, but they do cost more. The basic style (either prongs or twist) are around $3.00-$3.50 each for a reasonable brand (I normally use Phillips, although I have a stash of free GE ones). So even if they only last the same time as incandescent globes, they work out cheaper in the long run due to their lower consumption. But for lights that are left on for reasonable periods of time such as living rooms, or bedrooms where children play, they should last considerably longer than incandescent globes.

There is also the possibility it was just a bad batch. I had some old incandescent globes once that lasted less than 3 months. Their replacements (same brand and type) lasted much much longer.

* "They use about 80% less electricity", well that's what we're told but do they??? My electricity bill didn't come down since I started using these bulbs; anyway I didn't notice it> What we do know for sure is that we have to pay 5 to 6 times more just to buy the bulb, and the old style bulbs are being phased out, so we don't have a choice, is it all for the sake of stopping this climate change?


Greenie objects to mayor supporting his own city

The hot-selling 2010 Chevy Camaro is made in Oshawa, Canada. The mayor of Oshawa, John Gray, drives a spanking new red Camaro SS with a white racing stripe, just like the one that introduced the bowtie muscle car to the Middle East back in June. Supporting locally made products sounds like a shrewd move for any politician, especially when the city is footing the bill for your ride. A free Camaro is a great job perk, but one Oshawa resident – Bill Steele – doesn't agree.

Steele says the mayor is "flaunting this gas-guzzling vehicle all around town... and I don't like that I'm paying for part of a sports car that gets 17 miles to the gallon." Steele serves up the city's high tax rates as a reason why the mayor shouldn't be driving a Camaro. Of course, without over 400 Camaros being built in Oshawa per day, there would likely be thousands fewer tax payers to help pay those already high taxes. Mayor Gray knows there are a few citizens who don't like his pricey, thirsty pony car, but that thankfully isn't stopping him from driving it.



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


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Democrat climate bill could cost 2 million jobs

Add another climate bill cost estimate to the growing pile. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) released a study Wednesday that found under a high-cost scenario the House global warming bill could reduce economic growth by 2.4 percent and cost 2 million jobs by 2030.

Environmentalists were quick to criticize the study for underselling the development of climate-friendly sources of power and not releasing other assumptions NAM and ACCF fed into the computer model to get their economic forecast, which takes more of a glass-half-empty view than recent governmental reports.

But the business groups’ figures will likely provide opponents of capping carbon more ammunition and could add to the angst of senators from industrial states. One key finding is that the climate bill will hurt the manufacturing sector particularly hard. As much as 66 percent of the total job loss from the climate bill could come from manufacturers, the report notes.

And though the impact of the bill will grow over time, the economy will start feeling the effects of the carbon cap almost immediately. “Industrial production begins to decline immediately in 2012, relative to the baseline,” the report notes.

Tony Kreindler, a spokesman for the Environmental Defense Fund, which supports the climate bill, said the business study is overly pessimistic about the development of nuclear power plants and makes other assumptions that raise the costs of a climate cap. For example, the NAM-ACCF study assumes a relatively small amount of international offsets would be available to businesses to help them meet carbon caps.

Even so, Kreindler criticized the study for its lack of details about exactly what assumptions went into the model. The report’s executive summary, the only version released publicly, does provide some details about what assumption the study makes, relating to the development of wind and other renewable sources of power and the availability of offsets to help businesses meet their emissions reductions. Modelers also assumed that only 10 to 25 nuclear plants would be built in the next two decades.

The Energy Information Administration, however, assumed 95 plants would be built by 2030, under one scenario.

Margo Thorning, senior vice president and chief economist at ACCF, called that projection “ridiculous” given the expense of building a nuclear plant and the length of time it takes to get a permit from nuclear regulators to move forward with construction. She said the assumptions used in the NAM-ACCF study were based on information gathered from business leaders and energy experts. “We’ve bent over backward to be generous about how quickly new technology can be put in place” that would help minimize the costs of the climate bill, Thorning said.


If global warming equals more storms, where are they?‏

At the time of Hurricane Katrina, the Warmists universally assured us that Katrina was a sign of global warming. So now that we are having very few hurricanes we are now in global cooling? Warmists have to decide that they were wrong about Katrina or wrong about global warming. They will avoid even thinking about it of course

The now iconic image of murky dust rising from a smokestack in the shape of a hurricane on the cover of Al Gore’s global warming documentary draws a distinct correlation between rising temperatures and stronger storm patterns. But here’s an inconvenient truth: This year’s hurricane season has gotten off to the slowest start in 17 years. And yet global warming alarmists continue to ring their doomsday sirens.

The official start of the hurricane season is June 1. And not since 1992 — the year of Hurricane Andrew — has the Atlantic Ocean been silent past Aug. 4. Meteorologists have yet to name even a single tropical storm in the Atlantic in 2009. So is global warming really doing anything?

“While it is commonly thought that global warming would increase hurricane activity, that is far from a settled issue,” said Rob Eisenson, a meteorologist at Western Connecticut State University. “There are some research studies that suggest global warming would not have that effect.” But Eisenson cautions that looking at one season’s activity cannot determine whether a long-term trend is or is not happening.

“I don’t think the slow start to the hurricane season can be pointed to as an erosion of the claims of global warming or hurricane activity. Likewise, I don’t think a single especially active hurricane year is highly supportive of these claims. ... Anyone can claim anything in this debate — fact is, there is no way to prove or disprove any of it.” [An admirable admission]


Obama’s nuclear waste

President Obama claims he wants to transform America's energy economy away from the fossil fuels that presently provide the lion's share of our energy. He talks about investing tens of billions of dollars for renewable energy technology research and development and to create a "smart" electricity grid. He pushes for a costly cap-and-trade system, while promising the creation of millions of new green jobs. All of this is designed to curb the greenhouse gas emissions he claims imperil the planet.

So why does his administration show hostility to the one technology that can provide reliable, industrial-size amounts of energy while emitting absolutely no carbon dioxide? If Obama is genuinely concerned about slashing emissions, then his antagonism toward nuclear power makes no sense.

Two examples have emerged recently giving credence to the notion that Obama's energy policies are crafted to appease certain constituencies rather than effect the transformation to a post-carbon economy.

The first came two weeks ago when the Department of Energy abruptly turned down USEC, Inc.'s application for a $2 billion loan guarantee to help it finish building an advanced uranium enrichment facility in Piketon, Ohio. The plant was already under construction. Officials had every reason to believe the federal loan guarantee that would help nail down additional private funding was coming. After all, during the campaign last year Obama pledged his "full support" to the enrichment facility project. He promised, "I will work with the Department of Energy to help make loan guarantees available for this and other advanced energy programs that reduce carbon emissions."

So much for campaign promises. In late July the Obama Administration instructed USEC to withdraw its application, saying the company had failed to prove the enrichment technology was commercially viable. As a result, USEC announced it was demobilizing the project, and many employees could lose their jobs.

The Obama team's explanation for its decision is mystifying. USEC's program was already well along, having secured the necessary construction and operating licenses from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2007. More than that, the project's centrifuges have already undergone more than 150,000 machine hours of tests to enable researchers to hone designs and improve reliability. These have been successful enough for the company to finalize design and begin seeking components from manufacturers. USEC had all its ducks in a row to help provide low-enriched uranium to the 21st century nuclear energy marketplace, yet Obama's Department of Energy (DOE) called its efforts "failed."

Even more insulting, one day after denying USEC's $2 billion loan guarantee request, DOE announced it will provide $30 billion in loan guarantees for extremely speculative renewable energy projects to harness wind and solar power. Considering the billions of dollars in additional subsidies DOE gives for alternative energy research and production, it seems anybody with a half-baked idea who goes hat-in-hand to Washington will get a check. But a proven commercial technology like that demonstrated by USEC gets the rug pulled out from under because it is associated with nuclear power. That may please anti-nuclear green activists who voted in droves for Obama, but it obviously won't help America solve its future energy problems.

The decision to deny the loan guarantee drew ferocious condemnation from USEC, which figured it should be able to count on the president's word. It also drew widespread public criticism from a range of Ohio politicians. Surprised by the blowback -- and realizing perhaps that a fair number of job losses in a critical swing state could be directly pinned on the Obama team -- the Energy Department relented and announced several days later that it will delay a final decision for six months. Expect to see an announcement half a year from now congratulating USEC for making the necessary improvements in the project to qualify for the loan guarantee. Given the reaction to the initial decision, it makes far less sense for Obama to continue with this particular sop to the green lobby. Better to save face -- and jobs -- and find other ways to appease the anti-nuclear left. That's how politics works. It's understandable, but it doesn't give much confidence that the president's team takes the nation's energy challenges all that seriously.

At roughly the same time the Obama Administration reneged on his campaign promise to USEC, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was crowing that the White House privately has assured him it will eliminate funding for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository by 2011. The idea is to hamstring the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's ability to complete its independent scientific assessment of Yucca Mountain's suitability to store high-level nuclear waste.

Obama is trying to kill Yucca Mountain by a thousand cuts. Unfortunately, he has not proposed any alternative for secure waste storage, aside from a promise to convene a blue-ribbon panel of experts to study an issue which the government has already spent tens of billions of dollars studying. Spent fuel continues to accumulate in temporary pools outside the nation's 104 commercial nuclear reactors. Without any sort of resolution, some reactors eventually may be forced to shut down when their temporary facilities are filled. How that will help curb greenhouse gas emissions is unclear. But at least the White House has a happy Harry Reid on its side.

Obama promised at his Inaugural to restore science to its rightful place. When it comes to nuclear power, however, Obama's politics kick science to the curb.


U.S. Energy bill requires doubling nuke use

Low-cost solution unlikely, unpopular

To satisfy House Democrats' low-cost solution to global warming, Americans would have to double their reliance on nuclear energy by 2030 - a target the nuclear industry says is unlikely and that many environmentalists and Democrats dislike.

That is the conclusion of a new Energy Information Administration report that looked at the House Democrats' global warming bill. To produce enough clean energy at a reasonable cost would require construction of dozens of new nuclear power plants, even though no new plant has been built in decades.

The EIA, in its report last week, projected that to keep the costs of implementing the bill low for consumers - about $339 extra per household in 2030 according to their basic scenario - nuclear energy use would rise from 8 quadrillion BTUs a year to 16 quadrillion, or from 11.3 percent of total U.S. energy to 18.1 percent.

That's the largest projected increase of any source of energy, even topping renewable sources such as wind and solar power, which are supposed to be the hallmark of the bill, and would mean reliance on a controversial technology.

"What this shows is that when you fail to make necessary investments in clean and renewable technologies and in efficiency measures, you are left with using fossil fuels and other anachronistic and outdated technologies, and I include nuclear in that," said Damon Moglen, the climate campaign director at Greenpeace, which opposed the House bill as not laying out a clear enough road map to a clean-energy future.

Other environmentalists blasted the EIA report as "a fantasy."

"This thing is completely so buried in the 20th century it isn't even funny," said Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, which opposes expanded nuclear power. "To assume that nuclear and carbon sequestration are going to be the low-cost sources of electricity in the future are wrong."

He said EIA underestimated the ability of wind and solar power to expand quickly and cheaply.

But nuclear-energy proponents back the House bill and were pleased with the EIA analysis, saying it shows how critical nuclear energy will be if goals on climate change are to be met without creating massive new costs for consumers.

"You clearly cannot have a credible program to control carbon emissions without expanded nuclear power," said Richard J. Myers, vice president of policy for the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear power industry's advocacy arm.


Cash for climate

How to get your money's worth on climate change geoengineering

Let's say the world will spend $250 billion a year for the next 10 years to minimize the suffering caused by climate change. What's the best bargain we can get for the money?

The Copenhagen Consensus Center (CCC), a think-tank in Denmark headed by Skeptical Environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg, has commissioned 21 papers from leading climate experts and economists to answer that very question. Over the coming month, the CCC will be looking at the benefits and costs of proposed actions in four different areas: climate engineering, cutting future greenhouse gas emissions, economic growth, and green energy technologies. Each topic will feature a main research paper accompanied by a series of critiques by other experts called perspective papers.

At the end of the process, the CCC will assemble a panel of five leading economists, three of them Nobelists, to rank all of the proposed solutions as to their relative cost-effectiveness. This ranking process is the CCC's specialty—it has twice used this technique to rank order various proposals for solving some of the world's biggest problems, including disease eradication, sanitation, economic development, malnutrition, and the oppression of women.

This week, the CCC kicked off the process with the high-tech topic of climate engineering, starting with a paper by J. Eric Bickel, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin in Operations Research and a fellow in the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, and Lee Lane, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., where he also serves as the co-director of the Institute's Geoengineering Project. Bickel and Lane accept that global warming poses some risks to humanity and use cost-benefit analysis to weigh various proposals for engineering global climate. The chief question that they address is how much research and development funding should be devoted to investigating the feasibility of climate engineering.

The two geoengineering options to manage climate change that Bickel and Lane consider are blocking sunlight or capturing carbon. They favor blocking sunlight—or solar radiation management—over taking carbon out of the atmosphere—or air capture. Bickel and Lane estimate the costs of various solar radiation management scenarios that would offset 0.6° C, 1.3° C, and 1.9° C of future warming, and find that the benefits of deploying some proposed solar radiation management techniques outweigh the costs by between $4 and $18 trillion. (Assuming the calculations of Dynamic Integrated Model of Climate and Economics developed by Yale University economist William Nordhaus, which suggests that the 200-year present value of climate damages would be about $22 trillion, are in the right ballpark.) Air capture involves technologies that would remove ambient carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and most likely bury it underground. Bickel and Lane argue that air capture technologies are too expensive and so do not spend a great deal of time on the topic.

The planet is warming because greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide re-radiate heat from the sun back toward the earth as it tries to escape into space. Solar radiation management techniques aim to increase the amount of sunlight radiated back into space in order to lower the globe's temperature. Bickel and Lane look at proposals that would purposely inject sulfur or other reflective particles into the stratosphere on an ongoing basis to counter the effects of man-made global warming.

This phenomenon sometimes occurs naturally. Volcanoes occasionally inject sulfur particles high into the stratosphere 8 to 12 miles above the earth's surface where they reflect sunlight back into space cooling the planet. For example, when Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991 in the Philippines, it injected huge amounts of sulfur particles into the stratosphere lowering the globe's average temperature by about 0.5° C for the next year.

The priciest option that Bickel and Lane analyze is a proposal to install a sunshade involving about 4 trillion autonomous "flyers" placed at about 1 million miles in space to dim the sunlight before it reaches the earth. To offset temperatures by 0.6° C, it would take 4 trillion flyers, each about 400-inches square, and weighing a total of 5 million tons. Assuming each launch could carry 800,000 flyers up at a time, that would mean 5 million launches. If a launch occurred every 5 minutes, the entire sunshade could be in place in about 50 years. Using current numbers for launch and satellite manufacturing costs, the sunshade would cost $135 trillion to make and $395 trillion to get it into space. These costs greatly exceed mainstream estimates of the damages that might be caused by climate change. In fact, those figures add up to about 10 times the size of the current world GDP.

Stratospheric aerosols are next up for consideration. Bickel and Lane report that one recent study suggested it would be possible to use a fleet of 167 F-15 airplanes flying three times per day to inject about 1 billion million tons of sulfur particles into the stratosphere each year. This would cost about $4.2 billion per year. The same study calculated firing 8,000 artillery shells daily loaded with sulfur into the stratosphere would cost about $30 billion annually or launching 37,000 stratospheric balloons daily would cost between $21 billion and 30 billion per year. Bickel and Lane calculate that the benefit-cost ratio for using artillery shells to loft aerosols into the stratosphere is 27 to 1. The F-15 option's benefit-cost ratio would be even more favorable.

The third solar radiation management technique Bickel and Lane consider is marine cloud whitening, a proposal that involves hundreds of ships cruising the world's oceans spewing salt water as a mist into the atmosphere. The salt particles would function as cloud condensation nuclei which would increase the extent and brightness of low level clouds over the oceans. These clouds would reflect sunlight back into space cooling the earth's surface.

In this case, to offset 0.6° C of warming would involve 284 ships spewing salt water into the air at a cost of $1 billion per year. To reduce future temperatures by 1.9° C, 1881 vessels would have to be deployed at a cost of $5.8 billion annually. Bickel and Lane calculate that the benefit-cost ratios for cloud whitening range from 7,000-to-1 to 2,500-to-1.

On the strength of these high benefit-cost ratios, Bickel and Lane argue that the Copenhagen Consensus panel of economists should allocate an average of 0.3 percent of its $250 billion climate change budget ($750 million per year) to solar radiation management and air capture research over the next decade.

To help the final panel in their evaluations, the CCC commissioned two critiques of the Bickel and Lane paper. In her perspective paper critiquing Bickel and Lane's assessment of climate engineering, Anne E. Smith, an economist who heads up the climate and sustainability practice at the consultancy Charles River Associates, delves deeper into the uncertainties about the benefits and costs of solar radiation management. One important goal of R&D into solar radiation management is to reduce uncertainties about its risks.

A remarkably interesting observation by Smith is that such research will have no value to people who are inclined to have positive views about climate engineering. This is because partisans of the technique will tend to dismiss research that suggest that it poses higher risks as false alarms. On the other hand, research might also have no information value because it will never be good enough to convince hyper-cautious people that geoengineering is safe. Finally, Smith opines that Bickel and Lane have given air capture too short shrift and that it could serve as a backup option should new costly risks emerge after solar radiation management has been deployed.

The second perspective paper, from University of Colorado environmental studies professor Roger Pielke, Jr. takes a harder look at the costs and benefits of air capture of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Among other reasons, Pielke favors air capture over solar radiation management because it meets the three rules for technological fixes, which are quite useful and worth examining in more detail here.

The first rule is that the technology must largely embody the cause-effect relationship connecting problem to solution. In this case, solar radiation management fails because it addresses the effect of higher average global temperatures rather than the cause, which is accumulating concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. On the other hand, air capture aims to remove the cause—e.g., greenhouse gases—from the atmosphere thus preventing an increase in temperature.

The second rule is that the effects of the technological fix must be assessable using relatively unambiguous or uncontroversial criteria. Air capture clearly meets this criterion. Pielke notes, "If the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is judged to be a problem, then its removal logically follows as a solution."

The third rule of technological fixes is that research and development is most likely to contribute decisively to solving a social problem when it focuses on improving a standardized technical core that already exists. In this case, Pielke argues that air capture technologies have been developed now that can be refined and deployed with no risk to the climate system.

To assess the costs of air capture Pielke points out that various estimates for reducing the emissions of carbon dioxide might cost between 1 to 3 percent of total global GDP over the next century. Assuming about 3 percent global GDP growth to 2100, Pielke calculates that the cost of air capture at even $500 per ton of carbon would cost 2.7 percent of global GDP if the goal is to make sure that carbon dioxide concentrations do not exceed 450 parts per million. Pielke concludes, "My bottom line is that the geoengineering of the earth system as a way to adapt to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases is a losing proposition."

Despite the cautions of Smith and Pielke, it is hard to disagree with Bickel and Lane's conclusion on climate engineering: "The results of this initial benefit-cost analysis place the burden of proof squarely on the shoulders of those who would prevent such research."


Australian Senate kills Warmist laws

The Senate has defeated legislation to establish an emissions trading scheme, forcing the Government to negotiate with the Opposition or persist with its bill with the threat of an early election. Just after 11am, the Opposition, Greens, and the independents, Nick Xenophon and Steve Fielding, voted to defeat the package of 11 bills that sought to establish a scheme from 2011 onwards.

If the Government waits three months to reintroduce the bills, and they are defeated again, it would serve as a trigger for a double dissolution election. [An early election which dissolves both the Senate and the lower house]

Before the vote, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong called it a "day of reckoning" on climate change. "This is a reform that is long overdue, that is in the national interest, that both major political parties said they would implement when they went to the last election," she said. In summing up the Government's case before the vote, Senator Wong said: ''This bill may be going down today but this is not the end. We will press forward, we will press on with this reform for as long as we have to. ''We will bring this bill back before the end of the year."

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull said he was willing to negotiate amendments to pass a scheme in the event the Government reintroduces the bills. But his party room is divided and he faces a tough test ahead, even though he has majority support to negotiate.

Senator Wong said again this morning she would consider amendments "when Mr Turnbull has serious and credible amendments that have the support of his party room". Debate on the scheme began about 10am but there were few speakers left to make a contribution. Family First Senator Steve Fielding told the Senate of his concerns that humans were not the cause of global warming.


But early election trigger won't work

KEVIN Rudd's plans for an early double dissolution election have been sunk, with the discovery of a legal defect in his Emissions Trading Scheme. The Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans, is understood to have confirmed that even if Mr Rudd were to go to a double dissolution election to get his ETS through Parliament, the scheme could still be blocked by the Senate.

Mr Evans an expert on Senate practice is understood to have based his argument on the fact that most of the ETS relies not on law, but on regulation. The Standing Orders of the Parliament state those regulations could still be struck down by the Senate even if the laws establishing the ETS were passed at a joint sitting of Parliament following a double dissolution election.

Mr Evans' views are based on the 1987 precedent of the failed Australia Card. Then Prime Minister Bob Hawke went to a double dissolution election using the Senate's obstruction of the ID card as a trigger. He won the election and was preparing for a joint sitting of the Parliament when it was discovered by the Opposition that the start-up date for the card was governed by regulation and a hostile Senate would vote it down. In a humiliating backdown, Mr Hawke had to abandon the ID card.

Mr Evans believes Mr Rudd is now in the same position.

When contacted yesterday, Mr Evans declined to comment publicly. It is understood that shadow attorney-general George Brandis shares Mr Evans' opinion. It is likely Mr Evans' view will be confirmed in writing this week when Senator Brandis approaches him for confirmation of his opinion.



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


Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Conservatives can be economic dolts too

Adam Buckley, Ben Caldecott and Gavin Dick from The Conservative Environment Network (CEN) have written a short piece on ConservativeHome on the benefits of decarbonization.

CEN's argument is entirely objectionable: "CEN believes that we should consider climate change a significant risk and decarbonise accordingly. But even without the very real and obvious risks associated with climate change, decarbonisation has other profound benefits. In a world without climate change it would still make sense, if done in a cost-effective way, for Britain to save energy, use less foreign fossil fuels, and develop indigenous sources of low carbon energy."

Ignoring the well-trodden territory of their position on climate change, much of the argument from CEN is based upon the failed economics of protectionist policies and state dirrection and control of industries.

In arguing that we should use less energy, CEN suggest that we need to tackle "market failures that prevent people and organisations from improving their energy efficiency". These failures are they believe down to access to capital and the "hassle" factor. However, in the real world individuals and organisations do not improve energy efficiency when it will not save them money and given the failure of the climate change predictions to come to fruition, people see no practical and moral reason to waste their money. How is that a market failure?

If - and it is a very big 'if' - CEN are right about the bleak future for hydrocarbon fuels, then the market mechanism will ensure that alternative energy production will be put into effect. And with an unmolested market, some entrepreneurs will take risks at the right moment and cash in on this shift. For the government to do so now is bad economic policy.

The last and most surprising argument that CEN put forward in favour of decarbonization is as follows: "Additionally, we can send less money abroad. The issue of balance of trade has become unfashionable, but is another important reason why decarbonisation should be desirable regardless of the risks associated with climate change."

CEN tie this in with arguments to invest (read tax and spend) and protect UK energy production. As an antidote to all this nonsense, I suggest the authors start by reading this from Milton and Rose D. Friedman: "Protection" really means exploiting the consumer. A "favorable balance of trade" really means exporting more than we import, sending abroad goods of greater total value than the goods we get from abroad. In your private household, you would surely prefer to pay less for more rather than the other way around, yet that would be termed an "unfavorable balance of payments" in foreign trade.


Global Warming, a Mass Mania

by Walter Starck (Walter Starck is one of Australia’s most senior and experienced marine biologists, with a professional career of studying coral reef and marine fishery ecosystems)

Throughout history episodic eruptions of mass manias have swept societies. These outbreaks embody the dissatisfactions, fears and hopes of their times while offering a shining path to a bright new future. They are characterised by a millenarian nature, wherein threat of punishment for past sins is accompanied by promise of salvation through a new faith.

The power of mass manias is reinforced by severe disapproval of any questioning of their certain truth. Any doubt is seen not just as error needing correction but as conscious deliberate evil deserving expulsion or extermination. With adherents permitted only to support the established dogma, these movements tend to gather followers rapidly. But they also soon become afflicted with a growing disconnect from reality which they can neither acknowledge nor adjust for.

As no believer dares express anything other than certainty, social manias tend to persist for some time after their disconnect with reality has become obvious to all. In the face of such recalcitrant reality, leaders are forced to become ever more extreme in their proclamations. This then often leads to a zenith of zealotry and disconnect just before increasingly obvious reality finally forces them to make some small admission of error. The spell is then broken and the faith collapses.

Global Warming is the mania of our times. While there is good scientific evidence that atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing from the burning of fossil fuels, and that carbon dioxide does indeed absorb infa-red heat radiation of certain frequencies, it is purely speculation that this will cause a climate catastrophe. As Mark Twain wrote over a century ago: “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”

In the current instance there is also abundant scientific evidence to indicate that:

* The amount of warming from increased carbon dioxide emissions has been greatly overestimated.

* Most of the uncertain fraction of a degree of warming that has occurred over the past century is attributable to measurement bias and natural variability.

* Predictions of catastrophic consequences are entirely speculative and unlikely.

* The net result of a projected doubling of atmospheric CO2 is most likely to be positive.

* Fossil fuels will run out well before any drastic effects on climate are possible.

* If man made global warming is indeed real, and it helps to prevent another ice age, this would be the most fortunate thing that has happened to our species since we barely escaped extinction from an especially cold period during the last ice age some 75,000 years ago.

The ongoing political waffle over setting targets for differing percentages of emission reductions at various points decades in the future is about as useful as debating over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

The biggest problem we face in the forseeable future is not some unquantifiable risk of climate change at some unknown future time. It is the real and immanent one of producing enough fossil fuel to maintain the healthy economy necessary for the long costly process of developing energy alternatives and implementing them on an adequate scale. At best this will take decades and will require abundant supplies of fossil fuels to achieve.

The entire Global Warming scenario is predicated on continued undiminished consumption of fossil fuel. However, the inability of conventional energy supplies to meet increasing global demand is already confronting us. No matter how much oil may still exist somewhere underground, new discoveries are not keeping pace with depletion of known reserves and current demand is pushing the limits of production capacity. New discoveries are also increasingly found in deep water or remote locations where costs are high.

With or without GW, alternative sources of energy must ultimately be developed. How successful this will be is far from certain. Renewable energy is diffuse. The notion of a future economy powered by sunbeams and summer breezes is a happy fantasy. The future offered by renewable energy alone is one of considerable energy constraint and decreased affluence.

Cheap abundant energy from fossil fuels is a vital element in virtually every product and service in our current economy. Without adequate supplies of affordable liquid hydrocarbon fuels for transportation and mobile machinery our existing economy cannot continue to function, nor will be able to even feed the population.

Our society doesn't run on hypotheticals. Aircraft, ships, trucks and heavy machinery are not going to be powered by batteries. Premature attempts to adopt immature, unproven technology fostered by ill-conceived subsidies and regulations entails a high risk of shortages and costly mistakes. The emerging bio-fuels and wind energy fiascos are already an example.

The economics of current renewable energy technologies is only even marginally viable because of subsidies and the availability of cheap abundant fossil fuel energy to implement and maintain them. Imagine the cost of metals, concrete, machinery, manufacturing transport and farming if all these things were also dependant on renewable energy.

Unfortunately, the academics, activists, politicians and bureaucrats leading the push for carbon dioxide taxation and use of renewable energy are non-producers who are woefully ignorant of both the economic reality of productive activity and the practical limits of technology. They are techno-economic-illiterates with a cargo cult understanding of production. Their prescriptions amount to a ritualistic belief that admitting sin (GW) and making an appropriate sacrifice (carbon dioxide taxes) will in some undefined (magical) way bring forth all the right changes, discoveries and implementations that are needed to effect a bright new world of clean endlessly renewable energy with minimal inconvenience to anyone.

The leading scientific prophets of this cult are overwhelmingly comprised of young researchers whose entire careers are based on climate alarmism. In contrast, the middleground, balanced (“sceptical”) scientists are overwhelmingly researchers with well established expertise in other fields. The alarmists repeatedly refer to a catechism of highly selective evidence to support their claims. The sceptics cite voluminous other evidence from their own varied fields which contradicts the alarmist's claims.

Even when alarmist evidence is conclusively discredited (e.g. the hockey stick graph), the climate alarmists continue to use it, and to dismiss all conflicting evidence no matter how sound or voluminous it may be. When their own claims fail, they revise the evidence, not their hypothesis. Recent examples of this have involved the current global cooling trend, the absence of a signature tropical tropospheric hot spot, Antarctic cooling, oceanic cooling, unchanged rates of sea level rise, etc. All these phenomena have been subjected to dubious data manipulation trying to make a silk purse to suit GW out of a sow’s ear of empirical data which refuses to conform to their hopes.

GW has become just another faith based belief, immune to all conflicting reason and evidence. Although it maintains a claim to being based on science, it's relation to genuine, evidence based, logically consistent, refutable science is not unlike that of Scientology, with which it shares a number of commonalities.

The amazing thing about all this is that people who claim to be scientists are so willing to become so profoundly and righteously committed to a belief in something that, at best, is highly uncertain, and the reality of which will inevitably become apparent in the not too distant future. It appears that such persons somehow think that their own unshakable faith will determine that reality. It also seems clear that what they claim to fear so greatly is, perversely, what they actually so desperately hope for.

Where GW departs from ordinary academic disputes and becomes a dangerous fundamentalist mania is in the righteous and fervency of its proselytizers. This is apparent in the anger and abuse directed at any who dare question their pronouncements. It has gone so far as leading warmers comparing scepticism of GW with holocaust denial, suggesting that GW dissent be made a criminal offence and even advocating Nuremburg style public trials for offenders.

Recently Jonathan Manthorpe, a writer for the Vancouver Sun newspaper, wrote an article expressing qualified agreement with some of the arguments against GW raised by Ian Plimer in his book Heaven and Earth. In a follow up article, on 5 August 2009, Manthorpe reported that he had received around 100 e-mails about his Plimer piece. About two-thirds were from ordinary people who agreed with Plimer. Another healthy portion was from scientists who agreed with Plimer’s overall contention about natural variabilities in climate on which humans have little or no influence. However, they disputed various specific claims and details made by him.

Manthorpe also noted that, “…the disturbing letters were from the scientist believers in man-man global warming.” He then went on to say, “I have met a lot of unpleasant people in the course of my life, but I have never seen such a torrent of nasty, arrogant and downright stupid abuse as has been aimed at me this week by people who aggressively sign themselves "PhD" as though it were a mark of divine right that is beyond challenge or question.”

The recent but largely unreported trend of global cooling has become increasingly hard for warmers to deny or explain away, and there is increasing evidence that various other core elements of the GW hypothesis are incorrect. In the face of failing claims and prophesies, the prophets of GW are becoming more and more strident and apocalyptic . The cooler it gets the shriller their cries of warning about warming become.

In addition to the true believers, GW has attracted a large contingent of self-interested fellow travellers. Politicians, bureaucrats, political activists and manifold financial interest have perceived advantages to be gained from climbing aboard the GW bandwagon. Large vested interests are now involved, and there is great pressure to lock in emission controls and subsidies before popular support weakens.

Despite all this, in the end the entire matter is only an empty irrelevant charade. The developing nations will not cease their development even if developed ones do. A modest increase in energy prices will not result in decreased emissions and large cost increases that will do so will result in recession and severe economic disruptions. This is not speculation. We have already had two clear instances. Any government which does not understand this will be replaced.

The Australian scene

Australia's annual carbon dioxide emissions are only about 1.5 percent of the global total. This is barely equal to China's increase in emissions over 6 months. Whatever we do or don’t do to reduce emissions will have negligible effect on the global total. In any event, estimates of natural uptake of CO2 over our land and EEZ area are greater than our emissions. By any reasonable accounting, we as a nation should be receiving carbon credits, not being forced to buy them.

The prospective Emissions Trading Scheme is set to become just another layer of bureaucracy loaded onto an already staggering productive sector, with negligible effect on emissions other than that resulting from economic decline. To verify the ineffectiveness of emissions trading one need only look at the result where it has been implemented in the EU or the global result of the Kyoto agreement. Since it was ratified global emissions have increased 18%. Those of signatory nations increased 21%. Those who did not sign up increased 10% and those for the U.S. grew by 6.6%.

Over the next few years economic recession will result in a much greater reduction in emissions than anything achievable from regulatory measures over the same period. Meanwhile, evidence is steadily accumulating that the amount and impacts of greenhouse warming have been greatly overestimated, and that a natural cooling cycle is now overriding any small increase in GH effect attributable to human emissions. There is no overwhelming urgency to hastily impose yet another ill conceived regulatory burden on the Australian economy, especially when it can least be afforded and any benefit is distant and uncertain.

In terms of climate, resources, geography population, politics, and development, Australia is better situated than any other nation to adapt to the difficult times ahead. This will, however, require making full and effective use of our natural advantages.

The most important thing government can do is not to deliver bailouts or handouts, but rather to get out of the way. Two highly effective things are eminently doable in this respect. The proliferation of unnecessary bureaucracy has become a major drain on, and impediment to, all productive activity. It requires serious pruning, and that which is retained must be made accountable for positive results. When management fails to perform it should be replaced.

The other is an initiative to ensure the reliability of ongoing energy supplies. The most certain and cost effective way of achieving this would be the implementation of an extended corporate tax exemption for earnings from energy production, and full immediate deduction against other income for investment in the sector.

The result would be an unprecedented boom in creative effort and investment in Australian energy. This would include an influx of foreign investment and skills. It is not unrealistic to expect that Australia could soon become the global leader in new energy, the Saudi Arabia of a post-petroleum world. Any loss to government revenue from such tax largesse could be expected to be made up many times over in increased revenues from payroll taxes and GST, plus the flow-on effect throughout the remainder of the economy.

The only real obstacle to success is our own ability to envision the potential and grasp the opportunity. This way forward presents a clear route down Easy Street. The route we are now taking involves a detour through Jonestown. Only experts using computer models could confuse these options and we have just seen what they did with the global economy. The choice is a no brainer.


Kyoto treaty not achieving anything

Global carbon dioxide emissions in 2008 rose 1.94 percent year-on-year to 31.5 billion tonnes, German renewable energy industry institute IWR said on Monday, based on official information and its own research.

The private institute, which is based in Muenster and advises German ministries, said climate-harming (sic) carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose for the tenth year in succession, running counter to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol aimed at trying to cut CO2 emissions by 5.2 percent by 2012.

"Kyoto is not working out," said IWR Managing Director Norbert Allnoch. Global emissions are 40 percent above those in 1990, the basis year for the treaty.


Last Ice Age happened in less than year say scientists

THE last ice age 13,000 years ago took hold in just one year, more than ten times quicker than previously believed, scientists have warned. Rather than a gradual cooling over a decade, the ice age plunged Europe into the deep freeze, German Research Centre for Geosciences at Potsdam said.

Cold, stormy conditions caused by an abrupt shift in atmospheric circulation froze the continent almost instantly during the Younger Dryas less than 13,000 years ago – a very recent period on a geological scale.

The new findings will add to fears of a serious risk of this happening again in the UK and western Europe – and soon.

Dr Achim Brauer, of the GFZ (GeoForschungs Zentrum) German Research Centre for Geosciences at Potsdam, and colleagues analysed annual layers of sediments, called "varves", from a German crater lake.

Each varve records a single year, allowing annual climate records from the region to be reconstructed.


Green power collides with Endangered Species Act

Green power, green jobs, renewable energy collide with the Endangered Species Act in a proposed wind farm in Southwest Washington. The project calling for between 48-60 megawatts of power is proposed for 3,359 acres of Washington Department of Natural Resources land northwest of Naselle, Washington. The site, named Radar Ridge, would help utilities in Pacific, Grays Harbor, Clallam and Mason counties meet the requirements of Initiative 397. I-397 mandates that a designated portion of a utility’s power comes from renewable energy sources.

Enter the Marbled Murrelet. The proposed wind farm is in the path Murrelets could use between its feeding grounds in the ocean and nesting areas inland. The Marbled Murrelet has been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1992.

In a letter to the Commission of Public Lands, Craig Harrison of the Pacific Seabird Group said, “The lease with Energy Northwest for development of a wind energy project is inconsistent with Washington Department of Natural Resources habitat conservation plan and circumvents federal and state Marbled Murrelet recovery objectives.”

He added, “Furthermore it is inappropriate to develop such a project at this location considering the current status of the species and threats posed to the population.”

The DNR has the power to stop the project if it deems the project endangers Murrelets. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers the Endangered Species Act but doesn’t have the authority to stop the project. It could, however, stop the windmills from turning if Murrelets are being struck by the blades.

The utilities want the project because it is closer to the customers they serve and it helps them meet the requirements of i-397.



There is no doubt that The Royal Society has a position on climate change, but to what extent is this venerable and distinguished organisation able to express a truly independent and objective opinion on a matter of current public policy? Here is what the Society say at the head of the main page on their web site dealing with climate: "International scientific consensus agrees that increasing levels of man-made greenhouse gases are leading to global climate change. Possible consequences of climate change include rising temperatures, changing sea levels, and impacts on global weather. These changes could have serious impacts on the world's organisms and on the lives of millions of people, especially those living in areas vulnerable to extreme natural conditions such as flooding and drought"

At a glance, this appears to be a reiteration of the current orthodoxy, but a more careful reading reveals it is remarkably cautious. There is no reference to conclusive, or even compelling, scientific evidence but only to 'international scientific consensus', it speaks of 'possible consequences' rather inevitable consequences, and suggests that these 'could' be serious rather than predicting certain disaster. There is plenty of wriggle-room here should opinion change.

This statement is at variance with the certainties expressed by government ministers, climate activists and many high profile scientists. It is also very different from what the last president of the Society, Lord May of Oxford, was wont to tell the media. His claims that the science of anthropogenic climate change is as clear as that relating to gravity or evolution made one wonder why a distinguished and clearly very well informed scientist should be saying such things. It is unlikely that many of the 1400 fellows of The Royal Society would heartily endorse such a ludicrous claim.

In the United States, both the American Physical Society and the American Chemical Society have come under pressure from members to review their alarmist and dogmatic public utterances on climate change (See post at WattsUpWithThat ). It would seem possible that the somewhat ambiguous statement on The Royal Society's website is an attempt to forestall a similar revolt among its own membership.

I don't suppose there are many fellows of The Royal Society who would be prepared to openly express sceptical views on global warming. Mavericks are unlikely to find themselves welcomed into that particularly august fold. On the other hand there may well be those among them who would object to the website making claims in their name that they feel to be without scientific justification.

If, for a moment, one sets aside the hallowed reputation and unique place in the history of science that is accorded to The Royal Society, and look at it is as just another organisation, what do we find? Here are a couple of notes from Wikipedia: "Although a charitable body, it [The Royal Society] serves as the Academy of Sciences of the United Kingdom (in which role it receives funding from HM Government)". So we have a body that is registered as a charity, which is a prominent national institution, and also receives government funding. Under the heading 'Current Activities and Significance' the Wikipedia entry says: "Funding scientific research. This is the largest area of expenditure for the Society, costing around £30 m each year."

Now that is quite a substantial amount of money, and this made me curious enough to look at their accounts. Here is what I found.

Government funding comes in the form of Parliamentary Grants-in-aid which, over the last four years (most recent accounts 31st March 2008), has amounted to: £31.7m, £32.9m, £36.6m and £44.9m respectively. So from 2005 to 2008 the government's contributions have increased by about 42%. ....

Returning to the question at the top of this post, 'Who owns The Royal Society?', it may be fair to pose this question: if The Royal Society depends on government funding, to what extent is this highly respected institution, which is a charity and our national academy of science, bound to promote government policy and assist in the political process of making it seem credible? Or in other words, has the government bought The Royal Society?



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Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Himalayan glaciers, including the world's highest battlefield Siachen, are melting due to variations in weather and not because of global warming, Jammu University scientists have claimed. "The field studies from other glaciers in India also corroborate the fact that inter and intra-annual variations in weather parameters have more impact on the glaciers of northwest Himalayas, rather than any impact due to global warming," they said.

Geologists R K Ganjoo and M N Koul of Jammu University's Regional Centre for Field Operations and Research of Himalayan Glaciology visited the Siachen glacier to record changes in its snout last summer. "To our surprise, the Siachen glacier valley does not preserve evidences of glaciation older than mid-Holocene, suggesting that the glacier must have advanced and retreated simultaneously several times in the geological past, resulting in complete obliteration and modification of older evidences," they said reporting their findings in 'Current Science'.

Ganjoo and Koul dubbed as "hype" some earlier studies which suggested that the Himalayan glaciers were melting fast and caused serious damage to the Himalayan ecosystem. There is sufficient field and meteorological evidence from the other side of Karakoram mountains that corroborate the fact that glaciers in this part of the world are not affected by global warming, they said. "Overwhelming field geomorphological evidences suggest poor response of the Siachen glacier to global warming. The snout of the Siachen glacier of 2008 has retreated by about 8-10 metres since 1995, making an average retreat of 0.6 metre per year," the scientists said.

Ganjoo said that the east part of the Siachen glacier showed faster withdrawal of the snout that is essentially due to ice-calving, a phenomenon that holds true for almost all major glaciers in the Himalayas and occurs irrespective of global warming. The west part of the Siachen has reduced due to the action of melting water released from the retreated tributary glacier, he said. Ganjoo contended the Siachen glacier shows hardly any retreat in its middle part and thus defies the "hype" of rapid melting.


(The research findings by R.K. Ganjoo and M.N. Koul are published in CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 97, NO. 3, 10 AUGUST 2009 )


Monday's National Clean Energy Summit 2.0 will bring a parade of celebrated public policy experts to Las Vegas to discuss greening the country's economy.

But as leaders including former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger encourage investments in alternative energy, their policy prescriptions could face serious headwinds from changing public opinions.

Recent surveys show Americans cooling to global warming, and they're even less keen on environmental policies they believe might raise power bills or imperil jobs. Those sentiments could mean a tougher road ahead for elected officials looking to fund investments in renewable power or install a carbon cap-and-trade system.

"Right now, Americans are more concerned about the economy than the environment," said Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll. "The politician who says, 'I'm going to cripple jobs and shut down factories' would be in trouble in this economy."


Here's what Gallup found: The number of Americans who say the media have exaggerated global warming jumped to a record 41 percent in 2009, up from 35 percent a year ago. The most marked increase came among political independents, whose ranks of doubters swelled from 33 percent to 44 percent. Republican doubters grew from 59 percent to 66 percent, while Democratic skeptics stayed at around 20 percent.

What's more, fewer Americans believe the effects of global warming have started to occur: 53 percent see signs of a hotter planet, down from 61 percent in 2008. Global warming placed last among eight environmental concerns Gallup asked respondents to rank, with water pollution landing the top spot.

Another recent Gallup study found that, for the first time in 25 years of polling, more Americans care about economic growth than the environment. Just 42 percent of people surveyed said the environment takes precedence over growth, while 51 percent asserted expansion carries more weight. That reverses results from 2008, when 49 percent of respondents said the environment was paramount and 42 percent said economic growth came first. In 1985, the poll's first year, 61 percent placed a bigger priority on the environment, while 28 percent ranked economic growth highest.

All those results indicate trends that pose big challenges for the environmental movement, Gallup's researchers concluded. More pointedly, the findings signal potential trouble for policies designed to curb global warming.



Last week, word leaked out of the Beltway that Card Check would get punted from the 2009 calendar because of the difficulties Democrats had encountered on health-care reform and energy policy. Now Politico reports that cap-and-trade will be off the agenda as well. The arm-twisting required for ObamaCare means that the White House will have no political capital for any other fights that could split the party:

With the fight over health care reform absorbing all the bandwidth on Capitol Hill, Democrats fear a major climate change bill may be left on the cutting-room floor this year.

A handful of key senators on climate change are almost guaranteed to be tied up well into the fall on health care. Democrats from the Midwest and the South are resistant to a cap-and-trade proposal. And few if any Republicans are jumping in to help push a global warming and energy initiative.

As a result, many Democrats fear the lack of political will and the congressional calendar will conspire to punt climate change into next year. "The reality is [the health reform bill] is going to happen before cap and trade," said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Collin Peterson, who's been working with farm-state senators on the climate legislation. "Who knows if it will ever come out of the Senate?"

Who, indeed? In fact, cap-and-trade is a bigger political problem than health-care reform. A handful of Republican Senators would like to help craft a health-care reform package that doesn't result in government crowding out private insurance, and it presents no particular regional political issues. Despite this, Democrats remain at odds with each other as Obama and his allies press for radical changes that have little support back home.

On cap-and-trade, Rust Belt Democrats will have a hard time supporting the demolition of their economies back home while trying to keep their seats. Robert Byrd has already announced his opposition, and more will follow suit once this comes to the floor. The Obama administration will have to fight Democrats again to get this passed, and with health-care reform an already massively expensive proposition, they may not have the stomach for a loss.

That means, for all practical purposes, it won't get considered at all. No one will want to propose the kind of fee increases a cap-and-trade system means in an election year. By 2011, Republicans will have made gains in the House and Senate, thanks to a series of overreaches and failures from Obama and Congressional leadership, and Democrats won't have the votes to move them. If they don't get back on the 2009 agenda, they're likely dead.



IN THE frigid opening days of 2009, Britain's electricity demand peaked at 59 gigawatts (GW). Just over 45% of that came from power plants fuelled by gas from the North Sea. A further 35% or so came from coal, less than 15% from nuclear power and the rest from a hotch-potch of other sources. By 2015, assuming that modest economic growth resumes, a reasonable guess is that Britain will need around 64GW to cope with similar conditions. Where will that come from?

North Sea gas has served Britain well, but supply peaked in 1999. Since then the flow has fallen by half; by 2015 it will have dropped by two-thirds. By 2015 four of Britain's ten nuclear stations will have shut and no new ones could be ready for years after that. As for coal, it is fiendishly dirty: Britain will be breaking just about every green promise it has ever made if it is using anything like as much as it does today. Renewable energy sources will help, but even if the wind and waves can be harnessed (and Britain has plenty of both), these on-off forces cannot easily replace more predictable gas, nuclear and coal power. There will be a shortfall-perhaps of as much as 20GW-which, if nothing radical is done, will have to be met from imported gas. A large chunk of it may come from Vladimir Putin's deeply unreliable and corrupt Russia.

Many of Britain's neighbours may find this rather amusing. Britain, the only big west European country that could have joined the oil producers' club OPEC, the country that used to lecture the world about energy liberalisation, is heading towards South African-style power cuts, with homes and factories plunged intermittently into third-world darkness.

In terms of energy policy, this is almost criminal-as bad as any other planning failure in New Labour's 12-year reign (though the opposition Tories are hardly brimming with ideas). British politicians, after all, have had 30 years to prepare for the day when the hydrocarbons beneath the North Sea run out; it is hardly a national secret that the country's nuclear plants are old and its coal-power stations filthy. Recession has only delayed the looming energy crunch (see article). How did Britain end up in this mess?



The August 4 issue of the New York Times features a rather illuminating article by Andrew Revkin - the Times' climate reporter - on sentiment within the ranks of the IPCC as that organization begins work on its upcoming 2014 report. Revkin reports that the IPCC's scientists are frustrated that the world's governments - even those that are led by politicians who habitually give end-is-near speeches about global warming - are not taking the sorts of policy actions the organization thinks are necessary to head-off global catastrophe. Hence, a growing number of scientists want the IPCC to be more explicit and prescriptive with regards to public policy, less inhibited when discussing scientific issues where a great deal of uncertainty exists, more concerned with best practices pertaining to public risk management, and more politically sensitive about the issues that are examined at-length in the upcoming report.

In other words, Revkin reports that the IPCC wants to spend less time on science in their next report than they have in past reports and more time on issues for which it has no relevant expertise or comparative advantage. Of course, Revkin doesn't put it quite that way, but that's the unmistakable implication of what he reports. Consider these complaints one at a time.

The fact that governments are not fundamentally transforming society to address climate change is not necessarily a sign that either the public or their governmental representatives are not listening closely enough to the IPCC. Public resources are, after all, rather limited. There is only so much time, energy, and money to address real, imagined, or potential public harms. Hence, worries about climate change have to compete with worries about AIDS, economic development, terrorism, unfunded public health care and retirement programs, the global economic recession, and numerous other things.

Scientists who specialize in climate change have no comparative advantage in sorting out which of these worries are more important than others. In fact, there is very good reason to think that climate change is less important than more than a dozen other issues affecting human wellbeing even if one buys the scientific arguments found in past IPCC reports.

Moreover, crafting "good" public policy (defined as policies that maximize the spread between benefits and costs, broadly understood) is a difficult undertaking. Political scientists and economists are trained in this sort of thing. Scientists are not.


TN: Solar industry’s promises bring environmental challenges

Once again, there's no such thing as a happy Greenie

As the state tries to reap the benefits of a growing solar industry that could bring thousands of new jobs and billions in new investment, the massive projects also bring with them environmental challenges in the form of intensive manufacturing operations that will draw a tremendous amount of electricity from the state's power grid used to run sprawling chemical reactors.

With just two investments — Hemlock Semiconductor Group near Clarksville and a similar Wacker Chemie AG plant near Chattanooga — Tennessee is poised to become a nationwide leader in the production of polysilicon crystals, the basic building block for the solar industry. Together, these plants will cost at least $2.2 billion to construct.

Meanwhile, the state also is pitching a third site in West Tennessee for solar, and it is putting together plans to build a $35 million "solar institute" at Oak Ridge National Laboratory that will research the industry.

At least at the outset, these solar companies' demand for electricity may actually increase the state's dependency on polluting, coal-fired power plants operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The plants also raise possible environmental and safety hazards, as potentially dangerous chlorine-based gases and liquids are heated to temperatures exceeding 3,600 degrees, then stored and recycled.

Many officials have been quick to describe these plants as "green," based on the fact that the materials they produce will eventually be used to make solar panels that can curb the nation's dependence on coal and natural gas. But the state's budding solar sector also is an outgrowth of its established chemicals industry. The companies themselves cite access to cheap and reliable power and proximity to chlorine suppliers as main reasons for putting their plants in Tennessee. Keeping these plants safe and economically viable will require strict enforcement of state and federal laws, scientists and environmentalists say.



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


Monday, August 10, 2009

Sea-level FALL possible

If Warmists can pick and choose the period from which they generalize, why cannot others? The generalization below is at least drawn from much more recent data than Warmists use

The analysis of 53 sea level stations, distributed all over the world, suggests a decline of sea level by almost two feet, by 2100, if it continues the downward trend observed over the last three years. Even considering the average value for the last 9 years, this would lead to a rise of only one inch during the XXI century.

The analysis started by a search of data for the sea level stations referenced in Douglas (1997)1). The data used2) was obtained from the University of Hawaii, which has the most updated data available on the Internet. For the study, all stations without data in 2009 were excluded, as all that did not have relevant data from 07/01/2000.

Since it was not possible to collect even half of the stations in Douglas (1997), this study was extended to include a reasonable amount of GLOSS stations 3) worldwide. With the exception of some regions of the world, which had no data on the University of Hawaii's site, a distribution covering almost all continents / oceans was obtained. This distribution of stations is clear in Figure 1, with each station being used marked by a cross.

Data Analysis, done through mean values, referenced in the last line of the table, leads to a conclusion that sea level will rise only one inch during the XXI century, if the trend during the last 9 years (07/01/2000 - 06/30/2009) is maintained. But if we look at the trend of the last six years, the sea level decline would be almost 9 inches this century, enough to offset the increase observed in the last century. But using the trend of the last three years, there would be a drop by almost two feet by the year 2100!

Why is the official data from the IPCC, and others, so different? Simply because it does not take into account updated and recent data. According to the Wikipedia page about sea level rise, the most recent data used in international studies is related to 2003! The data used in this study is updated up to May this year (with the notable exception of Marseille, which is included because it is referenced in Douglas (1997)), and many already have data after June 30 (not included in the study).

Geographical analysis of the data shows that the Pacific coast of North, Central and South America, has the largest decline trend. The station with the biggest downward trend, Easter Island, in Chile, is shown in Figure 2. Sea-level rise is clear between 2000 and mid-2006, but afterwards a clear decline is observed, with minimum values decreasing by 8 inches in a period of only one year.

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

'Desperation Time': NYT Promotes 'National Security' Climate Fears

But claims are merely 'a redux of 1970's laughable scares about famines and resource scarcity'

Desperation time has arrived for the promoters of man-made global warming fears. As the science of man-made climate fears continues to collapse, new tactics are being contrived to try to drum up waning public support.

A series of inconvenient developments for the promoters of man-made global warming fears continues unabated, including new peer-reviewed studies, real world data, a growing chorus of scientists dissenting (including more UN IPCC scientists), open revolts in scientific societies and the Earth's failure to warm. In addition, public opinion continues to turn against climate fear promotion and even activists at green festivals are now expressing doubts over man-made climate fears. (See "Related Links" at bottom of this article for more inconvenient scientific developments.)

The heart of the claims made in the August 8, 2009 New York Times article by John M. Broder are stated as follows: “Recent war games and intelligence studies conclude that over the next 20 to 30 years, vulnerable regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change that could demand an American humanitarian relief or military response.”

The heart of the “national security” argument is merely a redux of the 1970's laughable scares about famines and resource scarcity. Those same baseless claims and fear mongering arguments are simply being shamelessly updated with a military uniform. It is sad to see members of our armed forces wearing their uniforms promoting such unsubstantiated and embarrassing drivel. (See: 'Just When You Thought Global Warming Couldn't Get More Stupid, In Walks John Kerry': 'Of all the ridiculous arguments in support of climate legislation, national security has to be the most idiotic')

Climate Depot's Inconvenient Rebuttal to “National Security” Climate Argument By New York Times:

1) The "national security" angle is based on unproven computer models which even the United Nations IPCC admits are not “predictions.” UN IPCC lead author, Dr. Kevin Trenberth refers to climate models as “story lines.” “In fact there are no predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been. The IPCC instead proffers 'what if' projections of future climate that correspond to certain emissions scenarios,” Trenberth wrote in journal Nature's blog on June 4, 2007. So the mighty New York Times is reporting that some members of the military, led by Sen. Kerry, are essentially playing no more than “what if” “war games!” Memo to New York Times and Senator Kerry: Climate Models “predictions” are not evidence.

In addition, Ivy league forecasting pioneer Dr. Scott Armstrong of the University of Pennsylvania, found that the climate models used by UN IPCC to make these scary “predictions” or “what if projections” of the future, violate the basic principles of forecasting. “Of 89 principles [of forecasting], the UN IPCC violated 72,” Armstrong's research revealed on January 28, 2009. (Also See: Climate Models Likened to Sony 'PlayStation' Video Games & 'Tinker Toys' )

2) Aside from the fact that the "national security" angle rests on speculative doomsday scenarios, perhaps the biggest whopper of the new movement is the implication that we must pass the Congressional climate bill to "address" or "remedy" the problem and thus “avoid” future wars and loss of life. Left unanswered in this argument is how a climate bill that will have no detectable impact on global temperatures will help "solve" the alleged looming national security threat. Most shockingly, the Congressional climate bill would not even impact atmospheric CO2 levels according to the EPA!

3) The New York Time also makes the following remarkable assertion: “But a growing number of policy makers say that the world's rising temperatures, surging seas and melting glaciers are a direct threat to the national interest.”

NYT Claim: “Word's Rising temperatures?”: Huh? Is NYT must not be privy to latest temperature data showing a lack of warming for a decade and global cooling in recent years and peer-reviewed analysis showing the 20th century was not unusually warm?

4). NYT Claim: “Surging Seas.” Why did NYT reporter Broder fail to do a moment's worth of research on the alleged “surging seas?” If only Broder had taken a moment to look at the latest data. See: 'No evidence for accelerated sea-level rise' says Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute – December 12, 2008; Report: Sea Level rise 'has stumbled since 2005' – Meteorologist Anthony Watts – December 5, 2008; Renowned Sea Level expert predicts sea level 'will rise in the 21st century by about 8 inches' - April 23, 2009 & Global warming may not affect sea levels, study finds - January 11, 2008; Plus see June 2009 comprehensive sea level report,)

NYT Claim: “Melting Glaciers”: Contary to the NYT's assertions, many glaciers are advancing. See: Alaskan glaciers at Icy Bay advance one-third of a mile in less than a year ; Argentina's Perito Moreno glacier advancing ; Hubbard Glacier in Alaska Advances ; Western Canadian glaciers advance ; Research Reveals global warming not cause of Kilimanjaro glacier reduction – September 24, 2008

5) The New York Times notes Sen. Kerry and others are “now beginning to make the national security argument for approving the [Congressional] legislation.”

The ridiculous assumption that mankind could realistically reduce emissions to alter future weather patterns has been exposed as "climate astrology." It is truly an insult to our men and woman in uniform to have Sen. Kerry and a small contingent of military brass attempting to sell these spurious climate claims. If we suspended basic science and reality and assumed Sen. Kerry was correct and the "undecided" Senators may be swayed to support a climate bill based on these alleged "national security" fears, how would a bill that did not impact CO2 levels or temperature be the "solution"? Sadly, the New York Times (and the ususally dependable Broder) did a completely one-sided article on this issue based.

NYT reporter Broder could have noted that the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill is “scientifically meaningless” in terms of reducing temperatures. Broder could have noted that even Obama's EPA has conceded that the Congressional climate bill would not even detectably reduce atmospheric CO2 levels!! (See: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson: “U.S. action alone will not impact world CO2 levels.”) So the question looms, why would “undecided” Senators be swayed to vote for a climate bill for “national security” reasons when the bill is purely symbolic?! Broder irresponsibly failed to inform NYT readers of these basic truths. (Also see: No detectable climate impact: 'If we actually faced a man-made 'climate crisis', we would all be doomed' & Climate policy reduced to 'magical solutions' -- 'all about symbolism...with little or no impact on real-world outcomes')

6) NYT's shameless quote of the day: “We will pay for this one way or another,” Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, a retired Marine and the former head of the Central Command. “We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, and we'll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or we will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives.”

Gen. Zinni needs to do his homework on global warming claims. Had the General done more research, he would quickly realize that the estimated 1.6 billion people in the world without electricity who are leading a nasty, brutish and short life, will be the ones who “will pay” for global warming solutions that prevent them from obtaining cheap and abundant carbon based energy. (See:1) It is a moral issue! – 'People cannot cook'...Chad's Global Warming Inspired Ban on Charcoal leads to 'Desperate' Families! - January 16, 2009 2) Black clergymen protest Robert Redford 'link his environmentalism to racism' 3) Poor Kenyans rebel as UK grocery store's “carbon friendly” policies may stop food exports – 4) African Activist: 'African life span is lower than it was in U.S. and Europe 100 years ago. But Africans told we shouldn't develop' because wealthy Western nations are 'worried about global warming': 'Telling Africans they can't have electricity and economic development – is immoral...Gore uses more electricity in a week than 28 million Ugandans together use in a year' 5) India: 'It is morally wrong for us to reduce emissions when 40% of Indians do not have access to electricity' ; 6) Obama Advisor Warren Buffett 'repeats criticism of cap and trade, saying it would be a huge, regressive tax')

Sadly, Sen. Kerry and Gen. Zinni's unfounded “national security” climate claims will be the object of public humiliation for them in the not too distant future.

It is a testament to the growing strength of the skeptical scientific case against man-made climate fears that Sen. Kerry and retired VA Sen. John Warner (who sadly embarrassed himself in his final year in the Senate promulgating such "national security" climate drivel) have to resort to such transparent and yes...laughable claims.

Science and history will issue a harsh judgment against Sen. Kerry and others for this silly "national security" argument. The reality is, global warming does pose a serious national security threat to the United States -- global warming "solutions"-- that is. The Senate is deliberating on a global warming cap-and-trade bill that will increase our dependence on foreign sources of energy, close refineries and cost American jobs. (See Bloomberg News: report from June 26, 2009: U.S. oil companies may cope with the climate legislation by "closing fuel plants, cutting capital spending and increasing imports." Bloomberg also reported that "one in six U.S. refineries probably would close by 2020" and this could "add 77 cents a gallon to the price of gasoline." )

Former Vice President Al Gore has touted the Congressional climate bill as a first step toward "global governance." "National security" will be a threat to the U.S. if it contemplates an international treaty which will inevitably lead to a loss of sovereignty for the U.S. as well as the imposition of some form carbon taxes. Americans should welcome a full debate about the merits of “national security” threat from man-made global warming. The more light that is shown on this line of reasoning, the more skeptical the public will grow. Dare we say: Bring it on!

[Update: Meterologist Joe D'Aleo of IceCap.Us, notes that the new "national security" climate claims have a familiar ring to them. D'Aleo writes: "Take for example these excerpts from a 1977 book ”The Weather Conspiracy, the Coming of the New Ice Age” written for the CIA on the consensus of the climatologists of the time that an ice age threatened to cause major migrations and mass starvations."]

More HERE (See the original for links)

The Greenhouse Conspiracy

Believe it or not, the following excellent video was produced in Britain in 1990. Nothing has changed

(Via An Honest Climate Debate)

Doubts In The Midst Of Greens

Below is a post from a Warmist true-believer

I’m attending New York Green Fest this weekend. The Green Fest promises to “celebrate sustainable living and Green politics”, but I’ve that even within this group of people who ought to be among the most environmentally aware, there are patches of of soot grey obscuring the green color.

One attendee from close by, who uses electricity obtained through the burning of coal that very likely is obtained through mountaintop removal mining, mentions her interest in organizing against the construction of wind turbine. She doesn’t want it in her backyard, she says.

Another attendee, a college professor, confided to me in private conversation that, “I’m not sure climate change is real.” She said that, though she’s not a scientist herself, she gathers that there is a great deal of controversy and disagreement among scientists about whether climate change is actually happening. She also speculated that the measurements of rising global temperature might be due to the “urban heat island effect”, with temperatures measured only in cities with increasing amounts of hot pavement. (Actually, where temperatures are measured as warming the most is in the polar regions, where there are no cities at all.)

It’s a testament to the effectiveness of corporate-funded misinformation campaigns that these ideas are coming up even amongst a gathering of Green Party activists. It seems that environmental education efforts need to take place as much within eco-oriented groups as without.


He/she omits that temperature changes vary greatly in different parts of the Arctic, indicating that local influences are at work rather than global ones

A good global warming primer from Sweden

By Hans Jelbring, Ph.D Climatology, Stockholm University, M.Sc, Royal Institute of Technology

What has politics, a needed instrument to run a nation, to do with a scientific concept that tells the difference between the surface temperature of earth and the temperature of earth's atmosphere as seen from space? This temperature difference of 33 oC has unfortunately and inadequately been named "The Greenhouse Effect" (GE) despite the absence of any relationship between this effect and the warm climate in a real greenhouse.

The intention of this paper is to cover the title subject in a few pages in a way that is understandable to a high school student and, hence, to Swedish parliamentary members. Basic scientific principles demonstrate that the overall GE phenomenon is not a result of human emissions of "greenhouse gases".

Politics can be claimed to be the art of appearing credible, at least in a democracy. If successful, the power is yours -- which is the goal of politicians. But politicians are the servants of the voters who have the power to dismiss you if you fail to be credible. The temptation is to resort to gaining credibility without a base in ethics, truthfulness, honesty, observational evidence and scientific facts. This can be great for politicians who, at least sometimes, believe that the ends justify the means.

Likewise, the temptation can be great for the servants of our nations that are responsible for the quality of information that the elected, unspecialized politicians need to be able to make rational decisions. To disregard the methods of science to gain unjustified influence, economical gain and fame might be more common than we would like to know. The risks involved in too strong a relationship between politicians and the servants of a nation were well expressed by a US president in Eisenhower's Farewell Adress to the Nation, January 17, 1961. Few Swedes would deny the validity of his words. "The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system - ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society. "

It is now up to the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to realize that his most recognized servants in the specialized topics of climatology and meteorology in Sweden have failed to accomplish their duty to present facts and results that, according to Swedish law, has to be based on scientific methods and acknowledged experience. Instead they have to a large extent relied on, and continue to rely on, what a political UN organization, the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) is stating without complying with scientific methods according to its Swedish definition.

It should be observed that the IPCC statements have no validity, as information with scientific quality, according to the Swedish law. The IPCC is biased from the start by its mandate. It only covers the impact on climate caused by man (anthropogenic or AGW) which is reductionism that does not conform to scientific methods. Furthermore, the IPCC has chosen not to investigate those types of local, regional and national global anthropogenic impacts which actually do exist.

The IPCC has emphasized the importance of an unverified, simplistic model that predicts a particular surface temperature of earth as being caused by "greenhouse gases". These are specifically identified as carbon dioxide and methane. Water vapour, the most abundant greenhouse gas, is wrongly assumed to be "a quantifiable feedback" to carbon dioxide, which is 50 times less abundant than water vapour in the atmosphere. Such a model is far too inexact and speculative to describe the complex climate system. This type of logic does not conform to accepted scientific methodology.

The major IPCC claim is that greenhouse gases are the sole reason why the average surface temperature of earth is 33 oC warmer than the temperature at an average altitude of around 4000 m, where the infrared photons prefer to leave our planet. (Seen from Mars the temperature of earth is -18 §C).

The pertinent question is: do greenhouse gases raise the global temperature 0.1, 10 or 100% of the observed 33oC? There are many indications that the first alternative is the most probable. Let us mention a few ways the IPCC "greenhouse gas" claim can be debunked.

I. The high school approach. The average sea level pressure is around 1013 mbar. If you live at a higher altitude the pressure will be less. Your barometer at 100 m above sea level will read about 12 mbar less. Pressure is a direct measurement of how much atmospheric mass there is above your head per square meter. The ideal gas law can be written PV = RT where P is the pressure (Pascal), V is the volume (m3), R is the gas constant (Joule/K) and T is the average temperature (over some days). Let us now calculate the temperature in a 1 m3 volume at any height. Hence T = P/R, T is proportional to P and P is known from observation to decrease with increasing altitude.

It follows that the average T has to decrease with altitude. This decrease from the surface to the average infrared emission altitude around 4000 m is 33 oC. It will be about the same even if we increase greenhouse gases by 100%. This is a consequence of the ideal gas law, a natural law which politicians cannot change, but unscrupulous scientists can twist.

II. Observational evidence On any sunny day the solar irradiation hitting the surface of earth will warm the air just above it which will then start to lift. A black ground surface, such as a parking place or a newly ploughed field, will absorb more solar energy and subsequently heat the air more than surfaces of lighter colours. Hawks and vultures know about this phenomenon, allowing them to be able to hover above such surfaces without moving their wings.

The temperature decrease with elevation in such a situation is very close to the dry adiabatic temperature lapse rate which can be derived theoretically. It is -9.8 oC/km. Everyday observational evidence and theoretical derivations show that the temperature lapse rate in such situations can be determined without consideration of any influence at all from greenhouse gases, whether they are of anthropogenic origin or not. Hence, GE has to be a function of other processes than "greenhouse gases". The question remains if CO2 has a measurable influence, at all.

III. Advanced theoretical considerations The theoretical temperature lapse rate that can be expected to be found in the earth's atmosphere depends on a number of physical processes that are possible to identify. The GE is basically determined by the first and second laws of thermodynamics. The energy per mass unit of an atmosphere will tend to equalize and become constant from the surface upwards. This will lead to an average vertical cooling rate defined by -g/Cp, (g is gravity and Cp heat capacity of air) which also is named the dry adiabatic temperature lapse rate.

This lapse rate is modulated by condensation processes in the atmospheres (clouds) and other less important physical processes. The influence of greenhouse gases is small. These additional processes lead to an average observed global temperature lapse rate around -6.5 oC/km (ref 1). This temperature decrease can be directly verified by any airplane passenger. A strict proof showing that there is no theoretical reason to assume that greenhouse gases cause the bulk of the 33 §C GE can be found in the peer reviewed article in ref (2). There are several other relevant articles in scientific journals.



A recent industry study into the UK energy sector of 2030 - which according to government plans will use a hugely increased amount of wind power - suggests that massive electricity price rises will be required, and some form of additional government action in order to avoid power cuts. This could have a negative impact on plans for electrification of transport and domestic energy use.

The study is called Impact of Intermittency, and was carried out by consulting group Pöyry for various industry players such as the National Grid and Centrica at a cost of more than £1m. Pöyry modelled the likely effects on the UK electricity market of a large windpower base of the sort needed to meet government carbon targets - assuming no major change in the amount of nuclear power available.

There's a summary of the report for the public available here in PDF - probably quite detailed enough for most of us at 30 pages. It says that there's no particular problem for the National Grid as such - the actual electricity transmission network - with large amounts of wind in the 40+ gigawatt capacity range. But the introduction of so many wind turbines will spell disastrous problems for operators of "thermal" plant - that is fossil fuelled, and conceivably nuclear too.



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


Sunday, August 09, 2009

Common Insect Repellent Affects Nervous System

Another harmful consequence of banning DDT. DDT is harmless to humans but is very good at eradicating mosquitoes. And other ways of dealing with mosquitoes are either less safe or less effective

One of the world's most common insect repellents acts on the central nervous system in the same way as some insecticides and nerve gases, according to a study released on Wednesday. Moderate use of the chemical compound, called deet, is most likely safe, the researchers say. But experiments on insects, as well as on enzymes extracted from mice and human neurons, showed for the first time that it can interfere with the proper functioning of the nervous system. The researchers say further studies are "urgently needed" to assess deet's potential toxicity to humans, especially when combined with other chemical compounds.

Their findings may also shed some light on the so-called "Gulf War Syndrome," the name given to a complex and variable mix of neurological symptoms reported by tens of thousands of U.S. military veterans who served in the first Gulf War against Iraq in 1990-1991.

Developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists just after World War II, deet has been available as a bug repellent for more than five decades. Sold as lotions, creams and sprays in concentrations from five to 100 percent, it has been widely used not just by weekend campers but as a frontline barrier against malaria, dengue fever, and other mosquito-borne diseases. Some 200 million people use deet-based products every years, according to the study, published in the British-based open-access journal BMC Biology.

Scientists still don't know exactly how the compound works on blood-seeking insects. Some say it blocks the sensory neurons that would be titillated by a potential meal, while others hypothesize that bugs are simply put off by the smell. More surprising still, there is relatively little research on the effects of deet in humans.

"It has been used for many years, but there are recent studies now that show a potential toxicity," said Vincent Corbel, a researcher at the Institute for Development Research in Montpellier, France, and lead author of the study. "What we have done is identify a neurological target for this compound," he told AFP by phone.

In experiments, Corbel and a team of scientists co-led by Bruno Lapied of the University of Angers discovered that deet interferes with the normal breaking down of acetylcholine (ACh), the most common neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It does so by blocking the enzyme that normally degrades ACh, acetylcholinesterase, or AChE. The result is a toxic build-up of ACh that ultimately prevents the transmission of signals across the neuron synapse, the study found. A class of insecticides called carbamates, as well as the nerve gas sarin, work in the same way, only the effects are stronger and last much longer.

Which is where the Gulf War Syndrome comes in. "Many of the pesticides used in the Gulf War, as well as PB and nerve agents, exert toxic effects on the brain and nervous system by altering levels of ACh," a U.S. government report issued last November concluded. PB, or pyridostigmine bromide, was widely used to protect against nerve gas exposure.

The 450-page report, entitled "Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans," points to earlier evidence that overexposure to deet may be toxic for the nervous system, but fails to recognize its potential role as a booster for the more potent chemicals to which soldiers had been exposed. "For U.S. soldiers, the cocktail of high doses of PB and insect repellents to protect against mosquito bites may have caused symptoms, as both act on the central nervous system in the same way," said Corbel.

Fortunately, deet is "reversible," meaning its impact is short-lived. But further studies are needed to determine at what concentration it may become dangerous to people, especially small children and pregnant women, he added.


More Warmist dishonesty

Here is another tone-deaf incident involving the activist wing of the climate science community that has the effect of making the entire enterprise look corrupt. The short story is that a professor from Ohio State found an error in a paper on Antarctic temperature trends in Nature. He published his analysis of the error on the blog Climate Audit and sent a gracious note to the authors letting them know of his discovery.

What did the authors do? They turned around and submitted the correction to Nature as their own work, and then had it published under their own names without so much as an acknowledgment to the Ohio State professor who actually did the work and made the discovery of the error. In academia this sort of behavior is called plagiarism, pure and simple.

Knowing some of the authors, I sincerely doubt that they intended to plagiarize, but rather they could not bring themselves to rise above their pride to even acknowledge one of their "enemies." When will these guys learn that a little common decency goes a long way, even when extended to people that you disagree with? It is not the Ohio State professor whose reputation will be damaged by these events. It is the reputations of these scientists that will take a small hit in many academic circles, no doubt. More troubling for the climate science community, is that it colors the entire enterprise negatively, which is a shame because the field is populated by hard-working and decent folks.

Here is a copy of the letter from Professor Huston McCulloch of Ohio State to Nature complaining about the appropriation of his work and subsequent publication, without attribution:
Date: Thu, 06 Aug 2009 10:50:11 -0400
From: Hu McCulloch
Subject: Fwd: Comment on serial correlation in Steig et al 2009

August 7, 2009

Dr. Philip Campbell, Editor in Chief
Dr. Karl Ziemelis, Chief Physical Science Editor

Dear Drs. Campbell and Ziemelis:

On Feb. 26, 2009, I informally published, in a well-known and closely watched climate blog, a comment on the Jan. 22, 2009 Nature letter by Eric J. Steig et al., "Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet." (vol. 456, pp. 459-62). In my comment, I pointed out that the confidence intervals they published made no compensation for serial correlation, and that when this is done, the results are substantially weaker than they reported, albeit not by enough to overturn them in the key case of West Antarctica. On Feb. 28, 2009, I called the authors' attention to my findings in the e-mail copied below.

In yesterday's issue of Nature, Steig et al. published a Corrigendum replicating my findings, with essentially the same results. However, they make no mention of my prior, well-distributed results, of which I had made them aware. Instead, they present my prior discovery as if it were their own.

According to your Editorial Policies, "Plagiarism is when an author attempts to pass off someone else's work as his or her own." There is no submission date published with the Corrigendum, but if it this was after Feb. 28, I would submit that this Corrigendum constitutes plagiarism as you define it.

I therefore request that you retract the Steig et al. Corrigendum and replace it with my e-mail to them, copied below. The e-mail provides the URL to my Feb. 26 Climate Audit post, "Steig 2009's Non-Correction for Serial Correlation."

Since your policy on corrections and comments is to publish them "if and only if the author provides compelling evidence that a major claim of the original paper was incorrect," and this error did not in itself overturn their key result, I did not submit my comment to Nature, and only published it informally instead. But since you have now published Steig et al.'s replication of my findings, they evidently are important enough for at least a mention in Nature.

Thank you in advance for your careful consideration.

Sincerely yours,

J. Huston McCulloch
Professor of Economics and Finance
Ohio State University


"Nature" is a Greenie publication so I am prophesying that they will find some excuse not to comply with Prof. McCulloch's entirely proper and reasonable request

I Accuse!

By Alan Caruba

In 1898, an article by the great French novelist, Emile Zola was published in L’Aurore. It was addressed to the President of France. Zola accused the military of having wrongly convicted Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish artillery officer, of treason, incarcerating him for years on Devil’s Island. The title of the article was “J’Accuse!” Zola’s courage has been an inspiration for writers ever since. It is in this spirit that I issue my own version of “I Accuse.”

I accuse the United Nations environmental program in general and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in particular of creating a huge hoax, “global warming”, in order to reduce energy use and to create a phony market for so-called “carbon credits,” based on the lie that carbon dioxide plays a role in the alleged warming process.

The Earth is not warming. It is cooling. Meteorologists, climatologists, and solar physicists agree that it has been cooling for at least a decade and predict the cooling will continue for several decades to come.

I accuse the President of the United States and politicians from both political parties for engaging in this deception for their own purposes, while ignoring the peril to the nation’s economy and future. Billions have been and continue to be misallocated to bogus “solutions” such as solar and wind power, the mandate for an ethanol mixture with gasoline, and the construction of a vast regulatory and grant-making apparatus based on the global warming hoax.

I accuse the Obama administration and those members of Congress of seeking to impose a “Cap-and-Trade” bill based entirely on the hoax. It would tax all energy use in America, thus increasing the cost of energy while further reducing the personal income and savings of all Americans. It would codify a bogus market for carbon credits.

I accuse all of the scientists who sought to justify global warming by deliberately publishing falsely documented studies or studies that purported to justify the hoax by attributing natural phenomena to global warming. I accuse them of engaging in such practices to advance their careers and for accepting government largess to further the hoax.

I accuse the academic community for permitting their publications and research programs to be corrupted by the global warming hoax and for lending the prestige of their institutions to its advancement.

I accuse those elements of the nation’s and the world’s media for advancing the global warming hoax in the face of increasing evidence that it is not occurring. It cannot occur at a time when solar activity is decreasing, thus reducing the radiation responsible for much of the Earth’s warming.

I accuse those media that continue to advance the global warming hoax via print and electronic broadcasting. I accuse all print and electronic journalists of failing their responsibility to investigate the bogus science put forth and for deliberately disparaging those scientists and others who disputed it, calling them “deniers.”

I accuse the U.S. Department of Education for the corruption of the nation’s school curriculums, using them to spread the hoax and indoctrinate thousands of students passing through the system with the belief that global warming exists. I accuse every publisher of school texts that advances this hoax.

I accuse former Vice President Gore of advancing the greatest hoax of the modern era and those who joined with him, awarded him honors, and sought to enrich themselves by doing so.

I accuse all the “environmental” organizations such as the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and all others that have spent millions to advance the hoax to advance their collective and individual agendas.

I accuse the Environmental Protection Agency of falsely asserting that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant” that must be regulated when it is essential to all life on the planet. It is vital for all plant life and plays no role in climate change except to react to it.

I accuse the EPA, Department of Energy, and Department of the Interior, in collusion with many “Green” organizations, of thwarting the construction of coal-fired and nuclear plants to generate the energy necessary to the growth and expansion of the nation’s economy, general welfare, and security.

Lastly, I applaud those many courageous scientists from various disciplines and all others who have stepped forth to denounce the global warming theory with the presentation of legitimate science. The entire world is in their debt.


Defend green jobs! Smash ungreen jobs!

Environmentalists are defending jobs at the ‘good’ Vestas wind-turbine factory while ignoring the sacking of workers at ‘evil’ Thomas Cook

Currently the dictionary defines double standards as ‘a set of principles permitting greater opportunity or liberty to one than to another’. If any dictionary in the future wanted to illustrate or illuminate that definition, it could do worse than point to environmentalists’ sudden interest in the politics of industrial strife. In Ireland and Britain over the past couple of weeks there have been two dramatic and principled occupations of workplaces by workers threatened with redundancy, yet where one has been widely promoted in the media by green-leaning commentators, the other has been ignored, meaning that its organisers could be hassled, arrested and charged by the cops with little controversy.

Environmentalists have used their not inconsiderable clout in public debate to turn the occupation of the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight into a cause célèbre. When the owners of Vestas announced in July that they were moving abroad, thus making 600 people on the Isle of Wight redundant, 25 Vestas workers occupied the factory and many more protested outside in solidarity. They are effusively supported by greens, who have never much cared about workplace politics in the past. Climate change activists have set up camp outside Vestas; they’ve erected banners saying: ‘Save Vestas, Save Jobs, Save the Planet.’ One commentator says no one should underestimate ‘the importance of the occupation’, which has ‘strengthened the alliance between workers and environmentalists’. Another even compares the Vestas workers – who might ‘save the planet’ – to those earlier generations of Brits who took on ‘Germany’s industrial war machine’ (1).

Meanwhile, another workers’ occupation has been ignored. There has been no environmentalist solidarity, no endless publication of op-eds about its ‘importance’. On Friday last week, the staff of the Dublin outlet of the travel agents Thomas Cook were told that their shop was closing with immediate effect, after the workers and their union had the temerity to organise a public protest against the threat of redundancy. In defence of their jobs, 28 Thomas Cook employees occupied the shop on Grafton Street. But after drumming up little sympathy in mainstream Irish and British media and political circles – but managing to win backing from everyday shoppers and passers-by – the workers were arrested in a dawn raid on Tuesday. Gardai smashed their way into Thomas Cook at 5am, took the arm-linked workers out one by one, and drove them to court where they were charged with contempt for ignoring an earlier judgement telling them to leave the shop (2).

Two recession-related occupations, carried out by risk-taking workers willing to put their liberty on the line to defend their own and each others’ jobs, yet only one is championed as ‘important’ by the environmentalist lobby. Why? It isn’t because the Thomas Cook protest is taking place in Ireland rather than in the British, but equally far-flung, territory of the Isle of Wight; numerous Irish protests have been supported in Britian in recent years. More fundamentally it is because, where the Vestas workers are seen as ‘clean’ and thus worthy of support, the Thomas Cook workers are seen as ‘dirty’ and thus eminently ignorable; where, in the hyperbolic, fact-lite view of green activists, the Vestas workers are ‘saving the planet’ by building wind turbines, the likes of the Thomas Cook workers are ‘destroying the planet’ by facilitating unnecessary cheap-flight holidays abroad for undesirable people who have little regard for foreign cultures and plant-life. These double standards illustrate the coercive element in the widespread demand for ‘green jobs’ as a solution to the recession: a new workers’ divide is being created, in which only those with ‘green jobs’ will be accorded respect and support while those with ‘ungreen jobs’ will be left out in the cold.

Environmentalists’ sudden interest in workers’ rights when the Vestas dispute unfolded was always unconvincing. Normally greens implicitly campaign for people to be thrown out of work. Their demonisation of ‘dirty industries’ has helped to make the workers in those industries vulnerable to redundancy by cynical companies and corporations that frequently dress up downsizing and cost-cutting as an environmentalist measure. In recent years greens have demanded the closure of the Drax power station in North Yorkshire (‘Drax the Destroyer’, they call it), which as well as providing electricity to millions of homes also directly employs 700 people. Greens want Kingsnorth power station in Kent closed down, too, and have protested against the construction of ‘Kingsnorth 2’. Kingsnorth employs around 240 workers and Kingsnorth 2 would provide jobs for 3,000 construction workers. Most loudly, greens have demanded the scrapping of plans for a Third Runway at Heathrow – a project that would create a whopping 65,000 jobs (3).

None of those workers matters, however, because they are ‘dirty’ workers, whose livelihoods are ‘destroying the planet’. It is striking that in their defence of the Vestas occupiers, environmentalists simultaneously denounced the government for continuing to invest in airport expansion and the creation of power-station jobs. The sentiment was: ‘How can you claim to be creating a low-carbon economy when you create unclean jobs in airports but will not subsidise clean jobs in wind-turbine construction?’

This is not about defending workers’ rights in principle and making a universal argument for providing everyone with gainful employment and a high wage; it isn’t even about making a calculated judgement about which industries are productive, and thus should remain open, and which industries are unproductive, and thus might be closed. Instead it is about creating a new moral divide, based on shrill language about Nazi-style threats to the future of our planet, between worthy workers and unworthy workers, between the green and the ungreen, between the good and the bad. Indeed, as one green-leaning writer said in support of the Vestas dispute, this is ‘not just about action to save jobs at a time when unemployment is continuing to rise steeply… Rather it is about the necessity to save jobs which are critical to the wider good for society.’ (4) In short, it is not jobs per se that matter; it is not people’s ability to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families that is important; it is only ‘good’ jobs that should be defended, which are seen as being ‘good’, not on the basis of people’s needs or even industrial productivity, but on the basis of very influential environmentalists’ massively overblown fear of the future in which individuals building wind turbines are seen as ‘saving the planet’ while individuals booking holidays for people are considered the devil incarnate.

Indeed, it is not at all surprising that environmentalists are ignoring the Thomas Cook workers. In smashing into the Thomas Cook shop and taking the workers out so that they can officially be made redundant, the Irish police are only doing what environmentalists themselves have tried to do in recent years. The youthful aristocrats of Plane Stupid – who have cheered the ‘industrial disobedience and workers’ solidarity’ at Vestas (5) – have tried on numerous occasions to shut down Thomas Cook outlets. They have put bicycle locks on the front doors of Thomas Cook shops, alongside posters saying ‘CLOSED for a total rethink’, and have argued that the likes of Thomas Cook workers are helping to destroy the planet by facilitating ‘stag and hen nights [in] Eastern European destinations chosen not for their architecture or culture but because people can fly there for 99p and get loaded for a tenner’ (6). Greens want the state to subsidise ‘green jobs’ at Vestas, while the police action in Dublin can be seen as the logical armed-wing conclusion to greens’ desire to destroy ‘ungreen jobs’ elsewhere.

This creation of a bullshit, pernicious moral divide between good and bad workers is the worst response possible to a recession that is making millions of people unemployed. Neither the Vestas workers nor the Thomas Cook workers should be sacked.


We need planes, trains AND automobiles

Justifying high-speed rail as a way of stopping people from flying is a perverse anti-travel argument.

On Tuesday, the UK transport secretary, Andrew Adonis, announced plans to expand high-speed rail services in the UK. Yet his proposals seem to have less to do with allowing people to travel with greater speed and comfort, and more to do with getting people off planes. Perversely, the Labour government is promoting a transport initiative on anti-travel grounds.

‘For reasons of carbon reduction and wider environmental benefits, it is manifestly in the public interest that we systematically replace short-haul aviation with high-speed rail’, said Adonis. ‘But we would have to have, of course, the high-speed network before we can do it.’ By the end of this year, the government plans to have a published route for a rail line from London to the West Midlands, to be built by 2020 at an estimated cost of £7billion, with a framework in place to expand further north in the future. The high-speed link is part of a package announced in July by Adonis to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 14 per cent by 2018-2022.

Britain’s only current high-speed link, the 68-mile stretch from the Channel Tunnel on the south coast to St Pancras station in London, is hugely popular. Already, 80 per cent of non-car journeys from London to Paris and Brussels are by rail rather than air. Rail could soon add a major slice of travel to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Cologne and Frankfurt as high-speed links develop in Europe.

Unsurprisingly, the airlines aren’t keen on Adonis’s proposals. Ryanair boss and anti-green rent-a-quote, Michael O’Leary, was as blunt as ever. On the notion that extending high-speed rail could cut short-haul flights to Europe, he said: ‘It is insane. The only link you have is one highly priced tunnel. People are not going to travel to the UK regions, including the Lake District and Cornwall, on a train that only stops at Kent and London St Pancras.’ O’Leary was only slightly less dismissive of the idea of moving domestic travellers from planes to trains, describing it as a ‘valid alternative if you don’t mind the inefficiency and high cost of rail services’ and complaining that while domestic air passengers currently have to pay £20 in tax to travel from London to Glasgow (where planes have 80 per cent of the market), the government continues to ‘subsidise the shit out of the railways’.

Others were over the moon, if only metaphorically. One anti-flights campaign group said it was delighted by the plan to ‘wipe out the market for domestic flights’ in the UK, declaring that ‘no more Ryanair or Flybe is a good thing’ – even if the UK government is still keen to expand airports, too. It is true, as many commentators have pointed out, that people seem to prefer trains to planes in countries like Spain and France, where such high-speed links have almost wiped out domestic air travel in favour of the train. For example, journeys have doubled on the new Madrid to Malaga line in Spain, while the Paris to Lyon line is so popular that the French government has now got the headache of trying to expand the service from two lines to four. No wonder President Obama has plans to replicate such rail success in the US. Britain, however, is different.

Of course, a high-speed line to Birmingham would be nice, but it would not make a huge difference to journey times (it’s only 120 miles and it currently takes just 90 minutes) and it would have zero impact on air passenger numbers because very people fly such short distances. As transport commentator Christian Wolmar points out, even expanding the line to northern English cities like Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle wouldn’t help because air travel from London to those cities is still a small part of the domestic travel market, or is simply being used as a way of connecting to international flights at those local airports. Only by expanding the high-speed link to Scotland could such a link really make a major difference to journey times and the numbers of people flying - and that could cost £30billion. As Wolmar points out, while there are plenty of good reasons to improve our train network, the environmental case is not one of them.

A north-south line would be good, but it is no solution to Britain’s transport needs. The line would still leave some travel destinations – from Bristol, Exeter and Wales in the west, to Norwich in the east and Aberdeen in the far north – badly served. The likely upshot would be an even-greater concentration of business and population in the major cities of the Midlands and the north, while people elsewhere would look to new airports to enable them to get both to London and to cities further afield.

The problem for the government is that the low-carbon argument will always be trumped by the no-carbon argument. Any form of mechanised travel - even trains - will produce greenhouse gas emissions. So the logical conclusion of making climate change the top priority in transport policy is that it would be better if people didn’t travel at all. As one anti-flying activist put it: ‘Adonis and others were keen to explain that we’d still have to expand all the airports to cater for predicted growth in demand (which is generated by the expansion, but don’t let that spoil anything).’ This argument surely gets things the wrong way round, though, as if airport terminal buildings had a hypnotic effect on people, willing them to fly when they never wanted to before. People have always wanted to travel; new airports, train lines and motorways make it easier to do so. Nonetheless, if we put emissions reduction at the centre of transport policy, the logical conclusion is that it is best not to travel at all.

If our current transport technology creates environmental problems, we need to find solutions to those problems, not stop travelling. For example, while replacing petrol and diesel with biofuel could cause all sorts of problems in the short term with food supply, replacing the much smaller volumes of aircraft fuel with biofuels could be a practical, low-carbon solution. The plans for rail electrification could give us much greater flexibility about how to power trains: coal and gas for now, but nuclear, wind and solar in the future. The no-travel, no-carbon outlook is tantamount to societal suicide.

Obsessing about high-speed rail also misses the point that every form of transport has its strengths and weaknesses. There are all sorts of factors that people take into account when choosing if and how to travel, like cost, convenience, speed, comfort and flexibility. If you want to travel from city centre to city centre, trains are great for journeys of up to three hours. No check-in, no driving, just turn up and let the ‘train take the strain’. For longer journeys, the hassle of air travel is off-set by the speed (and, given the stupendous prices charged on Britain’s railways, flying is usually cheaper, too). For trips to less popular destinations, or where you need transport at the other end, the car is often the best choice.

So, to make Britain a truly mobile society, we need trains, planes and cars, and the best possible infrastructure for all three. And we need a government that is committed to the idea that mobility is a good thing rather than one that puts the brakes on our transport future.


Australia: Greenpeace skipper charged after blockade of coal loader

There should be more arrests of this kind. These guys think they are gods and the law is only for "the little people" to obey. Given the wishy-washy Queensland courts, however, he will do no jail time

POLICE have charged the captain of a Greenpeace ship following a blockade at a Queensland coal terminal. Police said officers boarded a vessel in Cairns, executed a warrant about 9am yesterday and arrested a 39-year-old man. He has been charged with two counts of unregulated high-risk activity and one count each of wilful damage. The man has been bailed to appear in Bowen Magistrates Court on August 11 over those charges.

He was also charged with failing to comply with a harbourmaster's direction, navigating a ship in a pilotage area without a pilot and operating a ship that endangers safety, police said in a statement. He has been ordered to appear at Mackay Magistrates Court on August 19 in relation to those charges, police said.

Greenpeace said the captain of its vessel the Esperanza had been arrested. A spokeswoman said more than 20 police officers were waiting for the vessel when it arrived in Cairns and the entire crew was detained for about four hours. She said the captain was arrested for taking part in a blockade of the Hay Point coal terminal for more than two days this week. The terminal, 38km south of Mackay, is one of the largest of its kind in Australia.

Greenpeace last week stopped operations at the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance terminal at Mackay for 36 hours. The protest was aimed to coincide with the Pacific Islands Forum held in Cairns, where forum leaders called for big emission cuts from Australia and New Zealand to save their homes from rising seas. Protesters said Australia was not taking sufficient action on climate change.



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


Saturday, August 08, 2009

What Caused the PETM (Paleocene-Eocene Temperature Maximum)

One of the striking features of the thermal history of the earth is the unusually rapid and strong warming about 55 million years ago, termed the PETM. It was recently again discussed in a paper by Zebee et al in Nature Geoscience online: 13 July 2009. The paper brought great joy and jubilation to both climate skeptics and climate alarmists.

Skeptics latched on to the authors' statement that GH models could not explain the rapid temperature rise in relation to the observed rise of CO2. Alarmists, on the other hand, warned that such rapid and strong temperature excursions might even be possible today unless we restrain CO2 emissions.

Of course, it is difficult to be certain about the direction of cause-effect from a correlation of temperature and CO2, since the data lack adequate time resolution. It might therefore be appropriate to develop a different hypothesis, which happens to make use of two papers I already published (in 1971 and 1988).

Many authors seem to accept that the cause of the temperature rise was the rapid release of methane trapped in clathrates in ocean sediments, which then was oxidized to CO2. The problem with this simple idea is there may not be sufficient oxygen, particularly in the deep ocean, to accomplish this chemical transformation. This will be particularly true if large bursts of methane are released in bubbles that travel rapidly to the sea surface.

Once in the atmosphere, methane released in these large quantities could survive for a long time, simply by depleting the available hydroxyl (OH) radicals, which exist only in minute concentrations in the steady state. As a consequence, not only would this methane exert a strong GH effect, but large amounts of methane could percolate into the stratosphere, and there be photolyzed by solar ultraviolet radiation to eventually form both water vapor and CO2, and contribute to destruction of ozone ("Stratospheric Water Vapour Increase Due to Human Activities." Nature 233:543-547. 1971).

These large amounts of water vapor released into the normally dry stratosphere can lead to important consequences, including the formation of cirrus clouds (consisting of ice particles) in the vicinity of the cold tropopause. Tabulated physical measurements give us the 'complex refractive index' of water and ice. Therefore, a direct calculation based on Mie theory can provide the optical properties of the cirrus cloud cover ("Re-Analysis of the Nuclear Winter Phenomenon." Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics 38:228-239. 1988).

If the cloud cover is very thick, it could exhibit an appreciable optical albedo. But my analysis shows that as the cloud thins, it retains a large infrared opacity, sufficient to cut off any thermal radiation from the earth's surface in the IR window of the atmosphere (8-12 microns). Such a GH effect is quite powerful for warming the global climate; it depends, of course, also on the areal coverage of the cirrus cloud. It might be strong enough to enhance the warming of the earth and therefore accelerate a further release of methane from the ocean, a kind of positive feedback that could explain the observed large temperature increase.

But so far all of this is simply hypothesis and speculation. Some obvious questions remain: . How to test this hypothesis? One would expect to find some evidence concerning anoxic effects in the ocean, including a die-off of marine organisms. The CO2 increase observed could partly be caused by a degassing of a warming ocean....

And could such an effect happen now? Not likely. We have to remember that temperatures near the P-E boundary had been unusually high for long periods of time. In fact, the earth was completely ice-free, including also the polar regions. This is quite different from the present situation. Further, nothing of the sort has happened during the much warmer (compared to today) Holocene Temperature Optimum, 8000-5000 years ago

SEPP Science Editorial #24-2009 (8/8/09)

Global cooling! Ice choking the "open" Northwest Passage even in midsummer

But top U.S. institute still prophesies 'extreme' melting

Despite predictions from a top U.S. polar institute that the Arctic Ocean's overall ice cover is headed for another "extreme" meltdown by mid-September, the Environment Canada agency monitoring our northern waters says an unusual combination of factors is making navigation more difficult in the Northwest Passage this year after two straight summers of virtually clear sailing.

In both the wider, deep-water northern corridor and the narrower, shallower southern branches of the passage, the Canadian Ice Service says pockets of more extensive winter freezing and concentrations of thicker, older ice at several key "choke points" are complicating ship travel.

The fabled trans-Arctic sea route, zealously sought by European explorers in centuries past as a shortcut to Asia, is increasingly seen in today's era of rapidly retreating sea ice as a potential highway to resources and Arctic tourist destinations.

A record number of vessels passed through Canada's Arctic islands last year, and experts have been predicting a steady rise in ship traffic in both the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route, which connects Europe to eastern Asia along Russia's Arctic coast.

In the central part of the passage where the northern and southern routes merge amid narrowings around Prince of Wales Island, the CIS has observed "greater than normal concentrations of thicker, multi-year ice. This is the result of an increased flow of older ice from the Beaufort Sea into the Canadian Arctic archipelago last year."

The result, the agency said, is that ice conditions "are delaying any potential navigability of the Northwest Passage this year. This is opposite to what Environment Canada observed in the last week of July in 2007 and 2008."

While Canada's trans-Arctic sea route remains clogged with ice, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center is predicting another near-record meltdown by the end of this year's summer thaw. Scientists believe the retreat is being driven by several factors, including rising global temperatures associated with human-induced climate change, and the associated breakup and loss of thicker, multi-year year ice that is being replaced only seasonally by a thin layer of winter ice that disappears quickly each summer.


All Politics Is Local

Senate Democratic leaders said this week that delaying votes on health care legislation until the fall will not derail the global warming express. Sure. Seriously, the question is whether health care will dominate town meetings during the August congressional recess or voters will still be angry about passage of Waxman-Markey. If enough voters still want to give their Senators an earful about cap-and-trade, then my guess is that it will have no momentum in the fall and the leadership will have a hard time rounding up sixty votes for anything related to energy rationing.

A video posted on You Tube of a town meeting that Rep. Michael Castle (R-Del.) held over the Fourth of July recess is instructive in this regard. Castle was one of the eight Republicans who voted yes on final passage of the Waxman-Markey bill.

A recent whining fundraising appeal from Fred Krupp of Environmental Defense Fund confirms that the House was flooded with calls and e-mails opposing Waxman-Markey: “For some House offices, their calls overwhelmed the switchboard.” Krupp blames it on an organized conspiracy led by Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin and “financed with hundreds of millions of dollars from big polluters.”

Too bad he doesn’t mention who those big polluters are. As far as I can tell, many of the biggest companies in the U.S. support cap-and-trade and a couple dozen of them belong to the U. S. Climate Action Partnership. EDF is a member of USCAP and works as a front group for big companies that hope to get rich off the backs of American consumers from the higher energy prices required by cap-and-trade. Hundreds of millions has a nice ring, but does anyone actually believe that the opponents of cap-and-trade have even a tenth of the funding of its supporters?

So here’s hoping that Senators back home in August are going to hear from lots of constituents about Waxman-Markey and what energy rationing will do to them.


British Government Pays Lobbyists to Lobby It on Climate Change

More proof that government does things better! In traditional “astroturfing,” a company would pay a PR firm to set up a fake grassroots organization aimed at promoting or fending off legislation that would affect the company. Her Majesty’s Government in the UK, however, has decided to take this a step further and fund groups that lobby it, thereby creating a groundswell of public opinion in favor of its legislation. According to a new report by the Taxpayers Alliance, it is doing this, on the issue of global warming alone, to the tune of $12 million a year*. As Matt Sinclair says:
With the government funding political campaigns as well, the voice of the public is diluted still further. Popular pressure is crowded out by well-funded professional campaigns, but those campaigns don’t even represent an actual economic interest. Instead, those campaigns represent the views of politicians and officials and allow them to push their ideological preoccupations to prominence in the public discourse. Green campaigns like the Sustainable Development Commission and the New Economics Foundation loom large in the public debate and make it easier for politicians to justify – to themselves, the media and the public – ever more draconian attempts to force cuts in emissions.

It is important that Americans understand how disconnected policy in Britain is from the preferences and priorities of the public. British politicians like to strut around on the world stage boasting about the radical action that the country is taking, for example, how we lead the world in setting carbon reduction targets. They hope that the U.S. won’t want to let the side down and can be pressured into embracing similar policies to ours. The European example might not quite have the same appeal if Americans understood that Britain is putting in place green policies not because of popular pressure but in order to satisfy a government-funded lobby. Ordinary people pay the price in the form of higher electricity bills, prices at the pump and fares for their airline tickets.

Political contempt for taxpayers and the electorate is running at record levels on both sides of the Atlantic, it seems.

*Note that this figure is above what the “well-funded” anti-alarmism groups probably spend in total on the issue even in the US, and probably globally.


Australia: High density housing hard on the poor

Greenies push for high density housing as an answer to the "sprawl" that they hate

HIGH-density housing may be the answer to Sydney's suburban sprawl, but it is increasingly forcing low-income families into unsuitable apartment blocks characterised by poor management and clashes over limited open space, research shows.

An academic survey of flat-dwellers [apartment-dwellers] in Sydney challenges the common assumption that apartments are predominantly the domain of ''yuppie'' couples and singles who choose to live there. It found that the largest single category of flat-dwellers consisted of low-income households, mostly with young children, living in units in the outer suburbs. Nearly half of this group are not living there by choice, but because of constraints such as the prohibitive cost of renting a house or the need to live close to work or childcare.

About 50 per cent of the 1597 people who took part in the survey said they would rather live in a house, while 30 per cent said that apartment living did not suit their lifestyles. This equates to 190,000 households across Sydney if the results are extrapolated.

The study raises questions about the State Government's plan to accommodate the city's population growth through urban consolidation, under which 45 per cent of Sydney's housing would be high density by 2031. The co-author of the study, Dr Bill Randolph, of the University of NSW, said: ''What we found was that the largest single category of flat-dwellers were families at the bottom of the rental market who were living in housing that is often not suited to their needs because they have no alternative. ''There could be serious long-term social consequences if we continue to pursue to plan for and build high-density housing that is based on the idea that it's only small households … who live in apartments. ''If urban consolidation is going to work it will have to be adapted to take into consideration the residential desires of the population, not just young urban professionals.''

The study, presented at the Australasian Housing Researchers' Conference in Sydney this week, found that maintenance and open space were the greatest sources of dissatisfaction. About 45 per cent were dissatisfied with the management of their block, while half said there was not enough shared open space.

''The number of apartment developments going up … which actually envisage an average-sized family is very small,'' said the director of Pro-family Perspectives, Angela Conway.. ''With everything we know about childhood obesity … we should be increasing the access children have to open space, not diminishing it. Apartment developments may be more environmentally sustainable, but they also need to be socially sustainable.''

The density of development in the city has increased greatly since strata title legislation was passed in the 1970s enabling individual apartments to be sold. The pace of urban consolidation quickened with the introduction of the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy in 2005.


Conservationists angry at wolf cull

No pity for the defenceless sheep, apparently

THE Swiss authorities have defended granting permission for the hunting of three wolves that have killed dozens of sheep after fierce criticism from environmentalists. Reinhard Schnidrig, head of hunting, wild animals and forest biodiversity at the Federal Environment Authority, said the Swiss rule was that a wolf could be hunted if it killed 25 farm animals within a month or 35 within a season. "The wolf is an internationally strongly protected animal. We must find a way to guarantee this protection while minimising the damage to farm animals," he said.

Wolves were wiped out in most of northwestern Europe a century ago, although small populations survived in Spain and Italy. Now protected, they have been returning to countries including Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Mr Schnidrig said individual male wolves had moved over the border from France and Italy in the past decade and estimated there were now at least 11 wolves living in Switzerland and possibly another six. The animals reached the north side of the Alps three years ago and formed their first pack two years ago.

With quarter of a million sheep in the pastures of the Swiss Alps each summer, Mr Schnidrig said it was critical to improve flock protection so that wolves hunted wild animals instead.

The Swiss canton of Lucerne said it had granted permission for a wolf to be hunted after it killed another three sheep. Hunters have until September 19 to kill the wolf, but it can only be shot in the area in which it attacked the sheep.

The Pro Natura environmental group said the granting of permits to kill three wolves this week made a mockery of the government's attempt to protect the animals. "It legitimises the killing of almost half the proven wolves in Switzerland," it said in a statement. "Switzerland must take care or else the wolf will become extinct for a second time."



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


Friday, August 07, 2009

Are climate skeptics psychologically maladjusted?

Psychologists are overwhelmingly Leftist. I know. I have a doctorate in psychology and used to teach it and have had many articles published in the academic journals of psychology. And psychologists have been trying to prove that conservatives are mentally inadequate in some way since at least 1950 -- with a singular lack of success if you insist on normal scientific standards of proof. See here, for instance. So it was only a matter of time before they attempted to tar climate skeptics with the same brush. The article below seems to be an attempt in that direction

Psychological barriers like uncertainty, mistrust and denial keep most Americans from acting to fight climate change, a task force of the American Psychological Association said on Wednesday.

Policymakers, scientists and marketers should look at these factors to figure out what might prod people take action, the task force reported at the association's annual convention in Toronto.

While most Americans -- 75 percent to 80 percent in a Pew Research Center poll -- said climate change is an important issue, it still ranked last in a list of 20 compelling issues such as the economy or terrorism, the task force said.

Despite warnings from scientists that humans need to make changes now if they want to avoid the worst effects of climate change, "people don't feel a sense of urgency," the association said in a statement.

Numerous psychological barriers are to blame, the task force found, including: uncertainty over climate change, mistrust of the messages about risk from scientists or government officials, denial that climate change is occurring or that it is related to human activity.

Other factors include undervaluing the risk. Even though an international study showed many people believe environmental conditions will worsen in 25 years, that could lead some to conclude that they don't have to make changes now.

Some people believe anything they do would make little difference and they therefore choose to do nothing.

Habit is the most important obstacle to pro-environment behavior, the task force found.

But habits can be changed, especially if changing saves money and people are quickly made aware of it. People are more likely to use energy-efficient appliances if they get immediate energy-use feedback, the task force said.

It identified other areas where psychology can help limit the effects of climate change, such as developing environmental regulations, economic incentives, better energy-efficient technology and communication methods.


Ice Age melting caused by solar radiation, not CO2

Long debate ended over cause, demise of ice ages – solar and earth wobble – CO2 not involved

A team of researchers says it has largely put to rest a long debate on the underlying mechanism that has caused periodic ice ages on Earth for the past 2.5 million years – they are ultimately linked to slight shifts in solar radiation caused by predictable changes in Earth’s rotation and axis.

In a publication to be released Friday in the journal Science, researchers from Oregon State University and other institutions conclude that the known wobbles in Earth’s rotation caused global ice levels to reach their peak about 26,000 years ago, stabilize for 7,000 years and then begin melting 19,000 years ago, eventually bringing to an end the last ice age.

The melting was first caused by more solar radiation, not changes in carbon dioxide levels or ocean temperatures, as some scientists have suggested in recent years.

“Solar radiation was the trigger that started the ice melting, that’s now pretty certain,” said Peter Clark, a professor of geosciences at OSU. “There were also changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and ocean circulation, but those happened later and amplified a process that had already begun.”

The findings are important, the scientists said, because they will give researchers a more precise understanding of how ice sheets melt in response to radiative forcing mechanisms. And even though the changes that occurred 19,000 years ago were due to increased solar radiation, that amount of heating can be translated into what is expected from current increases in greenhouse gas levels, and help scientists more accurately project how Earth’s existing ice sheets will react in the future.

“We now know with much more certainty how ancient ice sheets responded to solar radiation, and that will be very useful in better understanding what the future holds,” Clark said. “It’s good to get this pinned down.”

The researchers used an analysis of 6,000 dates and locations of ice sheets to define, with a high level of accuracy, when they started to melt. In doing this, they confirmed a theory that was first developed more than 50 years ago that pointed to small but definable changes in Earth’s rotation as the trigger for ice ages.

“We can calculate changes in the Earth’s axis and rotation that go back 50 million years,” Clark said. “These are caused primarily by the gravitational influences of the larger planets, such as Jupiter and Saturn, which pull and tug on the Earth in slightly different ways over periods of thousands of years.”

That, in turn, can change the Earth’s axis – the way it tilts towards the sun – about two degrees over long periods of time, which changes the way sunlight strikes the planet. And those small shifts in solar radiation were all it took to cause multiple ice ages during about the past 2.5 million years on Earth, which reach their extremes every 100,000 years or so.

Sometime around now, scientists say, the Earth should be changing from a long interglacial period that has lasted the past 10,000 years and shifting back towards conditions that will ultimately lead to another ice age – unless some other forces stop or slow it. But these are processes that literally move with glacial slowness, and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.

“One of the biggest concerns right now is how the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will respond to global warming and contribute to sea level rise,” Clark said. “This study will help us better understand that process, and improve the validity of our models.”

The research was done in collaboration with scientists from the Geological Survey of Canada, University of Wisconsin, Stockholm University, Harvard University, the U.S. Geological Survey and University of Ulster. It was supported by the National Science Foundation and other agencies.

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

Journal abstract follows:

The Last Glacial Maximum

By Peter U. Clark et al.

We used 5704 14C, 10Be, and 3He ages that span the interval from 10,000 to 50,000 years ago (10 to 50 ka) to constrain the timing of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in terms of global ice-sheet and mountain-glacier extent. Growth of the ice sheets to their maximum positions occurred between 33.0 and 26.5 ka in response to climate forcing from decreases in northern summer insolation, tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures, and atmospheric CO2. Nearly all ice sheets were at their LGM positions from 26.5 ka to 19 to 20 ka, corresponding to minima in these forcings. The onset of Northern Hemisphere deglaciation 19 to 20 ka was induced by an increase in northern summer insolation [heat from the sun], providing the source for an abrupt rise in sea level. The onset of deglaciation of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet occurred between 14 and 15 ka, consistent with evidence that this was the primary source for an abrupt rise in sea level ~14.5 ka

Science 7 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5941, pp. 710 - 714

Svensmark strikes back

Forbush decreases confirm Svensmark's cosmoclimatology. It's been known for over a century that sunspot activity correlates with weather changes on earth but nobody could explain why. In typical Greenie fashion, Warmists said that because they could not explain the correlation, therefore it does not exist. Svensmark has now however explained the correlation at length. Will the Warmists take notice? Don't hold your breath

By Luboš Motl

Recall that cosmoclimatology of Henrik Svensmark and others postulates that the galactic cosmic rays are able to create “seeds” of low-lying clouds that may cool the Earth’s surface. A higher number of cosmic rays can therefore decrease the temperature. The creation of the cloud nuclei is caused by ionization and resembles the processes in a cloud chamber.

The fluctuations of the cosmic ray flux may occur due to the variable galactic environment as well as the solar activity: a more active Sun protects us from a part of the cosmic rays. It means that a more active Sun decreases the amounts of low-lying clouds, which means that it warms the Earth.

Because the low-lying clouds remove 30 Watts per squared meter in average (over time and the Earth) or so, one has to be very careful not only about the very existence of the clouds but also about the variations of cloudiness by 5% or so which translates to a degree of temperature change.

A systematic effect on the clouds – e.g. one of the cosmic origin – is a nightmare for the champions of the silly CO2 toy model of climatology because the cloud variations easily beat any effect of CO2. Two alarmists, Sloan and Wolfendale, wanted to rule out Svensmark’s theory by looking at the Forbush decreases, specific events of a solar origin named after Scott Forbush who studied them 6 decades ago, involving the plasma. However, their paper was incorrect. In April 2008, this blog (The Reference Frame) published the following relevant article:

Sun-climate link: a reply to Sloan and Wolfendale.

Sloan and Wolfendale complained that no cosmoclimatological signal could have been seen during the Forbush decreases, i.e. short episodes when the activity of our beloved star decreases the amount of cosmic rays reaching Earth. However, Nir Shaviv explained that it should be expected that such a signal is not seen in the averaged monthly data they had used.

In order to see the “tiger in the jungle”, using Svensmark’s words from a press release:

Cosmic meddling with the clouds by seven-day magic

that will be published tomorrow (I am allowed to read it now because my uncle lives in Melbourne which already has August), and in order to separate these clean effects from the huge meteorological noise, one needs to increase the temporal resolution to several days and also cover the whole globe to dilute the effects of local weather.

Newest paper: Tomorrow, on August 1st, 2009, Geophysical Research Letters will publish a new paper by Henrik Svensmark, Torsten Bondo, and Jacob Svensmark:

The People’s Voice (summary of the paper)
Cosmic ray decreases affect atmospheric aerosols and clouds (full text).

When you click the second link above and obtain an error message, press alt/d and enter to reload the URL: without a direct external link, the PDF file will be displayed correctly. Or open the Google cache as PDF-like HTML.

Svensmark and his collaborators have looked at 26 Forbush events since 1987 (those that were strong according to their impact on the spectrum seen in the low troposphere where it matters): most of them occur close to the solar maxima (in the middle of the 11-year cycles). The observations with a much better temporal resolution imply that the mass of water stored in clouds decreases by 4-7%, with the minimum reached after a nearly 1-week delay needed for the cloud nuclei to get mature. Roughly three billions of tons of water droplets suddenly disappear from the atmosphere (they remain there as vapor, which is more likely to warm the air than to cool it down).

An independent set of measurements has also shown that the amount of aerosols, i.e. potential nuclei of the new clouds, also decreases. All these “strength vs decrease” graphs display a lot of noise but the negative slopes are almost always significant at the 95% level (with one dataset being an exception, at 92%, which is still higher than the official IPCC confidence level that climate change is mostly man-made).

Each Forbush decrease can therefore warm up the Earth by the same temperature change as the effect of all carbon dioxide emitted by the mankind since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. While you might think that such an effect is temporary and lasts a few weeks only, it is important to notice that similar variations in the solar activity, the solar magnetic field, and the galactic cosmic rays take place at many different conceivable frequencies, so there are almost certainly many effects whose impact on the temperature – through the clouds – is at least equal to the whole effect of man-made carbon dioxide.

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Journal abstract follows:

Cosmic ray decreases affect atmospheric aerosols and clouds

By Henrik Svensmark et al.

Close passages of coronal mass ejections from the sun are signaled at the Earth's surface by Forbush decreases in cosmic ray counts. We find that low clouds contain less liquid water following Forbush decreases, and for the most influential events the liquid water in the oceanic atmosphere can diminish by as much as 7%. Cloud water content as gauged by the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) reaches a minimum ≈7 days after the Forbush minimum in cosmic rays, and so does the fraction of low clouds seen by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and in the International Satellite Cloud Climate Project (ISCCP). Parallel observations by the aerosol robotic network AERONET reveal falls in the relative abundance of fine aerosol particles which, in normal circumstances, could have evolved into cloud condensation nuclei. Thus a link between the sun, cosmic rays, aerosols, and liquid-water clouds appears to exist on a global scale.


Climate bill may fall by the wayside

With the fight over health care reform absorbing all the bandwidth on Capitol Hill, Democrats fear a major climate change bill may be left on the cutting-room floor this year. A handful of key senators on climate change are almost guaranteed to be tied up well into the fall on health care. Democrats from the Midwest and the South are resistant to a cap-and-trade proposal. And few if any Republicans are jumping in to help push a global warming and energy initiative. As a result, many Democrats fear the lack of political will and the congressional calendar will conspire to punt climate change into next year.

“The reality is [the health reform bill] is going to happen before cap and trade,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Collin Peterson, who’s been working with farm-state senators on the climate legislation. “Who knows if it will ever come out of the Senate?”

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), a senior member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee, has also publicly questioned efforts to move a Senate climate change bill this year. “It’s very hard for the United States Congress to wrap itself around one very large, significant, very controversial issue, and we’re being asked to do that in the midst of a very deep recession,” he told POLITICO last week.

But not every Democrat has so little confidence in his or her colleagues. “Everything is hard, everything is slow,” said West Virginia Democratic Sen. John Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. “My answer to that is let’s do what we always did with [former Senate Majority Leader] George Mitchell and stay until Dec. 22. We did that every year he was majority leader.”

Democrats also have a diplomatic reason to make a push in the Senate: They’d like to pass legislation before the Copenhagen international climate negotiations in December. Unless the U.S. takes public steps to lower its greenhouse gas emissions, it will be hard to persuade China, India and other developing countries to make significant reductions, according to international climate change experts.

If Democrats fail to pass a bill this year, it won’t get any easier during an election cycle next year, when Democrats will be even more afraid of taking unpopular votes.

Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) aims to release her cap-and-trade legislation when Congress returns from recess in September. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has asked her committee, along with five other powerful panels — Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources, Finance and Foreign Relations — to complete work on the bill by Sept. 28. Reid will then piece together the larger legislation. “All my committee chairs agreed with that,” Reid told reporters on a conference call. “It’s a date that’s doable. We can’t let that slip.”

But moving the legislation to the full Senate will pose a tougher problem than the committee deadlines. “If we come together and get a [health care] bill that doesn’t make everyone upset and angry, then I think we have a good shot on moving forward,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). “Time’s not the issue — it’s just hard stuff’s hard.”


Endangered Species and How Honest Intentions Go Extinct

By Justin Williams

On every issue, whether its health care, taxes, or the environment, both sides give their points and counterpoints, the people are polled, and then comes the legislation. After the new bill hits the President's desk and he signs it into law, the pundits end their polls and battles and move on to a different hot button issue.

But, of course, this is never where the story ends. Most people do not realize what goes on behind the scenes after a law is enacted, and that's a major reason why Public Choice Economics was invented. Take for example the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This bill, passed in 1973, with the stated intent was to protect the lives of certain important species of animals that were supposedly "endangered." Sounds innocent enough…even noble

Both sides usually agree that something has to be done on the issue, but then the debate moves to whether it should be done through private or public means. And that's where the fleecing takes place.

The private plan would be what the United States did with the bison that was quickly going extinct. The private plan allowed ranchers to own, breed, and sell them just like cattle or chicken. As a result, now there are plenty of bison all around America, proving that the profit motive can save animals – without forcing the taxpayers to finance bureaucrats.

The public plan through the ESA, on the other hand, holds major negative consequences on economic activity. The bill authorizes the government "to acquire land for the conservation of listed species." Not to mention the many other highly costly regulatory authority is given, including the statewide limitations of certain pesticides in various states (below from the USDA).

But what makes the ESA especially dangerous "solution" is that it gives government bureaucrats the power to take land and seize property at any cost.

And that's not all. The ESA gives the authority of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services' (USFWS) funding to the Interior subcommittee of the House Appropriations committee. This committee holds substantial power over the bureaucrats who make key decisions in the ESA program.

Economists E. Patrick Rawls and David Laband have found that "for the entire 28 year period of [their] analysis [states with representation on the committee] had an estimated 46 fewer ESA listings than a state with no representation" on that committee. In other words, congressmen who sit on the committee use their budgetary powers to keep the number of ESA listings down to protect their states' economies.

What is even more interesting is that these economists found no empirical relationship between population density and the ESA listings, which seems counterintuitive, as conservation groups have often blamed population growth for the extinction of animals.

Public Choice Economics has been called "politics without romance," and there is no doubt that the romance left a long time ago between congressional leaders and the cuddly animals that ESA was meant to save. Nowadays, as politicians simply are more interested in getting reelected than standing on principle.

So whether one agrees with the ESA or not, when a politician says "Save the Animals," the one animal whose hide he protects is the two legged variety sitting behind the ornate desk in his own oak-paned congressional office.

And yet there's more. The truth is, these congressional leaders wouldn't be caught dead proposing the highly successful privatization, as in the case of the bison, since that would remove a powerful tool for reelection.

So the next time there is a hotly debated issue, the solution is not to hand important powers to Congress and bureaucrats, since the only endangered species they really care about is the American taxpayer – only so that they can continue to sheer them on a daily basis.


Britain: Tax the poor!

Bar them from selling their junky old houses until they upgrade them to top Greenie standards

Owners of poorly insulated homes should not be allowed to sell or rent them until they have invested in energy efficiency measures, the Government’s advisory body on domestic energy use says.

The Energy Saving Trust said that the 5.5 million homes in the lowest two bands for energy performance — more than a fifth of all homes — should also be subject to higher council tax bills and additional stamp duty. It believes that tough measures will be needed to achieve the Government’s target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from home heating by 29 per cent by 2020 and to “almost zero” by 2050.

The trust estimates that 85 per cent of the homes in bands F and G could be made fit to sell for less than £5,000. However, owners of the remaining 15 per cent face paying as much as £10,000 to upgrade their homes to a new minimum standard.

Since last October, all homes offered for sale or rent have had to have an energy performance certificate, which ranks them in one of seven bands, from A to G. The trust is advising the Government to make it illegal, from 2015, to offer for sale homes rated lower than Band E. There would be exceptions for listed buildings if the owners could prove that energy efficiency measures would damage their historic character.

The Government said in its low carbon White Paper last month that existing measures, which focus on giving advice and offering grants towards the cost of insulation, might not be sufficient to achieve reductions in energy use.

There are very few A-rated homes, which feature triple glazing, heavily insulated walls and ceilings and solar panels for heating water. F-rated homes include Victorian terraced properties with single-glazed sash windows and boilers at least ten years old. G-rated homes tend to be detached and have no loft insulation.

In an interview with The Times, Marian Spain, the trust’s director of strategy, said: “We need a powerful incentive to act as a backstop in case other measures do not work. To sell your home you would need to have done the basics to take it out of the F and G ratings. The final deadline should be 2015.”

Ms Spain said that homeowners were likely to recoup their investment, because buyers would be willing to pay more for a home with lower energy bills. The prospect of higher council tax would also help to push people into paying for insulation.

The trust is also recommending that planning permission for extensions should be made conditional on the whole home improving its energy performance.

Jonathan Stearn, of Consumer Focus, the government-funded watchdog for energy prices and fuel poverty, welcomed the trust’s proposals but said they needed to be balanced by improved grants to help poorer households to pay for insulation. “We need a mixture of carrot and stick,” he said. “We have particular concerns about those who can’t afford energy efficiency measures.”



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


Thursday, August 06, 2009

CO2 does NOT stay long in the atmosphere; so no accumulation from human activity

Guest Editorial below by Tom V. Segalstad, Associate Professor of Resource and Environmental Geology, The University of Oslo, Norway

In a paper recently published in the international peer-reviewed journal Energy & Fuels, Dr. Robert H. Essenhigh (2009), Professor of Energy Conversion at The Ohio State University, addresses the residence time (RT) of anthropogenic CO2 in the air. He finds that the RT for bulk atmospheric CO2, the molecule 12CO2, is ~5 years, in good agreement with other cited sources (Segalstad, 1998), while the RT for the trace molecule 14CO2 is ~16 years. Both of these residence times are much shorter than what is claimed by the IPCC. The rising concentration of atmospheric CO2 in the last century is not consistent with supply from anthropogenic sources. Such anthropogenic sources account for less than 5% of the present atmosphere, compared to the major input/output from natural sources (~95%). Hence, anthropogenic CO2 is too small to be a significant or relevant factor in the global warming process, particularly when comparing with the far more potent greenhouse gas water vapor. The rising atmospheric CO2 is the outcome of rising temperature rather than vice versa. Correspondingly, Dr. Essenhigh concludes that the politically driven target of capture and sequestration of carbon from combustion sources would be a major and pointless waste of physical and financial resources.

Essenhigh (2009) points out that the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in their first report (Houghton et al., 1990) gives an atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) of 50-200 years [as a "rough estimate"]. This estimate is confusingly given as an adjustment time for a scenario with a given anthropogenic CO2 input, and ignores natural (sea and vegetation) CO2 flux rates. Such estimates are analytically invalid; and they are in conflict with the more correct explanation given elsewhere in the same IPCC report: "This means that on average it takes only a few years before a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere is taken up by plants or dissolved in the ocean".

Some 99% of the atmospheric CO2 molecules are 12CO2 molecules containing the stable isotope 12C (Segalstad, 1982). To calculate the RT of the bulk atmospheric CO2 molecule 12CO2, Essenhigh (2009) uses the IPCC data of 1990 with a total mass of carbon of 750 gigatons in the atmospheric CO2 and a natural input/output exchange rate of 150 gigatons of carbon per year (Houghton et al., 1990). The characteristic decay time (denoted by the Greek letter tau) is simply the former value divided by the latter value: 750 / 150 = 5 years. This is a similar value to the ~5 years found from 13C/12C carbon isotope mass balance calculations of measured atmospheric CO2 13C/12C carbon isotope data by Segalstad (1992); the ~5 years obtained from CO2 solubility data by Murray (1992); and the ~5 years derived from CO2 chemical kinetic data by Stumm & Morgan (1970).

Revelle & Suess (1957) calculated from data for the trace atmospheric molecule 14CO2, containing the radioactive isotope14C, that the amount of atmospheric "CO2 derived from industrial fuel combustion" would be only 1.2% for an atmospheric CO2 lifetime of 5 years, and 1.73% for a CO2 lifetime of 7 years (Segalstad, 1998). Essenhigh (2009) reviews measurements of 14C from 1963 up to 1995, and finds that the RT of atmospheric 14CO2 is ~16 (16.3) years. He also uses the 14C data to find that the time value (exchange time) for variation of the concentration difference between the northern and southern hemispheres is ~2 (2.2) years for atmospheric 14CO2. This result compares well with the observed hemispheric transport of volcanic debris leading to "the year without a summer" in 1816 in the northern hemisphere after the 1815 Tambora volcano cataclysmic eruption in Indonesia in 1815.

Sundquist (1985) compiled a large number of measured RTs of CO2 found by different methods. The list, containing RTs for both 12CO2 and 14CO2, was expanded by Segalstad (1998), showing a total range for all reported RTs from 1 to 15 years, with most RT values ranging from 5 to 15 years. Essenhigh (2009) emphasizes that this list of measured values of RT compares well with his calculated RT of 5 years (atmospheric bulk 12CO2) and ~16 years (atmospheric trace 14CO2). Furthermore he points out that the annual oscillations in the measured atmospheric CO2 levels would be impossible without a short atmospheric residence time for the CO2 molecules.

Essenhigh (2009) suggests that the difference in atmospheric CO2 residence times between the gaseous molecules 12CO2 and 14CO2 may be due to differences in the kinetic absorption and/or dissolution rates of the two different gas molecules.

With such short residence times for atmospheric CO2, Essenhigh (2009) correctly points out that it is impossible for the anthropogenic combustion supply of CO2 to cause the given rise in atmospheric CO2. Consequently, a rising atmospheric CO2 concentration must be natural. This conclusion accords with measurements of 13C/12C carbon isotopes in atmospheric CO2, which show a maximum of 4% anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere (including any biogenic CO2), with 96% of the atmospheric CO2 being isotopically indistinguishable from "natural" inorganic CO2 exchanged with and degassed from the ocean, and degassed from volcanoes and the Earth's interior (Segalstad, 1992).

Essenhigh (2009) discusses alternative ways of expressing residence time, like fill time, decay time, e-fold time, turnover time, lifetime, and so on, and whether the Earth system carbon cycle is in dynamic equilibrium or non-equilibrium status. He concludes (like Segalstad, 1998) that the residence time is a robust parameter independent of the status of equilibrium, and that alternative expressions of the residence time give corresponding values.

It is important to compare Essenhigh's (2009) results with a recently published paper in PNAS by Solomon et al. (2009), the first author of which (Susan Solomon) co-chairs the IPCC Working Group One, the part of the IPCC that deals with physical climate science. This paper was published after Essenhigh had submitted his manuscript to Energy & Fuels.

The message of Solomon et al. (2009) is that there is an irreversible climate change due to the assimilation of CO2 in the atmosphere, solely due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. From quantified scenarios of anthropogenic increases in atmospheric CO2, their implication is that the CO2 level flattens out asymptotically towards infinity, giving a residence time of more than 1000 years (without offering a definition or discussion of residence time or isotopic differences): "a quasi-equilibrium amount of CO2 is expected to be retained in the atmosphere by the end of the millennium that is surprisingly large: typically ~40% of the peak concentration enhancement over preindustrial values (~280 ppmv)". The authors' Fig. 1, i.a. shows a peak level at 1200 ppmv atmospheric CO2 in the year 2100, levelling off to an almost steady level of ~800 ppmv in the year 3000. It is not known how their 40% estimate was derived.

Solomon et al. (2009) go on to say that "this can be easily understood on the basis of the observed instantaneous airborne fraction (AFpeak) of ~50% of anthropogenic carbon emissions retained during their build-up in the atmosphere, together with well-established ocean chemistry and physics that require ~20% of the emitted carbon to remain in the atmosphere on thousand-year timescales [quasi-equilibrium airborne fraction (AFequil), determined largely by the Revelle factor governing the long-term partitioning of carbon between the ocean and atmosphere/biosphere system]".

Solomon et al. (2009) have obviously not seriously considered the paper by Segalstad (1998), who addresses the 50% "missing sink" error of the IPCC and shows that the Revelle evasion "buffer" factor is ideologically defined from an assumed model (atmospheric anthropogenic CO2 increase) and an assumed pre-industrial value for the CO2 level, in conflict with the chemical Henry's Law governing the fast ~1:50 equilibrium partitioning of CO2 between gas (air) and fluid (ocean) at the Earth's average surface temperature. This CO2 partitioning factor is strongly dependent on temperature because of the temperature-dependent retrograde aqueous solubility of CO2, which facilitates fast degassing of dissolved CO2 from a heated fluid phase (ocean), similar to what we experience from a heated carbonated drink.

Consequently, the IPCC's and Solomon et al.'s (2009) non-realistic carbon cycle modelling and misconception of the way the geochemistry of CO2 works simply defy reality, and would make it impossible for breweries to make the carbonated beer or soda "pop" that many of us enjoy (Segalstad, 1998).

So why is the correct estimate of the atmospheric residence time of CO2 so important? The IPCC has constructed an artificial model where they claim that the natural CO2 input/output is in static balance, and that all CO2 additions from anthropogenic carbon combustion being added to the atmospheric pool will stay there almost indefinitely. This means that with an anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 residence time of 50 - 200 years (Houghton, 1990) or near infinite (Solomon et al., 2009), there is still a 50% error (nicknamed the "missing sink") in the IPCC's model, because the measured rise in the atmospheric CO2 level is just half of that expected from the amount of anthropogenic CO2 supplied to the atmosphere; and carbon isotope measurements invalidate the IPCC's model (Segalstad, 1992; Segalstad, 1998).

The correct evaluation of the CO2 residence time -- giving values of about 5 years for the bulk of the atmospheric CO2 molecules, as per Essenhigh's (2009) reasoning and numerous measurements with different methods -- tells us that the real world's CO2 is part of a dynamic (i.e. non-static) system, where about one fifth of the atmospheric CO2 pool is exchanged every year between different sources and sinks, due to relatively fast equilibria and temperature-dependent CO2 partitioning governed by the chemical Henry's Law (Segalstad 1992; Segalstad, 1996; Segalstad, 1998).

Knowledge of the correct timing of the whereabouts of CO2 in the air is essential to a correct understanding of the way nature works and the extent of anthropogenic modulation of, or impact upon, natural processes. Concerning the Earth's carbon cycle, the anthropogenic contribution and its influence are so small and negligible that our resources would be much better spent on other real challenges that are facing mankind.


Humans and the C02 Save the Planet!

By Frank J. Tipler (Tipler is Professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University)

As the Senate considers the fate of the cap-and-trade bill, we should consider what it means for more carbon dioxide to be added to the atmosphere, something the bill intends to prevent.

Carbon dioxide is first and foremost a plant food. In fact, plants take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use the energy from sunlight to combine the CO2 with water to yield glucose, the simplest sugar molecule. Carbon dioxide is also the source of all organic — this word just means “contains carbon” — molecules synthesized by plants. Without carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, there would be no organic molecules synthesized by plants. The less carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the fewer organic molecules synthesized by plants. All animals depend on plants to synthesize essential organic molecules. Without the organic molecules synthesized by plants, the animal world could not exist. Without plants, there would be no biosphere.

Several million years ago, a disaster struck the terrestrial biosphere: there was a drastic reduction in the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The flowering plants evolved to be most efficient when the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere was about 1,000 parts per million. But the percentage had dropped to a mere 200 parts per million. Plants tried to adapt by evolving a new, more efficient way of using the little remaining CO2. The new mechanism, the C4 pathway, appeared in grasses, including corn and wheat, which enabled these plants to expand into the plains. If the carbon dioxide percentage had stayed low — or worse, had decreased further — the entire biosphere would have been endangered.

Fortunately for the plants and the rest of the biosphere depending on them, a wonderful thing happened about 150,000 years ago: a new animal species, Homo sapiens, evolved. This creature was endowed with a huge brain, enabling it to invent a way to help the plants with their CO2 problem. Gigantic amounts of carbon had been deposited deep underground in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas. Not only were these reservoirs of carbon locked away in rock, but they were in forms of carbon that the plants could not use.

These wonderful humans, however, worked hard to help the plants. Not only did the humans dig the coal, oil, and natural gas, bringing it to the surface, but they converted these raw materials into the only form of carbon that plants could use: carbon dioxide. Due to the diligent plant-saving efforts of the humans, the CO2 atmospheric percentage is now at nearly 390 parts per million. Were humans to continue in their biosphere-rescuing efforts at the present rate, the CO2 level will be returned to normal in a mere few hundred years.

The cap-and-trade bill is designed to stop this effort to save the biosphere. This is a profoundly evil act. In the words of the Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, anyone who supports the bill, or any measure aimed at reducing the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, is “guilty of treason against the planet”!

Those who want to reduce the use of fossil fuels are the mortal enemies of the biosphere. They must be stopped at all costs! Write your senator at once!

The astute reader will have noted that Krugman actually accused those who opposed the cap-and-trade bill of “treason against the planet.” What I have done is use well-known science to show that, from the biosphere’s point of view, it is the cap-and-trade bill that is “treasonable.” Remarkably, Krugman assumes that the climatic conditions of a mere century or so ago are the “natural” ones that must not be changed. A very anthropomorphic point of view is being used to denounce humanity. An ultraconservative reactionary political position is being called “progressive.”


Global Warming: Is It for Real?

(Great article in a Catholic paper)‏

Last spring, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued an alarming report. “Global warming,” it said, “is unequivocal and primarily human-induced.” On June 26, the U.S. House agreed, passing the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, a cap and trade system that would regulate everything from auto emissions to the insulation in new homes. The measure is expected to have an uphill battle in the Senate.

A coalition of U.S. Catholic organizations, including the U.S. bishops, also agreed, urging the faithful to “pray, learn, assess, act and advocate” against climate change. The coalition placed a large ad in The New York Times urging Catholics to “tread lightly and act boldly” to combat global warming. So, should Catholics pressure politicians to take action before humans destroy the planet? Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, says, “Not so fast.”

“A considerable amount of scientific evidence has been produced to counter the still predominant view that human activity, especially through industry, has polluted the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, which will produce disastrous climate changes, including a rise in temperature, a melting of the ice caps and rising sea levels,” Cardinal Pell wrote in a May 24 editorial. He urged people to ignore computer models that extrapolate with small samples of information that discard most weather history and reliable scientific data.

One American scientist, whose research appears in the White House report, concurs with Cardinal Pell. He told the Register the report distorts and misuses his research to create an appearance that global warming causes more frequent and more severe catastrophic weather events. Robert Pielke Jr., a professor in the University of Colorado’s Environmental Studies Program and former director of the university’s Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, researches catastrophic weather events. In dozens of studies, published in peer-reviewed science journals, Pielke has found that the costs of severe storms are escalating. He has disproved a link between those soaring costs and global warming. “Climate varies and changes over time, and so do humans,” Pielke said. “We build more things. We put up more beach houses and beach condos.”

Hoping to prove global warming contributes to escalating costs of catastrophic storms, Pielke corrected for increasing populations and wealth in coastal regions and other areas most vulnerable to catastrophic weather. “In dozens of studies, we have found that when we adjust for monetary inflation and greater populations and wealth, there is no upward change in the cost of catastrophic weather events,” Pielke said. “There is no room left for the effect of greenhouse gases and climate change.”

Pielke said the government report, however, used his findings to argue that global warming causes the upward trend. “It cited my research to support statements that are completely opposite of what I have found. It’s deeply disturbing,” Pielke said. Pielke said his complaints to the president’s Office of Science and Technology Policy have been ignored.

However, White House science adviser John Holdren, who released the report Pielke complains about, went on record refuting all global warming skeptics with an article for The Boston Globe in 2008.

Holdren, a former Harvard planetary sciences professor, wrote: “Members of the public who are tempted to be swayed by the denier fringe should ask themselves how it’s possible, if human-caused climate change is just a hoax, that the leadership of the national academies of sciences of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Russia, China and India, among others, are on record saying that global climate change is real. Holdren added that Nobel Prize winners and most university science professors believe humans cause catastrophic “climate change” or “climate disruption.”

Lists of scientists who question human-caused global warming mostly contain the names of scientists who are “emeritus” or “retired,” Pielke said, because they’re less concerned about peer pressure than their younger colleagues. “The minute you question any of the conventional wisdom, you get labeled a ‘denier.’ To speak out has a high overhead cost,” Pielke said. Global warming promoters have asked University of Colorado officials to fire Pielke and to stop hosting his blog on its computers.

Pielke’s father, Robert Pielke Sr. — past president of the American Association of State Climatologists — was asked by the United Nations International Panel on Climate Control to review several chapters of its global warming reports in 1992 and 1995. He says his comments criticizing the report were ignored. “Their conclusions were predetermined,” Pielke said. “They were only interested in confirmation.”

He initiated a study, published in June by the Heartland Institute, in which 860 of the 1,221 U.S. ground stations that monitor temperature were inspected. The stations provide data for the U.N. computer models Cardinal Pell urges people to ignore. The senior Pielke’s team found 89% of the stations “fail to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements” that stations be at least 100 feet from artificial heat sources. Scientists found stations next to air-conditioning exhaust fans, too close to asphalt parking lots and runways, and even on hot black rooftops.

Just after the report was published, England’s Science & Public Policy Institute released its monthly CO2 report for May. The report compiles raw satellite and scientific data. “Temperatures have now been declining quite rapidly for nearly eight years. And none of the U.N.’s models predicted that,” said Lord Christopher Monckton, a devout Catholic who edits the CO2 report.

Meanwhile, despite talk of global warming, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States found that snow cover in January was the most extensive ever recorded in Eurasia. NOAA also found that temperatures in the tropical troposphere dipped to their lowest levels in 30 years in March; the Bering Strait ice cover in March was higher than ever recorded, while Antarctic sea ice cover was 30% above normal.

Though the Environmental Protection Agency has never disclaimed the global warming theory, the agency’s website urges people to use the phrase “climate change” instead of “global warming,” saying humans cause “other changes” besides warming.

On the same day the House passed its clean energy bill, the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute claimed the EPA suppressed an internal study critical of global warming. The report’s executive summary lists seven facts that cast doubt upon the government’s global warming theory and states: “Any one of these failings should be enough to invalidate the hypothesis; the breadth of these failings leaves no other possible conclusion based on current data.” The EPA’s press secretary, Adora Andy, countered claims the author’s work was suppressed: “The claims that his opinions were not considered or studied are entirely false.”

Holdren wrote that “the extent of unfounded skepticism about the disruption of global climate by human-produced greenhouse gases is not just regrettable; it is dangerous.” But Kiminori Itoh, an environmental physical chemist, joined 650 scientists in questioning the global warming theory in 2008. He was quoted in a U.S. Senate minority report. Itoh, who served in the U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Control, which is the source for most congressional global warming concerns, said, “When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.”


Government report: Climate bill spells gloom for jobs

Spikes seen in energy costs

Despite President Obama's prediction that it would create new jobs, the climate change bill passed by the House will mean fewer jobs by 2030 than if Congress did nothing at all, according to the first comprehensive study of the measure by the federal government. The report by the Energy Information Administration said the bill would lead to small increases in electricity costs for consumers -- what Democrats said was an affordable sacrifice for the environmental benefits of lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

"We can move to a clean energy future at a cost of less than a postage stamp per family per day," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said. The report said the average cost to a household by 2020 would be $114, though those costs would more than double to $288 by 2030 as the rules on polluters tighten.

The Democrat-controlled House narrowly passed its climate change bill on a 219-212 vote June 26. A week later, Mr. Obama told chief executives that the legislation "holds the promise of millions of new jobs -- jobs, by the way, that can't be outsourced."

Mr. Chu repeated the assertion Tuesday. But a chart in the EIA report showed the employment rate -- just like the economy as a whole -- worsening for the first several years, improving slightly in the midterm, peaking in 2024 and then declining steadily. It showed 0.25 percent fewer jobs in 2030 under the Democrats' bill, with the manufacturing sector suffering a 2.5 percent lag.

For the economy as a whole, immediate energy price spikes would be followed by relative calm as the economy adjusted. But when stricter rules go into effect in 2025 "the rapid increase in energy prices causes the economy to contract," EIA said.

The House bill imposes a limit on overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and tightens that cap over time, requiring polluters to either reduce their emissions or offset their pollutants by paying others to reduce their emissions. The system is known as "cap-and-trade." The Senate is still drafting its version of the climate bill.

Mr. Obama has called for Congress to pass a bill that would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and last month he and leaders of other major world economies committed to achieving specific goals. But developing economies such as Brazil, India and China have balked at an agreement, arguing that they shouldn't be shackled. The nations will try to forge an agreement at a December meeting in Copenhagen.

The EIA report, requested by the two Democrats who wrote the House bill, is the first comprehensive look at the measure's effects on the economy. EIA is an independent statistical agency of the Energy Department that provides policy-neutral data and analyses and does not advocate or formulate any policy conclusions. The analysis said that the Democrats' decision to give away credits for emissions, rather than auction them as Mr. Obama proposed, would protect vulnerable industries.

"The Energy Information Agency estimates that the American Clean Energy and Security Act approved by the House will dramatically reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, increase clean renewable electricity generation in America by 28 percent, while also keeping electricity costs affordable for all Americans," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

The report said renewable electricity and nuclear power would have to increase and oil consumption would be reduced to meet the bill's goals, but it did not say less foreign oil would be used.

Republican energy lobbyist Michael McKenna said it's as likely the bill would increase dependence on unreliable sources. The report is "completely silent on the bill's effect on how much we import, and it's silent for good reason," Mr. McKenna said. "The legislation will either A, have no effect, or B, increase our dependence on places like Saudi Arabia whose crude has relatively lower carbon content than places like Canada, whose crude has a relatively higher carbon content."

The study also did not say how effective the bill would be in reducing global temperatures -- another primary goal of Democrats.

EIA analysts said there is a lot of uncertainty about how the program would play out, and looked at six scenarios for how quickly technological advances might bring reductions in greenhouse gas levels, and how easily U.S. companies would be able to pay those overseas to offset U.S. emissions.

According to the worst-case scenario, if technology doesn't materialize and other countries refuse to cooperate on offsets, consumer prices could be 14 percent higher in 2030 than they would otherwise be without the climate change bill.


Taxpayers Face Bill For British Govt's Green Failures

Taxpayers are facing paying a hefty bill to private sector firms if Government departments do not slash carbon emissions, MPs have warned. Skip related content. The Government has entered a scheme for reducing greenhouse gases which rates performance in a league table. But the Environmental Audit Committee has warned Government departments are "backsliding" before they have even begun.

The proportion of renewable energy used by departments slumped to 22% last year from 28.3% in the previous year. This means taxpayers could be forking out large lumps of cash to private businesses once the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme begins next year.

The CRC will require around 5,000 organisations to buy "allowances" costing £12 a tonne for all the CO2 they emit each year, and be judged on how much they are doing to cut their emissions. Under the scheme, the money for purchasing allowances will go into a central pot. Those cutting their emissions the most will get their original payment back plus a bonus, while those doing worst will be penalised by getting less back than they paid in.

The committee is concerned that if the Government does not cut emissions enough, the taxpayer will end up contributing "large sums" to companies who have done more.

The challenge could be tougher for the Government than businesses, as departments may already have taken the easiest and cheapest steps to cut their emissions. Environmental Audit Committee chairman Tim Yeo said: "Unless the Government gets its house in order, taxpayers could end up paying a heavy price to buy carbon credits from the private sector. "In too many areas, like emissions of carbon dioxide from offices, it has made little or no progress and in others it is backsliding."

The MPs urged the Government to invest now in insulation, solar panels and energy efficient combined heat and power boilers in its offices to save money in the long run.

The committee's Greening Government report also said it was "unconvinced" the Government would exceed its own targets to cut emissions by 12.5% on 1999 levels by 2010/11, after a review showed reductions of just half that (6.3%) by 2007/08.


Australia: Rivers hijacked by 'green fascists'

Greenies shafting blacks

THE misanthropic attitude of conservationists was revealed last week when a group of Aboriginal protesters from Cape York gatecrashed a Wilderness Society and green fundraiser in Sydney. Dressed in chains and in two giant koala suits, the Cape York Aborigines crashed the party to protest against Queensland's Wild Rivers legislation, which bans development within 2km of the Lockhart, Stewart and Archer rivers.

The protesters blame the Wilderness Society for instigating the legislation, which they argue denies them the ability to build businesses and enterprises on their traditional land, so that more of their people can move out of welfare into the real economy. Tania Major, the spokeswoman for the Cape York Aborigines, said they weren't against conservation but they were protesting because the Wilderness Society had not consulted with them or given them a choice on how to manage their land.

These arguments left the Wilderness Society members unmoved, with spokeswoman Anna Christie saying on ABC Radio that environmental sustainability should come before people.

Only those comfortably off are able to so quickly disregard the importance of economic development. They forget that the only reason they can afford to buy organic food is because they live in an industrialised society. Try living in the outback and getting an organic soy latte.

The fact that the greenies and the Aborigines have fallen out over this issue is a first. Historically, the green movement has tended to support what it thinks are Aboriginal "causes". Protesting against the intervention and the Howard government was a trendy pastime for many greenies. In fact, the Wilderness Society and Noel Pearson from Cape York were once allies. They, and other key stakeholders from the area, formed a partnership in 1996 (called the Cape York Heads of Agreement). This partnership aimed to achieve a balance between competing interests in the Cape York region. Not only were they committed to carrying out conservation protection, but one of the principles of the agreement was to set aside land for Aboriginal development.

Pearson admits that there was some "consultation" with Aboriginal people in the region, but that their concerns were not listened to, and that they in no way consented to a total ban on development alongside the rivers. In an interview on ABC TV's Lateline, Pearson pointed out the double standards of the Wild Rivers legislation. While Aboriginal development (such as small-scale horticulture) is banned beside the rivers, the new Chinalco bauxite mine is exempt from the whole Wild Rivers legislation.

Not only is this hypocritical of the Queensland government, but the decision to ban Aboriginal development also goes against a UN Convention for Biological Diversity, which Australia signed in 1992. The convention recognises that biological diversity is about more than just plants and animals: it is also about people. Two articles of the convention refer specifically to the protection of indigenous knowledge and use of resources.

Yet it appears that many greenies care more about the environment than people. American author Jonah Goldberg describes this phenomenon as "green fascism". He argues that modern environmentalists view humans as a disease and mankind as "inauthentic, corrupting, and unnatural". According to Goldberg, environmentalists cast themselves in the role of nurturing caregivers of the planet. The world has a "fever" and when your baby has a fever, you "take action". "You do whatever your doctor says. No time to debate, no room for argument."

Like all fanatics who believe that their way is the only right way of doing something, the Wilderness Society is convinced it has all the answers to environmental sustainability. Its members have forgotten the terms of the agreement which they originally had with the Cape York Aborigines, and ignore the fact that the rivers near Cape York are pristine because they've been part of Aboriginal reserves for nearly a hundred years.

In its haste to preserve the environment the green movement has sidelined human progress. Today, advocating for growth or new developments is seen as a social faux pas. So strong is their anti-human agenda that some environmentalists are opting for voluntary sterilisation to reduce their carbon footprint.

The green way of looking at sustainable development is typical of the affluent world that sees sustainability as being environmentally friendly: recycling, living in eco houses, and driving fuel-efficient cars. But for the poor and disadvantaged, sustainability is about having essential services such as housing, water, sewerage, and transport.

It is deeply hypocritical for the green movement to deny Aboriginal development on the premise that this will preserve the environment when they owe their own comfortable existence to Australia's developed economy.



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


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

'Consensus' Takes Another Hit! More than 60 German Scientists Dissent Over Global Warming Claims!

Call Climate Fears 'Pseudo 'Religion'; Urge Chancellor to 'reconsider' views. 'Growing body of evidence shows anthropogenic CO2 plays no measurable role'

More than 60 prominent German scientists have publicly declared their dissent from man-made global warming fears in an Open Letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The more than 60 signers of the letter include several United Nations IPCC scientists.

The scientists declared that global warming has become a “pseudo religion” and they noted that rising CO2 has “had no measurable effect” on temperatures. The German scientists, also wrote that the “UN IPCC has lost its scientific credibility.”

This latest development comes on the heels of a series of inconvenient developments for the promoters of man-made global warming fears, including new peer-reviewed studies, real world data, a growing chorus of scientists dissenting (including more UN IPCC scientists), open revolts in scientific societies and the Earth's failure to warm. In addition, public opinion continues to turn against climate fear promotion. (See "Related Links" at bottom of this article for more inconvenient scientific developments.)

The July 26, 2009 German scientist letter urged Chancellor Merkel to “strongly reconsider” her position on global warming and requested a “convening of an impartial panel” that is “free of ideology” to counter the UN IPCC and review the latest climate science developments.

The scientists, from many disciplines, including physicists, meteorology, chemistry, and geology, explain that “humans have had no measurable effect on global warming through CO2 emissions. Instead the temperature fluctuations have been within normal ranges and are due to natural cycles.”

“More importantly, there's a growing body of evidence showing anthropogenic CO2 plays no measurable role,” the scientists wrote. “Indeed CO2's capability to absorb radiation is already exhausted by today's atmospheric concentrations. If CO2 did indeed have an effect and all fossil fuels were burned, then additional warming over the long term would in fact remain limited to only a few tenths of a degree,” they added.

“The IPCC had to have been aware of this fact, but completely ignored it during its studies of 160 years of temperature measurements and 150 years of determined CO2 levels. As a result the IPCC has lost its scientific credibility,” the scientists wrote.

“Indeed the atmosphere has not warmed since 1998 – more than 10 years, and the global temperature has even dropped significantly since 2003. Not one of the many extremely expensive climate models predicted this. According to the IPCC, it was supposed to have gotten steadily warmer, but just the opposite has occurred,” the scientists wrote.

“The belief of climate change, and that it is manmade, has become a pseudo-religion,” the scientists wrote. “The German media has sadly taken a leading position in refusing to publicize views that are critical of anthropogenic global warming,” they added.

“Do you not believe, Madam Chancellor, that science entails more than just confirming a hypothesis, but also involves testing to see if the opposite better explains reality? We strongly urge you to reconsider your position on this subject and to convene an impartial panel for the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, one that is free of ideology, and where controversial arguments can be openly debated. We the undersigned would very much like to offer support in this regard.


Obama's Big Lie: "Green" Jobs

By Alan Caruba

If there is one thing Americans began to rapidly conclude following his inauguration in January, it is that President Barack Obama lies all the time and that those lies are often blatant.

In pursuit of the “Cap-and-Trade” act that is a huge tax on all energy use in America, Obama’s favorite mantra is that massive subsidies to wind and solar energy producers, as well as biofuel producers, will generate millions of new “green” jobs. Perhaps the worst part of this lie is that they will actually destroy jobs.

In the July edition of Energy Tribune, Michael Economides and Peter Glover co-authored “Green Jobs: Fast-Tracking Economic Suicide.” I know Economides and he is internationally recognized as one of the world’s authorities on energy issues.

“Creating ex nihilo—literally, out of nothing—used to be a theological concept, God’s prerogative. Today, it seems, President Obama and certain Western politicians claim to possess the ability to do it,” write the article’s authors. “Against all the laws of economics and the marketplace, President Obama and others believe they can create millions of ‘green’ jobs ex nihilo, literally out of thin air, via cap and trade.”

There are two driving forces behind Cap-and-Trade. One is the claim that “green” energy producers will generate new jobs if the government just provides a combination of legislative mandates for its use (wind and solar) and, two, that a massive new trading apparatus in “carbon credits” for the generation of “greenhouse gas emissions” will protect the Earth against “global warming.”

It is increasingly obvious to everyone that the Earth is cooling, breaking thousands of previous records for cool weather in cities around America and similar conditions worldwide. The tide, too, is turning against the “global warming” hoax that is failing in the face of the obvious cooling weather and climate.

Using “global warming” to justify any government mandates or to empower the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide as a “pollutant” is a lie. It is a very big lie. Carbon dioxide is vital to all life on Earth.

As the Energy Tribune authors point out, “To generate real industrial jobs, however, you need a basic commodity to trade, such as oil, gas or coal.” This is in marked contrast to wind and solar energy. “The trouble is that alternative energy technologies currently don’t work. That is to say, they remain inefficient, offering a very poor energy return on investment.”

“Cut off the flow of public subsidies and the alternative energy industrial revolution would grind to a halt tomorrow.”

In the real world, in 2008 the Marcellus gas industry in Pennsylvania generated $2.3 billion in total value added, more than 29,000 jobs, and $240 million in state and local taxes. If you extrapolate that to other sectors of the energy industry, you would be looking at thousands of real jobs, not lost jobs, but President Obama and his sycophants would rather you not know about that.

If you had a choice, would you prefer to see wind, solar and biofuel energy producers receive billions in taxpayer subsidies or would you prefer to see independent energy producers permitted to extract oil and natural gas or the coal industry have access to the U.S. reserves that would provide electricity for centuries to come?

This is not mere conjecture. The experience of European Union nations demonstrates that “for every green job created, a real job is destroyed elsewhere in the economy.” Carbon regimes drive manufacturing to nations that do not impose limits on coal, oil and natural gas.

For example, “Germany’s Angela Merkel is insisting on major exemptions for German heavy industry come December’s global climate summit in Copenhagen. Merkel’s government is also supporting the building of 26 new coal-fired power plants across Germany.” Compare that with one hundred such plants whose construction was thwarted in the United States by environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth.

“In June, deputy head of Poland’s Solidarity trade union, Jaroslaw Gresik, estimated that the EU’s climate policy would cost 800,000 European jobs.” Widely circulated data from a study of the heavily subsidized wind and solar energy industry in Spain revealed that its alternative energy program destroyed nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in its economy or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every ‘green job’ created. Consumers there have seen their electricity rate increase by 31 percent.

Other independent studies reveal that Obama’s claim of five million new “green” jobs would cost an estimated $500 billion to create.

Wake up, America! The Big Lie about “Green jobs” is going to cost jobs. The Cap-and-Trade bill is a massive tax increase.

The summer recess is the time to contact your Senator and Representative and tell them you oppose Cap-and-Trade. If it is passed, it will undermine the economy, cost jobs, and leave the nation increasingly dependent on the import of energy resources while our own lay underground, unexplored, untapped, unused.


Uranium Truck Crashes in West Virginia. No spill

Shortly after midnight Sunday morning, a tractor-trailer carrying uranium hexafluoride (UF6) overturned on Interstate-64, prompting evacuation of the town of Sandstone and surrounding areas.

A news release from the West Virginia State Police says the driver of a pickup truck headed west on I-64 was drunk when he ran off the road and struck a guardrail, causing his truck to roll over through the median, landing in the shoulder of the east bound lanes.

The driver of the tractor trailer was headed east and locked up his brakes to avoid the debris from the pickup truck that was left in the road. The tractor trailer then veered to the right and hit a rock embankment, overturned and caught fire.

The tractor trailer was carrying a corrosive material that has been determined to be radioactive.

Just before 3:30 a.m., HAZMAT crews reached the scene and determined that the container holding the material was not damaged and none of the material leaked. The crews also tested the air around the wreck and found no contamination.

The key point of this report is that the uranium slurry, a mid-stage product in the enrichment process, was adequately protected by the design of its container.


Global Warming and the Poor

Why India and China don’t care much about climate change

A funny thing happened on the way to saving the world’s poor from the ravages of global warming. The poor told the warming alarmists to get lost. This spring, the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum, led by former U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan, issued a report warning that “mass starvation, mass migration, and mass sickness” would ensue if the world did not agree to “the most ambitious international agreement ever negotiated” on global warming at a forthcoming conference in Copenhagen.

According to Mr. Annan’s report, climate change-induced disasters now account for 315,000 deaths each year and $125 billion in damages, numbers set to rise to 500,000 deaths and $340 billion in damages by 2030. The numbers are hotly contested by University of Colorado disaster-trends expert Roger Pielke Jr., who calls them a “poster child for how to lie with statistics.”

But never mind about that. The more interesting kiss-off took place in New Delhi late last month, when Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that there was no way India would sign on to any global scheme to cap carbon emissions.

“There is simply no case for the pressure that we, who have among the lowest emissions per capita, face to actually reduce emissions,” Mr. Ramesh told Mrs. Clinton. “And as if this pressure was not enough, we also face the threat of carbon tariffs on our exports to countries such as yours.” The Chinese—the world’s largest emitter of CO2—have told the Obama administration essentially the same thing.

Roughly 75% of Indians—some 800 million people—live on $2 a day or less, adjusted for purchasing power parity. In China, it’s about 36%, or about 480 million. That means the two governments alone are responsible for one in every two people living at that income level.

If climate change is the threat Mr. Annan claims it is, India and China ought to be eagerly beating the path to Copenhagen. So why aren’t they?

To listen to the climate alarmists, it’s all America’s fault. “What the Chinese are chiefly guilty of is emulating the American economic model,” wrote environmental writer Jacques Leslie last year in the Christian Science Monitor. “The United States passed up the opportunity it had at the beginning of China’s economic transformation to guide it toward sustainability, and the loss is already incalculable.”

Facts tell a different story. When Deng Xiaoping began introducing elements of a market economy in 1980, Chinese life expectancy at birth was 65.3 years. Today it is about 73 years. The numbers are probably a bit inflated, as most numbers are in the People’s Republic, but the trend line is undeniable. In India, life expectancy rose from 52.5 years in 1980 to about 67 years today. If this is the consequence of following the “American economic model” then poor countries need more of it.

But what about all the pollution in India and particularly China? In Mr. Leslie’s telling, CO2 emissions are part-and-parcel with common pollutants such as particulate matter, toxic waste, and everything else typically associated with a degraded environment. They’re not. The U.S. and China produce equivalent quantities of carbon dioxide. But try naming a U.S. city whose air quality is even remotely as bad as Beijing’s, or an American river as polluted as the Han: You can’t. America, the richer and more industrialized country, is also by far the cleaner one.

People who live in Third-World countries—like Mexico, where I grew up—tend to understand this, even if First-World environmentalists do not. People who live in oppressive Third World countries, like China, also understand that it isn’t just greater wealth that leads to a better environment, but greater freedom, too.

To return to Mr. Leslie, his complaint with China is that it has become too much of a consumer society, again in the American mold. Again he is ridiculous: China has one of the world’s highest personal savings rates—50% versus the U.S.’s 2.7%. The real source of China’s pollution problem is a state-led industrial policy geared toward production, and state-owned enterprises (especially in “dirty” sectors like coal and steel) that strive to meet production quotas, and state-appointed managers who don’t mind cutting corners in matters of safety or environmental responsibility, and typically have the political clout to insulate themselves from any public fallout.

In other words, China’s pollution problems are not a function of laissez-faire policies and rampant consumerism, but of the regime’s excessive lingering control of the economy. A freer China means a cleaner China.

There’s a lesson in this for those who believe that the world’s environmental problems call for a new era of dirigisme. And there ought to be a lesson for those who claim to understand the problems of the poor better than the poor themselves. If global warming really is the catastrophe the alarmists claim, the least they can do for its victims is not to patronize them while impoverishing them in the bargain.


NZ PM derides Greenpeace campaign

Whale Rider star Keisha Castle-Hughes might be one of New Zealand's most celebrated young icons but her stance on climate change is not appreciated by her prime minister. "My advice to Keisha is this: Stick to acting," John Key told a gathering of 500 business people in Brisbane.

Castle-Hughes, an Oscar nominee for her role in the 2002 Kiwi movie Whale Rider, has been a vocal advocate for Greenpeace's Sign On campaign, which calls for a 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

But Key is clearly unimpressed by the target or her work raising the profile of it, making a joke of her efforts at the Australian meeting.

New Zealand is expected to release a considerably lower target at informal climate change talks in Copenhagen next week. Key told the business meeting he wasn't optimistic about the outcome of the Danish talks, saying "There will be an outcome - I'm just not sure it will be in 2009 at Copenhagen." He expected it would spill over into 2010, saying a watered-down commitment from developed countries was likely.

Castle-Hughes joined the Greenpeace boat Esperanza for its tour through the Cook Islands to raise awareness of global warming, concluding that "our Pacific neighbours are suffering". "I saw the real and devastating impacts of a changing climate - coral bleaching, homes battered by cyclones, erosion and food crops affected by rising sea levels," she said on her return.

The 19-year-old mother-of-one vowed to meet with Key to discuss the issue but the prime minister suggested she make a submission through the climate change minister.


Damn, it's easy being green when someone else pays the bill

Andrew Bolt comments from Australia

STUPIDITY can be expensive. In fact, we've just been told it's cost us another $400 million. That's how much the price of Victoria's desalination plant went up last week - even before a single brick has been laid or strike called.

Ah, if only that were all this State Labor Government cost us by deciding purely for religious reasons we could never get another dam, no matter how close we got to running out of water. But, no. With Premier John Brumby announcing last week he'd signed a deal to build his desalination plant near Kilcunda for $3.5 billion - rather than the $3.1 billion he'd promised two years ago - we know the full catastrophe.

We know Brumby is in fact paying three times as much for a third of the water he'd have got from a new dam on Gippsland's fast-flowing Mitchell River, which in 2007 had more water flow to waste in just one flood than Melbourne uses in a year. We know, of course, that the reason this Government refused to even ask for a cost-benefit analysis of a dam that Melbourne Water admitted would cost just $1.4 billion was that just to think of damming a river was a green sin.

A dam would - horror! - take "water currently being used by the rivers" to . . . er, wash fish? Or as two government water strategy committees added, a dam would have an "unacceptable environmental and social cost" and was "no longer . . . socially acceptable".

So work out what that foolishness has cost us. A couple of billion, I'd guess, especially if you add the cost of the water shortages caused by the Government's insistence for so long that we could simply make do with less.

So perhaps we might now learn to stop such green idiocy before it's too late to do anything but pay billions. What idiocy, you casually ask? I mean idiocy best summed up this week by this paragraph in the Sunday Age:

"The Federal Government has warned that Australian icons such as the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu National Park, the Tasmanian wilderness, Carlton Gardens and the Sydney Opera House could be damaged irreparably if the Coalition fails to support Labor's emissions trading scheme.

Can anyone, even Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, claim hand on heart this is true - that if the Coalition this month votes against Kevin Rudd's job-killing scheme that the reef could as a consequence die, the Carlton Gardens wither and the Opera House collapse?

Ignore the fact that the world has actually cooled over the past eight years. Is it remotely possible that Rudd's plan to cut the gases of insignificant Australia will of itself change the world's climate in any way that could "save" a reef or spare the paintwork of the Opera House?

How is this kind of nonsense now reported as fact? Yet clever people - including many who'll make billions from this green scare, clearly think it is believed, which is why they feed you such falsehoods by the panicky day.

And that's also why, should we not regain our senses, we will one day get a bill for this green faith that will make Brumby's wasted billions seem but a drop in the dam he would not build.



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


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Modest Proposal: how to solve the CO2 crisis‏

With apologies to Jonathan Swift. Sent in by a reader

The use of oil, gas or coal wastes valuable resources, pollutes the atmosphere and tears up mother earth. Burning wood pollutes the earth and removes valuable trees needed to sequester CO2 and clean the atmosphere. Nuclear power generation with its safety, nuclear waste, and proliferation issues are unacceptable risks under any circumstances. Evil river-killing power generating dams kill fish and other wildlife and ruin our scenic rivers. Ethanol production causes food prices to rise, children to starve and rain forests to be cut down. Wind turbines kill birds, also many areas have zoning laws prohibiting such tall structures and powerful leftists like the Kennedy's not to mention your neighbors do not want them blocking their views. Solar panels would be great except they need horrible chemicals to make them work. A chemist friend once told me (in the 1980's) some of those chemicals could easily kill an entire city. So what is left? Animal power? PETA and other animal rights groups would not allow the use of animals for generating power. So here is my Modest Proposal.

Here in the USA a major problem has flared up with over active and/or obese children. Instead of using drugs to combat this problem I suggest installing treadmills and stationary exercise bikes in all schools and universities. These should be hooked up to power generators. The idea could be expanded to include office workers, bored housewives, internet web surfers, couch potatoes watching TV , Congress, people in nursing homes and even hospitals. Instead of protesters marching to protest they could go to designated protest sites and walk on treadmills.

This idea could be expanded. Instead of fighting wars armies could workout on treadmills and exercise bikes and the army that generated the most power would be declared the winner. This is also a solution to the high unemployment rates in some countries. Instead of government paid assistance the unemployed would be paid to generate electricity. It would also cut down on the population explosion because people, especially teens and unwed mothers on assistance, would be too tired at night to be interested in anything but sleep. With the billions of people in this world think of the tremendous amount of power that could be generated!

Now that I have solved the energy crisis without polluting where is my Nobel Prize.

A nice takedown from Taranto

Global Warmists’ Long Hot Summer

For more than 20 years, every hot summer day--at least in the Northeast, the region that contains America’s political and media capitals--has occasioned dire warnings from global warmists. This summer’s weather has been unusually cool, and the warmists are suddenly discovering the difference between weather and climate. The New York Times has one example:
William D. Solecki, a geography professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York and co-chairman of a mayoral panel on climate change, warned that this summer’s unusually mild temperatures should not buoy global warming skeptics. “Ask them to visit Seattle,” he said, where a record temperature of 103 was recorded on Wednesday.

Of course, that argument is just as valid in the other direction: If you’re in Seattle and you encounter global-warmist believers, “ask them to visit New York.” As an added benefit, if global warming is real, all this flying between the coasts may generate enough carbon emissions to produce a mild winter.


New York Times Blames 2009's Record Cold on Natural Factors -- But Blamed Record Warmth in 2000 on Man-Made Global Warming!

The media and climate fear promoters appear to be in overdrive trying to spin recent global cooling and particularly the "year without a summer" in many parts of the U.S. The New York Times reports that the record cold of 2009 is due to natural variations and even warned skeptics of man-made global warming not to be "buoyed" by the brutal cold.

The New York Times' remarkable front page article on July 31, 2009 titled "In New York, It's the Summer That Isn't" by reporter Sam Roberts detailed the record breaking cold summer in New York. The article warned "this could be the coolest summer on record" and "this will have been the coolest June and July since either 1903 or 1881."

But the 2009 article explained "this summer's unusually mild temperatures should not buoy global warming skeptics." Why? The Times has the answer, noting "a persistent high-level jet stream has sent cooler air streaming from the north and northwest." Ok. Fair enough, "natural variations" caused a record cold breaking summer in 2009, according to the Times. But the question looms, how did the paper explain record warmth nearly a decade ago? Surely, if natural variations in climate can cause a record-breaking cold summer, then it would stand to reason that record breaking warmth would have a natural cause as well?

Not exactly. The Times effortlessly attributed record warmth back in 2000 to man-made global warming, noting the warm temperatures were "consistent" with model predictions. [Climate Depot Editor's Note: At least NYT is light years ahead of the BBC, which in true "climate astrology" fashion, blamed "intense" deadly cold on global warming! See: BBC: '250 children under the age of 5 died' due to freezing temps in Peru -- 'Experts blame climate change for the early arrival of intense cold' - July 12, 2009]

A March 11, 2000 New York Times article by reporter William K. Stevens entitled "U.S. Sets Another Record for Winter Warmth" had no hesitation in blaming record warmth on man-made global warming.

The article from 9 years ago noted: "Shorter and milder winters are consistent with a century-long global warming trend that mainstream scientists believe has been at least partly caused by emissions of heat-trapping waste industrial gases like carbon dioxide." [Climate Depot Editor's Note: Are the recent global cooling and record breaking cold "consistent" with global warming climate models? See: U.S. Government Scientist's Shock Admission: 'Climate Model Software Doesn't Meet the Best Standards Available' ]

The New York Times article from 2000 continued: "The warming has been especially significant in the last quarter-century, amounting to more than three times the century-long warming rate of about 1 degree Fahrenheit. Computer models predict that the temperature rise will continue at that accelerated pace if emissions of heat-trapping gases are not reduced, and also predict that warming will be especially pronounced in the winter."

''We are beginning to approximate the kind of warming you should see in the winter season'' based on the model projections, especially over the land masses of the Northern Hemisphere, Mike Changery, [a climatologist at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C ] said" according to the 2000 article.

The New York Times article did -- belatedly -- add "the jury is still out" however on the complete causes of record warmth in 2000.

As the Earth has failed to warm, it continues to be great entertainment to watch the promoters of man-made climate fears and their message pushers in the mainstream media contort and squirm to explain the lack of heating. The media, sadly, continues to ignore major new develpments in the global warming debate.


Climate Change Timeline – 1895-2009

There is most certainly a pattern to climate change…but it’s not what you may think:

For at least 114 years, climate “scientists” have been claiming that the climate was going to kill us…but they have kept switching whether it was a coming ice age, or global warming.

* 1895 - Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again – New York Times, February 1895
* 1902 - “Disappearing Glaciers…deteriorating slowly, with a persistency that means their final annihilation…scientific fact…surely disappearing.” – Los Angeles Times
* 1912 - Prof. Schmidt Warns Us of an Encroaching Ice Age – New York Times, October 1912
* 1923 - “Scientist says Arctic ice will wipe out Canada” – Professor Gregory of Yale University, American representative to the Pan-Pacific Science Congress, – Chicago Tribune
* 1923 - “The discoveries of changes in the sun’s heat and the southward advance of glaciers in recent years have given rise to conjectures of the possible advent of a new ice age” – Washington Post
* 1924 - MacMillan Reports Signs of New Ice Age – New York Times, Sept 18, 1924
* 1929 - “Most geologists think the world is growing warmer, and that it will continue to get warmer” – Los Angeles Times, in Is another ice age coming?
* 1932 - “If these things be true, it is evident, therefore that we must be just teetering on an ice age” – The Atlantic magazine, This Cold, Cold World
* 1933 - America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records a 25-Year Rise – New York Times, March 27th, 1933
* 1933 – “…wide-spread and persistent tendency toward warmer weather…Is our climate changing?” – Federal Weather Bureau “Monthly Weather Review.”
* 1938 - Global warming, caused by man heating the planet with carbon dioxide, “is likely to prove beneficial to mankind in several ways, besides the provision of heat and power.”– Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
* 1938 - “Experts puzzle over 20 year mercury rise…Chicago is in the front rank of thousands of cities thuout the world which have been affected by a mysterious trend toward warmer climate in the last two decades” – Chicago Tribune
* 1939 - “Gaffers who claim that winters were harder when they were boys are quite right… weather men have no doubt that the world at least for the time being is growing warmer” – Washington Post
* 1952 - “…we have learned that the world has been getting warmer in the last half century” – New York Times, August 10th, 1962
* 1954 - “…winters are getting milder, summers drier. Glaciers are receding, deserts growing” – U.S. News and World Report
* 1954 - Climate – the Heat May Be Off – Fortune Magazine
* 1959 - “Arctic Findings in Particular Support Theory of Rising Global Temperatures” – New York Times
* 1969 - “…the Arctic pack ice is thinning and that the ocean at the North Pole may become an open sea within a decade or two” – New York Times, February 20th, 1969
* 1970 - “…get a good grip on your long johns, cold weather haters – the worst may be yet to come…there’s no relief in sight” – Washington Post
* 1974 - Global cooling for the past forty years – Time Magazine
* 1974 - “Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age” – Washington Post
* 1974 - “As for the present cooling trend a number of leading climatologists have concluded that it is very bad news indeed” – Fortune magazine, who won a Science Writing Award from the American Institute of Physics for its analysis of the danger
* 1974 - “…the facts of the present climate change are such that the most optimistic experts would assign near certainty to major crop failure…mass deaths by starvation, and probably anarchy and violence” – New York Times. Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age
* 1975 - Scientists Ponder Why World’s Climate is Changing; A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable – New York Times, May 21st, 1975
* 1975 - “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind” Nigel Calder, editor, New Scientist magazine, in an article in International Wildlife Magazine
* 1976 - “Even U.S. farms may be hit by cooling trend” – U.S. News and World Report
* 1981 - Global Warming – “of an almost unprecedented magnitude” – New York Times
* 1988 - I would like to draw three main conclusions. Number one, the earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements. Number two, the global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship to the greenhouse effect. And number three, our computer climate simulations indicate that thegreenhouse effect is already large enough to begin to effect the probability of extreme events such as summer heat waves. – Jim Hansen, June 1988 testimony before Congress, see His later quote and His superior’s objection for context
* 1989 -”On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” – Stephen Schneider, lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Discover magazine, October 1989
* 1990 - “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing – in terms of economic policy and environmental policy” – Senator Timothy Wirth
* 1993 - “Global climate change may alter temperature and rainfall patterns, many scientists fear, with uncertain consequences for agriculture.” – U.S. News and World Report
* 1998 - No matter if the science [of global warming] is all phony . . . climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” —Christine Stewart, Canadian Minister of the Environment, Calgary Herald, 1998
* 2001 - “Scientists no longer doubt that global warming is happening, and almost nobody questions the fact that humans are at least partly responsible.” – Time Magazine, Monday, Apr. 09, 2001
* 2003 - Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue, and energy sources such as “synfuels,” shale oil and tar sands were receiving strong consideration” – Jim Hansen, NASA Global Warming activist, Can we defuse The Global Warming Time Bomb?, 2003
* 2006 - “I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.” — Al Gore, Grist magazine, May 2006
* Now: The global mean temperature has fallen for two years in a row, which is why you stopped hearing details about the actual global temperature, even while they carry on about taxing you to deal with it…how long before they start predicting an ice age?

The actual Global Warming Advocates' chart, overlayed on the "climate change" hysterics of the past 120 years. Not only is it clear that they take any change and claim it's going to go on forever and kill everyone, but notice that they often get the trend wrong...

Worse still, notice that in 1933 they claim global warming has been going on for 25 years…the entire 25 years they were saying we were entering an ice age. And in 1974, they say there has been global cooling for 40 years…the entire time of which they’d been claiming the earth was getting hotter! Of course NOW they are talking about the earth “warming for the past century”, again ignoring that they spent much of that century claiming we were entering an ice age.

The fact is that the mean temperature of the planet is, and should be, always wavering up or down, a bit, because this is a natural world, not a climate-controlled office. So there will always be some silly bureaucrat, in his air-conditioned ivory tower, who looks at which way it’s going right now, draws up a chart as if this is permanant, realizes how much fear can increase his funding, and proclaims doom for all of humanity.

* 2006 – “It is not a debate over whether the earth has been warming over the past century. The earth is always warming or cooling, at least a few tenths of a degree…” — Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at MIT
* 2006 – “What we have fundamentally forgotten is simple primary school science. Climate always changes. It is always…warming or cooling, it’s never stable. And if it were stable, it would actually be interesting scientifically because it would be the first time for four and a half billion years.” —Philip Stott, emeritus professor of bio-geography at the University of London
* 2006 - “Since 1895, the media has alternated between global cooling and warming scares during four separate and sometimes overlapping time periods. From 1895 until the 1930’s the media peddled a coming ice age. From the late 1920’s until the 1960’s they warned of global warming. From the 1950’s until the 1970’s they warned us again of a coming ice age. This makes modern global warming the fourth estate’s fourth attempt to promote opposing climate change fears during the last 100 years.” – Senator James Inhofe, Monday, September 25, 2006
* 2007- “I gave a talk recently (on fallacies of global warming) and three members of the Canadian government, the environmental cabinet, came up afterwards and said, ‘We agree with you, but it’s not worth our jobs to say anything.’ So what’s being created is a huge industry with billions of dollars of government money and people’s jobs dependent on it.” – Dr. Tim Ball, Coast-to-Coast, Feb 6, 2007
* 2008 – “Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress” – Dr. John S. Theon, retired Chief of the Climate Processes Research Program at NASA, see above for Hansen quotes

Next time you see the usual "global warming" chart, look carefully: it is in tiny fractions of one degree. The ENTIRE global warming is less than six tenths of one degree. Here is the Global Warming Advocates' own chart, rendered in actual degrees like sane people use. I was going to use 0-100 like a thermometer, but you end up with almost a flat line, so I HELPED the Climate Change side by making the temperature range much narrower, and the chart needlessly tall to stretch the up-down differences in the line.


Chucking "Green" Smart Cars into Dutch Canals

Dutch media indicate that environmentally-friendly "smart" cars, tiny two-seaters, are being picked up by roving bands of "pranksters" and tossed into the city's canals.

According to the Dutch-language Telegraff, five of the smart cars have been thrown in the water in the past two weeks. Authorities fear the practice will spread to other locations.
Amsterdam police speculate that the youths perpetrating this vandalism may be doing it as a bet, and evidence from one of the cases indicates that a lone vandal is capable of flipping the car.

The police indicated that evidence from another scene clearly shows 4 vandals lifting the car clear off its wheels, carrying it 20 feet, and dumping it into a lake. Because of this, the city does not believe that installing higher guard rails will deter all "Smart Smijten."

While American SMART car owners don't have to contend with the deep canals that urban-drellers in Europe do, it is still possible that Smart Tipping could spread in a more literal sense. Since none of the vandals have been caught, it's not clear if the vandals are targeting that specific marque for its ease of vandalism, or for their disdain for the ideal behind the machine.

Interestingly, the car-chuckers are called pranksters whereas if they set the cars on fire, they would be called unemployed, disenfranchised youths protesting their poverty-stricken lives.

The Smart Smijten practice has been compared to the 1960s stunts of picking up and moving Volkwagen Beetles but there's a difference. As I recall, the Volkwagens floated. Smart cars don't and "any car that spends the night sleeping with the fishes at the bottom of a canal is very likely a total loss."

Nevertheless, I suggest that the problem of "pranksters" taking Smart cars would be prevented by providing the light-weight vehicles with beefy bicycle chains and locking them to fence posts or street lights. You're welcome.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Australia: National Party leader targets Labor government on 'ridiculous' Warmist laws

BUSINESS groups and the Coalition have leapt on evidence of internal Labor unease over the potential of Kevin Rudd's emissions trading scheme to wipe out jobs in resources and energy. Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said yesterday he was not surprised at dissent expressed by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and NSW Treasurer Eric Roozendaal over the emissions scheme, because it would be "a job-destroying employment termination scheme".

The Australian revealed yesterday that Mr Roozendaal had written to federal Treasurer Wayne Swan in February to warn that the ETS could lead to "extreme losses" in the electricity and coal industries. Ms Bligh made similar comments in a letter last month to Assistant Climate Change Minister Greg Combet. "Both these people were at the Labor Party conference just a couple of days ago sitting alongside the culprits trying to introduce this ridiculous scheme," Senator Joyce said.

"Why was it that neither Mr Roozendaal nor Ms Bligh thought it necessary to bring this up at the premier Labor Party event designed to ventilate issues of public concern, but both are willing to express their concerns to the nation's newspapers? "It is completely irresponsible, in the middle of a global financial crisis, to be going forward with a scheme which will cut a swath of economic devastation through our nation."

The Senate is due to vote on the ETS next week, with Malcolm Turnbull insisting the Coalition will reject the scheme unless there are major changes.

Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong yesterday rejected Mr Roozendaal's concerns that the ETS could devastate electricity companies. She said there would be no change to the federal government's compensation package for the power sector. "Nearly $4 billion to the electricity sector -- we think that is a reasonable amount of assistance," she said. "It is not unknown in this debate for electricity owners to seek additional compensation from the government."

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia chief Brendan Lyon said Mr Roozendaal was right to point to the problem of investors fleeing from the carbon-intensive, coal-fired electricity generation sector if it were undermined by the ETS. "Between 2006 and 2020, demand will surge," Mr Lyon said. "That means we need to build this capacity through renewables, but also through traditional baseload power stations. "This uncertainty (over the ETS) is already being felt, with several energy generators expressing concern over their ability to refinance existing debt facilities," he said. "This has already seen the cancellation of maintenance programs, increasing the risk of major network failures."



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


Monday, August 03, 2009

Tell me the old old story, Tell me the old old story, Tell me the old old story, that oil is running out

Such prophecies of doom are nearly as old as the discovery of oil itself. One wonders why people still make such fools of themselves when they must know that it never happens. Thanks to the Donks, most of America's potential oilfields are untapped, for a start

The world is heading for a catastrophic energy crunch that could cripple a global economic recovery because most of the major oil fields in the world have passed their peak production, a leading energy economist has warned.

Higher oil prices brought on by a rapid increase in demand and a stagnation, or even decline, in supply could blow any recovery off course, said Dr Fatih Birol, the chief economist at the respected International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris, which is charged with the task of assessing future energy supplies by OECD countries.

In an interview with The Independent, Dr Birol said that the public and many governments appeared to be oblivious to the fact that the oil on which modern civilisation depends is running out far faster than previously predicted and that global production is likely to peak in about 10 years – at least a decade earlier than most governments had estimated.

But the first detailed assessment of more than 800 oil fields in the world, covering three quarters of global reserves, has found that most of the biggest fields have already peaked and that the rate of decline in oil production is now running at nearly twice the pace as calculated just two years ago. On top of this, there is a problem of chronic under-investment by oil-producing countries, a feature that is set to result in an "oil crunch" within the next five years which will jeopardise any hope of a recovery from the present global economic recession, he said.

In a stark warning to Britain and the other Western powers, Dr Birol said that the market power of the very few oil-producing countries that hold substantial reserves of oil – mostly in the Middle East – would increase rapidly as the oil crisis begins to grip after 2010.... Blah, blah, blah!


Britain's "Green" expendiiture is mostly going into foreign pockets

Clever! But there is nothing clever about the Labour government anyway

The blueprint for Britain’s green revolution was launched this month at a low-carbon bus factory in Surrey. Yet as the government attempts to cut emissions and build a low-carbon energy system, the bus plant is likely to be a rare example of homegrown green manufacturing. Today Britain is almost entirely dependent on foreign multinationals to provide the equipment and expertise needed to decarbonise the country. And despite the government’s grand plans, industry executives say it has failed to remove the barriers that have restricted the growth of new firms.

Vestas is a good example. Last week the Danish firm decided to close Britain’s only large factory that makes parts for wind turbines. Workers staged a sit-in protest against the closure and remain at the plant this weekend. The company said it was moving production to America where the demand for onshore wind power was stronger.

“The whole idea of this huge green British industry is a lot of hype,” said Peter Hunter of NEG Micon UK, which built the plant before it was bought by Vestas.

The government has put wind energy at the centre of its plans to remake Britain’s energy infrastructure. Crucially, though, the bane of the industry — planning — remains unresolved. The average onshore windfarm takes two years to get planning approval, one of Vestas’ biggest complaints. The government’s new Infrastructure Planning Commission, which will decide on big applications, should help speed up offshore wind projects but won’t help onshore developers. The commission can only decide on projects of 50MW or greater; the average onshore project is 30MW. Furthermore, the Tories have opposed the planning commission and have vowed to overhaul it.

Critics say it is little surprise, then, that Britain — endowed with enormous offshore wind-power potential — doesn’t have a single homegrown company to provide for the market. Our continental neighbours Denmark, Germany and Spain, on the other hand, are home to six of the world’s top 10 turbine manufacturers and employ 80,000 people in the wind sector. Britain employs 4,000.

The accountancy firm Ernst & Young recently warned that if Britain didn’t resolve the planning issue it would risk a huge drop in investment, with only £53 billion invested by 2015 compared with the £90 billion projected. As a result, it said, Britain would miss its 2020 renewable-energy targets and create 40,000 fewer green jobs.

In the meantime, Britain remains vulnerable to the whims of foreign manufacturers which will, naturally, set up where they can make the most money with the least hassle. Mark Wilson, of the advisory firm Catalyst Corporate Finance, said: “A reliance on overseas investors is alarming for two reasons. First, there is a risk that our clean energy infrastructure won’t get built if investors turn their attention to more lucrative markets, as Vestas has done, and we will therefore miss our renewables targets. Second, most of the returns would flow out of Britain to overseas firms.” According to Nathan Goode, of accountants Grant Thornton, this is already happening under the UK’s renewables obligation certificate (ROC) scheme, the government’s main subsidy programme to encourage the building of low-carbon energy plants.

In April’s budget, the government ratcheted up the ROCs payable to offshore wind, tidal and biomass developers. Goode said the move has had unintended consequences. “The extra subsidy just pays for price inflation on turbines that are being manufactured abroad,” he said. “The money is actually leaking out of the British economy.”

The price of ROCs is also unpredictable. Under the scheme, utilities must source an annually increasing percentage of their energy from clean sources such as wind. They can either buy ROCs from renewable developers to meet their obligation or pay a fine into a central fund that is distributed to providers of clean energy. Utilyx, an energy consultancy, said the value of ROCs could drop by two-thirds, from £18 per kilowatt hour to as little as £5 over the next three years as more projects come onstream. This would be a huge blow for renewable-energy firms dependent on that income.

A recent report by the Institute for Public Policy Research said the government could replace ROCs with more straightforward subsidy programmes that have proved effective elsewhere — such as Germany’s feed-in tariffs or the Danish system of loan guarantees given to projects that use Danish-made turbines.

“Without some radical changes, the only thing likely to land on British shores is the cable bringing in the power,” said Hunter.


Britain's "Green" policies threaten housing provision

So where are they going to house their rapidly growing population? All those "asylum seekers" have got to be housed somewhere

If Ed Miliband, the energy secretary, is to be believed, by 2016 every new home built in Britain will be carbon neutral. It’s a laudable goal, but even compared with the highly ambitious targets that have become so typical of the march toward Britain’s “green revolution”, it is a tall order. The building industry has issued a fresh warning that the plan poses a greater danger than a few missed targets. Fewer new houses will be built, price rises will make new developments too expensive for aspiring homebuyers, and a recovery of the sector will be hindered.

Britain is one of the worst countries in Europe for energy efficiency. The government’s zero-carbon goal is the most ambitious in the world and it falls on the still-struggling housing industry to lead the way. Not surprisingly, support among property developers is lukewarm. According to a recent survey from Loughborough University’s civil and building engineering department, construction firms would rather pay fines for not meeting the new targets than risk losses on developments for which there may not be a market. “There’s a danger this is going to be a barrier rather than a stimulus for the market,” said Mohamed Osmani, a lecturer at the university who commissioned the study.

The problem, industry argues, is that making new homes energy efficient — kitting them out with gadgets such as rooftop turbines, solar panels and cavity insulation — could add up to £40,000 to the price. How much of that the government will subsidise, and which technologies will work best, is still unclear.

“There are no benchmarks or data and builders have a problem believing in the potential of clean and renewable technology to achieve these goals. If there are not enough financial and technical incentives, they will prefer to absorb financial penalties rather than implement the new standards,” said Osmani.

The industry is also concerned that without an established market for carbon-neutral homes, mortgage providers may baulk at lending against houses that appear to be more expensive than less energy-efficient homes of a similar size.

Britain is trying to do something that has taken others decades to achieve. Casey Cole of Fontenergy, which helps developers create low-carbon energy-generation projects, said: “Denmark’s reaction to the oil crisis in the 1970s was to move away from gas and oil towards community-owned district heating — combined heat and power networks that move the heat from incinerators and power stations. We are starting 20 to 30 years later.”

Builders questioned in the Loughborough survey found the timescale too ambitious. “The study showed they believe these standards could be achieved — but not by 2016. A more realistic date for designers and housebuilders is somewhere around 2021 to 2024,” Osmani said. The slump in the housing market has further complicated the situation.

Nicholas Doyle, project director of Places for People, one of Britain’s largest housing associations, said the upshot could be a bottleneck in the supply of new homes at a time when demand will be climbing back to pre-slump levels. “The challenge is how to pay for this and not have an impact on the number of new starts,” said Doyle. “We cannot afford to slow down the number of new homes built. Housing demand has not gone away. There is still a growing population and limited supply.”

It is also unclear what cocktail of technologies and building techniques will work best. But with 2016 looming, some housebuilders could be forced into commissioning sustainable power-generation projects that pose unknown technical, commercial and legal challenges.

Cole said: “Developers are used to putting in gas fittings and walking away, but things are more complicated when you provide heat or move renewably-generated energy.”

What is certain is that the government will have to play a big role in creating the right financial incentives. “The provision for feed-in tariffs in the energy Bill last year could offer a long-term and reliable source of revenue,” said Doyle. “There’s a role for government in facilitating the delivery of this. We need it to help funders come on board to create these funding mechanisms.”

It is in the government’s interest, after all: fostering a green building industry would help achieve its lofty goal of creating 400,000 jobs in low-carbon sectors. Some fear, however, that the 2016 standards could even make new housing less sustainable overall. The focus on making each housing unit carbon neutral may lead to lower-density developments that use more greenfield space and encourage more car use, said Aurore Julien, at Llewelyn Davies Yeang, an architectural practice.

“The new standards may have contradictory consequences,” she said. “They will be easier to achieve for greenfield developments with low density that have more roof space for solar panels and wind turbines. Are these developments in the interests of sustainability? Maybe the target should be more to do with high in-built energy efficiency.”


Rise of the Natural Climate Cycle Deniers

Those who promote the theory that mankind is responsible for global warming have been working for the past 20 years on a revisionist climate history. A history where climate was always in a harmonious state of balance until mankind came along and upset that balance.

The natural climate cycle deniers have tried their best to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age from climate data records by constructing the uncritically acclaimed and infamous “hockey stick” of global temperature variations (or non-variations) over the last one- to two-thousand years.

Before being largely discredited by a National Academies review panel, this ‘poster child’ for global warming was heralded as proof of the static nature of the climate system, and that only humans had the power to alter it.

While the panel was careful to point out that the hockey stick might be correct, they said that the only thing science could say for sure is that it has been warmer lately than anytime in the last 400 years. Since most of those 400 years was during the Little Ice Age, I would say this is a good thing. It’s like saying this summer has been warmer than any period since…last fall.

These deniers claim that the Medieval Warm Period was only a regional phenomenon, restricted to Europe. Same for the Little Ice Age. Yet when a killer heat wave occurred in France in 2003, they hypocritically insisted that this event had global significance, caused by anthropogenic ‘global’ warming.

The strong warming that occurred up until 1940 is similarly a thorn in the side of the natural climate cycle deniers, since atmospheric carbon dioxide increases from fossil fuel burning before 1940 were too meager to have caused it. So, the ‘experts’ are now actively working on reducing the magnitude of that event by readjusting some ship measurements of ocean temperatures from that era.

Yet, they would never dream of readjusting the more recent thermometer record, which clearly has localized urban heat island effects that have not yet been removed (e.g., see here and here). As Dick Lindzen of MIT has pointed out, it is highly improbable that every adjustment the climate revisionists ever make to the data should always just happen to be in the direction of agreeing with the climate models.

Of course, global warming has indeed occurred…just as global cooling has occurred before, too. While the global warming ‘alarmists’ claim we ‘skeptics’ have our heads stuck in the sand about the coming climate catastrophe, they don’t realize their heads are stuck in the sand about natural climate variability. Their repeated referrals to skeptic’s beliefs as “denying global warming” is evidence of either their dishonesty, or their stupidity.

The climate modelers’ predictions of the coming global warming Armageddon is of a theoretical event in the distant future, created by mathematical climate models, and promoted by scientists and politicians who have nothing to lose since it will be decades before they are proved wrong. They profess the utmost confidence in these theoretical predictions, yet close their eyes and ears to the natural rhythms exhibited by nature, both in the living and non-living realms, in the present, and in the previously recorded past.

They readily admit that cycles exist in weather, but can not (or will not) entertain the possibility that cycles might occur in climate, too. Every change the natural cycle deniers see in nature is inevitably traced to some evil deed done by humans. They predictably prognosticate such things as, “If this trend continues, the Earth will be in serious trouble”. To them behavior of nature is simple, static, always in-balance – if not sacred…in a quasi-scientific sort of way, of course.

They can not conceive of nature changing all by itself, even though evidence of that change is all around us. Like the more activist environmentalists, their romantic view of a peaceful, serene natural world ignores the stark reality that most animals on the Earth are perpetually locked in a life-or-death struggle for existence. The balances that form in nature are not harmonious, but unsteady and contentious stalemates — like the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, humans are doing just what the other animals are doing: modifying and consuming their surroundings in order to thrive. The deniers curiously assert that all other forms of life on the planet have the ‘right’ to do this – except humans.

And when the natural cycle deniers demand changes in energy policy, most of them never imagine that they might personally be inconvenienced by those policies. Like Al Gore, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Leonardo DiCaprio, they scornfully look down upon the rest of humanity for using up the natural resources that they want for themselves.

And the few who freely choose to live such a life then want to deny others the freedom to choose, by either regulating or legislating everyone else’s behavior to conform to their own behavior.

The natural climate cycle deniers’ supposedly impartial science is funded by government research dollars that would mostly dry up if the fears of manmade global warming were to evaporate. With contempt they point at the few million dollars that Exxon-Mobil spent years ago to support a few scientists who maintained a healthy skepticism about the science, while the scientific establishment continues to spent tens of billions of your tax dollars.

So, who has the vested financial interest here?

Even the IPCC in its latest (2007) report admits that most of the warming in the last 50 years might be natural in origin — although they consider it very unlikely, with (in their minds) less than 10% probability. So, where is the 10% of the global warming research budget to study that possibility? It doesn’t exist, because — as a few politicians like to remind us — “the science is settled”.

The natural climate cycle deniers claim to own the moral high ground, because they are saving future generations from the ravages of (theoretical) anthropogenic climate change. A couple of them have called for trials and even executions of scientists who happen to remain skeptical of humanity being guilty of causing climate change.

Yet the energy policies they advocate are killing living, breathing poor people around the world, today. Those who are barely surviving in poverty are being pushed over the edge by rising corn prices (because of ethanol production), and decimated economies from increasing regulation and taxation of carbon based fuels in countries governed by self-righteous elites.

But the tide is turning. As the climate system stubbornly refuses to warm as much as 95% of the climate models say it should be warming, the public is turning skeptical as well. Only time will tell whether our future is one of warming, or of cooling. But if the following average of 18 proxies for global temperatures over the last 2,000 years is any indication, it is unlikely that global temperatures will remain constant for very long.


Warmists admit global cooling and acknowledge the role of the sun at last -- and then say that they can predict what the sun will do -- good luck with that!

The Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies is the notorious Jim Hansen's outfit. They have never got a prophecy right yet -- unless you believe their own "fiddled" figures

World temperatures are set to rise much faster than expected as a result of climate change over the next ten years, according to meteorologists. In the last few years the world has experienced a "cooler period" since record high temperatures in summer 1998. This has been used by global warming sceptics as proof that greenhouse gases are not causing a rise in temperatures.

However a new study by Nasa said the warming effect of greenhouse gases has been masked since 1998 because of a downward phase in the cycles of the sun that means there is less incoming sunlight and the El Nino weather pattern causing a cooling period over the Pacific. But from this year solar activity will begin to pick up again and the El Nino phenomenon will cause storms and heatwaves.

The research, to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, was carried out by Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies the US Naval Research Laboratory. It adds to existing data from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that predicted temperatures will rise because of an increase in greenhouse gases trapping heat in the atmosphere. Because greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere, temperatures are set to increase over the next few years because the world is producing more carbon dioxide.

The new study adds the effect of El Nino, which is entering a new warm phase and of the impact of the solar cycle. Gareth Jones, a climate research scientist at the Met Office, said the effect of global warming is unlikely to be masked by shorter term weather patterns in the future.

He said that 50 per cent of the 10 years after 2011 will be warmer than 1998. After that any year cooler than 1998 will be considered unusual. "The amount of warming we expect from human impacts is so huge that any natural phenomenon in the future is unlikely to counteract it in the long term," he said.


Farmers don't believe global warming

And farmers are great weather watchers. Their livelihoods depend on it

Alan Brown, Roger Chamberlain and Bob Gappmayer have been farming all their lives and said they do not believe global warming is a threat to their careers. “I don’t believe in global warming,” said Brown, a Wasatch County dairy farmer. “I’ve seen the facts, but I don’t see it as a danger. It’s just a natural phenomenon.”

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, carbon dioxide emissions have significantly increased over the past century. The global warming theory assumes man’s activities have contributed to this increase.

Although the farmers say they don’t need to save the earth from global warming, they embrace environmentally sound practices because it will help them save money. “You save money when you do things like use less electricity and always turn off your tractor,” Brown said.

Recently, the Utah Farm Bureau had its midyear conference and hundreds of farmers from all across Utah attended. Tom Tripp, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, spoke to the audience about global warming and its connection to agriculture. He said global warming cannot be proved and it is not a scientific fact.

“Man may effect global warming, but I don’t think humans are the reason for it,” said Gappmayer, a cattle farmer.

Tripp went so far as to say increases in carbon dioxide actually benefit farmers, with which some of the other farmers agreed. “We like more carbon dioxide, because then our crops grow and we have food to eat,” Gappmayer said.

The Utah Farm Bureau explained that carbon dioxide is needed in agriculture to grow plants and crops. “I don’t think people realize where their food comes from or that we benefit from the increases of carbon dioxide,” Gappmayer said. “I’ve worked to take care of Mother Earth all my life and in turn she takes care of me.”

According to the panel, research done over the past eight years indicates there has actually been a global cooling trend. Although certain months brought record-breaking heat waves and droughts, overall, the average weather pattern has been a decrease in global temperature.

“To say global warming is a huge issue is ridiculous,” said Chamberlain, a sheep farmer in Kane County. “The media has created too much hype just for nothing. You never hear the other side of the issue, which makes me not believe in it even more.” Chamberlain said farmers get frustrated with the media and with the government not looking at both sides of the issue of global warming.

“The media is telling us farmers that we need to be afraid of these rapidly changing weather patterns, but I don’t think the weather patterns are any different than when I first started farming over 50 years ago,” Chamberlain said.



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


Sunday, August 02, 2009

The myth of global energy accumulation

An email from Hugh Clark [] below. Note: Special characters (delta, sigma etc.) used by Hugh are not reproduced in their original form below because of my limited html expertise but I am sure Hugh will be happy to supply interested readers with a copy of his paper in DOC format

I was appalled to read in Bo Nordell and Bruno Gervet, "Global energy accumulation and net heat emission", Int. J. Global Warming, Vol. 1, Nos. 1/2/3, 2009, their comment “Independent of what causes global warming, it should be considered in terms of accumulated energy”.

As an engineer with over thirty years experience in aeronautics, including gas turbines, I believe that I have some knowledge of thermal processes. Consider that a man made heat source such as, for instance, a power station, dumps heat into Earth’s environment over a period of time. We might reasonably expect a certain rise in temperature due to this.

Even while this is happening, however, the Earth is seeking a new balance point or equilibrium. It does this by radiating heat into space. If the power station continues to dump heat into the environment, after a certain time a new equilibrium will be found at a slightly higher temperature, which will then remain constant indefinitely while the power station continues to operate.

As a first approximation, at least, this is covered by the Stephan-Boltzmann Law, E = s T4, where the energy E is equal to the fourth power of temperature T multiplied by a constant s = 5.667x10-8 in SI units.

To find the effect of a small change, we can differentiate this which gives: DE = 4 s T3 DT, which can be rearranged as DE = 4 s T4 (DT/T) or DT = ¼ (DE/E) T.

Now to fill in the numbers, I refer to Tarsia, R.D., Quiroga, R.J., Pellegatti Franco, G.A., "The interstellar medium and the glacial eras during the Pleistocene", Earth, Moon and Planets 41 (1988) 173-190, Kluwer Academic Publishers. From this reference, T = 288 K and E is thus calculated to be 390 W/m2. Note that this figure is lower than the figure for solar energy received due to reflection and radiation, not to mention greenhouse effect.

Additionally we learn that the thermal scale time for Earth is “~ 107 seconds or 120 days and this is the reason why we have seasons on Earth”. This means that the Earth will adapt to its new equilibrium point within about a year and it is pointless to consider the accumulation of energy over many years.

Taking the Earth’s radius as 6378 km, the Earth will then radiate about 4p (6378x103)2 390 = 20x1016 W. Taking the Nordell and Gervet figure for annual world consumption of commercial non renewable energy for the year 2000 of 1x1014 kWh or 1x1014/365/24x1000 = 1.14x1013 W, the temperature increase due to this power consumption can be estimated by the formula derived above as DT = ¼ (1.14x1013/20x1016) 288 = 0.004 °C.

This is a long way from the 51% of 0.7°C quoted by Nordell and Gervet. Even if the above calculation is out by 100%, it is only 2% of their figure. To conclude, when it is realised that the Earth will establish a new equilibrium and not indefinitely accumulate heat, the effect of man’s energy usage is seen to be insignificant.

Ocean current changes now predicted to be gradual

Even the Greenie "models" are getting less scary, not that any model is realistic. The report below just shows that the Greenie scientists are getting more cautious as the data go more and more against them

In a rare bit of hopeful news linked to global warming, findings of a major new study are consistent with gradual changes of current systems in the North Atlantic Ocean, rather than a more sudden shutdown. The latter, more frightening scenario would probably trigger rapid climate changes in Europe and elsewhere, scientists say. They stress that the findings, while encouraging, don't change broader concerns about global warming.

The research, based on a giant computer simulation of Earth's climate for 21,000 years back to the height of the last Ice Age, indicates major changes in important ocean current systems can occur, but they may take place more slowly and gradually than had been suggested. The findings, published Friday in the research journal Science, are consistent with other recent studies that are moving away from the theory of an abrupt "tipping point" that might cause dramatic atmospheric temperature and ocean circulation changes in as little as 50 years.

"For those who have been concerned about extremely abrupt changes in these ocean current patterns, that's good news," said Peter Clark, a geoscientist at Oregon State University. "In the past it appears the ocean did change abruptly, but only because of a sudden change in the forcing," he said. "But when the ocean is forced gradually, such as we anticipate for the future, its response is gradual. That would give ecosystems more time to adjust to new conditions."

Global temperatures are still projected to increase about four to 11 degrees by the end of this century, Clark said, and the study actually confirms that some of the most sophisticated climate models are accurate. "The findings from this study, which also match other data we have on recorded climate change, are an important validation of the global climate models," Clark said. "They seem to be accurately reflecting both the type and speed of changes that have taken place in the past, and that increases our ability to trust their predictions of the future."

The intensity of computation on this experiment, involving a quadrillion calculations each second, was so great that it took more than a year to run, Clark said. It was the longest such study of its type that ever examined past climate in such detail and complexity. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and other agencies. It included the height of the last Ice Age about 21,000 years ago, the emergence of the Earth from that Ice Age around 14,000 years ago, and some other fairly sudden warming and cooling events during those periods that are of interest to researchers.

The period when the Earth emerged from its last Ice Age actually had amounts of natural warming similar to those that may be expected in the next century or two, with some of the same effects -- melting of ice sheets, sea level rise, increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Studies of those periods, researchers say, will provide valuable insights into how the Earth may respond to its current warming.

A particular concern for some time has been the operation of an ocean current pattern called the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. This current system is part of what keeps Europe much warmer than it would otherwise be, given its far northern latitudes, and there is evidence that it has "shut down" with some regularity in Earth's past -- apparently in response to large influxes of fresh water, and sometimes quite rapidly.

"Our data still show that current is slowing, and may decline by 30 percent by the end of this century," Clark said. "That's very significant, and it could cause substantial climate change. But it's not as abrupt as some concerns that it could shut down within a few decades." Climate changes, Clark said, are actually continuing to occur somewhat more rapidly than had been predicted in recent years. Arctic Sea ice is both thinning and shrinking, and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are going up faster than had been projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [Note no mention of the Antarctic or temperature trends of the last 10 years]


Climate Fear Promoters Explain Record Cold and Snow: 'Global warming made it less cool'

Switch from predictions of 'climate crisis' to "global warming made it less cool'

The year 2009 is proving to be a yet another very inconvenient year for the promoters of man-made global warming fears. As the “year without a summer” continues, the U.S. in July alone has broken over 3000 cold temperature records, and global temps have fallen .74F since Gore's film “An Inconvenient Truth” was released in 2006. In addition, meteorologists are predicting more record cold and snow this winter. See: Brisk July portends 'heavy snowfalls and bitter cold this winter along Eastern Seaboard'

But man-made climate fear promoters have finally constructed an explanation for the recent record cold temperatures. The explanation? According to climate activists: “Global warming made it less cool.” It appears the global warming fear movement has gone from predictions that we face a "climate crisis" and we are all going to die to their new slogan: "Global warming made it less cool."

The environmental activist group Union of Concerned Scientists declared “Global warming made it less cool.” Brenda Ekwurzel, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, claimed in a July 24, 2009 letter to the editor in the Washington Post that “2008 was a cooler year, but global warming made it less cool.”

Let's consider the Union of Concerned Scientists' claim that “global warming made it less cool.” Gore's hometown, Nashville, recently broke an 1877 cold temp record set when Rutherford B. Hayes was in the White House. Are we to believe that instead of breaking the 1877 Nashville cold temperature record set when Rutherford B. Hayes was president, the city would have allegedly broken a hypothetical 1862 cold temp record set when Abraham Lincoln was president? Or a hypothetical 1797 temperature record set when George Washington was president?

Would the absence of man-made “global warming” impacts have brought us to cold temperatures back in the colonial times? (Ok, that is a weak attempt at humor since there are no reliable land based temperature records going back that far. But recent peer-reviewed scientific papers are continuing to further embarrass climate fear promoters: See: Peer-Reviewed Study Rocks Climate Debate! 'Nature not man responsible for recent global warming...little or none of late 20th century warming and cooling can be attributed to humans' - July 24, 2009 & Climate Fears RIP...for 30 years!? - Global Warming could stop 'for up to 30 years! Warming 'On Hold?...'Could go into hiding for decades' study finds – – March 2, 2009 )

It appears the man-made climate fear promoters believe the “global warming made it less cool” claim is their ticket to persuade Americans that record cold and global cooling are meaningless. Yes, pay no attention to that record cold and instead think about how it would have been cooler without man-made global warming. With their new logic, Union of Concerned Scientists may soon be one step away from recommending that Americans idle their SUVs in the driveway to make it even “less cool” in the future. (Note: Union of Concerned Scientists also recommends that people “should take a look at the federal government's recent report "Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States" to find out "the facts” on global warming. That would be the Obama “science” report that was soundly rejected by scientists from around the world. See Climate Depot Report: Scaremongering': Scientists Pan Obama Climate Report: 'This is not a work of science but an embarrassing episode for the authors and NOAA'...'Misrepresents the science' - July 8, 2009 )

In addition, in even more bad news for the Union of Concerned Scientists, many scientists are now predicting a coming global COOLING. (See: Scientist: 'There is no possible global warming threat for at least next 193 years' -- Predicts possible COOLING; Australian scientists declare climate change 'a natural phenomenon'...warn of 'severe COOLING'; Geologist warns of 'coming ice age'; The Sun: 'Lowest of any solar cycle since 1928' and 'Global temps have flat lined since 2001...This is nothing like anything we've seen since 1950...Cooling trend could last for up to 30 years' - June 22, 2009 )

But “less cool” is exactly what many around the globe are wishing for in recent years, particularly this summer. Let's see how much impact man-made global warming had in making recent temperatures “less cool.” ... Small Sampling of Recent Record Cold Around the Globe: (See website to activate links below)

Cold prompts grizzly bear attack warning: 'Unseasonably cold temps have made food scarce for bears, pushing them closer to towns to find more'

Cincinnati is having its 'coldest July ever'

Iceland's Potato Crops endangered by unusual Coldness


Omaha breaks 1873 cold record during Summer

New Zealand: Coldest May on record..."broke records from one end of the country to the other'

'250 children under the age of 5 died' due to freezing temps in Peru -- 'Experts blame climate change for the early arrival of intense cold'

Frost may force Brazil to cut this year's corn output; Canada's June frosts the most widespread in recent memory

'Worst snow event in 50 years' hits South America

Record cold hits the tropics'Unseasonable cold' causes French carrots to make later start

South Africa: Cold a killer for homeless

Danish Meteorological Institute records show: No Arctic Warming Since 1958!: 'Arctic was warmer in the 1940s than now'

Wisconsin set to see coldest July day since 1900; N. Dakota farmer on Cold July: 'Gore should be out here and tell us about this global warming stuff'

Scientist: 'Cooling earth temps may last a couple of decades': Moment of Clarity: 'If we don't understand what is natural, I don't think we can say much about what the humans are doing'

No Warming Until 2020? ' giving climate skeptics reason to cheer': Imagine, twenty-two or more years (1998 to ~2020) of no new global temperature record. What would that do to the debate?'

3,000 Low Temp Records Set in U.S. This July! - Sea-surface temps drop as well!

Much more HERE (See the original for links)

In New York, It’s the Summer That Isn’t

It’s a gross, grungy, disgusting summer-in-the-city tradition: the muggy 90-degree day or, worse still, the 99-degree day. But this summer has been conspicuously different in New York City. Not one 99-degree day in Central Park. Not a single day that the temperature even approached 90. For just the second time in 140 years of record keeping, the temperature failed to reach 90 in either June or July.

The daily average last month was at or below normal every day but two. The temperature broke 80 on 16 days in New York — one more day than in Fairbanks, Alaska. Depending on Friday’s high, this was the second or third coolest June and July recorded in New York. If August follows the same pattern — and the latest forecast through midmonth predicts that it will — this could be the coolest summer on record. The result: relief, lower electric bills, spared lives and undisturbed slumber.

But this being New York, New Yorkers have also recalibrated their threshold for heat complaints. This summer, 85 is the new 95. “There’s no doubt there’s a tendency to acclimatize to a weather pattern,” said Fred Gadomski, a Pennsylvania State University meteorologist. “This summer, we’ve had so many relatively cool days that even if it gets a little warm people are reacting to it as if it’s a very hot day.” In the end, this will have been the coolest June and July since either 1903 or 1881, when sweltering New Yorkers grumbled about a sudden early August heat wave.

“There were warmer days during last summer,” The New York Times reported on Aug. 6, 1881, “but men and women became accustomed to the unexampled heat of that unexampled season and did not mind it so much.” This was the sixth coolest July on record. The high was 86 on July 17. For June and July, the average as of Thursday was 70.6, the third coolest. As of the end of the day Thursday, the average temperature in July was 72.6, nearly four degrees below normal “A monthly departure of four degrees below normal is very significant,” said Gary Conte, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

The relatively cool first half of summer in the Northeast and Upper Midwest has had far-reaching effects. In New York, Con Ed produced 5.5 percent less power in June than the year before, never appealed for special conservation protocols and reported no blackouts or brownouts. Daily peak use, which reached 10,934 megawatts on Tuesday, was well below this summer’s projected high of 11,945 megawatts. Many electric bills have shrunk by 6 percent or more. Attendance at city beaches through July 28 was down 30 percent, from 7.3 million to 5.1 million.

From July 1 to 28 in 2008, the Emergency Medical Service answered 134 heat-related calls. This year, there were 41. In 2008, the office of the chief medical examiner blamed the heat for nine deaths, all in June. This year, not a single heat-related death has been reported.

The threshold for opening cooling centers for the aging and other vulnerable New Yorkers was never reached. Nor was the 90-degree trigger requiring that carriage horses be stabled.


A Crude Reality

What's in a name? A bit of deception when it comes to the American Clean Energy and Security Act. A more accurate title might be: the American Clean Energy and LESS Security Act.

To get to the bottom of what's wrong with the 1,400-page energy bill passed by the House of Representatives, you have to dig deeper than Canada's tar sands. And what you find there is just as sludgy -- and taxing to process. Crudely refined: The greener we are, the less secure we're likely to be. Meaning, we either can be green or we can be less dependent on oil from terrorist-sponsoring states. But under the current energy bill, we can't be both. Put another way: The more we cap our carbon, the happier the Saudis are. That's because most Middle Eastern crude is more easily accessible and requires less processing than what we and our friendlier neighbors can produce.

If you don't know this, it's because beer summits are more fun than math. Herewith, a short course for word people.

Basically, the energy bill focuses primarily on stationary sources of CO2 emissions (power and manufacturing plants) and would do little to address mobile sources of emissions, i.e. transportation. Since virtually all U.S. stationary sources use domestic energy -- coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, biomass, etc. -- the energy bill would do almost nothing about reducing oil or gasoline imports. Foreign sources provide about 70 percent of the oil used in refining gasoline and diesel. In fact, new restrictions and associated costs would likely mean that we'd be going to foreign suppliers for oil more often rather than less.

The only way to be less dependent, obviously, is to produce as much domestic oil as possible. But even if drilling were allowed in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, for example, the cost of retrieving and processing the oil could be prohibitive under new cap-and-trade restrictions.

The Waxman-Markey bill, as the legislation is more commonly known, would require the U.S. to reduce carbon emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent below by 2050. As a Prius-driving, pro-seal, recycling, organic vegetarian, I'm heavily tilted toward saving the planet. But we probably ought not to pretend that this bill would make us more secure by reducing dependence on foreign sources.

Even Canada's crude creates problems under the new proposed restrictions while seeming to solve others. As Matt Schlapp, a veteran of energy policy debates and former White House political director, describes it, Canada's oil is a sludge that borders on solid, which makes it difficult to refine: "Let's just say, the days of Jed Clampett are gone. You don't just stumble across oil anymore. The easy stuff is gone."

To refine Canadian muck to a usable form that would meet new emissions standards would require extensive processing that carries its own CO2 freight. Because Saudi crude is easier to get to, it's more attractive in a world where carbon is expensive. "We're giving the Saudis an advantage, in other words," says Schlapp. "Why would we want to do that?"

Meanwhile, the transportation issues remain largely unaddressed. The extent to which oil and gasoline imports do decline in coming years wouldn't be a function of the Waxman-Markey bill, but will be thanks to initiatives begun by George W. Bush and implemented by Barack Obama, according to C. Boyden Gray, former ambassador to the European Union and pro-ethanol "green" Republican, who served under Bush 41 as special envoy for Eurasian energy.

One, the so-called CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) legislation, raised auto mileage standards by about 30 percent. Bush 43 also pushed through energy legislation in 2005 and 2007 that requires the blending of 36 billion gallons of biofuels in the transport sector -- or about 20 percent of total liquid fuel consumption. "These measures should significantly reduce oil imports," says Gray. "But both CAFE and the biofuel legislation predate Waxman-Markey and would achieve much of the import-reduction security goals publicly associated with Waxman-Markey."

Although the bill would put refined gasoline consumption under the cap along with coal, natural gas, etc., the baseline for counting reductions is 2003. The reductions in oil consumption already required by the CAFE and biofuels bills may exceed for many years the requirements of Waxman-Markey.

In other words, it's not clear what more the oil industry would have to do under Waxman-Markey than is already happening. Waxman-Markey has many commendable elements, but increased energy security can't legitimately be counted as one of them.


UK: Energy policy “too wind focused” says business group

The UK must invest more in nuclear and clean coal energy and put less emphasis on wind power if it wants a secure low-carbon future, business leaders say. The CBI says government energy policy is "disjointed" and it is urging a "more balanced" energy mix. The current approach means the UK might miss climate change targets, it added.

The government said putting in place a balanced mix of renewables, new nuclear and cleaner fossil fuels was at the heart of its energy policy. It is due to set out its Energy White Paper on Wednesday. But the CBI is calling for more action in its report "Decision Time". "The government's disjointed approach is deterring the private sector investment needed to get our energy system up to scratch, bolster security and cut emissions," said CBI deputy director general John Cridland. "While we have generous subsidies for wind power, we urgently need the national planning statements needed to build new nuclear plants. "If we carry on like this we will end up putting too many of our energy eggs in one basket."

The CBI's comments are based on computer modelling of current power sector investment by consultants McKinsey. The CBI wants the government to:

• reduce the percentage of wind power expected by 2020 under the Renewables Strategy later this week, to encourage investment in other low-carbon energy sources.

• speed up the planning process for energy supplies

• produce rules and funding arrangements for for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) demonstration plants

• accelerate investment in the grid

• improve energy efficiency in the electricity, heating and transport sectors, including offering financial sweeteners for consumers choosing more efficient products.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said: "We know that big investments need certainty, and we're on track with our promise to remove costly unnecessary barriers to new nuclear, such as the planning reforms already in train."

Andrew Warren, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy and formerly a member of the CBI's energy policy committee, told the BBC's environment analyst Roger Harrabin that the increase in wind power was threatening to the big power generators who he said dominated the committee. "This document is no surprise. EDF have been lobbying very hard for less obligations on renewables, saying it will distract from nuclear," he said. "This is precisely what Patricia Hewitt [the former trade and industry secretary] warned would happen when she published the 'no-new-nukes' 2003 energy white paper."

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said that by calling for wind power's contribution to the UK's renewable energy targets to be reduced the CBI is actually doing its members a great disservice. "Nuclear power is less effective than wind power at tackling climate change, while investment in renewables would create much needed British jobs in one of the few growth sectors in the global economy," he said. "Here in the UK we have one of the best renewable energy resources anywhere in the world and a manufacturing sector champing at the bit to capture the lead in marine technologies like offshore wind and tidal power."

Meanwhile a DECC spokesman told Roger Harrabin the government was "fully behind" the 15% renewables target. "We're not setting fixed sub-targets [for electricity, heat, transport], but our projections are about finding the most practicable and cost effective mix. "Our analysis supports the approach we're taking. We don't believe it inhibits new nuclear - there are a myriad of other considerations to factor in."



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


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Message from a Finnish correspondent

A scientist gets rapped for speaking the truth

Please note this link. It's in Finnish and I cannot translate it into English, but the Finnish national broadcasing company (YLE) did an interview with a researscher from the Finnish research institute of forests. The researcher Mr. Risto Jalkanen explains that he's participating the EU funded Millennium-research who aims to study the climate change within the last 1,000 years.

Mr. Jalkanen explains, that there's no evidence at all which proves that the climate in Lapland (or in Russian's Siberia) is warming. The spring has come somewhat earlier during the last 300 years as indicated by the Ice-melt in River Tornio (you've blogged that earlier, if you remember). Mr Jalkanen also states, that it is impossible to get the controversial study results into IPCC.

Immediately after the piece of news of Mr Jalkanen was announced, both his supervisor and the chief of Finnish Meteorological Institute urged him to deny his study as well as the results. Jalkanen followed the concept and said "he's not denying the role of CO2 but just says that studies do not show any warming in northern Finland".

(You can read the Google translation here. It's not idiomatic English but it is pretty clear what it is saying)

Scientist Accuses American Chemical Society Editor of 'censoring of articles and letters' that reject man-made global warming claims!

'Many of the members have not only expressed their disgust, they are contemplating leaving the group'

Longtime American Chemical Society (ACS) member and Environmental Chemist Steven J. Welcenbach, the President of the Wisconsin based Alchemical Ventures, Inc., has released a portion of his private email exchange with American Chemical Society's editor in chief Rudy Baum. Baum, now under pressure to be removed from his post, created a scientific firestorm with his June 22, 2009 editorial in Chemical and Engineering News (C&E News) claiming that the global warming debate was settled. Welcenbach has been an ACS member since 1986.

Hello Marc [Morano], (Executive Editor of Climate Depot)

Thank you for getting the word out with what is going on in American Chemical Society (ACS). A vast number of members are very upset with the lack of complete and balanced coverage of the AGW issue and the continued censoring of articles and letters by Rudy Baum that do not support the theory of catastrophic global warming caused by CO2 emissions from man's use of petroleum and coal. Many of the members I have spoken with have not only expressed their disgust but either have left ACS or are contemplating leaving the group. Lots of us, however, have decided that we should take action to return the group back to the scientific method and the initial purpose for which this group was formed and why we joined.

Therefore, I think it is imperative for you and all readers to understand the entire context of my exchange with [editor-in-chief] Rudy Baum. I treated him with respect and tried to interface with him in a reasonable way. As you will see, he resorted to personal insult and attack, thus my final e-mail which he decided was enough to publish. It was not.

[Climate Depot Editor's Note: Baum quoted Welcenbach's email in a follow up article reacting to blowback from ACS member scientists. Welcenbach wrote to Baum: "When all is said and done, and you and your kind are proven wrong (again), you will have moved on to be an unthinking urn for another rat pleading catastrophe. You will be removed. I promise." ]

As the largest scientific organization in the world we need to be on the front lines of this debate. True debate. Unfortunately Rudy Baum used his position as a political stump speech platform while cherry picking info supporting AGW and suppressing all info and articles to the contrary. For this reason he needs to go. An information censor is the LAST thing ACS needs.

I have been involved as a TRUE environmentalist since 1986. I have worked in the waste disposal and recycling industry this entire time. I will send you a copy of my resume in a separate e-mail for you to get a more complete picture of what I have done in this area.

(Correspondence follows:)
3). Well Rudy,

I hoped that you may have had a new information input valve into your mind but I see it has been closed off or eliminated. I guess you're happy in your little prison of thought so I certainly don't want to disturb you. It becomes obvious when the "Flat Earth" comments come out one is not dealing with an individual interested in fact finding or relevant discussion. When all is said and done, and you and your kind are proven wrong (again), you will have moved on to be an unthinking urn for another rat pleading catastrophe. You will be removed. I promise. We have no need for further interaction.

2). Hi Rudy,

Thank you for your quick response. But you have to admit this is a pretty pathetic record. As far as AGW theory goes, I'm sure you've heard of the works of the following PhD research scientists: Richard Lindzen, Willie Soon, Fred Singer, Craig Idso, Dennis Avery, Ferenc Miskolczi, Miklos Zagoni, William Gray, Roy Spencer, Timothy Ball, Henrik Svensmark, Patrick Michaels and hundreds of others referenced in their footnotes and publications. I have many articles from these gentlemen in my possession and could provide you with copies if you're truly interested in understanding the supporting information of my claim. In addition, many others have written excellent works outlining the tremendous economic and social implications of implementing such a policy, such as current Czech Republic and EU president Vaclav Klaus and Roy Innis, to name just two of many that I have read.

Truly, as editor of our ACS publication, you owe it to all of us to provide all sides of all issues. You have done this to some degree with the Biofuels situation and Wind power. See, I am watching and can be fair. But this publication is woefully short on providing accurate and new information on the real story of AGW. One example that comes to mind is that you published in July of 2007 that "the arctic Ice is melting" in concentrates implicating AGW. But you never published the fact that the Ice has more than returned since to a 50 year high. You also have not published anything about the fact that global temperatures have been decreasing since 1998 and plummeting in the last two years. So there is an excellent example supporting my grief. You did publish something about the cooling sea temps but the article was highly skewed with excuses dismissing the data by AGW advocates. But that's OK. You published it and we could draw our own conclusions.

I only ask you to allow publication of articles which refute AGW. They are the majority of articles published in the world on this subject. Go online and get the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change report and you will have all the information you need, fully footnoted and supported with actual data. Also, go to for tons of articles and fully footnoted, data supported information.

I apologize for the tone of our initial conversation but I obviously feel very strongly that your position requires a better diversity of information on this subject. I hope we can gain clarity here. I am confident that if you truly dig in to the material I am referencing here you will see very compelling information and data that could very well change your mind.

1). Hi Rudy,

Please kindly send me some examples of this claim. Also, would you be so kind as to reference at least ONE article published in the C&E news magazine that does not support the now FULLY DISCREDITED theory of man-made CO2 induced global warming/climate change. I will be more than happy to supply you with say, several hundred articles which provides factual data and employs the real scientific method to be published in C&E News (Chemical and Engineering News).

Frankly, a lot of members like myself are very, very tired of your censorship and proclaiming your misguided and unsupported AGW agenda. If this is a publication for scientists, the least we can expect of our editors is respect for the scientific method.


Would cap 'n trade deliver environmental benefits?

The ecologists below are dubious

While policymakers across of the globe are relying on environmental restoration projects to fuel emerging market-based environmental programs, an article in the July 31 edition of Science by two noted ecologists warns that these programs still lack the scientific certainty needed to ensure that restoration projects deliver the environmental improvements being marketed.

Markets identify the benefits humans derive from ecosystems, called ecosystem services, and associate them with economic values which can be bought, sold or traded. The scientists, Dr. Margaret Palmer and Dr. Solange Filoso of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, raise concerns that there is insufficient scientific understanding of the restoration process, namely, how to alter a landscape or coastal habitat to achieve the environmental benefits that are marketed.

"Both locally and nationally, policymakers are considering market-based environmental restoration programs where the science does not yet conclusively show that environment health will improve once the 'restoration' is completed," said Dr. Palmer. "These programs may very well make economic sense, but the jury is still out whether or not the local environment will ultimately benefit."

At present, the demand in ecosystem service markets is driven by regulations that require those who harm the environment to mitigate or provide offsets for their environmental impacts. But in the regions throughout the world, including the Chesapeake Bay, many people hope that voluntary markets will expand outside of a regulatory context and result in a net gain of ecosystem services rather than just offsets for lost ecosystem services.

Examples include markets for flood protection created by restoring floodplains or wetlands and markets for improving water quality by restoring streams or rivers.

The scientists outline what should be done before markets expand further: recognize that restoration projects generally only restore a subset of the services that natural ecosystem provide, complete a limited number of projects in which direct measurements are made of the response of biophysical processes to restoration actions, and identify easily measured ecosystem features that have been shown to reflect the biophysical processes that support the desired ecosystem service.

"There is an inherent danger of marketing ecosystem services through ecological restoration without properly verifying if the restoration actions actually lead to the delivery of services," said Dr. Filoso. "If this happens, these markets may unintentionally cause an increase in environmental degradation."


NAACP Seeks to Impede Black Advancement By Endorsing Climate-Based Regulation

Directionless Group Pushes Plan Opposed by Majority of Constituency

Contending with political realities such as the election of the first black president, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is understandably struggling to justify its continued existence. At its centennial convention, it clearly moved in the wrong direction by allying with environmental lobbyists to promote economically devastating climate policy opposed by the majority of black Americans.

"I'm all in favor of the nation's oldest civil rights group redefining its mission and agenda; however this indicates that the NAACP continues to struggle with current realities that face the nation's black communities by promoting policies they are opposed to," said Project 21 member Joe Hicks, who is also a PajamasTV commentator. "If this group simply wants to be defined as another left-wing organization touting the weak science on climate change, then it is destined to face ever-growing irrelevancy."

Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli added: "It's outrageous for the NAACP to place liberal ideology over the welfare of the nation. By aligning with the environmental activist lobby, the NAACP is now an official member of 'Club Green' - the exclusive club of elites waging war against fossil fuels. Tragically, the cover charge for their membership - job losses, reduced standard of living and high energy costs - will be borne disproportionately by the very people the NAACP claims to represent."

At its New York City convention earlier this month, the NAACP entered into a partnership with the National Wildlife Federation to "ensure that the response to climate change can take a higher ground than business as usual." President Obama, during his speech to the group, sought to equate his energy policy with civil rights. Additionally, NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous now characterizes the group as "a multiracial, multiethnic human rights organization."

The NAACP's newfound zeal for promoting further environment-based regulation of the American economy, however, is opposed by the vast majority of black Americans. In a recent poll of 800 black Americans, there was significant concern that climate change regulations - much like the Waxman-Markey "cap-and-trade" legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in late June - would have a harmful and disproportionately negative impact on black America.

For example, the poll found that 76 percent felt Congress should make economic recovery rather than climate change its top priority and that 56 percent believe Washington policymakers do not adequately consider the quality of life of black Americans when addressing climate policy. When asked how much they would pay for gas and electricity to reduce greenhouse emissions, 76 percent said they would be unwilling to pay more than $50 a year while 52 percent were unwilling to pay anything at all.

According to research from The Heritage Foundation, regulations created by the Waxman-Markey bill would raise electricity costs by 90 percent, gas by 58 percent, and natural gas by 55 percent by 2035 (an average of $1,241 more for a family of four by that time). Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office reported in 2007 that "most of the cost of meeting a cap on CO2 emissions would be borne by consumers, who would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline... [and] poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would.

Hicks added: "The NAACP shows how out of touch it has become by advocating Obama Administration policies on so-called climate change that impact the very population that claim to represent - poor, black Americans. Adding an increased burden of higher coast for essential things like gasoline and electricity at a time of economic hardship demonstrates that they have no independent course of leadership, but instead is blindly following this administration's disastrous lead."


Australian PM Kevin Rudd admits 50,000 "green" jobs not new

KEVIN Rudd has conceded the vast bulk of the "50,000 new green jobs, traineeships and apprenticeships" he announced as the centrepiece of the opening of the ALP conference are not "new" or "jobs". Government ministers continued to be confused yesterday about the nature of the Prime Minister's announcement that there would be "50,000 new green jobs and training opportunities to build a stronger and greener Australian economy".

Mr Rudd and Julia Gillard also conceded that Employment Participation Minister, Mark Arbib, had made a mistake and not had "the best of days" when he did not have the detail of the Prime Minister's scheme, or know whether young people recruited to clear bushland would be paid full time or left on unemployment benefits as part of a work-for-the-dole scheme.

Linking the creation of new jobs and caring for the environment is part of the government's strategy to reassure people there will be "green jobs and training" -- such as cleaning parkland and training on installing insulation -- in Australia after the introduction of an emissions trading scheme.

Ms Gillard, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Employment, said yesterday it wasn't important where the money came from for the jobs and training. What was important was equipping young Australians for a "carbon-constrained economy".

But Malcolm Turnbull said the announcement of 50,000 new jobs and training places was "phoney". "The Prime Minister stood up and announced 50,000 new jobs -- it is simply not true," the Opposition Leader said. "There are 6000 jobs in the package and they're not new," he said.

Mr Rudd, speaking on Melbourne radio 3AW, conceded the 6000 jobs had been negotiated earlier but said the funding was "absolutely new". The government's $94 million package is to help train apprentices and young people, he said. A further 10,000 places will be available in a new national Greens Jobs Corps for six months, during which time eligible unemployed people under 25 will have a training allowance added to their Youth Allowance or Newstart payment.


The real cost of "Green" electricity is beginning to bite in Western Australia

The cost of renewable energy will rise significantly tomorrow with WA customers paying nearly twice what they paid six months ago. Government-run energy retailer Synergy has increased the price of every green power option they provide, outraging environmental groups and users of renewable energy. The move comes just weeks after Murdoch University energy economist Adam McHugh warned that if the state continued to favour “dirty” industry over renewable projects, consumers would pay.

Synergy says the price increase reflect the cost of supplying green energy to WA. “While the fuel sources of renewable energy are inexpensive, the other costs associated with it are not, including the initial infrastructure cost, network costs, back-up generation and the like which are factors in the full cost of renewable energy,” Synergy head of corporate affairs Andrew Gasper said.

Solar energy producer for Wise Earth - and Order of Australia recipient - Garry Baverstock said the unsubstantiated and unpublicised price hike was sending shock waves through the renewable energy sector and supporters of green energy initiatives. “While Synergy customers are still coming to terms with the recent 25 per cent price rise that took place on 1 April and 1 July respectively, people buying green energy are soon to be slugged with up to a further 20 per cent price hike,” Mr Baverstock said.

Synergy offered three main green options to residential consumers, including blocks of green energy called EasyGreen, NaturalPower where you pay extra for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) and Earth Friendly which allows you to offset carbon released by consuming coal or gas fired alternatives. Blocks of green power valued at $30 on an EasyGreen plan were worth 682kWh, but as of tomorrow customers will receive only 492kWh for the same money. “If you are on a NaturalPower plan you are currently paying an extra 4.4 cents per kilowatt hour and as tomorrow you will be paying 6.1 cents per kilowatt-hour,” Mr Baverstock said. “If anything, there should be no difference in whether a person wants to buy renewable or non-renewable power.”

WA is currently one of the dirtiest states in the nation. Just 3.8 per cent of WA's energy is generated from renewable sources.

Gary Warden, a NaturalPower consumer and Al Gore Ambassador, said the Synergy price hike will reinforce Western Australia's position as the worst in the country in regard to adapting to green power. “According to the Federal Government’s GreenPower program and Australian Bureau of Statistics data less than one per cent of Western Australians purchase green energy compared to 16 per cent in Victoria, between 12 and 13 per cent in Queensland and South Australia, between eight and nine per cent in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory,” Mr Warden said. “If anything, we Western Australians and our representative government enterprises need to take a long hard look at ourselves to see what we can do to catch up with the rest of Australia,” he said.

Synergy said it is committed to increasing generation from renewable sources in WA. "This is demonstrated by Synergy signing memoranda of understanding for the supply of new and emerging renewable energy technologies, namely with New World Energy supporting the development of geothermal energy and Carnegie Corporation, supporting the development of wave energy," Mr Gasper said. "By supporting these technologies, Synergy is not only facilitating investment in research and development in these new and emerging technologies, but will also increase the diversity of its renewable energy portfolio if and when the technologies are available on a commercial scale."



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


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