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

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

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30 August, 2013

Climate Science Exploited for Political Agenda: Lindzen

Climatism or global warming alarmism is the most prominent recent example of science being coopted to serve a political agenda, writes Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the in the fall 2013 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. He compares it to past examples: Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union, and the eugenics movement.

Lindzen describes the Iron Triangle and the Iron Rice Bowl, in which ambiguous statements by scientists are translated into alarmist statements by media and advocacy groups, influencing politicians to feed more money to the acquiescent scientists.

In consequence, he writes, "A profound dumbing down of the discussion…interacts with the ascendancy of incompetents." Prizes and accolades are awarded for politically correct statements, even if they defy logic. "Unfortunately, this also often induces better scientists to join the pack in order to preserve their status," Lindzen adds.

Lindzen discusses key aspects of the global warming models, including their dependence on the "globally averaged mean temperature anomaly"—that is the average of the differences between the average temperature for the year at each weather station and the 1961-1990 average for that station. This metric is used to create an influential graph that resembles the daily chart of stock indices, but is of dubious significance. The change in the anomaly is tiny against the perspective of the temperature variations we experience daily, Lindzen demonstrates.

In normal science, models are judged by how well they agree with nature, Lindzen explains. In the climate "debate," however, the models are given a claim to validity independent of agreement with real observations.

The highly oversimplified terms of the discussion in the policy arena "largely exclude the most interesting examples of historical climate change. The heavy intellectual price of the politicization of science is rarely addressed," writes Lindzen.

Lindzen writes: "Global climate alarmism has been costly to society, and it has the potential to be vastly more costly. It has also been damaging to science, as scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions. How can one escape from the Iron Triangle when it produces flawed science that is immensely influential and is forcing catastrophic public policy?"

Escape from climate alarmism will be more difficult than from Lysenkoism, in Lindzen's view, because Global Warming has become a religion. It has a global constituency and has coopted almost all institutional science. Nevertheless, he believes "the cracks in the scientific claims for catastrophic warming are…becoming much harder for the supporters to defend."


Poland's shale gas hopes buoyed by promising test output

Poland, whose hopes for shale gas faded after three international firms quit after disappointing drilling results, has been looking for signs of bigger quantities of the unconventional gas, which could help it reduce its reliance on Russia.

Lane Energy started production testing at its well in the northern city of Lebork in July.

The daily amount of gas being produced there still does not qualify as commercial production, but is the largest obtained in any shale gas well so far in Europe, the newspaper said.

Lane Energy and ConocoPhillips were not immediately available for comment.

"This is very good news for Poland and European oil geology," Piotr Wozniak, deputy environment minister and Poland's chief geologist, was quoted as saying. He said the results should encourage other companies to speed up work on shale gas exploration.

Polish refiner PKN Orlen is expected to announce the results of production tests at its shale gas well in Syczyn in eastern Poland, which Wozniak has described as one of the most promising in the country.

Poland, which consumes 15 billion cubic metres of gas a year, mostly imported from Russia, has estimated its recoverable shale gas reserves at up to 768 billion cubic metres.

It has issued more than 100 shale gas exploration licences to local and international firms which have drilled 48 wells to date.

Some companies, however, have complained that the commercial output of shale gas is being delayed by red tape and difficult geology. This year, Marathon Oil and Talisman Energy followed Exxon Mobil in pulling out of Poland.


The dangerous greenies are in Brussels, not Balcombe

All media eyes were last week focused on that infantile little ruckus over fracking in the Sussex village of Balcombe. But virtually unnoticed recently was a very odd and much more significant event in the fracking drama, which shed further disturbing light on the curious workings of that system of government which now rules our lives much more than most people realise. At a meeting of the EU’s Council of Ministers in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, a special “informal” lunch was given for 28 environment ministers, including our own Owen Paterson, to discuss what should be the EU’s policy on fracking.

Seated near the Brussels environment commissioner at the head of the table was Jeremy Wates, from the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), who was allowed to listen to the discussion as ministers from each country put forward their country’s view on fracking. Some, including Britain and Poland, were in favour; rather more, including France, were strongly against; others waited to be persuaded.

Towards the end of the lunch, however, Mr Wates was invited to address them all with a vehement attack on fracking, trotting out all the familiar green scare stories about how it pollutes water supplies, triggers dangerous earthquakes, hastens disastrous global warming, and all the rest.

Who was this man who was allowed to make such a partisan contribution to a top-level policy discussion? Why was he treated so deferentially, with no one being permitted to point out that everything he said was just a load of piffle?

Mr Wates is an Irish former green activist, who has made his way up through a succession of well-paid jobs with international bodies such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, to become secretary-general of the EEB. This is a Brussels-based lobbying body, claiming to represent “140 environmental citizens’ organisations”, which is funded not just by other green activist groups such as Greenpeace and WWF, but also by many European governments, including our own.

Furthermore, its biggest source of income is the European Commission, which gives it around one million euros a year. So here was a fanatical green advocate, being paid by the Commission to lobby the Commission itself in favour of EU regulation so draconian that it might well rule out fracking in the EU. It is no accident that the EEB is closely linked in the “Spring Alliance” to other Commission-funded lobby groups, such as the European Trade Union Confederation, which openly promote a Left-wing agenda.

What makes the row over fracking so absurd is that it is being conducted by the greenies as if this is some highly dangerous new technology which has never been properly tested. The whole point about fracking is that it has already been demonstrated at thousands of sites across America to work perfectly safely, without harming the environment, and to such effect that it has more than halved US energy bills and is helping more than anything else to put the US economy back on the road to recovery.

That is why the greens so hate it, because it makes a nonsense of all their scare stories about fossil fuels becoming too expensive to use; it shows up more clearly than ever the ludicrous cost of their pitifully inadequate “renewables”; and it has even slashed US “carbon emissions”, for what that is worth, to their levels of 30 years ago.

So the green lobby is going into overdrive to ensure that Europe and Britain must at all costs be prevented from copying America’s miraculous success story. And by far their best hope of doing this is by persuading the EU to pass laws which would make fracking in Europe virtually impossible. Mr Wates and his allies know this, which is why last month he was given the chance to lobby those very politicians at the top whose support they need to get their way.

Compared with that, last week’s silly street theatre in Sussex was just an irrelevant little sideshow.


Regulatory Commissars: Big Corn

The Renewable Fuel Standard signed into law by President George. W. Bush has rightly been chastised by the oil industry, which requires refineries to add (or blend) massive quantities of biofuels into gasoline. The predictable results have been disastrous. Consider just a few of the consequences: The ethanol mandate means that nearly 50% of the country's corn harvest goes toward biofuels, which artificially drives up inflation in the food market. Additionally, a lackluster 5% of autos are under warranty for concentrations of ethanol higher than 10%, leaving "Big Oil" to buy ethanol it can't blend into gasoline just to meet EPA requirements. In short, the fantasies that ecofascists dreamed up while expanding the law over the years have devolved into failed expectations -- but at least it makes them feel good about "saving the planet."

Given the odious effects of the mandate, legislators on both sides of the aisle have taken steps toward repealing the law. And Big Ethanol isn't happy about the interest in shutting it down. Growth Energy, a corn ethanol group, is launching an advertising campaign set to air on major networks, blasting Big Oil. "While Big Oil may be one of the largest and well-funded industries on the planet," the group said in a statement, "they are not entitled to use their influence to control Congress to maintain unbridled control over the transportation fuels marketplace." Cute, considering that's exactly what these hypocrites have done to implement draconian biofuel mandates.

It's a stretch to expect the law's repeal, but that won't stop environmentalists from demonizing Big Oil. If it weren't for double standards...


Global warming skeptics fire back at Al Gore

Global warming skeptics are hitting back at former Vice President Al Gore, who earlier this week compared them to racists and supporters of slavery.

“Gore is still trying to demonize and smear skeptics as modern racists and generally evil people,” Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot, a global warming skeptic site, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The problem is that the science is revealing Gore to be on the wrong side of history.”

“Al Gore has shown once again why he is seldom let out of his box without adequate adult supervision,” said Myron Ebell, director of global warming and international environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “When he is losing the debate, Gore has always resorted to nasty name calling, so this is just the latest embarrassing instance.”

In an interview with the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, Gore equated his fight against global warming to the struggles against slavery, segregation and apartheid.

Thus disagreeing with Gore about environmental policy is similar to opposing civil rights, gay rights and the end of slavery.


Australian Carbon farm in trouble

The Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association wants Henbury Station in central Australia to resume operations as a cattle property and abandon plans for what was intended to be the world's largest and the nation's pioneering carbon credits farm.

The station, 230 kilometres south of Alice Springs is being put up for sale, a month after its owner, RM Williams Agricultural Holdings, was placed in administration.

The station was bought by the company for $13 million, with a $9 million contribution from the Federal Government, in 2011.

The 5,000 square kilometre property was destocked two years ago as part of the plan to create a conservation project to earn carbon credits as part of a Commonwealth plan to combat greenhouse gases and global warming..

The aim at the time was also to take a lead in establishing a business model for properties in remote areas to be used to earn carbon credits.

NT Cattlemen's Association executive director Luke Bowen says potential buyers should consider using the property to run cattle again.

"It is a high quality property that has been recognised as such for a number of years," he said.

"It is good to see that it is potentially available for somebody to come in and get it going again, and run it as a viable productive pastoral property in the central Australian region, with all the added economic benefits that that will bring with it."

Mr Bowen says the science that saw Henbury Station turned into a carbon farm was flawed.

"The methodology and the principles were based around a carbon methodology that had not been verified, that had not been tested or established and was a theoretical model," he said.

"We were concerned that this would create an artificial bubble in land values and see land go out of production."

The Federal Environment Department, handed over the $9 million to help purchase Henbury Station says it remains committed to a conservation outcome at the property.

A spokeswoman says the department wants to talk about plans to secure long-term conservation management of the land.

The original purchase of the property for use as a carbon farm drew criticism from both the cattle industry and Indigenous traditional owners.

Last year, the Central Land Council said it had been supporting local Aboriginal interests trying to buy the station since 1974.

Today, the Territory Government said the former owners of Henbury Station had never received approval to run the pastoral property as a carbon farming venture.

Primary Industry Minister Willem Westra van Holthe told the Legislative Assembly the project was illegal, because carbon farming is a non-pastoral use.

"It was unlawful because there was never a pastoral land permit issued," he said.

"In fact, there was never even an application lodged for a pastoral land permit and, even if there was, it's unsure whether it would have satisfied the requirements of the Native Title Act."




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


29 August, 2013

Another Paper Blames ENSO for the Warming Hiatus

Finding "natural" explanations for a cooling influence forces the question: Maybe there are natural explanations for all observed temperature variations. If oceans these days are absorbing heat as part of a cycle, that surely means that the warming of the 80s and 90s (so relied on by Warmists) was in large part due to ocean giving off heat. What the oceans giveth, the oceans taketh.

The recently published climate model-based paper Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling [Paywalled] by Yu Kosaka and Shang-Ping Xie has gained a lot of attention around the blogosphere. Like Meehl et al (2012) and Meehl et al (2013), Kosaka and Xie blame the warming stoppage on the recent domination of La Niña events. The last two sentences of Kosaka and Xie (2013) read:

Our results show that the current hiatus is part of natural climate variability, tied specifically to a La-Niña-like decadal cooling. Although similar decadal hiatus events may occur in the future, the multi-decadal warming trend is very likely to continue with greenhouse gas increase.

Anyone with a little common sense who’s reading the abstract and the hype around the blogosphere and the Meehl et al papers will logically now be asking: if La Niña events can stop global warming, then how much do El Niño events contribute? 50%? The climate science community is actually hurting itself when they fail to answer the obvious questions.

And what about the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO)? What happens to global surface temperatures when the AMO also peaks and no longer contributes to the warming?

The climate science community skirts the common-sense questions, so no one takes them seriously.



The coalition is heading for a bitter new row over green energy as senior Tories seek to unpick carbon targets which stand in the way of Britain building more than 40 gas-fired power stations.

Ministers struck an agreement in 2011 to reduce emissions by half by the mid-2020s, compared with 1990 levels, as part of Britain’s attempt to cut its share of global warming.

But George Osborne, chancellor, secured a potential opt-out if a December 2013 review by the Climate Change Committee, the statutory body which advises the government on emissions, proved that Britain was moving faster than the rest of the EU.

The Engineering Employers’ Federation has been urging the chancellor to kill off the carbon targets, saying the review will be a “real test” for the government.

“The other EU states haven’t stepped up to the mark and we believe that means the rip cord needs to be pulled on these targets,” said Gareth Stace, head of climate at the EEF. “If we go ahead we will be locked into tougher targets than the other members states.”

However, the Climate Change Committee wrote to the government in July, warning that the largely failed efforts to toughen EU-wide climate targets were not a reason for Britain to change its domestic goals.

The EEF accused the committee, which is chaired by Tory peer Lord Deben, of effectively “pre-empting” its own review, and predicted that the committee was on track for an “almighty battle” with the government.

The Green Alliance, an environmental think-tank, will this week urge the government to cancel the review to reassure nervous investors in the sector.

“Investors had planned to spend £180bn in the UK’s low carbon infrastructure, but they now wonder if their money is wanted here,” said Alastair Harper, spokesman for the Green Alliance. He said many were looking at the review “as the final test of whether the UK government is serious about attracting their investment”.

Mr Osborne privately hopes to use the results of the review to unpick the carbon budget, which he fears could undermine manufacturing and prevent the construction of a new fleet of gas-burning power stations.


DOT Plans to ‘Enhance the Quality of Life’ by Reducing ‘Car-Dependent’ Development

Creating "livable communities" is one of five objectives for the U.S. Department of Transportation, as it updates its 2014-2018 strategic plan.
The draft plan, released this week, notes that President Obama "has made place-based policy a key component of his domestic agenda." And as part of that agenda, DOT says it will "enhance quality of life in all communities" by spending taxpayer dollars on transportation projects that discourage "car-dependent, dispersed development."

"U.S. transportation investments over the last 50 years have often been poorly coordinated with other investments such as housing and commercial development," the plan says. "These development patterns have provided many American families of all income levels with unprecedented choices in where they can live, and the ability to own a single-family home. However, the reliance on car-dependent, dispersed development is not without costs."

DOT says those costs include long commutes and vehicle maintenance: The average American adult between the ages of 25 and 54 drives over 12,700 miles a year and the average American household spends $7,658 annually to buy, maintain, and operate personal automobiles.

"Alternatives to auto travel are lacking in many communities," DOT says, vowing to change that:

"We will enhance the economic and social well-being of all Americans by creating and maintaining a reliable, integrated, and accessible transportation network that enhances choices for transportation users, provides easy access to employment opportunities and other destinations, and promotes positive effects on the surrounding community."

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is inviting organizations and individuals to comment on the initial draft from now until September 6. "Your input will ensure that we consider the perspectives and ideas of all stakeholders as we draft the final version of the plan to be released in early 2014," he said.

"We encourage you to submit your ideas and suggestions early and often. We will review each idea and suggestion that is submitted and summarize how we used your feedback in the final version."

“Livable communities” is just one of DOT’s five objectives for 2014-2018: The others are transportation safety (the "top priority"), "good repair” (infrastructure maintenance), economic competitiveness (strategic investments to serve the traveling public and facilitate freight movement) and "environmental sustainability" (reducing greenhouse gas emissions).

Pedestrian and Bicyclists

DOT, under its "Safety" objective, says there are too many roads, especially in urban areas, that don’t provide adequate safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and disabled people.

It notes that pedestrian fatalities increased 3 percent and bicycle fatalities were up by 9 percent, respectively, between 2010 and 2011.

Given greater demand for pedestrian and bicycling options, "more attention needs to be placed on how pedestrian and bicycling options can be more effectively and safely integrated into existing transportation networks,” the strategic plan says.

DOT says “complete streets” -- roads that accommodate all users -- help reduce fatalities and injuries. These roadway designs include features such as sidewalks, raised medians, turn lane controls, better bus stop placement, better lighting, traffic calming measures, accessible sidewalks, curb cuts, accessible signage for sensory and cognitive disabilities, and other accommodation for travelers with disabilities.

Instituting policies that accommodate all roadway users has the “added benefit of making walking and biking more attractive options and of enhancing the aesthetic quality and commercial activity on local streets,” DOT says.

To reduce fatalities and injuries for pedestrians, bicyclists, and older drivers – an increasing population -- DOT says it will (among other things):

-- Establish a new clearinghouse of information on determining medical fitness to drive as a resource for state licensing agencies;

-- Encourage states to adopt policies and programs that improve pedestrian, and bicyclist safety;

-- Develop and promote training programs for motorists, children, pedestrians and bicyclists for use in schools and other venues;

-- Work to increase accessible sidewalks, curb cuts and signage, to increase safety for people with disabilities, older adults, novice drivers, and young children;

-- Distribute community-oriented material for people with disabilities, that offers technical guidance on improving pedestrian and bicycle safety;

-- Consider adopting vehicle standards to make vehicles less likely to harm the pedestrian and by providing driver warnings or automatic braking to prevent a pedestrian crash.


New federal rule allows economic costs to be hidden

By Rick Manning

The federal government is considering setting aside almost 14 million acres, a land mass larger than the combined states of New Hampshire and Vermont, as critical habitat for the northern spotted owl. Using a highly controversial method of determining economic costs of regulations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared that, “only a fraction of the overall proposed revised [land] designation will result in more than incremental, minor administrative costs.”

Environmental law firm, Marten Law, argues in a review of the new economic analysis approach that if the government, “were forced to do a full analysis, they would be forced to consider the economic impacts of the entire listing process, not just the additional impacts that occur from designating critical habitat.”

Now, due to a recent rule published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency will be able to make partial economic analysis the norm in determining the impact of designating land as critical habitat for threatened or endangered species.

Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee is concerned that the new rule will disregard the true impact of federal regulations stating in a release reacting to the rule, “Designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act creates massive financial burdens for private property owners and state and local governments. Friday’s rule allows the Agencies to avoid doing a full economic analysis of these financial burdens and allows them to hide the true costs of a species listing.”

The northern spotted owl is a real life example of the massive impact that the Endangered Species Act can have on communities and the people who live there.

Jim Geisinger, the head of the Northwest Forest Association recently explained the impact of the early 1990s Northern Spotted Owl decision to Oregon Public Television saying, “…our industry is not what it used to be. Hundreds of mills closed, and tens of thousands of people lost their jobs, and those jobs haven’t been replaced.”

Hardly a “minor impact” but under the new rule approved by the Obama Administration, impacts can be explained away, in order to justify a rule.

Ironically, the proposed expansion of the Northern Spotted Owl’s habitat is both harmful to the bird and unnecessary.

It is harmful to the bird because studies have shown that the Northern Spotted Owl actually does best in managed forests where timbering operations occur, rather than in pristine, uncut environments.

Instead, failure to allow the cutting of dead and dying trees in the bird’s habitat not only hurts its capacity to find food, it also subjects the entire forest to an increase risk of fire, as the uncut dead which serves as the fuel that makes forest fires burn hotter, spread faster and kill everything in its path.

In essence, the expansion of the northern spotted owl’s critical habitat by 14,000,000 acres or more than 21,000 square miles, will harm the bird, and destroy jobs in the effected area related to timber production, and the new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule will effectively allow the Agency to stick its fingers in its ears and yell na na na na na, I can’t hear you, to anyone who dares complain.

The people who live in the areas that are about to be blighted by a dramatic increase in declared northern spotted owl habitat know the economic destruction that awaits them. Unfortunately, their government has decided that it not only doesn’t care, but doesn’t even want to hear about it.

And the northern spotted owl is just one well known example where habitat expansion is pending with the future impact on private property rights certainly to be even more devastating.

As Senator Vitter says, “This rule change is another example of this Administration moving forward with a dangerous precedent to ignore economic impacts when implementing expensive rules and regulations. They are pulling wool over our eyes and hoping we won’t notice.”

Unfortunately, no one speaks for the destroyed dreams of those who once lived and thrived in the northwestern United States logging ghost towns which were victimized by the first spotted owl plan. Environmentalists on the other hand will gladly destroy the livelihoods of thousands of others in their ill-conceived plan to force an owl to thrive in a habitat that is not suited to.

It would be laughable if it weren’t so sad.


Russian officials board environmentalists' vessel

The environmental group Greenpeace says that Russian authorities have boarded their ship which is in the Arctic to protest against oil drilling.

The group is protesting offshore oil exploration conducted by state oil company Rosneft and ExxonMobil in the Russian section of the Arctic Ocean off western Siberia.

Greenpeace said in a statement on Monday that Coast Guard officials boarded the ship without permission after the group launched inflatable boats with banners reading "Save the Arctic" near an oil exploration vessel working for Rosneft.

Russia has denied permission for the Greenpeace ship to enter the Kara Sea, but the ship entered the waters on Saturday morning.

Campaigners have been warning of high risks of oil blowouts and spills in this pristine and hard-to-reach area.


Yes, We Can Drill Our Way Out of This Problem

Perhaps you read the USA Today editorial on August 19 that concludes with: “the most important gains could come from radical shifts that are as unanticipated as was North America's emergence as an oil and gas powerhouse.” It points out “that free enterprise has a way of solving problems that is beyond the capabilities of government.” And continues: “The surge in domestic oil and gas production—spurred on by such new techniques as hydraulic fracturing (or ‘fracking’) did not come about as the result of government energy polices, but largely in spite of them.”

Other oil producing countries are taking note.

Mexico has huge oil-and-gas reserves— estimated at 115bn barrels of oil equivalent, comparable to Kuwait’s—but lacks the technology to develop non-conventionals, such as shale gas and deep-sea crude. President Pena Nieto is looking to make reforms that would allow foreign companies to partner with the state-owned oil company, Pemex, to bring the wealth to the surface.

The Saudi Prince Alwaleed recently warned: “the kingdom's oil-dependent economy is increasingly vulnerable to rising U.S. energy production.” Alwaleed’s comments were penned before Mexico announced its intended energy reforms. The thought of Mexico’s resources flowing on to the global market has got to make the prince increasingly nervous.

The reality of North America becoming an “oil-and-gas powerhouse” threatens more than just OPEC nations. In response to the USA Today editorial, Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), wrote an “opposing view” proclaiming: “Increasing domestic oil and gas production is no panacea for our nation's energy needs or economy.”

Energy and the Economy

Apparently, she is not aware that regions with oil-and-gas development have some of the lowest unemployment in the country—states with resource extraction such as Texas, Montana, Oklahoma, and Wyoming all have unemployment rates below the national average and North Dakota has the lowest in the country at 3.9%. My home state of New Mexico shares the rich Permian Basin with Texas. There, they tell me: “Anyone who can pass a drug test can get a job.”

Due to the increasing domestic resource development, President Obama’s stated 2010 goal of doubling exports by 2015 has already been met—though not through his initiatives, and in fact, in spite of them. Alan Tonelson, an economist at the US Business and Industry Council, says: “When the president talks about trade, when he talks about creating middle class jobs, when he talks about turning the US economy into an economy that lasts, he usually talks about manufacturing, those are the classic American living wage jobs. There’s no chance that he’s been thinking mainly about petroleum.”

Rayola Dougher, a senior economic adviser at the American Petroleum Institute, sums up the economic impact of oil and gas on the economy: “We have been a real engine of growth at a time when other industries have been languishing.”

Gas Prices

Next, Beinecke states: “U.S. oil production may be up 44% since 2008, but so are prices. The costs of crude oil have risen 6% in that time.” While this claim appears to be accurate on the surface, it ignores the fact that the Federal Reserve has driven the value of the dollar down. In his Forbes article, “The rising price of the falling dollar,” contributor Charles Kadlec, explains: “The real price of the on-going debauchery of the dollar is measured by the loss of our prosperity and the debasement of our liberty.” Similarly, Paul Streitz, in American Thinker, draws the connection between our national debt and the price of oil: “excessive spending means monetizing our debt, which means printing money, which means foreign oil producers want more of it for the same barrel of oil.”


Of course, Beinecke resorts to the environmentalists’ standard claim: “The fracking that is driving our oil and gas surge has grown at breakneck speed.” She continues: “states have responded with weak rules and limited enforcement.” Environmental groups, like Beinecke’s NRDC, want federal government to add regulation on fracking—which will increase the cost and slow the growth of drilling.

Friday, August 23, was the deadline for public comment on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) draft rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. Oklahoma Attorney General Pruitt and attorneys general from four other states sent a letter to the BLM, objecting to the agency’s intent to duplicate the state’s long-standing regulation of hydraulic fracturing. “States have been regulating hydraulic fracturing for more than 40 years with great success. This proposed rule is just another layer of unnecessary regulation that will cause significant delays and hinder natural gas production,” General Pruitt said. “The Supreme Court has made it clear that regulation of water and land use is a state and local power, and no law gives an agency such as the BLM the authority to pre-empt state regulations.”

Environmentalists’ hyperbole about the use of hydraulic fracturing would lead the general public to believe that the practice is new. In fact it has been successfully used to extract oil and gas for more than 60 years—and, over the decades, it has been refined and made giant technological leaps. Attempts to link fracking to water contamination have repeatedly been disproven.

Climate Change

Then her “opposing view” takes the climate change tack: “more oil and gas production will only exacerbate climate change … Last year alone, Americans suffered $140 billion in crop losses, wildfires, storm damage and other impacts of extreme weather made worse by climate change.” Once again, baseless charges.

The $140 billion in crop losses pertains to the 2012 drought, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Drought Task Force, put together to examine whether or not “human-caused CO2-fueled global warming” was the cause, said, in a report, dated March 20, 2013: “natural variations in weather patterns caused this sudden ‘flash drought,’” and “The report rules out global ocean conditions as well as human-induced climate change, as major culprits.”

Additionally, as I addressed last month, Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., from the University of Colorado, at the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee hearing on climate, testified to the effect that Weather Related Disaster losses globally as a percentage of GDP had actually decreased by about 25% since 1990, while droughts have “for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U S over the last century.” Other figures of merit, hurricane frequency, intensity, damages, landfalls, and ‘accumulated tropical cyclone energy’ have shown no trends over long periods of record. Floods have not increased, flood losses have gone down significantly, while tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity, or normalized damage since 1950, and there is some evidence to suggest they have actually declined. Beinecke is either ignorant of the facts, or guilty of deliberately misstating information.

The wildfires Beinecke mentions are connected to the drought and add drama to her comments as we are currently fighting wildfires in 11 western states. However, the true blame falls squarely on the forest management plans as enacted by the US Forest Service, which has allowed the forests to be overgrown and unhealthy. Keeping the forest healthy through thinning costs about $600 per acre, but fighting a forest fire can cost nearly four times more.

CAFE Standards

One of her last assertions is: “Our new 54.5 mpg fuel standards will cut oil imports by one-third and save consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump.” The 54.5-mpg figure is a standard that Obama announced in 2009 and it applies to the fleet average a company must have. Because Americans continue to purchase more trucks and SUVs with much lower mpg, a company must produce cars like the Volt or the Leaf that are measured at 93 and 99 mpg equivalent. Overall the average might come out in the mandated range. BMW recently announced the introduction of its first electric car, the i3. They are moving into electric cars, not because of customer demand, but “to meet regulatory requirements.” The Wall Street Journal reports: “The car will earn emissions credits for BMW in markets such as California, reducing the likelihood that BMW will have to pay fines for failing to comply with carbon dioxide restrictions and giving BMW headroom under those rules to keep selling its more profitable internal combustion models.” While electric cars may slightly reduce gasoline use, they really still run on fossil fuels—namely coal.

I close my examination of Beinecke’s “view” with this: “True energy independence means reducing our reliance on oil and gas by investing in America’s abundant clean energy resources that can power our country and boost our economy without endangering our health and climate.” I believe that we all want to end US dependence on oil imports from countries that wish to destroy us. But nebulous “clean energy resources” will not do that. When environmentalists refer to “clean energy,” they are most often referring to wind and solar—which produce electricity, albeit ineffectively, inefficiently and uneconomically. Only a tiny fraction of electricity in the US is produced from oil. The oil we import goes toward the transportation fleet. Until there are quantum leaps in technology, there will never be a massive shift from petroleum-based vehicles to electric. So Beinecke’s dream of “clean energy resources” will not reduce our “reliance on oil and gas.”

The title of Beinecke’s USA Today post is: “More oil and gas ups our addiction.” In reality, the true addiction is the clean energy she touts. Alternative energies such as wind, solar and biofuels are addicted to government money and the junkies’ dealers are those with close ties to President Obama and other high ranking Democrats engaged in crony corruption.

Let’s give the Saudi prince something to really worry about. Let free enterprise solve problems that are beyond the capabilities of government. Let’s build the Keystone pipeline and work with Mexico to use techniques, perfected in America’s oil fields, to bring its wealth to the surface. North America can be an oil-and-gas powerhouse—but government energy polies have to change. Then prosperity and liberty can be restored.




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


28 August, 2013

As real temperatures subside, the IPCC heats up the fight

By Larry Bell

The New York Times feverishly reported on August 10 that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is about to issue another scary climate report. Dismissing the recent 17 years or so of flat global temperatures, the IPCC will assert that: “It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”

The draft report also says, “There is high confidence that this has warmed the ocean, melted snow and ice, raised global mean sea level, and changed some climate extremes in the second half of the 20th century.” And whereas the IPCC’s previous report modestly claimed a 90 percent chance that human activities were the cause, they’re now ratcheting up their confidence level to 95 percent.

Obviously then, they must have some very strong evidence to back this amplified bluster. Right? Well, then again, maybe not so much after all.

What Evidence Exists of Unnatural Recent Global Warming?

Cyclical, abrupt, and dramatic global and regional temperature fluctuations have occurred over millions of years. Many natural factors are known to contribute to these changes, although even the most sophisticated climate models and theories they are based on cannot predict the timing, scale (either up or down), or future impacts — much less the marginal contributions of various human influences.

While global warming has been trumpeted as an epic climate change crisis with human-produced CO2, a trace atmospheric “greenhouse gas” branded as a primary culprit and endangering “pollutant,” remember that throughout earlier periods of Earth’s history CO2 levels have been between 4 and 18 times higher than now, with temperature changes preceding, not following atmospheric CO2 changes.

Has there been “recent” warming? Yes, the global climate has definitely warmed since the Little Ice Age (about 1400-1700 AD), and it will likely continue to warm for another 200-300 years, in fits and starts, towards a maximum temperature roughly matching that of the Medieval Warm Period. That time followed a colder period before the founding of Rome between about 750 BC to 200 BC. By 150 BC the climate had warmed enough for the first grapes and olives to be cultivated in northern Italy. As recently as 1,000 years ago, Icelandic Vikings were raising cattle, sheep and goats in grasslands on Greenland’s southwestern coast.

Then, around 1200, temperatures began to drop, and Norse settlements were abandoned by about 1350. Atlantic pack ice began to grow around 1250, and shortened growing seasons and unreliable weather patterns, including torrential rains in Northern Europe, led to the “Great Famine” of 1315-1317.

Temperatures dropped dramatically again in the middle of the 16th century, and although there were notable year year-to-year fluctuations, the coldest regime since the last Ice Age (that so-called “Little Ice Age”) dominated the next150 years or more. Food shortages killed millions in Europe between 1690 and 1700, followed by more famines in 1725 and 1816. The end of this time witnessed brutal winter temperatures suffered by Washington’s troops at Valley Forge in 1777 and Napoleon’s bitterly cold retreat from Russia in 1812.

Although temperatures have been generally mild over the past 500 years, we should remember that significant fluctuations are normal. The past century alone witnessed two distinct periods of warming. The first occurred between 1900 and 1945, and the second, following a slight cool-down began quite abruptly in 1975. That second period rose at very modest rate, if at all, until 1998, and then stopped and began falling again after reaching a high of 1.16ºF above the average global mean temperature. There hasn’t been any warming for at least a decade and a half, and possibly, considerably longer.

It’s also worth remembering that about half of all estimated warming since 1900 occurred prior to the mid-1940s despite continuously rising CO2 levels. Also consider that, even today, about 97 percent of all current atmospheric CO2 derives from natural sources.

What Evidence Exists of Human CO2 Influences on Climate?

All IPCC climate models incorporate theory which predicts that “anthropogenic” (human-caused) global warming will be evident in an “amplification” of a surface warming trend that is revealed as an atmospheric “hot spot” in the tropical troposphere. Instead, both satellite data and independent balloon data show a near-zero trend from 1979 to 1997, followed by a well-known 1998 temperature “spike” which is universally attributed to a Super-El- Niño. This absence of an observed hot spot suggests that the land-surface temperature warming trend (1979-1997) is greatly overestimated, and should be close to zero in the Tropics.

So where does the evidence needed to support the IPCC’s 95 percent certainty claim come from? The true answer is that there simply isn’t any. None at all. There never was…only totally unproven theoretical climate models.

For a bit of political science history on this matter, it’s important to remember that such IPCC statements typically follow a series of drafts that are edited to become increasingly media-worthy. For example, the original text of an April 2000 Third Assessment Report (TAR) draft stated: “There has been a discernible human influence on global climate.” That was followed by an October version that concluded: “It is likely that increasing concentrations of anthropogenic greenhouse gases have contributed significantly to observed warming over the past 50 years.” Then in the final official summary, the language was toughened up even more: “Most of the observed warming over the past 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.”

When the UN Environment Programme’s spokesman, Tim Higham, was asked by New Scientist about the scientific background for this change, his answer was honest: “There was no new science, but the scientists wanted to present a clear and strong message to policymakers.”

Sometimes IPCC report statements directly contradict conclusions published by the same authors during the same time period. Regarding any “discernible human influence on global climate,” a 1996 IPCC report summary written by B.D. Santer, T.M.L Wigley, T.P. Barnett, and E. Anyamba states: “…there is evidence of an emerging pattern of climate response to forcings by greenhouse gases and sulphate aerosols…from geographical, seasonal and vertical patterns of temperature change…These results point towards human influence on climate.”

However, another 1996 publication, “The Holocene,” by T.P. Barnett, B.D. Santer, P.D. Jones, R.S. Bradley and K.R. Briffa, says: “Estimates of…natural variability are critical to the problem of detecting an anthropogenic [human] signal…We have estimated the spectrum…from paleo-temperature proxies and compared it with…general [climate] circulation models…none of the three estimates of the natural variability spectrum agree with each other…Until…resolved, it will be hard to say, with confidence, that an anthropogenic climate signal has or has not been detected.”

Although IPCC is broadly represented to the public as the top authority on climate matters, the organization doesn’t actually carry out any original climate research at all. Instead, it simply issues assessments based upon supposedly independent surveys of published research. However, some of the most influential conclusions summarized in its reports have neither been based upon truly independent research, nor properly vetted through accepted peer- review processes.

The IPCC asserted in its 2007 report that the Himalayan glaciers would likely melt by 2035 due to global warming, prompting great alarm across southern and eastern Asia, where glaciers feed major rivers. As it turned out, that prediction was traced to a speculative magazine article authored by an Indian glaciologist, Syed Hasnain, which had absolutely no supporting science behind it. Hasnain worked for a research company headed by the IPCC’s chairman, Rajendra Pachauri. IPCC’s report author, Marari Lai, later admitted to London’s Daily Mail, “We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policymakers and politicians and encourage them to take action.”

While it should be recognized that most of the many scientific reviewers are indeed dedicated and competent people who take their work very seriously, few of them have much if any influence over final conclusions that the public hears about. Instead, the huge compilations they prepare go through international bureaucratic reviews, where political appointees dissect them, line by line, to glean the best stuff that typically supports what IPCC wanted to say in the first place. These cherry-picked items are then assembled, condensed and highlighted in the Summaries for Policymakers which are calibrated to get prime-time and front page attention.

IPCC’s 1996 report used selective data, a doctored graph, and featured changes in text that were made after the reviewing scientists approved it and before it was printed. The many irregularities provoked Dr. Frederick Seitz, a world-famous physicist and former president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Physical Society, and Rockefeller University, to write ( in August 1996) in the Wall Street Journal: “I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer review process than events that led to this IPCC report.”

Several tens of thousands of scientists have lodged formal protests regarding unscientific IPCC practices. Some critics include former supporters. One of them is Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, a socialist founder of Germany’s environmental movement, who headed the renewable energy division of the country’s second largest utility company. His recent coauthored book titled, The Cold Sun: Why the Climate Disaster Won’t Happen, charges the IPCC with gross incompetence and dishonesty, most particularly regarding fear-mongering exaggeration of known climate influence of human CO2 emissions.

As IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer admitted in November 2010, “…one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth…”

What Evidence Exists of a Climate Problem At All?

Speaking at his State of the Union address, President Obama said: “We must do more to combat climate change…It’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and intense.”

But there’s a big disconnect from facts here. In reality, there has been no increase in the strength or frequency of landfall hurricanes in the world’s five main hurricane basins during the past 50-70 years; there has been no increase in the strength or frequency in tropical Atlantic hurricane development during the past 370 years; the U.S. is currently enjoying the longest period ever recorded without intense Category 3-5 hurricane landfall; there has been no trend since 1950 evidencing any increased frequency of strong (F3-F-5) U.S. tornadoes; there has been no increase in U.S. flood magnitudes over the past 85 years; and long-term sea level rise is not accelerating.

So let’s maybe take a look at the importance of that “alarming” 400 parts-per-million atmospheric CO2 concentration we keep hearing about. As Steven Goddard summarized some results in an August 10 article he posted on Real Science, we are currently witnessing:

* Coldest summer on record at the North Pole

* Highest August Arctic ice extent since 2006

* Record high August Antarctic ice extent

* No major hurricane strikes for eight years

* Slowest tornado season on record

* No global warming for 17 years

* Second slowest fire season on record

* Four of the five snowiest northern hemisphere winters have occurred since 2000

Regarding those pending IPCC predictions that sea levels will accelerate, don’t plan to sell your beach front property any time soon, at least not for that reason. William Happer, a Princeton physics professor who has researched ocean physics for the U.S. Air Force, notes that, “The sea level has been rising since 1800, at the end of the Little Ice Age.” Isn’t that to be expected? In fact even the IPCC admitted in its most recent report that “no long-term acceleration of sea level has been identified using 20th-century data alone.”

Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, the former chair of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden, has been studying sea level and its effects on coastal areas for more than 35 years. He observes that “…sea level was indeed rising from, let us say, 1850 to 1930-40. And that rise had a rate in the order of 1 millimeter per year.”

Morner is very critical of the IPCC and its headline-grabbing doomsday predictions. He scorns the IPCC’s claim to “know” the facts about sea level rise, noting that real scientists “are searching for the answer” by continuing to collect data “because we are field geologists; they are computer scientists. So all this talk that sea level is rising, this stems from the computer modeling, not from observations. The observations don’t find it!”

What Evidence Exists that Continued U.S. Funding for IPCC Propaganda Is Sane?

Following President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to double down on his frenetic “Green” war to prevent climate change, U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has introduced legislation to discontinue any more taxpayer green from being used to advance the UN’s economy-ravaging agendas. The proposed bill would prohibit future U.S. funding for the alarmist Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and also for the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a scam devoted to redistributing American wealth in penance for our unfair capitalist free market prosperity.

Congressman Luetkemeyer strongly objects to the UNFCC’s use of IPCC’s suggestions and faulty data to implement a job-killing agenda here in America. He argues: “The American people should not have to foot the bill for an international organization that is fraught with waste, engaged in dubious science, and is promoting an agenda that will destroy jobs and drive up the cost of energy in the United States. Unfortunately, the President appears to be ready to fund these groups, revive harmful policies like cap and trade, and further empower out of control federal regulators at a time when we should be doing everything possible to cut wasteful spending, reduce regulatory red tape, and promote economic growth.”

Under the Obama Administration, UNFCC and IPCC together have received a total average of $10.25 million annually, which will be upped to $13 million under a FY 13 budget request. The George W. Bush administration previously provided about $5.7 million each year. While those amounts may seem like a pittance in the realm of government spending largesse, it’s important to realize that the true costs of that folly amount to countless billions in disastrous policy and regulatory impacts. And that, dear readers, is exactly the UN’s intent.


Increasingly, green groups claim global warming risks are occuring *now*. This is wrong and weakens the argument

Bjorn Lomborg

The graph here shows that over the past eight years green groups in the US have moved from describing global warming as a future problem to one of *now*.

This makes psychological sense -- they try to increase the attention to a topic which has little traction in a world of austerity. Yet, it is mostly wrong, leads to bad policies and weakens the argument for global warming.

By focusing on the urgent *now*, they increase a sense of panic, but panic rarely leads to good policies. Moreover, the *now* is typically not justified. Most climate impacts will only be detectable many decades or even only in the second half of the century, and for very long they won't be the dominant driver of climate impacts. (See e.g. hurricanes, where even very concerned scientists tell us that increases "may not be detectable until the latter half of the century". See here)

As Andy Revkin (a nuanced New York Times environmental journalists) points out:

"According to the latest science, in most cases (outside of extreme heat waves) the connections between today’s extreme weather events and human-driven climate change range from weak (hurricanes) to nil (tornadoes) — and the dominant driver of losses in such events is fast-paced development or settlement in places with fundamental climatic or coastal vulnerability."

So “here and now” arguments take the policy fight on global warming into the terrain favored by those who recoil at environmental regulation or profit from fossil fuels — an arena where there’s lots of real scientific uncertainty. All they have to do is sprinkle just a little of that uncertainty dust and the public disengages. Job done."

SOURCE (Post of Aug. 25)

Warmists no longer bothered by fossil fuels (when it suits them)

Al Jazeera’s Climate Activist Fans Don’t Care About The Network’s Ties To Oil-Rich Qatar. The new network, financed by a country with the world’s highest per capita carbon emissions, is making climate change a priority — and activists are thrilled. “I think it’s wonderful,” says Mann.

When climatologist Heidi Cullen got a call from Al Jazeera America more than a month ago about a debut segment on climate change already in the works, she figured the fledgling cable news network was out to make a point.

“I got the sense that, as a brand new network, they wanted to distinguish themselves,” said Cullen, who appeared alongside two other climate scientists on the first episode of Inside Story, Al Jazeera America’s 5 p.m. newscast. The 30-minute program, which focused entirely on climate change Tuesday, equaled nearly half of the coverage devoted to climate change in all of last year on the three network nightly news broadcasts, according to a review by the liberal site Media Matters.

“When they reached out, it was early August,” Cullen said. “So this was on the books for a long time. The fact that they decided to do it on the first day was just drawing a line in the sand.”

But the new network, which launched Tuesday with a staff of 900 and 12 bureaus across the United States, is privately funded by the royal family of oil-rich Qatar, posing a potential sticking point for climate activists lauding the network’s coverage, and for the man who made the cable launch possible: one of the country’s leading voices on global warming, Al Gore, who sold Current TV, and its airwaves, to the Al Jazeera Media Network eight months ago.

Although Qatar has set a plan to shift to renewable sources of energy in the next decade — it aims to generate 20% of its energy from renewables, particularly solar power, by the year 2024 — the country is still emits the world’s most carbon dioxide per capita, and petroleum accounts for 70% of government revenues, according to OPEC.

Climate activists, though, don’t see a problem: Reporting on, or even talking about, climate change over Al Jazeera airwaves, they say, is an improvement from what viewers see on the networks or the three leading cable news channels — no matter the source of funding.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Michael Mann, a climatologist at Pennsylvania State University who was also a guest on the Inside Story climate panel. “What it says is that it shouldn’t be a matter of your politics or your monetary bottom line as to whether or not you believe in the science of climate change.”

“It shouldn’t matter whether or not you stand to profit from the continued sale of fossil fuels,” Mann said, when asked about issue of Qatari funding. “This is a network built on oil money from an oil-driven economy, but they don’t see the need to deny the reality of climate change.”

Mann noted that Alwaleed bin Talal, the owner of Kingdom Holding Company and a Saudi prince, is the second-largest shareholder of News Corp., the parent company of Fox News, which regularly features guests and analysts who question whether climate change is a man-made phenomenon.

“Sadly, they have taken a very different tack,” he said. “Other networks could take a lesson from [Al Jazeera America].”

Brad Johnson, campaign manager for Forecast the Facts, a climate accountability organization, acknowledged that Al Jazeera’s funding is “certainly an issue,” but argued that the United States “is also kind of a petro-state.”

“Qatar is an oil-rich state that’s trying to transition to a modern post-oil economy,” said Johnson, “and in theory we describe ourselves in those terms as well.”

When asked about the network’s funding in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Gore said, “I understand the criticism, of course, but Al Jazeera has long since established itself as a really high-quality news gathering network,” he said. “And by the way, their climate coverage is far more extensive and high-quality compared to any other network in the U.S.”


An idyll blighted by 18,000 solar panels: Seen from the sky, the reality of alternative energy

Row after row, this astonishing array of solar panels has completely engulfed an enormous 30-acre field in the heart of the countryside.

As this aerial photograph reveals, acres of beautiful Hampshire countryside have been blighted as a result, by 18,000 solar panels. The solar farm covers a staggering 30 acres of land creating a massive eyesore in the centre of an otherwise picturesque view.

The solar farm, Cadland Estate at Fawley in Hampshire, covers a staggering 30 acres of land creating a massive eyesore in the centre of an otherwise picturesque view

Photographer Tim Woodcock, 54, captured the image from a helicopter while flying more than 1,000ft above the solar array near Fawley.

The energy saving farm on the Cadland Estate uses photo-voltaic panels to produce five megawatts of power. It creates enough natural energy to supply 1,000 homes each day.

Solar farms like this one have sprung up in recent years as farmers collect up to £50,000 a year in green subsidies - this site is made up of 18,000 solar PV panels, mounted on nine kilometres of frames using 5,000 ground screws

‘Many of these alternative energy sources are manufactured abroad, in China, for example. ‘It is very easy to say that a system is ‘green’ when all the energy and environmental damage and cost is made elsewhere.’

He added: ‘Obviously there is a lot of interest in alternative forms of energy. But the question remains how many of these will actually provide a real alternative to fossil fuels - so far, very few. ‘No one seems to have the courage to tell the truth about energy alternatives.’

The solar panel farm, which is the size of 18 football pitches, is one of the largest of its kind in Britain and took just four weeks to construct. It is made of 18,000 solar PV panels, mounted on nine kilometres of frames using 5,000 ground screws.

Locals claim it is less of a blot on the landscape than wind farms, because the panels are completely surrounded by trees and greenery.

Energy efficiency solutions company Anesco designed and manages the farm on the land rented from the Cadland Estate.

The Estate is also used for farming wheat, maize and livestock. It is best known for supplying potato to leading food manufacturers such as Walkers crisps.

Energy generated by the solar PV system is fed back into the national grid under the Government’s Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme which makes payments for energy produced through renewable sources.

Dozens of large-scale solar farms like this have sprung up in recent years as farmers put up acres of them to rake in up to £50,000 a year in the green subsidies.

More than 100 new planning applications are currently in the system and work on a large-scale installation in Wiltshire began last month.

Another energy firm Kronos Solar has set out plans to build Britain’s largest solar farm, on agricultural land in Houghton, Hampshire.

Under the proposals, 225,456 panels would be laid out across an area the size of 100 football pitches. The scheme is intended to produce enough electricity for 31,500 people.

However, it will soon be far more difficult to set up a solar farm on greenfield land or areas of outstanding natural beauty it was revealed last month.

New planning guidance to be issued to local councils will state that ‘care should be taken to preserve heritage assets, including the impact of planning proposals on views important to their setting’.

This will not affect small scale solar installations which families can install on their roofs or farmhouses, or can be put up on industrial land.

Energy minister Greg Barker has insisted that although solar has a bright future in the UK it should not be in any place or at any price. He said last month: ‘I want UK solar targeted on industrial roofs, homes and on brownfield sites not on our beautiful countryside.’

Campaigners near solar farms in rural beauty spots say they have become a sea of silicon slabs, which are allowed by councils to meet their renewable energy targets.

People who set up their own solar panels benefit from the feed-in tariff. This has been slashed by around two-thirds over the past year after the Government set the level far too high.

However people who signed up in the early days in 2010-11 have their fee fixed for 25 years and continue to benefit.


New EPA Videos Suggest Only You Can Prevent Climate Change

In an attempt to instill a "climate change" mentality in Americans, the Environmental Protection Agency has just released a new series of short public service videos explaining how we can all do something to reduce our carbon footprint.

Most of those videos begin with a narration saying: "Our climate is changing. The choices we make affect the amount of greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere. Making a few changes around the (office/home/commute) can cut carbon emissions."

On the road, the EPA suggests biking, public transit, and carpooling as an alternative to driving. Go easy on the gas pedal, one of the videos suggests. Inflate your tires, remove unnecessary items from your vehicle to reduce its weight; get tuneups; and make fewer errand runs.

At the office, the EPA is telling Americans to shut off computers and electronics when they are not in use; turn off the lights; recycle; print on both sides of the paper; buy Energy Star copiers and appliances and products that use recycled materials.

At home, we should swap out light bulbs for energy-efficient alternatives; change air filters; lower the thermostat in winter and raise it in summer; recycle -- and "reduce your carbon impact to the environment."

The EPA says its latest video series "supports President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and highlights benefits of reducing energy consumption."


Smart meters: good idea or a lot of hot air?

If anyone needed convincing about the insecurity of Britain’s energy policy, then the news that some of our biggest wind farms were last week producing just enough power to boil a few hundred kettles should help.

It is the obvious flaw in the system: when the wind does not blow, the turbines either produce no electricity, or even become net consumers to keep themselves going. Supporters of the rush for renewables say that August is typically a month when winds are light – but no more so than June, July or September. They argue that most of the time, wind turbines produce clean energy – but the question for an advanced economy like ours is whether they produce anything like enough, especially in view of the subsidies they receive.

However, help is at hand. We are all going to be equipped with smart meters, so we will know how much energy we are using and can adjust accordingly. Advertisements to this effect from the big power suppliers are appearing everywhere. So, this must be a good idea, mustn’t it? Instead of trying to decipher the numbers on an ancient electricity or gas meter buried deep in the Stygian gloom of a broom cupboard, we will all have state-of-the-art digital display units telling us that someone has left the TV on, or that the daughter of the house is drying her hair upstairs.

The smart meter project will be one of the most extensive infrastructure programmes ever seen in the UK, with the aim (set by the EU) of installing them in 80 per cent of homes and small businesses – some 52 million buildings – by 2020. At one point, it was going to be compulsory to have one, but the Government thought this would be an intrusion too far. Still, with the suppliers pushing them like mad, most of us are going to get a smart meter whether we like it or not.

Earlier this month, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced the preferred bidders for this monumental task, which will involve the removal of millions of existing meters and their replacement with electronic devices able to communicate remotely with suppliers who can take readings at regular intervals. In theory, this should mean no more estimated readings that leave you £300 in credit with your gas company, or alternatively facing a higher-than-expected bill.

I can see the advantages of metering. Yet I have a sneaking suspicion that it is going to cost me more, not less.

True, at the moment, trying to work out the best-value energy suppliers is almost impossible. Our home is supplied by Marks & Spencer, for goodness sake – the result of an encounter in one of their food stores between my wife and a salesman promising all sorts of goodies, including discount vouchers that we only received after chasing them up. Looking at our bill now, it is no cheaper than when we were with British Gas.

So a smart meter seems like a good idea: customers can automatically receive favourable tariffs that reward them for using energy during off-peak periods, though I can’t see many doing the laundry at 3am.

Yet this programme is going to cost some £12 billion – and the bill is to be passed on to the consumer. So if we really are to be up on the deal, we must be about to get some pretty good bargains as a result. Indeed, DECC estimates it will deliver overall benefits of £18.8 billion, giving a net gain of almost £7 billion.

Still, a number of energy experts aren’t convinced. Alex Henney, who worked in the electricity industry for many years, tells me that when a group of consultants carried out a cost-benefit analysis in 2007, they calculated a net cost of more than £4 billion. He also insists that the system being introduced here will be twice as expensive as in Italy and Spain.

“We have devised the most complex roll-out in the world, relying on suppliers to provide the meters rather than the network company,” says Henney. “This increases the cost of capital and requires an additional large database, which will lead to errors and confusion as we switch suppliers.” He adds that people could be given live information on their energy use via the internet or smartphone apps much more cheaply.

Henney told a Commons energy committee inquiry that “the project is likely to be a shambles which will have negligible consumer benefit”. The MPs, however, concluded that we should indeed gain overall, although they conceded there may be resistance. Some people, for instance, object to the idea of having what amounts to a spy in the home, believing it could be used to find out about other activities. This seems excessively paranoid – but after the data-mining scandals of recent months, who knows?

Ostensibly, smart meters’ main purpose is to make us use less energy and contribute towards a low-carbon future, along with wind turbines and other renewables. Perhaps they will – but at a cost. Germany recently decided not to follow the EU’s 80 per cent target for smart meters because it would be too costly for consumers. That is something to bear in mind when you next hear a minister promising to help people who find it hard to pay their fuel bills.

There is one thing to remember, however: when the energy supplier comes knocking on the door to install your new smart meter, you can always say no thanks, and stick with the dumb one under the stairs. Whether anyone will ever come and read it for you is another matter.




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


27 August, 2013

A Tale of Two Climate Hockey Sticks

By S. Fred Singer

The false “hockey stick” graph with which (in 2001) the UN climate panel claimed that current surface temperatures are “unprecedented” in a millennium is at odds with hundreds of scientific papers and with their own previous position. There is nothing unusual about today’s temperatures; the world was warmer in the Middle Ages. However, the "hockey stick” graph showing a rapid increase in 20th century CO2 concentration is genuine.

The Third Assessment Report (2001) of the UN-sponsored IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) espouses a temperature history over the last thousand years that resembles a "hockey stick" (HS). The ‘shank’ is the smooth decline of temperature from 1000 to 1900AD, followed by an apparent sharp rise in the 20th century (forming the ‘blade’ of a hockey stick). IPCC-AR3 promoted this rise as definitive evidence of human influence on climate; emission of carbon dioxide was supposed to cause the 20th century warming. But this temperature history is fake; it is contradicted by much other evidence.

Top figure from IPCC-AR1 (1990) Bottom figure from IPCC-AR3 (2001)—does away with MWP and LIA

By “fake” I mean it is ‘not real.’ Please note that I do not use the term “faked.” I prefer to believe that Dr. Michael Mann, creator of the hockey stick, simply made several scientific errors when he derived this notorious graph of global surface temperature from his analysis of ‘proxy’ data (tree rings, corals, lake sediments, etc) of the past millennium. Canadian scientists Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, as well as statistics expert Edward Wegman (of George Mason University in Virginia), demonstrated that Mann’s data and statistical methods are both faulty; yet he has not withdrawn his HS paper—though Nature was compelled to publish a belated and inadequate Corrigendum by Mann. Quietly, however, he has co-published temperature graphs that show a distinct Medieval Warm Period (MWP) 1000 years ago and a Little Ice Age (LIA), mostly around 1400-1800 AD.

1000 years of atmospheric CO2 and isotopic composition at the South Pole

Note the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period in the CO2 record (top graph). There is a slight peaking (maximum delta C-13) in the isotopic composition at the Little Ice Age (bottom graph), where presumably CO2 absorption by ocean would be enhanced.

Carbon dioxide data, mainly from sampling Antarctic ice cores over the last thousand years, also show a shape that (superficially) resembles a hockey stick; but this one is real. Yet there is no relation between the two graphs—or between temperature and carbon dioxide—as the following discussion will show. I fear that my comparison of the two graphs may cause great unhappiness for extreme alarmists as well as for extreme skeptics of global warming.

The Temperature Record

If one looks at the best temperature data over the last thousand years, they overwhelmingly support the existence of an oscillation on a time scale of 1000-1500 years—with a temperature maximum, the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), followed by the well documented Little Ice Age (LIA). These temperature swings are missing from Mann’s HS graph—which the IPCC unwisely featured, six times, in its 3rd Assessment Report of 2001. It is telling that IPCC’s 4th Report of 2007 and the forthcoming 5th Report no longer display the hockey stick–curve of Michael Mann.

A more detailed examination of thermometer data of the 20th century shows a major warming between 1910 and 1940, a slight cooling between 1940 and 1975, and a disputed temperature history of the last two decades of the century. It is interesting and worth noting that Mann’s HS graph stops just before 1980—even though the use of proxy data would indicate an absence of warming from 1980 to 2000. The leaked ‘Climategate’ e-mails between IPCC scientists, including Mann himself, suggest that “hiding the decline” in tree-ring temperature reconstructions, which should have been showing the same warming as the thermometers, was the reason why Mann stopped his analysis in 1980—and why his post-1980 proxy temperatures have never been revealed.

(An email from Professor Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia to Mann and his co-authors said: “I’ve just completed Mike’s [Mann] Nature trick [sic] of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s [Briffa] to hide the decline.”)

The CO2 Record since 1000AD

Turning now to the CO2 data (assembled by Tom Quirk in Australia and kindly transmitted by Prof. Will Happer of Princeton Univ.): They show a remarkable hockey-stick shape—which, however, is real. The concentrations of atmospheric CO2 were preserved in air bubbles trapped in snow that turned into ice; the time record has been obtained from different samplings of Antarctic ice cores. It is supplemented and confirmed by a corresponding decrease in the isotope ratio of C-13/C-12. The sharp decrease of C-13 in the 20th century indicates that its source is most likely biogenic; fossil fuels from ancient plant material and biota would fit this specification.

1. A quick look at the CO2 curve shows a slight increase during the MWP and a slight decrease during the LIA. These excursions are readily interpreted as a (net) reduced uptake of CO2 when the ocean is warm and increased uptake when the ocean is cold. (We recall that roughly half of the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere during fossil-fuel burning and cement manufacture is absorbed into the ocean and that CO2 solubility depends inversely on ocean temperature—the well-known ‘champagne effect’.)

A more detailed interpretation of the CO2 curve leads to these additional conclusions:

2. Various skeptics have suggested that CO2 levels were higher during the 19th century than they are today. There is nothing wrong per se with these old measurements—though they were performed by old-fashioned chemical methods rather than current infrared techniques. It just means that the data obtained were contaminated and were not representative of global concentrations of free-atmosphere CO2. Antarctic is reasonably free of contamination.

3. It is often claimed by skeptics that the human contribution to atmospheric CO2 (from fossil-fuel burning) is tiny—less than a percent. The data clearly show that the contribution is 400 minus 280 parts per million (ppm)—roughly 30% of the current concentration.

4. Extreme skeptics have often claimed that George Callender, the British pioneer of the global-warming story during the early 20th century, was hiding some higher CO2 values from ice cores that approached present values. This does not seem to be the case.

5. From time to time, skeptics have claimed that the CO2 increase was mainly due to global warming, which caused the release of dissolved CO2 from the ocean surface into the atmosphere. (A recent adherent of this hypothesis is Prof. Murry Salby in Australia.) However, the evidence appears to go against such an inverted causal relation. While this process may have been true during the ice ages, the isotope evidence seems to indicate that the human contribution from fossil-fuel burning clearly dominates during the last 100 years.

6. Finally, note that the temperature ‘blade’ starts around 1910, while CO2 starts its sharp upward climb around 1780AD.


Upon reflection on these temperature and CO2 data of the last thousand years, I conclude that the evidence presented here will cause unhappiness for both extreme alarmists and extreme skeptics. Maybe that’s a good thing.

However, it still leaves open the question of climate sensitivity (CS), i.e., the actual influence of CO2 on global temperature. CS has been steadily decreasing, from 3°C (for CO2 doubling) in the initial IPCC report. I believe confidently that the real CS values may be much lower—although not quite zero. I base it on what Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, has delicately called the 17-year “pause” in global warming of the near-surface, and on the near-absence of tropical atmospheric warming, as seen by weather satellites since 1978.

The scientific puzzle is why IPCC climate models predict large values for CS while the observations show only small ones.


Climate Deception: How The “Hottest” Temperature Game Is Played To Offset Prediction Failures

Global temperature is not doing what the “official” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted. Proponents of the claim humans are the cause of warming and the cooperative media react by trying to deflect, divert and perpetuate fear. They exploit people’s lack of knowledge and understanding.

A January 2013 ABC News headline that said, “2012 Was 9th Warmest Year on Record, Says NASA” is a classic example of how the public are deliberately misled. It is deliberate because it distorts, is out of context, and exploits manipulation of statistics or as Disraeli summarized, “Lies, damn lies and statistics.”

The deception begins with the headline but is expanded in the article. The challenge is to know what is actually being said. Initially, you need a translator, but can develop sufficient propaganda detectors once the methods are identified. There are guidelines that work in most circumstances:

Don’t believe anything you read; Question everything; Be especially suspicious of numbers; Know the source and political bias; If you’re affected by the story get at least three other sources; Remember all government information and data is biased; Be especially wary of stories that cite authorities.

The opening paragraph to the ABC story says,

“The year 2012 was the ninth warmest globally since record keeping began in 1880, said climate scientists today from NASA. NOAA, crunching the numbers slightly differently, said 2012 was the tenth warmest year, and both agencies said a warming pattern has continued since the middle of the 20th century.”

The implied threat is the temperature continues its inexorable trend up. The record is 133 years long and with a general warming trend. When would you expect to find the warmest years? Figure 1 provides a hint.

Figure 1

Why are they drawing attention to this by focussing on the “ninth warmest”? Because for the last 15 years the trend has leveled and declined slightly in contradiction to their forecast. Figure 2 shows what is actually happening.

Figure 2

The IPCC claim with over 90 percent certainty that Figure 2 is not supposed to happen. Here is the actual data;

Figure 3

Notice how the shift caused a change in terminology to divert attention from the fact that CO2 was no longer causing increasing warming. CO2 levels continue to rise, but temperatures don’t follow. It completely contradicts their predictions, which is why they want to divert attention.

How meaningful is the temperature increase? What is the accuracy of the measure? IPCC says there was a “trend of 0.6 [0.4 to 0.8]°C (1901-2000)” , that is for most of the period in the news story. Notice the error range is ±0.2°C or ± 33%. It is a meaningless record.

The story cites NOAA and NASA in the standard appeal to authority. However, it’s offset by the observation that they are “crunching the numbers slightly differently” to explain why they disagree between 9th and 10th on the list. How can that be? Aren’t they using the same data? All agencies produce different average temperatures because they select different stations and “adjust” them differently. NASA GISS consistently produces the higher readings, and were most active politically when James Hansen was in charge. They both use the grossly inadequate surface station data.

Although the article limits its claim by acknowledging it is only the 9th warmest in the official record, most people believe it is the 9th warmest ever. It is a misconception deliberately created by political activists like Al Gore and not openly refuted by governments. It is like Gore’s claim that CO2 levels are the highest ever when they are actually the lowest in 300 million years.

So, how long and complete is the official record? A comprehensive study was produced by D’Aleo and Watts “Surface Temperature Records: Policy-Driven Deception?” detailing what was done. Two graphs from NASA GISS show the general pattern.

Figure 4 (Source NASA GISS)

There are fewer than 1000 stations with records of 100 years and most of them are severely compromised by growth of urban areas. Equally important, is the decline in the number of stations they consider suitable, especially after 1990. This pattern also partly explains why the current readings are high (Figure 5). Temperature increases as the number of stations used are reduced.

Number of stations plotted against temperature.

Figure 5 -- Number of stations plotted against temperature.

Although they condition the terminology “hottest” with “on record” most people assume it is “ever”. This implication was deliberate. The IPCC rewrote history by eliminating the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) that was warmer than today. Weather agencies, increased the slope of temperature by lowering the old record – New Zealand is a good example (Figure 6).

Figure 6

Global temperatures are not following “official” predictions, so those who used global warming for a political agenda try to defend the indefensible. This proves it is political because scientific method requires you admit your science is wrong, determine why, and if possible make adjustments.


Gov’t-Created Calendar for Teachers Includes 'National Pollution Prevention Week'

Sept. 17-23 is "National Pollution Prevention Week," and if you didn’t know that, it’s a good thing the government is here to remind you. The event appears on a teachers' calendar offered at, the U.S. government's official web portal for children.

The recommended activities for National Pollution Prevention Week include a few coloring books, which teach children, ages preschool-to-grade-three, to think like little environmental activists. "Sometimes pollution happens when oil tankers break up at sea," reads one of the pages in an "Auntie Pollution" coloring book offered at

Auntie Pollution (get it?) is a grandmotherly scold who approves of clean air and water and disapproves of sewage treatment plants and fossil fuels.

"Is the sewer plant in your city adequate?" reads the caption on another page that shows Auntie Pollution frowning at pollution from sewage leaks and smokestacks.

On another page, Auntie Pollution suggests that children should enjoy a day at the beach by picking up litter.

The website also offers an EPA coloring book for young children: "In lots of places, houses are crowded together," says one page. "There is still too much dirty air and water," reads another. And: "There is too much traffic." "And too much noise."

"But things are getting better," says a later page. "We can preserve our unspoiled land," says another. "And someday the earth will be a nicer place."


It's Not Gridlock That is Blocking a Carbon Tax, It's Science and Economics

This is an open letter to William D. Ruckelshaus, Lee M. Thomas, William K. Reilly and Christine Todd Whitman.

You, the former directors of the EPA who were appointed by Republican presidents, recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled, A Republican Case for Climate Action. In this opinion piece, the four of you write of your conviction that action can no longer be delayed on the climate, and that the only reason we don't have a chance to pass a carbon tax is because of partisan gridlock. With all due respect to your years of service to our nation, I wish to remind you all of one inconvenient truth: you are political appointees. You are experts in neither science nor economics - your only expertise is in the political arena.

Your opinions, therefore, are formed neither in a scientific nor an economic framework. Let me be blunt: not one of you has ever actually pursued any rigorous scientific or economic course of academic study. Your educational backgrounds are wholly unrelated to the relevant fields when discussing climate science and carbon taxing schemes.

In your NYT op-ed, you write,

"There is no longer any credible scientific debate about the basic facts: our world continues to warm, with the last decade the hottest in modern records, and the deep ocean warming faster than the earth’s atmosphere. Sea level is rising. Arctic Sea ice is melting years faster than projected.

The costs of inaction are undeniable. The lines of scientific evidence grow only stronger and more numerous. And the window of time remaining to act is growing smaller: delay could mean that warming becomes “locked in.”

A market-based approach, like a carbon tax, would be the best path to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but that is unachievable in the current political gridlock in Washington. Dealing with this political reality, President Obama’s June climate action plan lays out achievable actions that would deliver real progress. He will use his executive powers to require reductions in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the nation’s power plants and spur increased investment in clean energy technology, which is inarguably the path we must follow to ensure a strong economy along with a livable climate."

Given your lack of background in the rigors of scientific study, it is inconceivable that the four of you can claim any knowledge of what debate exists in the scientific community. There is strong evidence that the warming trend to which you refer either has stopped or was, at least in part, manufactured by prominent scientists who earn enormous federal grants to come up with data supporting the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

Your claims that sea levels are rising and Arctic sea ice is "melting years faster than projected" are so full of holes that it causes one to wonder if you've ever read a peer-reviewed scientific study. And calling a new tax on energy a "market-based approach" ignores the enormous effects on our economy such a scheme would cause.

Conservatives do not oppose carbon taxes because they are anti-science or do not care about the environment. Quite the contrary, in fact. Conservatives oppose carbon taxes for two very strong reasons that you would do well not to dismiss so blithely:

1. Any carbon tax would have a far-reaching and compounding negative impact on our economy, and is regressive in nature - carbon taxes disproportionately hurt the poor in a wide variety of ways; and
2. The science, despite what Al Gore may have told you, is far from conclusive. Consensus is irrelevant to the scientific process. The scientific process, when properly utilized, fits a theory to the facts as observed - NOT the other way around.

In closing, you all would do well to listen to all the voices in your party, as well as all the voices in the fields of science and economics, before casting judgment on Conservatives who oppose such an economically inhumane policy.


Al Gore’s mind

The Washington Post’s interview with Al Gore, Jr. provides a window into the mind and plans of the titular leader of the environmental movement in a way that is rare in the mainstream media.

Critics could question why interviewer Ezra Klein failed to ask the former Vice President obvious questions about the failure of the earth to warm for the past fifteen years as he and his cronies have predicted. Given that psychologists warn that directly attacking someone’s delusion can often result in dangerous results, it is possible that Klein’s reticence could be explained away.

More likely though is that Klein was either unaware or dismissive of the data that led even the climate experts brought to the U.S. Senate by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to testify about the ravages of global warming to remain silent when asked if they could defend President Obama’s claim that, “we also know that the climate is warming faster than anybody anticipated five or 10 years ago.”

But Gore was not confronted by this inconvenient truth by Klein, who instead let the Pied Piper of environmental destruction off the hook by not forcing him to deal with the record ice flows in Antarctica and the collapse of the scientific consensus built around Michael Mann’s failed hockey stick computer model that predicted rapidly increasing temperatures over the past decade.

Where the Klein interview is most instructive is that Gore hints at the international game plan for making Congress and the will of the American people irrelevant in stopping the environmental movement. Below is the direct question and response.

“Ezra Klein: But to play the pessimist again, wouldn’t carbon prices in other countries give us a competitive advantage the longer we resist them at home? It seems that if India is taxing fossil fuels and we’re not, that’s a slight edge for us. It’s easy to imagine it becoming a kind of protectionist, save-our-manufacturing-sector issue.

Al Gore: It’s certainly something that can’t be dismissed out of hand. But remember the World Trade Organization rules explicitly allow the recapture of carbon taxes at the border, much in the manner of a value-added tax. The U.S. is in danger if it did not change of being subjected to those recapture provisions.”

And that is the economic plan that environmentalists are setting up through world bodies like the WTO and the United Nations to overcome the U.S. sovereignty issue – force a carbon tax onto America by having world organizations impose one at the borders when our manufacturers export goods.

This international war to impose their vision on the world through international bodies that don’t have to worry about messy little things like the consent of the governed is at the heart of modern environmental policy.

Obama’s EPA is in the process of imposing environmental standards that threaten the stability of our nation’s electricity grid. Standards that never could pass Congress, but which have been deemed legal due to the open ended mandate provided the EPA in legislation like the Clean Air Act.

The Klein interview with Al Gore, Jr. reveals a smart dedicated man determined to save a planet that ten year climate data shows doesn’t need saving. A man determined to accomplish what he believes is his life mission, who truly believes that the end justifies the means. It reveals that Al Gore, Jr. is indeed a formidable person to America as we know it, and not just some corpulent, hypocritical buffoon as often portrayed by cartoonists.

At a time when America’s economic renaissance hinges upon the low cost North American energy sources of coal, natural gas and oil, pay attention to what Al Gore says, because he will lead the charge against this renewal and his movement is committed to ending our nation’s economic hegemony.


Up to our ears in ‘climate change’ snake oil

Al Gore and his traveling medicine show is back in town with his new, improved snake oil, guaranteed to grow hair, improve digestion, promote regularity and kill roaches, rats and bedbugs. Al and his wagon rumbled into town on the eve of “a major forthcoming report” from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is a panel of scientists affiliated with the United Nations. Their report is expected to buck up the spirits of the tycoons of the snake-oil industry.

A snake-oil salesman’s lot, like a policeman’s, is not a happy one. There’s always a skeptic or two (or three) standing at the back of the wagon, eager to scoff and jeer. The global-warming scam would have been right up Gilbert and Sullivan’s street. Would Al and the U.N. deceive us? No! Never! What! Never? Weeeell, hardly ever.

The New York Times, a faithful shill for Al’s snake-oil elixir, following the wagon from town to town, got an advance copy of the U.N. report and gives out with the “good” news: It’s a “near certainty” that humans are responsible for the rising temperatures of recent decades, and warns that by the end of the century all the little people — small children, midgets and others whose growth was stunted by drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes at an early age — will be up to their belly buttons in salt water. The seas will rise by more than three feet.

The inconvenient truth Al and the junk scientists have to deal with is that temperatures aren’t rising, but falling. In fact, since the early 1990s we’ve had global cooling. It got so embarrassing Al and the junk scientists started calling it “climate change.” Some days it rains, some days it doesn’t and some days it’s a little of both. That’s real change. The U.N. panel concedes that global warming has in fact given way to global cooling, but attributes this to “short-term factors.” The minions of the compliant media, ever eager to blow hard about the coming end of the world, when women and minorities will suffer most, will rattle and twitter about the U.N. climate report with their usual tingle and flutter.

President Obama tried the other day to elbow Al aside to lead with his assertion that hurricanes are getting worse and that only he has the power to put them in their place. Hurricanes are actually getting not worse, but fewer. Only three major hurricanes have made landfall so far in Mr. Obama’s presidency. Grover Cleveland, who was president between 1885 and 1889, entertained 26 major hurricanes during his presidency, and that was before global warning was invented.

We were scheduled to see an enormous melting of polar ice by now, but even the ice won’t co-operate. The U.S. Navy forecasts twice as much mid-September ice this year as it measured in 2012.

The only way to deal with the inconvenient truth is to bellow and bawl the convenient whopper louder than ever. In an interview this week with a blogger for The Washington Post, Ezra Klein greeted Al with a shower of sanitized softballs, and Al knocked some of them halfway back to the pitcher’s mound. Al is exhausted dealing with the skeptics, whom he calls “denialists,” as in denying the Holocaust. The denialists, he says, are “like a family with an alcoholic father who flies into a rage every time a subject is mentioned and so everybody avoids the elephant in the room to keep the peace.”

Al, who is a decent sort who tried to be a good ol’ boy when he went back home to visit the family tobacco farm, says the denialists remind him of racists, warmongers, homophobes and other congenital undesirables, but he thinks it won’t be long until they’re permanently silenced. “We’re winning the conversation,” he says.

On the contrary, what frustrates Al and the snake-oil industry is that the skeptics can no longer be shut out of the conversation. “We can expect the climate crisis industry to grow increasingly shrill, and increasingly hostile toward anyone who questions their authority,” Kenneth P. Green, a former member of the U.N. panel, predicted three years ago. Another former panelist, Dr. Kimimori Itoh, a Japanese physical chemist, calls the phenomenon “the worst scientific scandal in history. When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.”

That’s too bad, because when science and scientists one day discover a genuine crisis, nobody will listen. We’re up to our ears already in snake oil.




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


26 August, 2013

Monckton is getting to them

"Hockey stick" Mann has felt the need to shoot back at Viscount Monckton after Monckton's derisive comments on his work. But he manages to do so only by committing large sins of omission and commission. See below. Following is Lord Monckton's reply.

Most recently the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley of Edinburgh, Scotland, used offensive personal attacks and completely false statements in another attempt to defend Cuccinelli’s use of state funds to engage in a politically motivated attack on both me and Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia. Monckton failed to mention that his qualifications for speaking on climate science include claiming to be a member of the House of Lords despite their continued statements that he is not, and being banned for life from the United Nations climate process for impersonating a delegate from Myanmar during the last round of talks in Doha, Qatar.

Lord Monckton goes after the "hockey stick" work published more than a decade ago showing that recent warming is unusual over at least the past 1,000 years. Despite Monckton’s rambling attack, the hockey stick most certainly has not been disproved. The highest scientific body in the nation, the National Academy of Sciences, affirmed our research findings in an exhaustive independent review published in June 2006. Dozens of independent groups of scientists have independently reproduced and confirmed our findings, and more recent work by other groups summarized in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report shows that recent warmth is unusual over an even longer timeframe. There are in fact numerous independent lines of evidence that humans are warming the planet and changing our climate by burning coal and other fossil fuels. And despite Monckton’s and Battig’s claims that global warming stopped 16 years ago, in fact NASA found the warming continues unabated with the past decade the warmest on record.

In what is the most personally offensive part of Monckton’s letter, he says that references to climate "?‘deniers’ and ‘denialists’ would be illegal in Europe as being anti-Jewish, racialist hate-speech." This is particularly troubling to me both because I am Jewish and because it does not make any sense. No one is attempting to subpoena or prosecute climate change deniers. We are simply trying to make sure the public understands what the overwhelming majority of scientists believe is happening.

The reality and threat of human-caused climate change are clear. Those such as Cuccinelli, who would silence scientists, and those like Monckton who are misleading the public about this critical issue, are doing a grave injustice not just to us, but to our children and grandchildren who will inherit the legacy of the energy choices we are making today.

Unfortunately, those of us working hard to better understand the implications of climate change have to face these kind of attacks all too often. One has to wonder if Cuccinelli wants people like this coming to his defense. It is precisely these sorts of attacks by climate change deniers such as Battig that led me to write my recent book, "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars," where I discuss my experiences as a reluctant figure in the climate change debate, and what I’ve learned from them.

It is long past time to accept that climate change is real and it continues unabated, that the primary cause is fossil fuel burning, and that if we don’t do something to reduce carbon emissions we can expect far more dangerous and potentially irreversible impacts on us and our environment in the decades to come.


Global warming has stopped. Get over it

Viscount Monckton of Brenchley answers Mann's airy assertions with facts and quotes

The collapsed global warming scare certainly has some odd characters coming to its defense in this paper. Michael Mann (Aug. 25), whom the Attorney General of Virginia investigated under the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act 2000 after some statistical peculiarities in Mann’s failed attempt to abolish the medieval warm period, now bloops another blooper.

He tries to deny the embarrassing near-17-year pause in global warming because "NASA found the warming continues unabated, with the past decade the warmest on record". As an expert reviewer for the Fifth Assessment Report of the UN’s climate panel, let me correct his latest gaffe.

The SATELLITE temperature record shows a remarkably flat "trend". The minute trend that there is (-.02) shows cooling

The monthly near-surface temperature record from the RSS satellites (above) shows no warming trend for 16 years 8 months. But go back 20 years and some warming shows up. The temperature climbed from 1993-1996, then stopped.

So the latest decade is a bit warmer than those that went before, but there has still been no warming for almost 17 years. Even the climate-science chairman of the UN’s climate panel, the IPCC, admits that. Elementary, my dear Michael. Tut, tut! Statistics 101.

Mann says there is "evidence that humans are warming the planet". There can’t be. For 200 months there has been no warming at all. Get over it. Get a life.

Mann says his discredited attempt to rewrite medieval temperatures "has not been disproved". Well, here is what Professor Ross McKitrick, who exposed Mann’s statistical peculiarities in the learned journals, had to say about it:

"… The conclusions are unsupported by the data. At the political level the emerging debate is about whether the enormous international trust that has been placed in the IPCC was betrayed. The hockey stick story reveals that the IPCC allowed a deeply flawed study to dominate the Third Assessment Report, which suggests the possibility of bias in the Report-writing process. In view of the massive global influence of IPCC Reports, there is an urgent need to bias-proof future assessments …".

And here is the report of three Congressional statisticians in 2006:

"… we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent.

"Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.

"Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis."

Mann goes on to say, "Dozens of independent groups of scientists have independently reproduced and confirmed our findings …". His double use of "independent" was scarcely the mot juste. Here is what the three statisticians told Congress:

"In our further exploration of the social network of authorships in temperature reconstruction, we found that at least 43 authors have direct ties to Dr. Mann by virtue of co-authored papers with him.

"Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus ‘independent studies’ may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface."

Mann then complains at my pointing out that his earlier offensive references to climate "?‘deniers’ and ‘denialists’ would be illegal in Europe as being anti-Jewish, racialist hate-speech." He says he is Jewish. Then he should know better than to use such unscientific and (in Europe) illegal terms, calculated to imply Holocaust denial on the part of his opponents.

Mann says the House of Lords says I am not a member when I say I am. Sigh! Mann knows no more of British constitutional practice than he does of elementary statistics. Hansard records that the House has recognized my title to succeed my late beloved father, but does not record the House as saying I am not a member. Facts wrong again, Mike, baby. Try doing science, not invective.

Finally, Mann says I "impersonated a delegate from Myanmar" at a UN conference. Do I look Burmese? Do I sound Burmese? Did the chairman of the conference say he thought I was Burmese? No. He said he knew I was not from Burma. Facts wrong yet again, Mickey.

Meanwhile, the world continues to fail to warm as predicted. Not only Attorneys General but also taxpayers will soon, and rightly, be demanding their money back from the grasping profiteers of doom who so monstrously over-egged this particular pudding.

Via email

The wind farms that generate enough power to make a few cups of tea

Some of Britain’s biggest wind farms are at times producing only enough electricity to make a few cups of tea, according to official industry figures.

Data released by one of the largest green energy companies shows wind farms producing enough electricity only to boil two to three kettles at a time. At one stage last week, three big wind farms even took electricity out of the National Grid - to run basic power supplies on site - rather than actually supplying electricity to households.

The wind farms’ owner said that in still conditions electricty "import" can occur for a few hours until the wind picks up. Such a phenomenon is known in the industry as "parasitic consumption".

The data reveals just how much electricity is being generated by each wind farm at a given moment. It is published by RWE npower renewables, a subsidiary of a German energy company operating 27 wind farms across England, Scotland and Wales,

The figures show just how little electricity giant turbines produce at certain times bolstering claims by critics that wind turbines cannot be relied upon to provide a constant source of electricity.

The Telegraph examined a snapshot of RWE’s own figures on Thursday afternoon last week. One wind farm Trysglwyn, which is in Anglesey in Wales, was producing a total of 6 kilowatts (KW) - just enough to boil two kettles each with 3KW of power.

The wind farm has 14 turbines and a theoretical capacity of 5.6 megawatts (MW). In other words, the wind farm was producing just 0.001 per cent of its maximum capacity.

Little Cheyne Court wind farm, which consists of 26 turbines each of them 377ft high, was producing 129KW of electricity last Thursday afternoon. The wind farm, which was hugely controversial when it was built at a cost of £50 million on the site of Romney Marsh in Kent, is the largest in the south east of England. Its supply last Thursday was equivalent to the boiling of just 43 kettles - or 0.002 per cent of its maximum capacity of 59.8MW.

At the same time in the very north of Scotland, near Wick, Bilbster wind farm was producing 268KW of electricity, the equivalent of boiling 89 kettles. The wind farm consists of three turbines each 295ft high.

According to RWE’s own data, three wind farms on Thursday afternoon appeared to be taking electricity from the National Grid rather than supplying it. The eight turbines at Knabs Ridge, which is close to Harrogate in Yorkshire, used up 86KW of electricity while Lambrigg wind farm’s five turbines in Cumbria took 10KW from the grid. Llyn Alaw wind farm, which is in Anglesey, and consists of 34 turbines also produced a negative output, according to RWE’s own data, of minus 80KW.

RWE is thought to be the only one of the major electricity generating companies to publish such detailed, instantaneous information on the power supplied by its wind farms.

Opponents of wind turbines, who claim they are also costly to run and unsightly, say RWE’s figures show just how unreliable wind energy is.

While the snapshot analysed by the Telegraph shows how little electricity was produced by some wind farms on still, summer days, there have been other times in the past month when wind farm owners have been paid by the National Grid to shut down in order not to over load the electricity supply system.

Such payments - known as constraint payments - have reached £7.5 million for the first three weeks of August. In other words, claim critics, there are times when turbines produce too much electricity and moments when they do not produce enough.

The Government has been keen to promote wind energy in its attempt to meet a European Union-wide target of providing 15 per cent of energy needs from renewable energy by 2020. The Labour government introduced a consumer subsidy, added on to electricity bills, to encourage the construction of wind farms. That subsidy is predicted to rise to £6 billion by 2020.

John Constable, director of Renewable Energy Foundation, a think tank which has been critical of wind farms, said: "Professional analysts have long known that fluctuating wind turbine output is poorly correlated with demand, but RWE’s new website is a very valuable addition to the data available to the general public, and will encourage informed debate about the relative potential for different renewable technologies. "The truth will be painful for some, but the facts have to be faced sooner or later."

Dr Constable added: "The uncontrollably variable output of wind power already imposes significant grid and system management costs on the consumer, costs which are set to grow dramatically; we need to ask ourselves whether the EU renewables targets for 2020 are really affordable."

RWE said the company through wind farms and hydroelectric schemes had the capacity to produce enough renewable energy for 800,000 households. RWE npower renewables is the UK subsidiary of RWE Innogy and one of the UK’s leading renewable energy developers and operators.

A spokeswoman said: "Low wind speeds were the primary cause of the figures observed at the sites in question yesterday. For a few hours these sites had no generation or a very small amount of import.

"In very low wind conditions import can occur to power wind farm control systems and keep turbines ready to respond when the wind picks up. These are very small amounts of consumption. "August is generally a low wind month and also one of the lower months for consumption.

"Wind turbines generate clean energy in the region of 80-85% of the time from fuel delivered straight to the point of generation without the impacts from extraction, transportation or supply security challenges. As such wind energy is inherently efficient."

RenewableUK, the trade body representing the wind industry, said the UK possessed "the best wind resource in Europe". Maf Smith, its deputy chief executive, said: "You need to look at the year as a whole - the latest Government figures show that in 2012, more than 11 per cent of the UK’s electricity came from renewable sources, with wind providing the lion’s share. "We hit a new record in March when we generated enough electricity from wind at one point to power four out of 10 British homes.

"So while our critics may choose to pick out individual examples of periods when it was less windy, we prefer to look at the bigger picture as that’s far more representative overall."


Stop Foolish Ethanol Mandates

The problems continue at President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency. Under fire for their leadership using private email addresses to illegally conduct official business and enacting new regulations through coordinated lawsuit settlements with outside environmental groups, the EPA shows no sign of slowing down in Obama's second term.

Last month, in an attempt to deflect attention from scandals at the IRS, the NSA and the embassy in Benghazi, the Administration has turned its attention to the issue of climate change.

At the center of their new environmental policies is the EPA's Renewable Renewable Fuel Standards, which mandates the use of ethanol and biofuels in the production of gasoline. This a prime example of misguided government regulation, as it punishes companies to use a type of hybrid fuel - known as cellulosic biofuel - which does not yet exist on the commercial market. In addition, drives up prices at the gas station for consumers (10 cents/gallon in 2011), while simultaneously driving up cost of food.

Record-high corn prices have also led to increased pressure on other grains such as wheat and soy - both of which have jumped in prices and are found in animal feed and numerous food products. Experts at the agriculture investment house Rabobank estimate there will be a historic 14% jump in overall food prices in the next year. As our economy recovers, this is the last thing struggling families should have to endure.

In 2012, during the worst drought for farmers in 50 years, the RFS diverted more than 50% our nation's corn supply into ethanol production. As corn is part of many foods you and I enjoy every day, even many left-wing global hunger advocates are opposed to the use of corn in fuel. Destroying food to be used in inefficient forms of fuel is bad policy with serious repercussions.

In June 2012, three senators - John Barrasso (R - Wyoming), Mark Pryor (D - Arkansas), and Pat Toomey (R - Pennsylvania) launched a bipartisan effort to get rid of renewable fuel standards entirely. According to Sen. Barrasso, "The Renewable Fuel Standard is fundamentally broken and beyond repair. Instead of delivering meaningful environmental benefits, it's driven up food and fuel costs for American families. This flawed program will also inevitably lead to widespread lawsuits against American manufacturers. When Congress enacts bad policy, the right response is to scrap it and start over."

It is clear that these fuel standards aren't working for consumers or refiners. Policy makers should focus on building more oil refineries and approving things such as the Keystone XL pipeline to transport tar sands oil from Canada into our country. The Renewable Fuel Standard should be repealed.


Plain Dealer: Example of Worldwide Editorial Disgrace!

By Rich Kozlovich

On August 23, 2013 the Editorial Board of the Plain Dealer published an editorial titled, Time to stop dragging our feet on climate change and acknowledge the imperative of international cooperation, citing a United Nations report saying, "Climate change is real and it's our fault". I would like to know exactly what climate change are they talking about? Is "Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)" the change they are discussing? Clearly that can’t be the case because the Earth stopped warming over 15 years ago.

Perhaps they are unaware that atmospheric temperature readings never supported the AGW position from the beginning, and the ground readings were so corrupted by placement and equipment failures that those readings became scientifically worthless. That makes this statement - "human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010," by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meaningless.

Let’s take a look at this anyway. James Taylor recently published an article titled, More Global Warming Alarmist Games: Doctoring The Temperature Record where he asserts that that

"alarmists claim we should trust their computer models even after the models have been proven inaccurate when measured against real-world data. As shocking as that assertion is, it pales in comparison to another common tactic employed by global warming alarmists: doctoring the real-world temperature data."

So is this just a big mistake, or is it fraud? There are things that all scientists (no matter which side of this issue they are on) must absolutely know for sure, and one of those incontrovertible facts is:

"for more than 30 years now satellite data and surface station data have been available for analysis. Surprisingly, the scientists who oversee the collection of surface temperature data report more warming than the satellite data report. This tells us either that sources of artificial warming have not been properly filtered from the surface temperature data, or the warming of the past 33 years is not due to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide."

Taylor goes on to say:

"Climate scientist Roy Spencer, who oversees the NASA satellite instruments measuring global temperatures, reports that virtually all of the warming claimed by the overseers of U.S. surface temperature stations is the result of adjustments government-employed scientists make to the raw data. The objective, unaltered temperature readings show essentially no warming since 1973."
In short, all of the projected steep temperature increases have failed to occur!"

Then the PD goes on to state:

"denial about the human role in climate change has to end if the world hopes to keep major coastal cities such as New York and London above water." There have been articles that make truly alarming statements such as; "by 2100, scientists and computer models estimate that sea levels globally could rise as much as 3.3 feet," and this study predicts that the East Coast could see "8 to 11 inches more" than this, hence "putting one of the world’s most costly coasts in danger of flooding….".

I can understand how that would scare the average reader, but journalists are at the center of the infomation world; there is absolutely no excuse for them accepting this kind of scare mongering. It's all baloney!

All these numbers are made up based on computer modeling –Game Boy Science – and just as in programming a game they make adjustments that fit the scenario to which they subscribe. In some video game that's no big deal, but in science it's - garbage in, garbage out. In the real world of real observations, such as satellite measurements, no such rise is being detected at all. Jo Nova reports in an article titled, Man-made sea-level rises are due to global adjustments, saying:

"It’s well known and often quoted that sea levels have been rising by 2-3mm a year every year for the last 20 years. But it’s not well known that the original raw satellite data doesn’t show that at all.

"What astonished me was the sea levels first recorded by the Topex Poseidon satellite array showed virtually no rise at all from 1993-2001. Surely not, I thought. I asked sea-level expert Nils Axel-Morner, and he confirmed: "Yes, it is as bad as that." Now, given that Envisat (the European satellite) showed no rise from 2003-2011 (until it was adjusted) that means we have almost 20 years of raw satellite data showing very little rise.

We thought satellites would finally give us a definitive answer on sea levels. Instead, like the tide gauges, and every other tool available to mankind, apparently satellites systematically underestimate the rising trends. And despite the speed of light being quite quick and all, it can take years for the data to finally arrive. Sometimes 4 or 5 (or 10 years) after the measurement was made scientists "discover" that it was wrong.

Now of course, any one of these adjustments could be for very legitimate reasons and give us results closer to the truth. But the adjustments always bring data closer to the modeled trend. It’s decidedly non-random. Either there is a God who thinks teasing climate scientists is spiffy, or else there is something fishy going on, and some investigative journalists need to ask some investigative questions. Is that sea-level rise due to global warming or is it due to global adjustments?"

The PD editorial went on to claim:

"The Nobel Prize-winning group's fifth assessment on climate change declares that it is 95 percent certain that the burning of fossil fuels worldwide is making the planet warmer, melting ice caps at the poles and raising water levels throughout the world. (Its 2007 report made similar assertions with 90 percent certainty.) Avoiding that catastrophic scenario should be a top priority for all nations."

Baloney is now being followed by horsepucky!

That 95 percent certainty is based on what? Not on CO2 measurements surely; because the CO2 levels have risen dramatically over the last 15 years and the so-called warming trend ended over 15 years ago. That is one of the absolutes all these people must know. If that is the case we have to conclude CO2 has no bearing on global temperatures, and that rationale is in harmony with history and what we see going in reality.

I don’t think "New York, London, Shanghai, Venice and other cities" are going to have to worry about being "threatened by an almost two-foot deluge by 2100", and as for the world erring on the side of caution…that is a plea for acceptance of the Precautionary Principle, which is a plea to return to the primitive. It always sounds so reasonable, but it’s also irrational because we are totally incapable of correctly predicting the weather a week from now, let alone predicting what climate changes may or may not occur in ten, fifty or one hundered years from now.

Admittedly, weather isn’t climate; but since climate is far more complex than mere weather we need to get over this idea that we're going to predict it with computer modeling - or crystal ball gazing - nor do have the ability to control it. The natural forces that control the Earth’s weather patterns and climate are powerful and unpredictable. Most importantly; our ability to alter either may make for a great science fiction story; but make no mistake about’s still fiction.

The PD Editorial Staff concluded that if we didn’t accept the conclusions of the United Nations IPCC disaster was in the making, and "That would be a worldwide disgrace."

What is really a disgrace is the Plain Dealer’s quality of journalism. Journalism of this order may create bigger problems for the PD than merely cutting down on how many days they publish. Their continued existence as a publishing entity may become their next big concern; and if this is the best they have to should be!




In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG comments on the campaign launch of the Green Party.

Grass versus Kangaroos

Kangaroos lost. It's not only people that Greenies don't like

Animal welfare activists are using the federal election to punish the ACT Greens for last month's kangaroo cull.

The Animal Justice Party - which secured the ideal "A" spot on the ACT Senate ballot paper - has placed the Greens last on its preference list.

ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, who is the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, oversaw the shooting deaths of about 1450 kangaroos last month to protect rare grasslands from overgrazing.

The Greens' lead Senate candidate, Simon Sheikh, said on Sunday the Animal Justice Party's "silly decision" was disappointing. "Many of the party's supporters have found out about this and told me they are deeply disappointed."

Yet the fledgling party's national campaign director, Willow Sloane, said the Greens had betrayed voters and must be sent a strong message.

"Mr Rattenbury signed off on the murder of up to 1600 kangaroos, despite extremely credible scientific evidence showing that a no-kill alternative was [preferable] and also far cheaper for taxpayers," she said.

Her party was right to be "totally uncompromising", she said. "Until now, people concerned by the treatment of animals usually voted for the Greens," she said. "They were probably just as shocked as us by what we saw last month: their blatant disregard, their lack of compassion and their lack of ethics."

Mr Sheikh said Canberrans should "reject the preferences that parties tell them" and decide for themselves whom to preference.

He was proud of his record on animal rights in his former role as national director of GetUp! - which campaigned to ban live exports. "I worked alongside the leaders of the animal rights movement in Australia and I'm convinced voters will realise the Greens are the party best placed to champion these issues," Mr Sheikh said.

After last month's cull, Mr Rattenbury said he wanted to explore alternatives in future, such as tranquilising and moving kangaroos to other parts of the ACT.

Yet Animal Justice Party ACT candidate Marcus Fillinger, an air force marksman who also runs an animal shelter, dismissed the minister's change of heart as a late attempt to win preferences.

"[The Greens] wanted to talk preferences while kangaroos were getting their heads blown off," Mr Fillinger said. "It's a dirty, dirty game. "When Mr Rattenbury is rubber-stamping a permit to kill, I take it personally."

In Senate elections, most voters - about three in four in the ACT - take the simpler option of voting "above the line". The party that wins an above-the-line vote gets to decide how these voters' preferences flow.

When choosing which of the larger parties to favour, the Animal Justice Party settled on Labor, the Liberals and then the Greens. The Bullet Train for Australia Party opted for the Greens, Labor then the Liberals.

However, the Stable Population Party split its vote three ways, giving the three larger parties an equal share of preferences.


Fishermen slam radical catch limit plan in NSW

A review of recreational fishing rules in NSW, which includes recommendations to halve the allowable daily catch for many popular south coast species, has been widely condemned by angling groups as lazy, poorly timed and lacking in science and logic.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries has received more than 3500 submissions on the discussion paper which recommends a 50 per cent reduction in fishing bag limits for species such as snapper, flathead, tailor, trevally, luderick and bream. The review also recommends a combined total daily catch limit of 20 or 30 saltwater finfish.

President of the Canberra Fisherman's Club, Glen Malam, said the recommendations had no conservation basis and the review was poorly timed ahead of a major survey of recreational anglers due next year.

"Our main view is that there is absolutely no science behind it – there is really no logic behind it." "For some of these species there really isn't any logical reason [to reduce bag limits].

Mr Malam said the recommendations might achieve the [department's] aim of reducing the complexity of fishing rules for different species, but that was no basis for the intelligent management of a fishery.

He said if the department was serious about conservation and managing fish stocks for the future it should examine bag limits on larger fish.

"You can wipe out a couple of hundred small fish that are undersize and it doesn't have much impact. "Take out two or three really big fish and that could mean several thousand fish won't be there next year."

President of the Australian National Sportfishing Association (ANSA) NSW branch, Stan Konstantaras, described the review process as "lazy" and lacking any solid science. "The first question you have to ask is 'are recreation fishing stocks in danger?' That question hasn't been answered ever," he said.

Mr Konstantaras said the review ignored community concerns about commercial fishing activities such as the netting of estuaries.

"Instead it has just proposed a broad-brush 50 per cent reduction in recreational fishing bag limits." "They have taken the easy option. It's no different to the debate we had around marine parks. And the sanctuary zones – there was no science there either."

Mr Konstantaras said he wouldn't be against changes if there was evidence to suggest they were necessary.

"If our bream are in danger or under threat from recreational fishing activity then tell us why and tell us what we need to do," he said. "We are sustainable anglers and if we need to change our activities and curtail what we take then so be it. "But as far as we know our fish stocks are healthy and there is not any recreational fishing species under threat."

The review recommends even tougher bag limits for some deep-water species. A reduction of 60 per cent (five to two) in the daily catch limit is proposed for blue-eye trevalla, banded rockcod, hapuka and gemfish.

Mr Malam said anglers spent hundreds of dollars travelling well out to sea to chase these species.

"To spend an hour travelling out to sea to catch two fish in 10 minutes then turn around and come back – it's just silly really."

The office of NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson declined a request to speak to the minister about criticisms of the review. Instead, Fairfax Media was referred to the department's manager of recreational fisheries, Bryan van der Walt.

"We've developed the discussion paper in light of a lot of issues," Mr van der Walt said. "The recreational sector in NSW is a large sector – there are one million fishers in NSW – so we do these reviews periodically – the last one was in 2007. Between reviews we get a lot of representations from the community about various things.

"One of those things is the potential reduction in bag limits which provide for greater conservation of our fish stocks but also a fairer sharing of the catch between fishers."

He said the department used all of the scientific information available to it. "We try and undertake assessments of around 100 different species every year. Our scientists undertake these assessments with the information that is available to us and we assess the status of those stocks. For most of the stocks we do have information, but for some species, there certainly are some information gaps."


More traitors to conservative voters

It was Oakeshott and Windsor last time. This time it is Palmer and Katter. Greens to get crucial Senate preferences from independent conservative candidates. You have to understand the Australian electoral system to understand what that is all about, however.

Last week more than 40 parties lodged their Senate "group voting tickets" with the Australian Electoral Commission. Like native bird populations during a drought, these parties disappear in between elections only to magically appear at an election to funnel votes to the party lucky enough to benefit from back-room preference deals.

Now, if you would please tell me where your Senate above-the-line preferences go, I will be far more comfortable. But, be honest - you haven't a clue.

Senate ballot papers are more than a metre long in some states. A record number of voters are set to put their vote "above the line", and then they won't have preferences; other parties will determine them for them.

This is where the fun starts. Let's start with Clive Palmer. Clive has billions of dollars worth of coal assets and a nickel refinery near Townsville. It is perfectly logical then that he has preferenced the Greens; a party that wants to phase out coalmining and shut down Clive's nickel refinery.

Indeed, Clive's preferences are a wild ride. In Queensland, if you vote for Clive Palmer, your votes go to Family First, then to the Socialists, then to the Greens, Fishing and Lifestyle, Katter, the LNP, One Nation, Democrats and finally to the Australian Christians, presumably to ask forgiveness.

Who knew Clive had such a fondness for unreconstructed socialists? They are his second preference. He wants to be PM; perhaps he will be the Hugo Chavez of the South Seas. It is not just Queensland though. Clive is preferencing the Greens ahead of the major parties, and ahead of many minor parties, in all states. What a paradox? Clive's entry may protect the balance of power of the Greens, perhaps one billionaire the Greens will learn to love.

The Katter party, which ostensibly is opposed to everything Green, is preferencing the Greens ahead of the Liberals in the ACT, and ahead of Nick Xenophon in South Australia. Bob Katter may be instrumental in helping the Greens keep the balance of power by helping a Green senator to be elected in the ACT.

Bob has also done a deal with the Labor Party in Queensland. Bob represents a conservative electorate where more than 60 per cent of voters preferred the LNP to Labor at the last election. Bob has been preparing the ground. He needs Labor's preferences, and he needs the money of the trade unions. He has been voting accordingly.

This year Bob voted more with Labor in Parliament than with the Coalition. He supported right of union entry laws and the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, and opposed attempts to impose the same fines and penalties on union officials that are imposed on company directors who do the wrong thing. He failed to turn up to a vote of no confidence in the government.

Bob is now a member of the Green-Labor-Independent government, and Clive has lodged his application. The rainbow coalition continues through the back-room deals of preferences, against the interests of the people they represent.

Haven't we had enough of this? The past three years show what a disaster it can be when minor parties and independents run things. Minority government is an experiment that has failed, but it will continue in a different form if people go shopping in the Senate. And, the Senate ballot paper does look like a shopping list. People like to go shopping. They like fishing, so they vote for the fishing party. Their garden is green, and they like their garden, so they vote Green.

The problem is that once you number "1" above the line, what happens next remains a mystery to most. That vote for Clive Palmer may elect a Green and a vote for Bob Katter may elect Labor.

This is not democracy, it is the selection of a parliament by deals, not by votes.

Don Chipp once said the Senate was there to "keep the bastards honest". I think it is a little simpler this time; we just need to know which bastard their bastard is passing your vote to.




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


24 August, 2013

Huge and unexpected carbon sink found in the Atlantic

Another big hole in the models -- it should reduce CO2 buildup. Any guesses about whether this new info will be incorporated into the Warmist predictions?

Previously, oceanographers thought the Atlantic Ocean seafloor didn’t spit out as much iron as other regions. However, a recently discovered plume of iron billowing from the depth of the Atlantic Ocean suggests the seafloor may be pumping iron like a young Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The oceanic iron cloud spreads for more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) across the Atlantic from west of Angola, Africa, to northeast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The iron-rich waters flow 1,500 to 3,500 meters (4,921 – 11,482 feet) beneath the surface of the ocean. The complete extent and shape of the iron plume remains to be discovered.

"We had never seen anything like it," said Mak Saito, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute scientist and lead author of the study, in a press release. "We were sort of shocked—there’s this huge bull’s-eye right in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. We didn’t quite know what to do with it, because it went contrary to a lot of our expectations."

"This study and other studies like it are going to force the scientific community to reevaluate how much iron is really being contributed by hydrothermal vents and to increase those estimates, and that has implications for not only iron geochemistry but a number of other disciplines as well," said Saito. [I wonder which?]

The Atlantic Ocean iron plume may provide a smorgasbord for oceanic phytoplankton, the tiny, plant-like organisms that form the base of many marine food webs.

Those phytoplankton provide food for fish and whales. The plankton also suck in large amounts of carbon dioxide. When the plankton die they can carry that carbon with them to bottom of the ocean.


Deficiencies of Modeled Temperature Extremes

Discussing: Morak, S., Hegerl, G.C. and Christidis, N. 2013. Detectable changes in the frequency of temperature extremes. Journal of Climate 26: 1561-1574.


The authors report that studies of observational temperature records over the last 50-100 years have found evidence for increases in both mean and extreme (maximum and minimum) near-surface air temperatures; but they note that the increase in maximum temperature has been of smaller magnitude than the increase in minimum temperature, which state of affairs has led to a decrease in the diurnal temperature range.

What was done

In further exploring this intriguing subject, Morak et al. compared "observed and climate model-simulated trends in mean values of temperature extreme indices, splitting the year into the dynamically active boreal cold (ONDJFM) and warm (AMJJAS) seasons." This they did using "modeled daily minimum and maximum surface temperature data derived from simulations with the Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model, version 1 (HadGEM1)."

What was learned

Among a number of other things, several unfortunate findings came to the fore, namely, the three UK researchers report that the model: (1) "significantly underestimates changes in some regions, particularly in winter across large parts of Asia," (2) "has a tendency to overestimate changes in the frequency of hot days in both the [a] winter and [b] summer seasons over [c] most regions, and in the [d] global and [e] hemispheric mean," (3) "also overestimates changes in the frequency of warm winter days on larger scales," while with respect to changes in cold extremes the model (4) "does underestimate them in some regions," while (5) "there are some regions with trends of the opposite sign." In addition, they say that (6) "the particular regional trend pattern, often also referred to as the 'warming hole,' is not evident in the simulated trend pattern," citing Pan et al. (2004), Kunkel et al. (2006), Portmann et al. (2009) and Meehl et al. (2012). And they indicate that (8) "the model shows a tendency to significantly overestimate changes in warm daytime extremes, particularly in summer."

What it means

Although the HadGEM1 does some things well, there are a number of other things that it has yet to satisfactorily accomplish.


Dry Heathland Response to Elevated CO2, Warming and Drought

Discussing: Albert, K.R., Boesgaard, K., Ro-Poulsen, H., Mikkelsen, T.N., Andersen, S. and Pilegaard, K. 2013. Antagonism between elevated CO2, nighttime warming, and summer drought reduces the robustness of PSII performance to freezing events. Environmental and Experimental Botany: 10.1016/j.envexpbot.2013.03.008.


The authors write that "plant responses to predicted global warming, elevated CO2 and precipitation changes involve complex interactions of the factors," and, therefore, they say that "continued focus on the combined impact of factors is needed to understand the directional responses of ecosystem processes," citing, in this regard, the work of Beier et al. (2004), Rustad (2006), Heimann and Reichstein (2008) and Dieleman et al. (2012).

What was done

Working in a dry heathland ecosystem on sandy soil in North Zealand (Denmark), which was dominated by the evergreen dwarf shrub Common heather (Calluna vulgaris L.) and Wavy hairgrass (Deschampsia flexuoso L.), Albert et al. studied the effects of potential changes in three environmental factors and their combined impacts on photosystem II (PSII) performance during an autumn-to-winter period. These three factors were "elevated CO2 (free-air carbon enrichment; CO2), warming (passive nighttime warming; T) and summer drought (rain-excluding curtains; D)."

What was learned

The six Danish scientists report that "neither passive nighttime warming nor elevated CO2 as single factors reduced PSII performance via incomplete cold hardening," in contradiction of what might have been expected based on the results of several prior studies. In fact, they say that "the passive nighttime warming strongly increased PSII performance, especially after freezing events; and when combined with elevated CO2, a strongly skewed positive TxCO2 interactive effect was seen," indicating, as they put it, that "these plants take advantage of the longer growing season induced by the warming in elevated CO2 until a winter frost period becomes permanent." However, they also found that if previously exposed to summer drought (D), the positive effect of TxCO2 is immediately reduced after freezing events, "causing the full combination of DxTxCO2 not to differ from control."

What it means

In a CO2-enriched and warmer world of the future, the dry heathland ecosystem studied by Albert et al. should do much better than it does currently. And if significant summer droughts occur, it should do no worse than it does at the present time.


Penalized: EPA Wrings Public Service Out of a Private Company

A protection racket. Al Capone would understand

The actual fine is far less than the cost of community service that a Rhode Island company must perform to settle its case with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Northland Environmental and its owner, PSC Environmental Services, have agreed to remove chemicals from 60 high schools and middle schools within a 50-mile radius of Northland's Providence facility -- even though the alleged violation has nothing at all to do with those schools.

Nevertheless, R.I. officials said they are happy to have the free help in disposing of "old and unnecessary" chemicals in school science labs.

The EPA on Friday announced that Northland, a commercial waste handler, has agreed to pay a $58,278 fine -- and spend $252,152 on the school cleanup -- to settle EPA claims that the company violated state and federal hazardous waste laws at its facility in Providence.

The EPA alleged that Northland/PSC Environmental Services violated the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and state hazardous waste laws by "failing to properly identify certain hazardous wastes and failing to properly maintain hazardous waste tanks and containers."

According to the EPA announcement, "These alleged violations could have resulted in the release of hazardous wastes to the environment" (emphasis added). The EPA also said the company also stored incompatible hazardous wastes next to one another, creating a potential for fire or explosions (emphasis added).

"The company quickly came into compliance after the violations were identified," the news release stated.

Despite its quick compliance, and in addition to the fine, the EPA used its authority to compel the company to do something on behalf of the community at large, even though the community suffered no ill effects.

"All facilities that generate or manage hazardous wastes have an obligation to make sure they carefully adhere to the environmental requirements that result in safer, cleaner communities," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. "This case will have a positive outcome, since the projects under this settlement will help provide safer classrooms at many schools in Rhode Island and Massachusetts."

The school clean-outs involve removing outdated and unwanted chemicals from schools at no cost to the participating schools. As the EPA noted, "Chemical management is often a low priority for schools and it is not uncommon for school science departments to have outdated and unneeded stock chemicals present."

School and state officials are glad for the assistance that they say they cannot afford:

"We are pleased to see funds from EPA actions like this reinvested in making Rhode Island a cleaner and safer place," said Terrence Gray of the RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM). "For many years, DEM has directly supported school districts across Rhode Island by removing old and unnecessary chemicals, but that effort has always been limited by the resources we have available. This recent investment extends this important initiative so that more of these dangerous materials can be taken out of our schools, providing a much safer environment for students and educators."

Rhode Island schools within a 50-mile radius of the Northland facility received emails letting them know of the opportunity to have toxic, hazardous, or chemicals prohibited by the state removed, courtesy of the EPA's settlement with Northland.

The EPA said interested schools provided a list of the chemicals that need to be removed. Cranston, R.I. is using the opportunity to provide both Cranston East and Cranston West High Schools with chemical clean-outs before school starts on Aug. 27.

"Safety is our first concern so we were delighted to have a partnership with the EPA Integrated Chemical Management Program who worked with our science teachers to inventory, organize chemicals, with regards to safety and to the benefit of classroom use," said Dr. Judith Lundsten, Superintendant Cranston Public Schools. "Working with this program provided our teachers with invaluable insights with regards to managing chemical supplies. The ultimate goal is to maximize safety and learning of science inquiry in Cranston Public Schools."

In addition to paying the fine and completing the environmental project, Northland/PSC has agreed to make sure the Providence facility remains in compliance with federal and state hazardous waste management regulations, the EPA said.

Northland/PSC’s Providence facility accepts and handles a broad spectrum of wastes including acids, alkalis, flammable wastes, water reactive wastes, cyanides, sulfides, oxidizers, toxic wastes, oily wastes, photochemical wastes and laboratory packs. Hazardous and non-hazardous wastes are received, stored and or consolidated and then shipped off site for treatment or disposal.


Obama is Denying Energy Independence to America


Watching the events unfold in the Middle East, it occurred to me that, if we had a president who had even the slightest grasp of energy facts, we could be living in a nation that is not dependent in part on Middle East oil.

Instead, we have a president who will not allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be extended from Canada at no cost to American taxpayers while providing thousands of jobs, short and long-term and whose administration denies access to the nation's vast energy reserves.

Why? Some observers say President Obama is trying to maintain his bona fides among environmentalists and it's important to keep in mind that virtually every major environmental organization opposes any and all forms of energy development. I suspect the President simply sees the pipeline as symbolic of his overall attack on America's ability to have sufficient energy to meet its needs and provide for growth. It is an attack on our economy.

Billions of gallons of crude oil is used daily in America and the nation has an extensive network of pipelines to transport it; approximately 55,000 miles. In addition there is also an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 miles of small gathering lines, located primarily in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Wyoming with small systems in a number of other oil producing states. Right now, hundreds of miles of Keystone XL pipe sit idle on 83 acres of leased land outside Gascoyne, North Dakota.

Testifying in April before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Dan Simmons of the Institute for Energy Research, said that both America and our neighbor Mexico are energy rich countries with total recoverable oil reserves that exceed 1.7 trillion barrels. At our current rate of use, that is enough for the next 242 years.

In terms of natural gas, North America has approximately 4.2 quadrillion cubic feet, enough for 176 years at the current rate of use. U.S. recoverable coal reserves are estimated at more than 497 billion short tons; enough for nearly 500 years at our current rate of use.

As events in Egypt are reported, commentators note the importance of the Suez Canal through which much of the oil the West uses must pass, but given the U.S. oil reserves our nation could function independent of that imported oil.

Ironically, we will have to build more pipelines to transport it internally and we need to build more liquid gas facilities to export our huge reserves of natural gas. This is not likely to occur over the remaining years of the Obama administration, nor will the shutdowns of coal-fired plants in a nation that is the Saudi Arabia of coal cease. Coal in federally controlled land is estimated to be worth $22.5 trillion to the U.S. economy, but it remains barred from mining.

Not only could the U.S. be energy independent, but could be a major exporter to other nations because oil, natural gas, and coal will comprise almost eighty percent of the global energy supply in 2040. Energy demand is expected to grow by 56 percent between now and 2040, mostly due to the economic growth of nations such as China and India.

The nation remains mired in an economy that is barely growing at two percent annually and part of that is due to the energy policies of the Obama administration. As this is being written, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Department, and other agencies have quietly raised their estimated "social cost" of carbon emissions from $21 per ton to $35 per ton. The increase was not debated in Congress, nor available for public review. Instead, its announcement was buried in an unrelated Energy Department regulation on microwave ovens!

Having been defeated in its efforts to impose a tax on carbon emissions, the Obama administration is engaging in the outright fraud of claiming that carbon emissions are causing global warming/climate change. As part of its war on energy provision the Obama administrated wasted billions on wind power, solar power, and electric car company failures throughout its first term. Without mandates and subsidies, none of these enterprises could remain in business or be competitive.

The U.S. economy should be booming given the huge reserves of natural gas and oil that exist nationwide, but instead it remains hostage to nations such as Saudi Arabia. At the same time a major oil exporter, Iraq, has seen its exports reduced due to the turmoil that has escalated since the U.S. military was withdrawn. Sanctions on Iran affect its oil exports. Expect the cost of oil to remain high for years to come.

The U.S. is suffering from the attacks on its energy sector by the major environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth at the same time the Obama administration continues its regulatory attacks to reduce the coal mining industry and restrict access to oil reserves. In states and on privately owned lands, there is a boom in natural gas extraction.

Every American who fills up his auto's gas tank, air conditions or heats their home or apartment, and whose livelihood is directly affected by the cost and availability of energy is being held hostage by the Obama administration, forced to pay higher costs and forced to suffer the loss of opportunity in a nation whose access to its own vast energy reserves is being denied.


The new Luddites are standing in the way of Britain's shale gas revolution. They must be stopped

Why do some countries, at certain times in history, advance technologically, while others stagnate? Are they just lucky? Or smarter?

No. It's all about freedom - the ability to apply and benefit from the new way of doing things.It is not that people in stagnant societies don't have clever ideas. They're just not free to exploit them.

Ming China is perhaps the most tragic historical example of this. Despite coming up with printing, gunpowder, the compass, and a host of other innovations, it wasn't China that managed to really apply those new ideas. China might have had plenty of coal, yet no 19th-century industrial revolution took place there like it did in the West.

Why? In China, officialdom and obstructivism kept getting in the way. Edicts and decrees were drawn up micro managing things. A parasitical state meant that those who produced more ended up merely supplying more to sustain the state. China, once the world's great innovator, fell behind.

Europe, on the other hand, forged ahead. Why? Because, in politically fragmented Europe, officialdom could not keep getting in the way. Quack ideas that would have otherwise held back the advance of reason could not hold things up.

To be sure, in some European states, princes and parasites did stop innovation. But the ideas and innovators simply moved next door. Europe in aggregate advanced.

Tragically, it is no longer like that. Europe and the UK are proving to be hostile to innovation.

Imagine if at the dawn of the industrial revolution, water wheels had been banned? Or if the Luddities had got their way, and outlawed new spinning machines? What if coal mining had been outlawed because the new-fangled pit technology was not trusted? ("It contaminates ground water" perhaps some shrieked. "Causes earthquakes!" yelled others. Thankfully history does not record such voices, and they were not allowed to prevail).

We are in danger of doing something similar with shale gas today.
Just like with coal at the beginning of the industrial revolution, beneath our feet lie zillions of cubic feet of gas. A way of extracting it has been discovered which could unleash enormous productive potential.

So what do we do? Enterprises that seek to lawfully utilise the new technology are prevented from doing so by the new Luddites. The state stands by, regulating every aspect of the new technology, but doing little to guarantee the freedoms of the innovators.

Tim Yeo yesterday suggested that we are better at regulating shale gas here in Britain than they are in America. Indeed. Which is why right now we have no shale industry to speak of. In the US, meanwhile, where they are so "cavalier" about these things, shale gas revolution has cut energy costs dramatically, triggering a wider industrial revival.

It would be tragic if we let the looters and the moochers get in the way of shale gas technology.




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


23 August, 2013

Amusing. Empiricism without evidence?

The article below by Australian socialist Andrew Hunter appeared in a major newspaper under the heading: "Empiricism must be defended". Fair enough. I am an unrelenting empiricist and have 200+ published academic journal articles to prove it. But Hunter shows no evidence of being an empiricist at all.

Empiricism means "going by the facts" or "respecting the data" or "going by what our senses tell us". Yet in his diatribe in defence of "climate change" below, Hunter mentions not one climate fact or data point. He prefers airy waffle and vague generalities. He gives an appearance of erudition while displaying zero erudition concerning the theory he defends. The best he can do is an appeal to authority at one point. Strange empiricism indeed! I must confess that Mr Hunter's amusing lack of self-awareness has rather made my day.

One rather doubts his sanity -- except that saying one thing and doing another is typical Leftism. Barack Obama take a bow

Alan Jones stood in front of the nation's seat of government in June to generate public concern about wind turbines, and to publicly demand the renewable energy target be scrapped. The lack of empirical evidence in support of his position did not deter him. Jones and other prominent conservative public figures in Australia appear determined to erase the legacy of the Enlightenment.

The continuing legacy of the Enlightenment period constitutes one of the most creative strands in the fabric of Western civilisation. While some prominent ideas of the Enlightenment were misappropriated to justify odious events, such as the Terror in France and later colonisation, it also bestowed to future generations an important intellectual legacy.

A heterogeneous discourse, the European Enlightenment was stimulated by contact with the great non-European civilisations of China, India and Russia. It grew out of the Renaissance, itself essentially a rediscovery, re-evaluation and extension of scientific and cultural traditions of classical antiquity.

At the core of these traditions, in all of their immense complexity, was the principle of seeking truth - truth about the nature of the cosmos, truth about the fundamental nature of the human race, truth about the organisation of society. Truth discovered through a commitment to empirical research, based on careful observation and the logical analysis of verifiable facts.

Jones acted in the knowledge that a concerted campaign in the mainstream media will often overwhelm positions based on science, evidence and reason. This has been made abundantly clear in the climate change debate. Public debate in Australia (and elsewhere) is now increasingly dominated by often unsubstantiated positions devoid of empirical basis.

Other traditions have always existed. The history of Western society has been marked by periodic swings of the pendulum. There were periods when the spirit of inquiry has been in the ascendant, as well as long centuries when this spirit has been eclipsed and replaced by faith in religious authority, dogma or unsubstantiated personal beliefs. It appears we are witnessing another such swing of the pendulum.

As did Jones, Coalition Senator Cory Bernardi recently asserted on Q&A that climate change is not influenced by human activity. Although every national scientific body in the world, including the Australian Academy of Science, appears to be of the same accord, Bernardi insists there is no consensus within the scientific community.

Bernardi's arguments draw heavily on his personal beliefs. Later on the Q&A program, he referred to his commitment to protecting "Western values" that he asserted were based on the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Bernardi extolled the virtues of reciprocity. He inferred that reciprocity concept was unique to the Christian ethic, which in turn constituted the very foundation of Western civilisation and the Western values system.

He might have convinced some viewers but his assertions would not have stood up to even modest interrogation. The concept of reciprocity is central to most religions and ethical systems that have survived through time - if only for the reason that it is critical to a harmonious, functioning society.

The role of secularism was another core value of the Enlightenment. In a functioning democratic society, tolerance of different religious beliefs sits comfortably alongside a commitment to science and evidence-based public policy. Bernardi is able to practise his faith in Australia - and Ed Husic his - because we live in a secular, rational society. An equally rational approach should inform our environmental policy.

If public figures in a secular society have a values system based on faith, they should not hide from it. There is much beauty, wisdom and peace to be found in the scriptures. Personal values that inform public policy, however, should be considered alongside a profound reflection about the human condition, a dispassionate study of history and rational thinking.

To claim an ethical and intellectual tradition supposedly common to Western nations has come from a single source is intellectually unsound. So far as a common philosophical or ethical tradition exists, Western thinking is the product of a continually evolving sum of a vast range of influences.

Christian teachings have made an enormous contribution to the civilisation of the West but it also owes as much to classical Greece and Rome - in turn deeply influenced by Egypt, Persian as the other ancient societies of the Middle East, the pre-Christian Celts and Germans - and to the brilliant civilisation of mediaeval Islam. Conservative champions of Western values would benefit greatly from some knowledge of history.

Bernardi has apparently written a book, The Conservative Revolution, that explains how the "pillars of Western civilisation" are "under threat". Its integrity may unwittingly prove its underlying thesis.

Science, rationality and empiricism, once pillars of political discourse in Western democracies, have been weakened of late. Unfortunately, the instincts of most modern politicians often militate against a necessary resistance to this unfortunate tendency.

On issues of enduring importance, strong political movements must occasionally sacrifice political ground over the short term to win the long game. Those who have sided with populist, unsubstantiated personal positions on climate change in recent years will be judged poorly in the future.

A public naturally resistant to change will be disinclined to support action on climate change until all doubt is removed. Conservatives have successfully cultivated doubt that action is necessary, and have benefited politically.

Labor has a legacy to protect in the immediate period - a task that will be made easier if it grasps every opportunity to express indignation at the intellectually weak positions of Jones, Bernardi and many of their conservative allies.

We must fight to ensure empiricism remains central to policymaking and political discourse. To do so would benefit the national interest. It would also protect a critical tenet of the Enlightenment: the role science and reason plays in our understanding of the world.


Note: There is a similar, equally non-empirical,attack on climate skepticism in the NYT by Adam Frank. Now that true believers in Warmism can muster very little of a factual nature in defense of their creed, the strategy seems to be to put skepticism into bad company -- a classic "ad hominem" argument. I wonder how many more of the informal fallacies of logic they will finally manage to enlist in aid of their jihad?

The Category 6 hurricane: Al Gore’s science fiction

By Jason Samenow, the Washington Post's Weather Editor

In 2004, CBS aired a two-part sci-fi flick on a new class of end-of-the-world hurricanes, with the apt title "Category 6: Day of Destruction".

If you believe former Vice President Al Gore, global warming is morphing science fiction into reality. In his exclusive interview with the Post’s Ezra Klein published Wednesday, Gore says:

The extreme events are more extreme. The hurricane scale used to be 1-5 and now they’re adding a 6. The fingerprint of man-made global warming is all over these storms and extreme weather events.

But Gore’s statement about this new breed of hurricanes is patently false. There’s no new hurricane category in the works.
Just to be sure, I contacted Chris Vaccaro, director of the National Weather Service’s office of public affairs, and asked him whether the National Hurricane Center is about to unveil the doomsday Category 6. In less than 10 minutes, he fired back this response:

"No, we’re not pursuing any such change. I’m also not sure who VP Gore means by "they." I’d also point out that the top rating, Category 5, has no ceiling: it includes hurricanes with top sustained winds of 157mph and higher"

Generally, Gore’s characterization of the links between global warming and hurricane intensity is a bit fast and loose. Whereas Gore tells Klein hurricanes are "stronger now" due to manmade warming, the freshly leaked United Nations climate assessment is much more equivocal. Although the assessment says hurricane activity has become more intense in the Atlantic since 1970, there is "low confidence" of a human contribution.

Or to quote the New York Times’ Andrew Revkin:

"According to the latest science, in most cases (outside of extreme heat waves) the connections between today’s extreme weather events and human-driven climate change range from weak (hurricanes) to nil (tornadoes) — and the dominant driver of losses in such events is fast-paced development or settlement in places with fundamental climatic or coastal vulnerability."

It’s unfortunate Gore doesn’t take more care in his climate science communication as there are legitimate reasons for concern (I presented 10 of them from the leaked UN report Tuesday). For the most part, his interview with Klein is a good read, and he makes some insightful points on climate policy.

But with his penchant for overstatement, Gore will continue to be a divisive and less than credible voice in climate change discourse.

"Global warming has sure as hell changed the rules," says one of the characters in the Category 6 film. Too true in the case of our former VP.


Fracking protesters are 'blinkered totalitarians who want us to live in yurts and wigwams'

Sir Bernard Ingham has denounced anti-fracking demonstrators as 'blinkered totalitarians'.

Sir Bernard, who was Margaret Thatcher's press secretary, said: 'It seems they want us all to live in their yurts, tepees and wigwams in a sort of glorious save-the-planet pre-industrial squalor, regardless of our manifest objections.

'If that is not totalitarianism, I don't know what is.'

Sir Bernard said: 'The problem with anti-fracking fanatics is that like other zealots they are blinkered totalitarians,' adding the activists are 'guilty of hypocrisy, utter stupidity and exaggeration'.

'Their entire approach to energy is to plump for everything that does not work and exclude anything that does - coal, gas, oil and especially nuclear energy which emits next to no CO2.

'Worse still, their long campaign has captured our limited politicians.'

In his article in the Yorkshire Post, he added: 'The result is that short of an early shale gas bonanza we can no longer rely on any government of whatever political complexion to provide secure supplies of energy at affordable cost.'

There were fewer than 100 protesters left last night at a potential fracking site as they finally admitted defeat to the police.

More than 1,200 activists had brought exploratory shale gas drilling to a halt on the edge of the village of Balcombe, West Sussex, at the weekend.

But after officers from more than 10 police forces pushed back campaigners from the site’s entrance allowing lorries to enter on Monday, they left in their droves.

Before leaving the site activists staged a protest and tried to block the road as a lorry arrived at the Cuadrila site Before leaving the site activists staged a protest and tried to block the road as a lorry arrived at the Cuadrilla site

A ‘Reclaim the Power’ camp that had been illegally set up in a farmer’s field two miles away was completely dismantled yesterday afternoon.

Despite tents being camped out on the grass verges, traffic was not stopped and the country road was kept open by the police.

Some people who had set up camping areas on footpaths around the drill were evicted by police officers without a fuss. Their only resistance was walking slowly in front of a lorry while chanting.

One of the few remaining protesters is Natalie Hynde, daughter of Pretenders singer Chrissie and the Kinks frontman Ray Davies, who has returned after being arrested at the site for a public disorder offence last week.

It comes as energy company Cuadrilla is expected to start its exploratory drilling again soon.

Engineers were yesterday again carrying out maintenance work in preparation.

Despite being guarded by 25 police officers, the company has hired a team of security guards with dogs to patrol the barbed wire perimeter fence.

Dave Packham, 37, who is unemployed and from London, was trying to hitch-hike back to the capital. He said: ‘I think it’s all over now. I came down last week but numbers have really dropped.

‘It was fun while it lasted and there was a great atmosphere. This has been like a music festival and people have really pulled together. I think the police are now not going to let us carry on so it’s time to move on.’

Cuadrilla hopes to carry out exploratory drilling to assess if it is worth applying for a licence to extract shale gas that might involve fracking. The overall police operation against the protesters is expected to cost taxpayers more than £2million as it goes into its third week.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the whole country should accept fracking as it might potentially cut rising energy bills.


Secret British wind farm report into house price blight

An official report at the centre of a Coalition row over renewable energy will disclose for the first time the impact of wind farms on rural house prices. Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, has commissioned a consultancy to investigate whether renewable technologies – including wind turbines – lower house prices in the countryside.

Coalition sources said the report is being blocked by officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), run by Ed Davey, a Liberal Democrat, amid fears it will conclude that turbines harm property prices. Mr Paterson has made clear that he intends to make the document public as soon as it is completed.

On Tuesday, this newspaper disclosed that a report into renewable energy had been commissioned by Mr Paterson’s Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra). The decision to order the report is said to have caused anger within Mr Davey’s department, which viewed it as encroachment upon its remit.

Mr Davey has strongly denied that anyone in his department is trying to suppress the investigation.

It has emerged that a significant focus of the report will be the financial impact of wind farms upon the value of neighbouring properties.

Opponents of wind farms claim it is "highly likely" that the report will reveal that turbines in rural areas will detract from the value of nearby homes.

The consultancy company, Frontier Economics, has been asked by Defra to calculate how house prices will be affected by a series of energy projects across Britain. It has been asked to look at onshore and offshore wind, overhead power lines, shale gas, anaerobic digestion plants and nuclear power plants.

The remit of the report states that it "aims to determine whether [energy projects] have a significant impact on the prices of houses nearby and, if so, compare how that impact differs between different types". It will feed into Mr Paterson’s final report on how renewables affect the countryside and the rural economy.

MPs tonight said that Mr Paterson must be allowed to publish his department’s findings.

Chris Heaton-Harris, the Conservative MP for Daventry, said: "Wind farms definitely affect house prices and it is highly likely that this report will come to that conclusion. "I would expect there to be billions of pounds of planning blight because of wind turbines close to properties."

He added: "It’s almost like elements of DECC are acting like a mafia … now you’ve got DECC trying to stick its dirty great footprints all over another department’s work. "While this is unsurprising, it will all unravel in the end and I’m sure the evidence will come out soon that proves a number of these points correct."

He said that one of his constituents had seen the value of their £700,000 property fall by £250,000 because of approved plans for a wind turbine.

Glyn Davies, the Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, said: "I’m expecting this report to find that house prices will be reduced over the country by a measure of billions. It is my view that any unbiased study will show that. What is absolutely crucial is that this report is allowed to come out." He added: "I can’t see how anyone wouldn’t want the public to know the conclusions – irrespective of what the report says."

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph today, Mr Davey says: "My department is not blocking a Defra report on the impact of wind farms. "The Government is committed to moving to a secure, affordable, low carbon energy system, without excessively relying on any single technology. "So, this cross-government study will look at maximising the benefits and minimising the negative impacts of all technologies, including shale gas and nuclear."

Details of the study, the first major review of renewables and their impact on house prices, were disclosed in The ENDS Report , an environmental policy magazine. A spokesman for Defra said: "It is our role to rural-proof policy. We need to ensure that energy is generated in a way that is sustainable. Sustainability includes the economic as well as social and environmental impacts."

Jennifer Webber, of RenewableUK, said: "All the expert academic research published in this country and abroad over the last few years shows there’s no conclusive evidence to suggest that wind farms affect house prices."

The dispute between Defra and DECC comes after a series of Coalition rows over wind farms. Mr Davey last year slapped down a former Conservative energy minister, John Hayes, after he said the spread of wind farms across the countryside would be brought to a halt.

David Cameron this month said people should not "expect to see a lot more wind power onshore in the UK" and that there was a "limited potential for onshore wind".


$5.7M NSF Grant For Card Games, Videos To Teach Public About Global Warming

A multi-million dollar project funded by the National Science Foundation is developing card games, videos and other educational programs "to engage adult learners and inform public understanding and response to climate change."

The $5.7 million Polar Learning and Responding (PoLAR) project is just the latest in a series of federally-funded climate change efforts since Congress established the Climate Change Educational Partnership (CCEP) in 2009.

CCEP has already spent $46 million on taxpayer-funded research projects around the country designed to find the most effective ways to convince Americans that the federal government should confront what researchers claim is the threat of global warming.

Stephanie Pfirman, principal investigator and professor of environmental science at Barnard College, told that one of the games under development by PoLAR is "EcoChains" - a card game in which "players learn the components of an Arctic marine food chain, the reliance of some species on sea ice, and potential impacts of future changes."

Other games include "Future Coast" - described as "a community-based activity where participants consider the implications of sea level rise coupled with a storm surge, as happened with [Hurricane] Sandy."

Also under development is "The Polar Explorer" game, which "charts a range of ways to explore Earth climate data both spatially and temporally," and "a mobile app that is designed to help people understand the relationships of climate change to their day-to-day lives."

Educational initiatives include "radio programs that address both local Arctic and Antarctic perspectives on climate change," and "online teacher professional development courses" that educate "middle and high school teachers" on contributing factors and consequences of climate change

Scientists and like-minded educators are hoping that the games developed by PoLAR will eventually lead to a society that accepts global warming as a fact, and is willing to adopt "responses and solutions."

"Achieving this vision requires profound and sustained transformations in formal (K-16) and informal educational systems across the nation, both to improve the quality and effectiveness of learning materials, pedagogies, and educator preparation for climate education and to increase access and exposure to effective resources," according to a CCEP Alliance Office solicitation.

Authorized in 2012 and running through 2017, PoLAR grantees will be spending $5.7 million of additional taxpayer funds in an effort to convince "millions of adults" to support a "change in practices and policies by seeding game-like approaches in informal and formal educational environments" – despite the fact that the Earth’s temperature has been at a statistical standstill for a decade and a half, and may have actually begun cooling instead of warming.

"Climate change is especially pronounced in polar regions – which is what our project addresses," Pfirman told CNSNews. "Arctic sea ice reached historic low extent and volume last year," she continued. "Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and many smaller glaciers, continue losing mass and contributing to sea level rise."

However, data recently released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that temperatures in the North Pole are well below normal this year.

"Doom and gloom is not going to motivate anyone. It is more important to educate people so that they can come up with solutions," said Mary-Elena Carr, associate director of Columbia University’s Climate Center.

According to the CCEP description on the National Science Foundation website, the program’s educational research objectives include "preparing a new generation of climate scientists, engineers, and technicians equipped to provide innovative and creative approaches to understanding global climate change and to mitigate its impact" and "preparing today's U.S. citizens to understand global climate change and its implications in ways that can lead to informed, evidence-based responses and solutions."

As part of the CCEP program, the National Science Foundation funded the establishment of a national Climate Change Educational Partnership Alliance Office to coordinate the research efforts of various climate education studies across America.

Asked about the project’s benefits to American taxpayers, Pfirman said, "Educated citizens will be better prepared for a changing climate. Because the U.S. is an Arctic nation, public awareness of the implications of changes taking place in that region is important."


The End of Global Sea Level Rise

Weather forecasters who attach great weight to celestial phenomena seem to have the greatest predictive success so for those who like prophecies, this prophecy should perhaps be given some weight

In a news conference held near Miami, Florida last night, the Space and Science Research Corporation (SSRC) announced that the global threat of sea level rise caused by decades of global warming is ending. Speaking to cheering supporters from several groups from the general Miami area, SSRC President Mr. John Casey issued a formal declaration of the end of global sea level rise during a presentation in which he discussed the vital role the Sun plays in climate change and how the past growth in sea levels was caused by the Sun and not mankind. The event was sponsored by the American Citizens League. The declaration read:

"As a result of the Sun entering a ‘hibernation’ phase, the Space and Science Research Corporation hereby declares that the past two hundred years of global sea level rise is expected to end no earlier than mid-2014 and no later than 2020. After that time, global sea levels are expected to begin a long term period of decline, lasting at least through the decade of the 2030’s. The estimated global sea level decline during that period will range from 20 to 25 cm from current levels."

Casey elaborated with, "The many climate models that have taken two decades and billions of dollars to fabricate have been utter scientific failures. Once you take the greenhouse gas theory out of the laboratory and try in in the real world it just does not stand up. Not only has there been no effective growth in the planet’s temperature for sixteen years, but current temperature trends show the Earth’s oceans have been cooling for ten years and the atmosphere for seven years! These real world indicators of the true status of the Earth’s climate are of course, an impossibility if the greenhouse gas theory really worked and mankind’s CO2 emissions had the effect as has been alleged. On the other hand, using solar variations for climate prediction, we see global warming ended and the next climate began right on schedule."

Mr. Casey, is a former White House space program advisor, space shuttle engineer, and NASA Headquarters consultant, and is the Editor of the Global Climate Status Report (GCSR)©. Mr. Casey is also the author of the internationally acclaimed climate book, "Cold Sun," which describes the cause and effects of this potentially dangerous new cold climate. (See He has amassed a list of correct, major climate predictions that according to public records of predictions, is unmatched by the UN-IPCC, NASA, NOAA and all US university PhD’s funded for climate research by the government. In March of 2013, he was named "America’s best climate prediction expert" by




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


22 August, 2013

Biomass Fuel and the new Environmentalism

Tree huggers? Pshaw! Greenies are hot to cut trees down!

Time to praise CO2 — the miracle gas!

By Paul Driessen

It’s amazing that minuscule bacteria can cause life-threatening diseases and infections — and miraculous that tiny doses of vaccines and antibiotics can safeguard us against these deadly scourges. It is equally incredible that, at the planetary level, carbon dioxide is a miracle molecule for plants — and the "gas of life" for most living creatures on Earth.

In units of volume, CO2’s concentration is typically presented as 400 parts per million (400 ppm). Translated, that’s just 0.04 percent of Earth’s atmosphere — the equivalent of 40 cents out of one thousand dollars, or 1.4 inches on a football field. Even atmospheric argon is 23 times more abundant: 9,300 ppm. Moreover, the 400 ppm in 2013 is 120 ppm more than the 280 ppm CO2 level of 1800, and that two-century increase is equivalent to a mere 12 cents out of $1,000, or one half-inch on a football field.

Eliminate carbon dioxide, and terrestrial plants would die, as would lake and ocean phytoplankton, grasses, kelp and other water plants. After that, animal and human life would disappear. Even reducing CO2 levels too much — back to pre-industrial levels, for example — would have terrible consequences.

Over the past two centuries, our planet finally began to emerge from the Little Ice Age that had cooled the Earth and driven Viking settlers out of Greenland. Warming oceans slowly released some of the CO2 stored in their waters. Industrial Revolution factories and growing human populations burned more wood and fossil fuels, baked more bread, and brewed more beer, adding still more CO2 to the atmosphere. Much more of the miracle molecule came from volcanoes and sub-sea vents, forest fires, bio-fuels use, decaying plants and animals, and "exhaust" from living, breathing animals and humans.

What a difference that extra 120 ppm has made for plants, and for animals and humans that depend on them. The more CO2 there is in the atmosphere, the more it is absorbed by plants of every description — and the faster and better they grow, even under adverse conditions like limited water, extremely hot air temperatures, or infestations of insects, weeds and other pests. As trees, grasses, algae and crops grow more rapidly and become healthier and more robust, animals and humans enjoy better nutrition on a planet that is greener and greener.

Efforts to feed seven billion people, and improve nutrition for more than a billion who are malnourished, are steadily increasing the tension between our need for land to feed humans — and the need to keep land in its natural state to support plants and wildlife. How well we are able to increase crop production from the same or less acreage may mean the difference between global food sufficiency and rampant human starvation in coming decades — and between the survival and extinction of many plant and animal species.

Modern agricultural methods steadily and dramatically improved crop yields per acre between 1930 and today. That is especially important if we continue to divert millions of acres of farmland from food crops, and convert millions of acres of rainforest and other wildlife habitat to cropland, for biofuel production to replace fossil fuels that we again have in abundance. Carbon dioxide will play a vital role in these efforts.

Increased CO2 levels in greenhouses dramatically improve plant growth, especially when temperatures are also elevated; rising atmospheric CO2 levels have likewise had astounding positive impacts on outdoor plant growth and survival. Lentils and other legumes grown in hothouses with 700 ppm CO2 improved their total biomass by 91 percent, their edible parts yield by 150 percent and their fodder yield by 67 percent, compared to similar crops grown at 370 ppm CO2, Indian researchers found.

Rice grown at 600 ppm CO2 increased its grain yield by 28 percent with low applications of nitrogen fertilizer, Chinese scientists calculated. U.S. researchers discovered that sugarcane grown in sunlit greenhouses at 720 ppm CO2 and 11° F (6° C) higher than outside ambient air produced stem juice an amazing 124 percent higher in volume than sugarcane grown at ambient temperature and 360 ppm CO2. Non-food crops like cotton also fare much better when CO2 levels are higher.

Research into natural forest and crop growth during recent periods of rising atmospheric CO2 levels, between 1900 and 2010, found significant improvements under "real-world" conditions, as well.

An analysis of Scots pines in Catalonia, Spain, showed that tree diameter and cross-sectional area expanded by 84 percent between 1900 and 2000, in response to rising CO2 levels. The growth of young Wisconsin trees increased by 60 percent, and tree ring width expanded by almost 53 percent, as atmospheric CO2concentrations increased from 316 ppm in 1958 to 376 ppm in 2003, researchers calculated.

University of Minnesota scientists compared the growth of trees and other plants during the first half of the 20th Century (which included the terrible Dust Bowl years), when CO2 levels rose only 10 ppm — to the period 1950-2000, when CO2 increased by 57 ppm. They found that CO2 lowered plant sensitivity to severe drought and improved their survival rates by almost 50 percent. Swiss researchers concluded that, because of rising CO2 levels, "alpine plant life is proliferating, biodiversity is on the rise, and the mountain world appears more productive and inviting than ever."

Other researchers used historical (real-world) data for land use, atmospheric CO2 concentration, nitrogen deposition, fertilization, ozone levels, rainfall and climate, to develop a computer model that simulates plant growth responses for southern U.S. habitats from 1895 to 2007. They determined that "net primary productivity" improved by an average of 27 percent during this 112-year period, with most of the increased growth occurring after 1950, when CO2 levels rose the most, from 310 ppm in 1950 to 395 ppm in 2007.

How does all this happen? Plants use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide from the air, and water and minerals from the soil, into the carbohydrates and other molecules that form plant biomass. More CO2 means more and larger flowers; higher seed mass and germination success; and improved plant resistance to droughts, diseases, viruses, pathogenic infections, air pollutants, and salt or nitrogen accumulation in soils. Higher CO2 levels also improve plants’ water use efficiency — ensuring faster and greater carbon uptake by plant tissues, with less water lost through transpiration.

More airborne CO2 lets plants reduce the size of their stomata, little holes in leaves that plants use to inhale CO2 building blocks. When CO2 is scarce, the openings increase in size, to capture sufficient supplies of this "gas of life." But increasing stomata size means more water molecules escape, and the water loss places increasing stress on the plants, eventually threatening their growth and survival.

When the air’s CO2 levels rise — to 400, 600, or 800 ppm — the stomata shrink in size, causing them to lose less water from transpiration, while still absorbing ample CO2 molecules. That enables them to survive extended dry spells much better.

(The 2009 and 2011 volumes of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change report, Climate Change Reconsidered, especially this section, and Dr. Craig Idso’s website summarize hundreds of similar studies of crops, forests, grasslands, alpine areas and deserts enriched by carbon dioxide. CO2 Science’s Plant Growth Database lets people search for more studies.)

One of the worst things that could happen to our planet and its people, animals,and plants would be for CO2 levels to plunge back to levels last seen before the Industrial Revolution. Decreasing CO2 levels would be especially problematical if Earth cools, in response to the sun entering another "quiet phase," as happened during the Little Ice Age. If Earth cools again, growing seasons would shorten and arable cropland would decrease in the northern temperate zones. We would then need every possible molecule of CO2 — just to keep agricultural production high enough to stave off mass human starvation … and save wildlife habitats from being plowed under to replace that lost cropland.

However, even under current Modern Warm Era conditions, crops, other plants, animals and people will benefit from more CO2. The "gas of life" is a miracle plant fertilizer that helps plants grow and prosper — greening the planet, nourishing wildlife habitats, feeding people who crave larger amounts of more nutritious food, preventing species loss, and even warming the Earth a little.

That is an amazing fete for a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that comprises just 0.04 percent of our atmosphere! We should praise carbon dioxide — not vilify, ban or bury it.


Why HAS global warming slowed? Scientists admit they don't know why - but are '95% sure' humans are to blame for climate change

The article below appeared in the mass-circulation "Daily Mail"

Scientists are struggling to explain why global warming seems to have slowed down in the last decade in a leaked draft of the UN's next big report on climate change.

The intergovernmental study claims scientists are 95 per cent sure that humans are to blame for climate change, but presently they have not come up with a unified reason for why global surface temperatures have not risen as predicted in the past 15 years.

According to the unpublished draft document, scientists believe volcanic ash, less heat from the sun and more heat being absorbed by oceans could explain the mystery.

Set for release in October 2014, the AR5 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) includes a number of explanations for the slow-down in global warming.

The Met Office told Fox News that while global temperatures rose quickly during the 1970s, the trend appears to have become flat during the last 15 years, with some parties claiming global warming has stopped all together.

Global temperatures have continued to rise, but at a slower rate since 1998, despite greenhouse gas concentrations peaking due to more emissions created by increasingly-industrialised emerging nations.

The draft reportedly uses complex computer models looking at lots of factors to conclude temperatures could increase by anything from a fraction of one degree Celcius to almost five degrees this century.

Reuters environment correspondent Alister Doyle who said: 'Scientists believe causes could include: greater-than-expected quantities of ash from volcanoes, which dims sunlight; a decline in heat from the sun during a current 11-year solar cycle; more heat being absorbed by the deep oceans; or the possibility that the climate may be less sensitive than expected to a build-up of carbon dioxide.'

The report supposes the slowing of global warming is due to all these factors in equal measure.

Gabriele Hegerl, a professor at Edinburgh University told the news agency that minor contributions from different sources have combined to slow the rising temperatures in recent years, or the micro trend could is simply a blip in the larger trend.

According to the draft study, scientists are struggling to predict the impact that global warming will have in certain regions, which is not helpful for government planners, who use the IPCC report to inform policies.

Governments use the report to work out how to invest in renewable energy, protect coastal regions from flooding and how to ensure a good supply of food.

While certain areas of the report are currently a little vague, it reportedly says scientists are now 95 per cent certain that humans, and particularly the burning of fossil fuels, are responsible for global warming.

The number is up from the last report published in 2007, which was 90 per cent sure climate change was caused by humans. The 2001 report's figure was 66 per cent and around 50 per cent in 1995, showing that more scientists have embraced the theory of global warming.

Climate skeptics have accused the IPCC of finding figures to support the concept of climate change, but the UN has told Fox News that it is too early to draw conclusions from its draft publication.

The international body said the text will probably change before publication in response to suggestions from governments and scientists at a four-day approval session taking place at the end of September.

The UN said: 'It is therefore premature and could be misleading to attempt to draw conclusions from it.'

When published, the AR5 report, which is the first of three to be released in 2013 and 2014, will likely face intense scrutiny from scientists and climate change skeptics after the 2007 report was widely criticised for sloppy mathematics, including the claim that the Himalayas could melt by 2035 due to global warming.

Nearly 200 governments have signed up to trying to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above per-industrial times, which is seen as the point where dangerous changes including floods from rising sea levels and droughts that threaten food production, could occur.


Climate Reductio ad Absurdum?

By Alan Caruba

Recently, three researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, had a study published that claimed that a "substantial" correlation between violence and climate change could be made.

They cited sixty studies from around the world that, according to a BBC World Service article, demonstrated that "even small changes in temperature or rainfall correlated with a rise in assaults, rapes, and murders, as well as group conflicts and war."

Apparently they missed the data on World War II’s Battle of the Bulge or the siege of Stalingrad, both of which were fought in freezing weather. Earlier, Napoleon ran into a similar problem when he wanted to conquer Russia.

We have now reached a point in the Great Global Warming Hoax where pure absurdity is the norm for claims made on behalf of a warming cycle that ended around 1996.

In a Washington Times January 17 commentary, Patrick J. Michaels, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science, wrote, "My greener friends are increasingly troubled by the lack of a rise in recent global surface temperatures. Using monthly data measured as the departure from long-term averages, there’s been no significant warming trend since the fall of 1996. In other words, we are now in our 17th year of flat temperatures."

Citing the usual scientific data involved, Michaels wrote, "It’s a pretty good bet that we are going to go nearly a quarter of a century without warming."

Much of the kind of idiotic "scientific research" with which the public has been inundated for decades has been the result of the pursuit of funding that involves "professional advancement", noted Michaels, and which is "particularly dependent upon a certain view"—proving that global warming is real despite all the evidence to the contrary. Claiming that it is causing a rise of violence around the world is idiotic.

Commenting on the Cal-Berkeley study, James M. Taylor, the Heartland Institute’s editor of Environment & Climate News, noted that the three researchers "claim to apply expert principles of ‘archaeology, criminology, economics, geography, history, political science, and psychology’ in their paper" despite the fact that they "share the same limited background in economics" to claim such expertise.

Over at, editor Marc Morano said, "Instead of looking at temperature data or other climate metrics to prove or disprove man-made global warming, the global warming activists have now shifted the playing field so rape and murder statistics are now used as some sort of ‘proof’ of man-made global warming. Global warming science has truly morphed to modern witchcraft!"

The only place you will find "proof" of global warming these days is in computer models.

Too often they are those used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and those at NASA, both government entities that are mindful that they better toe the party line if they want their budget requests fulfilled. Despite having the best satellites and computer models available, the National Weather Service would not guarantee its predictions more than three days out and surely not more than a week or two.

It is unfortunate that we have a President who keeps repeating the same false claims about "climate change"—the new name for global warming—despite the fact that they have been disputed and abandoned by thousands of scientists around the world. Worse, claims about "carbon pollution" are being used by the Environmental Protection Agency and other government departments to justify the war on coal in particular and hydrocarbon fuels in general.

Some elements of the press such as the BBC are unwilling to abandon the global warming hoax. This means that the search for new scary headlines with which to sell newspapers and magazines, or increase ratings on the evening news will lead to claims about dramatically rising sea levels or, as Michaels predicts, "acid oceans."

It is all garbage and the real threat is the billions in taxpayer dollars that are being wasted on so-called "climate change" research or the tons of regulations being written to support the strangulation of the nation’s economy in the name of air and water pollution. We have clean air. We have clean water. We need jobs.


Judith Curry on "motivated reasoning"

"Motivated reasoning" is a polite term for "white lies". So the question is whether scientists should lie for what they see as a good cause. Curry thinks it is allowable but sees that it is arrogant and will ultimately destroy trust in the scientists concerned and maybe trust in science generally. Although she is herself a Warmist, she points out below that such "reasoning" is influential among Warmists

Motivated reasoning affects scientists as it does other groups in society, although it is often pretended that scientists somehow escape this predicament.

Motivated reasoning has been put forward as the reason why educated conservatives reject the consensus on climate change science. This post examines the thesis that motivated reasoning by climate scientists is adversely impacting the public trust in climate science and provides a reason for people to reject the consensus on climate change science.

Microethics vs Macroethics

I have had a draft post on Microethics vs Macroethics sitting around for almost a year. Ideally, I should have completed that post before this one, but an email exchange with Dan Kahan motivated me to write this post instead. So here is a quick overview of my points re microethics vs macroethics. This particular framing of the ethical dilemmas for research scientists came to my attention in context of materials that have been provided to universities in support of training for responsible conduct in research. Research scientists all have the responsibilities to adhere to the principles of ethical research and professional standards as outlined in the document On being a scientist. But what happens when other responsibilities get in the way of these professional standards?

As a researcher, what kinds of responsibilities do you have to

your conscience (micro)
your colleagues (micro)
institutions (micro/macro)
the public (macro)
the environment (macro)

One can imagine many different types of motivated reasoning across this spectrum of micro/macro ethical responsibilities that can either bias the scientific process or even violate professional standards. Climate science has many examples to provide in this regard.

Noble causes

Scientists may either bias their research in favor of concerns about public policy and the environment in subtle ways, or they may actively work to suppress evidence, and in some instances they may proactively manufacture evidence to discredit their opponents.

To start: Reiner Grundmann at Die Klimazweibel has a recent article entitled Science for a good cause? Excerpts:

"Imagine the following scenario. An atmospheric scientist makes a discovery that seems to challenge a particular model of sea level increase due to global warming. She expects her discovery will be refined through further research, and that, in the end, it will not refute the mainstream view. In the meantime, she wants to avoid giving ammunition to climate skeptics, so she postpones publication. But an ambitious postdoc surreptitiously informs the media about the discovery. The media accuse the scientist of a cover-up and report that key evidence for anthropogenic climate change has been refuted.

How would you react if someone concludes in the following way: ‘The atmospheric scientist was not wrong to withhold the information from the public; she wisely foresaw the danger that it would be deployed in misleading ways and attempted to do her bit for the promotion of public freedom’.

This is not a scenario invented by myself, but by the philosopher of science Philip Kitcher, recounted in a review of his book by Mark Brown. (Science in a Democratic Society, Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York, 2011; review article by Mark Brown, published in Minerva (51:389–397; DOI 10.1007/s11024-013-9233-y).

In my view this comment exemplifies a problematic attitude not only in climate science but in the social sciences as well. The good cause which allegedly motivates much of the research puts the researcher in a special position. It allows them to dispense with essential standards of professional conduct. It is perhaps not remarkable that we see a ‘leading figure’ in the philosophy of science defend questionable practices which have been modelled (not by accident I suppose) after the famous climategate affair.

The risks for the credibility of science (no matter which branch or discipline) are clear. Anyone who comes across such commentary will take this as confirmation that science can be twisted according to the will of scientists (or elites); that science is constructed (in the vulgar sense of being ‘made up’ and ‘fake’); and that scientists preserve the prerogative of making judgements which data are for public consumption and which are not.

As I pointed out in a recent talk, motivated reasoning is a problem for scientists. It affects scientists as it does other groups in society, although it is often pretended that scientists somehow escape this predicament. The above comment from Kitcher (‘the atmospheric scientists was not wrong to withhold the information from the public’) is a powerful illustration of social scientists falling into the trap of motivated reasoning, justifying the questionable professional standards through recourse to alleged higher ethical standards.

Scientists will only be able to command trust in society if they follow basic professional standards. Prime among them is to publish the results of their research, no matter if they support a desirable storyline or not."

Last year, I encountered a stark example of this. One of my colleagues was thinking about publishing a paper that challenges the IPCC interpretation of the previous pause during the 1940s to 1970?s. My colleague sent a .ppt presentation on this topic to three colleagues, each of whom is a very respected senior scientist and none of whom have been particularly vocal advocates on the subject of climate change (names are withheld to protect the guilty/innocent). Each of these scientists strongly encouraged my colleague NOT to publish this paper, since it would only provide fodder for the skeptics. (Note: my colleague has not yet written this paper, but not because he was discouraged by these colleagues).

What is at issue here is a conflict between the micro ethics of individual responsibility for responsible conduct of research and larger ethical issues associated with the well-being of the public and the environment. Most such examples are related to suppression of evidence including attempting to stifle skeptical research (particularly its publication and dissemination to the public); the Climategate emails provide abundant examples of this.

A more pro-active example of this conflict is the curious case of Peter Gleick and the Heartland Affair. On my post Gleick’s integrity, I wrote:

Gleick’s ‘integrity’ seems to have nothing to do with scientific integrity, but rather loyalty to and consistency with what I have called the UNFCCC/IPCC ideology.

When ‘Heartlandgate’ first broke, I saw no parallels with Climategate. Now, with the involvement of Gleick, there most certainly are parallels. There is the common theme of climate scientists compromising personal and professional ethics, integrity, and responsibility, all in the interests of a ’cause’.

Fuller and Mosher’s book Climategate: The CruTape Letters argued that ‘noble cause corruption’ was a primary motivation behind the Climategate deceits. Noble cause corruption is when the ends (noble) justify the means (ignoble). I think that there is an element of this that can be seen in the Climategate emails, but I think the motivated reasoning by climate scientists is more complex (and ultimately less ‘noble’)


Science true and false

James Isanhart argues that a true scientist is concerned only with the facts but that many scientists are motivated by personal goals. And, as with Warmism, the pseudo-scientists are sometimes most influential. He offers some illustrative history showing that a small minority can be the ones who are ultimately shown to be right and that the politically correct view can be very wrong

1. The first illustrative story is about Arthur Holmes, the greatest geologist of the twentieth century, who despite much scientific opposition, fought for fifty years to convince the scientific establishment of the great age of the earth (~ 4.5 billion years).

Holmes studied physics, not geology. A personage such as Lord Kelvin thought it preposterous that a person with such a limited record of publications should be given any credence.

It took almost twenty years before the geology community accepted Holmes findings which were that the radioactive decay of isotopes of uranium into lead was a constant that could be used to calculate the age of the earth; a scientific fight which eventually transformed the moribund science of geology.

How dare a physicist question the consensus of the geology scientific community? Well Holmes did and he was right.

2. The second story is about Alfred Wegener who held a PhD in astronomy, not geology. He came across a paper which detailed fossils being found in both Africa and South America which were exactly the same. He thought, "How could this be so?"

In 1915 Wegener published his theory about continental drift which later became known as plate tectonics. He claimed about 300 million years ago, the continents had formed a single mass, called Pangaea. Pangaea had split, and its pieces had been drifting away from each other ever since.

Wegener was not the first to suggest that the continents had once been connected, but he was the first to present extensive evidence from several diverse fields.

Reaction to Wegener's theory was almost uniformly hostile from the established scientific club. He persevered by applying the fields of thermodynamics, the emerging field of radioactivity and geology; fields he mastered through time and diligence.

Once again we find established scientist protective of their area of expertise by brutally attacking Wegener’s theory. It was not until the late fifties or early sixties his theory was generally accepted. It’s a shame that he never lived to see his work accepted as Wegener died in 1930.

3. Our final illustrative story happened in the early 1970’s when a young geologist named Walter Alvarez noticed a pronounced layer of reddish clay between two layers of limestone. He took a sample of this clay and asked a nuclear chemist friend of his, Frank Asaro, to analyse it in an effort to better understand its composition.

Frank Asaro the nuclear chemist and Walter Alvarez the geologist determined the clay contained a high concentration of a very rare element called iridium, an element only found in space objects, like meteorites, comets, or asteroids. They immediately came to the conclusion that a large object collided with the earth approximately 65 million years ago causing the mass extinctions of the dinosaurs in a short period of time. It was conclusive, was it not?

However, the paleontological community of scientists thought this information was an outrageous heresy. The ‘accepted theory’ of the time was that the dinosaurs had died out over millions of years, not in a quick extinction. The consensus of the paleontological community was united in questioning this meddling in their area of expertise.

It was around 1990 when a geologist, named Gene Shoemaker, discovered an impact crater near the Yucatan coast of Mexico which had high levels of iridium. When confronted with the crater discovery palaeontologists still had a hard time accepting that they were wrong. Gene Shoemaker noted, "It was like our findings were against their religion."

Twenty years elapsed between the discovery of the iridium clay layer and the locating of the impact crater before a majority of the paleontological community gave their blessing to this new science.

The final illustrative science story is about Trofim Lysenko, a Russian agronomist during Stalin’s era. Lysenko rejected Mendelian genetics in favour of his so-called hybridization theories.

Lysenko convinced Stalin that Mendel’s idea that genetics determined the nature of a plant was wrong. He used his (Lysenko’s) flawed theory to explain that animal and plant life could be moulded by subjecting them to extremes of heat, cold, drought or wet conditions to change their behaviours, similar to the communist ideology which essential thought man could also be moulded into the perfect communist worker.

The Communist ideology or belief was that men could be taught to be benevolent workers and therefore would not become self-serving capitalists who preyed upon the poor proletariat.

Any true-scientist who dared doubt the Lysenko wisdom was ostracized, marginalized and even sent to the Gulag for being sceptical. (Today if any true-scientist cast doubt on the catastrophic claims made by the small but vocal pseudo-scientists they are denied; access to source data despite FOI (Freedom Of Information) legislation; peer review and publication in science journals. As a result they are marginalized by the pseudo-scientists, left leaning politicians and most damagingly, by the media in general.)

The Russian collective farm system which Stalin initiated during the 1930’s used Lysenko’s bogus theories which resulted in the mass starvation of millions of Russians.

Lysenkoism remained the dominant agricultural practice until the early 60’s after which Khrushchev denounced Stalin and his policies, including Lysenkoism’s bogus crop theories. (In a side note: Yet Khrushchev was the Minister of Agriculture under Stalin when he vigorously implemented Lysenko’s bogus agriculture science.)

Today Lysenko's agricultural experimentation and research is viewed as fraudulent. Lysenko was most definitely a ‘charlatan’ of science whose bogus science led to mass starvation throughout the Russian Ukraine. Well you might ponder the plight of those 20 million poor souls who starved for that era’s ‘pseudo-science’ ?

Why should we therefore give up our right to be sceptical about our era’s leftist experiment to reorganize our complete economic system without a real honest and truthful scientific debate?

Today we find our society torn apart because of these two sides of science. The question is which type of science will prevail?

The true science which follows the Scientific Method of vigorous debate which will ultimately result in arriving at the truth about Anthropogenic Global Warming, or will it be the authoritarian pseudo-science of Lysenko?

What is to be learned about climate science from these vignettes? Sometimes the experts get it wrong and sometimes the non-experts get it right.

Via email. Excerpt only. Full document available from author. Email:



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


21 August, 2013

Global sea level rise dampened by Australian floods?

"Australia is in a major drought". Then what's that stuff that's been falling from the sky outside my window in Brisbane this August -- a normally "dry" month?

Someone else will have to do the numbers on this but the whole thing smells to high heaven. Only a small percentage of the rain fell in the Australian outback. As it always does, most of the rain fell onto the narrow East coastal plain, where it was promptly returned to the sea via the many big coastal rivers -- JR

New research led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) shows that when three atmospheric patterns came together over the Indian and Pacific oceans, they drove so much precipitation over Australia in 2010 and 2011 that the world’s ocean levels dropped measurably. Unlike other continents, the soils and topography of Australia prevent almost all of its precipitation from running off into the ocean.

The 2010-11 event temporarily halted a long-term trend of rising sea levels caused by higher temperatures and melting ice sheets.

Now that the atmospheric patterns have snapped back and more rain is falling over tropical oceans, the seas are rising again. In fact, with Australia in a major drought, they are rising faster than before.

"It’s a beautiful illustration of how complicated our climate system is," says NCAR scientist John Fasullo, the lead author of the study. "The smallest continent in the world can affect sea level worldwide. Its influence is so strong that it can temporarily overcome the background trend of rising sea levels that we see with climate change."

The study, with co-authors from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Colorado at Boulder, will be published next month in Geophysical Research Letters. It was funded by the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR’s sponsor, and by NASA.

Consistent rising, interrupted

As the climate warms, the world’s oceans have been rising in recent decades by just more than 3 millimeters (0.1 inches) annually. This is partly because the heat causes water to expand, and partly because runoff from retreating glaciers and ice sheets is making its way into the oceans.

But for an 18-month period beginning in 2010, the oceans mysteriously dropped by about 7 millimeters (about 0.3 inches), more than offsetting the annual rise.

Fasullo and his co-authors published research last year demonstrating that the reason had to do with the increased rainfall over tropical continents. They also showed that the drop coincided with the atmospheric oscillation known as La Niña, which cooled tropical surface waters in the eastern Pacific and suppressed rainfall there while enhancing it over other portions of the tropical Pacific, Africa, South America, and Australia.

But an analysis of the historical record showed that past La Niña events only rarely accompanied such a pronounced drop in sea level.

Using a combination of satellite instruments and other tools, the new study finds that the picture in 2010–11 was uniquely complex. A rare combination of two other semi-cyclic climate modes came together to drive such large amounts of rain over Australia that the continent, on average, received almost one foot (300 millimeters) of rain more than average.

The initial effects of La Niña were to cool surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean and push moisture to the west. A climate pattern known as the Southern Annular Mode then coaxed the moisture into Australia’s interior, causing widespread flooding across the continent. Later in the event, high levels of moisture from the Indian Ocean driven by the Indian Ocean Dipole collided with La Niña-borne moisture in the Pacific and pushed even more moisture into the continent’s interior. Together, these influences spurred one of the wettest periods in Australia’s recorded history.

Australia’s vast interior, called the Outback, is ringed by coastal mountains and often quite dry. Because of the low-lying nature of the continent’s eastern interior and the lack of river runoff in its western dry environment, most of the heavy rainfall of 2010–11 remained inland rather than flowing into the oceans. While some of it evaporated in the desert sun, much of it sank into the dry, granular soil of the Western Plateau or filled the Lake Eyre basin in the east.

"No other continent has this combination of atmospheric set-up and topography," Fasullo says. "Only in Australia could the atmosphere carry such heavy tropical rains to such a large area, only to have those rains fail to make their way to the ocean."

Measuring the difference

To conduct the research, the scientists turned to three cutting-edge observing instrument systems:

* NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, which make detailed measurements of Earth’s gravity field. The satellites enable scientists to monitor changes in the mass of continents.

* The Argo global array of 3,000 free-drifting floats that measure the temperature and salinity of the upper 6,000 feet of the world’s oceans.

* Satellite-based altimeters that are continuously calibrated against a network of tide gauges. Scientists subtract seasonal and other variations to closely estimate global sea level changes.

Using these instruments, the researchers found that the mass in Australia and, to a lesser extent, South America began to increase in 2010 as the continents experienced heavy and persistent rain. At the same time, sea levels began to measurably drop.

Since 2011, when the atmospheric patterns shifted out of their unusual combination, sea levels have been rising at a faster pace of about 10 millimeters (0.4 inches) per year.

Scientists are uncertain how often the three atmospheric events come together to cause such heavy rains over Australia. Fasullo believes there may have been a similar event in 1973-74, which was another time of record flooding in that continent. But modern observing instruments did not exist then, making it impossible to determine what took place in the atmosphere and whether it affected sea level rise.

"Luckily, we’ve got great observations now," Fasullo says. "We need to maintain these observing platforms to understand what is a complicated climate system."


IPCC: Last 30-year period warmest of last 800 years

Obvious question: So why was it so warm 800 years ago? Coal-fired power stations back then?

The Washington Post reports:

The latest review of climate science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), though not finalized, is making the rounds. The prevailing headline is that the panel is more certain than ever that most of the warming observed in recent decades is human-caused. It’s level of certainty has increased from at least 90 percent in 2007 to at least 95 percent in the new report.

Officials from the IPCC stress that the leaked draft is not its final product. A government review is ongoing, so some of the conclusions may be altered. But here are some of the more interesting preliminary findings…


British government Ministers at war over secret wind farm evidence

An official study of the impact of wind farms and renewable energy on the countryside is being suppressed by the Department of Energy, Coalition sources have disclosed to The Daily Telegraph.
Wind turbine close-up

The newspaper has learnt that a new Government row over wind farms is blocking a report that could provide official confirmation that the controversial turbines can harm rural areas.

Sources have said that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) — run by Ed Davey, a Liberal Democrat — wants to stop Owen Paterson, the Conservative Environment Secretary, publishing a major report that he has commissioned on renewable energy and the rural economy.

Mr Paterson, a known opponent of onshore wind farms, is understood to be furious at the attempts to stifle his department and is said to be "determined" to publish the findings. In June, he said that onshore turbines were often regarded as a "complete scam".

Opponents of wind farms claim that they are unsightly and are an inefficient method of energy generation.

Sources in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) tonight claimed that figures in Mr Davey’s department were more concerned about "ideology" than scientific evidence. "This is our department," a source said. "We are doing this report. It is part of our remit."

It is claimed that figures in the DECC are concerned that the report, which has not been completed, could include negative conclusions about how renewable energy affects the rural economy.

"They don’t want information out there that would allow people to challenge the energy solution that they are going after," the source added.

David Cameron this month signalled his growing opposition to onshore wind farms, saying that there is now "limited potential" for the technology in the UK.

The Prime Minister said he was in favour of offshore wind and shale gas exploration, known as fracking.

Mr Paterson’s report is about the impact of all renewable-energy sources on the countryside and on the rural economy. "There has been a back-and-forth with DECC but we are doing this report," a source said. "We want some hard and fast evidence about the effect of renewables on rural communities. That is well within our portfolio."

No DECC officials have seen the report as it is still in its early stages, it is understood. It is claimed that officials in the energy department have expressed concerns about the "principle of [the] report and what they fear may be documented about some renewables".

The DECC said the departments were working together but appeared to raise doubts about the quality of Defra’s work.

A spokesman said: "We are currently working with Defra to ensure that a final report meets the usual standards and quality assurances that you would expect from any Government publication."

A Defra spokesman said: "We need to ensure that energy is generated in a way that is sustainable.

"We need to understand the effects that different technologies have on the environment and on communities across the country. The energy report is not yet complete."

In June, following government moves to make it easier for local communities to block wind farms, Mr Paterson said: "I know there is huge unhappiness with some of these projects.

"There are places where these projects are well prepared, the community wants it. But in inland areas they are very often deeply unpopular."

According to sources, Mr Paterson is in favour of "appropriate renewables" and is not opposed to some biomass projects and fracking. Defra said the report was being produced by civil servants in the department and that it will be peer-reviewed by experts when it is finished.

The row has echoes of a dispute last year between Mr Davey and John Hayes, the former energy minister. Mr Davey slapped down his Tory colleague after Mr Hayes said that the spread of wind farms across the countryside will be brought to a halt as "enough is enough".

The Energy Secretary was forced to publicly state that government policy had not changed after Mr Hayes called for an end to wind farms being "peppered" all over the countryside.

In March, Mr Hayes was moved from his role as energy minister and became the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary adviser. He is tasked with improving relations between the Tory leadership and backbenchers.

He was replaced by Michael Fallon, who is also retaining his position as a business minister.

The Government has committed to erecting thousands of new onshore turbines by 2020.

DECC projections published earlier this year said that the Government is aiming to double the amount of onshore wind capacity in the country over the next 10 years.

Currently 6.3 gigawatts of energy comes from onshore wind — equating to 4,074 turbines. The DECC has said that the country could produce between 10 and 12 gigawatts of energy from onshore wind farms by 2020.

However, while speaking to factory workers in Lancashire earlier this month, the Prime Minister said that people should not "expect to see a lot more wind power onshore in the UK". "There’s a limited potential for onshore wind," Mr Cameron said.

"Frankly, we’ve got some in the UK — I don’t think we’re going to have a huge amount more.

"We’ve just changed the rules, we’ve cut the subsidies and we’ve said that any schemes that go ahead have to give more benefit to local communities. So I wouldn’t expect to see a lot more wind power onshore in the UK."


Drilling set to resume at British fracking site as protesters quit site: Three more arrested but numbers dwindle

Drilling is expected to resume within days at a potential fracking site after police gained the upper-hand over a dwindling numbers of protesters.

Engineers were carrying out maintenance yesterday in preparation for exploratory drilling for shale gas on the outskirts of Balcombe, West Sussex.

Police made a series of targeted arrests around the camps after reviewing CCTV evidence of Monday’s violent protests. More than eight riot-trained policeman jumped out of a minibus before surrounding one female suspect and quickly driving her away for allegedly earlier assaulting an officer.

Altogether, three people were arrested yesterday, two for offences that happened during Monday’s protests and one for a public disorder offence while a lorry was entering the site.

Many of the activists had already decided to leave – with some saying they would focus on other sites that currently have applications for drilling being considered.

Hundreds of environmental campaigners had been buoyed by Sussex Police’s advice to energy company Cuadrilla last week that it could not secure the area from incursions.

As a result, the company decided to temporarily ‘scale down’ work to see how much potential energy was buried deep under the ground. This led to accusations the police had given into mob rule and were not enforcing the rule of law.

But after a day of action where the protesters were cleared away from the main gate, lorries and workers were yesterday escorted safely by police onto the site.

Following the arrest of 29 people – including Green MP Caroline Lucas – campaigner numbers have fallen to a third of the 1,200 present during the weekend. The ‘Reclaim the Power’ camp that was set up two miles away in a farmer’s field was also being dismantled yesterday and due to be completely cleared by tonight.

Sources say Cuadrilla executives now believe they can contain the site with the current police presence and private security patrolling the perimeter. Drilling, which was suspended last week, is provisionally planned to resume by the end of the week.

Sussex Police have been joined by more than 10 forces helping to provide a combined force of 400 officers to patrol the site around the clock.

Dave Packham, 37, who is unemployed and from London, was trying to hitch-hike back to the capital. He said: ‘I think it’s all over now. I came down last week but numbers have really dropped.

‘It was fun while it lasted and there was a great atmosphere. This has been like a music festival and people have really pulled together. I think the police are now not going to let us carry on so it’s time to move on.’

A statement on the ‘No Dash For Gas’ campaign website said its activists were considering more direct action techniques in Balcombe and other UK sites following the police clamp-down.
Back up and running: Drilling at the Cuadrilla site is expected to resume by the end of the week

Back up and running: Drilling at the Cuadrilla site is expected to resume by the end of the week

Cuadrilla had hoped to carry out exploratory drilling to assess if it is worth applying for a licence to extract shale gas that might involve fracking. The overall police operation against the protesters is expected to cost taxpayers more than £2million as it goes into its third week.

Fracking pumps liquid at high pressure deep underground to split shale rock and release gas to be used as fuel. Campaigners say this might pollute local water supplies and cause earthquakes.

Cuadrilla said in a statement: ‘Cuadrilla is rightly held accountable for complying with multiple planning and environmental permits and conditions, which we have met and will continue to meet.

‘Clearly we are held to one set of legally enforceable standards while some protesters believe that they can set out and follow their own.’

Under pressure, David Cameron broke his silence over whether he would support fracking in his Witney constituency, saying he would welcome it.

Last week, his spokesman declined ten times to give a definitive answer on the controversial practice.

But the same spokesman said on Monday: ‘If locally led planning processes were followed then yes, the Prime Minister would be happy [for fracking to go ahead].’ Mr Cameron has said the whole country should accept fracking as it might potentially cut rising energy bills.

Brighton MP Miss Lucas yesterday said she took direct action during a sit-in because ‘the Government isn’t listening’ to campaigner’s concerns.

Sussex Police said nine people who took part in protests on Monday had been charged with mainly public disorder offences, five cautioned and 14 bailed until a later date.

Last night, Sussex Police said fireworks and drugs had been seized from an area of woodland close to the Cuadrilla site where protesters have been accused of threatening a local landowner who asked them to leave.


Shale gas and Ayn Rand

by James Delingpole

For my summer holidays I have been mostly reading Atlas Shrugged. Ayn Rand has her faults but, boy, was she prescient.

One of the things she foresaw was the current nonsensical, dishonest, canting campaign against shale gas. In Atlas Shrugged it takes the form of Rearden Metal, the miracle technology which is going to transform the US economy if only the progressives will let it. But of course, Rand’s fictional progressives don’t want Reardon Metal to succeed any more than their modern, real-life equivalents want shale gas to succeed.

Why not? For the same rag-bag of made-up, disingenuous reasons which progressives have used to justify their war on progress since time immemorial: it’s unfair, it uses up scarce resources, it might be dangerous. Rand doesn’t actually use the phrase "the precautionary principle." But this is exactly what she is describing in the book when various vested interests – the corporatists in bed with big government, the politicised junk-scientists at the Institute of Science (aka, in our world, the National Academy of Sciences or the Royal Society), the unions – try to close down the nascent technology using the flimsiest of excuses.

Here's an excerpt from the book. (The story so far: in an ailing economy brought low by the sclerotic regulation of the bloated state, a dwindling band of entrepreneurs try to stick up for free enterprise. One of them is Hank Rearden who forges a new kind of metal, stronger and lighter than steel. But his rivals don't like it, and unlike Rearden, they have friends in DC. Soon an unhelpful report is produced by a special committee of the National Council of Metal Industries…)

"They said Rearden Metal is a threat to public safety. They said its chemical composition is unsound, it's brittle, it's decomposing molecularly, and it will crack suddenly without warning [.....] They're experts, though, the men on that committee. Top experts. Chief metallurgists for the biggest corporations, with a string of degrees from universities all over the country."

You may have noticed something similar going on with the anti-shale gas campaign. All those "experts" – many from the oil or renewables industries, no doubt with a string of degrees from universities all over the country – who've worked so effectively to delay shale gas exploitation in Britain with their ingenious excuses: our shale plays aren't the same as America's [true: the Bowland shale, for example, is significantly deeper]; our denser population makes it harder to extract without disruption or environmental damage [what? And wind turbines aren't guilty of doing the same, only with far less obvious benefit?]; that the cost of gas won't significantly drop [yeah, that's really persuasive that one. We've got trillions of cubic feet of gas on our doorstep but when we drill for it and vastly increase available supply it won't have any effect on price??].

Then, of course, there are those five big lies about shale gas so brilliantly nailed by Matt Ridley. The one about polluted aquifers, the one about methane, the one about excess water use, the one about the "hundreds of chemicals" the BBC tells us are pumped into the ground, the one about "earthquakes": none of them is credible – yet you hear them being spouted by "experts" and green campaigners and concerned citizens all the time. Well, no wonder those citizens are concerned. When they hear some "authority" given airtime on the BBC and coming up with the usual spiel about earthquakes and water contamination, they not unreasonably expect that that person has been chosen because they know what they're talking about. It never occurs to them that these people might either be liars or green zealots beyond all reason or paid advocates for the massively well-funded and well-advanced anti-fracking campaign (which has, I'd estimate, a good hundred times more to spend on its propaganda than the pro-fracking campaign does).

And so the poisonous meme spreads from corporate liar to greenie activist to useful idiot to gullible prat to Home Counties Tory voter. Suddenly, everyone thinks they know fracking is a bad thing. Even the Church of England now feels able to chip in its tuppenny ha'penny's worth, though on God knows what evidence. Faith in Gaia, presumably.

Again, Ayn Rand foresaw all this. Swelling the ranks of the anti-Rearden-Metal protesters are all sorts of unlikely pressure groups – especially after Rearden Metal is used to make the sleepers on the new, fast, efficient Rio Norte railway line.

"I don't like the resolution passed by the convention of grade school teachers of New Mexico" said Taggart.

"What resolution?"

"They resolved that it was their opinion that children should not be permitted to ride on the new Rio Norte Line of Taggart Transcontinental when it's completed because it is unsafe."

Ah yes. The convention of grade school teachers of New Mexico: of course they'd know. Just like Prince Charles knows. And Natalie Bennet and Caroline Lucas of the Green party knows. And those bright, clued-up sparks in the Diocese of Blackburn know.

Perhaps they gained their expertise from that experty expert Josh Fox the maker of Gasland. Because he's reliable; he'd never just make stuff up, would he?


Australia: 'Green bank' faces the axe after election

The corporation - effectively a green investment bank - was set up as part of the deal between Labor, the Greens and independents over carbon pricing, revenue from which funds the institution.

Since its creation the $10 billion bank has invested close to $800 million in renewables and energy-efficiency projects across the country. Projects include $60 million for a solar farm in Moree and $75 million for plants capturing waste coal mine and landfill gas and turning it into power. But its existence is seriously contested.

Tony Wood, energy program director at think tank the Grattan Institute, said the corporation to date had done little but provide cheap financing to projects, meaning it was just competing with existing market players.

"If the government is going to intervene in the market you need to have a clear rationale and I'm not sure they have made a clear case," he said. Mr Wood said the corporation's energy-efficiency work was worthy but did not require $10 billion.

The [conservative] Coalition has vowed to axe the corporation if it wins the federal election, saying it is backing speculative ventures with borrowed money, which the private sector would not support.

"Why would you pay more than you had to for renewable energy - it's a wacky idea," said opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt.

On the first day of the election campaign Tony Abbott wrote to the corporation's chairman, Jillian Broadbent, to reiterate his government would close it down. It followed similar letters from other Coalition frontbenchers in recent months threatening not to honour contracts signed by the corporation.

On Monday, Fairfax Media reported that banks and other major investors were expecting about $4 billion to be sucked from the renewable energy sector as a result of regulatory uncertainty and the likelihood of lower returns under a Coalition government.

Mr Hunt rejected that report, saying he spoke regularly with major investors and banks and those concerns had not been raised with him.

The chief executive of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Oliver Yates, declined to comment on policies of the major parties, but said he thought the $4 billion funding estimate was likely to be "conservative".

Analysts estimate $20 billion in private and public investment cash would be required to meet the mandatory renewable energy target of 20 per cent clean energy by 2020 that has bipartisan political support.




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


20 August, 2013

Presenter of British TV science programs for children deplores Warmist school propaganda

This is from two years back but is as topical as ever

Earth orbit changes key to climate change

For more than a century scientists have known that Earth's ice ages are caused by the wobbling of the planet's orbit, which changes its orientation to the sun and affects the amount of sunlight reaching higher latitudes, particularly the polar regions.

The Northern Hemisphere's last ice age ended about 20,000 years ago, and most evidence has indicated that the ice age in the Southern Hemisphere ended about 2,000 years later, suggesting that the south was responding to warming in the north.

But new research published online Aug. 14 in Nature shows that Antarctic warming began at least two, and perhaps four, millennia earlier than previously thought.

Most previous evidence for Antarctic climate change has come from ice cores drilled in East Antarctica, the highest and coldest part of the continent. However, a U.S.-led research team studying a new ice core from West Antarctica found that warming there was well under way 20,000 years ago.

"Sometimes we think of Antarctica as this passive continent waiting for other things to act on it. But here it is showing changes before it 'knows' what the north is doing," said T.J. Fudge, a University of Washington doctoral student in Earth and space sciences and lead corresponding author of the Nature paper.

Co-authors are 41 other members of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide project, which is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation.

The findings come from a detailed examination of an ice core taken from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide, an area where there is little horizontal flow of the ice so the data are known to be from a location that remained consistent over long periods.

The ice core is more than 2 miles deep and covers 68,000 years, though so far data have been analyzed only from layers going back 30,000 years. Near the surface, 1 meter of ice covers one year, but at greater depths the annual layers are compressed to centimeters.

Fudge identified the annual layers by running two electrodes along the ice core to measure higher electrical conductivity associated with each summer season. Evidence of greater warming turned up in layers associated with 18,000 to 22,000 years ago, the beginning of the last deglaciation.

"This deglaciation is the last big climate change that that we're able to go back and investigate," he said. "It teaches us about how our climate system works."

West Antarctica is separated from East Antarctica by a major mountain range. East Antarctica has a substantially higher elevation and tends to be much colder, though there is recent evidence that it too is warming.

Rapid warming in West Antarctica in recent decades has been documented in previous research by Eric Steig, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences who serves on Fudge's doctoral committee and whose laboratory produced the oxygen isotope data used in the Nature paper. The new data confirm that West Antarctica's climate is more strongly influenced by regional conditions in the Southern Ocean than East Antarctica is.

"It's not surprising that West Antarctica is showing something different from East Antarctica on long time scales, but we didn't have evidence for that before," Fudge said.

He noted that the warming in West Antarctica 20,000 years ago is not explained by a change in the sun's intensity. Instead, how the sun's energy was distributed over the region was a much bigger factor. It not only warmed the ice sheet but also warmed the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica, particularly during summer months when more sea ice melting could take place.

Changes in Earth's orbit today are not an important factor in the rapid warming that has been observed recently, he added.

"Earth's orbit changes on the scale of thousands of years, but carbon dioxide today is changing on the scale of decades so climate change is happening much faster today," Fudge said.


Britain's attention-seeking Green/Left have found a new playground

Obstructing exploratory drilling for fracking potential

The campaigners, many hardened environmental activists, have been buoyed by Sussex Police advice to Cuadrilla last week that they could not guarantee to protect the site from incursions.

As a result, Cuadrilla temporarily ‘scaled back’ its operations, a move seized on as victory by the anti-fracking groups.

But yesterday Sussex officers, appearing to respond to public criticism of that advice, began forcibly removing any activists hindering Cuadrilla’s exploratory drilling at the site.

Miss Lucas was heard to scream in shock ‘That’s my son’ as a man aged in his early 20s sitting near her was one of the first to be led away by police. Officers then spoke to her briefly before leading her away to a police van.

Sussex Police has received help from ten other forces in the operation. Officer numbers swelled to more than 400 to face down the estimated 700 protestors.

Police surrounded the area and physically forced the protesters back just after lunchtime yesterday. A few who taunted officers were pulled out of the crowd and arrested by ‘snatch squads’.

A barrier of bicycles set up by protesters to slow down the police was quickly smashed out of the way. As a result of the action the road was closed, and officers were effectively kettling protesters into a small space in front of the drilling site

Cuadrilla had hoped to carry out exploratory drilling to assess if it is worth applying for a licence to extract shale gas that might involve fracking.

The overall police operation against the protesters is expected to cost taxpayers more than £2million as it goes into its third week. Police from other areas where fracking applications have been made have sent observers to the scene of the protests.

In London, a group of anti-fracking protestors yesterday glued their hands to the door of the offices of Bell Pottinger, the PR firm representing Cuadrilla.

Another activist climbed the High Holborn building and unfurled a banner bearing the words ‘Bell Pottinger – fracking liars’. During the noisy six-hour protest, six women aged between 25 and 59 accused the PR firm of ‘spinning dirty lies’.

Protesters also said they had staged a demonstration outside the home of former energy secretary Lord Howell, erecting an estate agent-style ‘For Shale’ sign.

Lord Howell became a target for their action when he said fracking should go ahead in the North East because it had ‘large and uninhabited and desolate areas’, before claiming he had meant the North West.

David Cameron yesterday broke his silence over whether he would support fracking in his Witney constituency, saying he would welcome it. It comes a week after his spokesman declined ten times to give a definitive answer on the controversial practice.

Yesterday the same spokesman said: ‘If locally led planning processes were followed then yes, the Prime Minister would be happy [for fracking to go ahead].’

Mr Cameron has said the whole country should accept fracking as it might potentially cut rising energy bills.

Anarchists from across Europe have joined the protests in Balcombe.

The groups from Spain, France, Holland and Poland were alerted to the ‘cause’ by protest websites and freely admit they know little about the arguments for and against fracking.

Police say the village has turned into a ‘free festival’ for professional protesters who are treating the stand-off as a ‘tourist attraction’.

Camper vans, cars and tents – some of which have fully stocked kitchens – line the grass verges for almost a mile outside the West Sussex site.

One man from Malaga said he arrived in Balcombe on Sunday after he heard about ‘direct action’ methods being used. I was in London and going back to Europe when I heard about this. I’ve only recently learnt about fracking, but thought this would be fun.


Examining the social cost of carbon

On Friday, Aug. 9, the Federal Register posted an announcement calling for public comments on the use of the "social cost of carbon" in DOE rulemaking. The members of the House of Representatives have already presented their opinions on social cost of carbon by passing a bill just prior to recess prohibiting its use by the EPA without consent of Congress. It is unclear whether the Senate will take up the issue, although the prohibition would almost certainly face a presidential veto. But without good cause.

The social cost of carbon is a poor concept from the start. It is an ill-conceived, one-sided supposed measure of the damages associated with climate change resulting from human emissions of carbon-containing greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide and methane). Or, rather, it is a measure of the damages predicted to occur by a collection of computer models — computer models which themselves largely fail at capturing the climate evolution during recent decades.

Under normal circumstances, little attention would be paid to the esoteric squabbling of economists arguing about how to place a largely theoretical value on a measure which is imprecise and ever-changing by its very nature. However, the social cost of carbon has been elevated to the limelight by the Obama administration which has introduced it into the cost-benefit analysis that must be performed for new rules and regulations.

The social cost of carbon — or its converse, the alleged benefits conferred by reducing carbon dioxide emissions — has become one the administration’s favorite tools for counteracting the high costs associated with an ever-growing string of actual and proposed new rules governing everything from microwave oven efficiency to coal-killing power plant emissions standards.

The administration is so empowered by the social cost of carbon, that, realizing still untapped potential, it recently upped its initial estimates of the social cost of carbon by about 50 percent. By assigning a central damage estimate (cost) of $35 for each ton of emitted carbon dioxide rather than $21 per ton, more and costlier regulations can be neutralized by the purported benefits of greenhouse gas reductions.

But in its haste to find a way to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, the administration has turned its back on both standing federal guidelines as well as sound science.

For example, the administration dismisses federal guidelines which require an analysis of the cost of regulations from a domestic perspective. Rather than focusing only on costs expected to occur in the U.S., the administration determines the social cost of carbon from a consideration of perceived global impacts. Since the U.S. is much better positioned to respond to and adapt to climate changes than many other countries, the domestic costs are only a fraction of the total global costs. So what the administration is essentially doing is claiming ill-defined foreign benefits to justify the costs of U.S. regulations.

More egregiously, the administration turns its back on science. There is growing realization among climate scientists that the projections of climate change resulting from human greenhouse gas emissions have been overestimated. This realization stems from evidence published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature over the course of the past several years suggesting that the warming potential from greenhouse gas emissions is 40 percent lower than that which is currently encapsulated in climate models. Even while admitting that the climate sensitivity to greenhouse gas emissions is a key parameter in its calculations, the administration ignores these new findings and instead increased its estimate of the social cost of carbon in the face of the best science which demands that they should have decreased it.

The social cost of carbon is a concept which is easily gamed to fit the desires of the user — a characteristic emphasized in a recent paper by M.I.T. economist Robert Pindyck where he wrote that the models used to determine the SCC "suggests a level of knowledge and precision that is nonexistent, and allows the modeler to obtain almost any desired result because key inputs can be chosen arbitrarily."

In this case, the user, the Obama administration, desires to limit greenhouse gas emissions in an attempt to mitigate climate change (an endeavor in which it will ultimately fail as the future course of climate change lies not with the U.S., but with the large, developing nations of the world). Unsurprisingly, the social cost of carbon was determined to be high and has gotten even higher just in time for the new round of regulations and executive actions making up the president’s recently announced Climate Action Plan.

Unbeknownst to most of us, the social cost of carbon is a playing an increasing role in our personal lives as our government uses it to justify making things more expensive — from cars to electricity. To do so, it lays science and best practices by the wayside.


Solar power’s going to be great: Which is why we shouldn’t be subsidising it today

Written by Tim Worstall

I'm a firm believer that all of this climate change thing is going to be solved by the application of human ingenuity. You might call me a Simonite on that point.I'm also absolutely certain that solar power is going to play a large part in that solution. There's just so damn much of it available that it would be near mad insane of us not to use it. At which point my insistence that we should not be subsidising the installation of current solar power is going to seem most odd. However, I refer you to Mike Munger:

In 20 years, solar will be useful, and used. But it's a mistake to spend our money now on an immature and still not well-engineered solar generation system.

I'd argue on the 20 years: it's going to be much sooner than that. Solar power depends upon a variant of Moore's Law (in part, at least, and then further on the efficiency with which silicon metal can be made, something increasing by leaps and bounds as well) and it's getting more efficient faster than most realise. Or more productive perhaps, to bring the falling price of it into play.

The usual argument at this point is that since solar will become efficient at some point in hte near future then we've got to subsidise the installation of it right now. Which is absurd of course: that it will be grid comparable in general (rather than just in specific locations, as now) in the near future is exactly why we shouldn't be offering any subsidiy at all for installation of the current, not efficient, generation. And the closer that near future is the stronger the argument against subsidy. If the next generation of solar, available in, say, 2015, will be cheaper than coal (a claim some make although I'm not sure it will be that quick) then why one Earth would we waste money installing not efficient solar in 2014?

Save the money and install the efficient stuff in 2015. This is true whatever your timescale for solar becoming efficient is. The more anyone insists that it will become efficient the more they ought to be arguing against the subsidy of the installation of the current generation of inefficient solar.

Subsidy for development, for R&D work, that's different, with a different set of arguments. But subsidy for the current installation, for 25 years of subsidy through feed in tariffs, when we're all also arguing that unsubsidised efficient kit will be available in 2 or 5 years, is simply ridiculous. Wait and install the good stuff instead of littering the countryside with the current bad kit.


Warmist Trenberth downgrades global warming to just a ‘hotspot’ that moves ‘unpredictably’

Kevin Trenberth told ClimateProgress’ Joe Romm:

We can confidently say that the risk of drought and heat waves has gone up and the odds of a hot spot somewhere on the planet have increased but the hotspot moves around and the location is not very predictable. This year perhaps it is East Asia: China, or earlier Siberia? It has been much wetter and cooler in the US (except for SW), whereas last year the hot spot was the US. Earlier this year it was Australia (Tasmania etc) in January (southern summer). We can name spots for all summers going back quite a few years: Australia in 2009, the Russian heat wave in 2010, Texas in 2011, etc.

Similarly with risk of high rains and floods: They are occurring but the location moves.




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


19 August, 2013

It’s Time to Restore EPA’s Original Purpose

Jay Lehr, Ph.D.

In 1968, when I was serving as the head of a groundwater professional society, it became obvious to some of my colleagues and me that the United States did not have any serious focus on potential problems with its air quality, drinking water quality, surface water quality, waste disposal problems, and contamination that could occur from mining and agriculture. I held the nation’s first Ph.D. in groundwater hydrology, which gave me unparalleled insight into many of these potential problems.

We spoke before dozens of congressional committees, calling attention to mounting environmental pollution problems. We called for the establishment of a federal Environmental Protection Agency, and in 1971 we succeeded. I was appointed to a variety of the new agency’s advisory councils, and over the next 10 years we helped write a variety of legislative bills to make up a true safety net for our environment. These included, among others, the Water Pollution Control Act (later renamed the Clean Water Act); the Safe Drinking Water Act; the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act; the Clean Air Act; the Federal Insecticide, Rodenticide, and Fungicide Act; and the Comprehensive Environmental Reclamation, Compensation, and Liability Act.

All of these laws worked extremely well in protecting the environment and our citizens’ health, with the exception of the Superfund Law, which proved to be far too overreaching.

Agenda-Driven Turning Point

A turning point occurred roughly a decade after the creation of EPA. Activist groups realized the agency could be used to alter our government by coming down heavily on all human activities regardless of their impact on the environment. From approximately 1981 onward, EPA rules and regulations became less about science-based environmental protection and more about advancing extraneous ideological agendas.

States Ready

It is my very strong belief that most EPA jurisdiction and functions can and should be replaced by a committee of the whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Each of the individual states have its own environmental protection department, and these are much better at assessing and crafting solutions to local and regional environmental issues than the federal EPA. At the national level, a committee of the whole would do a much better job directing environmental stewardship than the money-hungry and power-hungry federal EPA.

Back in 1971, a federal EPA was necessary because the states did not have environmental protection departments. Now, however, with state environmental departments already providing on-the-ground environmental protection throughout the 50 states, EPA has morphed into an overpowering entity that arrogantly dictates to the 50 states while doing everything possible to protect its power and regulatory turf.

The 50 state agencies are ready to assume full management of our environmental issues. The state agencies already do so, with many states enacting and enforcing environmental rules more stringent than those crafted by EPA. Only the EPA research laboratories should be left in place to answer scientific questions, no longer under the heavy hand of Washington politics.

Workable Phase-Out Plan

We could eliminate 80 percent of EPA’s bloated $8 billion budget and return the money to the people. The remaining 20 percent could be used to fund EPA’s research labs and pull together a committee of the 50 state environmental protection departments to take over EPA’s other responsibilities.

A relatively small administrative structure is all that is necessary to enable the states to work together. The states would have the incentive and the means to act as environmental stewards without the power to impose scientifically unjustified, economically punitive restrictions on a national basis.

We could phase out EPA in five years. It would take one year to prepare the new structure and then four years to phase out the various EPA bureaucracy and programs. As each EPA program is phased out, the committee of the whole would assume the phased-out oversight and responsibilities.

Committee of the Whole Responsibilities

The committee of the whole would quickly determine which regulations are actually mandated in law by Congress and which were crafted under EPA discretion. The committee would then reassess discretionary regulations to ensure wise ones are retained and unwise strictures are revised or repealed. A good procedure for reviewing EPA regulations would require a two-thirds vote of the committee of the whole to revise or repeal an existing EPA regulation.

Environmental stewardship would continue unabated, but without the severe negative consequences resulting from EPA arrogance and overreach.

Until and unless the committee of the whole acts upon an existing regulation, each regulation will remain in force. Therefore, all existing environmental rules and regulations are presumed wise and valid unless the states determine otherwise.

When one considers the initial motivation for creating a federal EPA, a committee of the whole 50 states makes perfect sense as a forward-looking means of ensuring wise and appropriate environmental stewardship. The states are in the best position to assess and address environmental concerns within their respective borders, and a committee of the whole can effectively address environmental issues that are regional or national in nature.

The easy path is the path of least resistance. The easy path is to continue funding and granting increasing power to an out-of-control federal EPA. A wiser path is to recognize that the individual states are ready and willing to provide more commonsense environmental protection.


New paper finds no increase of deep cyclones in Europe over past 110 years

Warmist screeches these days are mostly about allegedly more frequent "extreme weather" so yet another paper showing no increase cuts to the bone

Discussing: Bielec-Bakowska, Z. and Piotrowicz, K. 2013. "Long-term occurrence, variability and tracks of deep cyclones over Krakow (Central Europe) during the period 1900-2010." International Journal of Climatology 33: 677-689.

Introducing their work, Bielec-Bakowska and Piotrowicz (2013) write that "at a continental scale it is low pressure areas, especially those traveling from west to east with their associated systems of atmospheric fronts, that generally have a significant influence on European weather," as they are "often accompanied by meteorological phenomena of a violent nature, such as sudden changes of pressure and temperature, strong winds, heavy precipitation including hail, and electrical discharges," with the result that "very often these phenomena cause considerable damage to the environment and the economy and may adversely influence human health and well-being." And they add that "at a time of ongoing debate about climate change and the impact of human activities, questions have been asked whether a further increase in the frequency and intensity of similar events might be expected in the near future."

In an attempt to provide a well-founded data-based answer to this important question, Bielec-Bakowska and Piotrowicz analyzed the frequency of occurrence of air pressure values equal to or lower than the 1st percentile (equivalent to ? 995.3 hPa) of all air pressure values recorded at 12:00 UTC in Krakow, Poland, over a period of 110 years (1900/1901-2009/2010), with "special attention" being devoted to the tracks of deep cyclones.

The two Polish researchers report that the frequency of deep cyclones in Poland, both overall and in each of a number of specific track groups, "failed to change significantly" over the 110-year period of their study. In the most important of these groups, which was composed of "more than half of all deep cyclones," they found that they "developed over the Atlantic and travelled over or near Iceland via the Baltic Sea and/or the Scandinavian Peninsula," and that "towards the end of the study period, it was observed that deep cyclones following these tracks shortened their journeys considerably," due to the fact that "as they moved over the Scandinavian Peninsula or the Baltic Sea, they 'suddenly' weakened and filled up."

In the concluding paragraph of their paper, Bakowska and Piotrowicz thus write that their study "failed to clearly confirm any increase in the frequency of particularly deep cyclones," which means, in their words, that "forecasts envisaging higher frequencies of strong winds accompanying deep cyclones must be treated with caution."


50-year-old British fracking site that makes a mockery of the protesting zealots

The beautiful expanse of grassland on the RSPB’s Beckingham Marshes reserve is exactly the kind of environment antifracking protesters are so determined to protect.

During their ‘Solidarity Sunday’ today in the West Sussex village of Balcombe, thousands of eco-warriors will tell the world that fracking – the process of pumping water into underground wells to ‘fracture’ the rock and force out oil and gas – should be banned to avoid ‘industralising’ the countryside.

In fact there has been fracking here in Nottinghamshire since 1963, the last time in 1989. One well has been fracked four times.

Thanks in part to this original fracking process, allowing more oil and gas to be extracted, the oilfield is still yielding about 300 barrels of crude oil and one million cubic feet of natural gas daily. The gas, piped under the reserve to a local power station, is now used to generate enough electricity to power 21,000 homes every day.

And yet the environmental armageddon predicted so vocally by the anti-fracking brigade has failed spectacularly to appear.

Within the idyllic setting of the reserve stands a nodding donkey – proof that RSPB Beckingham Marshes lies inside the boundary of an oil field that is being actively exploited. Visitors can gaze from the reserve over the flat landscape and see the tops of four more nodding donkeys, all no more than 32ft from the border of the nature reserve. All four are pumping from oil wells where fracking has occurred.

But wildlife is flourishing and people in the village of Beckingham seem bemused when questioned about the effect on the environment.

In the words of Andrew Austin, chief executive of IGas Energy, the British company running the oilfield: ‘Clearly, the world has not ended in Beckingham.’

A report last year by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering found that at about 200 of the 2,000 onshore wells drilled in the UK in the past 30 years, there had been fracking to improve yields of oil and natural gas.

The anti-fracking prophets of doom may also be surprised to learn that in the 13 square miles of the Gainsborough-Beckingham oil field in which the reserve lies, there have been at least 53 fracking operations.

‘There are 53 we know about,’ said Mr Austin, conceding there may have been more. ‘Most of the fracking was done in the late 1980s when the field was owned by BP. ‘I think the people protesting are sincere but they have chosen the wrong target. Fracking is standard oilfield practice.

‘All this stuff about it being new is nonsense.’ Fracking, said Mr Austin, had happened at depths of 3,000ft to 4,000ft in the field but the predicted evils – pollution and water poisoning – have not appeared.

And as for the ‘industrialisation of the countryside’, when you approach the small area – about one-50th of an acre – occupied by the well that has been fracked four times, the gentle hum of the 15ft-tall nodding donkey tends to be drowned out by the sound of birdsong.

Electrical engineer Tim Downing, 55, said: ‘The wells have been here longer than us. They have had no effect on the local wildlife. We see deer and hares all the time and there has been no subsidence.’

It is true that people in the centuries- old village of Beckingham, three miles from the bird reserve, did fear an environmental menace – but it wasn’t fracking. It was the wind turbines so beloved of the protesters in Balcombe.

Local Jayne Hanson, 64, said: ‘Plans to allow wind turbines in the area caused more strong feeling in the village than the oil drilling or fracking ever did. There is considerable opposition to them.’

The extent of the oil and gas still produced today means that some of the resulting profits are ploughed back into the environment. IG has helped fund the restoration of the Old Willow Works that stand at the entrance to the RSPB reserve.

As well as this improvement to the environment, Mr Austin said: ‘We have 35 employees working at the field in good jobs, supporting 35 families, which have sustained some for 40 years.’

None of this is likely to deter the eco-warriors in Balcombe. Last night some of them were camping in a nearby field. Eagerly anticipating ‘Solidarity Sunday’, they had unfurled banners in the field proclaiming ‘Power to the people’.

Watching what had become of his family’s field, farmer Philip Ponsford struggled with his frustration.

‘When they turned up on Thursday, I tried to explain we needed the field to graze our sheep. But they said they weren’t asking for permission because they were doing it anyway.’

Surveying at least 50 tents, two lorries, eight vans, and one vintage double-decker bus parked on his field, Mr Ponsford, 28, seemed resigned to the inevitable. ‘The grass will be so damaged we will have to pull it up and re-seed it. So we will lose 24 acres of grazing for our sheep.’ And his position on fracking, from which the protesters were ‘protecting’ him? ‘Neutral. Very neutral.’

The protesters will argue that fracking for shale gas, as yet untried in Britain, will be more damaging than the pre-existing fracking for conventional oil and natural gas. They claim that shale fracking requires more wells, causes more disturbance and will point to the earth tremors in 2011, shortly after Cuadrilla commenced fracking near Blackpool.

However, Mr Austin warned that stopping fracking might only produce greater reliance on coal-fired power stations, which produce more ‘greenhouse gases’ than shale gas. ‘The enemy is coal, not gas.’

Whether those in Balcombe will listen remains to be seen.


The costs of regulation

A little something from the frontlines of international industry

Written by Tim Worstall

Most of you will know that my day job is dealing with the weirder
end of the metals market, most especially the rare earth scadnium. This popped into my inbox as a result of one of those automatic alert jobbies:

"Guangdong Orient Zirconic Ind Sci & Tech Co. is going to spend 30 million yuan ($4.9 million) to build facility to recycle scandium from zirconium oxychloride acid mother liquor. It will take six months to construct the facility, Orient Zirconic told Shenzhen Stock Exchange on August 10. When completed, the facility will have production capacities of 2,500 kilograms for high purity scandium oxide a year, 20 tpy for mixtures of rare earth oxides and 150 tpy for zirconium oxychloride, it said."

I don't know this particular company and have no contact with them. But those numbers all look about right, believable certainly. For I have looked at that (and many other viable ones) method of extracting scandium. It works, no doubt about it.

The thing I'd just note though is that they're going from a standing start to production in 6 months. If I were to pursue exactly the same technology here in the European Union it would take me 18 months just to get the environmental permit to proceed.

No, I don't advocate Chinese levels of environmental non-protection. But I do want to point out that such protection does come at a price: it takes much longer to do things therefore economic growth is slower than it would have been without such enviromental protection. It might even be that the level of protection we have is the right amount: I really do just want to point out that it comes with a cost attached to it.

And we have all noted that economic growth has been slower in recent decades than it was in those before we imposed the current level of regulations, haven't we?


Carbon Dioxide: The Gas of Life

Paul Driessen

It’s amazing that minuscule bacteria can cause life-threatening diseases and infections –- and miraculous that tiny doses of vaccines and antibiotics can safeguard us against these deadly scourges. It is equally incredible that, at the planetary level, carbon dioxide is a miracle molecule for plants -– and the "gas of life" for most living creatures on Earth.

In units of volume, CO2’s concentration is typically presented as 400 parts per million (400 ppm). Translated, that’s just 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere -– the equivalent of 40 cents out of one thousand dollars, or 1.4 inches on a football field. Even atmospheric argon is 23 times more abundant: 9,300 ppm. Moreover, the 400 ppm in 2013 is 120 ppm more than the 280 ppm carbon dioxide level of 1800, and that two-century increase is equivalent to a mere 12 cents out of $1,000, or one half-inch on a football field.

Eliminate carbon dioxide, and terrestrial plants would die, as would lake and ocean phytoplankton, grasses, kelp and other water plants. After that, animal and human life would disappear. Even reducing CO2 levels too much – back to pre-industrial levels, for example – would have terrible consequences.

Over the past two centuries, our planet finally began to emerge from the Little Ice Age that had cooled the Earth and driven Viking settlers out of Greenland. Warming oceans slowly released some of the carbon dioxide stored in their waters. Industrial Revolution factories and growing human populations burned more wood and fossil fuels, baked more bread, and brewed more beer, adding still more CO2 to the atmosphere. Much more of the miracle molecule came from volcanoes and subsea vents, forest fires, biofuel use, decaying plants and animals, and "exhaust" from living, breathing animals and humans.

What a difference that extra 120 ppm has made for plants, and for animals and humans that depend on them. The more carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the more it is absorbed by plants of every description –- and the faster and better they grow, even under adverse conditions like limited water, extremely hot air temperatures, or infestations of insects, weeds and other pests. As trees, grasses, algae and crops grow more rapidly and become healthier and more robust, animals and humans enjoy better nutrition on a planet that is greener and greener.

Efforts to feed seven billion people, and improve nutrition for more than a billion who are malnourished, are steadily increasing the tension between our need for land to feed humans -– and the need to keep land in its natural state to support plants and wildlife. How well we are able to increase crop production from the same or less acreage may mean the difference between global food sufficiency and rampant human starvation in coming decades –- and between the survival and extinction of many plant and animal species.

Modern agricultural methods steadily and dramatically improved crop yields per acre between 1930 and today. That is especially important if we continue to divert millions of acres of farmland from food crops, and convert millions of acres of rainforest and other wildlife habitat to cropland, for biofuel production to replace fossil fuels that we again have in abundance. Carbon dioxide will play a vital role in these efforts.

Increased CO2 levels in greenhouses dramatically improve plant growth, especially when temperatures are also elevated; rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have likewise had astounding positive impacts on outdoor plant growth and survival. Lentils and other legumes grown in hothouses with 700 ppm CO2 improved their total biomass by 91%, their edible parts yield by 150 % and their fodder yield by 67%, compared to similar crops grown at 370 ppm carbon dioxide, Indian researchers found.

Rice grown at 600 ppm CO2 increased its grain yield by 28% with low applications of nitrogen fertilizer, Chinese scientists calculated. U.S. researchers discovered that sugarcane grown in sunlit greenhouses at 720 ppm CO2 and 11 degrees F (6 degrees C) higher than outside ambient air produced stem juice an amazing 124% higher in volume than sugarcane grown at ambient temperature and 360 ppm carbon dioxide. Non-food crops like cotton also fare much better when carbon dioxide levels are higher.

Research into natural forest and crop growth during recent periods of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, between 1900 and 2010, found significant improvements under "real-world" conditions, as well.

An analysis of Scots pines in Catalonia, Spain, showed that tree diameter and cross-sectional area expanded by 84% between 1900 and 2000, in response to rising CO2 levels. The growth of young Wisconsin trees increased by 60%, and tree ring width expanded by almost 53%, as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increased from 316 ppm in 1958 to 376 ppm in 2003, researchers calculated.

University of Minnesota scientists compared the growth of trees and other plants during the first half of the twentieth century (which included the terrible Dust Bowl years), when CO2 levels rose only 10 ppm – to the period 1950-2000, when CO2 increased by 57 ppm. They found that carbon dioxide lowered plant sensitivity to severe drought and improved their survival rates by almost 50%. Swiss researchers concluded that, because of rising carbon dioxide levels, "alpine plant life is proliferating, biodiversity is on the rise, and the mountain world appears more productive and inviting than ever."

Other researchers used historical (real-world) data for land use, atmospheric CO2 concentration, nitrogen deposition, fertilization, ozone levels, rainfall and climate, to develop a computer model that simulates plant growth responses for southern US habitats from 1895 to 2007. They determined that "net primary productivity" improved by an average of 27% during this 112-year period, with most of the increased growth occurring after 1950, when CO2 levels rose the most, from 310 ppm in 1950 to 395 ppm in 2007.

How does all this happen? Plants use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide from the air, and water and minerals from the soil, into the carbohydrates and other molecules that form plant biomass. More CO2 means more and larger flowers; higher seed mass and germination success; and improved plant resistance to droughts, diseases, viruses, pathogenic infections, air pollutants, and salt or nitrogen accumulation in soils. Higher CO2 levels also improve plants’ water use efficiency – ensuring faster and greater carbon uptake by plant tissues, with less water lost through transpiration.

More airborne CO2 lets plants reduce the size of their stomata, little holes in leaves that plants use to inhale carbon dioxide building blocks. When CO2 is scarce, the openings increase in size, to capture sufficient supplies of this "gas of life." But increasing stomata size means more water molecules escape, and the water loss places increasing stress on the plants, eventually threatening their growth and survival.

When the air’s carbon dioxide levels rise –- to 400, 600 or 800 ppm – the stomata shrink in size, causing them to lose less water from transpiration, while still absorbing ample CO2 molecules. That enables them to survive extended dry spells much better.

(The 2009 and 2011 volumes of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change report, Climate Change Reconsidered, especially this section, and Dr. Craig Idso’s website summarize hundreds of similar studies of crops, forests, grasslands, alpine areas and deserts enriched by carbon dioxide. CO2 Science’s Plant Growth Database lets people search for more studies.)

One of the worst things that could happen to our planet and its people, animals and plants would be for carbon dioxide levels to plunge back to levels last seen before the Industrial Revolution. Decreasing CO2 levels would be especially problematical if Earth cools, in response to the sun entering another "quiet phase," as happened during the Little Ice Age. If Earth cools again, growing seasons would shorten and arable cropland would decrease in the northern temperate zones. We would then need every possible molecule of carbon dioxide – just to keep agricultural production high enough to stave off mass human starvation … and save wildlife habitats from being plowed under to replace that lost cropland.

However, even under current Modern Warm Era conditions, crops, other plants, animals and people will benefit from more carbon dioxide. The "gas of life" is a miracle plant fertilizer that helps plants grow and prosper – greening the planet, nourishing wildlife habitats, feeding people who crave larger amounts of more nutritious food, preventing species loss, and even warming the Earth a little.

That is an amazing fete for a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that comprises just 0.04 percent of our atmosphere! We should praise carbon dioxide -– not vilify, ban or bury it.


Environmentalists Want You Powerless... to Resist

The power plant closures are coming; the power plant closures are coming; the power plant closures are coming; and while no one is riding through town to announce the news, the results to America could be nearly as dire as the coming of the Redcoats. Despite millions already spent on modifications, fully functional coal-fueled power plants are being shut down—not because they are not needed but due to ideology. In fact, the Energy Information Administration predicts that electricity demand will continue to grow 0.9 percent per year until 2040 as we plug in to electricity that is becoming increasingly expensive.

One such example is the San Juan Generating Station in New Mexico’s Four Corners area that provides about 60 percent of PNM’s (New Mexico’s primary electricity provider) total electric generation in the state. The coal-fueled plant has four generating units—two of which are being shut down due to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. The Albuquerque Journal reports that there will be "rate hikes to allow PNM to recover costs associated with the changes at San Juan."

The San Juan Generating Station is scheduled for closure in 2017, but the process of replacing the 340 megawatts that will be lost has already started. PNM wants to fill the need with a new natural-gas plant at the same site and by bringing in more nuclear power from the Palo Verde Generating Station in Arizona, in which PNM is already part owner. Environmentalists oppose PNM’s plan and are pushing for more renewables such as wind and solar—which will "drive costs way up."

But the problem with renewables isn’t just the cost or the intermittency. The problem is that environmentalists also oppose what it takes to get the natural resources needed to build, for example, a wind turbine.

The Northwest Mining Association, lists the metals and minerals needed to build one 3 megawatt wind turbine, which includes: 335 tons of steel and 4.7 tons of copper. (To replace the 340 megawatts of electricity generated at San Juan with wind would take 113 three-megawatt wind turbines—or 37,855 tons of steel and 1598 tons of copper.) Most people don’t think about where the metals and minerals come from or what it takes to recover or shape them.

Steel is an iron-based alloy that requires coal in the production process. It takes about 400 pounds of coal to produce a ton of steel. Unfortunately, the Obama administration—which is closely aligned with the environmentalists’ agenda—doesn’t seem to understand this. They are pushing for more wind turbines—with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel, "gearing up to make offshore wind energy a hallmark of her tenure," according to the Washington Post. At the same time, environmentalists are coal’s adversaries. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), following an August 1 meeting with EPA administrator Gina McCarthy and White House legislative affairs director Michael Rodriguez, stated: "You cannot describe this any differently than as a war on coal, and not just in West Virginia or the U.S. but on a global scale. They’re using every tool they have to destroy the most abundant, reliable and affordable resource that we have."

In Wisconsin, a company has begun soil testing with the goal of mining iron ore in a four-mile open pit mine. Gogebic Taconite, or G-Tec, has begun exploratory drilling and is gathering samples to send to government agencies. If results show the process is safe, G-Tec will be allowed to go ahead with its plans to construct the mine in a region where mining was once the main source of revenue. "Many of those who live in the economically depressed towns nearby," many of them are descendants of miners, according to a Fox News report: "support the company’s efforts and look forward to the potential for much-needed jobs and growth in the region." Yet, environmentalists are intent on blocking the project and have gone to such extremes as death threats, destroying equipment, attacking workers, and barricading roads.

An attempt to mine copper in Alaska is facing similar opposition—albeit this time through the EPA rather than acts of eco-terrorism. The proposed Pebble mine would potentially bring up to $180 million in annual taxes and revenues to the state of Alaska. A mine plan has not been put forward, nor have the companies behind the Pebble Partnership begun the permitting process, but the EPA has spent more than $2 million in an unnecessary and controversial draft watershed assessment of the Pebble Mine. According to the Daily Caller, the EPA and environmental groups argue that the agency has the authority to preemptively veto a permit. The Pebble Partnership has spent ten years and more than $400 million in research, studies, and fieldwork but has not yet submitted any plan. Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council reports that Pebble Mine opponents urged the EPA to conduct the assessment. She states: "The EPA has the authority under the Clean Water Act to stop Pebble Mine."

Abraham Williams, president of the pro-development nonprofit Nuna Resources, says environmental groups are active in the region. "They have people on the ground and they move around the communities very well. They are well funded. It’s amazing. They are like ants—they work everywhere."

The war on coal, the proposed G-Tec iron ore mine in Wisconsin and on the proposed Pebble Partnership copper mine in Alaska are just a few examples of environmental opposition to extracting the metals and minerals that are needed to build the wind turbines they want installed in New Mexico—and throughout the US.

With the volume of power plants scheduled to be shut down in the next few years—nearly 300—and the combination of opposition environmentalists have to any form of electricity generation that is effective, efficient and economical, and their opposition to mining what is needed to build the renewables they want—only one conclusion can be made: environmentalists want you powerless.

When Paul Revere made his famous ride announcing that the British were coming, the pending battle was over high taxes, and the consequences threatened America’s future independence. Likewise, today the battle is over higher-cost electricity which impacts all aspects of modern life and threatens America’s economic independence.




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


18 August, 2013

Another "Orifice" statistic

Probabilities are a pervasive feature of scientific reporting. It is very rare to be able to study all the instances of some phenomenon so sampling the available instances and reporting the probability that the sample will generalize to the whole is routine.

But to report a probability in a scientific paper, one normally has to do several other things. One has to report on how the data was gathered, summarize the data (often in the form of means and standard deviations) and nominate the statistical procedure used to convert the data into probabilities. Leaving out any of those steps renders the final conclusion dubious to say the least. If any of those steps is omitted the editor's referees will normally ask for them to be added before publication.

Warmists don't work like that. Their prized probability statistic is that it is 90% certain that humans are causing global warming. But nobody has ever revealed how that statistic was calculated or upon what data it was based. "Leaks" have suggested that it was simply decided on a show of hands among the Warmists in the room at the time. So what looks like a solid scientific assessment is nothing of the sort. It is just opinion -- and the opinion of a small, self-interested group at that.

So how are the Warmists coping with the fact that there is NO recent warming to base ANY estimate of human culpability on? Have they abandoned their pseudo probabilities altogether, as logic would suggest they must? Not at all. They have upped the ante and now say that they are 95% certain of human-caused warming. Until they explain how that figure is arrived at, however, skeptics are calling it an "orifice" statistic -- meaning that it was just pulled out of a well-known body orifice. A excerpt of the latest nonsense follows

Climate scientists are surer than ever that human activity is causing global warming, according to leaked drafts of a major UN report, but they are finding it harder than expected to predict the impact in specific regions in coming decades.

Drafts seen by Reuters of the study by the UN panel of experts, due to be published next month, say it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities - chiefly the burning of fossil fuels - are the main cause of warming since the 1950s. That is up from at least 90 percent in the last report in 2007, 66 percent in 2001, and just over 50 in 1995, steadily squeezing out the arguments by a small minority of scientists that natural variations in the climate might be to blame.

That shifts the debate onto the extent of temperature rises and the likely impacts, from manageable to catastrophic. Governments have agreed to work out an international deal by the end of 2015 to rein in rising emissions. "We have got quite a bit more certain that climate change ... is largely manmade," said Reto Knutti, a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. "We're less certain than many would hope about the local impacts."


German Warmist Claims "New Generation" Of Climate Models Are Robust Because "They Can Predict The Past Very Well"!

By P Gosselin

PIK scientist Stefan Rahmstorf at Twitter directs our attention to an interview he gave on German Public Radio.

The interview is about new models that predict the frequency of heat waves globally will double in the next seven years alone, i.e. by 2020, and quadruple again by 2040. I wrote about this yesterday here.

In the interview Rahmstorf says "the probability of experiencing extreme weather events multiplied over the last decades, simply as a consequence of global warming." Rahmstorf then explains how models have discovered this:

"Today’s climate models can well reproduce this trend of increasing heat extremes in the past. And as you have confirmed, they used these models to look into the future and have determined that these heat extremes will double by the year 2020 and then once again quadruple in frequency by the year 2050."

Here Rahmstorf claims that if a model is able to reproduce the past, then it can reproduce the future. Just forget that any model can be made to reproduce the past and then project any future you so desire. Rahmstorf is sounding more and more like a swindler selling phony fortune-telling services with each passing interview. And above I understand from his words a frequency increase of 8 times.

German Public Radio moderator Fecke then asked what exactly makes the projections so robust? Rahmstorf:

"Robust is that we use the measured data of the last 130 years and look at how well the newest generation of climate models, that is the complete range that we have from the various research groups from the whole world, can reproduce the past. And it has been determined that they can do this very well, and for this reason we are confident that the results are also robust for the future development."

Good hindsight automatically means good foresight?

But does it really matter how new or how old the models are? The only fact that matters is that temperatures haven’t risen at all in 15 years, and if that trend continues, then Rahmtorf’s much ballyhooed new generation of robust models are going to be just as wrong. Heat waves aren’t going to quadruple should temperatures remain stagnant or fall.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Rahmstorf, and the likes of him, have quit talking about the global mean temperature. Instead they are using a new yardstick for measuring global warming: the undefined vague frequency of weather events. No alarmist wants to talk about the global mean temperature anymore.


Soaring bills force cash-strapped British families to cut energy use by 25% in just six years

Cash-strapped families have cut their energy use since 2005 as bills have soared. A combination of increased charges and wages flatlining have forced households to turn their heating off to cut costs.

New figures also reveal wide variations in the amount of energy people use in different parts of the country, with people in the East Midlands using almost double that of homes in the South West.
Energy bills: New figures show how the amount of energy households use has fallen by 25 per cent since 2005

Energy bills: New figures show how the amount of energy households use has fallen by 25 per cent since 2005

The average home usage in England and Wales fell by 24.7% over the period to 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Consumer groups said that while energy savings measures may have played apart, the big drop will have been caused by people simply switching off their heating altogether.

A study this month found people struggling with energy bills face a gap of £438 between their bills and what they can afford to pay – an increase of almost £200 over the last decade.

The gap means those in fuel poverty in England alone face bills totalling £1.05billion more than they can afford – a jump from £606million in 2003.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of consumer watchdog Which? said: ‘Energy efficiency measures may have played a part in the fall in energy usage but the fact is many consumers will have cut back in order to save money in the face of spiraling prices and squeezed incomes.

‘Consistently four in ten have told us that they plan to cut back on future spending on their energy bills.’

He called for the government to do more to help people cope with the rising cost of energy bills.

‘People will not feel confident that they are getting a fair deal unless prices are simplified and the costs that make up our energy bills are open, transparent and subject to robust scrutiny.’

The highest regional consumption levels - which were adjusted to take into account the variations in weather - were in the East Midlands, the data showed.

It appeared that regions with the highest level of Economy 7 consumption of night-time cheap electricity use more energy overall.

Across England and Wales, average household energy consumption fell from 26.2 megawatt hours (mWh) in 2005 to 19.7mWh in 2011.

Improvements such as better loft and cavity wall insulation as well as more efficient boilers may be among the reasons for the decrease, the ONS said.

Another could be the introduction of energy rating scales for properties and household appliances, allowing consumers to make informed choices about purchases, it added.

There has also been ‘increasing public awareness of energy consumption and environmental issues’ while at the same time the price of gas and electricity across the UK has been rising.

The average household energy consumption in the East Midlands in 2011 was 27.5 mWh, well above the national average, while the South West had the lowest, at 16.1 mWh.

A breakdown of local authorities showed that those consuming less energy tended to be in more rural areas, with a higher proportion of households without piped gas and therefore possibly using other sources of energy.

Of the 10 authorities with the lowest consumption - topped by the Isles of Scilly - eight included rural parts of Wales and the South West, although two were in the capital - the City of London and Tower Hamlets.

The ONS said that areas that consumed more household energy tended to have higher levels of net income after taking account of housing costs.

All the top 10 areas for consumption were in the East Midlands - a region that had the second highest level of Economy 7 use as a proportion of all energy.

‘It could be that households which receive some electricity at a cheaper rate may use more energy overall because it is cheaper,’ the ONS said.

Industry body Energy UK said: ‘This fall in consumption shows how effective it is to insulate your home. Britain's homes are notoriously leaky and energy companies have been busy improving properties to make them warmer and easier to heat.

‘They have installed insulation and other measures in millions of homes across the country over the past few years.’


DDT ban linked to population control

By Larry Bell

Slightly more than four decades ago, the U.S. banned the use of the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichlororethane (thankfully, DDT, for short) which must certainly qualify as the most controversial synthetic chemical ever devised by humankind. There can be no doubt that DDT use has prevented deaths of many millions of the world’s most vulnerable residents from malaria and other insect-borne diseases. Nor can there be any real question that long-term bans on its use in the most desperate nations have resulted in deaths of far many more. Publicity campaigns against its use premised upon toxicity to wildlife and humans, whether true or not, have been enormously effective.

While many of the arguments against DDT are based upon dubious quasi-scientific claims, there are also studies that raise certain legitimate concerns warranting further investigation. Accordingly, a great need exists for truly objective research which avoids persistent political and ideological influences. In addition to comprehensive analyses of human and bio-system risks, benefits and necessary controls, consequences of delayed interventions must also be assessed. The more than 30,000 annual cases of avoidable Lyme disease in the U.S. are but one example.

To better appreciate the past and present-day significance of this remarkable chemical compound, let’s flash back to a time soon after its properties were first "put into action" nearly seven decades ago. Robert Zubrin discusses this history in his excellent new book, Merchants of Despair.

The Other Secret Weapon of WWII

During the last days of WWII, the Nazis systematically destroyed aqueducts, reservoirs and the sewer system in Naples. Left without sanitation, the city of more than a million people was plagued with a lice-transmitted typhus epidemic which killed one out of four of the thousands who contracted it. Alarmed about the threat to our invading troops as well as the local population, General Eisenhower made a desperate plea to Washington for help.

Fortunately, a secret weapon called DDT was ready just in time. By January 1, 1944, the first shipments of what would eventually amount to 60 tons arrived in Italy. People lined up as military police officers dusted them with the powder while other spray teams dusted public buildings and shelters. By month’s end a miracle occurred…the lice were virtually exterminated and the epidemic was over.

As Allied forces advanced north from Naples to Rome, the retreating Germans then demolished dikes which Mussolini had constructed before the war to drain the mosquito-infested Pontine marsh — which made the area an uninhabitable malaria hellhole. The tactic temporarily served as an effective defense. Malaria struck 22,000 Allied troops during the early summer of 1943, a greater casualty toll than was inflicted by Axis forces directly.

But again, Americans turned their secret weapon DDT on the problem, deploying airborne crop dusters and infantry spray teams. Success was total. The Pontine mosquitos were wiped out, and GIs pushed on with negligible malaria losses to liberate Rome in the early morning of June 5. The Allied high command declared that from then forward, "DDT marches with the troops."

As Winston Churchill stated on September 24, 1944: "We have discovered many preventives against tropical diseases, and often against the onslaughts of insects of all kinds, from lice to mosquitoes and back again. The excellent DDT powder which had been experimented with and found to yield astonishing results will henceforth be used on a great scale by the British forces in Burma and by the Americans and Australian forces in the Pacific and India in all theaters."

And they did. Similar successes were achieved when British and American troops advanced in Europe and encountered, treated and saved lives of millions of victims of Nazi oppression who were dying from insect-borne diseases: civilians under occupation, slave laborers, prisoners of war, and concentration camp inmates. The DDT triumphs over diseases were realized in the Asia-Pacific theater: in the Philippines, Burma, China and elsewhere. Never before had a single chemical saved so many lives in so many places in such a short period.

In 1948, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Paul Miller for discovering the chemical’s marvelous pesticide application. As the Nobel committee stated: "DDT has been used in large quantities in the evacuation of concentration camps, of prisoners and deportees. Without any doubt, the material has already preserved the life and health of hundreds of thousands."

After WWII DDT became widely available to public health agencies around the world, very much including the U.S. Prior to the war between one and six million Americans, mostly drawn from rural regions of the South, contracted malaria annually. In 1946 the U.S. Public Health Service initiated programs to apply DDT to interior walls of homes, and by the first half of 1952, there were only two confirmed malaria cases in the entire nation!

Thanks to DDT, comparable results were being realized in other countries: Malaria virtually disappeared in Europe by the mid-1950s; rates rapidly dropped by 80 percent in South Africa; Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) saw a malaria incidence drop from 2.8 million in 1946 to 17 total cases in 1963; and similarly, India cut its malaria death rate to nearly zero.

In 1955, with U.S. financial backing the UN World Health Organization (WHO) launched a global DDT campaign to eradicate malaria across large areas of the developing world which cut rates in Latin America and Asia by 99 percent or better.

A New War: DDT Becomes the Enemy

Not everyone, however, was happy about all of these achievements. One such person was Club of Rome co-founder Alexander King. In 1990 he expressed why: "My own doubts came when DDT was introduced for civilian use. In Guyana, within two years it had almost eliminated malaria, but at the same time the birth rate doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it greatly added to the population problem."

Powerful counter-forces against the use of DDT can be traced to the birth of a new "environmental movement". An early salvo of the attack on DDT came from Aldous Huxley, who became famous for his 1932 book, Brave New World. Huxley’s subsequent Brave New World Revisited (1958) warns that the danger to civilization posed by Third World overpopulation would lead to communist revolution, attacking DDT as an important contributor: "We go to a tropical island…and with the aid of DDT we stamp out malaria, and in two or three years, save hundreds of thousands of lives."

Huxley continued that: "This is obviously good, But the hundreds of thousands of human beings thus saved, and the millions whom they beget and bring to birth, cannot be adequately clothed, housed, educated or fed out of the island’s available resources. Quick death by malaria has been abolished; but life made miserable by undernourishment and over-crowding is now the rule, and death by outright starvation threatens ever greater numbers."

Five years after Huxley’s Brave New World Revisited was published, a more direct broadside hit on DDT in the form of a blockbuster book by marine biologist and nature writer Rachael Carson would prove to have devastating public impact. Silent Spring presented a poignant, fictional story about a town whose people had been poisoned, and whose spring had been silenced of birdsong, because all life had been exterminated by pesticides. Many credit her book not only for subsequent global bans against DDT, but also for energizing anti-industry/anti-capitalist Malthusian socialist activism of incalculably huge influence.

Central to Carson’s story is a claim that DDT threatened many avian species with imminent extinction due to thinning eggshells. Some of the research cited in her book to support that conclusion appears to be faulty since the original studies were performed on captive chickens fed a lab diet with insufficient calcium to support normal egg shell development. In fact, as Zubrin notes, during a period of widespread DDT spraying preceding Silent Spring bird populations had increased significantly…quite possibly influenced by suppression of avian parasites.

Having said this, more recent research does add some credence to Carson’s hypothesis. A 2009 study conducted on domestic hens suggests that exposures of higher doses of DDT than are reported in wild birds, acting as a synthetic estrogen, can cause egg thinning and reduced egg production.

The research also theorizes that wild birds are exposed to other estrogen contaminates that might act "additively". Since abnormally high laboratory doses of a great many natural and synthetic substances can and do have a variety of deleterious health effects, questions remain regarding what pesticide application dose levels are permissible, how they can be controlled, and other natural and synthetic estrogens to be taken into account in determining application-specific safeguards.

Carson’s book also claimed that synthetic insecticides can affect the human body in "sinister and often deadly ways," asserting that cumulatively, the "threat of chronic poisoning and degenerative changes of the liver and other organs is very real." She also reported that one expert specifically rated DDT as a "chemical carcinogen."

Yet numerous World Health Organization studies have indicated that workers with intense exposures to DDT as much as thousands of times more than an average dose have failed to show "any convincing evidence of patterns of associations between DDT and cancer incidence or mortality." Such studies involving thousands of people have investigated many different cancers, including breast cancer, lung cancer, testicular cancer, prostate cancer and others over many decades.

There was, however, a later study suggesting that DDT exposure prior to puberty might be linked to increased breast cancer risk later in life. In October 2007 the Environmental Research Foundation (EMF) reported that University of California-Berkeley research based upon 129 Bay Area women born between 1945 and 1965 when DDT was being sprayed in the U.S. to control mosquitos and other insects later developed breast cancer at five times the rate of those born earlier.

As reported by EMF, several earlier much larger studies found no such evidence that DDT caused breast cancer. The largest, in 2002 involving 3,000 Long Island, N.Y., women concluded that the breast cancer rate did not rise with increased blood DDT levels.

Referring to the Berkeley study, Steven Stellman, a professor of clinical epidemiology at Columbia University, commented at the time that a five-fold increased breast cancer risk is considered very high, but admitted that because relatively few women were involved, the study was prone to statistical weakness, which might mean the result is partly attributable to chance. Other known risk factors include alcohol consumption, hormone therapy and age of menstruation.

Political Science and Its Deadly Consequences

Summarizing all relevant research up to 2002, the U.S. Government Agency for Toxic Substances and Registry (ATSDR) reported that "there is no clear evidence that exposure to DDT/DDE causes cancer in humans." Still, responding to public panic and political pressure aroused in good measure by Carson’s book, governments of several developing countries ended their DDT-based anti-malaria programs. Her claims are also clearly credited with a prohibition against DDT use in the U.S. since 1972, and a similar ban in Europe.

These widespread actions to prohibit DDT use occurred after the U.S. National Academy of Sciences issued a 1970 report stated: "To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It has contributed to the great increase in agricultural productivity, while sparing countless humanity from a host of diseases, most notably, perhaps, scrub typhus, and malaria. Indeed, it is estimated that, in little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable."

NAS also concluded: "Abandonment of this valuable insecticide should be undertaken only at such time and in such places as it is evident that prospective gain to humanity exceeds the consequent losses. At this writing, all available substitutes for DDT are both more expensive per crop-year and decidedly more hazardous."

Disregarding the NAS, the U.S. DDT prohibition was issued in a decision by then newly formed EPA administrator William Ruckelshaus following a seven month-long hearing on risks and benefits of the material in 1971. But after calling 125 witnesses and reviewing 9,362 pages of testimony, Judge Edmund Sweeney, the appointed hearing examiner, had actually concluded that alarm was unwarranted: 1) "DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man"; 2) "DDT is not a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man"; and 3) "The use of DDT under the registrations involved does not have a deleterious effect on fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife."

Reportedly, Ruckelshaus had never attended a single hour of the hearings, and according to his chief of staff, didn’t even bother to read Judge Sweeney’s report.

The World Health Organization had pleaded at the EPA hearings that DDT was very beneficial in fighting malaria in many parts of the world and should not be banned, stating that withdrawal of its use would be "…a major tragedy in the chapter of human health."

Still, due to threatened European trade restrictions against countries that used the chemical, African nations terminated use of the effective mosquito pesticide for malaria control with catastrophic results. In Ceylon, for example, where the chemical’s use had cut malaria cases from millions each year to only 17 by 1963, a resurgence following the ban raised the infection rate back to half a million victims by 1969.

Yes, As a Last Resort…Some New Science Please

World views about use of insecticides in general and DDT in particular have finally become more receptive in recent years. In 2006, nearly thirty years after phasing out widespread use of indoor spraying with DDT and other insecticides (with limited exceptions), WHO, UNICEF, and USAID finally approved it as a measure of last resort. This has reversed policies established in 2004 by a Stockholm Convention which legally bound most UN-participant nations to "take actions to reduce or eliminate the production, use and/or release" of DDT.

WHO, which had previously promoted indoor spraying until anti-DDT protests won final influence in the early 1980s, has now re-instituted the practice in epidemic malaria regions and areas with constant and high transmission including throughout Africa. The Environmental Defense Fund, which originally launched a large anti-DDT campaign in the 1960s along with the Sierra Club and the Endangered Wildlife Trust, has joined WHO to endorse DDT spraying on inside walls of households in countries where malaria epidemics exist.

The President George W. Bush administration earmarked $1.2 billion to a program aimed at cutting malaria deaths in half through efforts which included indoor DDT spraying. As program coordinator Admiral R. Timothy Ziemer explained, "Because it is relatively inexpensive and very effective, USAID supports the spraying of homes with insecticides as part of a balanced, comprehensive malaria prevention and treatment program." Thanks in large part to U.S. support, India has witnessed a dramatic reduction in malaria cases and fatalities. At least 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa are conducting indoor spraying with long-lasting insecticides, with DDT the most popular.

Tragically, earlier interventions would very likely have avoided countless millions of unnecessary deaths. The vast majority of these past and current victims are black and desperately poor, including large numbers of young children and elderly who are especially vulnerable.

As Dr. Arata Kochi, Director of WHO’s global Malaria Programme, said: "We must take a position based on the science and the data. One of our best tools we have against malaria is indoor residual house spraying. Of the dozen insecticides WHO has approved as safe for house spraying, the most effective is DDT."

And what about here in America? Should those pesky mosquitoes and more than 30,000 annual cases of Lyme disease be tolerated if they are avoidable through selective and carefully monitored indoor and outdoor spraying of high infestation locations? Under what conditions might that be a safe thing to do? And if serious, responsible, unbiased research is required to make those decisions, shouldn’t we all be itching to have that begin?


Global Warmers Get it Wrong on Arctic Ice

A reader last night posted an article via Reddit that dug back into the BBC archives from 2007.

It was the journalistic equivalent of a high school yearbook photo of the Global Warming crowd sporting mullets in 1987, complete with high tops and black jeans.

"Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice," said the BBC article. "Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.

Professor Wieslaw Maslowski told an American Geophysical Union meeting that previous projections had underestimated the processes now driving ice loss."

The article was very dramatic but… it also contained many of the hokum, nostrums and fake ‘ems that we’ve all grown used to with decades-long global warming alarmism.

The article was propped up by many impressive sounding titles and contained acronyms and experts that in subsequent years we have all learned to have little faith in. Their predictions have been less reliable than Republican pollsters handicapping a presidential race.

The researcher in the BBC article, Wieslaw Maslowski , we are told, worked at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. His "group includes co-workers at NASA and the Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS)."

And, of course, what attempt to frighten people over global warming would be complete without a cameo appearance from Al Gore? I guess we all NEVER get tired of Al Gore sounding off on Global Warming.

In what today would pass for a punch line of a good joke rather than serious science, the BBS, er, BBC concluded with this high point: "Former US Vice President Al Gore cited Professor Maslowski's analysis on Monday in his acceptance speech at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo."

Ha, ha, ha.

Because those projections of an ice-free Arctic Sea, with dachas lining sugar-sand beaches in Northern Canada, all reposing in a warm, tropical breezes, made audible only by the sound of palm trees rustling…well, that prediction was just a tad premature.

The ice, it turns out, is still there!!??

I know what you’re thinking: It’s shocking to all of us.

Especially shocking to guys like Al Gore who will have to put off their timeshare scheme developed for an island in the Arctic Circle called Umingmak Nuna. Umingmak Nuna is apparently the Inuit phrase for "land of the Muskox."

I’ve never seen a real muskox before; only pictures. Kind of looks like it’s half man, half bear, half pig. Kind of a pig-bear-man.

There was a time I suppose when each of us were inclined to believe experts who told us that the rainforest would be gone by the year 2000, the extinction of whales would trigger an alien arms race to kill our planet in revenge and the artic sea ice would disappear by the summer of 2013.

And more than being shown to be fanciful predictions that have been born mostly out of fiction rather than science, such prophesies have served to reinforce skeptics’ claims that the whole "science" of global warming is based on faulty assumptions.

The absolute inability of warming science to have any predictive value ought to cause us to reexamine the whole debate.

Normal science works that way.

But instead of accepting the obvious answer-- that there is something wrong with their models—warmists blame others for questioning the basic assumptions underlying their premise.

Any fair-minded, objective persons would now have to admit that at this point, most projections of doom and gloom predicated on the false science of global warming have not materialized despite a mighty attempt to tie EVERY WEATHER EVENT to global warming.

But of course global warmists are not fair-minded, objective persons.

Instead, they are high-priests of expertism, technocrats with the power to legislate the cosmos; nerds with power.

A poll done conducted by the Washington Post in 2012 on global warming found that only 26% of respondents trusted scientists "completely" while 35% trusted them "not at all." For the skeptic crowd that’s an 11 point swing from 2007 when only 24% of respondents trusted scientists "not at all."

That lack of trust sits right now like a mullet on the head of the scientific community.


What Global Warming? 2012 Data Confirms Earth In Cooling Trend

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released its "State of the Climate in 2012" report, which states that "worldwide, 2012 was among the 10 warmest years on record."
But the report "fails to mention [2012] was one of the coolest of the decade, and thus confirms the cooling trend," according to an analysis by climate blogger Pierre Gosselin.

"To no one’s surprise, the report gives the reader the impression that warming is galloping ahead out of control," writes Gosselin. "But their data shows just the opposite."

Although the NOAA report noted that in 2012, "the Arctic continues to warm" with "sea ice reaching record lows," it also stated that the Antarctica sea ice "reached a record high of 7.51 million square miles" on Sept. 26, 2012.

And the latest figures for this year show that there’s been a slowdown of melting in the Arctic this summer as well, with temperatures at the North Pole well below normal for this time of year. Meteorologist Joe Bastardi calls it "the coldest ever recorded."

The Associated Press had to retract a photo it released on July 27 with the caption, "The shallow meltwater lake is occurring due to an unusually warm period."

"In fact, the water accumulates in this way every summer," AP admitted in a note to editors, adding that the photo was doubly misleading because "the camera used by the North Pole Environment Observatory has drifted hundreds of miles from its original position, which was a few dozen miles from the pole."

NOAA also reported that the "average lower strastospheric temperature, about six to ten miles above the Earth’s surface, for 2012 was record or near-record cold, depending on the dataset" even while the concentrations of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, continued to increase.

"Even with all this data manipulation, the trend is down as shown by this Hadley global plot," writes Joseph D'Aleo, former director of meteorology at The Weather Channel. (See D'Aleo - Real Story About Temps.pdf)

"Last year was the 8th warmest but 7th coldest since 1998. They explain it away with the predominance of La Ninas or a solar blip, but say it was the warmest decade nonetheless, so stop questioning us," he said.

On August 7th, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten quoted Irish solar expert Ian Elliott predicting that lower levels of sunspot activity over the next few years "indicates that we may be on the path to a new little ice age."

"If you think scientists just couldn’t get any more incompetent, then think again. NOAA scientists even appear to believe that cold events are now signs of warming," Gosselin points out.

"When one carefully reads the report, we find that the NOAA findings actually do confirm precisely what the skeptics have been claiming all along:

1. The Earth has stopped warming.

2. The climate models exaggerated future warming [caused by] CO2 climate sensitivity is much lower than we first thought.

"That’s the real issue at hand," he added.




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


16 August, 2013

Rapid Cooling Triggered Bronze-Age Collapse And Greek Dark Age

Of course the politically correct verbiage is "climate change."

Between the 13th and 11th centuries BCE, most Greek Bronze Age Palatial centers were destroyed and/or abandoned throughout the Near East and Aegean, says this paper by Brandon L. Drake.

A sharp increase in Northern Hemisphere temperatures preceded the wide-spread systems collapse, while a sharp decrease in temperatures occurred during their abandonment. (Neither of which, I am sure – the increase or the decrease – were caused by humans.)

Mediterranean Sea surface temperatures cooled rapidly during the Late Bronze Age, limiting freshwater ?ux into the atmosphere and thus reducing precipitation over land, says Drake, of the Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico.

This cooling and ensuing aridity could have affected areas that were dependent upon high levels of agricultural productivity. The resulting crop declines would have made higher-density populations unsustainable.

Greenland Ice Sheet Project (GISP2) Temperature (top line; Alley, 2004) and a 20-point moving average of Solar Irradiance (bottom line; Steinhilber et al., 2009) for the past5000 years. A large increase and sharp decrease in Northern Hemisphere temperatures occurred during the LBA Collapse (a). Similar (albeit smaller) temperature decreasesterminated the Roman Warm Period (b) and Medieval Warm Period (c). Low solar irradiance, periods typi?ed by low sunspot activity, are associated with cooler SSTs. Low solarirradiance occurred during the Greek Dark Ages (d), potentially contributing to continued low SSTs. This period of low solar irradiance is comparable to the more well knownMaunder Minimum (e).

Eastern Mediterranean sea surface temperatures (SST) as indicated by alkenone temperatures and warm-species formanifera. A drop of SST can indicate lower levels of evaporation, which in turn indicate less precipitation. The Ionian Sea (top line;Emeis et al., 2000) dropped by 4 deg C following the LBA Collapse (a). Temperatures returned to theirpre-LBA Collapse levels during the Roman Warm Period (b). A drop of 3 deg C during the Medieval Warm Period (c) occurs as well. Adriatic SST (second line; Sangiorni et al., 2003) dropped 1-2 deg C after the LBA Collapse (a), however a 25% reduction in Adriatic warm-species dinocysts (third line; Sangiorni et al., 2003) before the LBA Collapse (a) suggests cooling may have been rapid and severe. A similar decline in warm-species formanifera in the Aegean Sea (last line; Rohling et al., 2002) at the same time suggests signi? cantlycooler waters as well. Dark shading around lines represents 95% con?dence bands

Indeed, studies of data from the Mediterranean indicate that the Early Iron Age was more arid than the preceding Bronze Age. The prolonged arid conditions – a centuries-long mega drought, if you will – lasted until the Roman Warm Period.

Those four centuries – known as the ‘Greek Dark Ages’ – were typi?ed by low population levels, rural settlements, population migration, and limited long-distance trade.

The Late Bronze Age collapse is associated with the loss of writing systems such as Linear B, and the extinction of Hatti as both a written and spoken language. Writing and literacy do not return to the Aegean until the end of the ‘Greek Dark Ages’ in 8th century BCE with the spread of the Phoenecian alphabet.

The collapse of Palatial Civilization occurred in different places at different times. Many of these destructions have been attributed to human-causes. (We love to blame humans for climate-driven circumstances, don’t we?) Large population migrations took place, most famously with the incursions of the ‘Sea Peoples’ into the Nile Delta and the Levant.

In Egypt, several inscriptions detailed wars with ‘Sea People’ beginning in the reign of Ramses II (1279-1213 BCE). While population movements of the ‘Sea People’ were better documented in Egypt and the Levant, they have been tied to destabilization of the Aegean region as well.

The ensuing economic decline resulted in the widespread dissolution of governments. Once the governments were dissolved it was impossible to reestablish a central authority.

While economic collapse continues to be the dominant theory for the collapse of Palatial Civilization in the Bronze Age, climatic/environmental explanations have also been proposed. (I think the climate conditions triggered the economic collapse, of course.)

Conditions improve following the introduction of iron tools, and accelerate at the beginning of the Roman Warm Period at 350 BCE, says Drake.

Wouldn’t this make it appear that warmer climates are good for civilization? And that cooler climates can lead to systems collapse?

I’m thinking that our leaders are sorely mislead.


Apples losing their crunch to global warming: study

Generalizing from two orchards in Japan is not science. Control groups? Local climate factors?

GLOBAL warming is causing apples to lose some of their crunch but is also making them sweeter, a study has found.

Analysing data gathered from 1970 to 2010 at two orchards in Japan, a research team said there was clear evidence that climate change was having an effect on apple taste and texture.

"All such changes may have resulted from earlier blooming and higher temperatures" during the growth season, they wrote in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

About 60 million tonnes of apples are produced every year, making it the world's third most popular fruit.

Previous studies had shown that global warming was causing apple trees to flower later, and that harvests were also affected by changes in rainfall and air temperature.

The orchards used in the study produce the Fuji and Tsugaru apples, the two most popular kinds in the world.

The farms are located in Japan's Nagano and Aomori prefectures, which had seen a mean air temperature rise of 0.31 and 0.34 degrees Celsius, respectively, per decade. The orchards were chosen because there had been no changes in cultivars or management practices for extended periods, thus ruling out non-climate factors like technological improvements in the apple change.

The data collected over the years included measures of acid and sugar concentration, fruit firmness and watercore - a disease that causes water-soaked areas in the flesh of an apple.

The analysis showed a decrease in acidity, firmness and watercore, but a rise in sugar concentration over time.

"We think that a sweeter apple is a positive thing and a loss of firmness is a negative thing," study co-author Toshihiko Sugiura of the National Institute of Fruit Tree Science in Fujimoto told AFP.

"We think most people like sweet and firm apple fruits, although everyone has his own taste. A soft apple is called 'Boke' in Japanese which means a dull or senile fruit."

The study said that the results "suggest that the taste and textural attributes of apples in the market are undergoing change from a long-term perspective, even though consumers might not perceive these subtle change."

The research claims to be the first to measure changes in the taste and texture of food as a result of climate change.


Do you suffer from 'chemophobia'? Expert claims we have an 'irrational fear' of man-made chemicals - and that natural ISN'T necessarily better

Do you only eat organic food and think microwave meals are 'toxic'? If so, you could be suffering from chemophobia - an 'irrational' fear of chemicals - and missing out on nutrients found in modern food.

U.S. researchers have warned that instead of avoiding pesticides and dioxins, people should be more concerned about natural bacteria, fungi and pathogens.

They found millions of people are scared of eating unnatural substances, but low doses of natural and synthetic chemicals used in meals pose no risk to people's health.

The report, by Dartmouth College in the U.S. which is published in the journal Food Security, argues that low doses of chemicals in modern meals are 'typically harmless and highly beneficial.'

It also says that the word 'chemical' has unfairly negative connotations.

Study author and chemistry professor Gordon Gribble, said: 'Most people don't know they are routinely exposed to a host of compounds in non-toxic concentrations in what they eat and drink each day.

'Even the air they breathe – whether in big cities or the countryside -- is full of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals, including wine 'aroma,' flower 'bouquet,' perfume 'fragrance,' bakery 'smell' and the 'stench' of rubbish bins.'

However, he said the chemicals are not inhaled in a large enough quantities to affect humans' health.

Many of the same compounds found in pesticides are made naturally by plants, animals and humans 'for their own defensive purposes,' according to Professor Gribble.
low doses of chemicals in modern meals are 'typically harmless and highly beneficial'

The report, by Dartmouth College in the U.S. argues low doses of chemicals in modern meals are 'typically harmless and highly beneficial.' It also says the word 'chemical' has unfairly negative connotations

Professor Gribble cited the example of halogen compounds, which many people - even many scientists - assume are all uniquely man-made poisons found in dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the pesticide DDT.

But he said thousands of halogen compounds are part of our natural environment made by plants, animals and even humans for their own defensive purposes.

Some species even use organohalogens, which contain carbon along with chlorine, bromine, iodine or fluorine, to mount chemical offensives against encroaching competitors.
The report says that some beneficial chemicals are found in modern food

While the report says that some beneficial chemicals are found in modern food, it does not suggest swapping fresh vegetables for microwave meals but instead eating a varied diet to avoid exposure to harmful concentrations of chemicals

He said: 'Food regulators should focus not on pesticides, antibiotics and dioxins but on pathogens, bacteria and fungi, which each year cause millions of cases of food-borne infections in the United States that result in hospitalisation or death.'

Professor Gribble recommends that people eat 'a diverse diet to minimise their exposure to harmful concentrations of chemicals.'

He said food is peppered with natural compounds such as organohalogens, dioxins, aflatoxins and many others.

'Food is chemistry beyond our immediate control, including those synthetic chemicals that are deemed to be artificial and should not be found in 'safe' food. 'The word 'chemical' became a dirty word despite the fact that everything we see, smell and touch is chemical.'


Energy Manipulation

Walter E. Williams

Why is it that natural gas sells in the U.S. for $3.94 per 1,000 cubic feet and in Europe and Japan for $11.60 and $17, respectively? Part of the answer is our huge supply. With high-tech methods of extraction and with discovery of vast gas-rich shale deposits, estimated reserves are about 2.4 quadrillion cubic feet. That translates into more than a 100-year supply of natural gas at current usage rates. What partially explains the high European and Japanese prices is the fact that global natural gas markets are not integrated. Washington has stringent export restrictions on natural gas.

Naturally, the next question is: Why are there natural gas export restrictions? Just follow the money. According to, The Dow Chemical Co. "posted record lobbying expenditures last year, spending nearly $12 million, and is on pace to eclipse that number this year." The company has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars contributing to the political campaigns of congressmen who support export restrictions. Natural gas is a raw material for Dow. It benefits financially from cheap gas prices, which it fears would rise if Congress were to lift export restrictions. Dow argues, "Continuing optimism for U.S. manufacturing is founded on the prospect of an adequate, reliable and reasonably priced supply of natural gas." Of course, Dow and other big users of natural gas get support from environmentalists, who are anti-drilling and anticipate that export restrictions will serve their ends.

Big natural gas users and environmentalists have foreign allies, suggested by the statement of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who told Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, that rising American shale gas production is "an inevitable threat." Nigeria's oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, agrees, saying that U.S. shale oil is a "grave concern." In light of these foreign "concerns" about U.S. energy production, one wonders whether foreign countries have given financial aid to U.S. politicians, environmentalists and other groups that are waging war against domestic oil and natural gas drilling. It would surely be in their interests to do everything in their power to keep the West dependent on OPEC nations for oil and gas.

Natural gas producers would like to export some of their product to Europe and Japan to take advantage of higher prices. One effect of those exports would be to raise natural gas prices in the U.S. and lower them in the recipient countries. Industrial giants such as Dow, Alcoa, Celanese and Nucor are members of America's Energy Advantage, a lobby group that says it is unpatriotic to allow unlimited natural gas exports. It argues that export restrictions keep natural gas prices low and give U.S. manufacturing companies a raw material advantage, which allows them to produce goods at lower prices.

I'd like to ask Dow, Alcoa and other companies that lobby against natural gas exports whether their argument applies to them. After all, they ship a lot of their domestic product overseas. For example, Alcoa exports tons of aluminum. Export restrictions on aluminum would lower domestic aluminum prices, thereby benefiting the aircraft industry, as well as making other aluminum-using manufacturers more competitive. Unfortunately, I doubt whether Alcoa would see it that way. In general, it is poor economic policy to encourage domestic American industry through costly and inefficient methods such as export restrictions.

But there's another effect of the natural gas export restrictions. The huge supply and resulting low prices have begun to act as a deterrent to future energy exploration and production. According to a Wall Street Journal article by Dr. Thomas Tunstall, research director for the Institute for Economic Development at the University of Texas at San Antonio, titled "Exporting Natural Gas Will Stabilize U.S. Prices" (May 29, 2013), natural gas production at three major shale oil fields in Texas has flattened out at 2012 output levels.

Tunstall concludes, "Over the long haul, market dynamics -- which include the ability to export without undue uncertainty or restriction -- will best manage global supply and demand curves for natural gas." I agree.


'Most transparent administration ever' keeps carbon tax plans secret

When "the Most Transparent Administration in History" doesn't want you to know something, you will not find out about whatever it is without a lot of work.

A year ago, the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed two Freedom of Information Act requests with the Department of Treasury to obtain documents describing its thoughts, plans and collaborators on building support for a carbon tax.

CEI Senior Fellow Christopher Horner had heard the Obama administration might go in this direction after its attempt to enact a cap-and-trade scheme failed a second time in Congress.

Specifically, CEI sought documents from Treasury's Office of Legislative Affairs and its environment and energy office, which would likely administer a carbon tax should one be enacted.

It took from August 2012 to March 2013 just to get Treasury to agree that, first, CEI had a right to the documents under the federal Freedom of Information Act; two, CEI should not be charged for them; and, three, the 13,000 documents would be produced on a monthly schedule from April through August.

At first, Treasury tried to charge CEI $1,800 to photocopy the documents, even though they already were in electronic form and CEI specifically requested them in that form.

So, August 2013 is shaping up as a big month for document production at Treasury. That's because, so far, Treasury has turned over just 329 responsive documents -- and that's counting each page as its own document, even though some of the documents go on for several pages.

There has been a lot of whining and excuse-making along the way. Treasury has claimed the search term "carbon" is too broad. Staffers in the Most Transparent Administration in History are trained -- yes, trained, CEI learned in another email we uncovered -- to claim things are "overbroad" just to muck up the process.

Fine, said CEI. Look only for uses likely to come up in the work of an office established to distribute revenues from a carbon tax -- "carbon tax," "carbon levy," "carbon fee," "carbon charge," "carbon cap," "price on carbon" or "tax on carbon."

That changes everything, Treasury said. There are far fewer documents that respond to the narrowed request. How many? We'll get back to you.

Given the response from Treasury and from the Environmental Protection Agency whenever Obama efforts to push a carbon tax are probed, it seems obvious something is amiss.

On another FOIA front, CEI has been pursuing what top EPA officials had to say about carbon, carbon taxes and the war on coal. In that case, EPA agreed to turn over 12,000 emails in four tranches of 3,000 each.

The agency eventually provided 9,600 -- including a lot of useless information, such as the daily Washington Post headlines. Nearly all the substantive emails were redacted to a comical degree.

And, curiously, Gina McCarthy, EPA's new administrator but then head of the Air and Radiation Office, had almost nothing to say to her senior EPA colleagues about carbon, carbon taxes and the war on coal despite the fact coal is a major factor in regulating air pollution.

So how did she communicate with her boss and other top staffers? Text messages, we learned. She was often seen texting during congressional hearings. So, CEI requested her phone records for the 18 days she was known to have appeared before Congress. EPA said it had no responsive records.

No, wait, EPA says. She did text. But all the texts -- every single one -- on her government-issued PDA, which she is supposed to use at least primarily for work, were personal messages to family members.

How was that determined? Did someone look at her government-issued, taxpayer-paid phone and officially verify that none of those messages were agency records, which she is required by law to retain?

It's impossible to say. Treasury and EPA aren't giving up the details -- to CEI, other organizations or even members of Congress. And nobody in the Most Transparent Administration In History seems to care.


About the effect of the UK's shale gas on prices

by Tim Worstall

I find myself entirely jaws agape at one of the arguments being used against the exploitation of shale gas in the UK. Roughly expressed here it's that because it won't move prices very much then we shouldn't bother to do it.

The heart of the argument is that because we're all tied into the Great European Gas Market then whatever amount of shale we drill up in the UK will only be a small part of the GEGM. Stuff that comes up from under Blackpool will be piped off to Lodz for example, and thus prices really won't move very much. Something which I'm perfectly willing to believe by the way: the addition of a small amount of marginal supply to a vast market won't in fact move prices very much. Indeed, there's one report out there (by Poryry) that states it will move prices by only 4%.

4% isn't worth it so let's not frack our Green and Pleasant land then.

Leave aside the technical arguments (about LNG, pipeline capacity etc) about why this might not be entirely true. Think instead about what the basic statement being made here is.

They're actually saying that all gas in Europe, for all European consumers, will be 4% lower as a result of fracking Lancashire. That's 500 million people save 4% of their power bills (yes, the reports do indeed say that electricity will be cheaper as well given the use of gas to generate it).

Let's, very roughly, try to work this out. 500 million people is perhaps 150 million households. A UK duel fuel bill for a household for a year is £1,200 or so I believe. 4% of that is £50. Yes, many estimations in those numbers. But lowering gas prices for all European households thus saves those households some £7,500,000,000 a year. That's real money even when talking about things governmental.

Fracking Lancashire makes the households of Europe £7.5 billion better off. Per year.

A little bit of money saved by lots of people is lots of money.

Now, the only counter-argument to this is that in fact the gas we frack won't be perfectly transportable and substituitable for the domestic supplies of Naples, Wroslaw and Lisbon. Which is also something I'm prepared to believe. In which case that tiny marginal addition to supply for all of Europe becomes a much larger additional supply to that part of Europe (say, perhaps, the UK alone) where gas really is perfectly transportable and substituitable. And a larger additional supply relative to market size will drive down prices further.

This is why I'm jaws agape. Their argument is either that lots of people will benefit a bit or that few people will benefit a lot. Either way, it's billions in benefit. This is an argument being used against fracking?




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


15 August, 2013

How did Maine get left out of global warming?

I wanted to look up something about Maine in Wikipedia but wandered off reading all sorts of other stuff in the entry -- as I often do. And I came upon this:

The state's record high temperature is 105 °F (41 °C), set in July 1911, at North Bridgton.

In January 2009, a new record low temperature for the state was set at Big Black River of ?50 °F (?46 °C), tying the New England record.

That's totally the wrong way around for the Warmists

Guy with thick German accent wants to gas people he believes are harming his country.

He even equates automobile exhausts with CO2. No point in trying to correct such a low-information Green/Leftist, I guess

Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who enacted California's landmark climate change program and greatly expanded its leadership on renewable energy, joined Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, for the Clean Energy Solutions in States portion of the program.

Schwarzenegger got off some good gibes to win the crowd over.

Speaking of greenhouse gas deniers: "Strap some conservative-thinking people to a tailpipe for an hour and then they will agree it's a pollutant!"

And naturally, there was this quip: "Use your Hummer, but have an electric engine."

But Schwarzenegger mostly played it pretty straight, discussing what has been done in California and his pride in being part of a tradition of such action in California.


Deja Cool: Zero People Attend Obama Climate Change Thing

Remember that Organizing For America event, aimed at promoting the President’s signature piece of Legislation? Remember how only one person showed up? Well, one of the constants in life is that things can always get worse. President Barack Obama’s shadowy campaign apparatus, Organizing For America (OFA) held a recent event to raise awareness about climate change. . . Well, they tried to hold an event. It turns out no-one showed up.

Originally the event was scheduled to be held at the Georgetown Waterfront. Just to show that they were serious, the group called the rally the "Climate Change Day of Action" on their event page. "Action" quickly turned to inaction as the gathering ended up as a non-meeting of clearly uncommitted leftists.

In all fairness, there was some rain at the time of the event. You would think environmentalists would be willing to brave the elements of nature to nurture their cause. . . But I guess you’d be wrong. Between the one person that attended the Obamacare event, and the zero people that poured out for climate change, it looks like the group is hitting a nice average of 0.5 people per rally. Surprisingly decent for this President’s radical interests.

The NRCC blog, which originally reported on the less-than-stellar turn out, made the very poignant observation that "climate change" is generally a low priority for most voters anyway. Therefore, maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised that the get-together went down the drain with the rain water.

It’s also worth noting that the group, OFA, wasn’t about to let a disappointing turnout (I’m understating things, I know) tarnish their reputation as the President’s official-unofficial campaign organization. So, they took the event off their page. Just like George Orwell’s Propaganda Ministry, the OFA wiped clean any evidence that a failure of activism (or community organizing) had taken place. . . Oh, except we got a screen shot of the event page. You can copy the picture and share with your Facebook friends for a free IRS Audit.


The prophecies never stop

Since we actually seem to be having more coldwaves than heatwaves, this is just faith. The Potsdam Institute is Germany's great temple of the Warmist faith

Climate change will lock the world into more frequent and severe heatwaves in the next few decades, researchers have claimed.

They say there will be a 'several-fold' increase in heatwaves up to 2040, regardless of how much carbon dioxide goes into the atmosphere, but future efforts to slash pollution could stem the rise in extreme heat events later on in the century.

The last decade has seen an exceptional number of extreme heatwaves around the world, hitting the U.S. in 2012, Russia in 2010, Australia in 2009, and Europe in 2003 with damaging impacts on health, the economy, agriculture and wildlife.

The soaring monthly and seasonal temperatures associated with heat waves can now largely be attributed to global warming of around 0.5C over the past 50 years, according to a study published in the Institute of Physics' journal Environmental Letters.

Extreme summer heat waves in which monthly temperatures soar well above norms now cover around five per cent of the world's land, mostly in the Tropics, but also over western Europe and the Mediterranean, the researchers said.

But the percentage of land experiencing summer months of extreme heat is set to double by 2020, and quadruple by 2040 to cover a fifth of the global land surface, the projections using computer climate models found.

Even more severe summer heatwaves will increase from being virtually non-existent today to covering around three per cent of the world's land. The increase in heatwaves takes place regardless of efforts to cut emissions in the next few decades.

The study's lead author Dim Coumou, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, said: 'We find that up until 2040, the frequency of monthly heat extremes will increase several fold, independent of the emissions scenario we choose to take.


Carbon trading via brokers plummets as banks retreat

Carbon trading via brokers including ICAP and GFI Group plunged to its lowest since at least January 2011 as banks scaled back buying and selling amid tighter regulation and a record glut of permits.

The volume of EU allowances handled by six members of the London Energy Brokers' Association dropped 61 per cent in July to 84.1 million metric tons from a year earlier, according to an Aug. 8 report by the lobby group. Trading in Certified Emission Reductions, the United Nations-regulated offsets, plunged 81 per cent. Activity on ICE Futures Europe in London, the biggest exchange for carbon contracts, slid 19 per cent in the month.

"A significant factor is that a few key players have exited," Ilesh Patel, a partner in London at Baringa Partners LLP, said Aug. 9 by phone. "Banks need more money to trade carbon, power and other commodities because of new financial regulations that require them to set more risk capital aside."

Banks are reducing trading in the 61 billion-euro ($88 billion) emissions market as the European Commission in Brussels struggles to deal with the oversupply. JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America have shut commodity trading units because of tighter regulation in Europe and the U.S. after the global recession.

Morgan Stanley will exit power and natural-gas trading in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Poland as it scales back involvement in commodities, a person with knowledge of the matter said in June. Louis Redshaw, Barclays Plc's head of carbon, coal and iron ore trading, resigned from the London- based bank in April.

Bank pressure

Pressures on banks to curtail commodities businesses include stiffening capital rules and a regulatory crackdown on trading practices. Commodities revenue at the 10 largest firms slid 24 per cent in 2012, according to analytics company Coalition Development Ltd. in London.

The European Parliament on July 3 approved a proposal to temporarily cut supply of carbon permits after they slumped to a record 2.46 euros a metric ton on April 17 on ICE. The EU built up a record surplus of allowances and credits of about 1.8 billion tons during the five years through 2012, or 18 per cent of total emissions in the region, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

There's been little incentive for investors to speculate about the outcome of the plan after the vote amid the dearth of policy developments, Trevor Sikorski, a London-based analyst for Energy Aspects Ltd., said Aug. 12 by phone.

EU carbon for December has rebounded 78 per cent since reaching its record low in April. The contract rose 1.4 per cent today to close at 4.37 euros a metric ton on ICE.

Rebounding market

The market is indicating that EU nations will support the commission's market-rescue plan, said Sikorski, who was formerly head of carbon research at Barclays in London.

If nations approve the proposal, "there will be more interest in trading," he said.


Australians are being far less green than they were

The closer you get to Green ideas, the more you see that they've got hairs on them

WE'RE being far less green. Carbon offsetting among plane passengers is down by as much as half, as is use of renewable energy, although its popularity is predicted to surge if the carbon tax is axed.

Analysis of official figures shows the number of households using at least some green power is down by 150,000 from a high of 940,000 reached as the first Rudd government tried - but ultimately failed - to introduce a carbon pollution reduction scheme, or CPRS, in 2009.

Nationally, among those homes that still use some green power, sales are down by 51 percent, data shows. Customer numbers are 16 per cent lower.

Victoria has recorded the biggest fall in use and customer numbers, down 61 percent and 39 percent respectively.

The fall in usage in South Australia has been greater than the national average, down 53 percent. Customer numbers are 11 percent lower.

This suggests South Australians have been more likely to downgrade the contracted proportion of green power than people in other states.

In NSW, falls have almost mirrored the Australia-wide trends, with use down 52 percent and customer numbers 19 percent lower.

Queenslanders have dramatically cut back the proportion of green power in their electricity supply, rather than ditching it altogether.

This is why usage is down 44 per cent, but customer numbers have bucked the national trend to rise 11 per cent.

The only area to record increases in customer numbers and usage has been Canberra.

Origin, which has eight times the number of green power customers as any other energy company, expects a turnaround in usage across the country should the Coalition win the election and be able to repeal the carbon tax.

"If carbon pricing goes away and people feel they'd like to do more again, I suspect those numbers would climb," said Origin's executive general manager of corporate affairs Phil Craig.

The Federal Government does not acknowledge the carbon tax had been a factor in the decline of green power's popularity, despite the biggest fall in customer numbers occurring in the quarter straight after then prime minister Julia Gillard announced details of a "price on pollution" in 2011.

A spokesman for new Climate Change Minister Mark Butler instead said the fall was due to the rapid increase in the number of houses with solar panels.

"Since 2007, over one million solar PV (photo voltaic systems) and 600,000 solar hot water heaters have been installed," Mr Butler's spokeswoman said. "And some of these households have decided not to continue purchasing green power because they are already generating their own renewable energy."

Mr Craig noted the base price of electricity had risen substantially, making it "a little bit more problematic" for people to pay a further premium for green power.

That premium has narrowed due to the imposition of the carbon tax because the levy does not apply to renewable energy.

The premium would likely expand if the tax is removed because the base price of electricity would fall.

Meanwhile, the number of plane passengers neutralising emissions has also plunged.

Qantas said the proportion of customers offsetting emissions had halved from 10 percent in 2009 to 5 percent now.

Virgin said offsetting among its passengers was down 30 percent from 2009 levels.

A Qantas spokesman said: "The proportion of passengers choosing to offset their emissions peaked in late 2009, when the world's attention was focused on the Copenhagen climate summit. So it's perhaps unsurprising that the percentage has dropped since then.

"While we'd love to see the number rise again, the program is voluntary and the choice is entirely up to the individual passenger."




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


14 August, 2013

An elderly Austrian can still surprise us

I had no idea that there were so many "issues" with the measurement of sea level. But Fred Singer sets it out below. We basically don't know what sea level has been doing in recent decades

Driving the seemingly endless climate-treaty negotiations, the most widely feared consequence of Global Warming appears to be a catastrophic rise in sea level (SLR). Environmental advocacy groups are filling the airwaves with lurid images of flooding of Bangladesh and Pacific islands, and raising the specter of hundreds of millions of environmental refugees demanding care and compensation.

Even sober scientists, while not endorsing such obvious scare stories, predict an acceleration of the ongoing global rise, which a system of tidal gauges places at about 18 cm (7 inches) during the 20th century. Economists concerned with trying to estimate a "social cost" of carbon-dioxide emissions predict huge economic losses from future SLR. Not surprisingly, insurance companies, looking to raise premiums, are cheering them on.

However, more detailed analyses of actual observations suggest an opposite outcome: A climate warming might even slow down SLR—rather than accelerate it. To understand this counter-intuitive result, one must first get rid of false leads—just as in a detective story. The misleading argument here is the oft-quoted statement that the climate warmed by 1degF (0.6 C) in the last 100 years and that SL rose by 18 cm. Both parts of the statement may well be true; but the second part does not necessarily follow from the first.

Curiously, Barack Obama predicted a deceleration of SLR when he accepted his party’s nomination in 2008: "This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal." Some tidal-gauge data do show deceleration, but starting in 1960. Hey, wasn’t that the year during which Obama was conceived?

The principal SLR data have come from tidal gauges, which measure not only tides but storms and everything else. And from these measurements one extracts a steady rise in local sea level. There are about two dozen stations in the world with long-enough records dating back to the early 1900s, which have been used by the international tidal gauge network, located in Liverpool, England.

Since 1993, we have also had satellite observations; but these have been plagued with various types of uncertainties—although in principle, satellites can measure absolute sea level independent of any vertical motion of the coastal land surface. The tidal stations are subject to various corrections as well: they measure relative sea level with respect to the station which is fixed to the land. Since the melting of glacial ice cover from Northern continents several millennia ago, the land surface has rebounded in these places—a process called "isostatic adjustment." But at the same time also, many tidal stations have been sinking—as the coastal land subsided because of the depletion of groundwater, of oil and gas, and of other processes that led to the compaction of sediments.

It is clear that satellites have an inherent advantage over tidal stations, but their figures don’t match up. From data gathered by the GRACE satellite system, we can also factor in detailed measurements of local gravity changes, but the record is too short to draw firm conclusions. With estimates of past SLR all over the place, how does one proceed?

Leading researcher Bruce Douglas terms SLR a "puzzle" (Physics Today March 2003), while famed Scripps Institution oceanographer Walter Munk calls it an "enigma" (ProcNatlAcadSci 2004). Maybe we should use Churchill’s description of Soviet Russia: "A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."

The difficulty with projections of sea level rise is nicely illustrated by the IPCC. The estimates of its first assessment report (1990) showed a range of 10–367 cm for sea level in 2100. The second report, published in 1996, narrowed the range to 3–124 cm. Its third report, published in 2001, showed 11–77 cm. The fourth assessment report, published in 2007, showed 14–43 cm in its draft form but changed it to 18–59 cm in the final printed version. As can be seen, the maximum SLR decreased successively as estimates improved. All these IPCC projections are very much smaller than the extreme values of about 600 cm by activist-scientist James Hansen (and by climate multi-millionaire Al Gore)—which assume excessive and rapid melting of the Greenland icecap.

This narrowing of estimates by the IPCC has caused great concern among alarmists who feared that the IPCC was being "too conservative." Probably as a result of this peer-pressure, estimates have now increased—as will be seen in the fifth assessment report, due in September 2013. As a reviewer of IPCC reports, I have been able to look at the "second order draft," which was recently leaked to the press. It gives values for 2100 of 45–110 cm (16–40 inches)—about double what IPCC estimated just six years ago in their fourth report. (There is no guarantee that these values will survive in the final printed version.) Still, they are very much smaller than some of the extreme estimates that have been written up in newspapers and magazines—and always blamed on Global Warming (GW) from carbon dioxide, released in the burning of fossil fuels.

There are many problems with the basic SLR data, with no easy resolution. For example, the forthcoming (2013) IPCC report shows zero values before 1880 (presumably based on corals), while other coral data and coastal sediments show positive values. Tidal gauge data show no acceleration during the strong warming of 1920–40, and continue to rise during the slight cooling of 1940–75 and during the "pause" in warming of the past 17 years. However, IPCC-2013 shows increasing values (acceleration) for SLR during the same no-warming period—and may already have been falsified.

No theory for SLR

There is no overall theory of SLR, encompassing thermal expansion of the oceans, melting of mountain glaciers, and changes, both positive and negative, of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. (One may ignore to first approximation the "mining" of fossil groundwater and accumulation of water in reservoirs. Of course, changes in floating sea ice do not affect SLR.) A German oceanographer-activist, based in Potsdam, has proposed a "semi-empirica" theory under which SLR is related to sea surface temperature—and thus to atmospheric CO2 levels (if one accepts the existence of appreciable climate sensitivity). But his theory has no theoretical foundation whatsoever and also disagrees strongly with all observations.

The first clue that there might be something amiss with the logic is hidden in the IPCC report itself. According to their 1996 compilation of data, the contributions to SLR of the past century come mainly from three sources: (i) Thermal expansion of the warming ocean contributed about 4 cm; (ii) the melting of continental glaciers about 3.5 cm. (iii) The Polar Regions, on the other hand, produced a net lowering of SL, mostly from ice accumulation on the Antarctic continent. (The mechanism is intuitively easy to understand but difficult to calculate: A warming ocean evaporates more water, and some of it rains out in the Polar Regions, thus transferring water from the ocean to the polar ice caps.) The surprising result: When one simply adds up all these three contributions (neglecting their large uncertainties), they account for only about 20 percent of the observed rise of 18 cm. The climate warming since 1900 cannot be the cause of the SLR; something is missing here.

But if, as surmised from the absence of observed acceleration during 1920–40, ice accumulation roughly balances ocean thermal expansion and contributions from melting mountain glaciers, why then is SL rising at all? Another riddle requiring a solution.

Why not zero SLR?

The relevant clue comes from corals and from geological observations: It seems that SL has been rising for the past centuries at about the same rate as seen by tidal gauges in the last 100 years—about 18 cm per century. In other words, SL was rising even during the colder Little Ice age, from about 1400 to 1850 AD. This provides further support for the hypothesis that the observed global SLR since 1900 is reasonably independent of the observed temperature rise.

The explanation for this riddle had been suspected for some time, based on historic data of SLR derived independently from measurements of coral growth and from isotope determinations of ice volume. But the picture was filled in only more recently through estimates of the rate of melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), by tracing its shrinkage during past millennia (through the receding position of its "grounding line," i.e., the line of contact of the ice sheet with the underlying continental land mass). Note that the WAIS is not floating sea ice; like a mountain glacier, its melting contributes water to the global oceans.

We can therefore describe the broad scenario as follows: The strong temperature increase that followed the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) of about 18,000 years ago has melted enough ice to raise SL by 120 meters (400 feet). The rate of rise was quite rapid at first and controlled by the melting of the huge ice sheets covering North America and the Eurasian land mass. These disappeared about 8000–5000 years ago; but the WAIS continued to melt, albeit at a much lower rate—and it is still melting at about the same rate today. Other, smaller WAIS-like ice sheets may have existed in the Antarctic, but have already melted away.

The principal conclusion is that this melting will continue for another 7000 years or so, until the WAIS disappears—unless another ice age takes over before then. Moreover, there is nothing that we can do to stop this future sea level rise! It is as inevitable as the ocean tides—as long as the Holocene (the present warm interglacial period) survives. Fortunately, coral reefs will continue to grow, as they have in the past, to keep up with SL rise. The rest of us will just have to adapt—as our ancestors did some 10,000 years ago. At least, we are better equipped to deal with environmental changes.

A final note

What about the effects of putative human-induced global warming on SLR? Will it really increase the rate above its natural value, as predicted by the IPCC? We do have a handle on this question by observing what happened when the climate warmed sharply between 1920 and 1940, before cooling between 1940 and 1975. The answer, first noted in 1997, is quite surprising and could not have been derived from theory or from mathematical models. The data seem to show that SLR slowed down slightly when the climate warmed, and then accelerated when the climate cooled. Evidently, ocean-water thermal expansion and mountain-glacier melting were less important than ice accumulation on the Antarctic continent (which lowers SL). Unfortunately, the SL data are not precise enough to withstand scientific challenge—and reliable data on ice accumulation over the whole Antarctic continent have not been available.

We can now try to answer our original question: Can a Global Warming really lower sea level rise? It all depends on the time-scale: Yes—if GW lasts only for some decades or less. No—if warmer temperatures persist for millennia, the WAIS melting rate would increase—and so would SLR.

By analogy, a future warming produced, putatively, by an increase in greenhouse gases would give the same result: i.e., reduce the rate of rise of sea level. This is not a recommendation to burn more coal in order to save Venice from drowning. It is a modest appeal to politicians to take note of new scientific developments and recognize that the drastic limits on energy use called for by climate-treaty negotiators will not stop the rising seas.

NB: This essay ignores many less important features of global SLR, such as the "mining" of groundwater and construction of dams. It also ignores important regional and local effects that depend on isostatic adjustments, ocean currents and wind patterns, land subsidence, etc. Efforts are underway to harmonize conflicting data from tidal gauges and from direct measurements of the ocean surface by satellites


Brown coal power!

Germany's Green shift ends up with them using large amounts of the most "polluting" energy source of all! No sane person ever called Greenies logical!

European electricity revenues generated from lignite [brown coal] are now three times as high as from hard coal, boosted by a collapse in the price of carbon permits, undermining Europe's ambition to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The money will be welcome to German utilities, which are seeing their revenues squeezed by the government's 2011 decision to speed up its nuclear power exit, and by natural gas prices that are so high that electricity generated from the fuel is unprofitable.

While they undermine the European Union's target to decarbonise its energy sector by 2050, these price developments could be welcome news to the German government which is trying to find ways to reduce the spiralling costs of its renewable energy subsidies.

Germany is the world's biggest miner of lignite, and the country's number two utility RWE is its biggest producer, followed by Sweden's state-controlled utility Vattenfall and Germany's top utility E.ON.

Poland, which has big lignite reserves, is also leaning increasingly towards the fuel.

The European Union requires every utility to buy permits for each tonne of CO2 it pumps into the atmosphere and lignite, or brown coal, is the most carbon-intensive form of the main fossil fuels (lignite, hard coal and gas) used to produce electricity.

But the price for such permits has dropped from a peak of over 30 euros ($40.05) per tonne in 2006 to under 5 euros.

Though dirtier than hard coal or natural gas, lignite power generation is attractive because German or Polish utilities can use ample domestic reserves instead of having to pay for imports as they mostly do for hard coal or gas.

Additionally, the recent collapse in carbon prices, coupled with low coal and relatively high oil and gas prices, means that revenues from burning lignite are now around three times higher than those of burning hard coal.

Baseload (24 hours) lignite generation revenue margins for electricity delivered in 2014 are currently around 20-27 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), depending on individual mining costs, compared with under 8 euros a MWh for power generated from imported hard coal, according to utility sources.

Most gas plants, which emit half as much CO2 as coal, run at a loss across Europe, Reuters figures show, and emissions certificates would have to cost around 45 euros per tonne in order to make gas more profitable than coal for electricity generation.

"Lignite power plants...are now by far the most profitable form of thermal generation in Germany. At the same time, lignite is the politically least-desired fuel given its high carbon emissions," Macquarie said in a report dated July 31.

The bank's analysts said they saw the introduction of a lignite tax across Germany as a possibility, despite the levy not being discussed ahead of next month's federal election.

Such a move could prove a headache for Europe's energy industry, most of which has campaigned for uniform EU energy and climate policy.

Another measure to make gas more attractive for electricity generation is an EU Commission proposal to support the price of carbon temporarily to make new and existing lignite and coal-fired plants less profitable.

However, the proposal has stalled ahead of the German election where energy policy is expected to play a key role.

Germany accounts for about 17 percent of global lignite production, but it imports 80 percent of its hard coal, according to German government data.


BP sues US environment agency over government contracts ban

BP has launched a legal challenge to the ban on winning new work for the US government, claiming it faces a "substantial threat of irreparable harm" unless the restriction is lifted.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed the ban on BP in November, freezing it out of new supply and exploration contracts, after it pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

The EPA accused it of a "lack of business integrity" over the handling of the 2010 accident, which killed 11 men and spewed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf in the worst offshore spill in US history.

BP, which was taken by surprise by the EPA ban, initially suggested it would only be a brief suspension that would soon be resolved through an agreement. But in February the EPA took further action to issue a "mandatory debarment" against BP Exploration and Production’s Houston headquarters.

BP has now sued the EPA and two senior officials at the regulator, demanding the ban be lifted.

It alleges that "the suspension of BP is unlawful, arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of EPA’s discretion" and says it "faces a substantial threat of irreparable harm if an injunction is not granted".

The claim comes just two weeks after BP chief Bob Dudley told reporters the ban was not "causing distress in any way".

BP is one of the largest fuel suppliers to the US government, with contracts worth more than $1.34bn, primarily supplying the military.

It also has more than 700 oil and gas exploration blocks in the Gulf, which remains one of its most important regions. Existing contracts are not affected by the ban.

BP said in a court filing: "EPA’s suspension of BP is not temporary and there is no pending agency investigation or legal or debarment proceedings that would permit the suspension to continue lawfully."

The oil giant said on July 30: "Prolonged suspension or debarment from entering new federal contracts... could have a material adverse impact on the group’s operations in the US." It hinted that further action against the EPA was possible, noting: "Decisions reached by the EPA can be challenged in federal court."

Asked at the time about the possibility of a challenge, Mr Dudley said: "I think that’s a more routine discussion we have with the EPA. The fact we haven’t got the details of that worked out isn’t causing distress in any way."

He played down the significance of the ban, saying: "We have largest acreage position in Gulf of Mexico, more than 700 blocks... that’s plenty, we have a lot. We have been debarred from supplying fuel to the US military going forward but quite frankly we have a very big business in the US and this is not distracting us from what we do."

BP has previously said the contracts are relatively low margin despite the high revenues involved.

The move against the EPA adds yet another strand to the ever-growing web of litigation in which BP is embroiled over the Gulf disaster.

The company is still on trial over civil penalties and could face fines of more than $17bn under the Clean Water Act - compared with $3.5bn it has budgeted - if it is found grossly negligent, a charge it denies.

It is also battling to stem payouts under the compensation settlement it struck last year with businesses who say they lost money in the spill. BP says many of the payouts are for "fictitious" losses.

The cost has risen from an original $7.8bn estimate to $9.6bn and is this quarter expected to use up the remaining $300m BP has set aside, pushing the total bill for the disaster above $42.4bn.


Fracking 'threatens God's glorious creation'

The C of E has for some time now been the church of the environment

The Church of England has told parishioners that fracking causes environmental problems and risks lasting harm to "God’s glorious creation".

The warning has been issued to Anglicans in Lancashire, where significant work to extract gas and oil by fracking has been proposed.

The Diocese of Blackburn has published a leaflet for its flock, telling them that for Christians, fracking presents "a choice between economic gain and a healthy environment."

The church's decision to highlight potential downsides of fracking comes as Conservative ministers step up efforts to sell the technology to voters as an economic necessity.

Fracking, which involves fracturing rocks deep underground with water and chemicals to extract oil and natural gas, has sharply cut US energy bills and imports.

Ministers say it could do the same for Britain, but campaigners and local residents are opposing fracking in several counties, warning that it does environmental harm.

The Church leaflet appears to endorse such concerns, saying: "Fracking causes a range of environmental problems."

The leaflet does not explicitly commit the church to a clear position for or against fracking.

But its focus is on the potential for lasting environmental damage and urges believers to consider their Christian duty to act as "stewards of the earth".

It says: "The time we spend thinking, praying and acting now to protect our drinking water, and the rest of God’s glorious Creation cannot compare with the time succeeding generations could potentially spend trying to make good what will likely happen if we in the church remain uninformed and silent."

Fracking is untested and potentially harmful, the leaflet says: "A relatively new technique to extract natural gas from previously unreachable depths is prompting a rush to drill, despite virtually no history as to its environmental impact."

The leaflet does mention economic arguments for fracking, but hints that environmental concerns should trump the "temptation" to make such gains.

The prospect of profit from fracking "has lured landowners to sign or contemplate signing leases to drill on their land. This is one way they can retain their land and make money, and money in today’s world seems to count for more than environmental stability," it says.

"The rush to benefit from the gas-drilling bonanza is an obvious temptation for many and this, of course, raises the question of how consideration for God the Creator enters into the decision-making process."

A spokesman for Blackburn Diocese said that the leaflet was intended to inform parishioners about the complex issues involved in fracking, and not to persuade them to oppose the technology.

"Whilst the Church of England does not have an official line in any of these particular aspects of the debate, it, together with other faith communities, does have an obligation, under God, to bring a different perspective into the debate," he said.

"This stems from a sincere conviction to take seriously the challenges of caring for God’s fragile creation. To that end, the church believes it has a responsibility to inform its parishioners of these theological and ethical perspectives to enable them to reflect and respond accordingly."


Only Fracking Can Plug Britain’s Power Gap

The shale revolution has shamed the wind industry by showing how to cut carbon emissions for real. Supplies of cheap and plentiful gas are here to stay for many decades to come … but only if we tell the Greens and their supporters to "frack off".

Ofgem, the energy regulator, has warned that the UK’s surplus generating capacity of 14% will sink to a wafer-thin 2% by 2015 as we continue to shut our coal-fired power stations to meet the EU’s CO2 emission targets. A 2% surplus would place Britain on a knife edge. Any surge in energy consumption during a severe cold snap would plunge the country into blackouts.

The reason for this catastrophic energy shortfall is not difficult to see: no new nuclear plants are being constructed, because of the high cost of nuclear power and hysterical opposition from Greens and their fellow travellers who think the next Fukushima-style tsunami is about to hit the UK.

Instead, our country is being blighted with gigantic steel and concrete wind turbines. Already 5,000 have been installed across the UK at a cost of £7bn, the same cost as a new, state-of-the-art, safe, third-generation nuclear power plant — the only difference being that wind turbines will produce an unreliable and intermittent trickle of electricity for about 15 to 20 years, while a new nuclear plant will work at 90% efficiency, producing electricity day in and day out for the next 80 to 90 years.

If we are going to tackle the looming energy crisis, then we must exploit our massive reserves of shale gas, which would help us to reduce our dependency on expensive imported gas. With an estimated 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas deposits discovered in Lancashire alone, enough to power Britain for 65 years, we could be looking at the biggest energy find since North Sea oil in the 1960s. But it is typical of the feverish nature of the climate change debate in Britain that this massive find has been either entirely ignored or robustly attacked as anti-green.

Shale gas emits about half the CO2 that burning coal produces, which is why the US has managed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 450m tonnes in the past five years. Carbon emissions in America per capita are now below the levels they were in 1963 and meanwhile gas is at almost give-away prices, kick-starting the US economy, boosting jobs and prosperity. Here, because of huge subsidies for wind turbines, which are passed straight down the line to the consumers, average electricity and gas bills have soared to more than £1,450 a year, driving almost one million Scottish households into fuel poverty. Business and industry are reeling from spiralling fuel bills, hammering jobs.

In the UK, several areas have already been identified as having large potential shale gas reserves. Last Friday, exploratory drilling began at a site in West Sussex, but already a large protesters’ camp has been erected nearby, causing a bigger nuisance than the drilling rig. Interest has also been expressed in shale fields near Falkirk. The British Geological Survey suggests that UK offshore reserves of shale gas could be five to ten times the size of onshore, perhaps in excess of one thousand trillion cubic feet, which would put the UK in the top 20 countries for shale gas reserves worldwide.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves pumping tens of thousands of litres of water, mixed with salts, soap and citric acid, into deep wells under high pressure. The mixture causes rock formations to fracture and release stored gases. It is this process that has caused hysteria amongst the Greens who are determined to stop shale gas extraction in its tracks. Their Frack Off bandwagon is now rolling out across the country. Incredibly, they argue that shale gas rigs will destroy our landscape, while in almost the same breath they support the construction of thousands of giant wind turbines, pylons, overhead lines, service roads, borrow pits and quarries in some of our most iconic and stunning countryside.

Environmental body WWF Scotland said it has concerns about the contamination of water supplies by the fracking fluids and about gas leaking into water supplies, creating risks of explosions. But boreholes for shale gas extraction commonly are drilled down to 2,000 metres or more underground, thousands of metres below the aquifer. The risk of water contamination is negligible.

Similarly, opponents of shale gas point to news reports of methane leaking through the water supply so that, in some cases in America, people have been able to set fire to water coming from bathroom taps. However, this phenomenon was first observed in 1932, decades before shale gas was thought of. It is a natural occurrence in certain parts of the US, where methane gas has saturated the rock strata and entered the aquifer. This has nothing whatsoever to do with fracking.

Critics also claim that fracking caused earth tremors during exploratory drilling near Blackpool in 2011. But shale gas producers in America, such as Royal Dutch Shell, claim they know how to control these risks. They say so long as shafts are properly sealed with steel and concrete, there is a negligible risk.


Half of small cars score badly on U.S. crash tests

And it is these inherently unsafe small cars that the EPA's CAFE standards are forcing on Americans

The auto industry continued its poor performance in an influential U.S. safety group's new crash test as half of the small cars tested did not fare well.

Six of the cars tested, most of which were 2013 models, were rated "poor" or "marginal." General Motors Co's Chevrolet Sonic and Cruze each received marginal scores, while Kia Motors Corp's Soul and 2014 Forte were rated "poor" in the results released on Thursday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Nissan Motor Co's Sentra also was rated "poor," while Volkswagen AG's Beetle was ranked "marginal."

The IIHS increased the rigor of its tests last year to include crashes that involve only a front corner of a vehicle. The insurance group said nearly one-fourth of U.S. front-of-vehicle crashes that result in serious injury or death involve only a single corner that strikes another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole.

The IIHS continues to score vehicles on side, rear, rollover and front-end crashes that impact more than just a corner.

"This is a challenging new crash test and it's not surprising that some vehicles are earning marginal and poor ratings," IIHS spokesman Russ Radar said of the small overlap front crash test.

"This crash scenario doesn't lend itself to a Band-Aid fix so for most manufacturers the countermeasure will have to be built in when there's a full redesign," he added.

Vehicle manufacturers in the U.S. market often design and engineer their models to score well on IIHS safety tests and use the results in their marketing.

"It matters because in today's world cars are so competitive that all you need is a small flaw and your competition can exploit it," Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Karl Brauer said.

Most of the 12 small cars tested were already in production before the IIHS increased the rigor of its front crash test last year. However, Radar said IIHS alerted the companies to the work the group was doing on small overlap research in 2009.

The specifications of the test were not finalized until the last year, which is late in a car's development process, Brauer said. All automakers will eventually redesign their cars to meet the standards to pass the new crash test, he said.

In the tests, IIHS crashes a vehicle at 40 mph into a 5-foot-high barrier on the driver's side that overlaps one-quarter of the vehicle's width.

Kia pointed out that the IIHS small overlap crash test goes well beyond federal requirements and the group has recognized numerous Kia vehicles as top safety picks. The South Korean automaker said it would evaluate the results carefully, but the company was proud of its safety record.

GM said customer safety remains its highest priority and it is committed to its cars performing well in all types of crashes.

"We are aggressively working to incorporate these into our models, including our small cars like the Chevrolet Sonic and Cruze, where technically feasible," GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel said in an email.

Nissan and VW said they were proud of their cars' safety records in federal crash tests and other IIHS crash tests, but they would review the small overlap test results and incorporate what is learned into future designs.

In the worst cases with the small cars that did not score well, safety cages collapsed, driver airbags moved sideways and the crash dummy's head hit the instrument panel, and side curtain airbags did not deploy or provide enough protection, IIHS chief research officer David Zuby said.

The small car segment was the fourth group of cars rated using this new test, and most of the groups have fared equally badly.

As a group, the small cars fared worse than the mid-sized family sedans, but better than the small SUVs, IIHS said. Results on the new crash test for minicars will be released later this year.




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


13 August, 2013

Gas prices should be a lot lower

By Alan Caruba

In the past whenever gas prices began to climb, then whoever was president usually got the blame for it, but there never was anything he could do about it. The price at the pump was and is dependent on global factors. What can, however, be said about Barack Obama is that he has led the most anti-energy administration in the history of the nation.

A nation’s economic stability and growth depends on affordable, abundant energy, especially hydrocarbon energy in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas. In the U.S. so-called "renewable" energy—wind and solar—has been a huge, costly bust as billions in loans during President Obama’s first term were lost as one "green energy" company after another went belly up. At the same time, a war on coal closed mines and shut down plants using it to generate electricity. Look for it to continue.

Production of coal, oil, and natural gas on federal lands is now the lowest in ten years according to data collected by the Energy Information Agency (EIA). It was four percent lower in fiscal years 2012 than the previous year. By contrast, fossil fuel production on state and privately owned lands rose twenty-six percent over the past decade.

Without soliciting public comment, the White House recently raised its estimate of the "social cost of carbon" (SCC), an estimate of the alleged economic damages associated with increasing carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is blamed for a global warming that is not happening. The growth of all vegetation on Earth is dependent on Co2 and, despite an increase in CO2, the Earth slipped into a cooling cycle seventeen years ago. There is NO connection between CO2 and the climate.

The Institute for Energy Research points out that raising the SCC "could impose hundreds of billions of dollars in compliance costs on energy-intensive businesses and American consumers alike." If you wonder why the economy seems unable to climb out of its slump, this is just one example of an administration bent to using bogus science to justify its war on consumers.

At the gas pump, that war includes a law that requires U.S. refiners to blend 12.8 billion gallons of ethanol—made from corn—into the fuel they sell to domestic consumers. Ethanol actually reduces the mileage per gallon and damages automobile engines.

Refiners do not need all the ethanol the government forces them to purchase. They, in turn, must purchase Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) whose cost has jumped from seven cents a gallon at the beginning of the year to more than a dollar by March. The cost is passed along to consumers.

On June 13, the Wall Street Journal’s page one lead article was "U.S. Oil Notches Record Growth." Under the normal laws of supply and demand, the price of gas at the pump should be declining. "U.S. crude-oil production grew by more than one million barrels a day last year, the largest increase in the world and the largest in U.S. history."

You can thank "fracking," a tested, safe technology—hydraulic fracturing—for the increase in oil and natural gas production. It is, of course, a target of major environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth. After all, who wants affordable, abundant energy?

"Indeed," reported the Wall Street Journal, "U.S. crude-oil production has raced ahead of new pipeline infrastructure to move it from oil fields to refineries." In the meantime, "railroads move more crude around the country." President Obama’s delay of the Canadian Keystone XL pipeline is just another example of his anti-energy agenda. The pipeline would connect to Texas refineries and provide an estimated 20,000 construction jobs at a time when millions of Americans are out of work.

In March, Business Week reported that "For the first time since 1995, the U.S. will likely produce more oil than it imports. That’s great for the country’s trade balance, but the benefits of cheap domestic crude still haven’t shown up at the one place it matters most: the gas station…So far this year, gasoline prices have risen eleven percent nationwide, to $3.65 a gallon."

"Without realizing it, U.S. drivers are competing for American-made gasoline with consumers in Latin America and Asia, where demand is rising." Thus, the global marketplace for oil is keeping gas prices high and U.S. refineries shipped a record 3.2 million barrels a day of refined fuel this year!

Finally, on top of the Obama administration policies of denying access to drilling on federal land, you will continue to hear that Big Oil is making obscene profits and gouging customers at the pump. "At a time when oil companies are making more money than ever before, how can we justify giving them billions more in taxpayer subsidies every year?" asked Obama energy and environment adviser Heather Zichel recently.

What you are not being told, however, is that the oil and gas industry paid an effective tax rate of almost forty-five percent (according to the American Petroleum Institute) while the healthcare industry paid about thirty-five percent and pharmaceuticals paid around twenty-one percent. In addition to federal taxes, oil companies pay state and local taxes as well. The "tax loopholes" Greens complain about are available to all other manufacturing and mining companies.

When and if the obstacles to fossil fuel exploration and production are removed, the price of a gallon of gas will drop dramatically, while, at the same time, the U.S. economy will gain from the sale of its fossil fuels around the world.


Lest we forget

The arguments of the 1970s claiming a "coming ice age" are every bit as convincing as the arguments of the 1990s claiming "global warming," and now the 2000s claiming "climate change." Environmental fads are nothing new. Reading President Carter's energy speech highlights how the demagogic rhetoric remains the same regardless of which climate catastrophe the earth faces.

Tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you about a problem unprecedented in our history... this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes...The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly.

The trademark urgency, the greatest challenge claims and the call to action are all symbolic of the political nature of these "causes." Back in the 1975 Newsweek article titled "The Cooling World" the proposed solution was to put black soot all over the North Pole to melt the ice. Thankfully no one rushed to implement that strategy.

Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot

President Carter went on to say:

It is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century...We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren...We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.

The characteristic emotional appeal, the sanctimonious appeal of self sacrifice, the old "do it for our children" ploy, and of course the claim that man does somehow posses the power to ward off a coming ice age and energy crisis. Well, President Carter was correct about one thing, America did have to act, and she did have the power to solve the energy crisis. America voted President Carter out of office and elected President Reagan and the rest was history.

That is all it took to end the nonsensical claims of a coming ice age and end the energy shortage. It wasn't until around 1995 that the "climatologists" re-emerged, only this time pushing global warming. 15 years is about the time required for a generation to forget the past, and a new generation to occupy our school rooms, void of any knowledge of past errors.

Just reading President Carter's speech highlights why memories must be erased for these fads to take hold.

Many of these proposals will be unpopular. Some will cause you to put up with inconveniences and to make sacrifices. The most important thing about these proposals is that the alternative may be a national catastrophe. Further delay can affect our strength and our power as a nation. Our decision about energy will test the character of the American people and the ability of the President and the Congress to govern. This difficult effort will be the "moral equivalent of war" -- except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not destroy.

Back in the coming ice age era, the solutions were the same as they are today during the climate change era, but with one twist. Back in the 1970's President Carter was calling for the use of coal. Funny how things can change in just a matter of years.

Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.

It is shocking to see just how wrong President Carter's predictions were:

Inflation will soar, production will go down, people will lose their jobs. Intense competition will build up among nations and among the different regions within our own country. If we fail to act soon, we will face an economic, social and political crisis that will threaten our free institutions.

The reason I reviewed President Carter's speech was to remind investors not to get caught up in the environmental fad du joir, the politics or the "consensus" science. They have a history of not only being wrong, but being wrong on an epic scale


Greenland ice sheet IS melting but much of the heating is coming from INSIDE the earth

Ice in Greenland is melting partly because of heat from the Earth's mantle, according to a team of international researchers.

The group claims that they are the first to find a connection between melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the high heat flow from the Earth’s mantle.

The findings, they suggest, could have implications for future predictions on climate change and the reasons behind ice melt in the region.

The Greenland ice sheet is often considered an important contributor to future global sea-level rise over the next century or longer.

In total, it contains an amount of ice that would lead to a rise of global sea level by more than seven metres, if completely melted.

The ice loss from the ice sheet has been increasing over the last decade, with half of it attributed to changes in surface conditions with the remainder due to increased iceberg calving - the process by which ice detaches from the glacier to become an iceberg.

The international research initiative IceGeoHeat, led by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, said that the effect of the Earth's crust and upper mantle in current climate modelling are too simplistic.

They modelled the Earth’s mantle against the ice sheet and found that melting occurs in a given area due to the composition of the mantle underneath it.

Writing in the current online issue of Nature Geoscience, the group argues that this effect cannot be neglected when putting together data on climate change.

The Greenland ice sheet loses about 227 gigatonnes of ice per year and contributes about 0.7 millimeters to the currently observed mean sea level change of about 3 mm per year.

The team point out, however, that existing model calculations were based on a consideration of the ice cap.

GFZ scientists Alexey Petrunin and Irina Rogozhina have now combined earlier ice and climate models with their new thermo-mechanical model for the Greenland lithosphere.

‘We have run the model over a simulated period of three million years, and taken into account measurements from ice cores and independent magnetic and seismic data’, said Petrunin.

The researchers believe that the coupling of models of ice dynamics with thermo-mechanical models of the solid earth allows a more accurate view of the processes that are melting the Greenland ice

‘The temperature at the base of the ice, and therefore the current dynamics of the Greenland ice sheet is the result of the interaction between the heat flow from the earth's interior and the temperature changes associated with glacial cycles,’ said Irina Rogozhina who initiated IceGeoHeat.

‘We found areas where the ice melts at the base next to other areas where the base is extremely cold.’

The current climate is influenced by processes that go far back into the history of Earth: the Greenland lithosphere is 2.8 to 1.7 billion years old and is only about 70 to 80 km thick under Central Greenland.

The researchers believe that the coupling of models of ice dynamics with thermo-mechanical models of the solid earth allows a more accurate view of the processes that are melting the Greenland ice.


We must welcome fracking everywhere, British PM says

David Cameron has urged communities to ‘seize’ the chance to welcome shale gas drilling near their homes – saying the gas sites are only the size of a cricket pitch.

The Prime Minister said allowing the controversial practice of extracting gas will drive down prices for consumers, as well as creating more than 70,000 jobs.

But Downing Street refused to say whether Mr Cameron would be happy to see a plant spring up near his Oxfordshire home.

Mr Cameron said he wanted to challenge ‘myths’ surrounding shale gas exploration, saying there is no evidence it is unsafe or damages the countryside.

He said those living near proposed shale gas sites could potentially benefit from lower council tax bills.

‘It’s been suggested in recent weeks that we want fracking to be confined to certain parts of Britain,’ Mr Cameron said. ‘This is wrong. I want all parts of our nation to share in the benefits: north or south, Conservative or Labour.’

However, the Prime Minister's spokesman today repeatedly refused to directly say that Mr Cameron would be happy to have a fracking site on his doorstep in his Witney constituency.

Challenged at least nine times, the spokesman said that the PM 'huge potential benefits' from shale gas extraction although it was important that local people were properly consulted. 'Ultimately, that view is as relevant in his constituency as anywhere else in the country,' the spokesman said.

The Prime Minister spoke out after weeks of protests against a proposed fracking site near Balcome in West Sussex.

He slapped down the remarks of Lord Howell, who caused controversy last month by suggesting shale gas drilling should be confined to ‘desolate’ parts of the north and not ‘beautiful’ areas in the south.

Environmentalists claim the process could contaminate water supplies and even trigger earthquakes.

Forty wells are expected to be drilled before the 2015 general election, half in the North West. There could also be widespread drilling across the South. Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Kent are also thought to contain gas reserves.

Mr Cameron said fracking should be embraced because it would follow in Britain’s proud tradition of having the world’s first industrial revolution.

‘My message to the country is clear – we cannot afford to miss out on fracking,’ he said. ‘For centuries, Britain has led the way in technological endeavour: an industrial revolution ahead of its time, many of the most vital scientific discoveries known to mankind, and a spirit of enterprise and innovation that has served us well down the decades. ‘Fracking is part of this tradition – so let’s seize it.’

He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘If we don’t back this technology we will miss a massive opportunity to help families with their bills and make our country more competitive.’ Energy bills would fall if we can lower our dependence on imported gas, he added.

‘Latest estimates suggest there’s about 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas lying under Britain at the moment – and that study only covers 11 counties.

‘To put that in context, even if we just extract a tenth of that figure, that’s still the equivalent of 51 years’ gas supply.'

Mr Cameron also quoted one study which predicted 74,000 jobs could be created in drilling and other businesses which would supply the new industry.

He said fracking would bring money to local neighbourhoods, because 1 per cent of the revenue will go straight back to residents who live nearby.

And he vowed to make the case that ‘fracking is safe’ – saying there is no evidence that it could contaminate water supplies or trigger earthquakes. He added: ‘One myth still remains – that fracking damages our countryside. I just don’t agree with this.

‘I am proud to represent a rural constituency. I would never sanction something that would ruin our landscapes and scenery.

‘Shale gas pads are relatively small – about the size of a cricket pitch. But more than that, similar types of drilling have been taking place for decades in this country.

‘The South Downs National Park is one of the most beautiful parts of Britain and it has been home to conventional oil and gas drilling since the 1980s. The huge benefits of shale gas outweigh any very minor change to the landscape.’


Small Business Group Blames ‘Climate Change’ for Rising Costs

They have been conned. They should keep their gaze fixed on government

The Small Business Majority, an advocacy group working to influence public policy, says that small businesses are facing higher costs due to extreme weather conditions, including floods, droughts, blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes, and a rise in sea level many claim is a result of man-made global warming.

"Small businesses are particularly at risk from climate change and the extreme weather events it causes and must take steps to adapt," the organization said in a new report. (See 072513-Climate-Change-Preparedness-and-the-Small-Business-Sector.pdf)

"Collective actions by the small business community could have an enormous impact on insulating the U.S. economy from climate risk," the report says, citing a Government Accountability Office study in which climate change was identified as a "high risk area" for the government due to possible infrastructure and property damage and the need for emergency aid.

"Climate change action must be taken at all levels of government, and must include not only efforts to prepare and adapt to its impacts, but to mitigate the effects of climate change through greenhouse gas reduction," the report stated.

But when asked the group’s spokeswoman how small businesses can be negatively affected when there has not been any significant global warming for the past 15 years, she responded:

"The Small Business Majority and the American Sustainable Business Council prepared a report on climate change preparedness, and how small businesses are vulnerable to massive losses in the event of extreme weather events. I’ve attached a link to the site, which includes a press release and the entire report. This should answer your questions."

However, according to data compiled by the National Hurricane Center, an average of 5.6 major hurricanes struck the U.S. during the last five decades, compared to an average of 8.4 over the preceding 50 years.

And the satellite Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment found that sea levels rose only 1.7 millimeters per year over the past 110 years, which is equivalent to 6.7 inches per century, while carbon dioxide levels increased by almost a third during that same time period.

Nevertheless, Tedd Saunders, chief sustainability officer at The Saunders Hotel Group and president of EcoLogical Solutions, said, "Climate risks are really beginning to influence our business decisions. The tourism industry is particularly prone to direct economic losses."

According to Saunders, extreme weather disasters including Hurricanes Irene and Sandy caused power outages that led to thousands of dollars lost in revenue. Saunders said that he supports efforts of "creating more energy efficiency" and "climate change mitigation."

Members of the Small Business Majority’s network council, which includes The Penny Ice Creamery in California, Bagel Grove in New York, and Pioneer Overhead Door in Nevada, spoke about their experiences during a conference call held in conjunction with the American Sustainable Business Council.

According to Lea Reynolds, senior policy analyst and report author at M.J. Bradley and Associates, lack of backup resources makes small businesses more vulnerable to loss than large companies, as approximately 25 percent of small to mid-size businesses are unable to resume business after major disasters. Reynolds emphasized "the crucial role that small businesses play in the national discussion on climate preparedness" due to these vulnerabilities.

Richard Eidlin, co-founder and director of Public Policy and Business Engagement at American Sustainable Business Council, argued that the government should do more to mitigate extreme weather conditions rather than spend money on disaster relief in the future.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Small Business Administration approved more than 36,000 disaster loans totaling $2.3 billion to residents and businesses in the eight states affected: Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia and the territory of Puerto Rico.

Within six months, businesses had received 3,934 SBA disaster loans totaling $446 million; homeowners and renters received 32,000 home disaster loans for a total of $1.9 billion, making Sandy the third largest natural disaster lending event in U.S. history. The loans were more than double SBA’s three-year average of 14,000 disaster loans per fiscal year.


$78K NSF Grant to Study Global Warming...In 1st Century Guatemala

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is giving nearly $78,000 of taxpayer funds to the Trustees of Boston University to study whether "climate change" was a primary cause for the decline of the Mayan civilization in Guatemala between 1000 BC and 900 AD.

According to the grant abstract, "the study will provide a detailed record of human occupation and environmental change" in the Maya Biosphere Reserve forest of northeastern Guatemala. This lowland area was where the Maya settled in pre-Columbian times. Researchers note that "climate change and environmental degradation have been proposed as the primary causes of extensive demographic decline" in the Maya population on two separate occasions.

Awarded on July 20, 2013, the $77,795 grant will conduct select excavations and a high-resolution analysis of fossils throughout the Holmul region. Pollen samples will be gathered to study agricultural activity, isotopes to study climatology, and soil samples to assess vegetation growth and water movement.

The principal investigator on the scientific team will be Dr. Francisco Estrada-Belli, who is a visiting assistant professor of archaeology at Boston University.

Estrada-Belli and two geographers "will contribute to an ongoing effort to create a network of high-resolution reconstructions of environmental change and land use practices based on multiple lines of evidence for bio-mass burning, climate change, vegetation change, and settlement history for the Maya Lowlands spanning several millennia."

In an email to, Estrada-Belli said his personal history drove him to propose this project. "I am of Guatemalan origin. My specialty as an archaeologist is Maya civilization. There is so much to learn about the Maya," he said, adding that he is interested in any study of global warming.

"The Maya provide an especially interesting case because we have a record of their settlement going back 3,000 years. So, it can really provide insights on how climate change played a part in their history."

By studying both Mayan population collapses (one occurred around 200 A.D. and the other near 900 A.D.), Estrada-Belli and his team hope to "provide a detailed record of human-environment interactions in the history of Maya civilization," "fill in an important gap in our knowledge of landscape evolution and climate variability in an area....that supported human activities for millennia," and generate archaeological data on the Mayan settlements in the region.

When asked whether he considers funding for such projects a good use of American tax dollars, Estrada-Belli said that it was indeed a worthwhile endeavor.

"The Maya are part of the history of civilization on the American continent and should be studied," he said. He also told that "this is a good case in which modern (U.S.) taxpayers benefit not only because we learn about an ancient culture, but also because we might learn about climate change and environmental change in relation to human activities."




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


12 August, 2013

Dotty Warmist aiming for the minds of children

Who are less likely to be critical thinkers. Hitler had the same idea. Dr Gideon Polya recommends the steps below. Dr Polya is a "Anti-racist, humanitarian, agnostic, humanist, scientist, artist, writer, pro-peace advocate" and chemist. What a wonderful person! In Polya logic, Zionists are guilty of ignoring the Holocaust! I kid you not. See the third and fourth paragraph here. He prefaces his recommendations below with: "The acute seriousness of the present situation is revealed by the following dire estimations". No facts, just guesses

Hundreds of millions of children are already the victims of the worsening climate crisis and it is estimated that 6 billion under-5 year old infants will die avoidably this century due to unaddressed climate change. All children are acutely threatened by man-made climate change. Some ideas for climate action re children:

5.1 Carefully-designed, ethical, science-informed (e.g. Climate Commission-informed), clear summaries of the climate crisis and solutions should be provided to all primary school children as a booklet, book mark, and refrigerator magnet.

5.2 Carefully-designed, ethical, science-informed, clear summaries of the climate crisis and solutions should be provided to all secondary school children as a booklet, book mark, and refrigerator magnet.

5.3 Green apparel as a badge of environmental concern (children can declare themselves for their future; make every day St Patrick’s Day).

5.4 Carefully-designed, ethical, science-informed, clear summaries of the climate crisis and solutions should be provided to all parents, school teachers, clergy, sports coaches, music teachers and indeed all those involved with children activities.

5.5 Smart ways of explaining to children that we have just One Planet and that any species extinction is unacceptable.

5.6 Awards to children (from badges to books) for good works for the Biosphere.

5.7. Local, state, national and global awards for outstanding environmentalism by children.

5.8 Children must be ethically encouraged to boycott ecocidal and terracidal products and services.

5.9 Children should be ethically encouraged to ask what their elders are doing in the War on the Planet. and instructed about the terms intergenerational equity, intergenerational justice, intergenerational inequity and intergenerational injustice.

5.10 Climate activists must educate and mobilize children who have the time and energy to help save their world.

5.11 Children and young people in general instructed about intergenerational equity, intergenerational justice, intergenerational inequity and intergenerational injustice.

5.12 Just as a children were ethically instructed about the consequences of nuclear war in "When the wind blows" by Raymond Briggs (1982), so they should be similarly made aware of the consequences of climate change inaction.


The Impacts of Warming on Myocardial Infarctions and Acute Coronary Angiographies. (Warming prevents heart attacks)

Discussing: Wanitschek, M., Ulmer, H., Sussenbacher, A., Dorler, J., Pachinger, O. and Alber, H.F. 2013. "Warm winter is associated with low incidence of ST elevation myocardial infarctions and less frequent acute coronary angiographies in an alpine country". Herz 38: 163-170.

Wanitschek et al. (2013) write that "previous studies reported an association of cold weather conditions with an excess incidence of acute coronary syndromes (ACS) according to hospital discharge reports (Eurowinter Group, 1997; Spencer et al., 1998; Danet et al., 1999; Kloner et al., 1999; Dilaveris et al., 2006 )." But they go on to say that "whether these epidemiologic facts also translate into a significantly different rate of acute coronary angiographies between two consecutive winters characterized by a dramatic temperature increase is less clear." So they thus decided to attempt a clarification of the situation.

Noting that the 2005/2006 winter was very cold, while the 2006/2007 winter was extraordinarily warm, Wanitschek et al. studied the cases of patients who were suffering acute myocardial infarctions and had been referred to the University Clinic of Internal Medicine III (Cardiology) at Innsbruck Medical University, Tyrol, Austria, for coronary angiography (CA), comparing their risk factors and in-hospital mortality rates between these two consecutive winters, the latter of which was 7.5°C warmer than the former.

According to the six Austrian researchers, in terms of the colder winter vs. the warmer winter, the percentages of an essentially identical total CA in each winter (987 vs. 983) that were acute CA were 12.9 vs. 10.4%, while diagnoses of STEMI (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction) as an indication of acute CA were 74.0 vs. 62.7%.

In the words of Wanitschek et al., "the average temperature increase of 7.5°C from the cold to the warm winter was associated with a decrease in acute coronary angiographies, in particular due to a lower incidence of STEMI referred for primary percutaneous intervention." And that is one great benefit


Reason for China's dynastic changes

Warm periods were good for China too

An interesting study was released two days ago which showed a direct connection between China's wars, rebellion and foreign invasion over the last two millenniums,

Food shortages severe enough to spark civil turmoil or force hordes of starving momads to swoop down from the northern steppes were consistently linked to long periods of colder weather, the study found.

In contrast, China's periods of stability and prosperity occured during sustained warm spells, the researchers said. Theories that weather related calamities such as drought, floods and locust plagues steered the unrevelling or creation of Chinese dynasties are not new but until now, no one had systematically scanned the long sweep of China's tumultous history to see exactly how climate and Chinese history intertwined.

Chinese and European scientists led by Zhang Zhi Bin of the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing decided to compare two sets of data over a period of 1,900 years. Digging into historical archives, they looked at the frequency of wars, price hikes of rice, locust plagues, droughts and floods. For conflicts, they distinguished between internal strife and external wars. At the same time they reconstructed climate patterns over the period under review. The collapse of the agricultural dynasties of the Han, T'ang, Northern Song, Southern Song and Ming are all closely associated with low temperature or the rapid decline of temperature, they concluded.

Shortage of food weakened these dynasties and pushed nomads in the north - even more vulnerable to falling temperatures - to invade their southern neighbors.

A drop of two degrees in average annual air temperature can shorten the growing season for steppe grasses, which are critical for livestock, up to forty days. When the climate worsens beyond what the available technology and economic system can compensate for, people are forced to move or starve.

The study found more droughts and floods during cold periods, but the factors that contributed most directly to wars and dynastic breakups were soaring rice prices and locust infestation. The Roman and Mayan empires, they noted, also fell during cold periods.

Zhang and his colleagues speculated that periodic temperature shifts roughly every 160 or 320 years were related to natural climate changes, namely fluctuations in solar activity and in Earth's orbit and axial spin. The team concluded that climate change can lead to unrest and warfare.

The historical evidence the team found points to global cooling - not global warming - as the culprit for dynastic transitions


Swedish historian: "climate alarms of the early 21st century resemble pre-modern ideas about divine punishment"

The Swedish historian David Larsson Heidenblad has published a study in which he shows the striking similarities between late modern notions of anthropogenic climate change and premodern ideas about divine punishment.

Below are a few excerpts from summary of Heidenblad's interesting thesis "Our own fault":

In the late autumn of 2006 the topic of climate change had its major breakthrough in Western media. The impending threat of global warming was transferred from the cultural sidelines to the newspapers headlines. Throughout the public sphere the same basic message was, almost unanimously, carried out: "Humanity is in grave danger, and it is our own fault". Everyday practices, such as driving and meat-eating, were depicted as direct causes to the crisis. Urgent calls were made for individuals to alter their energy-intensive lifestyles.

The future of mankind depended on our everyday choices, on our moral behavior. From a historical standpoint neither the threat of climate change nor the urgent calls for individual change were new. Rather, they had been put forward in the public sphere since the late 1980s. But in the autumn of 2006 the calls were more frequent and the public at large was markedly more responsive. Climate change was no longer considered a green issue in the margins of high politics. It was increasingly becoming an everyday concern.

From a cultural historian’s viewpoint the calls for individuals to alter their way of living in order to avoid future catastrophes is a distinctly familiar pattern. The theme was an ever-recurring feature of the pre-modern Judeo-Christian World where wars, famines, and epidemics were repeatedly depicted as God´s punishment for the sins of man. According to this biblical explanatory model man was habitually seen as responsible for his own misfortunes. Calls for individuals to change their sinful ways and do penance was hence repeatedly decreed as a means to avoid future calamities.

Divine punishments was, in much the same way as anthropogenic climate change, considered to be our own fault. The striking similarities between the near present and the distant past begs the question if history is repeating itself. Have men throughout the ages continuously envisaged connections between collective moral behavior and looming disasters? Can these ideas be seen as a deeply entrenched cultural pattern in the Judeo-Christian World? Is the threat of climate change a late modern variation on an ancient mythological understanding of man’s relation to his surroundings? --

Why do the climate alarms of the early 21st century resemble pre-modern ideas about divine punishment? The line of argument advocated in the study is that there are four points of structural similarities which, when taken together can provide an explanation for the remarkable cultural parallels. All four points exist in both the pre-modern setting and in its late modern ecological counterpart, but not in the historical time periods in between.

The first point is that man is seen as having a moral responsibility to his surroundings. Some courses of actions are deemed detrimental while others are deemed beneficial. Everything man does affects his surroundings, which in turn affect man. The abstract greatness which man stands in a direct relation to – Nature and God respectively – is not the same. But structurally there is an overall similarity in that man is not deemed to be self-sufficient.

The second point concerns how the individual’s everyday actions are thought of as relating to the well-being of the collective. This is in both cases a fundamental point of departure. No man is an island. Everyone is linked together in the great chain of being.

The third point is that both late modern ideas about anthropogenic climate change and pre-modern ideas about divine punishment are based on the strongest knowledge authority of their time – the natural sciences and theology respectively. Both these fields share pretensions of universal validity for their knowledge. Hence neither threatening climate change nor ideas about divine punishment have been portrayed as a matter of individual interpretation, but instead as indisputable realities – truths.

The fourth point is that every individual is seen as being a part of the problem. In the pre-modern religious worldview no man was free from sin and in the present times of climate change no man is free from carbon dioxide emissions. The individual ecological footprint can be greater or smaller, but it is nevertheless a footprint. No one, at least not in the West, is seen as free from guilt.


Local Biodiversity Is Increasing

Ascension Island is about as isolated as a piece of land can get, sitting in the Atlantic Ocean about midway between Africa and South America. When the British claimed authority over the uninhabited, barren hunk of stone in the early 19th century, it was frequently likened to a "cinder" or a "ruinous heap of rocks." The new owners named Ascension’s central peak White Mountain, after the color of the bare rocks of which it was composed.

In 1846, botanist John Hooker from the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew visited and decided to try transplanting a wide variety of plants onto the island. A century and a half later, the result has been an "accidental rainforest." White Mountain, now renamed Green Mountain, is covered with an extensive cloud forest consisting of guava, banana, wild ginger, bamboo, the Chinese glory bower and Madagascan periwinkle, Norfolk Island pine, and eucalyptus from Australia. Because of the man-made micro-climate, what used to be a desert island now features several permanent streams.

Ascension Island undercuts the conventional ecological wisdom that tropical rainforests are supposed to take millions of years to form. And what happened on Ascension has been happening all around the world, as people have moved thousands of species from their native habitats to new locales, increasing species richness. Wherever human beings have gone in the past two centuries, we have increased local and regional biodiversity.

Yet "the popular view [is] that diversity is decreasing at local scales," the Brown biologist Dov Sax and the University of California–Santa Barbara biologist Steven Gaines report in a 2003 article for Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Sax and his University of New Mexico colleague James Brown point out in a 2007 roundtable in Conservation that "North America presently has more terrestrial bird and mammal species than when the first Europeans arrived five centuries ago."

While some introduced species do outcompete natives and contribute to their extinction, that phenomenon is relatively rare. On the whole, the actual number of species in any given area has tended to increase. For example, New Zealand’s 2,000 native plant species have been joined by 2,000 from elsewhere, doubling the plant biodiversity of its islands. Meanwhile, only three species of native plants have gone extinct. In California, an additional 1,000 new species of vascular plants have joined the 6,000 native species in the Golden State, while just 40 species have gone extinct. Similar increases in plant diversity can be seen around the globe.

The species that have become extinct and are most in danger of extinction are those that dwell in isolated habitats such as oceanic islands or freshwater streams. In a 2008 article for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sax and Gaines note that thousands of oceanic bird species went extinct as Polynesians spread across the Pacific bringing not only themselves but hungry rats. Nevertheless, they point out, the overall species richness of the plant life on Pacific islands has increased considerably, and bird species richness has remained about the same, since the number of extinctions has been balanced by a number of new species moving in.

Mammalian and freshwater species richness has dramatically increased on Pacific islands as well—it was much harder for animals like rats, pigs, deer, lizards, frogs, catfish, and trout to colonize islands on their own. In addition, while some freshwater species in continental streams and lakes have gone extinct, most now harbor more species than they did before. Hawaii is, for example, home to more than 2,500 new species of invertebrates.

In many cases, the newcomers may actually benefit the natives. In a 2010 review article in the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, the Rutgers ecologist Joan Ehrenfeld reported that rapidly accumulating evidence from many introduced species of plants and animals shows that they improve ecosystem functioning by increasing local biomass and speeding up the recycling of nutrients and energy. For example, zebra mussels are very effective filter feeders that have helped clear up the polluted waters of the Great Lakes enough to permit native lake grasses and other plants to flourish.

"Imagine that an alien scientist from outer space were to visit both New Zealand and Great Britain," write Sax and Gaines. "Would this individual be able to distinguish which species are native and exotic, and would it be able to demonstrate that invaders have caused more damage or disruption to ecological processes than natives?" The answer to both questions is no.


Green energy often a very bad ‘investment’

On Wednesday, July 10, the House passed H.R. 2609 — which Bloomberg News called a "$30.4 Billion Energy-Water Spending Measure." The 2014 Energy-Water Development appropriations bill will cut spending on renewables and other Green energy programs in half and was passed mostly along party lines — with 4 Republicans voting against and 7 Democrats for it.

Democrats offered amendments to the bill aimed at restoring funding to renewable energy programs, which failed. Republicans’ amendments focused on cuts: Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan sponsored an amendment that would eliminate spending for a national media campaign promoting alternative energy, and Rep. John Fleming, M.D., of Louisiana sponsored an amendment to stop a $3.25 billion Green energy loan program — both were approved.

While several of the different taxpayer funded Green energy programs — which have produced more than 50 bankrupt, or near bankrupt, projects — have now expired, the Fleming amendment draws attention to a pot of money that is, currently, largely unspent. Fleming describes this remaining boondoggle:

"The Obama 2009 stimulus bill cost taxpayers about $830 billion, and much of it was wasted on growing government and administration giveaways, like a $3.25 billion loan program that put taxpayers on the hook for failed Green energy projects. A company could take a government loan and walk away from a project without paying taxpayers back, even if the company remained in business. In a free market economy companies may turn to banks and investors to borrow money, but the government should not force taxpayers to be lenders, even as it gives borrowers a pass on paying back their loans."

While Republicans realize the embarrassing failure of the Green energy programs, Democrats want to keep spending — often in the face of opposition from their usual supporters. One of the most controversial commercial Green energy projects, Cape Wind, provides a case in point.

Proposed in 2001 for Massachusetts’ Nantucket Sound, the Cape Wind project will span a highly congested 25-mile area known for frequent fog and storms that is surrounded by shipping routes used by shipping operators, ferry lines, commercial fishermen, and recreational mariners. The Cape Wind industrial offshore wind energy project consists of 130 440-foot-high wind turbines (made in Germany) and nearly 100 miles of cable.

In 2010, the National Park Service deemed Nantucket Sound to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) because of its cultural significance to the local Wampanoag tribes. [Note: a TCP designation successfully blocked uranium mining in New Mexico.] The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe on Cape Cod and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gayhead/Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard believe that Cape Wind would not only desecrate sacred land, but also harm their traditional religious and cultural practices. In opposition to Cape Wind, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gayhead/Aquinnah currently has a lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

Nantucket Sound is home to several species of endangered and protected birds and marine mammals and has been designated an Essential Fish Habitat. Cape Wind’s construction and operations would threaten this rich and fragile environment. Numerous environmental organizations, led by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, have a lawsuit pending for violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Opposition to Cape Wind also comes from groups who side with jobs and economic development.

* Commercial fishermen, who earn the majority of their income in the area of the proposed site, believe this project would displace commercial fishing and permanently threaten their livelihoods. They vehemently oppose Cape Wind.

* A decline in tourism, according to the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, would lead to the loss of up to 2,500 jobs and property values would decline by $1.35 billion.

* Located in an area with more than 200 days of fog per year and quickly changing weather, Cape Wind would create significant navigational hazards for thousands of commercial and recreational vessels and pose an unacceptable risk to aviation safety. The local ferry lines, which transport more than three million passengers every year, have called the project "an accident waiting to happen." All three local airports strongly oppose the project and have expressed safety concerns for the millions of passengers flying over the Sound each year.

* The project would impose billions of dollars in additional electricity costs for businesses, households, and municipalities throughout Massachusetts. Dr. Jonathan Lesser, President of Continental Economics, calls Cape Wind a "poster child for Green energy excess." In a 2010 peer-reviewed paper, he stated: "the billions of dollars Massachusetts ratepayers will be forced to pay for the electricity it generates will not provide economic salvation but will simply hasten the exodus of business, industry, and jobs from the state."

Despite widespread opposition, President Obama and Governor Deval Patrick are closely allied and working together to push Cape Wind forward for political advantage. Audra Parker, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound (APNS), says Cape Wind is "a project that is controversial, extremely expensive, and one that has been propelled forward by shortcuts, bending of rules, and political favoritism."

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and House Oversight Committee research found significant coordination between the Patrick and Obama administrations through the Department of the Interior to push Cape Wind forward and gain financial assistance for Cape Wind through the loan guarantee program. For example, a June 24, 2011, email (acquired through APNS FOIA requests) describes a request by the White House to include Cape Wind in an economic briefing for the President on the loan guarantee program: "The WH was very direct about what should be included in the slides so we don’t have much flexibility."

The email specifically stated that the White House wanted: "1 slide on status of Cape Wind (because he [the President] has heard from Gov. Patrick a few times — they are close friends)." In the months prior and after Cape Wind was notified that its application for section 1705 assistance was put on hold, there were numerous meetings and calls between Massachusetts state officials, including Governor Patrick, with senior officials at the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Loan Guarantee Program, including the usual players: Jonathan Silver and Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

In April, US News addressed a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that points to federal subsidies for wind energy that are rife with wasteful spending: "The GAO report finds substantial overlap in federal wind initiatives. This duplication allows some applicants to receive multiple sources of financial support for deployment of a single project."

Once again, the $2.6 billion Cape Wind construction is illustrative of how the overlaps can give the developer more in taxpayer-funded benefits than the project’s actual cost. Federal incentives, including a $780 million energy investment credit, a DOE loan guarantee, and accelerated depreciation could be more than $1.3 billion — or more than 50 percent of the project’s cost. But, this just represents the federal package. Add in state incentives and the combined total could be $4.3 billion — exceeding the projected cost by 167 percent. Cape Wind claims to create only 50 permanent jobs — which would equal a staggering $86 million per job.

But, it is not just the money — though in the current constrained fiscal environment, money is a huge consideration. Government agency recommendations and/or policy — including the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service—had to be overridden or overlooked to prevent "undue burden on the developer" that "could possibly bankrupt them."

For example, a May 3, 2010, FAA PowerPoint presentation to Eastern Service Area Directors includes a slide titled "Political Implications" which states: "The Secretary of the Interior has approved this project. The Administration is under pressure to promote Green energy production. It would be very difficult politically to refuse approval of this project."

While this quick overview of the Cape Wind project barely touches the surface issues, it highlights the folly of allocating billions of dollars of state and federal money for Green energy projects at the expense of the taxpayers. Any stimulus funds designated for Green energy, but not yet "invested," should be withdrawn; taxpayers should be taken off the hook — which is the goal of the Fleming amendment passed on July 10.

Too bad these specifics in the 2014 Energy-Water Development appropriations bill are little more than a representation of the different approaches of the parties: one wants to fund more Green energy projects and the other wants to cut — which also reflects the division throughout America. Because our government is operating on one continuing resolution after another, the appropriations bill is a mere formality. As pointed out on June 25, at Georgetown University, President Obama intends to "invest in the clean-energy companies" — despite the exorbitant financial cost of the projects and economic damages they will cause the public.




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


11 August, 2013

400 PPM CO2 Update!

Atmospheric CO2 levels have now reached a level that was supposed to bring on disastrous warming. How does reality match that prophecy? The facts:

Coldest summer on record at the North Pole
Highest August Arctic ice extent since 2006
Record high August Antarctic ice extent
No major hurricane strikes for eight years
Slowest tornado season on record
No global warming for 17 years
Second slowest fire season on record
Four of the five snowiest northern hemisphere winters have occurred since 2008

The CO2 scam is a thing of the past!


The killing of ‘Giggles’ and global warming

By John Stossel

Did 'Giggles' deserve to die?

Global average temperature has been flat for a decade. But frightening myths about global warming continue.

We’re told there are more hurricanes now. We’re told that hurricanes are stronger. But the National Hurricane Center says it isn’t so.

On "Stossel," my Fox Business TV show, meteorologist Maria Molina said it’s not surprising that climatologists assumed hurricanes would get worse. "Hurricanes need warm ocean waters," but it turns out that "hurricanes are a lot more complicated than just warm ocean waters."

Computer models have long predicted nasty effects from our production of greenhouse gasses. But the nasty effects have not appeared. As far as hurricanes, more hit the United States in the 1880s than recently.

Why do people believe that global warming has already created bigger storms? Because when "experts" repeatedly tell us that global warming will wreck the Earth, we start to fit each bad storm into the disaster narrative that’s already in our heads.

Also, attention-seeking media wail about increased property damage from hurricanes. And it’s true! Costs have grown! But that’s because more people build on coastlines, not because storms are stronger or more frequent.

Also, thanks to modern media and camera phones, we hear more about storms, and see the damage. People think Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,800 people, was the deadliest storm ever. But the 1900 Galveston hurricane killed 10,000 people. We just didn’t have so much media then.

Climatologist Patrick Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, says humans don’t have as much impact on global temperature as the doomsayers feared.

"Forecasts of global warming -- particularly in the last two years -- have begun to come down," he says. "We’re seeing the so-called ‘sensitivity’ of temperature being reduced by 40 percent in the new climate models. It means we’re going to live."

Michaels is tired of dire predictions. "I have lived through nine end-of-the-world environmental apocalypses, beginning with (the 1962 environmental book) ‘Silent Spring,’ and, you know, we’re still here."

As a consumer reporter, I fell for dire predictions about cellphones, Y2K and pesticides.

Maybe the new scare will be killer bees, flesh-eating bacteria or bird flu. The media always hype something.

Since this is hurricane season, let’s at least debunk one specific myth about preparing for hurricanes: the idea you should use masking tape to put X’s on your windows. Government brochures did recommend that in the 1930s, but now the National Hurricane Center calls it a mistake.

It won’t stop glass from shattering, says Molina, but "now you have larger pieces of glass -- potentially deadlier pieces of glass -- flying around. ... What you should be doing during a hurricane is be in a room with no windows and in a lower part of your home."

I’m a global warming skeptic not because I don’t believe the world will get warmer. It may. Climate changes. It always has. Man’s carbon output might make it worse.

But just because humans sometimes damage the environment doesn’t mean government is competent to fix the problem. That’s the biggest myth of all.

Government is the same institution that takes over forests to "protect" them -- but then builds logging roads into forests to cut down trees that unsubsidized, private roads might never have reached. The forests end up smaller, but people still assume they’re safer in government hands than in greedy private hands.

Government is the institution that puts itself in charge of caring for wildlife but recently sent a dozen armed agents into a Wisconsin animal shelter to seize and kill a baby deer named Giggles who was being nursed back to health there, since Giggles wasn’t in the right type of approved shelter.

When government screws up, we’re supposed to say, "They meant well." When individuals pursuing their own interests screw up, we’re supposed to feel ashamed of industrial civilization and let government punish and control us all. If we let it do that, government will do to the economy what it did to Giggles.


Obama in center of fight over bald eagle deaths

Wildlife conservationists are battling an Obama administration rule that would give wind energy companies lengthy permits for wind farms that end up killing bald and golden eagles.

Hundreds of thousands of birds are killed every year after they fly into gigantic wind turbine blades.

It’s unclear how many of them are eagles, but wildlife groups say that birds of prey on the lookout for food often ignore the blades.

Existing permits allow green energy companies to put up wind farms as long as the Fish and Wildlife Service declares they use "advanced conservation practices" to protect birds. The Obama administration is considering a rule that would extend the permits from five to 30 years.

Wildlife groups met with White House officials in July and pressed them to not sign off on the rules, which the green energy industry has lobbied for furiously.

Green energy groups have also met with the White House in recent weeks to press their case.

A decision could be coming soon. The White House received the rule from the Fish and Wildlife Service in April, for what was supposed to be a 90-day review. Wildlife groups say the 30-year permit is far too long, even if the eagle deaths are unintentional.

They argue the administration should give a more comprehensive review of the effects massive wind farms have on the environment, including birds and other wildlife. Science on how to prevent eagle deaths and injuries has not been conclusive, the groups say, so the government should not give wind farms a 30-year pass for eagle killings — known as "takings."

"The question is what is the science telling us about how to prevent eagle takings, and we’re still waiting for the science to tell us how that works," said Julie Falkner, the Defenders of Wildlife’s senior director of renewable energy programs.

She added that the permitting system in general needed to be better examined, and that the timeframe should not be adjusted on its own.

The permits are available for many different industries, but wind energy companies specifically pushed for the extended timeframe when the permits were first unveiled in 2009.

President Obama’s administration has sought to bolster investments in wind and other renewable energy sources, and the new rules would make it easier to build wind farms by providing more regulatory certainty.

Under his administration, the wind energy sector has grown by about 30 percent each year. The Fish and Wildlife Service argued when it proposed the rule that the longer permits will help a growing industry while protecting wildlife.

"This change will facilitate the responsible development of renewable energy and other projects designed to operate for many decades, while continuing to protect eagles consistent with statutory mandates," it said.

Wind energy proponents deny that the longer permits give energy firms a free pass. They will have to meet additional measures to protect birds, and the permits could be updated to account for new science or if more eagles are killed than expected.

"This isn’t just, ‘Hey here’s a 30-year permit and go off and have at it,'" said John Anderson, the director of policy with the American Wind Energy Association. "It’s a very contemplative process that is based on conservation of the species with a strong focus on conservation measures that will ensure stable or increasing eagle populations nationally."

Similar permits exist that allow for the "incidental" death or disturbance of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act. Those permits vary in length but can last for decades.

"We really saw this as bringing the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act permitting into consistency with the Endangered Species Act, which by its very nature is addressing species that are far more imperiled than the eagles," said Anderson.

The bald eagle was considered endangered for decades but was removed from the list in 2007 because the species had rebounded. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act protects the birds, which have naturally low reproduction rates, regardless of whether they are endangered.

The wind power industry also argues that only 2 percent of documented golden eagle deaths are caused by wind farms each year. Newer wind turbines are designed not to encourage birds to perch on them.

Finally, they contend that the Fish and Wildlife Service can’t wait forever to finalize their rules.

"There’s always going to be people that want more science," said Anderson. "At some point you need to take the best available science and make reasoned decisions."



As country after country abandons, curtails or reneges on once-generous support for renewable energy, Europe is beginning to realise that its green energy strategy is dying on the vine. Green dreams are giving way to hard economic realities.

Slowly but gradually, Europe is awakening to a green energy crisis, an economic and political debacle that is entirely self-inflicted.

The mainstream media, which used to encourage the renewables push enthusiastically, is beginning to sober up too. With more and more cracks beginning to appear, many newspapers are returning to their proper role as the fourth estate, exposing the pitfalls of Europe’s green-energy gamble and opening their pages for thorough analysis and debate. Today, European media is full of news and commentary about the problems of an ill-conceived strategy that is becoming increasingly shaky and divisive.

A study by British public relations consultancy CCGroup analysed 138 articles about renewables published during July last year in the five most widely circulated British national newspapers: The Sun, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, which enjoy a combined daily circulation of about 6.5 million.

"The analysis revealed a number of trends in the reporting of renewable energy news," the study found. "First and foremost, the temperature of the media’s sentiment toward the renewables industry is cold. More than 51 per cent of the 138 articles analysed were either negative or very negative toward the industry."

More than 80 per cent of the articles appeared in broadsheet titles The Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, the report says, "but 55 per cent of these articles were either negative or very negative about the industry".

EU members states have spent about €600 billion ($882bn) on renewable energy projects since 2005, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Germany’s green energy transition alone may cost consumers up to €1 trillion by 2030, the German government recently warned.

These hundreds of billions are being paid by ordinary families and small and medium-sized businesses in what is undoubtedly one of the biggest wealth transfers from poor to rich in modern European history. Rising energy bills are dampening consumers’ spending, a poisonous development for a Continent struggling with a severe economic and financial crisis.

The German Association of Energy Consumers estimates that up to 800,000 Germans have had their power cut off because they couldn’t pay the country’s rising electricity bills; among them, German newspaper Der Spiegel reported last October, are 200,000 long-term unemployed.

As The Washington Post writer Charles Lane observed at the time: "It’s one thing to lose your job because a competing firm built a superior mouse trap; it’s quite another, justice-wise, to lose it because a competitor talked the government into taking its side."

Two weeks ago, the Czech government decided to end all subsidies for new renewable energy projects at the end of this year. "The reason for this law amendment is the rising financial burden for electricity consumers," Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok said. "It threatens the competitiveness of our industry and raises consumers’ uncertainty about power prices." In recent years, almost all EU member states also have begun the process of rolling back and cutting green subsidies.

Spain is a particularly cautionary tale. By failing to control the cost of guaranteed subsidies, the country has been saddled with €126bn of obligations to renewable-energy investors.

Now that the Spanish government has dramatically curtailed these subsidies, even retrospectively, more than 50,000 solar entrepreneurs face financial disaster and bankruptcy.

Germany, however, is the nation that has pushed the renewables agenda furthest and is struggling most with the unintended damage of the green energy shift, its so-called Energiewende.

Germany’s renewable energy levy, which subsidises green energy production, rose from €14bn to €20bn in just one year as a result of the fierce expansion of wind and solar power projects. Since the introduction of the levy in 2000, the electricity bill of German consumers has doubled.

German households will pay a renewables surcharge of €7.2bn this year alone. In addition, consumers will be affected by indirect costs because industry, trade and commerce pass on their rising energy costs in product prices. And because green energy subsidies are guaranteed for 20 years, the costs threaten to rise exorbitantly as more schemes are being agreed. Energy bills are going through the roof, fuel poverty is rising and renewable energy policies face a growing public backlash. What is more, governments are increasingly concerned about the threat to Europe’s industrial base.

Germany has the most expensive electricity in Europe, with an average price of 26.8 euro cents (40c) a kilowatt hour. No wonder Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the rapid expansion of green energy programs is weakening Germany’s competitive advantage in the global economy.

The EU also is quietly rolling back its renewable agenda, which EU leaders now recognise has been raising energy prices across the Continent. At their summit in Brussels in May, leaders indicated that they intended to prioritise the issue of affordable energy over cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The EU summit signalled Europe intended to restore its declining competitiveness by supporting the development of cheap energy, including shale gas, while cutting green energy subsidies.

However, EU environment ministers are alarmed at the prospective rollback. They are seeking to prevent the development of EU shale resources by trying to introduce EU-wide environmental barriers.

Until recently, Europe had positioned itself as the global leader in climate protection and renewable energy, with Germany leading the way with ambitious targets and generous subsidies that boosted solar power and wind energy.

More than half of the world’s solar panels are installed in Germany. On June 6, Germany’s solar power production touched a new record of 23.4 gigawatts, meeting almost 40 per cent of the country’s entire peak electricity demand. But to understand that this record is quite meaningless, consider the grid’s narrow escape last winter. For many weeks in December and January, Germany’s 1.1 million solar power systems generated almost no electricity. During much of those overcast winter months, solar panels more or less stopped generating electricity. To prevent blackouts, grid operators had to import nuclear energy from France and the Czech Republic and power up an old oil-fired power plant in Austria.

Subsidies are extremely generous and guarantee investors an almost 10 per cent annual return for 20 years. Given such an unparalleled offer, it is not surprising that more than a million families already have installed solar panels. This solar boom, however, has saddled the country with obligations of more than €130bn in subsidies, leading to ever increasing energy prices.

As wealthy homeowners and businesses owners install solar panels on their homes and commercial buildings, low-income families, living in rented apartments, have to foot skyrocketing electric bills. Many can no longer afford to pay, so the utilities are cutting off their power.

To stop the solar boom, the government has reduced feed-in tariffs for photovoltaic schemes in the past few years. Since 2010, however, more than 5000 companies involved in the solar business have closed, shedding tens of thousands of green jobs.

Germany’s biggest companies, such as Siemens and Bosch, are abandoning the industry too. Their renewable energy strategies resulted in costly debacles. Siemens, Europe’s largest engineering company, announced in June that it would close its entire solar division, at a loss of about €1bn. Last month the Siemens board fired its chief executive, Peter Loescher. His dramatic dumping was seen in the context of a catalogue of disastrous misinvestments in the green energy sector he presided over.

For Bosch, another German giant, its move into solar ended in disaster too, costing the electronics company even more than Siemens: about €2.4bn.

During the past year, the wave of bankruptcies in solar has devastated the entire industry, while solar investors have lost almost €25bn on the stockmarket.

Now Germany plans to phase out subsidies altogether, its solar industry is likely to disappear by the end of the decade.

Most observers were convinced the energy gap caused by Germany’s decision, two years ago, to phase out nuclear power would be filled by wind and solar power. Hardly anyone realised that the extraordinary boom in renewable energy construction would generate a coal boom too.

In fact, German CO2 emissions have been rising for two years in a row as coal is experiencing a renaissance. But CO2 emissions in the EU as a whole are likely to rise because of increased coal burning at power stations. The revelation has embarrassed the German government and dumbfounded the public, which cannot understand how a nation that has expanded renewable energy more than any other country is building 20 coal-fired power stations.

In much of Europe, coal has become much cheaper than natural gas for power generators. The reason is the collapse of the EU’s emissions trading scheme and the subsequent decline in carbon prices, which make coal plants more economical than gas-fired power plants.

So far Europe’s emissions trading scheme has cost consumers more than €300bn. Massive amounts of green investments originally projected on the back of a high carbon price have been shelved and are no longer feasible. There can be little doubt Europe’s flagship climate policy has turned into an utter failure. In a realistic assessment of Europe’s policy shift, the International Energy Agency recently noted that "climate change has quite frankly slipped to the backburner of policy priorities".

Of all the unintended consequences of Germany’s Energiewende perhaps the most extraordinary is the detrimental effect of wind and solar schemes on the price of electricity generated by natural gas. Almost 20 per cent of gas power plants in Germany have become unprofitable and face shutdown as renewables flood the electricity grid with preferential energy. To avoid blackouts, the government has had to subsidise uneconomic gas and coal power stations so that they can be used as back-up when the sun is not shining, the wind does not blow and renewables fail to generate sufficient electricity.

The mess is forcing struggling utilities to contemplate even more radical solutions. E.ON, Germany’s biggest energy company, is thinking of dismantling some of its European gas power plants, mothballed because they are no longer profitable, and relocating them outside the EU. Such farcical considerations become symptomatic of the unintended consequences caused by the rapid expansion of renewable energy.

Europe’s manufacturers are rapidly losing ground to international competition. Instead of putting money into the energy-expensive EU, investors are pouring money into the US, where energy prices have fallen to one-third of those in the EU, thanks to the shale gas revolution.

The naive assumption of policymakers that Europe’s main competitors would follow the shift from cheap fossil fuels to expensive green energy has not materialised. Europe, The Washington Post recently warned, "has become a green-energy basket case. Instead of a model for the world to emulate, Europe has become a model of what not to do."

Europe’s strategy was founded on two fears: first, that global warming was an urgent threat that needed to be prevented imminently and at all costs; and second, that the world was running out of fossil fuels, which meant oil and gas would become ever more expensive. Both conjectures, however, turned out to be wrong.

The result of a fear-driven gamble with the Continent’s industrial future is a costly shambles that threatens to undercut Europe’s economic and political position in a world that is sensibly refusing to follow its lead.

Germany’s green energy strategy is likely to change significantly after federal elections on September 22; Merkel has promised voters to drastically curtail the €20bn burden they have to pay renewable energy investors every year should she win.


British wind farms paid £30 million a year to stand idle because the grid can't cope with all the energy they produce

Wind farms are being given around £30million a year in compensation to switch off or slow down their turbines because nearly half the electricity they make is not needed.

The cash, which comes from household bills, is paid when the National Grid is unable to cope with the extra power produced during high winds or periods of low demand.

Known as ‘balancing’, the arrangement is intended to compensate firms for energy they are unable to sell.

But as the number of wind farms grows, the rates have hit record levels. Firms are often paid more to turn off their giant turbines than for the electricity they produce.

Last weekend alone, householders handed £3.1million to energy firms for doing absolutely nothing as up to 30 wind farms were paid to switch off.

The energy that could have been produced between Friday and Sunday would have powered up to 12,000 homes for a year.

At one point, 40 per cent of all the wind energy set to be transmitted to the National Grid was instead discarded, with the loss being blamed on maintenance work and breezy conditions.

More than 95 per cent of payments to energy firms last Saturday were to constrain energy produced by wind farms in Scotland because there is limited network capacity between Scotland and the rest of Britain creating a bottleneck of supply.

The amount of wind energy discarded that day was almost twice as much as any other day on record, and cost families £1.9million. It was one of three days since May when wind farms were told to cut their output by more than a third.

In total, payments worth almost £15million have been made this year – more than double the amount given in all of 2012. If the trend continues, the bill for the year will be around £30million.

The figures only relate to giant turbines connected to the national distribution network, which make up 70 per cent of wind power.

There are 5,000 giant turbines across the country, with another 1,000 planned. Under EU law, Britain’s energy consumption from renewables needs to reach 15 per cent by 2020.

Payments known as ‘forward trades’ are also made to energy operators by the National Grid. This is where it agrees a payout in advance when the weather is expected to be stormy.

In 2011, £18.6million was paid in forward trades, although the figure is likely to be much lower this year.

Both payments make up about 1 per cent of a typical household’s electricity spend, according to National Grid.

A spokesman said costs were being driven down and the energy lost last weekend was ‘slightly above average’ owing to a combination of planned summer maintenance and high winds.

But Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, said: ‘The increasing volume of discarded wind energy presents a very strong case for revising UK’s ambitious commitment to EU green targets. Allowing subsidised generators to name their price to stop causing problems is a lousy solution.

‘They are abusing their position by holding a pistol to the head of Government and effectively saying we will not get off the grid unless you pay handsomely. Ofgem must do something about this.

‘It’s already a record year and it’s set to be a bumper one looking at the costs. We are on track to spend more on constraining wind than all of the previous years combined. And the problem just seems set to be getting worse.’

Generous taxpayer-funded subsidies for wind farms are set to continue until at least 2020.

Onshore wind farms have been guaranteed at least £100 per megawatt hour, which is a unit of energy equal to using a million watts of power in one hour. This is double the current wholesale rate of £50. Offshore wind farms receive £150. Last weekend, two Scottish windfarms charged £200 per megawatt hour to shut off.

With greater wind production becoming available all the time, experts warn the overall cost of these payments is set to rise.

Energy analyst Mulu Sun said the spikes in constraint payments may be partly due to a lack of capacity, adding: ‘National Grid’s infrastructure should be keeping pace with the building of wind farms, but that is not necessarily the case. This can cause bottlenecks.’

A spokesman for Ofgem said: ‘We have powers to take action against licensed generators if we consider they are gaining excessive benefit when constraints occur.’


British ex-minister Tim Yeo accused of harming public's health with new 'green' London taxis which pump out harmful fumes

Eco-taxis championed by former Environment Minister Tim Yeo pump out more harmful nitrogen dioxide than the ageing black cabs they replaced.

The six-seater Mercedes-Benz Vitos were hailed as a greener alternative to London’s famous LTI cabs, long derided for being among the capital’s biggest polluters.

Mercedes has gained a strong foothold in the taxi market since the beginning of last year when London Mayor Boris Johnson ordered that all black cabs over 15 years old – a total of 3,000 LTI vehicles – had to be taken off the road.

The Vitos are marketed as a greener alternative and have been shown to emit less carbon dioxide.

But a report released last month by the Department for the Environment revealed that they are actually emitting much higher levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) than taxis built before 2005.

It adds: ‘Given the intensity of taxi operations in the centre of London, the increase in levels of NO2 emissions from the newer taxi fleet is a matter of concern.’

NO2 can decrease lung function and increase the risk of respiratory problems, particularly among children.

Until last year, Mr Yeo was on the board of directors of Eco City Vehicles (ECV) – the firm which supplied the London Vitos.

The MP for South Suffolk received a fee of £40,000 per year and £750,000 in share options as the company’s chairman between 2007 and 2012.

And he highlighted the success of ECV when it received its first order for the Mercedes-Benz Vito model from one of London’s largest licensed black cab operators, Computer Cab PLC.

Speaking at ECV’s annual meeting in July 2011, Mr Yeo said: ‘This is the first ever contract placed by ComCab with ECV and represents a significant breakthrough for the Vito.’

Last night, Mick Small, from the RMT transport union, which campaigned against the introduction of the black cab age limit, criticised Mr Yeo and Mr Johnson.

Mr Small said: ‘The person who had most to gain from these new taxis was Tim Yeo – he had his fingers in Eco City Vehicles.

‘Thousands of cabs had to come off the road and as a result hundreds of taxi drivers were laid off.

And Boris comes out of this as a liar because he said he was going to clean up London’s air quality and now it seems that hasn’t happened.’

Jenny Jones, London Assembly member for the Green Party, blamed the Government for the ‘unacceptable’ levels of NO2 being emitted.

In June this year Mr Yeo stepped down as chairman of the influential Energy and Climate Change Committee over claims he abused his position to help a private company.

He denied the allegations but stepped aside to ensure the ‘smooth running’ of the committee.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson defended the decision to take older cabs off the road. He added: ‘The Mayor remains determined to reduce all emissions from taxis.’

Mr Yeo said: ‘My financial interest in ECV has been correctly disclosed in the Register of Members’ Interests at all times.’




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


9 August, 2013

Chevy Volt Owners Have More Money than Brains

It looks like a real car ...

Another $5,000 dollars lopped off the sale’s price of the Chevy Volt. And there are still far more fiducially responsible ways to invest hard earned dollars. As GM struggles to prove that Obama’s "saving of Detroit" was not a thinly veiled handout to union workers, and that the "green movement" is backed by economical alternatives to cheap fossil fuels, it has decided to cut its Volt prices yet again.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "The sticker price on the lowest-cost 2014 Volt will fall to $35,000 from $40,000 and could cost as little as $27,500 after federal tax incentives." But don’t rush out just yet. . . That tax "incentive" – also commonly referred to as government funded bribery – of $7,500 will show up on your next tax bill; not your dealership receipt.

The price cut is another attempt to convince would-be-green-hearted liberals, with more money than brains, that the Volt is the vehicle for them. While the auto industry has made significant strides in the green-car market, the Volt has been largely absent from that progress.

Altogether, auto makers sold roughly 7,500 battery powered and plug-in hybrids in July. (Which is still less than 1 percent of total light vehicle sales for the month. . . But aside from investors, companies, and dealerships, who’s counting?) GM’s Volt sales, however, represented a 3 percent drop from last year’s July sales. In contrast, Nissan’s Leaf saw a 500 percent increase in sales over the same period. Even Tesla continues to sell almost 1,500 new cars per month.

Much of the Volt’s challenge lies in its ridiculous price point. Starting at $35,000 after the latest price cut (the second this year) it still remains more than $10,000 more expensive than its gasoline powered counterpart, the Chevy Cruze. And, before anyone talks about the additional savings earned because of its electric (if flammable) motor, the battery is over $8,000 to replace. And while those batteries are expected to last an average of 8 years, it does raise the overall cost of ownership.

According to, and other irrefutable sources, the Volt costs roughly 7 cents a mile to operate before the cost of the battery is taken into account. After the inevitable cost of the battery is accounted for, the cost of operation increases to 17 cents per mile. Compare that with the Cruze’s 11 cents per mile. I know I’m just a finance guy who has a fascination with Excel spreadsheets and slide rulers, but it appears to me that 17 is a larger number than eleven.

More than the Volt’s economically challenged consumer base, is its patently dishonest presentation to the American people. Tesla, which has seen an incredible increase in sales (and by extension, stock price) is far more expensive, beginning at $62,000 for their base model. With no thrills, decals, leather, extra cup holders, navigation system, or seat heaters they are nearly twice as much as the newly reduced Volt. And you should expect them to continue to outsell despite their expensive price point. Tesla is a luxury car directed toward luxury consumers. The Volt is an economy vehicle, selling for a luxury price. (All so you too can claim to be an environmentalist.)

Additionally, the Leaf, Fusion, and other competitors that price their cars nearer to the $17,000 mark should also be expected to outperform the Volt. GM’s biggest mistake was taking the concept of an electric engine (or – er – partially electric engine) and placing it in their cheapest car. . . Then charging over 200 percent of the gasoline version’s price for the "satisfaction" of driving a "green" car.

According to Forbes, what the Volt does have "is an increasing base of owners who love the car. It topped the Consumer Reports owner satisfaction survey the past two years running." I assume this was a survey of people who have yet to experience the Volt’s tendency to spontaneously combust. And while Volt customers might be thrilled to have their cheaply built car, with poor safety history, for an extremely premium price, most American consumer base their purchases off of value. And value is something the Volt has yet proven to possess. GM’s attempt at an electric (or – er – partially electric) vehicle is little more than a frantic attempt to appease an environmental agenda without consideration of economic realities.

Of course, Barack Obama should be pleased with Government Motors. . . They’re finally starting to finance like a government agency.


Fish & Wildlife wants protection for desert plants

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is on a collision course with another federal agency by proposing to list more than 100 square miles in Utah and Colorado as critical habitat for a pair of desert wildflowers, threatening oil production in an energy-rich area.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has authorized the same public lands for development of oil shale, a greasy rock that contains fossilized algae. Petroleum companies are trying to extract this primitive form of oil.

The two plants, Graham's beardtongue and the White River beardtongue, thrive on oil-shale outcrops, which are rich in calcium carbonate, a plant nutrient.

A listing of critical habitat would require BLM to consult government biologists before issuing permits for oil-shale works, said Bekee Hotze, a branch chief in Utah for the Fish & Wildlife Service.

"There are definitely conflicts with plants and oil shale development," Hotze said Tuesday. "We're working with people to find out ways we can do both."

The Fish & Wildlife Service announced its proposed listing Monday in the Federal Register. Officials said the plants are already are suffering from conventional oil and gas development, livestock grazing, invasive weeds and climate change.

For Graham's beardtongue, the agency wants to designate a section of land 80 miles long and six miles wide as critical habitat for an estimated 6,200 plants—right through the heart of oil-shale country.

That band extends from an edge of Duchesne County in Utah to a sliver of Rio Blanco County in Colorado. At 106 square miles in size, it encompasses five designated habitat zones.

Overlapping that area are 23 square miles of zones the agency wants designated for White River beardtongue. Much of that land borders Utah and Colorado. The Fish & Wildlife Service believes the three zones hold about 11,400 plants.


Slow-Roasted, Milled Crickets Pitched As 'First Viable Solution' to Global Food Crisis

Except there is no such crisis. More like a large-waist crisis in the West and a constant warfare crisis in Africa

A Brooklyn-based start-up company says it is ready to roll out its first batch of commercially produced protein bars made of "exceptionally nutritious" crickets.

"Through combining cricket flour (slow roasted and milled crickets) with organic and all-natural ingredients such as raw cacao, dates, almond butter and coconut, we have created a bar that is high in protein, low in sugar, incredibly nutritionally dense, and packed with omega 3 fatty acids, iron and calcium," Exo says in a fund-raising pitch on the KickStarter website. (Kickstarter bills itself as a new way to fund creative projects.)

Two former Brown University students say they started Exo during their senior year when one of them couldn't find a snack that satisfied his high nutritional standards. (Greg Sewitz says he had just returned from a conference on climate change and resource scarcity at MIT hosted by the Dalai Lama, who suggested insects as a protein source.)

Their venture goes beyond food: In a recent interview with Forbes magazine, Exo co-founder Gabi Lewis said the "very core" of their business "is trying to change the way people think about an untapped food source."

"Our mission is fundamentally a social one," he told Forbes, and if it succeeds, "it'll have an incredible impact on the world."

The fund-raising pitch describes insect protein as "the first viable solution to the global food crisis."

Exo says crickets need 12 times less feed than cattle, 4 times less feed than sheep, and half as much feed as pigs and chickens to produce the same amount of protein. They're said to produce 80 times less methane than cattle, they reproduce faster, and they "barely require any water or space."

Not only are crickets high in protein, they also have more iron than beef and almost as much calcium as milk, Exo says.

"Our recipe has received phenomenal reviews at CrossFit gyms and on university campuses," the founders say.

Eating insects is not popular among North Americans, but people across Asia, Africa and South America do it routinely.

And for Exo, protein bars are just the beginning, Sewitz told Forbes: "We want to normalize entomophagy (the consumption of insects as food)."


Britain must not miss out on fracking: PM says drilling for shale gas should take place at more sites

David Cameron warned last night that Britain was ‘missing out big time’ on the benefits of fracking by not drilling at enough sites in the search for shale gas.

In his most outspoken comments about the technology, the Prime Minister said it would be a ‘big mistake’ if the Government did not encourage fracking across Britain.

Mr Cameron said the Government would dispel ‘myths’ from green groups that drilling for gas would lead to earthquakes, and he dismissed fears that it could lead to water taps catching fire.

But campaigners last night accused him of lying about the dangers, as he suggested the UK should copy the US, where thousands of wells have been bored.

Addressing a question and answer session in Lancashire, the Prime Minister said: ‘I will just give you one figure to show how much we are missing out.

'In the whole of the European Union last year there were 100 shale gas wells dug. ‘At the same time in the United States there were 10,000.

‘Now, the EU has about three quarters as much shale gas as the US so we are missing out big time at the moment and I want to make sure Britain doesn’t miss out.

‘Their gas prices are about half the level of ours. So we would be making a big mistake if we didn’t think hard about how to encourage fracking and cheaper gas prices.’

Forty wells are expected to be drilled before the 2015 general election, half in the North West. But there could be widespread drilling across the South. Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Kent are thought to contain gas reserves.

Mr Cameron said: ‘Nothing is going to happen in this country unless it’s environmentally safe.

‘There are some myths that we have to dispel. There is no question of having earthquakes and fire coming out of taps.’

But he mistakenly promised communities where wells are drilled that they will get £1million compensation – ten times the amount actually proposed. Downing Street confirmed he had been mistaken and that Government policy has not changed.

He also told staff at Crown Paints in Darwen: ‘If people can see a direct benefit from fracking and shale gas, they will be more willing to really look at the arguments about what this will mean for their community if it goes ahead.

‘In that way we can see wells dug and we can see the benefits of shale gas here in the UK.’

Shaun Spiers, chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: ‘Any language that implies that a decision has been taken and that people will be forced to accept fracking is bound to raise hackles and increase concerns.

‘Companies drilling the wells are well aware of the need to get people on side and do proper consultations. If they don’t do that in the Weald of Kent or the South Downs, you’re going to have an uprising.’


Perspectives on Honeybees and Pesticides

by Angela Logomasini

If you believe the headlines, honeybees may soon be endangered, pesticides are to blame, and regulations offer an easy solution. Yet headlines belie the truth of the matter: Some honeybees have left their hives to never return, but we really don’t know why.

Referred to as "colony collapse disorder," the disappearance of honeybee colonies raises concerns that it will be increasingly difficult to produce food without enough of these pollinators. Ironically, the proposed "solutions" involving banning agro-technologies from pesticides to biotechnology, may do even more harm to agricultural production while not helping the honeybees at all.

A key target of the anti-pesticide crowd is a class of chemicals called Neonicotinoids, which were created originally to help reduce stress on honeybees from the spraying of pesticides on crops. Neonicotinoids encapsulate seeds, which eventually produces plants that systemically can fight off pests that otherwise would undermine crop production. The beauty of these products is you don’t need to engage in spraying. Evidence is weak that these products have a significant impact on bee colonies in real life settings, as compared to lab experiments.

If we really want to help the honeybees and ensure continued food production, we need to focus on finding out what’s really happening, rather than playing the blame game, banning products, and crossing our fingers that these policies will help. In fact, bans on some products could harm honeybees if the replacements prove less safe. While most of the news stories on the topic push incomplete information and hyped risks, there is some good information out there for those interested in the issue, ranging from research studies to investigative journalism to helpful opinion pieces. I have added a page to where those interested in this issue can find links to a number of thoughtful perspectives and research on the topic. Check it out.


Australia: Wipe out Green Party for good of all, says former conservative leader

JEFF Kennett has unleashed a withering attack on the Greens, warning the minority party should be preferenced out of existence to protect the nation's economic and social fabric.

The former Victorian premier said the Liberal Party nationally should preference the Greens and independents last, even if it risked elevating Labor candidates.

His warning came as it emerged that the Liberal Party will almost certainly announce in the first half of the campaign that it will preference against Greens MP Adam Bandt, making it increasingly difficult for him to remain in the House of Representatives. Senior party sources said there was "no argument" within the Victorian party about Greens preferences and that the party would be doing whatever it could to ensure Mr Bandt lost the seat of Melbourne.

Mr Kennett told The Australian that the relationship between the Greens, the independents and Labor had been toxic for Australia in the past three years, undermining the nation's economic and social prosperity by creating unstable government.

Mr Kennett said it was crucial that a government be given the mandate to implement its agenda without the corrosive influence of the minor parties and the Greens.

"Hopefully we will not be about giving authority to minorities; that the public will realise that we have a responsibility to ourselves, for our children and the future of the country to give a government sufficient authority to govern," he said. "To that end, my view is that all independents and all Greens should be placed last, even if it means in some seats from our point of view a Labor candidate might win."

Senior Victorian Liberals said the federal division of the party had intervened in 2010 to preference the Greens, leading to Mr Bandt's election.

Senior party figures have told The Australian that the party has no option but to preference against the Greens.

This, sources said, would be an electorally successful strategy for the conservatives to help wipe out the Greens, which the Liberal Party believes have been given a platform by the Coalition's previous failure to attack the minor party by starving candidates of their preferences.

Another senior party figure told The Australian: "There is no division in the party . . . The Greens will not get our preferences."

In 2010, Mr Bandt received almost 80 per cent of Liberal preferences.

He holds Melbourne on a 6 per cent margin and gained 36.2 per cent of the primary vote in 2010, which, if replicated, is unlikely to be enough given the lack of Liberal preference flow.




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


8 August, 2013

Survey: Public Overwhelmingly Opposes Carbon Tax

American voters overwhelmingly oppose a carbon tax, according to a survey released by the Institute for Energy Research.

Only 35 Percent Support

According to the survey of 800 registered voters, 35 percent favor and 59 percent oppose a carbon tax. Democrats generally support a carbon tax (54 percent to 39 percent), while Republicans and independents strongly oppose the idea (80 percent to 16 percent and 62 percent to 29 percent, respectively).

Just 33 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to vote for a member of Congress who votes for a carbon tax, whereas 50 percent said they would be less likely to vote for a member of Congress who did so.

Suspicious of Motives

American voters are particularly suspicious of carbon tax supporters’ motivation. Only 34 percent say they believe improving the environment is the primary motivation behind a carbon tax, whereas 61 percent say carbon tax supporters are primarily interested in raising more money for government.

Even among respondents who support a carbon tax, many want only a very small tax. Only 20 percent of all respondents would support paying $100 or more per year in a carbon tax.

On a broader subject, 79 percent said Congress should focus more on the economy, versus only 17 percent who said Congress should focus more on the environment.

Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, said he is not surprised at the overwhelming opposition to a carbon tax.

"A certain portion of Americans might be willing to pay carbon taxes if they would do any good, but no one has proven that a carbon tax will do anything to mitigate global warming," Burnett said.

Strong Message to Pols

Daniel Simmons, director of regulatory and state affairs at the Institute for Energy Research, says beltway politicians can learn much from the survey.

"The takeaway is that American voters are not in favor of increased taxes or higher prices for energy and are very willing to vote against their congressmen who vote in favor of a carbon tax," he said.

"It’s really simple; people don’t want a carbon tax. It’s a political no-brainer, but every now and then, Washington needs to be reminded about why something is a political no-brainer," he continued.

Simmons emphasized a carbon tax will raise prices on energy, which will punish consumers and businesses throughout the economy.

"President Obama and congressional Democrats are going to try hard and rebrand the notion of a carbon tax in order to get it passed here," said Simmons. "Over 80 percent of our nation’s energy comes from coal, oil, and natural gas, the sources of energy that would be affected by a carbon tax. If President Obama and the Democrats enact a carbon tax, then we’ll be seeing the cost of everything go up."


Obama’s Global-Warming Folly

No, Mr. President, we don’t need a war on coal

Charles Krauthammer

The economy stagnates. Syria burns. Scandals lap at his feet. China and Russia mock him, even as a "29-year-old hacker" revealed his nation’s spy secrets to the world. How does President Obama respond? With a grandiloquent speech on climate change.

Climate change? It lies at the very bottom of a list of Americans’ concerns (last of 21 — Pew poll). Which means that Obama’s declaration of unilateral American war on global warming, whatever the cost — and it will be heavy — is either highly visionary or hopelessly solipsistic. You decide:

Global temperatures have been flat for 16 years — a curious time to unveil a grand, hugely costly, socially disruptive anti-warming program.

Now, this inconvenient finding is not dispositive. It doesn’t mean there is no global warming. But it is something that the very complex global-warming models that Obama naïvely claims represent settled science have trouble explaining. It therefore highlights the president’s presumption in dismissing skeptics as flat-earth know-nothings.

On the contrary. It’s flat-earthers like Obama who refuse to acknowledge the problematic nature of contradictory data. It’s flat-earthers like Obama who cite a recent Alaskan heat wave — a freak event in one place at one time — as presumptive evidence of planetary climate change. It’s flat-earthers like Obama who cite perennial phenomena such as droughts as cosmic retribution for environmental sinfulness.

For the sake of argument, nonetheless, let’s concede that global warming is precisely what Obama thinks it is. Then answer this: What in God’s name is his massive new regulatory and spending program — which begins with a war on coal and ends with billions in more subsidies for new Solyndras — going to do about it?

The U.S. has already radically cut CO2 emissions — more than any country on earth since 2006, according to the International Energy Agency. Emissions today are back down to 1992 levels.

And yet, at the same time, global emissions have gone up. That’s because — surprise! — we don’t control the energy use of the other 96 percent of humankind.

At the heart of Obama’s program are EPA regulations that will make it impossible to open any new coal plant and will systematically shut down existing plants. "Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal," explained one of Obama’s climate advisers. "On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed."

Net effect: tens of thousands of jobs killed, entire states impoverished. This at a time of chronically and crushingly high unemployment, slow growth, jittery markets, and deep economic uncertainty.

But that’s not the worst of it. This massive self-sacrifice might be worthwhile if it did actually stop global warming and save the planet. What makes the whole idea nuts is that it won’t. This massive self-inflicted economic wound will have no effect on climate change.

The have-nots are rapidly industrializing. As we speak, China and India together are opening one new coal plant every week. We can kill U.S. coal and devastate coal country all we want, but the industrializing third world will more than make up for it. The net effect of the Obama plan will simply be dismantling the U.S. coal industry for shipping abroad.

To think we will get these countries to cooperate is sheer fantasy. We’ve been negotiating climate treaties for 20 years and gotten exactly nowhere. China, India, and the other rising and modernizing countries point out that the West had a 150-year industrial head start that made it rich. They are still poor. And now, just as they are beginning to get rich, we’re telling them to stop dead in their tracks?

Fat chance. Obama imagines he’s going to cajole China into a greenhouse-gas-emissions reduction that will slow its economy, increase energy costs, derail industrialization, and risk enormous social unrest. This from a president who couldn’t even get China to turn over one Edward Snowden to U.S. custody.

I’m not against a global pact to reduce CO2 emissions. Indeed, I favor it. But in the absence of one — and there is no chance of getting one in the foreseeable future — there is no point in America’s committing economic suicide to no effect on climate change, the reversing of which, after all, is the alleged point of the exercise.

For a president to propose this with such aggressive certainty is incomprehensible. It is the starkest of examples of belief that is impervious to evidence. And the word for that is faith, not science.


More on the Dutch Meteosat (European meteorology satellite) study

"Earth Surface Cooled from 1982 to 2006 According to Satellite Data"

As is now generally known, there has been no warming of the Earth's surface since 1998 at least. Prior to that time, we were informed that there had been a rapid warming of the Earth's surface and that it was caused by increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere due to man using fossil fuels. The 2007 IPCC 4th Report still insisted that for 25 years the Earth had been warming. A newly published study using satellite temperature sensing specifically for detecting the Earth's surface temperature and minimizing that of the atmosphere above the surface, shows that the Earth's surface, contrary to reports, actually cooled from 1982 to 2006!

The paper is entitled Meteosat Derived Planetary Temperature Trend 1982-2006 by Andries Rosema, Steven Foppes, and Joost van der Woerd and was published in Energy & Environment, Vol. 24, No. 3 & 4 2013. They were very surprised to find the cooling trend they reported.

Earlier satellite data analyses, originated by investigators at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, used microwave sensors to infer the temperature from microwave emissions from oxygen molecules. Microwaves of different energies originated from various layers of the atmosphere. One set of data originated from an altitude of about 17 km. Another at an altitude of about 3 - 4 km. Then by looking at data taken at oblique angles of incidence, they inferred a temperature from an altitude of about 0.8 km. However, none of this data actually the Earth's surface temperature. Initially, this data on the lower atmosphere had shown a small cooling effect, but after many corrections were applied, the data yielded an increase of temperature of about 0.1 C/decade in the troposphere. The troposphere is the bottom about 10 to 11 km of the atmosphere and its temperature is not at all necessarily in direct proportion to the surface temperature. Indeed, increased cloud cover, water vapor, and CO2 in the atmosphere may cause an increase in the troposphere temperature even as it cools the surface temperature.

The Rosema, Foppes, and van der Woerd study used the infra-red radiation at 10.5 to 12.5 micrometers wavelength to directly measure the surface temperature of the Earth. The copy of the paper incorrectly says mm instead of micrometers. This infra-red radiation is in the mid-infra-red part of the electromagnetic spectrum, but close to the beginning of the far infra-red. The atmosphere is highly transparent at these wavelengths, provided there are no clouds. There is a minor effect due to water, but none due to CO2. The minor water absorption does add a small temperature component from the lower atmosphere to the larger component directly from the Earth's surface. This is nonetheless a huge improvement over the oxygen emission microwave emissions which have no surface component at all. The effects of clouds were filtered out of the data. The daily planetary temperature was approximated as the average of noon and midnight temperatures.

Such satellite measurements are critically important. The land surface temperature record is highly contaminated by urban heat island effects and by the bad sites chosen for weather station measurements. Very mysterious and undocumented changes to the raw data have been made to various time period sets of data. See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, for instance. The authors of this study note that 10% of their own country, the Netherlands, is now hardened surface. Changes to ground cover, vegetation, or water surface coverage do have local effects on the surface temperature.

Indeed, they point to data for the area of the confluence of the Euphrat and Tigris Rivers in SE Iraq which showed a sudden warming when Saddam Hussein drained the extensive marshes there. With less water in this warm area, less evaporative cooling occurred and water vapor absorbed less incoming solar insolation up in the atmosphere, so the average temperature increased. They found another small area with warming in NW Tanzania. There, they believe that major mining increases led to a decrease in vegetation and then a reduction in evapotranspiration. The loss of that cooling caused surface temperatures to increase. They also noted a cooling effect near Lake Chad and Lake Nasser in their data which they attribute to the growing size of those lakes.

From 1982 to 2006, an ocean location west of France showed a temperature decrease of 0.78 C/decade. A location west of Senegal in the Atlantic showed a temperature decrease of 0.48 C/decade, which is less a decrease because of ocean upwelling in this area. More generally, they report that the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, and Europe show a negative surface temperature trend from zero to 2 C/decade. They observed that the greatest temperature decreases were in regions with greater cloud cover. In particular, the temperature decrease over desert areas was smaller.

Increased cloud cover is correlated with increased humidity of the air. More water vapor and more clouds both result in a lower surface temperature. While it is harder to separate out the effect of CO2 from the overwhelming effects of water vapor, increased atmospheric CO2 probably will also increase the cooling of the surface, as I have argued. In any case, the IPCC claim that a small surface temperature increase due to added CO2 will cause a much larger temperature increase due to more water vapor, is absolutely and clearly nonsense.


Fracked off? No, I'm thrilled they're drilling for oil in my beautiful corner of England

By Dominic Lawson

The coalition is an unlikely one. Bianca Jagger, Natalie Hynde (daughter of rock star Chrissie) and the odd grey-suited commuter — ‘Lloyd’s Broker Says NO’ reads his placard) — are all marching as one.

Their common cause: to obstruct and, if possible, prevent the drilling for oil near the West Sussex town of Balcombe. The slogans on some of the placards are less polite than that of the Lloyd’s man (and also less literate): ‘Get the Frack out of Sussex’ and ‘Frack you! You fracking frackers’.

Oddly enough, the exploratory well being drilled by the energy company Cuadrilla does not involve ‘hydraulic fracking’ — the breaking open of tight petroliferous rock formations by high-pressure injections of water and surfactants.

Fracking involves pumping water, sand and chemicals deep underground at high pressure to crack rocks and retrieve the natural gas trapped inside

It is a single 6 in diameter well down to a depth of 2,500 ft; and if the flow from it is good (which is by no means certain) then future production will not require ‘fracking’ either.

Yet such technical details will not deflect the demonstrators, whether motivated by sentimental soil-worship or a more hard-headed concern about the effect of drilling on local property prices.

They just believe passionately that it’s grossly inappropriate to have a major extractive industry doing its business in this lovely part of England, the High Weald. They believe it. But they are wrong.

I know a bit about this, as I have lived in the High Weald for the past 16 years.

The water running past our house has a distinctive rusty colour, caused by the high iron content in the clay subsoil. The Romans, being industrious fellows, started the iron-working industry in this part of England.

This extractive process grew in scale as the demand for iron expanded — most notably for making cannons and the balls which we fired at sundry European enemies (such as the Spanish Armada).

In eyeshot as I write this stands a derelict mill which harnessed the stream to power the furnaces.

Behind me is one of the Wealden forests — Dallington — which supplied the charcoal for smelting.

When I amble through it, I sometimes come across the hollows of the old charcoal pits. If I walk a mile or two further, I am at the heart of a still-active extractive operation, owned by British Gypsum.

This land, while part of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, contains the country’s largest reserve of calcium sulphate, used to make plasterboard.

The company runs a 24-hour operation, although there are now only about 100 miners — a tenth of their number during the peak years of drilling. Their controlled explosions 300 or so feet below the surface are just the sort of practice which, if newly proposed now, would bring the wrath of Bianca Jagger and Natalie Hynde down on us — and doubtless also demonstrations by City-bound commuter residents.

Yet there is not the slightest blight on local property prices, even if those nearest the British Gypsum mine complain occasionally about noisy machinery as the extracted rock is transported by conveyer belt and onwards via a dedicated railway (just as it has been since the 1880s).

Farther afield, nearer Tunbridge Wells, stood the vast High Brooms Brickworks, where the rich reddish Wealden clay was fired to provide the basic physical structure of countless housing booms.

The point is that the High Weald was never more than marginal in what people seem to regard as the sole traditional role of the countryside: farming. Its contours and villages, now seen as purely bucolic, are in fact the legacy of a vibrant industrial past. So what seems ‘natural’ in the landscape is in fact anything but.

The visible pattern of the Wealden communities, with their churches, post offices and filigree criss-crossing of roads, is the residual superstructure of the human exploitation of natural resources harnessed for the sole benefit of man. Just like the oil and gas which Cuadrilla is working to find.

Nowadays, of course, the High Weald of Kent, East and West Sussex is no longer the industrial heart of the country — as it had been before the coal revolution. Now, the great majority of working residents commute to their place of employment: London, most obviously.

This is an energy-intensive process, especially if they are using cars to get to the ‘big smoke’; or trains, using electricity, which is reliant on fossil fuels for its generation.

The City-commuting residents demonstrating against the Balcombe oil well are therefore singularly lacking in economic self-awareness. Their way of life depends on cheap, secure and plentiful energy — exactly what Cuadrilla is in the business of providing. That used to mean coal — conveniently located, for the most part, hundreds of miles from the London commuter belt. Yet if oil and gas (which, incidentally, produce much less Co2 than coal per unit of energy produced) are plentiful in the South, why should the country as a whole be denied its benefits?

The outraged of Balcombe are put to shame by an 11-year-old local called Phoebe, who told a visiting reporter that she was ‘For Fracking’ having ‘done a project on it’ at primary school: ‘I want energy for TV and internet,’ she said.

The protesters doubtless imagine that a gas or oil field would somehow blight the entire region, and will not be dissuaded by the pictures in Tuesday’s Mail which showed that the entire site is little more than the size of a football pitch.

And they will dismiss as self-interested propaganda the insistence last week by Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan that 100 shale gas production sites of the sort his firm aims to build could produce enough to supply one-third of the UK’s annual gas demand while occupying ‘a total area of just two square kilometres’.

Mr Egan added that ‘screened by trees, the sites would be invisible to passers-by’.

Hard though it might be for the likes of Bianca Jagger and Natalie Hynde to believe, this is the truth. If you doubt it, consider that the largest onshore oil field in Europe has been discreetly situated in an area much more ecologically sensitive than the High Weald.

Wytch Farm oil field, discovered by the British Gas Corporation in 1973 in the Purbeck district of Dorset, has production facilities hidden in a coniferous forest on the southern shore of Poole Harbour.

Its reservoir, which at peak output in 1997 was producing 110,000 barrels of oil a day, extends below the exquisite Studland peninsula. So this monster of an oil field has been inconspicuously exploited at the heart of a World Heritage site, a Designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and of several nature reserves.

It should reassure anxious Balcombe residents that house values around Poole Harbour have not been in the tiniest bit depressed by the presence of the Wytch Farm oil production facilities. Indeed, apart from the stucco terraces of Kensington and Chelsea, this is the most expensive stretch of real estate in the whole country.

Besides, it would be fitting for the High Weald to get back to its old business.


Fracking gets boost as British treasurer bangs drum for 'energy revolution'

Chancellor says it would be shame for UK to miss out on shale gas boom and the jobs it would create for communities

Chancellor George Osborne has sent a strong message to the Conservative rural heartlands, warning that he will fight any Tory backlash against fracking and saying that it would be a real tragedy if Britain allowed the shale gas energy revolution to bypass the UK.

Research conducted by Greenpeace has shown that 38 out of 62 MPs in the south have land with existing oil and gas drilling licenses – and 35 of them are Conservatives, including many cabinet ministers.

It raises the prospect that many Tory backbenchers in the run-up to the 2015 election will find themselves conflicted by the demands of the UK economy and business to exploit the reserves, and opposition from environmental groups as well as many of their anxious constituents.

Until recently there has been a consensus on Tory benches and in the Conservative press that fracking should start as soon as possible.

Osborne said: "There is an an energy revolution underway in the US and China that has dramatically reduced energy costs meaning manufacturing businesses are returning to the US."

"I want to see that kind of thing in Britain. I want to see families with lower energy bills". Osborne added.

"The Conservative party understands you have to balance your policy, but the new regime for fracking has very clear community benefit so we have designed a regime that is very generous for local communities where this activity might take place.

"It would be a real tragedy for Britain to allow this energy revolution to bypass our country. It would mean we would have much higher energy costs than other countries, it would mean jobs would go to other countries and we would lose out".

Osborne has already provided healthy tax breaks for the industry, asserting shale gas was "a resource with huge potential to broaden the UK's energy mix", and saying that he wanted Britain to be a leader of the shale gas revolution.

Shale gas production has boomed in the US, growing from less than 1% of domestic production in 2000, to 23% in 2010. By contrast, President François Hollande of France has ruled out exploration for gas during his presidency on environmental grounds.

The prime minister's spokesman has insisted that fracking will be environmentally safe. But Friends of the Earth's policy and campaigns director, Craig Bennett, said: "Fracking poses a real threat to the local environment and causes more climate-wrecking pollution.

The recent ministerial statement on local planning and shale states: "The coalition government believes shale gas has the potential to provide the UK with greater energy security, growth and jobs … The government is creating the right framework to accelerate shale gas development in a responsible and sustainable way."

The government has said it intends to amend existing secondary legislation in relation to application requirements and fees for onshore oil and gas development.


Hawaii Is at the Forefront of Genetically Modified Crops

When people think of Hawaii, they probably imagine beautiful sunsets over white sand beaches, bountiful waves, colorful clothing, and spasmodic volcanos. For the average person, what probably doesn’t leap to mind when thinking about Hawaii is the food they eat and Hawaii’s agriculture industry. It should, however, because Hawaii is at the forefront of modern, high-output agriculture: biotech farming.

Salvation after Sugar Collapse

Biotech agricultural companies took advantage of the collapse of Hawaii’s sugar industry in the 1980s to buy land and introduce genetically modified crops for research and ultimately commercial seed sale. Hawaii’s climate makes it ideal for biotech experimentation and new varietal development because it allows biotech companies to get three or four planting seasons in every year.

From tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow, and so it has been with Hawaii’s seed industry. Companies including DuPont, Pioneer, Syngenta, Dow, BASF, and Monsanto all operate in Hawaii. From humble beginnings, the seed industry, at more than $243 million annually, is the largest segment of Hawaii’s agricultural sector. In 2010, the agriculture companies exported more than 9.7 million pounds of seed, half of which was genetically modified. The seed industry alone employs approximately 1,400 people.

Seed companies point out genetically enhanced crops both provide employment and keep land in agriculture at a time when fertile farmland elsewhere is being developed for other uses.

Biotech’s Environmental Benefits

Environmental activists have raised a variety of objections to the planting of biotech crops in Hawaii, including that they are harmful to human health and encourage the indiscriminate use of chemicals. The answer to these charges in Hawaii, as elsewhere, seems to be, "where’s the evidence?"

Despite hundreds of studies, none have found legitimate evidence of harm to public health from genetically modified crops that have gone into commercial production. Instead, genetically modified crops are improving human nutrition by increasing crop yields and making food less expensive.

Similarly, genetically modified crops are improving the environment. Improving crop yields means less land is developed for food production. Also, some genetic modifications allow farmers to reduce the amount of pesticides needed—the plants are engineered to either enhance their own natural defenses against insects and weeds or to use defenses imported from other subspecies or species. A second type of modification enables a crop to withstand higher doses of certain pesticides when such pesticides are needed for crop protection.

"Study after study shows that the development of biotech crops has improved the environmental performance in agriculture," said Greg Conko, executive director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "It has reduced the need to spray chemical insecticides and reduced the amount of older, more environmentally harmful herbicides, replacing their use with more benign, less toxic herbicides with limited persistence in the environment."

"Genetic modification has enhanced food production in the United States and throughout the world while simultaneously improving environmental conditions," said Jay Lehr, science director for the Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News. "Genetic modification breakthroughs are among the greatest scientific advances of the past century."

More Viable Papaya Crop

In Hawaii, seed crops are not the only things that are being bioengineered. Along with corn (which is the largest crop), wheat, soybean, sorghum, and canola are also benefiting from genetic modification. In addition, in the late 1980s, the University of Hawaii began developing a papaya strain resistant to the Papaya Ringspot Virus. The new, genetically modified papaya plants are no longer susceptible to infection, allowing farmers to cultivate the fruit even when the historically debilitating virus is widespread.

Hawaiian farmers began commercially growing the first virus-resistant papayas in 1999. Bioengineered papayas now cover approximately 2,400 acres, three quarters of the total Hawaiian papaya crop.

These papayas have been approved for consumption both in the United States and in Canada, and several Asian countries are developing genetically modified papaya varieties resistant to their local virus strains.

What happens in Hawaii does not stay in Hawaii, it would seem.




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


7 August, 2013

How to lie with statistics

Below is the latest Warmist propaganda from government scientists. It cites various statistics that together give the impression of changing climate. That imnpression does not survive even the most cursory look, however. They admit to both drought and flood so there is no net GLOBAL change there. They admit that the Arctic is out of line with both global tendencies and the Antarctic so there is again no GLOBAL effect there. They admit that the temperature was well short of the global maximum so there is no GLOBAL change in recent figures. And all that stasis coincided with actual CO2 levels that were once prophesied to be disastrous! Dr Goebbels would be proud of such dishonesty

THE world lost record amounts of Arctic sea ice in 2012 and spewed out all-time high levels of greenhouse gases by burning fossil fuels, international climate scientists said overnight.

Last year was among the top 10 on record for global land and surface temperature since modern data collection began, said the State of the Climate report issued annually by researchers in Britain and the United States.

"The findings are striking," said Kathryn Sullivan, acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"Our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place," she told reporters.

The peer-reviewed report did not go into the causes for the trends but experts said it should serve as a guide for policymakers as they prepare for the effects of rising seas and warming weather on communities and infrastructure.

Furthermore, it points to a new normal in which record-setting events are typical, particularly in the Arctic, where surface temperature rise is fast outpacing the rest of the world.

"It's hard to read the report and not be led to the conclusion that the task of reducing carbon emissions is now more urgent than ever," said Michael Mann, a leading US climatologist at Pennsylvania State University, who was not involved in the research.

Globally, according to four independent analyses cited by the study "2012 ranked as the eighth or ninth warmest year since records began in the mid-to-late 1800s.

"The year was 0.140C-0.170C above the 1981-2010 average, depending on the dataset considered," said the report published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

When it comes to Arctic sea ice, a new record low was observed in September and another all-time low for snow cover was recorded in the Northern Hemisphere, it said.

"Surface temperatures in the Arctic are increasing at a rate about two times faster than the rest of the world," said Jackie Richter-Menge, research civil engineer with the US Army Corps of Engineers.

"In the Arctic, the records or near records being reported from year to year are no longer anomalies or exceptions," she added.

"Really, they have become the rule for us, or the norm that we see in the Arctic and we expect to see for the foreseeable future."

The melt is also contributing to rising sea level. Average global sea level reached a record high in 2012, 1.4 inches (3.5 centimetres) above the 1993 to 2010 average.

"Most recently, over the past seven years or so, it appears that the ice melt is contributing more than twice as much to the global sea level rise compared with warming waters," said Jessica Blunden, climatologist at NOAA's National Climatic Data Centre.

Meanwhile, permafrost temperatures reached record highs in northern Alaska and 97 per cent of the Greenland ice sheet showed some form of melt, four times greater than the average melt for this time of year.

The amount of carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels also hit new highs, after a slight decline in recent years that followed the global financial crisis.

"In spring 2012, for the first time, the atmospheric CO2 concentration exceeded 400 parts per million at seven of the 13 Arctic observation sites," said the report.

Global average carbon dioxide reached 392.6 ppm, a 2.1 ppm increase from 2011, it said.

Droughts and unusual rains struck different parts of the globe last year, with ``the worst drought in at least the past three decades for northeastern Brazil," it said.

"The Caribbean observed a very wet dry season and it was the Sahel's wettest rainy season in 50 years."

Ms Sullivan said the findings "caution us, perhaps, to be looking at a likely future where extremes and intensity of some extremes are more frequent and more intense than what we have accounted for in the past."

On a positive note, the climate in Antarctica remained "relatively stable overall" and warm air led to the second smallest ozone hole in the past two decades, the report found.


Arctic Ice Growth Since 1971

Reader Brian D sent over this 1971 National Geographic map, which shows that there is a lot more Arctic sea ice now than there was 42 years ago.

I remember seeing that map at the time. The next map overlays current ice extent on the 1971 map, with green representing ice present in 2013 that was not present in 1971, and red representing the opposite.

NSIDC likes to pretend that ice has been declining steadily, by starting their graphs near the century maximum in 1978.


GE scraps US largest solar panel plant

GENERAL Electric is permanently scrapping plans to build the largest solar factory in the US near Denver.

GE blamed the cancellation on a glut of solar panels on the market and falling prices, The Denver Post reported on Tuesday.

The factory was to have been bigger than 11 football fields and have an annual capacity of 400 megawatts. State officials said it would create 350 jobs.

GE put the project on hold last month.

A research centre that developed the thin-film solar-cell technology for the plant will be closed, with 50 people losing their jobs, according to Lindsay Thiel, a GE spokeswoman. The research centre, formerly a startup named PrimeStar, was in Arvada, another Denver suburb.

"We have decided that it is not in the best interest of GE, our customers or the Denver community to move forward with the build-out of this facility," Thiel told the newspaper in an email.

At least 10 states were vying for the PrimeStar plant in 2011. GE said it would go to Aurora that northern autumn, and company executives attended the next year's State of the State address by Governor John Hickenlooper, who personally cited the plant in his speech.

Thiel said the company has decided to permanently end plans for the plant.

"With the continued price declines of and overcapacity for solar panels, solar module manufacturing is very competitive, and only the most competitive technology at the most competitive cost position will succeed," Thiel said.


"Extinction" is not final, apparently

Butterflies throw an interesting light on Greenie extinction prophecies

They are one of the most welcome sights in any garden or country field. But over the past five decades, Britain’s butterflies have suffered mixed fortunes.

The numbers of many species are dwindling and several are either lost or on the brink of extinction.

Meanwhile, other varieties are proving to be nature’s great survivors and enjoying a comeback – some even after being declared extinct many years ago.

The figures were revealed by the National Trust. Its conservationists have helped protect and reintroduce butterfly species, such as the Large Blue.

It said that amid ongoing threats to many habitats and after a ‘catastrophic’ washout summer last year, some varieties – even those which were once common – now require ‘major expeditions’ to find.

Last year butterflies fared the worst out of any year on record as a result of the wet summer, with 52 of the 56 species monitored in decline and overall sightings down by 300,000. Fortunately, last month’s heatwave has given a welcome boost to numbers this year, at least for the short-term.

And while the future remains uncertain for many types of native butterfly, the predicted warmer climate will make it more likely that continental species will one day colonise our south coast.

Arrivals could include the Swallowtail and the Large Tortoiseshell, which has been deemed extinct for many years but could recolonise the coast after being spotted on the Isle of Wight.


Global Warming consensus obliterated—by facts

What if everything you think you know about something turns out to be wrong?

Does it force you to evaluate everything else, or do you just shrug your shoulders figuring that it is impossible to know everything, so you have to pick your experts and take your chances?

When it comes to following baseball teams, if the Angels General Manager (GM) Jerry DiPoto or Yankees GM Brian Cashman spend hundreds of millions of someone else’s money and end up with a subpar product, it may hurt your heart as a fan of those respective teams, but it doesn’t impact your life.

However, when the government either gets duped or more insidiously, is a co-conspirator in what could be a big lie, suddenly it is taxpayer money being spent and that should get people’s attention.

A new, peer reviewed study published in "Energy & Environment" comes to the stunning conclusion that global temperatures have actually been dropping since 1986. This conclusion, at best, obliterates the claims that there is a global warming consensus.

The "Meteosat Derived Planetary Temperature Trend – 1982-2006" study took satellite derived temperature data from 1986-2006 that was collected using a European satellite system which measures thermal infrared radiation (similar to those red to blue heat maps that uses.)

Incredibly, here are the key excerpts from the study’s conclusion which reveals the scientist’s bias going into doing the research:

"The amazing finding of the present study is that we do not observe global warming in the period 1982-2006, but significant cooling. What could be the cause?"

After recapping methodology and some key findings that support the conclusion, the study ends by bluntly stating what they believe was the cause of the cooling trend:

"[C]loudiness changes could be the mechanism behind the observed global cooling since 1982: an increase in cloudiness would decrease global radiation and increase rainfall and evapotranspiration. Both effects tend to decrease the surface temperature."

After all these years, will the global warming disciples have their collectives legs cut out from under them because it was more cloudy than usual during the very years they claimed it was supposed to be getting warmer?

We already know that even the staunchest global warmists concede that warming hasn’t occurred in the past fifteen years, but this study forces us to re-think everything we have been told.

The study is particularly troubling when combined with Russian weather scientists who contend we are heading for a new cooling period, the startling fact that this year Antarctic (South Pole) ice is increasing at record levels, and that the North Pole has hit freezing temperatures about a month earlier than the norm.

To sum it up, after hearing about global warming ad nauseum for a decade, and having various government agencies around the world spend billions of dollars promoting alternative, non-carbon producing energy alternatives as a solution, the global warming consensus no longer exists, and global warming itself may have been nothing more than an error in data collection.

In short, everything we have been told, may just be nothing more than hot air.

It may just be that Newsweek inadvertently stumbled onto a closer version of the truth when they printed their apocalyptic 1975 cover story, "The Coming Ice Age," which concluded with these very familiar sounding words:

"Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects.

"They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality."

But even these worldwide renewed doubts cannot stop the intrepid United States’ Environmental Protection Agency, which continues to plunge headlong into attacking a global warming carbon problem that may not even exist. People’s lives destroyed, the economy shackled, and billions of tax dollars wasted on the altar of a global warming god who doesn’t even have the decency to make the climate warmer.

It certainly is enough to make one wonder if they are really concerned about global warming, or if this climate fad is nothing more than an excuse to grab power.

And it should be enough to force thinking Americans to question everything they have been told. Of course, few of us are climate scientists so we have to pick our sources and take our chances.

But with the breakdown of the "climate consensus" so obvious around the world, and with the globe fooling the warmist computer models so completely by refusing to warm, it is time to step away from the EPA’s regulatory machine gun that threatens not only our nation, but the world’s economy, until someone figures out what really is going on.


Steve Goreham: Climatism is the ‘Greatest Global Delusion’ in History

Is the earth on a collision course with catastrophe? The climatists say it is and that human beings are to blame. But environmental researcher and author Steve Goreham, author of the The Mad, Mad, Mad, World of Climatism, says that’s just not so.

Climatism is the belief that man-made greenhouse gasses are wreaking havoc with the climate and destroying the planet. Climatists say the gases from industry are warming the earth so much that the ice caps are melting, the oceans are rising, and the polar bears are threatened with extinction.

If there’s a heat wave, a cold snap, stronger than usual hurricanes, droughts or floods — climatists say it’s all because of man-made climate change. They add that if we don’t curb our evil, carbon-emitting ways, the earth is doomed.

But Goreham says not so fast. The environmental researcher and author of The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism says that science points to natural factors — not human activity — as the cause of global warming. He calls climatism the greatest global delusion in history.

What are some of the myths about climate change? On July 25, Goreham appeared on "The 700 Club" to talk about those myths. Goreham talks about Little Ice Age, the Medieval Warming Period, the effect of the sun on the Earth’s climate, and much more. This is a very incisive interview by Pat Robertson, which you should watch below.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here


6 August, 2013

Greenies fail to put their money where their mouth is

After two years with low enrollment, New Hampshire's largest electric utility is phasing out a program that allows customers to pay more to support renewable energy.

Utilities are required by law to offer customers the opportunity to support renewable energy by paying a higher rate — usually about 30 percent. But if not enough customers sign up, a utility can get permission from the state Public Utilities Commission to pull the plug. That's what happened with Public Service Company of New Hampshire's EarthSmart Green program, reports New Hampshire Public Radio (

The company says it would take just 1 percent of its total customers signing up to keep the program alive, but after two years, only 148 customers were enrolled, or about .04 percent.

Other utilities face similar situations. Unitil, which is weighing whether to continue its program, has just 25 people signed up, also about .04 percent of its customers.

"We gave out flyers, we give customers who do enroll some stickers (and) some clings they can put on their cards to try to generate some word of mouth, but it just seems to not really be growing much at all," spokesman Alec O'Meara said.

Participation has been a bit higher at the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, where customers can buy renewable electricity in "blocks" that cost $3 a month and represent about 100 kilowatts. At 1.2 percent participation, North American Power has been the most successful seller of green energy in New Hampshire.


Marine life on the move due to global warming -- say Australian Warmists

Now that global cooling has set in, it will be moving right back

The first global snapshot of marine life shifting under climate change has found it is on the move towards the poles at a rate of about seven kilometres a year. Fish and other marine creatures are seeking cooler habitat much faster than terrestrial life, according to an international study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

In Australia, this re-shaping of the marine ecosystem will have significant repercussions for people such as fishers, according to CSIRO marine ecologist and study leader Elvira Poloczanska.

Dr Poloczanska, of the University of Queensland, and 18 international colleagues found no doubt about who was responsible for the greenhouse gas-related warming of the ocean's upper layers. "Global responses of marine species revealed here demonstrate a strong fingerprint of this anthropogenic [caused by humans] climate change on marine life," the paper said.

Dr Poloczanska said in Australia's south-east, tropical and subtropical species of fish, molluscs and plankton were shifting much further south through the Tasman Sea.

A 2010 CSIRO study found that warm surf-zone species such as silver drummer were more abundant, while the range of others such as snapper and rock flathead has increased.

In the Indian Ocean, a southward distribution of seabirds has been detected, as well as a loss of cool-water seaweeds north of Perth.

The latest study assembled a data base of 1735 marine biological responses around the world, where climate change was considered to be a driver in species movement.

"The leading edge or 'front line' of a marine species distribution is moving towards the poles at the average rate of 72 kilometres per decade," Dr Poloczanska said. "This is considerably faster than terrestrial species moving poleward at an average of six kilometres per decade . . . despite sea-surface temperatures warming three times slower than land temperatures."


Radical Environmentalists Have Blood of 19 Arizona Firefighters on Their Hands

Nineteen firefighters died fighting a forest fire in Arizona earlier this summer. Curiously, almost no one is talking about why it happened, only that it was a tragedy. Arizona Deputy State Forestry Director Jerry Payne has been the only one to speak out about the cause, and he backtracked immediately afterwards, apologizing for what he said. He claimed that the superintendent of the Granite Mountain Hotshots violated wildlife safety protocols while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30th, 2013, 60 miles north of Phoenix.

According to Payne, the superintendent’s violations allegedly included not knowing the location of the fire, failing to have a spotter serve as a lookout, and leading his crew through thick, unburned vegetation near a wildfire. There wasn’t a proper escape route in case the fire changed direction; the firemen would have to bushwhack through thick brush to retreat. The firefighters lost their lives when the fire suddenly changed direction and came at them, traveling 12 miles an hour. The fire destroyed more than 100 of the roughly 700 homes in Yarnell, burning 13 square miles. Flames shot up to 20 feet in the air.

The account given by Payne is not the whole picture. Firefighting today is not what it was 20 years ago. Fires 20 years ago moved slowly, at 2-3 mph. Today they move at speeds of 10-12 mph. There are three reasons for this. First, people are building more homes near or within forests. In the past, no one dared to build a house in the forest, because there weren’t fire departments everywhere. As one retired firefighter told me, "Try to find a photo of a house in the middle of the forest from 100 years ago. You can’t."

Secondly, environmentalists started insisting that every forest fire be put out to save trees. Natural forest fires, which are necessary to preserve the balance of nature, are no longer allowed to burn. The overabundance of trees has created an easy path for forest fires. Firefighters who used to easily outrun forest fires can no longer do so. An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times explained the phenomenon last year, "Decades of heroic victories against fire led to gradual defeat in the larger war. Fuel builds up, and when it ignites, the fires burn hotter, faster and more destructively."

The third reason there are faster wildfires is due to environmentalists’ efforts to shut down logging in the name of protecting the latest fashionable endangered species. Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have filed federal lawsuits against the U.S. Forest Service to stop it from thinning forests, and injunctions have been granted paralyzing the agency while years of litigation drag on. These include lawsuits against President George W. Bush’s 2003 Healthy Forests Initiative, which allowed more thinning of forests to prevent fires. Radical environmental groups are opposed to the removal of trees from old-growth forests. But dead trees need to be removed or burned in controlled fires, otherwise they present a highly flammable risk from lightning or arson. Ironically, mega-wildfires are burning down forests where logging has been prohibited – a waste of thousands of acres of trees.

These three factors have caused vegetation to become so dense across the country that it is too risky to attempt prescribed fires anymore. Many of the species the radical environmentalists claim need protection, such as the Spotted Owl, will not be saved by keeping more forest land standing. The Spotted Owl was already headed for extinction in the Northwest before the draconian policies were put into place. In 1990, green activists got regulations passed requiring timber companies to leave at least 40 percent of the old-growth forests intact within a 1.3 mile radius of any Spotted Owl nest or activity site. The Clinton administration used The Endangered Species Act to keep old-growth forests untouched. In 2008, liberal federal district judge Susan Bolton upheld a U.S. Forest and Wildlife decision to declare 8,600,000 acres (35,000 km2) in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico as critical habitat for the owl. Yet no one has any idea how many Spotted Owls are in the Southwest now. Bill Block, manager of the Forest Service's wildlife and terrestrial ecosystems program in Flagstaff, Ariz., told the New York Times a couple of years ago, "We don't know if we've got 5,000 owls or 10,000 owls, because there's never been a concerted effort to figure that out," he said. Ironically, the biggest threat to the Spotted Owl has become the mega-wildfires.

Forest fires used to burn across just a few acres of land. "Now, we’re firmly in the multiple 100,000-acre landscape fire," Professor Wally Covington of Northern Arizona University lamented. It’s not uncommon for a forest fire to exceed 150 square miles. University of Idaho forestry expert Dr. Leon Neuenschwander has stated, "Flames are 90 feet tall instead of 3 feet tall."

Part of the solution is to have people who choose to live near public forests help manage the risk. Libertarian writer John Stossel suggests that people who choose to live in risky areas, such as on oceanfront property, should be required to assume the risk, instead of leaving it to the government to bail them out. Developers should also be required to assume part of this risk, as a disincentive to build homes in risky areas.

Congress needs to start a full investigation into the radical environmental policies that led to this tragedy. Eighty-three firefighters died last year. This year will surpass that number, as 70 fatalities have been reported already. How many more firefighters must die before someone stops the radical environmentalists? They will only agree to cutting down small-diameter trees and the thinning of forests near communities. There are several laws that must be changed, including the National Environmental Policy Act. It has been used to prohibit logging and controlled forest fires. The Forest Service 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule (Roadless Rule), implemented during the last days of the Clinton administration, should be repealed. It prohibits roads on millions of acres of National Forests, making them off limits to logging or other use. Today, 58.5 million acres, or about 30 percent, of National Forests are roadless.

There will always be wildfires caused by lightning and arsonists, as well as species that become extinct due to natural causes. To pretend otherwise reeks of an agenda – an agenda to move Americans into urban areas and to reduce man’s technological control over nature. These socialist goals will leave more and more rural Americans and firefighters in danger, since no American can outrun an out of control forest fire.


Hot Lies Disputed by Cold Facts

By Alan Caruba

I have always found a stark contrast in the way the forecasts of meteorologists on television and radio are limited in accuracy to about a week and beyond that become more speculative while the claims about global warming are always stated in decades. For example, the polar ice caps were supposed to have all melted by now.

The daily forecasts are formulated based on sophisticated meteorological satellites. The global warming claims are all based on computer models, not empirical observation and data.

I am not a meteorologist, nor even a scientist. I am, however, a science writer who has followed the global warming hoax since it began in the late 1980s and picked up momentum as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing its computer-based doomsday claims.

The IPCC objective was to get nations to impose carbon taxes on "greenhouse gas emissions", mostly carbon dioxide (CO2). Why anyone would want to tax CO2 when it is vital to all life on Earth is a mystery. The claim was that it was trapping heat. The essential flaw in all this scare mongering is that the Earth is an extraordinary self-adjusting mechanism and more CO2 is great news for thriving forests and growing crops.

Two friends of mine, both recognized as major voices in the world of meteorology, Joseph D’Aleo, a certified consulting meteorologist, and Dr. William Gray, were joined by Dr. Neil Frank, another respected member of the profession, in a July 8 letter sent to Keith Seitter, the Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society, these AMS Fellows, took him and the Society to task for continuing to push the bogus assertion that a "consensus" of its members believe that global warming is occurring.

A Wikipedia page notes that the American Meteorological Society was founded in 1919 and "promotes the development and dissemination of information and education in atmospheric and related oceanic and hydrologic science." The Society has a membership of more than 14,000 professionals, professors, students, and weather enthusiasts.

Suffice to say, global warming is the greatest hoax of the modern era and is seriously undermined by the fact that the Earth has been in one of its natural cooling cycles for the last seventeen years at this point.

Even so, D’Aleo, Drs. Frank and Gray, felt compelled to put Seittler on notice. "We know you have used your authority as Executive Director to push the AMS ‘climate consensus’ position…" noting the way Seittler had worked "to refine the message to help sell the ‘consensus’ position to the membership and the public."

Since the publication of science papers advances knowledge, blocking them has the opposite effect. "Your editors have slow-walked and thrown up obstacles to paper that challenge the ‘consensus’ position, often forcing authors to go elsewhere."

"This pattern disturbs us, but there is another development that is even more disconcerting, and that is a campaign of intimidations launched by an advocacy group known as Forecast the Facts. While they claim to be a grass roots organization, the IRS tells us that Forecast the Facts is funded by the Center for American Progress, which is a left-wing advocacy group that has, in turn, been heavily funded by George Soros."

"Forecast the Facts harasses TV stations whenever their meteorologists present a skeptical view on global warming, whether on-air, in blogs, local op-eds, or twitter accounts." For the three men of science this kind of thuggish behavior, combined with the AMS position, has reached a point where they felt compelled to challenge it. It is occurring as the lie that a vast number of scientists support the global warming hoax is "failing miserably" when put forth by the AMS, the IPCC, and two government agencies, the EPA and NOAA.

The meteorological trio pointed out that "global hurricane frequency is at a 30+year low and strong tornado trends are down. There is no long term in droughts and floods. Snow and cold have been increasing in winter, not decreasing as the IPCC and NOAA climate reports have forecasted. We have seen deceleration in sea level rises." The opposite of these facts have been the claims still being made in the name of global warming.

They concluded saying, "We also hope to hear from you that the AMS is not endorsing, or in any way colluding in or supporting, the tactics Forecast the Facts is using to enforce conformity with the official position of the AMS…"

In an August 4 blog post on, D’Aleo’s website, he reported on the response he received from Seitter who clearly got the message. "Personally, I do not feel the Forecast the Facts approach is a productive one and I have told them so on several occasions" referring their demand that weather reporters who do not hue to the global warming lies be fired.

D’Aleo’s post noted what Michael Crichton said about consensus. "Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming the matter is already settled. Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics."

The time is overdue for the American Meteorological Society to abandon any role in advancing a hoax that Mother Nature herself has exposed. Three cheers for these three statesmen of meteorology.


Down with pets!

There are 14 million pets in Canada, and we’re spending more on them than ever before. These stories explore how the animals among us are shaping us all.

If man has such an impact on the environment, why not its best friends – especially now that they are so numerous and so often treated like people?

And they all have to eat. This year, a federal report says, Canadians will spend more than $1.5-billion on nearly a half-million tonnes of dog and cat food (hissing cockroaches like it as well).

Globally, the figures are about 20 million tonnes, worth $55-billion (U.S.), says Kelly Swanson, a specialist in animal nutrition at the University of Illinois.

Producing that much nourishment comes at a cost, and Prof. Swanson is among the growing ranks of scientists so concerned about the ecological footprint of pet ownership that they have begun to quantify it, asking how green, rather than how much, is that doggie in the window?

The early indications are grim. From the land, fossil fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, water and machinery required to grow, package and transport their food to the array of products for grooming animals and keeping them healthy and the mountain of waste they produce – 620,000 tonnes a year by Canadian dogs alone – pets are putting the Earth under ever-greater pressure.

More than half of all Canadian households have at least one pet, according to a 2008 survey for the Banff Summit for Urban Animal Strategies. The national population of dogs and cats is nearly 14 million – a figure that industry analysts say hits about 158 million when those in the United States, the source of most Canadians’ pet food, join the mix.

Compounding pets’ environmental expense is the fact that, as well as their collective consumption, they now eat on average more as individuals – often far more than they need.

This is due to a trend that marketers happily call "humanization." Owners increasingly treat pets like people, so it may stand to reason that society’s obesity problem has trickled down.

"This is really about a commercial system we have created," says Patricia Cameron, executive director of Green Calgary, a non-profit agency that helps to reduce ecological footprints.

Yet most commercial foods contain double or triple the protein that studies show animals need. It’s the protein – whether it comes from carbon-intensive fish, lamb or beef – that is the biggest contribution to the environmental footprint.

Producers use some ingredients that are castoffs from the human food chain – which is an eco-benefit – but not enough to offset the willingness of many animal lovers to pay a premium for pet cuisine that channels something they, too, find appealing.

That adds to the eco-cost, but pet-food makers are happy to accommodate. Alpo offers Canada’s more than five million dogs Homestyle Prime Cuts London Grill & Wholesome Veggie Accents in Gravy, while Pedigree, the nation’s top brand, counters with Choice Cuts: "meaty chunks in a delicious gravy dogs love."

For feline foodies, top-selling Whiskas pitches Cuts With Real Chicken & Liver in Sauce, part of a line that lets owners "indulge your cat’s sense of taste with … real poultry, meat, or seafood."

This culinary emphasis helps to explain why analysts expect global sales to jump in the next three years by more than one-third to nearly $75-billion (U.S.).

Clearly, such a thriving business provides profit and employment, but at what cost? For example, New Zealand eco-footprint experts Brenda and Robert Vale analyzed the environmental toll of producing pet food for their 2009 book Time to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living. They came to the remarkable conclusion that owning a medium-sized mutt is twice as environmentally expensive as making a Toyota Land Cruiser and driving it for a year (10,000 kilometres). By comparison, they found cats to be about one-fifth as needy, roughly equal to doing the same with a Volkswagen Golf.


Ruinous green policies mean rising profits for UK energy companies

YESTERDAY the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee released a report arguing that energy regulator Ofgem should force energy companies to produce more detailed financial information. One of the members of the committee – John Robertson MP – told the BBC that he needed to be able to assess whether the profits of the energy companies were excessive.

It is a testament to the poor quality of financial education in the UK that preening politicians are allowed to get away with that kind of posturing. Either the MPs do not understand the consequences of the regulations they proudly vote through Parliament, or they do and this is a very unpleasant attempt to fool the public.

It is really not complicated: the government wants to radically increase our use of renewable energy, which is both very expensive and very capital intensive. To meet government targets, Liberum Capital estimates that the energy sector will need to invest £161bn by 2020 and another £215bn between 2020 and 2030. That means £376bn in total, of which only £151bn would be needed without government targets.

All of that investment has to be paid for, and that means higher profits in the energy sector. All of those profits have to be paid for, and that means higher prices for consumers. There is just no way that the government’s policy can work without much higher profits in the energy sector and much higher prices for consumers.

If a new nuclear reactor costs around £6.5bn, for instance, and needs a roughly 10 per cent pre-tax return to be viable, British Gas would have to increase its profits by £650m to invest in a single new reactor – more than its £606m operating profit in 2012. Investing £376bn, even at a lower rate of return, would require a massive rise in energy sector profits.

That is why – for all of the ridiculous bluster from the Department of Energy and Climate Change – most analysts expect sharp increases in prices as a result of the government’s policies. Liberum Capital attempted a straw poll, but of the 55 experts it spoke to, none believed the Department’s case that policy would not increase consumer bills.

The energy companies deserve their fair share of criticism too. They have backed many of the most disastrous regulations, like the carbon floor price, which will push up prices for families and business here; reduce them in the rest of Europe; and do nothing to reduce European carbon dioxide emissions overall. Eventually even the shareholders will lose out, when a backlash against rising prices and rising profits results in cuts to subsidies or some kind of windfall tax.

But there is no excuse for the politicians. If they do not have the courage of their convictions to convince the public that high prices and high profits in the energy sector are right and necessary, they should scrap these ruinously expensive policies. They have no right to mislead their constituents.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here


5 August, 2013

Does hot weather cause more conflict?

There is a new paper out of Berkeley which says that it does. It is an old theory and one I have looked at myself in the past. The evidence for it is however equivocal. Singapore, for instance, is right on the equator yet is very law abiding. Central Africa is very violent (The Democratic Republic of the Congo, for instance) but the murder capital of the world is Johannesburg, which is cool both by reason of its Southern latitude in Africa and its elevation above sea-level. So, clearly, any influence of climate tends to be swamped by other factors.

A difficulty with the study below is that it is a meta-analysis and you can prove just about anything you want via meta-analyses -- by selecting what you include. And another meta-analysis out of Berkeley (which omitted half the relevant literature) shows how selective the Left can be when they want to "prove" a point.

Be that as it may, however, the best bet about future temperatures is temperatures of the recent past. And the 20th century temperature rise of less than one degree Celsius effectively shows that we live in an era of temperature stasis. So any future increase in violence is likely to be as negligible as the temperature rise

There are some further derisive comments about the study below both here and here -- JR

Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict


A rapidly growing body of research examines whether human conflict can be affected by climatic changes. Drawing from archaeology, criminology, economics, geography, history, political science, and psychology, we assemble and analyze the 60 most rigorous quantitative studies and document, for the first time, a remarkable convergence of results. We find strong causal evidence linking climatic events to human conflict across a range of spatial and temporal scales and across all major regions of the world. The magnitude of climate's influence is substantial: for each 1 standard deviation (1?) change in climate toward warmer temperatures or more extreme rainfall, median estimates indicate that the frequency of interpersonal violence rises 4% and the frequency of intergroup conflict rises 14%. Because locations throughout the inhabited world are expected to warm 2 to 4? by 2050, amplified rates of human conflict could represent a large and critical impact of anthropogenic climate change.


Arctic Sea Ice Melt Slowdown Begins More Than One Month Early – And Absolute Dead Media Silence On Antarctica!

In the second half of June, global warming catastrophe worshippers were already salivating worse than Pavlov’s dogs when Arctic sea ice melt accelerated at a dizzying rate

Some datasets even show a refreeze occurring in late July! Source:

But in mid July, something happened unexpectedly: the North Pole saw one of its coolest summers since instrumental records have been kept, and sea ice melt also slowed down markedly, proceeding at a rate we normally only see only in the second half of August, see chart that follows:

As the slope lines show, the rate of melting in the second half of July is something we normally see an entire month later, in late August.Source:

Suddenly all the salivating among the alarmists has turned to gloom – no Arctic meltdown on which to feast upon this year.

But hope is still holding out among the alarmists as there is a chance some freak storm or something will scatter the sea ice and send the 2013 curve downwards to a near record low. But if 2013?s current course continues, then it will wind up closer 2005-2006 levels. That of course would be a major setback for the alarmists, who then would have to search elsewhere for disaster stories this fall. The next 10 – 14 days will be decisive.

Already we are getting close to being a solid 1 million sq. km over last year, as to most datasets. The DMI even shows us approaching 1.5 million sq. km over last year. If that keeps up, it’s going to be painful for the alarmists.

As far as Antarctica is concerned, record highs are being recorded daily. Here we have absolute dead silence from the media and purveyors of gloom.

As the chances for an Arctic sea ice melt disaster fade with each passing day, expect the focus of the alarmists to increasingly shift to the hurricane season.


New paper finds the 'fingerprint of man-made global warming' doesn't exist

A new peer-reviewed paper published in Energy & Environment confirms from the latest satellite data that the tropospheric "hot spot" or so-called "fingerprint of man-made global warming" predicted by climate models does not exist. The authors find surface warming exceeds tropospheric warming, the opposite of model predictions, suggesting there are fundamental flaws in the physical assumptions of the models.

Reconciling Observations of Global Temperature Change: 2013

By David H. Douglass & John R. Christy


In 2000 a panel of the U.S. National Research Council in a report with the same title suggested, among other things, that a "substantial disparity remains" between the observed warming rates of the surface and troposphere. Also, in 2000, the climate models showed more warming of the tropical atmosphere than was observed. Many papers have been written since then. We discuss the most recent papers on this subject and using the latest data show that the differences remain unresolved.


Warmist authoritarianism: Climate skepticism is heresy in the Obama administration

It’s official. There is no denying climate change at the Department of Interior. Sally Jewell, the outdoorswoman and new interior secretary schooled in oilfield engineering and molded in her leadership of an adventure-outfitting company, made her debut address at the Department of Interior on Day 111.

"I hope there are no climate change deniers in the Department of Interior," she told employees yesterday. If there are, she said, they should visit some of the public lands managed by the agency — say the melting permafrost in Alaska or shrinking snow packs in the high Sierras. "If you don’t believe in it, come out into the resources."

And now the Jewell mission statement:

"You and I can actually do something about it," she reiterated for the Interior staff. "That’s a privilege, and I would argue it’s a moral imperative."

This is no James Watt talking. The interior secretary in the first term of Ronald Reagan’s administration viewed public lands as a commodity with which to make profit. He vastly expanded leases of tracts of public land to coal-miners and opened the outer continental shelf to oil drillers.

Thirty years later, a consciousness about global warming has taken hold — albeit resisted in many political circles. And President Barack Obama has elevated the issue in his second term — indeed hinting that approval of the Keystone XL pipeline could run up against concerns about exacerbating climate change.

Environmentalists are eating this up, casting Jewell as one of two "kickass" women taking the lead on climate change, along with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy.


Greenie groups getting "dark money"

A major left-wing foundation has received tens of millions of dollars from a shadowy Bermudan company with ties to wealthy American hedge fund managers and distributed those funds to prominent liberal nonprofit groups.

A sizable portion of the Sea Change Foundation’s revenue since 2011 has come from a single company, incorporated in Bermuda, called Klein Ltd. The company’s only officers are employees of a Bermuda law firm, and neither provided information on what Klein actually does.

Documents filed with the Bermudan government suggest that the company exists only on paper.

The money Klein has donated to Sea Change has been passed on to some of the largest liberal and environmentalist groups in the United States, including the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Center for American Progress (CAP).

CAP, which attacked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2010 for supposedly using foreign money for political purposes, has also received funds from the Bermuda-based Atlantic Philanthropies, as has its 501(c)(4) arm, the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Speaking at a 2009 event held by the Action Fund, Nathaniel Simons, a foundation manager at and major donor to Sea Change, emphasized the importance of foundations in building a "low-carbon economy" but said that they needed to disburse more money to be effective.

"There does need to be more capital to move in from philanthropy," Simons said. "There need to be more funders, and I think that foundations are starting to understand that."

Since Simons made those remarks, Klein Ltd. has donated $23 million to the Sea Change Foundation, according to its 990 filings. The donations comprised more than 40 percent of total contributions to the group during fiscal years 2010 and 2011.

According to company documentation provided by the Bermudan government’s registrar of companies, Klein was incorporated in Hamilton, Bermuda, on March 18, 2011.

Its exclusive purpose, according to the company’s articles of incorporation, is to give money to nonprofit groups and foundations.

"The company will require all of its assets that would otherwise be available to its members generally to be transferred, on its winding up, to another body with objects similar to its own," those articles state.

A number of left-wing foundations have chosen Bermuda and other offshore destinations to mask the origins of contributions, according to Ron Arnold, author of Undue Influence: Wealthy Foundations, Grant-Driven Green Groups, and Zealous Bureaucrats That Control Your Future.

"A number of Big Green donors have chosen offshore foundations for government-guaranteed anonymity," Arnold said in an email. "Several countries have become favorites in the no-disclosure-required industry, notably Bermuda, Panama, and Liechtenstein."

"Bermuda boasts an entire building devoted to plagues of lawyers handling secret trusts that funnel personal wealth into foundations which fund non-profit operations in the United States," he noted.

The documents provided by the Bermudan government list two registered business agents, Nicholas Hoskins and Marlies Smith, both of whom work at the Bermuda-based corporate law firm Wakefield Quin.

The address for Klein Ltd. on file with the registrar of companies is the address of Wakefield Quin’s Hamilton, Bermuda, offices.

Hoskins did not respond to requests for comment. Smith confirmed that Klein is a Wakefield client. She would not say exactly what Klein does or from where it derives its revenue.

The only other donors to the foundation during the two years in which it received contributions from Klein were Nathaniel Simons, a trust bearing his name, and his wife, Laura Baxter-Simons, also a foundation manager at Sea Change.

While the connections between the Simons’ and Klein are not clear, they both have ties to Wakefield Quin through a pair of hedge funds.

Rod Forrest, senior counsel at Wakefield Quin, is listed as a director of Medallion International Ltd. and Meritage Holdings Ltd., two hedge funds incorporated in Bermuda with ties to the Simons family.

Sea Change had $63.9 million invested in Medallion and $16.3 million invested in Meritage in 2011, according to its latest 990 filing. It had sold stakes in both by July 2012, earning the foundation more than $67 million in net capital gains.

Medallion is a fund run by Renaissance Technologies, which was founded by Simons’ father Jim.

Simons was identified as a principal at Renaissance in his 2009 CAP speech on the need for additional foundation funding. A spokesperson at the firm’s New York office said he does not currently work there.

Baxter-Simons was Renaissance’s associate counsel until 2011. She is currently the general counsel and chief compliance officer at Meritage Group L.P., which owns the Meritage Holdings fund.

According to a March 8 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Simons is the chief executive of Meritage Holdings.


EPA to Spend $6 Million for ‘Sustainable and Healthy Tribes’

The Environmental Protection Agency is spending $6 million to "develop sustainable solutions to environmental problems that affect tribes."

According to the grant announcement, the objectives are to improve understanding of "the health impacts of climate change on tribal populations and the health impacts of indoor pollution exposures that derive from or are directly affecting traditional tribal life-ways and cultural practices."

"Age and health status of American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) individuals may increase the risk of adverse effects of poor indoor air quality, including factors exacerbated by climate change impacts," the grant said.

Children and the elderly are "particularly vulnerable," according to the EPA grant.

"Growing children are particularly vulnerable; their physical characteristics, childhood activities and natural curiosity put them at greater risk from environmental hazards. Similarly, older people may be particularly vulnerable because the ability to eliminate chemicals from the body decreases with age," the grant said.

Also, the American Indian/Alaskan Native population is at increased risk of death from smoking, obesity, heart attacks, and asthma, the EPA grant said.

"The prevalence of, and associated morbidity from, smoking, unhealthy weight, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory conditions, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is higher among AI/AN populations," the grant said.

"Tribes are disproportionately impacted by a number of environmental and health challenges that work against the safe practice of their traditional life-ways and achieving their sustainability goals," the grant said.

Some examples of these challenges are: "water division, lands not suitable for agriculture, dumping of food commodities on reservations and the creation of substandard housing that exposes occupants to increased issues with indoor air quality."

The grant was posted on Feb. 25, and the closing date for applications was June 25, 2013.

The total anticipated program funding is $6 million. Each regular grant award goes up to $920,000, including direct and indirect costs, with a maximum duration of three years. Early career awards are limited to up to $700,000, including direct and indirect costs, with a maximum duration of three years.

There are approximately five regular awards and two early career awards, and the EPA anticipates making at least one award to a Minority Academic Institution.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here


4 August, 2013

Ozone madness from EPA

The EPA is about to do more harm than ozone could ever do

Paul Driessen

The Environmental Protection Agency’s war on economic growth, jobs, poor families, modern living standards, and people’s health and welfare is about to get a lot more damaging..

The Clean Air Act says EPA must set standards for ozone and other pollutants – and periodically review existing standards, to determine whether they are adequately protecting public health, or need to be tightened further. In 1997, the agency reduced the permissible ambient ozone level to 84 parts per billion (equivalent to 8.4 cents out of $1,000,000). In 2008, it lowered the standard again, to 75 ppb.

However, due to public outcry and because EPA’s own clean air science advisory committee said the reduction wasn’t necessary, in 2009 the agency suspended the 75 ppb rule’s implementation, pending "further study." Shortly thereafter, though, Lisa Jackson’s EPA decided to slash allowable ozone levels to 60 ppb – without doing any further analysis. Sensing how politically volatile the issue could become, President Obama told EPA to postpone the hyper-restrictive rule until after the 2012 elections.

Meanwhile, state and industry lawsuits challenged even the 75 ppb level as unnecessary and harmful, and self-proclaimed "public health advocates" (hardcore environmentalist groups) sued for immediate implementation, claiming ozone’s role in smog means 60 ppb levels are needed now. However, no recent study has shown negative (much less toxic) effects on people, even at levels far higher than in America’s ambient air; even people engaged in vigorous exercise displayed only minor transient effects.

Right now, according to the Business Roundtable, only 66 out of 736 monitored US counties do not meet the 75 ppb ozone standard. (Virtually all counties meet the 84 ppb standard.) The Obama EPA’s 60 ppb rule would put 96% of those counties – 707 of 736 – out of compliance, according to EPA! Other analysts say the new standard would turn "only" 85-88% of the counties into non-attainment areas. Maps depicting the 60 ppb rule’s impact show massive swaths of the United States blasted into noncompliance.

This insanity is underscored by the fact that even parts of Yellowstone Park would be out of compliance, if the 60 ppb rule is imposed. That’s because the volatile organic compounds that are precursors to ozone don’t come just from fuels, plastics and other hydrocarbons. They also come from volcanoes, hot springs and trees: deciduous trees emit VOCs on hot, sunny days; conifers emit them day and night.

The regulatory derangement is further accentuated by its outrageous cost. EPA itself says the 60 ppb rule will carry a $52–90 billion annual price tag. The Manufacturers Alliance (MAPI) says the actual cost could be $1 trillion per year! Even worse, that is on top of the current cost of $353 billion per year to comply just with EPA rules – and the $1.8 trillion annual cost for US businesses and families to comply with all federal regulations – according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

EPA’s new ozone standards will send America into a regulatory Mo’Zone, NoZone and Twilight Zone.

EPA’s Mo’Zone will impose still mo’ government, mo’ rules, mo’ intrusions in our lives, more obstacles to economic development, job creation, and modern health and living standards. EPA rules are already killing off coal-fired power plants, affordable electricity, and coal-mining jobs and communities, based on questionable to fraudulent claims about mercury and particulates. Its imminent CO2/global warming regime will put EPA in charge of everything Americans make, ship, drive, eat and do.

The EPA NoZone means no economic growth, no employment opportunities, no civil rights progress, no concern about our lives, livelihoods, or real health and welfare. These ozone rules will not be issued in a vacuum. Over 40 million Americans are still unemployed, under-employed or have given up on finding a job. Over 47 million are on food stamps. Then there’s Obamacare, Dodd-Frank … and federal agencies primed to impose 4,000 more new regulations – on top of the 81,883 rules they have issued over the past two decades! EPA’s ozone rules would perpetuate this disaster and our abysmal 1.8% economic growth.

EPA’s Twilight Zone is not just bizarre. It’s criminal. America’s air quality has improved dramatically since 1970, and continues to get even better as technologies and fuel efficiencies advance. But instead of recognizing this, EPA (and the pressure groups it pays to promote scary pollution fantasies) constantly demand more costly and restrictive regulations. The rules do not just provide few or no actual benefits; by imposing needless costs and killing jobs, they actually harm human health and welfare, and kill people.

Anemic growth and declining economic status mean millions of families cannot heat and cool their homes properly, pay their rent, mortgage or other bills, take vacations, or save for retirement. The stress of being unemployed – or holding several low-paying part-time jobs – means sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, more commuting, higher incidences of depression and alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse, lower life expectancies and higher suicide rates. EPA ignores all of this, making its regulatory "benefits" fraudulent.

Its claims that economy-crushing ozone rules will prevent asthma and "save the children" are equally deceitful. US asthma rates have been rising, even as pollution levels are declining. By EPA "logic," we should increase pollution to decrease asthma rates. In reality, asthma is an allergic disease; air pollution can aggravate asthma to some degree, but doesn’t cause it, and hospital data show no correlation between pollution levels and asthma admissions. The reasons more kids have asthma attacks, toxicologists explain, is that they live in tightly insulated homes, spend less time outdoors in the dirt, and don’t get exposed to enough allergens during their early years to reduce immune hyperactivity and allergic hypersensitivity.

An honest, socially responsible EPA or American Lung Association would clarify all this. But EPA has an agenda – and it pays the ALA (and other activist groups) millions of dollars annually to help it frighten people about "worsening" air quality and "dangerous" pollution levels, to advance that agenda.

The Heritage Foundation estimates that EPA gave these organizations $3.8 billion between 2000 and 2010. The ALA alone received over $20 million – which it used to conduct opinion polls carefully devised to support agency regulations on soot from power plants; produce sleazy TV attack ads that equate challenges to its runaway regulatory regime to killing babies; and buy billboard space accusing legislators of hurting children for trying to prevent EPA from regulating carbon dioxide until Congress explicitly authorizes it to do so. EPA has also given millions in taxpayer money to student activist groups and "environmental justice" organizations, to vilify and stifle any criticism of its programs, assertions, methodologies, or damage to people’s health and welfare.

In one particularly outrageous example, EPA gave millions of dollars to researchers who intentionally and illegally exposed thousands of people to air pollutants, including soot from diesel exhaust – at high levels that EPA itself insists (but did not tell its experimental subjects) are dangerous and even deadly. EPA is using the studies to bolster its bogus claim that we need even stricter limits for these pollutants. Almost as incredible, even though these "lethal" pollution levels did not sicken test subjects, the agency still demands emission levels at a tiny percentage of what the test subjects were exposed to.

Either EPA is guilty of attempted manslaughter for exposing people to lethal doses – or it is lying to Congress and the American people, and trying to impose more job-killing rules that have no medical or scientific basis. In fact, it claims 65% of the phony "benefits" from its 60 ppb ozone rules will come from "incidental reductions" in the "fine particulate matter" (soot) that its test subjects were illegally exposed to.

This secretive, tyrannical, abusive, ideologically driven rogue agency’s budget needs to be trimmed, as several congressmen have proposed. That would help force EPA to focus on real environmental problems, as required by law and honest science. EPA should not be allowed to fund illegal experiments, hire surrogates to scare and propagandize us, or impose excessive, fraudulent rules that kill jobs and harm human health and welfare. Nor should it be allowed to waste our money on useless, unethical programs.

It’s high time for our Congress, courts and state legislatures to exercise some responsible adult supervision.


Michael Mann Redefines Science

In a post over at Peter Guest’s blog, Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann is quoted making one of the most remarkable statements that I’ve ever heard coming out of a supposed scientist’s mouth: "Proof is for mathematical theorems and alcoholic beverages. It’s not for science."

He goes on to explain that science is all about "credible theories" and "best explanations" and his gosh-darn critics supposedly don’t offer up any of those.

Now it seems pretty obvious that Mann’s attempt to separate proof from science stems from increasing public awareness that the warming predicted by the high-sensitivity models that Mann and others have championed just hasn’t occurred over the last fifteen years. No matter. You don’t need "proof" when you have "credible theories."

That comes as something of a shock to me. When I was going to school to earn my degree in chemistry, we were taught that science was indeed all about absolute truths and proofs at the end of the day. "Credible theories" is how you got to those truths, not an alternative to them.

The proposition that phlogiston made combustion possible was a "credible theory" for a long time, until Lavoisier conclusively "proved" that oxidation was responsible. Before USEPA approves the use of an air pollution dispersion model, real world data that "proves" the model can successfully and accurately determine dispersion patterns is necessary. Climatologists, apparently, do not suffer under similar uncomfortable burdens.

And the problem here is that guys like Mann, Jones, Gore, etc. have been running around for years, essentially presenting their hyper-sensitive version of climatology as established, unquestionable fact. I can’t count the number of times that AGW-heads have told me that "climate change is an established, scientific fact!" (Which it is of course, but not in the sense that these knuckleheads use the phrase).

Guest laments that: "Bound by honesty, the scientific consensus (sic) is going to struggle to overcome this problem, appearing unable to actually back up its results with tangible events…"

Cross out the word "appearing" and you have as concise a statement of the problems that alarmists like Mann increasingly face with each passing day.

Guest also calls the US the world’s biggest carbon emitter, a position we’ve surrendered to China some time ago, while Mann moans that his critics have "…delayed the necessary reductions in carbon emissions for decades…" I don’t know whether to conclude Mann is stupid, lazy or willfully ignorant, but EPA data clearly shows that the United States has been making massive reductions in carbon dioxide emissions since 2008 and the combination of new CAFÉ standards, EPA-forced coal-fired power plant retirements and state renewable portfolio standards ensure that these reductions will continue far into the future.

Good Lord! The guy got what he wanted and he’s still whining. Michael, if you want to sell your doomsday routine, take your act to Beijing or Delhi – there’s nothing left to do in the states short of going Flintstones.

This Mann-love comes as the enviro-left takes pot-shots at the brilliant conservative writer Mark Steyn, who made the mistake of not only questioning Mann’s theories, but had the effrontery to do so utilizing satire. The thin-skinned climatologist is in the process of suing Steyn, National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, apparently for both hurting his feelings and for pointing out that "credible theories" do not equate to either proof or truth.

The whacky world of climate alarmism is falling apart. The leading acolytes of the movement will continue to wail that it’s all the fault of those evil energy interests that supposedly make fellows like me question the theology of AGW theory, but in reality they have no one to blame for their increasing irrelevance but themselves.


Like Standing up at an AA Meeting

I think that sometime fairly soon I’m going to dust off the little prototype climate simulation model I wrote a few years back. But instead of just using a square metre on the Earth’s equator, I’m going to do the whole of the Earth’s surface. And I’m going to have an atmosphere. And clouds. And, who knows, maybe even winds blowing this way and that.

Last time I tried, I got a bit stuck trying to model the atmosphere, and ended up going in circles playing photon football. So I’ve been gradually sketching out a new approach.

Part of the reason for this is that, despite fewer and fewer people believing it, the AGW scam never seems to go away. It seems to remain government policy everywhere, despite the collapse in credibility.

The other part of it is that I just like building computer simulation models of things. It’s probably an addiction. Much like smoking cigarettes. Or drinking tea. Or anything else.

I’m interested in how people come to be be sceptical about global warming. I know how I started. I was watching Jon Snow on Channel 4 news back in early 2007, and he was saying that "global warming was happening", and "humans were to blame", and "the debate is over". And with that, any belief in it all that I might have had suddenly evaporated. It was like flipping a light switch. One moment I was agnostic, and a second or two later I’d become a sceptic, and have remained one ever since. Because in real science the debate is never over.

And a few days ago on WUWT, an engineer named Jonathan Abbott wrote a piece about how he became a climate sceptic, and asked if any of the readers had similar experiences. And he got about 600 responses (including my own). They make fascinating reading. They ranged from:

"I watched an interview with the Hockeystick Mann and thought to myself, "what an unpleasant, conceited, self opinionated arsehole". That was that."

to engineers like the author who had, after initial belief, had very gradually changed their minds.

"Engineers can’t afford to take other people’s word for it, cut corners or massage the data. Otherwise buildings, bridges and entire cities would collapse. Where’s the accountability in climate science?"

or people who a read Michael Crichton’s State of Fear or Christopher Booker, or who had come across WUWT or Climate Audit or Jo Nova by accident. Or who had been woken up by Climategate.

"Then ClimateGate 1.0 came about, and I was convinced. There were actually a very small number of people shamelessly manipulating the media, the peer-review process, and most of all, the data, to make us believe it was all real. That, above all, convinced me it was not."

Jonathan Abbott was rather amazed at the response, and wrote: "I feel like I just stood up at an AA meeting."

And it was indeed rather like that (not that I’ve ever been to one of them). It was a long series of personal confessions. And they were all different. I’ve spent hours today reading them.


Fracking Helps Make U.S. World’s Top Petroleum Producer

U.S. has led world in petroleum production for last six months

The United States was the world’s top petroleum producer in April, according to recently released federal data, marking six straight months of dominance in the market that experts attribute to the ongoing shale oil boom.

Those experts say that the data point to a new era of energy abundance, undercutting long-held theories that oil shortages would force the United States to seek other means of energy production.

According to data released this week by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. produced 12.09 million barrels per day (mbpd) of petroleum in April. That outpaced Saudi Arabia, which produced 11.2 mbpd that month.

It marked the sixth straight month for the U.S. as the world’s leading petroleum producer. The trend began in November of last year.

Mark Perry, an economics and finance professor at the University of Michigan-Flint, noted that EIA data showed that the United States in April produced more petroleum than all countries in Europe, Central America, and South America combined.

"This is more evidence that America’s shale energy revolution is taking us from ‘resource scarcity’ to a new era of ‘resource abundance,’" Perry wrote on the American Enterprise Institute website, where he is a scholar.

"This energy bonanza in the U.S. … would have been largely unthinkable even five years ago," Perry explained. "But then thanks to revolutionary drilling techniques developed by America’s ‘petropreneurs’ like George P. Mitchell, we’ve unlocked vast oceans of shale oil and gas across the U.S."

Mitchell, who died of natural causes at age 94 last week, pioneered the revolutionary oil and gas extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing, which experts credit with unlocking massive reserves of oil and gas deposits in shale formations around the country.

Despite the economic benefits brought on by the technology, environmentalists have vociferously opposed hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking." Many have relied on factual misstatements or outright falsehoods to support their case against the practice.

"Opponents of hydraulic fracturing are never forced to answer a simple question: Why do they oppose a process that’s decreasing our reliance on foreign sources of energy?" said Steve Everley, a spokesman for the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

The facts highlighted by the most recent EIA data, Everley said, "unquestionably [represent] a positive development for the United States, and it’s in addition to the millions of jobs and cleaner air we’re all currently enjoying as a result of technologies like hydraulic fracturing."

OPEC member nations, including Saudi Arabia, have raised concerns about the consequences of American oil dominance that has resulted from the country’s greater use of hydraulic fracturing.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal recently warned that the abundance of shale oil and gas in the United States threatens the Saudi economy, which relies in large measure on its large oil reserves.

Beyond overtaking Saudi Arabia, Everley noted, the shale oil boom appears to have rendered moot concerns about depleting reserves of oil. "North American shale has put the final, merciful nail in the coffin for peak oil theory," Everley said.


High Street cosmetics chain is main financial backer of Britain's "Frack Off"

Professional demonstrators

A High Street cosmetics chain has emerged as the main financial backer of the anti-fracking group Frack Off. Lush, which has 105 stores in the UK and Ireland, has given £20,000 in charitable donations to the protest group behind this week’s demonstration against test drilling in Balcombe, West Sussex.

The company has such close links to Frack Off that four of Lush’s five-strong campaigns team have been given time off work to join the protest in Balcombe.

One of them, Lush’s head of global campaigns Tamsin Omond, was arrested on Thursday for chaining herself to a fire engine used to block the entrance to the Cuadrilla site, where exploratory drilling began yesterday.

Lush, which is owned by its founder Mark Constantine, prides itself on its policy of pro-active campaigning, but the fact that it is the somewhat unlikely financial driving force behind the anti-fracking campaign will be news to many of its customers.

The company’s donations have helped Frack Off to lay on buses to transport demonstrators from all over the country to proposed fracking sites – a tactic which has angered some local protestors who feel their cause has been hijacked by full-time campaigners.

Lush’s website has a whole page dedicated to Frack Off, describing it as a "grassroots campaign group", though The Daily Telegraph has established that its leaders include serial protestors with criminal convictions for their part in other demonstrations.

Lush describes fracking as "a threat to our water, a threat to our air" which uses "carcinogenic chemicals" and causes "unacceptable side effects".

It describes itself as the "host" of the Frack Off campaign, and has a slick animated film on its website which warns that fracking firms "employ lobbyists to peddle lies", while homeowners will be left "trapped in houses they are unable to sell, insure or remortgage".

Hilary Jones, Lush’s ethics director, said Frack Off received £20,000 last year, and that other anti-fracking groups had been given donations of between £1,000 and £10,000.

She said: "We are the single largest backer of Frack Off. We have been concerned about fracking for some time. We tend to be ahead of the curve and we have had fracking on our radar for a while.

"Last year Frack Off received £20,000. Instead of asking for money this year Frack Off were given the chance to put their case in specially designed window displays in all our British stores and Frack Off leaflets were given to our customers. The country needs to know what's going on.

"We anticipate being contacted by more resident groups around the country. We can turn around a donation in a couple of days."

Tamsin Omond, a public school-educated baronet’s granddaughter, is banned from going within a mile of Balcombe as part of her bail conditions after she was released after her arrest on Thursday.

She said she was not a member of Frack Off, describing herself as "just a supporter".

Yesterday the Telegraph named Edward Lloyd-Davies, a former full-time university researcher in astrophysics, as the leader of Frack Off.

Another leading light in the group is Alistair Cannell, 23, of Brighton, who co-ordinated press coverage of Frack Off’s protest against Cuadrilla test drilling in Southport last year, which led to Mr Lloyd-Davies being convicted of trespass and assault.

Mr Cannell was part of a 21-strong group which broke into an EDF Energy plant in Nottinghamshire in 2012 in protest at plans to build up to 40 new gas power stations, later pleading guilty to aggravated trespass. In September last year he was one of the first people arrested following a change in the law which made it easier to evict squatters. He was held in a flat above a shop in Brighton but the charges were later dropped.

One of Frack Off’s leading supporters in the north west is Gayzer Tarjanyi, 52, a professional clown and children’s entertainer from St Annes, Lancs. Last year he changed his name by deed poll to Gayzer Frackman and founded the protest group Frack Free Fylde.


Britain could soon be paying billions for windmill back-up

The National Grid's latest plan is taking off into the weirdest scheme yet, thanks to our politicians’ obsession with wind turbines

Occasionally, one comes across a story so mind-blowingly unexpected and out-of-left-field that it seems hard for readers to take on board that it is true. Such is the story I first reported here last month, under the heading, "Our lights will stay on, but it’ll cost us a fortune", about the scheme being devised by the National Grid to solve what has long been the most intractable problem created by the Government’s plan to see the best part of £110 billion spent in seven years on building tens of thousands more wind turbines – namely, how to keep our national grid "balanced" when it has to cope with all those unpredictably wild fluctuations in the speed of the wind.

The answer National Grid has come up with, only made possible by the latest computer technology and "cloud software", is to hook up thousands of diesel generators, remotely controlled by the grid, to provide almost instantly available back-up for when the wind drops. As we can see from recent reports, such as the National Grid’s draft consultation on "Demand Side Balancing Reserve and Supplemental Balancing Reserve", this is now taking off into the weirdest and most ambitious scheme yet called into being by our politicians’ obsession with wind turbines. As uncovered by the tireless research of my colleague, Richard North, on his EU Referendum blog, owners of diesel generators are being incentivised with offers of astronomic fees to make them available to the grid – subsidies equivalent to up to 12 times the going rate for conventional electricity, and even, on very rare occasions, up to £15,000 per megawatt hour (MWh), or 300 times the normal rate of £50 per MWh.

Initially, this "short-term operating reserve" only envisaged relying on existing standby generators, many owned by public bodies such as hospitals, prisons and military installations – which stand to earn hundreds of millions of pounds from the Government, paid for by the rest of us as a "stealth tax" through our electricity bills. But so lucrative is the subsidy bonanza now being proposed that dozens of private firms, with names such as Renewable Energy Generation and Power Balancing Services, are flocking to cash in by building dedicated "virtual power stations", capable of generating up to 20MW or more, knowing that they can expect up to £47,000 a year in "availability payments" for each MW of capacity, even before they have generated a single unit of power.

This solution to the "grid balancing" problem created by wind was pioneered in the US. The first firm to set up a "virtual power station" in Britain was UK Power Reserve, run by a former governor of Oklahoma, who was amazed to find the British offering subsidies seven times larger than those available in his native state. When last week I asked National Grid, Ofgem and others for an estimate of how much we will all be having to pay for this "balancing" scheme, the general response was that this is still too much a "work in progress" to allow for overall cost estimates – although National Grid has been quoted as suggesting that within two years it could be £1 billion a year, adding 5 per cent more to our already soaring electricity bills. But, without question, we are looking here at one of the most sure-fire moneymaking wheezes of our time – what one firm happily describes as "money for nothing".

And the final irony, of course, is that those diesel generators chuck out almost as much, per unit, of that supposedly polluting CO2 as any of the coal-fired power stations our politicians want to see taxed and regulated out of existence.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here


2 August, 2013

New skeptical paper


by Arthur Rörsch (The Netherlands) & Peter A. Ziegler (Switzerland)


The strong climate-forcing effect of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations advocated by the IPCC, is at odds with climate developments during geological, historical and recent times. Although atmospheric CO2 concentrations continuously increased during industrial times, temperatures did not increase continuously to the present level but stagnated or even declined slightly during 1880 to 1900, 1945 to 1977 and again since 1998.

Total solar irradiation rose from a low in 1890 to a first peak in 1950 that was followed by a sharp decline ending in 1977, giving way to a period of rapidly increasing radiation peaking in 2002 when solar activity started to decrease, possibly declining to a new Little-Ice-Age type low.

The Greenhouse Effect of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, claimed and widely propagated by IPCC, is particularly vexing as it is widely over-estimated without adequate scientific justification.

Large observed climate variations documented for geological and historical times, as well as the lack of insight into the behaviour of complex systems, seriously question the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) concept propagated by the IPCC.

The climate variability during industrial times was essentially governed by changes in solar activity with increasing atmospheric CO2 content playing a subordinate role. The climate controlling effect attributed by the IPCC to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations is rejected since supporting models are not compatible with observations.

Lastly, the authors consider from a historical and philosophical science point of view why current mainstream climate change research and IPCC assessments may have been on an erring way for several decades


Electric car farce as British councils spend £7.2m on charging points 'that are never used'

Councils across the UK have spent more than £7.2m on charging points for electric cars over the last three years but many are not being used.

One in six councils admitted to having at least one point which has not been used at all over the past year.

While less than a third of authorities have a charging point used on average more than once a week, more than half of which are used only by council vehicles.

BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours found that council spending amounts to £1,750 per electric car.

Answers to Freedom of Information requests from 91 per cent of councils in the UK revealed that 139 had spent £7.21m on charging points between them since April 2010.

Twenty-five of the councils (18 per cent) said they had at least one point not used at all between April 2012 and April 2013, while 41 (29 per cent) councils had a point used more than 52 times over the same 12 months.

Prof David Bailey, a transport expert at Coventry University Business School, told You and Yours: 'At the moment there are hardly any electric cars on the road. 'There are more charging points than there are electric cars.

'Much more effort needs to go into stimulating the demand side and educating people so that they know how to use these cars.'

Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency show there are 4,100 electric cars in the UK.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: 'Taxpayers are clearly being fleeced to fund what is little more than an attempt by the councils involved to brandish their green credentials.

'When only around four thousand of the 34.6 million vehicles on the road are electric cars, this amounts to a very expensive vanity project.

'In any case, since the cars are only suited to travelling short distances, their owners should expect to charge them at home or at their workplace: it’s not fair for them to land already hard-pressed taxpayers with a whopping bill to subsidise their expensive choice of vehicle.'

In February the Government announced an extra £37 million to offset the cost of installing infrastructure for recharging electric vehicles, which will be made available to hospitals, local authorities and train operators to provide charging points.

But the Local Government Association said investment has to be made in charging points. A spokesman said: 'You have to invest in the charging infrastructure before people start using it.

'Electric cars are a huge future international market. One barrier to that market taking off is the limited range before a car needs recharging, so investment in charging points is a vital precondition to this low carbon, sustainable and potentially hugely profitable market of the future.'

The Government and motoring groups also warned that the electric car revolution would take time. A Department for Transport (DfT) spokesman said: 'No one is pretending that everything can change overnight. 'The Government is putting serious investment into the UK low emissions vehicles sector, including for electric cars.

'We are seeing encouraging growth in the number of people using electric cars - for example there were 966 claims for the plug-in car grant in April-June 2013, almost double the number seen in the same quarter of the previous year - but no one is pretending that everything can change overnight.

'That is why we are continuing to invest in the infrastructure that will support take up of this new technology across the country, including the charging points announcements we made yesterday.'

The spokesman continued: 'Our goal is to ensure that the automotive industry in the UK can build on its recent success with clear support for investment in research and development and continue to make a major contribution to tackling the challenges of 21st century motoring.'

Edmund King, president of AA, said he did not think the charging points were waste of time.

He said: 'These things take time. At the moment, most people with electric cars charge them at home or at work. There is certainly a role for electric cars to play and I think their price will come down.

'We do need a mix of cars in the UK. Most two-car households could get by with an electric cart. We need to change attitudes.'


Sea-coasting to bankruptcy

By Alan Caruba

New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D) and forty members of Congress believe the sea levels are rising, that a panel should be created to determine what should be done, and, of course, to throw billions of dollars at a problem that does not exist. Politicians were eager to scare the public with the discredited global warming hoax and now they have found a new one.

In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has proposed a $20 billion flood barrier system to protect the city from future hurricanes and rising sea levels. Well, hurricanes like tropical storm Sandy are real, but rare. Rising sea levels, however, represent no threat at all.

William Happer who researched ocean physics for the U.S. Air Force and is currently a physics professor at Princeton University notes that, "The sea level has been rising since 1800, at the end of the ‘little ice age,’" a cooling cycle last from around 1300 to 1850. Far from heating up, the Earth entered a new cooling cycle around 1996 or so.

Harrison Schmitt, a former Apollo 17 astronaut, U.S. Senator, and a geologist, says "Predicting a sea level rise of 7 feet over the next few thousand years would seem too risky a prediction on which to spend tax dollars"; that is surely an understatement. Wasting billions on "climate change," however, is the new siren call of the Obama Administration. The National Research Council, however, is warning, as Fox News reported, "that those kinds of subsidies are virtually useless at quelling greenhouse gases."

In fact, increases in the amount of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas—alleged to "trap" heat— have had zero effect on the cooling cycle.

A recent article in the British newspaper The Register reported on a study by scientists in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The study, originally published in Nature Geoscience, concluded there was no "scientific consensus" to suggest the rate of the seas’ rise will accelerate dangerously.

The notion of the seas rising, swamping coastal cities, and creating havoc is the stuff of science fiction, not science. This is why spending millions or billions on the assertions of some who have a real stake in keeping the public frightened is a very bad idea.

At the center of the global warming scare campaign is the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Its most recent report said that "no long-term acceleration of sea level has been identified using 20th-century data alone" but that does not discourage the IPCC from forecasting an increase due to global warming. This organization should be disbanded and, if I were in charge, many of its leaders would be in jail right now for fraud.

Who can you believe? One such person is Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, the former chair of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden. He is the past president (1999-2003) of the International Union for Quaternary Research Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution. He has been studying sea level and its effects on coastal areas for more than 35 years. I cited his credentials because others making predictions lack the same level of authority.

Dr. Morner acknowledges that "sea level was indeed rising from, let us say, 1850 to 1930-40. And that rise had a rate in the order of 1 millimeter per year (mm/y). (Emphasis added). Get out your pocket ruler and look at what one millimeter represents. It is small. It is very small. Not surprisingly Dr. Morner is very critical of the IPCC and its headline-grabbing doomsday predictions. He scorns the IPCC’s claim to "know" that facts about sea level rise, noting that real scientists "are searching for the answer" by continuing to collect data "because we are field geologists; they are computer scientists. So all this talk that sea level is rising, this stems from the computer modeling, not from observations. The observations don’t find it!"

A recent paper reviewed by CO2 Science finds that sea levels have risen from 2002-2011 at a rate of only 1.7 mm/y over the past 110 years, the equivalent of 6.7 inches per century. This is close to Dr. Morner’s assertion that, at most, there has been a rate of increase that tops out at 1.1 mm/y. The review concluded that there is no evidence of any human influence on sea levels.

Even so, in early July, Josh Willis, a scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told Fox News that, "There is no question that the time to prepare for sea level rise is now…We will definitely see 7 feet of sea level rise—the only question is when." And who funds NASA?

Between the scientists trying to gin up more government money for their agencies and departments and the politicians trying to find a new reason to spend more money, the public is left wondering if the oceans are rising and whether that represents something worth worrying about. The answer is (a) yes, sea levels are rising in infinitesimal amounts and (b) no, we need to stop spending money based on such claims.

It’s not the sea level rise you should worry about. It is the rising levels of national debt and the deficit.


Fossil fuels expected to dominate global energy consumption until 2040, says report

The ongoing debate over the role of fossil fuels as opposed to the increased implementation of renewable or alternative energy sources is likely to continue with a report from the U.S Energy Information Administration showing that world power consumption is expected to increase by 56 percent from now until 2040, with traditional engineering resources naturally playing a big role.

According to Reuters, global oil consumption will rise by 32 percent in the next 27 years, despite the apparent growth in renewables, with growing demand in China and India believed to account for nearly 50 percent of the increase in energy use. Industry analysts have long considered that demand in OECD countries would be a significant driver of consumer requirements, however it appears that a number of emerging economies are having a say in how the energy market will perform in the near future.

Bulk of demand

Developing countries are expected to provide the bulk of demand, with the EIA report projecting that it will grow by 90 percent by 2040, compared to a relatively small increase of 17 percent in existing industrialized regions. According to the news source, energy requirements in China are projected to be at least double that of the United States, with the authors of the report predicting that global consumption of petroleum and other liquid fuels should reach 97 million barrels per day by 2020 and 115 million barrels per day by 2040.

"Rising prosperity in China and India is a major factor in the outlook for global energy demand," said Adam Sieminski, EIA administrator. "These two countries combined account for half the world's total increase in energy use through 2040. This is good news, this is rising prosperity. The question is how do we accommodate rising prosperity and still maintain energy security and the environment?"

The International Energy Outlook is believed by energy analysts to be a reasonable barometer of what will happen in the industry over the next few years, and while the EIA - the statistical and analytical wing of the Department of Energy - tries to steer clear of "forecasting policy developments," the report indicates that fossil fuels will supply up to 80 percent of consumption in the time period under study. However, the report also notes that liquid fuel demand will drop by 6 percent over the period, with natural gas increasing globally by 1.7 percent per year, an indication of how important fracking could be in terms of accessing supply.

Coal will still be the second largest energy source in 2040, however the EIA predicts that its share of consumption will peak sometime in the next decade and decline after 2025. This is believed to be in response to projected governmental targets in respect of cleaner fuels, coupled with the anticipated rise in global natural gas extraction.

Nuclear and renewable options

Interestingly enough, the renewable and nuclear sector is expected to see significant gains, despite the continued dominance of traditional energy sources, with the report suggesting a 2.5 percent cumulative increase over the period. The EIA study contends that wind and hydropower will see the quickest growth, with installations expected to increase in developed nations and developing countries, respective. In fact, over 80 percent of the predicted rise in renewable generation will be in those two sectors, with 52 percent allocated to hydro and 28 percent to wind.

In terms of the nuclear option, the EIA sees the greatest potential for engineering research and development in China, India and South Korea. China is expected to provide 40 percent of the global net increase in nuclear capacity, with the development of new facilities in direct contrast to the global response following the disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011. According to sources at the agency, nuclear will provide 5.5 trillion kilowatt hours of power in 2040, compared to the 2.6 trillion kwh recorded in 2010.


Scientists Envision Fracking in Arctic and on Ocean Floor

Scientists in Japan and the U.S. say they are moving closer to tapping a new source of energy: methane hydrate, a crystalline form of natural gas found in Arctic permafrost and at the bottom of oceans.

At room temperature the crystal gives off intense heat, earning it the nickname of "fire in ice," and making the estimated 700,000 trillion cubic feet of the substance scattered around the world a potentially major fuel source, containing more energy than all previously discovered oil and gas combined, according to researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey.

Scientists in Japan and the U.S. say they are moving closer to tapping a new source of energy: methane hydrate, a crystalline form of natural gas found in Arctic permafrost and at the bottom of oceans. Ben Lefebvre joins MoneyBeat. Photo: AP.
Commercial production of methane hydrate is expected to take at least a decade—if it comes at all. Different technologies to harvest the gas are being tested, but so far no single approach has been perfected, and it remains prohibitively expensive. But booming energy demand in Asia, which is spurring gigantic projects to liquefy natural gas in Australia, Canada and Africa, is also giving momentum to efforts to mine the frozen clumps of methane hydrate mixed deep in seafloor sediment.

The biggest concern is that the sediment that contains methane hydrate is inherently unstable, meaning a drilling accident could set off a landslide that sends massive amounts of methane—a potent greenhouse gas—bubbling up through the ocean and into the atmosphere.

Oil and gas companies establishing deep-water drilling rigs normally look at avoiding methane-hydrate clusters, said Richard Charter, senior member of environmental group the Ocean Foundation, who has long studied methane hydrates.

Nevertheless, the government of Japan—where natural gas costs are currently $16 per million British thermal units, four times the level in the U.S.—has vowed to bring methane hydrate into the mainstream by 2023 after a successful drilling test in March.

In the government-sponsored test off of the southern coast of Japan's main island, Honshu, a drilling rig bored nearly 2,000 feet below the seafloor.

Special equipment reduced the pressure around the methane hydrate crystals, dissolving them into gas and water, and then pumped about 4.2 million cubic feet of gas to the surface. While not a huge haul, it was enough to convince Japanese researchers that more natural gas could be harvested.

If Japan can deliver on its vow to produce natural gas economically from the methane hydrate deposits off its shores, it could experience a natural-gas boom that matches the fracking-fueled one under way in North America, said Surya Rajan, analyst at IHS CERA.

"If you look at what a dramatic shift the North American gas industry has gone through, could you afford to bet against something similar happening in methane hydrate?" Mr. Rajan said.

Successful development of methane hydrates could throw a wrench into liquefied-natural-gas megaprojects such as Australia's $50 billion Gorgon development led by Chevron Corp., CVX +0.44% experts say.

"It would make me have pause about investing billions of dollars in an LNG export terminal," said Christopher Knittel, an energy economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

Not all observers think that the costs can come down enough to make methane hydrate viable. But plenty of countries, particularly in Asia, are planning to try.

China plans to host an international conference on methane hydrate in 2014.

India is contemplating a push to develop the vast quantities of methane hydrate discovered off its coast in the Indian Ocean in 2006, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, a part of the U.S. Department of Interior that conducts scientific research.

In the U.S., scientists explored the northern Gulf of Mexico in May to map some of the 6.7 quadrillion cubic feet of methane-hydrate clusters believed to be underwater there. The Consortium for Ocean Leadership, a nonprofit group of researchers, is now trying to convince the Department of Energy to lend it a research drilling ship to do more tests.

"There are a huge amount of people internationally working in this area," said Carolyn Ruppel, head of the gas hydrates project at the USGS. "A lot of national governments have gotten into the game."

The most optimal places to harvest methane hydrate are near where the continental shelf transitions to the deep ocean, areas difficult to access from sea level.

Would-be producers also have to be careful when harvesting fragile clusters of methane hydrate to ensure nearby crystals don't prematurely break and send greenhouse gases bubbling to the surface.

The cost of developing this new source of energy remains high, with estimates ranging from $30 to $60 per million British thermal units. In the U.S., natural gas currently trades for less than $4 per million BTUs, as the rise of fracking produced a gas glut.

But countries like Japan, Korea, India, and Taiwan import gas "at a high price and thus may find it economical to produce their own resources," said George Hirasaki, a professor at Rice University in Houston who has done research on methane hydrates.

Last year, ConocoPhillips worked with the DOE on a test run producing natural gas from methane hydrate in Alaska's North Slope, home to about 85 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable methane hydrate, according to DOE statistics.

The company spent 13 days injecting carbon dioxide and nitrogen into methane-hydrate clusters in the permafrost. The chemical cocktail fractures the permafrost, allowing the gas to escape through the newly made fractures for collection.

ConocoPhillips was able "to safely extract a steady flow of natural gas," a spokeswoman said.

ConocoPhillips declined to say how much it has invested in methane-hydrate production. The Houston-based company said that "at present, the technology does not exist to produce natural gas economically from hydrates."


As utilities bills soar, South Australians to pay $90 extra a year to account for solar rebate

HOUSEHOLDERS will pay an extra $90 a year for the next three years on their power bills to pay for the State Government's generous solar rebate scheme.

Retailers are bracing for a late rush on solar systems as the scheme enters its final month for new customers to sign up, which could inflate the cost of the scheme even further.

SA Power Networks (formerly ETSA) estimates the scheme will cost $1.53 billion over 20 years - and every South Australian is paying for it via their electricity bill.

It has forecast the average amount recovered from residential customers to subsidise the solar rebates will be $90 a year for the next three years, before dropping to $72 from July 1, 2016, when the 16c scheme closes.

A staggering 140,000 householders have so far installed a solar meter - 17 times more than the 8,000 then-Premier Mike Rann estimated when he launched the scheme in 2008.

They are receiving either 44 cents or 16 cents per kilowatt hour - depending when they signed up - for the energy their systems generate back into the power grid.

New details of the added costs to power bills are the latest blow to family budgets.

Consumers will pay an extra $30 a year to prune trees near power lines, as revealed in The Advertiser yesterday.

Households have also been hit with rises up to $100 a year in gas prices, while petrol costs have reached their highest levels in five years.

Water bills have also soared to pay for the $1.83 billion dollar desalination plant.

The state's leading welfare lobby group, the SA Council of Social Services, says the combined impact of these price rises on household budgets is "massive".

"Especially for those on fixed and low incomes," SACOSS executive director Ross Womersley said.

"And its impossible to avoid these cost increases because they are essential services and we need them."

The solar scheme costs were an "unfair burden" on low-income earners because they "can't afford solar panels but they are subsidising those who can and who are reaping the savings on energy bills," Mr Womersley said.

However, solar system retailer Zen Energy said the power being put back in the grid by panel owners was reducing transmission costs.

"If it weren't for solar panels SA Power Networks would most likely have to spend more money on the grid to supply that extra electricity," Zen Energy founder Richard Turner said.

When the solar scheme was launched in 2008 the government estimated it would attract 8,000 customers. But the scheme's generosity has resulted in a massive blowout in uptake and a subsequent cost to electricity consumers. The total cost of the solar subsidy scheme - which runs until 2028 - will average out at more than $1100 per householder. This year alone SA Power Networks said the scheme will cost $100 million.

And the company expects a rush of new customers will sign up before the September 30 deadline for the 16c feed-in tariff is reached.

"We anticipate in excess of 10,000 customers may sign up and have metering installed for the 2016 scheme before it closes," a spokesman for SA Power Networks, which recovers the cost of the scheme on behalf of the government, said. "On our current expectations, it is likely that total scheme payments will exceed $1.53 billion dollars by 2028."

Melissa Richards, of Unley Park, said installing solar panels was a "no-brainer". She and husband Heath installed a solar system 12 months ago at a cost just under $7,000.

"Solar obviously decreases power costs and the 16c feed-in tariff combined with a top up from our retailer is a bonus which definitely helps," the 26-year-old full time mum from Unley Park said. "We have probably halved our electricity bills which were running at $300 a quarter." [At the cost of everyone else]




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here


1 August, 2013

1,700 U.S. cities will be below sea level by 2100?

By Geologist Dr. Don J. Easterbrook

More than 1,700 American cities and towns – including Boston, New York, and Miami – will be drowning by the end of this century according to a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Benjamin Strauss. Twenty five percent of the populations of these 1,700 cities would be living below sea level by 2100 and 79 cities with a combined population of 835,000 would be submerged by 2023 and about half of the population of Fort Lauderdale, Hoboken, and Palm Beach would be submerged by 2023 according to Strauss.

The basis for these amazing conclusions is apparently a 12 inch (222 cm) per decade rise of global sea level, the maximum IPCC estimate, which is postulated to be caused by increasing atmospheric CO2.

How does this compare with sea level rise over the past century? Sea level rose 12 cm (6 ½ inches) from 1900 to 1980 or about 7 inches per century.

Projecting this same rate over the next century would give a sea level rise of about 2 inches by 2030 and about 6 inches by the end of century.

The difference between the two projections is remarkable. The rate used by Strauss for his predictions of 1700 submerged cities is more than 10 times the rate over the past century!

Two questions immediately arise: (1) what is going to cause such accelerated sea level rise and (2) where is all the water going to come from?
The accelerated rise is based on postulated accelerated warming but there has been no warming in the past 15 years and, in fact, the climate has cooled during that time. So no climatic warming means no accelerated sea level rise as postulated by Strauss.

In order to get the accelerated sea level rise postulated by Strauss, much of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets would have to melt. However the Antarctic ice cap is expanding, not meltng and the Greenland ice cap was about the same size as at present during the Holocene Climatic Optimum.

The conclusion that we can draw from these data is that the huge rise of sea level rates proposed by Strauss are absurd and that the *maximum* sea level rise by 2100 will be less than one foot.


Fracking yields trillions in benefits

By Paul Driessen

Signs of pride and prosperity were evident all over Williamsport and the gorgeous northern Pennsylvania countryside around it. Friendly, happy people greeted us. New cars, trucks, hotels and restaurants sparkled in a clean, bustling downtown. New roofs topped barns and houses, while late model tractors worked the fields. Formerly dirt roads are now paved.

Men and women again have high-paying jobs, young people are coming back instead of moving away, their salaries are supporting other businesses and jobs, and many are taking college programs in oilfield technical and business specialties, Vince Matteo told me.

As President and CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce, he’s witnessed the transformation: "98 percent of the change has been positive," he says. Contributions to United Way are increasing each year, county infrastructure has improved enormously, and environmental impacts are minimal.

Visits to several Anadarko Petroleum drilling and fracking sites explained why. The operations are far more high-tech than what I had seen previously on rigs in the Rocky Mountains, off the Louisiana and California coasts, and last fall in Alberta’s oil sands region. Hydraulic fracturing was first employed in Kansas in 1947. But steadily improved fracking technology is now combined with computers, down-hole sensors and microseismic instruments. Drilling equipment lets crews send a bit 6,000 feet down and 8,000 feet laterally into Marcellus Shale formations – and end up within 3 feet of their intended target!

The operations are conducted from atop a multi-layered felt and impermeable plastic pad, surrounded by a berm, to keep unlikely spills from contaminating farm and forest land. Multiple wells are drilled from a single pad and "kicked out" horizontally in various directions. The drilling rig is skidded a short distance to four or five more locations around the pad, the entire array is fractured at high pressure, and short wellheads are installed to collect natural gas, and send it to local and interstate pipeline networks.

A nearby impoundment is also lined with plastic to hold water for fracturing operations. Topsoil removed to prepare the pad and pond is stored nearby. As operations are finished, the land is reclaimed, topsoil is replaced, and local grasses, flowers and shrubs are planted, to create meadows for deer and wild turkeys – or anything else the landowners prefer.To launch 20-40 years of hydrocarbon production from a 15,000-acre (23-square-mile) area requires barely 2% surface disturbance, most of it for just a few months.

Once the work is completed, the area quietly and unobtrusively produces decades of energy – and revenue for farmers, wildlife organizations, hunting groups, and local, state and federal treasuries.

Hydraulic fracturing takes place some 5,500 feet (almost four Empire State Buildings) below the water table. To prevent groundwater contamination, pipe penetrating the first seven hundred feet is surrounded by layers of steel casing and specialized cement. During the drilling and fracturing process, even rainwater collected from the drill pad is saved and used. Some of the water used to fracture the shale is also recovered during gas production; this "flowback" water itself is filtered, treated and reused.

The hydraulic fracturing process requires some 2.0-4.2 million gallons of water per well, but fresh or brackish water works equally well. A 2013 Ceres study concluded that hydraulic fracturing consumed 75 billion gallons of water per year on average nationwide, in 2011 and 2012. EPA says fracking consumes 70-140 billion gallons a year nationally, and the Texas Water Resources Board estimates that Lone Star State oil and natural gas companies used 27 billion gallons of water for fracking statewide in 2011.

However, Texas homeowners used 495 billion gallons for lawns and gardens, the TWRB found (18 times what fracking consumed), and household landscape irrigation nationwide consumes nearly 3 trillion gallons of water annually, according to EPA (21-43 times the EPA and Ceres estimates for hydraulic fracturing).

Even more revealing, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, fracking requires just 0.6 to 5.8 gallons of water per million Btu of energy produced. By comparison, "renewable" and "sustainable" corn-based ethanol requires 2,510 to 29,100 gallons per million Btu of usable energy – and biodiesel from soybeans consumes an astounding and unsustainable 14,000 to 75,000 gallons of water per million Btu!

As to chemical contamination, fracturing fluids are 99.5% water and sand. Moreover, the 0.5% chemicals portion is increasingly basic, nontoxic household or kitchen stuff. Anadarko’s chemicals today are only "slickeners" (to help the sand get further into cracks created by the pressurized water) and "biocides" that prevent bacterial buildup in the well pipes. Which chemicals are used for any single well in the United States can be determined by going to – and every EPA, DOE and other study conducted to date has concluded that fracking has never contaminated a single US well.

Hydraulic fracturing has created 1.7 million new direct and indirect jobs in the United States, with the total likely to rise to 3 million jobs over the next seven years, IHS Global Insight reports. It has injected billions into North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, and other state economies. It’s added $62 billion to federal and state treasuries, with that total expected to rise to $111 billion by 2020. By 2035, U.S. oil and natural gas operations could provide over $5 trillion in cumulative capital expenditures into the economy, while generating over $2.5 trillion in cumulative additional government revenues.

In the process, fracking has revived America’s petrochemical, steel and other manufacturing industries, and reinvigorated American ingenuity and economic competitiveness. One shudders to think how awful the U.S. unemployment, part-time employment and economic picture would be in its absence.

This game-changing technology has also transformed U.S., EU and global political equations and power structures. With the United States, Argentina, Britain, China, Israel, and many other countries collectively sitting atop centuries’ worth of now economically producible oil and natural gas, OPEC and Russia can no longer control prices and threaten customer nations. For poor developing countries, natural gas from shale provides fuel to generate abundant, affordable electricity that will transform lives.

Then why do Hollywood and radical greens celebrate misleading films like Gasland and Promised Land – even after Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney’s documentary FrackNation completely demolished Gasland‘s lies and half-truths? Why do outfits like Food and Water Watch and the Sierra Club, and ill-informed activists like Yoko Ono, continue to scream hysterical nonsense about the process?

Follow the money – and the ideology. Big Eco is big business, and big egos. It seeks ever more power and every greater control over our lives. Fracking threatens all of that.

"What you get in your mailbox is a never-ending stream of crisis-related shrill material designed to evoke emotions," former National Audubon Society COO Dan Beard once admitted, "so that you will sit down and write a check" – or click the "Donate Now" button. This multi-billion-dollar-per-year industry would collapse without the crisis du jour it conjures up, with help from the news media, politicians and regulators.

Deep Ecology adherents view fossil fuels as evil incarnate, and believe fervently in "peak oil" and Climate Armageddon. They are frustrated that fracking guarantees a hydrocarbon renaissance and predominance for decades to come, and helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions without massive economic sacrifice.

They also tend to be well-off, and clueless about the true sources of modern living standards. They have disturbingly callous attitudes about people who have lost their jobs because of Mr. Obama’s war on coal and cheap energy – and about poor rural New York families that are barely hanging onto their farms, unable to tap the Marcellus Shale riches beneath their land, because Governor Cuomo refuses to lift his moratorium on fracking. Many don’t give a spotted owl hoot about the world’s impoverished billions, whose hope for better lives depends on the reliable, affordable electricity that "frack gas" can help bring.

These shameful attitudes hurt people and planet. We need to frack for a better, cleaner, happier world!


Conservation Easements mean giving your land to the Greenies

Conservation easements. The Green Mafia tells us this is the only way to save the family farm. Without its tax credits and restrictions on development rights, America will be paved over and Astroturf will replace sod. We're in crisis, they tell us. However, as H.L Mencken once warned, "A plan to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule."

Conservation and environmental groups openly advocate the conservation easements as the answer to saving farm land, as do state departments of agriculture, farm bureaus, and the federal government. A full court press is on to lock in millions of acres of private property under the blazing headline "Save the Family Farm."

There's no question that the family farm is under assault. Taxes, international trade agreements, inflation, and government regulations are eating away at the ability to keep the farm operating. I've never met a farmer who wanted to give up and stop working the land that perhaps his ancestors first acquired. In most cases it's agony for a farmer to decide to sell his property. On the other hand, the land is his main asset. To provide a good life for the family, selling the land, many times to developers is necessary for survival.

However, there is now a much more lethal threat facing small farmers, and the outrageous fact is, this threat is being disguised as a way to help them. The real threat is the green solution - "conservation easements." And farmers are falling into its trap across the country.

Conservation easements are promoted by land trusts and environmental groups. Tax breaks are promoted. Even cash is offered those farmers willing to sell their development rights, under the argument that this will drive away the temptation to sell the land to nasty developers, thus keeping it farm land The clever slogan, "farm land lost is farm land lost forever" helps sell the case for easements.

The promoters of such ideas are very good with the sales pitch. If it were politically correct to do so, one could actually hear "God Bless America" playing in the background as the promises to save the family farm roll off the pitchman's tongue.

Say proponents, "A conservation easement is a voluntary perpetual agreement that restricts non- agricultural uses such as mining and large scale residential and commercial development." They boldly promote the easements by promising that "the landowner continues to own, live on and use the land." They even promise that the land can be passed down to heirs, along with generous tax credits. What's not to like? Desperate farmers are flocking to the pitchman's wagon to buy his life-saving potion.

Of course, as another famous pitchman, P.T Barnum, once said, "there's a sucker born every minute." Farmers beware the slick talker who has the answers to your woes. His answers may well be your demise - and your farm's. It's wise to read the fine print of a conservation easement agreement. Here are some facts.
The facts about conservation easements

In a typical conservation easement, a private Land Trust organization purchases some or all of the "bundle" of a property owners rights. The bundle includes development rights for the property; the ability to overrule the owner's choice of how to use the property,including adding more buildings or renovating or rebuilding existing buildings; in the case of farmers, it may include decisions on which fields to use for planting , or even which crops to grow and the technique to be used. All of these things come under the command of the easement. And all of it may become the decision of the Land Trust, because once the conservation easement agreement is signed the owner's rights are legally subservient to his new partner, the Trust.

True, in exchange, the property owner receives charitable deductions on federal taxes based on the difference between the values of the land before and after granting the easement. The property owner receives relief from federal estate or inheritance taxes. Many states provide income tax credits and property tax relief. And the owner receives a payment for his development rights.

In the beginning it all sounds good. Money in the pocket; the farm safe from development; and the ability to practice the beloved tradition of farming. Well, maybe.

The fact is, under the easement, the owner has sold his property rights and therefore no longer has controlling interest in his property. Through the restrictions outlined in the easement, property usage is now strictly controlled, including everyday decisions on running the farm. In many cases, the Conservation group that controls the easement demands strict adherence to "sustainable" farming practices." That means strict controls on how much energy or water can be used in the farming process, access to streams for the livestock, use of fertilizer, etc, are all under the direction of the Land Trust. And there's more. Certain details weren't revealed to the land owner as he signed on the dotted line. For example:

* Trusts often re-sell the easement to other conservation groups. They sell and resell them like commodities. The farmer may not know who holds the control over his land. For these groups, the easements become a significant profit center as they rake in fees for each new easement they sign up.

* Worse, the conservation group may work directly with government agencies, helping to establish new regulations which alter best management practices, driving up compliance costs. Eventually these cost increases can force owners to sell their land at a reduced price.

* This is especially effective when trying to dislodge a land owner who has refused to sell his land to the government or sign a conservation easement. The Nature Conservancy is a master at this trick, creating millions of dollars of income for the group. Its favorite practice is to tell the land owner that the government intends to take the land, but if they sell to the Conservancy then it will guarantee that the land will stay in private hands. But of course, since the government intends to take the land it is now worth much less. So they get the landowner to sell at a reduced rate. Then the Conservancy calls the government agency to tell them the good news that they have the land. And the agency pays the Conservancy full market value. They call that "Capitalism with a heart!!"

* Because ownership rights are muddled between taxes, restrictions and best practices requirements, it can be difficult to find a buyer willing to pay a fair market price for the land. In a sense, once the easement is signed, the owner has just rendered his land worthless on the open market.

* Conservation Easement deeds use broad language that expands the trust's control but very specific language that limits the landowner's rights.

Worse, the conservation group may work directly with government agencies, helping to establish new regulations which alter best management practices, driving up compliance costs. Eventually these cost increases can force owners to sell their land at a reduced price.

This is especially effective when trying to dislodge a land owner who has refused to sell his land to the government or sign a conservation easement. The Nature Conservancy is a master at this trick, creating millions of dollars of income for the group. Its favorite practice is to tell the land owner that the government intends to take the land, but if they sell to the Conservancy then it will guarantee that the land will stay in private hands. But of course, since the government intends to take the land it is now worth much less. So they get the landowner to sell at a reduced rate. Then the Conservancy calls the government agency to tell them the good news that they have the land. And the agency pays the Conservancy full market value. They call that "Capitalism with a heart!!"

Because ownership rights are muddled between taxes, restrictions and best practices requirements, it can be difficult to find a buyer willing to pay a fair market price for the land. In a sense, once the easement is signed, the owner has just rendered his land worthless on the open market.

Conservation Easement deeds use broad language that expands the trust's control but very specific language that limits the landowner's rights.

When productive land is taken off the tax rolls, a revenue shortage is created that has to be made up by other tax payers, causing rate hikes in property taxes and other tricks the government can come up with.


A Nimby? No, I'm fighting to save the Britain I love

TV star GRIFF RHYS JONES on his crusade to stop wind farms and solar panels wrecking his favourite landscapes

Recently, I went running in some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain — and I discovered something so bizarre, so preposterous, that I thought I must have tumbled down a rabbit-hole and, like Alice, ended up in Wonderland.

Along with about 380 other competitors, I was taking part in the Alton Water Run, around a reservoir built in the 1970s in a landscape of ancient woodland and fields first recorded in the Domesday Book more than 900 years ago.

A valley was drowned to create Alton Water: 20 homes, two farms and the manor house. It was turned into an amenity at some cost.

And here’s where the madness starts.

On a big chunk of that precious, uniquely English countryside, a solar panel company called Hive Energy was proposing to build an energy plant, covering 95 acres with reflective photo-voltaic cells three metres high.

Hive Energy was talking about an area the size of 50 football pitches, planted with 72,000 plastic panels, turning what appears to be a randomly selected piece of Britain’s countryside into an industrial complex.

It’s hardly possible to imagine a bigger eyesore, or a more sensitive spot in which to dump it. It makes no sense to ruin such a lovely place. It is utterly Mad Hatterish.

As it happens, I have a home nearby, and as soon as I raised my voice in protest, people started accusing me of being a Nimby — a ‘Not In My Back Yard’ campaigner.

Well, I’m proud of my back yard, if that’s not too off-hand a way to describe the beauties of the Suffolk horizon. In fact, I don’t think of it as a yard at all: we call it ‘a garden’ in Britain.

My dismay, I promise, has nothing to do with the view from my window. Not long ago, I was protesting against a proposed, highly-visible wind farm in a pristine landscape in the North of Scotland. That’s about as far from my back garden as you can get in this country. And there, I was accused of being an interfering outsider.

The point about this is not what I can see from my garden. That’s immaterial.

This issue is as big as the planet. It’s about how logic seems to be leaving our lives. It is about how successive governments are putting our heritage and our national security at risk by pursuing an incomprehensible energy policy.

It is about how the planning of it — or perhaps the lack of planning of it — is threatening to randomly desecrate our landscape.

This week it emerged that local authorities will be banned from imposing minimum distance limits to protect communities from wind farms. New planning guidance says councils will not be able impose ‘buffer zones’ between properties and turbines.

A few weeks ago, David Cameron drove past a crowd of protesters in Kent to open the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, which will boast 175 turbines sprouting from the sea in the Channel.

There has been a dash towards renewable energy sources such as wind power and solar power.

Britain is aiming to produce 15 per cent of its energy — including electricity, heat and transport — from renewable sources by 2020. Even the most avid proponents of renewables accept that we will still have to have the bulk of our energy from other sources.

This renewable target is horrendously expensive to achieve. What’s worse, the cost isn’t just economic: we are going to obliterate the most valuable and historic resource we possess. Our landscape.

It’s difficult to engage in a rational debate about this. Those who want to assault the countryside with forests of shiny panels and 500ft propellers are apt to react with a fundamentalist fervour when they are challenged.

I am deeply worried about global warming: I accept the evidence without demur. The world is getting hotter, and we are going through serious climate change.

But the fundamentalist green lobby — and those involved in sponsored research or subsidised industry — react to our legitimate concerns as if they are nothing more than selfish whining. They ask: ‘Do you want to die in a horrible conflagration and for your children to starve to death as a result of global warming?’

To that, of course, we have to answer: ‘Well, umm, not really.’ Because this is such an emotive issue, we are denied logical and sensible discussion.

We need to ask ourselves serious questions about whether we can rely on renewable energy sources, what our alternatives are, and how we can best embrace them.

Even if we hit that 15 per cent target (and we are still far away from that), it will make only the tiniest dent in world carbon emissions. In fact, even if the whole of Europe reaches its own renewables target, that would reduce carbon emissions by only 0.2pc over the entire world.

There’s so much carbon coming out of China and the great conurbations in India, America, Russia and elsewhere that our reductions are insignificant.

Meanwhile, look at what we stand to lose. Our heritage is being destroyed by solar plants and wind farms.

I first became aware of this in the early Nineties, when I was sent to Bronte country in Yorkshire for a TV programme called Bookworm.

We went out on the moors above Haworth, the setting for Wuthering Heights, and I gawped — because these moors, which are so much a part of British culture and draw tourists from all over the world, were covered in wind turbines.

For the sake of a meagre contribution to the energy grid — enough electricity to power a few hundred houses (and on windless days, not even that) — we had lost an inspiring and world-famous landscape.

Why are we desecrating our country? Is it really necessary? I cannot imagine the French would cover Notre Dame with solar panels. I don’t think the Italians would erect a wind farm in St Peter’s Square.

But if the moors of Wuthering Heights are not safe, then is anywhere in Britain? Is the Lake District sacred? Is the Vale of Evesham? You can already see wind farms from the gorgeous wilds of Snowdonia, as well as on the North Sea horizons.

We have all sat on trains and watched acres of bleak and blasted land pass by the window. Land already surrounded and marooned by motorway systems. Is that being identified and brought into this system? No way.

Instead, this ugly and expensive intrusion is being left to the ‘free market’. The result is random and opportunist. Wherever a stricken farmer or a greedy landowner can be bribed or hoodwinked by subsidy, we see a wind turbine or a wretchedly blank area of solar panels go up.

So we seem to be happy to ruin the landscape, while siphoning public money into private pockets.

I have been told not to worry — that it is ‘only two per cent’ of the available countryside. But two per cent, scattered about wildly, like dirty confetti, obviously directly affects a much wider area.

And then there’s Planning Minister Nick Boles’ belief that we can afford a further ten per cent of the countryside given over to sprawling estates, with nice big gardens, so that developers don’t have to work too hard to make brownfield sites work.

Add them together and we have ten to 15 per cent of the countryside lost in the next ten years perhaps.

So, what’s the alternative?

Well, could we not be quite so hysterical about atomic power, for instance? The nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan in 2011 created an emotional furore that overwhelmed the debate.

It has become impossible to deal in simple facts — such as that more people die in the coal-mining industries every year than have ever died as a result of nuclear power.

There are leading ecologists who fervently believe that nuclear power, with its effective 100 per cent carbon neutral super output, working at all hours of the day and night, is the only conceivable option for a safe future.

About 20 miles away from my home there is a nuclear power station, Sizewell B. Another is planned and would occupy about 80 acres — 15 fewer than those that would be sacrificed to this clutter of photo-voltaic cells at Alton Water.

The solar panels, I am told, would supply 5,400 houses with electricity — when the sun is shining, of course. And when it’s not night-time.

The pressurised water reactor at Sizewell B, on the other hand, generates enough electricity to power two million homes.

Solar cells just aren’t economic. If they worked as advertised, every south-facing roof of every industrial warehouse and every motorway embankment would be bristling with them. We would be cramming solar cells wherever they would fit.

But the truth is, they are expensive and near-worthless unless backed by a Government subsidy.

Britain has gambled everything on renewable sources that can’t supply our needs, so we’re reliant on other producers. That means buying gas from Russia, and electricity created by atomic power from France. We are at the mercy of other governments, other suppliers ..... and must pay their prices.

We’ve made ourselves a pair of cardboard braces and now we’re realising, as our trousers fall down, that we’ll need a belt anyway.

Even with a wind farm on every hill-top, Britain would need an energy back-up. And current policy is far more piecemeal than that.

We need coherent planning legislation. We need to enable local voices to be heard, as well as the clamour of landowners and energy companies scrambling for subsidies.

We have some of the most breath-taking, magical, inspiring, mysterious and delightful landscapes anywhere in the world — and in a few short years they will be ruined because of some misunderstood emergency.

I scratch my head and say: ‘Am I going mad? I can’t believe people are going to allow this, are they?’

The Government is so single-minded about fulfilling this self-imposed 15 per cent target that there’s no reasoning with it. It is like dealing with an obsessive.

Ten days ago, to the joy of everyone in the area, and despite the recommendations of planning officers, the council turned down that Alton Water application. We breathed a sigh of relief. Good sense had triumphed ....

Now I open my newspaper and find that Greg Barker, the Energy and Climate Change Minister, has revealed his ambition to increase massively the amount of energy being produced by solar panels. The figures he is talking about would effectively mean a ten-fold increase in the number of solar farms.

Mr Barker has also said that he wants solar farms to be ‘targeted on industrial roofs, homes and on brownfield sites, not on our beautiful countryside’ — but given the Government’s confused stance on this issue, I am not much reassured.

My concern deepens when I open my email inbox to find an ominous warning regarding Alton Water.

‘The process is this,’ it says. ‘The Parish Council and all the locals turn it down, and then the District Council turns it down … and then an inspector arrives from the Government and promptly allows it through. They will appeal.’ I can’t wait.

So how do we restore sanity? At the moment, I’m assured by MPs that ‘there are no votes in this sort of thing’. Without the promise of votes, there’s no political clout.

There’s only one way to make politicians take notice: turn the issue into a vote-winner. We need to stop being long-suffering about all this and make it an election issue.

Now, I really am dreaming …


Czech Government wakes up: Votes to End Support for Renewables From 2014

The Czech government approved a draft law to end support for renewable energy, proposing to stop subsidies for new projects at the end of this year.

The plan was adopted during an extraordinary cabinet session yesterday and is subject to approval by parliament, the government said in a statement on its website.

Subsidies for renewable-power sources, particularly solar plants, have raised prices for Czech energy users in the past three years as the cost is passed on through customer bills.

"The reason for this law amendment is the rising financial burden for electricity consumers," Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok said in the statement. "It threatens the competitiveness of our industry and raises consumers’ uncertainty about power prices."

Only hydro, wind and biomass power plants that got construction permits this year will be eligible for support if they’re completed before the end of 2014, the statement shows.


'Caring' Australian Greens want to welcome illegal immigrants -- revealing how far Left they are

The Greens would strip away all deterrents from refugee policy and aim to stop deaths at sea by dramatically increasing Australia's refugee intake and boosting the capacity of the United Nations refugee agency to process claims in Indonesia.

The pre-election policy to be released on Wednesday would also shut down detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island, give work rights to those in the community and lift the ban on people in refugee-producing countries coming directly by air to seek asylum.

It would also appoint an Australian ambassador for refugee protection to help broker a regional co-operation response modelled on the approach of Malcolm Fraser with Vietnamese asylum seekers in the 1970s.

The policy has been criticised by Coalition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison who says it "won't stop the boats". Meanwhile, bad weather had delayed the transfer of the first asylum seekers to Manus Island under the Rudd Government's agreement with Papua New Guinea.

Buoyed by polling showing only one in three voters trusts the major parties to "handle refugees with care", the Greens will market themselves as the only party offering "compassion, legality and the only model for saving refugee lives at sea that has ever really worked".

"If you want to stop the people-smuggling business, you have to undercut it, and that means providing a viable option that does not force refugees into the hands of people smugglers in the first place," says the party's spokeswoman on asylum, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Greens leader Christine Milne will propose a doubling of funding to the United Nations refugee agency to speed up assessment and resettlement of asylum seekers in Indonesia and Malaysia, and a 10,000 increase in Australia's refugee intake. One in three places in the 30,000 program would be set aside for refugees assessed by the UN agency in the region, including at least 3800 in Indonesia.

Senator Milne said the Parliamentary Budget Office has costed an increase in the humanitarian program to 30,000 at $2.5 billion over four years, a fraction of the amount spent on offshore processing.

A Galaxy poll commissioned by the Greens found that almost 50 per cent of voters did not trust either Labor or the Liberals "to put caring for refugees before political interest". The same proportion did not trust either of the major parties to "handle refugees with care".

"Both parties are moving so far to the right, it's difficult to imagine the next level of cruelty they could possibly engage in," Senator Milne told Fairfax Media. "They are bringing shame on Australia in a national and global sense."

Spending an extra $70 million a year to boost the UNHCR's capacity in the region was in line with recommendations of the Gillard government's expert panel and would "take pressure off people feeling like they have no other option than to be on boats".

The policy commits the Greens to restore Australia's migration zone "to match our land and sea territory"; to guarantee legal review and community detention options for refugees who receive adverse ASIO security assessments; and to replace the immigration minister with an independent guardian for unaccompanied children seeking asylum.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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