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

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

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

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

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31 August, 2011

Parts of Britain suffer coldest summer for nearly two decades

Global cooling!

Much of Britain suffered the coldest summer for almost two decades, Met Office statistics show.

As Britons return to work today after a soggy Bank Holiday weekend, official weather data reveals that average temperatures were significantly down on recent years.

The UK’s average temperature from June 1 to August 15 was only 57F (13.9C) – the lowest for 13 years.

For central England the average was 59F (15C), making it the coolest summer since 1993.

Helen Waite, a Met Office forecaster, said: “The average temperature for central England this summer has been just 15C – this sort of temperature is normally typical of September. “Generally speaking, you would expect to see temperatures of at least 17C for this time of year.”


Global Warming Hysteria over Hurricane Irene

It’s a parody. It must be. A normal hurricane, not huge as these things go and the first to hit the USA in three years, takes an unusual–but certainly not unprecedented–path up the East Coast’s most populated areas, and the hysterics start screaming about global warming. From hysteria central, aka, the New York Times:
The scale of Hurricane Irene, which could cause more extensive damage along the Eastern Seaboard than any storm in decades, is reviving an old question: are hurricanesgetting worse because of human-induced climate change? The short answer from scientists is that they are still trying to figure it out. But many of them do believe that hurricanes will get more intense as the planet warms, and they see large hurricanes like Irene as a harbinger.

Harbinger? Ludicrous. The gist of the story is that there is disagreement among the climate modelers, who don’t have a good record of accuracy in any event. And no one can say Irene was “caused” by global warming. But why let a good storm go to waste?

Please. The reason I even exist, or better stated, the event that set the wheels in motion for my eventual birth, was the big hurricane of 1938–much larger than Irene at a Category 3– that did far more damage than this Category 1.

My mother and her family lived in Rhode Island. The storm so freaked them, they decided to see what California was like. So, they visited, liked what they saw, and moved. That’s when my mother met my father, after he took a temporary job where she worked while on leave from the army. And the rest, as they say, eventually became my history.

Back to Irene and global warming, is it any wonder people increasingly roll their eyes as every weather event is turned into GWH?


Salon Says Global Warming Is The Culprit

FEMA disaster declarations set a record in 2011. The right cries socialism, but global warming is the real culprit.
We can leave it to residents of Vermont to decide whether the flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene qualifies as “routine” or not, but there’s also another explanation: 2011 has been a banner year for disasters, period. By mid-year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2011 was already one of the most extreme — and costly — years on record. And that was before Hurricane Irene.

The first rule of being a leftist reporter is to never do any actual research. Andrew Leonard has no idea what he is talking about.


How Washington pays Big Green to sue the government

Two insistent senators have found that even the Government Accountability Office can't get at all of the millions of federal tax dollars that Big Green lawyers are paid to sue the American government.

Multiple federal laws allow individual citizens to sue certain agencies for failing to enforce the law. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is not only a favorite target of such suits, it has practically become a partner with Big Green in "sweetheart" deals prearranged to expand agency power by settling legal challenges brought by the outside groups -- allegations of inadequate air pollution controls, for example -- that courts wouldn't likely approve, but then become case law in closed-door settlements that are never made public.

Outraged at the endless stonewalling by EPA officials that they had grilled in hearing after hearing, the top Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee -- Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., -- requested that the GAO audit all the money flowing from the U.S. Treasury into the pockets of environmental lawyers during the last 15 years, 1995 to 2010.

The Washington Examiner obtained a copy of the resulting GAO report, "Environmental Litigation: Cases against EPA and Associated Costs over Time," which the senators will release today. The most significant thing about the 55-page report is what it doesn't tell us.

The report devotes more than a dozen busy pages to tables of payments. But it doesn't highlight the fact that just one plaintiff, Earthjustice (with 2010 assets of $39.2 million, according to its latest available Internal Revenue Service Form 990), received 32 percent of all attorneys' fees paid to EPA litigants. That's $4.6 million for one group's legal fees.

Nor does it highlight that the Natural Resources Defense Council (2010 assets of $232.3 million) and the Sierra Club (2010 assets of $67 million) combined to take 41 percent of all the attorneys' fees in EPA lawsuits.

Throw in the 43 other Big Green plaintiffs -- including such multimillion-dollar operations as the Center for Biological Diversity and National Wildlife Federation -- and they gobbled up 82 percent of the payoff pie, leaving 7 percent awarded to industries such as Western Fuels Association, and 5 percent for state agencies.

These percentages are not in the GAO report, which is long on tables and short on analysis. Inhofe and Vitter assigned their staffs to dig out these connections.

Even though this GAO study is the first time the federal government has released such information, the report is disturbingly short on data, covering the defect with detail. The GAO is careful to explain that when the EPA becomes a defendant in a lawsuit, the Department of Justice provides EPA's legal defense.

There are, according to the report, an average of about 155 such cases each year, or a total of about 2,500 cases between 1995 and 2010.

But in the very next sentence, the GAO tells us that the Justice Department spent at least $43 million, or $3.3 million annually, to defend EPA in court during 1998 through 2010. Nobody asked about 1998.

It gets worse: "Treasury paid about $14.2 million from 2003 through 2010 -- about $1.8 million per year to plaintiffs in environmental cases, paid from the Department of the Treasury's Judgment Fund."

Eager lawyers won't notice that 2003 time shrinkage because they will focus on "the Treasury's Judgment Fund" -- a permanent indefinite appropriation available to pay judgments against the government, as well as settlements resulting from lawsuits.

That phrase is so riveting because it contains records of critical Big Green money secrets, and the U.S. Treasury Department does not publish its Judgment Fund payment data. The revelations here are significant, even if truncated.

Then GAO drops its bomb: "EPA paid approximately $1.4 million from 2006 through 2010 from its own appropriations -- about $280,000 per year." That's only four years of records.

The GAO is telling Inhofe and Vitter that they spent the last year -- since June 2010 -- failing to find three years of Justice Department legal payouts, eight years of Treasury Department Judgment Fund payouts and 11 years of EPA appropriation payouts.

They simply can't find it. Why this lack of transparency and accountability? Aside from poor record keeping and the usual uncooperative bureaucratic turf jealousies, the agency databanks are incomplete, decentralized, aging and incompatibly formatted. That's the real message of this audit.

Still, the flawed but indispensable GAO Environmental Litigation report is a warning. It shows that our nation is seriously deficient in keeping track of the money it spends on Big Green, which resonates with our larger budget crisis.

The Environmental Litigation report covers only the EPA, not federal lands, energy, fisheries, or anything else. There is a whole vast federal bureaucracy yet to deal with.

Sens. Inhofe and Vitter have shown the way. Let the audits begin.


Climate Science and Corruption

Russell Cook

IPCC Censorship: Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a Vice-Chair (Vice President) of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, objected to Fred Singer participating in a seminar on global warming / climate change that was to be held at SEII Foundation Universitaire in Brussels. A google translation of part of the letter van Ypersele sent follows:

You should know that Mr. Fred Singer is a person whose scientific integrity leaves much to be desired. Its (sic) activities are financed disinformation by the lobbies of fossil fuels..... , and it is scandalous that such a person may be associated, directly or indirectly, to SEII and the University Foundation.

Having never heard of IPCC Vice-Chair van Ypersele before, but having written several online articles here and elsewhere on the apparently unsupported accusations that skeptic scientists are corrupted by fossil fuel industry funding, I decided to see what other connections were to be found between Mr. van Ypersele and the people surrounding what I call the '96-to-present smear of skeptic scientists. It seems every time I look into this, I find anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan and his associates at the enviro-advocacy group Ozone Action, which later merged into Greenpeace USA in 2000.

My first guess is that Mr. van Ypersele might be a recent addition to the IPCC, so I simply plugged his name into an internet search along with one of the two names from my June A.T. article, which was about people associated with the long-term smear accusation who also turned out to be recent IPCC report reviewers. Sure enough, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele is on the same list of 2007 Reviewers of the IPCC WGIII Fourth Assessment Report as the two in my article. That probably doesn't mean much, it is a rather huge list.

Perhaps not helping matters in Mr. van Ypersele's favor is that the same two people are on the list of participants at the Bonn, Germany 1999 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP5). In the UNFCCC meeting the following year in The Hague, no less than eleven people from Ozone Action, including Ross Gelbspan, were participants.

The plot thickens considerably when we first read the line in the official IPCC bio for Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, which says he "...was a Lead Author for the WGII contribution to the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC and was elected in 2002 Vice-Chair of its Working Group II." You'd think he would want to minimize any ties with enviro-activist groups at that point, but then we read in this Greenpeace paper, "Report commissioned by Greenpeace and written by Jean-Pascal van Ypersele and Philippe Marbaix, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium. July 2004.

On the 2nd page - let me repeat the above points for emphasis - IPCC Lead Author Jean-Pascal van Ypersele's Greenpeace-commissioned paper starts with a fictional account of an out-of-control global warming disaster 40 years into the future, and then states:

"I have long dreamed of drafting an inventory on the potential impacts of climate change in Belgium, as has been done for Europe or for several of our neighbours. Greenpeace's request has given me the chance to make a start on this....We assume full scientific responsibility for the result and would like to thank Greenpeace for not having interfered at all in the content of our paper....

I hope that this report will be food for thought. This is our only planet - we do not have a spare."

Could anyone dare imagine a more breathtaking example of hypocrisy? An IPCC Lead Author commissioned to write a paper for an enviro-activist group while claiming no influence from them is now a top ranking IPCC leader repeating an old unproven accusation insinuating that mere association with fossil fuel industry funding renders skeptic scientists completely untrustworthy, and he demands such skeptics should be silenced.

Add this to Al Gore latest efforts to try equating skeptics with Civil Rights-era racists, and the ever-growing appearance of an impending implosion for the entire global warming crisis is much harder to miss now. In the parlance of current internet talk, this is fast becoming an "Epic Fail."


Krugman Fails Climate Science 101

Economist Paul Krugman took to the pages of The New York Times on Sunday in order to regurgitate Sierra Club talking points regarding global warming and to castigate the Republican Party for being “anti-science.” As Roger Simon noted, like just about everybody else writing about the issue, Krugman doesn’t bother to explain or understand the science or the nature of the robust scientific debate that has been going on for some time. Instead, he relies on the Left’s preferred method for analyzing scientific issues: a moistened finger held up to the wind.

Krugman’s central thesis is that theory that mankind is causing catastrophic climate change has to be true, because “97 to 98 per cent of scientists” agree that it’s true. You’ll see the “97 to 98 per cent” number appearing quite often now. It’s become a key talking point of the alarmist crowd, as they struggle to regain relevance in a world that has a harder and harder time taking them seriously. But where does that amazing number come from? It arises from a 2009 survey that two University of Illinois researchers conducted. 10,257 Earth scientists responded and, much to the U of I professors’ chagrin, the results were far from satisfying to the alarmist crowd.

Many of the respondents indicated that they believe that natural forces are much more important than mankind's paltry contributions to climate trends. Some questioned the validity of the models that have been used to predict massive forcing attributable to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. All in all, it wasn’t the kind of response that the researchers were looking for when they were trying to prove consensus.

So, the professors decided that 10,180 of the scientists who responded weren’t qualified to comment on the issue because they were merely solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists, astronomers and the like. Of the remaining 77 scientists whose votes were counted, 75 agreed with the proposition that mankind was causing catastrophic changes in the climate. And, since 75 is 97.4% of 77, “overwhelming consensus” was demonstrated once again. See Laurence Solomon’s marvelous analysis of the survey for more details.

This attempt to silence dissent across scientific disciplines is a sad and troubling feature of the global warming alarmist movement. As a scientist and a skeptic, I often hear alarmists tell me that I’m not qualified to opine on global warming because I’m merely a chemist. I’m not a climatologist, so my vote should not count.

Now, having specialized in air quality work for the past thirty years, having run many dispersion models (related to, but not the same as, climate models) and knowing a fair bit about thermodynamics, I’ll flatter myself to think that I know a whole lot more about the issue than 99% of the people writing about it in the mainstream media.

And yet, people like Krugman feel no shame when they speak authoritatively about an issue they don’t understand in the slightest. I’ll make Mr. Krugman a deal: I won’t write about exchange rate instability if he will take a pass on atmospheric science.

There is no question that carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” play a role in the complex climate system that is planet earth. No scientist denies that. But the stupefyingly oversimplification that leftists like Krugman cling to – that global warming is wholly and directly caused by our use of fossil fuels – is about as idiotic as saying that unemployment rates in Arkansas determine growth in national GDP. The global warming question is, in fact, five distinct questions:

1. Is the planet’s climate changing?

2. If so, is the rate of change cause for concern?

3. If so, can human activities contribute to the rate of change?

4. If so, is the degree to which human activities contribute to the rate of change significant compared to other forces?

5. If so, is it wiser to attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that it is to adapt to the changing climate?
Only if one answers all five questions in the affirmative can one justify further reductions in fossil fuel use. When one considers how scientists answer those questions, we find that the number who would answer every one with an unqualified “yes” hardly represents any sort of consensus at all.


Another dodgy assertion: Global plant die-off

A study on plant productivity that said drought and global warming were killing off plants worldwide is now being questioned by scientists, according to research published Thursday.

In the study published in the journal Science last year, researchers Maosheng Zhao and Steven Running of the University of Montana used NASA satellite data to show that productivity declined slightly from 2000-2009.

Those findings contradicted previous studies from the 1980s and 1990s that showed warmer temperatures in some parts of the world were driving longer growing seasons and greater plant growth around the globe.

Having more plants on Earth would be good news because it would help offset greenhouse gas emissions by absorbing more carbon dioxide.

While Running noted at the time that the findings came as "a bit of a surprise," the study raised concerns about global food security, biofuels and our understanding of the carbon cycle.

The new questions about the study, published in Science on Thursday, are posed by scientists at Boston University in the United States and the Universities of Vicosa and Campinas in Brazil.

A press release distributed to reporters by Boston University said their study is "refuting earlier alarmist claims that drought has induced a decline in global plant productivity."

Statements included by the researchers describe Zhao and Running's model as "erratic," "poorly formulated," and showing no "trends that are statistically significant."

However, scientists who were not involved in either paper said this was an excellent example of the scientific process at work, and should not be cast otherwise.

"The Boston University press release - using the term 'alarmist' - speaks of a university trolling for media as distinct from a university seeking to communicate excellence," Andy Pitman, co-director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, said in an email to AFP.

"Those involved in this exchange of views are all well respected and excellent scientists. What is going on here is the scientific method. Zhao and Running publish a paper. Others attack it. Others defend it. Over time we determine who is right. Perfectly legitimate science."

Pitman, who has seen the study but was not involved in it, said the new analysis points to a smaller trend of plant loss but still shows declines over large swaths of territory in southeast Asia and China.

"This does not mean that there has been no decline, or that Zhao and Running's results were wrong, rather it highlights how strong research groups can reach different conclusions when using different assumptions," Pitman said. "That opens up a rich vein of future research."

One of the key issues raised by critics was how the Zhao and Running study found a 0.34 percent reduction in the southern hemisphere's plant productivity, offset slightly by a 0.24 percent increase in the northern hemisphere, for a net decline of 0.1 percent over a 10-year period.

"This is the proverbial needle in a haystack," Simone Vieira, co-author and researcher at the State University of Campinas, Brazil, said in a statement. "There is no model accurate enough to predict such minute changes over such short time intervals, even at hemispheric scales."

Lead author Arindam Samanta, a graduate of Boston University who is now at Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts, said the initial study's model was based on data from a decade when temperatures were on the rise. "Their model has been tuned to predict lower productivity even for very small increases in temperature. Not surprisingly, their results were preordained," said Samanta.

According to NASA scientist Compton Tucker, who also reviewed the data, key questions to be resolved are whether the first study was accurate and whether its findings could be replicated over a longer period. "It's just like studying the stock market for a few years versus 30 years," Tucker told AFP.

"Most people think you need a record of about 30 years of whatever data you are using in order to indicate a trend." He said the publication of questions on the initial research should help advance knowledge in the area. "This is science, where you take one step forward and two steps back," he said.



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30 August, 2011

Al Gore and the silencing of debate

Yesterday I posted a link to a story about Al Gore claiming that any expression of skepticism about global warming is to him no different than racism. Here again is what Gore said,
“There came a time when friends or people you work with or people you were in clubs with — you’re much younger than me so you didn’t have to go through this personally — but there came a time when racist comments would come up in the course of the conversation and in years past they were just natural. Then there came a time when people would say, ‘Hey, man why do you talk that way, I mean that is wrong. I don’t go for that so don’t talk that way around me. I just don’t believe that.’ That happened in millions of conversations and slowly the conversation was won. We have to win the conversation on climate.”

More than at any other time, Gore here has very successfully illustrated the differences between how climate skeptics debate the scientific questions of climate change versus how global warming advocates do it.

When climate skeptics such as I talk about climate change, we do it by bringing up and discussing recent scientific discoveries that raise questions about global warming. For example, in the past week alone I have noted two different scientific papers that illustrate how earlier climate predictions by global warming scientists have proven to be either weak or simply unsuccessful. (See “Another IPCC prediction fails” and “Another Al Gore doomsday prediction bites the dust.”)

I was not expressing my opinion in noting these results. I was relating actual research that, from my interpretation, raised serious questions about the conclusions of people like Al Gore and other global warming scientists.

At the same time I have always been willing to admit that my interpretation of this data might be wrong, that the data itself is incomplete, and that it might even be proven wrong when new data is obtained. I as well as most climate skeptics by our very skepticism recognize the present limitations of the science and are gladly willing to see new data, even if it doesn’t correspond to our own conclusions.

This one of the primary reasons I gladly allow critical and sometimes blistering criticisms of my writing to be posted as comments on my website. I could be wrong. I want the science to win, not my opinions.

What is Al Gore’s approach? He believes that anyone who expresses any skepticism of his conclusions to be no different than a racist and should shut up, or be shut up by everybody else. He doesn’t bother to refer to any science to back up his position, nor does he expend any effort to explain or counter the recent science that raises serious questions about man-made global warming.

Nor is Al Gore alone in this kind of behavior. The entire climategate scandal centered on how global warming scientists in positions of power, such as Phil Jones, head of the government-funded Climate Research Unit, and Michael Mann, inventor of the hockey stick graph that claimed that the Earth’s climate only began warming in the last hundred years, did everything they could to prevent skeptics from getting published in any scientific journal.

Rather than debate the actual science, these pseudo-scientists wanted only to silence those who disagreed with them. Or as Andrew Klavin has noted, their detailed answer to any Doubting Thomas was to say, “Shut up!”

Al Gore and the climategate scientists had come to a conclusion. They are not interested in any new data. Any new data to them was the equivalent of being a racist or a denier of reality. In fact, global warming activists repeatedly use that term, denier, when they want to attack global warming skeptics. They don’t debate the facts, they simply try to destroy the skeptics by name-calling.

There is only one good thing about this mean-spirited and Stalinesque approach to open debate: It finally illustrates for all to see that guys like Al Gore and those who agree with him haven’t the faintest idea of what science is all about.

The fact is that science is skepticism. Good science questions data at all times. You have to let the bulk of the data eventually convince you of the right conclusion. And you must always recognize that additional data could easily change that conclusion again, and again.

In order for science to function properly, skepticism and questioning of all kinds must always be permitted. For Al Gore to say that the science of climate change will somehow be helped by demanding we silence the skeptics is so foolish and counterproductive I am almost at a loss for words. Above all, it certainly discredits what Al Gore and his supporters in the scientific community have to say about this important scientific debate.

As I’ve noted repeatedly, the science of climate change is still in its infancy. Our good climate data only goes back a few decades, beginning with the space age. Moreover, we really don’t understand everything that is going on in the Earth’s very complex climate. There are enormous gaps in our knowledge, and to say that anything is settled on this subject is downright foolishness.

As a nice example of what I mean, watch this hour long lecture by Jasper Kirkby, the chief scientist behind the CERN experiment that suggests very strongly that the long-term fluctuation of interstellar cosmic rays that hit the upper atmosphere — a fluctuation caused by the solar sunspot cycle — might have a significant influence on past climate change. Before Kirkby describes his experiment, he spends about 30 minutes outlining the copious data that exists suggesting the Sun might have a much greater influence on climate change than carbon dioxide.

To Al Gore, Kirkby is therefore a racist and should be silenced. To me, his lecture contains valuable knowledge about climate science and is worth watching until the end.

On which side do you fall? Our freedom, and the fate of western civilization, actually hangs on that choice.


Warmists say that the CERN work did NOT demonstrate cloud formation. That is true. It did however demonstrate particle formation, particles of the kind that form the nuclei of clouds.

And that is all that needed to be demonstrated. There is a long-known correlation between sunspots and weather and the CERN work demonstrates a mechanism for that. The facts were known. All that was needed was an explanation. That has now been provided -- JR

ClimateGate Is Not Over?

Penn State had no issue with research by Michael Mann and, with qualifications about his 'statistical analysis techniques', the National Science Foundation cleared him as well, so why hasn't this ClimateGate thing gone away?

The University of Virginia is providing ammunition for skeptics by citing 'proprietary nature' of some material requested under a Freedom of Information Act request, forcing a court order to get it.

Mann does himself - much less the University of Virginia or his lawyers - no good by delving into law interpretation with the rigor of his statistical analysis techniques, telling Science magazine
"U.Va has not turned over emails related to discussions of research, unpublished manuscripts, private discussions between scientists about science, etc.,--i.e., any of the materials that are exempt from release by state law...U.Va has simply turned over the non-exempt emails, and many of these were turned over to ATI months ago."

He seems to be bragging that UVA has stonewalled skeptics the way the University of East Anglia did, and which got them into trouble. What law says 'private discussions between scientists about science' are exempt from a Freedom of Information Act request? None.

Mann will be cleared of literal wrongdoing again, just like the NSF did, and he should be - but he needs to shut up and stick to research. He does more harm than good for climate science by being clever with Frankenstein graphs and now playing shade tree lawyer.

If he wants to have his emails exempt, he simply has to stop taking public money. Progressives in science who cheered Greenpeace efforts to condemn and harass skeptics using FOIA requests but cheer stonewalling now are hypocrites of the highest order.

Look for resolution, or at least some progress in the fight, next month. If there is nothing to hide, UVA might be better off just handing over the emails. If they are making a conservative stand about intrusion of big government into their affairs, that is darn ironic.


Climate change/Global warming blamed for crumbling stages

Whenever something bad happens, writers get their stories published if they blame it on climate change/global warming. Now it´s about music festival stages, which have begun crumbling:
For the fourth time this summer, a stage has crumbled during an outdoor show. This time it was at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium. The most recent official tally seems to be three people killed and 60 injured, with 11 of those injuries serious, though reports keep varying. Earlier this month, five people were killed when the stage collapsed during the Indiana State Fair, where country group Sugarland was performing.

The Smith Westerns were on stage when it went down. They tweeted, “Stage collapsed max almost got crushed by the tress. I hope pukkelpop has insurance bc all our shit is broke” and “Praying no one got hurt. Wtf.” In addition to Pukkelpop and the Indiana State Fair, a Flaming Lips stage fell apart during a storm in Oklahoma, damaging about $800,000 worth of equipment, and Cheap Trick narrowly avoided disaster when their stage collapsed during the Ottawa Blues Festival.

Like all the other collapses this summer, Pukkelpop happened when a massive storm blew into the area. It seems like climate change, shoddy construction, or some combination of the two has made outdoor festivals downright scary and dangerous....

Is it all part of Thomas Friedman “Global Weirding” phenomenon of unusually intense weather as a byproduct of climate change?

It is, of course, sad if badly built festival stages crumble, but it has nothing to do with climate change/global warming. There have always been storms and floods, and any temporary outdoor constructions have to be sturdy enough to be able to withhold them - or, alternatively, the event has to be cancelled. It´s just as simple as that.


British government minister attacks 'short-termist' plan for pylons

Greenie versus Greenie

Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, has said that the Government’s energy policy is “short-termist” and will blight areas of natural beauty with huge and expensive pylons.

Dr Fox is opposing plans for pylons to be built across his North Somerset constituency as part of a new transmission line from the Hinkley power station to Avonmouth.

Campaigners say that the 150-ft pylons will unnecessarily damage some of the country’s most attractive areas.

Similar transmission lines also are planned in Suffolk, Kent, Cumbria, north Wales and the Scottish Highlands, to transmit power from the new generation of nuclear power stations and new wind farms.

Dr Fox has written to Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, arguing that it would be cheaper to bury the power lines under ground, or to re-route the line under the sea.

The National Grid has said that the initial costs of burying power lines would be prohibitively expensive, but Dr Fox is arguing that in the long term, it is pylons that are more costly.

Buried lines require less maintenance than overhead lines, Dr Fox told his colleague, in a letter sent in June.

He cited calculations from independent engineers suggesting that over 40 years, the Somerset pylons would cost £1.1 billion, while a buried power line could cost half that.

“If we are to have credible green credentials then the decision needs to be taken on more than short-term economics ignoring the environmental impact in the longer term,” Dr Fox wrote.

Mr Huhne’s Department for Energy and Climate Change declined to comment. A National Grid report on the costs of alternatives to pylons is due out later this year.

Dr Fox is not the first Cabinet minister to oppose a major infrastructure project for constituency reasons.

Cheryl Gillan, the Welsh secretary, has hinted she is prepared to quit over the Government’s planned high-speed rail link, which would pass through her Chesham and Amersham seat in Buckinghamshire.


California Now Wants to Ban Your Styrofoam Containers

You can put your left overs in it. Keep your take out hot in it. Hold your drink in it. Pack your shipments in it. Put your lunch on it. You can even insulate your roof with it. But if California has its way, you will soon have nothing to do with it.

The “it,” if you haven’t guessed: Styrofoam. But only your Styrofoam containers are up for the ban at this point.

The bill, by Democratic state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, would prohibit restaurants, grocery stores and other vendors from dispensing food in expanded polystyrene containers, commonly known as Styrofoam, beginning in 2016. If signed into law, the measure would make California the first to institute a statewide ban on such containers. More than 50 California cities and counties already have similar bans.

The bill would exempt school districts and city and county jurisdictions if they implemented programs that recycled more than 60 percent of their foam waste.

Lowenthal said litter from the foam containers is one of the most abundant forms of debris found in city streets, sewers and beaches. “It’s not biodegradable, it’s not compostable, and if it’s in the water for a long time, it breaks up into small beads and lasts for thousands of years. It costs millions to clean up beaches,” he said

Opponents of the bill, however, say the move could cost business owners a lot of money, and it also doesn’t really address littering.

The Associated Press reports business owner Gary Honeycutt as saying the proposed ban would cost him thousands of dollars. And the biodegradable stuff? Doesn’t cut the mustard — or in his case cheese. “We put cheese on those omelets. And when we put the cheese on, it’s really hot and bubbly and it goes right through the biodegradable stuff,” he said.

Others say the bill fails to address the root cause of litter — the litterers themselves. Litterbugs will toss out the containers whether they’re made of polystyrene or biodegradable cardboard, said Michael Westerfield, corporate director of recycling for Dart Container. “At the end of the day, people that litter don‘t care what type of product they’re littering,” he said.

The California Chamber of Commerce has labeled the measure as one of its “job-killer bills,” saying it threatens manufacturing jobs while increasing costs for restaurants that will have to spend more on alternative containers.

And while Styrene, a chemical used to make the foam containers, was listed as “reasonably anticipated” to be a human carcinogen in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ June report on carcinogens,John Bucher, associate director of the National Toxicology Program, a division of the federal agency, disagrees: “The risks, in my estimation, from polystyrene are not very great. It’s not worth being concerned about.”

Tim Shestek, senior director of state affairs at the American Chemistry Council, agreed and said concern about negative health effects “is not supported by scientific information.” The group, based in Washington, D.C., is lobbying against the bill.

As Gawker points out, California has been on the ban-happy bandwagon these days, attempting to ban use of plastic bags, circumcision and successfully banning McDonald’s Happy Meal toys.


Health "co-benefits"

By Matt Ridley

Some years ago, presumably for having written books on genetics, I was elected a fellow of Britain’s Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS). This was a great honour and I was even more pleased to be invited to speak at one of their annual dinners.

Then, towards the end of 2010, there dropped through my letter box a newsletter from the AMS which included an item on the academy having signed up to an “international statement” on the “health benefits of policies to tackle climate change” together with other medical science academies around the world. The newsletter said that the health “co-benefits” of tackling climate change “show that climate change mitigation strategies need not be socially and economically demanding”. Since everything I was reading at the time about rising food and fuel prices driven partly by climate change mitigation policies was pointing to the opposite conclusion – namely that malnutrition and hypothermia were being increased by such policies, outweighing any health advantages – I went online to read the statement, to find out what I had been signed up to as a fellow.

I found a four-page document, devoted to expounding the good health side-effects of fighting climate change by cutting emissions. For example:
Results for the cities of London and Delhi show that a combination of substantially increased active travel, such as cycling and walking, and lower-emission motor vehicles could lead to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and the burden of chronic diseases.

Most of the statements in the paper referred to a special issue of the Lancet, which had appeared just before the Copenhagen climate summit and which I knew had drawn a heavily critical and very persuasive reply from the independent scholar Indur Goklany. Goklany’s point was that while of course there are health benefits to climate change mitigation, there are health risks too and that any reasonable discussion must come to the conclusion that today and through the foreseeable future, many other health risks outrank global warming in terms of death and disease, and are also more easily addressed.

The IAMP statement not only ignored Goklany’s argument but failed even to acknowledge that risks might outweigh benefits. It had only a three-sentence mention of the issue of health risks that did not even address the issue of relative weight:
However, some climate change mitigation strategies have the potential to damage health. For example, if biofuels are grown on land which could support food crops they could reduce food availability and increase food prices.28 Therefore all climate change mitigation strategies should be subject to health impact assessment.

I did not think this was good enough, so I wrote to the president of the AMS, Sir John Bell, a former university friend and colleague, as follows:
I recently received through the post the Interacademy Medical Panel (IAMP) report on the health co-benefits of policies to tackle climate change. I gather this has already been signed on our behalf.

I have to say I found the document very disappointing and not up to the standards of a scientific academy like AMS.

What it lacks is balance. There is no attempt to cite evidence of the harm that may be done by rushed mitigation of fossil fuel emissions, even though these are extremely well known. There is no attempt to balance the catalogue of harmsthat can come from warming with the catalogue of harms that come from othercauses, whose mitigation might be prevented by efforts to prevent warming.

For example, the report says that `Rising temperatures may increase heat related deaths and heat stress, particularly in urban centres as a result of the urban heat island effect'. Yet there is ample evidence that cold-related deaths exceed heat-related deaths - by about five to one in most of Europe. Even the excess death toll from the 2003 European summer heatwave was dwarfed by the excess death toll from cold in most winters. Last year there were over 25,000 excess winter deaths in England and Wales alone (see and the death toll is disproportionately high among the aged who face acute problems from fuel poverty caused in part by carbon mitigation policies such as wind power subsidies, which have increased energy prices. It follows that if the world warms by 2 degrees, and that warming is greater in the far north, in winter and at night - all of which are predicted by the GCM models - then the death toll from cold stress will undoubtedly fall. It is wrong of the report not to mention these points.

As for the health cost of carbon mitigation policies, we have a perfect example of this in recent years in the effect of biofuel policies on the price and availability of food. There is now no doubt that biofuel policies, motivated substantially by concern about climate change, have caused real increases in hunger in 2008 and again this year (not to mention destruction of rain forest). You can debate how important this is relative to the threat posed by climate change, but to ignore these arguments is negligent.

Consider the case of an African family at risk from hunger, dirty water, indoor air pollution (caused by cooking over wood or charcoal fires), and malaria. These four factors are among the greatest causes of ill health in the world, killing respectively about seven, three, three and two people per minute, far more than can be attributed to global warming. What this family needs is fertilizer, clean water, kerosene and bed-nets, not policies to slow a rise in global temperatures. Indeed, you can argue that getting kerosene cooking fuel to such families is the best way to reduce deforestation and hence carbon dioxide emissions.

Keeping climate at 1990 levels, assuming it could be done, would leave more than 98 per cent of human mortality causes untouched, and would consume resources that could be far more effectively spent on combating ill health now. You will be aware that malaria has been eradicated from large parts of the world not by cooling the world down but by combating it directly. You will be aware that death rates from natural disasters are down by 98% since the 1920s not because of policies to change the climate but because of improvements in transport, medicine, communication and technology.

I append some comments on the report from Indur Goklany, a highly respected scholar who has contributed to these debates in the peer-reviewed literature. His analysis confirms my suspicions that the paper is unbalanced and misleading.

I received a courteous but non-committal reply from Sir John saying that he would pass on my comments to his colleague Dr Robert Souhami and that he welcomed by engagement with the issue.

More HERE.

All they did was duck and weave, of course. They answered none of Ridley's points and complied with none of his requests. I would be astounded by such scientific dishonesty if I had not seen much the same at work in other politically-relevant writing by academics -- JR


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


29 August, 2011

Childish NYT links big storm to global warming

Dr. Martin Hertzberg wrote the following in reply

As expected, the scientific illiteracy of the N. Y. Times journalists was again displayed for all to see in the 8/28/11 article by Justin Gillis trying to link Hurricane Irene to "human-induced (global) climate change" caused by "greenhouse gases trapping extra heat".

Nowhere in the article is the real cause even mentioned: the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (la Nina / El Nino cycles). Our current la Nina phase concentrates warmer surface waters in the western regions of oceans increasing the frequency and intensity of hurricanes and typhoons. For that phenomenon, human CO2 emission is about as significant as a few farts in a hurricane.

Gases do not "trap heat" and the "greenhouse effect" is devoid of physical reality: one of the greatest frauds in the history of science. The greenhouse belongs in the outhouse: it is a load of crap!

Too bad that your reporter didn't bother to contact the half dozen or so real hurricane experts in the world. The hurricane of 1938, which I experienced personally while walking home from 3rd grade at P. S. 109 in Brooklyn, was far more powerful than Irene at a time during the Great Depression when human CO2 emission was an order of magnitude lower than it is today. So much for the kind of anecdotal dribble that your journalists are so fond of citing.

Received by email from the author

A Weather Newsgasm

By Alan Caruba

What major weather events and especially earthquakes tell us is that we live on planet Earth on its terms, not ours. Put another way, we don't "control" the weather or climate and, despite decades of global warming lies, compared to the sun and oceans, we don't even influence it.

The best definition of the weather is "chaos." It will do whatever it wants to do.

By Friday on Fox News and other television news outlets, it was non-stop coverage of Hurricane Irene even though it was barely beginning to touch the North Carolina coast. If there is one thing the news media loves it is a really big potential disaster.

By Saturday afternoon as Irene passed over North Carolina, Anthony Watts, a veteran meteorologist and commentator on, was reporting, "What we have here at this point appears to be a tropical storm. By the time it reaches New York, it may very well just be a tropical depression on par with a Nor'easter in intensity." But not a hurricane.

At one point late Saturday, I clicked the remote on every local channel and on every cable news channel. Every single one was reporting on the hurricane. According to my blogger pal, Texas Fred, that's a "newsgasm".

By Sunday morning, the drenching rain, but no high winds, was already moving north out of New York City and northern New Jersey where I live.

The incessant "news" coverage reflects the way television (and print) news professionals tend to regard viewers as too stupid to make decisions as basic as preparing for the hurricane or evacuating before its arrival, nor do they just report the news, i.e., the facts. So far as Irene was concerned, they engaged in massive speculation and endless predictions.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) became an acronym for incompetence. Presumably lessons have been learned and the agency will perform more effectively if needed.

Americans have been taught that the federal government will always come to their rescue and it rarely does with any efficiency and usually with a great waste of money and resources. Local first responders are usually the best and most reliable.

In a society that is utterly and completely dependent on electricity to function, it is always a sobering experience for many to discover how useless every single appliance in their home or apartment becomes without it.

I am sure I am boring people to death by repeatedly pointing to the way government at the federal and state level, along with many environmental organizations are deliberately making it difficult, if not impossible, to build coal-burning or nuclear utilities. As for transportation, the same forces are allied against any oil exploration and extraction. There hasn't been a single new oil refinery built since the 1970s. That's insane.

Now they are gearing up to deter natural gas extraction using "fracking" even though this technology has been in safe use for fifty years. The discovery of vast new reserves of natural gas should be greeted as welcome news by everyone. Only the luddites want us to return to mythical "simpler" times that never existed. It is still easier and a whole lot faster to take the train from New York to Washington, D.C. than to ride a horse.

If a foreign invader had imposed the same limits on our ability to access and use our own vast national reserves of coal, oil and natural gas, we would be in the streets with metaphorical pitchforks.

Returning to the theme of hurricanes, does anyone remember how Al Gore and other global warming liars were predicting that global warming would cause more hurricanes? Well, the East Coast has been through a period of some five years without one making landfall. Since there never was any dramatic global warming, there never was a connection between the two.

It's worth remembering the previous decades since the late 1980s that were filled with reports from the full panoply of the print and broadcast media. They assured us that global warming was going to transform all life on earth unless we stopped producing carbon dioxide emissions, i.e., "greenhouse gas" emissions. It was a scam to sell bogus "carbon credits."

This is the same bull we keep hearing about "renewable" energy, wind and solar power, along with ethanol and biofuels. The latter wastes food-corn-and the former wastes open space along with taxpayer's and consumer's hard earned money.

We are constantly assailed with extremely dubious, if not outright lies that involve something "scientific", but science has been corrupted with too much environmental claptrap, political correctness, and devious chicanery. There are good sources of information, but the government and the media are not among them.

Trust your common sense. It is usually a good guide.


Deadliest US hurricanes occurred when CO2 levels were "safe"

All but one of the ten deadliest US hurricanes occurred with "safe" CO2 levels below 350 ppm:


The Worst Hurricanes In Terms of Loss of Life In the United States

1. The Great Galveston Hurricane
Galveston, Texas
September 8, 1900
This unnamed hurricane caused the greatest loss of life of any Hurricane in recorded US history. First tracked in Cuba as a tropical storm on Sept. 3, it hit Galveston as a Category 4 Hurricane. An estimated 6,000 - 12,000 people died as storm tides of eight to 15 feet washed over the barrier island. The tragedy was documented in the recent book, Isaac's Storm.

2. San Felipe-Okeechobee Hurricane
September 16 - 17, 1928
The fourth strongest Hurricane to hit the US mainland caused a lake surge on the inland Lake Okeechobee in Florida that rose as high as nine feet, flooding nearby towns. A total of 1,836 people died in Florida; another 312 died in Puerto RIco, and 18 in the Bahamas.

3. Hurricane Katrina
Louisiana, Mississippi
August 25 - 29, 2005
Making landfall as a Category 4, Hurricane Katrina caused immense flooding in New Orleans. More than 800 deaths currently are being blamed on Katrina.

4. The Long Island Express
North Carolina to New York
September 20 - 22, 1938
The Long Island Express roared past North Carolina on September 20, and hit Long Island on September 22 as a Category 3. Storm surges of 12 - 16 feet killed at least 600.

5. The Great Labor Day Storm
September 2, 1935
One of just three Category 5 Hurricanes to make landfall in the US, the Great Labor Day Storm was responsible for 423 deaths in Florida. Most of those occurred when a train carrying World War I veterans was overturned. The Hurricane also was notable for providing the setting for the Humphrey Bogart - Lauren Bacall movie, Key Largo.

6. Hurricane Audrey
Texas and Louisiana
June 26, 1957
Audrey was a Category 4 that caused eight to 12 foot storm surges that moved inland as far as 25 miles through low-lying areas of Louisiana. The storm is blamed for 390 deaths.

7. The Great Miami Hurricane
September 18, 1926
The Great Miami Hurricane struck Miami directly with little warning. The town of Moore Haven on the south side of Lake Okeechobee was completely flooded by lake surge from the hurricane. Hundreds of people in Moore Haven alone were killed by this surge, which left behind floodwaters in the town for weeks afterward. The Red Cross lists the death toll at 373, although the total may be higher because much of the population at the time was either new, or transient, with no one to account for them.

8. The Grand Isle Hurricane
September 20, 1909
This Category 4 storm struck the mainland between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. It is blamed for at least 350 deaths.

9. The Atlantic-Gulf Hurricane
Florida, Texas
September 10 - 14, 1919
This hurricane struck the Keys as a Category 4, and Texas as a Category 3. US mainland losses are recorded as 287, but more than 500 more people apparently were lost at sea as the storm destroyed ten ships.

10. Unnamed Storm
New Orleans, Louisiana
September 30, 1915
In a frightening precursor to 2005's Hurricane Katrina, this unnamed Category 4 Storm flooded Lake Pontchartrain, causing it to overflow its banks and killing 275 people.

11. Unnamed Storm
Galveston, Texas
August 5, 1915
In spite of a seawall built following the devastating 1900 storm, this Category 4 hurricane once again devastated the city of Galveston, Texas. It killed 275.


Spreading 'Big Oil' Subsidy Disinformation

Every American manufacturing company gets tax deductions that help it create jobs and strengthen our economy - whether it produces newspapers, furniture, cars or fuel. Eliminating those deductions would increase unemployment and further slow our nation's desperately needed economic recovery.

Yet that is precisely what President Obama wants to do when oil companies want to use the deductions. It is one of many ways the Obama administration is undermining the oil industry and 9.2 million Americans whose jobs it supports. It is part of the administration's strategy for replacing fossil fuels with heavily subsidized "alternatives" that taxpayers cannot afford, and consumers will not purchase on their own.

Newspapers that benefit from the same genre of tax deductions as oil companies nevertheless sometimes join attacking the oil industry, and the jobs and benefits it creates. This is rank hypocrisy.

"If Republicans are truly determined to slash the budget and end government waste," the New York Times editorialized, "they will start [by] ending the web of tax breaks enjoyed by the rolling-in-dough oil industry and terminating the ethanol subsidy. Together these cuts would save up to $100 billion over 10 years."

The Times is right about ending ethanol subsidies. But it and other "progressives" are wrong on every other argument they present to justify their job-killing, economy-crippling energy agenda.

1) Oil industry tax deductions cover costs incurred in exploration, drilling, production, transportation and refining. They aren't subsidies or special tax breaks. They are essentially the same deductions claimed by all manufacturers, in conducting their business under our complex tax code. They ensure that businesses recover their costs and get taxed only on net income, in the process of making essential products.

Refineries and petrochemical manufacturers play an especially vital role in the oil industry - transforming crude oil and natural gas into fuels and raw materials used to make fabrics, plastics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, fertilizers, carpets, paints, roofing, siding, and myriad other products that improve and safeguard our lives. Solar panels and resins for fiberglass wind turbine blades are also petroleum-based.

The NY Times itself enjoys similar tax breaks, and hasn't offered to give one of them up, to help end government waste. Nor have other newspapers, some of which have even sought to benefit under the "failing newspaper act," which would let them operate as "educational nonprofits," and pay no taxes. Others have sought exemptions from antitrust laws, so that they can set online subscription prices.

In truth, in this internet and online media age, we could live without newspapers. But as an American Express advertising executive might say, Oil: You can't leave home without it. Nor can you have modern civilization or improved health and living standards without it.

2) Most petroleum companies aren't "Big Oil." They're small independents. And the entire industry operates under government policies and regulations that keep many of America's best oil and gas prospects off limits and make leasing, exploration and drilling needlessly expensive and time-consuming. Between 1981 and 2008, the largest consolidated oil companies ("Big Oil") alone paid $1.95 trillion in severance, property, excise, sales and corporate income taxes, the Tax Foundation reports.

Eliminate the tax deductions amid the current regulatory and political climate, and fewer wells will be drilled, fewer deposits will be profitable enough to develop, fields will be abandoned prematurely, royalty revenues will decline, refineries will close or move overseas, workers will lose their jobs, their income tax payments will morph into welfare checks, and we will import still more oil and refined products.

3) A primary reason oil and gasoline prices are so high, unemployment is stuck at 9% and our economic growth is anemic is that government has made most of our western states, Alaskan and Outer Continental Shelf energy prospects off limits. It raises unfounded concerns about hydraulic fracturing, and drags its feet on permits for lands that supposedly are "available" for leasing and drilling. In short, it chokes off supplies. Meanwhile, politicians stoke demand - with legislation like the NAT GAS Act. That bill would obligate US taxpayers to pony up some $14 billion annually in subsidies (aka, tax credits and rebates), to encourage motorists to buy natural gas-fueled cars and trucks, and service stations to install natural gas fueling stations.

Eliminate oil company tax deductions: "save" $4 billion. Subsidize car and truck purchases: spend $14 billion. It's unsustainable. It's insane.

4) Real subsidies take money taken from society's productive sectors, and transfer it to legislators and bureaucrats, who give it to companies that "deserve" funding, because they provide politically favored products or could not remain in business without perpetual infusions of Other People's Money. You support our reelection, our "catastrophic manmade global warming" thesis and our commitment to a renewable energy future, and you'll continue receiving taxpayer cash - until the OPM runs out.

Evergreen Solar received $486 million in federal and state subsidies - but still closed its doors and fired 850 workers, when the subsidy well ran dry. The same thing happened to five of six solar companies in Germany. The jobs went to China and Malaysia, which have lower costs and fewer regulations.

5) Even with subsidies, wind and solar still can't compete, unless they are also exempted from endangered species and other environmental laws. If you shoot an eagle, or birds die in an uncovered oil company waste pit, fines and possibly prison terms are meted out. But wind farms slaughter bald and golden eagles, falcons, hawks, curlews, bats and other threatened, endangered and just plain majestic sky dwellers with no consequences. They even get fast-tracked through the environmental review process by the same Interior Department and EPA that routinely delay or deny oil and gas applications.

6) Then there's ethanol. Producing 13.2 billion gallons of it in 2010 required one-quarter of all the corn grown in the United States - monopolizing 23 million acres (Grade A cropland the size of Indiana) and consuming 1.2 trillion gallons of water, along with prodigious amounts of petroleum in the form of fertilizer and tractor, truck and distillery fuel. While corn growers get rich, higher corn prices mean pork and chicken producers pay more for feed, meat producers are driven out of business, manufacturers pay more for corn syrup, consumers pay more for food, and more jobs disappear.

America could produce far more gasoline from a mere 2,000 acres in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (1/20 of Washington, DC), if anti-oil zealots would end their opposition to drilling in the frozen tundra.

And still ethanol enjoys fuel pump mandates, $6 billion in annual subsidies, and tariffs against foreign competition - so that consumers can "choose" a fuel that gets a third fewer miles per gallon than gasoline.

Meanwhile, the Defense Department is doing a theirs-not-to-reason-why Light Brigade charge into the jaws of biofuel R&D - and extolling the virtues of camellia-based jet fuel that costs $67 a gallon, versus $5 per gallon for aviation gas that could also come from ANWR, the OCS and other off-limits US lands.

The bottom line is simple. The worst thing we can do is what President Obama is intent on doing: use the mythical revenues he expects from eliminating oil company "subsidies and tax breaks" to increase federal wind, solar and ethanol subsidies by another 50% (to $18 billion a year) - so as to "foster the clean energy economy of the future and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change."

As should be abundantly clear by now, these energy sources are not so clean or eco-friendly. They can't exist without perpetual subsidies. They are simply not sustainable. To provide reliable, affordable, ecological, sustainable energy . put people back to work . rejuvenate our economy . and generate trillions in new government revenue - we need to do three things.

Open America's public lands for responsible hydrocarbon development. Take the boot off the neck of American businesses. And get rid of all the subsidies, bailouts, targeted tax breaks, selective tariffs, mandates to purchase ethanol and other products, and other corporate welfare gimmicks that make tax lawyers and lobbyists more important than researchers, trained workers and top-flight CEOs.


Africa's Mosquito Population Declining, Malaria Cases Falling - Opposite of IPCC's "Experts" Prediction

The UN's IPCC and world health experts predicted that global warming would grow the mosquito population and cause an increase in malaria incidence. There was no prediction by these "experts" that the mosquito population in portions of Africa would actually plummet and new malaria case numbers would shrivel. In fact, that is what has happened in Tanzania say scientists.

Researchers have found that the number of mosquitoes per insect trap has fallen from 5,000 to 14 over a 10-year period. This took place in villages with no DDT or bed nets. Some researchers think the decline is due climate change but there is no convincing evidence that would confirm that.
"But the lead author of the study...says that he is not convinced that it is just the changing climate..."It could be partly due to this chaotic rainfall, but personally I don't think it can explain such a dramatic decline in mosquitoes, to the extent we can say that the malaria mosquitoes are almost eradicated in these communities..."What we should consider is that there may be a disease among the mosquitoes, a fungi or a virus, or they're may have been some environmental changes in the communities that have resulted in a drop in the number of mosquitoes"...The research team also found anecdotal evidence that their discovery was not an isolated case..."Other scientists are saying they can't test their drugs because there are no children left with malaria.""


New paper finds CO2 GOOD for corals and molluscs

When transplanted to CO2 vents, they calcify and grow faster than normal. Warmists have long claimed that rising CO2 will kill them all off

A paper published in the September 2011 edition of Nature Climate Change finds that corals and molluscs transplanted to 'acidified' areas along CO2 vents in the Mediterranean were surprisingly "able to calcify and grow at even faster than normal rates when exposed to the high CO2 levels projected for the next 300 years."

To add the requisite alarmist spin for publication in Nature, however, the scientists returned to the laboratory where they cranked up the 'acidification' along with heat to find they could then decrease calcification slightly.
Coral and mollusc resistance to ocean acidification adversely affected by warming

By Rodolfo-Metalpa R. et al.


Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations are expectedto decrease surface ocean pH by 0.3–0.5 units by 2100, lowering the carbonate ion concentration of surfacewaters. This rapid acidification is predicted to dramatically decrease calcification in many marine organisms. Reduced skeletal growth under increased CO2 levels has already been shown for corals, molluscs and many other marine organisms. The impact of acidification on the ability of individual species to calcify has remained elusive, however, as measuring net calcification fails to disentangle the relative contributions of gross calcification and dissolution rates on growth.

Here, we show that corals and molluscs transplanted along gradients of carbonate saturation state at Mediterranean CO2 vents are able to calcify and grow at even faster than normal rates when exposed to the high CO2 levels projected for the next 300 years. Calcifiers remain at risk, however, owing to the dissolution of exposed shells and skeletons that occurs as pH levels fall.

Our results show that tissues and external organic layers play a major role in protecting shells and skeletons from corrosive sea water, limiting dissolution and allowing organisms to calcify. Our combined field and laboratory results demonstrate that the adverse effects of global warming are exacerbated when high temperatures coincide with acidification.

SOURCE of abstract



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


28 August, 2011

IPCC Censorship

When I read the sort of thing below I am always reminded of the old Quaker paraphrase of John 3: 19-20: "The children of the light love the light, and walk in the light, but the children of darkness walk in darkness, and hate the light" -- JR

By Prof. Claes Johnson

Here is a fresh example how IPCC suppresses science which does not support the CO2 alarmism IPCC presents to the world and its leaders:

I was invited to participate in discussions on climate science in Brussels Sept 1-2 with the following letter of August 20:
SEII (Société Européenne des Ingénieurs et Industriels, Prof Henri Masson) organizes a conference for Fred Singer and Claes Johnson at the Fondation Universitaire in Brussels on September 1, at 18 h00. Official invitation from SEII follows by E-mail.

The next day 2 September there will be a workshop with some of our Think Tank . Our preliminary programme looks as follows:

18h15 S. Fred Singer : What is new in climate change?

19 h 00 Claes Johnson : Blackbody radiation and Climate Thermodynamics

19 h45 to 20 H30 : Questions and Answers

We are very happy to have this opportunity to bring together scientists and some politicians (we hope) and get some useful and interesting discussions.

No official invitation by SEII followed. Instead the following letter [Google translation] was sent on August 22 by Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Vice-Chair of IPCC, Membre de l'Académie royale de Belgique, on mission in the US, to Fondation Universitaire:
Subject: SEII and scientific integrity


The SEII it implicitly supports the denial climate on the eve of World Congress of Engineers in Geneva dedicated to the energy (when I have the honor of giving a "keynote lecture")?

The use of the stationery of SEII by your administrator Mr Masson for the attached invitation suggests. Unfortunately, despite a phrase to indicate that the hypocrite SEII no "sponsors" not the event.

You should know that Mr. Fred Singer is a person whose scientific integrity leaves much to be desired. Its activities are financed disinformation by the lobbies of fossil fuels (see XXXXXXXXXXXXXX), and it is scandalous that such a person may be associated, directly or indirectly, to SEII and the University Foundation.

Eminent colleagues have written that Mr. Johnson was no better. One of his "textbook" recently, where he spoke at random through climate change, published by the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, Sweden) had to be retracted by him so it contained errors.

Thank you very quickly to tell me what measures SEII take to distance themselves from this "event"? I would be happy also to know what is the mandate of this "think tank" of SEII on climate change that Mr. Masson chairs (although his resume is not available at the University of Antwerp, and I've never heard of his skills in climate).

Sincerely, Prof.. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele

The effect of the letter was that the SEII/Fondation Universitaire seminar was cancelled, stopped, censored. IPCC managed to suppress questioning of the science presented by IPCC, by a forceful intervention by one of its vice-presidents.

What to say about this? Well, I am not surprised. I read that the burning of my mathematics book by KTH supported by media and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (documented as KTH-gate), is now used to motivate to also mute my voice.

But why these hysteric reactions from IPCC? There must be something in what I am saying (and/or Fred Singer), which is very dangerous to IPPC.

What is it? Van Ypersele knows. But will van Ypersele succeed in preventing IPCC from collapse under scientific scrutiny?

To burn books because they contain some incorrectnesses would be an overwhelming task: All books contain something which is incorrect. The only real reason to burn a book or suppress an oral presentation is that what is presented is correct, but unpleasant to some.

For a summary of my criticism of IPCC climate science, see my presentation at the annual meeting of Stockholm Initiative.

PS Here is a reaction from Fred Singer:
Why am I not surprised by this disreputable action of this IPCC officer.After all, we know from Climategate emails that these people will go to any length to suppress scientific dissent. Even to libel and to use bald-faced lies.

Of course, I am not supported by fossil-fuel industry. That is complete nonsense and invention. My Europe visit is paid by the Ettore Majorana Foundation -- to give an invited talk at a climate conference in Erice. I am using the occasion to accept additional invitations to speak (without lecture fees) at the Univ of Hamburg, Imperial College, Univ of Paris - Jussieu, and of course at the KNMI in De Bilt. By happenstance I was also invited to address 100+ engineers in Zurich.

Our IPCC colleague van Yp also questions my honesty. Well now -- the IPCC has been using me as a scientific reviewer, I publish regularly in peer-reviewed journals and am an elected Fellow of several scientific societies. So there must be some who disagree with van Yp.


UVA goes all in on Climate Gate FOIA coverup

The University of Virginia has joined a list of institutions claiming that there has been an actual inquiry into, and even 'exoneration' of, scientists exposed by the November 2009 "ClimateGate" leak, while simultaneously through its actions making a mockery of the idea.

UVa's August 23 release under court order of 3,800 pages of emails - records that UVa previously denied existed - was its second since the American Tradition Institute (ATI) sought judicial assistance in bringing the school into compliance with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA).

The school has spent approximately $500,000 to date keeping these records from the taxpayer, who paid for their production to begin with.

The university again labored to avoid releasing correspondence directly addressing the now discredited “Hockey Stick” graph produced while former assistant research professor Michael Mann worked there.

At least 126 of those emails were sent to or from Mann at UVa and were central to ClimateGate, which exposed a purported, now disavowed temperature record, as well as the Hockey Stick and related activities by scientists to keep dissenting work from publication. The emails showed scientists circling the wagons to protect their claims, funding and careers.

Each of these 126 UVa ClimateGate emails, as with other related Mann correspondence with third parties of which we are aware, is covered by our VFOI request. Not one of them made it into UVa's releases.

UVa acknowledges withholding between 3,500 and 4,000 more pages. This likely represents around ten times the original number of UVa emails revealed in “ClimateGate.”

Even before ATI was able to review these emails, Mann described the release to Science Magazine, indicating a collaborative effort with the university in what amounts to hiding from the taxpayer efforts to derail exposure of the “Hockey Stick.”

We certainly appreciate that he is worried. But no argument exists that these records belong to Mann. Further, the VFOIA protects the taxpayers' interests and, secondarily, the university's. Not former faculty whose actions, once revealed, created a dense cloud of suspicion over their work.

These records are inarguably the property of the University of Virginia and therefore, barring a legitimate exemption under VFOI, the Virginia taxpayer.

A useful example of complying with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act is George Mason University's prompt release to the media of correspondence from Professor Edward Wegman.

In one of life's coincidences, these involved Wegman's work exposing the dubious methods involved in creating the “Hockey Stick.”

ClimateGate emails sent or received by Mann's UVa email address include certain now-notorious, often nasty missives, many highly questionable from a legal or ethics perspective and most reflecting wagon-circling by alarmists discussing how to defeat substantive challenge and even requests for transparency involving an already published paper.

It is reasonable to surmise that these are among the 9,000 pages UVa finally identified as responsive to ATI. If so, each of them is being withheld on the remarkable claim that they are "Data, records or information of a proprietary nature produced or collected by or for faculty ... in the conduct of or as a result of study or research on medical, scientific, technical or scholarly issues." Really.

Excerpts of apparently scholarly research of commercial intent and value presumably include the ClimateGate gems "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!", and one gleefully noting the death of a skeptic who had dared correspond with them.

This is the sort of Top Secret “proprietary” emails UVa will risk fortune, reputation and sanction to keep from producing. A UVa official informed us on no less than three occasions that the school was, in effect, ignoring the law's mandate to interpret exemptions narrowly.

Clearly he wasn't kidding. But will the court will find this funny?

The university's legal argument remains hazy but, if it is indeed grounded in the such correspondence being somehow “proprietary,” this latest act in UVa's deeply troubling history on this matter threatens to permanently tar a name built over many years, if by the achievements of others who surely weep in their graves over the ongoing spectacle.

This is a school that prides itself on its honor code. Yet instead of acting forthrightly like its fellow ward of the taxpayer, George Mason University, UVa exacerbates the scandal and the increasingly warranted public distrust of Big Science, particularly “climate” science, an edifice built upon hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars annually and dedicated to keeping that gravy train rolling.

Why does this matter, outside of basic principles embedded in the law such as the taxpayers' right to know how their resources are being used, particularly when so much question exists about certain, well-funded activities?

Consider the UK High Court opinion about -- per the judge -- the global warming movement's "alarmist" claims, as featured in the film "An Inconvenient Truth:"

“[Claimant attorney] has established his case that the views in the film are political by submitting that Mr. Gore promotes an apocalyptic vision, which would be used to influence a vast array of political policies, which he illustrates in paragraph 30 of his skeleton argument:

“(i) Fiscal policy and the way that a whole variety of activities are taxed, including fuel consumption, travel and manufacturing … (ii) Investment policy and the way that governments encourage directly and indirectly various forms of activity. (iii) Energy policy and the fuels (in particular nuclear) employed for the future. (iv) Foreign policy and the relationship held with nations that consume and/or produce carbon-based fuels.”

This cannot be attended by such trifling by a public institution with its transparency obligations under the law. That the University of Virginia has chosen to persist in a campaign diminishing its stature and credibility changes nothing under that law. The taxpayers have rights, and we are exercising them.

Christopher C. Horner is director of litigation for the American Tradition Institute's Environmental Law Center, which is suing the University of Virginia.


Warmist backs off over Irene

Hurricane Irene hadn’t even made landfall in the United States before some people figured out what to blame it on.

“Irene’s got a middle name, and it’s Global Warming,” environmental activist Bill McKibben wrote Thursday night in The Daily Beast. He argued that this year’s hot Atlantic Ocean temperatures and active spree of hurricanes — coupled with droughts, floods and melting sea ice elsewhere on the globe — are “what climate change looks like in its early stages.”

Besides, “what’s a ‘tropical’ storm doing heading for the snow belt?” asked McKibben. He also said the storm represented bad timing for the Obama administration’s favorable environmental impact statement on TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which environmentalists label a danger to the Earth’s climate.

But not so fast, hurricane scientists say: Not only is it impossible to tie any single hurricane to global warming, but researchers are also still fiercely debating whether the changing climate is making — or will make — tropical cyclones either stronger or more frequent.

It’s also not even clear that hurricane seasons are getting worse over time, some researchers say. After all, New York City and Long Island have been hit by nine previous hurricanes from 1858 to 1991, according to NOAA records, including the disastrous 1938 storm known as the Long Island Express. And the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history struck 111 years ago — the 1900 storm that killed an estimated 8,000 people in Galveston, Texas.

“I think the state of the science is such that you cannot link any singular event to global warming,” said Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center near Miami.

Besides, Blake added, “there’s nothing new about a hurricane hitting the Northeast” — even if it's rarer than a storm that whacks Florida or the Gulf Coast.

On the other hand, some climate researchers say they do see signs of rising global temperatures behind the Atlantic basin’s increase in especially destructive hurricanes since the mid-1990s.

“I think the evidence is fairly compelling that we’re seeing a climate change signal in the Atlantic,” said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Citing other recent trends of extreme weather, including hailstorms and catastrophic tornadoes, “one begins to wonder, if you add all those up, maybe you are seeing a global warming effect.”

Still, Emanuel said, “I would be reluctant myself to say anything about global warming and Irene.” For one thing, he said, Irene hasn’t been an especially unusual hurricane.


Fewer Americans See Climate Change a Threat, Caused by Humans

Though climate change hasn't received quite the same attention it had back in 2006 and 2007, it's not too surprising that the vast majority of Americans still know at least something about it. But what they know exactly is changing, and national politics certainly seems to be playing a part.

According to a Gallup poll released Friday, 96 percent of Americans in 2010 said they know a great deal or something about climate change. And while that's down 1 percentage point from 2007 to 2008, it's not a significant change, especially considering how media attention to the issue has dropped off quite significantly since around 2007, when coverage was at its peak. [Read: Do Americans care about climate change anymore?]

However, what Americans who know about climate change think about it has changed quite a bit—namely, they see it as less of a problem—and that change has happened much more rapidly than in the four other top greenhouse gas emitting countries, China, Russia, Japan, and India. In 2010, according to the poll, only 55 percent of Americans believed climate change was a threat to them and their families. That's down 9 percentage points from 64 percent in 2007 and 2008. Also, the percentage of people who believe climate change results all or in part from human causes is down a full 11 percentage points. While 61 percent of Americans in 2007 and 2008 believed that humans were at least partially responsible for climate change, only half believed so in 2010.

In Japan, where a higher percentage of people say they know about climate change, the same decline in threat perception and belief in human causes happened too, though less significantly. In Russia, people's perception of threat went up from 2007 and 2008, but there was no change in the belief in human causes. Then, by contrast, in India, more people in 2010 (an increase of 16 percentage points, from 58 percent to 74 percent) believe that climate change is caused by humans. That same increase happened in China, though it was not as significant. [Read more from the Energy Intelligence blog.]

What's interesting about these results is that climate change has been a predominantly international issue, with the United Nations and its International Panel on Climate Change taking the lead on many initiatives and scientific reports. But, it's clear that rather than listen to the multilateral body—which continues to publicize both the threat and human causes of climate change—people, especially in the United States, are much more tuned in to the politics and the news of their own country.

In America, at least, the strong push from many climate change skeptics, which are now represented by many Republicans in Congress, appear to be making a difference in public views, particularly on the issue of whether humans are the cause. The more conservatives make noise denying the problem of climate change, perhaps, the more people, especially their base, catch on to that view. The decrease in media coverage may also play a role in the public's perception of threat, as climate change has been put on the backburner in favor of energy security and green jobs. [Read about whether global warming will matter in the 2012 elections.]

As Hurricane Irene bears down on the East Coast this weekend, expect a round of commentary from groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council calling attention to the effects of climate change. But, with the trend shifting away from believing in such warnings, it's unlikely that many Americans will even take notice.


Germany Shelves Climate Change Bill

The German Federal Government will not introduce a Climate Change Bill in parliament, contrary to its own plans, according to a report by "Frankfurter Rundschau", citing information by the opposition.

The Social Democrats (SPD) had asked if the promised climate change bill would be introduced in this legislative period. The government’s response: No, it won’t.

Thus the plans for the reduction of CO2 emissions have been permanently relegated to non-binding letters of intent. Originally, according to international obligations, greenhouse gas emissions should have been reduced by 80 percent by 2050, compared to 1990. Whether the expansion targets for renewable energy are also abandoned remains unclear.

Federal Environment Minister Röttgen had wanted to examine the feasibility of the Climate Change Act. But he failed to do so because of resistance from his own ranks.

In light of its so-called energy transformation, the Federal Government already had to present one or the other decision as plausible, even if plausibility seemed to be missing often.

So the Government reinvented the red-green nuclear phase-out, and in turn, slowed the expansion of renewable energy by cutting their subsidies. It also looks as if coal-fired power plants and offshore wind power are favoured for electricity generation, although this would create enormous difficulties.

On the one hand, the willingness to invest in coal-fired power plants is decreasing. The reason: if the centre right collation (of Christian Democrats and Free Democrats) were to be voted out of office, a drastic change of course in energy policy could happen - for example by a red-green government that would favour decentralized power generation.

On the other hand, offshore power generation brings with it enormous costs - for example, in network expansion. And even if there appears to be currently a new gold rush for wind farms on the high seas, if the grid is not expanded, the windmills would turn often idle in the future.

Meanwhile, the Bundeslaender have made themselves independent in terms of energy policy - with their own investment programmes, for example. This has led regional utilities to start making use of their chance at independence.

These developments are a direct consequence of the Federal Government’s gradual withdrawal from energy policy. The retreat, however, appears to be mostly reflexive - by misguided compromises or simply by constitutional problems, such as the nuclear phase-out. The bill for this mess is still pending.

SOURCE. (Transl. Philipp Mueller)

At Last: UK Government Goes Anti-Green

A long-awaited government report on green aviation policy has failed to endorse independent proposals for limiting the sector's rapidly growing emissions, to the dismay of green groups.

The government yesterday published its response to an analysis presented by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in December 2009, which warned that air travel could not increase more than 60 per cent on 2005 levels by 2050 if the UK was to meet legally binding targets to reduce emissions 80 per cent by mid-century.

Yesterday's formal response from the Department for Transport (DfT) acknowledged the CCC was right to warn that aviation emissions would result in the breaching of the UK's legal emissions limits "without further action".

It said aviation emissions were likely to reach 49 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year by 2050, just above the CCC's projections, although it added they could reach as high as 59 million tonnes by the same date.

But yesterday's report gave little indication as to how the government will stop emissions rising to this level when it publishes its Sustainable Framework for UK Aviation document early next year.

Instead, the response concentrates on encouraging further responses to its March scoping document on sustainable aviation, the consultation deadline for which has been extended to 20 October.

The document also underlined the government's reluctance to limit airport capacity, suggesting that displacing air traffic to other countries would not only damage the UK economy, but lead to "less-efficient routing of passengers and cargo, with a consequential increase in global demand for aviation and hence CO2 emissions".

Airlines are fiercely opposed to measures designed to reduce demand and instead have agreed voluntary technical and efficiency improvements they say will begin to help curb emissions, while also increasing investment in emerging biofuel technologies.

In a foreword to the response, transport secretary Philip Hammond made clear that cutting emissions from the sector should not compromise growth.

"I believe that to present the challenge we face as one of deciding between economic growth and reducing carbon emissions is a false choice," he wrote. "This government is anti-carbon, not anti-aviation, and our goal is to find ways to meet our carbon reduction targets while supporting economic recovery."

However, green groups said the government should prioritise demand reduction policies such as making the most of available capacity, introducing carbon caps, shifting more people to trains for domestic and short-haul flights and promoting greater use of videoconferencing.

They add that jet biofuels should only come into play once these measures have been taken.

Jean Leston, acting head of transport policy at WWF-UK, said the government was showing "a worrying lack of commitment" to including aviation emissions in the Climate Change Act or setting a national reduction target.



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


27 August, 2011

1075 Days Without A Hurricane Strike

It looks like the post-civil war record of 1,075 days without a US hurricane strike will end soon. This should be a disaster for climate alarmists, but the propaganda mill is totally corrupt and endemic to the system. They spin all weather events as proof of global warming, and are fully supported by their useful idiots in government and the press.

As CO2 has increased, US hurricane strikes have decreased.


Al Gore to Rick Perry: Climate scientists aren't motivated by money

This is excellent. Gore's attack puts the issue well and truly in play

Al Gore on Friday bashed the notion that climate scientists are manipulating data for financial gain, a charge levied by global warming skeptics, including GOP White House hopeful Rick Perry.

“This is an organized effort to attack the reputation of the scientific community as a whole, to attack their integrity, and to slander them with the lie that they are making up the science in order to make money,” Gore said in an online interview.

“These scientists don’t make a lot of money. They are comfortable, as they should be, but they don’t make a lot of money. That is not their motivation for doing what they do,” Gore added.

His comments came in a wide-ranging interview with Alex Bogusky, a prominent former advertising executive who is working with Gore on the former vice president’s Climate Reality Project.


Gore: Eat less meat to fight warming

Organic farming needs much more land per unit of output so is Gore proposing to cut down more forests to enable organic food production? Aren't forests "carbon sinks"?

Al Gore wants society to ditch meat-heavy diets and go organic to combat global warming.

"Industrial agriculture is a part of the problem,” Gore said Friday during an interview with FearLess Revolution founder Alex Bogusky. “The shift toward a more meat-intensive diet,” the clearing of forest areas in many parts of the world in order to raise more cattle and the reliance on synthetic nitrogen for fertilizer are also problems, he added.

Instead, Gore advocated organic farming and relying on “more productive, safer methods that put carbon back in the soil” to produce “safer and better food.”

In addition to big farms, Gore took a shot at the mining industry, calling mountaintop-removal mining a “horrible practice” that is “just incredibly harmful to the environment and to people.”

The former vice president also criticized climate change skeptics, urging those who support curbs to greenhouse gases to “win the conversation” when it comes to global warming. He compared the struggle against climate skeptics to the fight against racism during the civil rights movement.

When racist comments would come up in the course of conversations, “There came a time when people said, 'Hey man, why do you talk that way? That's wrong, I don't go for that, so don't talk that way around me. I just don't believe that.'”

That happened in millions of conversations, and slowly the conversation was won,” he said. “And we still have racism, God knows, but it's so different now and so much better. And we have to win the conversation on climate.”


Higher used car prices? Thanks, Nancy

Used car prices are up, an unusual occurrence that has been a boon to dealers but a drag on consumers — particularly lower income earners.

Blame a shortage of late-model examples on the aftermath of the Great Recession, the Japanese earthquake’s effect on the supply chain, manufacturers cutting back on fleet sales, higher gas prices … and Nancy Pelosi.

“The ‘cash for clunkers’ program of two years ago sent 677,000 older vehicles to the junkyards, as their owners cashed in on a federal subsidy for buying more fuel-efficient cars,” reminds the St. Louis Post –Dispatch.

That’s because they were evil. Pelosi & Co. declared them enemies of the planet that had to be destroyed on the altar of global warming.

So obsessive were Democrats that NHTSA actually advised car dealers to replace clunkers’ motor oil with a sodium silicate solution — then run it through the engine to ruin it so that scrap dealers couldn’t resell parts. This further penalized the used parts industry during an economic recession.

Your tax dollars at work.


Bureaucrats have gone rogue

G.O.P. presidential candidates should emphasize that reining in the E.P.A. is a constitutional imperative. Yes, Americans are worried about jobs and the economy, but arguing from constitutional principle immediately puts you on the moral high ground.

Which constitutional precepts are relevant here? Only the people’s representatives, not non-elected bureaucrats, should have the power to decide national policy. Legislative intent, not semantic cleverness, should determine the extent of an agency’s power. No one should be judge of his own cause.

The E.P.A. today is legislating climate policy under the guise of implementing a statute, the Clean Air Act, enacted in 1970, years before global warming was even a gleam in Al Gore’s eye. This is an egregious breach of the separation of powers. The claim that Congress gave E.P.A. such expansive powers in 1970 but just forgot to tell anybody is absurd.

G.O.P. presidential hopefuls should support the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which would overturn most of the E.P.A.’s greenhouse gas regulations.

How unreasonable, though, that Congress must pass a law to stop the E.P.A. from implementing policies Congress never voted on or approved. If a rule would have a major impact on society, or would make a major change in public policy, the rule should not take effect until proponents first persuade Congress to approve it.

The E.P.A.’s power grab is only the most extreme example of a larger malady: regulation without representation. Today, agencies not only develop regulatory proposals, but also enact the rules, based on analyses they themselves conduct.

This is too much power to vest in officials not accountable to the public at the ballot box. G.O.P. presidential contenders should thus also support the Reins Act, which would restore the separation of powers by explicitly making Congress responsible for regulatory decisions.


Pipeline to have minimal environmental impact but Obama still undecided

The Obama administration is working overtime to fight the perception that it's dissing green groups and rubber-stamping a controversial 1,700-mile oil pipeline.

On Friday, the State Department said the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada's oil sands to the Gulf Coast will have minimal environmental impacts, a conclusion that lifts a key roadblock to approving the permit.

But in a conference call with reporters, Assistant Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones repeatedly insisted the report isn't an indication the project is a done deal. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to make a final decision by the end of the year.

"Let me say very clearly: This is not the rubber stamp for this project," Jones said. "The permit for this project has not been approved or rejected at all."

Coverage that presents it as good or bad for the pipeline is "wrong," Jones said. "This is not a decision document. This is a document that presents the analytical data we have in regards to environmental impact." "It should not be seen as a 'lean in any direction,'" Jones added.



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


26 August, 2011

CERN Experiment Confirms Cosmic Rays Can Influence Climate Change

Despite the caution of the CERN Director General

Long-anticipated results of the CLOUD experiment at CERN in Geneva appear in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Nature (25 August). The Director General of CERN stirred controversy last month, by saying that the CLOUD team’s report should be politically correct about climate change (see my 17 July post below). The implication was that they should on no account endorse the Danish heresy – Henrik Svensmark’s hypothesis that most of the global warming of the 20th Century can be explained by the reduction in cosmic rays due to livelier solar activity, resulting in less low cloud cover and warmer surface temperatures.

Willy-nilly the results speak for themselves, and it’s no wonder the Director General was fretful.

Jasper Kirkby of CERN and his 62 co-authors, from 17 institutes in Europe and the USA, announce big effects of pions from an accelerator, which simulate the cosmic rays and ionize the air in the experimental chamber. The pions strongly promote the formation of clusters of sulphuric acid and water molecules – aerosols of the kind that may grow into cloud condensation nuclei on which cloud droplets form. What’s more, there’s a very important clarification of the chemistry involved.

A breach of etiquette

My interest in CLOUD goes back nearly 14 years, to a lecture I gave at CERN about Svensmark’s discovery of the link between cosmic rays and cloudiness. It piqued Kirkby’s curiosity, and both Svensmark and I were among those who helped him to prepare his proposal for CLOUD.

By an unpleasant irony, the only Svensmark contribution acknowledged in theNature report is the 1997 paper (Svensmark and Friis-Christensen) on which I based my CERN lecture. There’s no mention of the successful experiments in ion chemistry and molecular cluster formation by the Danish team in Copenhagen, Boulby and latterly in Aarhus where they beat CLOUD to the first results obtained using a particle beam (instead of gamma rays and natural cosmic rays) to ionize the air in the experimental chamber – see here

What will historians of science make of this breach of scientific etiquette? That Kirkby was cross because Svensmark, losing patience with the long delay in getting approval and funding for CLOUD, took matters into his own hands? Or because Svensmark’s candour about cosmic rays casting doubt on catastrophic man-made global warming frightened the national funding agencies? Or was Kirkby simply doing his best (despite the results) to obey his Director General by slighting all things Danish?

Personal rivalries aside, the important question is what the new CLOUD paper means for the Svensmark hypothesis. Pick your way through the cautious prose and you’ll find this:

“Ion-induced nucleation [cosmic ray action] will manifest itself as a steady production of new particles [molecular clusters] that is difficult to isolate in atmospheric observations because of other sources of variability but is nevertheless taking place and could be quite large when averaged globally over the troposphere [the lower atmosphere].”

It’s so transparently favourable to what the Danes have said all along that I’m surprised the warmists’ house magazine Nature is able to publish it, even omitting the telltale graph.

A graph they'd prefer you not to notice. Tucked away near the end of online supplementary material, and omitted from the printed CLOUD paper in Nature, it clearly shows how cosmic rays promote the formation of clusters of molecules (“particles”) that in the real atmosphere can grow and seed clouds. In an early-morning experimental run at CERN, starting at 03.45, ultraviolet light began making sulphuric acid molecules in the chamber, while a strong electric field cleansed the air of ions. It also tended to remove molecular clusters made in the neutral environment (n) but some of these accumulated at a low rate. As soon as the electric field was switched off at 04.33, natural cosmic rays (gcr) raining down through the roof of the experimental hall in Geneva helped to build clusters at a higher rate.

How do we know they were contributing? Because when, at 04.58, CLOUD simulated stronger cosmic rays with a beam of charged pion particles (ch) from the accelerator, the rate of cluster production became faster still. The various colours are for clusters of different diameters (in nanometres) as recorded by various instruments. The largest (black) took longer to grow than the smallest (blue). This is Fig. S2c from supplementary online material for J. Kirkby et al., Nature, 476, 429-433, © Nature 2011

Added to the already favourable Danish experimental findings, the more detailed CERN result is excellent. Thanks a million, Jasper.


Pesky! Global Coal Consumption Jumps Almost 50% – Yet Global Temps Drop!

A recently released BP report here shows that global coal consumption has risen over the last 10 years by almost 50%. So wouldn’t you think that all those millions of tons of emitted CO2 (food for plants) as a result would drive the global temperatures up? Have temperatures risen along with all that extra coal burning?

No they haven’t. In fact they’ve dropped slightly over the same period. So go figure!

The blue line shows skyrocketing global coal use, yet global temperatures have fallen

In the above chart the blue line shows global coal consumption, data taken here, Review of World Energy. According to the report, India and China alone are responsible for 90% of the world’s coal consumption increase, while renewable energy in the 2 countries plays nary a role. According to BP figures, global CO2 emissions rose 5.8% in the year 2010.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that China will add a whopping 600 gigawatts of coal power plant capacity by the year 2035, equivalent to the current capacity of the USA, EU and Japan – combined! So as China adds one coal power plant each week, Europe and the USA are lucky to get a single one approved during an entire year.

Demand for coal is not about to change directions any time soon. The IEA estimates that the global population will climb to 8.5 billion people by the year 2035. That means a huge growth in demand for power. Already today the sad truth is that 20% of the global population still has no access to electricity. Forcing the prices up with CO2 emission trading schemes and carbon taxes will only make the situation worse for the very poor.

But now that we know burning coal has hardly a noticeable impact on temperature and climate (zero-correlation), it’s high time to double our efforts in producing more coal so that the world’s demand can be satisfied so that bitter poverty may be alleviated once and for all.


Healing the planet: Greenpeace to spend five weeks ramming through "fragile/critical" Arctic ice with a 163-foot diesel-powered steel luxury yacht that can carry 111,744 gallons of fossil fuel

Into thin ice and heading back to the Arctic... Greenpeace UK

It’s been two weeks since our icebreaker the Arctic Sunrise left a busy Amsterdam for the Arctic Ocean....

At Greenpeace, one of the reasons we use the phrase 'climate change' and try to stay away from 'global warming' is that the changes are not happening in unison across the world. Climate change can mean colder winters in parts of Europe...

The ship and its crew will spend five weeks in the Arctic, and we will spend most of that time inside the Arctic sea ice

The 49.62m Motor Yacht ARCTIC SUNRISE by Vaagen Verft A/S - Charter World Luxury Yacht Charters on Superyachts

The motor yacht ARCTIC SUNRISE is a 50 metre 163 (foot) large steel ship which was created by Vaagen Verft A/S and devised by Vaagen Verft. A generous research boat ARCTIC SUNRISE is a particularily well designed Norway built superyacht which was launched to accolade in 1975.

...The motor yacht superstructure is made mostly from steel. With a width of 11.49 m / 37.7 feet ARCTIC SUNRISE has spacious room....

Installed with one MAK diesel-electric engines, ARCTIC SUNRISE is able to reach a maximum speed of 14 knots. She is driven by a single screw propeller. Her total HP is 2495 HP and her total Kilowatts are 1836. Concerning bow thruster maneuverability she was fitted with / Stern.

... Number of Crew Members: 30

Her Engine(s) is one 2495 Horse Power or 1836 Kilowatts Mak. Engine Model: 9M452AK diesel-electric. - Overall output: 2495 HP /1836 KW. - Approximate Cruise Speed is 13 nautical miles per hour. - Her top Speed is around 14 knots. - Fuel Capacity: 508000 L.


Your Belief In God Is Causing Your Denial Of AGW

Pesky that I am an atheist. And what the heck is a geographer doing talking psychology in a meteorology journal? Irrelevant expertise, it would seem -- JR

The title of this paper should have been, “They Won’t Believe Us Because They Believe In God.”

In his upcoming, peer-reviewed Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society paper “Making the climate a part of the human world” University of British Columbia geographer Simon Donner argues that religion is the cause of global warming denial.

Donner says that there is an “overwhelming consensus in the scientific community about the human influence on the climate system.” So his mind boggled that “Doubts about the scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change persist among the general public.”

He knows how smart he is, and he knows the vast brain power that lies behind the creation of general circulation models. A lot of—but not all —intelligent folks are telling the Great Unwashed the consequences of these models. Yet people don’t listen.

It does not make sense that the rabble should not heed their betters —worse, that these poor folks should directly challenge scientists!

It can only be, he attests, a deep-rooted belief in the “divine control of weather and climate” that causes the ordinary to reject the arguments of the extraordinary.

Donner acknowledges that other factors beside religion may cause the sheep to stray: there are organized efforts (read Big Oil) to promote skepticism, political pressures, and just plain stupidity (couched as “cognitive biases”).

But he ultimately blames those darned “hunter gatherers” and their lingering cultural belief that “the gods manage the weather.” In the battle for hearts and minds, climatologists always lose to the God of Thunder.

His evidence is built with faux-sophisticated, amateurish theology, for example in sentences like, “The weather god, who reigned supreme in early polytheistic belief systems, often emerged as the sole deity in later monotheistic religions; for example, the god ‘Yahweh’ of the Old Testament has been traced to a weather god from a particular region of ancient Palestine .”

In a table, the Book of Job is quoted, where Donner was surely delighted to find the words “clouds” and “lightning bolts.” Thank Yahweh for concordances!—tools which can be used by anybody to mine the depths of the mind of the Lord.

Donner’s suspicious that insurance companies used to blame “Acts of God” for disasters. Donner must therefore be pleased how far we’ve come when any maloccurrence is an act of (a rich) Man: even the 2004 Indonesian tsunami was blamed on human agents (specifically, George Bush).

Strangely, Donner sacrifices his main argument by admitting that in “secular communities, a broad sense that forces beyond humans control the climate may partly explain” denialism. He also negates his point by allowing that some religious groups “present climate change in apocalyptic frames.”

He is guilty of theory overreach when he ascribes religious motives to non-religious “‘radical’ environmental groups.” And then there’s his other counter-to-his-own-theory argument that “religious groups have expressed concern about the effects of human activity on the climate…. based on the Biblical concept of stewardship.” What makes these folks, whose minds are saturated with religious thought yet who do not deny, different than those who do?

Anyway, what’s the Solution? Why, education; what else? Fill the heads of the addled religious with cute, global-warming-is-true stories, because folks learn more “easily or more rapidly from personal or cultural experience than from numerical or statistical evidence, which require greater interpretative skills and effort.”

What Donner wants, though he does not use these words, is to Raise Awareness. There are sillier slogans of the modern world, but not many. Only those approaching zealotry are convinced that persuasion follows trivially from mere exposure to slogans, such as those provided at “interactive dialogues or forums.”

Yet once more our author sabotages himself when he suggests

"humility on the part of the scientists and educators. Climate scientists, for whom any inherent doubts about the possible extent of human influence on the climate were overcome by years of training in physics and chemistry of the climate system, need to accept that there are rational cultural, religious and historical reasons that the public may fail to believe that anthropogenic climate change is real, let alone that it warrants a policy response."

Donner’s main problem is to fail to acknowledge the complexity behind “belief” or “denial” in man-made global warming. Admitting that mankind influences climate is far different than agreeing that the effects of a changed climate are known with high certainty, that these effects will be universally deleterious, and that only the solutions offered by the left to “save the planet” are viable.

When a citizen is asked if he “believes” in AGW, it’s safer to say no, since it’s not clear what the question means, and since he won’t be certain the person who’s asking him isn’t using the question as an excuse to latch onto his wallet.


The latest moan: Cities are bad

The explosive growth of cities worldwide over the next two decades poses significant risks to people and the global environment. Researchers from Yale, Arizona State, Texas A&M and Stanford predict that by 2030 urban areas will expand by 590,000 square miles -- nearly the size of Mongolia -- to accommodate the needs of 1.47 billion more people living in urban areas.

"It is likely that these cities are going to be developed in places that are the most biologically diverse," said Karen Seto, the study's lead author and associate professor in the urban environment at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. "They're going to be growing and expanding into forests, biological hotspots, savannas, coastlines -- sensitive and vulnerable places."

Urban areas, they found, have been expanding more rapidly along coasts. "Of all the places for cities to grow, coasts are the most vulnerable. People and infrastructure are at risk to flooding, tsunamis, hurricanes and other environmental disasters," said Seto.

The study provides the first estimate of how fast urban areas globally are growing and how fast they may grow in the future. "We know a lot about global patterns of urban population growth, but we know significantly less about how urban areas are changing," she said. "Changes in land cover associated with urbanization drive many environmental changes, from habitat loss and agricultural land conversion to changes in local and regional climate."

The researchers examined peer-reviewed studies that used satellite data to map urban growth and found that from 1970 to 2000 the world's urban footprint had grown by at least 22,400 square miles -- half the size of Ohio.

"This number is enormous, but, in actuality, urban land expansion has been far greater than what our analysis shows because we only looked at published studies that used satellite data," said Seto. "We found that 48 of the most populated urban areas have been studied using satellite data, with findings in peer-reviewed journals. This means that we're not tracking the physical expansion of more than half of the world's largest cities."

Half of urban land expansion in China is driven by a rising middle class, whereas the size of cities in India and Africa is driven primarily by population growth. "Rising incomes translate into rising demand for bigger homes and more land for urban development, which has big implications for biodiversity conservation, loss of carbon sinks and energy use."


Mitt Romney Revises Climate Change Hoax View

Of course, the extreme left (which is most of them) will trot out their "anti-science" and "flat-earther" talking points: Mitt Romney tweaks climate stance
Hours after being called "mushy on environmental issues" by a Republican senator (it was Jim Inhofe), Mitt Romney has tweaked his position on global warming.

Asked Wednesday at a Lebanon, N.H., town hall meeting whether he believed in global warming and if humans contribute to rising temperatures, Romney said he doesn't know.

"Do I think the world's getting hotter? Yeah, I don't know that but I think that it is," Romney said, as reported by Reuters. "I don't know if it's mostly caused by humans."

So, he's gone from being a True Believer, to "I'm not sure." Personally, I could care less if someone is a Disciple of Gore. Sure, I'll attempt an intervention and get them to come back to reality and leave the cult, but, when it comes to a politician, the biggest thing to me when it comes to this, or any other issue, is what actions they will take
"What I'm not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don't know the answer to," he added.

THAT'S the part that I'm focused on when it comes to a person running for elected office: he won't actually Do Something about globull warming and will not act to Do Something to Someone Else.

Climate Depot's Marc Morano writes "Huntsman is the only candidate left who believes we can control the weather through taxes and regulation. The GOP is officially pro-science when it comes to man-made global warming."

And, for some comic relief, here are some Tweets from Alarmists on Hurricane Irene, which will be the first hurricane to his the US since Ike in September 2008, if it does, well over 1,000 days. Didn't alarmists say hurricanes would be more prevalent due to globull warming?

Oh, sorry, those last two are about the Virginia earthquake. Anyhow, the eyewall of Irene is projected to stay offshore, which would mean that, technically, Irene did not make landfall.



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


25 August, 2011

Does recent Oklahoma weather tell us anything?

There are many articles coming out which make similar claims to the one below. Note however the omissions. No climate skeptic was consulted for alternative statistics or explanations. And even if we accept that there has been a recent increase of big storms and wild weather, alternative explanations to global warming are readily available.

It has for instance recently been shown that storm incidence is heavily and rapidly influenceed by aerosol load. And there is no doubt that factories and cars have been putting out a lot of aerosols (minute particles that float in the sky) in recent years. Warming need have nothing to do with it. An increase in storms may have been triggered just by an upsurge in aerosols. Since global temperatures have not increased for over 10 years, aerosols are in fact the more likely culprit.

And the basic claim that weather has been more extreme in recent years is highly suspect. As has often been documented on this blog, there were many catastrophic weather events in the early 20th century -- long before the period nominated by Warmists as influenced by anthropogenic CO2.

In support of that suspicion, note that many of the extremes noted below are only "since 1980". Nice to cherrypick your starting point! In fact just picking out Oklahoma is also cherrypicking

Oklahomans are accustomed to cruel climate. Frigid winters and searing summers are often made more unbearable by scouring winds. But even by Oklahoma standards, it's been a year of whipsaw weather.

February was so cold — with the wind chill it felt like 16 below — that Tim Gillard installed a door in the long hallway of his home in the small farming town of Marshall, walling off three rooms to more affordably heat the rest of the house. Now, in this summer's unrelenting heat, his family huddles in the air conditioning behind that same door.

The Gillards' respite ended this month when a windstorm knocked out the town's electricity. That sent many of Marshall's 290 beleaguered residents out to their porches at night to sleep, cooler than inside but still sweltering. In July, Oklahoma's average statewide temperature of 89 was the highest ever recorded for any state.

Oklahoma's misery has been writ large across the country this year, which federal climate scientists have labeled one of the worst in American history for extreme weather. With punishing blizzards, epic flooding, devastating drought and a heat wave that has broiled a huge swath of the country, the 2011 weather has been unrelenting and extraordinary.

In addition to hundreds of deaths from cold and heat and tornadoes, the national economic toll for extreme weather so far this year is estimated at $35 billion, more than five times the average annual loss.

And, climatologists warn, get used to it. The year has been so wild that Gary McManus has given up keeping track of the weather records set in Oklahoma. Begrudgingly, McManus, the associate state climatologist, briskly rattled off a few:

—The all-time low temperature (31 degrees below zero).

—Greatest 24-hour snowfall total (27 inches).

—Most tornadoes in one month (50 in April).

There's been no measurable rain in the western half of the state since October. The 11-month period ending in August was the driest such period statewide since records were first kept in 1895.

McManus said this year's back-to-back weather calamities were "out of the realm of your imagining. It's not just that temperatures are above normal, it's that it's above normal for so many months in a row." And this is the state that bore the brunt of the Dust Bowl.

"It's Oklahoma, it's feast or famine," said Annette Gonzales, 58, acting Marshall postmaster. "It's always extreme."

Oklahoma's heat wave has so far claimed 14 lives. Since 2000, Oklahoma has had more federally declared weather-related disasters than any other state....

Climate scientists point to the predictable and cumulative effects of climate change — both hot and cold — to account for much of the extreme weather, although the connection between tornadoes and climate is not clear. In any event, scientists caution that the future will hold greater temperature extremes, and for longer duration.

Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say that extreme weather events have been more frequent since 1980.


Perry and Global Warming

Do the warmists questioning Governor Perry really believe in science and math?

Last week Rick Perry questioned the prevailing orthodoxy on global warming. There was, as is easy to imagine, no shortage of warmists waiting to pounce. Remarkably, one of the first questions later put to Governor Perry was whether he accepted the correctness of evolution — as if the science behind global warming was supported by even a tenth as much evidence as we have for evolution. What is troubling, however, is that some of the other candidates for the Republican nomination still accept the theory of man-made warming. Worse, they are apparently prepared to act on their beliefs if elected president.

First, allow me to be clear about one thing. The planet is warming. Well, it was until 1998, when the warming trend abruptly ceased. In truth, it has been warming since 1850, when the last mini–Ice Age ended. In the 161 years since then, the earth’s temperature has increased . . . wait for it . . . 0.7 degrees. But we can’t even be sure of that, as all the major temperature records have been altered to the point of uselessness.

The scientists at Great Britain’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) admit to using statistical sleights of hand to change the temperature record, so as to show more warming. And then, in a total flouting of the scientific method, they tossed out all the original raw data so that no other scientist could check their work. Remarkably, a panel — including a number of persons who stood to gain financially from a global-warming panic or who were personal friends of the accused — found nothing wrong with what the CRU scientists did. Move along; nothing to see here.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is responsible for feeding data into the United States’ Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) temperature record has been caught in a number of “unintentional” mistakes. One of my favorites is replicating Russia’s September temperatures as October’s, thereby significantly increasing the global average. In this regard, I have often wondered how it is that every “mistake” the high priests of global warming make is in the direction of increased warming. Why don’t they ever make a mistake that shows any cooling? My presumption is that after altering the laws of physics, altering the law of averages was child’s play.

Still, tampering with the data in such a way is a relatively minor fraud compared to the data manipulation the GISS gets away with every day. You see, although the GISS receives temperature readings from thousands of global stations, it uses only a fraction of them. Unbelievably, the GISS still fills out the thousands of spreadsheet cells, using figures from other sources. So what does the GISS put in a cell that used to have actual data readings? Well, it is using a smoothing technique that allows it to use any temperature reading taken within 750 miles of the location the empty cell represents. For instance, rather than use a temperature reading from a mountaintop in Bolivia, the GISS can substitute a reading from the coast of Peru or from a steamy Brazilian jungle. Does no one in government see how a warming bias might, therefore, be baked into the global record?

The graph below shows how damaging this smoothing is to the data record. Note the warming in the Arctic region. It seems like reason for concern, until one realizes that almost no actual data were used to create those dangerous-looking red zones. Instead, readings from almost 1,000 miles south of the polar regions were substituted for the missing data. How does such a substitution make sense unless one can convince oneself that it gets colder the closer one gets to the equator?

What does it mean if the major recent data sets are unreliable? First and foremost, it is a catastrophe for climate scientists, since they use these data as the basis of nearly every study they do. If the data are garbage, then every one of the thousands of studies using those data are also garbage.

But let’s be generous and assume for a moment that the planet actually has warmed all of 0.7 degrees. Should we follow the Chicken Littles in frenzied panic? I would argue that perhaps we might at least want to wait until the warming trend breaks out of the bands of natural variability. The graph below shows the temperature record for the past 10,000 years.

As one can clearly see, we still have several degrees to go before we reach temperatures recorded during previous natural warming periods. At the rate the temperature is increasing, we should be as warm as the ancient Romans in another 300 years. Moreover, even if 2011 is declared (using corrupted data, of course) as the warmest year on record, it will still rank only about 9,100th out of the last 10,000 years. One might even note that all previous warming periods since mankind exited the caves coincide with the greatest achievements in civilization and culture. That is something this warming period has in common with past ones, unless you wish to discount such things as the doubling of the average lifespan and a tenfold increase in average wealth as an achievement worthy of note.

The sad truth, however, is that none of the above information nor any of the thousands of other data points I could present are going to make an iota’s difference to those who see carbon emissions as a crime against the planet. They are apparently oblivious to any fact that does not support a theory they have invested so much emotion in. Moreover, they are willing to wreck our entire economy in pursuit of the false gods of global warming.

What is one to make of an administration that puts green jobs at the center of its job-creation plans when empirically based studies from Spain and the United Kingdom show that every green job gained means the loss of between two and four other jobs? This is something worth keeping in mind when any member of the administration shows up to take credit for new jobs at a solar plant (not as likely as a couple of years ago, as they are going bankrupt and moving their operations to China faster than the government can pump in new subsidies) or a wind-turbine factory. As you listen, give a moment’s thought to the thousands of persons thrown out of work to create those green jobs.

Or what is one to make of wind power? It costs much more than coal or gas, and it is not nearly as efficient as either. This is something Governor Perry knows all about. Texas has emplaced about 9,700 megawatts of wind power, at tremendous cost to ratepayers. In early August, Texan demand topped 63,000 megawatts, but less than 500 megawatts was available from those expensive wind farms. It seems the wind stops when it gets too hot. How much more money are we going to invest in a system that is capable of only 5 percent efficiency when it is most needed? Fortunately, Texas had also built a few new coal-fired plants to back up its unreliable wind farms.

But all of this is just the tip of the iceberg compared to the many trillions of dollars the warmists want us to “invest” in a destructive effort to replace carbon-based energy sources. That is a lot of money to spend on fixing a problem that probably does not exist — money that would then be unavailable to help us adapt to the effects of “natural” climate change.

The simple fact of the matter is that even if global warming were caused by human activity, the cost of mitigation is far greater than the cost of adaptation. And if humanity is not adding any significant amount to global warming, then anything we spend on mitigation is not only wasted, but damaging to the welfare of many millions. That of course assumes that the developing world follows our example. So far it has shown little inclination to do so. The populations of India and China should be thankful that their governments appear to be in no hurry to impoverish them, as, while paying lip-service to the warmist orthodoxy, they continue building new coal-fired plants at a rate of one every two or three days.

Given the growing body of evidence showing that human activity has little if anything to do with global warming, it is time to stop questioning Governor Perry’s beliefs and turn the questions the other way. It would be good to hear the media ask candidates who support the tenets of global-warming theory why they believe it is worth putting a huge and unsustainable burden on an already weak economy. Make no mistake about it, the warmist agenda aims at nothing less than a curtailment of individual freedoms and the further destruction of our economy. You can’t be rich if you’re energy poor. When did this become something Republicans could support? For that matter, when did it become something thinking Democrats could support?

The warmists always claim to be great believers in science and math. So here is a math problem I want them to solve. We know that GDP and carbon use are closely correlated. In fact, given the current state of technology, the 60 to 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions the warmists call for would reduce our GDP by approximately 40 percent. The problem therefore is simple: How are the warmists going to find employment for the people thrown out of work by a downturn twice as deep as the Great Depression?


Another IPCC prediction fails

In a paper published in Geophysical Research Letters of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) earlier this month, climate researchers have found that another prediction in the UN’s IPCC reports — what Al Gore likes to call “settled science” — is simply wrong, and that IPCC’s predicted rise in sea level over the next century is likely not going to happen.

First let me quote from the AGU’s own description of the paper, sent out to reporters to highlight important new findings:

With the power to drown low-lying nations, destroy infrastructure, and seriously affect sensitive coastal ecosystems, sea level rise may be one of the most readily apparent consequences of global warming that is already under way. However, the sources of the rising waters, and the dynamics driving them, are not so clear. Melting land-locked glaciers, shrinking ice sheets over Greenland and Antarctica, and the ocean’s thermal expansion will all play a part, but the expected contribution from each of these sources is still up for debate. Previous studies have suggested that thermal expansion driven by rising sea surface temperatures will account for up to 70 percent of sea level rise in the near future, but research by McKay et al. suggests this may be a drastic overestimate.

What McKay et al. found is that the thermal expansion of the oceans actually contributed less than 1 percent of sea level rise during the last ice age., which means that the Antarctic ice sheet had to have contributed the bulk of the water for the almost 20 feet of sea level rise that occurred.

The problem this poses for modern predictions of sea-level rise is that the Antarctic ice sheet today does not appear to be melting. Thus, in order to produce the end-of-the-world scenarios that the global warming scientists like so much, the IPCC scientists assumed that the thermal expansion of the ocean would contribute most of the sea-level rise. To quote the 2007 IPCC report:
In all scenarios, the central estimate for thermal expansion by the end of the century is 70 to 75% of the central estimate for the sea level rise.

This number, however, was not really based on any good data, something the IPCC does admit. The reason it exists, however, is because the IPCC scientists do have better data on the melting (or not melting) of the glaciers and icecaps of Greenland and Antarctica, and these do not produce enough water to produce the sea-level rise these global warming activists want. Without thermal expansion, the oceans could not rise significantly, even if the world warms as much as the IPCC says.

So, the IPCC scientists guessed that thermal expansion had to be a major contributor to sea-level rise, estimating its contribution to be anywhere from 55 to 70 percent of the total.

Let me highlight the differences: IPCC estimate: 55 to 70 percent of the total; New data: less than 1 percent of the total. The IPCC’s estimate seems a bit wrong, eh?

Above all, this result does not prove anything. What happened during the last major sea-level rise in the last ice age might not be a good proxy for sea-level rise in the future. Also, these new results could easily be incorrect, as they are trying to figure out what happened a hundred thousand years ago using limited data and computer models.

What this result does prove is the continuing uncertainty of climate science. We simply don’t know enough to truly understand what is happening to the earth’s climate. And anyone who says we do (Hi Al Gore!) is showing themselves to be an untrustworthy source of information, completely ignorant of the complexity of the science.


Will climate change cause war?

Weather causes war, a new study claims. So should we limit CO2 emissions and give peace a chance? Make love not CO2?

The study published in this week’s Nature claims to correlate El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycles with wars around the world during 1950-2009. The study’s intended implication, then, is that if only we can stop climate change (i.e., limit CO2 emissions), peace will be at hand.

The study’s major problem, however, is that even if there is a statistical correlation (pardon the redundancy) between ENSO events and wars, the study authors failed to examine any of the actual socio-political circumstances surrounding the wars. To insinuate weather cycles as a cause of or contributor to war simply because they can be correlated is to mindlessly exalt numerology over socio-political reality.

Next ENSO cycles are real and result in actual weather phenomena. Extrapolating the actuality of ENSO to the dubious hypothesis of catastrophic manmade global warming, is yet another leap of faith.

The goal of this research is to link CO2 emissions with national security. That is, we don’t just have to wish for world peace anymore; we can stop burning fossil fuels, cooling our homes, driving SUVs, eating meat, etc. It is merely a ploy to tug at the consciences of conservatives who, as a tribe, otherwise generally oppose Al Gore-ism.

FYI, this study’s sponsors include the U.S. EPA, the brother of George Soros and the Environmental Defense Fund.


Science When It Suits Them

Even if you believe in global warming, you may still reasonably question the solutions proposed

So every now and then, liberals are treated to a big self-righteous laugh at the expense of some backwoods Christian conservative candidate who "ignores science" by doubting evolution or global warming -- or, gasp, both.

Much, for instance, has been made of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's recent suggestion that evolution is a "theory that's out there" with "gaps in it." He even insinuated that evolution and creationism should both be taught in schools -- because folks are "smart enough to figure out which one is right."

Sanctimony to red alert!

Now, I have no interest in watching my kids waste their time with creationism, but unlike progressives, I have no interest in dictating what other kids should learn. Remember that these folks, bothered by the very thought of their offspring's hearing a God-infused concept in school, have no problem forcing millions of parents to accept bureaucrat-written curricula at government-run school monopolies. They oppose home schooling. They oppose school choice. They oppose parents choosing a religious education with their tax dollars.

As a voter, like me, you may find Perry's view on creationism disconcerting and a sign of an unsophisticated candidate. But the fact is that the progressives' faith-based devotion to government is far more consequential than Perry's faith-based position on evolution.

Despite the rare political dispute, in the real world, science -- real science -- is rarely controversial. It's politicized science that is prickly. And science is easy to politicize. Maybe if schools began teaching students that "life" begins at conception and that each zygote, embryo and fetus is a unique human being in some early stage of development just waiting to be born, liberals would see the point.

No, my kids haven't been chewing over Charles Darwin text or the Holy Bible in elementary school. There's simply no time. Not with global warming out there.

Perry, not surprisingly, was also recently asked about "global warming." He responded that "the issue has been politicized" and that pouring billions of dollars into "a scientific theory that has not been proven and ... is more and more being put into question" is not worthwhile.

It is interesting watching the nation's defenders of reason, empirical evidence and science fail to display a hint of skepticism over the transparently political "science" of global warming. Rarely are scientists so certain in predicting the future. Yet this is a special case. It is also curious that these supposed champions of Darwin don't believe that human beings -- or nature -- have the ability to adapt to changing climate.

Like 99 percent of pundits and politicians, though, I have no business chiming in on the science of climate change -- though my kids' teachers sure are experts. Needless to say, there is a spectacular array of viewpoints on this issue. The answers are far from settled. There are debates over how much humans contribute. There are debates over how much warming we're seeing. There are debates over many things.

But even if one believed the most terrifying projections of global warming alarmist "science," it certainly doesn't mean one has to support the anti-capitalist technocracy to fix it. And try as some may to conflate the two, global warming policy is not "science." The left sees civilization's salvation in a massive Luddite undertaking that inhibits technological growth by turning back the clock, undoing footprints, forcing technology that doesn't exist, banning products that do and badgering consumers who have not adhered to the plan through all kinds of punishment. Yet there is no real science that has shown that any of it makes a whit of difference.

So no doubt, it is reasonable for voters to query presidential candidates about their views on faith, religion, God, Darwin and science. It matters. Sometimes, though, it matters less than they'd like you to think it does.


“Wealthy Liberals” Seek to Shut Down Job Producing Drilling Innovations in Pennsylvania

“Wealthy liberals” are spreading false and misleading information about new drilling techniques that have opened up natural gas resources in Pennsylvania, according to a report from the Commonwealth Foundation.

A geologic formation known as the Marcellus Shale, which cuts across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Viriginia, was beyond reach at one time. But this has changed as a result of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Almost 489 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which is sufficient to cover all of America’s natural gas needs over a 20 year period is recoverable, the foundation reports.

Unfortunately, anti-drilling activists have stepped in to obstruct further development of the natural gas industry, which is responsible for creating tens of thousands of new jobs, according to the report. Herb and Marion Sandler, who founded the S&L known as World Savings Bank, are identified as the primary culprits here. In 2007, they launched an investigative reporting outfit called ProPublica, which proceeded to inveigh against the natural gas industry.

“Much attention has been paid to the efforts of gas companies to influence the political debate through campaign contributions and lobbying efforts,” the report says. “But anti-drilling activists — while claiming gas companies use their vast financial resources to weaken regulatory structures and silence poorly funded environmental groups — influence politicians through their own lobbying efforts and by spreading myths about drilling. Among the myths alleged about “Big Gas” is that drillers are flocking to Pennsylvania’s rich Marcellus Shale reserves, engaging in dangerous and highly polluting drilling activities, and shirking responsibility for damages while successfully avoiding paying taxes.”

After scrutinizing several of the natural gas articles produced by ProPublica, the Independent Institute uncovered several areas that cast the industry in very bad light. Here is a portion of Institute’s commentary on the reporting from ProPublica: “The Colorado experience of zero cases of water contamination from hydraulic fracturing is consistent with the 2002 study from the Interstate Oil and Gas Com3 policy brief pact Commission (a consortium of state regulatory agencies). The Commission surveyed regulatory agencies in 28 states (including Colorado and the other four states where ProPublica claimed that there were more than 1,000 “documented” cases of contamination). The response covered the entire history of hydraulic fracturing in those states. Every single one of those 28 states reported that there had never been groundwater harm due to fracturing.”

The ProPublica report declined to report on any evidence from this study.

The slanted reporting and misinformation could come with a serious price tag for Pennsylvania, if state officials are persuaded to impose restraints on natural gas development. Penn State economists have concluded that the Marcellus development has already resulted in over 88,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania. Moreover, the investments in natural gas drilling have translated over to improved infrastructure for the state.

In 2010, natural gas companies poured about $200 million into rebuilding and improving local roads, the Commonwealth Foundation reported.

The enhanced drilling techniques have opened the way to economic development that would not have been possible just a few years ago. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have helped to take the edge off the recession in Pennsylvania. But job creation could be offset if green pressure groups and “wealthy liberals” are permitted to circulate anti-industry propaganda without a forceful response.



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


24 August, 2011

Climate prostitutes, charlatans and comedians

Paul Driessen

Put these guys on Comedy Central. Put ‘em in an asylum … a mandatory restitution program … jail perhaps … or a witness protection program, if they turn state’s evidence on other perpetrators. But keep them away from our money – and our energy, economic, healthcare and education policies.

Climate prostitutes, parasites and charlatans have been devouring billions in US taxpayer dollars, year after year, plus billions more in corporate shareholder cash, activist foundation funds and state government grants. The laws, mandates, subsidies and regulations they advance have cost taxpayers and consumers still more billions for “alternative” energy and other schemes that send prices skyrocketing, kill jobs, and reduce health and living standards.

It’s time to end this destructive saga and, while we’re at it, pink-slip the politicians and bureaucrats who pour billions of hard-earned tax dollars into perpetual climate “research,” “education” and “environmental” programs. They’re actively complicit or have completely failed to perform proper due diligence.

Global cooling has morphed into global warming, climate change, global climate disruption, climate “weirding” and extreme weather events – always manmade, always imminently catastrophic, always requiring eternal research and wrenching societal transformation, to “save the planet.”

The endless absurdity oozing out of the climate change cesspool would be hilarious if it weren’t so costly.

“Global warming: Is weight loss a solution?” the “peer-reviewed” International Journal of Obesity breathlessly wondered a few weeks ago. Most definitely. Fat people breathe more and thus emit more carbon dioxide. If the world’s 1.5 billion obese and overweight adults all lost 22 pounds apiece and kept if off for a year, the reduction in CO2 would equal 0.2% of global emissions from burning fossil fuels and manufacturing cement. (Translation: “health professionals” deserve more climate research loot.)

If you need more proof that “obesity and climate change are linked,” simply consider how awful life is now in Mexico, the same authors argued in an article for their Climate and Health Council. One in four Mexicans is now obese. “The planet is getting hotter, its people are getting fatter, and the use of fossil fuel energy is the cause of both. Large increases in motor vehicle traffic have decimated levels of physical activity. This, combined with increased availability of energy-dense food, has propelled the body mass index in the entire [Mexican] population upward.”

“Moving to a low-carbon economy could be the next great public health advance,” the CHC “experts” suggested. But even eating less meat won’t be enough, nor reducing dependence on dairy products, nor even vegetarianism, pal reviewers intoned. “We have to be vegans,” get rid of cars – and reduce human populations, perhaps with “China’s one-child policy (entailing elements of compulsion)” as the model.

Didn’t we try that low-carb, low-carbon stuff for most of human history? Aren’t they still trying it in Sub-Saharan Africa? Do we want dictatorial one-child policies in an era of “choice” and aging pensioners?

Some aren’t sure this meatless diet craze is crazy. They claim the link between climate change and raising animals for meat is borne out by Earth history. According to a Texas paleontologist, dung and flatulence from herds of hadrosaurs, the Cretaceous equivalent to modern cattle, could have contributed to Arctic warming 70 million years ago. Other scientists say the hypothesis is a load of coprolite.

Nearly 2,000 animal species “are fleeing global warming by heading north much faster than they were less than a decade ago,” asserts new “research” just published in the once-credible journal Science. The opportunistic species are moving at the breakneck speed of “about a mile a year,” intrepid climate-chaos promoter Seth Borenstein anxiously noted in his AP wire story.
The situation could quickly reverse if reduced solar activity and the past two years’ frigid Northern Hemisphere winters become the new norm. But neither Science nor the AP mentioned that or explained how the current migrations differ from what’s been happening since the last Pleistocene glaciers retreated and the Little Ice Age ended.
Instead, we’ve been repeatedly treated to amusingly convoluted back-peddling from earlier pronouncements that ski resorts will be a thing of the past and “children just aren’t going to remember what snow is.” Now we’re told that global warming can worsen winters and increase snowfalls. In fact, as one Greenpeace activist explained, “Global warming can mean colder. It can mean wetter. It can mean drier. That’s what we’re talking about.”

Actually, what we’re talking about is Earth’s constantly changing weather and climate caused – not by hydrocarbon use – but by complex, chaotic, unpredictable atmospheric, oceanic, solar, planetary and other forces whose interactions and effects scientists are only beginning to understand. To respond adequately to them, we need building, heating, air conditioning and other technology to adapt to, cope with, and protect our lives and property against those forces – and the prosperity to afford that technology.

Unfortunately, policies, laws and regulations driven by climate “research” and horror stories are making it increasingly difficult to address those needs. Rather than developing our nation’s own vast natural resource and human resources, America is wasting billions on politically correct technologies and companies, like Evergreen Solar, which got $486 million in taxpayer subsidies before going belly-up this month. As Al Gore likes to say, that is unsustainable.

Meanwhile, a steady stream of headline-grabbing “studies” continues to power the climate scare and renewable energy gravy train. Retired professor John Brignell’s website presents hundreds of absurd research claims, from the Alps melting and Amazon being destroyed, to “Italy robbed of pasta,” to the “world going up in flames” over resource scarcity and zebra mussels taking over the Thames River – all because of global warming. The website is not up-to-date, but here’s one recent gem he could add.

A new taxpayer-funded NASA/Penn State “scientific” study warns that “ecosystem-valuing universalist” (really “green”) aliens might realize that we have been altering “the chemical composition of Earth’s atmosphere,” conclude that we have “ecological destructive tendencies,” and “wipe humanity out in order to preserve the Earth system as a whole.” (And you thought James Hansen and Michael Mann were the only loons collecting big bucks at these institutions of “vital research” and “higher education.”)

This interminable pessimism undoubtedly prompted climate activist Danny Bloom to marry his longtime companion and love of his life: Mother Earth – in a charming ceremony officiated by an online justice of the peace. Perhaps he can consummate his marriage, using one of “the first-ever eco-friendly luxury condoms,” which were developed by two French aristocrats and introduced in the USA just in time for Valentine’s Day 2011. Unlike other condom manufacturers, the Original Condom Company is “extremely eco aware and makes every effort to cover their carbon footprint.”

These attention-getting stunts may not save the planet. But responsible citizens may be able to save the republic, by helping Congress, the White House and their “debt committee” to find a few places where tens of billions are being wasted on excess bureaucrats, bogus research, useless reports and destructive policies.

President Reagan once observed that, if politics is the second oldest profession, it bears a striking resemblance to the first. A corollary might be that, even if the perpetrators are wearing eco-friendly luxury condoms, most citizens don’t like getting screwed by elected officials and unelected bureaucrats.

With Congress home for more fact-finding meetings with constituents, citizens have a perfect opportunity to send a powerful message. Let’s make the most of it.


Back to primitivism and poverty!

That's where the Greenies want us

America's Top Ten Coolest Schools - Sept/Oct 2011 - Sierra Magazine - Sierra Club:

Cattle helped Green Mountain, in Poultney, Vermont, achieve climate neutrality. The school gets upward of half its energy from Central Vermont Cow Power, a utility that harnesses biogas from manure. Above, students learn to drive GMC's oxen for spring plowing. The school's agricultural projects are an experiment in fossil-free farming—instead of tractors, draft animals do much of the work. Score: 81.1

“The pendulum has really swung back to the age of these kids grandparents or great grandparents,” said Avital Binshtock, lifestyle editor of Sierra magazine, which just released its 5th annual Cool Schools rankings identifying the top green campuses.

“They’ve taken up knitting. They want to have chickens in their backyard and learn how to plant a plot of land.” ....

Binshtock, who oversaw the 2011 Cool Schools project ranking 118 campuses for their climate-cooling practices, says research from multiple sources shows that a university’s commitment to sustainability is part of what students consider in selecting a school.


Warmist Dave Roberts admits: Climate hoax legislation is a "liberal undertaking", "almost entirely driven by liberal elites"

Excerpt from Grist:

A big part of the problem is precisely that climate efforts so far have been almost entirely driven by liberal elites. It's been an extremely intellectualized, top-down sort of undertaking, and as we saw with painful clarity during the climate bill fiasco, an elite-driven strategy isn't going to cut it. Part of it is that, as Mooney points out, every online liberal fashions him or herself a precious snowflake. Everyone has their own perfect pony policy solution and disdains all others. A bigger part is simply that the elites devoted to the status quo have far more power, access, and money than elites devoted to change.

So what you need is a renewed left with genuine grassroots muscle, the ability to threaten politicians' reelections, and lots of money to deploy....What are the institutions that create and empower liberals? The only one left is academia [that place where so many climate hoax scientists work], and that's mostly for people like Mooney and I, not for working-class factory laborers, low-wage service employees, or marginalized populations.
...Ultimately climate action is about overturning the status quo and defending the powerless (including future generations) against the depredations of the powerful. It's a liberal undertaking. It relies on the strength of liberalism, in the U.S. and globally, which has proven itself frustratingly weak in recent years, particularly on economic issues (and climate is very much an economic issue). That weakness has many sources and many explanations, but I doubt the propensity of liberal climate policy wonks to squabble plays a leading role.


Goldberg: America's 'green' quagmire

The 'greening' of the country, including the creation of green jobs, has proved unworkable and expensive.

It was a massive flatbed truck, flanked by smaller vehicles brandishing "oversized load" banners, carrying a huge white thing.

I think the first one I saw was in Ohio. But I know that by the time I passed Grand Island, Neb., I'd lost count.

What was it? At first, it looked like it could be a replacement for the Swords of Q?dis?yah — that giant crossed blades sculpture in central Baghdad.

And then, the aha: It was a propeller blade for a wind turbine, a really big one. I've seen plenty of wind farms, but I'd never seen the blades being transported for construction. Last week I saw a lot of them.

Why? Because they were on the road, and so was I. My 8-year-old daughter and I were on a summer adventure. We drove more than 2,000 miles from Washington, D.C. to, eventually, Steamboat Springs, Colo. (Don't worry, I did most of the highway driving.)

Something about seeing all those turbine propellers made me think of wartime mobilization, like FDR's ramp-up during the Lend-Lease period or Josef Stalin's decision to send Soviet heavy industry east of the Urals.

The comparison isn't completely daft, either. The notion that we should move to a war footing on energy has been a reigning cliche of U.S. politics ever since Jimmy Carter's Oval Office energy crisis address in 1977. "This difficult effort will be the 'moral equivalent of war' — except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not to destroy."

Ever since, we've been hearing that green must become the new red, white and blue.

It's difficult to catalog all of the problems with this nonsense. For starters, the mission keeps changing. Is the green energy revolution about energy independence? Or is it about fighting global warming? Or is it about jobs?

For most of the last few years the White House and its supporters have been saying it's about all three. But that's never been true. If we want energy independence (and I'm not sure why we would) or if we want to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil (a marginally better proposition, given that Canada and often Mexico supply the U.S. with more oil than Saudi Arabia), we would massively expand our domestic drilling for oil and gas and our use of coal or carbon-free nuclear. That would also create lots of jobs that can't be exported (you can't drill for American oil in China, but we can, and do, buy lots of Chinese-made solar panels).

As for the windfall in green jobs, that has always been a con job.

For instance, Barack Obama came into office insisting that Spain was beating the U.S. in the rush for green jobs. Never mind that in Spain — where unemployment is now at 21% — the green jobs boom has been a bust. One major 2009 study by researchers at King Juan Carlos University found that the country destroyed 2.2 jobs in other industries for every green job it created, and the Spanish government has spent more than half a million euros for each green job created since 2000. Wind industry jobs cost a cool $1 million euros apiece.

The record in America has been no better, Obama's campaign stump speeches notwithstanding. The New York Times, which has been touting the green agenda in its news pages for years, admitted last week that "federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show." Even Obama's former green jobs czar concedes the point, as do other leading Democrats, including Rep. Maxine Waters of Los Angeles.

Perhaps the most pathetic part of the war to green America is how unwarlike it really is. The New York Times also reported that California's "weatherization program was initially delayed for seven months while the federal Department of Labor determined prevailing wage standards for the industry," a direct sop to labor unions. And afterward, the inflated costs made the program too expensive for homeowners.

Green jobs, like shovel-ready jobs, proved a myth in no small part because Obama is eager to talk as if this green stuff was the moral equivalent of war, but he's not willing or able to do things a real war requires.

What we're left with is not the moral equivalent of war but the moral equivalent of a quagmire. A very expensive quagmire.


Obama’s automotive fuel standards must go

Lost in the hysterics regarding America's near plummet off the face of the fiscal earth earlier this month was President Obama's announcement that new automobiles sold in 2025 would have to average 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg). Presently, fuel efficiency averages about 27 mpg. Can it be done? Probably. Should it be done? Probably not.

The reason such a large increase is even possible is because of the truly revolutionary advances in automotive computerization that have occurred since 1980. Energy economist Christopher Knittel reports that had all of those advances been used to increase fuel efficiency (and weight, horsepower, and torque were held at their 1980 levels), fuel efficiency would have been 50% greater in 2006 than in 1980.

Alas, computerization was not primarily used to improve fuel efficiency. It was used to increase — you guessed it — weight (12% for cars and 26% for light trucks) and horsepower (80% for cars and 99% for light trucks), so fuel efficiency improved by only about 15%. Hence, automakers could meet the Obama standard of 35.5 mpg by 2016 by either going back to the 1980 mix of trucks and cars (20% light trucks instead of around 50%) and reducing the weight and horsepower gains since 1980 by 25% ... or by keeping the current mix of cars and trucks and returning to 1980 standards for weight and horsepower.

Automotive fuel efficiency standards have a well-earned spot in most economists' "top-10" list of bad or sub-par regulations.

But how might we get from there to 54.5 mpg by 2025? A mix of continued technological innovation — all devoted to fuel efficiency — and creative accounting ought to do the trick. The new regulations proposed by President Obama are mind-numbingly complex. The least you need to know is that vehicles powered partially or fully with electric batteries, fuel cells, and various alternative fuels give automakers bonus fuel efficiency credits. That is, they are deemed more fuel efficient, for regulatory purposes, than they otherwise are. Sell enough of these and the standards will be reached.

How much might all this cost? Who knows? The administration itself suggests that the new rules would increase average new car purchase prices by up to $2,500, but in truth, they're simply guessing about the price path of technological innovations, many of which have yet to spring from the human brow. The same goes for the administration's claim that these new rules will save the nation $1.7 trillion on gasoline costs through 2025. That's because we haven't the faintest idea what gasoline will cost in the next several months, much less over the next 14 years.

Econometrician James Hamilton's close examination of oil price trends since 1970 finds that oil (and thus, gasoline) prices are extremely volatile — something we all know too well — but exhibit no trend. Instead, price movements are best characterized as "a random walk without drift." Under high price scenarios, the rules might pass a cost-benefit test, but under low price scenarios, they would not.

We can be reasonably sure, however, that the cars of the future will be very different than the cars of the present if these new rules are enforced. That's because the reverse engineering that Knittel describes will almost certainly shock a lot of Americans by seriously degrading on-the-road performance that we all take for granted.

The New York Times, for instance, reports that one of the classic muscle cars of the 1970s — the 1975 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 400 — could go from 0 to 60 in 9.8 seconds. By comparison, the lowly 2005 Toyota Camry XLE V6 can do the same in 8.1 seconds. Likewise, a 1965 Mustang convertible has about the same accelerating power as a lumbering, 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee. A return to the performance standards of the mid-1970s will most certainly not go unnoticed — or welcomed.

So why are we doing this? Even if the administration's cost-benefit analysis is correct, it only passes muster if on-road performance has little or no economic value to you. How does the government know what car buyers value?

Moreover, even if the administration's assumptions about consumer preferences are correct, do we really need the government to make us save money? Why not also ban the sale of all but bulk-purchases of food items and other household purchases? Mandate car pooling a few days a month? If you want to save money on gasoline bills, there are plenty of ways for you to do so right now; no government program is necessary.

What this is really about is a federal attempt to ban the trade-offs that most of us (but not all of us) make when we periodically go into the market for new automobiles. This is rationalized by the claim that consumers will not pay more initially for a car that will save them operating expenses over time because of irrationality or inability to compare a flow of future savings with an initial up-front cost.

But economist Molly Espey found that consumers' willingness to pay for extra fuel economy for 2001 model cars (when fuel prices were still low) equaled or exceeded the present value of lifetime estimated savings. More recently, Antonio Bento and his coauthors concluded that the repeated finding by other economists that consumers will pay much less than a dollar ($0.35 to $0.79) for a dollar's worth of future discounted fuel costs may be the result of mistakes in econometric modeling. When those errors are corrected, the unwillingness of consumers to pay a dollar for a dollar's worth of savings in present value disappears.

Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren are senior fellows at the Cato Institute.
More by Jerry TaylorMore by Peter Van Doren

The fall-back argument for these standards is that gasoline costs impose significant environmental and national security costs on society that aren't reflected in fuel prices. We're skeptical of these arguments, but even if they are correct, the best method of addressing those externalities is to increase the gasoline tax rather than increase fuel economy standards.

There are several reasons for this. First, all drivers should bear their external costs, not just new car buyers in the future. Second, improving fuel efficiency reduces the marginal cost of driving, which will lead to ... more driving. Finally, fuel economy standards are an expensive method of improving fuel economy. It costs three times more to reduce fuel consumption with an increase in the CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards than with a simple gasoline tax.

Automotive fuel efficiency standards have a well-earned spot in most economists' "top-10" list of bad or sub-par regulations. Adding more muscle to those regulations will only move CAFE standards up that list even higher.


Australia: Conservative leader Accused Of "Climate Change Racism"

Today's unhinged climate alarmist moment comes courtesy of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of having a racist climate change policy.

Mr Abbott has warned that Australian businesses buying carbon permits under an emissions trading scheme could be conned by unscrupulous international traders.

Because there has been absolutely no fraud in the climate change hoax carbon schemes.
The Government plans to introduce its carbon tax legislation to Parliament by the end of September and hopes to have it passed by next year.

Mr Combet described Mr Abbott's position as "economic xenophobia" in an address to the National Press Club.

"It sends the signal that it's somehow dubious to trade with foreigners. It's typical dog-whistle politics, trashing the commitment that's existed for many years on both sides of politics to economic liberalisation and open trade," he said.

"It is in effect a white carbon policy designed to harvest more votes no matter what the cost."

So, even with the idiotic anthropogenic global warming issue, liberals go for their choice attack, raaaaacism. But, then, AGW turned from a scientific issue to a political one about 5 minutes after someone said "hey, I wonder if the output of greenhouse gases by Mankind is affecting the climate?"



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


23 August, 2011

A cautious whitewash

The whitewash described below is not particularly surprising -- just establishment scientists covering for one-another. What IS surprising is something not mentioned below: The heavily qualified conclusions of the investigation. Look carefully at the OIG report from the NSF. They basically found no reason to question Penn State’s own very limited investigation, and said nothing improper was conducted WITH NSF FUNDS.

It doesn’t conclude there is “nothing wrong” with Mann’s conclusions, all it concludes is there is no basis to conclude he did anything improper (WITH NSF FUNDING).

Michael Mann, a Pennsylvania researcher who’s been a target of climate-change skeptics, was cleared of wrongdoing by U.S. investigators in the flap surrounding e-mails hacked from a U.K. university.

Finding no “evidence of research misconduct,” the Arlington, Virginia-based National Science Foundation closed its inquiry into Mann, according to an Aug. 15 report from the inspector general for the U.S. agency. Pennsylvania State University, where Mann is a professor of meteorology, exonerated him in February of suppressing or falsifying data, deleting e- mails and misusing privileged information.

Climate-change doubters pointed to the stolen U.K. e-mails, which surfaced in blogs in 2009, as proof that researchers conspired to quash studies questioning the link between human activity and warming. Last week, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, renewed the assertion that scientists have “manipulated” data on climate change.

“It was a pretty definitive finding” that the charges “swirling around for over a year” were baseless, Mann said in an interview. “I was very pleased.”

The report confirms findings from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s inspector general and a separate panel of seven scientists based at universities in the U.K., U.S. and Switzerland. The University of East Anglia announced the committee. Ron Oxburgh, the former head of Shell Transport & Trading Plc and a member of the U.K. House of Lords, was chairman.
‘Closes the Books’

“It certainly closes the books on Michael Mann and the e- mails,” Joe Romm, a blogger for the Center for American Progress, an advocacy group with ties to President Barack Obama’s administration, said in an interview. “They found nothing wrong with the science, or any evidence that there was anything wrong with how the scientists went about their work.”


The Bait-and-Switch Greenie Swindle

In reaching to remain relevant, the environmental movement has had to change tactics.

Back in the seventies, when America looked like China does today, environmental issues needed attention. But then we cleaned up the air and water. The skies and rivers went from brown to blue. As Greenpeace cofounder Patrick Moore explains, in order to stay relevant, environmentalists had to find new issues.

For most of the last decade global warming has been their cause, and carbon —or burning fossil fuels— was vilified as the cause. This gave way to a whole new industry: green. Green energy would replace fossil fuels. Wind and solar would replace coal as the source fuel for electricity and ethanol, or other fuels generated from biomass, would replace liquid fuels. Green energy would provide new “green” jobs. The world would be a beautiful place.

This all sounded nice. It felt good. But that was before data began to be show how much more all of this was going to cost and the urgent need to save the planet passed. The polar bears were not drowning. The measurements were found to be falsified. Consensus science didn’t work. The seas did not rise and the world seemed to adapt to whatever the various changes have been. There was a “newfound hostility to climate policy.” Suddenly, we did not want to spend so much on “feel good.”

Obama’s cap and trade campaign promise died. Ethanol is on the budget chopping block. Switching to wind and solar is not proving to be as easy as expected. Environmentalists admitted defeat.

But, wait! They have organizations set up, offices with leases, and employees who need to be paid. They can’t just pack up. A new approach was needed.

Enter public health. Last month when Mayor Bloomberg gave $50 million to the Sierra Club’s campaign to shut down coal plants, he stated: “Coal is a self-inflicted public health risk.” The discussion has changed to something every mother can get behind.

Along with this, we see television ads attacking the emissions from coal-fueled power plants, not for their CO2 emissions, not for their impact on climate change, but for the health risks. The American Lung Association and the EPA must be in cahoots on this campaign—the EPA has given the ALA nearly $30 million in taxpayer dollars.

According to the National Institutes for Health’s Data Fact Sheet on Asthma Statics, “The prevalence of asthma has been increasing since the early 1980s.” If the prevalence of asthma has been increasing as America’s air has been getting cleaner and cleaner, perhaps adding new and expensive regulations on behalf of public health isn’t really about public health. In fact, a recent study done by Kendle M. Maslowski and Charles R. Mackay published in the Nature Immunology indicates that we may have cleaned up the air so much that the body doesn’t have the chance to build up immunities.

While only a small percentage of the population suffer from asthma, and the science is questionable as to whether or not pushing the law of diminishing returns will help, the Obama administration talks about rolling back regulations while pushing the EPA to enact harsh new regulations that will eliminate the best economic asset America has: comparatively cheap energy.

Specifically in question here is the EPA’s new ozone regulations—with a final decision expected in the next couple of weeks. But there is more than just ozone, there is the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, BART and MACT—all of which are expected to shut down a large percentage of existing coal-fueled power plants because the cost to retro fit is just too high. Many units have already shut down throughout the country.

With these “public-health” aimed regulations added on top of one another, it is amazing that Americans are living longer and longer. If all of these regulations are really about health, why are they being rammed through by the Environmental Protection Agency—not the Department of Health?

As Congress continues to threaten to defund the EPA, perhaps, like the environmentalists, they have had to reinvent themselves to stay relevant—but in doing so, they are raising the price of energy and everything else, including food and clothing and all other basic necessities as they, too, are energy dependent.

If they can so easily switch from climate change to public health, you have to wonder if climate change was ever the issue and if public health is the real concern now. Why is it that the powers that be are so set on raising the cost of energy—through whatever means seems publicly viable?

The obvious answer is something not palatable to most Americans. Which brings up the next question: What can we do to stop them?

At a recent a meeting with Karl Rove, I asked: “Given the current administration, what can the public do to change the energy policy in America?” In short, his answer was, keep reminding people how important energy is. November 2012 is coming.

If Americans are to continue to have the freedoms we have, energy has to be a part of the discussion and Americans need to understand the real benefits to cost-effective energy. Together we can change the energy/environment discussion.


Behind the Aliens-Will-Smite-Us News Story

It isn’t every day that a research paper published in an obscure academic journal attracts its own, full blown article in a major newspaper. It isn’t every day that a science correspondent writes an article that merits a headline as bizarre as the following: Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilizations, say scientists.

One of the main assertions of this Guardian news story has already been withdrawn. Over at there’s a screengrab of what the article looked like yesterday. Just under the headline, the article was claiming:

Rising greenhouse emissions may tip off aliens that we are a rapidly expanding threat, warns a report for Nasa [bold added]

Today the reference to NASA has been removed. As the homepage of Seth Baum, the paper’s lead author, explains:

The article was not in any way prepared for or sponsored by NASA. Instead, it was a spare-time project of three researchers, one of whom happens to be a NASA employee…

It’s difficult not to feel some sympathy for the NASA-affiliated person, whose name is Shawn Domagal-Goldman. As he himself explains in a blog post:

This isn’t a “NASA report.” It’s not work funded by NASA, nor is it work supported by NASA in other ways. It was just a fun paper written by a few friends, one of whom happens to have a NASA affiliation.

…So here’s the deal, folks. Yes, I work at NASA. It’s also true that I work at NASA Headquarters. But I am not a civil servant… just a lowly postdoc. More importantly, this paper has nothing to do with my work there. I wasn’t funded for it, nor did I spend any of my time at work or any resources provided to me by NASA to participate in this effort.

…I do admit to making a horrible mistake. It was an honest one, and a naive one… but it was a mistake nonetheless. I should not have listed my affiliation as “NASA Headquarters.” I did so because that is my current academic affiliation. But when I did so I did not realize the full implications that has. I’m deeply sorry for that, but it was a mistake born our [sic] of carelessness and inexperience and nothing more. I will do what I can to rectify this… [bold in the original]

So what the newspaper told us was a report for NASA written by scientists turns out to be a fun paper written by a few friends. One of them (Baum) is still working on his PhD. Another (Haqq-Misra) got his PhD last year. The third (Domagal-Goldman) is, in his own words, just a lowly postdoc.

Lead author Baum sounds like the a sweet young man you’d be delighted to learn was dating your daughter. He says all his activities and interests “revolve around the theme of making the world (universe(s)?) a better place.” As he explains:

My dissertation research, with advisor Bill Easterling, is on the ethics and moral psychology of discounting in the context of climate change assessment. I also work on reducing global catastrophic risk, which is anything that could end human civilization or even cause human extinction.

That’s all well and good. But if the academic paper that caught the attention of Guardian science correspondent is any indication of how the current generation of young scientists think, we’ll need to start viewing scientific findings with more than a grain of salt.

You see, the worldview embraced by these youngsters is as depressing as it is astonishing. I’m no longer surprised to learn that arts students have absorbed a humans-are-a-pox-on-the-planet philosophy. But apparently this is now true of our scientifically-trained minds, as well.

In the event that God or Mother Nature doesn’t punish us for our eco sins, the three young men who wrote this paper speculate that maybe aliens will, instead. According to the Guardian:

…reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.

Yes, and eating only cauliflower for breakfast might save us from an alien attack, too. Since no one has ever detected any aliens, never mind figured out what their value system might be, my guess is surely as good as anyone else’s.

At first I worried that the newspaper article was exaggerating. But then I took a look at the academic paper itself. What’s remarkable about it isn’t just the angst these young people exude. It’s that ideas I consider highly debatable – such as the claim that humans are responsible for widespread loss of biodiversity – are all assumed, by these scientific minds, to be well-established facts.

For example, on page 21, the authors write:

Given that we have already altered our environment in ways that may viewed as unethical by [aliens] it may be prudent to avoid sending any message that shows evidence of our negative environmental impact…any message that indicates of [sic] widespread loss of biodiversity or rapid rates of expansion may be dangerous…On the other hand [the aliens] may already know about our rapid environmental impact by listening to leaked electromagnetic signals or observing changes in Earth’s spectral signature. In this case, it might be prudent for any message we send to avoid denying our environmental impact so as to avoid the [aliens] catching us in a lie.

This just makes me want to weep.


Climate Forecasting Models Aren’t Pretty, And They Aren’t Smart

By Dr. Larry Bell

Anyone who says they can confidently predict global climate changes or effects is either a fool or a fraud. No one can even forecast global, national or regional weather conditions that will occur months or years into the future, much less climate shifts that will be realized over decadal, centennial and longer periods.

Nevertheless, this broadly recognized limitation has not dissuaded doomsday prognostications that have prompted incalculably costly global energy and environmental policies. Such postulations attach great credence to computer models and speculative interpretations that have no demonstrated accuracy.

The primary source of scary climate change alarmism routinely trumpeted in the media originates from politically cherry-picked summary report items issued by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Yet even the IPCC’s 2001 report chapter titled “Model Evaluation” contains this confession: “We fully recognize that many of the evaluation statements we make contain a degree of subjective scientific perception and may contain much ‘community’ or ‘personal’ knowledge. For example, the very choice of model variables and model processes that are investigated are often based upon subjective judgment and experience of the modeling community.”

In that same report the IPCC further admits, “In climate research and modeling, we should realize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” Here, the IPCC openly acknowledges that its models should not be trusted. Still, the IPCC obviously needs to apply them to justify its budget and influence. Without contrived, frightening forecasts, they would soon be out of business.

So in the IPCC’s most recent 2007 report the story changed significantly, placing “great confidence”: in the ability of General Circulation Models (GCMs) to responsibly attribute observed climate change to anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas emissions. It states that “ climate models are based on well-established physical principles and have been demonstrated to reproduce observed features of recent climate and past changes.”

Yet even Kevin Trenberth, a lead author of 2001 and 2007 IPCC report chapters, has admitted that the IPCC models have failed to duplicate realities. Writing in a 2007 “Predictions of Climate” blog appearing in the science journal he stated, “None of the models used by the IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed state.”

Syun-Ichi Akasofu, the former director of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, has determined that IPCC computer models have not even been able to duplicate observed temperatures in Arctic regions. While the atmospheric CO2 forecasts indicated warm Arctic conditions, they were lower than actually reported, and colder areas were absent. Akasofu stated , “If fourteen GCMs cannot reproduce prominent warming in the continental Arctic, perhaps much of this warming is not produced by greenhouse effect at all.”

Graeme Stephens at the Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science warned in a 2008 paper published in the Journal of Climate, that computer models involve simplistic cloud feedback descriptions: “Much more detail on the system and its assumptions [is] needed to judge the value of any study. Thus, we are led to conclude that the diagnostic tools currently in use by the climate community to study feedback, at least as implemented, are problematic and immature and generally cannot be verified using observations.”

The prominent, late scientist Joanne Simpson developed some of the first mathematical models of clouds in an attempt to better understand how hurricanes draw power from warm seas. Ranked as one of the world’s top meteorologists, she believed that global warming theorists place entirely too much emphasis upon faulty climate models, observing, “We all know the frailty of models concerning the air-surface system We only need to watch the weather forecasts [to prove this].”

A recent study reported in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing concludes that NASA satellite data between the years 2000-2001 indicate that GCMs have grossly exaggerated warming retained in the Earth’s atmosphere. The study’s co-author, Dr. Roy Spencer, observes: “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans. Not only does the atmosphere release more energy than previously thought, it starts releasing it earlier in the warming cycle.”

Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama-Huntsville and former senior scientist for climate studies at NASA, has also observed that results of the one or two dozen climate modeling groups around the world often reflect a common bias. One reason is that many of these modeling programs are based upon the same “parameterization” assumptions; consequently, common errors are likely to be systematic, often missing important processes. Such problems arise because basic components and dynamics of the climate system aren’t understood well enough on either theoretical or observational grounds to even put into the models. Instead, the models focus upon those factors and relationships that are most familiar, ignoring others altogether. As Spencer notes in his book Climate Confusion, “Scientists don’t like to talk about that because we can’t study things we don t know about.”

A peer-reviewed climate study that appeared in the July 23, 2009 edition of Geophysical Research Letters went even farther in its characterization of faulty climate modeling practices. The paper noted IPCC modeling tendencies to fudge climate projections by exaggerating CO2 influences and underestimating the importance of shifts in ocean conditions. The research indicated that influences in solar changes and intermittent volcanic activity have accounted for at least 80% of observed climate variation over the past half century. Study coauthor John McLean observed: “When climate models failed to retrospectively produce the temperatures since 1950, the modelers added some estimated influences of carbon dioxide to make up the shortfall.” He also highlighted inability of computer models to predict El Nino ocean events which can periodically dominate regional climate conditions, hence further reducing model meaningfulness.

J. Scott Armstrong, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and a leading expert in the field of professional forecasting, believes that prediction attempts are virtually doomed when scientists don’t understand or follow basic forecasting rules. He and colleague Kesten Green of Monash University conducted a “forecasting audit” of the 2007 IPCC report and “found no references to the primary sources of information on forecasting methods” and that “the forecasting procedures that were described [in sufficient detail to be evaluated] violated 72 principles. Many of the violations were, by themselves, critical”.

A fundamental principle that IPCC violated was to “make sure forecasts are independent of politics”. Armstrong and Green observed that “the IPCC process is directed by non-scientists who have policy objectives and who believe that anthropogenic global warming is real and a danger.” They concluded that: “The forecasts in the report were not the outcome of scientific procedures. In effect, they were the opinions of scientists transformed by mathematics and obscured by complex writing We have not been able to identify any scientific forecasts of global warming. Claims that the Earth will get warmer have no more credence than saying it will get colder”.

Trenberth argued in his 2007 Nature blog that “the IPCC does not make forecasts”, but “instead proffers ‘what if’ projections that correspond to certain emission scenarios”; and then hopes these “projections will guide policy and decision makers.” He went on to say: “there are no such predictions [in the IPCC reports] although the projections given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are often treated as such. The distinction is important”.

Armstrong and Green challenge that semantic defense, pointing out that “the word ‘forecast’ and its derivatives occurred 37 times, and ‘predict’ and its derivatives occurred 90 times in the body of Chapter 8 of [the IPCC’s 2007] the Working Group I report.”

Of course there would be very little interest in model forecasts at all if it were not for hysterical hype about a purported man-made climate crisis caused by carbon dioxide fossil fuel emissions. Without CO2 greenhouse gas demonization there is no basis for cap-and-tax schemes, unwarranted “green” fuel subsidies, expansion of government regulatory authority over energy production and construction industries through unintended misapplications of the Clean Air Act, claims of polar bear endangerment to prevent drilling in ANWR, or justifications for massive climate research budgets including guess what? Yup! Lots of money to produce more climate model forecasts that perpetuate these agendas.


Solar furnaces are not cheap and use lots of water

Concentrating solar has promised big additions to renewable energy production with the additional benefit of energy storage -- saving sun power for nighttime -- but there's a catch. Most of the new power plants are big water users despite being planned for desert locations.

With solar photovoltaic (PV) prices dropping so rapidly, does concentrating solar still make sense?

Concentrating solar thermal power uses big mirrors to focus sunlight and make electricity. Think kids with magnifying glasses, but making power instead of frying ants. The focused sunlight makes heat, the heat makes steam, and the steam powers a turbine to make electricity. In "wet-cooled" concentrating solar power plants, more water is used to make power than in any other kind of power plant. The following chart illustrates the amount of water used to produce power from various technologies:

Water consumption can be cut dramatically by using "dry-cooling," but this change increases the cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of power generated from concentrating solar power (CSP). In the 2009 report "Juice from Concentrate," the World Resources Institute reports that the reduction in water consumption adds 2-10 percent to levelized costs and reduces the power plant's efficiency by up to 5 percent.

Let's see how that changes Institute for Local Self-Reliance's original levelized cost comparison between CSP and solar PV. Here's the original chart comparing PV projects to CSP projects, with no discussion of water use or energy storage:

To make the comparison tighter, we'll hypothetically transform the CSP plants from wet-cooled to dry-cooled, adjusting the levelized cost of power.

Using the midpoint of each estimate from "Juice from Concentrate" (6 percent increase to levelized costs and 2.5 percent efficiency reduction), the change in the cost per kWh for dry-cooling instead of wet-cooling is small but significant. For example, all three concentrating solar power projects listed in the chart are wet-cooled power plants. With a 6 percent increase in costs from dry-cooling and a 2.5 percent reduction in efficiency, the delivered cost of electricity would rise by approximately 1.7 cents per kWh.

With the increased costs to reduce water consumption, CSP's price is much less competitive with PV. A distributed solar PV program by Southern California Edison has projected levelized costs of 17 cents per kWh for 1-2 megawatt solar arrays, and a group purchase program for residential solar in Los Angeles has a levelized cost of just 20 cents per kWh.

In other words, while wet-cooled CSP already struggles to compete with low-cost, distributed PV, using dry- cooling technology makes residential-scale PV competitive with CSP.

But there's one more piece: storage.

While Nevada Solar One was built without storage, the PS10 and PS20 solar towers were built with one hour of thermal energy storage. Let's see how that changes the economics.

To make the comparison comparable, we'll add the cost of one hour of storage to our two PV projects, a cost of approximately $0.50 per Watt, or 2.4 cents per kWh. The following chart illustrates a comparison of PV to CSP, with all projects having one hour of storage (Nevada Solar One has been removed as it does not have storage):

When comparing CSP with storage (and lower water use) to PV with battery storage, we have a comparison that is remarkably similar to our first chart. Distributed PV at a commercial scale (1-2 megawatts) is still cheaper than CSP, but residential PV is more expensive.

Even though dry-cooled CSP competes favorably on price, it still uses much more water than PV. That issue is probably why many solar project developers are switching from CSP to PV technology for their large-scale desert projects.

Concentrating solar thermal power had its moment of cost advantage a few years ago, but the rapid pace (and zero water use) of solar PV installations has quickly eroded even the energy storage advantage of CSP.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

The Dubious Science Of The Climate Crusaders

By William Happer (William Happer is the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University)

"The object of the Author in the following pages has been to collect the most remarkable instances of those moral epidemics which have been excited, sometimes by one cause and sometimes by another, and to show how easily the masses have been led astray, and how imitative and gregarious men are, even in their infatuations and crimes,” wrote Charles Mackay in the preface to the first edition of his Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

I want to discuss a contemporary moral epidemic: the notion that increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, will have disastrous consequences for mankind and for the planet. The “climate crusade” is one characterized by true believers, opportunists, cynics, money-hungry governments, manipulators of various types—even children’s crusades—all based on contested science and dubious claims.

I am a strong supporter of a clean environment. We need to be vigilant to keep our land, air, and waters free of real pollution, particulates, heavy metals, and pathogens, but carbon dioxide (CO2 ) is not one of these pollutants. Carbon is the stuff of life. Our bodies are made of carbon. A normal human exhales around 1 kg of CO2 (the simplest chemically stable molecule of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere) per day. Before the industrial period, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 270 ppm. At the present time, the concentration is about 390 ppm, 0.039 percent of all atmospheric molecules and less than 1 percent of that in our breath. About fifty million years ago, a brief moment in the long history of life on earth, geological evidence indicates, CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly.

Now the Environmental Protection Agency wants to regulate atmospheric CO2 as a “pollutant.” According to my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, to pollute is “to make or render unclean, to defile, to desecrate, to profane.” By breathing are we rendering the air unclean, defiling or desecrating it? Efforts are underway to remedy the old-fashioned, restrictive definition of pollution. The current Wikipedia entry on air pollution, for example, now asserts that pollution includes: “carbon dioxide (CO2)—a colorless, odorless, non-toxic greenhouse gas associated with ocean acidification, emitted from sources such as combustion, cement production, and respiration.”

As far as green plants are concerned, CO2 is not a pollutant, but part of their daily bread—like water, sunlight, nitrogen, and other essential elements. Most green plants evolved at CO2 levels of several thousand ppm, many times higher than now. Plants grow better and have better flowers and fruit at higher levels. Commercial greenhouse operators recognize this when they artificially increase the concentrations inside their greenhouses to over 1000 ppm.

Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom King Edward VIII renounced the British throne, supposedly said, “A woman can’t be too rich or too thin.” But in reality, you can get too much or too little of a good thing. Whether we should be glad or worried about increasing levels of CO2 depends on quantitative numbers, not just qualitative considerations.

How close is the current atmosphere to the upper or lower limit for CO2? Did we have just the right concentration at the preindustrial level of 270 ppm? Reading breathless media reports about CO2 “pollution” and about minimizing our carbon footprints, one might think that the earth cannot have too little CO2, as Simpson thought one couldn’t be too thin—a view which was also overstated, as we have seen from the sad effects of anorexia in so many young women. Various geo-engineering schemes are being discussed for scrubbing CO2 from the air and cleansing the atmosphere of the “pollutant.” There is no lower limit for human beings, but there is for human life. We would be perfectly healthy in a world with little or no atmospheric CO2—except that we would have nothing to eat and a few other minor inconveniences, because most plants stop growing if the levels drop much below 150 ppm. If we want to continue to be fed and clothed by the products of green plants, we can have too little CO2.

The minimum acceptable value for plants is not that much below the 270 ppm preindustrial value. It is possible that this is not enough, that we are better off with our current level, and would be better off with more still. There is evidence that California orange groves are about 30 percent more productive today than they were 150 years ago because of the increase of atmospheric CO2.

Although human beings and many other animals would do well with no CO2 at all in the air, there is an upper limit that we can tolerate. Inhaling air with a concentration of a few percent, similar to the concentration of the air we exhale, hinders the diffusional exchange of CO2 between the blood and gas in the lung. Both the United States Navy (for submariners) and nasa (for astronauts) have performed extensive studies of human tolerance to CO2. As a result of these studies, the Navy recommends an upper limit of about 8000 ppm for cruises of ninety days, and nasa recommends an upper limit of 5000 ppm for missions of one thousand days, both assuming a total pressure of one atmosphere. Higher levels are acceptable for missions of only a few days.

We conclude that atmospheric CO2 levels should be above 150 ppm to avoid harming green plants and below about 5000 ppm to avoid harming people. That is a very wide range, and our atmosphere is much closer to the lower end than to the upper end. The current rate of burning fossil fuels adds about 2 ppm per year to the atmosphere, so that getting from the current level to 1000 ppm would take about 300 years—and 1000 ppm is still less than what most plants would prefer, and much less than either the nasa or the Navy limit for human beings.

Yet there are strident calls for immediately stopping further increases in CO2 levels and reducing the current level. As we have discussed, animals would not even notice a doubling of CO2 and plants would love it. The supposed reason for limiting it is to stop global warming—or, since the predicted warming has failed to be nearly as large as computer models forecast, to stop climate change. Climate change itself has been embarrassingly uneventful, so another rationale for reducing CO2 is now promoted: to stop the hypothetical increase of extreme climate events like hurricanes or tornados. But this does not necessarily follow. The frequency of extreme events has either not changed or has decreased in the 150 years that CO2 levels have increased from 270 to 390 ppm.

There have been many warmings and coolings in the past when the CO2 levels did not change. A well-known example is the medieval warming, about the year 1000, when the Vikings settled Greenland (when it was green) and wine was exported from England. This warm period was followed by the “little ice age” when the Thames would frequently freeze over during the winter. There is no evidence for significant increase of CO2 in the medieval warm period, nor for a significant decrease at the time of the subsequent little ice age. Documented famines with millions of deaths occurred during the little ice age because the cold weather killed the crops. Since the end of the little ice age, the earth has been warming in fits and starts, and humanity’s quality of life has improved accordingly.

A rare case of good correlation between CO2 levels and temperature is provided by ice-core records of the cycles of glacial and interglacial periods of the last million years of so. But these records show that changes in temperature preceded changes in CO2 levels, so that the levels were an effect of temperature changes. This was probably due to outgassing of CO2 from the warming oceans and the reverse effect when they cooled.

The most recent continental ice sheets began to melt some twenty thousand years ago. During the “Younger Dryas” some 12,000 years ago, the earth very dramatically cooled and warmed by as much as 10 degrees Celsius in fifty years.

The earth’s climate has always been changing. Our present global warming is not at all unusual by the standards of geological history, and it is probably benefiting the biosphere. Indeed, there is very little correlation between the estimates of CO2 and of the earth’s temperature over the past 550 million years (the “Phanerozoic” period). The message is clear that several factors must influence the earth’s temperature, and that while CO2 is one of these factors, it is seldom the dominant one. The other factors are not well understood. Plausible candidates are spontaneous variations of the complicated fluid flow patterns in the oceans and atmosphere of the earth—perhaps influenced by continental drift, volcanoes, variations of the earth’s orbital parameters (ellipticity, spin-axis orientation, etc.), asteroid and comet impacts, variations in the sun’s output (not only the visible radiation but the amount of ultraviolet light, and the solar wind with its magnetic field), variations in cosmic rays leading to variations in cloud cover, and other causes.

The existence of the little ice age and the medieval warm period were an embarrassment to the global-warming establishment, because they showed that the current warming is almost indistinguishable from previous warmings and coolings that had nothing to do with burning fossil fuel. The organization charged with producing scientific support for the climate change crusade, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), finally found a solution. They rewrote the climate history of the past 1000 years with the celebrated “hockey stick” temperature record.

The first IPCC report, issued in 1990, showed both the medieval warm period and the little ice age very clearly. In the IPCC’s 2001 report was a graph that purported to show the earth’s mean temperature since the year 1000. A yet more extreme version of the hockey stick graph made the cover of the Fiftieth Anniversary Report of the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization. To the surprise of everyone who knew about the strong evidence for the little ice age and the medieval climate optimum, the graph showed a nearly constant temperature from the year 1000 until about 150 years ago, when the temperature began to rise abruptly like the blade of a hockey stick. The inference was that this was due to the anthropogenic “pollutant” CO2.

This damnatia memoriae of inconvenient facts was simply expunged from the 2001 IPCC report, much as Trotsky and Yezhov were removed from Stalin’s photographs by dark-room specialists in the later years of the dictator’s reign. There was no explanation of why both the medieval warm period and the little ice age, very clearly shown in the 1990 report, had simply disappeared eleven years later.



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


22 August, 2011

Only one year left for the polar bears

Or so the WWF says. Quote below from 2004

"Assuming the current rate of ice shrinkage and accompanying weight loss in the Hudson Bay region, bears there could become so thin by 2012 they may no longer be able to reproduce, said Lara Hansen, chief scientist for the World Wildlife Fund"


Gov. Christie: Watch his hands, not his mouth

Politicians like to keep everyone happy if they can and Gov. Christie of NJ has his own way of doing that. At the same time as he vetoed Warmist legislation, he gave cautious lip service to Warmism. NJ is a strongly Warmist State so he has to deal with that. He has sunk his chances of being the GOP Presidential candidate next year, though

In case anyone had any doubts on where Gov. Chris Christie stands on climate change, he made his position crystal clear this afternoon: It's real and it's a problem.

In vetoing a bill (S2946) that would have required New Jersey to stay in a regional program intended to curb greenhouse gases — a program Christie plans to leave by the end of the year — the governor said "climate change is real."

He added that "human activity plays a role in these changes" and that climate change is "impacting our state."

Christie's words are his strongest to date in regards to climate change, a hot-button issue among the same conservatives nationwide who are clamoring for the governor to enter the 2012 presidential race.

Christie's come full circle on the issue. Last year, he told a town hall audience in Toms River he was skeptical climate change is the result of human activity. He backed off those comments at a conference of environmentalists in May and agreed to meet with climate scientists for a lesson in global warming.

Later that month, during a news conference announcing he would pull the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a 10-state partnership intended to curb power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, Christie took another step.

"I can’t claim to fully understand all of this," he said. "Certainly not after just a few months of study. But when you have over 90 percent of the world’s scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role it’s time to defer to the experts."

He added that climate science is complex and "we know enough to know that we are at least part of the problem."


The Sierra Club Fails An Environmental Consistency Test

What if there was a power source that, compared to the inexpensive coal that powers nearly half the nation’s electricity, emitted only half the carbon dioxide, emitted less than 20% of the principal pollutants tracked by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and is projected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to soon be less expensive than coal? Most Americans would celebrate the news, but the Sierra Club and other environmental activist groups are protesting it.

The power source is a very real one — natural gas — but opposition to natural gas production by the Sierra Club and other environmental activist groups makes one wonder whether they truly believe their global warming and air pollutions claims, or whether they are simply anti-energy and anti-business.

Recent discoveries of vast natural gas deposits in the U.S. in the form of shale rock, together with technological advances allowing inexpensive recovery of shale-trapped natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, are rewriting America’s domestic energy outlook.

The EIA reports that as a result of these new developments we now have large enough domestic natural gas reserves to last us for centuries without relying on any imports. Importantly, the EIA projects that over the lifetime of newly constructed power plants going into operation in the year 2016, natural gas power will be 33% less expensive than what is currently the least expensive power source, coal.

Natural gas power promises substantial environmental improvements over coal. For important pollutants monitored by the EPA, natural gas power cuts carbon monoxide emissions by 81%, nitrogen oxide emissions by 80%, sulfur dioxide emissions by 99%, mercury emissions by 100%, and particulates by 99%. Natural gas also cuts carbon dioxide emissions — if you are worried about global warming — by 44%.


The Lack of Recent Warming not China's doing

Boston University's Robert Kaufmann and colleagues recently published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examining the causes of the recent dearth of "global warming." They concluded that it's simply natural variability, augmented by increasing sulfate emissions from dramatically growing coal consumption by China.

Of course, it is the latter conclusion that has drawn all the attention, for it allows the possibility that greenhouse gases are continuing to impart an as-expected warming influence on the global climate. And then once China gets its air pollution under control (and we are talking about true air pollution here, i.e., not carbon dioxide), global temperatures will rise rapidly. Thus the dream of alarming climate change lives.

If China's sulfate emissions are not having much of an impact of global temperatures, then, the dearth of warming in recent years supports the hypothesis — now made by many (unpopular) folks in the climate business — that the "sensitivity" of temperature to carbon dioxide has been guessed (we choose our words carefully here) to be too high by climate modelers. In this scenario, we wake up from the alarmist nightmare and resume our normal lives.

There are two reasons why we think it is wrong for Kaufmann et al. to attribute a reduced rate of global warming to Chinese sulfates:

1) China's cooling sulfates do not readily make their way into the Southern Hemisphere, yet, from 1999-2010, temperatures actually fell there, while they rose in the Northern Hemisphere. This is exactly the opposite of what should have happened if sulfates are exerting a relative cooling primarily in the Northern Hemisphere

2) Chinese coal consumption increased in 2009 and 2010 (in fact, 2010 had the biggest year-over-year increase recorded) — yet, the global temperature rose sharply in 2009 and in 2010. Because Kaufmann's climate model responds instantaneously to sulfates (as opposed to a decades-long lag to adjust to carbon dioxide changes) this is contrary to his hypothesis.

Let's look at the first one.

The link below shows the march of weather systems around the globe for several months. Notice that the weather systems passing through China quickly move into the north Pacific Ocean, and don't mix into the Southern Hemisphere. Since sulfates only have an atmospheric lifetime of about a week or so, they are hard pressed to cause any cooling impact beyond the areas to the immediate east of China.

So, if a dramatic increase in Chinese sulfur emissions during the past decade or so has been responsible for the observed slowdown in the rate of global temperature increase, then the Northern Hemisphere should be doing most of the work — that is, the rate of warming in the Northern Hemisphere should have slowed by much more than the rate of warming in the Southern Hemisphere. This situation is easy to check.

Figure 1 shows the Northern and Southern Hemisphere temperature history from 1980 through 2010 according to the surface temperature data set compiled and maintained by the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. During the period of time during which Chinese sulfate emissions rose (1998-2010), the warming in the Southern Hemisphere went negative (i.e. became a cooling) while the Northern Hemisphere warmed. From Figure 1 it is obvious that the Southern Hemisphere is driving the global temperature slowdown, not the Northern — a result completely contrary to Kaufmann et al.'s Chinese sulfate hypothesis.

Now let's turn to our Reason #2. Simply put, during the past 2 years (which were not part of the Kaufmann et al. dataset), global temperatures rose as did Chinese coal consumption. According to Kaufmann et al.'s hypothesis, the increase in Chinese coal consumption should act to drive down the rate of global temperature rise, but that is not what happened. Again, temperatures are behaving in an opposite fashion, compared to what the hypothesis predicts.

The top panel in Figure 2 shows Chinese coal consumption from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy from 1998 through 2010. Notice that it increased substantially in both 2009 and 2010 — two years not included in the Kaufmann et al. analysis. The year-over-year increase from 2009 to 2010 was the highest annual increase on record. If Chinese coal consumption were having a large impact on global temperature, we would expect that global temperatures would remain suppressed in 2009 and 2010. But the bottom panel in Figure 2 shows what really happened — global temperatures rose in both 2009 and 2010, contrary to the Kaufmann et al. hypothesis.

It is clear that natural variability, not sulfate emissions, is the cause of the lack of recent warming. We arrived at this very same conclusion several years ago, however, despite repeated attempts, we were unable to find a journal even interested in considering our work for publication.

More HERE. (See the original for links and graphics)

EPA’s Ongoing Assault on the Economy

Affordable energy is critical for a prosperous economy. Yet, despite the fact that the U.S. is still in the middle of a pronounced economic slump, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the process of proposing or finalizing a number of air-quality regulations that would limit energy choices and increase energy prices, thus seriously retarding the economic recovery.

Economists estimate that just four of these dozens of rules could alone cost the economy trillions of dollars annually. In addition, the rules will cost millions of jobs and raise energy prices, and all with little or no public-health benefit.

On July 6, 2011, the EPA finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule which will require power plants in 27 states to significantly reduce sulfur-dioxide and nitrogen-oxide emissions. By 2014, power plants will need to cut their sulfur-dioxide emissions 73 percent and nitrogen-oxide emissions by 54 percent below 2005 levels.

A second rule concerning mercury and air toxics would require existing coal- and oil-fired power plants to reduce emissions of mercury and other air pollutants to the average level of emissions of the least polluting 12 percent of plants currently operating using the same type of fuel.

The EPA is also proposing a new, more restrictive ozone standard. Though the current primary standard of 0.075 parts per million (ppm) was only set in 2008 — and is just now being implemented — the Obama administration’s EPA decided to create a new, even stricter standard — somewhere between 0.060 ppm to 0.070 ppm. Finalization of the new standard has been delayed several times and no firm date has been set for a decision.

Finally, despite little if any provable health effects from current emissions, the EPA has decided to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants.

What does it all mean?

Just looking at the proposed restrictions on ozone, most monitored counties — many in urban areas — will not meet the new standard. In fact, up to 76 percent of the 675 U.S. counties where ozone is monitored would not meet a 0.070 ppm standard, according to a 2010 Congressional Research Service report. Up to 96 percent would not meet a 0.060 ppm standard. These so-called non-attainment areas will be subject to additional regulation and EPA oversight, making business expansion difficult and encouraging businesses to move to counties that do attain the standard or to leave the country entirely. Communities in non-attainment areas could also lose federal highway funding.

Estimates vary, but researchers agree that complying with a new ozone standard will be costly. Indeed, a 0.070 ppm standard could cause a $14.8 billion decline in production and the loss of 91,700 jobs by 2030 in the Cincinnati-Dayton, Ohio, region alone, according the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Other analysts place the costs far higher — at more than a $1 trillion.

In 2007, when the U.S. Supreme court opened the door to the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants, I, along with a host of others, predicted costly mischief — and now we’ve got it. Regulating greenhouse gases as pollutants will increase the number of emissions sources that need operating permits from approximately 20,000 at present to roughly 6 million. At a cost of up to 2.5 million jobs lost and a decline of economic output of nearly $7 trillion (in 2008 dollars) by 2029.

Unfortunately, the EPA’s efforts will be futile. Even if the entire Western Hemisphere suddenly eliminated all carbon dioxide emissions, the effect on global emissions would likely be offset within a decade by the growth of China’s emissions alone.

Combined the Cross-State Air Pollution rule and the new Mercury and Air Toxics standards have been estimated to lead to an additional 1.4 million jobs lost and will result in a shuttering of more than 5 percent of the nation’s electric power supply. The North American Electric Reliability Council, the government’s watchdog responsible for ensuring the nation’s electricity supply and transmission, notes that this forced shutdown — with no way to replace the losses in a timely fashion — will lead to inadequate supplies, power shortages, and instability in the national grid.

These regulations, taken individually, or as a set, are arguably unnecessary since, as I detail in a recent NCPA report, at current levels American air is so clean that there is little benefit to additional pollution reduction.

The economy is still struggling and many people remain unemployed. The loss of more than 8 million jobs and soaring energy costs over the next decade will stifle economic recovery. Current clean air standards and technological improvements are already improving air quality. Accordingly, Congress should rein in the EPA’s ongoing assault on our already weakened economy.


South Australia: Plastic bag ban backfires

Bin liner sales in SA have doubled since free plastic shopping bags were banned more than two years ago. And most bin bags are made of thicker plastic than traditional bags, which means they take longer to break down in the environment.

Woolworths says SA sales of plastic kitchen-tidy bags of a similar size, capacity and shape to single-use plastic shopping bags, are now double the national average. At Coles, sales of kitchen tidy bags increased 40 per cent in the year following the ban in May 2009.

Bin bag manufacturer Glad reported a 52.5 per cent jump in kitchen-tidy bag sales in the first year of the ban, compared with a 5.5 per cent increase nationally.

In SA, 48 million Glad bin bags were bought in 2008, rising to more than 73 million in 2009 and 84 million last year.

The figures have raised concerns about whether the plastic bag ban has been effective in reducing waste sent to landfill. In 2009, South Australia led the nation with a ban on lightweight, checkout-style plastic bags.

The Northern Territory and ACT are now introducing their own bans.

Zero Waste SA chief executive Vaughan Levitzke claimed in January 2009 the ban would not lead to a significant rise in the number of bin bags bought. "Research shows purchase of bin liners will not increase significantly, compared with the reduction of plastic shopping bags," he said.

Yesterday, the government agency said it did not have any current information about sales of bin bags.

Opposition environment spokeswoman Michelle Lensink said the situation was "fairly predictable". "We said at the time that it was tokenistic, just about having a headline, being able to say we're the first to ban the bag in Australia," she told The Advertiser.

Supermarket chains now charge 15c at the checkout for thicker "reusable" bags that Ms Lensink suggests are going straight to landfill.

Samantha Lang, 20, from Craigmore, yesterday said the bag ban had not changed her behaviour. "We do buy bin bags because we need plastic bags to line bins," she said. "But we always forget our green bags so we're always stuck paying the plastic bag surcharge at the supermarket."



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


21 August, 2011

In support of Gov. Perry

In New Hampshire, Rick Perry said:

"I do think global warming has been politicised … We are seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing our climate to change. Yes, our climate has changed. It has been changing ever since the Earth was formed. But I do not buy into a group of scientists who have, in some cases, been found to be manipulating data."

That has been slightly misquoted on the Left in various ways but is a perfectly level-headed statement. Leftists have however hit back by quoting their beloved "consensus". Evidence that there IS no consensus is therefore worth trotting out. Gov. Perry might have slightly over-egged the pudding by suggesting that scienists are going skeptical "daily" but not by much. The report excerpted below from last December does list a strong flow of scientists repudiating global warming

We do seem to have a good chance of a thoroughgoing skeptic in the White House from the beginning of 2013. What a blessing that will be to America!

More than 1,000 dissenting scientists (updates previous 700 scientist report) from around the globe have now challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore.

This new 2010 321-page Climate Depot Special Report -- updated from the 2007 groundbreaking U.S. Senate Report of over 400 scientists who voiced skepticism about the so-called global warming “consensus” -- features the skeptical voices of over 1,000 international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN IPCC.

This updated 2010 report includes a dramatic increase of over 300 additional (and growing) scientists and climate researchers since the last update in March 2009. This report's release coincides with the 2010 UN global warming summit in being held in Cancun.

The more than 300 additional scientists added to this report since March 2009 (21 months ago), represents an average of nearly four skeptical scientists a week speaking out publicly. The well over 1,000 dissenting scientists are almost 20 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

The chorus of skeptical scientific voices grew louder in 2010 as the Climategate scandal -- which involved the upper echelon of UN IPCC scientists -- detonated upon on the international climate movement. "I view Climategate as science fraud, pure and simple," said noted Princeton Physicist Dr. Robert Austin shortly after the scandal broke.

Climategate prompted UN IPCC scientists to turn on each other. UN IPCC scientist Eduardo Zorita publicly declared that his Climategate colleagues Michael Mann and Phil Jones "should be barred from the IPCC process...They are not credible anymore." Zorita also noted how insular the IPCC science had become. "By writing these lines I will just probably achieve that a few of my future studies will, again, not see the light of publication," Zorita wrote.

A UN lead author Richard Tol grew disillusioned with the IPCC and lamented that it had been "captured" and demanded that "the Chair of IPCC and the Chairs of the IPCC Working Groups should be removed." Tol also publicly called for the "suspension" of IPCC Process in 2010 after being invited by the UN to participate as lead author again in the next IPCC Report. [Note: Zorita and Tol are not included in the count of dissenting scientists in this report.]

Other UN scientists were more blunt. A South African UN scientist declared the UN IPCC a "worthless carcass" and noted IPCC chair Pachauri is in "disgrace". He also explained that the "fraudulent science continues to be exposed." Alexander, a former member of the UN Scientific and Technical Committee on Natural Disasters harshly critiqued the UN. "'I was subjected to vilification tactics at the time. I persisted. Now, at long last, my persistence has been rewarded...There is no believable evidence to support [the IPCC] claims. I rest my case!"

See: S. African UN Scientist Calls it! 'Climate change - RIP: Cause of Death: No scientifically believable evidence...Deliberate manipulation to suit political objectives' [Also see: New Report: UN Scientists Speak Out On Global Warming -- As Skeptics!]

Geologist Dr. Don Easterbrook, a professor of geology at Western Washington University, summed up the scandal on December 3, 2010: "The corruption within the IPCC revealed by the Climategate scandal, the doctoring of data and the refusal to admit mistakes have so severely tainted the IPCC that it is no longer a credible agency."

Much more HERE

Reply to the Washington Post on GOP skeptics

The Washington Post recently ran an article under the heading: "Climate-change science makes for hot politics" -- highlighting the strong dissent from global warming among GOP candidates and supporters. It is one of a number of such articles which end up belaboring skeptics with the "consensus". Denis Ables of Vienna, VA has written a comprehensive reply to it, which covers the science that they omit. I reproduce it below:

While it’s clear that the politics related to “climate change” are “hot”, so is the science. Eilperin and Achenbach, in their front-page article (August 20) have shed no new light on the science.

The term climate, unlike weather, is meant to cover much longer time spans. In just the past 1.3 million years our planet has experienced 13 ice ages, each followed by a brief warming period. We have the good fortune to be living during a brief warming period. Climate change has been ongoing since the origin of our planet some 4+ billion years ago. It's not always pleasant. When there are no longer any reports of shrinking glaciers or disappearing ice fields the next ice age will surely be underway.

There is no disagreement that, since the beginning of our industrial revolution (the mid 1800s), industrial activity has likely been contributing to the steadily increasing level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The issue is whether this increase in CO2 will, in time, lead to significant, possibly catastrophic climate change. There is a well established paleo correlation, covering hundreds of thousands of years, showing a strong correlation between the variation in the planet’s carbon dioxide level and its temperature variation. However, the temperature variations occur first, some 800+ years before the very similar Co2 variations. This is clearly part of natural variation - the ongoing carbon cycle. The oceans, being much denser than the atmosphere, are much slower in both warming and cooling. When the oceans are cooler, Co2 is absorbed, when warmer, Co2 is expelled. There is no evidence that Co2 is driving our planetary temperature. Claims that other types of climate change have been caused by increasing Co2 have all been debunked.

As for the “survey” proving that 98% of climatologists believe that man’s activities contribute to warming: As I recall there are some serious issues related to that survey regarding sampling technique and how the questions were phrased. For example, every climatologist would be aware of the urban heat island effect which is clearly brought about by man’s activities, so man does indeed have some effect on temperature. But, the UHI is a local effect. The rural areas surrounding the urban areas show no impact from UHI. Not only that, urban areas make up a miniscule part of the earth’s surface area, oceans taking up 70%, plus there are other vast areas that include very few inhabitants. In any event, even I would be reluctant to claim that man has had no impact on the temperature. If I had to choose between "yes" or "no", I'd have to be prudent and select "yes". But my preferable answer would have been that there seems to be no evidence at all that man is having a significant (or even measurable) impact on the planet's temperature.

Our current warming began during the late 1600s, as the little ice age stopped cooling. That’s two centuries of natural warming before the industrial revolution. The 200 years of warming could hardly be expected to stop just because the industrial revolution started. But, even as the carbon dioxide level has continued to increase since the mid 1800s the temperature has not been cooperating. From the 1940s to 1970s it cooled, and since 1998 it has basically been flat. In fact, most of our current warming has taken place during two periods, (1910 to 1940) and (1975-1999).

Proponents of AGW defend their computer model predictions by now claiming such things as volcano eruptions have interfered, but these are merely part of the ongoing natural climate change, which clearly demonstrates that their computer models are inadequate, and, in any event, the excuses are questionable, because there seems to have been no increase in the particulates in the atmosphere.

The reviews that supposedly exonerated the folks at the IPCC seem to have invariably been conducted by others with the same vested interest, (a rather common practice in climate investigations, otherwise known as “white washing”). These reviewers refused to even consider looking at the science, or at the IPCC’s lack of scientific method. Certainly any scientific conclusion based on data (or processes used) which has not been released, was lost or destroyed, is hardly a valid basis for making policy. That data handling scenario has been SOP for the IPCC.

It was also misleading for the Post reporters to compare temperature in this decade with just the previous two decades. The 1930s were also quite warm, the difference compared to recent temperatures so small as to be insignificant. (One must also keep in mind that those surface temperature readings from the 30s were all subsequently “adjusted” downwards! Documentation justifying that process will not soon be available.) Our current drought, pictured in the Post article, hardly compares to the disastrous drought in the earlier 1900s.

And then there’s the Medieval Warming Period. The MWP “had to be eliminated” according to the purloined IPCC emails, and – in the face of much existing and contradicting research – the IPCC obviously did its best to eliminate that entire era via their famed (and clearly debunked) “hockey stick” graph. There are numerous peer-reviewed studies on the MWP, over a relatively long period, and still ongoing (involving about 1000 scientists so far and covering 40+ countries, showing that the MWP was global (not just regional) and as warm, likely warmer, than now. (links to all MWP studies available via . There was no industrial activity at that time, so the MWP was clearly natural climate variation. Where is the evidence that the current warming (such as it is) is not just more natural variation?

Trenberth, an IPCC member and (of course) one of the warming proponents has actually claimed recently – to a large audience- that the null hypothesis , (climate variation is natural unless proven otherwise) should be changed to his hypothesis – (it’s all anthropogenic ) . This unbelievable claim with no evidence to offer! Keep in mind that an entity such as the International Panel on Climate Change is no different than any other bureaucracy. Its very existence depends on its findings. Its findings were clearly predictable. Neither has the UN made any secret of its ambitions in this regard. (See, for example Lord Monckton's findings.)

The entire basis for the proponents of anthropogenic global warming is their hypothesis - that there is a positive feedback related to increasing Co2 which will, at some point, begin driving up temperature more quickly. However, even current temperatures indicate that their computer model projections based on this hypothesis are failing. Computer models do not qualify as evidence (other than to perhaps indicate incompetence). Even the IPCC folks acknowledge that their computer models generate “projections” and not “predictions”. The major news media has failed to distinguish this difference. Projections offer no guarantees at all. Not only that, the “hot spot” which, according to the computer models, must show up in some specific area in the troposphere are nowhere to be found. That alone should bring on serious questions about the validity of the IPCC hypothesis.

Finally, there is the isolated concern related to just the one issue - increasing carbon dioxide. The Co2 level has not only been much higher in the distant past but also during several ice ages, and even going into one ice age. This trace gas is now at 400 ppmv (parts per million by volume). The annual increase is 2 ppmv per year. At the current annual level it will be 600 to 700 ppmv by the year 2100. In the distant past life on this planet has apparently thrived at much higher levels of CO2. In fact, right now our vegetation is thriving on the additional CO2, and requiring even less water. Submarine crews live in 3000 to 5000 ppmv for extended durations with no apparent problems.

While we should obviously continue to look for ways to reduce our “carbon footprint”, this trace gas does not appear to be anywhere near a level, even within the next few hundred years, where it might then become prudent to permit politicians to treat the situation as a crisis (assuming we haven't already resolved the issue). Politicians’ “treatment” of any crisis tends to follow the “cure worse than the illness” model. We have time to deal with Co2 without having to, in the interim, move into caves.

Received via email

Enough Already with the 'Green' Jobs

I would just hate to have to be the one to break this to the President (er, scratch that. I would probably relish it.), but when the President returns from Martha's Vineyard to present his highly anticipated economy-and-jobs plan, I hope for both his and the American people's sake that it doesn't contain more dreamy outlines for the creation of 'green' jobs. Because when you've lost the zeal of the Gray Lady, you know something's up:
In the Bay Area as in much of the country, the green economy is not proving to be the job-creation engine that many politicians envisioned. President Obama once pledged to create five million green jobs over 10 years. Gov. Jerry Brown promised 500,000 clean-technology jobs statewide by the end of the decade. But the results so far suggest such numbers are a pipe dream....

A study released in July by the non-partisan Brookings Institution found clean-technology jobs accounted for just 2 percent of employment nationwide and only slightly more — 2.2 percent — in Silicon Valley. Rather than adding jobs, the study found, the sector actually lost 492 positions from 2003 to 2010 in the South Bay, where the unemployment rate in June was 10.5 percent.

Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show. Two years after it was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize drafty homes, California has spent only a little over half that sum and has so far created the equivalent of just 538 full-time jobs in the last quarter, according to the State Department of Community Services and Development.

I have to admit, I never thought I'd see the day when the NYT would publish the phrases "green jobs" and "pipe dream" in the same piece. And it feels so good.


“There are a hell of a lot more bears”

Shock news. Scientists who don’t know what they are talking about. The EPA doesn’t know what they are talking about.

The latest government survey of polar bears roaming the vast Arctic expanses of northern Quebec, Labrador and southern Baffin Island show the population of polar bears has jumped to 2,100 animals from around 800 in the mid-1980s.

As recently as three years ago, a less official count placed the number at 1,400.

The Inuit have always insisted the bears’ demise was greatly exaggerated by scientists doing projections based on fly-over counts, but their input was usually dismissed as the ramblings of self-interested hunters.

As Nunavut government biologist Mitch Taylor observed in a front-page story in the Nunatsiaq News last month, “the Inuit were right. There aren’t just a few more bears. There are a hell of a lot more bears.”


Global warming runs out of gas

Comment from Canada

For those who have a wish to hear the grating sound of a man distempered and frustrated that the cause for which he has given at least a decade of his time, the “greatest moral challenge of our time,” is lost, I recommend listening to Al Gore as he was captured during an address at an Aspen global warming conference two weeks ago. It is a revelation. Mr. Gore is not a happy Jeremiah. You hear him on the tape near rage, repeatedly shouting “bulls–t” over the arguments of his critics.

Can a person win the Nobel Peace prize twice? I surely hope so, for this is the E=mc² moment of our green time.

It is not a pretty display. The question the sorry little rant calls up is whether, in its way, this temper fit was a signal that the great global warming crusade, that has had such a sweet run for the last decade or more, is finally over. Has it run, so to speak, out of gas?

The signs are everywhere that it has. Here in Canada, for example, how far are we from those days when Stéphane Dion was the freshly-minted leader of the Liberal party, having ascended to that dubious altitude largely on the pledge that he was going to build a “green” Canada. It was telling that within the Liberal party at that time featly to a drastic and nebulous green agenda was enough to grab the leadership prize away from the perceived stronger candidates, Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff. As so often happens, however, much as they are embraced by celebrities and touted by inside “experts,” when so-called green politics are placed before the people those politics and the people who espouse them are forcefully rejected.

Some five or so years later, not a little of Stephen Harper’s success in gaining a majority government came from refusing to engage, in any serious and convincing manner, with the politics of the planet-savers. Political correctness dictates some tepid genuflection towards the obsession with a warming planet, but Harper — and people know this — can be counted on not to jump on the carbon-counting express. He can be counted on to not bend in the face of the manufactured fury presented by professional activists and environmentalists, either to slow or stop the oil sands or introduce some ludicrous and wasteful “tax” on carbon dioxide. And while it may be a footnote to the national trend, Rob Ford’s election as mayor of Toronto can also be read, in part, as a rebuke to the previous mayor’s incessant tinkering with “environmental” measures — from plastic bag surcharges to bike lanes — at the expense of more basic municipal functions.

These are merely the local Canadian signals. But one can skip the globe and find almost everywhere that governments, staring at the reality of recession and financial anxiety, have given up on their vague projections of green economics. Where is President Obama, who promised that on his accession “the rise of the oceans will start to slow and the planet begin to heal?” — surely the most fatuous declaration in the history of politics. Well, he appears to be giving speeches every second day, but none of them feature the retreating oceans or our healed planet.

In fact he’s been tooling around in a $2-million bus oblivious of the carbon costs, and there simply hasn’t been any signal that his White House is giving the great Gore crusade anything but the barest of rhetorical support. If there were any political value to ardent greensmanship, surely a President who is floundering on the economy and sinking in the polls would have grabbed that raft with a passion.

But there isn’t anymore. Perhaps the recession has tamed the imaginations of most people and their governments. In tight economic times people are naturally unwilling to engage in the comic-book fantasies of the wilder environmentalists. Perhaps Climategate gave a too-souring glimpse into the mixture of science and advocacy that has, to some extent, corrupted both. Perhaps, finally, the unctuousness, sanctimony and sputtering righteousness of the high-profile environmentalists signal to most observers that they aren’t really as certain of all this “science” as they pretend to be. Either way this long green game has lost its fundamental energies. The celebrities will find another wristband; the politicians will find a new vague distraction.

For that, Mr. Gore himself has a lot of blame to carry. His own “sputtering righteousness” and his adolescent barks of “bulls–t” to his critics may be a reverse of the Obama declaration. Gore’s meltdown might just be the moment when the people of the planet saw the carney show for what it was.


How Obama Spent His Summer Vacation- Day One: Kill Power Plants, Kill Jobs

Prepare for your electric rates to go up, Chevy Jolt drivers

Under new interpretations of old rules, the EPA will shortly be forcing the shutdown of about 20 percent of coal-generated electric capacity in the United States. Since coal generates about half the electricity demanded in the US, the country will have to find other, more expensive ways of making up about ten percent of electric capacity at a time that the administration wants electric to be the clean fuel of choice.

Maybe Obama doesn’t understand that he can’t import electricity from Brazil.

In addition to the loss of generating capacity, the Commerce Department estimates that the new rules could kill up to 60,000 jobs, says Heritage, while an industry trade group says that the rules will cost $129 billion, according to the Washington Post.

During the 2008 presidential campaign then-Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden both claimed that if elected they would institute policies that make it cost prohibitive for coal-fired plants to operate in the United States.

Looks like this is one promise they’ll keep.

“So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can,” Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle in a clip the paper likely tried to suppress, “it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

While the Obama campaign scrambled at the time to say that their comments were taken out of context, Mike Carey, president of the Ohio Coal Association issued a statement that rings true today.

“Senator Obama,” said Carey in November 2008, “has revealed himself to be nothing more than a short- sighted, inexperienced politician willing to say anything to get a vote. But today, the nation's coal industry and those who support it have a better understanding of his true mission, to 'bankrupt' our industry, put tens of thousands out of work and cause unprecedented increases in electricity prices.”

The administration is using new interpretations of long-ago passed emission standards- standards that no administration has tried to enforce- along with vague, esoteric “visibility” standards to target older, coal-fired plants. Critics say that the EPA fails to make a case that the plants present a danger to public health or visibility, as the EPA seemed to admit when they issued a stay against adoption of the rules earlier this year.

“The stringency and cost of the new regulations provoked an outpouring of protest and some 5,800 comments” writes Heritage, “citing technical and statutory errors. Some 21 governors and more than 100 Members of Congress also raised objections. Ultimately, EPA officials were forced to acknowledge their failure to ‘calculate standards that fully reflected operational reality.’”

But as Obama tries to shore up his base of support amid blistering criticism from progressive groups, look for Obama to continue to use backdoor regulatory means to enforce, ignore or otherwise interpret laws to benefit special interests that support the president’s agenda.

Earlier this year Obama scrapped Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, instructed the Justice Department to ignore enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act and just this week announced that the administration would be suspending deportation of illegal aliens in an effort to avoid enforcement of immigration laws.

Obama has been subject to criticism from Hispanic leaders, who are still stuck on the Democrat plantation, after the administration bragged that they deported more illegal immigrants than the Bush administration.

In addition, the president has issued more job-killing regulations than any of his predecessors- at least 75 of them through mid-year 2011, at a cost of $38 billion just for adoption. Total economic costs of federal regulations are sky-rocketing to $1.75 trillion says the federal government’s own Small Business Administration.

In short, the coal group got it right in November 2008.

President Obama has revealed himself to be nothing more than a short- sighted, inexperienced politician willing to do anything, saying anything and pay anything to get a vote.
Even while on vacation, day one.



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


20 August, 2011

The latest scare: Walruses to become "endangered"

There's tens of thousands of them in just one location and plenty of food for them but some of them might stampede! The Horror!

Maybe parts of the Arctic have melted but if so it COULD NOT be the result of global warming. Why? Because even the Warmists now concede that there has been NO global warming for the last 10 years or so. So any changes in Arctic ice MUST be due to natural local factors such as changing winds and ocean currents

Tens of thousands of walruses have come ashore in north-west Alaska because the sea ice they normally rest on has melted. US government scientists say this massive move to shore by walruses is unusual in the United States. But it has happened at least twice before, in 2007 and 2009. In those years Arctic sea ice also was at or near record low levels.

The walruses "stretch out for one mile [1.6 kilometres] or more. This is just packed shoulder-to-shoulder," US Geological Survey biologist Anthony Fischbach said in a telephone interview from Alaska. He estimated their number at tens of thousands. Scientists with two federal agencies are most concerned about the 900-kilogram female walruses stampeding and crushing each other and their smaller calves near Point Lay, Alaska, on the Chukchi Sea.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to change airplane flight patterns to avoid spooking the animals. Officials have also asked locals to be judicious about hunting, said agency spokesman Bruce Woods.

The federal government is in a year-long process to determine if walruses should be put on the endangered species list.

Fischbach said scientists don't know how long the walrus camp-out will last, but there should be enough food for all of them.

During normal summers, the males go off to play in the Bering Sea, while the females raise their young in the Chukchi. The females rest on sea ice and dive from it to the sea floor for clams and worms. "When they no longer have a place to rest, they need to go some place and it's a long commute," Fischbach said. "This is directly related to the lack of sea ice."

Loss of sea ice in the Chukchi this summer in the northern hemisphere has surprised scientists because last winter lots of old established sea ice floated into the region, said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Centre. But that has disappeared. Although last year was a slight improvement over previous years, Serreze says there has been a long-term decline that he blames on global warming. "We'll likely see more summers like this," he said. "There is no sign of Arctic recovery."


A short history of climate science hysteria

Tim Blair recently posted this list of things that the media have trumpeted as being the “first casualties of climate change”.

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to check the veracity of each story – but what I was not expecting is that every story up until 2010 (after which some of the claims are too recent to verify one way or another) has either been completely debunked, or has since had some serious doubts placed on it.

So the following examples have not been cherry picked – it’s a quick analysis of every claim made about “the first casualty of global warming” up until 2010.

Here are the stories that Tim gathered together, followed by the latest information about them:

The claim:

The golden toad was the first casualty of global warming

The reality:

“There is no evidence of a trend associated with global warming. Rather, the extinction of the Monteverde golden toad (Bufo periglenes) appears to have coincided with an exceptionally dry interval caused by the 1986–1987 El Niño event.”

The claim:

Tuvalu: Global Warming’s first casualty. Ten thousand people, Tuvalu’s entire population, are packing their bags as their homes among nine low level atolls are being swallowed by the rising sea.

The reality:

The last census shows that Tuvalu’s population continues to grow.

The claim:

Polar bears are set to become the first casualty of global warming.

The reality:

The total number of the world’s polar bear population is still thought to be between 20,000 and 25,000.

The claim:

The first casualty of global warming is India’s mangrove island on the Bay of Bengal, Lochachara ~ it is now gone.

The reality:

The loss of the island was almost certainly caused as part of the natural erosion of an island in a delta.

The claim:

The Maldives are the likely first casualty in any serious increase in global warming.

The reality:

The Maldives population continues to increase.

The claim:

Water could be the first casualty of global warming.

The reality:

Not in Australia it ain’t. Also, the argument that smaller glaciers means less water is pure illogical claptrap as explained eloquently by Jennifer Marohasy.

The claim:

Australia Could Become First Major Casualty Due To Global Warming.

The reality:

People in Sydney and Melbourne have wasted millions on desalination plants because of false predictions about water shortages.

The claim:

Losing winter: as climate change takes hold, North America’s coldest season is the first casualty.

The reality:

North America has experienced some of its biggest snow seasons on record.

The claim:

First Casualty of Global Warming? Rare breed of possum may be extinct.

The reality:

Live possums were discovered four months later.

The claim:

The Alaskan village of Newtok is the first casualty of climate change.

The reality:

The town of Newtok is still exactly where it always has been.

The claim:

UNEP had also recently declared that coral reefs, which support the majority of marine life, will be the first casualty of climate change.

The reality:

The reefs are doing fine.

The claim:

Brunt of climate change perceived in India; small Himalayan glaciers first casualty.

The reality:

UN climate chief admits mistake on Himalayan glaciers warning

The claim:

In India … agriculture is the first casualty of climate change.

The reality:

India produces record wheat and pulses crop.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Professor William Happer on climate alarmism

Professor Happer is the quaintly named Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University – a serious academic, not easily dismissed as an extremist or crank. He has written a cogent summary of climate alarmism which is an essential read. It is overflowing with simple common sense:

"A major problem has been the co-option of climate science by politics, ambition, greed, and what seems to be a hereditary human need for a righteous cause. What better cause than saving the planet, especially if one can get ample, secure funding at the same time? Huge amounts of money are available from governments and wealthy foundations for climate institutes and for climate-related research. Funding for climate studies is second only to funding for biological sciences. Large academic empires, prizes, elections to honorary societies, fellowships, consulting fees and other perquisites go to those researchers whose results may help “save the planet.” Every day we read about some real or contrived environmental or ecological effect “proved” to arise from global warming. The total of such claimed effects now runs in the hundreds, all the alleged result of an unexceptional century-long warming of less than one degree Celsius. Government subsidies, loan guarantees, and captive customers go to green companies. Carbon-tax revenues flow to governments. As the great Russian poet Pushkin said in his novella Dubrovsky, “If there happens to be a trough, there will be pigs.” Any doubt about apocalyptic climate scenarios could remove many troughs."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

New shale study refutes Cornell: Marcellus gas better than coal

Marcellus gas has less impact on global warming than coal, according to a recent study by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University.

The peer-reviewed study published Aug. 5 in “Environmental Research Letters” appears to be a direct refutation of an April study from researchers Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea at Cornell University that indicated that shale gas was worse for global warming than coal.

The Cornell study had a number of faults — acknowledged by its authors — including sketchy data that did not directly apply to Marcellus drilling operations.

The Carnegie Mellon study looks specifically at Marcellus and the “life cycle greenhouse gas emmissions” associated with its production and consumption.

Marcellus gas is essentially no different than conventional natural gas, the study found, and 20-50 percent cleaner than coal for producing electricity.

“Marcellus shale gas emits 50 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than any U.S. coal-fired plant,” said study co-author Chris Hendrickson. “We favor extraction of Marcellus shale natural gas as long as the extraction is managed to minimize adverse economic, environmental and social impacts.”

Former DEP Secretary John Hanger lauded the new study on his blog, saying it “debunks and decimates professor Howarth’s hit piece study that the NYT gas reporter and other media gave so much attention.”

“By contrast,” Hanger said, “the CMU study has received very little press attention so the result remains that many people think Howarth is the final word on this important matter.”

The new study does support “green completions” — in which gas is captured during the earliest stages of production rather than being vented or flared into the atmosphere. Proposed shale gas rules from the EPA would require green completions.

“Green completion... would significantly reduce the largest source of emissions specific to Marcellus gas preproduction,” the study says, but it adds that such emissions are a small portion of the life cycle estimates.

The study’s authors said greenhouse gas emissions are not the only challenge when it comes to extracting shale gas.

“We still need to study other environmental issues, including use of water and disruption of natural habitats,” said co-author Paulina Jaramillo.


Warmists have contributed to the nihilism behind the British riots

Got kids? Watched as they've been indoctrinated - sorry, I mean educated - about global warming over the last decade? Then you'll know what I mean. They come home from school moodily depressed about the future of our planet and, of course, what that means for their own lives. What's the point? We're all doomed! Why study? Why bother getting an education? It's futile. Sea levels are rising. Temperatures are soaring. Soon we'll all be living in a polluted hell-hole constantly battling the equivalent of the Queensland floods or the Victorian bushfires year upon year. And you want me to waste what precious time I have left studying accountancy?

It's called nihilism, and it's even more terrifying to witness in your teenage children than hickeys, drunkenness, truancy, insolence, idleness, bad marks or bullying. Nihilism, or the conviction that life on Earth is totally pointless, saps the young of their energy, their ambition, and their will to strive, struggle and triumph.

Any amateur psychologist (or even better, parent) will tell you how easy it is to demotivate a child. So as parents we go out of our way to imbue our children with a sense of self-worth and optimism. We try and tell them what a great life lies ahead of them.

Yet at the same time, our teachers and our politicians are determined to do the complete opposite. To convince an entire generation that life on Earth as we know it is, well... stuffed. There is no worthwhile future.

The Sex Pistols are famous for coining two phrases, other than "God Save The Queen", which wasn't strictly theirs. "Anarchy in the UK" and "No Future". Unsurprisingly, the two go hand in hand. As in Australia, the UK education authorities have spent the last dozen years or so doing their utmost to persuade our kids that they have no future. No future for the planet, which equates to a very bleak future for themselves. Combined with an unrelenting culture of consumption and acquisition, the average child grows up believing a) life is shit and b) grab whatever you can whenever you get the chance. Combine that philosophy with a stimulative diet of violent computer games and a "bling" culture that prides overt materialism above all else and you get, um... Give me a moment while I figure it out.

Oh yeah! Got it! Anarchy. No respect for authority, an instant "thrill" addiction, no interest in long-term consequences, and a very real understanding that "the system" will never dare blame you for anything that you have done. Awesome, dude!

"We're just getting our taxes back!" yelled one over-excited young woman as she happily looted a corner store the other night in full view of the TV cameras. "This was the best day ever!" yelled talented athlete and (now disqualified) Olympic ambassador Chelsea Ives after allegedly rampaging through Enfield smashing and stealing.

"Children now have the power over their parents, not the other way around," said the father of another middle-class teenage looter. Every time he tries to criticise or correct his daughters behaviour, she has been taught to loudly accuse him or either verbal or physical abuse.

Clearly, today's "rioters" aren't actually interested in changing the world with catchy slogans and idealistic sentiments. They're far too busy helping themselves to shoes, clothes, electronic goods, alcohol, chips and cash.

Only a few weeks ago, Pink Floyd offspring Charlie Gilmour was sentenced to 16 months for his role in the "student riots" of last year. "We're very, very angry!" he proclaimed, smashing his way into Oxford Street's Top Shop, presumably grabbing the opportunity to get some new clothes. "You broke the moral law, we are going to break all the laws," he carried on, as he then set about attacking Prince Charles's convoy and desecrating the Cenotaph.

All because of cuts to student fees? Um, his step-dad made one of the biggest selling albums of all time. I don't think so. Nihilism is a pernicious, debilitating and self-fulfilling doctrine. In the UK, as here, the "authorities" have been preaching it relentlessly for the last decade. It comes at a price. Al Gore, I hope you watched the riots in a London as avidly as our kids were all forced to watch your breathless prophesies of global gloom, doom and destruction.

It's not rising sea levels we have to worry about. It's a rising tide of nihilism, thrill seeking and moral ambiguity.


Note to GOP: Wind power can be more expensive and dirty than we think

As most of the Republican presidential hopefuls stake their positions to win the hearts of the party’s base, the Tea Party has made it safe for honest conservatives to stand up and demand more than spin.

If we can demand fiscal responsibility, however, we also should demand fiscal honesty. And, if there is a subject where Republicans should be willing to be honest, it is on environmental and energy policy - in particular, climate change. After all, environmental policy does not sway voters, as it always ranks last on surveys that ask about domestic priorities. Republicans don’t get any of the hard “green” voters and never will, so they should be honest about today’s hallmark environment and energy issue.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is just the latest to state that he doesn’t believe the science on climate change is settled - a nice start. Unfortunately, all the candidates say they support an “all of the above” energy policy, which is problematic. Are they talking about options available within the free market or about an outcome determined by bureaucrats to be forced on the public?

If the candidates understand what “all of the above” has meant traditionally, they would know that it is often “greenwashing” code for reduction in fossil fuel use and support for mandates and subsidies for renewables such as wind as a replacement. That means they oppose the increase in use of cheap, affordable energy in favor of continued heavy intervention by government. We’ve seen how well that turns out.

Texas provides a good example of why “all of the above” mandates as an outcome is a failed energy policy. As Science reported in April 2009, “In the afternoon of Feb. 26, 2008, the winds died down in a stretch of west Texas that is home to thousands of tall wind turbines. Over a span of three hours, the turbines’ combined contribution to the state’s electricity grid fell by 75 percent. That 1500-megawatt (MW) drop - equivalent to the output of three midsized coal-burning power plants - coincided with a spike in demand.” In response, the grid operators shut down several large industrial customers.

As Science put it, “Texans were blissfully unaware that the state’s grid had just dodged a bullet. But the episode was an unsettling reminder that not all electricity is created equal.”

Wind isn’t just unequal in terms of reliability; windmills actually cause more air pollution than coal plants operating as designed. Texas is a nasty reminder of this. Along with other facilities, state utilities often depend on two coal-fired plants to “balance” the wind power, which means they fill in when the wind stops and must continue to “spin” when the wind blows. They still must burn coal to prevent the windmills from crashing the electrical grid when the wind drops, so they can instantly fill in electricity when needed.

This goes on all across the nation. As a result, Texas and other states subsidize and mandate more pollution at higher costs in taxes and electricity rates, all because political rulers have placed a climate-change belief system ahead of good science, with disregard for electricity customers and taxpayers who are least able to pay for more expensive renewables. A 2008 report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation estimated that the Lone State State’s wind industry would benefit from more than $28 billion in federal and state subsidies by the year 2025.

Because dirty, costly wind energy is masquerading as an essential element in “all of the above” as outcomes, the Republican candidates who cite it stray from conservative limited-government principles and instead adopt a coercive policy when it comes to energy. In effect, the “all of the abovers” tacitly support the climate-change “solution” agenda without acknowledging that there’s a problem in the first place.

The presidential candidates who want the support of fiscally conservative, sensible environmentalists should put sound science and free-market principles ahead of compulsion and subvention, and therefore should promote the options for the most economical energy available, without subsidies and mandates.

Otherwise, as we’ve seen from the similar regulatory policies of California’s last Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, that leads to disastrous economic consequences with high unemployment and businesses fleeing the state.



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


19 August, 2011

Bandwagonitis leads to embarrassing gaffe

The report below claims to note a dramatic change in the last 10 years and attributes it to global warming. But even the Warmists now admit that there has been no warming in the last 10 years. So the claim CANNOT be true. It would be wise to check the facts before opening mouth

Animals across the world are fleeing global warming by heading north much faster than they were less than a decade ago, a new study says.

About 2,000 species examined are moving away from the equator at an average rate of more than 15 feet per day, about a mile per year, according to new research published Thursday in the journal Science which analyzed previous studies. Species are also moving up mountains to escape the heat, but more slowly, averaging about 4 feet a year.

The species – mostly from the Northern Hemisphere and including plants – moved in fits and starts, but over several decades it averages to about 8 inches an hour away from the equator.

“The speed is an important issue,” said study main author Chris Thomas of the University of York. “It is faster than we thought.” ...

“It’s already affected the entire planet’s wildlife,” Thomas said in a phone interview. “It’s not a matter that might happen in the lifetime of our children and our grandchildren. If you look in your garden you can see the effects of climate change already.”


Climate change is happening even if the temperature isn't rising (?)

The bald assertion below that various bad weather events are unusual and a "sign" of doom to come is exactly what Jehovah's witnesses have been saying for 100 years. There is no science in it

You can say this for 2011: There's never been a year quite like it. Dangerous summer heat waves scorched the Midwest and East with record-high temperatures, causing at least 64 deaths. An unprecedented drought in Texas forced the government to declare the entire state a natural disaster area. Intense rainfall and snowmelt caused record flooding of the Mississippi River across the Midwest and South. Sea level is rising faster along the East Coast than it has for at least 2,000 years. Arctic sea ice fell to the lowest extent on record in July, with virtually no ice found off Alaska.

All this follows a slew of other climate-change related disasters (floods, blizzards, tornadoes) that have cost hundreds of lives, caused billions of dollars in damage and left some wondering: What's going on?

The unmistakable answer is clear: Climate change is no longer an abstract problem; climate change is here now; its effects are spinning out every single day across the planet. The impacts are wide-ranging, and increasingly they're intruding upon all aspects of our lives -- from increasing extreme weather events to rising sea levels that threaten densely populated coasts to the increasing instability of food and water supplies to our suffering health. According to the World Health Organization, hundreds of thousands of people are already dying from climate-related deaths each year.

And it isn't just people that are being hurt. Millions of species around the globe are seeing their world dramatically altered for the worse.

Polar bears and their cubs are dying because they're being forced to swim grueling distances across open water when there's no sea ice to be found. Mountain species like the pika in the American West are being driven extinct at lower elevations by rising temperatures. Coral reefs worldwide and oysters and mussels along the West Coast are growing weaker as they're exposed to more acidic waters due to the ocean's absorption of human-made carbon dioxide.

A comprehensive new study found that the impacts of climate change are being felt among all groups of animals and plants all around the globe, and that if anything, the harmful effects of climate change exceed predictions. This study forecast that one in 10 species could face extinction by 2100 if climate change continues at the current pace.

Put simply, climate change poses the greatest threat in human history to the natural systems that sustain life on Earth, and the crisis is only deepening. The decade from 2000 to 2010 was the warmest on record, and 2005 and 2010 tied for the hottest years on record. So far, 2011 is shaping up for more of the same.

As alarming as the situation is, it doesn't have to be this way. We have the tools to create a different climate future. We already know what to do: reduce our burning of dangerous, dirty fossil fuels and increase energy efficiency. We have the technology and know-how needed to power a clean-energy transformation. And we have the levers to spur action, foremost among them the tried and true Clean Air Act, which has cost-effectively and efficiently reduced air pollutants and protected public health for four decades.

As the daily toll of climate change mounts, it's time to embrace the reality that the United States can wait no longer for meaningful action. Climate change is happening now, we are causing it, and the costs of inaction -- to us, to plants and animals, to the physical world that we depend on -- are too steep to ignore and pass to the coming generations.


Pennsylvania leads the way by quietly turning off the lights on renewable energy

The Corbett administration is de-emphasizing renewable energy and energy conservation, eliminating programs created by previous Democratic and Republican administrations as it focuses on natural gas energy from booming Marcellus Shale.

Quietly but systematically, the administration has all but shut down the state Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Energy and Technology Deployment -- the state's primary energy office -- and removed directors and reassigned staff in the Office of Energy Management in the Department of General Services and the Governor's Green Government Council.

It has also forbidden state executive agencies from signing contracts that support clean energy supply.

The administration says merely that any changes are part of a new approach of Gov. Tom Corbett's energy executive, Patrick Henderson, who has been overseeing development of the administration's Marcellus Shale gas policy. But environmental organizations and former DEP officials and staffers say the dismantling of successful programs promoting renewable and sustainable energy will hurt the state's "green energy" economy.

The changes will put more than 100,000 "green jobs" in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries at risk, according to Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future -- PennFuture -- a statewide environmental organization that last week launched a campaign to protect and restore programs and jobs it says are under attack.

"In the past 12 years, Pennsylvania has gone from having virtually no clean energy jobs to employing more than 106,000 Pennsylvanians in the clean energy industry, despite the national recession," said Jan Jarrett, president and chief executive officer of Penn Future. "These program cuts and legislative attacks threaten to kill those good, family-sustaining jobs."

According to PennFuture and DEP sources, the DEP's Office of Energy and Technology Deployment -- which had oversight of the state Energy Savings Law and the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, administered several clean energy grant programs, provided technical assistance to renewable energy companies and housed the state's climate change office -- has been downsized and is without a director at the Deputy Secretary level. The climate program has had its staff reduced from four to one.

One former DEP employee, who asked that he not be named because he continues to work on energy issues in Harrisburg, said of the Energy Office, "it's being taken apart piece-by-piece and the pieces are being thrown away."

The Green Government Council, created under Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican, was established to help state agencies adopt environmentally sustainable operations. Its staff and program responsibilities have been "gutted," the employee said, and it continues to exist primarily to provide federally mandated tracking and performance reports for a number of federal energy programs.

The administration's prohibition against sustainable and alternative energy purchases reverses a policy that by the beginning of this year, had the state buying 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, according to PennFuture, and made it "a national leader in the development of the clean energy economy."

The Office of Energy Management has seen its director fired, its staff reassigned and, according to PennFuture, has been moved from the Department of General Services to the Bureau of Public Works. It administered the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act, which helps school districts and local governments invest in energy conservation and efficiency programs and conservation.

State Rep. William Adolph, a Delaware County Republican who authored the Energy Savings Act, is in discussions with the governor's office about how the program will be administered, said Mike Stoll, a spokesman for Mr. Adolph.

"We're still working with the administration to understand its position on the program," Mr. Stoll said. "It's saying this is part of a consolidation of programs but that doesn't change the requirements of the act."

The governor's office referred all questions about energy program and policy changes to Katy Gresh, a DEP spokeswoman, but she didn't directly respond to questions requesting specific information about program, policy and staffing changes. She did issue a general statement saying the department "continues to be the primary commonwealth agency for energy programs, energy emergency response and assurance, as well as alternative transportation fuel programs, and climate change," and that it is working closely with Mr. Henderson.

Ms. Gresh said eliminating the sustainable energy purchase program will save the state nearly $1 million. She cited two programs -- a $1 million grant program for small business energy efficiency and a still-in-development energy efficiency program that would use $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy -- as examples of the state's continued commitment to energy conservation.

Christina Simeone, director of PennFuture's Energy Center and formerly the special assistant for energy and climate at DEP, said the policy changes and staffing reductions are crippling the department. "I have concerns about whether the remaining staff of every office can handle the required workloads," Ms. Simeone said. "The programs and staff have been marginalized so much."

John Hanger, DEP secretary under former Gov. Ed Rendell, said it would be a mistake for the state to focus exclusively on natural gas. "The changes we've seen are viewed as downgrading alternative energy programs, and I can understand how people can come to that conclusion," Mr. Hanger said. "I hope that's not the case, but the [administration's] actions could be interpreted as backing away for placing less emphasis on alternative energy."

It's very important that the state welcome all types of energy development, including wind, solar and biofuels and not become exclusively focused on Marcellus Shale gas, Mr. Hanger said Friday, while attending the dedication of 32 wind turbines in Cambria County. The 75-megawatt facility, built by Everpower, a New York City-based company with an office in Pittsburgh, will produce enough power to supply 32,000 homes and increases the amount of wind electricity produced in the state by 10 percent.

"It's important to have government programs that can help move forward alternative energy and it's important that state government be a model for the private sector, especially when doing so can save taxpayers money," Mr. Hanger said, referring to a DEP program promoting energy efficiency in government buildings.

Pennsylvania is not the only state reassessing or reducing sustainable energy, energy conservation and renewables portfolio standards policy. Governors and legislators have voiced similar concerns in Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, according to the Pew Research Center.

Ms. Simeone said changes in policy priorities could be expected because the 2010 election resulted in widespread state government leadership changes, but it doesn't make sense to pull support from renewable and sustainable energy sources when the rest of the world is turning toward them.

"Around the world countries are realizing there needs to be a mix of fossil and sustainable energy and unless we continue to diversify we will be left in the dust," Ms. Simeone said. "We should be doing everything we can to create jobs in those areas and embrace those opportunities. But what we're doing just doesn't make sense."


The truth about government energy subsidies

The truth, unlike the common wisdom or at least the Democrat narrative, is that far and away the bulk of the $37 billion in government energy subsidies goes to “renewable” energy sources, not evil oil and gas corporations. The $37 billion is $19 billion more than was spent in 2007 in government subsidies, a 50% increase in spending.

It was a feature of the Obama administration’s recent narrative that government was subsidizing rich oil and gas companies and that should stop. Never mentioned, of course, were where other subsidies were going. For example:

Of that $19 billion increase, additional subsidies for renewables amounted to more than $9 billion, a 186 percent increase. Subsidies for renewables now total $14.7 billion.
Wind power was the biggest recipient of federal energy dollars. Last year, this sector took in almost $5 billion in subsidies – a more-than-tenfold increase from 2007. Meanwhile, solar energy subsidies increased six times over the same period, from $179 million to $1.13 billion. And biofuels (think ethanol) saw a jump from $4 billion to $6.6 billion.

Any idea what we’ve bought for that money?
Take wind power. Today, it represents a paltry 1.2 percent of total domestic energy production. Yes, that’s up from 0.5 percent in 2007. But only after spending billions in taxpayer resources.

What’s more, wind power is expected to fall well short of some key growth goals set by the Obama administration. The Department of Energy has officially declared it wants 20 percent of the energy market comprised of wind by 2030.

Currently, there are about 40,000 wind megawatts online in America. Meeting the Department’s target on time would require creating 13,000 new megawatts of wind energy every year — twice the growth notched by the industry last year, which was an all-time high. And warnings of a major contraction ahead have already been sounded by the American Wind Energy Association.

A classic example of government trying to pick winners and losers, or, in more succinct terms distorting the market. Instead of letting the market decide what is viable, government hopes to force it. And, predictably, the results are not good.

As for the evil oil and gas companies. Well the Democrats try to sell them as the ones sucking down all the subsidy dollars and not paying their “fair share”. The truth, of course, is almost the opposite:

Plenty of politicians, mostly Democrats, have advertised that eradicating federal dollars for oil and natural gas as a budget panacea.
The EIA [Energy Information Administration – part of DOE] study shows that these critics have fingered the wrong energies. Researchers report that last year, oil, natural gas, and coal received a total of 11 percent of all federal energy subsidies. And most of those oil and natural gas “subsidies” are typical deductions, deferrals, and credits that all businesses take.

In fact, as a share of net income, the oil and gas industry paid 41.1 percent in federal income taxes last year, compared to 26.5 percent for all non-oil and gas S&P 500 manufacturing companies. Meanwhile, oil and gas account for 78 percent of domestic energy production and are responsible for more than 9.2 million American jobs.

The myths, however, continue to persist. One sector promises jobs and a new source of energy and is essentially a subsidy sink hole. The other accounts for over 9 million jobs and actually provides the vast bulk of energy the country uses. Guess which one is constantly under fire from the left?


Failure has no lessons for America's Green/Left

With this week’s bankruptcy filing, the great Evergreen Solar experiment is now officially a staggering failure, but the fantasy that the state can buy new jobs with a fat investment of taxpayer cash may live on.

“Not every company is going to be successful,” Gov. Deval Patrick’s top economic adviser said after the bankruptcy announcement, in a rather impressive display of understatement. “But we still believe the approach of providing business incentives to create and maintain manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts is an important strategy.”

But that’s just it — these weren’t the usual “business incentives,” typically limited to tax benefits for whole industries (think tax credits for financial services companies). No, this was a sweetheart deal for a single company that had never demonstrated the ability to make money.

It was a case of politicians taking a flyer on a pet industry — alternative energy with its promise of all those “green jobs” — with your tax dollars. All when it was entirely foreseeable that China could do the same job that Evergreen was doing, but for less.

Now even the dream of recovering some of the cash granted to Evergreen by the generous people of the Patrick administration has died with the bankruptcy filing. It seems unlikely that taxpayers will recover a dime of the $31 million spent on Evergreen (another $27 million had been committed). We’re even getting stiffed on the rent for the plant we helped build on state-owned land in Devens.

And don’t think these lessons will be taken to heart by the green energy zealots who remain convinced that government can simply spend its way to a thriving industry, be it here in Massachusetts or in Washington. Even as Bay State taxpayers were absorbing news of the bankruptcy filing the White House yesterday was announcing a $510 million “investment” to develop the next generation of biofuels.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu proclaimed that this new industry “will replace imported crude oil with secure, renewable fuels made here in the U.S.” All with a half-billion in federal cash? Sure....

The president, at least, acknowledged that building the biofuels industry “cannot be the role of government alone,” so the feds will partner with the private sector. And the costly chase for green jobs will go on.



Three articles below

Powerful state governments say all options considered in battling Federal government carbon tax

THE nation's most powerful states will confront Julia Gillard with a demand to tear down the carbon tax or face a revolt over multi-billion-dollar asset writedowns and sweeping job cuts.

NSW and Victoria yesterday foreshadowed a bitter scrap with the Gillard government at Friday's Council of Australian Governments meeting amid growing calls to scrap the tax.

The NSW government has dramatically widened its line of attack on the tax fallout by revealing that federal Labor's renewable energy scheme had slashed the profitability of its state-owned electricity generators.

NSW Treasury has warned that if the Gillard government fails to phase out the scheme when the carbon price starts, it will consider seeking compensation, with NSW Treasurer Mike Baird revealing that all options -- including suing -- were on the table.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu led a chorus of cabinet criticism, with his government warning that alone, the closure of the Hazelwood power station in the brown coal-dependent Latrobe Valley would cost up to 5000 jobs.

Unemployment under a carbon tax could soar to 16.5 per cent in the valley, in the state's east, and Victoria has demanded that the tax be dumped. "Now is not the time to add another cost," Mr Baillieu warned.

NSW and Victoria are likely to be joined by Western Australia in opposing the tax, pointing to a serious test of the Prime Minister's diplomatic skills and willpower.

Although fighting on different battlegrounds, the powerful union of conservative states has the potential to further undermine Ms Gillard's hard-sell of the tax.

Victoria has threatened to scuttle the proposed national maritime safety regulator and WA has raised concerns about the transport package, especially relating to the heavy vehicle component.

The NSW government has previously focused its criticism on the prospect that the carbon tax would force multi-billion-dollar write-downs to the state-owned power stations, but NSW Treasury has now warned: "In view of its adverse impact on generator profitability, in the event the commonwealth does not phase out the Renewable Energy Target with the introduction of a carbon price, the NSW government could consider seeking commonwealth compensation for the adverse impacts of the RET on generator profitability."

The warning is contained in a submission to a Senate select committee inquiry into the carbon tax, which also suggests the NSW Treasury is trying to put a figure on the size of the losses triggered by the RET.

Yesterday, when asked whether the NSW government would consider legal action for compensation, Mr Baird said: "We are looking at all options."

The state-owned power stations, which include the nation's largest portfolio of power stations run by government-owned Macquarie Generation, are all coal-fired.

NSW argues the RET is a "very inefficient" way of achieving carbon abatement as it costs about $90 a tonne -- almost four times the $23-a-tonne carbon tax.

The state argues that many of the commonwealth's green policies are not complementary to the carbon tax and should be phased out. "To be complementary, they would most obviously need to relate to sectors not covered by the tax, like agriculture, or demonstrate their capacity to be self-funding, as might be the case with some energy efficiency measures," the submission states.

"Of particular concern to NSW is that the RET has created significant losses of value for NSW government-owned generators and is expected to lead to even more losses in the future."

NSW also warns it will receive $45 million less in payments from its generators this year, rising yearly to $290m less in 2014-15.

On top of this, NSW could come under pressure to compensate participants in the state-based Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme and the Energy Savings Scheme, as these are expected to be unwound as a result of the carbon tax.


State premiers turn up heat on Greens over their reservations about coal seam gas

QUEENSLAND Premier Anna Bligh has lashed the Greens over their attacks on the coal seam gas industry, warning the party can't cherry pick science to suit its ideology.

As state premiers converged on Canberra today for the Council of Australian Governments, Ms Bligh threw her support behind coal seam gas as an environmentally-friendly transitional fuel.

“There is absolutely no doubt that if Australia wants a clean energy future, gas has to be part of that and it has to be part of our transition,” Ms Bligh said.

Greens leader Bob Brown has questioned whether coal seam gas is a more greenhouse-friendly fuel than coal, due to the release of methane gas during its extraction.

Ms Bligh said she was disappointed in Senator Brown's comments, saying the science on gas was clear. “Frankly you can't pick and choose your science to suit your ideology,” she said. “You either believe the science on climate change, believe the science on gas emissions, or you don't. “You can't pick and choose to suit an ideological point and that's what I've seen from the Greens.”

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell also weighed in, accusing the Greens of being “all over the place” on the issue. He said gas had a role to play in the energy mix. “Gas is clearly important, but it can't be gas, coal or some other mineral at the expense of the rest of the economy and at the expense of agricultural land,” Mr O'Farrell said.

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said there were environmental issues with coal seam gas that needed to be managed, but the fuel had “great potential” to clean up power generation on the nation's east coast. “The emissions from gas are about a half to a third of what they are from a coal plant,” he said.


Conservative NSW government gives Greenie pests the boot

THE Barry O'Farrell government has embarked on its first round of public-service job cuts, announcing it will slash the number of positions at a research facility within the Department of Primary Industries by more than a third.

Staff at the Forest Science Centre, which is associated with Forests NSW, were told yesterday that 11 of their 31 positions would be abolished.

A number of senior scientists were told they could reapply for a reduced number of positions within the unit. Others were told they had two weeks to apply for voluntary redundancy. Alternatively, they could seek redeployment within three months after which they would be forced to take redundancy.

"We were really stunned that they targeted the science unit," a source told the Herald. "It's national science week this week."

The centre is the only unit undertaking research into the ecological sustainability of forests and agriculture. It also employs biodiversity researchers who look at species threatened by logging. "This will decimate the state's capacity for research in these areas," the source said.



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


18 August, 2011

What is the optimum temperature?

Australian grape-grower Erl Happ became interested in climate when trying to work out what climate was best for grape-growing. And, as every grape grower knows, some climates are better for grapes than others. So instead of the common academic focus on average temperature, Happ became interested in how that average is made up. He looked at temperature by region and season rather than by some uninformative global average. What he found was that temperatures in different regions and seasons moved in different directions at the same time. While one region or season was cooling another was warming.

So this regional/seasonal disparity very strongly made an explanation in terms of CO2 useless. AGW theory could explain uniform warming only and uniform warming is NOT happening. Looking at average temperature artificially hides what is actually happening.

He sees a large influence for clouds in temperature change, and like many skeptics sees the influence as being "more-clouds=cooling". Warmists say the opposite of course. I don't find the argument he uses to justify that claim particularly strong but there are other arguments leading to the same conclusion so that is not really a problem.

What IS important I think, is his emphasis on what the optimum temperature is at any point on the earth's surface. And he defines optimum as what is best for plant growth -- seeing that we all ultimately depend on plants for food and much else.

He says that 25 degrees Celsius is optimum and, since I come from a place (tropical Australia) where the temperature is around that, I have to agree. Anybody who has seen the mad growth of vegetation in the tropics can be in no doubt that most of the earth is TOO COLD. So even if the Warmists were right, we have nothing to fear.

And even Warmists these days are retreating from the rising sea level scare. 91% of the earth's glacial ice is in Antarctica and Antarctica is way too cold for any foreseeable temperature rise to melt the ice there.

I reproduce what Happ says about optimum temperature:
What is the utility of the globe to humanity at this particular point in the evolution of the Earth's disparate climatic regimes? Has there been an improvement or deterioration in recent times? To answer these questions we must look at the pattern of temperature change by latitude.

Summer maxima are short of the 25°C optimum temperature for plant growth.

Why is it considered that the globe is in danger of becoming too warm? Our interest is in ensuring that the capacity of the planet to support life in all its forms is not impaired. In the warmest parts of the globe, the parts considered thus far, temperature is sub optimal for plant growth and particularly so in the southern hemisphere. All life depends upon plants. We would be better off if the planet were warmer. It is further cooling that represents a threat to human welfare. We have plenty of scope on the upside.

Another recent article here on the theme that more warming would be good for us.

Profound confusion at SciAm

One of their bloggers is attempting to rubbish Joe Bastardi and in doing so says:
What climate science says is not that CO2 carries energy into the atmosphere or somehow magically generates it out of nowhere. Instead, it says that CO2 and other gases acts as a blanket, keeping heat from escaping into space. This, as Bastardi should know, is called the greenhouse effect.

The Earth radiates into space roughly the same amount of energy that it receives from the sun.

Whoa! The heat is kept from escaping the earth by CO2 yet "The Earth radiates into space roughly the same amount of energy that it receives"???

Which is it? Does the heat escape or is it kept in?

And extended look at this lulu here

Rise in bird malaria tied to climate

We all know that EVERYTHING bad is caused by climate change but, for interest's sake, comment on the article below was sought from French malaria expert Paul Reiter. He responded: "Unadulterated nonsense. On holiday I prefer not to get upset about such pathetic rubbish". Reiter has previously pointed out that there have been serious outbreaks of malaria in sub-Arctic regions so the idea that it is a warm climate phenomenon is nonsense

Growing numbers of British birds are being killed by malaria, say scientists who suggest climate change is driving an increase in the disease.

Monitoring programs say about 30 species of birds are affected, and researchers link the problem to a rapid growth in mosquito populations attributed to a rise of about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit in global average temperature, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

British bird types were among 3,000 species worldwide studied by Laszlo Garamszegi, of the Donana biological station near Seville in Spain.

His study, comparing recent data with records dating back to 1944, was published in the journal Global Change Biology. "It does show trends we ought to be worried about," he said.

While the avian type of malaria cannot be passed to humans, other researchers say the finding is worrisome. "There is very convincing evidence that a wide range of biological processes are altering in response to climate change," Ben Sheldon, professor of ornithology at Oxford University, said.


The Great Global Warming Ponzi Scheme – how the mainstream media keeps it alive

Ordinary Ponzi schemes pretending to be worthwhile investments collapse if they aren’t constantly infused with new money, and when anyone starts asking tough accounting questions. The theory of man-caused global warming is kept afloat only because a sizable portion of the public believes the issue is settled, and that our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases will stabilize the climate. Faith in the issue is continually propped up with new stories that no ‘legitimate’ critics exist. But what happens when the IPCC / Al Gore side can’t answer questions any better than Bernie Madoff?

Near the end of my first RedState piece on the smear of skeptic scientists, I noted how a Society of Environmental Journalists board director couldn’t be bothered to tell me which other journalists corroborated book author Ross Gelbspan’s accusation that skeptic climate scientists were being paid to deliberately mislead the public.

I’m still searching the internet to find anyone who independently corroborates that lone accusation. Hard scrutiny reveals the different accusations virtually all spiral right back to a small group of people associated with the enviro-activist group Ozone Action and Ross Gelbspan, circa early 1996. A scant few point back to a period of time in 1991, and I first detailed the enormous problems with those at Marc Morano’s Climate Depot, then here at RedState. Long story short: Gore praised Gelbspan for discovering 1991-era coal industry PR campaign memos supposedly proving the corruption accusation, but Gore had the memos in his Senate office years before Gelbspan. Houston, we have a problem….

Last week, the New Scientist magazine coughed up the same old accusation when it reviewed Orrin Pilkey’s new book Global Climate Change (backup link here in case their link goes behind a pay wall later). In the magazine review’s third paragraph, the book’s quotes are the same words from the 1991 coal industry PR memos – “older, less educated males” and “younger, lower-income women” – that were seen in Ross Gelbspan’s 1997 book The Heat is On, and in Gore’s 1992 Earth in the Balance. The insinuation is that the PR campaign knew its message was false and had to target gullible people.

The plot gets thicker. Google Books has a preview of Pilkey’s book, and in a page prior to the above quotes, he regurgitates the infamous “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” accusation phrase, saying it was one of seven strategy points of PR documents put online by Naomi Oreskes, and that the PR campaign took place in four cities, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Champagne, Illinois, Flagstaff, Arizona, and Fargo, North Dakota.

Wrong on both counts. There were nine strategy points, and regarding the claim that Oreskes put the documents online, that comes from George Monbiot’s Dec 2009 blog, where it turns out his link was just to Oreskes’ oft-repeated 2007 PowerPoint presentation which only quoted the memos. Seems unlikely that Pilkey would make a typo of the point number total if he actually saw the complete-context memos. As we can see at the page 10 scan enlargement here, there is no mistaking the number count, or that Bowling Green, Kentucky was also part of the PR campaign tour, as seen at the page 14 scan.

Astute readers rummaging through the rest of the 1991 coal industry PR campaign memos there are able to see that the whole collection is not the sinister top-down industry directive it’s portrayed to be, but is instead just an interoffice set of memos to guide a little five-town information campaign designed to point out contradictions between Al Gore’s side of the story and existing – not fabricated – opposition to it. Ross Gelbspan made the claim that “we got a copy of the strategy papers for that campaign. And it said that the purpose of the campaign was to reposition global warming as theory rather than fact…They sent these scientists all over the country to do media interviews.”

Right. Wouldn’t ‘all over the county’ mean major population centers like L.A. Philadelphia, Seattle, Boston, Miami? But first, who gave him copies of the strategy papers? Al Gore? And if nobody disproves these scientists’ science assessments outright, what was so sinister about this campaign?

I could go on for another couple thousand words. Oreskes has her own circuitous problems with citing Gelbspan, and then we have the problem just recently where Gore profanely accused skeptic scientists of corruption and cited Oreskes instead Gelbspan. There is also the problem with a 1991 article by Mary O’Driscoll in The Energy Daily titled, “Greenhouse Ads Target ‘Low-Income’ Women, ‘Less-Educated Men’ .” It was written prior to the July 8, 1991 NY Times article Gore indirectly cited in just the 12th paragraph of his 7000 word Rolling Stone magazine diatribe a couple of months ago. Not a word of praise going to O’Driscoll from Gore, Oreskes or Pilkey.

I’m no investigative reporter, though, just someone with an accumulation of computer notes on this whole mess that’s probably over 66,000 words, and my plea is for professional journalists to take this beyond my limited means. I’ve unearthed more than enough red flags, it’s time for others with more resources to see how deep all these problems go.

There appears to be only one source for the accusation against skeptic scientists. It is unsupportable, and a rather small cast of characters spirals around it. This is especially ironic considering the way Pilkey says at the opening of his Chapter 4, “…the hoax is being perpetuated by public relations efforts by the fossil fuels industry.”

When enviro-activists offer no more than a worn out, 20-year old, paper-thin, guilt-by-association accusation saying skeptic climate scientists are paid by oil and coal executives to deliberately stall action to mitigate global warming, then we probably have the opposite problem: A ponzi scheme of incessant media story infusions designed to steer the public away from seeing skeptic scientists as whistleblowers on an idea that can’t support its own science assessments.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Germany's green power push cools in the face of cutbacks, competition

THE German green power revolution is facing hard times because of government cutbacks and stiff competition from Asia.

In addition, the decision to abandon nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan is not having the positive spin-off that German solar companies may have expected.

Some of Germany's biggest and best-known industrial companies are questioning whether they can afford to continue to do business there. A string of recent profit slumps by German solar-cell companies underscores the depth of the crisis for solar business.

One-time industry leader Q-Cells has announced a second quarter loss of almost E355 million ($486.6m) and will shift production to Malaysia and close half its German manufacturing capacity.

Another solar company, Solon, has reported a first-half loss of E63m because of weak demand.

And Phoenix, a solar photovoltaic company, has reported a 60 per cent sales slump to E141m.

Not all of Germany's solar companies are in the red but it has been a dramatic turnaround for a sector that has always had a special status in the country that has led the world in rooftop solar rollout.

But as demand increases, production of solar technology is increasingly moving to China which will soon account for 85 per cent of all solar-cell production.

Germany is still the world's largest solar market, with about 54 per cent of all systems installed, but almost half of all new systems installed in Germany come from Asia.

German manufacturers cannot compete with China on price, but price is not the only problem they face.

The German government can no longer afford to continue its generous rooftop subsidy scheme in the face of falling prices.

The feed-in tariff has been cut from 33c to 28.74c per kilowatt hour, dampening demand.

Meanwhile, German chemical giant Bayer has warned that rising electricity prices may force it to relocate its manufacturing base to China.

Bayer employs 35,000 people in Germany, but chief executive Marijn Dekkers told the German weekly business magazine Wirtschaftswoche that energy prices posed a genuine threat to the company's manufacturing operations in the country.

Mr Dekkers, a Dutchman, complained that Germany, which has the highest energy prices in Europe, was becoming less attractive to energy-intensive sectors such as the chemical industry.

German energy prices are expected to rise following the decision by German authorities to phase out nuclear energy by 2022, making the country the first major industrial power to take the step in the wake of the disaster at Japan's Fukushima plant.


Australia: Green tax convoy a revolt of working people

Gary Johns

THE "convoy of no-confidence" in the federal Labor government, a convoy of trucks, trailers and campervans sponsored by the National Road Freighters Association started out from all over Australia yesterday and will be converging on Canberra on Monday.

The convoy will be carrying a petition calling for a federal election. Thousands will be streaming in from regional Australia in no fewer than 11 different convoys.

They are coming from Bendigo and Mildura, Warragul and Colac, Norseman and Wyong, Rocklea and Rockhampton, Atherton and Charters Towers, Port Hedland and Halls Creek.

The petitioners assert that "the 43rd executive government of Australia has been compromised into wilfully and intentionally misleading the Australian people [by] introducing a carbon tax without the consent of the Australian people and that would be normally decided by a free and unencumbered ballot".

Of course, governments are entitled to govern as they see fit. Nevertheless, a carbon tax was not only directly ruled out by the Prime Minister shortly before the last election, the evidence supporting the impact of the tax has been so opaque and deceptive that it amounts to lying.

Perhaps the petitioners don't count; after all they probably represent rural electorates already held by the Coalition.

Labor can rest easy. Then again, this convoy is not the protest of the Britons that the world witnessed last week, aptly dubbed "the first bludger uprising".

Australia's uprising is from workers. Workers, who every day drive trucks and travel in aeroplanes all over Australia to work in mines and on cattle stations and in hundreds of industries that service them.

They may be a little unkempt; they could afford to stand a little closer to a razor blade and a little further away from a tattoo gun, but what they lack in inner-city elegance, they more than make up for in a sense of proportion and reality. They do not like being treated as fools.

The federal Labor government has indeed treated them and millions of others as fools.

Simon Crean may have visited Latrobe Valley, Geelong, Wagga Wagga, Shellharbour, Port Kembla, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton and Newcastle, Whyalla and Mount Gambier, but he's dreaming if he thinks anyone is buying his "clean energy future" sell-job.

Crean says that "pricing carbon is another fundamental but necessary economic reform from a Labor government" in the mould of Bob Hawke's floating of the dollar in 1983. Bollocks.

What Crean, Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan will not tell the electors is that the cost of the carbon tax in cold, hard dollars is the equivalent of an entire year's gross domestic product.

Just let that soak in for one moment. Across the scope of this scheme, 2012 until 2050, Australians will lose the equivalent of an entire year's income.

The cost of failing to abate carbon dioxide sufficient to change the temperature one iota, is one entire year's income.

In its report, Strong Growth, Low Pollution Modelling a Carbon Price, Treasury modelling has deliberately hidden the real cost of the carbon tax.

The modelling has not added together each of the GDP losses as a result of the tax in each year. On Treasury's best case, the number representing the costs to the Australian economy of the carbon tax for the period 2012-2050 is $1.35 trillion, a year's worth of GDP. Treasury presents these figures only as a percentage loss from a base case of an economy with no carbon tax.

Even using the "Labor economists" Garnaut-Stern-Quiggin discount rate, the figure Treasury believe Australians would be prepared to pay to forgo present income to "solve the problem", is $873 billion across the period. But the most realistic discount rate that common-sense Australians would actually be prepared to pay, one closer to zero, delivers the figure $1.35 trillion.

Added to this failure to reveal the true cost of a carbon tax is the other big lie, pointed out by my colleague Henry Ergas (among numerous other failings in the scheme), that the carbon tax "job growth" does not exist.

The jobs growth as such is not a result of the Treasury model; it is an assumption of the model. It relies on lower real wages to make good the assumption of full unemployment.

All other things considered, the real outcome of the carbon tax will in fact be both job losses and real wage decline. Treasury knows this and the Treasurer knows this, or at least he should.

The petitioners are angry because they have been told that the carbon tax will save the world from climate change, and that the carbon tax will not cost more than they can be compensated for.

According to Newspoll, only 30 per cent of Australians support the government's "plan to put a price on carbon".

I am certain that if they were aware of the true cost of the carbon tax, that number would fall even further.



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


17 August, 2011

Two "scientists" who don't know what data is

They think that speculative predictions are data

Both [Seth] Wenger [a fisheries researcher with Trout Unlimited in Boise] and [Dan] Isaak, a fisheries biologist at the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station in Boise, were a part of a team of 11 scientists who said trout habitat could drop by 50 percent over the next 70 years because of a warming world.

The paper, published Monday in the peer-reviewed science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, predicts native cutthroat habitat could decline by 58 percent.

The two men, who have devoted their lives to scientific research, say they depend on the scientific method and peer review to judge the quality of the research that underscores their findings. The climate predictions are based on 10 of the 20 climate models developed independently worldwide that all show the world is getting warmer.

“The climate models have been right for 30 years and they are getting better all the time,” Isaak said. … The most dire climate models show temperatures in Idaho rising an average of 9 degrees in 70 years, Wenger said. …

“I have to set aside my feelings and use the best data,” he said. …


Below we have some REAL Idaho data. And it shows a trend OPPOSITE to that assumed by our two "scientists"

Defeat for Obama restrictions on energy

For years, conservatives were said to be "standing athwart history, yelling 'Stop!' " But a federal judge's ruling Friday points to the new reality that those who are now seeking to stop history -- or at least the development of new energy technologies -- are liberals, led by President Obama. Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled against Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and regulations implemented by two agencies within his department. The regulations -- designed to slow down energy development -- came from the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Attorneys for the government argued that the Western Energy Alliance, an energy industry advocacy group that filed the suit, failed to show the regulations caused hardship such as added costs or unnecessary delays.

Freudenthal disagreed, saying "Western Energy has demonstrated through its members recognizable injury. Those injuries are supported by the administrative record." As a result, regulations issued in 2005 under President George W. Bush that were supplanted by the Obama rules are back in force. The Bush regulations were designed to speed up federal reviews of applications to explore and develop hundreds of millions of acres of federally owned lands in Western states believed to hold vast untapped quantities of oil and natural gas. Developing such resources could reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil and reduce costs for American consumers.

But global-warming-obsessed liberals don't want Americans to have access to cheaper oil and natural gas, and they are determined to use federal laws and regulations wherever possible to force us to use "clean" energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass. Unfortunately, it will take as long as three decades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, for the alternative energy forms to be able to replace oil and natural gas. And the liberals' plans for getting there from here -- epitomized by the regulations skewered Friday in federal court -- will, according to Obama, "necessarily cause energy prices to skyrocket."

Meanwhile, the U.S. energy industry continues its remarkable record of finding and producing domestic oil and natural gas resources in more efficient and environmentally safe ways. Natural gas, which was growing more expensive due to declining supplies only a few years ago, has experienced an extraordinary revival in this country, thanks to hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") to get at supplies trapped in shale thousands of feet below the surface. Water and tiny amounts of chemicals are injected into shale formations, allowing the oil and natural gas to be extracted.

Horizontal drilling of multiple wells from one site minimizes the physical impact on the surface environment, and, because fracking is done thousands of feet below the water table, without risk to drinking water. Not one confirmed example of groundwater contamination linked to fracking has been found, according to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. So why is Obama's Department of Energy moving forward with new regulations to "ensure the protection of public health and the environment?" Because Obama and the liberals are yelling "Stop!"


Myth of 'eco-friendly' bags exposed as British supermarket chain dumps 'green' carriers that may actually harm the environment

Tesco has stopped using biodegradable carrier bags because they may be even worse for the environment than the conventional type. The decision is an embarrassment for the chain, which hailed its introduction of the bags as the centrepiece of its efforts to tackle litter and waste. Tesco stores hand out more throwaway plastic bags than any other retailer in the country – well over two billion a year.

Most supermarket carriers are used for only 20 minutes before being thrown away, but they can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Many end up in landfill while others blight the countryside, beaches and the sea.

Tesco claimed that the biodegradable bags, which include an ingredient that makes them break down after 20-36 months, would defeat this problem. However, it is pulling them from stores after five years following independent scientific research funded by the Government which suggests they may damage wildlife and the environment.

Tesco said it began changing to new bags, which are not biodegradable but include 15 per cent recycled material, earlier this year. However, the company has made no official announcement on the change, and its website still boasts about the company’s commitment to using biodegradable bags.

It states: ‘We recognise that many of our bags may go to landfill, so we have made our carrier bags biodegradable. This means that they break down into water, carbon dioxide and biomass, which have minimal impact upon the environment.’

Tesco’s failure means other measures to tackle the blight caused by carrier bags are now necessary.

An independent study published last year raised serious questions about the value of the biodegradable bags. Experts from Loughborough University pulled together all the published research into such bags and concluded that they may do more harm than good. Their report warned that these bags can litter the countryside for up to five years before they degrade, far longer than the supermarket claims. This is because they are not exposed to enough of the heat and sunlight they need to break down.

The additive used in the bags to make them break down also means that they cannot be recycled.

The biodegradable bags do eventually crumble into a fine dust, according to the researchers.

But they said: ‘Although these bags are regarded as beneficial by the producers, concerns have been raised that these particles of plastic may be ingested by invertebrates, birds, animals or fish.’

No evidence was found that the fragments cause harm, ‘but neither was there evidence that they do not’, the authors added.

Explaining the decision to drop the bags, Tesco said it was based on scientific advice and also addressed customers’ concerns that they were weak and likely to break. A spokesman said: ‘We took the decision to remove the biodegradable additive because we believed it contributed towards bags becoming weaker and to help better promote their re-use and recycling at end of life. ‘This decision was underpinned by a detailed review of the science to help us understand the full life-cycle environmental impacts of our carrier bags.’

The Daily Mail’s Banish the Bags campaign, which began in 2008 and is calling for a drastic reduction in the billions of bags handed out each year, has gained support from all major political parties.

Yesterday Scottish ministers announced the start of a public consultation to find ways to limit the use of plastic bags. They are considering a compulsory charge for the throwaway bags.
How the Daily Mail has led the way in trying to banish plastic bags

Wales will introduce a charge of 5p on all single-use bags from October 1, including those from major supermarkets such as Tesco.

Northern Ireland is bringing in charges on April 1, 2013 and a public consultation is taking place about how much to charge.

England looks likely to be on its own in failing to take action, but David Cameron and Nick Clegg are under pressure to follow suit at Westminster.

Despite pledges by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister while they were in opposition, the Coalition currently has no policy on plastic bag reduction.

Last month it emerged that an extra 330million plastic bags have been handed out by supermarkets in the past year. It is the first time the total has gone up in five years.

In 2010/2011, around 6.4billion single-use plastic bags were given out, compared with 6.1billion in 2009/10, according to figures from WRAP, the Government’s waste reduction agency. That means everyone in the country is given 8.6 bags per month on average.

Marks & Spencer was the first major chain to bring in a 5p charge, in 2008.


Bummer: Carbon dioxide has killed so many bears in Yellowstone since 1975 that the grizzly population has only increased by a factor of more than three

Yellowstone National Park is being hit hard by climate change | MNN - Mother Nature Network
I'll be honest, it's a grim read. The quick of it is that global warming is killing off, either directly or indirectly, vast swaths of trees, streams full of fish, and a sloth of bears. Global warming bakes some species, like fish, which can't survive living in water that can be 20 degrees warmer than normal, while it helps facilitate the demise of others like lodgepole pine, which are killed by bark boring beetles that used to killed by winter cold snaps that don't come anymore. Bears are starving to death or attacking campers because their food sources are disappearing.

Jonathan Overpeck, co-director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona, worries that the western U.S. could turn into a "second Outback," largely stripped of plants, animals and people.
[Oct 2010]: Yellowstone grizzly population is at its highest in decades -
BOZEMAN, Mont. — Grizzly bear numbers in and around Yellowstone National Park have hit their highest level in decades, driving increased conflicts with humans as some bears push out of deep wilderness and into populated areas.

Scientists from a multi-agency research team announced Wednesday that at least 603 grizzlies now roam the Yellowstone area of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. That's more than three times the number in 1975, when hunting was outlawed and the species placed on the endangered list.


The Dead Eagle Has Landed

As California attempts to divorce itself from fossil-fueled electricity, it may be trading one environmental sin for another — although you don’t hear state officials admitting it.

Wind power is the fastest growing component in the state’s green energy portfolio, but wildlife advocates say the marriage has an unintended consequence: dead birds, including protected species of eagles, hawks and owls.

“The cumulative impacts are huge,” said Shawn Smallwood, one of the few recognized experts studying the impact of wind farms on migratory birds. “It is not inconceivable to me that we could reduce golden eagle populations by a great deal, if not wipe them out.”

California supports roughly 2,500 golden eagles. The state’s largest wind farms kill, on average, more than 80 eagles per year. But the state is set to triple wind capacity in the coming years as it tries to become the first state in the nation to generate 33 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2020.

“We would like to have no bird deaths and no bird injuries. But, once again, we have to balance all the needs of society. All the people who want to flip their switch and have electricity in their homes,” said Lorelei Oviatt, Kern County planning commissioner.

If an oil company killed 80 eagles in a spill, its CEO would be getting death threats.


Cities that prefer prophecy to fact

That the long-term upward creep of sea levels is now in fact slowing is irrelevant, of course. Just when they are getting ready for it, it stops! How pesky!

In Chula Vista, Calif., new waterfront buildings will be required to have higher foundations because of an expected rise in sea levels.

High tides by the Agriculture building in the Embarcadero in San Francisco splash onto the sidewalk. As climate changes progress, high tide events like this are predicted to become more common.

In Chicago, where flooding is predicted to worsen, residents can get rebates for putting rain barrels, compost bins and native plants in their yards.

And in New York City, where rising tides are also projected, wastewater treatment plants will elevate their pumps.

While some members of Congress debate the scientific validity of climate change, these U.S. cities are going beyond efforts to mitigate it with lower greenhouse gas emissions. They're at the forefront of an emerging trend: adaptation.

"It's a new field," says Brian Holland, director of climate programs at ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA. His association launched a Climate Resilient Communities program last year to help cities study effects of climate change and finance ways to adapt. Nearly 600 local governments, representing one-fourth of the U.S. population, have signed on.

As extreme weather continues to sweep the nation and Americans struggle to deal with heat waves and flooding, Holland says many are convinced they need to act. "We're already seeing consequences of climate change," he says, "and those will only intensify."

An increasing number of cities have begun vulnerability assessments, and some — notably Chicago — are already taking steps to counter adverse effects.

"We're mostly at the study and planning phase," says Michelle Mehta, co-author of the "Thirsty for Answers" report this month by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which looks at how a dozen U.S. cities will be affected.

The NRDC report says coastal cities such as New York and San Francisco anticipate "serious challenges" from sea-level rise, while Southwestern cities such as Phoenix will face water shortages and Midwestern cities, including Chicago and St. Louis, can expect more intense storms and flooding.

Climate change skeptic David Kreutzer, a research fellow in energy economics at the conservative Heritage Foundation, says there have always been "variations in weather" so it makes sense to prepare for storms. But he says cities may waste money if their regulations are based on "hysterical" projections of sea-level rise.

Scott Huth, public works director for Coronado, Calif., a beach town of 25,000, says the planning is not about politics or being liberal or conservative, it's simply about taking seriously "our duty to make sure that we're informed for things that might potentially happen."

Mehta says some projects meet immediate needs but will also help cities cope with problems exacerbated by climate change. Among them are elevating homes and rebuilding levees in New Orleans, which is steadily sinking. Other projects are more tailored to climate change



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


16 August, 2011

Light Bulb Ban Loophole

I must note something about the futility of the Edison light bulb ban. There is already available an excluded-from-the-ban version of incandescents from and online bulb sites that only cost about double of already cheap normal bulbs, namely "rough service" bulbs that have beefier filaments and are thus *less* efficient than standard bulbs.

This loophole will be outed soon after the ban takes effect, assuming it does, and just like other types of prohibition will lead to a rebellion against the law, making them cool and popular and resulting in more energy use akin to how vast number of people prefer big beefy SUVs as status symbols in rebellion against green nanny statism. From the bill:

(ii) EXCLUSIONS.—The term ‘general service incandescent lamp’ does not include the following incandescent lamps:


(XII) A rough service lamp.

Search for: 100W rough service.

By email from a reader: -=NikFromNYC=-

Scientists Expose Inside Job Behind Endangered Species Scam

History tells us that listing a critter as an endangered species does little for the species and can do a great deal of harm to the local economies—the spotted owl and the delta smelt are two oft-cited cases. But there is not a big body of evidence showing how these listing decisions were made. It was just assumed that the species plight warranted protection.

But that was before the listing proposal for the dunes sagebrush lizard threatened a large segment of U.S. domestic oil production and the economies of Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas.

Rallies in opposition to the listing have drawn hundreds of irate citizens, hearings on the matter have had overflow crowds, and the public register has pages and pages of public comment. Both ABC and Fox News have done stories on the lizard

Acting on the outrage of his constituents and using his law enforcement background, New Mexico State Representative Dennis Kintigh gathered a group of independent scientists—several from area universities—who have spent the last several months reviewing the science underlying the listing. Their report will be released in a public meeting on Monday, August 15, in Artesia, New Mexico, in a roundtable format with the scientists available for questions.

Combining Kintigh’s FBI skills with the scientists’ expertise, the team is exposing fatal flaws in the proposed rule that should bring every previous listing, and the entire process, into question.

While the complete report will be available online on Monday, I’ve met with Kintigh and have a draft copy.

One of the biggest concerns is the supposedly independent peer review of the science on which the proposed rule is based. The Federal Register states:“It is the policy of the services to incorporate independent peer review in listing and recovery activities.”

To the average citizen, the underlying science may appear to have independent peer review as five different universities are listed as offering review—however, no names of the individuals or their qualifications are provided. The anonymous peer review process is routine in scientific journals, but in such settings, there is an established and trusted editorial board and reviewers are required to disclose any conflicts of interest.

But in Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings, the public should be appalled by the shroud of secrecy. This decision involves public money and has a large potential for direct economic impact on the surrounding communities, and, to a lesser extent, the whole country. At the least, peer review needs to be transparent. Better yet would be a process where advocates from each side can clash openly before independent decision makers.

Due to the Kintigh investigation, it has been discovered that at least two of the “independent” reviewers have conflicts of interest: Dr. Lauren Chan and Dr. Howard Snell—they wrote the foundational studies for the proposal. Is it likely that someone who wrote the study could review the rule and question the accuracy of his or her own work? We can assume that the complimentary reviews were from Chan and Snell.

The unattributed peer reviews of the ESA listing proposal provided online have devastating criticisms from Texas A & M University, questioning the sampling process and finding many unwarranted conclusions. However, nowhere are these criticisms addressed.

In researching the process, it was discovered that for ESA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) doesn’t go through what the science community would call “peer review.” They have an “internal peer review”—FWS checks over FWS’s own work. The agency does not disclose the identity of the report writer or the “peer reviewers.”

We, as citizens, also do not know who wrote the proposed rule—though investigation indicates that it was written by FWS staffer Debra Hill—meaning she has no accountability. Additionally, her husband is the author of some of the research—which brings into question her ability to be independent.

Whoever wrote the proposed rule clearly wanted the lizard listed as the document is filled with contradiction and speculation—but it was issued anyway. In the proposed listing it states: “We do not know the magnitude or imminence of the direct or indirect impacts of competition and climate change on the status of the species at this time. However, we consider exposure to oil and gas pollutants to be a threat to the species throughout its range, both now and continuing into the foreseeable future.” Wait, you, the unknown author, are willing to destroy the regional economy based on “we do not know” and “we consider”? In other cases, the word “likely” is used to describe a population reduction. Elsewhere it is stated that the species is “persisting.” “Could,” “can,” “we believe”…

One example of the contradictions within the listing rule is in reference to the pipelines found in the habitat area and utilized in oil and gas activities. The concluding comments of the pipeline section say that pipelines are a “significant threat,” but earlier it states: “It is not known how dunes sagebrush lizards utilize pipelines.” Additionally, one of the studies the rule is based on indicates that the lizards like pipelines and service roads: “…pipeline cuts and sand roads serve as preferred habitat…”

The report being released on Monday has these comments in the closing: “The committee was surprised by the contradictions the data presented. There is a clear lack of an unequivocal sense about the actual range of the species and habitats preferred. There is surprising information that anthropogenic activities may well enhance habitat preferred by the species. Other examples of inadequate reporting or outright error can be found in the body of the committee report.”

How would you feel if your family lost the farm because the needed water was diverted to save the smelt, or your livelihood was taken away because of the spotted owl, and you discovered that, like the dunes sagebrush lizard, the ESA listing was based on secrecy, speculation, and contradiction? It is imperative that the process be brought out into the open.

As the climategate scandal exposed the secrecy, speculation, and contradiction in the manmade climate change research that precluded opposing viewpoints from being considered, the Kintigh investigation should change the entire ESA process from now on.

In short, the proposed rule plays on fear, uncertainty, and doubt and fails to scientifically show that the lizard is endangered or is negatively impacted by human activity.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Climate Models Not So Good For Crop Prediction

The claim that high CO2 levels and a warmer climate will be bad for crops is howlingly stupid. To put it anthropomorphically, crops LIKE high CO2, more warmth and the higher rainfall that warming would produce. Anybody who says otherwise is a deliberate crook and liar. WCR puts it a bit more diplomatically below -- JR

Many global warming alarmists tout the notion that anthropogenic global warming will result in widespread crop failures as (projected) climate changes increasingly lead to increasingly bad growing conditions (see our article Science Fiction Down on the Farm, for some examples).

Using Al Gore’s lingo, we are quick to call “BS” on that premise, for the simple fact that that is not how things work. Crop scientists and farmers have an economic incentive to improve genetic cultivars and agricultural practices to maximize output given the prevailing environmental conditions. And, they are pretty effective at what they do. Despite the “global warming” and other affiliated and/or non-affiliated climate changes that have occurred over the past 100 years, global crop production just keeps on increasing—see our recent coverage here of this very good news.

We are clearly and demonstrably able to change agricultural practices to keep up with changing climate while increasing yields. So much for the “dumb farmer scenario” that farmers stand by and watch their crops fail as conditions change.

But what about those future climate changes that underlie the scare scenarios? Are climate models really able to predict the climatic factors that are important for agriculture?

A new soon-to-be-published study finds that the models are not so hot, at least over the world’s most productive agro-region, the good-old-US of A. As we shall see, though, the pressures to say the politically correct thing still comes beaming through from the halls of Academia.

A research team led by Adam Terando of Penn State University compared the observed temporal and spatial patterns of three agriculturally important climate indices across North America with the patterns predicted by a collection of climate models.

The three “agro-climate” indices examined by Terando and colleagues were the annual number of frost days (days when the minimum temperature dropped below freezing), the “thermal time” (the amount of time during the growing season that the temperature is within the optimal growth range for a particular crop (in this case corn)), and the “heat stress index” (the amount of time during the growing season that the temperature exceeds a threshold value above which negative impacts to crop production can occur). To assess patterns of change in these agro-climate indices across North America, the indices were compared over two time periods, 1951-1980 and 1981-2010 (Figure 1).

Over this time period which covers the last 60 years, in general, the number of frost days declined (a positive climate change for crops), the “thermal time” increased (another positive change), and heat stress index markedly increased across the southern and western U.S. (where little corn is grown), but decreased in the Midwest and Southeast, which together are the Saudi Arabia of corn.

Terando and colleagues then assessed how well a collection of 17 different climate models did at reproducing these observed changes. They found that the climate models did pretty well at capturing the decline in the number of frost days, and fared a bit worse, but still were largely acceptable in capturing the changes in thermal time, but showed little skill at all in reproducing the observed changes in the heat stress index—with the primary error being that the models predicted a far greater increase in heat stress than actually occurred (that is, the models predicted the heat index to get much worse than it actually did).

The authors summed their findings up this way:

"GCM [climate model] skill, defined as the ability to reproduce observed patterns (i.e. correlation and error) and variability, is highest for frost days and lowest for heat stress patterns. …The lack of agreement between simulated and observed heat stress is relatively robust with respect to how the heuristic is defined and appears to reflect a weakness in the ability of this last generation of GCMs to reproduce this impact-relevant aspect of the climate system. However, it remains a question for future work as to whether the discrepancies between observed and simulated trends primarily reflect fundamental errors in model physics or an incomplete treatment of relevant regional climate forcings."

So what we have is a set of observations that shows that the climate changes that have occurred across much of North America over the past 60 years have been a net benefit to agriculture. Throw in technological changes and a healthy dose of carbon dioxide fertilizer, and the net result is a spectacular increase in crop yields. All the while, climate models would have led us to believe that a fair degree of climate deterioration was going to take place—a change that would have negatively affected crop production.

This does not bode well for climate model-based predictions of what agro-climate changes are to come in the future, a failure which feeds back into the reliability of the apocalyptic proclamations of future crop failures which themselves are already built upon the demonstrably false “dumb farmer” premise. We wonder just how many strikes it takes before a silly concept can be thrown out!

Terando and colleagues are not so quick to agree with us —instead, they warn the reader that their results only apply to the “anomalous conditions seen in North America” and thus “should not be extrapolated to other areas as an indication of how a warming world will impact agriculture.”

Hmmm, they test the models over one the most productive agricultural region in the world and find that they don’t work so well, but still want us to have faith that prognostications based upon the model projections for other parts of the world bear some semblance of reality?

Wonder what phrase Al Gore would use to describe that notion? We agree. And, furthermore, we harrumph that the authors probably had to put the usual global warming clinker in there to keep the powers that be (their bosses) and the powers that let them be (their federal funders) happy.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Democide Is Painless

Meet Ilse Koch, the so-called "Beast of Buchenwald", wife of Karl Otto Koch, Kommandant of that notorious slaughterhouse, and later of Majdanek in Poland. When we were little boys, growing up in the shadow of World War II, my classmates and I, as little boys will, tried to make each other shudder over the gory details of the woman's sadistic cruelties to Jewish concentration camp prisoners. Most infamously, she is the one accused of making lampshades from the preserved skin of her murdered victims. It's said she preferred sections with interesting tattoos.

But what would we do today—and how would the media react—if somebody were to travel around the country delivering passionate, and repulsively well-received speeches in defense of Ilse Koch, demanding that what she did be done again, as a matter of government policy?

You think you know, don't you?

Meet Audrey Tomason. Reportedly Barack Obama's Director for Counterterrorism, the diminutive 30-something Tomason is said by Wikipedia to be "one of the most secretive women in U.S. intelligence circles", so much so that her master's thesis, written while attending Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, is now classified by the U.S. government as top-secret, as reprehensible a violation of academic principles as possible.

It is known that she has authored a report called "The Apocalypse Equation", suggesting that it would be more "humane" for our world—meaning our species—to undergo a "planned and controlled genocide" rather than to see it descend into the abyss of chaos it is now entering.

Note that whenever the power-hungry speak of "chaos", what they are actually referring to is freedom. And that whenever they are doing the most unspeakable things to people—making choices for them that nobody should be allowed to make—it is invariably out of pure kindness.

Making the most out of junk science and garbage arguments like global warming and peak oil, Tomason asserts, without credible support, that the "sustainable population" of this planet (whenever one of these creatures utters the word "sustainable" it's time to empty your shooting hand and unfasten your safety-strap) is only 1.5 billion people, compared to the United Nations' estimate of seven billion, expected to be reached by October 31st of this year—not to mention the figure, even worse, of 10 billion, estimated by the year 2100. The solution, at least according to this intellectual and spiritual descendant of Ilse Koch, is obvious: get rid of five and a half billion individuals now cluttering up her nice, neat, idealistic globe.

The correct word, by the way, is not "genocide", a racist crime, but democide, the indiscriminate slaughter and disposal of men, women, and children, without regard to race, creed, or national origin. When exhaling carbon dioxide becomes Original Sin, democide becomes the Rapture.

The situation is very like—and closely related to—the global warming hoax. Even though the bonnet-bee of overpopulation has been discredited for at least a generation, even though world population growth has been slowing for nearly twenty years, even though the entire population of the Earth could fit into Texas—allowing an acre of land apiece for each individual—and even though the technical means are at hand for as many people to get off the Earth as want to, Tomason's sick fixation is far from unique, in academia, in the establishment media, in the United Nations, and in the Obama regime, each as bloodthirsty and preoccupied with death as the Aztec Empire.

The current excuse doesn't really matter; what's important are the killings.

So what makes Audrey Tomason any different, morally, from Ilse Koch? Is it because her ambitions haven't been realized yet? Or because she has better taste in interior decor? Does it make the act any better if the victims are accorded a decent burial or tidy cremation?

Today, all decent individuals reject the obscene and murderous irrationalities of the Nazis. Regrettably, the world is not controlled by decent individuals. It's controlled by drooling barbarians like Tomason, who want to see some major fraction of the human race—the common call at the U.N. these days is 90 percent—wiped out in some manner most of them are too timorous, as yet, to publicly articulate. Obama's people yearn to initiate a Super-Holocaust, but somehow, in the fevered imaginings of yet another crazed, latterday Nazi, Janet Napolitano, it's we, America's Productive Class, who are potential terrorists.

Some few—I'm sure they'd like to see their names mentioned here—on the excuse that the world isn't ready yet to hear what they believe, tend to give brave speeches at "scientific" conferences where all cameras and recorders have been prohibited. They would like to weaponize the Ebola virus, aerosolize it, and employ the world's huge fleets of strategic bombers to execute everyone they don't approve of in the most excruciating and horrible way imaginable, betraying their actual motivation, a deeply-seated hatred for all of their fellow human beings which finds its origin in an even deeper hatred for themselves.

The milder sort merely want to regiment the population, finally controlling every facet and every moment of our lives in the name of saving energy or cutting carbon emissions, so that we slowly starve to death in overcrowded tenements or die of cold, excessive heat, or despair.

Of course the same restrictions won't apply to them. They'll all be given luxurious dachas in the otherwise deserted countryside as a reward for years of faithful public service. And they'll want to save a few hundred million younger, prettier peasants as hewers of wood, drawers of water, and suckers of—well, I'm sure you get the picture.

There will be some pathetic individuals, reading this, afflicted with a knee-jerk reflex to parrot propaganda mindlessly, who will object to what I've written here as "Argumentum ad Hitlerum", the mere accusation of which is supposed to discredit everything I've said. For them, I have three questions:

First, exactly who do you think gains from that particular kind of censorship? Certainly not those who worry about the rise of another Hitler.

Second, what if the individual I've chosen to discuss really is like Hitler? I would think that anybody who cheerfully advocates the liquidation of a couple of billion individual human beings qualifies in that regard, especially if, as Director for Counterterrorism, they have their would-be bloodsoaked fingers on the levers of government power.

And third, of what use is our vaunted intellectual capability—let alone our memory—if we are forbidden to discuss similarities when they are there, and thereby benefit from the harsh lesson of history?

Which brings us right back around to the question of who benefits. Tomason and her low, vile, disgusting, collectivist ilk have openly announced, in effect, that they fondly aspire to outdo Hitler by at least two orders of magnitude. Maybe the thinkers, in the future, who criticize der Fuehrer, ought to be accused of Argumentum ad Tomason.


Obama Ignores even Internal Dissent on Environmentalist Agenda

President Obama will stop at nothing to pursue his war on coal. He won’t even listen to those within his own administration.

His Small Business Administration advocacy office sent a long and detailed letter regarding the new Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) regulations to EPA Director Lisa Jackson, in which the SBA reported that the “EPA may have significantly understated the burden this rulemaking would impose on small entities.” The law mandates the installment of new filters in energy plant smokestacks, but it also imposes higher energy costs on businesses and consumers as the cost of compliance is passed down.

Despite the EPA’s own admittance that the mandate “is unlikely to substantially affect total risk,” Obama and Jackson remain steadfast in supporting it even though it risks the loss of 251,000 jobs, according to the Unions for Jobs and the Environment.

Actions speak louder than words. With unemployment at 9.2 percent and Obama’s relentless pursuit of a job-killing environmentalist agenda, it’s clear that his cries for “creating jobs” are merely rhetoric. His loyalties do not lie with the American worker, consumer, or businessman nearly as much as they do with “green” groups and the American bureaucrat.


The 'green tax con' that is costing British families £500 as finances are under strain

Every household is paying £500 more than they should in green taxes, researchers claim. Their figures show that environmental taxes hit £41billion last year as family finances came under great strain. They say ministers are using the levies as an excuse to take more money from the taxpayer.

In a hard-hitting book called Let them eat carbon, Matthew Sinclair argues that environmental levies are excessive compared with the harms they are meant to address.

The director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance found that after road levies (£9.2billion) and Air Passenger Duty (£2.1billion) are taken out of the equation, total domestic green taxes were £30billion last year. Yet according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the social cost of greenhouse emissions was £16.9billion.

This means that around £13billion in excess green levies were levied on taxpayers – the equivalent of £500 a family.

Mr Sinclair warned that this figure was likely to be too low because the Government estimate of the social cost per ton of carbon dioxide is itself considered too high.

Mr Sinclair said environmental levies represented a critical new threat to family finances. He claimed that much of the money raised in green taxes goes straight into the pockets of a ‘bewildering range of special interests’ and warned climate change had become ‘big business’.

His book says: ‘Ordinary families are paying a heavy price for the attempts politicians are making to control greenhouse gas emissions. ‘Unfortunately, there is precious little evidence that the various schemes and targets that make up climate change policy are actually an efficient way of cutting emissions.

‘They don’t represent good value and the public are right to be sceptical.’ Energy campaigners say green taxes, which are supposed to help save the planet, make up a fifth of household electricity bills.

The taxes are used to subsidise more wind farms, solar panels and environmentally friendly heating schemes.

Last month, MPs on the environmental audit committee called on the Government to ‘put its money where its mouth is’ and use receipts from fuel and aircraft duties to improve public transport.

A Treasury spokesman said the Government would continue to increase green taxes. ‘The Government is committed to being the greenest ever and will increase the proportion of tax revenue accounted for through environmental taxes,’ she added.

‘But we have also taken action to ease the burden, so taxes on fuel are 6p a litre lower. Diversifying our economy away from imported fossil fuels will also mean greater energy security and be a spur to jobs and growth.’

Motorists have been hit with a record £27billion in fuel duties over the past year. A petition calling for the tax to be frozen is among the most popular on a new Government website.



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


15 August, 2011

The emotional mess that is David Suzuki rises only to insults and misrepresentation, not debate of the facts

As the climate scare fizzles, Canada’s celebrity environmentalist resorts to ad hominem attacks

David R. Legates (Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware) writes:

David Suzuki has never met, debated or even spoken with my colleague, scientist Willie Soon. But as more people dismiss Mr. Suzuki’s scare stories about global warming cataclysms, the more he has resorted to personal attacks against Mr. Soon and others who disagree with him.

Mr. Soon’s brilliant research into the sun’s role in climate change has helped make millions aware that carbon dioxide’s influence is far less than Mr. Suzuki wants them to think. In a recent column picked up by media outlets around North America, including Huffington Post, Mr. Suzuki attacked Mr. Soon, my fellow scientist, mostly by recycling a Greenpeace “investigation” that is itself nothing more than a rehash of tiresome (and libelous) misstatements, red herrings and outright lies. It’s time to set the record straight.

First, there’s the alleged corporate cash misrepresentation. Mr. Suzuki claims Mr. Soon received “more than $1 million over the past decade” from U.S energy companies – and implies that Mr. Soon lied to a U.S. Senate committee about the funding. In fact, the research grants were received in the years following the Senate hearing. Moreover, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics took nearly half of the money (for “administration”), and what was left covered Mr. Soon’s salary, research, and other expenses including even toner for his printer.

Since Mr. Suzuki raised the subject of corporate cash, by comparison the Suzuki Foundation spends some $7 million every year on its “educational” and pressure campaigns – many of them in conjunction with various PR agencies, renewable energy companies, other foundations and environmental activist groups. Many stand to profit handsomely from Mr. Suzuki’s causes, especially “catastrophic climate change” and campaigns to replace “harmful” fossil fuels with subsidized, land-intensive, low-energy-output wind and solar facilities. Mr. Suzuki has appeared in advertisements for alternative energy sources in Ontario.
Mr. Suzuki is criticizing Mr. Soon and the Harvard-Smithsonian Institute for having done funded research– while alarmist climate catastrophe researchers share some $6 billion annually in U.S, and Canadian taxpayer money, and millions more in corporate funds, to link every natural phenomenon to global warming and promote renewable “alternatives” to fossil fuels.

If it is wrong to receive grants from organizations that have taken “advocacy” positions, then virtually every scientist with whom Mr. Suzuki has associated would be guilty. In his column Mr. Suzuki recognizes this point. “Some rightly point out that we should look at the science and now at who is paying for the research.” If he believes that the science, and not who is paying for research, is most important, then why does he continue to attack Willie Soon and others on the basis of their funding?

Second, Mr. Suzuki repeats an absurd Greenpeace claim that Mr. Soon tried to “undermine” the “peer-reviewed” work of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In reality, scientists are required to examine, review and even criticize other scientists’ research – especially when it is used to justify slashing the hydrocarbon energy on which employment, living standards and civilization depend. Indeed, the IPCC solicits reviews of its publications but is under no obligation to address any criticisms that scientists raise – in contrast to the normal peer-review process.

Unfortunately, the IPCC has refused to conduct its own quality control – and has repeatedly promoted scare stories about rising seas, melting Himalayan glaciers, disappearing Amazon rainforests, more severe storms and droughts, and other disasters. By now anyone familiar with the Climategate and IPCC scandals knows these headline-grabbing claims are based on nothing more than exaggerated computer model outputs, deliberate exclusion of contrary findings, questionable air temperature station locations, and even “research” by environmental activists such as the World Wildlife Fund.

The Climategate emails made it clear that the truth was even worse. The emails paint a vivid picture of advocacy scientists strong-arming the publisher of a science journal, Climate Research, against publishing the work of Willie Soon and his associate, Sallie Baliunas. Pro-IPCC scientists threatened to boycott the journal, and intimidated or colluded with editors and grant program officers to channel funding, published only the work of advocacy scientists and rejected funding requests and publications from any scientists who disagreed with them on global warming. Mr. Suzuki’s efforts mirror their campaign – and no wonder.

The global warming scare has fizzled. The sun has entered a new “quiet” phase, and average global temperatures have been stable for 15 years. Climate conferences in Copenhagen and elsewhere have gone nowhere. Kyoto has become little more than a footnote in history. Countries that agreed to “climate stabilization” policies are retreating from that untenable position. The public realizes that climate science is far from “settled.” The climate-chaos religion is about to go the way of Baal-worship.

Most important, Canadians, Americans and Europeans alike are beginning to realize that the real dangers are not from global warming. They are from potentially cooler global temperatures that could hamstring agriculture – and from government (and Suzuki-advocated) policies that are driving energy prices so high that companies are sending jobs to Asia, and millions of families can no longer afford to heat and cool their homes, drive their cars or pay for the electricity that powers all the wondrous technologies that make our lives infinitely better, safer and healthier than even kings and queens enjoyed just a century ago.


Pesky El Nino

New paper finds El Nino weather pattern is changing in a way opposite to predictions of climate models

A paper published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters finds that changes in the character of El Ninos over the past 31 years are the opposite of the predictions of climate models from greenhouse gases. The paper concludes "A plausible interpretation of these results is that the character of El Niño over the past 31 years has varied naturally" rather than being forced by increased greenhouse gases. Another alarmist prediction by climate modelers crumbles in the face of real-world data.

El Niño and its relationship to changing background conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean


M.J. McPhaden et al

This paper addresses the question of whether the increased occurrence of central Pacific (CP) versus Eastern Pacific (EP) El Niños is consistent with greenhouse gas forced changes in the background state of the tropical Pacific as inferred from global climate change models.

Our analysis uses high-quality satellite and in situ ocean data combined with wind data from atmospheric reanalyses for the past 31 years (1980–2010).

We find changes in background conditions that are opposite to those expected from greenhouse gas forcing in climate models and opposite to what is expected if changes in the background state are mediating more frequent occurrences of CP El Niños.

A plausible interpretation of these results is that the character of El Niño over the past 31 years has varied naturally and that these variations projected onto changes in the background state because of the asymmetric spatial structures of CP and EP El Niños.


A Long, Cold Summer at Mount Rainier, WA

Global cooling!

Usually by August, most of the snow on Mount Rainier, the sleeping volcanic giant here, has long since melted. The meadows of wildflowers are abloom, and hikers galore are tramping along the trails.

But this year, temperatures have been colder than usual, keeping record mounds of old snow lying around. This has discouraged everyone, from the most rigorous climbers to backpackers, hikers and Sunday drivers.

Total visitors to Mount Rainier National Park from January through July were down more than 30 percent, to 601,877, compared with the same period last year, when 868,681 people came. “We’ve had terrible weather all year,” said Debbie Hannevig, the park’s fee operations manager.

The colder temperatures have wreaked havoc with Mother Nature’s schedule here and throughout the West and the Northwest, altering people’s expectations of what they could and could not do this summer. In some areas, visitors were skiing in their bathing suits on the Fourth of July. In other cases, the unseasonable weather may have contributed to various accidents and deaths.

Here, at one of the jewels in the crown of the national park system, hikers have met closed roads and trails too dangerous to try. Rangers are advising hikers to use ice axes and crampons, equipment they normally do not need.

“There has never been this amount of snow, and it stopped us from doing things we would usually do,” Carol Larkin, 66, of Richland said the other day as she and her husband, Dave, 67, changed out of their hiking boots at a rest stop beneath towering Douglas firs near the mountain’s base.

They have hiked here every year since 1990 and wanted to keep up their ritual, even if it was curtailed. They said they encountered some people along the trail who turned back after seeing the snow and others who were unprepared but nonetheless forged ahead.

“I was amazed at some of the people we saw on the trail,” Mrs. Larkin said. “They didn’t have poles. One person was in flip-flops.”

People can be caught off guard here because the weather on this glacier-capped mountain, which sits just 100 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, is so changeable. The location, the park service says, means that Rainier “makes its own weather.”

It also acts as its own billboard advertisement, because it is so big and can be seen from so far away. “If the weather is poor and you can’t see the mountain, you don’t come,” Ms. Hannevig said.

The amount of snow still on the ground, as measured at Paradise, the park’s main visitor area, is setting records. Last Sunday, it set a record of 44 inches, said Stefan Lofgren, the park’s mountaineering district ranger. The previous record for Aug. 7 was 40 inches, set in 1974.

Another record was set Tuesday, when 43 inches remained on the ground. Mr. Lofgren said he expected records for another couple of weeks. At this elevation (5,400 feet), Paradise normally gets about 630 inches of snow a year, but this year it received a whopping 907 inches.

This is not the most snow ever for what rangers call “one of the snowiest places on Earth,” but it is close. The difference this year was the extended low temperatures in the spring and summer, which brought some of the coldest months on record in more than 100 years, preventing the snow from melting.


Global cooling hits New Zealand too

Maybe snow isn't always caused by warm weather, as the Warmists claim: New Zealand gets "super-cold" snap accompanied by "the heaviest snow seen in the capital in decades". Snow caused by cold weather: Who'd a thunk it?

A polar blast has hit New Zealand, bringing freezing temperatures and the heaviest snowfall in 40 years.

Snow is even predicted to fall on the hills around Auckland in what meteorologists are describing as a once-in-a-lifetime storm.

Schools across the country have been closed for the day and most airports are at a standstill.

The bitterly cold southerly blast has now brought snow to most of New Zealand, closing roads and some airports and cutting power to thousands of homes. Snow has made roads impassable in many areas of both islands.

MetService head forecaster Peter Kreft told the New Zealand Herald the polar blast was “of the order of a 50-year” event and warned it could last for several more days.

“It’s a once-in-many-decades event. We are probably looking at something like, in terms of extent and severity, maybe 50 years,” he said.

SOURCE. See also here

Capital Flight From Green Investments – “Innovation In The Energy Sector Could Slip Into A Major Crisis”

With another financial crisis flaring up, the green energy sector this time is taking a hit. This is being reported today in the German language Technology Review here.

No wonder Al Gore blew a fuse a few days back. With this news and the Chicago Climate Exchange shutting down, the poor bloke is probably taking a real hit. Might want to have a skyscraper watch.

The article starts with the introduction: "Innovative companies of the finance-intense sector of renewable energy risk are getting their supply of cash cut off. Investors are opting for lower risk projects. Almost everywhere globally governments are scaling back programs that support renewable energies.”

And so it’s only normal that venture capital companies are now opting out. Investment strategies are changing. Technology Review writes: "Germany, Italy and Spain are reducing subsidies, in America the money from the 2009 stimulus package is slowly running out.”

According to Technology Review, people want quicker returns and less risk. Well who doesn’t? Technology Review writes: "During the last years many finance companies began, however, to invest in long-term projects with high capital requirements. That only worked mainly because they were able to expect subsidies from the state. Thus hundreds of millions flowed into start-ups in solar technology, which first had to build expensive plants to get the technology ripe for the market. The profits came later, if at all.”

Now the state subsidies are shrinking and new startups will have little chance of competing against the already established companies – too risky. The bubble has nowhere to go but to implode. So watch the politicians soon scramble and start blaming “speculators” and “greedy finance companies” for the mess they themselves created, and then start calling for more financial regulation. Technology Review sums it up:

David Victor, expert for solar and wind energy support at the University of California in San Diego fears the worst: ‘Innovation in the energy sector could slip into a major crisis’.”


Australia: Household power switched off remotely

Anything is better than building new power stations. Building a new power station was once seen as a great advance and a public service. Now it is seen as something to avoid by any means possible. In an age of unprecedented abundance we are told we must cut back on everything.

At least this is proposed as a voluntary scheme. In California they want to do it compulsorily. But I can't see it having much take-up. Who is it going to appeal to if your power gets cut off when you most need it? Insane

TVs, airconditioners and fridges could be switched off remotely by power companies during peak times under plans to rein in households' demand for electricity.

The option is among measures being considered as part of a national review of the management of domestic power use.

The Ministerial Council on Energy has initiated the Australian Energy Market Commission review in response to the nation's increasing demand for power.

The council is seeking ways to ease the demand for electricity during extremely cold nights and exceptionally hot days, to avoid the need for energy companies to build more power stations.

AEMC chairman John Pierce said the investment in infrastructure to guarantee electricity supply during peak periods was contributing to rising power bills.

He said the review was looking at options whereby power companies would remotely turn off appliances for a set period, in return for a lower bill.

Those signing on to such a scheme could see their airconditioner or fridge turned off for 30 minutes during a peak period every five hours.

When the airconditioner or fridge came back on, a neighbour's airconditioner or fridge would be turned off, resulting in an easing of electricity demand during a peak, Mr Pierce said.

He said homes would be required to be fitted with smart meters to allow energy companies and households to communicate electronically.

He said alternative options to manage power were necessary if families were to avoid further price rises.

"The plasma TVs and airconditioners are the obvious things, but a lot more people also now have pool pumps and larger refrigeration systems, all of which are increasing demand for power," Mr Pierce said.

"This option is one way to help electricity suppliers manage peak demand, while also offering a cheaper price for customers."

AEMC is seeking comment on its proposals until the end of the month. A public forum will be held in December. A final report will be sent to the Federal Government in September next year.



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


14 August, 2011

Hansen pisses on "renewables"

It's one of his rare bursts of sanity. He knows they are useless and calls them The Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy. He wants TAX, TAX and more TAX on our energy use. In his dystopian vision, only the rich would be able to afford air-conditioning and central heating:

The tragedy is that many environmentalists line up on the side of the fossil fuel industry, advocating renewables as if they, plus energy efficiency, would solve the global climate change matter.

Can renewable energies provide all of society's energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.

This Easter Bunny fable is the basis of 'policy' thinking of many liberal politicians. Yet when such people are elected to the executive branch and must make real world decisions, they end up approving expanded off-shore drilling and allowing continued mountaintop removal, long-wall coal mining, hydro-fracking, etc. – maybe even a tar sands pipeline.

Why the inconsistency? Because they realize that renewable energies are grossly inadequate for our energy needs now and in the foreseeable future and they have no real plan. They pay homage to the Easter Bunny fantasy, because it is the easy thing to do in politics. They are reluctant to explain what is actually needed to phase out our need for fossil fuels.

Reluctance to be honest might seem strange, given that what is needed to solve the problem actually makes sense and is not harmful to most people. I will offer a possible explanation for their actions below. But first, let's look at one of the main sources of the Easter Bunny fable. Fig. 7 updates Figure 2 of "Storms of My Grandchildren"(

It compares actual U.S.6 energy consumption with projections made by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and by Amory Lovins in the 1970s. Note how EIA keeps adjusting energy projections down as reality disproves their assumptions of rapid growth.

Lovins, and many others, are right to assert that energy efficiency is the cheapest and most effective way to satisfy energy requirements. Of course, a principal reason for slow growth of energy use is that much of our manufacturing moved overseas.

Note the failure of U.S. energy to follow the 'soft' energy path of Lovins. Lovins asserts that we could phase out nuclear power, large hydro, coal, oil and gas. But soft renewables are still nearly invisible after 30 years, providing about one third of the thin renewable slice of total energy.

Yet Amory Lovins is the most popular person that I know and has received uncountable awards. He deserves them. But I believe his popularity is in part because he says everything people want to hear. He even says there is no need to have a tax on carbon.

Thus even fossil fuel companies love him. Fossil fuel companies are happy to support energy efficiency, which places the onus on the public and guarantees fossil fuel dominance far into the future.

When I saw Amory most recently and queried him, he affirmed that no tax was needed. He said that hundred dollar bills are being left on the ground by companies that ignore energy efficiency.

Indeed, there is still great potential in energy efficiency. However, the full potential of energy efficiency to help rapidly phase down fossil fuel CO2 emissions will be achieved only if there is a substantial rising price on carbon emissions. As long as fossil fuel energy is cheap, efficiency encourages more energy use.

For example, solid state lighting is much more efficient, but it encourages more extensive lighting. That would be o.k., if the energy source were carbon-free.

The Real World

Many well-meaning people proceed under the illusion that 'soft' renewable energies will replace fossil fuels if the government tries harder and provides more subsidies. Meanwhile, governments speak greenwash while allowing pursuit of fossil fuels with increasingly destructive technologies (hydrofracking, mountaintop removal, longwall mining, drilling in the deepest ocean, the Arctic and other pristine environments) and development of unconventional fossil fuels

It will be a tragedy if environmentalists allow the illusion of 'soft' energies to postpone demand for real solution of the energy, climate and national security problems. Solar power is just a small part of the solution. Subsidies yielding even its present tiny contribution may be unsustainable.

Victor and Yanosek discuss ineffectual U.S. policies to promote green energies and green jobs in the current issue of Foreign Affairs. They conclude that the policies do not promote technologies that can compete with fossil fuels without subsidies.

Victor and Yanosek suggest incentives for innovative technologies, including advanced nuclear power. Bill Gates is so distressed by the irrational pusillanimous U.S. energy policy that he is investing a piece of his personal fortune to help develop a specific 4th generation nuclear technology

The Real Solution

As long as fossil fuels are cheap, they will be burned. But fossil fuels are cheap only because they do not pay their costs to society. Costs include direct and indirect subsidies, human health costs from air and water pollution, and climate change impacts on current and future generations. The public can appreciate that a rising price must be placed on fossil fuel emissions, if we are to phase out our addiction to fossil fuels.

A carbon fee must be placed across-the-board on all fossil fuels in proportion to carbon emissions. The fee should be collected from fossil fuel companies at the first domestic sale (at domestic mine or port of entry).

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

Killing Jobs, Cost Won't Stop Obama EPA

Air quality has improved dramatically in America since 1980. According to the EPA nitrogen dioxide emissions are down 40%, sulfur dioxide dropped by 56%, and lead emissions by a whopping 96%. And, these improvements happened while the population grew by 22% and energy consumption jumped 19%.

This would seem ample reason for the government to leave well enough alone, but that's not the case for the current Administration. The Obama EPA is preparing to implement two major new air quality regulations that will cost consumers hundreds of billions of dollars more in their energy bills and destroy great numbers of American jobs.

H. Sterling Burnett and Kenney Meier of the National Center for Policy Analysis have looked at the ramifications of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

They concluded that because of higher costs and power plant closures by 2020 these two new regulations could destroy another 1.4 million jobs, and drive up electricity costs for consumers by 11.5% and some businesses could see as much as a 35% increase.

Environmental activists like the current EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, always claim improved air quality will translate to significant health benefits, but Burnett and Meier found those claims to be dramatically overstated. That's because very little of the targeted pollutants actually come from the air we breathe.

According to the researchers, "completely eliminating all U.S. power plant pollution would reduce hospital visits resulting from serious respiratory and cardiovascular health events by only 0.4 percent to 1.6 percent, according to estimates in a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, an activist group."

With little to gain and considerable additional cost to be borne by business and consumers alike and with the U.S. economy in serious disrepair, Burnett and Meier say these new regulations are "arguably unnecessary." Reasonable people would likely arrive at the same conclusion, but don't look for the Obama Administration to back off any time soon - or ever.

After all, Obama declared war on the coal industry. In January of 2008, candidate Obama said, "If somebody wants to build a coal fired plant they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted." And, job destruction and higher energy costs won't stop him from his mission.



by Judith Curry

The hypothesized link between a warming climate and increased frequency and magnitude of floods goes something like this: a warmer climate is associated with more water vapor in the atmosphere, which means more rainfall and more floods. Is there any observational support for this link?

A series of papers on this subject have been published by Gabriele Villarini at Princeton University. Two of the papers related to the U.S. are highlighted here.
Flood peak distributions for the eastern United States

Gabriele Villarini and James Smith


Annual maximum peak discharge time series from 572 stations with a record of at least 75 years in the eastern United States are used to examine flood peak distributions from a regional perspective.

The central issues of this study are (1) “mixtures” of flood peak distributions, (2) upper tail properties of flood peaks, (3) scaling properties of flood peaks, (4) spatial heterogeneities of flood peak distributions, and (5) temporal nonstationarities of annual flood peaks. Landfalling tropical cyclones are an important element of flood peak distributions throughout the eastern United States, but their relative importance in the “mixture” of annual flood peaks varies widely, and abruptly, in space over the region. Winter-spring extratropical systems and warm season thunderstorm systems also introduce distinct flood peak populations, with spatially varying control of flood frequency distributions over the eastern United States.

We examine abrupt changes in the mean and variance of flood peak distributions through change point analyses and temporal trends in the flood peak records through nonparametric tests. Abrupt changes, rather than slowly varying trends, are typically responsible for nonstationarities in annual flood peak records in the eastern United States, and detected change points are often linked to regulation of river basins.

Trend analyses for the 572 eastern United States gaging stations provide little evidence at this point (2009) for increasing flood peak distributions associated with human-induced climate change. Estimates of the location, scale, and shape parameters of the generalized extreme value (GEV) distribution provide a framework for examining scaling properties of flood peaks and upper tail properties of flood distributions.

It is shown that anomalously large values of the GEV shape parameter estimates are linked to the role of tropical cyclones in controlling the upper tail of flood distributions. Scaling analyses of flood peaks highlight the heterogeneities in flood magnitudes over the region with maxima in scaled flood magnitudes in the high-elevation Appalachian Mountains and minima in the low-gradient Coastal Plain.

(2010), Water Resour. Res., 46, W06504, doi:10.1029/2009WR008395. [Link] to abstract (paper not available online)

Pielke Jr. cites the following from the paper’s conclusions:

Only a small fraction of stations exhibited significant linear trends. For those stations with trends, there was a split between increasing and decreasing trends. No spatial structure was found for stations exhibiting trends. There is little indication that human-induced climate change has resulted in increasing flood magnitudes for the eastern United States.
Examining Flood Frequency Distributions in the Midwest U.S.

Gabriele Villarini, James Smith, Mary Lynn Baeck, Wiltoid Krajewski


Annual maximum peak discharge time series from 196 stream gage stations with a record of at least 75 years from the Midwest United States is examined to study flood peak distributions from a regional point of view. The focus of this study is to evaluate: (1) “mixtures” of flood peak distributions, (2) upper tail and scaling properties of the flood peak distributions, and (3) presence of temporal nonstationarities in the flood peak records.

Warm season convective systems are responsible for some of the largest floods in the area, in particular in Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa. Spring events associated with snowmelt and rain-on-snow are common in the northern part of the study domain. Nonparametric tests are used to investigate the presence of abrupt and slowly varying changes. Change-points rather than monotonic trends are responsible for most violations of the stationarity assumption. The abrupt changes in flood peaks can be associated with anthropogenic changes, such as changes in land use/land cover, agricultural practice, and construction of dams.

The trend analyses do not suggest an increase in the flood peak distribution due to anthropogenic climate change. Examination of the upper tail and scaling properties of the flood peak distributions are examined by means of the location, scale, and shape parameters of the Generalized Extreme Value distribution.

Paper No. JAWRA-10-0046-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association(JAWRA). [Link] to abstract (paper not available online)

CO2Science provides the following summary of the paper:
What was learned

The four U.S. researchers report that in the vast majority of cases where streamflow changes were observed, they were “associated with change-points (both in mean and variance) rather than monotonic trends,” and they indicate that “these non-stationarities are often associated with anthropogenic effects.” But rather than increases in anthropogenic CO2 emissions, they cite such things as “changes in land use/land cover, changes in agricultural practice, and construction of dams and reservoirs.”

What it means

Based on their findings, and, as they note, “in agreement with previous studies” they conclude that “there is little indication that anthropogenic climate change has significantly affected the flood frequency distribution for the Midwest U.S.” And as they make doubly clear in the abstract of their paper, they say that “trend analyses do not suggest an increase in the flood peak distribution due to anthropogenic climate change.”

JC comments: Villarini’s analysis and interpretation seems pretty compelling to me, I like the methodology. So what is wrong with the picture that Kevin Trenberth (and others) have been painting (besides the fact that they don’t seem to have looked at actual flood data)? An increase in atmospheric water vapor associated with warmer temperatures doesn’t necessarily increase rainfall nor is it necessary that an increase in rainfall is distributed spatiotemporally to produce increased floods. It seems that whatever signal that might be found for an increase in floods from global warming is swamped by changes in land use and river engineering.


NASA Data Pit Scientific Method Against Climate Astrology

The Scientific Method is a beautiful thing. By requiring that scientific hypotheses be testable and subject to objective verification, the Scientific Method distinguishes the pursuit of objective knowledge (science) from faith-based principles and circular logic. The Scientific Method was instrumental in pulling Western Civilization out of the Dark Ages. Yet 1,000 years later, regarding one of the most scientifically and politically important issues of modern times, the Scientific Method is being sacrificed on the altar of Climate Astrology.

The Scientific Method is simple and straightforward. If you formulate a hypothesis, make predictions according to that hypothesis, and then identify facts or results that would objectively disprove the hypothesis, you are practicing science. If you leave out any of these steps, and most importantly if you leave out the final step, you are not practicing science.

To qualify as science, the scientist who formulates a hypothesis must as rigorously as possible test the hypothesis. Moreover, he or she must welcome and encourage other scientists to rigorously test the hypothesis as well. If the hypothesis fails, this is not a discredit to the scientist who formed the hypothesis. To the contrary, scientific knowledge advances because scientists are able to narrow the list of potential hypotheses that may be true.

The Scientific Method was in full display last week when the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing published the results of an important study conducted by Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite. With access to NASA satellite data measuring the amount of heat escaping the earth’s atmosphere into space, Spencer compared the NASA satellite data to the amount of heat loss predicted by computer models relied upon by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in support of IPCC’s assertion that humans are causing a global warming crisis. Spencer found that the NASA satellite data reveal more heat is escaping into space than IPCC computer models have predicted.

Spencer’s discovery confirms prior heat-loss data reported by another set of NASA satellite instruments. Together, the NASA satellite instruments provide a 25-year record of real-world atmospheric conditions contradicting IPCC computer model predictions.

According to the Scientific Method, when real-world facts contradict a postulated hypothesis, the hypothesis fails. In this case, the failure of IPCC computer models to accurately predict atmospheric heat loss provided strong evidence that the IPCC computer models are based on faulty assumptions.

Rather than celebrating the advancement of knowledge provided by the NASA data and Spencer’s study, government employee “scientists” with a dog in the global warming fight viciously attacked Spencer and chastised the media for reporting this important scientific discovery.

Gavin Schmidt, a vigorous champion of the IPCC computer models and a government employee at NASA’s Goddard Institute (in a different branch of NASA than Spencer), protested the attention given to the NASA data by telling the press, “Climate sensitivity is not constrained by the last two decades of imperfect satellite data.”

This is a truly remarkable statement. Schmidt would have us believe that when 25 years of objective NASA satellite data contradict IPCC computer model predictions, we are supposed to ignore the real-world data and believe the discredited computer models instead. What are we supposed to do, pretend that the laws of physics have gone on a 25-year vacation?

Schmidt’s comments to the press are illustrative of a person whose taxpayer-funded paycheck is dependent upon the continuation of a failed global warming hypothesis. So long as the federal government operates under the assumption that we must study and address dangerous global warming, Schmidt’s job is secure. On the other hand, when scientists like Dr. Spencer report objective facts that falsify key components of global warming predictions, Schmidt’s government-provided paycheck is jeopardized and Schmidt lashes out.

Schmidt’s attempted denial of the NASA satellite facts is merely another example of global warming activists promoting faith-based principles and circular logic in contradiction of the Scientific Method. When it rains a lot, we are told this proves humans are creating a global warming crisis. When it doesn’t rain a lot, we are told this, too, proves humans are creating a global warming crisis. When temperatures are hot, we are told this proves humans are creating a global warming crisis. When temperatures are cold, we are told this, too, proves humans are creating a global warming crisis. In short, global warming activists have presented a theory for which they identify no set of facts or circumstances that could possibly disprove their theory – not even 25 years of objective NASA satellite data that directly contradict what their computer models say should be happening.

The faith-based circular logic of Schmidt and other global warming activists may be a lot of things, but it is not science. Some have described it as religion, but that is doing a disservice to religion. Religion dictates that when a self-professed prophet’s predictions fail to come true, that person is identified as a false prophet.

A more accurate description of the factual denial practiced by Schmidt regarding the NASA satellite data is Climate Astrology. Astrologers, after all, make all sorts of vague predictions such that anything that later occurs can be alleged to have been predicted in advance. “This could be the moment to take a relationship one stage further” is to National Enquirer astrology what “the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming” is to Climate Astrology. Ironically, Kevin Trenberth, the same government employee “ scientist” who said “the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming” is the same government employee who lashed out against the Spencer-reported NASA satellite data by telling the press, “I cannot believe it got published.”

Jeane Dixon famously spent decades making astrology predictions in the pages of the National Enquirer. Many of Dixon’s astrological predictions were so vague that they could not be disproven. For the astrology predictions that could be objectively compared to real-world events, most were proven false. Roy Spencer’s study of NASA satellite data was deservingly published in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. Look for Schmidt and Trenberth’s Climate Astrology to soon appear in the pages of National Enquirer.



Severe storms along the French Mediterranean coast were more frequent during the cold climate of the Little Ice Age than during the warmer climate of the Medieval Warm Period, reports a paper presented at a July conference held by the International Union for Quaternary Research. The paper reconstructed 7,000 years of storm activity and found an “increase in storm activity” during the Little Ice Age, “Whereas the Medieval Warm Period is characterized by a low storm activity.”
Increase of storm events during the Holocene cold events in NW Mediterranean Sea

Sabatier, Pierre et al


This paper present a high resolution record of paleostorm events in the French Mediterrannean coast over the past 7000 years based on a long sediment core from lagoonal environment in Gulf of Lions. Using a multi-proxies approach on core associating grain size, faunal analysis, with a chronology derived from radiocarbon dates, we reconstruct Mid to Late Holocene history of backbarrier deposits in relation to landfalling activity. Even if change in lagoon geomorphological setting over the Holocene does not allow to compare storm events in terms of intensity trough time, we have recorded seven periods of increase in storm activity at 6200, 5400, 4600-4200, 3600-3100, 2600, 1900-1500 yr cal B.P. and over the Little Ice Age (450 and 50 yr cal B.P.). Whereas the Medieval Warm Period (1200-700 yr cal B.P.) is characterized by a low storm activity. These evidences of changes in coastal hydrodynamic are in phase with those observed over the North Atlantic and correspond to Holocene cooling evidenced associated to decreases of SST in the North Atlantic. These periods of low SST observed in North Atlantic can produce a stronger meridional temperature gradient and a southward position of the westerlies during these periods. We hypothesize here that this increase in storm activity during Holocene cold events over the North Atlantic and Mediterranean region was probably due to thermal gradient increase leading to enhanced lower tropospheric baroclinicity over a large Central Atlantic-European domain. These results demonstrate that North Atlantic region influence the Mediterranean climate at Holocene timescale, in relation to severe storm activity


Australia: Federal "Green" attack on big houses

This will have no effect, contrary to the hot air below. People who can afford a big house will not balk at a couple of hundred dollars for another useless bit of paper and nor will they be much motivated to save on energy costs. If they were real Greenies they would be buying a small house, to reduce their "footprint".

And calling big houses "McMansions" is just empty-headed abuse. "McMansions" originally referred to houses that all looked much alike but the bigger a house is, the more likely an architect will have been involved in its design. The term also reflects a contempt for popular design features, which is just snobbery

A NEW green scheme threatens to wipe tens of thousands of dollars from the market price of so-called "McMansions".

The Federal Government aims to introduce, by as soon as next year, mandatory energy star ratings for homes being sold or rented out. Under the favoured system, vendors and landlords would have to pay about $200 to have their property assessed, with a total cost to homeowners and property investors of $1.1 billion over the next 10 years.

Housing experts said most McMansions would score very poorly on the ratings system, which would be similar to the methodology used to identify the energy efficiency of whitegoods.

Mick Fabar, director of private energy-ratings firm Green Homes Australia, said: "Through our experience with our rating tool, those two-storey McMansions would not get over zero."

There are significant financial implications for owners of these homes - and most older dwellings which are also likely to rate lowly. Owners would need to either spend up on going green or face the prospect of a lower sale price.

A Federal Government study into a similar ACT scheme operating since 1999, which rates properties out of 10 stars, found that a 1-star difference affected selling prices by 3 per cent.

Asked whether the scheme would have a negative effect on the sale price of some homes, a spokeswoman for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Minister Greg Combet said: "It will allow buyers and renters to better compare different properties, making it easier to identify a property which uses less energy or water and thereby save money."

But the Federal Opposition's spokesman for climate action, environment and heritage, Greg Hunt, said such a scheme would create "enormous uncertainty".

"It could push up the cost of rent for people just when they are feeling cost-of-living pressures," Mr Hunt said. "It's another cost imposed on people from the Government."

The new federal system is expected to replace the Bligh Government's so-called Sustainability Declaration which was introduced in 2009. Under the scheme, sellers were meant to sign a form detailing their home's energy-efficient features. But the property industry complained the forms were too complex and buyers were not interested in the information.



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


13 August, 2011

How Do The AGW People Get Away With This?

by Joe Bastardi

A few graphics make the position of the AGW people completely absurd. It’s why I am so confident as to my position on this matter, and by the way it does have something to do with the weather because if you know where the weather has been, you have a better chance to know where it’s going.

Exhibit one, from my co-partner here at WeatherBell Joe D Aleo ( I wonder if we will share the same cell when the warmingistas come to get us. And will they let us have the same tattoo artist to brand us deniers?)

PDO and AMO are strongly correlated to the earths temps…now watch CO2 vs temps over the past century:

Even more damming than this, look at the past 10 years:

Or the last 15 years:

Which leads to the question: How do these people have any credibility? How do they get away with this? It’s mind boggling that its gotten to a point where the EPA is dictating policy based on what is an obvious fraud, or if you want to be gentle about it, creates enough doubt to back off.

Here is something to consider.

Over a year ago I advised a client of mine at the time to purchase less air conditioners than for 2010 because the summer of 2011 would be cooler than the summer of 2010. Now there is talk that this is going to turn out like last summer, but assuming it won’t, the forecast was made. BEFORE LAST SUMMER. The client had to put in their order for air conditioners a year beforehand because they were ordering them FROM CHINA.

Now every red blooded American gets up in arms because all those jobs should be here in USA, right? But why aren’t they? Well in large part because of policy that is based on absurdities like this, a factory making anything here is now being clamped down on by the EPA so hard, so why bother? Its like Obama said: ” So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that will get emitted”.

That is a direct quote and is like his energy Sec saying that they seek to take away choices that people waste their money on. Astounding that things like that are being pushed by people in control, or that they even got control in the first place. That is our fault, based on what is obviously flat out nonsense. But combine that with labor costs, and the fact the that the corporate tax rate in the US is higher than China, which few people in our nation seem to get, and this is what happens.

Now let’s say we wanted to make sure that a person here working in an air conditioner factory can make a decent wage from a helping hand ( how do like my populist line…from the Ghost of Tom Joad?) Well, get rid of the EPA running roughshod over factory owners, and lower the corporate tax rate to below China’s ( it is so hard to believe that Chinese tax rates are lower) and you will find that companies will stay here and pay a decent wage to build air conditioners, But not if you are clamping down on people based on questionable, don’t-have-a-leg-to-stand-on ideas about co2 warming the planet.

Again, it defies logic as to how they got to where they did with this issue, and the facts are there for all to see.


The Secret of Global Warming - Posh Anti-Capitalism

Martin Durkin

The next time you’re forced to attend a dinner party, keep an eye out for the global warmer. Then ask him what he thinks about supermarkets (wicked), ‘consumer society’ (soulless), world trade (cruel) and government regulation (more needed). Global warmers are, in short, anti-capitalist. But – and here’s the really important thing to understand – it’s a very specific form of anti-capitalism. We might call it posh anti-capitalism.

In the old days, when there was less swearing on TV and kids were scared of policemen, anti-capitalism was coloured Red. The Reds complained that capitalism would cause the ‘immiseration’ of the workers, and they dreamed of giant socialist factories, out-producing the West.

The tragedy (for the Reds) was that capitalism didn’t play ball. Instead of getting poorer, ordinary folk got richer – much, much richer. For the simple reason that capitalist mass production must necessarily go hand in hand with mass consumption. What the new-leftists call ‘consumer society’.

But these days, anti-capitalists are coloured Green. They campaign not in the name of the working class, but of ‘Earth’. Instead of giant factories, they dream of little handicraft workshops and organic peasant farms. They complain not that capitalism will impoverish the workers, but, on the contrary, that capitalism has made them too rich. It is the very success of capitalism that seems to upset them.

Green guru James Lovelock says the overconsuming public is like a ‘revolting teenager’ and says we are ‘far too greedy and selfish for our own good.’ Green Party politician Caroline Lucas says we must ‘move away from endless consumerism and materialism.’ Green foodie Colin Tudge, condemns ‘the mindless accumulation of wealth for ill-defined purposes.’ John Naish, in his book Enough, says we should be satisfied with what we have, ‘In the Western world we now have everything we could possibly need. There is no ‘more’.’ To Oliver James, prosperity is a disease - he calls it the ‘Affluenza Virus’. It’s all too much for celebrity journalist Rosie Boycott, ‘Stuff – in all its forms – fills the empty spaces inside, which materialism creates.’

It is more than ironic that the anti-consumption rant comes from people who are, by global standards, rolling in the stuff and from a superior social class. Take a look at Al Gore and Prince Charles, at Jonathon Porritt, the old Etonian friend of Prince Charles, son of Lord Porritt; or the old Etonian Baron Lord Peter Melchett, former head of Greenpeace, or Ecologist editor Zac Goldsmith, another old Etonian, son of the billionaire James Goldsmith, and nephew of yet another old Etonian the Green guru Edward Goldsmith; or ‘eco-warrior’ Mark Brown, who was acquitted of leading the ‘Carnival Against Capitalism’, who is a member of the fabulously wealthy Vestey family; or the founder of the Soil Association Lady Eve Balfour, daughter of the Earl of Balfour; or the author of the Global Warming Survival Handbook, David de Rothschild, and so on, and on. Charles Secrett, former executive director of Friends of the Earth helpfully explains, ‘Among the aristocrats there is a sense of noblesse oblige … a feeling of stewardship towards the land.’

Brendan O’Neill says in The Guardian, ‘It is remarkable how many leading environmentalists come from wealthy or aristocratic backgrounds.’ And adds, ‘There is something irritating - actually, let's not beat around the bush - there is something monumentally infuriating about rich people telling the masses that they should live more meekly.’

It seems that it is not any old consumption that upsets the Greens. It is mass consumption. The Green foodies don’t mind expensive organic free-range food, or hand-made cashmere sweaters, or costly Italian floor tiles. They don’t rail against posh cheese shops or vintners. The problem is not fine-art auction houses or Persian-rug sellers. The problem is mass production and consumption. Greens John Cavanagh and Jerry Mander deplore the vulgar bargain hunter for whom, ‘everyday low prices are the ultimate human conquest.’ The Green group Earth First went so far as to organise a ‘puke in’ in a shopping mall.

It is not exclusive, expensive delicatessens, but rather the wicked low-cost supermarkets frequented by everyday folk which they find repellent. It is a commonly heard complaint from Greens that things ‘aren’t expensive enough’. The ‘rebels’ down from Eton for the anti-globalisation rallies threw bricks through windows – but not the windows of high-class restaurants. Instead they smashed up and ransacked a working class MacDonalds when they marched down Piccadilly. It is not the luxurious Heals furniture shop that makes them angry, but the proletarian IKEA, with its affordable sofas and lamps.

The mass production and distribution of food is deplorable to them. In fact the mass production of goods, whatever they may be, renders those goods nasty and soulless. The mass production of houses, the mass consumption of culture … everything to do with the masses, it seems, every form of economic activity that benefits the many-headed, is held to be vulgar and an offence against the natural order.

Edward Goldsmith decried ‘the mass production of shoddy utilitarian goods in ever greater quantities.’ The debased creatures who buy this stuff constituted a different kind of human - Homo Sapiens Industrialis.

In his book Green Capitalism, James Heartfield says, ‘greens protest against a certain kind of consumption – mass consumption. By their green consumer choices, environmentalists are demonstrating that they are better than the herd … Green consumerism does not mean consuming less than the rest. In fact it ends up meaning that you consume more. Your consumer choices are more finickity, less easily satisfied. They say something about you.’

And the same goes for the Green outrage at mass tourism, ‘The ‘conscientious consumers’ love air travel – for themselves. They just hate cheap air travel that everyone else can enjoy. The reason they first got into tourism was to get away from us. Now that we are all following them, ruining their isolated spots in Ibiza and the Dordogne, they need a reason to stop us. Not to put too fine a point on it, concern over CO2 emissions came after the prejudice that mass tourism was a blight. Global warming predictions provide a useful, quasi-scientific justification for anti-working class prejudice.’

He is right. None of this is new. In 1958 the patrician JK Galbraith looked down his nose at this increasing prosperity in his The Affluent Society. Ten years later, with even greater disgust, Paul Ehrlich, condemned ‘the effluent society’.

In 1973 E.F Schumacher in his classic Green text Small is Beautiful, said the modern consumer ‘is propelled by a frenzy of greed and indulges in an orgy of envy’. He complained, ‘The cultivation and expansion of needs is the antithesis of wisdom.’ His conclusion was devastating. We must abandon any hope of attaining ‘universal prosperity’, because, he said, ‘universal prosperity … if attainable at all, is attainable only by cultivating such drives of human nature as greed and envy.’

But to say that mass consumption was ‘the antithesis of wisdom’ was clearly not enough. The Greens needed some solid reason why economic progress should be rolled back. Conveniently, three years after Small is Beautiful, Lowell Ponte published his big scary book, The Cooling, which predicted that pollution from our consumer society would blot out the sun and push the earth into an ice age. Mass consumption wasn’t just morally depraved, it was now dangerous too. Ponte warned, ‘prosperity could mean disaster.’ In fact ‘the cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people.’ This was a disaster with a moral message. The masses must tighten their belts, ‘Note this word need. It is readily confused with the word want in industrial societies, where the dominant value is consumption rather than conservation.’

The Green anti-consumption rant, though fashionable among the elite, does not go down big with the great unwashed. People who are experiencing wealth for the first time rarely think badly of it. The Greens always moan that the bulk of the population is unmoved by their silly warnings of impending catastrophe. Whether it’s global cooling or global warming or genetically modified ‘Frankenstein’ food, all the end-of-the-world stuff fails to grip the imagination of the masses. No surprise. They know that it’s all directed against them.

The Greens tell us that food should come from peasants rather than industrial farms. Chairs and tables should be produced, not in factories, but lovingly by skilled artisans. But as we all know, such antiquated, handicraft methods inevitably produce far fewer, more expensive goods. Handicraft production was what happened in that Green golden age before capitalist production, when the vast majority of people were grindingly poor – unable to afford such lovingly crafted, hand-made luxuries. These were the good old days, when everyone knew their place in the ‘natural order’.

Green anti-capitalism is Snob anti-capitalism. This is not mere name-calling. It goes to the very heart of what ‘Green’ is about.


How Many Findings of the 2007 IPCC report are Incorrect? Answer: 28%

Roger Pielke Jr.

I suspect that headline will raise some eyebrows. In a paper just out in Climatic Change today Rachael Jonassen and I perform a quantitative analysis of all 2,744 findings found in the three 2007 assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Here is the abstract of our paper:
Jonassen, R. and R. Pielke, Jr., 2011. Improving conveyance of uncertainties in the findings of the IPCC, Climatic Change, 9 August, 0165-0009:1-9.


Authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) received guidance on reporting understanding, certainty and/or confidence in findings using a common language, to better communicate with decision makers. However, a review of the IPCC conducted by the InterAcademy Council (2010) found that “the guidance was not consistently followed in AR4, leading to unnecessary errors . . .

the guidance was often applied to statements that are so vague they cannot be falsified. In these cases the impression was often left, quite incorrectly, that a substantive finding was being presented.” Our comprehensive and quantitative analysis of findings and associated uncertainty in the AR4 supports the IAC findings and suggests opportunities for improvement in future assessments.

The paper characterizes the various findings of the report in terms of the uncertainty guidance used by the IPCC. The paper includes various summary statistics and discussion. The answer to the provocative title of this post is found in the following part of the paper:
If we confine our attention to those findings that refer to the future, one can ask how many IPCC findings can be expected to become verified ultimately as being accurate? For example, if we consider findings that refer to future events with likelihood in the ‘likely’ class (i.e., >66% likelihood) then if these judgments are well calibrated then it would be appropriate to conclude that as many as a third can be expected to not occur.

More generally, of the 360 findings reported in the full text of WG1 across all likelihood categories and presented with associated measures of likelihood (i.e., those summarized in Table 2 below), then based on the judgments of likelihood associated with each statement we should logically expect that about 100 of these findings (~28%) will at some point be overturned.

A footnote to this paragraph explains: "This calculation assumes that each finding can be treated independently. If the findings are not independent (e.g., they are cumulative) then this calculation would result in a higher estimate." Since this is just mathematics following from the IPCC uncertainty guidance, it should be obvious, but appears never to have been actually calculated.


UN Recommends Attaching Big Kites To Ships To Pull Them Thru Water - Hmmm, Oars & Slaves Next?

Read here. Thank god there is the UN. How would the world ever survive, if say, the UN just disappeared forever? (Okay, I admit, utopia immediately comes to mind.)

Yep, you read that title correctly - the UN is suggesting the big kites for the big ships.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has laid out a framework to get the world's shipping to reduce CO2 emissions significantly. And bless their puny little brains, they are trying to suggest solutions for a very difficult problem.

Besides the kites idea, the IMO recommends going sloooower, which certainly puts a new speed bump in place for the entire concept of just-in-time delivery. Based on these type of recommendations, it would be fair to surmise that the UN's IMO is not really into new technology, nor enhancing global trade, no?


Vampire bat bites man in Mexico, who then travels to the US and dies; CO2 blamed

A 19-year-old migrant farm worker who had been bitten while in his native Michoacan on July 15, 2011, 10 days before he left for the U.S. to pick sugar cane at a plantation in Louisiana.
"This case represents the first reported human death from a vampire bat rabies virus variant in the United States," the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its weekly Morbidity and Mortality weekly report....

The CDC warned that though vampire bat populations are currently confined to Latin America, climate change could result in a northward migration of their population, possibly leading to more cases of human infection in the southern United States.


Ice Free Arctic Forecasts

Scientists ranting about an ice free Arctic is a psychosis that has been going on for almost as long as there have been scientists.

NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions.”

Because climate change in the Arctic region is occurring faster and to a greater extent than anywhere else, the Arctic Ocean may be ice-free for a short period of time as early as the summer of 2015, according to the 2009 Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report completed by the eight Arctic Council Nations.

MONDAY, MARCH 17, 2008
Polar ice cap melting away in 2008 ?

The latest salvo comes courtesy of Xinhua, which reports that Olav Orheim, the head of the Norwegian International Polar Year Secretariat, is placing his money on this summer. Noting that its ice sheet had reached a historical low of 3m sq. km last summer – it covered around 7.5m sq. km as recently as 2000 – Orheim told Xinhua that “if Norway’s average temperature this year equals that in 2007, the ice cap in the Arctic will all melt away.” Barring this disaster, Orheim predicted that excess carbon dioxide emissions and higher average temperatures would unpredictably alter the region’s fragile ecosystems. On a separate note, he said that Asia would likely be hardest hit by rising sea levels, estimating that a one meter rise would affect “nearly 100 million people on an area of 800,000 square km in Asia and direct economic loss will amount to 400 billion U.S. dollars.”

December 15, 2009

There are many kinds of truth. Al Gore was poleaxed by an inconvenient one yesterday.

The former US Vice-President, who became an unlikely figurehead for the green movement after narrating the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, became entangled in a new climate change “spin” row.

Mr Gore, speaking at the Copenhagen climate change summit, stated the latest research showed that the Arctic could be completely ice-free in five years.

In his speech, Mr Gore told the conference: “These figures are fresh. Some of the models suggest to Dr [Wieslav] Maslowski that there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.”

Global warming is a direct threat to biodiversity in all corners of the world, but nowhere are its effects more visible than in the Arctic, where the impacts of the climate crisis are hitting earlier and with greater intensity than anywhere else. Winter temperatures have increased by almost 10 degrees Fahrenheit since 1949. And by the end of this century, the Far North’s annual average temperatures are expected to rise 9 degrees or more over land and up to 13 degrees over water.

We can see the frightening effects of the Arctic’s rising temperatures in the quick and devastating melt of the region’s sea ice. In 2008, Arctic summer sea ice reached the second-lowest extent recorded since the dawn of the satellite era — and winter sea ice reached its lowest recorded extent in 2011. Now climate scientists say the Arctic could be completely ice free in the summer by 2012.



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


12 August, 2011

Angry Warmist goes racist

Being white is part of what he condemns. His article is titled: "How do you solve a problem like conservative white men?" I reproduce a few excerpts below. I have not reproduced any of the psychologizing as it is mere assertion with no foundation in research among skeptics. An interesting admission is in red below. In the end all he can think of to do is abuse and physical attack -- in the best Fascist style

Kicking ass. The most satisfying solution? Kick their asses! The other day, I wrote about a study that attempted to explain why conservative white men (CWM) are so loathe to accept the threat of climate change.

The question remains: What should we do about it? The denialism or indifference of CWM toward climate is a huge barrier to getting anything done. In this post, I'm going to argue that the typical strategies are doomed to failure. It may be that the simplest, least clever strategy -- kick their asses -- is still the way to go.

The original and still most popular approach to dealing with climate deniers is reasoned persuasion: facts and figures and reports and literature reviews and slideshows and whitepapers. This hasn't ever really worked, but climate types keep trying, like American tourists in a foreign country who try to overcome the language barrier by talking louder and more slowly.

While the study postulated a lot of interesting things about CWM, one thing it didn't ascribe to them is ignorance. In fact, the CWM who know the most about climate science are the most likely to reject the consensus account. And this isn't a new finding. Yale's "Six Americas" report found that the highly skeptical are more informed about climate change science than those who report a high degree of concern about it (the latter of whom still regularly confuse climate with the ozone hole, etc.).

The fact is, as I've written before, climate denialism is part of something much larger. The most significant driving force behind climate change denial among CWM is not any ineffable psychological mystery but simply the increasing intensity and radicalization of the American conservative movement. The same dynamic afflicting climate change is afflicting the debate over fiscal policy, the economy, jobs, and health care.... The core of the CWM tribal perspective is loyalty to the tribe and hostility to outsiders. [An accusation of racism from a racist!]

CWM are blocking the entire, diverse climate coalition from taking action by virtue of intensity (not to mention a broken and utterly dysfunctional political system). The poll numbers are consistently on climate hawks' side, but their support is shallow and fickle. The Tea Party, on the other hand, views even efficient lightbulbs as incipient tyranny. As I've said many times, intensity wins in politics.

If that's true, perhaps the answer is not to reduce intensity in hopes of attracting CWM. Perhaps the answer is to increase intensity in order to overcome CWM. Intensity is increased first and foremost through organizing, but also through clear, inspiring messages that draw sharp lines between those fighting for progress and those fighting against it.

The implicit premise of climate "pragmatism" and similar efforts is that CWM are stronger, that climate hawks can't win a direct clash. And for now, that seems to be true. Beating back the radical conservative resurgence is something that nobody on the left has figured out yet. But the alternative, attempting to win over CWM by soft-pedaling climate, doesn't exactly have a record of success either.

In the end, everyone has to make their own bet. Do you make progress by attempting to please the Very Serious People running the system or by speaking truth to power and subverting the system? For my part, when I see people denying facts and bullying scientists in order perpetuate the dominance of fossil fuel interests that are killing people and threatening my children's futures, I am inclined to tell them to go f*ck themselves. That won't resonate with their social/tribal perspectives, but that's because I find their social/tribal perspectives repugnant and worthy of social censure. I want to beat them. [A lot of hate there]


Warming uncertain says CSIRO scientist

The CSIRO is a major scientific research organization funded by the Australian government

Researchers from the CSIRO and the University of Melbourne analysed the predictions of 23 currently available global climate models using data from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, a project that gathers data from around the world to make predictions on changes in world climate.

A statistical tool called a 'probability distribution model' was applied to the projected changes predicted by the models to find what changes would occur at certain levels. These probability distribution functions were scaled to match scenarios of global warming for 2030 and 2070.

Climate predictions then and now

Previous projections by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology in 2007 predicted a temperature increase of at least 1 degree Celsius by 2030. "If emissions are low, we anticipate warming of between 1.5 degree and 2.5 degrees by 2070, with a best estimate of 1.8 degrees," Whetton said in 2007. "Under a high emission scenario, the best estimate is 3.4 degrees Celsius with a range between 2.2 to 5.0."

The 2007 report also predicted the effect of increasing levels of greenhouse gases on rainfall, showing decreases in overall and seasonal rainfall across Australia in the decades to come.

The new study gives a more solid prediction to the effects of a global climatic shift. If global temperatures increased by 4 degrees Celsius or more, it would result in temperature increases of between 3 degrees and 5 degrees for coastal areas and 4 degrees to 6 degrees for inland Australia, the report shows.

In addition, global climate shifts would affect precipitation patterns, with snow cover falling to zero in most regions across the Australian Alps. More notably, the annual rainfall over southern Australia, particularly in winter and spring, would decrease by up to 50%.

"Unlike anything experienced before"

The combined decrease in rainfall with rising evaporation levels of between 5% and 20%, would lead to droughts occurring up five times more often in the southern regions of Australia, the study said.

"Rapid global warming of 4 degrees Celsius would be unlike anything experienced before by modern human societies - presenting us with huge challenges in our ability to adapt," Whetton said.

Steven Sherwood, an atmospheric physicist and co-director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said that while the report, "follows a fairly standard methodology" in summarising the predictions of climate models, the estimates "must be taken with a grain of salt" because of the variability between the 23 models. "They don't all predict the same outcome, so a large range can sometimes appear - but this probably represents the best we can do at the moment," he said.

Sherwood continued, "Of course there is no guarantee that the actual outcome will even be within this range, all the models could be off. But if the models are wrong, it is just as likely to be in the direction of underestimating change rather than overestimating it. "Either way, it's better to be safe than sorry and we need to reduce greenhouse emissions now while we still can before it's too late."


Interview with Dr. Eduardo Zorita, August 2011

IPCC scientist makes huge admission: E. Zorita: 'Past variations were probably larger than was originally believed'?

The physicist Eduardo Zorita is a senior scientist at the Institute for Coastal Research of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, where he heads the Paleoclimate Section. In the CliSAP project PLUSDATA, he investigates the effects of climate change on the dynamics of water bodies.

What would you consider the most significant achievement in your career?

For the community, the main contribution I was involved in was the 'discovery' that climate reconstruction based on proxy indicators very likely provides only an underestimation of past climates. This means that past variations were probably larger than was originally believed. Privately, however, my most significant achievement was to switch from solid state physics to climate on my own, so to say, and with the help of the library, located in the 15th floor of the Geomatikum at that time.

Do you see a rising influence of politics or the economy in climate science?

Yes, a bit unfortunately. Climate science fulfills many conditions to become the subject of public discussion and influence. Its results can be waged for immediate political battles of all colors, it is in many ways uncertain, it may have quite serious economic consequences, and finally, like in soccer, everyone has an opinion, since rain, temperature, sea level are all concepts of everyday life. However, to be honest, I vividly remember to have decided to move to climate science after my doctorate because I could read, already at that time, many popular articles about climate change written by climate researchers and aimed at the public in general. With this I mean that it seems to me researchers did take the initiative to address society. Therefore it is not totally surprising that society now responds. Certainly, this response has not been always very kind, but we should not forget that usually the political discussion is a hornet's nest. If you decide to enter that nest you should be prepared.

What constitutes good science?

As I said before, every person and every scientist is different. For instance, some scientists work in a very systematic, detailed way to obtain very accurate measurements. This is good science. Others, on the other hand, are very disorganized, chaotic, but they have the capability to juggle with theories and concepts and see relationships that no one could see before. This is also good science. Finally, others are able to coordinate a large team of scientists in big projects. He or she may not be good at numbers or at theories but can oversee the big picture and move a team towards important results. This is also, in my eyes, good science. Perhaps all of them could be considered as different perspectives of a common effort to fill important gaps in the puzzle of science.

What would be your advice for young researchers who want to work on climate simulations?

Climate modelling is a quite broad and complex area. In my opinion, there are two dangers that a student should avoid. One is to get stuck in a daily routine of programming and launching simulations, and slowly forgetting that simulations are performed to answer some previous question. This question should be the main driver of the work, the model is just a tool. Climate models are nowadays so complex and require so much technical attention that it is easy to get off the track. The second danger is to fall in love with your model and lose sight of the real observations out there. Models are in this sense dangerous and climate models even more so.

What would you do with an additional million Euros for your research?

A million euros is nowadays not much. But to answer your question I would setup a project to understand the behavior of tropical clouds in the Late Maunder Minimum, at the height of the Little Ice Age 300 years ago, from proxy records and model simulations. This could give us hints about cloud cover changes in climates a bit different from the present and thus help us say something about the future climate change.



There is an amusing side to this. "Green" investments are based on false assumptions so will probably go broke. And that will take the retirement funds of the BBC staffers with it

Guess what? The man responsible for looking after the fat pensions of the boys and girls at the BBC is a climate change fanatic, and he is part of an international group of investment managers who bust a gut to invest in 'climate change' schemes. He's called Peter Dunscombe, and he runs the œ8.2bn corporation pension fund, advising trustees on a day-to-day basis about their investments. Mr Dunscombe, who addresses conferences about 'ethical investments', is also chairman of the Institutional Investment Group on Climate Change(IIGCC), which has 47 members and manages four trillion euros' worth of investments; yes, four trillion. Their goal is to find as many 'climate change' investment opportunities as possible:
The IIGCC Investor Statement on Climate change was launched in October 2006. Asset owners and asset managers who signed the Statement committed to increasing their focus on climate change in their own processes and in their engagement with companies and governments.

So now we really know why BBC staffers are so fanatical about 'climate change'. It's naked self-interest. In 2008, there were 18,736 contributors to the BBC pension fund; every man jack of them benefits from climate alarmism.

Update: I've been going through the latest BBC Pensions Trust report, and it reveals that Helen Boaden, who is the overall boss of the BBC's news and current affairs operation, was appointed to the trust in 2008. So the woman who tells environment reporters such as Roger Harrabin and Richard Black that the science is settled also works to maximise the returns of the pension fund with Peter Dunscombe. I thought that needed spelling out fully, just in case any subtleties might be missed.


Obama's war on coal

Killing jobs, causing blackouts

President Obama claims to see the need to create jobs at this time of endless 9-plus percent unemployment -- yet his administration continues to relentlessly destroy jobs for ideological reasons. The best example may be the Obama Environmental Protection Agency's "war on coal."

The EPA's regulatory crusade directly threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs -- and "rolling blackouts" that threaten even more.

Start with a proposed regulation under the Clean Air Act that's set to be finalized in November. The Utility MACT ("Maximum Achievable Control Technology") rule seeks to cut US power plants' emissions of mercury from 29 tons a year to just five. Yet EPA itself estimates that cutting even as much as 41 tons out of total emissions of 105 tons "is unlikely to substantially affect total risk."

For zero benefit, the Utility MACT is one of the most expensive federal regulations ever. In comments submitted to the EPA, Unions for Jobs and the Environment, an alliance of unions representing more than 3.2 million workers, estimated that this needless regulation would jeopardize 251,000 jobs.

Then there's EPA's out-of-the-blue ruling last month, ordering Texas to cut emissions of sulfur dioxide by 47 percent. This, when the draft version of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule had exempted the state entirely. The excuse for the change? A supposed need to slightly reduce emissions as monitored 500 miles away in Madison County, Ill. -- a locale that meets the EPA air-quality standards in question.

And the EPA only gave Texas just six months to comply -- when it takes three years to build the necessary controls. Particularly hard-hit will be Luminant, the largest merchant power producer in Texas, which relies on high-sulfur coal: It says "curtailing plant and/or mine operations will be the only option" to meet the EPA's "unprecedented and impossible compliance timetable." Jonathan Gardner, a vice president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, warns that the rule directly threatens 1,500 employees at six different power plants across Texas.

The EPA is also attacking coal mining, by (for example) trying to stop the technique known as mountaintop removal. Endless environmentalist lawsuits have lost in the courts, but the Obama EPA now claims that salt runoff from the process violates the Clean Water Act because it harms a short-lived insect (not an endangered species) -- and has proposed a rule that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson concedes would effectively outlaw an industry that employs more than 15,000 miners in Appalachia.

These are just a few examples of a host of unjustified EPA measures targeted at coal. The obvious goal is to seize any excuse to make coal power more expensive -- eventually, as then-candidate Barack Obama put it to the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008, to "bankrupt" the coal industry.

Yet coal has long been the most affordable source of electricity generation in America; it provides almost 50 percent of this nation's power. Team Obama's actions guarantee higher US electricity prices -- which will push up the costs of every business in America.

That means more lost jobs. A recent report from the Edison Electric Institute found that the Obama administration's air-quality policies alone could force the retirement of up to 90,000 megawatts of coal power, and require $200 billion in retrofits by 2020.

The loss of that much power production makes brownouts and "rolling blackouts" a virtual certainty in some regions of the country -- notably, the industrial heartland.

Bottom line: For the sake of the US economy, Congress needs to put an end to Obama's war on coal.


Global warming is melting Al Gore's brain

Former veep's only defense of his bogus climate theory is potty language

Al Gore, the world's foremost pseudo- scientist, is blasting skeptical scientists for their adherence to the centuries-old scientific method. Having tested the man-made global warming hypothesis with empirical observations, many scientists have come to different conclusions, causing Mr. Gore to become the Lenny Bruce of the environmental extremist gang. Speaking at the Aspen Institute on Aug. 4, Mr. Gore blasted alternative climate-change theories, publicly labeling them "bulls-t" - his words, not mine.

Having already "invented the Internet," Mr. Gore has moved on to more important things like inventing a new scientific method. Mr. Gore's pseudo-scientific method must mean politically correct agendas always trump independent peer testing. If your scientific results contradict the politically correct consensus, you are a denier of a higher truth and your proof that his theories are false is bull (to use a more polite version).

Before Mr. Gore's reliance on make-believe catastrophic climate model results, we were stuck with the good old scientific method, which says if the hypothesis cannot stand up to comparison with real, empirical observations, the hypothesis is false. Albert Einstein championed that test. Mr. Gore is abandoning it now because the test proves his "man-made CO2 is causing global climate change" hypothesis to be false.

Mr. Gore laments the fact that empirical observations are contradicting the "shared reality" he covets on his carefully chosen cocktail circuit. According to him, "It is no longer acceptable in mixed company - meaning bipartisan company - to use the goddamn word climate." Pity.

For Mr. Gore, any notion that our world is one of constant change is bull. Well, Mr. Gore, with 18 or 20 natural climate drivers constantly at work, there is no way Earth can have a stable climate. There have been no flat lines on any temperature curve in the reconstructions of 500 million years of climate-CO2 relationships. How about the sun or major ocean currents that experience changing cycles? Well, is that just bull, too? Is anything that conflicts with the belief that man is the primary cause of climate change just more bull? My, what a dirty mouth our former veep has.

With all of Mr. Gore's voiced confidence in his hypothesis, why won't he debate the issue if he is certain that "the science is settled"? Here's why: Fifteen of his major points in his 2006 film, "An Inconvenient Truth," have been shown to be false, misleading or gross exaggerations. As long as many blindly follow him despite all of this, his best strategy is to remain off the debate circuit.

The problem with Mr. Gore's new pseudo-scientific dogma is, of course, what's at stake. Lenny Bruce was a comedian. Mr. Gore isn't a comedian, as funny as he may appear. For some odd reason people still listen to him and he commands influence over national and global public policy. If he has his way, his man-made global warming agenda will melt our economy, our standard of living and even our national security.

Right now, the only thing global warming is melting is Al Gore's brain.



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


11 August, 2011

What does the 'E' in Environmentalist stand for? Ego, exaggeration, and error'

Says Marcus Gibson, ex-Financial Times journalist in his ‪'Global warming speech' at the Oxford Union, Oxford, UK

[13-minute video] What does the 'E' in Environmentalist stand for? Ego, exaggeration, and error', says Marcus Gibson, ex-Financial Times journalist, who demolishes the claims of the global warming clique at the famous Oxford Union debate, on July 14th, 2011. Marcus is the only journalist to have interviewed all of the key members of Royal Society who rebelled against the 'catastrophe' theory accepted by the council at the society - and finally got its stance radically changed. Marcus Gibson disputes the conventional view held by the global warming clique.


Militant Environmentalists Call for Executions and ‘Decisive Ecological Warfare’

“Do we need a militant movement to save the planet (and ourselves)?” That was the question posed in recent article on the left-wing site Alternet when it interviewed a group of radical environmentalists who are allegedly endorsing “Decisive Ecological Warfare.” And in order to realize their goal of ridding the planet of industrial civilization — even modern agriculture — the group intends to employ tactics “of both militaries and insurgents the world over.”

One of the activists, Derrick Jensen, allegedly even believes those who destroy the environment should be summarily executed: “If it were up to me, all the people associated with the Gulf oil spill, which is murdering the Gulf, would be executed. That would be part of the function of a state,” said Jensen.

In addition to Jensen, the two other environmentalists interviewed in the article – Lierre Keith, and Aric McBay — have spearheaded a fringe movement called the “Deep Green Resistance” (with a book of the same name) that calls for “direct attacks on infrastructure” and an annihilation of civilization as we know it.

According to the far-left triumvirate, humanity must devolve into living primitive, “indigenous” lifestyles. To this end, Keith targeted a litany of ills that must be stopped, declaring: “We need a culture that is self-consciously oppositional to things like corporate power, capitalism, industrialization and ultimately civilization, because that is the arrangement of power on this planet right now.”

But how does the group intend to implement such extreme goals? That is where the Decisive Ecological Warfare part comes in.

According to DGR’s website, their type of warfare has four phases that will allegedly lead up to the “fall of industrial civilization.” The first phase, according to the organization’s charter, is “Networking & Mobilization“ followed by ”Sabotage & Asymmetric Action.” The site lays out the group’s strategy:

Strategy A: Engage in direct militant actions against industrial infrastructure, especially energy infrastructure.

Strategy B: Aid and participate in ongoing social and ecological justice struggles; promote equality and undermine exploitation by those in power.

Strategy C: Defend the land and prevent the expansion of industrial logging, mining, construction, and so on, such that more intact land and species will remain when civilization does collapse.

Strategy D: Build and mobilize resistance organizations that will support the above activities, including decentralized training, recruitment, logistical support, and so on.

Strategy E: Rebuild a sustainable subsistence base for human societies (including perennial polycultures for food) and localized democratic communities that uphold human rights.

The stated goal of DGR is to “deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet. This will require defending and rebuilding just and sustainable human communities nestled inside repaired and restored landbases. This is a vast undertaking but it needs to be said: it can be done. Industrial civilization can be stopped.”

All infrastructure, even modern agriculture did not escape the threesome’s wrath as they apparently consider “sustainable agriculture” an “oxymoron.”

The original Alternet interview with DGR leaders went on to reveal what McBay believes should replace industrial civilization if the movement were successful in carrying out its goals: “If we are talking about a post-industrial society, then I think we have to draw on the examples of traditional, indigenous societies.”

What’s more, the group barely tries to conceal its disdain for the average Americans who probably find DGR’s brand of extremism distinctly repugnant. Keith stated, “I’m not speaking to mainstream America. I don’t know how to talk to those people, and there is no point in me trying.” And Jensen only mirrored the sentiment, saying, “I don’t understand why it is even controversial to talk about dismantling industrial civilization when it has shown itself for 6,000 years to be destroying the planet and to be systemically committing genocide.”

But don’t worry. As Alternet points out, Keith does make a distinction about violence in the book.

“I would urge the following distinctions,” writes Keith, “the violence of hierarchy vs. the violence of self-defense, violence against actual people vs. violence against property, and the violence as self-actualization vs. the violence of political resistance.”

“Just because they mention violence doesn‘t mean it’s the best policy,” Alternet says in its article as a way of trying to salvage readers who might be non-violent. But it is an option.


Cholera outbreaks 'not caused' by warmer seas

The conclusion that cholera outbreaks are linked to global warming has been challenged by a study that has found that warmer sea temperatures that correlate with the outbreaks do not cause them.

Outbreaks follow the blooming of phytoplankton which is associated with warmer seas in the Bay of Bengal — but these blooms are driven by river discharges rather than warmer seas, say authors of the study, published last week (3 August) in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Previous studies have suggested that periods of warmer sea temperature could be one of the conditions for promoting the disease, such as in the recent outbreak in Haiti, and that such knowledge could help set up an early warning system.

But it was not clear why this happens, as phytoplankton, microscopic plants that feed tiny crustaceans to which Vibrio cholerae bacteria attach, thrive in cold, not warm, water.

Now, by examining 12 years of data from several major river basins around the world, including the Amazon, Congo, Ganges and Orinoco, the researchers have found that nutrient-rich river discharges that coincide with periods when seas are warmer can fuel phytoplankton blooms, which then drive cholera outbreaks.

"Our results suggest there is no causal association between sea surface temperature and cholera outbreaks. Consequently, such a relationship cannot be used to develop cholera warning systems," Shafiqul Islam, lead researcher of the study and engineering professor at Tufts University, United States, told SciDev.Net.

But he added that global warming could lead to more extreme climate effects, such as droughts and floods — making cholera epidemics more severe.

Earlier research by Islam and colleagues has also shown that cholera outbreaks in Bangladesh were driven by river flow. Lower water levels allow nutrient-rich seawater to seep into the river basin, spreading infection, while high levels lead to river contamination with faecal matter.

"A better understanding of macro-environmental variables like river discharge and coastal plankton bloom together with recent advances in satellite remote sensing and cholera intervention and mitigation will allow us to develop such a system," he told SciDev.Net.

According to Rita Colwell, an environmental microbiologist at the University of Maryland, United States, and one of the authors of the latest study, the findings may apply to other cholera-endemic countries where freshwater discharges are a predominant mechanism for algae production in coastal areas.

She expects to work in Haiti soon to test whether the Artibonite River, along which cholera epidemics started last October, has high river discharges that create the nutrient-rich conditions that cholera bacteria thrive in.

Peter Hotez, president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, told SciDev.Net that the findings "may help refine predictive models of the disease. This is more important than ever given large and protracted outbreaks in Sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti."


A Government That Kills

President Obama has declared that auto companies' fleets must average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, almost double the current 27.5. Standing at his side when he made the announcement were executives from the Big Three automakers.

The New York Times reported: "It is an extraordinary shift in the relationship between the companies and Washington. But a lot has happened in the last four years, notably the $80 billion federal bailout of General Motors, Chrysler and scores of their suppliers, which removed any itch for a politically charged battle from the carmakers." Right. They're happy to agree to stupid rules, since they are now dependent on government favors.

Obama said that under his new rule, "everyone wins. Consumers pay less for fuel, the economy as a whole runs more efficiently."

Sounds impressive, but he didn't mention the costs. The Center for Automotive Research says the new standard will raise the price of cars by about $7,000. You'd need to save a lot on fuel to break even.

But that's not the worst of it. The new rules will kill people. Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute explained this to me. The MPG standard "has been killing people for the last 30 years," Kazman said.

How can that be? "It forces cars to be ... made smaller and lighter. ... They are simply worse in just about every type of auto collision."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration actually backs Kazman up. It estimates that smaller cars are responsible for an additional 2,000 deaths each year.

Imagine that -- a government safety agency promotes a rule that kills people.

"Think about the minute risks that agencies like Environmental Protection Agency go into a tizzy about. ... If any private product had a death toll one fraction of what the miles-per-gallon rules cost, that product would have been yanked off the market years ago."

Do we at least end up using less gasoline and saving money?

No, given the increased upfront cost of the car. "It is not clear that it saves people money," Kazman said. "If these technologies in fact save people money, you don't need a government law to force them down people's throats." Right. We're not stupid.

Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of America's biggest environmental groups, said that Kazman and I are wrong. "Cars like the Chevy Cruise -- 42 miles per gallon -- get top marks on safety. The Ford Focus, more than 40 miles per gallon -- top marks in safety. We're getting safer cars, and they're not coming at the expense of fuel efficiency."

Deans added: "By increasing that gas mileage for our auto fleet, we can cut our oil consumption in this country by 4 million barrels per day by 2030. That would almost wipe out our OPEC purchases daily. It will make our country stronger."

But we use oil for lots of things. If we cut gasoline use by a third, unlikely as that would be, we'd still only reduce our fossil fuel use by 7 percent. That does not make much difference for $7,000 a car and 2,000 extra deaths each year.

"It's not necessarily a smaller car that we're talking about," Deans replied. "You look at Chevy Malibu. That is a 3,400-pound car. It's not a small car. It's getting 33-miles to the gallon. We believe Detroit can do this."

Maybe they can. Maybe they can't. If they could, I'd think they would do it to meet consumer demand. They'd do it without government forcing it on us.

"New technologies can make cars safer," Kazman acknowledged. "The point is, if you put the technologies in a large, heavier car, that car will be safer still. ... None of the proponents of these standards would acknowledge (the lives lost). It's always win-win, and that is nonsense."

Life involves tradeoffs. If we want to minimize deaths from auto accidents, we may use more fuel than we might otherwise use. Who should make that decision, the government? Or you and I?

In the land of the supposedly free, that really should not be a tough question.


Amusing IPCC economics

Comments by economist Tim Worstall

The IPCC process does also issue economic reports and those I find fascinating. They have to issue economic reports, of course, for those climate models I have no hope of understanding need to know what emissions will be. Emissions obviously being determined by what technology how many people are using to reach what standard of living. Thus we need estimates, models, of how many people there will be, how rich they’ll be, what technologies they will use, to be able to generate the emissions numbers for the climate scientists to put into their models.

The IPCC process has just released their first update to these models since 2000. The overview paper is here. I’m not going to delve into all of the details (for which readers will no doubt thank me) I just wanted to make a few general points with the use of a couple of their graphs.

Note please that I don’t have to believe these numbers, you don’t, no one has to believe any of this at all. However, we do need to realise that these are the numbers which are being fed into the climate change models (perhaps more accurately, that these are the numbers that will be) and thus produce those IPCC reports. Which means that anyone taking the outputs of those IPCC reports seriously needs to take these inputs seriously.

We know very well that there’s a connection between economic growth and population size. Richer countries on average have lower fertility rates so as the world becomes richer fewer children are born. So more economic growth leading to peaking and declining population really isn’t a surprise at all.

However, look at that light green line. The RCP 2.6 one, the “whew, we dodged it” one. The highest economic growth model leads to the lowest level of emissions considered. Less economic growth leads to higher emissions.

Note again that these are not my assumptions. They are those of the IPCC process. Which is something of a body blow to those telling us that we must cease economic growth if calamity is to be averted: the very assumptions built into the whole proof that climate change is something we should worry about say exactly the opposite. Economic growth is the way out, not the problem.

By the way, the assumption there about the rate of economic growth, from a roughly $50 trillion global economy in 2000 to a roughly $300 trillion one in 2100. That’s not all that far off the growth rate we had in the 20th century

We need to be more parsimonious in our use of energy, yes. We need to use less of it per unit of GDP (which is known as “energy intensity” and their desired decrease in that isn’t far off what the advanced economies already manage) but we don’t actually need to use less of it overall. Less oil, yes, but we can near double our energy consumption and still hit that “we missed the problem” sweet spot. It’s also amusing to note what a small role for solar and wind power is necessary to hit that target.

Again, I want to point out that these aren’t my assumptions, they’re not made up out of whole cloth by some denialist, these are the assumptions which the very scientists who tell us about climate change themselves think are the driving forces and likely outcomes.

Which leads to a very interesting conclusion indeed. We don’t have to stop economic growth at all, we can quite happily have around the same amount of it that we had in the 20 th century. So that’s a large number of the Green Miserablists shown to be wrong. We don’t have to reduce or even severely limit our energy consumption: we just have to get the growth in our consumption from other than the usual sources. A large number of the Energy Miserablists shown to be wrong there too.

Or, to boil it right down, the IPCC is telling us that the solution to climate change is economic growth and low-carbon energy generation. That’s absolutely all we have to do.

More HERE (See the original for graphics)

Australia's Green/Left government, not for turning?

"Why do you all hate Thatcher so much?" I asked a visiting British academic the other night. He looked at me in disbelief, as if the answer were self-evident.

"Look what she did to the coal miners," he retorted. "She deliberately put thousands of them out of work, threw them onto the scrap-heap. Fathers driven to suicide, families plunged into poverty. Twenty thousand working families sacrificed for pure ideology, nothing more."

If this sounds uncomfortably familiar, that's because it is. According to NSW Treasury figures, 20,000 is almost the exact number of coal mining jobs that will be lost – and not replaced – in the Hunter Valley by the carbon tax. Like Thatcher before them, Julia Gillard and Greg Combet are prepared to sacrifice these jobs and livelihoods for the sake of the "greater good". For ideology.

The OED definition of ideology is "a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy". All political parties require an ideological framework on which to base their decisions. The point at which a set of beliefs moves from ideology to a legitimate political agenda is, of course, at the ballot box.

Thatcher never specifically asked the electorate if they wanted her to crush Arthur Scargill and his National Union of Mineworkers. But she never pretended the real battle was over anything other than ideological beliefs. "Economics are the method;" she said, "the object is to change the heart and soul".

Gillard is equally clear about the ideology of her carbon tax. "I believe climate change is real," is justification enough. Like Thatcher, she is using an economic tool so we "all change our behaviour".

For Combet: "this is a difficult political environment at the moment but this is a critical reform for the future of the country and future generations". In other words; 'even though we don't have a mandate, we have our ideological beliefs'.

Although Combet disputes the figures, the NSW Treasury modelling is unambiguous. The carbon tax will hit NSW harder than any other state and cost at least 31,000 jobs, particularly in regional areas. The analysis shows $3.7 billion will disappear from the annual output of the NSW economy by 2020, rising to $9.1 billion by 2030.

It predicts the loss of 1,850 jobs in the Hunter region alone and 7,000 fewer jobs in the Illawarra, a thousand less in the central west. "The reduction in jobs in the Hunter is absolute, not a mere reduction in growth prospects," it concludes.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell says the Treasury predictions are "disastrous" for the Hunter Valley. NSW Minerals Council CEO Dr Nikki Williams concurs: "The Federal Government said we were scaremongering when we flagged our concern for the 3,000 NSW coal mining jobs that are at risk, but the NSW Treasury modelling now shows that loss could be replicated tenfold across the state's economy," she said. "It is becoming increasingly clear that the carbon tax will cripple economic growth and put thousands of jobs at risk, especially in regional NSW."

Aha, you say, but we are sacrificing the coal miners and their livelihoods to save the planet. So our grandchildren will inherit a cleaner world. Those mining jobs would have gone anyway, your argument runs, when coal becomes obsolete, which it must eventually do. Besides which, there will be an equal number if not more new jobs created in the renewables industry.

This "greater good" argument, worthy as it may appear at first blush, is uncannily similar to that put forward by supporters of the Thatcher government to justify the closure of 20 mining pits across Britain's north in 1984. The greater good, in that instance, was the British economy. The mines were closed so that today's Britons could inherit a more prosperous world. A plethora of jobs were created in London's freewheeling financial services industry as the British economy took off on the back of the defeat of the left-wing unions. London quickly became one of the economic powerhouses of the world. All well and good.

Except it wasn't. Many of the Yorkshire miners never found work again. For decades, poverty, depression and suicide blighted their lives as the booming economy that their defeat ushered into the south-east failed to have any positive impact on the mining ghost towns of the north. Strange as it may seem, you can't just put down your hard hat and shovel, pick up a calculator, and become a hedge-fund manager overnight.

Equally, just because you were good at digging up coal doesn't mean you'll be any good at putting up windmills.

Combet claims that sufficient money is being set aside to compensate for job losses. Maybe. But these are working Australian families, not just a set of numbers. When do they sell up and move? Now? Should they quit work and start looking for new skills? New schools? Leave behind their homes, history and communities? What about Mum? Do they move her too? Combet maintains the Hunter will be one of the areas to benefit from a growth in renewable energy sector jobs. Let's hope so. Thatcher made similar commitments about a revitalised north which sadly never came to pass.

Ironically, Greg Combet rose to prominence in the Australian equivalent of the mining strike; fighting on behalf of the wharfies' unions in the 1998 waterfront dispute, where he famously maintained that "the laws were made against workers, and bad laws have to be broken". It will be interesting to see if he gives the same advice to the coal workers of NSW.

Combet and Gillard have made clear that the carbon tax will go ahead, regardless of adverse public opinion polls, the concerns of those with jobs to lose, and without being mandated at the ballot box. It's a question, purely and simply, of ideological belief.

"The government is going to stick to its guns," Combet says. Sounds awfully like Margaret Thatcher's "the lady's not for turning".



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


10 August, 2011

A new gravy train pulls out of the station

Now it is the NSF using taxpayers' money to propagate Warmism

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $700,000 grant to the Civilians, a New York theater company, to finance the production of a show about climate change. “The Great Immensity,” with a book by Steven Cosson (“This Beautiful City”) and music and lyrics by Michael Friedman (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”), tells the story of Polly, a photojournalist who disappears while working in the rain forests of Panama.

The grant is a rare gift to an arts organization from the foundation, a federal agency that pays for science, engineering and mathematics research and education. The company says it plans to spend the money on the development and evaluation of the show, as well as on a tour and educational programs, including post-show panel discussions with experts in related scientific fields. No performance dates have been announced.


“Climate variability” is the new “climate change”

During an Aspen Institute forum earlier this month Gore blamed oil, auto, steel and other industries for infusing pseudo-science into the climate science debate. In part, Gore said:

“When you go and talk to any audience about climate, you hear them washing back at you the same crap over and over and over again. There’s no longer a shared reality on an issue like climate even though the very existence of our civilization is threatened.

“It’s no longer acceptable in mixed company, meaning bipartisan company, to use the god—- word climate. It is not acceptable. They have polluted it to the point where we cannot possibly come to an agreement on it.”

You may hate Gore, but he’s right about this at least. One cannot speak or write about climate change today without immediately polarizing an audience (especially conservative white men).

I personally know climate scientists from Texas universities who no longer give talks to the public about “climate change,” but rather use the term “climate variability” in an effort to defuse some of this skepticism. Expect to hear the term more.

It’s not hard to understand why. A recent poll found that 69 percent of Americans believed it’s at least somewhat likely that some climate scientists have falsified research data in order to support their own theories and beliefs.


Only in Berkeley

Al Gore is a piker compared to this guy: Berkeley warmist Bob Brown fears that CO2 will cause oceans to rise over 245 feet and kill us all. And he calls others scientifically illiterate!

First of all, I admit the term “Deniers” for “them” might have a derogatory association with “Holocaust Deniers”. I liked GWD. But GWI works too. No, it doesn’t stand for what you think — I’m considering “GW Illiterates”. Just as the intellectual world can be put into “us & them” as “the scientifically aware and the scientifically illiterate”.

...There’s the rising of sea level, from warming oceans and melting land ice (It’s small so far, but if 1. small glaciers and marginal polar ice caps melt: a 1 ½ ft rise in sea level; 2. The Greenland ice sheet melts: a 24’ rise; 3. West Antarctic ice sheet melts: a 20’ rise; and 4. East Antarctic ice sheet melts: over 200’ rise. The last 3 are very unlikely, but possible.)

And to the GWI who say: “So what, there has always been GW in the history of the earth.” That is true, but our species wasn’t around with the dinosaurs, and although I clearly have minimum expectations from our species, I am one, and fond of many of them. A climate change that eliminates us would disturb me.


EU bans napthalene moth balls, clothes moth plague follows. Who saw that coming?

As reported by Britain's "Greenest" newspaper

They’re back – and this time we haven’t got the balls to stop them.

One of Britain’s grubbier little secrets is out of the closet. Clothes moths appear to be making an annoyingly widespread return – their numbers swollen by the insects’ love for our bulging, and not always impeccably laundered, wardrobes.

Reports of infestations have risen sharply in the past six months. Some have attributed this to the demise of the traditional mothball, others to global warming. But, it seems, the real problem is us and our over-heated bedrooms full of more clothes than ever before, not all of which are as clean as they could be.


A "smart" grid could be dangerously unstable

If everyone buys electricity when it's cheapest, could that cause blackouts in the same way as when everyone turns on their AC on hot days? The smart grid will have to be smart enough to overcome the desire to use it.

The fully networked smart grid offers plenty of benefits to both utilities and consumers, including dynamic energy pricing that can potentially keep the grid from, say, collapsing on ultra-hot days when demand is high. That's because after seeing that increased demand has made running the AC incredibly expensive, customers might choose to be a little hot in the name of saving a few bucks.

This also means, theoretically, that intermittent sources of power like solar and wind aren't wasted. But could dynamic energy pricing, instead of being a utopian dream of market efficiency, actually bring down the power grid?

A new report (PDF) from MIT says it's possible--if utilities aren't careful. Researchers at MIT’s Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems recently illustrated the problem: It's around midnight and demand is low, which means that electricity prices are also low. But if too many people try to take advantage of these low prices at the same time, a massive spike in demand could result, potentially causing the power grid to collapse.

Customers want to take advantage of low prices whenever they can--if they didn't, dynamic energy pricing wouldn't work. But if consumers respond to price fluctuations strongly (which they have to do in order to make any sort of difference in demand), the grid could grind to a halt.

"For the system to work, supply and demand must match almost perfectly at each instant of time," says Mardavij Roozbehani, an MIT research scientist, in a statement. "The generators have what are called ramp constraints: They cannot ramp up their production arbitrarily fast, and they cannot ramp it down arbitrarily fast. If these oscillations become very wild, they'll have a hard time keeping track of the demand. And that's bad for everyone."

There are ways around this. Power companies could potentially offer energy price updates hourly instead of every few minutes.

But while this protects the grid from dangerous oscillations, it also minimizes the usefulness of dynamic energy pricing--because sometimes, demand and energy availability do fluctuate quickly.

One potential solution that Roozbehani suggests: having customers give utilities information about how they would respond to price fluctuations at different times of day and, and then customizing pricing accordingly. This would, of course, require a lot of extra work on the part of utilities. But ultimately, it could protect them--and us--from an unstable grid.


Blatantly Closed minds among Warmist "scientists

An article in Sunday’s Arizona Daily Star illustrates why climate science is corrupt. The story concerns computer modeling of climate, and scientists’ yearning for bigger, better, faster computers. Within the story are these sentences:
Lawrence Buja, the director of the Climate Science and Application Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., said climate models had moved quickly from “Climate 1.0″ to “Climate 2.0.”

In Climate 1.0, the main issue was to prove that human-caused climate change was happening. “For that we needed models developed over 40 years,” he said.

“To prove human-caused climate change was happening.” That’s the problem. True scientists would investigate and assess ALL the causes of climate change. The focus of the IPCC and other researchers trying to prove one politically-correct cause to the exclusion of all others resulted in data manipulation, cherry-picking, and attempted exclusion and suppression of contrary data and research papers.

Theories can be supported by evidence, but, no matter how widely they are held, they can never be proven, only disproven by that lone minority voice who just happens to provide the critical piece of evidence. “Climate 1.0″ was not a search for truth, but rather an attempt to provide a defense of one particular tenet of carbon-cult orthodoxy.

According to the story, “Climate 2.0″ will begin with the false conclusion of version one, and with new, more powerful computers, these “scientists” can make their mistakes even faster. Both truth and science will suffer.



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


9 August, 2011

Blockbuster: Planetary temperature controls CO2 levels — not humans

There goes another “fingerprint”…

It’s not just that man-made emissions don’t control the climate, they don’t even control global CO2 levels.

Judging by the speech gave at the Sydney Institute, there’s a blockbuster paper coming soon.

Listen to the speech: “Global Emission of Carbon Dioxide: The Contribution from Natural Sources”

Professor Murry Salby is Chair of Climate Science at Macquarie University. He’s been a visiting professorships at Paris, Stockholm, Jerusalem, and Kyoto, and he’s spent time at the Bureau of Meterology in Australia.

Over the last two years he has been looking at C12 and C13 ratios and CO2 levels around the world, and has come to the conclusion that man-made emissions have only a small effect on global CO2 levels. It’s not just that man-made emissions don’t control the climate, they don’t even control global CO2 levels.

CO2 variations do not correlate with man-made emissions. Peaks and falls correlate with hot years (e.g. 1998) and cold years (1991-92). No graphs are available from Salby's speech or paper yet. This graph comes from Tom Quirk's related work (see below).

The higher levels of CO2 in recent decades appear to be mostly due to natural sources. He presented this research at the IUGG conference in Melbourne recently, causing great discussion and shocking a few people. Word reached the Sydney Institute, which rushed to arrange for him to speak, given the importance of this work in the current Australian political climate.

The ratio of C13 to C12 (two isotopes of carbon) in our atmosphere has been declining, which is usually viewed as a signature of man-made CO2 emissions. C12 makes up 99% of carbon in the atmosphere (nearly all atmospheric carbon is in the form of CO2). C13 is much rarer — about 1%. Plants don’t like the rarer C13 type as much; photosynthesis works best on the C12 -type -of-CO2 and not the C13-type when absorbing CO2 from the air.

Prof Salby points out that while fossil fuels are richer in C12 than the atmosphere, so too is plant life on Earth, and there isn’t a lot of difference (just 2.6%) in the ratios of C13 to C12 in plants versus fossil fuels. (Fossil fuels are, after all, made in theory from plants, so it’s not surprising that it’s hard to tell their “signatures” apart). So if the C13 to C12 ratio is falling (as more C12 rich carbon is put into the air by burning fossil fuels) then we can’t know if it’s due to man-made CO2 or natural CO2 from plants.

Essentially we can measure man-made emissions reasonably well, but we can’t measure the natural emissions and sequestrations of CO2 at all precisely — the error bars are huge. Humans emits 5Gt or so per annum, but the oceans emit about 90Gt and the land-plants about 60Gt, for a total of maybe 150Gt. Many scientists have assumed that the net flows of carbon to and from natural sinks and sources of CO2 cancel each other out, but there is no real data to confirm this and it’s just a convenient assumption. The problem is that even small fractional changes in natural emissions or sequestrations swamp the human emissions.

UPDATE Inserted: E.M.Smith covered this point well in 2009


“It is often asserted that we can measure the human contribution of CO2 to the air by looking at the ratio of C12 to C13. The theory is that plants absorb more C12 than C13 (by about 2%, not a big signature), so we can look at the air and know which came from plants and which came from volcanos and which came from fossil fuels, via us. Plants are `deficient' in C13, and so, then, ought to be our fossil fuel derived CO2.

The implication is that since coal and oil were from plants, that "plant signature" means "human via fossil fuels". But it just isn't that simple. Take a look at the above chart. We are 5.5 and plants are putting 121.6 into the air each year (not counting ocean plants). There is a lot of carbon slopping back and forth between sinks and sources. Exactly how closely do we know the rate of soil evolution of CO2, for example?”

Chiefio also found some interesting quotes pointing out that corn (a C4 plant) absorbs more C13, and our mass fields of corn might just muck up the stats… (it’s a good post).

The sources of CO2 don’t seem to be industrialized areas

Suspiciously, when satellites record atmospheric CO2 levels around the globe they find that the sources don’t appear to be concentrated in the places we’d expect — industry or population concentrations like western Europe, the Ohio Valley, or China. Instead the sources appear to be in places like the Amazon Basin, southeast Asia, and tropical Africa — not so much the places with large human emissions of CO2!

But CO2 is a well mixed gas so it’s not possible to definitively sort out the sources or sinks with CO2 measurements around the globe. The differences are only of the order of 5%.

Instead the way to unravel the puzzle is to look at the one long recording we have (at Mauna Loa, in Hawaii, going back to 1959) and graph the changes in CO2 and in C13 from year to year. Some years from January to January there may be a rise of 0 ppmv (ie no change), some years up to 3 ppmv. If those changes were due to man-made CO2 then we should see more of those rapid increases in recent times as man-made emissions increased faster.

What Salby found though, was nothing like what was expected

The largest increases year-to-year occurred when the world warmed fastest due to El Nino conditions. The smallest increases correlated with volcanoes which pump dust up into the atmosphere and keep the world cooler for a while. In other words, temperature controls CO2 levels on a yearly time-scale, and according to Salby, man-made emissions have little effect.

The climate models assume that most of the rise in CO2 (from 280 ppmv in1780 to 392 ppmv today) was due to industrialization and fossil fuel use. But the globe has been warming during that period (in fact since the depths of the Little Ice Age around 1680), so warmer conditions could be the reason that CO2 has been rising.

Salby does not dispute that some of the rise in CO2 levels is due to man-made emissions, but found that temperature alone explains about 80% of the variation in CO2 levels.

The up and coming paper with all the graphs will be released in about six weeks. It has passed peer review, and sounds like it has been a long time coming. Salby says he sat on the results for six months wondering if there was any other interpretation he could arrive at, and then, when he invited scientists he trusted and admired to comment on the paper, they also sat on it for half a year. His speech created waves at the IUGG conference, and word is spreading.

A book will be released later this year: Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate.


Professor inadvertently explains why greenhouse theory is wrong

Professor David Archer of the University of Chicago has posted You-tube videos of his 10 week lecture series for non-science majors on climate change. In lecture 5, The Greenhouse Effect, Archer uses the Stefan-Boltzmann equation to calculate the supposed temperatures of Venus, Earth, and Mars with and without a greenhouse effect. Archer's calculations show the greenhouse effect on Venus is wildly underestimated by 415C and wildly overestimated on both Earth (by 23C) and on Mars (by 19C) in comparison to actual observed temperatures. This is despite the fact that CO2 levels are very high and virtually the same on Venus and Mars (around 96%) and only trace (0.039%) on Earth. Archer says in the lecture that one would have to assume the Venus atmosphere behaves like multiple panes of glass in order to obtain an answer near the observed temperature, yet on both Earth and Mars one would have to assume the atmospheres behave like much less than one pane of glass. Leaving aside the fact that no atmosphere behaves like a pane of glass, climate scientists cannot claim that the greenhouse theory comes close to a unified explanation of temperature on any of these 3 planets. The simple fact is the adiabatic lapse rate (effect of pressure with altitude) fully explains the temperature profiles on all 3 planets without any need to invoke a supposed 'greenhouse effect.' See Shattering the Greenhouse Effect and Venus: No Greenhouse Effect.

H/T Professor Claes Johnson, who explains why Archer also uses the Stefan-Boltzmann equation incorrectly (and here)

The table below is reproduced from Archer's lecture 5 near the end (around 40 minutes in), with temperatures converted from Kelvin to Celsius, and the differences between observed and calculated temperatures added to the table, along with atmospheric CO2 levels.
Legend for the table (Kelvins converted to Celsius):

Column 1: Average solar insolation over the entire planet in W/m2
Column 2: Albedo (% of incoming solar energy reflected from the atmosphere)
Column 3: Observed 'average' temperature of each planet
Column 4: Archer's calculated temperature of each planet without an atmosphere
Column 5: Archer's calculated temperature of each planet assuming the atmospheres act like a single pane of glass
Column 6: The difference in degrees C between observed temperatures and Archer's calculated 'greenhouse effect'
Column 7: The % CO2 in each atmosphere


It's not the banks or the speculators starving the poor

I'm afraid that this all makes me rather angry. There are innumerable fools out there screaming that speculation, the banksters, the Vampire Squid, futures markets, are starving the poor by making food too expensive.

The true blame lies elsewhere:

A new report by the Committee on World Food Security found that using grains like corn and wheat to create bioethanol, often blended with gasoline to create transport fuel, has added 0.5 percentage points to the growth in world cereal demand, pushing it to 1.8% a year from 1.3%.

In vegetable oils, which are used to make biodiesel and dominate Europe's market, growth has been even more pronounced. While their use for food slowed down between the 1990s and 2000s, from 4.4% to 3.3% a year, industrial use soared, so that in the decade to 2010 it grew from 11% to 24% of world use.

It really is the entirely stupid, damn fool, biofuels movement which is causing the food price rises. That US and EU politicians have insisted that all fuel used must be made of a certain percentage of plant derived material. It really is the entirely stupid, damn fool, laws, passed by our entirely stupid, damn fool, Lords and Masters which is killing the poor as we put food into cars not people.

The speculators, the commodity traders, the futures, options, the deep and liquid markets do their best to mitigate the effects of this damn foolery but the reason the poor are dying for lack of food is the actions of our own politicians.

That the proposed solution is for those politicians to be given more power over the food system moves me from rather to incandescently angry.

Could we all, please, just agree that biofuels are a damnably stupid idea that kill people and so just stop making or using them?



Activist Scientists expensive for Society

By Anthony J. Sadar, a certified consulting meteorologist specializing in air-quality issues

Perhaps it's simply a consequence of modern society or an outworking of today's educational philosophy on professionals, but progressive activism is making its mark and taking its toll on the U.S.

There are activist judges who impose their brand of "justice" on the rest of us, progressive congressmen who represent only themselves and limit our choices to their choices, and unelected czars who dominantly project their vision of the future on the citizenry's reality, so why not scientists who engage in the same kind of activism with their "science"? Such activist scientists believe they have a lofty knowledge of, say, the workings of nature and humans' culpability in its destruction. Then, imbued with some sort of terrestrial spirit, they are energized to practice their science that seeks support for their planetary doctrines and that documents reasons for their imposition of their position on the less suffused.

How did the modern activist-scientist attitude develop? Its origin and growth likely stem from long-term progressive nurturing. From grade school through graduate school, one of the constant "facts" inculcated in students is that people are destroying the planet and time is running out to rescue the globe. Consequently, pupils are instructed to do their part to tread lightly upon the terra firma, or at least urged to worry about their and their parents' selfish use of nature's resources. Man's destruction of his environment is not debatable. The time to act is now.

In college and graduate school, some students sufficiently indoctrinated may devote their academic careers to redemption of the earth. They get plenty of encouragement and resources to carry on the good fight. The one thing the eager students typically do not get, however, is a perspective on the environmental issues they have chosen to tackle, unless they are in an engineering or physics program.

In general, environmental science, issues, and policy programs tend to be more qualitative and subject to hand-waving arguments, hyperbole, and unsupported extrapolations. In addition, these fields lend themselves more to science based on emotion rather than on reason. The results are graduates with a narrow view of our world and our place in it that unduly limits the thoughtful use of resources and actions that improve the condition of all humans and their surroundings. Graduates tend to be, at least in mindset, minions of the activist progressive environmental groups that are fueled largely by political wood, hay, and stubble, rather than a desire to preserve and cultivate the most precious part of nature -- people.

Meanwhile, we are assured by an elite group of mainly academic scientists, operating with lavish government funding, that weather disasters await us unless drastic and enormously expensive measures are taken to reset the future climate charts. But, a ship that sets sail with a boatload of cash into the unchartable climate is susceptible to the storms of reality. Such tempests carry not only unknowable meteorological conditions, but also known tendencies to keep the ship laden and steady with its valuable cargo.

The future global climate 10, 50, 100 years out is unknowable at any practical level, and therefore maps displaying temperature and precipitation conditions at those future times are pure fantasy. Yet billions of dollars are spent not only to research such conditions (which is fair enough from a need to enrich our knowledge base), but to also rework societies because super-endowed mortals have magically seen the future. And, those who bestow endowments are happy to keep the cash stream flowing as long as the prognostications substantiate government largesse and largeness.

Ultimately, activism in the name of science takes its expensive toll on society. Trillions of our dollars may soon be given away to the United Nations and others because of those who believe that, when it comes to the mysteries of nature, they are brilliant. But, rather than brilliant, the science luminaries have only at best a dim enlightenment. And, unfortunately for the rest of us, we will likely see the global politicians wastefully use the money to continue the entrenchment of their own power and as usual will ignore the planet's needy as more cash will be diverted to address future climate chimeras.


Tree ring proxies are misleading

No wonder they had to “hide the decline”. It appears that trees are a proxy for just about everything, except ancient temperatures. Rings from a particular tree are more likely to tell you whether:

it was wetter there;
there was more CO2 in the atmosphere;
the local bear population decided to use it as a shithouse.

And now it appears that trees actually grow less in warmer temperatures:

"They found that a 2C (3.6F) increase resulted in the average maximum height of trees shrinking by 11%, while a 2C decrease in the nation’s average temperature saw a 13% increase in the predicted maximum height of trees."

So I think we can consign tree rings and the whole dodgy discipline of dendrochronology to the dustbin of climatological history.


The chief Warmist of the NYT "not worried"

For more than a decade, I’ve been probing changes in Arctic climate and sea ice and their implications for the species that make up northern ecosystems and for human communities there.

There are big changes afoot, with more to come should greenhouse gases continue to build unabated in the atmosphere. There will be impacts on human affairs in the Arctic, for worse and better, as we explored extensively in 2005 and I’ve followed here since.

But even as I push for an energy quest that limits climate risk, I’m not worried about the resilience of Arctic ecosystems and not worried about the system tipping into an irreversibly slushy state on time scales relevant to today’s policy debates. This is one reason I don’t go for descriptions of the system being in a “death spiral.”

The main source of my Arctic comfort level — besides what I learned while camped with scientists on the North Pole sea ice — is the growing body of work on past variations* in sea ice conditions in the Arctic. The latest evidence comes in a study in the current issue of Science. The paper, combining evidence of driftwood accumulation and beach formation in northern Greenland with evidence of past sea-ice extent in parts of Canada, concludes that Arctic sea ice appears to have retreated far more in some spans since the end of the last ice age than it has in recent years.

There’s more on the paper below from the lead author, Svend Funder of the University of Copenhagen, and some independent ice scientists I queried about the work. The paper builds on earlier research finding evidence of open water and wave-splashed beaches in parts of Greenland that are now more typically locked in ice. Here’s more previous analysis of Arctic ice patterns during the Holocene, the span since the end of the last ice age.

When considered alongside research on past shifts in Arctic flora and fauna, a picture emerges of a physical system that amplifies warm or cool jogs and a biological system attuned to such changes.



8 August, 2011

A Warmist with the attention span of a 5 year old

"The first time in three decades". Times before that do not count, apparently. The inference that it was just as warm 30 years ago apparently escapes him

The Arctic Ocean will be partially ice-free this summer for the first time in three decades, which scientists say will have some positive impacts on the region.

Measurements show the arctic had the least sea ice coverage in July ever [Where "ever" is defined as "since 1979"] recorded, CNN reported Saturday.

“This is just part and parcel of the decline that we’ve seen in the overall ice extent because the Arctic is warming up,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Ice in the arctic has been declining more each summer, and even the oldest ice in the arctic, which is the thickest and most resistant to melting, has begun to dwindle.

“This is man-made; there seems to be little doubt in that,” Serreze said. “It would be reversible if we were to do something about our carbon dioxide emissions, [but] I don’t see much of a fat chance in hell we’re going to see any change here. We’re going to have to adapt.”


Studying the climate? Then get out of the lab

CLIMATE researchers should spend less time in front of computer screens building predictive models and more time in the field observing and interpreting "hard or real data", an internationally recognised coastal science expert and publisher has warned.

Charles Finkl, the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Coastal Research, which published a peer-reviewed study by NSW researcher Phil Watson that rekindled a fierce debate about sea level rises, said modelling was necessary but should be taken with a grain of salt.

He accused the CSIRO of refusing to consider questions raised by Mr Watson's research for its modelling, predicting a worst-case scenario sea level rise of up to 1.1m by 2100.

"The CSIRO more or less agrees with Watson but does not want to admit they have have not got it quite right previously," said Professor Finkl, geosciences professor emeritus at Florida Atlantic University.

"I am not in favour of models for many reasons. They get better over time, and we need to use them, but with a grain of salt. We should instead use our brains and hard or real data to make interpretations. Many researchers do not even go into the field any more because they think the world exists on their computers. Big mistake."

The CSIRO agrees with Mr Watson's findings showing a deceleration of sea-level rises in Australasian coastal waters in the second half of the 20th century but argues they have no bearing on IPCC projections of global sea rise this century.

This is despite the IPCC projections - and subsequent CSIRO projections - assuming a dramatic acceleration in sea-level rises this century because of the impact of global warming.

CSIRO sea level expert Kathleen McInnes, asked by the ABC's Media Watch program to respond to a front page story about Mr Watson's research published last month by The Australian, said the IPCC projections were "based on computer models of the earth system, and not on a simple extrapolation of observed regional trends".

"The study by Phil Watson does not call into question the projections of the IPCC nor CSIRO," Dr McInnes said.

Mr Watson, the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change's coastal unit team leader, analysed data taken over 100 years by tidal gauges at Fremantle, Auckland, Fort Denison in Sydney and Newcastle, and found a weak deceleration of sea-level rises between 1940 and 2000.

He made no prediction on what future rises would be, telling The Australian sea levels had risen more quickly since 1990 than the 20th-century average. "What remains unknown is whether or not these rates are going to persist into the future and indeed increase."

US researcher James Houston, whose work with Bob Dean on sea-level rises has been published by the Journal of Coastal Research, told The Australian Mr Watson's findings were consistent with his own and nearly all studies of 20th-century sea-level rises. "It is ironic that the sceptics and believers do not understand that the different papers on sea-level acceleration or deceleration are basically saying the same thing," Dr Houston said.

Professor Finkl does not believe global warming and sea-level rises are caused by human activity but publishes the peer-reviewed work of researchers who do. He said the debate - and implications for coastal planning laws - was not whether sea levels were rising, but how quickly. "The real problem with the models is they show an exponential rise in the rate of sea-level rise, the so-called hockey stick approach," he said.


British government ministers go to war with green charities over planning shake-up "smears"

Ministers have launched an unprecedented attack on two of Britain's leading environmental charities for opposing the government's planned shake-up of the planning system.

The National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) came under fire as they mobilised against new planning rules that they say put the Green Belt in peril.

The planning reforms are supposed to streamline complicated rules on new buildings, reducing 1,300 pages of national planning policy to just 52 pages. In a highly controversial change councils will be told there should be a "presumption for development".

Conservation groups say the reforms could allow un-checked development in the countryside and lead to parts of the Green Belt being concreted over.

For the first time in its history, the National Trust is to mobilise its 3.6 million members against the Coalition's proposals and urge every visitor to its sites to sign a petition opposing the framework.

The 60,000-member CPRE is preparing to take the attack directly to David Cameron, citing a speech he made to the group in 2008 in which he promised to "cherish" the "beauty of our landscape [and] the particular cultures and traditions that rural life sustains".

But both organisations were heavily criticised by Bob Neill, the Local Government Minister. He accused them of being "vested interests" that were peddling "deeply misleading and simply untrue" claims.

He insisted that Green Belt land, as well as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Parks would continue to be fully protected. "This is a carefully choreographed smear campaign by Left-wingers based within the national headquarters of pressure groups," he said. "This is more about a small number of interest groups trying to justify their own existence, going out of their way by picking a fight with Government."

His attack came amid mounting opposition to changes to the National Planning Policy Framework that were announced last month. Tories were among MPs raising serious concerns as a three-month public consultation period got under way.

Despite ministerial assurances, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that the Green Belt could come under threat. A government "impact assessment" of the planned changes states that it "could lead to greater development on the Green Belt".

It is under threat from new powers to develop "community build schemes" and "a wider range of local transport infrastructure".

The Planning Inspectorate, which rules on appeals and is an arm of the Department for Communities and Local Government, says it will be using new guidance on presumption in favour of developers with immediate effect despite the consultation period having three months to run.

Major changes are also likely in town centres and industrial areas, where ministers will create "business zones" allowing local businesses to approve their own schemes and bypass council planning altogether. The West End of London, home to thousands of listed buildings and 36,000 residents, has been made one of the first zones.

Barbara Keeley, the shadow local government minister, voiced her concern at the proposals. "The Government is allowing financial considerations to become key determinants in how councils decide on planning applications," she said. "Labour shares the concern that this might lead to inappropriate development and loss of greenfield land."

Potentially more worrying for ministers were growing concerns expressed by backbenchers from both Coalition parties. Andrea Leadsom, the Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire, said she had "real concerns" over the policy. "I am a big fan of localism and letting areas decide for themselves what is appropriate for the community and yet a presumption in favour of development takes that power away," she said.

Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP for Newark, where greenfield land has been earmarked for 7,100 new houses, said it was important that “local voices are properly heard”.

Andrew George, the Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives and vice-chairman of the all-party Commons parliamentary housing and planning group, said the Government had “got it very wrong”.

“It will not go down well in constituencies,” he said. “This 'let rip' approach to development will not help the housing situation in Cornwall, it will simply drive up the value of undeveloped land and therefore make it even harder to find affordable homes.”

The all-party communities and local government committee will be carrying out an inquiry into the planned changes in the autumn. “One of the key concerns is how the presumption in favour of sustainable development fits in with the localism agenda,” said Clive Betts, its Labour chairman. “Could there be a conflict of interest here? Might, in some cases, it be carte blanche for developers to come in?”

Residents fear that housing schemes previously rejected by planners, including new towns proposed under the previous Labour government, could be revived. Peter Nixon, the director of conservation at the National Trust, said local people would not get enough say in developments. “The Government is making warm noises about local communities, but in practice the dice are heavily loaded to favour development,” he said.

“Ministers have put short-term financial gain ahead of everything else. It fails to protect the everyday places that communities love. Power in planning goes to the powerful.”

Shaun Spiers, a former Labour MEP who is chief executive of the CPRE, described his group as “an organisation of Middle England”. “CPRE’s branches are up in arms about the Government’s proposals and our opposition to them is coming from people in the shire countries who deal with planning issues every day, are committed to the countryside and are deeply worried about what the Government is proposing,” he said.

Greg Clark, the Planning Minister, said it was a priority of the Coalition to sort out planning policy. “The Localism Bill got rid of regional bodies and took back planning decisions for local people, who are the best judges,” he said. “It is absolutely clear that the Green Belt continues to be protected. It is clear and explicit in the document.

“There is no change in the status of the countryside. Everything that was previously protected — Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Parks — continue to be protected. “It is simply scaremongering to trump up any particular site and say the status changes as a result of this.”


Alaska Native Rebuts Environmentalists’ Claims

(Pebble Mine is the common name of an advanced mineral exploration project investigating a very large porphyry copper, gold, and molybdenum mineral deposit in the Bristol Bay region of Southwest Alaska, near Lake Iliamna and Lake Clark. The proposal to mine the ore deposit, using large-scale operations and infrastructure, is opposed by Greenies. Proponents argue that the mine will create jobs, provide tax revenue to the state of Alaska, and reduce American dependence on foreign sources of raw materials)

Environmental groups have been arguing for months that Alaska Natives don’t want the new Pebble Mine. They have also latched onto fishery groups with a bogus argument about crippling the salmon runs in the Bristol Bay area. The truth is, there are no facts to the environmentalists’ claims. Finally, we have heard from an Alaska Native who wants the public to know that we do not have to choose one or the other. In a Letter to the Editor of the Oregonian, Greg Anelon, says we can have both:
Too many Alaska natives are unemployed. Too many Alaska natives live without a year-round economy. Too many Alaska natives face significant social challenges. Visit us in the middle of winter and see for yourself. The Pebble project represents too many benefits for the people of Southwest Alaska to simply say “no” before having all the information.

Anelon takes a common-sense approach to the issues raised by the environmental activists who would prevent the mine and jobs attached to it before it even grows legs. His perspective needs to be heard.


'Energy independence' is a pipe dream

by Jeff Jacoby

LATE LAST MONTH, President Obama announced new automobile fuel-efficiency standards that will require cars to achieve an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Vehicle fleets currently average 27 miles per gallon, so the new target would boost fuel efficiency by an unprecedented 100 percent within 14 years. But barring an engineering miracle, that's probably pie in the sky. After all, from 1975, when the first federal mileage rules for new cars were enacted, it took more than 30 years to improve automobile efficiency by just 60 percent. And the easy gains were achieved early on; since 1980, fuel economy has climbed by only about 1 percent a year.

The new mileage requirements, says President Obama, are the "most important step we've ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil." Which is what presidents always say.

In truth, there is less to the new standards (known as CAFE, for corporate average fuel economy) than meets the eye. Writing for The Hill, John German of the International Council on Clean Transportation, a former Chrysler powertrain engineer, points out that "automakers will be graded on a curve." That means "an automaker that builds mostly larger cars, SUVs, and trucks will have lower mileage goals than a competitor that builds mostly compact and subcompact cars."

A mandate of 54.5 mpg may generate arresting headlines, but down in the fine print, the numbers aren't nearly as striking. "Even if the auto industry manages to meet the new standards," reports The New York Times, "it is unlikely car buyers will see many fuel-economy stickers with such high mileage." Thanks to an array of "credits," discounts, and testing procedures built into the CAFE system, 54.5 mpg will really be more like 40., "it is unlikely car buyers will see many fuel-economy stickers with such high mileage

But the fuzzy mileage numbers aren't nearly as dubious as the endlessly repeated claim that greater fuel efficiency will mean lower fuel consumption, and in turn reduce American dependence on foreign oil.

"This agreement on fuel standards," declared the president at his CAFE press conference, "represents the single most important step we've ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Think about that."

It is getting hard to remember a time when US presidents didn't tout "energy independence" -- meaning freedom from imported oil -- as an urgent and achievable American objective.

"Let this be our national goal," said Richard Nixon in his 1974 State of the Union address: "At the end of this decade, in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need."

A year later, Gerald Ford foresaw a reduction in oil imports "by 1 million barrels a day by the end of this year" and complete energy independence by 1985.

In 1979, Jimmy Carter blasted America's "intolerable dependence on foreign oil" and swore: "Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 -- never."

Year in, year out, the quest for energy independence is one presidents never tire of invoking. What Nixon, Ford, and Carter were pushing in the 1970s, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama have continued to push in the 2000s. And while the 2012 presidential candidates are sure to clash on many things, the desirability of reducing oil imports from abroad is not likely to be one of them.

But energy independence is a delusion. Greater efficiency may be a splendid thing -- all other things being equal, who wouldn't rather get more miles to the gallon? -- but far from reducing the nation's demand for oil, it increases it. Thirty-five years of CAFE mandates have not reversed the rising US demand for petroleum. In 1975, highway fuel consumption totaled 109 billion gallons, according to the Federal Highway Administration. The total in 2008: 175 billion gallons.

"Beginning this moment," President Jimmy Carter vowed in 1979, "this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 -- never." Since then, US imports of oil have climbed 57 percent.

What is true of automobile transportation is true of the economy generally: Americans use energy far more efficiently than in decades past, and for that reason the more energy they consume. Paradoxical? Not really. "Efficiency fails to curb demand because it lets more people do more, and do it faster," write Peter Huber and Mark Mills in The Bottomless Well , their intriguing 2005 book on energy policy, "and more/more/faster invariably swamps all the efficiency gains." More energy-efficient generally means more affordable -- and the more affordable something becomes, the more of it society tends to use.

Whatever else might be said of the new CAFE rules, they aren't going to reduce our dependence on oil, imported or otherwise. Americans have been using foreign oil for a long time, and we use a lot more of it now than we used to. When Nixon was in the White House, the United States imported 6 million barrels of petroleum per day. The daily average so far this year is 11.4 million barrels. It would be even higher if the economy were stronger.

Someday -- maybe -- motor vehicles really will get 54.5 mpg. But "energy independence?" You should live so long.


A starving man will always eat the last dodo

Thus wrote the late John Grover in his book on the anti-nuclear power movement.

Real conservation is only possible because of the intensive production by miners, farmers and foresters…We must maximise the intensity with which some of the land is used so that other areas may be preserved. This calls for both high capital and high technology, for this is what allows conservation. Low, labour-intensive technology does not. A starving man will always eat the last dodo.

Alan Oxley made much the same point in his chapter in The Greens which is subtitled ‘How to lower living standards and perpetuate poverty’. He wrote “Subordinating economic development to ecological sustainability would retard both economic growth and improvement of environmental protection”. Of course the “ecological sustainability” which is opposed to development is only the boneheaded kind which insists that any kind of human modification of a wilderness is retrograde.

The “development in order to achieve conservation” argument follows a line that is similar to the logic of the “demographic transition”. People who were concerned about world hunger and over-population mostly advocated family planning programs, advice and resources to lower the birth rate. People like Lord Peter Bauer pointed out that high birth rates were often a response to high child mortality rates and they identified the “demographic transition” when people reach a level of health and wealth where the infant mortality rate falls (so they need less conceptions to have a family) and they have other resources to cope with illness and old age in addition to their children. Hence their birth rates fell, and at present we are looking at a world poplation which could plateau with only a billion or so more people.

The same applies to conservation of the environment. The policies of the Greens would attempt to stop people from clearing forests (both at home and abroaad), and at the same time their antipathy to free trade and economic development would prejudice the economic progress of western and third world nations alike. Thus the poor nations of the world would be delayed in reaching the point of “environmental transition” from traditional slash and burn subsistence farming and other sub-optimal uses of resources to more productive methods.



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


7 August, 2011

Al Gore acknowledges failure

Al Gore is pissed. The former vice president dropped in on an Aspen Institute media forum in Colorado titled "Networks an Citizenship" on Thursday and railed against corporate evildoers who put profit above society. [In a related story, Al Gore could become the first 'carbon billionaire']

Gore referenced the book "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming" by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, which tells of how petroleum, steel, autos, utilities and others enlisted lobbyists to cloud the climate debate.

Gore recalled how not long ago tobacco giants "succeeded in delaying the implementation of the surgeon general's report for 40 years - 40 years! In every one of those 40 years the average number of Americans killed by cigarettes each year exceeded the total number of Americans killed in all of World War II: 450,000 per year. My sister was one of them. . It was evil, evil, evil."

[Same old tired tobacco argument that has nothing to do with climate change. But, since he brought it up, Gore fails to mention he grew up on a tobacco farm, worked on it, and continued to accept checks from that farm for years after his sister died. In 1988, while running for president, he defended tobacco farmers while campaigning in Southern tobacco states (and made the quote: 'I've raised tobacco ... I've shredded it, spiked it,... and sold it.') He accepted contributions from tobacco companies as late as 1990. Gore claimed that "emotional numbness" led him to defend and profit from the tobacco industry. "Sometimes, you never fully face up to things that you ought to face up to."]

The model of media manipulation used then, Gore said, "was transported whole cloth into the climate debate. And some of the exact same people - I can go down a list of their names - are involved in this. [Gore fails to mention a single name] And so what do they do? They pay pseudo-scientists [again no evidence provided; Gore himself is the poster-child pseudo-scientist and profiteer] to pretend to be scientists to put out the message:

[Profound scientific argument coming up:]

`This climate thing, it's nonsense. Man-made CO2 doesn't trap heat. It may be volcanoes.' Bullshit! `It may be sun spots." Bullshit! `It's not getting warmer.' Bullshit!" Gore exclaimed.

[Notes to Al regarding his pseudo-scientific 'Bullshit!':
1) Nothing in the universe can 'trap heat' radiation, other than a black hole
2) Your buddies Hansen and Mann claim the Little Ice Age was a result of volcanic eruptions, and have also claimed a "delayed" effect of the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption resulted in a recent lack of warming
3) Solar activity has been shown in many peer-reviewed papers to have multiple direct and secondary amplified effects upon climate
4) Even your fellow warmists admit the globe has not warmed since 1998]

"When you go and talk to any audience about climate, you hear them washing back at you the same crap over and over and over again," he continued. "There's no longer a shared reality on an issue like climate even though the very existence of our civilization is threatened. People have no idea! And yet our ability to actually come to a shared reality that emphasizes the best evidence. It's no longer acceptable in mixed company, meaning bipartisan company, to use the goddamn word climate. It is not acceptable. They have polluted it to the point where we cannot possibly come to an agreement on it." Gore lamented the diminished role that reason and fact-based analysis play in modern U.S. politics.

During the debt-ceiling debate, American Crossroads, Americans for Prosperity and a collection of smaller groups followed tobacco's blueprint for bombarding the media with its messages, he said.

"Unnoticed in Washington and New York as the debt-ceiling debate was going on, the ratio of television advertisements was nine to one on the `Don't-lift-the-debt-ceiling debate. Spending is the problem.' And now we're going to tip the country back into recession. It's absolutely insane," Gore said.

"Mark my words on this: we became the greatest country on earth because we made better decisions than any other nation," he continued. "And we made better decisions because we used shared consciousness, shared reality, rule of reason, best evidence, democratic discourse, free debate to figure out what's more likely than not to be the best decision here. It didn't always work, but it worked a hell of a lot better. Since we adopted this new system we are making catastrophic decisions that have massive consequences. The Iraq invasion. What just happened with macro-economic policy. It really is extremely difficult."


Judge Flannery by his deeds, not his words

Andrew Bolt reports on one of Australia's most prominent Warmists

Professional alarmist Tim Flannery in 1996 warned that global warming would drown beachfront houses eight storeys high (see from 4:23):

Anyone with a coastal view from their bedroom window, or their kitchen window, or whereever, is likely to lose their house as a result of that change, so anywhere, any coastal cities, coastal areas, are in grave danger.

But the very next year he bought a house just four or five metres from the edge of the tidal waters around the Hawkesbury estuary:

According to property searches, in 1997 Professor Flannery bought one house on the Hawkesbury with his wife, Alexandra Leigh Szalay, for $274,000.

Five years later—even as climate scientists, including Professor Flannery, claimed evidence of global warming and rising sea levels was even more solid—the couple bought the property next door, for $505,000.

And now the shameless alarmists contradicts that earlier scare, without apologising for it:

For a week, Professor Flannery declined to speak to journalists about his properties, but he broke his silence yesterday to tell The Weekend Australian that while waterfront property generally was at risk, his little bit of paradise was secure for his lifetime.

There is no chance of it being inundated, short of a collapse of the Greenland Ice Shelf,” Professor Flannery said.


Let’s check on another Flannery scare from 2008 - his claim that the Arctic could be ice-free by 2013:

So, if you look at the data for the decay of the Arctic ice cap for example, that is just moving so quickly now. I mean last year was the worst year ever. People are saying, you know, that instead of the ice cap lasting a century, that maybe in five years there’ll be no Arctic ice cap. So you can’t look at things like that without seeing that we are in deep trouble.

Now being debunked:

Scientists say current concerns over a tipping point in the disappearance of Arctic sea ice may be misplaced…

Writing in the journal Science, the team found evidence that ice levels were about 50% lower 5,000 years ago.

They say changes to wind systems can slow down the rate of melting. They argue, therefore, that a tipping point under current scenarios is unlikely....

Dr Svend Funder from the Natural History Museum of Denmark ... and his team say their data shows a clear connection between temperature and the amount of sea ice. The researchers concluded that for about 3,000 years, during a period called the Holocene Climate Optimum, there was more open water and far less ice than today - probably less than 50% of the minimum Arctic sea ice recorded in 2007.


Kevin Rudd doesn’t believe Tim Flannery, either:

Yesterday, the former prime minister and his wife Therese Rein put some high-profile faith in both the Brisbane property market and its resistance to flooding by buying a block of dirt near the river in his electorate of Griffith.


Arctic Fires and CO2 Emissions

Last week, a widely-repeated pronouncement was made, that after an absence of more than 10,000 years, "wildfires have returned to the Arctic tundra" spurred by an apparent increase in lightning strikes and leading to carbon dioxide (CO2) releases from a traditional CO2 sink region. Another positive feedback to anthropogenic global warming. Oh yeah, and the fires will get worse and more widespread in the future.

But as with most dire global warming predictions, this one seems to lack grounding in reality.

This grave assessment of things arctic was issued by Michelle Mack (University of Florida) and co-authors after publishing in Nature magazine the results of their examination of the impacts of a large wildfire which in 2007 burned about 400 square miles of Alaskan tundra in the Anaktuvuk River basin and was reported to be the "biggest wildfire ever recorded on the North Slope of Alaska."

Lead author Michelle Mack described her main findings in an interview with NPR's Christopher Joyce:

Ms. MICHELLE MACK (Ecologist, University of Florida): I’m at Toolik Lake field station, in a trailer that’s on a gravel pad that’s in the middle of Arctic tundra.

JOYCE: Mack is an ecologist from the University of Florida who prefers the desolate beauty of the North Slope of Alaska and the snowcapped Brooks Mountain Range. She says what the Anaktuvuk fire did-burn through 400 square miles of tundra-amazed her.

Ms. MACK: We’ve never seen anything like it in this area. What’s surprising is that forests have huge trees, whereas tundra has six-inch tall, tiny little plants.

JOYCE: Nonetheless, the fire sizzled for three months, then burst into a major conflagration before snowfall put it out. So if there weren’t any trees, what was there to burn?

Ms. MACK: It’s coming from the soil.

JOYCE: Organic matter, dead plants, accumulated over decades. And what set it off was dry weather, and then a lightning strike.

Ms. MACK: There’s been a marked increase in lightning strike activity on the North Slope, particularly in the last 10 years.

JOYCE: But Mack was really surprised when she calculated how much carbon that fire put up into the atmosphere. It was two million tons. Is that a lot? Well, think of it this way: Every year, the Arctic tundra absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases. It’s a net carbon sink. Because carbon warms the atmosphere, the Arctic is actually cooling the planet by taking up carbon. But Mack says the Anaktuvuk fire reversed that equation.

Ms. MACK: One fire, that alone is enough to offset the whole uptake.

JOYCE: That’s right. The fire put out more carbon than the entire Arctic tundra absorbed in 2007. That includes Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Russia.

Mack’s findings are part of an increasingly feverish research effort going on in the Arctic. Arctic sea ice has been melting, putting more moisture in the air and creating more thunderstorms.

Let's look at a few of these claims and their significance to "global warming."

Thunderstorms in the arctic, including northern Alaska, were reported by the region's earliest explorers.

A brief article by T. Neil Davis, from the University of Alaska titled "Arctic Thunderstorms" and published in 1979 included this account:

Looking into thunderstorm history, Mr. Arne Hanson of the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory at Barrow, Alaska, has uncovered an observation of an arctic thunderstorm made in 1580. A manuscript Hanson has prepared contains a quotation written aboard a ship sailing the Kara Sea, north of Siberia: "… the wince with a showre and thunder came to the Southwest and then wee ranne East Northeast."

Several thunderstorms on the north Siberia coast were recorded in the late 1700's, and at least nine were observed on the northern coasts of Canada, Alaska or Siberia by explorers in the period 1815-1826.

And where there's thunderstorms there's fire.

The occurrence of wildfires in the region of northern Alaska has been summarized since the early 1950s. For instance, Racine et al. (1985), reviewed wildfire records from 1956 through 1983 for the Noatak River watershed region which lies to the west of the North Slope and reported 79 fires during the 28-year study interval, the biggest of which burned nearly 200 square miles of "treeless thaw lake-studded portion of the Mission Lowlands tundra" and most, if not all of which were started by lighting.

And while the frequency of fire occurrence the region of Alaska's North Slope where the 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire took place is less than in the region studied by Racine et al., fires on the North Slope are not undocumented.

Consider the USDA Forest Service Research Note "Wildfires and Thunderstorms on Alaska's North Slopes" written in 1973 by Richard Barney and Albert Comiskey, which has the following conclusion:

Although there has been limited formal record of fire previous to this time [1971], we think it is safe to assume that lightning and the associated weather and fuel conditions suitable for fire have been present for many years. It also seems reasonable to assume that fires have not just recently begun occurring north of the Brooks Range. With continued activity in that location, we are certain to receive more and more wildfire reports. Although the North Slope is apparently not a fire-dominated ecosystem, wildfire is not unknown to this arctic environment.

So there is historical documentation of both thunderstorms and wildfires in the Arctic including Alaska's North Slope for many years into the past-and clearly previous to the past decade-facts which serve to destroy both the lead-in of the University of Florida press release announcing the findings of Mack et al. ("After a 10,000-year absence, wildfires have returned to the Arctic tundra.") as well as NPR's implication that the 2007 fire was a result of thunderstorms spawned by reduced sea ice caused by anthropogenic global warming.

Our Figure 1 shows why the latter claim is unsubstantiated. Figure 1 shows the sea ice conditions for the Arctic since 1900.

Figure 1. Arctic sea ice extent (data source: Cryosphere Today)

Now, whether or not you believe the details of this Arctic sea ice history as you go back in time (see here for problems with this history ), the point is that there was a lot more sea ice during the summers back in the early 1970s and years prior, than there was in 2007-the year of the fire, which NPR's Christopher Joyce desperately tried to link to sea ice decline: "Mack’s findings are part of an increasingly feverish research effort going on in the Arctic. Arctic sea ice has been melting, putting more moisture in the air and creating more thunderstorms." History tells a different story-that even with high sea ice conditions, thunderstorms can and do develop over the North Slope of Alaska and spark wildfires.

And what about claims that CO2 emissions from arctic wildfires will offset the carbon storage produced by a greening arctic and increase the rate of global warming?

That, too, is a bit of a stretch.

Figure 2 below shows the weekly progression of the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide as measured at Mauna Loa observing station during the period January 2000 through July 2011. Since CO2 is generally well-mixed in the atmosphere, Mauna Loa's measurements should reflect anything unusual that is going on in the annual CO2 cycle. The period of the time when the 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire was burning is highlighted.

Stare at/ponder/analyze Figure 2 all you want, but nothing unusual is going to pop out either during or immediately following the Anaktuvuk River fire. Simply put, the CO2 released by the "biggest wildfire ever recorded on the North Slope of Alaska" had an undetectable impact on the evolution of the global CO2 concentration.

Figure 2. Weekly atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide as measured at Mauna Loa, January 2000 through July 2011 (data source:

The bottom line is that undoubtedly Mack and co-authors have done a lot of hard field work documenting the details of the large 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire and collecting valuable data on fire characteristics and their impacts on the local tundra environment of Alaska's North Slope. However, they have overreached in concluding that such fires either are caused by, or feedback from factors that extend much beyond that local environment. The paper would have been better off, and more scientifically grounded, had it not brought global warming into the discussion-although, in that case, it would not have found publication in Nature or press coverage the world over.


Proof that climate change kills polar bears

Polar bear kills British schoolboy and then gets shot

At last, one might say, we have proof the climate change is killing polar bears. The youngsters on the fated expedition, we are told, were in the Norwegian wilderness to study the effects of climate change.

While there, the party was attacked by the bear and then shot (the bear, that is). Had there been no climate change, the party would not have been there, and the polar bear would not have been shot. Ergo, climate change killed the bear.

Actually, the reality is even more ironic. Apparently, Norwegian polar experts (the ones not consulted by the BBC) are saying that there are more polar bears because there is an unexpected (to some) increase in sea ice, which has enabled them to travel more easily.

In fact, it has been so unseasonably cold up there that some of the party had already been airlifted out because of frostbite - oh and "sunburn" ... actually burn from snow glare. Furthermore, we are informed, the camp's protective tripwires did not work because they were frozen solid.

However, it does not stop there. Pravda, in a throwback almost to Cold War rhetoric, is most definitely not amused. The British NATO contingent, it complains, wastes up to $100,000 of their taxpayers' money per aircraft per hour, every single day since February 17, bombing kids, strafing water supplies, murdering babies, targeting civilian structures, in Libya.

And now in Norway a polar bear has been shot because of a British student. No mention of Chechnya there, I see - but at least the emphasis is largely correct. Not so the BBC, which is matching Pravda with its with its own brand of rhetoric, asserting via a stooge scientist that it is the absence of ice (i.e., global warming) which brings polar bears into greater contact with man.


Professor: Skeptics of Man-made Climate Change Aren't a Fringe Group

For nearly 20 years George Taylor, former Oregon State professor of climatology, has been one of the more vocal skeptics of man-made climate change.

Like other climatologists, such as Patrick J. Michaels in Virginia, Taylor lost his title as a "State Climatologist" in 2007 after refusing to jump onto the man-made climate change wagon. Taylor was also actively involved with the American Association of State Climatologists, which ran afoul of the U.S. Congress and lost funding for not going along with climate alarmists.

When asked once by a reporter whether the Earth's temperatures would be warmer or colder in 5,000 years, Taylor pointed out that by that time we'd be headed back toward the next ice age.

"It will almost certainly be colder," he explained.

That was the sort of politically incorrect answer that has gotten Taylor in trouble with the man-made climate change crowd for years. About three years ago Taylor, now 63, left his post as Oregon State University professor and is now a private-sector climatology consultant.

Capitol Confidential interviewed Taylor via telephone on Aug. 1. The following are excerpts from that interview.

Q.: There are those who describe climatologists who don't believe in man-made climate change as being on the fringe. Is that true?

"Absolutely not. It's very much in the mainstream now. There are many, many climatologists who are skeptical about it (man-made climate change). I don't know if it's more than 50 percent or not. But in science that really doesn't matter. Science has nothing to do with who has a consensus or a majority.

Q.: That's true about science but not politics and this has all become very political hasn't it?

Yes, it has. By the way, I'm a minimalist. I do believe that human activity might affect the climate a small amount, but whatever that is it's vastly overshadowed by natural forces. There are many, many people who feel like I do.

I'd be willing to change my mind if the science indicated that I should. But the science doesn't suggest that.

Q.: Is it frustrating to deal with the way climatologists like you are characterized by some segments of the news media?

"Yes; very frustrating. As a scientist my job is to give an accurate assessment. In return I was getting back a lot of personal attacks - even ones that tried to impugn my integrity. They've claimed that I'm working for the oil companies and all sorts of things. OK, if you don't happen to agree with me then say so but to resort to these personal attacks . . . Then Ellen Goodman said (in 2007) that global warming deniers were on par with Holocaust deniers. It was unbelievable."

"I guess it's like an attorney friend of mine says: 'if the law is on your side pound on the law - if the facts are on your side, pound on the facts - if the facts aren't on your side, pound on the table.' So the other side pounds the table. But I have to say that now, as more and more people have been willing to say they agree with my point of view, I feel a lot more comfortable about it."

Q.: The various charts that show the history of climate change over the past 2,000 to 3,000 years; is there much dispute about them? Don't they all show basically the same history of changes - the spike of the Medieval Warm period and the Little Ice Age we've been climbing out of?

"They'd show that about a thousand years ago it was a lot warmer than it is now. That was the Medieval Warming period. Then around the 1300s it started to cool as the Little Ice Age began.

"But I guess we'd have to say this was all still in dispute. Michael Mann came along and drew the Hockey Stick graph for Al Gore, which completely changed modern climate history. It didn't have the Medieval Warming period or the Little Ice Age on it.

"He used tree rings and proxies to support this. Of course this goes against almost every other piece of historical evidence."


American Resources For American Jobs, Revenue and Prosperity

A frequent refrain during budget and debt ceiling debates is that we need revenue enhancement: higher tax rates, reduced deductions, eliminated credits. But doing this, especially amid today's massively expanding regulations, will kill more jobs and further reduce government revenues.

There is a better way. Huge revenue sources are literally under our noses, or more precisely our feet.

America is blessed with vast oil, gas, coal, uranium, rare earth and other natural resource riches - to compliment our ultimate resource: the creative, competitive, innovative spirit of our people.

Finding and developing these resources would generate millions of jobs and billions, even trillions, in new government revenue and societal wealth. It would prevent default and downgraded credit ratings, reduce the need to cut government programs, shrink unemployment and welfare payments, avoid having to send hundreds of billions of dollars overseas each year for foreign energy and minerals, and reduce the need to borrow $120 billion out of every $300 billion the United States is now spending every month.

Many of these untapped resources are on federal public lands in our western states, Alaska and Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Many more are on private land and onshore and offshore state-owned lands.

Leasing, exploration, extraction, transportation and processing unleash economic activities and revenues on extraordinary scales: lease bonus and rental payments, permit fees, royalties and severance taxes for each unit produced, direct and secondary jobs, taxes on corporate profits and workers' income, property taxes on equipment and facilities.

These activities also generate billions of dollars in purchases of equipment, food, supplies, raw materials, hotel lodging, special services and myriad other items. All this means still more employment, newly enabled consumer spending, more local, county, state and federal revenue, and other economic benefits.

Newly developed horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") techniques have enabled companies to unlock previously unavailable natural gas riches in conventional and shale gas deposits. That increased production, in turn, has reduced industry's cost for energy and raw material feed stocks.

The American Chemical Council says this is reopening idled plants and creating jobs. In 2010 it helped increase chemical and plastics exports by 17% and 10% respectively, turning a $100 million industry balance of trade deficit into a $3.7 billion surplus. Other industries could soon see similar benefits.

America's OCS generates over $19 billion annually in bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenue, IHS Global Insight has calculated. Alaska's Prudhoe Bay oil field alone has generated hundreds of billions in government revenues since 1978, and the state of Alaska has collected a whopping $157 billion (in 2010) dollars from statewide oil and gas development since 1959. Millions of jobs were created and sustained.

In the Lower 48 States, Marcellus Shale deposits stretch across 95,000 square miles of New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, western Maryland and eastern Ohio. In Pennsylvania, say the state Labor and Revenue Departments, Marcellus fracking activities created 72,000 jobs (with an average $73,000 salary) between October 2009 and March 2011. Workers and royalty recipients paid $214 million in personal income taxes attributable to Marcellus development, while Marcellus drillers paid $1 billion in state taxes 2006-2010 (and another $238 million just during first quarter 2011).

The shale gas success story is being repeated in West Virginia, Louisiana, Texas and other states: thousands of jobs created, billions in royalties and taxes collected. New York should take note.

Taken together, America's oil industry sustains 9.2 million direct and secondary jobs (5.3% of all US employment), generates $533 billion in total annual payrolls, contributes $1.1 trillion to US gross domestic product (7.5%), invested $2 trillion in capital improvements since 2000, and accounted for $190 billion in 2010 oil production. The largest integrated oil companies alone paid $1.95 trillion in corporate income, severance, property, excise and sales taxes, between 1981 and 2008, says the Tax Foundation.

We have it in our power to put many of our 20 million unemployed and involuntary part-timers back to work, generate trillions in revenue, and slash our chronic indebtedness. We just need to take action.

* End the leasing moratorium and "green flu" backlog on drilling permits in formerly accessible areas of the Gulf of Mexico. By the end of 2012 America could create 230,000 jobs in Gulf Coast and dozens of manufacturing states, produce 150,000,000 barrels of oil (worth $15 billion), reduce oil imports by a like amount, and generate $12 billion in tax and royalty payments, says IHS Global Insight.

(Right now, we are losing over $1 billion annually in Gulf royalty payments, because Gulf oil and gas production is down 220,000 barrels a day, thanks to DOI, EPA and White House foot dragging.)

* End leasing and drilling bans in the East Coast, West Coast, Western Gulf and Alaskan OCS, Rocky Mountains and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. America could produce up to 40 billion barrels of oil (worth $4 trillion at $100 a barrel) . create 114,000 to 160,000 jobs . and generate $547 billion to $1.7 trillion in new government revenues over the next few decades, according to ICF International.

* Open up some of the nearly 500 million acres of public lands that are now closed to mineral exploration (nearly 70% of all public lands). We could repeat these petroleum-related gains, and end our near-total dependence on China for rare earth metals that are essential for smart phones, smart bombs, night vision goggles, hybrid and electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels and a host of other modern technologies.

Unfortunately, Congress and the EPA, Interior Department and White House are doing just the opposite.

EPA denied Shell Oil permits to drill in Alaska's Chukchi Sea, after Shell had spent $5 billion acquiring and exploring leases. EPA also blocked construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur, Texas. During construction, the project would generate 130,000 US jobs, plus $600 million in state and local tax revenues - plus $5 billion in property tax and other government revenues during the pipeline's life. EPA's excuse? The projects would contribute to global warming.

EPA is also imposing thousands of pages of new rules on coal-fired power plants that provide 48-98% of the electricity in 26 states, including our most important manufacturing centers. Experts say the actions will raise electricity rates 20-60 percent, shutter up to 60,000 megawatts of electricity generation, kill 3.5 million jobs in six Midwestern states, and cost those six states $42-82 billion in lost annual GDP.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar continues to stall OCS leasing and drilling, and keep Western States oil, natural gas, oil shale, shale gas, coal, uranium and metals deposits off limits.

Meanwhile, our state and federal governments are spending over $10 billion annually, subsidizing wind and solar energy, and bankrolling radical environmental activism on energy, climate and public land issues.

Americans deserve a complete and honest accounting of how much revenue and how many jobs have been lost to environmental excesses. We have a right, and a duty, to develop our resources, rather than depleting other countries' energy and minerals - and saddling our children with more joblessness and debt. It's a perfect time for bipartisanship, at least among Republicans and moderate Democrats.

Committee hearings and briefings could discuss and evaluate industry, government and independent analyses of our vast energy, mineral, job and revenue opportunities. They would go a long way toward revealing the enormity of our self-inflicted wounds - and charting a responsible path forward.



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


6 August, 2011

Paleontologist sees visions

Peter Ward: "Somebody gave me the foresight to see what's coming, and I don't like it."

Nobody is denying that there has been some extreme weather in the US and elsewhere, this year. And the fact that some people - so far maybe "a couple of dozen" in the US - probably have died of reasons related to the heat wave, is of course sad. But it is also very sad to see that global warming alarmists, like paleontologist Peter Ward, have totally lost their sense of proportion when describing recent weather events:
Scientists have been predicting for years that global warming would produce record-breaking extremes on either side of the thermometer. This past winter, America survived its so-called snowpocalypse, and now that summer has arrived, we've got a heat dome.

If you're wondering what the hell that is -- it's just another obvious climate change assassin that we could see coming miles away, if some of us were paying better attention. If you're looking for a more technical definition, according to National Geographic a heat dome is a seasonal high-pressure system of dense hot air, albeit one with a highly unusual (for now) strength and size, stretching one million square miles from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast. It's already killed a couple dozen people, adding to a swelling death toll resulting from recent tornadoes and floods that bedeviled the nation this year.

Even the scientists are starting to crack under the pressure. University of Washington paleontologist Peter Ward, who is continuing his study of planetary mass extinction this summer by studying the 500-million-year-old living fossil Nautilus in the remote Pacific, is severely pained by his ability to be right on the data but wrong on people actually caring enough about it to awake from their mediated, medicated stupor.

"I wrote a book in 1994 called The End of Evolution: A Journey in Search of Clues to the Third Mass Extinction Facing Earth that said, within in a decade or two, we'd be seeing these monumental destructions, and people laughed at it," he told AlterNet. "I wrote just last year about sea-level rise in The Flooded Earth saying that things look pretty desperate for the next 60 to 80 years, and got almost no reviews. Luckily, I'm not going to be alive to see the worst of it. But the sad thing is that it's horrible to be right, just horrible. Somebody gave me the foresight to see what's coming, and I don't like it."

We're headed toward a great extinction, McKibben told AlterNet. "The only question is how great. That still remains within our ability to influence. Job one is to stop pouring more carbon into the air."

The other job? Stop pouring more people onto the planet.

"The single driver going on here is the increase in human population," added Ward. "Everything goes back to that. It explains every one of these phenomena: Global warming, marine extinction, changes in living patterns and even in the economies of the world. Way too many people, way too fast. And it's running away."

And so here we sit in the barely new decade of our barely new century, quagmired in game theories above our head, governed by a global elite who have little care for our welfare or even our going-broke cities. To think they're not as invested, literally, in our ignorance of climate change's myriad massacres as they are in pulling the plug on our social safety net is suicide on a global scale. Drowning in debt, deceit, natural catastrophes -- what's the difference?

If we don't start seriously sweating the existential crisis of climate change and ignoring the small-time drama of terrorism and partisan sellouts, then we're finished.

The talk about "climate change's myriad massacres" and "suicide on a global scale" is clearly a case for a psychiatrist. Unfortunately, these scaremongerers do not have the faintest idea about the possible damage they cause to e.g. young people, who happen to read - and, in the worst case, believe - this nonsense.


Green taxes to pay subsidies 'will cost up to 30,000 jobs', British report warns

Green plans to boost renewable energy will destroy up to 30,000 British jobs, according to a hard-hitting report.

David Cameron and his ministers have repeatedly claimed that raising green taxes to pay for subsidies for low carbon technologies such as wind farms will boost economic growth and create 70,000 ‘green collar’ jobs.

But that claim has been torpedoed by John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, an independent group that studies the green energy industry.

He said the Prime Minister’s hopes were ‘staggeringly far-fetched’ and warned that the subsidies will put people on the dole and lead to higher energy prices. Mr Constable studied the EU-wide subsidies and concluded that Spain will generate huge numbers of green jobs while workers and consumers in the UK are hit hard.

‘Green economic policies mean more pain than gain for Britain,’ he concluded. ‘The “green economy” will drain investment from other sectors, making Britons pay more for electricity indefinitely and live less productive lives with access to fewer jobs.’

Mr Constable’s findings are a blow for Mr Cameron, who has made pushing renewable energy a centrepiece of his campaign to detoxify the Tory Party since he became leader six years ago.

The report, entitled The Green Mirage, exposes the colossal scale of public subsidies for renewable energy and warns that by propping up many of these schemes, ministers have simply ‘picked losers’ and prevented the development of more cost-effective ways of generating energy.

It says the UK’s £5billion subsidy to renewable electricity generators in the eight years to 2010 was the equivalent of paying every worker in the wind industry £230,000. Each job in the wind industry was subsidised to the tune of £54,000 last year.

The Green Mirage quotes models developed for the European Commission which suggested that the EU’s climate policies will have only ‘slight’ benefits for GDP and employment by 2020, but that these will not be felt by Britain.

The Commission’s study suggested that Spain would gain 120,000 jobs under current green policies, rising to more than 150,000 if subsidies are increased, the report said.

But Britain stands to lose 10,000 jobs under the current anti-global warming regime, potentially rising to 30,000 if policies are speeded up.

Mr Constable said: ‘Continuing to subsidise renewables will impose high costs on the rest of the economy. This will result in net job losses and loss of international competitiveness.’

A Government spokesman said: ‘Increasing the amount of renewable energy we produce in Britain won’t only help our energy security, but will create new business and job opportunities for the economy.’

A spokesman for industry body RenewablesUK said the figures used by Mr Constable were not a reliable guide.

Developments over the past decade were largely focused on onshore wind technology, where the UK had been left behind. But in the coming years, investment was expected to be directed towards offshore wind, where Britain is set to be a market leader.


Chevy Volt: Still Not Selling

The July sales numbers are out and the Chevy Volt continues to electrify (get it?) the country. GM sold . 125 Volts last month!

Way back in March I made fun of the Volt for selling 281 units in February. Turns out, February was a good month. But wait, there's more! GM says they're going to increase production to 5,000 Volts per month in order to keep up with demand. You see, they claim that the reason the Volt isn't selling is that they can't keep enough cars on the lot. A GM spokeswoman recently claimed that they are "virtually sold out." Which is virtually true. Mark Modica called around his local Chevy dealers and found plenty of Volts waiting for an environmentally conscious driver to bring them home.

All told, GM has sold close to 2,700 Volts. (Funny aside: There's a Volt in my neighborhood and a Volt that parks in my garage at work. So I see almost 0.1 percent of all the Volts in America on a daily basis.) But hey, the EV future is just around the corner.


Sorry, but electric cars are a waste of space

Silently, save for a faint whine, the prophets who claim to have seen the future of the automobile glide round the trendier districts of Britain’s cities, confident that the way forward must be electric.

There they go, hunched over the steering wheel of their funny little plastic runarounds, an invisible halo of environmental piety hovering over their heads as they trundle about saving the planet.

The future, they believe, will belong to them, never mind what the dinosaurs on Top Gear say. Clean, green, smooth battery power will replace messy, polluting, expensive and noisy petrol and diesel engines that have powered our cars and trucks for more than a century — and which contribute 20 per cent of Britain’s carbon emissions.

And so, manufacturers such as BMW and Nissan have invested billions developing futuristic battery-powered vehicles. You can now choose from a range of electric cars that look much like normal vehicles.

Except there’s a problem. Electric cars are dreadful. Even after 20 years of frantic development they remain impractical, ridiculously expensive and not even particularly green. I wouldn’t pay £1,000 for any of those I’ve test-driven, let alone the £28,000 or so often demanded.

The Top Gear team, who have been waging war on the electric car, are right — even if Jeremy Clarkson may have been guilty of exaggerating the problems when he suggested an electric car needed to be recharged during a test drive. The makers of the car deny it ran out of power during the trial and have accused the BBC of ‘mischaracterising’ its capabilities.

The public, however, are waking up to the problems. Last month it was revealed that a Government scheme aimed at encouraging people to buy electric vehicles by offering a £5,000 subsidy for each new car is not working. Just 255 electric cars were bought in the past three months, which the RAC Foundation says is ‘less than electrifying’. And, it was revealed, there are fewer than 2,000 pure-electric cars (as opposed to petrol-electric hybrid versions) on Britain’s roads.

So what has gone wrong with the car of tomorrow?

Well, imagine buying an ordinary car and finding that it runs out of petrol every 80 miles or so. Then, filling it up takes not a couple of minutes but eight hours. Only the insane would buy such an impractical machine.

The problem is down to the laws of physics. No known battery technology can come even close to matching the efficiency of fossil fuels. The problem revolves around ‘energy density’ — the amount of energy contained in a given volume or weight of fuel (or battery). Even the best lithium-ion batteries have energy densities many times less than petrol or diesel.

A kilogramme of petrol contains enough energy to propel a car about 15 miles. A kilo of fully-charged lithium-ion battery will drive your electric car 500 yards. That is why electric cars have huge battery packs weighing up to half a tonne. In the electric BMW Mini I tested a couple of years ago, the battery took up the whole back seat and weighed about 250kg (or the same as five full petrol tanks).

And you only get about 100 miles to a fully-charged battery at best, compared with 1,000-plus miles from the most economical diesels.

This leads to ‘range anxiety’, or the fear you will be stranded miles away from a socket. The previous Government, in its enthusiasm for all things electric and green, promised state-subsidised charging points up and down the land. These haven’t materialised.

The dreadful G-Wiz car I borrowed once had barely enough juice to get me the few miles home across Central London. I’d have been better walking

But the problems do not end there. Manufacturers of electric vehicles, such as Nissan, which has just released a family-hatchback called the ‘Leaf’, point out that electric cars are ideal for city dwellers who tend not to drive more than 15 miles at a time.

But the majority of urbanites live in flats or houses without drives. So to recharge your car you need to trail an electric cable out of your letterbox, across the pavement and maybe along the road — a vandals’ charter.

On its website, Nissan UK describes its new Leaf as ‘zero emissions’. It is not. If you live in a country where 75 per cent of the electricity is generated using fossil fuels such as coal and gas, as in Britain, then every time you recharge your electric car you will be generating emissions — at the power station rather than the exhaust pipe.

If you work out the full lifecycle emissions figures for electric cars — taking into account energy used to manufacture the car (and its batteries) and to dispose of it, plus lifetime emissions from fuel/recharging — the best electric cars on sale work out to be, in environmental terms, a little worse than the most efficient diesel and petrol cars on sale (and cost on average twice as much to buy).

So, electric cars are heavy, expensive, slow, impractical and not very green. They are much cheaper to fuel, but that is largely a function of the way petrol and electricity are taxed differently. If we all switched to electric cars tomorrow, the Treasury would have to quadruple electricity taxes to make up the shortfall in his finances.

The biggest problem for the electric-car lobby is this technology has hardly advanced at all in the past 100 years.

Buy an electric car today and it will effectively be worthless in five years, because by then the worn-out batteries will need replacing — with the cost of their replacements varying wildly from £4,000 to a ludicrous £19,000 (the estimated cost of a new battery for the Leaf). I would never spend £19,000 on a whole car, let alone a wretched battery.

Advocates of electric claim battery technology will improve. This is no doubt true, but batteries will need to improve at least 15 times over to rival petrol or diesel vehicles.

Fans of electric cars also claim they can take advantage of off-peak power to recharge at night. But what would happen if everyone plugged their car into the mains when they get home? The electricity grid would keel over.

Then there is talk of ‘battery-swap’ machines being installed in filling stations so drivers can switch their flat battery for a fully-charged. This is perhaps the only hope for electric cars — although the practical obstacles are formidable.

Every car manufacturer would have to agree a common standard for battery design (when they cannot even agree a standard on light bulb size or which side the petrol filler cap is on), and the oil companies (which own the garages) would have to spend billions on the technology.

So what is the future of motoring? If not electric cars, what about hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, the new Vauxhall Ampera ‘plug-in hybrid’, fuel-cell vehicles (which use liquid-hydrogen to generate electricity on-board) or some other futuristic technology?

Apart from the fact the world still has a lot of oil left, the key is simply to make cars smaller and lighter. Modern cars have become too big. Too many people drive around in absurd, two-tonne 15ft 4WD trucks. And this comes at a terrible price in terms of fuel efficiency.

British automotive genius Gordon Murray is developing the ultimate practical vehicle — a petrol-powered, diminutive, featherweight little three-seater called the T25 that turns 30 years of car design on its head. He says: ‘Make the car lighter and you will then need a smaller engine and lighter brakes.’

I have been in his T25, and it is brilliant — tiny, comfortable and nippy.

Indeed, the true vehicle of the future, which can drive four people in rapid, air-conditioned comfort for 100 miles or more on a gallon of petrol is probably only 15 years away. Maybe their day will come again, but for now electric cars belong in the Victorian era, from whence they came.


Glow at the end of the tunnel

Nuclear energy has taken a beating since the Fukushima crisis began in March, but we believe the arguments are strong that it’s not down for the count.

There are a couple of factors that the Casey Energy Team considers bullish for the nuclear industry and market. Let’s take a closer look and back them up.

Factor #1: The pre-Fukushima price of uranium reflected not just market perception but a very real shortage of uranium that’s looming in the face of growing global demand.

The Japanese earthquake struck just as the nuclear renaissance was gaining momentum. After a decade, efforts by the industry to promote nuclear power as a safe, clean and reliable alternative to fossil fuels were finally taking hold. So was the message that nuclear power offers the “always on” type of electricity that other, more glamorous low-carbon technologies like solar and wind power could only supplement, not replace.

China ordered a swath of new reactors, Russia embarked on a nuclear construction boom, India made nuclear power a key component of its energy plans, and the U.S. Congress issued loan guarantees for new plants.

The price of uranium responded, climbing slowly but surely out from its late-2000 all-time low of US$7.10 per pound, then spiking rapidly from the low US$70s in 2006 to a record US$136 in 2007. That unsustainable drive was fueled by speculators and hedge fund investments that disappeared with the 2008 recession. The spot price dropped back into the US$40s per pound.

While most other commodities recovered, uranium spent 2009 and the first half of 2010 dormant. The market woke up in mid-2010, starting a remarkable eight-month ascent from US$42 to US$72.65 per pound in February. Uranium outperformed every other commodity in that period, including gold, gaining 73%.

The 2007 frenzy aside, uranium’s bullish drive is justified by industry conditions. We already mentioned the construction trend; now here are some numbers to back it up.

Global uranium demand is set to increase some 33% from 2010 to 2020, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA). China is the most important player in that prediction: the Asian giant plans to increase nuclear capacity to 80 GWe by 2020, 200 GWe by 2030, and 400 GWe by 2050. A gigawatt electrical (GWe) is one billion watts, which provides enough power for roughly one million households in a developed country.

China may lead the world in number of nuclear reactors under construction, at 27, but Russia is building 11 and India has five in the works, while countries like Bulgaria, the Slovak Republic, and Ukraine each have two under construction. Demand for uranium is absolutely on the up-and-up.

Much more here

Nukes the way ahead for Africa

By far the majority of African countries are not blessed with huge deposits of coal. Some have some oil, but it is much better to use oil to fuel cars, trains and aircraft. Some have natural gas, but developing this resource and building the necessary pipelines is in its infancy.

Many African countries rely largely on hydroelectric power. However, that means they have to build dams and power stations where the power is: in free-running rivers. If that is not where they actually need the power, they must construct transmission lines and grids. Moreover, many of these countries are arid and subject to recurrent droughts, which can dramatically reduce electricity generation. And many environmentalists oppose hydroelectric power (as well as hydrocarbon fuels).

Some of these African countries are also very big, and even the smaller ones are still big by European standards. This means major costs and complexities are associated with developing the lines and grids. This is expensive, takes time, and demands constant expert maintenance.

In South Africa we carry out live-line maintenance. We drop technicians onto live power lines from a helicopter. They sit there, calmly repairing the line, as it transmits 700,000 Volts! They tell me their hair stands on end, because of the huge electric field. But as long as they make no earth contact, like coming close to a pylon, the technicians will not explode in a ball of flame.

South Africa’s vast grid is a huge technological achievement, which the country is justly proud of. But one has to ask whether this the correct way forward for other African countries – or even for any country in the future.

The answer is clear and definite: maybe! If a country has major sources of fuel, such as South Africa’s coal, then maybe it would be profitable to move electrical power long distances. If, on the other hand, a country does not have a major fuel source, then building a huge grid makes little sense.

For most of Africa, and for that matter the rest of the world, the better answer is, produce electricity where you want and need it, to minimize the need for long power lines. Have multiple sets of smaller distribution grids, rather than one large national grid, to ensure affordable, reliable electricity for the greatest possible number of people.

Okay, it’s a great philosophy. How do we do make it happen? We must produce small power plants that can be placed where we want them. We must build the power generation where we need the power.

In some cases, that can mean building gas-fired turbines – if natural gas has been discovered and can be delivered easily and economically by pipeline to electrical generators near cities.

In many other instances, it is much better to build small nuclear power plants in Richards Bay, Port Elizabeth, Carltonville and other South African cities. In other countries, do the same. It is easy to bring nuclear fuel to these small power stations because so little fuel is used.

Building large scale nuclear power plants of 2000 MW on the Cape Town coast is fine. We need them to power the Cape. However, we also need independent nuclear plants to power the inland goldfields, iron and copper mines, and communities.

Great strides have been made in producing smaller power plants that are cost effective, easy to operate and inherently safe. This is the way of the future, and we are going to see a number of such designs emerge.

Much more technological innovation is poised to unleash itself in the world of nuclear power, than in the fields of solar and wind power. A range of nuclear power plant designs and sizes is the future.

This philosophy is spreading across Africa. Small power plants, placed strategically near points of consumption, will be the strategy to rapidly advance our vast continent.

Such a strategy also lends itself to private ownership of electricity production, thereby leading to healthy market competition, affordable and reliable power 24/7/365 – and better business and educational opportunities, health and prosperity than most Africans ever dreamed of.



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


5 August, 2011

A most unscientific doctor

In the article excerpted below Cindy Parker is trying to inject global warming alarm into the nation's medical practitioners. "So what?", you may ask. Warmists spew their tripe everywhere. It gets them attention, which they crave.

This lady is, however worse than most. As you see from her Introduction to the article, she KNOWS that the actual amount of warming so far is less than ONE degree Celsius. And we all experience temperature changes in the course of a typical day that are many times greater than that. We cope perfectly well every day with temperature changes much greater than one degree Celsius. So she knows that any "Greenhouse" effect is totally trivial -- with effects on health that would have to be undetectable. She is a crook. As she is a doctor (an MD forsooth) she should have a grasp of scientific basics but she ignores those basics.
American Family Physician, August 1 2011 Vol. 84 No. 3

Slowing Global Warming: Benefits for Patients and the Planet

Parker C L


Global warming will cause significant harm to the health of persons and their communities by compromising food and water supplies; increasing risks of morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases and heat stress; changing social determinants of health resulting from extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and expanding flood plains; and worsening air quality, resulting in additional morbidity and mortality from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Vulnerable populations such as children, older persons, persons living at or below the poverty level, and minorities will be affected earliest and greatest, but everyone likely will be affected at some point. Family physicians can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stabilize the climate, and reduce the risks of climate change while also directly improving the health of their patients. Health interventions that have a beneficial effect on climate change include encouraging patients to reduce the amount of red meat in their diets and to replace some vehicular transportation with walking or bicycling. Patients are more likely to make such lifestyle changes if their physician asks them to and leads by example. Medical offices and hospitals can become more energy efficient by recycling, purchasing wind-generated electricity, and turning off appliances, computers, and lights when not in use. Moreover, physicians can play an important role in improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by advocating for enforcement of existing air quality regulations and working with local and national policy makers to further improve air quality standards, thereby improving the health of their patients and slowing global climate change.


Global warming is an occurrence that is well documented, with average global surface temperatures now 1.5øF (0.83øC) higher than at the start of the industrial revolution.1 Since the 1970s, each decade has been warmer than the previous, and the 2000 through 2009 decade was the warmest on record.

More on Salby

Andrew Bolt reports:

Professor Murry Salby, chair of climate at Macquarie University, has unleashed on global warming alarmism in a lecture this week to the Sydney Institute.

Salby has worked at leading research institutions, including the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, Princeton University, and the University of Colorado, and is the author of Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics, and Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate, due out in 2011.

Salby's argument is that the usual evidence given for the rise in CO2 being man-made is mistaken. It's usually taken to be the fact that as carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere increase, the 1 per cent of CO2 that's the heavier carbon isotope ratio c13 declines in proportion. Plants, which produced our coal and oil, prefer the lighter c12 isotope. Hence, it must be our gasses that caused this relative decline.

But that conclusion holds true only if there are no other sources of c12 increases which are not human caused. Salby says there are - the huge increases in carbon dioxide concentrations caused by such things as spells of warming and El Ninos, which cause concentration levels to increase independently of human emissions. He suggests that its warmth which tends to produce more CO2, rather than vice versa - which, incidentally is the story of the past recoveries from ice ages.

I've summarised this from just a rushed hearing of his lecture, not having access to his notes or the charts he produced on the evening. His findings, he says, have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication, so more will follow.

Some other highlights of his talk:

He said he had an "involuntary gag reflex" whenever someone said the "science was settled".

"Anyone who thinks the science of this complex thing is settled is in Fantasia." The climate models used by global warmists suggest we should have twice the warming we've actually seen recently.

Podcast here

Judith Curry comments: If Salby's analysis holds up, this could revolutionize AGW science. Salby and I were both at the University of Colorado-Boulder in the 1990?s, but I don't know him well personally. He is the author of a popular introductory graduate text Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics. He is an excellent lecturer and teacher, which comes across in his podcast. He has the reputation of a thorough and careful researcher. While all this is frustratingly preliminary without publication, slides, etc., it is sufficiently important that we should start talking about these issues.

Arctic 'tipping point' unlikely to tip

Admits the BBC

Scientists say current concerns over a tipping point in the disappearance of Arctic sea ice may be misplaced. Danish researchers analysed ancient pieces of driftwood in north Greenland which they say is an accurate way to measure the extent of ancient ice loss.

Writing in the journal Science, the team found evidence that ice levels were about 50% lower 5,000 years ago. They say changes to wind systems can slow down the rate of melting. They argue, therefore, that a tipping point under current scenarios is unlikely.

While modern observations by ship and by satellite give us a very accurate picture of the recent state of the ice, historic information is limited. The ice comes and goes without leaving a permanent record.

But a Danish team believes it has found an indirect method that gives a clear picture of the ice loss dating back 11,000 years.

Dr Svend Funder from the Natural History Museum of Denmark led several expeditions to inhospitable regions of Northern Greenland. On these frozen shores the Danish team noticed several pieces of ancient driftwood. They concluded that it could be an important method of unlocking the secrets of the ancient ice.

"Driftwood cannot float across the water, it has to be ferried across the ocean on ice, and this voyage takes several years, which means that driftwood is actually a signal of multi-year sea ice in the ocean and it is this ice that is at risk at the moment" said Dr Funder.

Carbon dating was used to determine the age of the wood. And figuring out its origins also yielded important information.

"It's so lovely that drift wood from Siberia is mainly larch and from North America is mainly spruce. So if we see there was more larch or spruce we can see that the wind system had changed and in some periods there was little spruce and in other periods there was lots," he said.

As well as the driftwood, the scientists mapped beach ridges for 500km (310 miles) along the coast. This proved that at one time the waves had reached the shore unhindered by the ice.

Dr Funder and his team say their data shows a clear connection between temperature and the amount of sea ice. The researchers concluded that for about 3,000 years, during a period called the Holocene Climate Optimum, there was more open water and far less ice than today - probably less than 50% of the minimum Arctic sea ice recorded in 2007.

But the researcher says that even with a loss of this size, the sea ice will not reach a point of no return. "I think we can say that with the loss of 50% of the current ice, the tipping point wasn't reached."

The idea of an Arctic tipping point has been highlighted by many scientists in recent years. They have argued that when enough ice is lost it could cause a runaway effect with disastrous consequences.

"I don't say that our current worries are not justified, but I think that there are factors which will work to delay the action in relation to some of the models that have been in the media.

"I think the effect of temperature and global warming may cause a change in the general wind systems which maybe will delay the effects of the rapidly rising temperatures a little bit."

The researchers are now set to examine DNA from the fossils of polar bears to try and find out how the animals fared when the temperatures were higher and there was much less ice.


The absurdities of consensus

By Australian economist Professor Judith Sloan

I belong to one of those professions for which there is supposedly a 'consensus' - on using a carbon dioxide tax or an emissions trading scheme as the most efficient means of reducing the growth of emissions.

To suggest that more information is required, because the proposition may be more a half-truth than a truth, is not allowed. It is a case of being in or out, being with it or not with it.

When filling out the survey conducted by the Economic Society of Australia dealing with this topic and other economic statements, I found myself circling the 'do not know/no opinion' option in most cases. Without additional facts, it was simply not possible to reach a definitive conclusion, let alone agree or disagree strongly.

Notwithstanding this significant qualification to the methodology, much has been made of the so-called 'consensus' among Australian economists on the carbon tax. Indeed, this idea of 'consensus' is being used as a political weapon to disparage anyone in the profession who dares to express an alternative point-of-view.

The clear message is that if you are not part of the 'consensus', you are an idiot and no-one should listen to anything you say. Well, count me out of the 'consensus', because bald statements about complicated policy issues should never generate only binary possibilities - agree or disagree.

The then secretary of the Treasury, Ken Henry, last year tried to corral Australian economists into some sort of phoney 'consensus' about the proposed mining tax, the Resources Super Profits Tax (RSPT). While enjoying the contest of ideas within the economics profession, he declared that, "I think there are occasions on which economists might, at least for a period, put down their weapons and join a consensus."

But why, Ken? It was a complete dud, both in theory and particularly in terms of implementation. Not only were the assumptions on which the proposed RSPT - a Brown tax - completely unrealistic, its application to existing projects meant that there was no way that the impost would only be taxing resource rents. (To be slightly technical, quasi-rents would almost certainly have been taxed as well.)

The bit I really liked about the proposed tax - note my ironic tone - was that the Government would not actually be ponying up its 40 per cent share of expenditures of mining projects - after all, the fiscal position was getting pretty tight - but rather would provide companies with an IOU that would be inflated annually by the risk-free long-term bond rate.

The companies could then use these IOUs, so the argument went, to secure project finance at this rate and without any transaction costs. So even though the Government didn't feel as though it was in position to hand over the cash to the companies at the time, financial institutions could be 100 per cent confident that the Australian Government would pay its full obligations in the future. Go figure.

And when a senior economics journalist asked Ken Henry to explain how the imposition of this tax would not affect the incentives for mining companies to invest, he was handed two pages of algebra. Some consensus, Ken.

A necessary accessory of 'consensus' in the professions has, for some time, been the multi-signed letter, printed in the quality mainstream media. An early high-water mark for the global economics profession was the 364 economists in the UK who signed a letter in 1981, stating that there was "no basis in economic theory or supporting evidence" for the budgetary policy of the Thatcher government. Indeed, the letter contained a warning of a potential threat to "social and political stability".

As events panned out, these eminent economists - one is the current governor of the Bank of England - turned out to be wrong - dead wrong, in fact. Inflation was controlled, interest rates fell, the exchange rate adjusted, the budget was brought back into balance and, after a lag, the rate of unemployment fell. Investors began to believe that the UK government would stick to its guns (and resist the idiotic advice of the economists) and the British economy experienced a period of remarkably strong growth.

One of those economists who signed the letter, Professor Steve Nickell, now says that he did not agree with all the content of the letter but signed because it was "the only game in town". I guess that's what happens if you want to be on the 'right' side of the 'consensus' divide.

Like-minded Australian economists have also developed an affection for the multi-signed letter. There was one assembled to support the RSPT, one endorsing the Labor Government's stimulus spending and one to support the carbon tax. Not surprisingly, there is a fair overlap in the names on these letters.

Presumably, the principal purpose of these letters is to support the Labor Government in its bold, daring but correct policy initiatives, by lending the authority of a group of wise economists of renown to the cause. Indeed, the letter supporting the stimulus spending (which bravely mentioned the spending on roof insulation and the BER) ended with this little homily: "We hope that the economic achievements of the Australian Labor Government will be recognised by the population."

Of course, the more the merrier when it comes to these letters. The 50 who signed the stimulus letter was perhaps a bit disappointing and the numbers for the other two letters was lower again. Even so, it is important to create the illusion of 'consensus' within the profession because then those who have not got with the program can easily be labelled as imbecilic and out-of-date.

Perhaps the most extreme example of a fracturing of a consensus within the economics profession is occurring now in the United States, even though the possibility of a federal government default has been averted for the time being.

In the one corner are the Keynesians, typified by Paul Krugman, who regard any cuts to government spending as a guaranteed route to higher unemployment, double-dip recession and possibly depression. In the other corner are the economists who argue that the stimulus spending has failed, that there is no alternative to reducing the deficit and paying off the debt. Only in this way can there be a crowding in of private sector spending which will ultimately provide the basis for a sustainable economic recovery.

The surprising thing about this whole consensus thing is that anyone should ever have thought it could apply to economists. By reputation, they are one of the most divided professions and jokes abound on this very point. But the real issue is this: most public policy issues are complicated and nuanced. It is not possible to reach definitive and simple conclusions - it all depends - and we should not kid ourselves otherwise.


Heat waves pushes Texas power grid into red zone

The only new generators that the Greenies will let them build are windmills and there is little wind in Texas in the summer so the windmills are useless just when they are most needed

The Texas power grid operator has scrambled this week to meet soaring electricity demand in the face of a brutal heat wave, and residents of the second most populous U.S. state are one power plant shut-down away from rolling blackouts.

Power demand for Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc, or ERCOT, which runs the power grid for most of the state, hit three consecutive records this week as Texans cranked up air conditioners to escape one of the hottest summers on record.

The grid operator on Thursday cut power to some big industrial users, and businesses and households face a repeat of the rolling blackouts they faced in February, when a bitter cold snap interrupted power supplies.

Though ERCOT has done a good job balancing supply and demand, "You always have to expect the unexpected can happen," said Arshad Mansoor, senior vice president at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). "A unit can shut. The wind may not blow."

Ice storms in February crippled dozens of power plants, forcing ERCOT to impose rolling blackouts for hours as electric supplies dropped below demand for the juice.

Now a protracted heat wave with temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius) for several weeks in a row in many cities has stretched power supplies to the limit.

Power usage in ERCOT reached its highest level ever on Wednesday at 68,294 megawatts, almost 4 percent over last year's peak.

The Texas grid faces at least one more day of extreme stress before temperatures cool a bit over the weekend. Temperatures in Houston, the state's biggest city, should return to near normal levels in the upper 90s over the weekend, according to

The state's biggest power generators, including units of Energy Future Holdings, NRG Energy, Calpine Corp and others, have been running flat out to cash in real-time prices that have hit the $3,000/MWh cap in recent days.

But the state's reserve margins have been running razor thin. On Wednesday ERCOT came within 50 megawatts of interrupting flows to industrial customers. That's equal to the output of about 25 industrial-scale windmills.

With record-breaking demand came record-breaking prices. Prices for Thursday power topped $400 per megawatt hour, the highest in at least a decade. Friday's power prices approached $600. Real-time prices also hit the $3,000 market cap over the past few days.

ERCOT has about 73,000 MW of natural gas, coal, oil, nuclear and wind generating facilities, but not all of that capacity is available all the time.

Texas has the most wind power in the country, but the wind does not blow during the summer. Ercot said it got about 2,000 MW from wind during the peak hour on Wednesday. Those wind farms can produce about 9,000 MW when all turbines are spinning.

Moreover, the ERCOT power grid is a virtual island with only a few small transmission links to neighboring electric grids, making it tough for Texas to pull energy from neighboring states in times of need.


Australia's Carbon tax scheme is doomed to fail

Gary Johns

POLITICIANS never admit they do not have a solution to a problem. Call it "yes we can!" syndrome. As a consequence, some have vowed to decarbonise their economies to save the environment from climate change.

The Czech Republic president Vaclav Klaus reminded the audience at a luncheon this week of the boast of former communist rulers of Czechoslovakia, "we control the wind and the rain!" Such hubris is alive and well.

Those nations headed down the carbon abatement path have asked economists to seek the most cost-effective means of doing so. The predictable answer was to price emissions. The trouble is it cannot succeed. A paper by David Campbell and others, After Copenhagen: The Impossibility of Carbon Trading, tells why.

The Kyoto Protocol carbon trading scheme has failed because while there may be a loose cap on emissions for developed countries, without a cap on all other countries the trade between the two is uncapped, so there is no overall emissions reduction. To illustrate, at the end of the Kyoto's first commitment period 2012, the increase in China's emissions will be in the order of 1000 per cent of the total reductions the developed countries were to make under Kyoto.

Further, the promises made after Copenhagen have no legal basis and refer to reductions in carbon intensity, which almost certainly will mean growth in absolute emissions. Any promises made are less credible than Kyoto itself, which was not credible. Pray tell us then, Prime Minister, what is the point of your carbon tax?

Forget about whether Australia is at the head of the pack on carbon pricing, it is, in fact, at the back end of a failed abatement experiment. And neither Australia's physical contribution to carbon abatement nor its "moral leadership" can help. China, India, Brazil and myriad others need to raise the standard of living of their people or risk political instability. (War and insurrection can damage the environment too.) So these countries will never agree to carbon reductions sufficient to allow the world to stay within the 2C limit we are told is essential. They have each given economic development explicit priority over reduction of emissions.

Speculation the Chinese will pursue a 40 per cent reduction by 2020 and commence an emissions trading scheme is about as credible, and indeed would be as destructive, as any of Chairman Mao's five-year plans. Consider these numbers. In 2006, China had 350 gigawatts of coal-fired power generation capacity. It plans to install an additional 600 gigawatts (plus transmission and distribution systems) by 2030. To put this into context, in 2008, the entire coal-fired power generation capacity of the US was 313 gigawatts (31 per cent of total US power generation capacity). By 2030 China plans to install additional coal-fired power generation capacity equal to almost 200 per cent of existing US capacity.

China is responsible for more than half of the growth in global emissions. And since 500 million Chinese live on less than $2 a day, it is pretty clear what China will be doing for the next 50 years. China has signed multiple 25-year contracts to purchase LNG from Australia and elsewhere. It is building more coal-fired power stations than the world has ever seen and, despite the fact that it is one of the world's biggest producers, it is importing coal, such is the appetite for energy. These power stations will operate for decades, well past Australia's romantic target of reducing emissions 80 per cent by 2050.

Last week former British prime minister Tony Blair said: "It is absolutely clear the world will move away from carbon dependence." Not quite.

As the Campbell paper says, Britain's policy under the Climate Change Act 2008 requires rates of "decarbonisation" of the national economy that "are impossibly costly to achieve. Nevertheless, that what is being pursued is impossible does not mean that immense costs may not be run up in the course of the doomed effort."

If politicians swallow their pride and ask a different question of the economists, they get a very different answer. Bjorn Lomborg did so some years ago. "If the global community wants to spend up to $250 billion per year over the next 10 years to diminish the adverse effects of climate changes, and to do the most good for the world, which solutions would yield the greatest net benefits?"

Numerous Nobel Prize-winning economists agreed on a priority list showing the most and least effective ways of reining in temperature increases. They concluded the most effective use of resources would be to invest in:

* Researching solar radiation management technology

* Technology-led policy response to global warming designed to develop green technology faster

* Researching carbon storage technology

Cutting emissions now is too expensive and politically infeasible. Cutting in the future when the technology is available is cheaper and feasible. As for abatement, as Campbell says, "action in pursuit of the impossible is irrational".



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


4 August, 2011

Britain's Green taxes 'hit tipping point that will damage jobs and investment'

The growing burden of green taxes and climate change policies has reached a 'tipping point' and is starting to hit jobs and investment, business leaders warn. The manufacturers' association EEF said the Government had significantly underestimated the extra costs of its environmental measures.

Firms are being hit by a wave of green taxes designed to help the UK meet its tough climate change targets and fill the Treasury's coffers.

There is increasing controversy over the Coalition’s reliance on environmental taxation, which topped £40billion for the first time last year. Most fell on motorists, who paid a record amount of £27billion in fuel duties. Air passengers paid a further £2billion, while the levy on rubbish, landfill tax, for the first time raised more than £1billion.

Business is being hit, too, with a new ‘carbon reduction commitment’ due to compel all companies over a certain size to measure their greenhouse gas emissions and then buy ‘permits to pollute’ from the Government.

The greener the companies are, the less they will pay under the scheme, which will be up and running next year.

Fuel bills are expected to increase following a Treasury move to increase the tax on North Sea oil and gas production.

And a new ‘carbon floor price’, announced by Chancellor George Osborne, will increase the cost of generating electricity from coal, gas and oil in an attempt to encourage more renewable forms of energy such as wind, solar and wave from 2013.

EEF policy director Steve Radley said: ‘UK industry was already facing energy bills which made them uncompetitive before the substantial additional burden of the unilateral carbon price floor. ‘We have now reached a tipping point where the cumulative burden of UK climate change policy will make it uncompetitive for some sectors to invest and create jobs in the UK.’

Energy watchdog Ofgem estimates the average householder already pays around £100 a year in hidden green taxes on their electricity and gas bills.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: ‘Our policies are focused on making sure we avoid costly blackouts and keep the lights on in the cheapest, cleanest way.’


Nickelodeon Joins Dept Of Education To Scare Kids On Climate Change

Wm. Teach

Why, yes, they are still pushing their failed cult, in this case, on little snowflakes who are sure to grow up with all sorts of mental issues from being constantly scared by adults. In a sane world, these people would be prosecuted for child abuse:
U.S. Education Dep’t Pushes Man-Made Global Warming, Saving the Earth at Children’s Reading Event

During a July event at the U.S. Department of Education, children from D.C. schools and day care centers were treated to free books, including two featuring Nickelodeon characters as part of the media organization’s “The Big Green Help” Series. One of the books promotes the idea that global warming is man made and the second book talks about what kids can do to save the Earth.

SpongeBob Goes Green! An Earth-Friendly Adventure! tells the story of SpongeBob’s friend, Krusty Krab, who builds a swimming pool. Mr. Krab is frustrated that it is not hot enough to attract paying customers to his new swimming pool and decides that the exhaust from boats and cars could solve his dilemma.

Well, it's nice that they were treated to free books. Perhaps the DoEd could push actual reading, instead of scary stories.
Dora Celebrates Earth Day! was also offered to the children by the Department of Education at the July 20 event, with character Dora the Explorer telling her friends and family “what they can do to save the Earth.”

On the back of both books the following is printed: “Now kids can get excited about going green with their favorite Nickelodeon characters! The Big Green Help, Nickelodeon’s environmental initiative, and Little Green Books, Simon & Schuster’s eco-friendly line, have joined together to create this new set of books. Each book, printed on recycled paper, encourages kids to take the lead in making the world a greener place.”

Obviously, I'm not particularly shocked by this bit of indoctrination by leftists in the government: it's what they do best.

They should all do like Dick Durbin does: talk to himself.


Pesky! Study says Biodegradable plastics worsen global warming

New plastics designed to break down naturally have been hailed as environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional plastics. Instead of taking decades or even centuries to decompose, they vanish in a few years.

But new research at North Carolina State University suggests they may not be so green after all.

The study, led by NCSU doctoral student James Levis, found that biodegradable plastics can release large amounts of methane gas when they break down in landfills. Methane is one of the most problematic greenhouse gases, able to trap much more heat than carbon dioxide, making it a major contributor to global warming.

“Everybody assumes that biodegradable is desirable. This study calls that into question,” says NCSU’s Dr. Morton Barlaz, an author on the study.

Biodegradable plastics are commonly used to make yard-waste bags and disposable drink cups. Unlike plastic bottles that are designed to be recycled, these materials were created with composting in mind. They’re also able to break down quickly if they end up as litter.

Though they might have been intended to go into the compost, many are destined to end up in a landfill. “You can say a cup is compostable,” Levis says. “But here in Raleigh and most places, there’s no separate bin, and it’s going to end up going in the garbage.”

In a well-managed compost system, Levis says, biodegradable plastics don’t release much methane at all. As long as oxygen is present, they will give off mostly carbon dioxide and water. But that’s not the case in landfills, where garbage is starved of oxygen.


69% Say It’s Likely Scientists Have Falsified Global Warming Research

FROM Rasmussen Report:

The debate over global warming has intensified in recent weeks after a new NASA study was interpreted by skeptics to reveal that global warming is not man-made. While a majority of Americans nationwide continue to acknowledge significant disagreement about global warming in the scientific community, most go even further to say some scientists falsify data to support their own beliefs.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 69% say it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data in order to support their own theories and beliefs, including 40% who say this is Very Likely. Twenty-two percent (22%) don’t think it’s likely some scientists have falsified global warming data, including just six percent (6%) say it’s Not At All Likely. Another 10% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here .)

The number of adults who say it’s likely scientists have falsified data is up 10 points from December 2009
Fifty-seven percent (57%) believe there is significant disagreement within the scientific community on global warming, up five points from late 2009. One in four (25%) believes scientists agree on global warming. Another 18% aren’t sure.

Republicans and adults not affiliated with either major political party feel stronger than Democrats that some scientists have falsified data to support their global warming theories, but 51% of Democrats also agree.

Men are more likely than women to believe some scientists have put out false information on the issue.

Democrats are more likely to support immediate action on global warming compared to those from other party affiliations.


The EPA Nation-Killing Machine

By Alan Caruba

The problem with the Environmental Protection Agency is that it has “protected” the nation into a place where corporations flee to other nations, exporting jobs no longer available here. When not doing that, it is destroying the ability of whole industries—particularly energy—and of our agricultural dynamo to function.

In late July, the Sacramento Bee reported that “There are fewer undocumented immigrants in California—and the Sacramento region—because many are now finding the American dream south of the border.” While America struggles to survive its regulatory juggernaut, “Mexico’s unemployment rate is now 4.9 percent, compared with 9.4 percent joblessness in the United States.”

What’s wrong with that equation? Everything!

Putting aside the debate over debt and wasteful spending, at the heart of the economic stagnation that has been occurring is the Environmental Protection Agency. It is an agency of pure malice and a place that arrogantly cites bogus health statistics while issuing rules and regulations that are strangling the economy.

James Hammerton of Freedom Works recently noted that “The EPA is in the process of completing and finalizing 30 major regulations and 170 major policy rules that would impose hundreds of billions of dollars of compliance costs on the economy.” Only Congress can stop this.

Long after the global warming hoax was exposed, the EPA continues to insist that carbon dioxide, a gas vital to all life on Earth, has to be regulated. Even after the administration’s failed effort to get Cap-and-Trade legislation passed, the EPA relentlessly pursues this policy.

In brief, the claim is that carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is causing global warming. Therefore it must be reduced. Who produces CO2? Everyone! Humans exhale about six pounds of it a day. Every kind of energy use for manufacturing, for transportation, for the production of electricity, all this and more generates CO2 emissions. All this and more represent the core elements of our economy.

Why would you want to “trade” CO2? Well, by selling and trading “carbon credits”, millions of dollars can be made by the exchanges set up for that purpose. Utilities and manufacturing facilities would all have to buy the credits in order to stay in business. The whole global warming hoax was devoted to this scheme and, of course, those advocating it were all going to get obscenely wealthy while the cost of everything increased for the rest of us.

The problem for the EPA is that the Chicago exchange set up to trade carbon credits has long since closed its doors after revelations in November 2009 that a handful of climate modeling scientists had rigged the models to show a warming trend when, in fact, the planet had entered a cooling cycle in 1998!

Sensing that its ability to destroy the economy is slipping away, the EPA has been readying regulations allegedly based on the nation’s air quality. The problem they face is that the air over the U.S. is as clean as it has ever been. With the exception of places like Los Angeles, air quality has never been better. The EPA is literally trying to regulate dust that drifts in from Africa or airborne soot that arrives from Pacific volcanoes.

Regarding its proposed Ozone rules, John Engler, the president of the Business Roundtable, noted that “There’s nothing reasonable or balanced about the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to tighten national air-quality standards for ozone emissions at this time. For one thing, it’s premature, coming a full two years before the EPA is scheduled to complete its own scientific study of ozone emissions in 2013.” Not surprisingly, 2013 is likely to be the year that the U.S. has a new president and a Congress made up primarily of politicians devoted to debt reduction and the elimination of waste.

There is not enough time, nor space to describe how crazed the EPA is, but let me share just one example. The EPA recently told New York City that it will have to build a $1.6 billion-plus cover of a reservoir to prevent contamination of cryptosporidium, a water-born pathogen that causes diarrhea, from getting into its water system.

As the Wall Street Journal noted, “There’s one problem. The pathogen hasn’t been found in the reservoir despite years of tests and is barely present in the city.” Never mind, the EPA is claiming that the cover would “prevent between 112,000 and 365,000 cases annually”!

It gets worse, “New York City has already spent nearly $15 billion since 2002 for federally-mandated water projects, with the feds chipping in less than 1% of the costs. Next year it will finish building a $1.6 billion ultraviolet facility—the largest in the world—to disinfect water even more than it already does.”

That is just a snapshot of the billions in costs the EPA is right now trying to impose on a nation that is already $14 trillion in debt.

Here’s a suggestion. Close down the EPA entirely. Let the States determine what should be done regarding their air, water, and other environmental standards. The nation could save itself trillions by just ridding itself of the crazies running the EPA.


Carbon tax is still a big loser for the Australian Left

SUPPORT for federal Labor has collapsed in metropolitan Sydney and is so low in Queensland that former prime minister Kevin Rudd would be the only government MP to hold his seat in the state if elections had been held last weekend.

Polling commissioned by the Australian Coal Association also shows the government has achieved only marginal gains in support for the carbon tax since the package was released early last month and that a clear majority of voters remain opposed.

It found opposition to the carbon tax was highest in Queensland electorates (62 per cent) and key Sydney metropolitan electorates (61 per cent) and that 67 per cent of voters believed the Prime Minister should wait to introduce the tax until after an election.

The Galaxy poll shows the majority of people believe they will be left worse off by the tax despite the government's bid to sell its compensation package.

Galaxy said while more voters were claiming they better understood the tax and options were becoming more deeply entrenched "this is not translating into increased support".

A clear majority believe it is bad for the economy, nearly three quarters of voters (74 per cent) believe the coal industry should receive the same levels of support as other key export industries and 65 per cent believe the government should offer financial support for carbon capture and storage.

The poll of 2000 voters from across Australia was taken between last Wednesday and Monday and shows Labor's primary vote is 31 per cent compared with the Coalition's 48 per cent. The Greens' vote was 13 per cent. The result gave the Coalition a 56 per cent to 44 per cent two-party preferred lead.

Labor's primary vote has collapsed to just 29 per cent in the Sydney metropolitan area compared with 54 per cent for the Coalition and 9 per cent for the Greens. This gave Tony Abbott's Coalition a commanding 60-40 per cent two party preferred lead in the nation's biggest city and put it on track to pick up a swing of 13 per cent.

In Queensland Labor's primary vote was 32 per cent compared with 54 per cent for the Coalition and 8 per cent for the Greens. This gave the Opposition a 41 per cent to 59 per cent lead over the government on a two-party preferred basis and put it on track for a 6 per cent swing.

The national results are broadly similar to the latest Newspoll taken on July 22-24 that put Labor's primary vote at 29 per cent, the Coalition at 47 per cent and the Greens at 13 per cent. And where as the July 22-24 Newspoll had support for the carbon tax at 36 per cent, the Galaxy poll put support for the tax at 37 per cent.

The poll found that while Julia Gillard's bid to sell the tax had resulted in slight gains -- 39 per cent of people now said they understood the tax compared with 38 per cent in April and those supporting it rose to 37 per cent from 35 per cent in April -- an unchanged 55 per cent of voters opposed the tax.

And while the number of people who thought they would be worse off had fallen, the figure still remained at 69 per cent from 77 per cent in April. The number of people who thought they would be better off rose to 9 per cent from 6 per cent in April.

The number of people who thought the carbon tax would be good for the economy remained steady at 27 per cent and the number who thought it would be worse for the economy rose to 57 per cent from 55 per cent.

While Galaxy said the impact of higher power prices was having less impact in swaying voters now compared with when they were last polled on the issue in April, lower income earners held the greatest concerns about the tax, suggesting they were either not aware of the government's compensation package or did not believe it would offset expected price rises.

A majority of voters, 52 per cent, believed Mr Abbott should scrap the tax if he won the next election and 55 per cent of voters believed the Greens had too much input into the policy.

While the number of people who thought man's emissions were to blame for global warming stayed the same between the April poll and the latest survey at 36 per cent, the number of people who thought global warming was part of the natural cycle of nature rose in the latest survey to 32 per cent from 26 per cent.



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


3 August, 2011

This guy sounds dangerously rational

He says that almost all CO2 output is caused by uncontrollable natural processes rather than human doings.

If he knows what's good for him he will still manage to say something in support of Warmism but I can't see how his heart would be in it. Synopsis of a talk just given at the Sydney institute below. A video is due to be online some time soon

Background: Professor Murry Salby holds the Climate Chair at Macquarie University and has had a lengthy career as a world-recognised researcher and academic in the field of Atmospheric Physics. Professor Salby is the author of Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics, and Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate due out in 2011.

Atmospheric Science, Climate Change and Carbon – Some Facts

PROFESSOR MURRY SALBY, Chair of Climate, Macquarie University, Australia

Carbon dioxide is emitted by human activities as well as a host of natural processes. The satellite record, in concert with instrumental observations, is now long enough to have collected a population of climate perturbations, wherein the Earth-atmosphere system was disturbed from equilibrium. Introduced naturally, those perturbations reveal that net global emission of CO2 (combined from all sources, human and natural) is controlled by properties of the general circulation – properties internal to the climate system that regulate emission from natural sources. The strong dependence on internal properties indicates that emission of CO2 from natural sources, which accounts for 96 per cent of its overall emission, plays a major role in observed changes of CO2. Independent of human emission, this contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide is only marginally predictable and not controllable.


Are Warmists giving up on using weather as a scare?

The more sophisticated ones seem to be. And they sound quite doleful as a result. See below:

If this summer's record-breaking heat has you gulping iced tea while bemoaning the evils of climate change, you're probably not alone. But climate communications experts suggest that any extra interest in global warming triggered by the heat wave will be gone by the first winter snow.

July brought oppressive heat to much of the country, with all 50 states setting high temperature records. Climate scientists say that such heat waves will be the norm in the future if climate change continues unabated, but experts say it will take more summers as hot as this one to shift the climate change policy debate.

"It's record-setting temperatures, and people are thinking, 'This is global warming, maybe we should think about this,'" said Ye Li, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Decision Sciences at Columbia Business School, who has studied the influence of temperature on climate-change beliefs. "But will it have a long-term impact? Part of that depends on whether people remember these temperatures. I know every winter I'm not remembering what the hottest days of summer were like."

The inability to directly pin a single weather event on climate change makes it tough for scientists to communicate the realities of climate change, Li told LiveScience. Public opinion is split on global warming, a split that tends to fall along party lines.

The Democrat-Republican divide has been growing in recent years. A 2008 Gallup analysis found that in 1998, just under half of both Democrats and Republicans said the effects of global warming had already begun. In 2008, 76 percent of Democrats agreed with that statement, while only 41 percent of Republicans did.

Media and social networks also influence people's opinions, said Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. News coverage is how most people learn about climate, Leiserowitz told LiveScience, so quantity and quality of coverage matters. Similarly, people's friends, family and colleagues may influence their beliefs.

But perhaps one of the most unexpected factors that influences people's opinions on climate change is what the weather looks like outside. Columbia's Li surveyed Americans and Australians and found that when it's hotter outside, people are more likely to be worried about global warming. When it's cooler, that worry dissipates. "This temperature effect is actually quite large," Li said. "It's possible that if you give people enough hot days, it might even overcome a staunch Republican's belief against climate change."

On the other hand, people tend to cherry-pick information based on their pre-existing beliefs about climate, Leiserowitz said. In May 2011, he and his colleagues released a report on people's assessments of global warming. They included questions about whether the winter's snowstorms and the previous summer's record-heat influenced people's beliefs about warming.

People who don't hold strong opinions about global warming tended to be swayed by the weather, Leiserowitz said. Snow made them doubt warming, while heat prompted them to accept it. But the people at the extremes — the ones whose minds were made up either way — only gave credence to the weather event that fit their preferred narrative. About 77 percent of people who were dismissive of climate change said heat waves did not make them consider the idea that global warming might be real. Likewise, 53 percent of people who are highly alarmed about global warming said snowstorms did not soothe their minds.

Exacerbating the issue is the fact that besides environmental groups, there is little public education on climate change, Maibach said. Unfortunately, he said, environmental groups are viewed with skepticism and not trusted. [I wonder why? Could it be because of their constant exaggerations, lies and false prophecies?]

This summer's temperatures are unlikely to change the equation, Maibach said. "I don't think it's going to shift public opinion dramatically," he said.


Chinese scientists show that Antarctic sea ice over the past 30 years is not only growing but growing faster

A paper published last month in the journal Climate Dynamics finds that "The Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) shows an increased trend during 1979–2009, with a trend rate of 1.36 ± 0.43% per decade. Ensemble empirical mode decomposition analysis shows that the rate of the increased trend has been accelerating in the past decade."
Sea ice trends in the Antarctic and their relationship to surface air temperature during 1979–2009

By Qi Shu, Fangli Qiao, Zhenya Song and Chunzai Wang


Surface air temperature (SAT) from four reanalysis/analysis datasets are analyzed and compared with the observed SAT from 11 stations in the Antarctic. It is found that the SAT variation from Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) is the best to represent the observed SAT. Then we use the sea ice concentration (SIC) data from satellite measurements, the SAT data from the GISS dataset and station observations to examine the trends and variations of sea ice and SAT in the Antarctic during 1979–2009.

The Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) shows an increased trend during 1979–2009, with a trend rate of 1.36 ± 0.43% per decade. Ensemble empirical mode decomposition analysis shows that the rate of the increased trend has been accelerating in the past decade. Antarctic SIE trend depends on the season, with the maximum increase occurring in autumn.

If the relationship between SIC and GISS SAT trends is examined regionally, Antarctic SIC trends agree well with the local SAT trends in the most Antarctic regions. That is, Antarctic SIC and SAT show an inverse relationship: a cooling (warming) SAT trend is associated with an upward (downward) SIC trend. It is also concluded that the relationship between sea ice and SAT trends in the Antarctic should be examined regionally rather than integrally.


June 1934 – Whole Country Over 100F

Another reminder that the 1930s were much hotter than 2011.


Polar Bear Population Higher than in 20th Century: Is Something Fishy about Extinction Fears?

If polar bears had any clue of the scale of speculation about the extinction threat they are facing due to climate change, they would have probably said, "you're kidding, right?"

If you think statistics are a pointer towards the growth or decline of a species, it will be interesting to have a look at the estimates published in a 2008 report by U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that the polar bear population is currently at 20,000 to 25,000 bears, up from as low as 5,000-10,000 bears in the 1950s and 1960s. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain noted that the polar bear populations 'may now be near historic highs,'" it read.

J. Scott Armstrong of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Kesten C. Green of Business and Economic Forecasting, Monash University; and Willie Soon of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, published their findings in 2008, arguing that the claims of declining population among polar bears are not based on scientific forecasting principles.

The reports and photographs of polar bears dying of exhaustion from swimming, unable to navigate the larger-than-usual water bodies formed between ice covers in the arctic, also added to the fears propagated by global warming alarmists. But a quick look at polar bear facts and figures will prove that deaths of polar bears cannot necessarily be associated to swimming large distances as there can be myriad numbers of reasons for the deaths of these cold-weather predators.

According to polar bear facts provided by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the bears are excellent swimmers and have an average swimming speed of 9.7 kph (6 mph) while their average walking speed is a much less 5.5 kph (3.5 mph) which is a mechanism to keep body heat to the minimum. They have a layer of fat up to 11 cm (4.3 in) thick keeps the bears warm, especially while swimming.

Scottish scientist Dr. Chad Dick, of the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromso, after researching the log books of Arctic explorers spanning the past 300 years, believes the outer edge of sea ice may expand and contract over regular periods of 60 to 80 years. According to his research findings, he concluded, "the recent worrying changes in Arctic sea ice are simply the result of standard cyclical movements, and not a harbinger of major climate change."

If 300 years of study revealed 60-80 cycles of climate changes, the arctic climate would have presumably undergone many more cycles of drastic changes over the past thousands of years. And with a more than 110,000-year history of survival, it doesn't make sense to believe that polar bears are dying unable to withstand swimming exhaustion due to larger water bodies.

Award-winning quaternary geologist Dr. Olafur Ingolfsson, professor from the University of Iceland, has conducted extensive expeditions and field research in both the Arctic and Antarctic. "We have this specimen that confirms the polar bear was a morphologically distinct species at least 100,000 years ago, and this basically means that the polar bear has already survived one interglacial period," Ingolfsson said.

"This is telling us that despite the on-going warming in the Arctic today, maybe we don't have to be quite so worried about the polar bear," according to a report published by U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

If the world is actually feeling threatened that polar bears might cease to exist at some future point of time, why are they still being subjected to legal hunting? And even if only the native populace holds the right to hunt polar bears why is monitoring inadequate to track the hunting by non-natives?


Australian government carbon tax modelling based on improbable assumptions

TREASURY'S modelling of the carbon tax-emission trading scheme proposed by the government is based on the assumption that the world is taking collective action sufficient to stabilise greenhouse gas concentration levels at about either 550 parts per million or 450ppm by about 2100 in order to meet the Copenhagen objective of limiting global warming to below 2C above preindustrial levels.

This assumption is based on the fact that, since last year's UN climate conference in Cancun, 89 countries have pledged action, covering 80 per cent of global emissions and more than 90 per cent of the global economy. But what do these pledges actually promise in terms of limiting global warming? Are they enough? How much more will be required?

Treasury does not reveal the answer in its report, but an answer can be found in the work of the American public interest charity, Climate Interactive (

It runs simulations (like Treasury's simulations) of the likely impact on greenhouse gas concentrations (and global temperatures) in 2100 if all the global pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were put into effect. Confirmed proposals up to the present (excepting the new Australian proposal to move our 2050 target to an 80 per cent cut in emissions) produce an atmospheric concentration measured in CO2 equivalents (CO2e) of 1105ppm and a resulting increase in temperature above pre-industrial levels of 4.1C. Even when potential proposals are included, CO2e in 2100 reaches 670ppm and an increase in temperature of 2.7C.

Potential proposals include legislation currently under consideration, campaign promises of newly elected governments, conditional proposals, and statements from think tanks with close ties to governments.

As things stand, the world is not going to meet the targets set by Treasury in its modelling, even if all known and potential proposals to cut greenhouse gas emissions were carried out. So Treasury is factoring into its expectations for global emissions reductions actions that are not even potentially likely at the present time.

But let us suppose Treasury's allocation of emissions reductions among countries were to be put in place. Permits to emit tonnes of CO2e would be issued to countries (by some authority or other) on the basis of their projected baseline emissions less their assigned emission reductions targets. In Treasury's model (but not necessarily the eventual, globally agreed, model), the volume of permits issued is a uniform percentage of each country's baseline emissions. These permits can be traded, including internationally. Countries that can reduce emissions by more than their assigned target will sell the excess to countries that cannot meet their targets from their assigned volume of permits.

Australia is assumed by Treasury to be a net buyer of permits. Far from meeting our emission reduction targets (5 per cent less than 2000 in 2020 and 80 per cent less than 2000 in 2050) off our own bat, Australia meets its targets mainly by buying reductions in emissions from other countries. In Treasury's core policy scenario, our emissions rise from 556 tonnes of CO2e in 2000 to 621 tonnes in 2020 and fall to only 545 tonnes in 2050. Hence, our 80 per cent cut in emissions in 2050 is met by a 2 per cent cut in our own emissions together with a 78 per cent cut bought from the rest of the world (meaning that other countries must be able to cut their emissions by more than their target reductions). But how are other countries able to do this if Australia cannot? And what happens to Australia's GDP if Australia can only buy permits internationally at a high price?

Treasury estimates the international price of a permit to emit a tonne of CO2e in 2050 will be $131. This seems to be a remarkably low price, resting on a faith that technological changes and replacement of capital stock can occur cheaply and at high speed across the planet. If this is not so, the carbon price could reach very high levels and the growth rate of the world's (and Australia's) GDP would fall significantly. So how confident can we be that Treasury has got the 2050 carbon price even approximately right? Not very.



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


2 August, 2011

British weathermen discover that they were wrong about big storms and basic theory for the last 90 years

"This research shows how much more remains for us to learn about the weather around us". So could they be wrong about global warming too? OF COURSE NOT! That's not falsifiable

Researchers found that our basic understanding of "low pressure systems" has been flawed for more than 90 years. Scientists from the University of Manchester contradicted traditional understanding of how low pressure systems evolve.

The Norwegian model in use since the 1920s is that when a storm occludes, it will automatically weaken.

Writing in the journal Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, they found that the Great Storm of October 1987 and the Burns’ Day storm of January 1990 did not fit the model.

Dr David Schultz, from the university’s School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, who led the study, said that while both were occluded (evolving), but still deadly. He said scientists know that the deepening of a low pressure system is not dependent on when a cyclone occludes.

Dr Schultz said: “The Norwegian model of low pressure systems served us well for many years, but it’s time to move on. "What we teach students in school needs to be changed. And forecasters need to be retrained to have this latest information.

“I hope that this model will help people understand the particular weather conditions associated with these potentially hazardous storms. Yet, this research shows how much more remains for us to learn about the weather around us." He added: "With this new interpretation of the occlusion process we can explain why not all low pressure systems occlude – the winds are not strong enough to wrap up the storm.

“The Norwegian model of low pressure systems served us well for many years, but it’s time to move on. "This new model is better than the Norwegian model at explaining the available observations of the structure and evolution of occluded low pressure systems."

Dr Schultz added: “I hope that this model will help people understand the particular weather conditions associated with these potentially hazardous storms."


NAACP and EPA Inflict Heat Prostration and Death

From New York, Washington and Atlanta to Chicago, St. Louis and Dallas, America is baking in a furnace. As millions swelter and gasp, they thank their lucky stars for air-conditioned cars, homes, offices and other places of refuge. And for the reliable, affordable electricity that makes AC possible.

Previous generations weren’t so fortunate. When a record heat wave slammed the nation in July 1936, Midwest temperatures hit 100-107 for a week. With most homes and businesses lacking even fans in this pre-AC era, millions suffered heat prostration. In Wisconsin, 449 died. Nationwide, thousands perished.

Now the EPA and NAACP want to send America back to the “good old days.” Under a perverse notion of “environmental justice,” they are promoting tough new air quality rules that would shut down dozens of coal-fired power plants that make affordable AC possible for millions of poor and minority families.

According to them, coal-based electricity is “racist.” Minorities are more at risk because they often live near “dangerous,” older, more polluting power plants.

There is no excuse for the ridiculous “racism” and “justice” rhetoric, or the way EPA used cherry-picked data and computer models to conjure up health risks and benefits that exist only in virtual worlds. (Visit for details.) Worse, the agency refused to consider the disastrous effects its draconian regulations will impose on families and businesses, due to skyrocketing electricity prices.

EPA’s rules will reduce electricity availability and send costs soaring 12% to 60% by 2015 – especially in the 26 states that depend on coal for 48-98% of their electricity. Families and businesses in those states currently pay less than half as much per kilowatt hour as those in low-coal, high-tax, hyper-regulated states. That means jobs, profits, balanced budgets – and protection against life-threatening heat and cold.

Under EPA/NAACP rules, all that would end. Power plant closures will cause deadly electricity shortages during periods of peak demand. Millions of poor and minority families will be unable to afford air conditioning when electricity is available. Our elderly will be particularly at risk, especially in inner cities, because energy costs hit them disproportionately and they are least able to survive heat and heatstroke.

This summer’s blistering heat wave is a forecast for what lies ahead. Dozens have already died, including a Kansas man who had air conditioning but was concerned about paying his electricity bill, and so didn’t turn it on. How many more will face this life-or-death choice, after the EPA and NAACP succeed in closing power plants and driving electricity prices through the roof, no one can say. But in Chicago, a 1995 heat wave killed 700 people – and local papers predict a 40-60% price hike by 2015.

Shops, restaurants, groceries, dry cleaners and bakeries will see electric bills soar by thousands a year. Hospitals, school districts, internet providers, hotels and factories will be forced to pay tens or hundreds of thousands, even millions in added electricity costs. Factories that now pay $1 million for electricity could see an extra $600,000 added to their annual operating costs.

Each $30,000 increment is equal to another entry-level job that won’t be “created or saved.”

Chicago public schools will need an extra $2.7 million a year for electricity by 2014, the Chicago Tribune has reported. That translates into dozens of terminated sports programs, teachers and administrators.

Steel and paper mills, aluminum and petroleum refineries, car and aircraft factories will see annual electricity costs soar by millions of dollars. That could mean massive layoffs and entire operations shuttered or moved overseas. Management Information Services calculates that EPA’s rules will cost six Midwestern manufacturing states a combined 3.5 million jobs and $42-82 billion in annual GDP.

Do the EPA and NAACP suppose their rules will end heat waves? Or that unemployed workers and their families will be better able to afford air conditioning the next time temperatures climb above 100 degrees? Or that newly impoverished state and local governments will be better able to provide energy welfare – perhaps via another $1 trillion in federal debt?

Power plant emissions have been falling for decades. They have hardly morphed into a health-threatening crisis that suddenly justifies this EPA power grab and power plant shutdown. There is no basis for imposing stratospheric electricity costs that will kill millions more jobs – and put millions more people at risk from heat stroke and other ravages of government-inflicted poverty.

It would be nice if we could wave a magic wand and find billions of dollars to tear down and replace older power plants – or retrofit them with new pollution control and monitoring equipment, cover the extra annual operating and maintenance expenses, pay for “stranded investments” from facilities that will be shuttered long before the end of their useful life, and build or upgrade transmission lines from new power plants, wind farms and solar arrays.

It would be wonderful if wind and solar facilities could actually replace the NAACP and EPA’s detested coal-burning power plants – without needing billions in federal subsidies, duplicative gas-fired backup generators, thousands of miles of new transmission lines, hundreds of thousands of acres, and millions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earth metals.

It would be fabulous if they actually generated electricity anywhere near their rated capacity and worked 24/7/365, instead of maybe 8/5/300 – and their electricity didn’t cost three times the coal-based alternative.

It would be incredible if EPA permit quagmires and environmentalist lawsuits did not stymie virtually every proposal for new coal, gas and nuclear power plants, transmission lines, natural gas drilling, and even wind farms and photovoltaic arrays, to replace coal-fired generators.

But that is not the world we live in. Instead, we remain bogged down in an interminable recession, with intractable unemployment. We have incurred monumental debt. We have created a morass of legislation, regulation and litigation that ensures old power plants will be gone, replacements won’t be built anytime soon, and “smart meters” will let bureaucrats shut off AC power anytime electricity demand exceeds supply. We are killing jobs, businesses, investment and innovation – and will soon be killing our own citizens.

America’s workers, poor and minorities now face the prospect of skyrocketing energy prices and even more unemployment – accompanied by recurrent blackouts, rolling brownouts, misery, heatstroke, and unnecessary deaths during future heat waves.

One shudders to think that NAACP is so misguided, so ideologically hidebound, so beholden to government grants that it cannot recognize this – or realize it is the NAACP and EPA that are inflicting “energy racism” and “environmental injustice” on our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

Reliable, affordable energy is the foundation for jobs, modern living standards, health, opportunity and civil rights progress. The NAACP needs to join the Affordable Power Alliance and Congress of Racial Equality in protecting Americans against further job losses and future heat waves.


Horror! Farmland prevents rare plants from getting pollinated

So farmland must be CUT BACK, is the implicit message

A study has challenged the idea that areas such as farmland provide pollinating insects with a "corridor" between fragmented habitats. Researchers suggested that the pollinators in their survey were "fickle foragers" and would concentrate on areas rich in pollen and nectar.

The team warned that these behaviour could have an impact on rare native plants that are pollinated by insects. The findings have been published in the journal Current Biology.

The team of researchers from Oxford University and Earthwatch UK said their findings were a surprise, as the result challenged the long-held assumption that areas that were rich in resources would encourage the movement of pollinators from one group of native trees to another.

However, they added, it actually created a barrier effect for non-specialist feeders. "Looked at from an insect's point of view, it makes sense," explained co-author David Boshier. "These insects are not trying to pollinate a particular species of tree, they are just foraging. So if they leave a patch of native forest and fly across farmland which happens to be rich in resources, they are likely to collect pollen and nectar there rather than carry on to another patch of native forest."

However, Dr Boshier added: "Conversely, areas of sparse resources - such as (conifer) plantations - have less to offer so the pollinators are more likely to continue their journey and reach other patch of the native forest."

Pollination patterns

The researchers focused their attention on the pollination of Gomortega keule, an endangered species of tree whose natural stands only survive in patches of native forest in central Chile.
Gomortega keule, listed as Endangered (Image: Tonya Lander) The study warns disruption to pollinators' behaviour could threaten Gomortega keule's long-term survival

The trees' primary pollinators are hoverflies. By sampling seeds, the team was able to develop an understanding of how pollen was transported across the study area.

"If you can imagine about 900 trees, and all of the potential connections between those trees, then you end up with a lot of data regarding where pollinators are moving or not moving," explained co-author Dr Tonya Lander.

"We used that data to build a model and, on average, these look like the patterns that are emerging," she told BBC News. "In general, there was more pollination happening when trees are separated by tree plantations, and less pollination happening when the trees were separated by agricultural land."

The team explained that they decided to call this effect the Circe Principle, after a nymph in Homer's Odyssey who seduced Odysseus on his journey home from his adventures.

Another member of the team, Dan Bebber from Earthwatch, said: "This study shows that new landscape models need to take into account the positive contributions and benefits of landscapes defined as 'non-habitat', as well as how best they can be managed. "Our results identify possible actions to improve the interactions of landscapes of endangered species such as G. keule, and other species pollinated by common insects."

The team now hope to carry out further studies to test whether the Circe Principle applies to other environments.


UK faces green agenda backlash as energy prices rise

The British government faces a public backlash against its green energy agenda as consumers are unwilling to spend more on power and gas bills to pay for investment in low-carbon forms of energy, a parliamentary committee warned on Monday.

"Our evidence points to the danger of a backlash against the government's green agenda if it means rising bills for consumers," the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee said in a report.

It urged the government and the energy industry to better engage with the public to explain underlying factors that create higher energy prices.

Three of Britain's six major energy suppliers have announced double-digit increases in power and gas tariffs from this summer, raising fears about consumer price inflation.

An opinion poll published by utility Centrica last month showed only one quarter of respondents thought the government should stick to its plans for a greener economy if it means higher energy price.

"I don't think there is enough understanding of the charges that are there and which are coming through, and that is why we want much greater clarity on people's bills," Energy Minister Charles Hendry told the committee in a hearing last month.

The group of parliamentarians also said energy providers should not wait for government or regulator action to make energy tariffs more simple.

UK consumers currently have to choose from 400 different tariffs, a complex system which the minister said also got him confused.

"I went on line to compare my tariffs and I was so confused by the options that I decided to stick where I was, and I think I am probably not untypical in that respect," he said at the hearing.

Britain's energy regulator Ofgem proposed last month to impose mandatory auctions on the UK's large power producers to give access to alternative suppliers.

The proposal is part of a wider regulatory review of Britain's energy retail market, details of which are expected later this year.


Green targets 'could force companies to leave Britain'

Industry faces energy price increases of up to 70 per cent as a result of new 'green taxes' imposed by the Government.

Studies by the Energy Intensive Users Group, which represents industries such as chemicals and steel, show that the extra costs are so high that many companies may be tempted to move to countries that do not have such extreme environmental laws.

The group fears that a study by the Department of Energy into the impact of climate-change laws on energy prices for industry will attempt to downplay the impact of the new taxes. The DoE study is due to be published in the autumn.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne last week boasted that no other country had binding environmental targets as ambitious as Britain. 'In 15 years, our net emissions will be half what they were in 1990,' he said.

The Department of Energy last year admitted that environmental policies had already increased average costs for non-domestic users by 20 per cent. This will rise to 28 per cent by 2015 and 43 per cent by 2020. But those figures do not take into account environmental measures that are in the pipeline.

Business pays proportionately more for its electricity because it is subject to tax through the climate change levy.

Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, warned that the Government's estimates for the effect of their policies on domestic fuel bills were highly unrealistic and 'need to be taken with a bucket full of salt'.

He said the figures were unreliable as they made 'utterly implausible assumptions' about the benefits of energy efficiency measures such as lagging.


Official British Price Estimates Dubious: 'DECC Has Massaged Green Energy Costs'

Britain’s policies to curb emissions and spur investment into nuclear and wind to secure power supplies may raise electricity prices for factories by as much as 58 percent by 2030, according to a government study.

The U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change published today an initial estimate of the costs of its policies on so-called energy-intensive users such as steel factories, cement works and paper mills. The biggest rise would come a scenario whereby natural-gas prices fall, the analysis on the government website shows. Price rises would be curbed to as little as 7 percent should gas prices remain unchanged, according to the analysis.

Natural gas is used to produce about half Britain’s electricity, so its cost is used as a proxy for power prices. The government is overhauling the electricity market and studying measures such as long-term contracts to give price certainty and help attract funds for offshore wind turbines, nuclear reactors and carbon capture and storage projects. A tax on emissions from fossil fuels, under the so-called carbon floor, is planned from 2013 as well as programs to drive energy efficiency such as its Carbon Reduction Commitment.

“There are some wholly implausible assumptions about the pass-through of carbon and renewable subsidy costs,” Jeremy Nicholson, London-based director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, said by telephone. “The analysis confirms that significant compensation would be needed to offset the impact of these policies. Our suspicion is that DECC has massaged the figures to make the impacts look less severe.”

Large industrial users faced electricity price increases of 45 percent from 2007 to 2009, according to the analysis. Government policy is aimed at cutting power sector emissions and the U.K.’s dependence on fossil fuels, according to the report.



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


1 August, 2011

What's Really Killing Carbon Capture and Storage?

Paul Driessen

Carbon capture and storage could ensure abundant electricity from coal, while cutting the CO2 emissions “responsible for climate change.” Yet, barely two years after “a sense of determination and common cause” inspired the Obama Energy Department to launch CCS projects, industry is “pulling the plug.”

What could have gone wrong? Environmentalists had “heralded” the projects. “What’s killing carbon capture?” Bloomberg Businessweek wondered.

The economy is “weak,” its reporters suggested. US climate policy is “uncertain.” There is a “national retreat from the goal of reversing climate change,” largely because of energy industry lobbying against cap-and-trade legislation. The administration spent its political capital on Obamacare. Republicans took over the House. Utility regulators refuse to underwrite growing CCS costs with massive rate increases. A CCS storage site in Saskatchewan began bubbling up carbon dioxide.

All these factors played a role. But talk about ignoring inconvenient elephants. While his magazine staff scratched their heads, owner Michael Bloomberg was working to scuttle carbon capture and coal-fired power plants. His foundation gave Sierra Club $50 million to finance disinformation campaigns aimed at shutting down one-third of the nation’s coal-fired power plants by 2020.

That’s the same coal that generates 48-98% of the reliable, affordable electricity in 26 states. It enables US companies to compete internationally, keeps millions employed, produces billions in tax revenue, powers air conditioners that keep people comfortable and alive when outside temperatures hit 90-115, and allows even poor families to enjoy the best living standards in world history.

That’s the same billionaire Michael Bloomberg who, as mayor of New York City, wanted to install giant wind turbines on the city’s bridges and skyscrapers. This, he insisted, would get NYC off the blackout-prone Northeast power grid and reduce the threat of heat waves – like the ones back in 1976, 1954, 1936 and 1924, before climate change and heat waves stopped being natural and became “manmade.”

By financing Sierra Club’s anti-energy crusade, Hizzoner is making it infinitely harder for any company to justify investing another dime in CCS demonstration projects. The Department of Energy and Businessweek reporters may still support carbon capture. But Bloomberg, Sierra Club, NRDC and Lisa Jackson’s Environmental Protection Agency want it and coal-based electricity priced out of existence.

Frustrated that Congress refused to enact cap-tax-and-trade, President Obama unleashed EPA to promulgate thousands of pages of rules governing carbon dioxide, “toxic” pollutants that have already been reduced dramatically, “cross-state transport” of emissions, and other power plant operations. All tout health claims based on virtual reality computer models, cherry-picked research and illusory benefits. But the adverse health and economic impacts of the new regulations are significant, real … and ignored.

Management Information Services, Inc. calculates that the air toxics and cross-state rules alone will cost utilities upwards of $130 billion, to retrofit existing plants or demolish them and build replacements – plus some $30 billion a year for operations and maintenance. National Economic Research Associates says power companies will have to pay $184 billion through 2030, including $72 billion in immediate capital costs, to comply with the two regulations. The rules will send electricity prices skyrocketing 12-60% and cost six Midwestern manufacturing states a combined 3.5 million jobs and $42-82 billion in annual state GDP, says MISI.

Few companies can justify those costs for older power plants. No wonder they’ve lost interest in CCS experiments. Utilities will simply close dozens of generating units, representing tens of thousands of megawatts. Illinois alone will lose nearly 3,500 MW of reliable, affordable baseload electricity by 2014. The cross-state rule alone will prematurely shut down nearly 25% of America’s coal-based electricity generating capacity, says Texas Environmental Quality Commissioner Bryan Shaw. The United States could lose as much as 60,000 MW by 2017 – enough to power 60,000,000 homes and small businesses.

And all this is before considering the cost of removing plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide from power plant exhaust streams, under EPA “endangerment” rules. Once EPA implements those plans, utilities will have to spend billions more to design, build, install and operate CCS equipment, pipeline and storage facilities.

These “parasitic” systems produce no electricity. In the process of pulling CO2 out of the exhaust stream and sending it to underground reservoirs, they consume one-third or more of a power plant’s electricity output – at $60-85 per ton of CO2 captured – adding yet another 30-80% to family and business electricity rates. We will need far more power plants to generate the same net electricity.

If Americans need still more reasons for “retreating” on “climate change prevention,” consider this. There has been no measureable increase in average global temperatures since 1995. The Climategate emails proved that unscrupulous scientists were colluding with each other, vying to publish the most alarmist “findings,” and pressuring scientific journals not to publish articles by climate realists. IPCC headline-grabbing “climate disasters” turned out to be rank speculation, computer model hogwash or fraud.

Moreover, China, India and other countries are constantly building coal-fired power plants. Thus, even slashing US carbon dioxide emissions to zero will merely destroy American jobs, companies and living standards – making our current unemployment, debt and family misery indexes seem like paradise.

Businessweek barely touched on this. Nor did it ask Mr. Bloomberg, Sierra Club, Lisa Jackson or President Obama just how they intend to replace all this lost electricity. Their glib sound-bite answer is always “renewable energy,” especially wind. Just once, it would be nice if they offered some specifics.

* Replacing just one 600-MW coal-fired power plant with wind turbines would require a 50,000-acre wind farm, like the one at Fowler Ridge, Indiana, assuming it operates 24 hours a day, every day – which of course no wind farm ever will. And these guys are talking about replacing a lot of power plants.

* Providing “green” electricity to meet New York City’s needs would require blanketing the State of Connecticut with wind turbines, says Rochester U environmental science professor Jesse Ausubel.

* Replacing the third of US coal-fired generation that Bloomberg wants shut down would require over 50,000 monstrous offshore turbines, one every half-mile, in a five-mile-wide obstacle course along the entire Atlantic coastline, according to calculations by Power magazine editor-in-chief Robert Peltier.

All these wind turbines would need to be backed up 90-100% by (mostly) gas-fired generators that can surge almost instantaneously from “spinning reserve” to full power, whenever the turbines stop working – which they tend to do on the hottest days, when electricity demand is at its peak. That means we will need vast natural gas resources.

Fortunately, America has them, especially now that we know how to use horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to unlock our abundant conventional and shale gas deposits. Unfortunately, Bloomberg Obama & Comrades oppose onshore and offshore drilling and “fracking.” And few really suppose these energy “purists” will ever support all these land-hungry, scenery-scarring, raw material-intensive, bat and raptor-killing wind turbine installations.

Talk about cognitive dissonance. These guys need some serious psychological counseling. We seem to be governed by petulant ideologues who detest and obstruct every energy system that works – and support large-scale systems that don’t work only until someone actually proposes to install one. The problem is pervasive, growing and seemingly intractable. But the bottom line is simple.

If Bloomberg Obama & Comrades have their way, America faces a grim future: of rampant energy deprivation, unemployment, poverty, heatstroke, misery and death – at the hands of these ruling elites


Climate Change Alarmist Alarmed They're Wrong

For most of the last decade, alarmists have rung the global warming bell. Back in 2006, when Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, was released, it seemed folks were beginning to wake up to the alarm. Public concern regarding global warming peaked following the release of Gore’s movie and is now back down to pre-propaganda levels. Addressing the declining public alarm about global warming, Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, said, “The erosion in both public concern and public trust about global warming should be a clarion call for people and organizations trying to educate the public about this important issue.”

Ed, Al, et al, should be alarmed, as three different news items in one week add to the public’s growing skepticism about global warming.

Most notable is the announcement of an “ongoing internal investigation” into potential scientific misconduct and integrity issues of Charles Monnett—the Anchorage-based scientist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, whose 2004 observation of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the man-made global warming movement. Monnett’s paper “Observations of mortality associated with extended open-water swimming by polar bears in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea” was released in 2006. (Interestingly, Al Gore started his for-profit company, Generation Investment Management in 2004 and released his film in 2006.)

The scientist who reported on dying polar bears gave the global warming movement its mascot—even though he wasn’t studying polar bears. His study was on whales. He saw dead polar bears. While working on the whales, he made some observations based on anecdotal evidence—not science. Monnett’s report is filled with words like: speculate, suggest, may, presume, apparent, almost, and could. The basic conclusion found in his polar bear mortality paper is that the dead polar bears were the result of high waves during a storm. On the last page of the report, he states: “Although a number of published papers have discussed implications of climate change on polar bears, to date, mortality due to swimming has not been identified as an associated risk.” Despite the statement that the “poster-child” of global warming propaganda isn’t drowning due to climate change, and regardless of the fact that there have not been increasing reports of downing polar bears (other than those mistakenly killed by the researchers), alarmists embraced the polar bear as the icon—making it into the star of An Inconvenient Truth.

But now, the integrity of the author of this foundational work of the global warming movement is under investigation—bringing into question the integrity of the entire theory.

On July 28, the Globe and Mail, updated a report that indicates that melting ice—which is supposedly causing the polar-bear drownings—is not caused by global warming. Instead, Canadian scientists found that ice is melting more quickly than the predictions and it is melting due to varied salt levels in the older ice versus the younger ice. Simon Boxall of the Catlin Artic Survey explained that it is a more complicated process than simple warming. “Because fresh meltwater is colder than seawater, that means relatively warm water is being forced upwards. And that may be part of the reason that sea ice is melting so much faster than anyone thought it would.”

In the same week that the misconduct investigation was announced and the sea ice report was updated, The University of Alabama issued a press release heralding new findings from NASA’s Terra satellite. In short, as reported in Forbes, “The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.” Another assumption bites the dust. Unfortunately, billions of dollars of taxpayer money have already been spent in questionable projects resulting in a campaign to promote expensive ethanol, wind, and solar energy to fix a problem that doesn’t appear to exist.

Add these news items—all from just one week—to the climategate scandal, the overall lack of warming, and other predictions from the alarmists that have not been borne out, and one has to wonder how the alarmists can still believe. More and more, the American public is hitting the snooze button, and it is the alarmists who should be alarmed. It looks like they will have to find a new clarion call—a new way to spread fear, and a new way to restrict energy and control freedom.


As Germany Cools, Projections Of Warming Heat Up

The European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) has a story on the German Weather Service, and temperature trends for Germany, which are a good indicator for Central Europe.

Cooling in Germany has been accelerating

A few days ago the Deutscher Wetterdienst, DWD, (German Weather Service) in a press release warned that Germany’s temperature were likely to rise 2 to 4°C by the year 2100 and that action was necessary. Like the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) the DWD too has been transformed into a propaganda mouthpiece for Germany’s powerful government-driven global warming movement.

But there’s a small problem at the DWD. Like the outlier sea level projections made by the PIK, the temperature projections made by the DWD just don’t match observations. For example Germany’s annual temperature over the last 11 years has shown COOLING, and not warming, see chart above produced by EIKE.

This has led scientists at EIKE to comment as follows: "This casts the DWD’s credibility into question.”

Sure many warmists will point to the latest press release issued by the DWD, which claims that the first 6 months of 2011 in Germany have been the second warmest on record.

But if the 2nd half continues on the same path as the July trend, then the DWD, may soon start find itself comparing quarter years, or even months to milk out any warming news from its statistics.

And in the meantime, in the real world, Germans will have to wait until 2050 or even 2100 for any real warming. The DWD should take a close look at what happened to the Met Office in England back when it tried to get into the global warming gig and so began issuing stupid press releases filled with fantasies and not meteorology.


Wind energy is snake oil

In a simplistic way, wind energy sounds good. Unfortunately, wind energy makes the rest of the grid system's power plants less efficient. Wind power output is extremely volatile, and wind is least available when we need electricity the most. It doesn't fill shortages caused by demand fluctuations — it worsens them.

City driving — constant stop and go — makes our cars' fuel efficiency drop compared to highway driving. The same is true for our electricity production. The behavior of wind energy production make the “braking and accelerating” of natural gas and coal burning power plants more dramatic and more frequent and less efficient.

Numerous professionals in the electricity industry have demonstrated that wind energy saves little if any conventional fuel or associated emissions. The wind industry naturally disagrees. But the wind industry has yet to provide evidence anywhere, while industry professionals have published studies covering Colorado to Denmark and Germany, Italy and Spain.

I am among those who have concluded that wind energy cannot replace fuel-efficient, steady-running power plants. Nor can the wind provide streams of energy that fit our demand patterns.

Only paired with flexible natural gas generation can wind energy contribute to match demand. Unfortunately, that pairing requires much more than half of the power to come from the gas fired plants — and they must be run in stop-and-go mode to make wind fit grid demands. In Ohio, wind might provide a third of the paired plants' output at best. The two-thirds or more of the gas-wind hybrid energy comes from natural gas burning power plants, accelerating and decelerating constantly to make way for wind energy. This adds to the cost of wind and reduces any benefits.

Unfortunately, not unlike human health in the 18th century, our electricity system is not well understood by most, so the claims of wind energy's “miraculous properties” persist unabated. Snake oil, anyone?


Australia: Grazing and farming land taken over to offset carbon

FARMERS fear a new rush of environmental plantings for biodiversity and carbon offsets will accelerate the loss of land for food production.

In an emerging trend, carbon traders are starting to buy farms to generate carbon credits for sale under voluntary schemes or - assuming legislation clears the Senate - the federal government's Carbon Farming Initiative.

Storing carbon dioxide through reforestation and other techniques such as soil carbon opens up a potentially vast new market opportunity for rural Australia. The president of the NSW Farmers Federation, Fiona Simson, said while farmers supported the CFI, "carbon farming with a focus on forestry plantations is just another land-use conflict that's going to take land away from food production".

The first acquisition linked to the CFI occurred last week. The federal government and R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings combined to pay $13 million for Henbury Station in the Northern Territory outback, to be transformed into the world's largest carbon farm.

In NSW the value of land bought by carbon traders for carbon offsets in 2010-11 was tiny: the Herald has confirmed one sale last year, of a 1700-hectare sheep and grain farm, Lorraine at Tullamore, in the state's far west, to the stock exchange-listed CO2 Group and utility ACTEW Corporation.

The chief executive of CO2 Group, Andrew Grant, said the property was marginal farming land and had been planted with blue leaf mallee eucalypt, a species endemic to the region. Reforestation was a priority for combating dry land salinity and restoring catchment health.

Mr Grant said his company, which managed 16,000 hectares across three states - almost half the 40,000 hectares under carbon forestry nationally - did not set out to own land and only bought when it had offset contracts to honour. "We don't prospect, we don't land bank," he said.

Robert Gill, who sold Lorraine, said he was nearing retirement age and his son was entrenched in another career. He had his merino sheep and cereal farming operation on the market for a few years before getting an offer near market price from CO2 Group. "There were not too many buyers about. I felt if I let these people go I might not find another buyer for a while."

However, Mr Gill said the farm was still productive and he was sad to see it go under trees after spending his "whole lifetime cleaning it up". "I'm very sceptical about the whole thing, to be honest," he said.

Where mining projects threaten endangered species, governments can require mining companies to buy land with biodiversity value to offset any impact. These acquisitions, worth almost $33 million, were a significant portion of the Herald's review of land sales in 2010-11.

In February, the Rio Tinto subsidiary Coal & Allied paid $23.4 million for a 9956-hectare stretch of land between Merriwa and Cassilis in the Upper Hunter, including the St Antoine grazing property owned by the cattleman Tony Maurici's Castlebar Holdings. Coal & Allied has confirmed these acquisitions would not be mined but were bought as biodiversity offsets as a condition for expanding mining in the Hunter.

In a presentation to investors last week the company said it had spent $40 million this year on offset acquisitions linked to its proposed Mount Pleasant coalmine near Muswellbrook. The Swiss miner Xstrata has also joined in, paying more than $8.4 million through the property agent Brunskill Pty Ltd for a series of farms in the Muswellbrook area, totalling 4419 hectares.

This payment was omitted from the Herald's Saturday story which reviewed mining purchases across the state; its inclusion pushes mining purchases above $120 million.


Australia: New $800 'green tax' mooted on homes - you must pay before you can sell

As if houses were not dear enough already!

EMBATTLED homeowners could be slugged more than $800 to give their houses a compulsory "green rating" before they are sold or leased, under a new federal government scheme.

Mandatory "green ratings" for apartments and houses similar to those on new washing machines and fridges are to be introduced in the initiative to encourage more energy efficient homes.

The ratings are part of the requirement for each state to introduce legislation requiring homeowners to disclose their home's energy, greenhouse and water efficiency when they advertise it for sale or lease.

A national report has posed four different options for energy audits which in NSW would range in price from about $200 to $820.

Public consultations on compulsory testing will be held for the first time around the country starting in Sydney on Tuesday.

The most expensive option detailed in the report estimates a charge to an individual home owner of $774 for an assessor with an added $50 cost for the inconvenience of having to arrange to be present during the assessment.

The most intensive of the options, it involves a thermal building assessment which gauges a property's heating and cooling efficiency and other components.

But homeowners would not benefit from this option, which is estimated to cost homeowners a total of $1.9 billion, Real Estate Institute of NSW president Wayne Stewart said. "We agree there needs to be a change of thought and attitude towards energy efficiency," Mr Stewart said. "But the government needs to work with consumers to bring about change rather than slap them with what looks like being another tax of up to $800."

A less expensive option involves a simpler thermal assessment, involving a cost of $172.50 for an assessor and a $25 cost to a householder.

The third model would be an online version of the thermal performance assessment at a cost of $68 if done by the householder or $165 if done by an assessor with an associated $18 "householder waiting cost".

The fourth option is similar to that already adopted in Queensland whereby a homeowner fills out a checklist of building information.

This option is estimated to cost $41 if done by the property owner and $150 if done by an assessor.

Mandatory energy ratings were being introduced to establish a credible and uniform system, a spokesperson for Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency said.

Rating a property's green performance could also boost its value. "Assessing the energy and water efficiency characteristics of a home can help people chose a property that is potentially more comfortable and cheaper to run," the spokesperson said.



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


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds pass overhead!


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize.