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

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

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

31 August, 2014

Myth of Arctic meltdown: Stunning satellite images show summer ice cap is thicker and covers 1.7million square kilometres MORE than 2 years ago...despite Al Gore's prediction it would be ICE-FREE by now

Another stupid prophecy bites the dust

The speech by former US Vice-President Al Gore was apocalyptic. ‘The North Polar ice cap is falling off a cliff,’ he said. ‘It could be completely gone in summer in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.’

Those comments came in 2007 as Mr Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning on climate change.

But seven years after his warning, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that, far from vanishing, the Arctic ice cap has expanded for the second year in succession – with a surge, depending on how you measure it, of between 43 and 63 per cent since 2012.

To put it another way, an area the size of Alaska, America’s biggest state, was open water two years ago, but is again now covered by ice.

The most widely used measurements of Arctic ice extent are the daily satellite readings issued by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, which is co-funded by Nasa. These reveal that – while the long-term trend still shows a decline – last Monday, August 25, the area of the Arctic Ocean with at least 15 per cent ice cover was 5.62 million square kilometres.

This was the highest level recorded on that date since 2006 (see graph, right), and represents an increase of 1.71 million square kilometres over the past two years – an impressive 43 per cent.

Other figures from the Danish Meteorological Institute suggest that the growth has been even more dramatic. Using a different measure, the area with at least 30 per cent ice cover, these reveal a 63 per cent rise – from 2.7 million to 4.4 million square kilometres.

The satellite images published here are taken from a further authoritative source, the University of Illinois’s Cryosphere project.

They show that as well as becoming more extensive, the ice has grown more concentrated, with the purple areas – denoting regions where the ice pack is most dense – increasing markedly.

Crucially, the ice is also thicker, and therefore more resilient to future melting. Professor Andrew Shepherd, of Leeds University, an expert in climate satellite monitoring, said yesterday: ‘It is clear from the measurements we have collected that the Arctic sea ice has experienced a significant recovery in thickness over the past year.

‘It seems that an unusually cool summer in 2013 allowed more ice to survive through to last winter. This means that the Arctic sea ice pack is thicker and stronger than usual, and this should be taken into account when making predictions of its future extent.’

Yet for years, many have been claiming that the Arctic is in an ‘irrevocable death spiral’, with imminent ice-free summers bound to trigger further disasters. These include gigantic releases of methane into the atmosphere from frozen Arctic deposits, and accelerated global warming caused by the fact that heat from the sun will no longer be reflected back by the ice into space.

Judith Curry, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said last night: ‘The Arctic sea ice spiral of death seems to have reversed.’

Those who just a few years ago were warning of ice-free summers by 2014 included US Secretary of State John Kerry, who made the same bogus prediction in 2009, while Mr Gore has repeated it numerous times – notably in a speech to world leaders at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009, in an effort to persuade them to agree a new emissions treaty.

Mr Gore – whose office yesterday failed to respond to a request for comment – insisted then: ‘There is a 75 per cent chance that the entire polar ice cap during some of the summer months could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.’

Misleading as such forecasts are, some people continue to make them. Only last month, while giving evidence to a House of Lords Select Committee inquiry on the Arctic, Cambridge University’s Professor Peter Wadhams claimed that although the Arctic is not ice-free this year, it will be by September 2015.

Asked about this yesterday, he said: ‘I still think that it is very likely that by mid-September 2015, the ice area will be less than one million square kilometres – the official designation of ice-free, implying only a fringe of floes around the coastlines. That is where the trend is taking us.’

For that prediction to come true it would require by far the fastest loss of ice in history. It would also fly in the face of a report last year by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which stated with ‘medium confidence’ that ice levels would ‘likely’ fall below one million square kilometres by 2050.

Politicians such as Al Gore have often insisted that climate science is ‘settled’ and have accused those who question their forecasts of being climate change ‘deniers’.

However, while few scientists doubt that carbon-dioxide emissions cause global warming, and that this has caused Arctic ice to decline, there remains much uncertainty about the speed of melting and how much of it is due to human activity. But outside the scientific community, the more pessimistic views have attracted most attention. For example, Prof Wadhams’s forecasts have been cited widely by newspapers and the BBC. But many reject them.

Yesterday Dr Ed Hawkins, who leads an Arctic ice research team at Reading University, said: ‘Peter Wadhams’s views are quite extreme compared to the views of many other climate scientists, and also compared to what the IPCC report says.’

Dr Hawkins warned against reading too much into ice increase over the past two years on the grounds that 2012 was an ‘extreme low’, triggered by freak weather. ‘I’m uncomfortable with the idea of people saying the ice has bounced back,’ he said.

However, Dr Hawkins added that the decline seen in recent years was not caused only by global warming. It was, he said, intensified by ‘natural variability’ – shifts in factors such as the temperature of the oceans. This, he said, has happened before, such as in the 1920s and 1930s, when ‘there was likely some sea ice retreat’.

Dr Hawkins said: ‘There is undoubtedly some natural variability on top of the long-term downwards trend caused by the overall warming. This variability has probably contributed somewhat to the post-2000 steep declining trend, although the human-caused component still dominates.’

Like many scientists, Dr Hawkins said these natural processes may be cyclical. If and when they go into reverse, they will cool, not warm, the Arctic, in which case, he said, ‘a decade with no declining trend’ in ice cover would be ‘entirely plausible’.

Peer-reviewed research suggests that at least until 2005, natural variability was responsible for half the ice decline. But exactly how big its influence is remains an open question – and as both Dr Hawkins and Prof Curry agreed, establishing this is critical to making predictions about the Arctic’s future.

Prof Curry said: ‘I suspect that the portion of the decline in the sea ice attributable to natural variability could be even larger than half.

‘I think the natural variability component of Arctic sea ice extent is in the process of bottoming out, with a reversal to start within the next decade. And when it does, the reversal period could last for several decades.’

This led her to believe that the IPCC forecast, like Al Gore’s, was too pessimistic.  ‘Ice-free in 2050 is a possible scenario, but I don’t think it is a likely scenario,’ she concluded.


How to Talk About Climate Change So People Will Listen: A Skeptic’s View

by Joe Bast

An essay in the current issue of The Atlantic purports to instruct readers on “How to Talk About Climate So People Will Listen.” The author, Charles C. Mann, is a long-time contributor to the magazine who writes about history, tourism, and energy issues. With this article, he tries to cut a path between the two warring tribes in the global warming debate, the Alarmists and the Skeptics.

He fails, rather spectacularly I think.

The first four paragraphs (out of 45) are good, as are a few paragraphs later on about enviro fruitcake Bill McKibben. But the rest of the article simply accepts the dubious and sometimes outrageous assertions and false narratives that gave rise to alarmism in the first place, the same ones skeptics delight in debunking. Surveys show most people know more about global warming than does Mann. If alarmists use this article as their guide to how to talk about the issue, skeptics once again will win most of the debates in bars and around grills this summer.

A Good Start

Mann starts out strong, reporting how the media turned an obscure modeling exercise about the melt rate of the western Antarctic ice shelf into hysterical headlines about coastal flooding. Had he waited a couple weeks, he could have written much the same about “Russian methane holes.” The lesson in both cases is that the mainstream media are utterly unreliable sources of information on the climate issue. They profit from exaggeration, rely on special interests for advertising revenue, and lack expertise to report on science matters.

Sadly, Mann doesn’t appear to have learned this lesson. In the rest of his article he treats mainstream media accounts of the climate debate as dispository. The public understands this: Surveys show nearly half believe the media exaggerate the climate change problem.

Mann reports, in a single but very nice paragraph, the world’s enormous debt to fossil fuels. The Industrial Revolution, he says, was “driven by the explosive energy of coal, oil, and natural gas, it inaugurated an unprecedented three-century wave of prosperity.” One might quibble with his take on this: The improvement in the human condition started before 1800 and was the result of changes in institutions (the arrival of markets, private property, and limited government) and embrace of new values (the Scottish Enlightenment) as well as the discovery of fossil fuels. Without the first and second discoveries, the third would have done little more than heat some feudal castles and light some cobblestone streets.

An Important Step?

After this promising start, the errors come fast. “In an important step, the Obama administration announced in June its decision to cut power-plant emissions 30 percent by 2030.” There’s a lot wrong with that single sentence.

The Obama administration can’t cut power-plant emissions, except possibly by turning down the heat in the Oval Office in the winter and the air conditioning in the summer. It can only start rule-making processes that would make it illegal for coal-powered plants to continue to operate, and hope the courts and Congress don’t block or repeal the rules. That’s what it did. Time will tell if emissions fall as a result.

The baseline for the administration’s proposed cut of 30% of carbon dioxide emissions is 2005, nearly 10 years ago. Emissions have already fallen by about 15% since then (depending on who is measuring it), or half the goal. Is it unrealistic to expect a “business as usual” scenario would result in emissions in 2030 being 30 percent lower than they were in 2005?

Economists and demographers are converging on forecasts of continued “decarbonization” of the U.S. economy as electrification spreads, the service and digital sectors displace old-style manufacturing, economic growth slows, young people stay home or return home and stay longer than before, and an older population grows more sedentary. If so, how is the Obama administration’s proposal “an important step” to anywhere?

And just to pile on for a moment, even the Obama administration admits a reduction of 30% from 2005 levels by 2030 will have no detectable impact on global temperatures. Global warming alarmists admit this and call for reducing global emissions by 80% or more by 2050. Since there is no chance China, India, Canada, Australia, or Russia will reduce their emissions (voluntarily) between now and 2050, U.S. emissions would need to go to zero or even negative to meet that goal. (Negative? Yes… our economy would need to become a net “carbon sink,” sequestering more carbon dioxide than we emit.) How is Obama’s “business as usual” proposal an “important step” toward that goal?

Those Pesky Economists

Mann correctly scolds alarmists for “rhetorical overreach, moral miscalculation, shouting at cross-purposes…,” a “toxic blend” that damages their cause and fuels the skeptic backlash. But then he miscategorizes their opponents as economists, who he calls “cheerleaders for industrial capitalism.” That line reveals how little Mann knows about public opinion or economics.

Surveys show two-thirds of the American people don’t think global warming is man-made or a serious problem. Are two thirds of the American people economists? Not the last time I checked.

In the national (and global) debate over global warming, economists aren’t prominent, despite some attempts and wishes it were otherwise. The skeptics’ strongest weapon isn’t economics, it’s common sense. Temperatures aren’t rising even though carbon dioxide levels are. Reducing our emissions won’t affect climate so long as other nations keep increasing theirs. Some continued warming would produce more benefits than harms. Future generations will be far wealthier than us despite a small increase in temperatures. Each of these common-sense (and true) observations are deadly to the alarmists’ cause.

Everybody knows we reap tremendous benefits from affordable fossil fuels today. You don’t need to be an economist to know that those benefits vastly exceed the benefits, two centuries from now, of slowing the advance of man-made climate change by one degree or two, assuming the alarmists’ dubious predictions are correct.

Mann’s appreciation for fossil fuels, so eloquently expressed in paragraph three, is missing now. He dismisses cost-benefit analysis as having “moral problems” due to the way it handles small risks and long time horizons. That will come as news to all the experts who made careers of conducting cost-benefit analyses on a wide range of programs and challenges. Why is global warming any different?

Politics and Environmental Protection

Mann says global warming legislation no longer wins congressional approval due to a polarization in views over the value of environmental protection that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s. In Mann’s telling of the story, concern for the environment began as a conservative movement, and then businesses “realized that environmental issues had a price tag. Increasingly, they balked. Reflexively, the anticorporate left pivoted; Earth Day, erstwhile snow job, became an opportunity to denounce capitalist greed.”

Some of us who were part of the environmental movement in the 1970s and 1980s saw something different taking place. The great environmental protection legislation of the 1970s passed with nearly unanimous support because the problems were real and begged for national solutions. After early major successes, an iron triangle of bureaucrats, grandstanding politicians, and yellow journalists started a drum-beat for pursuing ever-more stringent emission reductions regardless of their negligible benefits and soaring costs. The consensus that had produced lop-sided votes in favor of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts disappeared, not because of some kind of “political stasis in the ‘90s,” but because the biggest environmental problems had been solved and further legislation wasn’t needed.

It was at this point, during the 1980s, that liberals (or “progressives”) saw the opportunity and the need to take over the environmental movement and use its members as shock troops in its war on “capitalism.” It was easy, since conservatives and libertarians were stepping down and moving on to organizations created to solve real problems. Many histories of the left’s takeover of the environmental movement have been written. A partial list appears in Jay Lehr’s recent Heartland Policy Brief on “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency.”

Once in charge of the environmental movement, the left turned its erstwhile members into conscripts much like the others in its army: organized labor, feminists, African Americans, trial lawyers, and gays and lesbians. Donors to the environmental movement – solar and wind entrepreneurs, ethanol producers, lawyers, and billionaire financiers like Tom Steyer – are dunned for contributions to the Democratic Party and its affiliates. Propaganda replaces factual information, hysterical warnings of threats to rights and privileges lead to calls to action and “remember to vote on Tuesday.”

The politicization of the movement is made explicit by the League of Conservation Voters’ annual scorecards, which invariably reward Democrats and punish Republicans. The 2013 National Environmental Scorecard, which it says “represents the consensus of experts from about 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations,” includes this nice tribute to bipartisanship: “The Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives continues to be controlled by Tea Party climate change deniers with an insatiable appetite for attacks on the environment and public health.”

More False Narratives

Mann says “a cap-and-trade mechanism… reduced acid rain at a fraction of the predicted cost; electric bills were barely affected.” Actually, research by energy economist Jim Johnston and others shows the cap-and-trade mechanism played only a minor role in reducing emissions. What drove the reductions while allowing prices to stay low was the opening of inexpensive low-sulfur coal mines in western states.

Mann says, “I remember winters as being colder in my childhood….” The 1970s saw some of the coldest winters in the twentieth century, so it’s no surprise many of us remember them that way. But the 1930s and 1940s were warmer than today … and human carbon dioxide emissions couldn’t have been responsible for that warm period. This past winter was the coldest, longest, and snowiest in my life (I live in Illinois and part-time in Wisconsin), and recent summers have been among the coolest I can recall. This morning it was 51 degrees when I walked to my train… on August 15. I don’t remember having to wear coats in August, do you?

Mann says “a few critics argue that for the past 17 years warming has mostly stopped. Still, most scientists believe that in the past century the Earth’s average temperature has gone up by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit.” This is wrong on a couple counts.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which Mann and alarmists generally hold out as the gold standard of climate research, admitted there’s been no warming for the past 15 years in its “final draft” Summary for Policymakers, before politicians and environmental activists made them take it out. Is that “a few critics”? And skeptics don’t deny a warming of 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit occurred “in the past century.” Much of the increase occurred before it could have been attributed to the human presence. Why this peculiar and misleading phrasing?

Swallowing the Left’s Rhetoric

By now, most readers will have figured out that Mann isn’t the impartial observer of the global warming debate he pretends to be. I wasn’t surprised to read, “rising temperatures per se are not the primary concern,” which is the alarmists’ pat answer when confronted by the fact that global warming stopped 17 years ago. But here’s the problem with that: According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the alarmists’ computer models “rule out” a zero trends for 15 years or more, meaning an observed absence of warming of this duration invalidates the models… and the alarmists’ theory.

(Here’s the source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2009. Knight, J. et al., Comment in Peterson, T. C., and M. O. Baringer, Eds., “State of the Climate in 2008,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 90, p. S23.)

When data rise up and refute a theory, good scientists don’t reject the data, they reject the theory. Global warming alarmists just say “never mind” and move to the next bit of pseudoscience. Like this: “Note, too, that this policy comes with a public-health bonus: reining in coal pollution could ultimately avoid as many as 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 children’s asthma attacks per year in the United States alone.”

Really, it doesn’t get much sillier than this. Carbon dioxide is a harmless, invisible, colorless gas. It doesn’t cause “premature deaths” or “asthma attacks.” Shutting down all the coal plants in the U.S. would reduce emissions of real pollutants, which is the basis for Mann’s claim, but those emissions already are too low to be associated with human health effects, and asthma attacks have been rising in frequency even as those emissions have dropped. The dramatically higher energy bills caused by shutting down coal plants, however, would cause morepremature deaths, and since asthma is correlated with family income, would cause moreasthma attacks.

It All Leads Up to This?

After a few paragraphs of criticism of easy-target Bill McKibben, presumably to throw skeptical readers off his alarmist scent, Mann delivers what those readers who haven’t given up already might think is the best talking point: “Let’s assume that rising carbon-dioxide levels will become a problem of some magnitude at some time and that we will want to do something practical about it.”

Yes, really, this is what 40 or so paragraphs have led up to: Let’s just assume it’s a big problem (or will be) and we should all just pitch in and try to solve it. This is where Uncle Jack leans over and says “Um, how about we not make a series of such dumb-ass assumptions and in the process save billions (even trillions) of dollars and millions (maybe billions) of human lives?”

This is the crux of the problem, both with Mann’s attempt to find a middle ground in the global warming debate and with the left’s obsession with the issue. Global warming alarmism rests on assumptions, not facts, logic, or reason. It’s got no game.

“Let’s just assume there’s a reason for government to take over a quarter of the nation’s economy and fix it, just like Obamacare will fix health care. Let’s simply assume the missing science exists, that the warming will be big enough to notice, that it will happen before mankind has found a substitute for fossil fuels or is colonizing other planets, and that the benefits of stopping or slowing climate change would be worth the expense.”

Anyone who stops and thinks about this, even for a moment, realizes it’s nonsense. Why would you make these assumptions? Why would you give up the benefits of affordable fossil fuels? “We may not be scientists,” says Uncle Jack, “but we’re not stupid.”

This is why alarmists always lose debates against skeptics. It’s why alarmists will look and act like fools this summer at countless cook-outs and family parties, while skeptics will sound thoughtful and reasonable. It’s not because, as Mann insists, people are too stupid to understand graphs. It’s because alarmists are wrong and skeptics are right. It’s just common sense.

And that, my friends, is how to talk about climate change so people will listen.


Academics Must Take Skeptics Seriously

by Joe Bast

A review and comment on: Ferenc Jankó, Norbert Móricz, Judit Papp Vancsó, “Reviewing the climate change reviewers: Exploring controversy through report references and citations,” Geoforum, Volume 56, September 2014, pages 17–34.

An article published in the September, 2014 issue of Geoforum, a peer-reviewed academic journal published by Elsevier, reports 90.79% of source citations in Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) were to peer-reviewed journals, a higher percentage than was the case with the United Nations’ IPCC Third and Fourth Assessment Reports. The authors found “the scientific background of the NIPCC report is quite similar to the IPCC report,” and concluded, “when we take the contrarian arguments seriously, there is a chance to bring together the differing views and knowledge claims of the disputing ‘interpretive communities’ (Lahsen, 2013b).”

This is dramatic vindication for the lead authors (Craig Idso and S. Fred Singer), 35 contributors and reviewers, and coeditors (Diane Carol Bast and me) of the 2009 NIPCC report. On a shoe-string budget and tight time-line, we produced a report that is just as credible as those produced by an international bureaucracy involving thousands of scientists, activists, and politicians, spending many millions of dollars, and taking several years to produce.

Since 2009, NIPCC has produced three more volumes – an interim report in 2011 containing chiefly reviews of new research, and two hefty volumes in 2013 and earlier this year focusing on the physical science and biological impacts of climate change. Those volumes are even more comprehensive and authoritative than the 2009 report.

The Geoforum article is not the first time NIPCC has been recognized as a major contributor to the global warming debate. The volumes have been cited more than 100 times in peer-reviewed journal articles and by a long list of prominent climate scientists. In 2013, the Information Center for Global Change Studies, a division of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, translated and published an abridged edition of the 2009 and 2011 NIPCC reports in a single volume, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences organized a NIPCC Workshop in Beijing to allow the NIPCC principal authors to present summaries of their conclusions.

When the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post reported on the release of the IPCC’s latest report, in late 2013, their news articles also commented on the latest NIPCC report, noting that NIPCC reached the opposite conclusions, indicating that a legitimate scientific debate over the causes and consequences of climate change continued.

The Geoforum article contains statements and information worth noting. Regarding the NIPCC report’s use of peer-reviewed literature, the authors say, “The peer-reviewed material was 90.5% of the IPCC report (and 84% of the IPCC TAR WGI Report – Bjurström and Polk, 2011a) and 90.79% of the material used by the NIPCC.” The authors write that they had “assumed that the reference list of the NIPCC report would differ markedly” from that of IPCC reports due to the alarmist bias of the editors of mainstream science journals and the “malpractice” revealed during the Climategate scandal. “In fact,” they write, “considering the most cited journals (Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Climate, Nature, Science), it seems that the scientific background of the NIPCC report is quite similar to the IPCC report.”

The authors found the 2009 NIPCC report apparently has 1,466 references, of which 1,331 were peer-reviewed. We never counted them ourselves, so we thank them for this hard work.

The penultimate paragraphs of the Geoforum article call out some findings, but are couched in language that obscures the points made above and reduces the findings to some rather arcane observations. Reviewing the same body of literature and coming to opposite conclusions is evidence that “the assessment process [is] flexible,” another way of saying disagreement can be honest and not due to fakery. Then the author write,

"What are the implications for science? There is a real concern that the controversy has so far had a negative effect on the reputation of science. From the perspective of an idealised public view of science (Lahsen, 2013a), such a polarised debate about ‘truths’ may be confusing. Thus, social science with science studies in the forefront has a mission to change this obsolete view of science. Saying ‘yes’ to our first question we might have a somewhat ‘naive’ implication for the IPCC; improving and widening the reviewing process may be a possible answer to the contrarian criticisms. But when we take the contrarian arguments seriously, there is a chance to bring together the differing views and knowledge claims of the disputing ‘interpretive communities’ (Lahsen, 2013b)."

The final paragraph reads as follows:

"More broadly, we should consider that both reports purport to be based on the ideal of pure, value-free science, where the prevailing scientific practices may not lead to the end of the debate because citations are not solid bricks on which to build statements, conclusions and political decisions later on (cf. Sarewitz, 2004). Scientific reports should be viewed not only as a second level of peer review and canonization of scientific facts but also as a means of politicization of science. Our paper’s final conclusion, claiming a more constructive and iterative science-policy relation, is well echoed in the literature (e.g. Demeritt, 2006; Pielke, 2007; Hulme, 2009; van der Sluijs et al., 2010b; Latour, 2011). However, there will be hope for better science for the public and for policy, for better constructions of the problem only when we fully understand the knowledge controversy around climate change."

This is a little perplexing until you realize they are assuming, but don’t say, that NIPCC is comparable and just as credible (or not) as the IPCC report. Both studies, they say, demonstrate that survey reports like IPCC and NIPCC are not “pure, value-free science” nor are they sufficiently credible to serve as the basis for “statements, conclusions and political decisions later on.” Rather, such studies are “a second level of peer review and canonization of scientific facts but also … a means of politicization of science.”

I take this as an effort to poison a victory by global warming skeptics. NIPCC is just as good, just as credible or reliable, as the IPCC, and this message ought to be shouted from rooftops. But having achieved this despite lack of resources, editorial bias, and outright academic fraud, the significance of our victory is trivialized by saying it hardly matters because neither NIPCC nor IPCC is credible or reliable.

Such criticism of the IPCC is rare in the peer-reviewed literature, and if the price of getting “mainstream” academics to say it is to have our credibility disparaged as well, I suppose it is worth paying. Regardless, it is now clear that mainstream academics must take global warming skeptics seriously.


Australian weatherman’s records reveal warming fraud

AS a child, Ian Cole would watch his father Neville take meticulous readings from the Bureau of Meteorology thermometer at the old post office in the western NSW town of Bourke and send the results through by teleprinter.

The temperature was recorded every three hours, including at night when the mercury sometimes plunged to freezing, and the data was logged in handwritten journals that included special notes to help explain the results.

That all changed in 1996 when the Stevenson Screen, the official measuring equipment, was replaced with an automatic station and moved to an airport site.

The Stevenson Screen went to the dump and, but for fate, the handwritten notes could have gone there too. But without instruction, the records were kept and are now under lock and key, held as physical evidence of what the weather was really doing in the mid-20th century.

These Bourke records have ­assumed a new significance in light of concerns about how historic data is being treated at many sites around the country. The records are also important in an ongoing row that frustrates Mr Cole.

The Bourke cotton farmer may be managing director of the local radio station 2WEB but Mr Cole can only broadcast temperature records that date back to 2000 because the Bureau of Meteorology won’t supply historic records to service provider Weatherzone.

As a result “hottest day on record” doesn’t really mean what it seems. “We keep on being told about records that are not actually records and averages that are not quite right,” Mr Cole said.

Worse still there are concerns about what has happened to the precision of those handwritten records in the earlier years. Bourke now forms part of a network of weather stations used to make up the national record known as ACORN-SAT. The raw temperature records are “homogenised”, a method BOM says has been peer-reviewed as world’s best practice and is used by equivalent meteorological organisations across the world.

Independent research, the ­results of which have not been disputed by BOM, has shown that, after homogenisation, a 0.53C warming in the minimum temperature trend has been increased to a 1.64C warming trend. A 1.7C cooling trend in the maximum temperature series in the raw data for Bourke has been changed to a slight warming.

BOM has rejected any suggestion that it has tampered inappropriately with the numbers. It says the major adjustment to Bourke temperatures relate to “site moves in 1994, 1999 and 1938 as well as 1950s in homogeneities that were detected by neighbour comparison which, based on station photos before and after, may relate to changes in vegetation around the site”.

Queensland researcher Jennifer Marohasy, who has analysed the Bourke records, says BOM’s analysis is all very well but the largest adjustments, both to maximum temperature series, ­occurred in the period 1911 and 1915 with a stepdown of about 0.7C, followed by a step-up between 1951 and 1953 of about 0.45C. Of greater concern to Dr Marohasy is that historic high temperatures, such as the record 51.7C recorded on January 3, 1909, were removed from the record on the assumption it was a clerical error. In fact, all the data for Bourke for 40 years before 1910 has been discarded from the official record. If it were there, says Dr Marohasy, the record would show that temperatures were particularly hot during that period.

For Mr Cole it is a simple matter of trusting the care and attention of his father. “Why should you change manually created records?” Mr Cole said. “At the moment they (BOM) are saying we have a warming climate but if the old figures are used we have a cooling climate.”


It’s about the money, not the climate

By Alan Caruba

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), the Irish poet and dramatist, wrote “Pray don’t talk to me about the weather. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else.”

These days, when some world leader or politician speaks of the climate — the weather is what is happening right now wherever you are — they are not talking about sunshine or rain. They are talking about a devilishly obscene way of raising money by claiming that it is humans that are threatening the climate with everything they do, from turning on the lights to driving anywhere.

That’s why “global warming” was invented in the late 1980s as an immense threat to the Earth and to mankind. Never mind that Earth has routinely passed through warmer and cooler cycles for billions of years; much of which occurred before mankind emerged. And never mind that the Earth has been a distinct cooling cycle for the past seventeen years and likely to stay in it for a while. If the history of ice ages is any guide, we could literally be on the cusp of a new one.

If, however, a government can tax the use of energy, it stands to make a lot of money. That is why carbon taxes have been introduced in some nations and why the nearly useless “clean energy” options of wind and solar have been introduced even though they both require the backup of traditional coal, natural gas and nuclear energy plants because they cannot produce electricity if the wind isn’t blowing and the sun is obscured by clouds.

Taxing energy use means taxing “greenhouse gas” emissions; primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) so that every ton of it added to the atmosphere by a power plant and any other commercial activity becomes a source of income for the nation. The Australians went through this and rapidly discovered it drove up their cost of electricity and negatively affected their economy so much that they rid themselves of a prime minister and the tax within the past year.

Fortunately, every effort to introduce a carbon tax has been defeated by the U.S. Congress, but that it has shelled out billions for “climate research” over the years. That doesn’t mean, however, that 41 members of the House of Representatives haven’t gotten together in a “Safe Climate Caucus” led by Rep. Henry A. Waxman. The Washington Post reported that when it was launched in February 2013, the members promised to talk every day on the House floor about “the urgent need to address climate change.”

Check out the caucus and, if your Representative is a member, vote to replace him or her with someone less idiotic.

When you hear the President or a member of Congress talk about the climate, they are really talking about the scheme to generate revenue from it through taxation or to raise money from those who will personally benefit from any scheme related to the climate such as “clean energy.”

The need of governments to frighten their citizens about the climate in order to raise money is international in scope. A United States that has a $17 trillion debt is a prime example, much of it due to a government grown so large it wastes taxpayer’s money in the millions with every passing day whether it is sunny or rainy, warm or cold.

In late July, Reuters reported that Christine Lagarde, the chair of theInternational Monetary Fund, (IMF) opined in her new book that “energy taxes in much of the world are far below what they should be to reflect the harmful environmental and health impact of fossil fuels use.”

Please pay no attention to the billions of dollars that coal, oil and natural gas already generate for the nations in which they are found. Nations such as India and China are building coal-fired plants as fast as possible to provide the electricity every modern nation needs to expand its economy, provide more employment, and improve their citizen’s lives in every way imaginable.

“For the first time,” Reuters reported, “the IMF laid out exactly what it views as appropriate taxes on coal, natural gas, gasoline, and diesel in 156 countries to factor in the fuel’s overall costs, which include carbon dioxide emissions, air pollution, congestion and traffic accidents.” The problem with this is that the costs cited are bogus.

“Nations,” said Lagarde, “are now working on a United Nations deal for late 2015 to rein in greenhouse gas emissions that have hit repeated highs this century, but progress has been slow as nations fret about the impact any measures may have on economic growth.” As in bad impacts!

Ignore the claims that carbon dioxide affects the climate. Its role is so small it can barely be measured because CO2 represents 380 parts per million. When our primate ancestors began to climb down out of the trees, CO2 levels were about 1,000 parts per million. More CO2 means more crops, healthy growing forests, and all the other benefits that every form of vegetation provides. The breath we humans exhale contains about 4% of CO2.

The fact is that the United States and other nations are being run by politicians who are incapable of reducing spending or borrowing more in order to spend more. Venezuela just defaulted again on the payment of bonds it issued to raise money. They did this in 2001 and one must wonder why any financial institution purchases them.

There are eleven other nations whose credit ratings are flirting with big trouble. They include Greece, Ukraine, Pakistan, Cypress, and in the Americas Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador and Belize. Borrowing by such nations is very expensive. A U.S. Treasury Note pays an annual coupon of just 2.5%, but the yields on 10-year bonds issue by Greece reached 29% in early 2012, just before it defaulted.

Adding to problems in the U.S. is the Obama agenda being acted upon by the Environmental Protection Agency whose “war on coal” has shuttered several hundred plants that produce the electricity needed to maintain the economy. In coal producing states this is playing havoc and it is driving up the cost of electricity in others.

The growth of oil and natural gas production in the U.S. is almost entirely on privately owned land as opposed to that controlled by the government. Supporting the attack on energy are the multi-million dollar environmental organizations like Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club.

The world has not warmed since the nineties and many factors influence the climate other than CO2, the Sun, the oceans, clouds, and volcanic activity. Nothing any government does, here and worldwide, has any meaningful impact on it, but if nations can demonize the use of energy and tax the CO2 it produces, they can generate more money to spend and waste.

The lies that governments, the United Nations, and the International Monetary Fund tell about the climate are about the money they can extract from citizens who must be kept frightened enough to pay taxes on their use of energy.


The Trouble With Obama's Non-Binding UN Climate Plan?

It has already been tried, and it failed

‘I am speaking on behalf of the United States of America because my negotiators cannot,” Abigail Borah, a youth delegate to the 2011 Durban climate negotiations, yelled from the conference floor. “I am scared for my future,” she cried, silencing Todd Stern, the Obama administration’s chief climate negotiator. “We need an urgent path to a fair, ambitious, and legally binding treaty.”

Now the Obama administration is signaling that there will be not be a new climate treaty. According to a report in Wednesday’s New York Times, the path to a treaty has come to an end, 14 months before the Paris talks scheduled for next year. Instead, the best deal on offer is a non-binding accord. This is big news.

Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is reheating the rhetoric from its fifth assessment report, doing what it always does: produce the right mood music ahead of crunch-time climate talks. Trouble is, it’s all sounding more than a little dated. In that report, the first installment of which was released last September, the IPCC ducked the big question unsettling climate science. What are the possible causes and implications of the pause — or hiatus, as the IPCC prefers to call it — in the rise in average global temperatures? The pause is already more than a decade old. With 39 explanations and counting, and some climate scientists now arguing that it might last yet another decade, the IPCC has sidelined itself in irrelevance until it has something serious to say about the pause and has reflected on whether its alarmism is justified, given its reliance on computer models that predicted temperature rises that have not occurred.

While the IPCC plays yesterday’s tired hits, it appears that next year’s climate-change negotiations will bring forth a mouse. In retrospect, the Durban climate conference turned out to be the high point for expectations that climate negotiations would produce a binding treaty. It was also the high point for the European Union’s climate-change strategy, knocking the U.S. on its heels. After the acrimonious collapse of attempts to agree to a climate treaty at Copenhagen in 2009, American and European climate negotiators drew diametrically different conclusions about what to do next.

The Obama administration reckoned that climate-change diplomacy had to be based on the recognition that opposition from China and India put a climate-change treaty beyond the realm of the realizable. The Senate was not going to ratify a treaty that did not include all the major emitters, and, as a matter of arithmetic, all the major emitters had to sign the treaty if it were to have any chance of tackling global warming.

It was the same logic that had led President George W. Bush not to send the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate for ratification. Instead, his administration developed a strategy aimed at including the major emerging economies. That strategy was adopted by President Obama. Success required overcoming the division between developed and developing nations that was enshrined in the 1992 U.N. climate-change convention. It is why the Senate adopted, 95–0, the Byrd-Hagel resolution shortly before Kyoto. Speaking with one voice, the Senate said that the U.S. should not ratify any climate-change treaty unless it included specific, timetabled commitments from developing nations.

By contrast, after Copenhagen, the Europeans clung to the hope of a binding treaty embracing all major emitters. Their strategy was to use the annual cycle of U.N. climate-change negotiations to fragment the coalition of developing nations through promises of billions of dollars of climate aid. Finding themselves isolated, the Indians and the Chinese would buckle under international pressure and sign on to a comprehensive treaty.

At Durban, the Europeans had an apparent trump card that encapsulated the delusory nature of the enterprise. All the other developed nations had decided to join the U.S. and effectively exit the Kyoto Protocol at the end of its first commitment period; Canada went further and formally withdrew. Without “hard, bankable” commitments from large nations on a roadmap to a binding treaty, the EU would pull the plug on Kyoto. So threatened Chris Huhne, the U.K. climate secretary who subsequently had to resign and serve time at Her Majesty’s pleasure, for perjury.

The EU’s hard line appeared to move the needle decisively toward a treaty. China indicated a softening in its position. The conference agreed to launch a process that aimed to deliver, at the very least, an agreed outcome with “legal force” applicable to developed and developing nations alike. Even Todd Stern was impressed, calling the Durban outcome “very significant.” The drive toward a comprehensive climate treaty, culminating at the Paris climate conference in 2015, was on.

Now that plan has collapsed. For the Obama administration, this means reverting to its pre-Durban Plan A: no legally binding commitments but voluntary pledges, notified under the auspices of the 1992 convention and underpinned by a regime of “naming and shaming” those who don’t live up to them. There is a big problem with this. It has already been tried, and it failed.

Out of the ashes of Copenhagen came the Copenhagen Accord, under which nations would notify the U.N. climate-change secretariat of their commitments to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions. In January 2010, Japan notified the convention secretariat of its pledge to cut its 1990-level emissions 25 percent by 2020. Last November, the government of Shinzo Abe tore this up, replacing it with a new target that implied a 3.8 percent increase. It caused hardly a ripple. Clearly, an international regime of emissions cuts enforced by naming and shaming has no credibility.

Worse still are the terrible optics of the Obama administration’s handling of the non-treaty. The partisan spin is that this route enables the climate-change negotiations to bypass recalcitrant Republicans in the Senate. The unanimous vote in favor of the Byrd-Hagel resolution in 1997— the current secretaries of state and defense both voted for it — showed bipartisan opposition to any climate-change treaty that does not cover all the world’s major emitters. Blaming Republicans might be smart electoral politics, but it shifts international attention from the opposition of India and China to any treaty that binds them. Playing into the hands of the blame-America crowd is never good politics for an American president.



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

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


29 August, 2014

Will there be a global famine in 2050? Crops will be overwhelmed by pests in the next 30 years, scientists warn

Another of the "coming shortage" scares that Greenies often resort to, none of which have ever come true.  The scare below  is sheer speculation.  To prove spread they needed similar population counts at two different dates.  But they did not have that.  All they had was "historical observation dates" for a minority of their species.  Anyway, genetic engineering techniques are alrady reducing pest loads and should continue to do so.  That is why Greenies are trying to ban it

Many of the world's most important crop-producing countries will be fully saturated with pests by the middle of the century if current trends continue, a study has found.

More than one-in-ten pest types can already be found in around half the countries that grow their host crops.

And if this spread advances at its current rate, scientists fear that a significant proportion of global crop-producing countries will be overwhelmed by pests within the next 30 years.

The research from the University of Exeter was published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography.


Experiments by British academics have found that GM insects could be used to wipe out fruit fly pests that damage crops such as oranges, peaches, apples and pears.

Genetically modified versions of the Mediterranean fruit fly were created earlier this year using controversial technology developed by the UK bioscience company Oxitec.

Millions of male GM flies have been created in the laboratory to include a gene which means that when they mate with wild females, any resulting female larvae die before reaching maturity.

The resulting fall in the number of female fruit flies should, in theory, lead to a collapse in the total population which will mean less damage is caused to food crops.

Oxitec has promoted the technology as an alternative to the use of harsh chemical pesticides to protect food crops and so boost yields and has held talks with UK government agencies to run trials in this country.

It describes the patterns and trends in the spread of crop pests, using global databases to investigate the factors that influence the number of countries reached by pests and the number of pests in each country.

Crop pests include fungi, bacteria, viruses, insects, nematodes, viroids and oomycetes.

'If crop pests continue to spread at current rates, many of the world's biggest crop producing nations will be inundated by the middle of the century, posing a grave threat to global food security,' said Dr Dan Bebber of the Biosciences department at the University of Exeter.

The study identifies the pests likely to be the most invasive in coming years, which includes three species of tropical root knot nematode whose larvae infect the roots of thousands of different plant species.

Another, Blumeria graminis, is a fungus that causes powdery mildew on wheat and other cereals.

And the Citrus tristeza virus (given its name meaning 'sadness' in Portuguese and Spanish by farmers in the 1930s) is also a threat, having reached 105 of 145 countries growing citrus by the year 2000.

Fungi lead the worldwide invasion of crops and are the most widely dispersed group, despite having the narrowest range of hosts.

The study looked at the current distributions of 1,901 crop pests and pathogens and historical observations of a further 424 species.

Significant use was made of historical CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International) records, which document crop pests and diseases around the world from 1822 to the present day.

'By unlocking the potential to understand the distribution of crop pests and diseases, we're moving one step closer to protecting our ability to feed a growing global population,' said Dr Timothy Holmes, Head of Technical Solutions at CABI's Plantwise Knowledge Bank.

'The hope is to turn data into positive action.'

It supports the view of previous studies that climate change is likely to significantly affect pest pressure on agriculture, with the warming Earth having a clear influence on the distribution of crop pests.

The authors also describe the global game of cat-and-mouse as crops are introduced to pest free regions and briefly thrive, before their pursuers catch up with them.

Professor Sarah Gurr of Biosciences the University of Exeter added: 'New, virulent variants of pests are constantly evolving.

'Their emergence is favoured by increased pest population sizes and their rapid life-cycles, which force diversified selection and heralds the appearance of new aggressive genotypes.

'There is hope if robust plant protection strategies and biosecurity measures are implemented, particularly in the developing world where knowledge is scant.

'Whether such precautions can slow or stop this process remains to be seen.'


The global spread of crop pests and pathogens

By Daniel P. Bebber et al.



Current country- and state-level distributions of 1901 pests and pathogens and historical observation dates for 424 species were compared with potential distributions based upon distributions of host crops. The degree of ‘saturation’, i.e. the fraction of the potential distribution occupied, was related to pest type, host range, crop production, climate and socioeconomic variables using linear models.


More than one-tenth of all pests have reached more than half the countries that grow their hosts. If current trends continue, many important crop-producing countries will be fully saturated with pests by the middle of the century. While dispersal increases with host range overall, fungi have the narrowest host range but are the most widely dispersed group. The global dispersal of some pests has been rapid, but pest assemblages remain strongly regionalized and follow the distributions of their hosts. Pest assemblages are significantly correlated with socioeconomics, climate and latitude. Tropical staple crops, with restricted latitudinal ranges, tend to be more saturated with pests and pathogens than temperate staples with broad latitudinal ranges. We list the pests likely to be the most invasive in coming years.

Main conclusions

Despite ongoing dispersal of crop pests and pathogens, the degree of biotic homogenization of the globe remains moderate and regionally constrained, but is growing. Fungal pathogens lead the global invasion of agriculture, despite their more restricted host range. Climate change is likely to influence future distributions. Improved surveillance would reveal greater levels of invasion, particularly in developing countries.


UN Climate Chief: 'Not Very Far' from Considering 'Climate Change as a Public Health Emergency'

This is complete and utter twaddle.  It's cold (winter) that kills people, not warmth.  Ask any hospital administrator.  A warmer world would be healthier

Secretary of State John Kerry has called climate change “the biggest challenge of all that we face right now,” and his French counterpart has warned of climate “chaos” in 500 days, and now the U.N. climate change chief is implying that climate change can be viewed on a par with the deadly Ebola outbreak.

Christiana Figueres told a World Health Organization (WHO)-hosted event in Geneva Wednesday that “we are not very far” from the point where climate change should be declared an international public health emergency, according to her prepared remarks.

Addressing a three-day global conference on health and climate – the first of its kind – Figueres said in remarks directed at WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, “Dear Margaret, as much as [I] would like you to, I am fully aware of the fact that you have not convened the international health regulations emergency committee to consider climate change as a public health emergency of international concern.”

“However, we are not very far from this,” she added.

The committee referred to by Figueres is the expert body on whose advice the WHO three weeks ago declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC).

Under international health regulations, a PHEIC is declared in a case where “an extraordinary event” is determined to constitute a public health risk through the international spread of disease; and “to potentially require a coordinated international response.”

In her speech Figueres, who is executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said that while it was easy to view climate change as “the equivalent of a disease” it was actually the symptom.

“The disease is something we rarely admit,” she said. “The disease is humanity’s unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels, deforestation and land use that depletes natural resources.”

“At the heart of an effective response to climate change is the challenge of taking responsibility for our actions and above all, making tough decisions to change the patterns that have been at the base of our development over the past 100 years, if we are to prevent severe worsening of health and quality of life conditions over the next 100 years.”

The U.N. says climate change is having an impact on health in numerous ways, including malnutrition due to crop failures arising from changing weather patterns; water scarcity; the spread of water-borne disease resulting from rising temperatures; and the effect of carbon emissions on rates of cancer and respiratory disease rates.

Speaking at the conference Wednesday, Chan linked climate change to the emergence of new human diseases. She said many of these originate in wild animals, whose populations, concentration and incursion into areas where humans live are impacted by climate variables.

But she cautioned against speculation that Ebola may be affected by climate.

“I am aware of speculation that climate change may influence the frequency of outbreaks of Ebola virus disease,” she said. “I must emphasize we have no evidence that this is the case.”

Paris agreement will be ‘universal and applicable to all countries’

Like a number of other events around the world, the conference in Geneva is looking ahead to the next major U.N. climate megaconference, in Paris, France in November 2015, when efforts will be made to finalize a global agreement on cutting “greenhouse gas” emissions.

Next month U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will host a summit in New York where world leaders will be urged to make commitments ahead of the Paris conference.

“This agreement will be universal and applicable to all countries,” Figueres said in Geneva. “It will address current and future emissions. If strong enough, it will prevent the worst and chart a course toward a world with clean air and water, abundant natural resources and happy, healthy populations, all the requirements for positive growth.”

“Seen in this light,” she added, “the climate agreement is actually a public health agreement.”


Workers suffer when militarized police and Big Green get together

While all eyes turn to the gunfire and Molotov cocktails of War Zone Ferguson, Mo., many minds turn to questions of mindless faith in the political establishment.

One such mind belongs to basketball champion turned actor and best-selling author, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whose Monday commentary on Ferguson for Time Magazine bore the chilling headline, “The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race.”

It will be about class warfare, he predicted — the powerful and wealthy elite against the 50 million Americans who are poor — black, Latino, and white. “Fifty million voters is a powerful block if they ever organized in an effort to pursue their common economic goals,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.

This great icon’s class warfare insight reaches farther than he knows, into the multi-millions of marginalized, demonized, and despised workers of the resource class — loggers, coal miners, cattle ranchers, commercial fishermen, oil rig roustabouts, tunnel blasters, heavy equipment operators, and on and on — every one of us who gets dirty hands making the stuff of elite splendor and majesty.  And, yes, I once shoveled foundation trenches and shouldered kegs of ten-penny brights (nails) for a living.

All these hardworking people are mocked, devalued, and destroyed by Big Green’s privileged few, as told in the recent Senate report, “How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA.” It’s a class warfare warning.

Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke (heiress of the Sperry & Hutchinson fortune, see photo) doesn’t help the poor with their economic goals using her $427,595 annual compensation or the group’s $241.8 million assets, but ruins every resource worker possible.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s chief investment officer, Denise Strack, doesn’t help the poor with their economic goals using her $1.6 million annual compensation or the foundation’s $5.6 billion assets from the Intel fortune, but helps ruin every resource worker possible.

Big Green conducts class war with its power over the federal government.  If that sounds impossible, let me tell you a story.

On July 27, 1991, thirty U.S. Forest Service agents on horseback, some armed with semi-automatic weapons and wearing bulletproof vests, raided rancher Wayne Hage’s cattle in Meadow Canyon in the Toiyabe National Forest, high in the mountains of central Nevada. The cows were drinking from disputed water and were to be impounded that day, destroying Hage’s livelihood — and dooming some of the meat supply that gave minimum-wage urban burger flippers something to flip.

The agents hoped to infuriate Hage into violence and kill him. However, he showed up with a camera, immortalized them on film, sued them, and after years in a federal court, won a ruling that he owned the water. The Forest Service had no right to impound his cattle.

A court document showed that David Young, special agent in charge of the raid, had personally brought with him several Remington Model 870 pump-action 12 gauge shotguns, Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifles, Sig Sauer P220 .45 caliber semi-automatic pistols and a Smith & Wesson Model 36 .38 caliber revolver.

On April 2, 1990, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Forest Service James C. Overbay sent a letter to his subordinate regional foresters, urging support of environmentalists in return for their help supporting larger Forest Service fish and wildlife budgets, removal of ranchers, and expansion of USFS authority and power. It said:

"Conservation groups representing the organized wildlife and fish interests across the country have given considerable effort, time, and money to help the Forest Service promote these important programs. We need the support of these groups to avoid possible reductions in fish and wildlife budgets. They would like to see the results of these efforts. We owe this to them."

A little over a year later, the Forest Service paid off rich environmentalists by ruining Wayne Hage. The service’s culture of resource stewardship was drifting far from its conservation roots to political obsequiousness and ostentatious zeal.

Overbay had already devastated other ranchers with less publicity, but it was the Hage raid that reinforced Cliven Bundy’s misguided beliefs about federal authority and led to President Obama’s Bureau of Land Management storming the Bundy ranch from attack helicopters duded up in military-grade body armor, flashing short-barreled assault rifles, and crashing around in armored vehicles – enough combat equipment to remove the tinfoil hat stigma from the black helicopter crowd’s collective head.

As John Steinbeck famously wrote in The Grapes of Wrath: “Repression works only to strengthen and knit the oppressed.” A rabble in arms materialized from all over the West to protect the Bundy ranch – ready to die. It was blatant armed insurrection, but federal prudence prevailed and the BLM stood down – prosecutors are dealing with it now.

The militarization of federal agencies has a long history but should have a short future. Big Green’s federal power grip needs to be smashed and its storm troopers disarmed.

In June, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, introduced the Regulatory Agency Demilitarization Act, to stem the trend of federal regulatory agencies developing SWAT-like teams.

Maybe it’s unrealistic, but perhaps Abdul-Jabbar could recommend a diplomatic mission from the poor to the reviled workers of the resource class, put aside any past hurts and hates for a while, and organize in an effort to pursue their common economic goals.


Calming Fears of Climate Change in South and Southeast Asia

Debunking the threats one by one

South and Southeast Asia. Studies have focused on South and Southeast Asia due to their unique vulnerability to projected effects of climate change: a decline in agricultural production, rising sea levels, increased flooding, biodiversity loss, drought and more intense natural disasters. Countries in these regions are considered especially vulnerable because most are situated on peninsulas or islands and have highly populated coastal cities. With much of their investment and development concentrated in coastal areas, these regions have the most to lose if predictions pan out.

Maplecroft, a global risk analysis company, ranks Bangladesh as the country most at risk to climate change effects, with Cambodia, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand not far behind. Africa and the Caribbean harbor many other at-risk countries, but the five cities at the most "extreme risk" - Dhaka, Mumbai, Kolkata, Manila and Bangkok - all lie in South or Southeast Asia. Indeed, reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conclude climate change will slow economic growth, erode food security and trigger new poverty traps, particularly in these two regions.

Food Security. The World Health Organization (WHO) measures food security by supply, accessibility and consumption. Many observers fear rising temperatures will increase food insecurity in South and Southeast Asia. However, food production has increased dramatically over the past 50 years (see Figure I). Though Southeast Asian food production dipped in the 1970s, it recovered and has substantially increased since the 1990s.

Furthermore, the amount of arable land has remained stable in South Asia and has increased in Southeast Asia, signaling climate change has yet to have an effect on food security and that food production will be able to keep up. Indeed, agronomist and geographer Craig Idso estimates that, worldwide, increased plant production due to increased levels of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere grew in annual value from $18.5 billion in 1961 to over $140 billion by 2011 and amounted to $3.2 trillion over a 50-year period. Thus, food production in South and Southeast Asia will likely continue its upward trend beyond 2011.

Biodiversity. Another fear regarding climate change is widespread biodiversity loss. According to a study published by TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution, Southeast Asia is one of the world's richest areas in number of species and in endemism -- a species' uniqueness to a geographic location.Though the study's authors fear losses in biodiversity, none of the threats they cite - forest conversion, forest fires, hunting for bushmeat and the wildlife trade - involve climate change.

Coral Reef Bleaching. Climate change has already affected biodiversity in South and Southeast Asia, with bleached coral reefs correlating with rising sea temperatures. However, sea temperature rises appear to have tapered off in recent years, allowing the coral to adapt over time. Indeed, a study published by the Public Library of Science found that rising sea temperatures have been destroying coral reefs in Southeast Asia, but the reefs have adapted to the growing thermal stress over the past 20 years.

Rising Sea Levels. Scientists agree sea levels will continue to rise gradually, but there is no consensus on the exact range. IPCC lead scientists John Church and Neil White predict only a 28-to-34-centimeter rise - roughly one-third of one meter - by 2100. According to a World Bank report, even a one-meter sea level rise would affect only 1 percent to 2 percent of the land area, population and farmland in developing countries (see Figure II). A one meter rise would reduce GDP in the affected countries by 0.5 percent to 2 percent.

Growth and Adaptation to Climate Change. Some believe that regional economic growth has been hindered by infrastructure destruction due to more severe natural disasters. However, there is evidence that climate change has had beneficial effects on these economies so far and will continue to help over the long term. With GDP growth averaging near five and a half percent, South and Southeast Asia are among the fastest growing regions globally and appear strong enough to implement adaptation projects.

Thirteen of the 18 nations in these regions have already implemented 182 climate change-related measures to mitigate or adapt to the effects of climate change. However, the majority of these projects are designed to mitigate, rather than adapt to, climate change. Mitigation generally means projects, regulations or taxes aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases implicated in climate change. Adaptation strategies, by contrast, include focusing on natural disaster recovery and restoration, coral rehabilitation, water resource management, protecting wildlife and so forth.

Given the uncertainty in climate science, adaptation appears to be a more cost-effective approach than mitigation.


Climate Alarmism: When Is This Bozo Going Down?

Climate alarmism is like one of those pop-up Bozos. No matter how many times you bop it, up it springs. In fact, the only way to stop it, as most kids learn, is to deflate it. In this case, the air inside Bozo is your and my tax money.

Two scientific papers released last week combine for a powerful 1-2 haymaker, but, rest assured, Bozo springs eternal. The first says that human aerosol emissions are not that responsible for offsetting the warming influence of greenhouse gas emissions, while the second finds that the observed warming from human greenhouse gases is less than a lot of people think.

We aren’t at all surprised by the first result.  The cooling effect of sulphate particulates, which go into the air along with carbon dioxide when fossil fuels (mainly coal) are combusted, was only invoked in the mid-1980s, when the lack of warming predicted by computer models was embarrassingly obvious.

This is the kind of thing that the iconic historian of science, Thomas Kuhn, predicted in his classic book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. When a scientific “paradigm” is assaulted by reality, increasingly ornate and bizarre explanations are put forth to keep it alive. Sulfates smelled like one of those to us back in the 1980s, and now it looks like the excuses are finally getting comeuppance.

The second result also comes as little news to us, as we have been saying for years that the human carbon dioxide emissions are not the only player in the climate change game.

The two new papers, in combination, mean that the human influence on the climate from the burning of fossil fuels is far less than what the IPCC’s ensemble of climate models says it is. This also goes for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the EPA ,and the White House.

Rest assured, though, Bozo will rise again—despite a near-continuous barrage of blows supporting the idea that the climate’s sensitivity to human greenhouse gas emissions is far too low to justify any of the expensive and futile actions emanating from Washington and Brussels.

The aerosol paper describes research by a team of Israeli scientists led by Gerald Stanhill (from the ARO Volcani Center) who examined the causes of “solar dimming” and “solar brightening” that have taken place over the past half-century or so. Solar brightening (dimming) refers to multidecadal periods when more (less) solar radiation is reaching the surface of the earth. All else being equal (dangerous words in Science), the earth’s surface would warm during periods of brightening and cool during dimming. Solar dimming has been reported to have taken place from the 1950s through the 1980s and since then there has been a period of recovery (i.e., brightening).  These patterns have been linked by many to human aerosol emissions caused by pernicious economic activity, with heavy emissions leading to global cooling from the 1950s (witness the opaque air of Pittsburgh and London) through the late 1970s and then, as air quality was cleaned up and aerosol emissions declined, an unmasking of the warming impact from greenhouse gas emissions.

This is an essential storyline that might as well have been written by Kuhn. Without invoking the previously undiscovered masking impact of human aerosols, climate models predict that far more global warming should have happened as a result of human greenhouse gas emissions than has been observed, even by the 1980s. Behaving more predictably than the climate, federal climatologists, led by Tom Wigley of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (hey, we couldn’t make up the name of that exclusively taxpayer-funded monster), relied on the aerosol “knob” to try to keep climate models from overheating.

Stanhill et al. have bad news for the feds. In their new paper, they examine the records of sunshine duration as recorded at five observation sites with long-term observations. When comparing these sunshine histories with fossil fuel use histories (a proxy for aerosol emissions) from nearby areas, they find very little correspondence. In other words, human aerosol emissions aren’t to blame for much of the solar dimming and brightening.

What may be the cause? Variations in cloud cover.  According to Stanhill and colleagues:

"It is concluded that at the sites studied changes in cloud cover rather than anthropogenic aerosols emissions played the major role in determining solar dimming and brightening during the last half century and that there are reasons to suppose that these findings may have wider relevance."

Admittedly, there are only a small number of stations that were being analyzed, but Stanhill et al. have this to say:

"This conclusion may be of wider significance than the very small number of sites examined in this study would suggest as the sites sampled Temperate - Maritime, Mediterranean, Continental and Tropical climates,… and covered a wide range of rates of anthropogenic aerosol emission."

The implications are that human aerosols have played a lot smaller role in the global temperature variability of the past 50 years than is generally taken to be the case. And if human aerosols are not responsible for muting the expected temperature rise from greenhouse gas emissions, then it seems that the expected rise is too much. That is, the earth’s temperature is less sensitive to rising greenhouse gas concentrations than forecasted by governmental climate models, and therefore we should expect less warming in the future.

The  second paper, published last week in Science, is yet another study trying to explain the “pause” in the rise of global average surface temperatures.  Using annual data from the University of East Anglia temperature history—the one that scientists consult the most, we are now in our 18th year without a warming trend.

(For a revealing exposé on  how even this data is being jimmied to fit the paradigm, see what just showed up in the most recent Weekend Australian.)

University of Washington’s Xianyao Chen and Ka-Kit Tung found that a naturally occurring change in ocean circulation features in the Atlantic Ocean can act to enhance or suppress the magnitude of heat that is transferred from the surface into the ocean depths. The authors find that this natural cycling was responsible for burying additional heat since the late 1990s while maintaining surface heating during the previous three decades. Coupled with earlier research (Tung and Zhou, 2013), they figure that a substantial portion (~40%) of the rise in the global surface temperatures that has occurred since the mid-20th century was caused by natural variability in the circulation of the Atlantic Ocean.

The implication here is pretty clear—the role that human greenhouse gas emissions play in the observed warming isn’t what it was cracked up to be.  And, with a little nudge from other variables—like the sun—the quaint myth that “all scientists agree that the majority of warming since 1950 has been caused by human activity” does look more and more like another pop-up Bozo.

Taken together, the two paper combination strikes a haymaker to  the alarmist mantra—that dangerous climate change will result from greenhouse gas emissions. The Stanhill paper suggests that the projected warming wasn’t so masked by sulfate aerosols, and the Chen and Tung paper argues that less of the warming is due to a human influence anyway. This combination—greater warming pressure and less temperature change—means that the IPCC and federal climate models are just way off.

Going forward, we should expect much less human-induced global warming than government-fueled climate models project.

If this refrain sounds familiar, it is because we find ourselves frequently reporting on the subject of the earth’s climate sensitivity (how much warming results for a given input of carbon dioxide).  This issue is the biggest key to understanding anthropogenic climate change, and, because evidence continues to mount that the climate sensitivity is much less than advertised, there will be much more where this came from.

But Bozo, inflated by public monies, will spring eternal.


EU to ban high-energy hair dryers, smartphones and kettles

The European Union is considering pulling the plug on high-wattage hair dryers, lawn mowers and electric kettles in a follow up to its controversial ban on powerful vacuum cleaners.

The power of hairdryers could be reduced by as much as 30 per cent in order to be more eco-friendly, a draft study commissioned by Brussels suggests, threatening many of the models favoured by hairdressers and consumers for speedy blow-dries.

New proposals are expected next spring to outlaw dozens of household electrical devices that European officials regard as using too much electricity, as part of plans to meet EU targets on energy efficiency.

Current EU legislation covers televisions, washing machines, refrigerators and vacuum cleaners but not most smaller electrical appliances.

A study ordered by the European Commission, currently in draft form, has identified up to 30 electrical appliances including lawn mowers, smart phones and kettles that could be covered by the EU's Ecodesign directive outlawing high-wattage devices.

Günther Oettinger, the German EU energy commissioner, said that legislation preventing consumers from buying high-wattage appliances was necessary to fight climate change.

"We haven't got round to these devices yet, we want curb power consumption," he told Bild newspaper. "All EU countries agree that energy efficiency is the most effective method to reduce energy consumption and dependence on imports and to improve the climate. Therefore there needs to be mandatory consumption limits for small electrical appliances."

The proposals will be a controversial flagship policy for Jean-Claude Juncker when he takes power as commission president in November in order to meet a binding target for energy savings of 30 per cent across the EU by 2030.

EU bans on powerful vacuum cleaners and incandescent light bulbs have provoked a popular backlash across Europe including in traditionally pro-European countries such as Germany.

On Monday many of the best vacuum cleaners available for sale in the UK will be banned as a result of the EU energy efficiency rules that prohibit the manufacture or importing any vacuums with motors above 1,600 watts.

Tesco said sales of the most powerful vacuums had soared by as much as 94 per cent for some models after the Telegraph reported consumer group Which? urging shoppers to act quickly before they sold out forever.

The draft EC-commissioned study says hairdryers’ power input range from 900 watts to as much as 2,300 watts.

It admits that “of course, more powerful dryers may dry hair in a shorter time” but says there is “improvement potential” to cut hair dryers’ energy consumption by 30 per cent. This is based on a German scheme which awards energy efficiency labels to products which “achieve power savings of at least 30 per cent compared to standard appliances”.

Mark Coray, former president of the National Hairdressers’ Federation, said curbing the power of hairdryers would simply mean blow-drying took longer.

Mr Coray said he favoured a 2,100 watt hairdryer at his salon in Cardiff. “You have a salon environment and somebody in their lunch-break wanting to have their hair done; you have time constraints. The more powerful, the faster the blow dry – it’s as simple as that.”

He said one manufacturer had recently brought out a “green” hairdryer with a lower wattage of between 1,400 and 1,600 watts, but he was unimpressed by it. “It gets very hot but it doesn’t blow very fast,” he said.

Hairdressers liked to minimise the time they had to spend holding hairdryers because it could lead to repetitive strain injury, he added.

Herbert Reul, a conservative German MEP, said: "The commission must stop their eco-design plans. It makes no sense to regulate the detail of energy consumption, the manufacture of each product in the EU and to tell the citizen what he has to buy.”

Paul Nuttall MEP, UKip's deputy leader, said: "This is being done in the name of tackling climate change but the reality is it won't help one iota and will just make life harder for house-proud householders. I am perfectly sure grown-ups can decide which hair dryer, kettle or vacuum cleaner they want to buy without nannying EU interference."

Marlene Holzner, the European Commission’s energy spokesman, said: “It’s a big question mark if we go to regulate hairdryers at all. It’s a study we have asked consultants to do. In the final report they will reduce 30 products to 20. In January 2015 we will look at these recommendations then select from this list what to regulate and how.”



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

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


28 August, 2014

Who would be giving the Communist clenched-fist salute these days?

Ecofascists, of course.  The pic above is apparently from a new film full of Warmist hysteria.  Some of the speakers sound a lot like old uncle Adolf too.  One totalitarianism is as good as another to them, I guess.

Details here


Dr David Whitehouse

In popular science journalism the latest is always the best. With all the explanations for the “pause” in global surface temperatures since 1997 – there are now over 30 of them – it is always the most recently published one that is the “answer.”
This time it’s the Atlantic Ocean that’s to blame. A paper published in Science says that a 30-year periodicity warms and cools the world by sequestering heat below the ocean’s surface and then releasing it.

The paper concerned is not an impressive one. It starts off assuming the answer it seeks and finds it! Since the emphasis is on the Atlantic take a look at their data for surface temperature and ocean heat content (OHC.) As you can see OHC is declining, as the surface temperature remains static. Incidentally, a few error bars on the graphs would have been illuminating and would have altered a false impression given by the graphs data’s precision.

The OHC data comes from the Argo array that has been in place for about a decade. When talking to people about Argo I have heard many comments about how it is obviously showing a global increase in OHC over that period but this is something that is not entirely borne out by the data, and will be the subject of a future post.

Before the Atlantic it was the Pacific storing heat beneath the waves and taking it away from the atmosphere. Some scientists were quite confident that it was at the root of most of the “pause” and some still are despite the recent attention to the Atlantic Ocean. Even the authors of the recent Science paper say they are “not downplaying the role of the Pacific.” So there you have it. It is the Atlantic that is the cause of the “pause,” and it is the Pacific that is the cause of the “pause” as well. I’m glad that’s clear.

For those who are impressed with some of the media’s reports that the “pause” has its best explanation to date there are two papers, here and here, published in Nature Climate Change at the same time that say it is, most definitely, due to the Pacific.

The language of science journalism is interesting here. Note that the “pause” has been “seized” upon by “climate change sceptics and puzzled scientists,” and that the “pause” happened after “decades of rapid warming.” (Note to Editor: recent warming started around 1980. The 80s hardly saw “rapid warming” and the warming had stopped by the later half of the 90s.)

You don’t have to look very deeply at the science to realise that, despite the headlines, no one has come up with an answer to the “pause.” Some place their faith that there is a major driver – the Atlantic or the Pacific for instance – that can explain most of it. Others admit that there will not be any one cause for the “pause” and that it is likely to be the result of a patchwork of influences. If so then they have to explain why such a patchwork has for 17 years kept the global surface temperature statistically flat in the face of rising greenhouse gas concentrations – surely one of the most remarkable balancing acts in the history of science.

For many the proof of what is causing the “pause” will not be forthcoming until it goes away and what is expected to be accelerated global warming resumes. But since whatever the culprit is would have been a very significant contributor to the pre “pause” warming in the 80s and 90s, one wonders how swift will be that acceleration?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Updated list of excuses for the 18 year 'pause' in global warming

"If you can't explain the 'pause', you can't explain the cause". RSS satellite data shows the 18 year 'pause' of global warming

An updated list of at least 29 32 36 38 39 41 52 excuses for the 18 year 'pause' in global warming, including recent scientific papers, media quotes, blogs, and related debunkings:

1) Low solar activity

2) Oceans ate the global warming [debunked] [debunked] [debunked]

3) Chinese coal use [debunked]

4) Montreal Protocol

5) What ‘pause’? [debunked] [debunked] [debunked] [debunked]

6) Volcanic aerosols [debunked]

7) Stratospheric Water Vapor

8) Faster Pacific trade winds [debunked]

9) Stadium Waves

10) ‘Coincidence!’

11) Pine aerosols

12) It's "not so unusual" and "no more than natural variability"

13) "Scientists looking at the wrong 'lousy' data" http://

14) Cold nights getting colder in Northern Hemisphere

15) We forgot to cherry-pick models in tune with natural variability [debunked]

16) Negative phase of Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation

17) AMOC ocean oscillation

18) "Global brightening" has stopped

19) "Ahistorical media"

20) "It's the hottest decade ever" Decadal averages used to hide the 'pause' [debunked]

21) Few El Ninos since 1999

22) Temperature variations fall "roughly in the middle of the AR4 model results"

23) "Not scientifically relevant"

24) The wrong type of El Ninos

25) Slower trade winds [debunked]

26) The climate is less sensitive to CO2 than previously thought [see also]

27) PDO and AMO natural cycles and here

28) ENSO

29) Solar cycle driven ocean temperature variations

30) Warming Atlantic caused cooling Pacific [paper] [debunked by Trenberth & Wunsch]

31) "Experts simply do not know, and bad luck is one reason"

32) IPCC climate models are too complex, natural variability more important

33) NAO & PDO

34) Solar cycles

35) Scientists forgot "to look at our models and observations and ask questions"

36) The models really do explain the "pause" [debunked] [debunked] [debunked]

37) As soon as the sun, the weather and volcanoes – all natural factors – allow, the world will start warming again. Who knew?

38) Trenberth's "missing heat" is hiding in the Atlantic, not Pacific as Trenberth claimed [debunked] [Dr. Curry's take] [Author: “Every week there’s a new explanation of the hiatus”]

39) "Slowdown" due to "a delayed rebound effect from 1991 Mount Pinatubo aerosols and deep prolonged solar minimum"

40) The "slowdown" is "probably just barely statistically significant" and not "meaningful in terms of the public discourse about climate change"

41) The "recent hiatus in global warming is mainly caused by internal variability of the climate" because "anthropogenic aerosol emissions from Europe and North America towards China and India between 1996 and 2010 has surprisingly warmed rather than cooled the global climate."
[Before this new paper, anthropogenic aerosols were thought to cool the climate or to have minimal effects on climate, but as of now, they "surprisingly warm" the climate]

42) 'Missing heat' is not "supported by the data itself" in the "real ocean":
"it is not clear to me, actually, that an accelerated warming of some...layer of the ocean ... is robustly supported by the data itself. Until we clear up whether there has been some kind of accelerated warming at depth in the real ocean, I think these results serve as interesting hypotheses about why the rate of surface warming has slowed-down, but we still lack a definitive answer on this topic."

43) "After some intense work by of the community, there is general agreement that the main driver [of climate the "pause"]  is ocean variability. That's actually quite impressive progress."

44) "This [the 'pause'] is not an existential threat to the mainstream theory of climate."

45) "In a few years, as we get to understand this [the 'pause'] more, skeptics will move on (just like they dropped arguments about the hockey stick and about the surface station record) to their next reason not to believe climate science."

46) " I think the findings that the heat is going into the Atlantic and Southern Ocean’s is probably pretty robust. However, I will defer to people like Josh Willis who know the data better than I do."-Andrew Dessler. Debunked by Josh Willis, who Dessler says "knows the data better than I do," says in the very same NYT article that "it is not clear to me, actually, that an accelerated warming of some...layer of the ocean ... is robustly supported by the data itself" - Josh Willis

47) "Ultimately, the challenge is to come up with the parsimonious theory [of the 'pause'] that fits all of the data"

48) "the argument that the hiatus will last for another decade or two is very weak and I would not put much faith in that. If the cycle has a period of 60-70 years, that means we have one or two cycles of observations. And I don’t think you can much about a cycle with just 1-2 cycles: e.g., what the actual period of the variability is, how regular it is, etc. You really need dozens of cycles to determine what the actual underlying variability looks like. In fact, I don’t think we even know if it IS a cycle."

49) "this brings up what to me is the real question: how much of the hiatus is pure internal variability and how much is a forced response (from loading the atmosphere with carbon). This paper seems to implicitly take the position that it’s purely internal variability, which I’m not sure is true and might lead to a very different interpretation of the data and estimate of the future."

50) It's the Atlantic, not Pacific, and "the hiatus in the warming...should not be dismissed as a statistical fluke"

51) The other papers with excuses for the "pause" are not "science done right":
" If the science is done right, the calculated uncertainty takes account of this background variation. But none of these papers, Tung, or Trenberth, does that. Overlain on top of this natural behavior is the small, and often shaky, observing systems, both atmosphere and ocean where the shifting places and times and technologies must also produce a change even if none actually occurred. The “hiatus” is likely real, but so what? The fuss is mainly about normal behavior of the climate system."

52) "The central problem of climate science is to ask what you do and say when your data are, by almost any standard, inadequate? If I spend three years analyzing my data, and the only defensible inference is that “the data are inadequate to answer the question,” how do you publish? How do you get your grant renewed? A common answer is to distort the calculation of the uncertainty, or ignore it all together, and proclaim an exciting story that the New York Times will pick up...How many such stories have been withdrawn years later when enough adequate data became available?"

52) My University screwed up the press release & didn't let me stop them from claiming my paper shows the "hiatus will last another decade or two." [Dessler]

More HERE (See the original for links and graphics)

Climate Change Nonsensus: Only 52% of meteorologists think global warming is mostly man-made

The American Meteorological Society has released updated polling results of their membership [26.3% response rate] which shows only 52% agree with the so-called "consensus" that global warming is mostly man-made. The poll finds "members of this professional community are not unanimous in their views of climate change, and there has been tension among members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) who hold different views on the topic."

In a must-read post today by Dr. Judith Curry, she explains why the IPCC attribution claim with 95% confidence that climate change is mostly man-made fails the most basic principles of logic, is unsupportable, that the IPCC and the Gavin's of the world are the parties who are "making things up." Therefore, the meteorologists in this poll who likewise claim to know that most climate change is man-made also fail basic logical analysis and thus this opinion is more political than scientific. The AMS poll confirms that opinions on AGW are to a significant degree driven by political views rather than science:


Scientists reveal how they feel about climate change in handwritten letters and photos

Another attempt to substitute appeals to authority for actual evidence

SCIENTISTS can be a practical bunch, they deal with facts, data, hard evidence. But even scientists can lose their s*** sometimes and now they are revealing how they really feel.

Academics from around Australia have posed for striking photographs, while others have put their feelings about climate change in handwritten letters as part of two independent projects.

In one masters project, Australian National University student Joe Duggan contacted scientists and asked them to write the letters about how they felt about climate change.

“What follows are the words of real scientists. Researchers that understand climate change,” states the Is This How You Feel website, where Duggan is publishing the letters.

The letters feel more personal because they are handwritten and the passion, frustration and anxiety is palpable in some of them.

But there is also guilt that they too are left feeling apathetic because of the lack of action and interest in tackling the problem.

A letter from Dr Ailie Gallant of Monash University reflects many of her fellow scientists views: “I hate feeling helpless. I’m ashamed to say that, sometimes, my frustration leads to apathy. I hate feeling apathetic.  “All I can hope is that people share my optimism and convert it into Action.”

Duggan told that scientists were generally called on to communicate with the public about climate change using data and clinical prose but it occurred to him that this might not be the best way, and perhaps giving them an opportunity to express their passion might be a way of cutting through the apathy that many people felt about the issue.

“I’m not trying to convert denialists, I’m trying to reach people who are apathetic, who don’t have an opinion, to show them that climate change is relevant to them,” Duggan said.

On another website launched this month, some of Australia’s top minds have posed for striking portraits and describe what they are most scared of.

This includes earth system scientist Will Steffen of the Australian National University, who says his biggest fear is the loss of control of the climate system.

“If we push the climate too far, if we start losing ice too rapidly, start flipping things like the Amazon, then the internal dynamics of the climate will take over - and even if we pull emissions back, we won’t be able to stop very large changes - that’s my biggest fear.

“The thing people don’t realise, is getting emissions down is not only feasible but economically promising and will actually lead to a better life.”

One of the founders of the site, photographer Nick Bowers said the project was a labour of love that came about after conversations with two fellow creatives copywriter Rachel Guest and art director Celine Faledam.

“We were interested in environmental issues and discussed this constantly among ourselves, we all have young kids,” Bowers said.  “We wanted to try and bring authenticity and humanity to this issue.”

He said the scientists were photographed while they were being interviewed. This includes many prominent names such as mammologist and palaeontologist Tim Flannery.

Bowers said he thought scientists were more willing in recent years, to put forward their personal views as the information around climate change had become overwhelming.  “There’s more evidence of rapid change in climate and that it is going to effect us,” Bowers said.

While some critics have suggested climate scientists are motivated by grant money, Bowers said he got the sense that they just wanted the debate to move on so they could do other science.  “They want to get on with doing other stuff, they are sick of trying to spruik this stuff themselves.”

Duggan has also experienced a strong response from scientists willing to put forward their views. He said he had received about 20 letters from scientists in Australia and estimated that about 70 to 80 per cent of those he had contacted had responded.

“The thing that hits me the most, are that these people are the ones that understand the facts, that understand the data and can pass judgment on climate change and they’re scared. They are literally scared for the world they are leaving behind for their children.  “They get the statistics, they get the facts and they are scared.”

However, Duggan said that while he expected that fear would be the overriding sentiment, he did not expect how optimistic the scientists would be.  “They expressed optimism as well, even with all the problems, there was optimism that they could reach their goals.”


If only EPA stood for 'Enough Protection Already'

 John Stossel

Thanks, Environmental Protection Agency! You’ve required sewage treatment plants, catalytic converters on cars and other things that made the world cleaner than the world in which I grew up. Good work.

Today, America’s waterways are so much cleaner that I swim in New York City’s once-filthy Hudson River -- right beside skyscrapers in which millions of people, uh, flush. The air we breathe is also cleaner than it’s been for 60 years.

In a rational world, environmental bureaucrats would now say, “Mission accomplished. We set tough standards, so we don’t need to keep doing more. Stick a fork in it! We’re done.”

America does still need some bureaucrats to enforce existing environmental rules and watch for new pollution problems. But we don’t need what we’ve got: 16,000 environmental regulators constantly trying to control more of our lives.
OK, I went too far. America does still need some bureaucrats to enforce existing environmental rules and watch for new pollution problems. But we don’t need what we’ve got: 16,000 environmental regulators constantly trying to control more of our lives. EPA should stand for: Enough Protection Already.

But bureaucracies never  say they’ve done “enough.” That would mean they were out of work.

Like all bureaucracies -- regulatory, poverty-fighting and military -- the EPA spends every day hunting for new things to do, even if its new efforts cost much more and accomplish far less. Its biggest current crusade is global warming -- I mean, “climate change.”

Even if it turns out that man’s emission of greenhouse gases is a threat, “EPA’s own cost-benefit analyses don’t really identify any benefits” from additional regulation, says Case Western Reserve law professor Jonathan Adler. “If we are serious about dealing with climate change, we need to reduce per capita emissions of carbon dioxide to the level they were during the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War.”

That reduction in our industrial capacity would be one of the worst costs the human race had ever suffered, all for tiny benefits. Even if we did everything the environmentalists want, the regulators admit it might only lower temperatures a fraction of a degree, a century from now.
By that time, we will have cheaper ways of dealing with the problem, if it is a problem. But government rarely pays attention to costs vs. benefits.

Today, instead of environmental regulations that actually save lives, we pay to subsidize politicians’ cronies and pet projects, such as electric cars.

Voters rarely object to such deals, says David Harsanyi of The Federalist, because government hides their real costs. “If people actually paid what a Chevy Volt cost to make, it would probably be around $200,000. Without government -- essentially, government cronyism and all kinds of subsidies -- the Volt wouldn’t exist.”

He says Chevy, even with its government subsidies, loses about $49,000 on every Volt it builds. It’s ironic that, as environmentalists talk about “sustainability,” they create totally unsustainable subsidy schemes.

“It’s happening with all kinds of alternative energy companies that rely on government subsidies,” Harsanyi says. Politicians, by shifting money away from private-sector experiments, “are hurting companies that actually have some innovation that might work better.”

Since people rarely question spending that supposedly is “good for the environment, green subsidies create opportunity for corruption,” Harsanyi says. “The people who lobby and have the closest ties to government are typically the ones who benefit from the subsidies the government gives.”

Close associates of President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and former Vice President Al Gore all benefited from well-timed investments in green companies that got a leg up from government subsidies and regulations.

Unfortunately, green companies often do poorly even with government assistance, as was the case with solar panel maker Solyndra.

I don’t doubt there are important technological advances ahead that will make energy use more efficient -- and make the environment cleaner, sometimes as an unintended side effect. But I don’t trust government to pick the technologies.

Why should we think government’s ideas for cleaning the environment are on the cutting edge? As Harsanyi points out, windmills, one of environmentalists’ favorite ideas and biggest subsidy-recipients, “have been around since the Middle Ages.”

There will be a better way. Government probably won’t find it.



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

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


27 August, 2014

We're running out of food!

So says the gullible Justin Gillis of the NYT -- completely ignoring all the facts.  Take for instance the current situation  in icy Canada:  “In Western Canada, we’re moving from a huge glut of wheat to still a pretty big carry-over, but by no means the kind of over-supply we had in the last year.  And in 2013: “Canola - Nationally, canola production increased 29.5% from 2012 to a record 18.0 million tonnes; “Wheat: Farmers reported record wheat production of 37.5 million tonnes, a 38.0% increase from 2012.".  The only crop not a record in 2013 was Barley and Oats."  Anybody who knows anything about international trade in farm products knows that the chronic problem is surpluses, not shortages

Runaway growth in the emission of greenhouse gases is swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem, raising the risk of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” over the coming decades, according to a draft of a major new United Nations report.

Global warming is already cutting grain production by several percentage points, the report found, and that could grow much worse if emissions continue unchecked. Higher seas, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes are also being felt around the world as a result of human-produced emissions, the draft report said, and those problems are likely to intensify unless the gases are brought under control.

The world may already be nearing a temperature at which the loss of the vast ice sheet covering Greenland would become inevitable, the report said. The actual melting would then take centuries, but it would be unstoppable and could result in a sea level rise of 23 feet, with additional increases from other sources like melting Antarctic ice, potentially flooding the world’s major cities.

“Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reduction in snow and ice, and in global mean-sea-level rise; and it is extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” the draft report said. “The risk of abrupt and irreversible change increases as the magnitude of the warming increases.”

The report was drafted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of scientists and other experts appointed by the United Nations that periodically reviews and summarizes climate research. It is not final and could change substantially before release.

The report, intended to summarize and restate a string of earlier reports about climate change released over the past year, is to be unveiled in early November, after an intensive editing session in Copenhagen. A late draft was sent to the world’s governments for review this week, and a copy of that version was obtained by The New York Times.

Using blunter, more forceful language than the reports that underpin it, the new draft highlights the urgency of the risks that are likely to be intensified by continued emissions of heat-trapping gases, primarily carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.

The report found that companies and governments had identified reserves of these fuels at least four times larger than could safely be burned if global warming is to be kept to a tolerable level.

From 1970 to 2000, global emissions of greenhouse gases grew at 1.3 percent a year. But from 2000 to 2010, that rate jumped to 2.2 percent a year, the report found, and the pace seems to be accelerating further in this decade.

A major part of the jump was caused by industrialization in China, which now accounts for half the world’s coal use. Those emissions are being incurred in large part to produce goods for consumption in the West.

The report noted that severe weather events, some of them linked to human-produced emissions, had disrupted the food supply in recent years, leading to several spikes in the prices of staple grains and destabilizing some governments in poorer countries.

Continued warming, the report found, is likely to “slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing poverty traps and create new ones, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hot spots of hunger.”


Further comments on the above from Prof. Don Easterbrook, who has studied global climate change for five decades:

"Global warming is already cutting grain production by several percentage points", the report found, With no global warming in 15-18 years, how can 'global warming' cut grain production?

"and that could grow much worse if emissions continue unchecked."  The total increase in atmospheric CO2 during the only period when both CO2 and temp increased (1978-1998) was a whopping 0.004%.  That's going to cause a lot of warming?

Higher seas, In areas cited as 'drowning (Maldives, Kiribati, Bangladesh), the sea level in the Maldives has dropped a full meter since 1979; sea level in Kiribati is not rising faster than coral is growing upward; sea level change in Bangladesh is due largely to compaction of delta sediments, and on and on.  In the next 50 years (2064) global sea level rise will be only about 3 inches!

"devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes" This is simply not true--hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, etc are all declining, not increasing.

"The world may already be nearing a temperature at which the loss of the vast ice sheet covering Greenland would become inevitable, the report said. The actual melting would then take centuries, but it would be unstoppable and could result in a sea level rise of 23 feet, with additional increases from other sources like melting Antarctic ice, potentially flooding the world’s major cities."  Nonsense! Except for a few small blips, all of the past 10,000 years to 1500 years ago were 2.5 to 5.5 F warmer than present in Greenland and the ice sheet didn't disappear. As for the Antarctic, the average annual temp is -58 F so warming of 100 F would be required to melt the Antarctic ice sheet.

“Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reduction in snow and ice, and in global mean-sea-level rise; and it is extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” Global snow and ice is on the increase, not decreasing, the rate of global sea level rise has decreased in recent years, modeling results have not even come close to predicting global temperatures in the past few decades and with no warming in 18 years, how can human influence be invoked?

"A continued rapid growth of emissions in coming decades could conceivably lead to a global warming exceeding 8 degrees Fahrenheit, the report found."  This is based on computer models that have proven to be totally worthless in predicting global temperature for even a few decades, so why should this number have any credibility?

What is really astonishing, is how the discredited IPCC can continue to put out such nonsense totally contrary to real evidence and still pretend to be scientists.

U.S. government releases predators against its own people

Many times the sound of howling and yelping coyotes awake me from a sound and cozy slumber. I sit bolt upright in my bed as my sleep-filled brain tries to calculate where my critters are and whether or not they are safe. The dogs on the floor beside me, the cat on the foot of the bed, I roll over and go back to sleep.

In the years that I’ve lived in the mountains outside Albuquerque, I’ve lost three cats and three ducks to coyotes. I know they are natural predators and if my pets are outside, there is a chance they’ll fall prey. I hear the coyotes, but I hardly see them. They don’t generally come close to humans. They are after the squirrels and rabbits — and an occasional cat or duck.

But that could all change due to a new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) plan to expand the area for the Mexican grey wolf reintroduction. The current plan calls for virtually all the southern half of New Mexico to become wolf habitat — but wolf advocates at a hearing about the plan, held in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, on Wednesday, August 13, repeatedly declared that Southern New Mexico wasn’t enough. They want the wolf introduced north of I-40 — which would include Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Some called for wolves to be released in the Grand Canyon and the Four Corners area.

Wolves are master predators — and they are enemies of coyotes. Wolves attack bigger prey: deer and elk, horses and cattle — but are known to carry off a dog or cat as well. The wolves that are a part of the reintroduction program are not afraid of people and will come right up to a house if they are hungry.

Supporters of the expanded plan, plead for people to “open their eyes and hearts to wolves, to remove boundaries.” One claimed: “The big bad wolf isn’t so bad after all,” and added, “there’s no proof a wolf has ever harmed a human.”  “Wolves are demonized” and “wolves don’t hurt humans” were reoccurring themes throughout the evening hearing — where 70 people spoke (48 for the expanded plan, 22 against). Not everyone who wanted to be heard was given the opportunity. The hearing was conducted with precision — cutting people off midsentence at the two-minute mark — and ended promptly at 9:00PM.

Most of the 22 against the plan live in the areas already impacted by the current wolf reintroduction — the Gila National Forest on the New Mexico/Arizona border.

One woman told of growing up on her family’s ranch. She remembers being able to play by the stream without fear. But now, with wolves around, it is a different story for her grandchildren. They came to visit one day. They brought their new puppy. As they bounded out of the car, toward the house, two wolves emerged from the creek and snatched the puppy as the shocked children helplessly watched. They are now afraid to go to grandma’s house. They have nightmares.

Another told how she felt when a wolf was spotted less than 35 feet from her children. Her husband was away. She grabbed the children and, along with the dogs, stayed locked in the house — only to see the wolf on the front porch with its nose pressed against the window pane. She has reported on the incident: “Throughout the evening my border collie whimpered at the front door, aggressively trying to get out. Both dogs paced on high alert all night.” The next day wolf tracks were found all around the house — including the children’s play yard. The wolf was euthanized on private property within 150 yards of the house. She concludes her story: “It’s difficult to describe the terror of a predator so fearless and eager to get into my home.”

Others told similar stories. Children, waiting for the school bus, have to be caged to be protected from the wolves. Nine ranches in the current habitat area along the New Mexico/Arizona border, have been sold due to wolf predation — too many cattle are killed and ranchers are forced off the land.

Had I been allowed to speak — and I did sign up, I would have addressed the lunacy of the plan. After huge amounts of effort and resources have been invested to save the sand dune lizard and the lesser prairie chicken in and around the oil patch of southeastern New Mexico, they now want to introduce a master predator that will gobble up the other endangered species? After all, as many proponents pointed out, “wolves don’t have maps.” They don’t stay within the boundaries on the FWS maps, they go where the food is — just ask the families living in the current range.

As I listened to the presenters, I wondered: “Why do they do this?” People and their property need to be protected. Instead, supporters whined that capturing wolves and moving them away from communities “traumatizes” them. What about the harm to humans; the traumatized children? Does human blood need to be shed to consider that they have been harmed?

Perhaps the answer to “why?” came from one wolf supporter who opened with this: “I am from New York. I don’t know anything about ranching or wolves.” And then added: “Ranching will be outdated in 10-15 years. We can’t keep eating meat.”

State Senator Bill Soules, from Las Cruces, supports the new, expanded plan. He said: “I’ve had many people contact me wanting wolves protected. I’ve had no one contact me with the opposing view”—perhaps that is because neither phone number listed on his New Mexico Legislature webpage takes you to a person or voicemail.

Calls to our elected officials do matter. Contact yours and tell him/her that you want people protected, that humans shouldn’t be harmed by an expanded wolf reintroduction territory.

I wrote a short version of my experience at the hearing for the Albuquerque Journal because I wanted people there to be aware of the plan to introduce wolves into close proximity to the Albuquerque area. My op-ed in the local paper generated a vitriolic dialogue on the website — with more than 90 comments at the time of this writing. Many said things like this one, supposedly from a woman in Concord, New Hampshire: “If you don’t like it move to the city it is their home and you moved into it so either deal with it and stop your whining or move back to the city.” Yeah, that will work really well for the ranchers who earn their living and feed America by raising livestock.

This story is about New Mexico, Arizona and the Mexican grey wolf. But similar stories can easily be found in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana where the Canadian grey wolf was reintroduced nearly two decades ago. The wolf population has grown so rapidly that they have been known to aggressively kill livestock and cause millions of dollars of loss to ranching families—with the Idaho record being 176 sheep killed in one night. In Wyoming, the Wolf has been removed from the endangered species list and ranchers can now kill the wolf and protect their herds without fear of punishment from our government. Even the U.S. FWS is removing and euthanizing the wolves that were intentionally introduced into the region. As recently as August 21, 2014, wolves are wreaking havoc, killing sheep just 50 miles outside of Spokane, Washington — where the U.S. FWS has authorized a rancher to kill the wolves and, much to the dismay of environmental groups, state wildlife agents are killing wolves to protect people and property.

Environmental groups have been pushing to bring the wolf back to Colorado through the Rocky Mountain National Park.

While the public hearing regarding the expanded introduction of the Mexican Grey Wolf is over, the U.S. FWS is accepting written comments on the proposed revision to the Nonessential Experimental Population of the Mexican Wolf through September 23. Please add to the discussion — though they don’t make it easy as to be accepted, comments must be substantive, related to the proposed alternatives, or scientifically valid, and something not yet considered.

People shouldn’t lie awake in fear for their families and property because our own government introduces a predator amongst us.


Iconic view hailed as one of the best in England by National Trust faces being 'ruined' by 242ft high wind turbine to power 400 homes

A stunning rural landscape hailed as one of the finest views in England by the National Trust could be ruined by a 242ft high wind turbine.

The outlook from Creech Hill towards the imposing King Alfred's Tower on the Stourhead Estate has become an iconic image of the Somerset Levels.

It features in the book 'England's 100 Best Views' and features Iron Age forts, a Roman temple and ancient woodlands.

But the skyline is under threat after plans were submitted for a towering turbine which would provide enough power for 400 local homes.

The proposals come from Swansea-based firm Seren Energy run by Steve Hack,a Friends of the Earth board member.

He admitted the site is contentious, but said the overall impact on the area will be minimal.

'As far as South Somerset is concerned there are relatively limited opportunities for turbines,' he said.

'But this is relatively simple as far as good conditions and delivery are concerned and there are not that many people who live very close to the site. The overall impact on the local population is going to be low.'

But local residents and the National Trust fear the development will tarnish the treasured landscape.

A National Trust spokesman said: 'Stourhead is an incredibly special place and we want to make sure its setting, the wider landscape and views, both to and from, are protected.

'We believe that appropriately designed wind has an important part to play in a mix of British renewables, but it must work in harmony with the landscape.  'We are now carefully considering this planning application and the scale and location of the proposed wind turbine.'

Creech Hill lies seven miles to the north west of the Stourhead Estate, which is owned by the National Trust.

It is home to King Alfred's Tower - a 160ft tall folly tower marking the spot where King Alfred rallied the forces of Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire, before his decisive defeat at the Battle of Edington in 878AD.

It was erected in the mid 18th century by banker Henry Hoare II, then owner of the Stourhead estate, and dominates the landscape in the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

In his book 'England's 100 Best Views', the National Trust's chairman Sir Simon Jenkins describes the vista from Creech Hill towards Stourhead as the best view of the Somerset Levels.

He wrote: 'Creech Hill stands seven miles to the north and is closer to the Levels. It looks up to Stourhead behind it, and looks across to Cadbury to the left.

'It directly overlooks the golden limestone town of Bruton, deep in the Brue valley and with only its church and dovecot visible from a distance.'

Seren Energy has submitted plans to South Somerset District Council to erect the turbine at Gilcombe Farm, a 300-acre family organic farm.

But Dick Skidmore, a former Mendip District councillor now living at Bruton, is one of many locals who have written to the planning department to object.

He believes the turbine will 'degrade a rural landscape particularly in a tourist area'.

He is also worried that photographs submitted with the application were misleading and that the Ministry of Defence will insist on it having a warning light on top.

Pen Selwood Parish Council has already raised its opposition to the turbine because of its proposed position in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

In a response to the application, it said: 'Whilst we are not sure this wind turbine will be visible from this parish, Pen Selwood Parish Council is opposed to all applications that could cause any detrimental effect upon the visual amenity of the village which is within an AONB.'

It goes on to say: 'Concern has also been expressed that this development would set a precedent for other, similar, developments and that if we are not careful these structures could spring up throughout the area and would blight the countryside around us.'


Obama to circumvent Congress

 The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.

In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.

“If you want a deal that includes all the major emitters, including the U.S., you cannot realistically pursue a legally binding treaty at this time,” said Paul Bledsoe, a top climate change official in the Clinton administration who works closely with the Obama White House on international climate change policy.

Lawmakers in both parties on Capitol Hill say there is no chance that the currently gridlocked Senate will ratify a climate change treaty in the near future, especially in a political environment where many Republican lawmakers remain skeptical of the established science of human-caused global warming.

“There’s a strong understanding of the difficulties of the U.S. situation, and a willingness to work with the U.S. to get out of this impasse,” said Laurence Tubiana, the French ambassador for climate change to the United Nations. “There is an implicit understanding that this not require ratification by the Senate.”

American negotiators are instead homing in on a hybrid agreement — a proposal to blend legally binding conditions from an existing 1992 treaty with new voluntary pledges. The mix would create a deal that would update the treaty, and thus, negotiators say, not require a new vote of ratification.

Countries would be legally required to enact domestic climate change policies — but would voluntarily pledge to specific levels of emissions cuts and to channel money to poor countries to help them adapt to climate change. Countries might then be legally obligated to report their progress toward meeting those pledges at meetings held to identify those nations that did not meet their cuts.

“There’s some legal and political magic to this,” said Jake Schmidt, an expert in global climate negotiations with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. “They’re trying to move this as far as possible without having to reach the 67-vote threshold” in the Senate.

The strategy comes as scientists warn that the earth is already experiencing the first signs of human-caused global warming — more severe drought and stronger wildfires, rising sea levels and more devastating storms — and the United Nations heads toward what many say is the body’s last chance to avert more catastrophic results in the coming century.

At the United Nations General Assembly in New York next month, delegates will gather at a sideline meeting on climate change to try to make progress toward the deal next year in Paris. A December meeting is planned in Lima, Peru, to draft the agreement.

In seeking to go around Congress to push his international climate change agenda, Mr. Obama is echoing his domestic climate strategy. In June, he bypassed Congress and used his executive authority to order a far-reaching regulation forcing American coal-fired power plants to curb their carbon emissions. That regulation, which would not be not final until next year, already faces legal challenges, including a lawsuit filed on behalf of a dozen states.

But unilateral action by the world’s largest economy will not be enough to curb the rise of carbon pollution across the globe. That will be possible only if the world’s largest economies, including India and China, agree to enact similar cuts.

The Obama administration’s international climate strategy is likely to infuriate Republican lawmakers who already say the president is abusing his executive authority by pushing through major policies without congressional approval.

“Unfortunately, this would be just another of many examples of the Obama administration’s tendency to abide by laws that it likes and to disregard laws it doesn’t like — and to ignore the elected representatives of the people when they don’t agree,” Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, said in a statement.

A deal that would not need to be ratified by the United States or any other nation is also drawing fire from the world’s poorest countries. In African and low-lying island nations — places that scientists say are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change — officials fear that any agreement made outside the structure of a traditional United Nations treaty will not bind rich countries to spend billions of dollars to help developing nations deal with the forces of climate change.

Poor countries look to rich countries to help build dams and levees to guard against coastal flooding from rising seas levels, or to provide food aid during pervasive droughts.

“Without an international agreement that binds us, it’s impossible for us to address the threats of climate change,” said Richard Muyungi, a climate negotiator for Tanzania. “We are not as capable as the U.S. of facing this problem, and historically we don’t have as much responsibility. What we need is just one thing: Let the U.S. ratify the agreement. If they ratify the agreement, it will trigger action across the world.”

Observers of United Nations climate negotiations, which have gone on for more than two decades without achieving a global deal to legally bind the world’s biggest polluters to carbon cuts, say that if written carefully such an agreement could be a creative and pragmatic way to at least level off the world’s rapidly rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

About a dozen countries are responsible for nearly 70 percent of the world’s carbon pollution, chiefly from cars and coal-fired power plants.

At a 2009 climate meeting in Copenhagen, world leaders tried but failed to forge a new legally binding treaty to supplant the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Instead, they agreed only to a series of voluntary pledges to cut carbon emissions through 2020.

The Obama administration’s climate change negotiators are desperate to avoid repeating the failure of Kyoto, the United Nations’ first effort at a legally binding global climate change treaty. Nations around the world signed on to the deal, which would have required the world’s richest economies to cut their carbon emissions, but the Senate refused to ratify the treaty, ensuring that the world’s largest historic carbon polluter was not bound by the agreement.

Seventeen years later, the Senate obstacle remains. Even though Democrats currently control the chamber, the Senate has been unable to reach agreement to ratify relatively noncontroversial United Nations treaties. In 2012, for example, Republican senators blocked ratification of a United Nations treaty on equal rights for the disabled, even though the treaty was modeled after an American law and had been negotiated by a Republican president, George W. Bush.

This fall, Senate Republicans are poised to pick up more seats, and possibly to retake control of the chamber. Mr. McConnell, who has been one of the fiercest opponents of Mr. Obama’s climate change policy, comes from a coal-heavy state that could be an economic loser in any climate-change protocol that targets coal-fired power plants, the world’s largest source of carbon pollution.


Wood burning idiocy

If wood-burning power stations are less eco-friendly than coal, we are getting the search for clean energy all wrong

On Saturday my train was diverted by engineering works near Doncaster. We trundled past some shiny new freight wagons decorated with a slogan: “Drax — powering tomorrow: carrying sustainable biomass for cost-effective renewable power”. Serendipitously, I was at that moment reading a report by the chief scientist at the Department of Energy and Climate Change on the burning of wood in Yorkshire power stations such as Drax. And I was feeling vindicated.

A year ago I wrote in these pages that it made no sense for the consumer to subsidise the burning of American wood in place of coal, since wood produces more carbon dioxide for each kilowatt-hour of electricity. The forests being harvested would take four to ten decades to regrow, and this is the precise period over which we are supposed to expect dangerous global warming to emerge. It makes no sense to steal beetles’ lunch, transport it halfway round the world, burning diesel as you do so, and charge hard-pressed consumers double the price for the power it generates.

There was a howl of protest on the letters page from the chief executive of Drax power station, which burns a million tonnes of imported North American wood a year and plans to increase that to 7 million tonnes by 2016. But last week, Dr David MacKay’s report vindicated me. If the wood comes from whole trees, as much of it does, then the effect could be to increase carbon dioxide emissions, he finds, even compared with coal. And that’s allowing for the regrowth of forests.

Despite the best efforts of the Conservatives to rein in their Lib Dem colleagues, the renewable-energy bandwagon careers onward, costing ever more money and doing real environmental harm, while producing trivial quantities of energy and risking blackouts next winter. People keep telling me it’s no good being rude about all renewables: some must be better than others. Well, I’m still looking:

Tidal power remains a (literal) non-starter; if you ask ministers why nothing has been built, they say it’s not for want of proffering ludicrously generous subsidies on our behalf. Yet still no takers.

Wave power: again, the sky’s the limit for what the government will pay if you can figure out how to make dynamos and generators survive the buffeting of waves, corrosion of salt and encrustation of barnacles. Nothing doing.

Geothermal: perhaps great potential in the future for heating homes through district heating schemes, though expensive here compared with Iceland, but not much use for electricity. Air-source and ground-source heat pumps, all the rage a few years ago, have generally proved more costly and less effective than advertised, but they are getting better. Trivial contribution so far.

Solar power: one day soon it will make a big impact in sunny countries, and the price is falling fast, but generating for the grid in cloudy Britain where most power is needed on dark winter evenings will probably never make economic sense. Covering fields in Devon with solar panels today is just ecological and economic vandalism. Solar provides about a third of one per cent of world energy.

Offshore wind: Britain is the world leader, meaning we are the only ones foolish enough to pay the huge subsidies (treble the going rate for electricity) to lure foreign companies into tackling the challenge of erecting and maintaining 700ft metal towers in stormy seas. The good news is that the budget for subsidising offshore wind has almost run out. The bad news is that it is already costing us billions a year and ruining coastal views.

Onshore wind: one of the cheapest renewables but still twice as costly as gas or coal, it kills eagles and bats, harms tourism, divides communities and takes up lots of space. The money goes from the poor to the rich, and the carbon dioxide saving is tiny, because of the low density of wind and the need to back it up with diesel generators. These too now need subsidy because they cannot run at full capacity.

Hydro: cheap, reliable and predictable, providing 6 per cent of world energy, but with no possibility for significant expansion in Britain. The current vogue for in-stream generation in lowland streams in England will produce ridiculously little power while messing up the migration of fish.

Anaerobic digestion: a lucrative way of subsidising farmers (yet again) to grow perfectly good food for burning instead of eating. Contrary to myth, nearly all the energy comes from crops such as maize (once fermented into gas), not from food waste. Expensive.

Waste incineration: a great idea. Yet we are currently paying other countries to take it off our hands and burn it overseas. If instead we burned it at home, we would make cheap, reliable electricity. But Nimbys won’t let us.

Over the past ten years the world has invested more than $600 billion in wind power and $700 billion in solar power. Yet the total contribution those two technologies are now making to the world primary energy supply is still less than 2 per cent. Ouch.


Pursuing Energy Failure, Again and Again

Policy makers can never resist the urge to “just do something.” And it never works.

Energy policies are faddish. From the energy-independence moonshine of the corn-ethanol scam to the latest 645-page slate of regulations the EPA wants to inflict on the domestic electricity-generation sector, the supposed threats have varied.

Back in the 1970s, the claim was that we were too dependent on Arab oil (a claim that we continue to hear today). These days, in addition to the never-ending blather about “energy independence,” we have the spurious claim from the Obama administration that yet another layer of EPA rules on U.S. industry will make a dramatic difference when it comes to global climate change.

There’s an enduring theme in all the energy-policy fads we’ve endured since 1973: that just a little more governmental intervention will cure the ills of the energy marketplace. In fact, policymakers invariably believe that the energy sector needs more governmental intervention because there has been some type of market failure.

In the 1970s we were told that domestic producers weren’t producing enough energy and therefore government needed to intervene to encourage oil production. Congress also decreed that we must decrease natural-gas consumption. Today we’re told that the global energy market is producing too much energy — or at least, too much energy of the wrong kind (e.g., too much from coal) — and therefore we need governmental intervention to protect us from the consumption of too much energy, which is producing too much carbon dioxide, which may lead to catastrophic climate change, which may cause economic losses in the future. Oh, and by the way, those proposed new EPA rules are effectively requiring increased natural-gas consumption.

Over the decades, many journalists and academics have chronicled the myriad misadventures of U.S. energy policy, but few have done it as thoroughly or as well as Butler University economist Peter Grossman does in his essential book, US Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure. Before going further, I should point out that this is a tardy review of Grossman’s book, which came out in May 2013. But throughout my reading of it, I found myself routinely nodding in agreement with Grossman’s analysis and conclusions.

Grossman begins with an overview of the 1973 Arab oil embargo and Richard Nixon’s “Project Independence,” which aimed to make the U.S. entirely self-sufficient in energy by 1980. He goes on to point out that in the year after the 1973 embargo, Congress “considered about 2,000 bills that incorporated at least some provisions related to energy.” Grossman makes clear that the events of 1973 still haunt American energy policy today, even though it was excessive governmental intervention that fueled the gasoline shortages that followed the embargo. Grossman writes that the price controls implemented by the Nixon administration “made the disruption of the oil market in 1973–74 much worse than it would have been otherwise. In fact, it was U.S. policy that turned the embargo into a major national emergency.”

Claims about an “energy crisis” have, he writes, “been ubiquitous for 40 years” in American politics. And yet despite occasional energy shocks, Grossman points out that real U.S. GDP has tripled during that time period.

Legislators are always wanting to “do something” when it comes to energy. A prime example of that mentality occurred 41 years ago: In December 1973, Congress voted to require year-round use of daylight-savings time. Nixon quickly signed the bill even though there was scant proof that the time-shifting would save any energy at all.

That desire to “do something” emerged again with the release of the National Energy Strategy in 1991, shortly after the first Iraq war. At that time, President George H. W. Bush was near the peak of his popularity, with an 86 percent approval rating. But lest Bush appear to be not “doing something,” the White House proposed the National Energy Strategy, a 214-page document that called for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as well as spending $3.5 billion on research for batteries to be used in electric vehicles. (Sound familiar?)

Under Bill Clinton, the “do something” mentality continued with the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, a program that aimed to produce a “super car” that would have the same size, styling, and price as a typical family automobile, but would get 80 miles per gallon. (Sound familiar?)

Under George W. Bush, the push for some type of energy strategy continued with the National Energy Policy Development Group, which was led by Bush’s vice president, Dick Cheney. That group predicted rapidly rising oil and gas consumption and an “ever-increasing gap” between domestic energy supplies and domestic demand. After years of quarreling with Congress, Bush signed into law the Energy Policy Act of 2005, a 1,700-page bill that, Grossman explains, included “subsidies for just about every form of energy production.” Among its most lavish subsidies were those given to corn-ethanol producers.

I could provide many more examples from Grossman’s book to prove his points about legislators’ inability to resist “doing something” about energy. Frankly, I wish I had written this book. By giving us chapter and verse on how our politicians have continued to deceive themselves (and, in turn, the public) about energy, Grossman has performed a valuable public service. He has exposed the underlying fallacy of policymakers when it comes to energy: that they are smarter than the marketplace.

And having fully researched America’s energy-policy foolishness (his book is packed with footnotes), Grossman forecasts more of the same in the future, writing that it is “especially doubtful” that legislators will be able to resist intervening in the world’s biggest industry.

In the last section of his book, Grossman neatly summarizes recent U.S. energy-policy efforts on climate change, including the infamous Waxman-Markey bill of 2009 (also known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act), calling it “the kind of panicky grandiose solve-all” legislative effort that has “marked energy policy for four decades.”

I fully agree with Grossman, too, when it comes to how the U.S. should position itself on the issue of carbon dioxide emissions. He writes that the goal of “international policy should be to help poor nations develop and leave the climate issues aside for the time being.” Furthermore, he’s exactly right when it comes to broader climate goals. Since carbon dioxide emissions have been rising rapidly (up an average of about 500 million tons per year since 1985) and that rise will almost certainly continue unabated, the U.S. and the rest of the world will need to focus on preparedness.

It’s a bit clichéd to suggest that a certain book should be required reading for policymakers. Please forgive me for doing exactly that with this book. With US Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, Peter Grossman has revealed himself to be the preeminent historian of American energy policy. If policymakers are going to insist on inflicting themselves on the energy market, they should at least know how their predecessors have failed doing the very same thing.



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

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


26 August, 2014

Study: Cutting Emissions Pays for Itself

This is just another model-driven fantasy.  There is NO WAY less CO2 in the air would be healthier.  We breathe CO2 out every minute of our day.  We are totally used to it.  And it would be a WARMER world, not a cooler one that is more healthy.  Cold weather (winter) is the time of our great dying.  Just ask any hospital administrator.

The only scintilla of sense in the article is that burning fossil fuel tends to give off particulate matter, which can be a health hazard in large quantities. But such health hazards mainly exist in third world countries.  Where power is produced in modern power stations, particulate matter is filtered out.  No doubt some very fine particles escape but, despite many attempts, there has been no study that shows such pollution to have health effects.  I reviewed such studies over and over on my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog and found them all to be flawed and therefore inconclusive.  The article below is just one big train of dubious assumptions

Lower rates of asthma and other health problems are frequently cited as benefits of policies aimed at cutting carbon emissions from sources like power plants and vehicles, because these policies also lead to reductions in other harmful types of air pollution.

But just how large are the health benefits of cleaner air in comparison to the costs of reducing carbon emissions? MIT researchers looked at three policies achieving the same reductions in the United States, and found that the savings on health care spending and other costs related to illness can be big—in some cases, more than 10 times the cost of policy implementation.

“Carbon-reduction policies significantly improve air quality,” says Noelle Selin, an assistant professor of engineering systems and atmospheric chemistry at MIT, and co-author of a study published today in Nature Climate Change. “In fact, policies aimed at cutting carbon emissions improve air quality by a similar amount as policies specifically targeting air pollution.”

Selin and colleagues compared the health benefits to the economic costs of three climate policies: a clean-energy standard, a transportation policy, and a cap-and-trade program. The three were designed to resemble proposed U.S. climate policies, with the clean-energy standard requiring emissions reductions from power plants similar to those proposed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

Health savings constant across policies

The researchers found that savings from avoided health problems could recoup 26 percent of the cost to implement a transportation policy, but up to 10.5 times the cost of implementing a cap-and-trade program. The difference depended largely on the costs of the policies, as the savings—in the form of avoided medical care and saved sick days—remained roughly constant: Policies aimed at specific sources of air pollution, such as power plants and vehicles, did not lead to substantially larger benefits than cheaper policies, such as a cap-and-trade approach.

Savings from health benefits dwarf the estimated $14 billion cost of a cap-and-trade program. At the other end of the spectrum, a transportation policy with rigid fuel-economy requirements is the most expensive policy, costing more than $1 trillion in 2006 dollars, with health benefits recouping only a quarter of those costs. The price tag of a clean energy standard fell between the costs of the two other policies, with associated health benefits just edging out costs, at $247 billion versus $208 billion.

“If cost-benefit analyses of climate policies don’t include the significant health benefits from healthier air, they dramatically underestimate the benefits of these policies,” says lead author Tammy Thompson, now at Colorado State University, who conducted the research as a postdoc in Selin’s group.

Most detailed assessment to date

The study is the most detailed assessment to date of the interwoven effects of climate policy on the economy, air pollution, and the cost of health problems related to air pollution. The MIT group paid especially close attention to how changes in emissions caused by policy translate into improvements in local and regional air quality, using comprehensive models of both the economy and the atmosphere.

In addition to carbon dioxide, burning fossil fuels releases a host of other chemicals into the atmosphere. Some of these substances interact to form ground-level ozone, as well as fine particulate matter. The researchers modeled where and when these chemical reactions occurred, and where the resulting pollutants ended up—in cities where many people would come into contact with them, or in less populated areas.

The researchers projected the health effects of ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter, two of the biggest health offenders related to fossil-fuel emissions. Both pollutants can cause asthma attacks and heart and lung disease, and can lead to premature death.

In 2011, 231 counties in the U.S. exceeded the EPA’s regulatory standards for ozone, the main component of smog. Standards for fine particulate matter—airborne particles small enough to be inhaled deep into the lungs and even absorbed into the bloodstream—were exceeded in 118 counties.

While cutting carbon dioxide from current levels in the U.S. will result in savings from better air quality, pollution-related benefits decline as carbon policies become more stringent. Selin cautions that after a certain point, most of the health benefits have already been reaped, and additional emissions reductions won’t translate into greater improvements.

“While air-pollution benefits can help motivate carbon policies today, these carbon policies are just the first step,” Selin says. “To manage climate change, we’ll have to make carbon cuts that go beyond the initial reductions that lead to the largest air-pollution benefits.”

The study shows that climate policies can also have significant local benefits not related to their impact on climate, says Gregory Nemet, a professor of public affairs and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who was not involved in the study.

“A particularly notable aspect of this study is that even though several recent studies have shown large co-benefits, this study finds large co-benefits in the U.S., where air quality is assumed to be high relative to other countries,” Nemet says. “Now that states are on the hook to come up with plans to meet federal emissions targets by 2016, you can bet they will take a close look at these results.


Hundreds of 'toxic' methane vents discovered in the Atlantic's depths - and they could be caused by global warming

Toxic, my foot!  Methane is the main component of natural gas.  Your gas stove probably runs on it.  And nor could the seeps be caused by global warming -- because there hasn't been any global warming for a long time now

Scientists have been left shocked by the surprising appearance of hundreds of methane vents off the US East Coast. More than 500 vents have been found where methane is seeping into the ocean.

And there is concern that these increased amounts of gas could be caused by global warming.

The study published in Nature Geosciences was carried out by researchers from Mississippi State University, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and other institutions.

The research suggests that natural methane leakage from the seafloor is far more widespread in the US Atlantic than previously thought.

In total more than 570 seafloor cold seeps were observed between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and Georges Bank, Massachusetts.

Cold seeps are areas where gases and fluids leak into the surrounding water from sediments on the seafloor.

The seeps were found on the outer continental shelf and the continental slope of the eastern US.  Previously, only three seep areas had been identified in this area - making the findings a dramatic increase on what was known before.

‘Widespread seepage had not been expected on the Atlantic margin,’ said Adam Skarke, the study’s lead author and a professor at Mississippi State University.

‘It is not near a plate tectonic boundary like the US Pacific coast, nor associated with a petroleum basin like the northern Gulf of Mexico.’

The location of the seeps and knowledge of the underlying geology suggests the leaking methane is being produced by microbial processes in shallow sediments.

At depths of more than 2,000 feet (600 metres) in some places, the seeps are too deep to release methane directly into the atmosphere.

However, there is the danger that if the methane stays in the water, it could oxidise into carbon dioxide.

This can increase the acidity of ocean waters and reduce oxygen levels, which can be harmful to marine life.

While not directly pointing a finger at climate change, the researchers indicate that global warming could be the cause of the problem.

‘Warming of ocean temperatures on seasonal, decadal or much longer time scales can cause gas hydrate to release its methane, which may then be emitted at seep sites,’ said Dr Carolyn Ruppel, study co-author and chief of the USGS Gas Hydrates Project.

‘Such continental slope seeps have previously been recognised in the Arctic, but not at mid-latitudes. So this is a first.


Climate Science Does Not Support IPCC Conclusions

By S. Fred Singer

Since 2008, the Chicago-based, libertarian-leaning Heartland Institute has organized nine ICCCs (International Conferences on Climate Change). Norman Rogers (American Thinker, Aug 9, 2014) has given a general overview of ICCC-9 (at Las Vegas), which attracted an audience of well over 600 and featured speakers from 12 nations. Here I present a more detailed and personalized account of the two main science issues that appear to be of general concern. The first has to do with future temperatures and the second has to do with future sea level rise (SLR).

When it comes to global average surface temperature (GAST), the concern seems to be to remain below 2 deg. It should be recognized that this limit is entirely arbitrary. There is no established scientific basis for assigning special significance to it; it just happens to be the “Goldilocks” number. Here is what I mean: If one were to choose 0.5 deg, people will say “we’ve already seen that and nothing has happened.” However, if we were to choose 5 deg, people will say, “we’ll never see that much warming—hence of no significance.” That is why 2 deg may have become the alarmists’ choice.

The real question relates to Climate Sensitivity (CS)—defined as the temperature rise associated with a doubling of CO2. (The definition varies slightly between different authors.)

IPCC initially claimed a very large CS. But after the first Assessment report of 1990, CS dropped from 4.5 to about 2.5 deg. From then on, IPCC only considered the last part of the 20th century and no longer claimed the earlier warming (1910-40) to be manmade

In my view, CS may actually be close to zero. This means CO2 has very little influence on climate change—probably because of negative feedback. There is still debate, however, about what kind of negative feedback to expect. Should it come from water vapor or from clouds?

1. IPCC’s ever-changing, non-existing evidence for AGW

First, I want to critique IPCC reports #1 (1990) to #5 (2013). As a so-called ‘expert reviewer’ I have enjoyed a unique observation platform for successive IPCC drafts. It is rather amusing that the Summaries talk about increasing certainty for AGW (anthropogenic global warming)—while at the same time modeled temperatures increasingly diverge from those actually observed [S-2].

First, we note that each report “Summary” is produced by a political consensus, not like the underlying scientific report. (Doubting readers can visit the web site.) As Rogers points out, the U.N. mandate is: “understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change...” There is no mandate to consider any other causations, such as natural ones related to solar change and ocean circulation cycles—just presumptive human causes, such as fossil fuels. The IPCC sees a human climate-fingerprint everywhere because that is what they are looking for.

Specifically, IPCC-AR1 indicates a climate sensitivity of 4.5 deg, by considering both reported temperature increases (1910-1940 and 1975-1997) to be anthropogenic [S 1]. After severe criticism of this ’evidence’, IPCC dropped the climate sensitivity to 2.5 deg by considering only the most recent decades of reported global warming as anthropogenic. The earlier warming (1910-1940) is now considered to be caused by natural forcing.

Having given up on anthropogenic forcing for 1910-40, IPCC then considered different types of evidence to support AGW for the interval 1975-2000. In their 1996 report, AR2, Ben Santer “manufactured” the so-called Hotspot (HS), a calculated maximum warming of the upper troposphere [S-3], and claimed it as a fingerprint of AGW. This is incorrect on two counts; the HS is not a fingerprint of AGW at all—and it does not even exist. It was manufactured from the (balloon-radiosonde) temperature record, where a segment shows a short-term increase while there has been no long-term increase [S-4] as clearly seen from the actual data.

It is worth noting that CCSP 1.1 [2006], the climate change science report of the US government, with Santer as a lead author, shows a HS in the models [S-3] but no observed HS [S-4]. The disparity between models and observations is striking. It nicely illustrates the major source of scientific disagreement—between those who rely on model calculations vs those who rely on observations.

In IPCC-AR3 [2001], they no longer use the HS but have gone to Mike Mann’s notorious Hockeystick—claiming that in the past 1000 years only the 20th century showed unusual warming [S-5].

A close examination of the proxy data used in the Hockeystick shows that the warming was not unusual at all and probably less than existed 1000 years ago—and that major warming comes only by adding the (reported) temperature curve from instruments [S-5]. Note also that Mann suppresses his post-1979 proxy data, which probably showed no such warming.

Because of many valid criticisms, the Hockeystick argument has now been dropped by IPCC and is no longer used to claim AGW. Instead both AR4 [2007] and AR5 [2013], in their chapters on ‘Attribution,’ rely on very peculiar circular argument for supporting AGW.

Both reports ‘curve-fit’ a calculated curve to the reported temp data of the second half of the 20th century. [This can always be done by choosing a suitable value of climate sensitivity, and an assumed aerosol forcing]. After having obtained a reasonable fit, they then remove the greenhouse- gas forcing, and of course, obtain an unforced model curve that no longer shows any temp increase (see S-6). But they then claim that this gap with respect to the data is sure evidence for AGW. This claim defies logic and makes absolutely no sense. They simply modified the calculated curve and then claimed that the resultant gap proves anthropogenic warming.

More HERE (See the original for links and graphics)

If it quacks like a duck … it must be a turtle

“Why We’re Definitely Not Headed for Another Ice Age.”

When I saw that headline in Newsweek, I thought, do they know something that I don’t? But once I read the article, it left me wondering how in the world they came to that conclusion.

It reminds me of the great retort by paleontologist Robert Bakker to those who did not agree with his belief that many kinds of dinosaurs were birds.

“There are still a few of my colleagues who think if it walks like a duck, breathes like a duck and grows like a duck, it must be a turtle,” said Bakker.

Let’s see if this Newsweek article is a duck or a turtle.  It starts out by admitting that “there are currently very low levels of activity on the sun – the lowest in more than 100 years – and they are likely to fall further.”

So far so good. I agree.

Then the article reminds us of the “crippling winters” between 2008 and 2010 that closed airports and paralyzed transport systems in western Europe and the eastern United States. (Interestingly, it fails to mention the record cold and snow this past winter in the United States, nor the record cold in the U.S. Midwest this summer.)

The article then describes the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period between 1645 and 1715 when solar activity almost stopped. It even discloses that the Maunder Minimum coincided with a period of bitter winters known as “the little ice age.”

This is all true.

And finally, the article quotes Mike Lockwood, Professor of Space Environment Physics at Reading University:

“When you look at the overall trend of solar magnetic fields and things, then you see that we’ve now had three cycles where every (solar) maximum has got weaker, every minimum has got deeper, and there’s no reason not to expect that trend to continue. It’s not a negligible probability that we go into a Maunder Minimum.”

Great! This is still good information.  So what do we have here?

If a lack of sunspots correlated with the last little ice age, and if we now have the lowest sunspot activity in more than 100 years (and still dropping), and if the U.S. and Europe have recently  endured the coldest, snowiest winters on record, and if we have the “not negligible probability” of descending into a Maunder Minimum, mightn’t we come to the conclusion that we’re heading into a little ice age?

Uh, no. Look out! Here comes the turtle. Here comes the legerdemain.

“The sun’s cycles, however inactive they become, will not save the world from global warming,” the article asserts. “A slight, temporary change in the sun’s activity cannot mitigate many years of suffocating emissions, whatever the deniers would have us believe.”

Oh, those nasty deniers.

How did we suddenly move from a Maunder Minimum to global warming?

Because researchers say so. Which researchers? Researchers who crunched their numbers through the UK Met Office’s “sophisticated climate models.”

Forget the facts. Forget what we can see with our very own eyes. Instead, lets bury our heads in our models (computer-generated guesses).

Have these Met Office models been programmed to overestimate the effects of CO2? We don’t know.

Have these Met Office models been programmed to underestimate the effects of solar activity? We don’t know.

Have  these Met Office models been programmed to estimate the effects of well-known ice-age cycles? We don’t know.

Remember that acronym GIGO (Garbage in, garbage out)?  If it looks like garbage, and smells like garbage, and tastes like garbage, well, maybe it’s garbage.

What about Russian astrophysicist Habibullo Abdussamatov’s contention that we’re headed into a little ice age?  No mention of him.

What about British astrophysicist Piers Corbyn’s contention that we’re now headed into a little ice age?  No mention of him.

What about American climatologist Cliff Harris’s contention that we’re now headed into an ice age?  No mention of him.

What about American climate scientist Don Easterbrook’s contention that we’re now headed into an ice age? No mention of him.

I’ll stick to my guns. I think we definitely are headed into another ice age.


Taxpayers, beware – of Big Wind’s latest deceitful ad campaign

Facing trouble abroad, Siemens ads seek to tap into US taxpayers and wind welfare system

Mary Kay Barton

If you watch much mainstream TV, you’ve probably seen Siemens’ new multi-million-dollar advertising blitz  to sell the American public on industrial wind. Why the sudden ad onslaught?

The wind business abroad has taken a huge hit of late. European countries have begun slashing renewable mandates, due to the ever-broadening realization that renewables cost far more than industrial wind proponents have led people to believe: economically, environmentally, technically, and civilly.

Siemens’ energy business took a €48m hit in the second quarter due to a bearings issue with onshore turbines, and a €23m charge due to ongoing offshore grid issues in Germany – on top of subsidy and feed-in tariff cutbacks, recent articles have pointed out.

As Siemens’ tax-sheltering market dries up in Europe, its U.S. marketing efforts are clearly geared toward increasing its income and profits via wind’s tax sheltering schemes in the United States. The company stands to make millions, so Siemens ad campaign is obviously part of an overall pitch to persuade Congress to extend the hefty wind Production Tax Credit (PTC), more accurately called “Pork-To-Cronies.” As Warren Buffett recently admitted, “We get tax credits if we build lots of wind farms.  That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Taxpayers and ratepayers, beware!

President Obama often says he intends to “close corporate loopholes,” but his PTC and other policies continue funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to his wealthy corporate insiders and campaign contributors – while we continue to rack up unconscionable debt for our children and grandchildren.

Increasing public awareness of the wind energy scam has led to increased opposition to extending any more corporate welfare to Big Wind via the PTC and energy investment tax credit (ITC). Enter another bureaucratic end-run around once clear statutory language by this Administration.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the increasingly politicized IRS recently relaxed the definition of “commence construction” to the point where the definition bears no resemblance to the actual words.  During a hearing by the House Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements subcommittee last October, Curtis G. Wilson of the IRS admitted that developers can now game the system to the point where projects built years in the future could still meet the eligibility requirement for “commence” now.

U.S. taxpayers and ratepayers are doomed when, instead of allowing the markets to work, crony-corruptocrats are picking the winners and losers in the energy marketplace, using such nefarious tactics.

Sadly, most people don’t even know the difference between energy and power. This reality has built the framework for the biggest swindle ever perpetrated on citizens worldwide.  Many have bought into the alarmist argument that “we have to do something” to stop “dangerous manmade global warming.” Enter the wind industry sales department, primed to capitalize on public fears and alarmist hype.

Siemens also needs to convince the 80% of U.S. citizens who live in suburbia that industrial wind factories are “environment-friendly,” and everyone loves them. Thus, as usual for these disingenuous ad campaigns, a sprawling wind facility is pictured among green fields, with no homes anywhere to be seen, no birds are being slaughtered, while a happy Iowa leaseholder smiles and says she loves wind.

A drive out Route 20A in Wyoming County, western New York State, however, tells a far different story. The western side of Wyoming County – which used to be some of the most beautiful countryside in New York State, has been industrialized with 308 giant, 430-foot-tall towers, and their 11-ton, bird-chopping blades spinning overhead, only hundreds of feet from peoples’ homes and roadways. There’s no doubt that Siemens won’t be showing you this reality in any of their TV ads!

Unfortunately for the residents of Orangeville in Wyoming County, greed at the top in Washington, DC determined their fate. The sole reason Invenergy went ahead with its plan to build its 58-turbine project was that, in the early morning hours of January 1, 2013, the PTC was added as pork for companies sucking at the wind welfare teat.

Ever appreciative of the handouts, Invenergy owner Ukrainian Michael Polsky rewarded President Obama by holding a $35,000 a plate fundraiser at his Chicago mansion. Mr. Obama is so committed to Big Wind that he’s even legalized 30-year eagle kill permits just for the wind industry. Anyone else harming an eagle, or even possessing a single bald eagle feather, is penalized with an iron fist.

There you have it – corporate cronyism in all its glory, with bird murder as its crowning achievement.

Word of impending lawsuits lingers in Orangeville. It remains to be seen if disenchanted leaseholders will end up suing Big Wind, as others have. In the meantime, we’re hoping we don’t have any 11-ton blade breaks that throw shrapnel for thousands of feet, or any airplanes crashing into wind turbines during fog, as occurred in South Dakota earlier this year, killing all four on board. (I’ll bet you won’t be seeing any of these facts in Siemens’ ads, either.)

Our elected officials need energy literacy. Even a small dose would help.

What’s most frustrating, when attempting any kind of correspondence regarding these energy issues with many elected officials, is the kind of response I received from Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)  when I wrote him a letter about ending the Wind PTC. Senator Schumer never even mentioned the PTC in his response. Instead, he rambled on about the need to “reduce foreign oil imports,” and increase “efficiency” – neither of which has a thing to do with wind-generated electricity.

Mr. Schumer recently feigned alarm following complaints by citizens about soaring electric rates – demanding answers about it, while simultaneously supporting yet another Wind PTC extension (plus other rate-increasing “renewable” projects). Senator Schumer’s hypocrisy is outrageous, and unacceptable.

Perhaps it’s time for U.S. ratepayers and taxpayers to demand that their elected officials first pass an energy literacy exam, before they pass such cost-exorbitant, “green” boondoggles on to consumers.

Congress is on vacation through Labor Day, which makes this the perfect time to approach your senators and representatives while they’re home.  Attend town hall meetings and in-district fundraisers. Remind your representatives that we put them in office, and that we can also vote them out!

Since energy plays a pivotal role in our national economy – impacting the cost of absolutely everything else – candidates should have “energy” listed on their “issues” webpage.

Good candidates will support an “All of the Sensible” energy policy, as opposed to the “All of the Above” energy policy which President Obama has been pushing on behalf of the “green” movement. “Sensible” alternative energy options are those that are backed up by scientific and economic proof that they provide net societal benefits. Industrial wind fails this test miserably!

For more information, refer friends and elected officials to Robert Bryce’s excellent book, Power Hungry: The myths of “green” energy and the real fuels of the future.

Continue to call and write their offices, and encourage them to oppose any extension of the PTC and ITC! Write letters to your local newspapers, copy their district offices, and post information on their social media pages (e.g., Face Book & Twitter).

We must demand accountability from elected officials, or vote them out! Reliable, affordable energy is what has made America great. We need to keep it that way.

Mary Kay Barton is a retired health educator, New York State small business owner, Cornell-certified Master Gardener, and is a tireless advocate for scientifically sound, affordable, and reliable electricity for all Americans.

 Via email

UK: Could you earn a 65pc return from a wood-burning boiler?

Why burning wood reduces CO2 is not explained.  Burning wood in fact gives off more CO2 than oil, gas, coal etc.

Invest £35,000 in a biomass boiler and get a guaranteed £57,645 in seven years - with help from the Government. Does the claim stack up?

Invest £35,000 and get a guaranteed return of over £57,645 in just seven years. It’s a very bold claim, but natural energy company Euroheat this week said this is possible for households that switch to wood-fuelled heating, and that’s before any savings on existing energy bills are factored in.

The Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive, which launched in April, pays households that generate and use renewable energy to heat their buildings. Payments are made quarterly for seven years and are based on the type and amount of energy generated.
But can you really achieve a return of 65pc just by installing a wood burning system? The short answer is probably not, but there are significant savings to be made particularly if you currently use electricity or oil to heat your home.

What is the Renewable Heat Incentive?

As part of the Government’s aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet targets for reducing climate change, it will pay households to produce renewable energy. A wood burning, or biomass, system will achieve a tariff of 12.2p per kilowatt hour of energy produced. Other renewable sources such as solar thermal panels, air, ground and water-source heat pumps pay different rates.

The scheme is open to homeowners, private landlords, social landlords and self-builders, but not other new build homes. Anyone who has installed a renewable energy source since 15 July 2009 can also apply.

What is a biomass boiler?

Put simply, it’s a device that burns wood to provide heating and hot water. There are three main types of wood fuelled heating systems; a boiler than provides heat and hot water for the whole house, a stand-alone stove that provides heat to individual rooms and a stove with a back-boiler that heats the room directly and provides hot water, and may also run radiators in the rest of the house.



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

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


25 August, 2014

The Wunsch/Lloyd controversy and the ocean deeps

A month ago, "The Australian" published a summary by Graham Lloyd of a forthcoming paper by Carl Wunsch which found cooling, not the warming predicted by Warmists, in the ocean deeps.  This embarrassed Wunsch, who wrote a "corrective" letter which was published in "The Australian" shortly thereafter.  A warmist blog then piled onto the action in an attempt to rubbish the Lloyd article but added little to what Wunsch had said.  I have now had time to read all three documents and can see nothing wrong with the Lloyd article.  I reproduce below both the original article and Wunsch's reply so that people can judge for themselves.

The only substantial point Wunsch makes in his short reply was that he believes that the ocean is warming overall, though he does not say by how much.  That may have saved Wunsch's reputation among Warmists but it was not the point of the Lloyd article.  The point is that all the warming allegedly hidden in the ocean deeps was not found. There was in fact on average a tiny degree of cooling.  Even in his reply Wunsch admits that.  So the Lloyd article is indeed fatal to the last-ditch defence of their theory currently being mounted by Warmists

Perhaps the most interesting part of the Lloyd article, however, was a comment obtained from a Prof. Hogg at the very end of the article.  He pointed out that change comes very slowly to the ocean deeps:  “So if cooling has occurred over large parts of the abyssal ocean, it is unrelated to global warming of the atmosphere over the last century.”  Equally, then, if warming has occurred over large parts of the abyssal ocean, it is unrelated to global warming of the atmosphere over the last century.  The implication of that would seem clearly to be that there is NO CHANCE of current warming being found in the ocean deeps.

Puzzle of deep ocean cooling

THE deep oceans have been cooling for the past two decades and it is not possible to say whether changes in ocean heat adequately explain the “pause” in global warming, two of the world’s leading ocean scientists have said.

Warmer oceans have been a key explanation for the “missing” heat. Global average surface temperatures have not increased dramatically for more than a decade despite steadily rising carbon dioxide levels in the ­atmosphere.

A paper by Carl Wunsch from Harvard University and Patrick Heimbach from MIT, accepted for publication with the Journal of Physical Oceanography, says more work is needed.

“Direct determination of changes in ocean heat content over the past 20 years are not in conflict with estimates of the radiative forcing, but the uncertainties remain too large to rationalise, e.g. the apparent ‘pause’ in warming,” Professor Wunsch and Dr Heimbach say.

They conclude that much less heat is being added to the oceans than has been claimed in previous studies.

Professor Wunsch and Dr Heimbach say trends showed a warming in the upper ocean and a net cooling below 2000m. Below 3600m, the cooling is about 0.01C over 19 years.

“As with many climate-­related records, the unanswerable question here is whether these changes are truly secular, and/or a response to anthropogenic forcing, or whether they are fragments of a general red noise behaviour,’’ the paper says.

Some climate scientists claim the deep oceans are not significant because of the long time­frames over which temperature changes occur.

Professor Wunsch and Dr Heimbach say shifts in deep ocean properties “may indeed be so slight that their neglect in discussions of heat uptake and sea level change is justified”.

“The history of exploration suggests, however, that blank places on the map have either been assumed to be without any interesting features and dropped from further discussion, or at the other extreme filled with ‘dragons’ invoked to explain strange reports,” they say.

The paper says that, given the combination of the high stakes for society in the accurate ­estimation of global heating rates and sea level rise, and the fundamental science questions of understanding of oceanic variability, direct confirmation or refutation of the existing hypothesis was essential.

Andy Hogg from ANU said while there was uncertainty about temperatures in the deep ocean, shallower regions were well understood, and the findings of the Wunsch paper were “consistent” with warming oceans. He said cooling of the deep ocean was not necessarily significant. “Most parts of the abyssal ocean take a very long time (centuries to millennia) to come into equilibrium with surface forcing,” he said. “So if cooling has occurred over large parts of the abyssal ocean, it is unrelated to global warming of the atmosphere over the last century.”

He said there were key parts of the abyss, which had a closer connection with the surface. “The paper indicates that these regions have indeed been consistent with the expected heat uptake of the ocean in a warmer world,” Dr Hogg said.

A recent paper by Matthew England, executive director of the climate change research centre at the University of NSW, said the global surface temperature “hiatus” could be explained by increased winds in the Pacific Ocean. The paper claims the strong trade winds, which pushed heat deeper into the ocean, explained why climate models had not matched physical observations on global temperatures, a key area of dispute between climate scientists and sceptics.


Understanding the ocean

THE article by Graham Lloyd will likely leave a mis-impression with many of your readers concerning the substance of our paper that will appear in the Journal of Physical Oceanography (“Puzzle of deep ocean cooling”, 25/7).

We never assert that global warming and warming of the oceans are not occurring — we do find an ocean warming, particularly in the upper regions.

Contrary to the implications of Lloyd’s article, parts of the deep ocean are warming, parts are cooling, and although the global abyssal average is negative, the value is tiny in a global warming context.

Those parts of the abyss that are warming are most directly linked to the surface (as pointed out by Andy Hogg from the ANU).

Scientifically, we need to better understand what is going on everywhere, and that is an issue oceanographers must address over the next few years — a challenging observational problem that our paper is intended to raise.

Carl Wunsch, Harvard University and Massachusetts, Institute of Technology


One Engineer’s Perspective on Global Warming

Many scientists and non-scientists are discussing "Global Warming" (or as it is increasingly being called "Anthropogenic Climate Change" or ACC).  ACC would simply be an interesting topic for discussion if it were not for the politicization, polarization, and sensationalism that have accompanied the science.
Most scientific discussions start with a hypothesis followed by experimentation, data collection, analysis, theory modification to fit the data, and then further testing of the revised hypothesis.  This is healthy scientific inquiry.  When a headline says "Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past" and the UN forms an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that regularly issues dire predictions of imminent catastrophe, we have moved past limiting the discussion to its scientific merits.

The site is a technical forum for practicing engineers.  ACC is a frequent topic on this site.  A search of for "Global Warming" yielded 431 discussions.

A recent discussion (Kicking the Climate Change cat further down the road) has 444 posts.   The previous long discussion (A Lid for the Can of Worms, Good Heavens, We'll Freeze to Death!) had 244 posts.  The one before that (can of worms alert) Globe hasn't warmed in the last 16 years had 457 posts.  The last thread started by someone who could not be classed as a "denier" or "skeptic" was started in 2007 and had activity for 12 months ( "Educated" opinions on climate change) with 315 posts....

One post 19 days into the 4 month (so far) conversation carries the essence of the discussion for me:

"Rconnor - you have presented a textbook case of argumentum ad ignorantiam. Since "it" can't be a few things that we know, it obviously must be our pet theory. Natural cycles? Internal variability? Well, we don't understand that, so obviously it can't be that. Puleeze!

Now, to your asinine suggestion that, although we may know models and even computational models, because we don't know climate models we are singularly unqualified to proffer a learned opinion on said models. What a load of codswallop! I have been using computational/numerical models in the style of finite element / finite volume / and finite difference for 20 years, and have almost 20 papers in those topic areas to my credit. Damn right I know a thing or two about "models", and it matters not what is going on in the element/volume, there are certainly some universal truths:

1) Boundary conditions: all models are sensitive to their boundary conditions. For climate models, that means what's happening at the edges of the model. Any textbook description of the atmosphere shows a huge variation in temperature as a function of height (and the height being a function of latitude. Albedo is a boundary condition that is a slight function of the near-surface temperature (and geography and geology).

2) Initial conditions: our current climatological data is so spatially and temporally heterogeneous that setting proper initial conditions sufficiently far in the past so as to train or tune the model to match recent history is a fool's errand. Ergo, and training or tuning of the model to match historical conditions is not and cannot be physics-based.

3) Discretization and discretization error: the volume size in the current models are woefully inadequate to resolve spatial and temporally-significant weather and climate (climate being merely the time and spatial-integral of weather) phenomenon.

I have lived and travelled in some pretty diverse places, and I can say categorically that the spatial grid-size is poor. I've also done numerical simulations (CFD, in this case) where we are trying to simulate phenomenon such as shock waves. The grid size is everything. Have you seen such presentations of upper-level winds such as the features shown (and this is actual data, not a simulation) are very important climactically-speaking and yet the grid-size necessary to resolve such details is at least an order or magnitude greater than what the current generation of models have.

4) Volume or element formulation. I have done simulations where there are more than 20 variables per grid (including some that had three distinct temperature metrics - plasmas are a blast to model, BTW). Within a single grid, you can model only the most simple physics. Since the resolution of the current climatological models is so coarse, they try to cram all sorts of extras into each grid. Been there - done that - and it's a fool's errand.

5) Validation: this is something that has been hammered home to me so many times by professors and mentors. Does your model match an experiment or reality? Well, the divergence of the atmospheric temperatures during this long "pause" between the real world and the model world shows that validation is not yet achieved. And this failure of validation is likely due to the above-noted issues.

Now - I agree that the CO2-temperature hypothesis does not need these sorts of models. However, claims of forthcoming catastrophe most certainly do. In fact, everything in this topic that is forward-looking relies on "the models". Without catastrophe, there is no need to "act". I am certainly willing to admit that my philosophical and political leanings bias me against the proposed "actions" required to "save the planet", but being sufficiently self-aware, I also know that my technical understanding of this topic is not clouded by my pre-existing biases. Can you say the same?" ....

Everyone who is skeptical about ACC has their own reasons for this skepticism, but mostly the basis fits into one or more of the following categories:

The climate has always changed; the climate will always change; live with it.  Since mankind began walking the Earth we've have ice ages, droughts that extended over decades, brief periods of clement weather, and everything in between.

It has been warmer than today by a considerable margin.  It has been colder than today by an equally large margin.  Life has adapted.  Regardless of the cause, magnitude, or direction of the next set of changes, we will adapt if allowed to.  No action by the governments of the world will prevent changes in climate.  Even if the current trend is actually one of increasing temperatures, and even if that trend is due to human activity, successfully changing that human activity will only remove a single factor in an impossibly complex group of factors and some other factor will cause warming or cooling that we will have to deal with.

Mankind has survived five "ice ages" and the subsequent "global warming" that followed; there is a good chance that if the politicians don't muck it up we'll survive the next one too.

In engineering activities the fact of climate changing would be treated as an "environmental variable" that can be measured, assessed, and factored into activity, but that cannot be successfully modified.  In other words "The ant really should not try of move the rubber tree plant," even with "high hopes."


The more information that is released about historical climate data, the less valid it seems.

Heat island effects.  It seems to make sense to most people that urban locations will be warmer for a given solar flux, cloud cover, and wind conditions than a rural location would be.  Over time cities have encroached on monitoring sites that had been rural.  The warmists claim that the data can be mathematically adjusted to account for this fact to allow the station to show a consistent set of conditions over time.  The magnitude and basis of the adjustment for a given station is different in different data sets.

In engineering activities this kind of systemic modification of data would be done based on explicitly divulged algorithms and would be reversible.

Station location.  Souleyman Fall, et al. did a peer-reviewed study published in Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol 116, D14120 in 2011, where they found that only 7.9 percent of U.S. climate monitoring stations provided data that was within ±1°C.  They also found that 70.6 percent of the stations were worse than ±2°C.  When you realize that the worst projections of ACC were on the order of 0.5°C/decade temperature increase, it is hard to have much faith in data that was incapable of demonstrating that number.  Results this poor from the richest country on earth do not bode well for the overall integrity of the global data set.

Original data.  The climate dataset is very large.  Many station's data is appropriately edited (e.g., a site with a temperature instrument stuck at 999°C for several months needs to be edited), other stations have edits that are more subtle (e.g., edits for the heat island effect mentioned above).  Regardless of whether the edits are done to correct errors or to adjust reality, the original data is not retained.  There is no way for future researchers to evaluate different heat-island adjustments for example because the owners of the data do destructive edits in the claim that the datasets are simply too big to allow non-destructive edits.

In engineering activities destroying part of a data set or replacing measured data with "judgmental data" is done all of the time—with the ability to roll the changes back out to be able to demonstrate the magnitude, reason, and technique for the opinion that you have a "better number".  Without this ability to reassess a raw data set there is no way to prove that the edits were unbiased towards any specific conclusion.

Pre-industrial data.  The 20th Century data before the 1990's was all taken from analog instruments that rarely had calibrated steps tighter than 5°C.  The person making the record had to interpolate between marks that were physically very close together.  Even worse is the tree-ring, sea floor, and ice core data used for pre-20th Century.  Tree rings are thicker when the tree sees adequate moisture and considerable sunshine.  They are thinner if either moisture or sunshine is lacking.  Scientists can make some reasonable guesses about temperature from an analysis of tree rings.

In engineering activities, it is important to honor the uncertainty of the data.  If an instrument provides data that has an uncertainty of ±2.5°C, then it is irresponsible to report a calculation done with the data to more significant digits than ±1.25°C.  The data from before the 20th Century has a temporal granularity of seasons, years, decades, and even centuries.  Ice core data does not contain a direct read of temperature, but allows the creation of a temperature proxy from isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen.  A computer model is used to try to typify whether the isotope mix came from the Pacific, Atlantic, or Indian Oceans, and then the model uses the magnitude of the count of the relevant isotopes to estimate the temperature required to evaporate that much water.  Many papers have been written about this.  An article in AstroBiology Magazine in 2012 said:
"We ran an oxygen isotope-enabled atmosphere model, so we could simulate what these ice cores are actually recording, and it can match the actual oxygen isotopes in the ice core even though the temperature doesn't cool as much," Carlson says. "That, to us, means the source of precipitation has changed in Greenland across the last deglaciation. And therefore that the strict interpretation of this iconic record as purely temperature of snowfall above this ice sheet is wrong."

The divergence problem has brought any use of tree-ring data into question, further a computer model is used to convert the limited data available from a tree ring into a temperature; some claim that this step is fraught with potential for bias.

Even with all of this temporal and magnitude uncertainty, the data from these proxies is regularly posted on a -1 to +1°C, with conclusions in the ±0.1°C range.  In engineering this is referred to as "making stuff up".

"Granularity."  There are parts of the world where monitoring stations are within a few miles of each other.  Other parts of the world might have one station every few hundred miles.  Some stations have been off line for years while wars were waged around them—in some cases the last data point recorded is simply reported forward, in other cases the date data is honored (i.e., data from 21 Nov 1999, is copied to that date in 2000, 2001, 2002, etc.), and in other cases the date data is honored but "adjusted" for global warming.

Computer models

Computer modeling is a cornerstone of modern engineering so there have been many individuals with considerable expertise in computer modeling that have participated in this discussion on  This topic is one of very few where everyone with real expertise in modeling agrees—computer models cannot prove anything.  Ever.

Computer models are outstanding at pointing out areas that warrant further analysis or that have weaknesses.  At best they represent the biases of the author.  At worst they can easily be manipulated to tell any story the author wants to tell.  It is nearly impossible for an outsider to conduct a competent audit of someone else's model.  If there is intentional bias or even fraud in a model it is highly unlikely that it will ever be discovered.  Every single assertion of the community supporting ACC is predicated on the output of a computer model....

Is warming bad?  As we come out of the Little Ice Age and move towards temperatures consistent with the Renaissance (the first time in man's history that the general population had enough wealth to support the arts and science) you have to wonder what is bad about "warmer?"  The counter argument that warmer will melt the ice in Antarctica and Greenland, flooding low lying regions doesn't carry much weight with the skeptics since both Amsterdam and Venice thrived during the last warming period.

Is atmospheric CO2 bad?  The current CO2 concentration at Mauna Loa in Hawaii is around 400 ppm.  Ice core data indicate that this level has been reached and passed before.  Extrapolations into the previous epoch suggest that it was much higher during the time of the dinosaurs.  CO2 is the fundamental building block of all life on earth—if plants don't have it then everything dies.  Many commercial growers who operate physical greenhouses dope the atmosphere to 1500 ppm CO2 to accelerate plant growth.  Current levels do not seem to be the pending catastrophe that we've been led to believe.

Leading or lagging?  Several times in the ice core data, increases in CO2 can be correlated to increases in temperature.  The problem is that the temporal granularity of the data can be as much as ±100 years (it is never better than seasonal)—meaning that all of the information gleaned from a data point was laid down somewhere within two centuries.  So in one scenario, temperatures rose, some of the permafrost in Siberia, Alaska, and Canada melted, millions of tons of biological material that had been frozen for centuries began to decay, atmospheric CO2 increased. 

The data supports this "lagging" theory precisely as well as it supports a "leading" theory that requires CO2 to be a cause of warming instead of an effect of warming.  The inherent uncertainty of the timeline does not preclude either scenario, and a lagging level of CO2 does not require a positive feedback mechanism.

The earth hasn't warmed since the 20th century.  Much has been made of the fact that all of the models from the last century predicted temperatures by 2014 that were markedly warmer than what has been observed.  They predicted increased severe weather events when in fact we've seen decreased severe weather (2013 had the lowest number of deaths from hurricanes, typhoons, and tornados that has been recorded since the mid-20th century). 

Warmists claim that this is perfectly well explained by the deep oceans warming even though we only have reliable ocean temperature down to about 160 ft [50 m] and no data at all from below 2,300 ft [700 m].  The only data that begins to explore this theory is the ARGO Program which has only been in effect since 2007.

Science vs. politics

If this were a pure scientific debate then every engineer "denier" that I've ever talked to would be cheering for the scientists to nail it down.  We'd be helping.  The problem is that climate change has become a political debate in the guise of science.  A climate scientist who doesn't support the idea of ACC bringing global catastrophe will have a hard time getting published, tenure, or even a job.  Few learned papers suggesting that ACC is neither real nor a pending catastrophe get published, and very few pass a peer review.

The politics are particularly insidious.  Governments are doing real harm to their economies by mandating that "40 percent of the national power supply will come from renewable sources," or "CO2 emissions from power plants must be reduced by 30 percent" or "Cap and Trade" or "Carbon Taxes."  The tone of the majority of engineers in the discussions has been "Show me how raising my taxes, utility costs, and fuel costs will impact the climate that my grandchildren will live in."  The only response is to trot out yet another computer model running on adulterated data with a potentially biased calibration.

The politicians and press may have convinced some portion of the general public that this proposition is supported in the science, but they are quite a ways from convincing the preponderance of the engineering community.  While I can't find any "skeptics" who have become "warmists" or "warmists" who have become "skeptics," there have been a large number who have gone from "its not my field, and I don't have time to think about it" to very skeptical.  Fewer of the uncaring masses have moved into the warmist camp.


Environmentalism and the Fear of Disorder

Greens engage in rituals to allay their anxieties

Why do people recycle and buy organic foods? According to Marijn Meijers and Bastiaan Rutjens, a couple of social scientists at the University of Amsterdam, they do it to realize a sense of personal control stemming from their fear that disorder is increasing in the world. Technological optimists, meanwhile, are more likely to eschew the comfort of such rituals.

To be fair, that’s not exactly how the two researchers interpret their study, which was published in the August European Journal of Social Psychology. But as we shall see, it is not unreasonable to construe their results that way.

A popular new psychological model, compensatory control theory, argues that people are highly motivated to perceive the world as meaningful, orderly, and structured. When people perceive the world as being less orderly, Meijers and Rutjens explain, they strive to compensate for the anxiety and stress this produces. Often this entails attempting to achieve personal or external control. With personal control, Meijers and Rutjens write, “it is the feeling that people are able to influence their environment that provides them with the notion of an orderly and navigable world.” With external control, “it is the feeling that an external source (e.g. an intervening God or a powerful government) exerts influence over their environments and the world in general that provides similar perceptions of an orderly world.”

A threat to one source of order boosts the motivation to affirm the other. Instability in government, for example, produces more efforts to achieve personal control.

Meijers and Rutjens note that scientific progress “can be viewed as testimony to humanity’s increasing ability to exert control over the world, and bolstering belief in scientific progress as such can provide order.” The formulation “can be viewed” is just a bit too clever. In fact, the technologies developed as a result of the processes scientific discovery have dramatically reduced a lot of the randomness and disorder that a fickle and meager nature throws our way.

For example, a 2011 Reason Foundation study reported that, as a result of the increased wealth that modern technology has created, “aggregate mortality attributed to all extreme weather events globally has declined by more than 90 percent since the 1920s, in spite of a four-fold rise in population.” Not surprisingly, such a huge reduction in actual, not just perceived, randomness and disorder does indeed go a long way toward “bolstering belief in scientific progress.”

In any case, the researchers wanted to test the hypothesis that questioning the ability of scientific progress to control “environmental challenges and natural threats” would lead subjects to reaffirm personal control by engaging in behaviors that are perceived to be environmentally friendly. Specifically, they aimed to test the idea that “behaving in an environmentally friendly way may work as an order-providing psychological mechanism and thus help to alleviate feelings of disorder.”

The researchers conducted four different studies to test their hypothesis. The first study involved having participants read two fake newspaper articles, one stressing the rapidity of scientific progress and the other suggesting that scientific developments are insufficient to deal with urgent problems, e.g., HIV and climate change. As predicted, the positive article reduced feelings of disorder, and the negative one increased feelings of disorder.

The second study used a test in which participants had to unscramble words into sentences designed to induce either feelings of order and disorder. Then they were told that an institute at their university wanted to know their opinions about environmental issues. Those exposed to sentences suggesting disorder more highly endorsed “environmentally friendly” sentiments such as “we have to take the greenhouse effect seriously.”

In the third study, the researchers sought to probe the idea that engaging in environmentally friendly behaviors increases the sense of personal control in subjects. So half of the students began by filling out the same opinion form regarding environmental behavior as in the second study. Then they were asked to imagine that they were business managers and to say, hypothetically, how much more in costs above regulatory requirements they would be willing to bear to cut air pollution at a manufacturing plant. In the final step, they filled out a survey disguised to measure their sense of personal control. The exercise was reversed for the other students, who completed the survey measuring their sense of personal control first and then went on to the environmental behavior tasks. The researchers found that participants who engaged first the environmental tasks expressed a higher sense of personal control than the others.

In their fourth study, the researchers aimed to fully test the proposition that “questioning scientific progress enhances feelings of disorder and consequently heightens environmentally friendly attitudes, intentions, and behaviors,” and vice versa. First, they had participants read newspaper articles affirming or questioning scientific progress. Next, subjects answered a questionnaire that measured their disorder perceptions (e.g., their belief that our lives are ruled by randomness) on a seven-point scale. Then, their intentions to engage environmentally friendly activities (e.g., washing clothes at a lower temperature and recycling for the sake of the environment) were measured on a seven-point scale. Finally, participants were tasked to choose groceries from six product categories, each of which featured an organic item. The products did not differ in price.

The researchers found that participants who read the article questioning scientific progress expressed greater intention to recycle, reduce washing temperatures, and buy organic foods than those who read the version affirming scientific progress. Why the difference? Because, the researchers report, “questioning scientific progress results in a relative increase in disorder perceptions, which in turn triggers the motivation to restore order via personal actions such as engaging in environmentally friendly behavior.”

A reasonable reading of these results is that a lot of environmentalists experience many aspects of the modern world as chaotic and thus seek to compensate for their perceptions of disorder by engaging in ritual behaviors that make them feel like they are exerting more personal control. It is not much of a leap to conclude that by imposing those rituals on others, some environmentalists seek to reduce their dread of disorder even more.

Why call them rituals? Because it is not all that clear that they actually do anything much for the natural environment. For example, the costs of curbside recycling often outweigh purported benefits, and lower organic crop yields mean more land taken from nature. But as Meijers and Rutjens have shown, partaking in such rites is much like reciting the Rosary, in that they, too, reduce participant anxiety.

Of course, being social scientists and sharing the customary prejudices of their tribe, that’s not how Meijers and Rutjens look at their findings. Instead they write, “Our findings have important practical implications for understanding how environmentally friendly behavior can be increased and encouraged.” How? By “looking more critically at the power of science and the limits of progress,” that is, by casting doubt of the efficacy of people to solve problems using science and technology.

Meijers and Rutjens also cannily observe that rapid progress in various scientific and technological endeavors can be framed as sources of disorder. This is precisely how many environmentalists portray biotech crops, nuclear power, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology. Advances in science and technology are constantly remaking entire industries and ways of earning a living. So anxious environmentalists alleviate the stress induced by these perceived sources of disorder by trying to exercise personal control—including activism that, ironically, demands increased external control by government


Embarrassing Predictions Haunt the Global-Warming Industry

It is often said that non-scientists must rely on “expert opinion” to determine whether claims on alleged “catastrophic man-made global warming” are true. Putting aside the fact that there is no global-warming “consensus” among experts, one does not have to be a scientist, or even proficient in science, to be able to review past predictions, and then form an informed opinion regarding the accuracy of those predictions.

Suppose, for example, you regularly watch a local TV weatherman forecast the weather for your area. Would you need a degree in meteorology in order to decide for yourself how reliable, or unreliable, the weatherman’s forecasts are?

Warnings have been issued for many decades now regarding catastrophic climate change that forecasted certain trends or occurrences that we should already have witnessed. Yet such predictions have turned out to be very, very wrong. This was certainly the case with the alarmist predictions of the 1960s and ’70s that man’s activities on Earth were causing a catastrophic cooling trend that would bring on another ice age. And it is also the case with the more recent claims about catastrophic global warming.

What follows is a very brief review of these predictions compared to what actually happened.

Global Cooling?

Americans who lived through the 1960s and ’70s may remember the dire global-cooling predictions that were hyped and given great credibility by Newsweek, Time, Life, National Geographic, and numerous other mainstream media outlets. According to the man-made global-cooling theories of the time, billions of people should be dead by now owing to cooling-linked crop failures and starvation.

“If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but 11 degrees colder by the year 2000,” claimed ecology professor Kenneth E.F. Watt at the University of California in 1970. “This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.” Of course, 2000 came and went, and the world did not get 11 degrees colder. No ice age arrived, either.

In 1971, another global-cooling alarmist, Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich, who is perhaps best known for his 1968 book The Population Bomb, made similarly wild forecasts for the end of the millennium in a speech at the British Institute for Biology. “By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people,” he claimed. “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000 and give ten to one that the life of the average Briton would be of distinctly lower quality than it is today.” Of course, England still exists, and its population was doing much better in 2000 than when Ehrlich made his kooky claims. But long before 2000, Ehrlich had abandoned global-cooling alarmism in favor of warning that the Earth faced catastrophic global warming. Now he is warning that humans may soon be forced to resort to cannibalism.

To combat the alleged man-made cooling, “experts” suggested all sorts of grandiose schemes, including some that in retrospect appear almost too comical to be real. “Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climate change, or even to allay its effects,” reported Newsweek in its 1975 article “The Cooling World,” which claimed that Earth’s temperature had been plunging for decades due to humanity’s activities. Some of the “more spectacular solutions” proposed by the cooling theorists at the time included “melting the arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers,” Newsweek reported.

Of course, the big alleged threat hyped in recent decades has been global warming, not global cooling. But the accuracy of the climate-change predictions since the cooling fears melted away has hardly improved.

United Nations “Climate Refugees”

In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that imminent sea-level rises, increased hurricanes, and desertification caused by “man-made global warming” would lead to massive population disruptions. In a handy map, the organization highlighted areas that were supposed to be particularly vulnerable in terms of producing “climate refugees.” Especially at risk were regions such as the Caribbean and low-lying Pacific islands, along with coastal areas.

The 2005 UNEP predictions claimed that, by 2010, some 50 million “climate refugees” would be frantically fleeing from those regions of the globe. However, not only did the areas in question fail to produce a single “climate refugee,” by 2010, population levels for those regions were actually still soaring. In many cases, the areas that were supposed to be producing waves of “climate refugees” and becoming uninhabitable turned out to be some of the fastest-growing places on Earth.

In the Bahamas, for example, according to the 2010 census, there was a major increase in population, going from around 300,000 in 2000 to more than 350,000 by 2010. The population of St. Lucia, meanwhile, grew by five percent during the same period. The Seychelles grew by about 10 percent. The Solomon Islands also witnessed a major population boom during that time frame, gaining another 100,000 people, or an increase of about 25 percent.

In China, meanwhile, the top six fastest growing cities were all within the areas highlighted by the UN as likely sources of “climate refugees.” Many of the fastest-growing U.S. cities were also within or close to “climate refugee” danger zones touted by the UN

Rather than apologizing for its undisputable mistake after being first exposed by reporter Gavin Atkins at Asian Correspondent, the global body responded in typical alarmist fashion: with an Orwellian coverup seeking to erase all evidence of its ridiculous predictions. First, the UNEP took its “climate refugees” map down from the Web. That failed, of course, because the content was archived online prior to its disappearance down the UN “memory hole.

Then the UNEP tried and failed to distance itself from the outlandish claims, despite the fact that the map was created by a UNEP cartographer, released by UNEP, and repeatedly hyped by the outfit in its scaremongering campaigns. Eventually, as more and more media around the world began picking up the story, a spokesperson for the UN agency claimed the map was removed because it was “causing confusion.”

It was hardly the first time UN bureaucrats had made such dire predictions, only to be proven wrong. On June 30, 1989, the Associated Press ran an article headlined: “UN Official Predicts Disaster, Says Greenhouse Effect Could Wipe Some Nations Off Map.” In the piece, the director of the UNEP’s New York office was quoted as claiming that “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000.” He also predicted “coastal flooding and crop failures” that “would create an exodus of ‘eco-refugees,’ threatening political chaos.”

Other UN predictions were so ridiculous that they were retracted before they could even be proven wrong. Consider, as just one example, the scandal that came to be known as “Glaciergate.” In its final 2007 report, widely considered the “gospel” of “settled” climate “science,” the UN IPCC suggested that Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035 or sooner. It turns out the wild assertion was lifted from World Wildlife Fund propaganda literature. The IPCC recanted the claim after initially defending it.

Pentagon Climate Forecasts

Like the UN, the Pentagon commissioned a report on “climate change” that also offered some highly alarming visions of the future under “global warming.” The 2003 document, entitled “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security,” was widely cited by global-warming theorists, bureaucrats, and the establishment press as evidence that humanity was facing certain doom. It also served as the foundation for the claim that alleged man-made “climate change” was actually a “national security concern.” However, fortunately for the taxpayers forced to pay for the study, the Pentagon report turned out to be just as ridiculous as the UN “climate refugees” forecasts.

By now, according to the “not implausible” scaremongering outlined in the report for a 10-year time period, the world should be a post-apocalyptic disaster zone. Among other outlandish scenarios envisioned in the report over the preceding decade: California flooded with inland seas, parts of the Netherlands “unlivable,” polar ice all but gone in the summers, and surging temperatures. Mass increases in hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters were supposed to be wreaking havoc across the globe, too. All of that would supposedly spark resource wars and all sorts of other horrors. But none of it actually happened.

The Pentagon report even claimed there was “general agreement in the scientific community” that the extreme scenarios it envisioned could come to pass, and reporters treated it as if it were a prophecy delivered to climate sinners by God Himself. However, when interviewed by the Washington Times for a June 1, 2014 article, consultant and report co-author Doug Randall expressed surprise at how often the now-debunked forecasts were parroted. Yet he still defended the hysterical fear peddling. “When you are looking at worst-case 10 years out, you are not trying to predict precisely what’s going to happen but instead trying to get people to understand what could happen to motivate strategic decision-making and wake people up,” Randall said. “But whether the actual specifics came true, of course not. That never was the main intent.”

The first article about the climate report appeared in early 2004, when the report was leaked to the U.K. Observer, under the sensationalistic title: “Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us.” In a bullet-point summary at the top of the Observer article, journalists Mark Townsend and Paul Harris added: “Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war” and “Britain will be ‘Siberian’ in less than 20 years.” The rest of the article was just as outlandish, going even beyond what the now-discredited Pentagon report claimed. Other reporters took their cue from the Observer article, which in retrospect would have been a hilarious piece of writing if it had not been taken so seriously at the time.

No More Snow?

For well over a decade now, climate alarmists have been claiming that snow would soon become a thing of the past. In March 2000, for example, “senior research scientist” David Viner, working at the time for the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, told the U.K. Independent that within “a few years,” snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event” in Britain. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he was quoted as claiming in the article, headlined “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.”

The very next year, snowfall across the United Kingdom increased by more than 50 percent. In 2008, perfectly timed for a “global warming” legislation debate in Parliament, London saw its first October snow since 1934 — or possibly even 1922, according to the U.K. Register. “It is unusual to have snow this early,” a spokesperson for the alarmist U.K. Met office admitted to The Guardian newspaper. By December of 2009, London saw its heaviest levels of snowfall in two decades. In 2010, the coldest U.K. winter since rec­ords began a century ago blanketed the islands with snow.

In early 2004, the CRU’s Viner and other self-styled “experts” warned that skiing in Scotland would soon become just a memory, thanks to alleged global warming. “Unfortunately, it’s just getting too hot for the Scottish ski industry,” Viner told The Guardian. Another “expert,” Adam Watson with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, told the paper that the skiing industry in Scotland had less than two decades left to go. Yet in 2013, too much snow kept many Scottish resorts closed. “Nevis Range, The Lecht, Cairngorm, Glenshee and Glencoe all remain closed today due to the heavy snow,” reported on January 4, 2013. Ironically, by 2014, the BBC, citing experts, reported that the Scottish hills had more snow than at any point in seven decades. It also reported that the Nevis Range ski resort could not operate some of its lifts because they were “still buried under unprecedented amounts of snow.”

The IPCC has also been relentlessly hyping the snowless winter scare, along with gullible or agenda-driven politicians. In its 2001 Third Assessment Report, for example, the IPCC claimed “milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms.” Again, though, the climate refused to cooperate. The year 2013, the last year for which complete data is available, featured the fourth-highest levels on record, according to data from Rutgers University’s Global Snow Lab. Spring snow cover was the highest in a decade, while data for the fall indicate that it was the fifth highest ever recorded. Last December, meanwhile, brought with it a new high record in Northern Hemisphere snow cover, Global Snow Lab data show.

Blame Global Warming?

After the outlandish predictions of snowless winters failed to materialize, the CRU dramatically changed its tune on snowfall. All across Britain, in fact, global-warming alarmists rushed to blame the record cold and heavy snow experienced in recent years on — you guessed it! — global warming. Less snow: global warming. More snow: global warming. Get it? Good.

The same phenomenon took place in the United States just last winter. As record cold and snowfall was pummeling much of North America, warming theorists contradicted all of their previous forecasts and claimed that global warming was somehow to blame. Among them: White House Science “Czar” John Holdren. “A growing body of evidence suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern we can expect to see with increasing frequency, as global warming continues,” he claimed.

That assertion, of course, is exactly the opposite of what the UN “settled science” IPCC predicted in its 2001 global-warming report, which claimed that the planet would see “warmer winters and fewer cold spells, because of climate change.” Ironically, perhaps, Holdren warned decades ago that human CO2 emissions would lead to a billion deaths due to global warming-fueled global cooling — yes, cooling, which he said would lead to a new ice age by 2020.

Ridiculous forecasts have been made by other “climate scientists” who, like Holdren, continue to reap huge amounts of U.S. taxpayer dollars in salaries, grants, and benefits despite being consistently wrong. James Hansen, for instance, who headed NASA’s Goddard Institute for three dec­ades before taking a post at Columbia University, is one of the best known “climatologists” in the world — despite his long and embarrassing record of bad forecasting spanning decades.

In 1988, Hansen was asked by journalist and author Rob Reiss how the “greenhouse effect” would affect the neighborhood outside his window within 20 years (by 2008). “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water,” Hansen claimed. “And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.... There will be more police cars … [since] you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.” In 1986, Hansen also predicted in congressional testimony that the Earth would be some two degrees warmer within 20 years. In recent years, after the anticipated warming failed to materialize, alarmists have cooled on predicting such a dramatic jump in temperature over such a short period of time.

Separately, another prominent alarmist, Princeton professor and lead UN IPCC author Michael Oppenheimer, made some dramatic predictions in 1990 while working as “chief scientist” for the Environmental Defense Fund. By 1995, he said then, the “greenhouse effect” would be “desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots.” By 1996, he added, the Platte River of Nebraska “would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers.” The situation would get so bad that “Mexican police will round up illegal American migrants surging into Mexico seeking work as field hands.”

When confronted on his failed predictions, Oppenheimer, who also served as former Vice President Al Gore’s advisor, refused to apologize. “On the whole I would stand by these predictions — not predictions, sorry, scenarios — as having at least in a general way actually come true,” he claimed. “There’s been extensive drought, devastating drought, in significant parts of the world. The fraction of the world that’s in drought has increased over that period.” Unfortunately for Oppenheimer, even his fellow alarmists debunked that claim in a 2012 study for Nature, pointing out that there has been “little change in global drought over the past 60 years.”

Arctic Ice

Perhaps nowhere have the alarmists’ predictions been proven as wrong as at the Earth’s poles. In 2007, 2008, and 2009, Al Gore, the high priest for a movement described by critics as the “climate cult,” publicly warned that the North Pole would be “ice-free” in the summer by around 2013 because of alleged “man-made global warming.”

Speaking to an audience in Germany five years ago, Gore — sometimes ridiculed as “The Goracle” — alleged that “the entire North Polarized [sic] cap will disappear in five years.” “Five years,” Gore said again, in case anybody missed it the first time, is “the period of time during which it is now expected to disappear.”

The following year, Gore made similar claims at a UN “climate” summit in Copenhagen. “Some of the models … suggest that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years,” Gore claimed in 2009. “We will find out.”

Yes, we have found out. Contrary to the predictions by Gore and fellow alarmists, satellite data showed that Arctic ice volume as of summer of 2013 had actually expanded more than 50 percent over 2012 levels. In fact, during October 2013, sea-ice levels grew at the fastest pace since records began in 1979. Many experts now predict the ongoing expansion of Arctic ice to continue in the years to come, leaving global-warming alarmists scrambling for explanations to save face — and to revive the rapidly melting climate hysteria.

Gore, though, was hardly alone in making the ridiculous and now thoroughly discredited predictions about Arctic ice. Citing climate experts, the British government-funded BBC, for example, also hyped the mass hysteria, running a now-embarrassing article on December 12, 2007, under the headline: “Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013’.” In that piece, which was still online as of July 2014, the BBC highlighted alleged “modeling studies” that supposedly “indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.” Incredibly, some of the supposed “experts” even claimed it could happen before then, citing calculations performed by “super computers” that the BBC noted have “become a standard part of climate science in recent years.”

“Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007,” claimed Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, described as a researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School who was working with co-workers at NASA to come up with the now-thoroughly discredited forecasts about polar ice. “So given that fact, you can argue that may be [sic] our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.” (Emphasis added.) Other “experts” quoted in the BBC article agreed with the hysteria.

In the real world, however, the scientific evidence demolishing the global-warming theories advanced by Gore, the UN, and government-funded “climate scientists” continues to grow, along with the ice cover in both hemispheres. In the Arctic, for example, data collected by Europe’s Cryosat spacecraft pointed to about 9,000 cubic kilometers of ice volume at the end of the 2013 melt season. In 2012, which was admittedly a low year, the total volume was about 6,000 cubic kilometers.

Indeed, in 2007, when Gore and others started making their predictions about imminent “ice-free” Arctic summers, the average sea-ice area extent after the summer melt for the month of September was 4.28 million square kilometers. By 2013, even on September 13, the minimum ice-cover day for the whole year, ice levels were way above the 2007 average for the month — by an area almost the size of California. The lowest level recorded on a single day during 2013 was 5.1 million square kilometers. By late July 2014, Arctic sea-ice extent was almost at its highest level in a decade, and scientists expect even less melting this summer than last year.

Despite parroting the wild claims five years ago, the establishment press has, unsurprisingly, refused to report that Gore and his fellow alarmists were proven embarrassingly wrong. No apologies from Gore have been forthcoming, either, and none of the “scientists” who made the ridiculous predictions quoted by the BBC has apologized or lost his taxpayer-funded job. In fact, almost unbelievably, the establishment press is now parroting new claims from the same discredited “experts” suggesting that the Arctic will be “ice-free” by 2016.

Antarctic Ice

Even more embarrassing for the warmists have been trends in the Southern Hemisphere. Of course, all of the “climate models” and “climate experts” and “scientists” predicted that rising CO2 emissions would increase global temperatures, which would melt the ice in Antarctica — by far the largest mass of frozen H2O on the planet. Indeed, the forecasts were crucial to many of the other predictions about surging sea levels and related gloom and doom.

The problem for global-warming theorists is that the opposite happened. Indeed, sea ice in Antarctica is off the charts, consistently smashing previous record highs on a near-daily basis. Sea-ice area in the south is now at the highest point since records began — by a lot — and the warmists are searching frantically for an explanation. Some are, incredibly, considering their past forecasts, trying to blame global warming. But the fact remains: Their predictions for Antarctica were as wrong as they possibly could be. Instead of melting as forecasted, ice levels are surging to new and unprecedented heights. As of early July, an area of the southern oceans the size of Greenland is frozen that, based on the average, should currently be open waters. If both poles are considered together, there is about one million square kilometers of frozen area above and beyond the long-term average.

Even UN warmists have been forced to concede that they do not know what is going on or why their “climate models” that predicted melting have been proven so wildly off the mark. “There is low confidence in the scientific understanding of the observed increase in Antarctic sea ice extent since 1979, due to … incomplete and competing scientific explanations for the causes of change,” the IPCC admitted in its latest report. For now, the warmists have simply been trying their best to keep the public from noticing or examining the phenomenal growth in Antarctic ice.

As The New American reported earlier this year, the desperation and denial among warmists was illustrated perfectly in December. A ship full of global-warming alarmists led by a “climate scientist” went on a mission to study how “global warming” was melting Antarctic ice. Instead of completing their mission, they ended up getting their vessel trapped in record-setting levels of sea ice.

Obama Claims

In his second-term inaugural address, Obama also made some climate claims, saying: “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and powerful storms.” Ironically, all three of the examples he provided of what he called the “threat of climate change” actually discredit his argument.

As Forbes magazine pointed out last year, the number of wildfires has plummeted 15 percent since 1950, and according the National Academy of Sciences, that trend is likely to continue for decades. On “droughts,” a 2012 study published in the alarmist journal Nature noted that there has been “little change in global drought over the past 60 years.” The UN’s own climate alarmists were even forced to conclude last year that in many regions of the world, “droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter.”

Regarding hurricanes and tornadoes, it probably would have been hard for Obama to choose a worse example to illustrate the alleged threat of man-made warming. Contrary to predictions by global warmists, hurricanes and tornadoes have been hitting in record-setting low numbers. “When the 2014 hurricane season starts it will have been 3,142 days since the last Category 3+ storm made landfall in the U.S., shattering the record for the longest stretch between U.S. intense hurricanes since 1900,” noted professor of environmental studies Roger Pielke, Jr. at the University of Colorado, who last year left alarmists who had predicted more extreme weather linked to alleged global warming silent after pointing out the facts in a Senate hearing. “The five-year period ending 2013 has seen two hurricane landfalls. That is a record low since 1900.” After adjusting the data for trends such as population growth and better reporting, it appears that 2013 also featured the lowest number of tornadoes in the long-term record.

In June 2008, Obama declared: “I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children … this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” He was referring, of course, to his own election, as if he were some sort of savior here to save humanity from its carbon-climate sins. In the real world, though, despite his grandiose and bombastic view of himself as global climate messiah, Obama has no more power to stop the “climate” from changing than his legions of discredited “experts” have demonstrated to successfully predict it.

Also ironically, perhaps, is that there had been no global warming since long before he took office. Worldwide, the disastrous forecasts by climate alarmists have proven to be similarly embarrassing. By now, anybody who follows “climate” news knows that “global warming” has been on what alarmists call “pause” for 18 years and counting, despite ongoing increases in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. The stubborn refusal of temperatures to rise (and accelerate) as forecasted by all of the UN’s 73 “climate models” has discredited the models, the UN, and the alleged “science” behind the computer forecasts. Every single model predicted more warming than has occurred, an atrocious record that defies explanation. Even a monkey rolling the dice or a scam artist pretending to read the future from a crystal ball would have a better record, based only on the laws of probability.

Of course, alarmists have come up with at least a dozen excuses for the failure of temperatures to rise in accordance with their debunked models. The Obama administration’s favorite: the theory of “The Ocean Ate My Global Warming.” Last year, the Associated Press, citing leaked documents, reported that the U.S. government had pressured the UN IPCC to incorporate that excuse, for which there is not a scintilla of observable evidence, into its most recent global-warming report.

A Prediction

The website Watts Up With That (WUWT), run by meteorologist and climate researcher Anthony Watts, highlighted the embarrassing record in late 2013 following a particularly devastating year for “climate” predictions. “It seems like every major CAGW [Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming] prediction has failed in 2013,” the article explains, citing a vast trove of scientific data debunking alarmist forecasts. “Regardless of efforts to nebulize CAGW to explain all forms of climatic and weather variation, in 2013 every loosely falsifiable prediction of the CAGW narrative seems to have failed. The apparent complete failure of the CAGW narrative in 2013 could make the most fundamentalist agnostic wonder if Mother Nature sometimes takes sides, aka the Gore Effect.” Perhaps the Almighty has a sense of humor.

Few people would make an important decision based on next week’s weather forecast. When it comes to “climate,” though, the $360 billion-per-year climate establishment is telling humanity that civilization must be reorganized from top to bottom based on failed models purporting to make predictions decades and even centuries in advance. Flawed predictions aside, a great deal of evidence suggests accuracy or truth was never the intent — generating fear to seize more money and power was (and is). Many top alarmists have admitted as much, with some responding to the implosion of their theories with calls for censorship or, more extreme still, the imprisonment, re-education, and even execution of “climate deniers.”

The Earth’s climate has always changed, and very likely will continue to change, regardless of what humans do. What is now clear, though, is that the establishment has no idea what those changes will be.


Shale gas to drag world agro prices lower

The “gale of shale” is hitting the US and the world with surplus energy. In 2000, shale was 2% of natural gas supply; in 2012, it was about 37%; and will be about 65% within the next two decades.

The US is poised for shipping out shale gas in liquefied form as net exporter of energy. According to some analysts, crude oil prices may be clipped by 30% (say, from $100 to $70 per barrel) in the foreseeable future. American motorists are consuming less gasoline, thereby limiting the blend of biofuels like ethanol. The “energy security” lobby of the US is no longer supportive of biofuels.

Ethanol is produced from corn in the US. (Brazil and India produce ethanol from sugarcane.) Apart from human consumption, corn is extensively consumed by livestock as animal feed. About 970 million tonnes of corn is produced worldwide—the largest single crop in the world. Wheat is around 700 million tonnes, rice is 470 million tonnes and soybean about 300 million tonnes.

The US’s maize output, the highest among all countries, is about 360 million tonnes. Out of this, 36% (130 million tonnes) of corn is consumed for ethanol. With sufficiency and viability of shale gas, the future demand of ethanol will shrink, resulting into demand compression of corn, especially in the US, and its price will move southwards in the coming years. As of now, corn and wheat are trading, respectively, at $190/200 and $240 per tonne FOB—lesser by 20% from last year.

There exists an empirical equation of corn with other agro commodities. For easy understanding, if corn is priced at $200 per tonne in any future exchange, wheat will be around $250-260 and soybean will be traded at $450-500. Barring unforeseen conditions, trade tentatively assumes ratio of 1:1.25-1.30 for corn versus wheat and 1:2.25-2.5 for corn versus soybean.

Rice of Asian origins is not traded at future exchanges so corn versus rice ratios cannot be established directly but can be inferred from “price/demand” elasticity of 39 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. This region imports about 11-12 million tonnes rice annually, out of 35 million tonnes of non-Basmati that is traded worldwide. If rice becomes expensive, say about $600 per tonne FOB, as in 2008, there would be significant shift to corn till rice values drop to about $350-400 levels.

Bearish corn means lower food and feed prices

Corn, wheat and soymeal are active ingredients of feed compound ingested by live stocks. In bearish corn market, a feed miller applies more corn and curtails blend of high priced wheat or soymeal and thereby trims demand of wheat or soybeans. Thus, price movements of wheat and soybean are largely governed by corn prices. Probability of corn price being higher than wheat is remote except in drought-like conditions in the US in 2011-12.
The US as an exporter of non-biofuel energy can make corn terribly bearish and may drag down world’s grain complex. GM crops can further discount grain values.



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

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


24 August, 2014

Large conclusions drawn from just 3 years of Cryosat-2 data

Even using ICEsat data extends the series to only 5 years  -- far too little to support claims of a trend.  A larger series could reveal very different earlier changes. The report below is objective enough.  It is only the spin Warmists are putting on it that is fanciful.  Note that the report below admits that the Antarctic sheet is both thickening and thinning (in different places)  -- so any trend is not even Antarctic-wide, let alone global

Elevation and elevation change of Greenland and Antarctica derived from CryoSat-2

By V. Helm, A. Humbert, and H. Miller


This study focuses on the present-day surface elevation of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Based on 3 years of CryoSat-2 data acquisition we derived new elevation models (DEMs) as well as elevation change maps and volume change estimates for both ice sheets. Here we present the new DEMs and their corresponding error maps. The accuracy of the derived DEMs for Greenland and Antarctica is similar to those of previous DEMs obtained by satellite-based laser and radar altimeters. Comparisons with ICESat data show that 80% of the CryoSat-2 DEMs have an uncertainty of less than 3 m ± 15 m. The surface elevation change rates between January 2011 and January 2014 are presented for both ice sheets. We compared our results to elevation change rates obtained from ICESat data covering the time period from 2003 to 2009. The comparison reveals that in West Antarctica the volume loss has increased by a factor of 3. It also shows an anomalous thickening in Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica which represents a known large-scale accumulation event. This anomaly partly compensates for the observed increased volume loss of the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica. For Greenland we find a volume loss increased by a factor of 2.5 compared to the ICESat period with large negative elevation changes concentrated at the west and southeast coasts. The combined volume change of Greenland and Antarctica for the observation period is estimated to be ?503 ± 107 km3 yr?1. Greenland contributes nearly 75% to the total volume change with ?375 ± 24 km3 yr?1.

The Cryosphere, 8, 1539-1559, 2014.

Australia's BOM caught with its pants down

No surprise. NASA GISS does the same.  See also here and here and here

THE Bureau of Meteorology has been accused of manipulating historic temperature records to fit a predetermined view of global warming.

Researcher Jennifer Marohasy claims the adjusted records resemble “propaganda” rather than science.

Dr Marohasy has analysed the raw data from dozens of locations across Australia and matched it against the new data used by BOM showing that temperatures were progressively warming.

In many cases, Dr Marohasy said, temperature trends had changed from slight cooling to dramatic warming over 100 years.

BOM has rejected Dr Marohasy’s claims and said the agency had used world’s best practice and a peer reviewed process to modify the physical temperature records that had been recorded at weather stations across the country.

It said data from a selection of weather stations underwent a process known as “homogenisation” to correct for anomalies. It was “very unlikely” that data homogenisation impacted on the empirical outlooks.

In a statement to The Weekend Australian BOM said the bulk of the scientific literature did not support the view that data homogenisation resulted in “diminished physical veracity in any particular climate data set’’.

Historical data was homogenised to account for a wide range of non-climate related influences such as the type of instrument used, choice of calibration or enclosure and where it was located.

“All of these elements are subject to change over a period of 100 years, and such non-climate ­related changes need to be ­accounted for in the data for ­reliable analysis and monitoring of trends,’’ BOM said.

Account is also taken of temperature recordings from nearby stations. It took “a great deal of care with the climate record, and understands the importance of scientific integrity”.

Dr Marohasy said she had found examples where there had been no change in instrumentation or siting and no inconsistency with nearby stations but there had been a dramatic change in temperature trend towards warming after homogenisation.

She said that at Amberley in Queensland, homogenisation had resulted in a change in the temperature trend from one of cooling to dramatic warming.

She calculated homogenisation had changed a cooling trend in the minimum temperature of 1C per century at Amberley into a warming trend of 2.5C. This was despite there being no change in location or instrumentation.

BOM said the adjustment to the minimums at Amberley was identified through “neighbour comparisons”. It said the level of confidence was very high because of the large number of stations in the region. There were examples where homogenisation had resulted in a weaker warming trend.


More on BoM shenanigans

WHEN raging floodwaters swept through Brisbane in January 2011 they submerged a much-loved red Corvette sports car in the basement car park of a unit in the riverside suburb of St Lucia.

On the scale of the billions of dollars worth of damage done to the nation’s third largest city in the man-made flood, the loss of a sports car may not seem like much.

But the loss has been the catalyst for an escalating row that ­raises questions about the competence and integrity of Australia’s premier weather agency, the Bureau of Meteorology, stretching well beyond the summer storms.

It goes to heart of the climate change debate — in particular, whether computer models are better than real data and whether temperature records are being manipulated in a bid to make each year hotter than the last.

With farmer parents, researcher Jennifer Marohasy says she has always had a fascination with rainfall and drought-flood ­cycles. So, in a show of solidarity with her husband and his sodden Corvette, Marohasy began researching the temperature records noted in historic logs that date back through the Federation drought of the late 19th century.

Specifically, she was keen to try forecasting Brisbane floods using historical data and the latest statistical modelling techniques.

Marohasy’s research has put her in dispute with BoM over a paper she published with John Abbot at Central Queensland University in the journal Atmospheric Research concerning the best data to use for rainfall forecasting. (She is a biologist and a sceptic of the thesis that human activity is bringing about global warming.) BoM challenged the findings of the Marohasy-Abbot paper, but the international journal rejected the BoM rebuttal, which had been prepared by some of the bureau’s top scientists.

This has led to an escalating dispute over the way in which ­Australia’s historical temperature records are “improved” through homogenisation, which is proving more difficult to resolve. If Marohasy is right, contrary to widely published claims, last year cannot be called the hottest year on ­record. BoM insists it is using world’s best practice to determine temperature trend and its methods are in accordance with those of its international peers.

But in furious correspondence with BoM, Marohasy argues the computer “homogenisation” of the records is being undertaken in a way that is at odds with its original intent.

“In (George Orwell’s) Nineteen Eighty-Four Winston Smith knows that, ‘He who controls the present controls the past’. Certainly the bureau appears intent on improving the historical temperature record by changing it,” Marohasy says.

There has been correspondence between Marohasy and BoM involving federal MP Dennis Jensen and the parliamentary secretary responsible for the bureau, Simon Birmingham.

After taking up the issue for Jensen, Birmingham says he is “confident that the bureau’s methods are robust’’. On its website, BoM says it is “improving Australia’s temperature record” by carefully analysing records “to find and address spurious artefacts in the data, thus developing a consistent — or homogeneous — record of daily temperatures over the last 100 years”.

BoM says historic high temperatures are unreliable, some having been collected by thermometers housed in a beer crate on an outback veranda.

In response to questions from Inquirer, BoM says “the premise that data homogenisation results in diminished physical veracity — in any particular climate data set — is unsupported in the bulk of the scientific literature’’.

But Marohasy is not convinced.

“Repetition is a propaganda technique,’’ she wrote back to Birmingham. “The deletion of information from records, and the use of exaggeration and half-truths, are ­others.

“The Bureau of Meteorology uses all these techniques, while wilfully ignoring evidence that contradicts its own propaganda.’’

Marohasy has analysed the physical temperature records from more than 30 stations included in the BoM set that determines the official national temperature record.

And she remains disturbed by a pattern whereby homogenisation exaggerates, or even produces, a record of steady warming against a steady or cooling trend in the raw data.

Marohasy says the clearly ­stated intent of homogenisation is to correct for changes in equipment, siting, and/or other factors that conceivably can introduce non-­climatic factors into the temperature record.

“The bureau, however, is applying the algorithms subjectively and without supporting metadata, in such a way that the temperature record is completely altered, despite the absence of evidence that there were any changes in siting, equipment, or any other factor which could have conceivably introduced a non­-climatic discontinuity,’’ she says.

Marohasy says the “corruption” of the data was of no practical consequence to climate scientists at BoM because they do not use historical data for forecasting either rainfall or temperature — they use simulation models that attempt to recreate the climate based on assumed physical ­processes.

But she says the remodelling is “of considerable political value to them, because the remodelled data better accords with the theory of anthropogenic global warming’’.

Marohasy presented a paper on her research to the Sydney Institute earlier this year. She has since expanded the number of physical temperature records analysed and says the results have only added weight to her concerns.

At Amberley, in Queensland, temperatures have been collected at the same well-maintained site within the perimeter of the air force base since 1941.

But through the homogenisation process BoM has changed what was a cooling trend in the minimum temperature of 1.0C per century into a warming trend of 2.5C per century.

“Homogenisation has not resulted in some small change to the data set, but rather a change in the temperature trend from one of cooling to dramatic warming,’’ Marohasy says.

This has been achieved by jumping-up the minimum temperatures twice through the homogenisation process: once in about 1980 and then around 1996 to achieve a combined temperature increase of more than 1.5C. NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, based in New York, also applies a jump-up to the Amberley series in 1980, and makes other changes, so that the annual average temperature for Amberley increases from 1941 to 2012 by about 2C.

In correspondence, Marohasy was told by NASA the Amberley data was adjusted to take account of historic temperature records at nearby stations.

But these 310 “nearby” stations stretched to a radius of 974km and include Frederick Reef in the Coral Sea, Quilpie post office in southwestern Queensland and even Bourke post office in NSW.

Considering the unhomogenised data for the nearest weather station, BoM’s jump-up for Amberley creates an increase for the official temperature trend of 0.75C per century. Temperatures at old Brisbane aero, the closest station that is also part of the national temperature network, also shows a long-term cooling trend.

“Perhaps the cooling at Amberley is real,’’ Marohasy says.

“Why not consider this, particularly in the absence of real physical evidence to the ­contrary?”

Another example is Rutherglen, a small town in a winegrowing region of northeast Victoria, where temperatures have been measured at a research station since November 1912.

There have been no documented site moves but an automatic weather station was installed on January 29, 1998.

Temperatures measured at the Rutherglen weather station also form part of the national temperature network (ACORN-Sat), so the information from this station is homogenised before inclusion in the official record that is used to calculate temperature trends for Victoria and also Australia.

Marohasy says the unhomogenised/raw mean annual minimum temperature trend for Rutherglen for the 100-­year period from January 1913 through to December last year shows a slight cooling trend of 0.35C per 100 years.

After homogenisation there is a warming trend of 1.73C per 100 years. Marohasy says this warming trend essentially was achieved by progressively dropping down the temperatures from 1973 back through to 1913. For the year of 1913 the difference between the raw temperature and the ACORN-Sat temperature is 1.8C.

BoM is adamant the purpose of homogenisation is to remove non-­climatic disconuities. But Marohasy says because there have been no site changes or equipment changes at Rutherglen, but very large adjustments made to the data, it is perhaps reasonable to assume that the bureau has changed the record for Rutherglen because it is very different to the record for the neighbouring stations.

According to a technical manual written by Blair Trewin from BoM, changes can be made where discontinuities are apparent when the trend at a site, for example Rutherglen, is compared with up to 40 neighbouring sites.

But Marohasy says analysis of nearby sites finds temperature trends show almost no warming during the past 100 years.

Marohasy says the changes to the minimum temperatures for Rutherglen are broadly consistent with many other changes made to temperature records for eastern Australia, which make the trends consistent with the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

But these changes are not consistent with the overriding principle of homogenisation, which is that changes should only be made to correct for non-­climatic factors.

In the case of Rutherglen, she says, the changes do not even appear consistent with a principle in the bureau’s own technical manual, which is that changes should be consistent with trends at neighbouring weather stations.

At Burke, in western NSW, BoM deleted the first 40 years of data because temperatures before 1908 were apparently not recorded in a Stevenson screen, the agreed modern method.

Marohasy says this could have been easily accounted for with an accepted algorithm, which would not have changed the fact that it was obviously much hotter in the early 20th century than for any period since. Instead, the early record is deleted, and the post-1910 data homogenised.

“Rather than searching for a real physical explanation for the early 20th century cooling at Bourke since the hot years of the late 1800s, the Bureau has created a warming trend,’’ Marohasy says.

“This homogenisation, and the addition of data recorded after 1996 from the airport, means that the official record shows an overall warming trend of 0.01C per century and 2013 becomes about the hottest year on record for Bourke.’’

BOM says major adjustments at Bourke related to site moves as well as comparisons with neighbouring areas, while the Amberley and Rutherglen adjustments also were made after comparison with neighbouring stations.

And the bureau says an extensive study has found homogeneity adjustments have little impact on national trends and changes in temperature extremes.


Jennifer's personal comments on the BOM

EARLIER this year Tim Flannery said “the pause” in global warming was a myth, leading medical scientists called for stronger action on climate change, and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology declared 2013 the hottest year on record. All of this was reported without any discussion of the actual temperature data. It has been assumed that there is basically one temperature series and that it’s genuine.

But I’m hoping that after today, with both a feature (page 20) and a news piece (page 9) in The Weekend Australia things have changed forever.

I’m hoping that next time Professor Flannery is interviewed he will be asked by journalists which data series he is relying on: the actual recorded temperatures or the homogenized remodeled series. Because as many skeptics have known for a long time, and as Graham Lloyd reports today for News Ltd, for any one site across this wide-brown land Australia, while the raw data may show a pause, or even cooling, the truncated and homogenized data often shows dramatic warming.

When I first sent Graham Lloyd some examples of the remodeling of the temperature series I think he may have been somewhat skeptical. I know he on-forwarded this information to the Bureau for comment, including three charts showing the homogenization of the minimum temperature series for Amberley.

Mr Lloyd is the Environment Editor for The Australian newspaper and he may have been concerned I got the numbers wrong. He sought comment and clarification from the Bureau, not just for Amberley but also for my numbers pertaining to Rutherglen and Bourke.

I understand that by way of response to Mr Lloyd, the Bureau has not disputed these calculations.

This is significant. The Bureau now admits that it changes the temperature series and quite dramatically through the process of homogenisation.

I repeat the Bureau has not disputed the figures. The Bureau admits that the data is remodelled.

What the Bureau has done, however, is try and justify the changes. In particular, for Amberley the Bureau is claiming to Mr Lloyd that there is very little available documentation for Amberley before 1990 and that information before this time may be “classified”: as in top secret. That’s right, there is apparently a reason for jumping-up the minimum temperatures for Amberley but it just can’t provide Mr Lloyd with the supporting meta-data at this point in time.

SOURCE (See the original for charts)


Written by Dr Tim Ball, Climatologist

My first involvement with the Acid Rain scare was indirect, but added to awareness of the limitations of data and understanding of atmospheric and ocean mechanisms. acid rain

It also heightened awareness of the political nature of environmental science. I knew the extents because of membership in the Canadian Committee on Climate Fluctuation and Man (CCCFM). It was part of the National Museum of Natural Sciences Project on Climate Change in Canada During the Past 20,000 years.

The committee was funded jointly by the National Museum of Natural Sciences and Environment Canada. It met yearly for several years, bringing together a wide range of specialists to focus on a region, time period, or area of study. Papers were published in Syllogeus, edited by Dr C.R.Harington of the Paleobiology Division. A review of them underlines how much the IPCC sidelined progress in climatology.

My election to Chair of the CCCFM likely caused its demise. In my acceptance speech I urged people not to rush to judgment on the recent anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis. I was unaware at the time of the involvement of Environment Canada (EC) in the promotion of the hypothesis and the work of the IPCC. Gordon McBean, was Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM, second highest bureaucrat) at Environment Canada and Chaired the IPCC foundation meeting in Villach Austria in 1985.

Within a few months of my election, EC withdrew funding and the Museum could not sustain it alone. One of the last projects was a detailed study of the global impact of the eruption of Mount Tambora, Indonesia in 1815. The conference proceedings were published in C.R.Harington (ed) The Year Without a Summer? World Climate in 1816. 1992, National Museum of Natural Sciences, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa. Environment Canada’s actions were part of the suppression of people and data that continues to this day.

Dangers of Bureaucrats Doing Research

At the one annual conference under my chair, an Environment Canada researcher approached me to talk about a problem with the issue of Acid Rain. His dilemma underscored my argument that bureaucratic researchers are almost automatically compromised.

He was so nervous that he wouldn’t talk about it at the museum; instead, we met at the airport coffee shop. He was directed to prove US coal burning plants were causing the Acid Rain causing demise of the Quebec Maple Syrup industry. Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was already, publicly saying they were to blame.

The problem was his research showed the decline in Maple Syrup production was not caused by Acid Rain, but two natural cyclical events. The major one was a drought. The other, was due to a period of Meridional flow (the dreaded “polar vortex”) resulting in a very early spring warming that caused the tree to start leafing, followed by leaf destroying “black” frosts. Both events cause “dieback”, that is a loss of leaves. Trees, like all vegetation, have recovery and catch-up mechanisms that drive them to seed production. They will grow new leaves and go through a shortened and reduced production cycle. This includes the amount of sap flowing.

His dilemma was how to tell his bosses at Environment Canada that evidence didn’t support the Prime Ministers accusations. He even talked of publishing under an assumed name. I pointed out that he might then be fired because he hadn’t done anything for two years, although that is no guarantee in a bureaucracy.

The solution was obvious; he had to retain his scientific integrity and present his evidence. It was not his job to determine what happened to the results. His job was to do thorough, well-documented, research. He was not paid to make political decisions. The report would go up the bureaucratic ladder until somebody, holding a job for political reasons, would put it on a shelf. Later, a joint investigation by three US and three Canadian investigators, confirmed that Acid Rain was not the cause of the decline in Maple Syrup. After climate conditions changed again, yields exceeded previous records.

There is no question that Acid Rain occurred in concentrations sufficient to destroy plants. I lived in Sudbury Ontario for a year, with its smoke stack, identified as the source of 10 percent of North American Acid Rain, and saw the effects. Town leaders were proud of the fact NASA chose the region as most like the moon for astronaut training. At that time, the philosophy was ‘the solution to pollution is dilution’, so they built the smokestacks higher to disperse the sulfur further downwind. Ironically, after scrubbers were put on the stacks, reports appeared of reduced tree growth downwind because small amounts of sulfur were a fertilizer enhancing growth. This appears to support Paracelsus’ 16th century observation that the toxicity is in the dosage.

Types of Acid Rain And Chemical Variations

Water vapor condenses on to particles called condensation nuclei (CN), most of them are clay or salt particles. The CN influences the chemical nature of the liquid water drop created. For example, salt particles change the freezing temperature so the droplet becomes super-cooled and remain liquid below the freezing point. If it is a sulfur particle, the water droplet becomes a mild sulfuric acid droplet and that became the Acid Rain of environmental focus.

Most people don’t know that all rain is acid rain, but not because of the CN. Water, whether in the form of water droplets that take an estimated 1 million to form a medium-sized raindrop, absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Droplets have a very high ratio of surface area to volume and absorb CO2 at a known rate. The chemical formula is CO2 + H2O clip_image002 H2CO3,which results in a weak, approximately 10 percent, carbonic acid in chemical equilibrium.

How much water is there in the atmosphere and how much does it vary regionally and over time? Two comments give an idea of the lack of accurate information.

One estimate of the volume of water in the atmosphere at any one time is about 3,100 cubic miles (mi3) or 12,900 cubic kilometers (km3).

At any moment, the atmosphere contains an astounding 37.5 million billion gallons of water, in the invisible vapor phase. This is enough water to cover the entire surface of the Earth (land and ocean) with one inch of rain.

Combine these with the extremely poor precipitation data for the entire globe and you have another example of climate science being a modern equivalent of the number of angels on the head of a pin. One-person claims

…the approximate rate of washout of carbon dioxide from the Earth’s atmosphere via rainwater can be determined from the known ocean evaporation rate and from the known solubility of CO2 in distilled water as a function of temperature and CO2 partial pressure.

Fine, but what is the figure? I understand estimates of evaporation are very crude, if not essentially meaningless. In the early atmosphere/ocean computer models they simply assumed a “swamp” approach of 100 percent evaporation. The 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report says,

The spatial resolution of the coupled ocean-atmosphere models used in the IPCC assessment is generally not high enough to resolve tropical cyclones, and especially to simulate their intensity.

Carol Anne Clayson of Woods Hole explains the difficulties.

The air-sea interface “is typically the most turbulent part of the ocean,” Clayson said. A dizzying mix of interrelated factors—waves, winds, water temperature and salinity, bubbles and spray, solar radiation, and others—each adds a layer of complexity that occurs over wide ranges of time (seconds to seasons) and space (millimeters to miles). [See illustration above.]

“Getting observations of what’s going on at the air-sea interface is not trivial, especially in extreme conditions such as high winds,” Clayson said. “It’s also difficult to simulate the air-sea interactions, especially in extreme conditions, in laboratory experiments in a wave tank. Current computers don’t have enough computational capacity to incorporate all the processes occurring, on all the spatial and temporal scales involved, to produce realistic simulations.”

So we don’t know and can’t do anything with it. IPCC know the limits, but also know few read or understand the science reports.

Unfortunately, the total surface heat and water fluxes (see Supplementary Material, Figure S8.14) are not well observed.

For models to simulate accurately the seasonally varying pattern of precipitation, they must correctly simulate a number of processes (e.g., evapotranspiration, condensation, transport) that are difficult to evaluate at a global scale.

How much CO2 is absorbed in the atmosphere by moisture? How much does it vary spatially with changing temperature of the water droplets and raindrops? How much does it vary with changing air temperature and saturation vapor pressure? How much does it vary with wind speed? How do the quantities relate to human additions of CO2? All we can do is ask questions to help the public realize the inadequacy of the data and lack of understanding of the mechanisms behind IPCC claims.


£11m for the wind farm that was not working

A wind farm has been paid £11?million not to produce electricity, The Telegraph can disclose.

An analysis shows that 10 wind farms have each been paid more than £3?million over the past three years to shut down their turbines.

The sums being handed out to renewable energy companies are up to double what they would have received for producing electricity.

The highest payment of £11.1?million was paid over three years to ScottishPower, a Spanish-owned firm, which operates the Whitelee wind farm, around 10 miles from Glasgow.

The disclosures prompted claims that the Government has failed to “rein in” the amounts being demanded by wind farm owners to turn off their turbines to stop the electricity network becoming overloaded.

The money, which is ultimately added to household bills, is being paid to a series of firms, including a handful owned by the Swedish, Norwegian and Danish governments.

National Grid is responsible for managing the flow of electricity and hands producers “constraint payments” to shut down when there is a risk of the grid overloading because too much is being generated.

Each owner asks for a particular sum for each megawatt hour of energy its turbines would have produced had they been switched on, and National Grid chooses whether to accept their assessment.

The industry says the payments cover forgone subsidies, the wear and tear of shutting turbines down and administration costs.

In September 2011 MPs demanded action by Ofgem, the energy regulator, after The Telegraph disclosed that the Norwegian owners of the Crystal Rig wind farm in the Scottish Borders had been paid £1.2?million not to produce electricity for eight and a half hours.

Ofgem said that since then it has brought down the cost of constraint payments, but critics said firms were still making “excessive” profits.

The Renewable Energy Foundation think tank, which compiled the latest figures from official data, warned that the companies had either made “token reductions” to the amounts or “simply ignored” warnings that they should be brought down.

The total payments since 2011 have exceeded £70?million. Many have been made to wind farms in Scotland, where a large proportion of the UK’s turbines have been built and there are “bottlenecks” of energy leaving the area during high winds.

Among the payments was a total of £7.6?million to RWE Innogy, a German-owned firm, for shutting down the Farr wind farm, 10 miles from Inverness, on dozens of occasions. The sum includes £357,353 for shutting down the wind farm over six days this month.

Fred Olsen has received £3.2?million for shutting down its 85-turbine Crystal Rig wind farm over the past three years, including £159,987 earlier this month amid the high winds caused by Hurricane Bertha.

It asked for £114 per megawatt hour of energy the turbines would have produced had they been switched on, which National Grid accepted.

However, the main loss from turning off its turbines was a consumer subsidy amounting to around £50. Therefore, it was still receiving £64 per megawatt hour more than if it had been generating electricity, the foundation said.

Fred Olsen declined to provide a breakdown of the costs involved in shutting down the wind farm.

Dr Lee Moroney, research director of REF, said: “It is now becoming crystal clear that the full cost of constraints is disturbingly high. A more robust position from both government and the regulator, Ofgem, would go a long way to reining in wind power’s very high constraint prices.”

Wind farm owners insisted that the number of times wind farms were paid to shut down was “very small” compared with the number of times conventional power stations were paid to reduce their output.

Zoltan Zavody, from RenewableUK, the industry body, said that last year the total cost of wind constraint payments was around 65p on the average annual domestic electricity bill.

Ofgem said that since it was given powers in 2012 to prevent firms getting an “excessive benefit” from the payments, the prices paid have fallen from an average of £197 per MWh to £83 per MWh.

A spokesman for National Grid said: “For the moment, constraint payments are the most economically efficient way to balance the system while we await improvements to the electricity network such as the Western Link — a £1? billion sub-sea link that will bring renewable energy from Scotland to the rest of the UK.”


Same EPA Office Still Beset with Heinous Bathroom Hijinks

Back in June, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Denver regional office called in a workplace violence expert to help stop its employees from defecating in the hallways. Two months later, it seems they may need to request a refund. The problem has gotten out of control.

Recently-released memos and emails from the same office show the problem is much worse than originally thought. The documents reveal the “beyond gross” conditions of the office bathrooms and the apparent fear that has gripped some employees:

"One of my employees refused to come into the office today because she is terrified after hearing a story on the train home last night." ...

"A male supervisor ... told her that management knows that it is a female on the [redacted] floor who has been wiping feces and menstrual blood on the walls (I'm really sorry, this is beyond gross) and that they are worried that her behavior is escalating."

One email chain disclosed “a list of at least nine suspected restroom incidents.” These events lasted throughout the summer. The situation escalated to such a degree that EPA officials called for Homeland Security officers to patrol the hallways and other trouble spots.

The first line to the EPA’s mission statement reads:

“EPA's purpose is to ensure that all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn, and work.”

The appalling conditions at this EPA office are both outrageously funny and highly unsafe for those that work there. Seeing as the EPA has proposed an avalanche of new regulations this year controlling every part of ordinary Americans’ lives, perhaps they should physically clean up their own house first.



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

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


22 August, 2014

Global warming pause 'may last for another decade', scientists suggest

Basic physics:  When something is hot, its molecules are farther apart than when it is cold. When water is hot, its molecules are further apart, so it takes up more room. That makes hot water lighter than cold water, because the cold water has more molecules in the same amount of room. And put a ping-pong ball into any container of water and watch it sink to the bottom (NOT!).  It's only in Warmist models that hot (less dense) water sinks.  And the Warmists not only say that warm water sinks to the bottom but they also say that the warm water stays down there for many years.  It's science fantasy, not science fact.  There's no science left in Warmism

The “pause” in global warming may last another decade before surface temperatures start rising again, according to scientists who say heat is being stored in the depths of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans.

Global average surface temperatures rose rapidly from the 1970s but have been relatively stable since the late 1990s, in a trend that has been seized upon by climate sceptics who question the science of man-made warming.

Climate change scientists have proposed more than a dozen theories to explain the "hiatus", which they say is a "distraction" from the widespread consensus on global warming.

A new study, published in the journal Science, suggests that a natural cycle of ocean currents has caused the phenomenon by drawing heat from shallow waters down almost a mile into the depths of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans.

The cycle naturally produces periods of roughly 30 years in which heat is stored near the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, leading to warmer temperatures, followed by roughly 30 years in which it is stored in the depths, causing cooler surface temperatures, it suggests.

Rising surface temperatures in the last three decades of the 20th century were roughly half caused by man-made global warming and half by the ocean currents keeping more heat near the surface, it finds.

When the ocean cycle reversed around the turn of the century, drawing heat down into the depths, this served to counteract the effects of man-made global warming.

"When the internal variability that is responsible for the current hiatus switches sign, as it inevitably will, another episode of accelerated global warming should ensue," the study concludes.

Prof Ka-Kit Tung of the University of Washington, one of the report's authors, said: "Historically the cool period lasted 20 to 35 years. The current period already lasted 15 years, so roughly there [are] 10 more years to go."

But he said that other impacts of climate change could upset the cycle, which is caused by variation in the salinity of the water as denser, saltier water sinks.

Prof Tung said the study's findings were a surprise because previous studies had suggested it was the Pacific Ocean that was "the culprit for hiding heat".

"The data are quite convincing and they show otherwise," he said.

Prof Piers Forster, professor of climate change at the University of Leeds, said the paper was "another a nail in the coffin of the idea that the hiatus is evidence that our projections of long term climate change need revising down".

"Variability in the ocean will not affect long-term climate trends but may mean we have a period of accelerated warming to look forward to," he said.

Prof Richard Allan, professor of climate science at the University of Reading, said: "Although it is human nature to seek a single cause for notable events, in reality the complexity of the climate system means that there is not one simple explanation for a decade of unusual climatic conditions."


The hidden persuaders of the environmental elite

America’s environmental agenda is set by elite foundations that decide which activists get the money. And they form “affinity groups” to collude with President Obama’s bureaucracy, which funnels tax dollars to Democratic advocates to enforce that agenda.

Meet the conservation cash cartel of the uber-rich: the Environmental Grantmakers Association, a veteran organization (founded 1985) of more than 200 ultra-wealthy foundations caught in the spotlight of a new 92-page report exposing Big Green wealth eating away America’s industrial strength.

This is the same EGA that emerged during the Senate confirmation hearings for Rhea Sun Suh, the Interior Department’s new head of national parks and the Fish and Wildlife Service — a veteran EGA member who invited colleagues to come visit her any time.

Suh once worked for the Packard Foundation on programs to block oil and gas production in the West. Ironically, Packard’s investment portfolio — the profits from which the foundation pays its anti-oil and gas grants — holds more than $350,000 in ExxonMobil shares, and millions in dozens of other lesser-known fossil fuel securities.

Most of EGA’s foundation members have similar million-dollar dirty little secrets, but their tax-exempt activist recipients are not morally conflicted by taking fossil fuel cash and keeping it a secret as long as it furthers their corrosive goals.

The convoluted ethics that Greenpeace, for example, concocts in order to show how its oil-soaked funding — when exposed — is purified by the intent of the giver are classic unintentional self-parody.

The new report is titled “The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA,” and was produced by the Republican staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee under the direction of Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, the committee's ranking minority member.

Its executive summary states, “an elite group of left-wing millionaires and billionaires, which this report refers to as the 'Billionaire’s Club,' directs and controls the far-left environmental movement, which in turn controls major policy decisions and lobbies on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

Having researched that topic for decades, I was impressed by the scope and detail of the oversight team’s work, and asked Vitter how he felt about it.

“This report really gets to the core of tracking the money and exposing the collusion," Vitter told me. "The complicated, layered system is intended to create a lack of transparency. There is an unbelievable amount of money behind the environmental movement and far too much collusion between far-left environmental groups and the Obama EPA."

The collusion is like something out of a bad spy movie. Vitter’s oversight team uncovered a June 2009 deal in which the Rockefeller Family Fund offered then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to pay for a plant inside the President’s Council on Environmental Quality to “stake the EPA’s claim there,” and then slip the shill into a pre-arranged EPA job, giving the agency a White House insider on staff — and, not coincidentally, tightening the Rockefeller power grip over the EPA.

Jackson wrote her chief of staff Diane Thompson, “I think it’s a fine idea and can only help EPA in the long run” — using her fake Richard Windsor email account – and Thompson replied, “My thoughts exactly. The more inside connections the better.”

The Rockefeller shill was Shalini Vajjhala, who agreed to leave her minor position at Resources for the Future, a Washington think tank, for a two-month stint at the CEQ (with the pretentious title of "deputy associate director for energy and climate"). Then the EPA slipped her in as deputy assistant administrator of the Office of International & Tribal Affairs. Vajjhala remained until her 2011 appointment as EPA’s special representative leading a presidential U.S.-Brazil initiative.

After Vajjhala cycled through the White House and EPA, she got her personal reward in 2012: approval to found and manage a new investment portfolio supported by the Rockefeller Foundation (the original 1913 John D. Rockefeller philanthropy, not the fourth generation’s Family Fund — there are many Rockefeller tentacles). Vajjhala now contributes to the Huffington Post, funded in part by the Park Foundation.

EGA foundations are metastasizing into hundreds of far-left funds. The report drills into the Sea Change Foundation, “a private California foundation, which relies on funding from undisclosed donors and funnels tens of millions of dollars to other foundations and prominent environmental activists who strive to control both policy and politics.”

There is an incredible seedbed of Sea Change front groups: Bill Gates’ foundation gave Sea Change Capital Partners $2.5 million; eBay’s Omidyar Network Fund gave the same partners $2 million; David Rockefeller’s personal foundation gave to the Center for Sea Change. Walmart’s foundation gave $500,000 to Strategies for the Global Foundation Sea Change, an international tentacle into the White House.

But it’s not just the environment. The Crime Prevention Research Center, a nonprofit that tracks gun control activists, reported, "On January 8th, 2013, the Obama Administration met with 23 large foundations to organize a push for national gun control. They included such organizations as the Open Society Institute, the McCormick Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation” and the MacArthur Foundation.

Foundations appear to be colluding with almost every department of the Obama administration. And it’s not just the Big Green donors. It’s time for Congress to hear testimony from a sampling of manipulative foundation program directors and investment managers explaining themselves to those whose lives they influence.


Buy a powerful vacuum cleaner before they are BANNED: New EU rules 'will outlaw best models in 10 days because they're not eco-friendly'

Many of the best vacuum cleaners will be taken off the market from next month when a new EU rule comes into force banning the most powerful models

Households that need a powerful vacuum cleaner should ‘act quickly’ before all of the models currently available sell out, consumer watchdog Which? warned.

From September 1, manufacturers will not be able to make or import vacuums with a motor that exceeds 1,600 watts.

But Which? warned that many of the best models, which appear in its Best Buy tables, have motor sizes that exceed this.

Of seven awarded ‘Best Buy’ status since January 2013, five have motors of more than 1,600 watts, it said.

The maximum wattage will be lowered even further to 900 watts by 2017. Current cleaners boast an average of 1,800 watts.

The move has angered manufacturers, who say it will do nothing to make cleaners more environmentally friendly and will simply reduce efficiency in the home.

Critics say cleaners satisfying the new rule may use less power, but householders will have to use them for longer so they are likely to use the same amount of electricity in the long run.

For the first time, vacuum cleaners will have ratings from A to G for energy use, cleaning performance on carpets and hard floors and dust emissions.

But manufacturers will create their own labels and will be self-regulated. Which? warned that it is unclear whether the ratings will be tested at all by an independent third party.

It added that manufacturers that give themselves A ratings across the board often don’t do so well in its own independent tests, while those that do not score as highly often do better in the Which? laboratories.

Which? only offers its list of ‘endangered’ Best Buy vacuum cleaners to its paid subscribers.

But popular cleaners still on sale at the moment which would be outlawed by the new rule include a Bosch Power All Floor Bagged Vacuum Cleaner, a Miele S6210 2000 Watt Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner and the Panasonic Bagged Upright Vacuum Cleaner Black 2000w.

Despite his company not producing any vacuum over 1,400 watts, Sir James Dyson, the billionaire entrepreneur who pioneered ‘bagless’ vacuums, is also angered by the proposal.

He says the eco-labels will be misleading because they will not take into account the cost and waste of vacuum bags and filters and will give an advantage to competitors who use ‘bag’ technology.

He is seeking a judicial review of the proposal at the European Court of Justice.

As many as 126 million vacuum cleaner bags were sent to landfill last year alone, according to Dyson, assuming that all the bagged vacuum cleaners use one bag a month. But the cost to households and the environment is not factored in to the new EU labelling.

But the European Commission believes the new regulations will mean better vacuum cleaners for consumers.

‘As a result of the new EU ecodesign and labelling regulations, consumers will also get better vacuum cleaners,’ European Commission spokeswoman for energy Marlene Holzner said in a blog.

'In the past there was no legislation on vacuum cleaners and companies could sell poorly performing vacuum cleaners.

‘Now, vacuum cleaners that use a lot of energy, that pick up dust poorly, emit too much dust at the exhaust of the vacuum cleaner, are noisy or break down pre-maturely will not be allowed on the market anymore.

'This means a better cleaning experience and less time and money spent on vacuum cleaning.’

The new measures will be extended to other appliances, including water pumps, water heaters and tumble dryers.


Leonardo DiCaprio climate change video declares carbon dioxide to be ‘poison’!

DiCaprio fights ‘carbon monster’ in new eco-documentary featuring Joe Romm & Sen. Bernie Sanders - Leonardo DiCaprio:'We no longer need the dead economy of the fossil fuel industry.'

Leonardo DiCaprio’s new climate film titled ‘Carbon’, produced and narrated by DiCaprio, features environmental activist and talk show host Thom Hartmann touting a carbon tax and referring to carbon dioxide, (a trace essential gas in the atmosphere) as a “poison”.

“Finland and the Netherlands implemented a carbon tax back in 1990, both putting a price tag on each ton of CO2 poison,” Hartmann is featured as saying in the DiCaprio produced video. The new video released August 20, was produced by ‘Green World Rising’ and stars DiCaprio and is supported by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

But scientists reject the notion that carbon dioxide is a “poison.”

Princeton Physicist Dr. Will Happer testified to Congress in 2009 and bristled at the notion that CO2 would be considered “poison.”

“I keep hearing about the pollutant CO2, or about poisoning the atmosphere with CO2.  CO2 is not a pollutant.  It is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving ‘pollutant’ and poison of their original meaning,” Happer explained.

Geologist Leighton Steward told Climate Depot in July that CO2 is beneficial to the Earth.

“There is not a single professor of chemistry that I have come across that can give one single example of carbon dioxide being a pollutant,” Steward explained.

Far from CO2 being a “poison,” as DiCaprio’s video states, the Geologist Steward says that rising CO2 levels are literally greening the planet Earth.

“The plants are growing more robustly, food crops, the Earth has been getting greener and greener and greener, because a real experiment, an empirical experiment has been done. We are just fertilizing the plants. the eco-system is getting more robust,” Steward said.


Hillary is a CO2 factory

Aircraft are major producers of CO2.

Hillary Rodham Clinton likes to travel in style.

She insists on staying in the “presidential suite” of luxury hotels that she chooses anywhere in the world, including Las Vegas.

She usually requires those who pay her six-figure fees for speeches to also provide a private jet for transportation — only a $39 million, 16-passenger Gulfstream G450 or larger will do.

And she doesn’t travel alone, relying on an entourage of a couple of “travel aides,” and a couple of advance staffers who check out her speech site in the days leading up to her appearance, much like a White House trip, according to her contract and supporting documents concerning her Oct. 13 speech at a University of Nevada, Las Vegas Foundation fundraiser. The documents were obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal through the state public records law.


Refracking Ready to Rejuvenate Shale Revolution

Thanks to the dual-deployment of horizontal well drilling and hydraulic fracturing, oil and gas firms have unlocked massive new reserves across the United States, completely transforming America’s energy fortunes in just a matter of years. Critics, however, have pointed out that these new wells often give way to a rapid decline in output, arguing that the shale boom isn’t all it’s fracked up to be. The shale drilling industry is working to solve this problem, and one method, which involves tiny plastic balls added to the slurry pumped underground to break up shale rock, is allowing producers to “refrack” wells previously thought to be tapped out. Reuters reports:

"Wells sunk as little as three years ago are being fracked again, the latest innovation in the technology-driven shale oil revolution. Hydraulic fracturing, which has upended global energy markets by lifting U.S. crude oil output to a 25-year high, has been troubled by quick declines in oil and gas output. [...]

Using minuscule plastic balls, known as diverting agents, pumped at high speeds with water into the old wells, most of which are three to five years old, [Canadian firm Encana Corp.] blocked some the older fractures, or cracks. “The thought is that the diverting agent will go to the cracks with the least amount of pressure,” bypassing cracks with higher pressure and boosting the pressure of the entire well so output climbs, [said David Martinez, Encana's senior manager for Haynesville development]."

It’s a common but very serious mistake to predict the future based on what holds true today. In this case, those who have predicted the demise of the shale revolution may soon be forced to eat their words. The pace of technological change is accelerating, redefining possibilities along the way. We’re seeing this on display in the energy world, where plays that a decade ago were thought to be permanently inaccessible are suddenly gushing oil and gas. To expect no further breakthroughs along the lines of fracking and horizontal well-drilling is a mistake.



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

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


21 August, 2014

That pesky old sun

There has been a mini-flood in recent days of research reports that find the earth's climate to be influenced by solar variations -- something Warmists have always rejected.  I put up yesterday a report sourced out of Lund university in Sweden and I reproduce four more reports below.

Hundred-Year Period Of Increased Solar Activity Coming To An End

Article from Finland using American data

The space climate is undergoing an extremely interesting phase – a 100-year period of heightened solar activity is coming to an end.

The sun and weather are the favourite topics of discussion every summer. Kalevi Mursula, professor of space physics at the University of Oulu is interested in both but his interest goes beyond the atmosphere. Mursula studies space climate, including radiation and particles in our solar system.

At the moment, the space climate is undergoing an extremely interesting phase.

The engine of the space climate is the sun, which exerts is influence on its environment by emitting light and releasing solar wind, a stream of charged particles. Now a 100-year period of heightened solar activity is coming to an end.

Keeping tabs on solar activity is important.

Increased solar activity refers to strong solar winds and electromagnetic eruptions called solar storms. When coming into contact with the Earth’s atmosphere, these eruptions may disrupt the functioning of electric devices and communication networks.

Last week, Helsingin Sanomat reported physicist Dr. Pete Riley’s calculations indicating that the likelihood of a disruptive solar storm over the next decade is 12 per cent.

“All our data on space particles are from the period of heightened solar activity. It’ll be interesting to see how the decrease in the activity affects the space climate.”

The task is made easier by the large quantity of data available to scientists as solar radiation is being monitored on dozens of wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Researchers also gather additional information by observing the particle concentration in the near-Earth space.

Observing the past

But the Academy of Finland’s Centre of Excellence, the Research on Solar Long-term Variability and Effects (ReSoLVE) team, led by Mursula, is not satisfied with the current state of knowledge.

The scientists at the centre want to find out what has occurred in the sun’s activity over the past 150 years.

“We have both direct and indirect observations on solar activity available to us. For example, the number of sunspots have been observed for a long time.”

Information dating even further back can be gathered from drillings on ice caps, which contain isotopes that make it possible to draw conclusions on earlier changes in solar activity. These isotopes indicate that the sun was exceptionally active during the 20th century but periods of even greater activity took place thousands of years ago.

The reason behind the fluctuation in solar activity is not yet known. One hypothesis is that these long solar cycles are caused by the gravity forces of the planets in the solar system.

However, the current knowledge does not support this hypothesis.


Solar cycles linked to climate pause, assist in coastal planning

Australian data

LONG-TERM  natural cycles linked to the sun could explain the pause in global average surface temperatures and offer a better guide for coastal planners to predict sea level rises, storm surges and natural disasters.

Publication of the findings in Ocean and Coastal Management follows a decade-long struggle for the lead author, Australian scientist Robert Baker from the University of New England, whose work has challenged the orthodox ­climate science view that carbon dioxide is the dominant factor in climate change.

Dr Baker, a former chair of the International Geographical Commission on Modelling Geographic Systems, said what had been a purely scientific debate on climate change until 2005 had become political. His latest paper with his PhD student faced a ­series of ­objections from scientists close to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change but was published after an 11-member peer review panel voted 8-3 to publish. An editorial that accompanied the paper said it was an “excellent ­example of how to approach these complex issues that are now vulnerable to often irrational and heated debate instead of the ­required proper scientific discussion”.

The Baker paper suggests a ­hybrid model that allows future climate change to be estimated with or without human influences. The authors said this would provide a better legal foundation for decision making. Problems with coastal planning in NSW, based on sea-level predictions from climate modelling, were cited in the international paper.

The paper accepts that if there is a human influence on climate change, then it could result in a threefold increase in one-in-100-year extreme coastal events. But it says, as the hiatus shows, human influence can be overtaken by long-term natural cycles, making predictions less certain. The combination of natural and human-induced change in a hybrid model of natural cycles and human influence suggested by Dr Baker produces a “planner’s ­dilemma” of determining whether extreme events are natural fluctuations or from anthropogenic warming.

The paper shows, from scientific analysis of a large number of data sets, that previous fluctuations are periodic and likely to repeat, which has previously been ignored in climate models. According to the paper, the new model was able to simulate a number of climate features . This included greater heat uptake in the oceans to explain the present temperature “pause”; regional effects whereby global warming impacts were not evenly spread ; and planetary, lunar and solar cycles being embedded within the chaotic fluctuations in short-term mean sea-level data. Historic cycles could be predicted to repeat, except with the addition of anthropogenic warming, where the impact could be magnified.

The IPCC’s latest report said the “pause” was due to natural variation and ocean warming. Climate scientists say they expect warming to resume in the near future.


Chinese study shows solar influence on climate

Research from China published in a peer reviewed Chinese language journal claims that there is a strong correlation between solar output and the warming of the Earth and implies that the climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may have "underestimated" the impact of natural factors on climate change.

The recent study claims to demonstrate the existence of significant resonance cycles and high correlations between solar activity and the Earth's averaged surface temperature during centuries, according to an accompanying press release. The press release also claims that a peer reviewer of this paper stated "this work provides a possible explanation for the global warming".

This is a controversial claim and flies in the face of evidence presented by the IPCC and accepted by many climate scientists that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) have been the main factor driving up global temperatures in the industrial age.

The press release states: "climate models of IPCC seem to underestimate the impact of natural factors on the climate change, while overstate that of human activities". It adds that the study "implies that the "modern maximum" of solar activity agrees well with the recent global warming of the Earth. A significant correlation between them can be found".

The research by Dr. Zhao Xinhua and Dr. Feng Xueshang from Chinese state space weather laboratory is published in the peer reviewed journal Chinese Science Bulletin. The paper is written in Chinese with an English language abstract.

In their English language abstract (see below) the authors state: “During the past 100 years, solar activities display a clear increasing tendency that corresponds to the global warming of the Earth (including land and ocean) very well. Particularly, the ocean temperature has a slightly higher correlation to solar activity than the land temperature. All these demonstrate that solar activity has a non-negligible forcing on the temperature change of the Earth on the time scale of centuries.”

This research goes to the heart of the issue of the importance of the sun in climate change and also the issue of the so called sensitivity of the climate to changes in atmospheric CO2 levels. The implication of the research is that the sensitivity of the climate to increases in CO2 is less than that assumed in IPCC model forecasts and therefore that the sun plays a far greater role in influencing climate change than previously acknowledged.

The IPCC's AR5 science report published in September 2013 states: "Nonetheless, there is a high confidence that 21st century solar forcing will be much smaller than the projected increased forcing due to GHGs."

A recent study demonstrates the existence of significant resonance cycles and high correlations between solar activity and the Earth's averaged surface temperature during centuries. This provides a new clue to reveal the phenomenon of global warming in recent years.

Their work, entitled "Periodicities of solar activity and the surface temperature variation of the Earth and their correlations" was published in CHINESE SCIENCE BULLETIN (In Chinese) 2014 No.14 with the co-corresponding authors of Dr. Zhao Xinhua and Dr. Feng Xueshang from State key laboratory of space weather, CSSAR/NSSC, Chinese Academy of Sciences. It adopts the wavelet analysis technique and cross correlation method to investigate the periodicities of solar activity and the Earth's temperature as well as their correlations during the past centuries.

Global warming is one of the hottest and most debatable issues at present. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claimed that the release of the anthropogenic greenhouse gases contributed to 90% or even higher of the observed increase in the global average temperature in the past 50 years. However, the debate on the causes of the global warming never stops. Research shows that the current warming does not exceed the natural fluctuations of climate. The climate models of IPCC seem to underestimate the impact of natural factors on the climate change, while overstate that of human activities. Solar activity is an important ingredient of natural driving forces of climate. Therefore, it is valuable to investigate the influence of solar variability on the Earth's climate change on long time scales.

This innovative study combines the measured data with those reconstructed to disclose the periodicities of solar activity during centuries and their correlations with the Earth's temperature. The obtained results demonstrate that solar activity and the Earth's temperature have significant resonance cycles, and the Earth's temperature has periodic variations similar to those of solar activity (Figure 1).

This study also implies that the "modern maximum" of solar activity agrees well with the recent global warming of the Earth. A significant correlation between them can be found (Figure 2).

As pointed out by a peer reviewer, "this work provides a possible explanation for the global warming".


Based on the well-calibrated systematic measurements of sunspot numbers, the reconstructed data of the total solar irradiance (TSI), and the observed anomalies of the Earth’s averaged surface temperature (global, ocean, land), this paper investigates the periodicities of both solar activity and the Earth’s temperature variation as well as their correlations on the time scale of centuries using the wavelet and cross correlation analysis techniques. The main results are as follows. (1) Solar activities (including sunspot number and TSI) have four major periodic components higher than the 95% significance level of white noise during the period of interest, i.e. 11-year period, 50-year period, 100-year period, and 200-year period. The global temperature anomalies of the Earth have only one major periodic component of 64.3-year period, which is close to the 50-year cycle of solar activity. (2) Significant resonant periodicities between solar activity and the Earth’s temperature are focused on the 22- and 50-year period. (3) Correlations between solar activity and the surface temperature of the Earth on the long time scales are higher than those on the short time scales. As far as the sunspot number is concerned, its correlation coefficients to the Earth temperature are 0.31-0.35 on the yearly scale, 0.58-0.70 on the 11-year running mean scale, and 0.64-0.78 on the 22-year running mean scale. TSI has stronger correlations to the Earth temperature than sunspot number. (4) During the past 100 years, solar activities display a clear increasing tendency that corresponds to the global warming of the Earth (including land and ocean) very well. Particularly, the ocean temperature has a slightly higher correlation to solar activity than the land temperature. All these demonstrate that solar activity has a non-negligible forcing on the temperature change of the Earth on the time scale of centuries.

Periodicities of solar activity and the surface temperature variation of the Earth and their correlations by ZHAO X H, FENG X S.Chin Sci Bull (Chin Ver), 2014, 59: 1284, doi: 10.1360/972013-1089


Astronomy journal reports solar influence on climate

Report by an international team

Research published in an astronomy journal suggests that high solar output seen in the second half of the last century was a once in 3,000 year event.

This astronomical finding based on a careful analysis of sunspot activity has clear implications for climate science as the so called “grand maximum” in solar output identified by the researchers and observed between 1950 and 2009 co-incided with the rapid warming of global surface temperatures seen during the second half of the 20th century.

The international team of space scientists from Finland, France, Switzerland and Russia who authored the paper, “Evidence for distinct modes of solar activity” which appeared in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, do not explicitly link their results to climate science.

They state that the sun has several modes of activity and oscillates between periods of higher and lower output. “The distribution of solar activity is clearly bi-modal, implying the existence of distinct modes of activity. The main regular activity mode corresponds to moderate activity that varies in a relatively narrow band between sunspot numbers ? 20 and 67. The existence of a separate Grand minimum mode with reduced solar activity, which cannot be explained by random fluctuations of the regular mode, is confirmed at a high confidence level,” they state.

There is an indication that the Grand maximum seen between 1950 and 2009 also corresponds to a separate mode of activity, they state, “but the low statistics does not allow us to firmly conclude on this, yet”. The low statistics they refer to are because the solar output seen during this period was only observed once during the 3,000 or so years covered by the study.
The research was based on analysis of carbon-14 and magnetic evidence contained in sediments and rocks to reconstruct solar activity over a 3,000 year period.

The implications of this result are controversial as they appear to fly in the face of evidence presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and accepted by many climate scientists that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) have been the main factor driving up global temperatures in the industrial age and that the sun has played a minor role.

This finding that the period of most intense global warming has coincided with an unprecedented peak in recorded solar output will add pressure onto the IPCC to look again at the interconnection between the sun and the climate.


Aims. The Sun shows strong variability in its magnetic activity, from Grand minima to Grand maxima, but the nature of the variability is not fully understood, mostly because of the insufficient length of the directly observed solar activity records and of uncertainties related to long-term reconstructions. Here we present a new adjustment-free reconstruction of solar activity over three millennia and study its different modes.

Methods. We present a new adjustment-free, physical reconstruction of solar activity over the past three millennia, using the latest verified carbon cycle, 14C production, and archeomagnetic field models. This great improvement allowed us to study different modes of solar activity at an unprecedented level of details.

Results. The distribution of solar activity is clearly bi-modal, implying the existence of distinct modes of activity. The main regular activity mode corresponds to moderate activity that varies in a relatively narrow band between sunspot numbers 20 and 67. The existence of a separate Grand minimum mode with reduced solar activity, which cannot be explained by random fluctuations of the regular mode, is confirmed at a high confidence level. The possible existence of a separate Grand maximum mode is also suggested, but the statistics is too low to reach a confident conclusion.

Conclusions. The Sun is shown to operate in distinct modes – a main general mode, a Grand minimum mode corresponding to an inactive Sun, and a possible Grand maximum mode corresponding to an unusually active Sun. These results provide important constraints for both dynamo models of Sun-like stars and investigations of possible solar influence on Earth’s climate.

Evidence for distinct modes of solar activity by I. G. Usoskin, G. Hulot, Y. Gallet, R. Roth, A. Licht, F. Joos, G. A. Kovaltsov, E. Thébaultand A. Khokhlov published inAstronomy and Astrophysics A&A Volume 562, February 2014 DOI


Climate change a symbolic battle against an unpleasant, toxic way of life

The rural simplicity idealized by Hitler still guides Greens

I suspect most readers of my column do not religiously read The Atlantic. I don’t either. But I have people — readers who alert me to news and information I might not see otherwise. Though the Atlantic has gained recent notoriety for the interview with Hilary Clinton, in which she says: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” there is more to it. With so much focus on the Clinton quote, it would be easy to overlook an article within the September issue: How to Talk About Climate Change So People Will Listen.

While I don’t think the author of the nine-page article, Charles C. Mann, ever really offers the answers the title posits, and is seven pages in before he even attempts to advise the reader on the premise, he does offer some noteworthy insights.

Mann is obviously a believer in anthropogenic (or man-made) climate change. Much of his essay is spent deriding the left for its unrestrained rhetoric that it uses to “scare Americans into action.”  He says: “the chatter itself, I would argue, has done its share to stall progress.”

Within his argument is some history and context that is illustrative for those who see climate change as cyclical — something natural that has happened before and will happen again, rather than something that is new, scary, and human-caused. Those of us who believe the climate changes, but that human activity is, certainly, not the primary driver, struggle to understand the cult-like following of alarmists like Bill McKibben, founder of (“A group that seeks to create a mass movement against climate change”) — who Mann spends several paragraphs criticizing.

While I doubt that this is Mann’s intent, a careful reader will realize that today’s climate hysteria has less to do with the climate and more to do with control and economic change.

Mann starts his history lesson with Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb — whom I wrote about in June. Mann calls Ehrlich’s book “a foundational text in the environmental movement” — yet, he points out that Ehrlich’s “predictions didn’t pan out.” Instead of discrediting Ehrlich, his work, somehow, gave birth to what Mann calls “environmental politics.” Continuing, Mann asserts that Earth Day “became an opportunity to denounce capitalist greed.”

Using acid rain as an example, Mann points out: “environmentalists meanwhile found out the problems were less dire than they had claimed” and that “Today, most scientists have concluded that the effects of acid rain were overstated to begin with.”

Because I follow the politics of energy policy, I found this point Mann makes most interesting: “Environmental issues became ways for politicians to signal their clan identity to supporters.” He observes: “As symbols, the ideas couldn’t be compromised.” And, he states: “climate change is perfect for symbolic battle.” He calls carbon dioxide “a side effect of modernity.”

Addressing the charts and graphs that so frequently accompany the climate change hyperbole, Mann says: “In the history of our species, has any human heart ever been profoundly stirred by a graph? Some other approach, proselytizers have recognized, is needed.”

When he gets to McKibben, Mann accuses him of stoking concern “Ehrlich-style.” Mann explains: “The only solution to our ecological woes, McKibben argues, is to live simpler, more local, less resource-intensive existences” — which McKibben believes “will have the happy side effect of turning a lot of unpleasant multinational corporations to ash.” He concludes his section on McKibben with this: “McKibbenites see carbon dioxide as an emblem of a toxic way of life.”

In response to McKibben’s model, Mann cites French philosopher Pascal Bruckner, who argues: “people react with suspicion, skepticism, and sighing apathy — the opposite of the reaction McKibbenites hope to evoke.” Bruckner, according to Mann, likens ecologism to “moral blackmail” as it attempts to “force humanity into a puritanical straitjacket of rural simplicity.” “Ecologism” according to Mann/Bruckner, “employs …bludgeons to compel people to accept modes of existence they would otherwise reject.”

Elsewhere, Mann acknowledges: “Nobody seems to have much appetite for giving up the perks of an industrial civilization” that Mann calls a “boon to humankind,” for which he credits “cheap energy from fossil fuels.” He says: “an unprecedented three-century wave of prosperity” was “driven by the explosive energy of coal, oil and natural gas.”

“True,” says Dan Sutter, professor of economics with the Manuel Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University, and who has taught environmental economics and energy economics and done extensive research on extreme weather, as well as the political economy of environmental policy. Sutter told me: “The underlying change that enabled the industrial revolution was the emergence of economic freedom and a market economy. The essence of the market economy is decentralized decision making, and this has led to the harnessing of energy to the benefit of humankind.”

Sutter continued: “Stabilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide at something close to current levels (or lower) will require centralized control over the allocation of energy, meaning centralized control over the economy. Thinking about the distant future is difficult, but energy central planning will bring a halt to the market forces that have produced the first significant improvement in human standards of living in thousands of years.”

So, while Mann concedes that cheap energy from fossil fuels “has been an extraordinary boon to humankind;” and that previous crises — Ehrlich and acid rain, for example — “didn’t pan out,” “have been less dire,” or have been “overstated;” and that environmental issues have become political; and that today’s climate crusaders are clinging to a “symbolic battle” with the ultimate goal of “asking nations to revamp the base of their own prosperity,” though “nobody seems to have much appetite for giving up the perks of industrial civilization,” Mann is still searching for a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal.

The answer, Mann posits, is “retrofitting 7,000 industrial facilities” — coal-fueled power plants. For what? For a crisis that is “overstated” like those before it and turns out to be “less dire,” we should allow the “symbolic battle” of the climate crusaders to remove that which has been “an extraordinary boon to humankind?”

Toward the end of his tome, Mann states: “the environment has become a proxy for a tribal battle.” He doesn’t state what the tribes are, but from the preceding pages, it is clear that he means the left and the right; the Democrats and the Republicans; those who want to turn corporations to ash, denounce capitalist greed, and force humanity into a straitjacket of rural simplicity and those who understand that the industrial revolution, the market economy, and “cheap energy from fossil fuels” have been “an extraordinary boon to humankind.”

Yes, Mann is correct. “The environment has become a proxy for a tribal battle.” But, as Mann points out, the climate alarmists scare tactics aren’t working — only 20 percent of likely U.S. voters believe the scientific debate about global warming is over. He believes it is because they “don’t know how to talk about climate change.” I believe people are smarter than he gives them credit for. They have heard the “chatter.” They’ve seen, that like Erlich, the “predictions didn’t pan out.”

The “political back-and-forth has become less productive,” which is why we see a switching of sides. Democrats, like Senator Joe Manchin (D-VA), are defending coal. “Full-throated green-energy champions,” like Mark Udall, are supporting fracking. At risk of alienating environmental groups, those who just two years ago voted to restrict oil-and-gas exports, like Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), are now voting to speed up the government’s reviews of applications to export natural gas, which the Wall Street Journal calls: “a move long sought by energy companies.”

What would cause this shift in the tribal battle? The answer, I believe, is simple: no one wants to be in the losing tribe. As Mann unwittingly makes the case for, alarmist claims are met with “suspicion, skepticism, and sighing apathy” — and those are not the battle cries of a winner.


New Study: Increase In Reported UK Flooding Due To Population Growth, Not Global Warming

A rise in the number of reported floods in the UK over the past 129 years can mainly be explained by increased exposure, resulting from urban expansion and population growth, according to new research by the University of Southampton.

In one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, scientists have discovered that although the number of reported floods has gone up during the 20th and 21st Century, this trend disappears when the figures are adjusted to reflect population growth and increased building numbers over the same period.

Published in the journal Hydrological Sciences, the study looks at data sets from 1884 to 2013 and found an upward trend in reported flooding, with flood events appearing more frequently towards the end of the 20th century, peaking in 2012 when annual rainfall was the second highest in over 100 years.

The rise in UK flood reports over the 20th Century coincides with population growth from 38.2 million to 59.1 million and a tripling in the number of houses, from 7.7 million to 24.8 million.

“As a result there were more properties exposed to flooding and more people to report flooding,” says lead author Andrew Stevens. “A higher exposure to flooding will result in more reported flood events and larger potential damages.”

The study found significant variation between decades in both the raw and adjusted data, with the years between 1908 -1934, 1977 – 1988 and 1998 – 2013 featuring a relatively high numbers of reported floods.



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

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


20 August, 2014

Arctic Sea Ice Area Highest Since 2004

August 16 Arctic sea ice area is the highest in a decade, up 54% from two years ago, and within one standard deviation of the 1979-2014 mean.

Green shows ice gain since August 16, 2012. Red shows loss.


Uh oh: California solar plant fries thousands of birds in mid-flight

Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant’s concentrated sun rays — “streamers,” for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair.

Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one “streamer” every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator’s application to build a still-bigger version.

The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group.

Jon Gabriel on the history of this plant with environmentalists and regulators:

"The facility has concerned environmentalists in the past, as its construction bladed over 3,500 acres of virgin desert. Being California, the state government required BrightSource to relocate a bunch of desert gopher tortoises to the tune of $22 million. The installation also endangers pilots flying the busy Los Angeles–Las Vegas corridor; they can be dazzled by the intense light.

It remains to be seen if regulators will stop the plant’s operation, but at least the world’s largest bug zapper should educate environmentalists and green energy boosters.

For too long, the public has been told that energy production is less a matter of physics than one of morality. Renewable energy like solar and wind are sold as “good” while reliable energy sources like oil and coal are “evil.” Methods like hydroelectric, nuclear and natural gas all were initially sold as clean and green, but became demonized the instant they turned a profit or revealed unintended consequences."

Between this and slaying bald eagles with impunity, green energy is literally killin’ it lately.


Is the SUN driving climate change? Solar activity - 'and not just humans' - could be increasing global warming, study claims

It's not just humans that are to blame for global warming - natural activity from the sun also has an impact on climate change.

This is according to a Swedish research team that has reconstructed the sun's activity at the end of the last ice age, around 20,000 to 10,000 years ago.

The study shows that the sun's variation influences the climate regardless of whether the climate is extreme, as it was during the Ice Age, or moderate, as it is today.

However the researchers do not say solar activity is the sole cause of the current warming of our planet, which most scientists agree is being accelerated by human activities.

The researchers from Lund University in Sweden came to their conclusion by analysing trace elements in ice cores in Greenland and cave formations from China.

Their research shows that the regional climate is influenced by the sun and offers opportunities to better predict future climate conditions in certain regions.

Dr Raimund Muscheler, lecturer in Quaternary Geology at Lund University and co-author of the study, told MailOnline that solar activity in the modern day was causing about 0.1 degrees of warming in the 11-year solar cycle.

'Bit it's quite debated how much it really contributed in the last 100 years, since solar activity increased a bit,' Dr Muscheler says.  'The long trend is debated, but most people don't think it's much more than 0.1 degrees.'

However, he warned that the sun was not the only factor in causing climate change.

'Climate skeptics like to say sun is causing more global warming than we think but I don’t think so.

'What our paper shows is we need to include all processes - greenhouses, the sun and so on, especially for local climates which is important of course.

During the last glacial maximum, Sweden was covered in a thick ice sheet that stretched all the way down to northern Germany and sea levels were more than 330ft (100m) lower than they are today, because the water was frozen in the extensive ice caps.

'The study shows an unexpected link between solar activity and climate change,' Dr Muscheler said in a press release.

'It shows both that changes in solar activity are nothing new and that solar activity influences the climate, especially on a regional level.

'Understanding these processes helps us to better forecast the climate in certain regions.'

Dr Joanna Haigh, Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College London, tells MailOnline that the research is interesting but people should not jump to any conclusions.

'This is a very nice careful piece of work which provides evidence from Greenland, over a period 10,000-25,000 years ago, consistent with a picture that has emerged from other studies looking at changes over more recent times,' she says.

'This shows that when the sun is less active winters are likely to be warmer in Greenland and colder in Northwest Europe.

'It is not easy to draw any conclusions from this work with regard to the sun’s role in global warming or the recent slowdown in warming of global air temperature.'

The sun’s impact on the climate is a matter of current debate.

There is still a lot of uncertainty as to how the sun affects the climate, but the study suggests that direct solar energy is not the most important factor, but rather it indirectly affects atmospheric circulation.

'Reduced solar activity could lead to colder winters in Northern Europe,' said Dr Muscheler.  'This is because the sun’s UV radiation affects the atmospheric circulation.

'Interestingly, the same processes lead to warmer winters in Greenland, with greater snowfall and more storms.

'The study also shows that the various solar processes need to be included in climate models in order to better predict future global and regional climate change.'


Is the post-EPA regs power grid ready for a truly hard winter?

During the dog days of summer (which haven’t been all that doggy in the Northeast this year) it’s not very popular to sit and speculate about the winter months ahead, but the people responsible for keeping the lights – and the heat – turned on have to do it. One of these folks is Joe Bastardi of WeatherBELL Analytics, and he’s looking ahead with some trepidation. Joe is reading the meteorological tea leaves and sees the potential for another round of heavy snowfall and crippling cold temperatures coming our way. And he also notes that our net energy production, in the wake of new EPA carbon regulations, is actually declining from the previous curve at a time when bad weather puts full load demand on the system. During an interview with Wall Street Journal Live, he voices some of these concerns.

Joe Bastardi: … It’s flowing along right now into the type of El Nino situation that is notorious for giving the United States cold, snowy winters, especially in the eastern part of the United States, relative to the averages. That would be significant because we were within one power plant last year of having the grid overload …

Question: This is sounding horrific. I know that in the first quarter, the weather was said to be to blame for the slow economic growth. Are we going to stop working, basically is what you’re saying?

Joe Bastardi: This year, if you get the kind of winter that we had in 2009-2010 or 2002-2003 with the nation’s grid on the ropes the way it is and some of these regulations that I hear about coming down that are supposed to close plants on January 1st – and what I know, because we’re involved in getting people ready to fight snow in cities around the country – this could be a very, very big economic impact on the winter. And we’re very concerned about that.
Do you recall those “polar vortex” weeks which were all the rage back in January and February? They may be coming back, and last time it happened the strain hit one of the nation’s major power distribution networks to the point where it almost gave up the ghost.

Last winter, bitterly cold weather placed massive stress on the US electrical system ? and the system almost broke. On January 7 in the midst of the polar vortex, PJM Interconnection, the Regional Transmission Organization serving the heart of America from New Jersey to Illinois, experienced a new all-time peak winter load of almost 142,000 megawatts.

Eight of the top ten of PJM’s all-time winter peaks occurred in January 2014. Heroic efforts by grid operators saved large parts of the nation’s heartland from blackouts during record-cold temperature days. Nicholas Akins, CEO of American Electric Power, stated in Congressional testimony, “This country did not just dodge a bullet ? we dodged a cannon ball.”

In order to comply with the new Obama era EPA regs, American Electric Power, which supplies a major portion of the electricity used on the east coast, will be closing almost one quarter of their coal fired plants between now and next June. This is because they were economically unable to come into compliance with the new regulations in the impossibly short window of opportunity offered by the EPA. This is going to reduce the total surge capacity available for some of our most densely populated areas just when we may get hit with weather related demand spikes beyond anyone’s control.

Having the power go out in the summer when you’re trying to run the air conditioning is bad enough. Losing heating when the temperatures head below zero for weeks on end is a recipe for disaster.


We can terraform Mars for the same cost as mitigating climate change. Which would you rather?

One frequently quoted study of the global costs of mitigating climate change put them at around $3 trillion by 2100, with the main benefits being felt between 2100 and 2200. Here is alternative way to spend around the same amount of money with around the same timescale of payback: terraforming Mars.

A standard estimate is that, for about $2-$3 trillion, in between 100 and 200 years we would be able to get Mars from its current "red planet" (dead planet) status to " blue planet" (i.e. a dense enough atmosphere and high enough temperature for Martian water in the poles and soil to melt, creating seas) – achievable in about 100 years – and from there to microbes and algae getting us to "green planet" status within 200 to 600 years.

There are two standard objections to such terraforming. First, it is said to be too expensive, altogether, to be plausible. Second, it is said to require too long a timescale to be plausible.  Both of these objections appear decisively answered by climate change policies and indeed energy policies in general. Between now and the 2035 alone, global investment in energy and energy efficiency (in many cases with a many-decades payback period) is estimated at about $40 trillion, of which $6 trillion is in renewables and $1 trillion in low-carbon nuclear. We are willing to spend many trillions on projects that could take over a century to come to fruition.

But in a century that red dot in the night sky could be transformed into a blue dot, and a couple of centuries later into a green dot. We know how. We just need to decide to do it.  If we decided to go for it, some of you reading this article could be alive to see that blue dot.

What an adventure that would be!  In the ancient world, humanity had poor knowledge of almost anywhere. The conquests of Alexander the Great are sometimes seen through the lens of his desire to stand on the shores of a legendary great ocean he had heard of, where the lands ended.  By the Mediaeval period we had the journey of Marco Polo and expeditions of Zheng He. Then the Portuguese got in with their effort to sail around Africa to India. Columbus sailed West and Magellan circumnavigated the Earth. In the 19th century Livingstone and Stanley explored Africa and as the 20th century began Amundsen discovered the North West Passage and went first to the South Pole and probably also the North. In the Fifties Hillary and Tenzing conquered Everest and in 1960 the Trieste reached the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Immediately humanity had conquered these last earthly adventures, we had the race to the Moon, reaching it in 1969.

And then… well, essentially we stopped.  Like late Roman Imperialists hedged in after the Teutoburg Forest, Western culture has decayed into decadent pleasures. Absent new discoveries or voyages to make, humanity's adventures are sex or thrill-seeking or drugs or, as the character Cuckoo puts in in the eponymous BBC3 series: "Would you like to know the longest journey I've ever taken? The journey into my mind….."

There are perhaps other great adventures humanity could pursue besides the terraforming of Mars. But that is a big and obvious one and one we believe we could indeed do – at a cost that is comparable to other policies we do in fact enact and over a timescale that we do currently consider relevant for other policies.

Furthermore, it is of a unifying nature. Frankly, if you had to choose between spending $2-$3 trillion on preventing the earth heating up more than 2-3 degrees over the next 150 years and spending it on making Mars into a blue planet where algae and bacteria and plants could grow, who is seriously going to choose the former?


Trampling on Coal Country Families


Between 1989 and 2010, Congress rejected nearly 700 cap-tax-and-trade and similar bills that their proponents claimed would control Earth's perpetually fickle climate and weather. So even as real world crises erupt, President Obama is using executive fiats and regulations to impose his anti-hydrocarbon agenda, slash America's fossil fuel use, bankrupt coal and utility companies, make electricity prices skyrocket, and "fundamentally transform" our economic, social, legal and constitutional system.

Citing climate concerns, he has refused to permit construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and blocked or delayed Alaskan, western state and offshore oil and gas leasing and drilling. He's proud that US oil production has climbed 58% and natural gas output has risen 21% since 2008. But he doesn't mention that this is due to hydraulic fracturing on state and private lands; production has actually fallen in areas controlled by the federal government, and radical environmentalists oppose fracking all over the USA.

Above all, the President's war on hydrocarbons is a war on Coal Country families. For 21 states that still rely on coal to produce 40-96% of their electricity, it is a war on people's livelihoods and living standards - on the very survival of small businesses and entire communities. The price of electricity has already risen 1-2 cents per kilowatt-hour in those states, from as little as 5.6 cents/kWh in 2009. If it soars to the 14.6 to 15.7 cents/kWh paid in "job-mecca states" like California and New York - which rely on coal for less than 3% of their electricity - the impacts will churn through coal-dependant states like a tsunami.

Yet that is where rates are headed, as the Obama EPA's carbon dioxide and other restrictions kick in. Hundreds of baseload coal-fired power plants (some 180 gigawatts of electric generation capacity) will be forced into premature retirement between 2010 and 2020. That's more than 15% of the United States' total installed capacity - enough electricity to power nearly 90 million average homes or small businesses. EPA assumes it can be replaced by expensive, unreliable, habitat-gobbling wind and solar power. It can't.

EPA rules mean the price of everything people do will skyrocket: heating and air conditioning, lights and refrigeration, televisions, computers, medical equipment, machinery and every other gizmo that runs on electricity. Poor, minority and blue-collar families will have to find hundreds of dollars a year somewhere in their already stretched budgets. Shops and other small businesses will have to discover thousands of dollars, by delaying other purchases or laying people off. Factories, malls, school districts, hospitals and cities will have to send out search parties to locate millions a year at the end of rainbows.

Millions will get laid off - in coal mines, power plants, factories, shops and other businesses. Entire families and communities will be pounded and impoverished. Real people's hopes, dreams, pride and work ethic will be replaced by despair and dependency. Bread winners will be forced to work multiple jobs, commute longer distances, and suffer severe sleep deprivation, if they can find work.

Families will have to cope with more stress, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse. Nutrition and medical care will suffer. More people will turn to crime. More will have strokes and heart attacks. More will die prematurely or commit suicide. For no measurable benefits.

EPA cites mercury, soot, asthma, climate change, hurricanes, seas rising seven inches a century, and even ocean acidification to justify the draconian rules. But the scientific basis is bogus.

The agency cherry-picks data and studies that support its agenda, ignores libraries of contradictory research, rejects experts whose analyses question EPA conclusions, pays advisors and activists millions of dollars annually to rubberstamp and promote its regulations, and hides its work from those it decrees "are not qualified to analyze it." The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change operates in much the same fashion.

Moreover, unhealthy US emissions plunged nearly 90% since 1970, even as coal use for electricity generation increased 170% - and the newest coal-fired power plants reduce pollution by almost this amount, using "supercritical" technologies, while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20% or more, according the EPA and US Energy Information Administration reports.

Meanwhile, China, India, Germany, Poland and other countries are building some 1,200 new coal-fired power plants, and numerous gas plants, to spur economic growth, preserve jobs and lift people out of poverty. So the sacrifices Mr. Obama is imposing will do nothing to reduce global CO2 levels, which the evidence increasingly shows plays only a minor to trivial role in climate and weather fluctuations.

It's true that Detroit temperatures didn't dip below freezing in January and February in'79 - followed by a frost in June. But that was 1879! When he was a boy, "snows were frequent and deep in every winter," Thomas Jefferson recalled in December 1809. "The Greenland seas, hitherto covered [in ice], have in the last two years entirely disappeared," Britain's Royal Society reported ... in 1817. "We were astonished by the total absence of ice in Barrow Strait. [Six years ago the area was] still frozen up, and doubts were entertained as to the possibility of escape," Captain Francis McClintock wrote in his ship's log - in 1860.

And don't forget the Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age, and the five frigid epochs that buried North America, Europe and Asia under glaciers a mile thick. Or the 4,000-year-old trees that recently emerged as modern glaciers melted back - proving that a forest grew in the now icy Alps just four millennia ago.

On and on it has gone, throughout Earth and human history: wild weather and climate swings on a recurring basis. But now, climate chaos cultists want us to believe such events began only recently, and we could stop today's climate and weather aberrations - if we would just eliminate fossil fuels, destroy our economies, and condemn Third World families to permanent poverty and disease.

The truth is, only once in all of human history was a government able to control Earth's climate, to make it "perfect all year," and it is highly unlikely that we will ever return to those wondrous days.

So how do the EPA, IPCC, Michael Mann, Al Gore and other Climate Armageddonites deal with all these inconvenient truths, questions and skeptical researchers?

They hide their data and computer codes. Complain that they are being picked on. Refuse to debate "dangerous manmade global warming" skeptics. Harass and vilify contrarian experts, and boot them off university committees. Refuse to attend conferences where they might have to defend their manipulated data, junk science and absurd assertions. Al Gore won't even take questions that he has not preapproved.

They have no cojones. They hide behind their sinecures the way Hamas terrorists hide behind children.

EPA won't even hold hearings in Coal Country or states that will be hardest hit by soaring electricity costs. It hosts dog-and-pony shows and "listening sessions" in big cities like Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC and Pittsburgh - where it knows passionate lefty students and eco-activists will dominate. People who will be grievously impacted by the draconian job-killing regulations must travel long distances and pay for expensive hotels and meals ... or remain silent and ignored. 

That stacks the deck - the same way the "public comment" process is tilted in favor of ultra-rich Big Green agitators who have the funding and organization to generate thousands or millions of comments.

We taxpayers pay for these studies, payoffs and propaganda. And we will get stuck with the regulations, soaring prices and lost jobs that result. We have a right to review and analyze the data and claims. We have a right to be heard, in a fair and honest process that truly takes our concerns into account.

The House of Representatives should hold hearings, forcing callous bureaucrats, slick scientists and computer modeling charlatans to present their data, codes and findings under oath. States should sue EPA for violating the Information Quality Act.



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

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


19 August, 2014

Kuhn was right:  AGW theory will persist until it is replaced by something else

I encountered the same in social science.  Leftists need their explanations and theories so attacking those explanations without replacing them will have nil effect

Written by Dr Jennifer Marohasy

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC9) in Las Vegas. If you ever doubted scepticism towards man-made global warming as a growing social movement, well, you couldn’t after attending that conference with hundreds of enthusiastic doubters in attendance and some 6,000 watching online. Kuhn

But I came away wondering about the culture that is developing around the movement, and whether it is truly one of enlightenment.

Most of us share enlightenment values. And skepticism is historically associated with the Enlightenment. But it should be skepticism of entrenched dogmas, not an automatic opposition to every new big idea. Indeed the enlightenment saw big ideas progress; ideas that once realized, dramatically improved the human condition.

Many sceptics apparently think that we have won the scientific argument, and that our next objective should be the dismantling of climate policies and climate research. But they are wrong. We have not won the scientific argument and we won’t, if we continue down the current path of suggesting that we can’t forecast weather or climate. This suggestion, that we can’t forecast, was often made at the conference and made again just last week by Jo Nova quoting Don Aitkin.

The history of science suggests that paradigms are never disproven, they are only ever replaced. Physicist and philosopher, the late Thomas S. Kuhn, also explained that competition within segments of the scientific community is the only historical process that ever actually results in the rejection of one previously accepted theory or in the adoption of another.

In short, if our movement really wants to see the overthrow of the man-made global warming paradigm, it needs to back alternatives and promote new research.

Assuming we are indeed a movement with a desire to contribute in a tangible way to climate science, and a movement looking for viable alternative paradigms, then we need a way of sorting through incommensurable perspectives, and also a way of ensuring that the most promising research is promoted.

Let me make these points in a bit more detail:

1. We have not won the scientific argument.

It was repeatedly suggested at the ICCC9 conference that those sceptical of man-made global warming have some how won the scientific argument. This is nonsense.

On my arrival back in Australia I was forwarded yet another letter from an Australian government official reiterating that: “The Australian Government accepts the science of climate change and takes its primary advice on climate change from the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO. This advice aligns with information provided by the IPCC and national and international organisations such as the Australian Academy of Science, World Meteorological Organisation, the Royal Society in the United Kingdom, and the National Academy of Sciences, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States.”

The letter goes on to state that, “The world’s leading scientific organisations have found that the Earth’s climate is changing and that humans are primarily responsible…”

Not only do these esteemed organisations accept anthropogenic global warming theory (AGW), they also work actively with the mainstream media to crush, ridicule or quarantine any criticism of AGW.

If those sceptical of man-made global warming can be accused of denial, it is of this fact. We might be having some impact on the political process, even achieving repeal of the carbon tax in Australia, but the science of anthropogenic global warming remains as firmly entrenched as ever especially amongst the media, academics and legislators.

2. Rebuttals don’t overthrow established paradigms.

Anthropogenic global warming is a fully functional, well-funded scientific paradigm that is having a major impact on social and economic policy in every western democracy.

As I explained in session 13 at the conference: Scientific disciplines are always underpinned by theories that collectively define the dominant paradigm. In the case of modern climate science that paradigm is AGW. It defines the research questions asked, and dictates the methodology employed by the majority of climate scientists most of the time. AGW may be a paradigm with little practical utility and tremendous political value, but it’s a paradigm none-the-less. The world’s most powerful and influential leaders also endorse AGW.

In a lecture to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco in September 2003 Michael Crichton said: “The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.”

Scientists are meant to know the difference between fact and fiction and as a first check of the reliability of a source of information they will often ask if it has been “peer-reviewed”. Peer-review means that research findings are conducted and presented to a standard that other scientists working within that field consider acceptable. This is normally achieved through publication in a scientific journal and involves the editor of the journal asking for comment on the validity, significance and originality of the work from other scientists before publication. In short, the system of peer-review means scientific research is subject to independent scrutiny but it doesn’t guarantee the truth of the research finding.

In theory rebuttals play an equal or more important role than peer review in guaranteeing the integrity of science. By rebuttals I mean articles, also in peer-reviewed journals, that show by means of contrary evidence and argument, that an earlier claim was false. By pointing out flaws in scientific papers that have passed peer-review, rebuttals, at least theoretically, enable scientific research programs to self-correct. But in reality most rebuttals are totally ignored and so fashionable ideas often persist even when they have been disproven.

Consider, for example, a paper published in 2006 by marine biologist, Boris Worm, and coworkers, in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Science. The study was based on the meta-analysis of published fisheries data and predicted the collapse of the world’s fisheries by 2048. Publication of the article by Worm et al. was accompanied by a media release entitled “Accelerated loss of ocean species threatens human well-being” with the subtitle “Current trend projects collapse of all currently fished seafoods before 2050”.

Not surprisingly, given the importance of the finding, the article attracted widespread attention in the mainstream media and also within the scientific community. But not everyone agreed with the methodology used in the Worm study. Eleven rebuttals soon appeared, many within the same journal Science, and within months of the original article.

The rebuttals, however, scarcely altered the scientific perception of the original article.

In a comprehensive study of this, and six other high-profile original articles and their rebuttals, Jeannette Banobi, Trevor Branch and Ray Hilborn, found that at least in marine biology and fishery science rebuttals are for the most part ignored.

They found that original articles were cited on average 17 times more than rebuttals and that annual citation numbers were unaffected by rebuttals. On the occasions when rebuttals were cited, the citing papers on average had neutral views on the original article, and incredibly 8 percent actually believed that the rebuttal agreed with the original article.

Dr Banobi and coworkers commented that: “We had anticipated that as time passed, citations of the original articles would become more negative, and these articles would be less cited than other articles published in the same journal and year. In fact, support for the original articles remained undiminished over time and perhaps even increased, and we found no evidence of a decline in citations for any of the original articles following publication of the rebuttals…

“Thus the pattern we observed follows most closely the hypothesis of competing research programs espoused by Lakatos (1978): in practice, research programs producing and supporting the views in the original papers remained unswayed by the publication of rebuttals, thus significant changes in these ideas will tend to occur only if these research programs decay and dwindle over time while rival research programs (sponsored by the rebuttal authors) gain strength.”

Indeed it is the naive view that scientific communities learn from obvious mistakes. And as past failures become more entrenched it can only become increasingly difficult to distinguish truth from propaganda, including in the peer-reviewed literature.

3. Paradigms are never disproven: they are only ever replaced.

Since my return from the conference, it has been suggested to me that the ‘new paradigm’ for climate science is the one described in the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) reports, in particular the ‘null hypothesis paradigm’ that according to many skeptics, is far better at accounting for climate phenomena than are the General Circulation Models. I disagree.

The null hypothesis refers to the general statement or default position that there is no relationship between two measured phenomena. In the case of NIPCC the claim is that “nature not human activity rules the climate”. But this tells us almost nothing. In many ways it’s a cop-out. It’s like a theory of electricity without any explanation of charge, voltage or magnetism.

A good test of the value of any scientific theory to those external to the discipline is its utility. For example the calendars that were developed based on Nicolas Copernicus’ Heliocentric Theory of the Universe were better calendars than those based on Ptolemy’s Handy Tables. The new calendars, based on a new theoretical approach, more precisely predicted the position of the sun and the planets and thus the seasons, which, of course, influence the weather. In the same way, those who want to see AGW theory discarded need to increase their expectations of climate science and in particular demand some practical benefits. The most obvious would be better weather and climate forecasts.

Last year, aversion to a new theory attributing solar variability to gravitational and inertial effects on the sun from the planets and their satellites, not only resulted in the premature termination of a much-needed new journal (Pattern Recognition in Physics), but was also mocked by leading skeptical bloggers. More recently leading skeptical bloggers, Willis Eschenbach and Lubos Motl, were far too quick to attack a new notch-delay solar model that David Evans and Jo Nova developed in an attempt to quantify the difference between total solar irradiance and global temperatures and in the process forecast future climate.

In attempting to understand Dr Motl’s issues with Evans and Nova’s model, I was told that my work with John Abbot forecasting rainfall was also no better than “a sort of magic” because, like Evans and Nova, I was describing relationships “without a proper understanding of which variables are really driving things”. To the layman the few paragraphs of relevant jargon that Motl posted at his blog may have given the impression of some special knowledge, but in reality he was just repeating prejudices including the popular claim that climate is essentially chaotic.

Over the last few years my main focus of research has been on medium-term monthly rainfall forecasts. Not using General Circulation Models (GCMs) that attempt to simulate the climate from first principles, but rather using artificial neural networks (ANNs), which are a form of artificial intelligence and a state-of-the-art statistical modeling technique. John Abbot and I very quickly established that our method – which relies on mining historical climate data for patterns and then projecting forward – could produce a much more skillful medium term rainfall forecast than the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s best GCM.

Of course the use of statistical models for forecasting is not new, nor is pattern analysis. Many long-range weather forecasters and astrophysicists rely on lunar, solar and planetary cycles to forecast both weather and climate.

So, I was somewhat surprised to hear so many big names at the conference claim from the podium that it would never be possible to forecast weather more than a few days in advance, some going as far to suggest, like Lubos Motl, that climate is essentially a chaotic system.

Such claims are demonstrably false. Indeed that our ANNs (see Atmospheric Research 138, 166-178) can generate skillful monthly rainfall forecast up to three months in advance, is evidence that we are not dealing with a chaotic system.

Until skeptics start thinking about these issues and the need to back something, rather than perhaps always being too keen to knock the next big idea, we won’t truly make progress towards replacing the current dominant paradigm in climate science.



Global Warming Alarmist Sues Think Tank for Disputing his “Facts”

This article appeared on on August 13, 2014.
What’s worse than a public policy debate that turns bitter and impolite? Well, for one, having the courts step into the marketplace of ideas to judge which side of a debate has the best “facts.”

Yet that’s what Michael Mann has invited the D.C. court system to do. In response to some scathing criticism of his methodologies and an allegation of scientific misconduct, the author of the infamous “hockey stick” models of global warming — because they resemble the shape of a hockey stick, with temperatures rising drastically beginning in the 1900s — has taken the global climate change debate to a record low by suing the Competitive Enterprise Institute,National Review, and two individual commentators. The good Dr. Mann claims that some blogposts alleging his work to be “fraudulent” and “intellectually bogus” were libelous. (For more background on the matter, see this excellent summary by NR’s editor Rich Lowry; linking to that post is partly what led Mann to target CEI.)

The D.C. trial court rejected the defendants’ motion to dismiss this lawsuit, holding that their criticism could be taken as a provably false assertion of fact because the EPA, among other bodies, have approved of Mann’s methodologies. In essence, the court seems to cite a consensus as a means of censoring a minority view. The defendants appealed to the D.C. Court of Appeals (the highest court in the District of Columbia).

Cato has now filed a brief, joined by three other think tanks, in which we urge the court to stay out of the business of refereeing scientific debates. (And if you liked our “truthiness” brief, you’ll enjoy this one.)

We argue that the First Amendment demands that failing to leave room for the marketplace of ideas to operate stifles academic and scientific progress, and that judges are ill-suited to officiate policy disputes — as history has shown time and again. The lower court clearly got it wrong here — and there are numerous cases where courts have more judiciously treated similarly harsh assertions for what they really are: expressions of disagreement on public policy that, even if hyperbolic, are among the forms of speech most deserving of constitutional protection.

The point in this appeal is that courts should not be coming up with new terms like “scientific fraud” to squeeze debate over issues impacting government policy into ordinary tort law. Dr. Mann is not like a corner butcher falsely accused of putting his thumb on the scale or mixing horsemeat into the ground beef. He is a vocal leader in a school of scientific thought that has had major impact on government policies.

Public figures must not be allowed to use the courts to muzzle their critics. Instead, as the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly taught, open public debate resolves these sorts of disputes. The court here should let that debate continue outside the judicial system.


Proposed EPA Regs Would Affect Climate by Eighteen-Thousandths of a Degree by 2100 — and Cost U.S. Economy $51 Billion Annually

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposed rules, which seek to limit carbon emissions from power plants, would cost the American economy $51 billion, as well as 224,000 jobs, every year through 2030, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates.

With that significant of an economic impact, one would hope the EPA had a pretty good justification, right?

But I write today:

As the Cato Institute recently noted, the agency forgot to include one very important calculation in the information they released about the proposed rules: whether or not they will actually affect climate change.

“There’s really no reason to go after carbon emissions unless you think they cause climate change,” Chip Knappenberger, assistant director for Cato’s Center for the Study of Science, tells me. The impact on climate change is key. But the EPA hasn’t publicized any finding on that supposed link.

Knappenberger and his colleague Patrick J. Michaels crunched the numbers using an EPA-developed climate-model emulator. They found that the regulations would somewhat affect the climate — by eighteen-thousandths of a degree Celsius by 2100.

“We’re not even sure how to put such a small number into practical terms, because, basically, the number is so small as to be undetectable,” Knappenberg and Michaels wrote when they released their findings. “Which, no doubt, is why it’s not included in the EPA Fact Sheets. It is not too small, however, that it shouldn’t play a huge role in every and all discussions of the new regulations.”

That’s not the only time the EPA has used some suspect math. A new report from the Government Accountability Office found that the EPA was calculating how its regulations would affect employment using a study outdated by 20 years that had, even when current, looked at only four industrial sectors. You can read about even more about the agency’s number-fudging here.


EPA goes from Environmental Protection Agency to Extremist Political Agenda

During the week of July 28, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held hearings in four cities: Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC. The two-day sessions were to allow the public to have their voice heard about the proposed rules it released on June 2 that will supposedly cut CO2 emissions by 30%.

Many, including myself, believe that these rules are really an attempt to shut down coal-fueled electricity generation and implement a cap-and-trade program that the Administration couldn’t get through Congress in 2009, when cap-and-trade’s obvious allies held both houses of Congress.

If the EPA’s plans were clear, direct, and honest, the public would likely revolt outright. Instead, the intent is hidden in pages of cumbersome language and the messaging becomes all about clean air and water—and about the health of children.

Because I was in the area—speaking a few hours from Atlanta on Sunday—I took advantage of the proximity and signed up to speak at the hearing. When I first attempted to sign up, day one was already full. The EPA had so many people who wanted time to share their opinions, a second day was added, and I was put on the schedule.

The first day, Tuesday, July 29, included competing rallies held in near-record-low temperatures for Atlanta in July. Supporters of the EPA’s plan—many of whom were bussed in from surrounding states—gathered in Centennial Olympic Park. I spoke at the rally, made up of plan opponents, that was organized by Americans for Prosperity’s Georgia chapter held at the Sam Nunn Federal Center—where the hearing was originally scheduled (before a power outage forced a move to the Omni Hotel).

I spent the rest of the day at the hearing. It had a circus-like atmosphere. With tables of literature, people carrying signs, and many of the plan’s supporters identified by their matching pale-green tee shirts emblazoned with:

  Protect our communities


Once I had a taste of what to expect the next day, when I was to present my comments in the five minutes allotted, I prepared what I wanted to say. The following is my original text—though I had to edit it down to get it within the allowed time frame. For presentation here, I’ve also enhanced my comments with some additional insights from others. The verbiage that is not a part of my original testimony is included in italics.

* * * *

I was here yesterday and earlier today. I’ve listened to the well-intentioned pleas from many who have begged you, the EPA, to take even stronger action than this plan proposes. One even dramatically claimed: “You are the Environmental Protection Agency. You are our only hope. If you don’t protect us no one will?”

I heard a teary-eyed, young woman tell a tale about a man she knows who is dying of cancer, supposedly because he grew up near a coal-fired power plant—he couldn’t be here, so she told his story. She also said: “I am fortunate enough to have not been around in the 1960s when there was real smog.” Her father has told her about it.

One woman claimed her neighbor had gotten asthma from global warming.

Another addressed how she gets headaches from emissions. She told how lung tissue could be burned. And, how particulates are why people can no longer see the mountain in her region.

An attorney’s testimony told about seeing “carbon pollution” every day from his 36th floor office “a few blocks from here” from where he looks “out over a smog-covered city.”

The passion of these commenters supersedes their knowledge, as none of the issues I’ve mentioned here, and there are many more, are something caused by carbon dioxide—a clear, colorless gas that each of us breathe out and plants breathe in.


India deals a blow to climate negotiations

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the world's third-largest greenhouse gas-emitting nation, won't join his U.S. and Chinese counterparts at a United Nations climate summit next month in New York.

Modi will skip the Sept. 23 event, according to the Economic Times, thwarting a potential meeting between the heads of states for the three largest greenhouse gas emitters — arguably the nations that will drive international negotiations next year in Paris.

Modi's absence is a bit of a blow to the summit, as India hasn't made the type of ambitious gestures that China and the U.S. have floated.

China, the world's top greenhouse gas emitter, has intimated it might make sizable commitments to curb carbon pollution — state media reported earlier this month that Beijing plans to eliminate coal use by 2020 in six major districts. The U.S. is pushing ahead with a proposal to slash power-sector emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, an effort that Obama said can secure buy-in from other nations.

Elected in May, Modi has fancied himself a climate champion, helping spur renewable energy adoption when he was chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat. But he is considered a nationalist, and his campaign centered on economic revival. Much of India's rural poor still lack access to electricity — and the country happens to have a significant amount of coal.

The Economic Times noted that Modi has a Sept. 30 meeting with Obama. The publication said that if Modi attended the climate summit, the Indian leader "would have nothing to do" during the intervening week.


Australian Greens in bed with thug union

In a last-minute bid to prevent the election of Liberal Senate candidate and former ACT leader Zed Seselja in 2013, the ACT Greens received the largest donation in the history of the party branch from the pro-Labor Construction, Forestry, Mining and Electrical Union (CFMEU).

Fairfax Media can reveal a $50,000 donation was made to the ACT Greens federal account, which can only be spent on federal elections or administration, on September 3 last year, in the dying days of polling. It was by far the largest single donation ever given to the ACT Greens party and was more than twice as much as was given to the Labor Party over the same period.

It was also four times as much as a 2012 donation from the CFMEU's ACT branch, which made a few Greens members ''uneasy'' at the time.

CFMEU ACT division secretary Dean Hall said the donation had not come from the Canberra branch but from the national division, meaning he had no direct knowledge of it.

But he said it would have been donated to keep the Senate balance of power out of the hands of the Abbott government.

"It was more about the balance of power in the Senate. We tried to find a situation where we didn't have extreme right-wing legislation being passed," he said.

"[The donation] would have been for the Senate campaign. At the time there was a chance that senator Seselja wouldn't get elected [and] I think that's what it was about, trying to secure the balance of power."

He said a very small amount of the donation would have been funded by ACT voters.

ACT Greens convenor Sophie Trevitt acknowledged the party had recieved a donation from the national branch of the CFMEU but would not say where the money had gone and what it was spent on.

She said they had accepted the donation on the basis it came from the construction division of the CFMEU, compared to the mining or forestry divisions, and was derived from union member fees.

She said the ACT Greens had a lot of common ground with the CFMEU in Canberra.

"[We] have supported their calls for safer and fairer workplaces and we have worked closely with the CFMEU to improve safety in the building and construction industry," she said.

When asked whether there had been any conditions on the donation, Ms Trevitt said the Greens did not accept donations with ''strings attached''.

"All donations go through a vetting process to ensure that donations are not accepted from organisations whose principles and ethics conflict with the Greens," she said.

A spokesperson for the CFMEU's national office said all the union's donations were published appropriately and they donated to a number of parties that supported workers' rights.

She also said she wanted to stress the union did not agree with all of the ACT Greens' policy positions.

Former ACT Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur said there was a donations reference group within the party who veted every major donation and rejected it if it was inappropriate.

She said the Greens had tried to pass donation reform legislation through the assembly which would have only allowed donations from ACT electors, but it had been rejected by the Labor and Liberal parties.

Ms Le Couteur said after all, the Greens were a political party that wanted to get its candidate elected.

"Obviously we don't have anything like as much money as the Liberal or Labor parties [so] if they're playing by rules which allow donations from non-individuals then [refusing those donations] is a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face," she said.

"We'd like it to be otherwise but ... it isn't,"



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

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


18 August, 2014

Promoting Parasitic Power Producers

Wind and solar are parasitic power producers, unable to survive in a modern electricity grid without the back-up of stand-alone electricity generators such as hydro, coal, gas or nuclear. And like all parasites, they weaken their hosts, causing increased operating and transmission costs and reduced profits for all participants in the grid.

Without subsidies, few large wind/solar plants would be built; and without mandated targets, few would get connected to the grid.

Green zealots posing as energy engineers should be free to play with their green energy toys at their own expense, on their own properties, but the rest of us should not be saddled with their costs and unreliability.

We should stop promoting parasitic power producers. As a first step, all green energy subsidies and targets should be abolished.

Blowing Our Dollars in the Wind.

Wind energy produces costly, intermittent, unpredictable electricity. But Government subsidies and mandates have encouraged a massive gamble on wind investments in Australia - over $7 billion has already been spent and another $30 billion is proposed. This expenditure is justified by the claim that by using wind energy there will be less carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere which will help to prevent dangerous global warming.

Incredibly, this claim is not supported by any credible cost-benefit analysis - a searching enquiry is well overdue. Here is a summary of things that should be included in the enquiry.

Firstly, no one knows how much global warming is related to carbon dioxide and how much is due to natural variability. However, the historical record shows that carbon dioxide is not the most important factor, and no one knows whether net climate feedbacks are positive or negative. In many ways, the biosphere and humanity would benefit from more warmth, more carbon dioxide and more moisture in the atmosphere.

However, let’s assume that reducing man’s production of carbon dioxide is a sensible goal and consider whether wind power is likely to achieve it. To do this we need to look at the whole life cycle of a wind tower.

Wind turbines are not just big simple windmills – they are massive complex machines whose manufacture and construction consume much energy and many expensive materials.  These include steel for the tower, concrete for the footings, fibre glass for the nacelle, rare metals for the electro-magnets, steel and copper for the machinery, high quality lubricating oils for the gears, fibre glass or aluminium for the blades, titanium and other materials for weather-proof paints, copper, aluminium and steel for the transmission lines and support towers, and gravel for the access roads.

There is a long production chain for each of these materials. Mining and mineral extraction rely on diesel power for mobile equipment and electrical power for haulage, hoisting, crushing, grinding, milling, smelting, refining. These processes need 24/7 reliable electric power which, in Australia, is most likely to come from coal.

These raw materials then have to be transported to many specialised manufacturing plants, again using large quantities of energy, generating more carbon dioxide.

Then comes the construction phase, starting with building a network of access roads, clearance of transmission routes, and excavation of the massive footings for the towers. Have a look here at the massive amount of steel, concrete and energy consumed in constructing the foundations for just one tower.  See

Not one tonne of steel or concrete can be produced without releasing carbon dioxide in the process.

Almost all of the energy used during construction will come from diesel fuel, with increased production of carbon dioxide.

Moreover, every bit of land cleared results in the production of carbon dioxide as the plant material dozed out of the way rots or is burnt, and the exposed soil loses its humus to oxidation.

Once the turbine starts operating the many towers, transmission lines and access roads need more maintenance and repair than a traditional power plant that produces concentrated energy from one small plot of land using a small number of huge, well-tested, well protected machines. Turbines usually operate in windy, exposed, isolated locations. Blades need to be cleaned using large specialised cranes; towers and machinery need regular inspection and maintenance; and mobile equipment and manpower needs to be on standby for lightning strikes, fires or accidents. All of these activities require diesel powered equipment which produces more carbon dioxide.

Even when they do produce energy, wind towers often produce it at times when demand is low - at night for example. There is no benefit in this unwanted production, but it is usually counted as saving carbon fuels.

Every wind farm also needs backup power to cover the 65%-plus of wind generating capacity that is lost because the wind is not blowing, or blowing such a gale that the turbines have to shut down.

In Australia, most backup is provided by coal or gas plants which are forced to operate intermittently to offset the erratic winds. Coal plants and many gas plants cannot switch on and off quickly but must maintain steam pressure and “spinning reserve” in order to swing in quickly when the fickle wind drops. This causes grid instability and increases the carbon dioxide produced per unit of electricity. This waste should be debited to the wind farm that caused it.

Wind turbines also consume energy from the grid when they are idle - for lubrication, heating, cooling, lights, metering, hydraulic brakes, energising the electro-magnets, even to keep the blades turning lazily (to prevent warping) and to maintain line voltage when there is no wind. A one-month study of the Wonthaggi wind farm in Australia found that the facility consumed more electricity than it produced for 16% of the period studied. A detailed study in USA showed that 8.3% of total wind energy produced was consumed by the towers themselves. This is not usually counted in the carbon equation.

The service life of wind towers is far shorter than traditional power plants. Already many European wind farms have reached the end of their life and contractors are now gearing up for a new boom in the wind farm demolition and scrap removal business. This phase is likely to pose dangers for the environment and require much diesel powered equipment producing yet more carbon dioxide.

Most estimates of carbon dioxide “saved” by using wind power look solely at the carbon dioxide that would be produced by a coal-fired station producing the rated capacity of the wind turbine. They generally ignore all the other ways in which wind power increases carbon energy usage, and they ignore the fact that wind farms seldom produce name-plate capacity.

When all the above factors are taken into account over the life of the wind turbine, only a very few turbines in good wind locations are likely to save any carbon dioxide. Most will be either break-even or carbon-negative - the massive investment in wind may achieve zero climate “benefits” at great cost.

Entrepreneurs or consumers who choose wind power should be free to do so but taxpayers and electricity consumers should not be forced to subsidise their choices for questionable reasons. People who claim climate sainthood for wind energy should be required to prove this by detailed life-of-project analysis before getting legislative support and subsidies.

Otherwise we are just blowing our dollars in the wind.


Axe carbon tax to keep lights on and cut energy bills, says ScottishPower chief

Britain's unilateral carbon tax should be scrapped before it causes blackouts, pushes up household bills and makes the UK uncompetitive, ScottishPower argues.

Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer, warns that the “carbon price floor” (CPF), which taxes companies for burning fossil fuels, will make Britain’s remaining coal plants “largely uneconomic by around the middle of the decade”.

With Britain’s spare power margin already forecast to fall as low as 2pc by 2015, the carbon tax will force more closures and “threatens to make us even more vulnerable to the risk of blackouts”, he warns.

Writing in Monday’s Telegraph, Mr Anderson also calls for a review of Britain’s £12bn programme to install “smart” electricity and gas meters in every home, suggesting costs should be cut to reduce the impact on consumer bills.

Several coal-fired power plants have already shut this year under EU rules to help curb acid rain and pollution. About a dozen plants remain operational and provide about 40pc of UK power; ScottishPower’s own Longannet coal plant powers about one-quarter of Scottish homes.

But a combination of further EU rules and the carbon tax, which increases steeply every year, means most of these coal plants may be forced to close by 2015 or 2016.

“Abolishing the CPF, or freezing it at the current rate, would help to reduce upward pressure on bills, improve UK competiveness and help in cost effectively maintaining security of supply,” Mr Anderson says. “We estimate that abolishing it could save some £33 from a typical dual fuel bill in 2015/16; freezing it at the current rate from April 2014 would save around £24.”

Manufacturing bodies and consumer groups both attacked the Chancellor for failing to cut or scrap the carbon tax in last week’s Autumn Statement, despite the Prime Minister's pledge to “roll back” green levies.

Mr Anderson also calls for other changes to reduce customer bills, including “a careful review” of the £12bn programme to install meters that send automatic gas and electricity usage readings back to suppliers. His comments come as both EDF and Centrica called for greater co-operation between politicians and companies to address rising bills and keep the lights on.

Ministers hope new wind farms and gas plants will replace old coal plants but investment in both is stalling amid policy uncertainty.

The Government wants some coal plants to convert to burn biomass instead and is offering subsidies for plants to do so. The giant Drax and Eggborough coal-fired power stations are both pursuing this option. However, Eggborough’s plans are now in disarray after ministers announced last week an annual cap on subsidies, which appears too low for both projects to go ahead.

Eggborough, which supplies about 4pc of UK power, hoped to start conversion in January but is now waiting to find out whether it will get the necessary subsidies.

Neil O’Hara, Eggborough’s chief said: “The carbon price floor means just at a time where the UK desperately needs to keep capacity on the grid, it becomes very difficult to see... whether it will be economic to run past 2015.

“It’s a race against time for affordable, shovel-ready projects like Eggborough to convert [to biomass]. Time is running out and the signals from Government are currently highly contradictory.”


EPA Blames Texas for Illinois Air Pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is blaming power plants in Texas for Illinois air pollution and is using the accusation to justify restrictions on Texas power plants. EPA claims its cross-state pollution rule, intended to protect communities in one state from pollution drifting from other states, justifies placing restrictions on Texas power plants EPA claims are polluting Granite City, Illinois.

New EPA Authority

Several states have challenged EPA’s asserted authority to enact and enforce the cross-state rule, but two months ago the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it. Nevertheless, the Court ruled individual states can challenge specific applications of the rule if a state believes EPA is restricting emissions beyond what is necessary to prevent its contribution to another state’s air pollution.

Texas, Louisiana, and Wisconsin took the Supreme Court up on its offer and filed challenges to EPA applications of the rule.

Texas-Illinois Link Challenged

EPA’s assertion Texas power plants are causing Illinois pollution raised eyebrows for several reasons. Granite City is approximately 500 miles from the Texas border and even farther away from Lone Star State major metropolitan regions. Granite City is northeast of Texas, with prevailing winds rarely trekking in that direction from Texas. In addition, a local steel mill, which has been an important source of the town’s prosperity since the 1890s, has long been recognized as a primary source of air pollution in Granite City.

EPA, however, claims it has devised computer models that indicate some sulfur dioxide from Texas power plants may reach Granite City, which has a population of 30,000.

“Texas was only included in portions of the rule based on the projected impact on a single county in Illinois. And the air quality monitor in Illinois which EPA claims had the fingerprints of Texas pollution on it was located right next to a smelter. On this thin legal reed the EPA is imposing restrictions on Texas several times as severe as states with much more significant interstate pollution problems,” said Kathleen White, director of the Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment at Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) agreed, saying EPA failed to account properly for the steel mill's influence on Granite City's air pollution. Of the three air pollution monitors in the town and surrounding Madison County, the only one allegedly linked to Texas is the one downwind of the steel mill.

Even if the appellate court finds Texas does contribute to Granite City’s air problem, the TCEQ says EPA is requiring emissions cuts significantly greater than the state's contribution to the pollution problems.

Lose-Lose Options

Under EPA’s cross-state pollution rule, electric utilities will be forced to install expensive scrubbers to reduce emissions from smokestacks. Alternatively, they can join in a 28-state trading program in which they can purchase credits to cover their emissions. If neither of those two options are feasible, they can cut back production, mothball, or retire coal-fired power plants to achieve the limits. State officials and utility executives predict the final option will be the most likely outcome.


Kerry thinks children are the authority on climate

Like nearly all Warmists, he  talks about "The Science" but fails to mention a single climate statistic

The global impact of climate change is “the biggest challenge of all that we face right now,” Secretary of State John Kerry told an audience in Hawaii Wednesday, putting an issue he feels passionately about at the center of a speech entitled “U.S. Vision for Asia-Pacific Engagement.”

“The science is screaming at us,” he said. “Ask any kid in school. They understand what a greenhouse is, how it works, why we call it the greenhouse effect. They get it.”

“If you accept the science,” Kerry continued. “If you accept that the science is causing climate to change, you have to heed what those same scientists are telling us about how you prevent the inevitable consequences and impacts.”

“That’s why President Obama has made climate change a top priority. He’s doing by executive authority what we’re not able to get the Congress to do.”


The Big Chill

As I start to write these words, I am on my Manhattan balcony savoring a Friday evening. It normally is oppressive this time of year. Stifling humidity and sweltering temperatures relentlessly squeeze New Yorkers in a brutal vice. The infernal stickiness typically keeps it from cooling down, even at night. It is not unusual to wilt beneath 2:00 a.m. lows in the high 80s.
But not tonight.

After a mid-day high of just 83 and a dry, 81-degree breeze at dusk (headed for a morning low of 66), it feels downright autumnal. It's Santa Monica on the Hudson.  It has been like this around much of the country.

While this delights most people, it must make the "global warming" crowd hot under the collar. After the severely frigid winter of 2013-14 (which shivered Americans coast to coast and even stranded icebreakers in the South Pole during the Antarctic summer), the warmists' cute little theory increasingly appears to be on the rocks.

Consider, first, one normally blistering spot.

"Death Valley, Calif., which is known for being the world's hottest location, maxed out at a relatively chilly 89 degrees on Sunday," August 3, wrote Angela Fritz in the Washington Post. This reading, she added, "was its coolest high temperature on record for the date by a whopping 15 degrees. The previous record of 104 was set in 1945." Local meteorological data stretch back to 1911.
Fritz noted that Death Valley's average high in August is 115. "This makes Sunday's high temperature a ridiculous 26 degrees below normal," she marveled. Death Valley that day was cooler than Spokane, Wash. (which reached 93), Missoula, Mont.(91), and Boise, Idaho (99).

"THIS HAS BEEN THE COLDEST JULY SINCE 1967 . . . AND QUITE LIKELY THE COLDEST ON RECORD," stated the National Weather Service in Little Rock, Arkansas. Communicating in ALL CAPS as NWS dispatches do, the Little Rock office called July "A MONTH WHICH SAW TEMPERATURES WELL BELOW THE 30-YEAR AVERAGE IN MUCH OF THE STATE." Including those at Hot Springs Airport, Murfreesboro, and Pine Bluff, NWS identified 38 stations with record-low average monthly high temperatures. In some places, these readings began in the 1880s.

"Statewide this will certainly be among the top 10 coolest Julys going back to 1895 and will likely be in the top five," according to Stuart Foster, Kentucky's state climatologist. The Bowling Green airport last month observed nine days with lows of 59 degrees or fewer. Reports WKU News: "This is the most since July 1947, when 15 such days were recorded."

"Northeast Ohio is in the middle of the summer that really hasn't felt much like summer," wrote Frank Macek for WKYC in Cleveland. Last month was the tenth coldest on record there. Cleveland's daily mean reading in July was 69.3 degrees, "last achieved in 1920."

*Meanwhile, back in the Big Apple, America's premier city typically endures 15 days above 90 degrees and at least one heat wave, defined as three or more consecutive days above 90. So far, Gotham has had only four 90+ days this summer. The hottest day has been just 91, and there has been no heat wave.

 "It doesn't look like we have any heat waves in the near future," the National Weather Service's David Stark told the New York Post. The last time New Yorkers escaped such a scorching was 2004.
These milder temperatures have chilled business at local beaches.

"This is the coldest I've experienced in a while," Ahmad Hussian, told the Post. His father owns Sun & Fun, a shop on Coney Island's Surf Avenue. "Not a lot of people are coming here at all, but I have sold a lot of hoodies."

The warmists, who concede nothing, hastily point to the west coast, which has been unusually warm this summer. Fair enough. So, as most people understand, conditions vary from one locale to another. Yet if so-called "global warming" - driven by rising levels of carbon dioxide - is truly the planetary menace that the warmists claim it is, it should not be so easy to find abundant evidence that things are going in totally the opposite direction. And never mind that CO2 levels keep rising, without the widely advertised, boiling consequences.

Satellites are far more reliable temperature gauges than are Earth-bound thermometers. Unlike objects in space, the latter can be affected by urbanization, engine exhaust, and - in the case of one university-based gauge - an adjacent barbecuegrill.

"The RSS satellite dataset shows no global warming at all for 213 months from September 1996 to May 2014," writes Lord Monckton of Brenchley. "No one now in high school has lived through global warming." This British expert on climatology and the political controversy that encircles it wrote for He added: "The fastest measured centennial warming rate was in Central England from 1663-1762, at 0.9 Cº [1.62 Fº] /century - before the industrial revolution. It was not our fault."

Satellites aside, global-warming theory is driven far less by instruments that observe the world as it is, and much more by models that imagine how the world might be. Unfortunately for the warmists, their computer models have done a dreadful job of predicting in the past what temperatures would be today. Thus, there is little reason to believe that they suddenly will become accurate and dependable. One would be just as wise to invest with a broker who forecast a decade ago that today's Dow Jones Industrial Average would stand at 25,000.

Along those lines, consider Obama's comments from November 14, 2012: "What we do know is the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even ten years ago."
This is yet another of Obama's countless lies.

Former senator Timothy Endicott Wirth (D., Colo.) allowed a peek behind the curtain. As he told The National Journal's Rochelle Stanfield way back in August 13, 1988, when all of this got started:

 "What we've got to do in energy conservation is try to ride the global warming issue," said Wirth, now the vice chairman of the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund. "Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, to have approached global warming as if it is real means energy conservation, so we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy."  How chilling.


Electrical Workers vs. the EPA

We union members oppose new anticarbon rules that will cost jobs and endanger the grid

By EDWIN D. HILL (Mr. Hill is president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) representing 750,000 members in utilities, construction, railroads, manufacturing, broadcasting, telecommunications and government)

Late last month more than 1,600 witnesses testified at hearings held by the Environmental Protection Agency on its Clean Power Plan, which will impose drastic, 30% cuts in carbon emissions by 2030, with most of the cuts taking place by 2020. The EPA's proposal has attracted such a large response for a very good reason. The plan would have a dramatic impact on the American economy but only a minimal effect on global carbon emissions.

The EPA's plan, according to its own estimates, will require closing coal-fired power plants over the next five years that generate between 41 and 49 gigawatts (49,000 megawatts) of electricity. That's approximately enough capacity to power the state of Georgia at any given time. Unless that capacity is replaced, the nationwide equivalent of the Peach State would go dark.

When gauged by accepted industry metrics, the agency's plans also would result in the loss of some 52,000 permanent direct jobs in utilities, mining and rail and at least another 100,000 jobs in related industries. High-skill, middle-class jobs would be lost, falling heavily in rural communities that have few comparable employment opportunities.

The U.S. is already facing the loss of 60 gigawatts of power over the next three years, the result of older coal plants' being forced to shut down because they cannot comply with the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards enacted in 2012. At the time, the EPA claimed that only four gigawatts of capacity would be lost. Those of us familiar with the industry knew better, and the agency now does not contest that 60 gigawatts of coal-generated electricity will be lost. Ninety percent of the plants slated to close due to the MATS rule were needed to provide power during the polar vortex and other periods of severe weather last winter. Is the EPA willing to gamble that we won't have another harsh winter in the next five years?

The U.S. cannot lose more than 100 gigawatts of power in five years without severely compromising the reliability and safety of the electrical grid. That would pose a danger for the entire economy and all Americans.

Replacing the electricity lost as coal plants are closed will require building or retrofitting facilities powered by other sources, the costs of which will be borne by consumers. Natural gas is the only energy source that could conceivably meet the expected demand over the next five years.

But the market for natural gas is volatile, even with the current abundance resulting from new discoveries. Prices could spike, saddling residential and commercial customers with higher electric bills. Renewables such as solar and wind can't take up the slack. Most industry experts agree that solar and wind technologies will not be capable of producing the required gigawatts for at least 20 years.

There is a better way. The EPA could, for example, provide states with credit for prior reductions in carbon emissions dating back to 2005 instead of setting the baseline for further action at 2012 levels. This would acknowledge the progress that has already been made and build from that.

More important, the agency could develop a more realistic timetable, softening the economic impact of its rules. Delaying the 2020 deadline for the carbon cuts to be in place by several years would allow the industry to test and install new technology enabling some plants to remain in service and still meet emission targets.

The EPA's Clean Power Plan is a classic example of federal tunnel vision—focusing on a single goal with little heed for the costs and dangers. The Obama administration and Congress need to put aside partisan bickering and develop a plan for the nation's energy future that utilizes all of America's abundant sources of power, encourages the development of renewable energy on a large scale and replaces the inevitable lost jobs with new opportunities for a trained, skilled workforce.



Australia: ABC bias against coal hurts the poor and the workers: Sell the ABC

A new report shows ABC journalists are fond of renewables and overlook their dismal economic value, while putting out bad news on coal, and ignoring the benefits of vast cheap profitable energy. Who could have seen that coming: a large public funded institution attracts employees who like large public funding?

The IPA arranged for a media analysis firm to compare the ABC reporting on coal and renewables.

The analysis of 2359 reports broadcast on the ABC over six months before March 15 this year found 15.9 per cent of stories on coalmining and 12.1 per cent of those about coal-seam gas mining were favourable, while 53 per cent of those on renewable energy were favourable.

It also found 31.6 per cent of stories on coal mining and 43.6 per cent of stories on coal-seam gas were unfavourable, while only 10.8 per cent of stories on renewable energy were ­unfavourable.

The ABC has become its own best case for privatizing the ABC. How much could we get? The funds from its sale, and the savings of the $1.25 billion it costs annually, would help to pay down the massive debt left by the Rudd-Gillard government.  The real benefits could be much much higher. The ABC has become an advertising agency for any group dependent on public funding. Without the constant one-sided promotion of wasteful spending, Australian policy might shift towards self sufficient entrepreneurs instead of rent-seekers. How many countless billions is that worth?

The economic situation of renewables and coal is blindingly obvious:

Brown and Black coal provide electricity in Australia at less than 4c /KWhr, while Solar costs nearly 20c.  Figures thanks to Alan Moran: Submission to the Renewable Energy Target Review Panel, IPA, 2014

Australian energy generation, coal, oil, gas, renewables, hydro, biomass.To put a perspective on it, coal is Australia’s largest exporter industry, producing 33% of our energy and a whopping 75% of our electricity. (Wind and solar produce all of 1%.) The coal industry provides the ABC with funds, via tax, while the wind and solar industries are a net drain on the public purse. The cheapest way to reduce CO2 (and by a whopping 15%) looks like being an upgrade for our coal fired plants so they are like the hot new Chinese plants. But how important is reducing CO2 to the ABC? Apparently it’s not quite as important as cheering on other big-government babies.

We can debate the environmental pluses and minuses of coal, but the economic case is a lay down misere. Renewables are anywhere from 200% to 500% more expensive.

The renewables industry on the other hand makes expensive electricity, which punishes the lower income earners and makes everything from health, to education to organic hemp hairshirts more expensive. Higher energy costs makes it harder for employers to employ people.

Because renewables are awful for the poor and reduce jobs for workers, we can expect the ABC will leave no stone unturned in accurately reporting the economic effect of renewables. Or not…

In a sane world we could expect a broadcaster serving the people  to relentlessly pursue poor government decisions — like, say, a plan to buy overpriced energy in the hope of changing global weather.



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

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


17 August, 2014

Two very different Warmists meet  -- and we see which is rational

Kevin Trenberth is allegedly a scientist but is certainly a global warming evangelist.  His second most famous quote is:  "The planet is warming", but "the warmth just isn’t being manifested at the surface".   Pielke Jr. says he believes in global warming but doesn't think anyone can do anything about it.  Pielke enrages other Warmists.  He reports via Twitter:

Roger Pielke Jr. @RogerPielkeJr

I debated Trenberth last week. From Kevin there was yelling, spittle & an apology. I stuck to IPCC AR5 which he called totally wrong. Weird.

IPCC AR5 is the latest U.N. climate report

Claim: 'State-of-the-art modeling techniques' reveal that 'Humans Are to Blame for Earth's Rapidly Melting Glaciers'

The paper is Attribution of global glacier mass loss to anthropogenic and natural causes and it is a glaringly obvious piece of propaganda that starts out with a lie.  "The ongoing global glacier retreat" doesn't exist.  Overall glacier retreat stopped in about 1950. See here.  And their failure to include solar factors in their models is also revelatory  -- since sunspots have been known for many years as correlated with climate change.  And models will give you any result you want of course

The steady melt of glacial ice around the world is largely due to man-made factors, such as greenhouse-gas emissions and aerosols, a new study finds.

Humans have caused roughly a quarter of the globe's glacial loss between 1851 and 2010, and about 69 percent of glacial melting between 1991 and 2010, the study suggests.

"In a sense, we got a confirmation that by now, it is really mostly humans that are responsible for the melting glaciers," said lead researcher Ben Marzeion, an associate professor of meteorology and geophysics at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

Vanishing glaciers are often associated with global warming, and other studies have estimated past ice loss and made projections of future melt. But until now, researchers were unsure how muchglacial loss was tied to human factors.

"So far, it has been unclear how much of the observed mass losses are caused by humans rather than natural climate variations," Regine Hock, a professor of geophysics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who was not involved in the study, wrote an in email to Live Science.

The researchers used "state-of-the art modeling techniques," in their work, Hock said.

The research team relied on 12 climate models, most of them from the latest reports from theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international group of climate-change experts convened by the United Nations. By combining the models, along with data from the Randolph Glacier Inventory (a catalog of nearly 200,000 glaciers), the researchers created a computer model that included only natural contributions to glacier melt, such as volcanic eruptions and solar variability, and another model with both human and natural factors.

Using data from 1851 to 2010, the researchers compared the two models with real measurements of glaciers to determine which one better represented reality. The study did not include glaciers in Antarctica, because not enough data on the region was available during the 159 years covered by the study.

The model with the man-made influences was a better fit, they found.

"Glaciers thin and retreat around the world as a result of rising air temperature, but the glaciers don't care whether or not the increase in temperature is due to natural or human causes," Hock said. "Over the last 150 years, most of the mass loss was due to natural climate variability, caused, for example, by volcanic eruptions or changes in solar activity.

"However, during the last 20 years, almost 70 percent of the glacier mass changes were caused by climate change due to humans," she wrote.

Interestingly, the study found that glaciers, which are slow to react to climate change, are still recovering from the end of the Little Ice Age that lasted from the 14th to the 19th centuries.  During the Little Ice Age, temperatures were about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) colder than they are today.
Warmer temperatures after the Little Ice Age affected the glaciers. "Essentially, what we find is that glaciers would be melting without any human influence," Marzeion told Live Science.

The melt, however, would not be happening as quickly as it is today if it weren't for man-made contributions, such as aerosols from wood or coal fires, he said. Aerosols are particles suspended in the atmosphere that absorb and scatter the sun's radiation.

Even if climate change from both man-made and natural causes stopped today, the glaciers would continue to melt and are projected to raise ocean levels by 2.7 inches (7 centimeters) during this century, Marzeion said.

As global temperatures continue to rise, the glaciers will continue to disappear. The melt may provide more water for irrigation and other needs, but it won't be sustainable because the glaciers may eventually vanish, Marzeion said. In the meantime, people can try to reduce man-made contributions to global warming and adapt to the changing planet, he said.

The study was published online today (Aug. 14) in the journal Science.


The glaciers have stopped retreating

A paper published today in The Cryosphere studies glacier length data available worldwide since 1800 and finds that glaciers retreated faster during the first half of the 20th century than the second half from 1950-2000.

This is the opposite pattern that would be expected if man-made greenhouse gases were the cause, and suggests a natural origin. Most warmists and the IPCC claim man-made greenhouse gases did not begin to affect climate until after 1950, and thus can't be blamed for the fastest rate of glacier retreat from ~1850-1950 and subsequent deceleration.

The authors find glaciers showed little change in length during the latter part of the Little Ice Age 1800-1850, but following the end of the Little Ice Age in ~1850 most began a relatively rapid retreat that began to decelerate after ~1950. The data shows that calving glaciers reversed to a net advancing trend after ~2001, and that the number of calving glaciers  has sharply decreased from ~99% to 50% since the year 2000.

The paper:

A data set of worldwide glacier length fluctuations

P. W. Leclercq et al.


Glacier fluctuations contribute to variations in sea level and historical glacier length fluctuations are natural indicators of past climate change. To study these subjects, long-term information of glacier change is needed. In this paper we present a data set of global long-term glacier length fluctuations. The data set is a compilation of available information on changes in glacier length worldwide, including both measured and reconstructed glacier length fluctuations. All 471 length series start before 1950 and cover at least four decades. The longest record starts in 1535, but the majority of time series start after 1850. The number of available records decreases again after 1962. The data set has global coverage including records from all continents. However, the Canadian Arctic is not represented in the data set. The available glacier length series show relatively small fluctuations until the mid-19th century, followed by a global retreat. The retreat was strongest in the first half of the 20th century, although large variability in the length change of the different glaciers is observed. During the 20th century, calving glaciers retreated more than land-terminating glaciers, but their relative length change was approximately equal. Besides calving, the glacier slope is the most important glacier property determining length change: steep glaciers have retreated less than glaciers with a gentle slope.


Warmists are the climate deniers

An interesting comment by Major Combs on the article above.  Warmists really are pathetic.  Their inability to handle reality shows that they desperately need their mental simplifications

I had the pleasure of discussing glacier retreat with James Balog of "Chasing Ice" fame, and Dr. Robert Bindschadler, retired NASA, on a recent Lindblad/National Geographic Antarctic voyage. Both seemed unknowledgeable about the history of glacier advances and retreats, perhaps because such information did not serve their anthropogenic global warming/climate change agendas. Dr; Bindschadler ridiculed my mention of warmer periods this interglacial, like the Medieval warm period, and denied knowledge of previous sea level high stands, such as during the Holocene Climate Optimum 8,000 to 4,000 years ago. Sadly, it appears that anything that predates Al Gore's alarmism is something that neither gentlemen cared to discuss. I consider both of them to be natural climate change deniers.

Bill Nye, Al Gore Get The Physics Of Global Warming Wrong

Critics are saying Bill Nye “the science guy” and former Vice President Al Gore got their global warming science wrong, citing previously published research.

Back in 2011, Nye and Gore teamed up to show that global warming was real using “a simple lab experiment.” The problem is that such experiments have been discredited by scientists who the say these demonstrations show heat transport, not global warming.

“Although not an accurate demonstration of the physics of climate change, the experiment we have considered and related ones are valuable examples of the dangers of unintentional bias in science, the value of at least a rough quantitative prediction of the expected effect, the importance of considering alternative explanations, and the need for carefully designed experimental controls,” according to a paper by scientists from Tufts and the Technical Education Research Centers.

During a 2011 “24 hours of climate reality” by the Climate Reality Project, a group founded by Gore to sound the alarm on global warming, Nye put together a “Climate Change 101” video which used “a simple lab experiment” to demonstrate how increasing levels of carbon dioxide emissions heat the planet.

Nye’s “simple” experiment involved sealing thermometers inside two identical bottles, which were sealed. To illustrate the effects of increased carbon dioxide on temperature, Nye fits a hose from a CO2 canister into one of the bottles. Both bottles are then placed placed under heat lamps.

“Within minutes you will see the temperature of the bottle with carbon dioxide in it rising faster and higher,” Nye said in his video experiment. “The bottles are like our atmosphere, the lamps are like our sun.”

A paper published in a 2010 edition of the American Journal of Physics found that experiments like Nye’s are “not an accurate demonstration of the physics of climate change.”

These experiments have not just been reproduced by Nye, but by scientists and teachers around the country to illustrate the cause of global warming in a simple, easy to understand way. But they all suffer a fatal flaw: they illustrate “processes related to convective heat transport that plays no role in climate change.”

“All involve comparing the temperature rise in a container filled with air with that of the same or a similar container filled with carbon dioxide when exposed to radiation from the Sun or a heat lamp,” the scientists wrote. “Typically, a larger temperature rise is observed with carbon dioxide and the difference is attributed, explicitly or implicitly, to the physical phenomena responsible for the climate change.”

“We argue here that great care is required in interpreting these demonstrations. … The results arise primarily from processes related to convective heat transport that plays no role in climate change,” the paper continues.

“The greater density of carbon dioxide compared to air reduces heat transfer by suppressing convective mixing with the ambient air,” the scientists continued. “Other related experiments are subject to similar concerns. Argon, which has a density close to that of carbon dioxide but no infrared absorption, provides a valuable experimental control for separating radiative from convective effects.”

Nye’s “Climate Change 101? video is still featured prominently on the Climate Reality Project’s website, along with content that sounds the alarm on global warming and bashes those skeptical that man-made carbon dioxide is warming the planet.

“Take Climate 101 with Bill Nye (the Science Guy) and you’ll be schooled in the scientific fundamentals of climate change in under 5 minutes,” Climate Reality Project’s website reads.

“Separate fact from fiction, and we can end the debate and denial and move on to solutions, together,” the site adds.


Wind farm 'needs 700 times more land' than fracking site to produce same energy

A wind farm requires 700 times more land to produce the same amount of energy as a fracking site, according to analysis by the energy department’s recently-departed chief scientific advisor.

Prof David MacKay, who stood down from the Government role at the end of July, published analysis putting shale gas extraction “in perspective”, showing it was far less intrusive on the landscape than wind or solar energy.

His intervention was welcomed by fracking groups, who are battling to win public support amid claims from green groups and other critics that shale gas extraction will require the “industrialisation” of the countryside.

Hundreds of anti-fracking protesters on Thursday occupied a field near Blackpool neighbouring a proposed fracking site for energy firm Cuadrilla.

Prof MacKay said that a shale gas site uses less land and “creates the least visual intrusion”, compared with a wind farm or solar farm capable of producing the equivalent amount of energy over 25 years.

He rated each technology’s “footprint” against six criteria covering aspects of land use, height, visual impact and truck movements to and from the site.

The shale gas site or “pad” was the “winning” technology on three measures, solar farms won on two, while wind farms did not win any. None was deemed to have “won” on truck movements as all types generated “lots” of traffic.

Prof MacKay, who is Regius Professor of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, said that a shale gas pad of 10 wells would require just 2 hectares of land and would be visible - due to an 85-foot-high drilling rig - from 77 hectares of surrounding area. However, the drilling rig would be in place for "only the first few years of operations".

By contrast, a wind farm capable of producing the same energy would span an area of 1,450 hectares, requiring 87 turbines each 328-foot tall.

Prof MacKay noted that the actual turbines, access roads and other installations for the wind farm would have a smaller footprint, of 36 hectares, as “the wind farm has lots of empty land between the turbines, which can be used for other purposes”.

But the large area covered by the farm as a whole would mean it would be visible from a surrounding area of between 5,200 and 17,000 hectares.

A solar farm generating equivalent energy would span a 924 hectare area, directly building on 208 hectares of it.

An estimated 7,800 lorry movements would be required for the wind farm and between 3,800 and 7,600 for the solar farm.

The fracking site could require the fewest lorry movements, at 2,900, if water is piped to and from the site. However, it could require significantly more than the other technologies - 20,000 trips - if water was transported by truck.

Prof MacKay said the analysis showed that “perhaps unsurprisingly, there is no silver bullet – no energy source with all-round small environmental impact”. He said that all sources “have their costs and risks” and said the public should “look at all the options”.

A spokesman for Cuadrilla said: "This comparison by David MacKay clearly demonstrates that, contrary to what some people may assume, exploration for and production of shale gas would actually have less far less impact on the countryside than wind or solar energy.

"To supply an equivalent amount of energy a shale gas site would occupy just a small fraction of the land required for either wind or solar sites, would have less visual intrusion and significantly less transport impact, given that in the UK we do not anticipate having to truck water to our proposed sites."

Ken Cronin, chief executive of the UK Onshore Operators Group, which represents fracking firms, said: "David MacKay’s review is a useful addition to the debate. We are going to need all these energy sources to be part of a balanced energy mix.

"We mustn’t ignore the fact that over 80 per cent of homes and businesses are heated by gas. As an industry we are committed to informing and consulting fully with the communities in which we operate."

Dr Jimmy Aldridge, energy analyst for Greenpeace UK, said: “The visual impact of fracking isn’t really the main issue – everyone knows that wind turbines are taller than drilling rigs, so you can see them from further away, but government figures show three times as many people support wind power than shale gas, and that difference just gets more pronounced when it’s in their local area.

"That’s partly because of the risk of localised air and water pollution, partly noise and inconvenience, but most importantly, because shale gas is a high-carbon energy source, which is exactly what we need a lot less of.”

The Department of Energy and Climate Change caused controversy last autumn when it published and then deleted from its website a graphic showing that onshore wind farms covering 250,000 acres would be required to generate as much power as the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset, which would cover 430 acres.



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

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


15 August, 2014

U.S. Democrats Embrace Shale Boom Ahead Of Midterm Elections

When House Republicans took up a measure to speed the government's reviews of applications to export natural gas, a move long sought by energy companies, the unexpected happened: The bill won "yes" votes from 47 Democrats.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Cory Gardner (R., Colo.), anticipated some Democratic backing, but not that much. Rep. Steve Israel of New York, who leads the Democrats' House campaign arm, was a yes, as was House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland. Both voted in 2012 to restrict oil and gas exports.

The energy boom is shaping a new kind of Democrat in national politics, lawmakers who are giving greater support to the oil and gas industry even at the risk of alienating environmental groups, a core of the party's base. The trend comes as oil-and-gas production moves beyond America's traditionally energy-rich states, a development that also is increasing U.S. geopolitical influence abroad.

"It's a huge business opportunity for the country," said Rep. John Delaney (D., Md.), who was among 17 first-term lawmakers who voted yes on Mr. Gardner's bill. It passed the House and now awaits action in the Senate.

Mr. Delaney, whose district extends from the Washington-area suburbs to the West Virginia border, opposes a moratorium Maryland has placed on fracking. "I think that has really hurt the western part of my district."

"When four or five states were responsible for the vast majority of oil and gas production, it was easy to say this is a Republican issue, because most of those states happened to be Republican states," said Kevin Book, managing director at the Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm ClearView Energy Partners. "But now that oil and gas production is spreading through unconventional technologies, there's many more states."

It is a theme playing out ahead of November's midterm elections, with some Democrats trying to balance environmental groups' concerns about climate change and an industry they see as carrying economic benefits.

This tension recently flared in Colorado, where Democrats have been at odds over measures restricting fracking, a process that has unlocked vast supplies of oil and natural gas from rocks deep underground.

In response to concerns about potential groundwater pollution and drilling close to homes, Rep. Jared Polis, a liberal Democrat, had been pushing for a ballot initiative to limit fracking. His move drew opposition from Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Mark Udall, Democrats in tight re-election races in Colorado. Party leaders feared the measures would allow the GOP to cast Democrats as anti-industry. Mr. Polis retreated last week after the governor agreed to set up a commission to address the issue.

Some Republicans are skeptical of the Democratic Party's growing support and note many Democrats want more regulations. At the same time, GOP leaders say the phenomenon has moved beyond rhetoric. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), the new House Majority Leader, said in a recent interview he has noticed Democrats being more supportive of the energy boom, "because they see their economy grow by it."

Mike McKenna, president of conservative lobbying firm MWR Strategies, which has close ties to GOP congressional leadership, said "it's a genuine shift and an important one." Among the drivers, he said, is the local tax revenue that comes from related economic growth.

Since March 2008, oil production has increased 58% and natural-gas output has risen 21%, making the U.S. the world's largest producer of both fuels, according to federal and international agency statistics. Jobs directly related to oil and gas production have nearly doubled in the past 10 years to 697,600, government data shows.

Support is strongest in states that reap the most from new production and the development export terminals for liquefied natural gas in places like Maryland and Oregon. Fracking is poised to start or already has in swing states including Ohio, North Carolina and Nevada.


Hail Shale: World Awash In Oil Shields Markets From  Price Shocks

Fighting across Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and Gaza, and an accelerating economy, should mean higher oil prices. Yet crude is falling. What’s changed is the shale fracking boom.

Six years ago, oil soared to a record $147 a barrel as tension mounted over Iran’s nuclear program and the world economy had just seen the strongest period of sustained growth since the 1970s. Now, West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price, has traded below $100 for 10 days and Brent, the European equivalent, tumbled to a 13-month low yesterday.

What’s changed is the shale fracking boom. The U.S. is pumping the most oil in 27 years, adding more than 3 million barrels of daily supply since 2008. The International Energy Agency said yesterday that a supply glut is shielding the market from disruptions. Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and BNP Paribas SA concur.

“North America has pushed out an incredible amount of crude oil that it used to import,” Ed Morse, the head of commodities research at Citigroup, said in a phone interview from New York yesterday. “The world doesn’t need that much.”

The U.S. imported 7.17 million barrels a day of crude in May, a 26 percent drop from the same month in 2008, according to data compiled by the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. Foreign deliveries will meet 22 percent of U.S. demand next year, the lowest level since 1970, the agency said yesterday.

U.S. Growth

U.S. gross domestic product will grow 3 percent in 2015, accelerating from 1.7 percent this year, according to the median forecast from 84 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Job openings rose in June to the highest level in more than 13 years, firming up the labor market picture for the second half of the year, according to the U.S. government.

The nation’s output is forecast to climb to 9.28 million barrels a day next year, the highest level since 1972, the EIA said. The agency cut its 2014 price forecast for WTI to $100.45 a barrel yesterday from a July projection of $100.98.

Oil markets became more resilient to the threat of global supply disruptions because of “spare capacity” and softer global demand, Francisco Blanch, the head of commodities research at Bank of America in New York, said by phone yesterday.

“Growth in oil demand was far outpacing our ability to physically supply oil” in the first half of 2008, Harry Tchilinguirian, the head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas in London, said by phone yesterday. “The price of oil needed to rise promptly to ration demand.”


The Next Energy Revolution: Deep Water Fracking

Energy companies are taking their controversial fracking operations from the land to the sea — to deep waters off the U.S., South American and African coasts.

Cracking rocks underground to allow oil and gas to flow more freely into wells has grown into one of the most lucrative industry practices of the past century. The technique is also widely condemned as a source of groundwater contamination. The question now is how will that debate play out as the equipment moves out into the deep blue. For now, caution from all sides is the operative word.

“It’s the most challenging, harshest environment that we’ll be working in,” said Ron Dusterhoft, an engineer at Halliburton Co., the world’s largest fracker. “You just can’t afford hiccups.”

Offshore fracking is a part of a broader industrywide strategy to make billion-dollar deep-sea developments pay off. The practice has been around for two decades yet only in the past few years have advances in technology and vast offshore discoveries combined to make large scale fracking feasible.

While fracking is also moving off the coasts of Brazil and Africa, the big play is in the Gulf of Mexico, where wells more than 100 miles from the coastline must traverse water depths of a mile or more and can cost almost $100 million to drill.

Those expensive drilling projects are a boon for oil service providers such as Halliburton, Baker Hughes Inc. and Superior Energy Services Inc. Schlumberger Ltd., which provides offshore fracking gear for markets outside the U.S. Gulf, also stands to get new work. And producers such as Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc may reap billions of dollars in extra revenue over time as fracking helps boost crude output.

Fracking in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to grow by more than 10 percent over a two year period ending in 2015, said Douglas Stephens, president of pressure pumping at Baker Hughes, which operates about a third of the world’s offshore fracking fleet.


Coal getting cheaper too

Coal imports to the U.S. are rising sharply even as coal mines close throughout Central Appalachia. A big reason: price. Total U.S. coal consumption is expected to increase 3% to 862 million tons this year.

It costs $26 a ton to ship coal from Central Appalachia to power plants in Florida compared with $15 a ton to get coal from a mine in Colombia, according to research firm IHS Energy.

Labor costs are lower in Colombia, and it’s much more cost effective to move coal by ship, which can transport well over 50,000 tons of coal, than by train, usually made up of more than 100 railcars, each carrying only 100 tons of coal. In addition, a global coal glut has helped weaken prices for Colombian coal.

Coal imports surged 44% to 5.4 million metric tons during the first six months of 2014, compared with a year ago, according to Global Trade Information Services. Two-thirds came from Colombia, which ramped up coal production and exported 24% more coal during the first five months, compared with the same period in 2013, the data provider said.

Total U.S. coal consumption is expected to increase 3% to 862 million tons this year, according to the Energy Information Administration. The expected rise reflects frigid weather earlier this year, which boosted demand at all power plants, including those relying on coal.



Why we still need coal

Even while hundreds of coal-fired electric power plants are being retired or converted to natural gas on account of new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations — 361 units so far according to over the coming years — an odd thing happened this winter.

Coal electricity production increased dramatically, by 8.5 percent, to 543.4 billion kilowatthours (kWh) for the months of January through April compared to the same period in 2013. The culprit? The particularly cold and harsh winter.

Overall, end use of all electricity from all providers was up 3.6 percent to 1.265 trillion kWh for January through April, and overall generation was up 3.98 percent to 1.278 kWh. Increased coal electricity generation accounted for more than 87 percent of the increase.

Natural gas electricity generation, on the other hand, took a big hit the first four months of the year, down 3.2 percent to 289.1 billion kWh. This followed delivery problems for gas this past winter in the northeast, leading to communities with those types of plants to lean on coal-generated grid power from Midwestern states.

This past winter, according to, in New York and New England, “insufficient pipeline capacity to deliver growing peak demand gas needed for gas-fired electric generators, as well as residential and commercial consumers” led to supply shortages in the northeast and big price jumps.

That’s not good, since natural gas is supposed to be what replaces coal on the grid, yet it does not appear to be capable of fulfilling peak demand.

Should the same thing happen over the coming years, the grid will become increasingly taxed as the remaining coal-powered plants attempt to fill in the gap, only with less capacity to do so.

Consider that coal as a percent of the grid had dropped from 51 percent in 2005 to 38.5 percent market share in 2012. But because of the cold surge, that figure jumped back up to over 42 percent the first four months of 2014.

Yet, that trend might not last much longer as more coal plants are brought off-line by the EPA, resulting in a 16 percent cut to coal electricity capacity.

This is something even the New York Times acknowledged in a March 10 article by Matthew L. Wald. “Scores of old coal-fired power plants in the Midwest will close in the next year or so because of federal pollution rules intended to cut emissions of mercury, chlorine and other toxic pollutants. Still others could close because of a separate rule to prevent the damage that cooling water systems inflict on marine life,” writes Wald.

The Times warns ominously, “For utilities, another frigid winter like this one could lead to a squeeze in supply, making it harder — and much more expensive — to supply power to consumers during periods of peak demand.”

So, we’re cutting coal electricity’s supply via the regulatory process, precisely at a time when demand appears to be increasing.

In short, increased coal electricity production was needed during this harsh winter to meet increased electricity demand and delayed natural gas supplies. So, why are we shutting down 16 percent of coal electricity capacity with punitive EPA regulations?

If anything, it appears we need coal now more than ever. Is anyone at the EPA or White House listening?



Three current articles below

Greenies criticize new coal railway in Qld.

THE state's coordinator-general has approved Indian firm Adani's 300km rail line, linking the Galilee Basin with the Abbot Point coal terminal on the Great Barrier Reef.

But Australia Institute analyst Mark Ogge says the massive project will drive down global coal prices and could potentially cause the closure of Surat and Bowen Basin coal mines.

"This has all the signs of an economic train wreck for the state," Mr Ogge warned.  "If you are a farmer, tourist operator, manufacturer or coal miner other than in the Galilee basin, today's approval is almost certainly bad news for you."

Greenpeace's Ben Pearson was disappointed that the railway, planned to transport more than 100 million tonnes of coal per year, had been given the state's nod.  "It's very bad news for landowners along the route and it is very bad news for Australians who care about the climate and care about our Great Barrier Reef," he told AAP.  "We certainly haven't given up on stopping federal approval of the rail line."

But Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche congratulated Adani and described the rail and mine project as a pioneer plan.

Premier Campbell Newman said the project would be giving back to the state for at least 50-60 years.

But he's asked the coordinator-general to be mindful of impacts on landholders because local member and government MP Vaughan Johnson has concerns about the route.  "Vaughan is quite rightly being the voice of his constituents," the premier said.

"I have asked him (the coordinator-general) to be very mindful on the ground. We'll do our best to mitigate those impacts."

Federal government approval, required for the project to go ahead, is due by September 30.


Great Barrier Reef still facing significant threats, assessment for World Heritage Committee shows

Panic about the reef is a hardy perennial;  I remember it from 50 years ago.  But coral recovers quickly from damage.  The Greens would only be happy if all human influences were removed

Two major reports into the health and management of the Great Barrier Reef have found parts of the World Heritage site are still under pressure and the central and southern areas are deteriorating.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt today released a strategic assessment and a five-yearly outlook for the reef.

The United Nations' World Heritage Committee is concerned about the Abbot Point port expansion and the plan to dump of three million cubic metres of dredge spoil within the marine park.

It is due to decide next year whether to list the reef as a World Heritage site "in danger".

The outlook report, prepared by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), found the health of the reef was still worrying compared to its last report five years ago.

"Even with the recent management initiatives to reduce threats and improve resilience, the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor and getting worse," the authority's chairman Russell Reichelt wrote.

While pollutants entering the reef had measurably reduced since 2009, the greatest risks have not changed.

They include climate change, farm run-off, coastal developments and fishing.

In recent years, a series of major storms and floods have affected an ecosystem already under strain, and the accumulation of all impacts had the potential to further weaken its resilience.

"This is likely to affect its ability to recover from series disturbances, such as major coral bleaching events, which are predicted to become more frequent," the report said.

"The Great Barrier Reef is an icon under pressure.

"Without promptly reducing threats, there is a serious risk that resilience will not be improved and there will be irreversible declines in the region’s values.”

The report found the northern third of the region has good water quality and its ecosystem was in good condition.

However, the habitat, species, and ecosystem in the central and southern inshore areas had continued to deteriorate because of human use and natural disasters.

The dugong population, which was already at very low levels, had declined further in those areas.

Overall, some species were rebounding, including humpback whales, estuarine crocodile and loggerhead turtles.

Hunt confident reef won't be listed as 'in danger'

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said there had been some improvements, but there needed to be more.

"The report is a mixture of pressure and progress," he said.

"In the south, there were some real negatives, to be honest. Now is the moment that we have to turn around the reef."

He said he was confident the Government would do enough to save the reef from being listed "in danger", including reducing port developments.

"It was put on the review list on somebody else's watch," he said.  "Our task is to not just remove it from the watch list, but to make sure the reef recovers to its former glory."

Environmentalists want the Government to commit billions to reduce water pollution.

WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O'Gorman said billions were being spent to save the Murray River, and the reef needed the same commitment.

"Australians are deeply concerned that our national icon is dying on our watch," he said.


Uriarra solar farm west of Canberra will increase bushfire risk: report

A proposed solar farm near Uriarra Village west of Canberra would increase the risk of bushfire, a report commissioned by residents has found.

Elementus Energy has submitted an application to build a 26,000-panel solar farm near the village, which could power more than 1,400 homes.

But residents have long called for its relocation further away from their homes.

The report by fire analysis expert Helen Bull found the solar farm would increase the likelihood and risk of fire affecting the Uriarra Village community, and proposed tree screening could hamper firefighting efforts.

But the company behind the project has argued that infrastructure at the site would mitigate the risk of bushfire in the area.

The report recommended the proponent work with the fire services and community to further investigate risks presented by the project and opportunities to improve fire-response times.

"A fire burning in the proposed screen planting is expected to impact on the village through radiant heat and ember attack, although the effect would be short-term," the report said.

Ms Bull's report was partly based on a review of the development application and a site inspection, and noted there were limitations to its analysis, including limited information and a short time frame for its preparation.

Uriarra residents' spokeswoman Jess Agnew said the report's finding strengthened residents' arguments for the relocation of the solar farm.

"Now this is what we've been pushing for all along and this finally confirms what we need as well as putting the 22 kilowatt power lines underground," she said.

Solar farm will 'mitigate bushfire risk'

But Elementus Energy's managing director Ashleigh Antflick told told 666 ABC Canberra Uriarra residents already lived in a zone of high bushfire risk and previous plans for the village had called for dense visual screening along its northern edge.

"My suggestion to the villagers is the use of the land across the road from the village will in fact be a bushfire mitigant for them because we will be taking very good care of the land upon which the solar facility is located," he said.

"The screening that we've proposed is there obviously to mitigate the visual impact of the solar farm and that it represents a fire risk in and of itself we can I think accept.

"But what you need to do is look a bit further beyond the trees themselves and say in the direction that a fire would ordinarily approach Uriarra Village where those trees could become a concern, what are we doing?

"What we're doing is having a very well managed 40 hectare solar farm site where there are significant pieces of firefighting infrastructure including roads for Rural Fire Service vehicles to make quick and speedy access right to the very far edge of the site."

Mr Antflick said there would also be a 40,000 litre water tank on the site and the company had shifted the planned solar farm away from the village at residents' request.

"The nearest home is 150 metres away from the leading edge of the nearest solar panel," he said.



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

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, 2014

More Warmist deception

The notorious Mark Serreze fails to mention below that there was open water at the North pole on several occasions throughout the 20th. century.  As NOAA says:  "Recently there have been newspaper articles describing the existence of open water at the North Pole. This situation is infrequent but has been known to occur as the ice is shifted around by winds. In itself, this observation is not meaningful." 

And Serreze is simply lying about the Northwest passage.  It too has been navigated on many occasions in the past. It was first navigated by Roald Amundsen in 1903–1906.

 The North Pole may be briefly ice-free by September as global warming melts away Arctic sea ice, according to scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

"We kind of have an informal betting pool going around in our center and that betting pool is 'does the North Pole melt out this summer?' and it may well," said the center's senior research scientist, Mark Serreze.

It's a 50-50 bet that the thin Arctic sea ice, which was frozen in autumn, will completely melt away at the geographic North Pole, Serreze said.

The ice retreated to a record level in September when the Northwest Passage, the sea route through the Arctic Ocean, opened briefly for the first time in recorded history.

"What we've seen through the past few decades is the Arctic sea ice cover is becoming thinner and thinner as the system warms up," Serreze said.

Specific weather patterns will determine whether the North Pole's ice cover melts completely this summer, he said.

"Last year, we had sort of a perfect weather pattern to get rid of ice to open up that Northwest Passage," Serreze said. "This year, a different pattern can set up. so maybe we'll preserve some ice there. We're in a wait-and-see mode right now. We'll see what happens."

The brief lack of ice at the top of the globe will not bring any immediate consequences, he said.

"From the viewpoint of the science, the North Pole is just another point in the globe, but it does have this symbolic meaning," Serreze said. "There's supposed to be ice at the North Pole. The fact that we may not have any by the end of this summer could be quite a symbolic change."

Serreze said it's "just another indicator of the disappearing Arctic sea ice cover" but that it is happening so soon is "just astounding to me."

"Five years ago, to think that we'd even be talking about the possibility of the North Pole melting out in the summer, I would have never thought it," he said.

The melting, however, has been long seen as inevitable, he said.

"If you talked to me or other scientists just a few years ago, we were saying that we might lose all or most of the summer sea ice cover by anywhere from 2050 to 2100," Serreze said. "Then, recently, we kind of revised those estimates, maybe as early as 2030. Now, there's people out there saying it might be even before that. So, things are happening pretty quick up there."

Serreze said those who suggest that the Arctic meltdown is just part of a historic cycle are wrong.

"It's not cyclical at this point. I think we understand the physics behind this pretty well," he said. "We've known for at least 30 years, from our earliest climate models, that it's the Arctic where we'd see the first signs of global warming.

"It's a situation where we hate to say we told you so, but we told you so," he said.


Earth has been getting hotter for the past 10,000 YEARS, contradicting studies that humans started global warming

Was the Earth in a period of global warming or cooling before the 20th century?

Attempting to answer this question has thrown up a conundrum for scientists, with some studies showing a warming trend, while others suggesting it cooled until humans intervened.

Now a new study hopes to settle the issue by arguing that data points to the fact that Earth's climate has been warming over the past 10,000 years - long before human activity is thought to have changed the climate.

It argues that previous research that showed a cooling trend was wrong because it used contradictory ice core data.

The research was undertaken by University of Wisconsin-Madison's Professor Zhengyu Liu.

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change requested a figure to show global temperature trends over the last 10,000 years, Professor Liu knew that was going to be a problem.

'We have been building models and there are now robust contradictions', he said. 'Data from observation says global cooling. The physical model says it has to be warming.'

In his latest study, Professor Liu describes a consistent global warming trend over the course of the Holocene, our current geological epoch.

Scientists ran simulations of climate influences and each on revealed global warming occurring over the last 10,000 years.

Professor Liu explained that we know atmospheric carbon dioxide rose by 20 parts per million before the 20th century, and the massive ice sheet of the Last Glacial Maximum has been retreating.

These physical changes suggest that, globally, the annual mean global temperature should have continued to warm, even as regions of the world experienced cooling, such as during the Little Ice Age in Europe between the 16th and 19th centuries.

The team ran simulations of climate influences that spanned from the intensity of sunlight on Earth to global greenhouse gases, ice sheet cover and meltwater changes.

Each showed global warming over the last 10,000 years.

Yet, the bio- and geo-thermometers used last year in a study in the journal Science suggest a period of global cooling beginning about 7,000 years ago.

It claimed that this continued until humans began to leave a mark - the so-called 'hockey stick' on the current climate model graph - which reflects a profound global warming trend.

In that study, the authors looked at data collected by other scientists from ice core samples, phytoplankton sediments and more at 73 sites around the world.

The data they gathered sometimes conflicted, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere.

Because interpretation of this data is complicated, Professor Liu believes they may not adequately address the bigger picture.

For instance, biological samples taken from a core deposited in the summer may be different from samples at the exact same site had they been taken from a winter sediment.

'In the Northern Atlantic, there is cooling and warming data the climate change community hasn't been able to figure out,' said Professor Liu.

'Both communities have to look back critically and see what is missing. I think it is a puzzle.'

With their current knowledge, Professor Liu and colleagues don't believe any physical forces over the last 10,000 years could have been strong enough to overwhelm the warming.

The study does not, the authors emphasise, change the evidence of human impact on global climate beginning in the 20th century. [They have to say that]


We’re ill-prepared if the iceman cometh

WHAT if David Archibald’s book The Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short turns out to be right? What if the past 50 years of peace, cheap energy, abundant food, global economic growth and population explosion have been due to a temporary climate phenomenon?

What if the warmth the world has enjoyed for the past 50 years is the result of solar activity, not man-made CO2?

In a letter to the editor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, IG Usoskin et al produced the “first fully ­adjustment-free physical reconstruction of solar activity”. They found that during the past 3000 years the modern grand maxima, which occurred between 1959 and 2009, was a rare event both in magnitude and duration. This research adds to growing evidence that climate change is determined by the sun, not humans.

Yet during the past 20 years the US alone has poured about $US80 billion into climate change research on the presumption that humans are the primary cause. The effect has been to largely preordain scientific conclusions. It set in train a virtuous cycle where the more scientists pointed to human causes, the more governments funded their research.

At the same time, like primitive civilisations offering up sacrifices to appease the gods, many governments, including Australia’s former Labor government, used the biased research to pursue “green” gesture politics. This has inflicted serious damage on economies and diminished the West’s standing and effectiveness in world ­affairs.

University of Pennsylvania professor of psychology Philip Tetlock explains: “When journal reviewers, editors and funding agencies feel the same way about a course, they are less likely to detect and correct potential logical or methodological bias.” How true. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its acolytes pay scant attention to any science, however strong the empirical evidence, that may relegate human causes to a lesser status.

This mindset sought to bury the results of Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark’s experiments using the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. For the first time in controlled conditions, Svensmark’s hypothesis that the sun alters the climate by influencing cosmic ray influx and cloud formation was validated. The head of CERN, which runs the laboratory, obviously afraid of how this heretical conclusion would be received within the global warming establishment, urged caution be used in interpreting the results “in this highly political area of climate change debate”. And the media obliged.

But Svensmark is not alone. For example, Russian scientists at the Pulkovo Observatory are convinced the world is in for a cooling period that will last for 200-250 years. Respected Norwegian solar physicist Pal Brekke warns temperatures may actually fall for the next 50 years. Leading British climate scientist Mike Lockwood, of Reading University, found 24 occasions in the past 10,000 years when the sun was declining as it is now, but could find none where the decline was as fast. He says a return of the Dalton Minimum (1790-1830), which included “the year without summer”, is “more likely than not”. In their book The Neglected Sun , Sebastian Luning and Fritz Varen­holt think that temperatures could be two-tenths of a degree Celsius cooler by 2030 because of a predicted anaemic sun. They say it would mean “warming getting postponed far into the future”.

If the world does indeed move into a cooling period, its citizens are ill-prepared. After the 2008 fin­ancial crisis, most economies are still struggling to recover. Cheap electricity in a colder climate will be critical, yet distorted price signals caused by renewable energy policies are driving out reliable baseload generators. Attracting fresh investment will be difficult, expensive and slow.

Only time will tell, but it is fanciful to believe that it will be business as usual in a colder global climate. A war-weary world’s response to recent events in the Middle East, Russia’s excursion into the Crimea and Ukraine and China’s annexation of air space over Japan’s Senkaku/Daioyu Islands has so far been muted. It is interesting to contemplate how the West would handle the geopolitical and humanitarian challenges brought on by a colder climate’s shorter growing seasons and likely food shortages. Abundance is conducive to peace. However, a scenario where nations are desperately competing for available energy and food will bring unpredictable threats, far more testing than anything we have seen in recent history.

During the past seven years, Australia has largely fallen into line with Western priorities and redistributive policies. It is reminiscent of a family that has inherited a vast fortune constantly fighting over the legacy but showing little interest in securing the future.

However, a country that is so rich in nature’s gifts should not be complacent or assume that in other circumstances there will not be adversaries prepared to take what we have.

But, in times of peace and when government debts and deficits are growing daily, it is hard to persuade voters to trade off immediate benefits for increased defence spending, let alone prepare them, after all the warming propaganda, that global cooling is a possibility.

Yet the global warming pause is now nearly 18 years old and, as climate scientist Judith Curry says, “attention is moving away from the pause to the cooling since 2002”. Anastasios Tsonis, who leads the University of Wisconsin Atmospheric Sciences Group, talks of “massive rearrangements in the dominant pattern of the weather”.

But the political establishment is deaf to this. Having put all our eggs in one basket and having made science a religion, it bravely persists with its global warming narrative, ignoring at its peril and ours, the clear warnings being given by Mother Nature.

Voltaire was right when he said: “Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy, the mad daughter of a wise mother. These daughters have too long dominated the Earth.” Indeed.


Colorado Dems frack backtrack is all about November

In June, in a sparsely populated county in northern New Mexico, a primary election surprisingly unseated an incumbent County Commissioner. No one seemed to notice. But, apparently, high-ranking Democrats to the north were paying attention.

The northern New Mexico county is Mora. The high-ranking Democrats: from Colorado. The election upset was about Mora County’s oil-and-gas drilling ban.

In April 2013, the Mora County Commission voted, 2 to 1, and passed the first-in-the-nation county-wide ban on all oil-and-gas drilling. It was spearheaded by Commission Chairman John Olivas — who also served as northern director for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Since then, two lawsuits have been filed against the little county because of the anti-drilling ordinance.

A little more than a year after Olivas’ pet project, the Mora County Water Rights and Self-Governance Ordinance, was passed, he was ousted. Olivas didn’t just lose in the Democrat primary election, he was, according to the Albuquerque Journal, “soundly beaten” by George Trujillo — 59.8 percent to 34.2 percent. Both Olivas and Trujillo acknowledged that the ban had an impact on the outcome, with Olivas saying: “In my opinion, it was a referendum on oil and gas.” Trujillo campaigned on a repeal of the ordinance (which, due to the language of the ordinance will be difficult to do) and has said he is open to a limited amount of drilling in the eastern edge of the county.

Mora County’s ban on all drilling for hydro-carbons, not just fracking, was incited by an out-of-state group: the Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF),which has also been active in Colorado.

CEDLF holds Democracy Schools around the country where attendees are taught the “secrets” of peoples’ movements focusing on the rights of communities, people, and the earth. In Mora, CELDF’s Democracy School was organized by Olivas’ mother—who, along with his friends, also chaired subcommittees believed to have been organized to monitor Olivas’ interests.

In Colorado, a Boulder-based Democrat Congressman and environmental activist, Jared Polis, has worked hard to collect thousands of signatures—spending, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “millions of dollars of his own cash to promote the measures” — to get two anti-oil-and-gas initiatives on November’s ballot. His blue-haired mother (No, I am not elder-bashing. She has it dyed blue and purple.) has campaigned with him.

Polis’ proposed initiative 89 would have given local governments control over environmental regulations under an “environmental bill of rights” — which mirrors language promoted by CELDF and used in Mora County. Polis also backed ballot measure 88 that would have limited where hydraulic fracturing could be conducted.

The presence of 88 and 89 on the ballot, sparked two opposing measures: 121 and 137.  121 would have blocked any oil-or-gas revenue from any local government that limits or bans that industry — an idea also proposed, but not passed, in the New Mexico legislature. 137 would have required proponents of initiatives to submit fiscal impact estimates.

Much to the horror of environmental activists, the battle of ballot initiatives ended before anyone ever got to vote on them.

On Monday, August 4, Polis and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper held a news conference where they pushed for a compromise to avoid a “messy ballot fight.” Instead, they are proposing an 18-member task force to issue recommendations to the Colorado Legislature next year on how to minimize conflicts between residents and the energy industry. Later in the day, an agreement was reached and both sides pulled the opposing measures.

Backers of proposed initiatives 88 and 89 are outraged. They feel Polis sold out.

Hickenlooper said the suggested restrictions, if passed, posed “a significant threat to Colorado’s economy” — which they would. However, given the history of the lowly New Mexico county commissioner, the compromise may be more about “a significant threat to Colorado’s” Democrat party.

A November 2013 Quinnipiac poll found that most Coloradans support fracking — only 34 percent oppose it. Noteworthy is the political divide: 80 percent of Republicans support fracking, only 9 percent oppose it. More Democrats oppose fracking, 54 percent, while only 26 percent support it. But the numbers indicate that Republicans are most likely to come to the polls in November to insure the economically advantageous activity is not curtailed — and this scares Democrats such as Hickenlohooper and Senator Mark Udall, who are both up for reelection in November. Udall, according to the WSJ, “ran in 2008 as a full-throated green-energy champion.” His 2014 Republican opponent Congressman Cory Gardner points to the economic benefits of fracking, as seen in North Dakota and Texas.

Had the measures not been pulled, the WSJ reports: “the issue would have been at the center of the fall debate.”

In addition to driving Republicans to the polls, the anti-fracking measures didn’t have a high probability of survival. While Colorado communities have previously passed anti-drilling initiatives — Boulder, Broomfield, Fort Collins, Lafayette, and Longmont — the most recent attempt in Loveland failed after an organized industry effort to educate voters on the safe track record of fracking and its economic benefits. Additionally, in late July, a Boulder County District Court judge struck down Longmont’s fracking ban. The Denver Post reported: “Under Colorado law, cities cannot ban drilling entirely but can regulate aspects of it that don’t cause an ‘operational conflict’ with state law.”

In New Mexico, the lawsuits have not yet made their way into court, but it is expected that, like Colorado, the courts will rule in favor of state statutes. Constitutionally protected private property rights should triumph.

Polis, who made his millions from the sale of the Blue Mountain Arts greeting card website, presented his initiatives as a “national referendum on fracking.” As the WSJ states: “In that sense he was right.” Colorado Democrats realize that allowing an anti-fracking fervor to drive an election is a dangerous decision. The Democrats support for banning fracking — while killing jobs, hurting the local and national economy, damaging America’s energy security, and threatening private property rights — should unseat two top Democrats by driving Republicans to the polls. And, this could become the national referendum on fracking.


EU green energy laws 'put 1.5m UK manufacturing jobs at risk’

Green policies imposed by Brussels are endangering 1.5m UK jobs by saddling manufacturers with high energy costs, an influential group of business leaders has warned.

A report published on Wednesday by Business for Britain (BfB), a Eurosceptic lobby group, says that EU policies are to blame for up to 9 per cent of costs on energy bills for industrial companies and warns this could rise to 16 per cent by 2030.

Manufacturers are now considering moving their operations to countries where energy is cheaper, risking “devastating” job losses in the UK, it warns.

More than 1.5m people are employed in energy-intensive industries, such as metals, ceramics and glass, with 363,000 of those in direct employment and therefore deemed to be at “high risk”.

The report says that the cost of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, and the Renewables Obligation (RO), a UK subsidy scheme for wind farms and other green technologies designed to hit EU renewables targets for 2020, together account for 9pc of energy bills for manufacturers.

BfB acknowledges “there is a good chance that the UK would have introduced similar policies had it been outside of the EU” and that the UK has “in some areas gone considerably further than the EU in introducing expensive policies”. Despite this the UK “enjoys relatively low energy prices compared to many other EU countries”.

However, it says this “should not cloud the fact that the EU does play a role in driving up the cost of energy and has introduced expensive policies”.

It notes that ministers have rejected EU moves for further renewable energy targets beyond 2020, arguing that decarbonisation targets allow countries to pursue cheaper ways of going green.

Opting out of the existing renewables target could see manufacturers’ bills fall by up to 7 per cent, the report claims, although its authors do not explain how this would happen. Most of the RO costs already on bills are for projects that have already been promised they will be paid the subsidies for at least a decade.

The report estimates that the total costs to the UK economy of policies that help meet EU energy laws could be as much £93.2bn. Its authors said this was based on adding up the net impact figures from UK government impact assessments. This includes policies implemented since the 1970s, and includes the lifetime costs and benefits of some policies extending several decades from now.

BfB’s board includes John Mills, the chairman of JML and Labour party donor, while its advisory council includes Roger Bootle, David Buik, Sir Christopher Meyer and Helena Morrissey.

The group was founded around a mission statement calling for a renegotiation of the terms of Britain’s EU membership, which has been backed by City grandees including Lord Wolfson, chief executive of Next, and Lord Rose, the former Marks & Spencers chairman.


PG poll: Scientific consensus on climate change has not permeated the public

Despite the scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and caused by human activity, a new survey conducted for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette demonstrates that many Americans remain uncertain about the impact of climate change and the need for government action to address it.

This is contrary to some polls suggesting wide support for steps to counter the phenomenon. David W. Moore, director of the iMediaEthics survey, said the results suggest that, because of flaws in methodology or wording, some other surveys have overstated the degree of public knowledge on the issue, and the intensity of support for measures to curb carbon emissions. [See Mr. Moore’s essay in today’s Forum section, “Climate Partisans.” The poll report is available here, along with a description of the methodology.]

Mr. Moore argues that while many poll respondents will express an opinion on issues such as global warming, closer scrutiny shows that they do not have strong feelings on it one way or another. One indication of the relative lack of intense, informed views on the issue is the way responses can be influenced by outside factors. As an example, the survey of 1,000 respondents was divided into subsamples with half asked about their support for “federal government” action to regulate greenhouse gases, and the other half asked about the “Obama administration.”

Specifically, half of the respondents were asked: “Would you approve or disapprove of the federal government requiring power plants to reduce greenhouse gases, even if it would mean higher utility bills for consumers, or are you unsure?” The other half were asked: “Would you approve or disapprove of the Obama administration requiring power plants ...”

The results differed significantly with the use of the name Obama eliciting a margin of support of 42 percent to 28 percent, compared with 36 percent approval and 32 percent disapproval for the federal government. That may seem counterintuitive, given the president’s overall job approval ratings, but Mr. Moore explained that while the use of the Obama name reduced support among Republicans, it increased support, by a greater margin, among independents and Democrats.

Republicans disapproved of “federal government” regulation by a margin of 51-27; but opposed “Obama administration” regulation by a margin of 48-18. Independents disapproved of “federal government” regulation, 28-26, but that turned around with the mention of “Obama administration.” In that case, independents approved of the prospective regulation, 36-27. For Democrats, the mention of Obama had an even more positive effect, boosting approval from 50-16, to 64-13. In both cases, about a third of the sample said they were undecided.

Pointing to another way that wording can prejudice polling results, Mr. Moore noted another survey that asked people repeatedly about “the problem of climate change,” conditioning them to consider it a problem regardless of their views before taking the survey.

Beyond the uncertainty that wording can introduce into a survey, Mr. Moore and the iMediaEthics poll drilled down further to assess how much people actually cared about the proposed regulation, asking if they would be upset if the regulations were imposed or not. In his analysis of the results, Mr. Moore pointed out that, “Many respondents immediately acknowledged that they wouldn’t be upset if the opposite happened to what they had just said. The net result, 30 percent strongly favored the Obama administration trying to curb greenhouse gases; 22 percent strongly opposed the idea, with the rest not caring one way or the other.’’

Mr. Moore said that the relative lack of intense views on the issue was consistent with other findings that showed that many Americans are uncertain about the impact of climate change and of the broad consensus among climate scientists that climate change is a man-made problem.

“Just 41 percent of Americans are confident that ‘most scientists agree that climate change is happening now caused mainly by human activities,’ while 18 percent firmly believe “there is little agreement among scientists’ on the issue and the rest are unsure.”

Mr. Moore suggests at least two lessons from the divergence between these poll findings and those of some other surveys showing greater support for government action. One is that environmental activists still face a significant challenge in recruiting deep public support for government actions such as the greenhouse gas regulations recently promulgated by the Obama administration.

The second is that readers should be wary of surveys, “which — however well intentioned, — manipulate respondents into giving answers that sound positive but don’t represent the views of the larger population.”



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

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


13 August, 2014

Climate Change has a new logo

After 4.5 billion years, finally climate change has a new logo.  But even some fans of the the Big Scare Campaign don’t like it. I can’t think why…

(It is dying – the fear of a carbon crisis.)

It looks to me like an inverse-SEO campaign designed by someone deeply afflicted with ASE (Artistic Status Envy — see also its Literary equivalent). Is the aim here just the banal trickery of ambushing the new skeptics who type “It’s not warming” into their search engines? Will gullible teens type in the phrase and find nothing but links to soft-green propaganda? (This could so easily backfire).

Or is this a new form of mental programming for the inductees into the climate faith? Now, when they hear “it’s not warming”, they’ll be getting confirmation — warming means “bad stuff”, now not warming means “bad stuff too!” It’s a form of deep psychology — so deep it’s done right through the magma and come out the other side.

If it looks upside down, that’s because it is.  Jeremy Porter on Grist is not impressed:

“It’s not warming, it’s dying.” That’s the message from the man behind the “I ? NY” logo, Milton Glaser. The message comes with a logo and buttons that people can buy and wear. Glaser says that “global warming” is not good language. On that, he’s right, but reframing it as “global dying” is worse."

In an interview with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, Glaser said, “Global warming in its own way sounds sort of reassuring and comforting … that’s terrible. You begin by attacking the phrase itself — the word and what the word means — because the truth of the matter is that the earth is dying. And wouldn’t it be nice if today was the beginning of the most important date in human history which is the date we decided not to let the earth die?”

Arguing that the earth is dying is serious error and will probably do more harm than good. Two reasons why:

“Global dying” keeps the issue firmly in the abstract.
The earth isn’t dying. People are.

No self respecting climate-goth would be without one.

Porter finds something nice to say: “At least the buttons don’t have any words on them.”

That really sums up their arguments perfectly.

Me I think this is a case of over-reach. It’s a clumsy attempt at a segue from the not-so-scary “climate change” and the failed “global warming” to see if they can get to “global dying”. And there they go following a hero again. Glaser is a “legend” who designed something “iconic”. What could possibly go wrong?


The world is actually getting greener

The Political Play Behind the Keystone Delay

The Keystone XL Pipeline is a $5.3 billion project meant to carry Canadian oil sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The southern leg, from Nebraska to the Texas coast, is already built; the remaining section awaiting approval from the Obama administration would stretch from Steele City, Nebraska, to Hardisty, Alberta. The primary goal is energy provision and production, but other benefits include jobs and cleaner, safer transport for oil. Yet environmentalists have made it their mission to thwart the pipeline, and the Obama administration has stalled for years on approving it.

The latest wrench in the works is a new study published in Nature Climate Change claiming that building the pipeline would create at least four times the State Department’s estimate of greenhouse gases. According to the Los Angeles Times, “In its environmental impact statement issued in February, the State Department estimated that the Keystone XL pipeline, which would ultimately carry 830,000 barrels of oil daily, could increase emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases by 1.3 million to 27.4 million metric tons annually.” The new Nature Climate Change study, on the other hand, estimates annual emissions could exceed 100 million metric tons.

To reach their conclusion, study authors Peter Erickson and Michael Lazarus, both scientists at Seattle’s Stockholm Environment Institute, calculate the pipeline would mean cheaper oil and gas, leading to higher consumption and, therefore, more greenhouse gases. They write, “We find that for every barrel of increased production, global oil consumption would increase 0.6 barrels owing to the incremental decrease in global oil prices.” The State Department’s own study, on the other hand, estimated that oil consumption would not increase because alternative means already exist for transporting the oil to refineries.

In June 2013, Barack Obama said Keystone would win his approval only if “it does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” In February, the State Department found just that, though in a Good Friday news dump in April, the administration said it was delaying its decision again. Perhaps Obama’s comments in June last year were a signal to his environmental allies to come up with their own alarm bells, and the Easter delay was a bid to give them more time.

In related oil news, the administration recently teased the idea of oil and natural gas exploration in the Atlantic Ocean, perhaps even moving toward opening the Atlantic to drilling. The Hill reports, “In June, the administration gave its strongest signal to date that the Atlantic would likely be included in the Interior Department’s five-year lease plan for 2017-2022, by opening it up to new oil and gas exploration for the first time in 30 years.” That would be a huge policy shift.

Naturally, ecofascist groups jumped to action. The Hill notes, “Environmentalists, and lawmakers who oppose opening new areas to development are already pushing back, flooding the Interior Department will comments arguing against new drilling.” On the other side, the governors of Virginia and both Carolinas support Atlantic drilling for the economic benefits to their states.

Obama likes to have it both ways with energy by obstructing fossil fuel exploration, drilling and production at every turn while boasting of the increased oil production during his tenure. As we have noted on numerous occasions, however, the current oil boom is thanks entirely to increased production on private and state lands. Federal lands (and waters) have remained almost entirely off limits. And even if Obama did approve drilling in the Atlantic, it wouldn’t begin until after he leaves office.

In the case of the Atlantic, Obama’s play may be the same as with Keystone – signal that he’s about to approve something so as to motivate his ecofascist constituents to plead their case, allowing him to hear their concerns and respond by stalling, all right before November’s election. For this president, everything is politics, so whatever his angle, it’s not with an eye on the nation’s best interests regarding critical energy needs.



Chemistry debunks junk climate science in the 'global warming causes ocean acidification' debate. Established Chemistry proves that if temperatures were rising then, conversely, acidification would be falling, not increasing. Such is the woeful science ignorance (or intentional deceit) of climate alarmists.


Indisputable facts

carbon dioxide (CO2), dissolved in pure water, makes a weak, unstable acid, whilst the ocean water is a very stable buffer with a pH averaging around 8, which means it is alkaline;

there isn’t enough CO2 in the atmosphere to make much difference to the ocean’s pH;

the concentration of enough CO2 to significantly reduce the ocean’s pH will not come from the atmosphere;

the mass of the oceans is a huge 268 times the mass of the atmosphere;

CO2 is currently only 0.04% of that atmosphere.

Discussion about those facts

Besides the above chemical and physical facts, it is well known that an increase in water temperature will reduce the solubility of CO2.

Leave any opened cold carbonated drink – from champagne to Coke - to warm up and see what happens to the fizz, which is CO2 in case you didn’t know. Your warmed champagne/Coke goes 'flat' because the carbon dioxide has escaped the liquid and entered the atmosphere.

It is therefore not rocket science to state with complete confidence that warm water naturally contains less CO2 than cold water.

The oceans are outgassing CO2 due to the slight warming trend since the end of the Mini Ice Age (c. 1850's). The exact cause of this trend IS NOT known and remains the subject of much scientific debate! There is evidence that there is a gap of many centuries between planet-wide temperature swings and atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

The Climate Alarmist’s Case

Climate alarmists are stunningly contradictory and actually amusing if they didn’t hold the world at ransom over this non-problem of a slight increase in CO2 concentrations.

They point out the slight increasing trend in temperatures as alarming!

They point out the side effect of this slight increasing trend in temperatures – rising sea levels – as alarming!

Then they claim man’s CO2 emissions will increase ocean acidification – as alarming!

But you simply cannot have it both ways – that is an “Inconvenient Truth”!

Summary and Conclusion

Either the oceans are getting warmer and the CO2 concentration in seawater is decreasing, which means that ocean acidification from man-made CO2 from the atmosphere is nonsense.

Or the oceans are getting cooler and the man-made CO2 from the atmosphere is dissolving in those cooler oceans and causing – insignificant – ocean acidification, which means that warming oceans and the associated sea level rises are nonsense.

Take your pick – REAL SCIENCE says you can’t have both.



As the so called pause in global warming continues, space scientists may be giving climate scientists some pause for thought. sunnspot number

Global surface temperatures have remained statistically flat for over a decade following a rapid rise in the second half of the 20th century despite the fact that the long-term increase in carbon dioxide associated with this rapid global warming has continued throughout the whole of the pause period.

Two pieces of research published this year suggest that the sun has played a bigger role in these events than is widely accepted by climate scientists and they imply, as a result, that the role of 'greenhouse gases' may be less significant than climate scientists currently believe.

The research shows that the sun is far more variable than we had previously thought and that variations in solar activity correlate very closely with changes in global surface temperature. This challenges the prevailing orthodoxy in climate science that our star plays no significant role in global warming.

Minuscule solar impact on climate change

Most climate scientists believe that the sun is a stable star and contributes relatively little to climate change compared with the massive warming impact – or radiative forcing – of human greenhouse gas emissions. And, for a quarter of a century, this has been the settled view of the international climate science establishment led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The most recent IPCC scientific report published last year – the AR5 WG 1 – states that the total natural contribution to global warming “from solar irradiance changes and stratospheric volcanic aerosols made only a small contribution to the net radiative forcing throughout the last century”. And the evidence they cite would appear to support this contention.

Solar heating on the Earth is measured by what is called total solar irradiance – the average amount of solar energy falling on the Earth. Total solar irradiance is measured in watts of energy per square meter (W/m2) and data in the last IPCC report shows that solar irradiance between 1755 and 2012 varied in a narrow band throughout this period by only around 0.02 per cent… Minuscule.

Indeed, the IPCC report states that the warming effect due to human greenhouse gas emissions – what it calls the effective radiative forcing – is 2.3 W/m2 compared with a radiative forcing due to the small variations in solar irradiance of around 0.05 W/m2. In other words, the impact of the sun on the climate is only around 2 per cent of the scale of the impact of human 'greenhouse gas' emissions.

Strong correlation between the sun and climate

However, research from an international team of space scientists shows that the second half of the last century – the very time when global temperatures started to tick up significantly – coincided with a once in 3,000 year record high in solar activity (see the graph at the top of the page). The paper, published in a specialist space science journal called Astronomy & Astrophysics, makes only passing and understated reference to the implications of the research on climate science reporting that: “These results provide important constraints for both dynamo models of Sun-like stars and investigations of possible solar influence on Earth’s climate”.

But another group of space science researchers from China took a much more combative stance earlier this year when they published a paper in the Chinese Science Bulletin which showed a strong correlation between the variation in the temperature of the surface of the Earth and variations in solar activity. Their paper explicitly stated solar activity has a “non-negligible” effect on the temperature change of the Earth”. Furthermore, they issued a press release to coincide with the appearance of their paper stating: “The climate models of IPCC seem to underestimate the impact of natural factors on the climate change, while overstate that of human activities. Solar activity is an important ingredient of natural driving forces of climate”. In the rarefied atmosphere of scientific debate, this constitutes fighting talk.

A mechanism connecting sun spot activity with the atmosphere

If there is a link between solar activity and the climate then it would need to be more subtle than the simple heating impact of solar radiation which appears to vary little. One possibility, suggested by NASA, is that solar magnetism associated with sun spots plays a role. In 2010 research published in Nature reported that NASA’s Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) satellite had measured significant falls in ultraviolet emissions linked to reduced sun spot activity.

As NASA notes on a specialist web page dedicated to solar activity: “Although sunspots themselves produce only minor effects on solar emissions, the magnetic activity that accompanies the sunspots can produce dramatic changes in the ultraviolet and soft x-ray emission levels. These changes over the solar cycle have important consequences for the Earth’s upper atmosphere.”

Sun spots have been implicated with climate change in the past. The lack of sun spots between 1645 and 1715, known as the Maunder Minimum, has been blamed for the so called Little Ice Age. Worryingly, sun spot numbers appear to be in a long term decline at the moment with a number of solar scientists speculating that if this continues then, far from global warming, we may be in for a repeat of the Little Ice Age.

Furthermore, the sun is currently going through a particularly quiet cycle phase – the quietest in over a century – and this has led some climate change sceptics to argue that the sun is in fact the cause of the global warming pause. Now, sceptics would say that, wouldn’t they, and climate scientists stress that changes in solar output are just too small to affect the climate.

However, the space physics research on solar activity is not the work of climate sceptics and it is showing a strong correlation between solar activity and global temperature.

It is important to state that correlation does not imply causation and none of this solar research alters the fact that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases undoubtedly have a warming effect on the atmosphere.

But the circumstantial evidence that the sun plays a bigger role in climate change than hitherto thought is growing and a potential mechanism connecting sun spot related magnetic activity with upper atmospheric changes has been hypothesised.

It is now high time for climate scientists to set the established orthodoxy to one side and to reassess the contribution of the sun to climate change.



New independent climate analysis reveals what may be the greatest flaw in modern climate science- a simplistic over-reliance on the assumption of steady state atmospheric conditions. New research from France employs a two-way formulation for heat evacuation by radiation from the planet rather than the standard one-dimensional 'greenhouse gas theory.'

It reveals that convection plays a more dominant role than radiation in our climate and that number fudging by so-called climate “experts” may be the only truly discernible extent of “man-made” global warming.

In a new paper, 'Diurnal Variations of Heat Evacuation from a Rotating Planet,' submitted to open peer review at Principia Scientific International (PSI), Joseph Reynen, a retired Dutch scientist living in France, puts standard climate science calculations under the microscope and reveals that for too long the “experts” used an outdated guesstimating process relied on before the modern era of accurate computing.

Reynen's study is yet further validation to what an increasing number of independent scientists are saying is a major error by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC gave an uncritical free pass to an assumed physical interpretation from a pre-computer era approximation which put a great emphasis on a fixed artificial energy absorption rate instead of actual absorption for the real energy flux coming from our sun.

As Reynen delves into the technicalities he explains, “In the beginning of the 1900's computers were not available and by splitting-up the radiation in up-ward and down-ward components, and introducing a co-ordinate transformation with the so-called optical thickness concept, analytical solutions were possible, although in the form of integrals. Quadrature techniques were available at that time to evaluate numerically those integrals, with no need for computers.”

But that assumption of fixed solar energy flux has been blown apart by the latest physical measurements by satellite and by rigorous ground-based analysis from experts from the “hard” sciences. Indeed, the scope of Reynen's paper is not to give detailed results for diurnal variations of the sun power, but rather to demonstrate that one-dimensional steady state models based on the one-way heat flow concept of Swedish professor, Claes Johnson is an accurate tool to show the very small influence of infrared-sensitive gases for the global and annual mean heat budget of the planet.

The innovative open peer review process being pioneered by PSI encourages anyone with an insight of specialist training from the “hard” sciences to cast a critical eye over papers such as this astonishing one from Reynen. “Although we are excited by Jef's findings we always let our knowledgeable readers be part of the review process” says PSI CEO, John O'Sullivan. “Unlike the biased establishment science journals we do our peer-review in public and papers such as these stand or fall by the judgment of the wider scientific community, not by a secret, hand-picked clique,” adds O'Sullivan, who highlights where readers will find some of the most fascinating details of Reynen's paper.

In figure 1, taken from [1, 2, 4 in Reynen's paper] readers can see where the implementation of the one-way heat flow finite element model has been described in detail, it has been shown that the evacuation of heat from the planet surface in steady-state is not by radiation but rather by convection.

In diurnal transients radiation has more effect.

Radiation is of course also in steady state conditions the mechanism to evacuate the heat to outer space from higher levels of the atmosphere by means of the IR-sensitive gases with 3 or more atoms per molecule.

It has been shown in [2, 4] that doubling the concentration of the IR-sensitive CO2 from 0.04% to 0.08% is causing a mere 0.1 °C increase in surface temperature, the so-called CO2 sensitivity.



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

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


12 August, 2014

The latest survey cookery (Verheggen, Cook, et al.) by Warmists is worthless

A new survey of climate scientists has been published. The author team is headed by Bart Verheggen and includes John Cook. Here's the abstract:

    "Results are presented from a survey held among 1868 scientists studying various aspects of climate change, including physical climate, climate impacts, and mitigation. The survey was unique in its size, broadness and level of detail. Consistent with other research, we found that, as the level of expertise in climate science grew, so too did the level of agreement on anthropogenic causation. 90% of respondents with more than 10 climate-related peer-reviewed publications (about half of all respondents), explicitly agreed with anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) being the dominant driver of recent global warming. The respondents’ quantitative estimate of the GHG contribution appeared to strongly depend on their judgment or knowledge of the cooling effect of aerosols. The phrasing of the IPCC attribution statement in its fourth assessment report (AR4) providing a lower limit for the isolated GHG contribution may have led to an underestimation of the GHG influence on recent warming. The phrasing was improved in AR5. We also report on the respondents’ views on other factors contributing to global warming; of these Land Use and Land Cover Change (LULCC) was considered the most important. Respondents who characterized human influence on climate as insignificant, reported having had the most frequent media coverage regarding their views on climate change."

Having Cook on the author team is obviously going to lead many people to write the paper off without even taking a look at it. When you are proven to have set out to write a paper to meet a predetermined conclusion, that is the way people will treat your work.


Further comments by JR:

Note the following statement from the full paper:

"Participation in our survey was sought from scientists having authored or coauthored peer-reviewed articles or assessment reports related to climate change"

Also note:

"1868 questionaires were returned, although not all of these were fully completed. This amounts to a response rate of 29%"

So these were NOT atmospheric scientists.  They were anybody who had mentioned global warming in some paper or other.  It is hence NOT an expert sample.

Furthermore, the response rate was so low that it is not a representative sample either.  It is entirely possible that people  who wanted to keep their heads down in a very controversial area were the core of the non-respondents -- and a major reason for wanting to keep  heads down would be the risks of acknowledging skepticism.  The way Warmists have attacked and penalized skepticism has made it impossible to get open responses in the matter and hence vitiates any survey of the field.  The conclusions of the study are therefore worthless.

Warmist reasoning at work

LAT's just put this up:

'Remarkable' warming reported in Central California coastal waters

    "The warmer ocean correlated with weaker winds, which reduced coastal upwelling, allowing warmer water to move inshore, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration"

Interestingly, back on July 3, 2014, they put this up: Coastal winds intensifying with climate change, study says. The illustration accompanying the piece notes:

    "Illustration of the coastal upwelling process, in which winds blowing along the shore cause nutrient-poor surface waters to be replaced with nutrient-rich, cold water from deep in the ocean."

One wonders if they talk amongst themselves

Prof Tim Ball's documentary?

Professor Tim Ball’s new documentary has been released.  It’s available through here:

Or directly here:

Tim is arguably the world’s most complete climate scientist. He’s a climatologist and understands the big picture scientifically across many disciplines. He understands the details and first principles. He understands the politics globally and the influences pushing the UN to corrupt climate science. He understands history and human behaviour. He’s a true environmentalist and is highly respected worldwide for his competence, integrity and strength of character.

Dr. Patrick Moore's tour of Australia?

    The Galileo Movement is proud to announce that Dr. Patrick Moore (Greenpeace Co-founder), has accepted an invitation to visit Australia later this year. Dr. Moore is a Canadian and a respected leader in the genuine environmental movement.
    Patrick has a fascinating background as an environmental activist (initially Greenpeace), Ecologist, Sustainability campaigner and most recently as a sensible, ‘science-based’ environmentalist, and importantly, a sceptic of catastrophic man-made global warming. His personal website is
    Patrick’s lecture at the recent International Climate Change Conference in Las Vegas is on video. It outlines his journey from eco-warrior to defender of science, logic and the environment. He explains his scepticism of recent catastrophic global warming claims here:
    His tour will include personal meetings with journalists, politicians and business leaders. He’ll include public lectures and town hall meetings for the general public across Australia.
    We believe that his visit can have a substantial influence on decision makers in Australia, on both the scientific arguments against man-made global warming and promoting sensible environmental policies.
Via email

Declare a Ceasefire in EPA’s War on Coal

Before we become too optimistic about the prospects for using renewable energy sources to curb carbon emissions, it’s worth looking at a study commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which should give pause to even the most confident advocate of action against climate change.

The study forecasts that new EPA regulations—regulations intended to cut carbon emissions by 30% from coal-, oil- and natural gas-fired plants by 2030—will lead to higher energy costs, fewer jobs, and slower economic growth in the United States. That, in turn, will lower Americans’ standards of living. A typical household could lose up to $3,400 in disposable income annually by 2030.

With carbon emissions projected to rise 31% worldwide by 2030, the study estimates that EPA regulations would reduce emissions here at home by just 1.8%. In other words, American consumers—especially working people—and businesses will bear huge costs for trivial reductions in the U.S. contribution to “global warming.”

President Obama’s EPA is pushing to speed up the substitution of fossil fuels by “renewable” energy sources, such as the sun, the wind, the Earth’s own geothermal heat, and plant-based ethanol. But he and others who insist that those renewable energy sources can replace fossil fuels in generating electricity are engaged in economically costly wishful thinking.

Less than 4% of the nation’s electricity is produced by solar and wind power, despite tax credits and mandates in many states requiring their use. The bald truth is that, while solar and wind power can help satisfy peak demands for electricity, they simply are too undependable to provide “base-load” power and therefore can’t get us anywhere close, anytime soon to the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions significantly.

Reaching that goal and meeting a growing demand for power requires new electricity generating capacity to replace aging power plants with low-carbon energy sources, the most cost-effective of those now being natural gas, nuclear power, energy-efficiency improvements, and advanced coal combustion technologies. One such technology—ultra-supercritical pulverized coal plants—can burn coal as much as 30% more efficiently than conventional coal plants and therefore cut carbon emissions significantly. Unlike the “green” alternatives, that technology is proven on a commercially viable scale: power plants of that design already are producing electricity in the United States and Europe.

Yet EPA has proposed two regulations on new construction and upgrades of existing power plants that are designed to dramatically reduce the use of coal, which generates 40% of the nation’s electricity. The agency’s forthcoming restriction on carbon emissions actually would block the construction of coal plants using advanced, environmentally friendly coal-burning technologies.

Coal gasification, now up and running in Sasol, South Africa, transforms coal into everything from gasoline to other petrochemicals; the ashy byproduct of that process is used in farming.

The EPA is waging a ruthless war on coal, which will have untold adverse consequences for millions of Americans, especially those living in Appalachia and other economically depressed areas where coal historically has been the fuel of choice for generating electricity. Electricity prices will be forced up both there and nationwide.

At one time, the politics of coal was a contest between West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and other eastern states where coal is high in sulfur, versus the West, where the sulfur content of coal is far lower. Nowadays, the political contest pits fossil fuels against the sun and the wind, but is no less contentious. But Washington, not economics, still will determine the political winner.

China has just issued an order banning coal in Beijing by 2020. But our president is not an autocrat.

No matter how much he may want to go “green”, Mr. Obama should not ignore the market forces that will, left unimpeded, select the most cost-effective mix of energy sources and the best-available technologies for generating electricity. His job is to promote the general welfare and not the special interests of bureaucrats or other groups that lobby for government handouts to finance electricity production by demonstrably inefficient means.

Perhaps Mr. Obama should ask Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate a truce.


Study: Proposed EPA Ozone Regulation Costliest in U.S. History

 A study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) on the impact of a proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation shows that it could be the costliest federal rule by reducing the Gross National Product by $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040 and adds $2.2 trillion in compliance costs for the same time period.

The study, conducted by the National Economic Research Associates Economic Consulting, also predicts that reducing the parts per billion ozone standard from the current 75 to 60 could result in 2.9 million fewer job equivalents (total labor income change divided by the average annual income per job) each year on average through 2040, and increase energy costs from manufacturers and consumers.

“This regulation has the capacity to stop the manufacturing comeback in its tracks while imposing $270 billion in annual costs to our economy,” Jay Timmons, CEO and president of NAM said on its website announcing the July 31 release of the study.

“Proposed levels of reduction to 60 parts per billion would leave nearly all of the United States in a so-called ‘non-attainment’ zone, ending the manufacturing boon, restricting development of our resources and driving up the cost of nearly every manufactured product,” Timmons said.

At an event for reporters on Friday, the American Petroleum Institute introduced a map it has produced showing how the new regulation would harm the economy in states across the country.

API also claims that the nation’s air quality is improving and health benefits from the lower ozone standards are not backed by the science.

“The nation’s air quality has improved over the past several years, and ozone emissions will continue to decline without new regulations,” the API analysis of the NAM study stated. “These new standards are not justified from a health perspective, because the science is simply not showing a need to reduce ozone levels.”

“We are rapidly approaching a point where we are requiring manufacturers to do the impossible,” Ross Eisenberg, NAM vice president of energy and resources policy, said of the EPA proposal. “The EPA is considering setting ozone levels below what exists at national parks, such as Yellowstone and Denali.

“It is vital that the Obama Administration allow existing ozone standards to be implemented rather than move the goalposts with another set of requirements for manufacturers,” Eisenberg said. “Trillions of dollars are at stake.”

The EPA is expected to announce the rule in December.



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

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


11 August, 2014

“Climate-smart” policies for Africa are stupid, and immoral

Obama-Kerry policies would perpetuate energy poverty, malnutrition, disease and death

Paul Driessen

The 2014 US-Africa Leaders Summit hosted by President Obama this past week brought together the largest-ever gathering of African government officials in Washington, DC. They discussed ways to bolster trade and investment by American companies on a continent where a billion people – including 200 million aged 15 to 24 – are becoming wealthier and better educated.

They have steadily rising expectations and recognize the pressing need to create jobs, improve security, reduce corruption, and control diseases like Ebola, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. They also understand that better roads and air transportation, improved agriculture and nutrition, and far more energy – especially electricity – are the sine qua non to achieving their aspirations. Indeed, nearly 700 million Africans still do not have electricity or get it only sporadically, a few hours a day or week.

“The bottom line is, the United States is making a major and long-term investment in Africa’s progress,” Mr. Obama stated. One has to wonder whether his rhetoric matches his policy agenda – and whether Africans would do well to remember the president’s assurances that Americans could keep their doctors, hospitals and insurance, when they hear his fine words and lofty promises for Africa.

The fact is, no modern economies, healthcare systems or wealth-building technologies can function in the absence of abundant, reliable, affordable electricity and motor fuels. They require far more than can possibly come from “climate-smart” wind, solar and biofuel sources. Adequate food and nutrition require modern agriculture. Eradicating malaria requires chemical insecticides, DDT and ACT drugs.

Obama Administration policies on all these matters are likely to hold Africa back for decades.

For President Obama, everything revolves around fears of “dangerous manmade climate change” and a determination to slash or end fossil fuel use. He has said electricity rates must “necessarily skyrocket.” His former Energy Secretary wanted gasoline prices to reach European levels: $8-10 per gallon. His EPA is waging a war on coal. And his own requirements would prevent Africa from modernizing.

In 2009, the president told Africans they should focus on their “bountiful” wind, solar, geothermal and biofuel resources, and refrain from using “dirty” fossil fuels.  He signed an executive order, directing the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to ensure that any projects it finances reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020. He launched a number of domestic and international climate initiatives.

Afterward, when Ghana asked OPIC to support a $185 million gas-fired electrical generator (that would utilize natural gas being flared and wasted at its oil production operations), OPIC refused to help. When South Africa sought a World Bank loan for its state-of-the-art Medupi coal-fired power plant (which will reduce dangerous pollutants 90% below what 1970s-era plants emitted), the White House ”abstained” from supporting the loan. Thankfully, approval squeaked by anyway, and Medupi will soon be a reality.

Even more absurd and unethical, the White House announced last October that it will now oppose any public financing for coal-based power projects, except in the world’s poorest nations, unless they meet the draconian carbon dioxide emission standards now imposed on new coal-fired generators in the USA.

These policies prolong reliance on open fires fueled by wood and dung. They mean families are denied lights, refrigeration and other benefits of electricity, and millions die every year from lung and intestinal diseases, and other effects of rampant poverty. With hydrocarbons still providing 82% of the world’s energy – and China, India and other rapidly developing countries building numerous coal-fired generating plants – retarding Africa’s development in the name of preventing climate chaos is useless and immoral.

Meanwhile, President Obama is still guided by science advisor John Holdren, a fervent opponent of fossil fuels who infamously said the United States should support only the “ecologically feasible” development of poor countries, in line with his perceived “realities” of ecology and rapid energy resource depletion. How that translates into official policy can be seen from Mr. Obama’s 2013 remark: “Here in Africa, if everybody is raising living standards to the point where everybody has got a car, and everybody has got air conditioning, and everybody has got a big house, well, the planet will boil over.”

Secretary of State John Kerry’s inane recent statements are equally problematical for Africa. His fixation on “climate-smart” energy and agriculture suggests that he lives on another planet and cannot imagine life outside a $5-million mansion – and certainly not life for destitute families in sub-Saharan Africa.

For proof of manmade climate change, Kerry told US-Africa Summit attendees, one need only look at the “hotter temperatures, longer droughts and unpredictable rainfall patterns” that farmers must now deal with. Not only are global temperature trends flat for the past 18 years; actual records show clearly that drought and rainfall fluctuations are no different from what North American, African and other farmers have had to deal with for centuries. Moreover, increasing evidence suggests that the sun’s ongoing “quiet” period may portend several decades of markedly colder global temperatures.

Even more absurd, Kerry told attendees that “carbon pollution” is making food “less nutritious.” First, it’s not carbon (soot). It’s carbon dioxide, which makes food crops, trees and other plants grow faster and better, and survive better under adverse conditions like droughts. Second, hothouses routinely increase their CO2 levels to two or more times what is in Earth’s atmosphere, to spur crop growth. Are these German, Israeli and American tomatoes and cucumbers less nutritious than field-grown varieties? In fact, recent studies have found increased nutrient concentrations in food crops, thanks to higher CO2.

To the extent that “research” supports any of these ridiculous claims, it merely underscores what scientists will concoct when tempted by billions in government grants – or intimidated by activists and colleagues who attack them as climate change “deniers” if they do not play the Climate Armageddon game.

Secretary Kerry did suggest that the best way to help farmers is through “climate-smart agriculture” and “creative solutions that increase food production.” But it’s a virtual certainty he did not mean any of the things that really would help: biotechnology, modern mechanized farming and chemical fertilizers.

Genetically engineered Golden Rice and bananas are rich in beta-carotene, which humans can convert to Vitamin A, to prevent childhood blindness and save lives. New Bt corn varieties both kill insect pests, dramatically reducing the need for pesticides, and enable corn (maize) plants to survive droughts. New rice varieties can survive prolonged submergence during monsoons and floods. These crops, modern hybrid seeds and chemical fertilizers multiply traditional yields many times over. Other developments let farmers practice no-till farming, which protects vital soil organisms and nutrients and reduces erosion.

These solutions won’t just improve adaptation to whatever climates might confront us in the future. They will also enable us to feed billions of people – including some 250 million malnourished Africans – without having to plow under millions of acres of wildlife habitat. However, Big Green activists in and out of government oppose GMO crops, fossil fuels and modern farming, whatever their benefits to humanity – and regardless of the death and destruction that result when people are denied access to them.

Africa is blessed with abundant oil, gas and coal. Turning food into fuel would squander those resources and divert land, water, fertilizers and energy from feeding people – to produce expensive fuels and leave people malnourished. This is not “climate-smart” energy or agriculture. It’s just plain stupid.

Wind and solar will let people in remote areas have light bulbs, tiny refrigerators and cell phone chargers, until they can be connected to an electrical grid. They cannot support modern economies, factories, shops, schools, hospitals or families. Coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydro-based electricity are essential.

Here is the real bottom line: Africans should not do what the United States is doing now that it is rich. It should do what the United States did to become rich.

Via email

The tropics should actually get better oxygenated as the climate warms up

As the complex story of climate change unfolds, many of the endings are grim. But there are exceptions. Predictions that the lowest-oxygen environments in the ocean would get worse may not come to pass. Instead, University of Washington research shows climate change, as it weakens the trade winds, could shrink the size of these extreme low-oxygen waters.

The low-oxygen zone is below the surface off the coasts of Mexico and Peru. Sediment cores were collected at the northern low-oxygen zone, near Santa Monica and Baja California.

Warmer water contains less gas, so climate change is expected to reduce oxygen levels. Observations show this is already taking place in many places around the world. Declines during the past 20 years in the tropical low-oxygen zones, the lowest-oxygen waters on the planet, had led to a 2008 study proposing that these zones would also get worse over time.

Tropical regions are usually associated with an abundance of life, but they have some of the most inhospitable places for ocean dwellers. The oxygen minimum zones off Mexico and Peru have oxygen levels already too low to support most animals (so, unlike in other low-oxygen zones, here there’s no risk of killing fish).

But when those levels drop even further, a particular group of bacteria, which can use nitrogen instead of oxygen as a source of energy, thrive. Nitrogen is an essential and very scarce nutrient for marine plants. When oxygen levels get low enough for that particular group of bacteria to take over, significant amounts of the ocean’s fertilizer get deep-sixed to the bottom of the tropical ocean.

The new paper shows that water flowing into the tropics is indeed likely to get lower in oxygen, decreasing the initial oxygen supply. But demand will also shift under climate change. Specifically, as the trade winds weaken, the whole sequence of events that feeds this bacterial food chain will slow down, and the low-oxygen zone will shrink.

“If we want to understand how biological and chemical aspects of the ocean will change in the future, we really have to pay a lot of attention to what happens with the winds,” Deutsch said. “The winds can lead to conclusions that are exactly the opposite of what you’d expect.”

Trade winds from the west cause deep water to percolate up along western coasts, bringing nutrients up from the deep sea. These nutrients feed marine plants, which feed marine animals, which decompose to feed bacteria that use up the remaining oxygen. As trade winds weaken, less nutrient-rich water percolates up from the deep. Fewer plants grow at the surface. Finally, fewer oxygen-gobbling bacteria can survive.

Sediment records show nitrogen from bacteria that thrive without oxygen has been decreasing for most of the time that carbon dioxide has been increasing. The past 20 years shows a different trend, possibly related to changes in Pacific Ocean winds.

Deutsch is a climate modeler who studies tropical ocean circulation. He learned of sediment cores, collected off Mexico by co-authors William Berelson at the University of Southern California and Alexander van Geen at Columbia University, that showed a puzzling longer-term trend. The authors worked together to interpret the samples. Results show that for most of the time since 1850 the population of these nitrogen-eating bacteria has been going down, coincident with warming oceans and weakening trade winds. This implies that the local oxygen levels, for which few direct measurements exist, have been rising.

“I find it an interesting question for understanding the way the ocean functions on climatic or geologic timescales,” Deutsch said.

Most climate models predict that trade winds will continue to weaken in the future, shrinking the oxygen-minimum zones in the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Chile and Peru, and in the Indian Ocean off western Australia.

Decreasing oxygen in the wider ocean is still a major concern, Deutsch said, as are overfishing, ocean acidification and warming water temperatures.

“This study shows that what happens to the winds, which is sometimes overlooked, is really important for predicting how the oceans will respond to climate change,” Deutsch said.


More obscenity from Warmists

I headlined yesterday's posts about this

CNN news anchor Bill Weir took to his Twitter account last week to launch an obscene attack on more than half of the nation regarding global warming skepticism. Weir’s outburst was apparently triggered by people making fun of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project for engaging in silly demonstrations outside EPA field hearings on global warming. The Climate Reality Project rolled out “I’m Too Hot!” banners and attempted to hand out ice cream even though temperatures were unusually cool at EPA hearings throughout the country.

“Weather is not climate, you willfully ignorant fucksticks,” Weir blasted on his Twitter account.

Public opinion polls show Americans are largely skeptical of global warming alarmism. A Pew Research Center poll in late June found only 40 percent of Americans believe the Earth is warming and humans are the primary reason. A Rasmussen poll in early July found only 20 percent believe “the debate is over” in alarmists’ favor.

Apparently realizing Weir was obscenely chasing away over half of CNN’s potential American audience, CNN pressured Weir to apologize. “Dumb move. My bad,” Weir tweeted a day later


Scientist Reveals Inconvenient Truth to Alarmists

Dr. Christian Schlüchter’s discovery of 4,000-year-old chunks of wood at the leading edge of a Swiss glacier was clearly not cheered by many members of the global warming doom-and-gloom science orthodoxy.

This finding indicated that the Alps were pretty nearly glacier-free at that time, disproving accepted theories that they only began retreating after the end of the little ice age in the mid-19th century. As he concluded, the region had once been much warmer than today, with “a wild landscape and wide flowing river.”

Dr. Schlüchter’s report might have been more conveniently dismissed by the entrenched global warming establishment were it not for his distinguished reputation as a giant in the field of geology and paleoclimatology who has authored/coauthored more than 250 papers and is a professor emeritus at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Then he made himself even more unpopular thanks to a recent interview titled “Our Society is Fundamentally Dishonest” which appeared in the Swiss publication Der Bund where he criticized the U.N.-dominated institutional climate science hierarchy for extreme tunnel vision and political contamination.

Following the ancient forest evidence discovery Schlüchter became a target of scorn. As he observes in the interview, “I wasn’t supposed to find that chunk of wood because I didn’t belong to the close-knit circle of Holocene and climate researchers. My findings thus caught many experts off guard: Now an ‘amateur’ had found something that the [more recent time-focused] Holocene and climate experts should have found.”

Other evidence exists that there is really nothing new about dramatic glacier advances and retreats. In fact the Alps were nearly glacier-free again about 2,000 years ago. Schlüchter points out that “the forest line was much higher than it is today; there were hardly any glaciers. Nowhere in the detailed travel accounts from Roman times are glaciers mentioned.”

Schlüchter criticizes his critics for focusing on a time period which is “indeed too short.” His studies and analyses of a Rhone glacier area reveal that “the rock surface had [previously] been ice-free 5,800 of the last 10,000 years."

Such changes can occur very rapidly. His research team was stunned to find trunks of huge trees near the edge of Mont Miné Glacier which had all died in just a single year. They determined that time to be 8,200 years ago based upon oxygen isotopes in the Greenland ice which showed marked cooling.

Casting serious doubt upon alarmist U.N.-IPCC projections that the Alps will be nearly glacier-free by 2100, Schlüchter poses several challenging questions: “Why did the glaciers retreat in the middle of the 19th century, although the large CO2 increase in the atmosphere came later? Why did the Earth 'tip' in such a short time into a warming phase? Why did glaciers again advance in the 1880s, 1920s, and 1980s? . . . Sooner or later climate science will have to answer the question why the retreat of the glacier at the end of the Little Ice Age around 1850 was so rapid.”

Although we witness ongoing IPCC attempts to blame such developments upon evil fossil-fueled CO2 emissions, that notion fails to answer these questions. Instead, Schlüchter believes that the sun is the principal long-term driver of climate change, with tectonics and volcanoes acting as significant contributors.

Regarding IPCC integrity with strong suspicion, Schlüchter recounts a meeting in England that he was “accidentally” invited to which was led by “someone of the East Anglia Climate Center who had come under fire in the wake of the Climategate e-mails.”

As he describes it: “The leader of the meeting spoke like some kind of Father. He was seated at a table in front of those gathered and he took messages. He commented on them either benevolently or dismissively.”

Schlüchter’s view of the proceeding took a final nosedive towards the end of the discussion. As he noted: “Lastly it was about tips on research funding proposals and where to submit them best. For me it was impressive to see how the leader of the meeting collected and selected information.”

As a number of other prominent climate scientists I know will attest, there’s one broadly recognized universal tip for those seeking government funding. All proposals with any real prospects for success should somehow link climate change with human activities rather than to natural causes. Even better, those human influences should intone dangerous consequences.

Schlüchter warns that the reputation of science is becoming more and more damaged as politics and money gain influence. He concludes, “For me it also gets down to the credibility of science . . . Today many natural scientists are helping hands of politicians, and are no longer scientists who occupy themselves with new knowledge and data. And that worries me.”

Yes. That should worry everyone.


Global Warming? Death Valley Shatters Cool Temperature Record

Global warming – er, that is, global climate disruption – claimed another victim Sunday as Death Valley shattered its all-time record for coolest August 3 high temperature in history. Remarkably, Death Valley was a full 15 degrees cooler than its previous coolest August 3. The high temperature at Death Valley reached only 89 degrees Sunday, which was 33 degrees cooler than normal for August 3 and 15 degrees cooler than the previous record minimum high temperature of 104 degrees.

With no global warming during the past 17 years and remarkable cool weather becoming more frequent, global warming alarmists claim any departure from average – be it a warm departure or a cool departure – is more “proof” of a global warming crisis. Undoubtedly, alarmists will seize upon Sunday’s remarkably cool temperatures in Death Valley as more “proof” of a global warming crisis.

More likely, the shattering of all-time cool temperature records at Death Valley is a result of the Heartland Institute Effect. Just as cold temperatures invariably occur when Al Gore makes public appearances to raise the alarm about global warming, cold temperatures also invariably occur when the Heartland Institute hosts climate realism events. Just last month, the Heartland Institute hosted its 9th International Conference on Climate Change in Las Vegas, just a short drive from Death Valley. Last August, Atlanta set new records for lowest high temperatures when the Heartland Institute hosted its Emerging Issues Forum in the Peach State capital.


Australia faces unprecedented oversupply of energy, no new energy generation needed for 10 years

Increased costs have reduced demand

South-eastern Australia will not need to ramp up energy generation for the next 10 years, even under a worst-case scenario, a report says.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) report says Australia is facing an energy glut never before seen in the history of the national electricity market.

It raises serious questions about the ongoing viability of existing coal-fired power stations, but might also result in more pressure on the Federal Government to reduce the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

A spokesman for AEMO, Joe Adamo, says there is no additional generation required to maintain the reliability.

"Now, that's under all three scenarios that we model. So what we're saying is that there's an oversupply of generation capacity at present. It doesn't affect the reliability," he said.

For the next year alone, Australia will produce up to 8,900 megawatts more than is needed. That is around four times the power produced in a year by Australia's largest coal-fired power station.

Electricity use in Australia has been falling now for about four years due to the take-up of rooftop solar systems, greater use of energy-efficient appliances and the downturn in some manufacturing industries that use lots of electricity.

"Many of them will have to trade unprofitably as many of them already have been doing for the last year or two," Mr Sadler said.

Just last week energy company HRL announced it would close a small coal-fired power station in Victoria's La Trobe Valley.

"It was one that was kind of earmarked for closure some three or four years ago but was propped up by some of the industry assistance measures of the previous Labor government," the Alternative Technology Association's Damien Moyse said.

"Those measures have now run out and so as soon as they have that power station has found that it's no longer economical to operate.

"That's really because there just isn't the need for so much base load power at the moment," he said.

Despite the oversupply, Australians have continued to pay more for their electricity.

"The prices have been rising because of the other parts of the cost of electricity, which is the cost of getting it from the boundary of the power station through the meters of all the individual consumers," Mr Sadler said.

"And that's considerably more than half of the total cost of the total electricity that's supplied to households or small businesses.

"That's the part that's been rising very rapidly over the last three or four years."

While all this has been going on, the Federal Government has been reviewing the Renewable Energy Target, which stipulates a certain amount of renewable electricity should be in use by 2020.

The big electricity companies have been lobbying the Government to axe or at least reduce the RET because renewables like wind and solar are hitting their bottom line.

"On a demand basis we don't need any additional investment for generations for some time, and that's what the AEMO report says," Mr Moyse said.

"But the mechanisms that leverage investment into renewable energy and into low-carbon technologies like the Renewable Energy Target are not about, ultimately, providing enough electricity supply to match demand.

"What they're about is industry development and restructure mechanisms. They're trying to, over time, restructure the industry so that more of our generation, irrespective of what the demand level is, comes from renewables or low-carbon technology and less from carbon-intensive generation, such as coal and gas."

At present there are millions of dollars in renewable projects sitting on the shelf while their developers wait to see what the Government does with the RET.

The bottom line, Mr Sadler says, is that there is no future for the large-scale renewable sector in Australia without the RET.

But he says that goes for other technologies too.

"In fact, some of the very new gas-fired power stations are going to be withdrawn from the market in a few months' time even though they are the newest power stations in Australia, apart from the renewable ones, because of the high price of gas means that they can't compete in the current market," he said.

In the meantime, Australians are increasingly voting with their wallets as electricity prices continue to rise.

There are around 1.5 million rooftop solar systems in the country and the number is increasing.



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

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


10 August, 2014

When obscenity trumps the facts

Obscenity is a strange way to make a scientific point.  I have never seen it before.  But I think I know why the guy below used it.  He is desperate.  He must be aware of the latest findings in his own field and the latest finding is that current changes in the Arctic, particularly in thermokarsts, have a net COOLING effect. See "A shift of thermokarst lakes from carbon sources to sinks during the Holocene epoch".  That study concerns CO2 but the Warmist below makes no attempt to offset that finding against the methane observations that are giving him orgasms.  That the methane emissions ARE being offset in some way would seem to follow from the fact that there has been no global warming for 18 years.  And note that in the original methane study,  most of the "vast plumes" did not reach the surface so could not therefore affect the atmosphere

The planet is 'f**cked' after scientists found huge plumes of deadly methane escaping from the seafloor.  This is according to Dr Jason Box who claims that methane will be the main driver of climate change if it escapes into the atmosphere.

He said: 'If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we're f'd'

The scientist, based at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, tweeted the provocative statement after a Swedish study found methane leaking beneath the Arctic.

Some of this methane – which is over 20 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat - is now making it to the ocean's surface.

The leaking gas from the seafloor may have its origins in collapsing clusters of methane trapped in frozen water due to high pressure and low temperature.

Scientists at Stockholm University called the discovery 'somewhat of a surprise,' which, according to Dr Box, is an understatement.

Methane is the second-largest greenhouse gas contributor to climate change.  The gas is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat and is currently being targeted by government in an attempt to mitigate global warming.

Methane pollution has declined by 11 per cent since 1990 even as the governments has pushed for greater use of natural gas.

But the longer view on methane pollution show that it will rise. The Obama administration points to studies that show that methane pollution is projected to increase to a level equivalent to over 620 million tonnes of carbon dioxide pollution in 2030, if no action is taken.

The conventional thought is that the bubbles would be dissolved before they reached the surface and that microorganisms would consume that methane.

But Dr Box said if the plumes are making it to the surface, there's a new source of heat-trapping gases that the planet needs to worry about.

This, he claims, is particularly disturbing because the Arctic is warming faster than nearly anywhere else on Earth.

His comments follow research in May which found that freshwater sources may be an unrealised source of methane.

Unlike carbon dioxide, which is highly soluble in water, methane exists in two forms in these freshwater sources: as a dissolved gas and encapsulated in bubbles that rise from sediments.

And this methane can lead to ozone production and levels of the gas in the atmosphere are 150 per cent higher than they were before the industrial revolution in U.S.

It is already known that in the melting regions of the Arctic where lakes, known as thermokarsts, which are lakes that break down plant material into methane.

This methane can then escape out of the lake, and once lit, could set ice on fire.

'I may escape a lot of this,' Dr Box told Motherboard, 'but my daughter might not. She's three years old.'


Sorry, Alarmists, Lies and Insults Don’t Change Cooling Trend

James M. Taylor

In a recent column at I called attention to the latest, most accurate data showing U.S. temperatures have cooled during the past decade. At the end of the article I predicted global warming alarmists would try to claim the temperatures are irrelevant. Sure enough, freelance blogger Erik Sherman did not disappoint, subsequently performing an epic face plant making that very argument.

As I noted in my initial article, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in January 2005 began collecting temperature data from a nationwide network of more than 100 pristinely located temperature stations immune to corruption by human development or other factors. After a decade of collecting data, NOAA has released the first decade of data. The data show a fairly consistent cooling throughout the decade. Temperatures are cooler now than they were in 2005. Moreover, with the exception of a very brief period in 2011 and 2012, cooler temperatures have dominated since 2007.

I noted, “Of course, 10 years is hardly enough to establish a long-term trend.” Nevertheless, I drew three lessons from the cooler temperatures: (1) Global warming is not as dramatic and uniform as alarmists claim. (2) U.S. temperatures are consistent with the global temperature stagnation of the past 17-plus years. (3) The temperature data debunk assertions that rising temperatures caused various extreme weather events in the United States during the past year.

In a column abrasively titled, “The Latest Climate Change Denial Fact Twisting,” Sherman unleashed a torrent of misinformation and character assaults to the effect that I “inaccurately characterized and misrepresented the information and what it shows.” In the process, Sherman not only fulfilled my prediction that alarmists would try to claim the temperatures are irrelevant, but he additionally displayed an impressive lack of reading comprehension skills.

Sherman opened his column saying I “claim[ed] the new government data debunks the concept of global climate change.” That is quite rich. To the contrary, I have consistently maintained that climate is constantly changing and humans have likely played a role in recent planetary warming. Sherman did not identify anywhere in my article where I say the data debunk the concept of global climate change.

Sherman next admitted that “yes, the stations showed a slight end-to-end drop over the time they’ve run.” That was nice to see. But he then argued the very brief temperature uptick in 2011-2012 means the long-term temperature trend may end up oscillating while remaining rather flat rather than being one of long-term cooling. OK, that may or may not turn out to be the case, but where did I claim that Sherman’s admitted 10-year cooling portends a longer-term cooling trend? Which part of “Of course, 10 years is hardly enough to establish a long-term trend” was Sherman incapable of understanding? Moreover, even if a long-term oscillating temperature stagnation does indeed occur, that would also support my larger argument that the temperature data contradict claims of accelerating warming.

Sherman next claimed “Over the period show[n], six years saw temperatures above normal; only three years saw lower than normal temperatures.” Well, that may be true, but Sherman conveniently forgot to mention that most of those above-average temperatures occurred at the very beginning of the 10-year period. When a time series shows warmer temperatures at the beginning of a time period and cooler temperatures at the end of the time period, this hardly disproves the notion that temperatures were warm early in the time period.

After launching several additional character assaults, Sherman concluded by claiming, “I had first asked Heartland last week for someone to interview. Although a representative said that a person would be made available, the organization has yet to provide a name or contact information for a discussion. If and when I hear more, I’ll update this post.”

I laughed out loud when I read this final mischaracterization and disparagement. Sherman sent an email to generic Heartland Institute staff on a Friday afternoon. I guess that qualifies as “last week” in the most generous sense of the term. A more precise and less misleading way of putting it would have been, “I sent an email Friday afternoon to generic Heartland Institute staff but nobody called me back over the weekend.”

Also, Sherman claimed he sought “a name or contact information for a discussion.” Considering I wrote the article in question and he was attacking me and my article by name, I am surprised he could not identify the most appropriate “name or contact information” for a discussion. My email address is all over the Internet. Sherman could have easily contacted me directly if he desired an open and honest conversation rather than an excuse to assert the Heartland Institute was dodging him.

The long and short of it is – as Sherman admitted – U.S. temperatures have indeed declined over the past decade. The verdict still stands. All the constructed straw men in the world won’t change that, nor will Sherman’s desperate insults and character attacks. To his credit, however, Sherman finally and parasitically found his 15 minutes of fame. Nice effort, Erik


Global Warming Pause Puts 'Crisis' In Perspective

Much has been written and argued, from all sides in the global warming debate, about the meaning of the asserted 17-year pause in global warming. Is a 17-year pause significant? Is a pause even occurring? Does the pause signal a longer-term halt to global warming or even a long-term cooling trend? Would a resumption of global warming to pre-pause rates end the global warming debate? A look at recent temperatures and their appropriate context provides helpful meaning to the much-discussed global warming pause.

Satellite instruments began uniformly measuring temperatures throughout the Earth’s lower atmosphere in 1979. Climate scientists overseeing these NASA satellite instruments produced the chart below showing the following temperature trends:

a plateau of temperatures, with absolutely no warming, from 1979 through 1997

a large temperature spike in 1998

a return to the 1979-1997 mean in 1999-2000

a modest escalation of temperatures in 2001

an elevated plateau of essentially flat temperatures from 2002-2014

If we choose a starting point of mid-1998, the planet has cooled during the past 16 years. If we choose a starting point of late 1997 or early 1999, temperatures have been flat during the past 15 and 17 years. Examining the totality of the 35-year temperature record, we see approximately 1/3 of 1 degree Celsius warming during the period. Accordingly, global warming has occurred at a pace of approximately 1 degree Celsius per century over the duration of the satellite record.

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) also compiles data from the satellite instruments, though RSS measures a slightly different range of the lower atmosphere. RSS reports a similar temperature history, available here. In the RSS compilation, we see not just a recent temperature plateau, but actual cooling. Again, the pace of warming throughout the entirety of the record is approximately 1 degree Celsius per century.

So what can we glean from the temperature data? Thirty-five year temperature trends are likely more meaningful than 17-year temperature trends. Nevertheless, 17-year temperature trends are nothing to sneeze at. Either way, whether the global temperature pause continues or not, temperatures have risen much more slowly than United Nations computer model predictions.

Computer models, of course, are only as accurate as their programmed data, formulas, and assumptions. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acknowledges there are many components to climate change for which climate scientists are merely making their best guesses. The IPCC-affiliated scientists have made guesses that the unknown climate components will dramatically accelerate the modest warming caused directly by human carbon dioxide emissions. So-called climate skeptics have argued the UN guesses consistently overestimate the warming propensity of the unknown climate components.

The real-world temperature data appear to support the skeptics. Even before the recent global warming pause, temperatures were warming at a relatively modest pace. The ongoing global warming pause is rendering the longer-term pace of warming still more modest.

IPCC computer models dating from 1990 through the present have consistently predicted at least 2.4 degrees of global warming per century. Such warming would require at least 0.24 degrees Celsius per decade, for which we should see at least 0.80 degrees Celsius warming since 1979. However, real-world warming since 1979 is occurring at less than half that pace. And there has been absolutely no real-world warming during the past 17 years.

IPCC adherents claim short-term variance is masking longer-term climate trends. According to this line of reasoning, the 35 years since 1979 are simply not long enough to form meaningful conclusions about the longer-term pace of global warming. This line of argument is unpersuasive for two important reasons: First, the admittedly less reliable ground-based mercury temperature readings from the mid-1940s through the late 1970s reported global cooling during the three decades immediately prior to the satellite era. Accordingly, the time period for which real-world temperatures are not rising nearly as rapidly as IPCC predictions is now not just 35 years, but approximately 70 years. Second, and even ignoring the 1940s-1970s global cooling, for global temperatures to meet IPCC’s predicted 2.4 degree rise by late this century, global temperatures must immediately – and that means immediately – begin rising at a sustained 0.30 degrees Celsius per decade. That has never come close to occurring during our modern warm period, and the ongoing global warming pause suggests that is unlikely to begin happening any time in the foreseeable future, either.

The El Nino/La Nina oscillation, moreover, provides some interesting context to the Earth’s recent temperature history. El Ninos warm the global climate while La Ninas cool the global climate. The 1998 global temperature spike was associated with the strongest El Nino in modern history. Also, El Ninos dominated the global climate from the late 1970s through the mid-2000s. Since 2007, however, modest La Nina conditions have prevailed.

The ongoing global warming pause is likely being assisted by the recent modest La Ninas.  At some point between now and 2030, however, the cycle should flip back to one dominated by El Ninos. When that occurs, it is likely that global temperatures will again rise.

The ongoing global warming pause and the longer-term temperature record, however, indicate any future El Nino-assisted temperature rise will likely be modest once again. If the IPCC’s guesses on unknown climate components were correct, global temperatures would still be rising – even during this La Nina phase – at a fairly rapid pace. Moreover, global temperatures should have risen much more rapidly than was the case during the last El Nino phase. If IPCC model predictions were relatively accurate, global warming should be occurring at a pace of approximately 0.15 degrees Celsius per decade during La Ninas and approximately 0.35 degrees Celsius per decade during El Ninos. Neither has even come close to occurring in the real-world temperature record.

Pulling this all together, we can reach the following conclusions:

The global warming pause is real.

The global warming pause is significant.

The global warming pause is not likely to be permanent.

A future resumption of global warming at pre-pause rates – or even modestly accelerated rates – would not validate IPCC global warming predictions, and would instead continue to undermine the IPCC’s predictions of very rapid 21st century global warming.

The most meaningful aspect of the global warming pause isn’t that temperatures have flattened for 17 years, but rather that the global warming pause extends and solidifies the longer-term record of smaller-than-predicted global temperature rise.


Your Whole Foods Tote Could Be More Harmful Than a Plastic Bag
Banning plastic bags doesn't reduce litter, threaten sea life or contribute to greenhouse gases nearly as much as proponents would have you believe

Do you want paper or plastic?  You’ve probably been told that the right answer is paper – unless you want to hasten climate change and choke marine life. But the plastic bag has been wrongfully convicted. And labeling it as an environmental villain – and banning its usage – is blinding us to better behavior.

Plastic bags haven’t always been Public Enemy No. 1. Introduced by Safeway and Kroger in 1982, they soon dominated the grocery bag market – by 1996, 80 percent of all bags were made from lightweight plastics. Customers loved ‘em. They became thinner, lighter and able to contain more recycled material. And then…the tide turned.

In 2007, San Francisco became the first major city in America to ban the lightweight plastic shopping bag. Since then, over 150 municipalities across the country, including the cities of Seattle, Los Angeles, and Chicago have passed ordinances imposing similar bans. Most of these ordinances also include mandatory fees on paper and “reusable” plastic bags – like the five cent bag tax in Washington, D.C. In California, home to around 100 plastic bag bans, the state senate is considering a bill (SB 270) that would impose restrictions statewide.

Where did this ire come from? Ban proponents claim that restricting the distribution of plastic bags will have significant environmental benefits and reduce municipal costs. That means money saved for taxpayers. In a recent study for Reason Foundation, Brian Seasholes and I investigated these claims and found they’re mostly untrue.

Let’s start with the basic environmental claims: Banning plastic bags won’t make litter disappear, dissipate litter removal costs, or save innocent animals. Plastic bags constitute a tiny proportion of all litter, so banning them has very little impact on the amount of litter generated. A recent review of numerous analyses of litter in our streets found that plastic shopping bags constituted one percent or less of visible litter in the United States. They also comprise only .4 percent of all municipal solid waste that’s discarded. To that end, there’s no evidence that banning plastic bags has reduced litter removal costs, and it won’t do much in the way of reducing trash collection costs, either. This first point isn’t surprising since litter removal tends to be done by municipal employees or contractors who are not paid per item, so a tiny reduction in the number of items of litter generated makes essentially no difference to costs of removal.

At sea, the impact may be even smaller. Plastic bags have not caused a giant “garbage patch” in the North Pacific. Sure, plastic in the oceans has increased over the past four decades, corresponding to the increase in plastic use in general. Yet the notion that this has resulted in a gigantic landfill at sea is contradicted by the evidence, which shows that most plastic in the oceans is widely dispersed and in the form of tiny pieces.

Plastic bags aren’t threatening the fish, either. Or birds for that matter. Claims that plastic bags kill hundreds of thousands of marine animals seem connected to a misreading of a study that investigated the impact of discarded fishing gear. As David Santillo, a senior biologist with Greenpeace, explained to The Times of London:

“It’s very unlikely that many animals are killed by plastic bags. The evidence shows just the opposite…. With larger mammals it’s fishing gear that’s the big problem. On a global basis plastic bags aren’t an issue.”
So the animals are safe–but what about us and our homes? Another common claim is that plastic shopping bags block storm drains, so banning them will reduce the risk of flooding. That’s not true. Reducing litter in general and cleaning storm drains are far more effective solutions to the problem.

Okay, you say, but what about the use of resources and emissions of greenhouse gases? Those must be pretty bad, right? Wrong again. Lightweight plastic shopping bags are made from high density polyethylene, the feedstock for which – ethylene – is nearly entirely (over 97 percent) derived from natural gas. Given the newfound abundance of such gas in the United States and globally, there is little reason to be concerned about plastic shopping bags as a significant cause of resource depletion. And if you look at the per bag consumption of energy, water and emissions of greenhouse gases across different types of bags, those numbers are far lower for lightweight plastic bags than for paper or reusable ones.

Of course that does not tell the full story, since some bags are reused more than others. Surveys suggest that most people reuse their lightweight plastic bags, mainly for trash disposal, and on average each one is used 1.6 times. By contrast, paper bags are typically used only once. The thicker plastic bags, made from low density polyethylene, now being promoted as “reusable,” typically are used about 3.1 times.

All of this means that an average consumer using only lightweight plastic bags consumes less energy and water and generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a consumer sporting a Whole Foods tote. Perversely, restrictions on the distribution of plastic bag likely results in an increase in the overall environmental impact of the bags we use to shop.

Not to mention that reusable bags are kind of disgusting, from the public health perspective. Putting food into bags that have previously been used to carry perishable items poses a health risk. Several outbreaks of food-borne diseases have been traced to unhygienic reuse of bags. To solve this problem, consumers are advised to disinfect bags before reuse – a process that consumes resources and time – and to store bags away from sources of germs. Surveys suggest that consumers rarely wash or otherwise disinfect their reusable bags. What a surprise.

If that’s not enough to sell you, consider this: plastic bag bans and mandatory fees on alternative bags disproportionately affect the working poor, for whom the cost of paying for bags represents a greater burden. A dollar spent on ten paper bags is a dollar not available for other purchases. That obviously matters more to a household on a tight budget.

Let’s bag the ban. I’ll take plastic, please.


Kerry: More Farmland Exacerbates Global Warming

State Secretary John Kerry, addressing the U.S.-Africa Summit, claimed that global warming will be worsened by developing more farms and praised Africa for limiting the amount of land allocated for agriculture. “Certain agricultural processes can actually release carbon pollution and help contribute to the problem [of global warming] in the first place,” he explained. “It’s a twisted circle. Always complicated. But we also know there are ways to change that.

For example, rather than convert natural areas to new farmland – a process that typically releases significant amounts of carbon pollution – we can instead concentrate our efforts on making existing farmlands more productive. Now this is an area where African leaders have actually been … significantly ahead of the game for some time.”

Yes, and that’s evidently worked quite well for poor, hungry Africans and their economies.


The Great Diesel Scandal

James Delingpole

Last year, for the first time since passing my driving test three decades ago, I finally bit the bullet and bought the kind of car my dad had been urging me to get for as long as I can remember: a sensible diesel one.  ‘They’re so much more economical,’ my dad had kept telling me.

He isn’t necessarily right about everything, but I trust him on cars. In his youth he used to race them as a hobby and, unlike me, he knows a piston from a spark plug.

‘Quite a bit of poke under the bonnet, too. What with fuel injection, they’re just as nippy as petrol cars. Also, they hold their value for much longer . . .’

So when I proudly unveiled my new diesel automobile, I thought he’d be impressed.  Instead, he said: ‘Oh. Haven’t you heard?’ And he broke the bad news.

Apparently, far from investing in the motoring sale of the century, what I had, in fact, gone and bought was a four-wheeled cancer machine.

Not only, he went on, are diesels extremely bad on the pollution front, spewing tiny carcinogenic particles into the air which lurk in your lungs and cause thousands of deaths in Britain every year, but they’re also terrible value for money.

I was so incensed to hear this, that I decided to investigate diesel cars — and I now realise my father was right. They are an out-and-out scam, and we have been scandalously gulled into buying them by our political leaders.

According to the latest research, all that stuff about their being more efficient than petrol cars is nonsense.

A 2012 report by the consumers’ association Which? found that because the pump price of petrol is lower, and because diesel cars are usually £1,000 to £2,000 more expensive than their petrol equivalents, it can take diesel owners around eight years of driving before they see any financial benefit from that so-called efficiency.

For drivers doing fewer than 10,000 miles a year, it concluded, ‘petrol will almost always be the best choice.’

And now they’re about to become more expensive still. Already, Islington council in London is introducing £20 on-the-spot fines for any diesel driver caught with his engine running when stationary.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced, in response to the threat of fines from the EU for breaching air pollution limits, that from 2020 diesel owners driving into the capital will have to pay a £10 pollution premium.

Oh the irony! Time was — and really not so long ago — when diesel car owners came second only to hybrid electric cars such as the Toyota Prius in the eco-friendly stakes. Our vehicles, we were assured by the experts, were about as green as you could get short of riding a bicycle.

Yet suddenly here we diesel-heads are, nearly 11 million of us, being accorded the same pariah status traditionally reserved for filthy-rich drivers of those so-called Chelsea tractors that take up one-and-a-half parking spaces and do about three miles to the gallon.

Frankly, we’ve all gone and bought a lemon, been sold a pup and had ourselves taken to the cleaners. Whatever did we do to deserve this?

Absolutely nothing, says the AA’s president Edmund King, who believes that motorists have every right to be angry.  ‘Many drivers will feel deeply betrayed and misled after being encouraged over many years to go for the dash for diesel.

‘Back in the 1990s there was a near hysteria about the dangers of carbon dioxide and yet nobody bothered to look at the bigger picture. ‘Britain’s drivers thought they were doing the right thing and were told as much by politicians and ministers.’

He has a point. For two decades, politicians have been deliberately rigging the market in favour of diesel — among them Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. In 2001, they introduced a new tax regime whereby cars were taxed according to how much CO2 they emitted.

Because diesel cars have lower CO2 emissions than petrol ones, this tax incentive suddenly made them a more attractive buy.

This coincided with another labyrinthine tax arrangement set up by the then Chancellor Gordon Brown, whereby a 3 per cent levy on diesel cars in company fleets scheduled to be introduced in 2002 would be waived on ‘Euro compliant’ diesel cars bought before 2006.

Yes, it sounds incomprehensible — as Brown’s tax measures usually were. But the net result was this: for a four-year period, companies were massively encouraged by the tax system to buy diesel cars for the fleets rather than petrol ones.

Why, though, would a supposedly green-leaning government like New Labour have done such a thing, given that long before then the damaging effects of diesel pollution were widely recognised?

To answer that, you have to go back to the years immediately following the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. This was the period of hot summers when the world’s temperatures seemed dramatically to be rising and when everyone was convinced they knew the culprit: carbon dioxide.

With CO2 elevated to Public Enemy Number One, no price was too great for trying to combat it.

An article in the motoring pages of the Independent newspaper in 1993 captured the mood of the time, urging the then-Chancellor Ken Clarke to give more tax breaks to diesel drivers in the way his predecessor Norman Lamont had done.

It quoted Dr Jeremy Vanke, the RAC’s environmental manager, saying: ‘We need to know the Government’s environmental priority. If carbon monoxide emissions are the chief concern, then diesel vehicles need to be brought to the fore.’ [The ‘monoxide” was surely a mis-speak or a misprint — he meant dioxide].

Echoing him was a spokesman from car-maker Peugeot, who said: ‘We consider diesels are less damaging to the environment when taken as a whole.’  A report produced in the same year for the Department of the Environment agreed with this assessment.

‘While much remains to be done to complete our comprehension of climatic change phenomena, it may be that diesel emissions have a greater net positive effect upon global warming than emissions from an equivalent fleet of petrol vehicles,’ it said.

But this statement, though somewhat cautious, made no mention of growing concerns about the impact of this so-called green fuel.

The rest of that 1993 report could hardly have been more damning about the potentially lethal health impacts of diesel emissions, yet this was conveniently overlooked by politicians and Greens.

While diesel produces lower emissions of three greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide), the report said, it produces larger emissions of ‘nitrogen oxides’ and ‘most importantly, far larger emissions of particulate matter and black smoke’.

These, it transpires, are the ingredients now causing such concern about diesel cars. Nitrogen oxides have been linked to bronchitis and heart disease, the black smoke can exacerbate asthma, while the ultra-fine particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and bloodstream.

In 2012, the World Health Organisation classified diesel fume particulates as a carcinogen, while other research suggests that they can cause brain damage and autism.

According to Professor Frank Kelly, chairman of the Department of Health’s committee on air pollution, diesel engines could be responsible for more than 7,000 deaths a year. The most scandalous aspect of the situation though is surely this: that it all happened as a direct result of UK government policy — under both Labour and Conservative administrations — which, as a result of EU carbon directives, pushed us all towards diesel because supposedly it was less likely to create global warming.

This concern seems especially laughable today given that as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits, there has been no global warming since 1997.

But even those who remain passionately concerned about ‘climate change’ ought surely to recognise the bitter irony here: in the name of combating an environmental ‘threat’ that so far exists only in the realm of computer-modelled theory, successive governments decided it would be a good idea to increase the number of cars whose exhausts can most definitely give you asthma, breathing problems, heart disease and cancer.

Not for the first time where the great climate change scare is concerned, it seems that our political class threw common sense out of the window, ran around like headless chickens and inflicted on us a policy that has done enormous harm at great expense for no discernible benefit.

There’s also the madness of something called STOR, which the government is currently keeping very quiet about for reasons which will become obvious.

It stands for Short Term Operating Reserve and is a taxpayer-funded scheme whereby owners of diesel generators are paid millions of pounds — up to eight times the market electricity rate — to produce emergency power when renewable energy is impossible because the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.

There are banks of these diesel generators all over the country, and yes, as with the fumes from diesel cars, the energy they produce at almighty expense is about as dirty and polluting as you can get.

But for years these sceptical voices have been drowned out by the yells of hypocritical politicians, greedy corporations, green zealots and a gullible public that ‘something must be done’ to deal with the supposed menace of man-made carbon dioxide.

The great dash for diesel was a huge, expensive con inflicted on us by people who should have known better — and indeed did know better — but were so dazzled by the climate change scare that they could not see the bigger picture. It isn’t the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last.

By the way, does anyone want to buy a diesel motor? One careful (if somewhat disillusioned) owner.



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

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


8 August, 2014

The hidden “persuaders” of the environmentalist elite

We can scarcely imagine the countless ways the ultra-rich Big Green / Big Government movement acts in consort to control our lives – at the behest of the 0.01% of uber-elites ... and at the expense of the 99% of American taxpayers, consumers, workers and citizens. Even worse, just when we think we are beginning to grasp the enormity of the problem, another report emerges to demonstrate that we still don’t know the half of it, or even the fiftieth. In this article, Washington Examiner columnist and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise executive vice president Ron Arnold exposes still more of the dirty little secrets these would-be global dictators strive so mightily to keep hidden

America’s Big Green environmental agenda is set by elite foundations that decide which activists get the money. They form “affinity groups” to collude with President Obama’s bureaucracy, which funnels tax dollars to Democratic advocates to enforce that agenda.

And they don’t just attempt to develop public policy and persuade Americans to adopt them. They find numerous ways to impose those policies on us – without our advice or consent, and despite the harm they inflict on our economy, national security, jobs, living standards or well-being.

Meet the conservation cash cartel of the uber-rich: the Environmental Grantmakers Association, a veteran organization (founded in 1985) of more than 200 ultra-wealthy foundations now caught in the spotlight of a new 92-page US Senate report exposing Big Green wealth eating away America’s industrial strength.

This is the same EGA that emerged as an issue during Senate confirmation hearings for Rhea Sun Suh, the Interior Department’s new head of national parks and the Fish and Wildlife Service – and a veteran EGA member who invited colleagues to come visit her at Interior any time.

Suh once worked for the Packard Foundation on programs to block oil and gas production in the western United States. Ironically, Packard’s investment portfolio – the profits from which the foundation pays its anti-oil and gas grants – holds more than $350,000 in ExxonMobil shares, and millions in dozens of other lesser-known fossil fuel securities.

Most of the EGA’s foundation members have similar million-dollar dirty little secrets. But of course their tax-exempt activist recipients are not morally conflicted by taking fossil fuel cash and keeping it a secret – as long as the loot furthers their corrosive goals of reducing America’s hydrocarbon use and economic power, and regardless of the impacts their policies inflict on the jobs, living standards, health and welfare of poor, elderly, blue-collar and minority families.

The classic unintentional self-parody displayed by Greenpeace, for example, is fascinating to watch, as it concocts convoluted “ethical” explanations for why its oil-soaked funding is purified by the “lofty” save-the-planet intent of its donors, whenever the funding is exposed.

The new report is titled “The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA.” It was produced by the Republican staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, under the direction of Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, the committee’s ranking minority member.

Its executive summary states, “an elite group of left-wing millionaires and billionaires, which this report refers to as the ‘Billionaire’s Club,’ directs and controls the far-left environmental movement, which in turn controls major policy decisions and lobbies on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

Having researched over $80 billion in green grants during the past few decades, I was impressed by the scope and detail of the oversight team’s work, and asked Vitter how he felt about it.

“This report really gets to the core of tracking the money and exposing the collusion,” Vitter told me. “The complicated, layered system is intended to create a lack of transparency. There is an unbelievable amount of money behind the environmental movement, and far too much collusion between far-left environmental groups and the Obama EPA.”

The collusion is like something out of a bad spy movie. For example, Vitter’s oversight team uncovered a June 2009 deal in which the Rockefeller Family Fund offered then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson money to pay for a plant inside the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, to “stake the EPA’s claim there,” and then slip the shill into a pre-arranged EPA job, giving the agency a White House insider on staff –while not coincidentally tightening the Rockefeller Fund’s power grip over the EPA.

Jackson wrote to her chief of staff Diane Thompson, “I think it’s a fine idea and can only help EPA in the long run.”Jackson then used her fake Richard Windsor email account to send the note, in an attempt to prevent exposure of her unethical shenanigans. Thompson replied, “My thoughts exactly. The more inside connections, the better.”

The Rockefeller shill was Shalini Vajjhala, who agreed to leave her minor position at the Washington think tank Resources for the Future for a two-month stint at the CEQ, holding the pretentious title of “deputy associate director for energy and climate.” The EPA then slipped her in as deputy assistant administrator of its Office of International & Tribal Affairs. Vajjhala remained there until her 2011 appointment as EPA’s special representative leading a presidential US-Brazil initiative.

After Vajjhala cycled through the White House and EPA, she got her personal reward in 2012: approval to found and manage a new investment portfolio supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. (This is the original 1913 John D. Rockefeller philanthropy, not the fourth generation’s Family Fund. There are many Rockefeller tentacles, which makes all of this even more confusing.) Vajjhala now contributes to the Huffington Post, funded in part by the wealthy Park Foundation.

EGA foundations are metastasizing into hundreds of far-left funds. The report drills into one of them, the Sea Change Foundation, “a private California foundation, which relies on funding from undisclosed donors and funnels tens of millions of dollars to other foundations and prominent environmental activists who strive to control both policy and politics.”

There is an incredible seedbed of Sea Change front groups. Bill Gates’ foundation gave Sea Change Capital Partners $2.5 million. eBay’s Omidyar Network Fund gave the same partners $2 million. David Rockefeller’s personal foundation gave loads of cash to the Center for Sea Change. Wal-Mart’s foundation gave $500,000 to Strategies for the Global Foundation Sea Change, an international tentacle into the White House.

But it’s not just the environment. The Crime Prevention Research Center, a nonprofit that tracks gun control activists, reported: “On January 8, 2013, the Obama Administration met with 23 large foundations to organize a push for national gun control. They included such organizations as the Open Society Institute, the McCormick Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation” and the MacArthur Foundation.

Foundations appear to be colluding with almost every Executive Branch department in the Obama administration. And it’s not just the Big Green donors. It’s all kinds of left-wing activists and bureaucrats who want to control our lives, liberties and living standards – with no accountability for mistakes they make, intentional harm and emotional distress they intentionally inflict, or damage they cause to millions of American businesses, families and communities.

It’s time for Congress to hear testimony from some of the manipulative foundation program directors and investment managers, as they try to explain their actions to those whose lives they have wrecked and destroyed.

Via email=


Use of the phrase “extreme weather” in news stories has exploded in recent years. Almost a decade ago, before former Vice President Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” was released, the broadcast news networks rarely used the term. Gore’s 2006 movie and book of the same name used the phrase “extreme weather” and linked the hurricanes, floods, drought and other natural disasters to global warming. The networks have lauded Gore and his film for years.

Between July 2004 and July 2005, a year before Gore’s movie, the three networks only used the phrase “extreme weather” in 18 stories on their morning and evening news shows in that entire year.

Now, it is a favorite phrase of the networks. In the past year (July 2013 through July 2014), the same network news shows talked about it 988 percent more: in a whopping 196 stories. That’s more than enough stories to see one every other day on average.

During that time, extreme weather was frequently used by the networks to describe heat waves, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes and winter storms, and they often included the phrase in onscreen graphics or chyrons during weather stories. ABC even has an “extreme weather team” dedicated to covering such events. Some of those reports explicitly linked the events to climate change, but even when they didn’t the stories fueled the narrative of climate alarmism.

The networks have worked tirelessly to promote the idea that extreme weather events were more common than they actually have been. What used to just be called weather, is now extreme. On May 6, 2014, NBC White House Correspondent Peter Alexander told “Nightly News” viewers to “just think of all the extreme weather headlines in the last months. Floods, tornadoes, record cold and record droughts.”

ABC correspondent Dan Harris announced on Feb. 22, 2014, “Good Morning America” that “much of America [is] dealing with extreme weather right now. A really nasty mix of twisters, high winds and flooding rains.”

But even alarmist scientists who worried about the danger of global warming admitted connecting so-called “extreme weather” to climate change was “controversial” and lacks proof. The United Nations reduced its certainty regarding a connection between heat waves, droughts and tropical cyclones and climate change in 2013.

While discussing extreme weather, including simultaneous “extended periods of cold” and “unprecedented winter warmth,” climate alarmist Michael Mann of Penn State University said that connections to climate change were “a speculative and genuinely controversial area of the science.”

As for claims that storms are becoming more frequent, that hasn’t been the case with hurricanes. Climatologist Dr. John Christy who has looked back to the 1850s told the MRC in 2013 “there is no trend in hurricanes.” He said, “[I]f you look at the last seven years, there has not been single major hurricane hit the United States. This is the longest period of such a dearth of hurricanes in that entire record.”

In early 2014, when the networks hyped a drought in California as the “worst drought on record,” Dr. Martin Hoerling, a federal climate researcher, disagreed and told the MRC it was consistent with previous California droughts.


Is It The Sun?

In 2008 William Livingston and Matthew Penn of the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, in a controversial paper that contradicted conventional wisdom and upset global warming theorists, predicted that sunspots could more or less disappear after 2015, possibly indicating the onset of another Little Ice Age. They stated, “The occurrence of prolonged periods with no sunspots is important to climate studies, since the Maunder Minimum was shown to correspond with the reduced average global temperatures on the Earth.” The Maunder Minimum lasted for approximately 70 years from about 1645 to 1715, and was marked by bitter cold, widespread crop failures, and severe human privation. (2)

There has been increasing evidence in recent years to support this supposition that global warming is linked with solar activity.

In 2011, three papers suggested the Earth could be heading for a ‘little ice age’ as solar activity drops once again. (3)

Other research also confirmed that solar effects could bring on little ice ages. Sarah Ineson and her colleagues report that changes in the Sun’s emissions of ultraviolet radiation coincided with observed cold winters over southern Europe and Canada between 2008 and 2011. (4)

And Katja Matthes and colleagues report that simulations with a climate model using new observations of solar vulnerability suggests a substantial influence of the Sun on the winter climate in the Northern Hemisphere. (5)

A 2014 paper by Chinese scientists reported the impact of carbon dioxide on climate change may have been overstated with solar activity giving a better explanation of changes in the Earth’s temperature. The paper found ‘a high correlation between solar activity and the Earth’s averaged surface temperature over centuries,’ suggesting that climate change is intimately linked with solar cycles rather than human activity. Indeed, the study says that the ‘modern maximum’ – a peak in solar activity that lasted much of the last century corresponds very well with an increase in global temperatures. (6)

Russian scientists foresee an even more dramatic situation. They predict that a little ice age will begin in 2014. (7)

In their book, The Neglected Sun, authors Fritz Vahrenholt and Sebastian Luning pose that temperatures could be two-tenths of a degree lower by 2030 as a result of an anemic sun, which would mean warming getting postponed far into the future.

Note that these reports are from researchers around the world.

Nick Hallet observes, “The research shows that the current warming models of the IPCC seem to underestimate the impact of natural factors on climate change, while overstating that of human activities. Solar activity is an important ingredient of natural driving forces of climate. Therefore, it is valuable to investigate the influence of solar variability on the Earth’s climate change on long time scales.” (6)

Add to all this a very recent paper that says the modern Grand maximum of the sun (which occurred during solar cycles 19-23, i. e., 1950-2009) was a ‘rare or even unique event in both magnitude and duration in the past 3,000 years.’(8)

Unfortunately, it was beyond the scope of this paper to address the potential impact of solar activity on climate. Yet the reconstruction leaves a very big question unanswered—What effect did the Grand maximum have on Earth’s climate? As a ‘unique’ and ‘rare’ event in terms of both magnitude and duration, one would think a lot more time and effort would be spent by IPCC and others in answering that question.

Instead, as noted earlier, IPCC scientists have conducted relatively few studies of the Sun’s influence on modern warming, assuming that the temperature influence of this rare and unique Grand maximum of solar activity, which has occurred only once in the past 3,000 years, is far inferior to the radiative power provided by the rising CO2 concentration of the Earth’s atmosphere. (9)

Lawrence Solomon sums this up well, “The upshot for scientists and world leaders should be clear, particularly since other scientists in recent years have published analyses that also indicate that global cooling could be on its way. Climate can and does change toward colder periods as well as warmer ones. Over the last 20 years, some $80 billion has been spent on research dominated by the assumption that global temperatures will rise. Very little research has investigated the consequences of the very live possibility that temperatures will plummet. Research into global cooling and its implications for the globe is long overdue.” (2)


Grassroots to Congress: Stop the EPA Power Grab

This past week the Environmental Protection Agency held a series of regional hearings throughout the country—in Denver, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Washington. EPA representatives heard from the public about the job-killing rules on power plants it proposed in June, which would force states to impose draconian restrictions on carbon emissions by 2030.

Although the regional hearings drew many high-profile speakers including members of Congress and state governors, what was more remarkable was the high number of everyday Americans that testified. People at the grassroots level are increasingly concerned about what the new rules will mean for their wallets and their well-being. Hundreds of Americans for Prosperity activists and our coalition partners, together representing millions of Americans, rallied in the shadow of the Colorado state house in Denver and on the steps of the EPA building in Atlanta. Together, Americans called on President Obama's EPA to stop its power grab.

Many were coal miners, concerned that regulations will cause energy production — as well as the jobs that they support — to go overseas to countries like China that do not enforce these rules. Many miners drove long distances in order to weigh in, from states as far away as Wyoming and Arizona.

Others focused on how this rule would impact economic growth. A representative from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) talked about how small businesses are hard-pressed to shoulder higher energy costs during these lean times. Hotel owners also rallied, concerned that this proposed rule would reduce visitors to mining towns and hurt the local economy.

Federal overreach by the Obama administration is nothing new. But when it comes to the President’s EPA agenda, the President says he has no problem going around Congress and disregarding the will of the people to force greater burdens on the American middle class. In fact, the EPA would unilaterally decide which states will get hit hardest by the power plant rules.

We heard concerns from families, too. In Denver, a single mom took the podium. She said that the EPA’s proposal would mean bigger electricity bills and a tighter family budget – a simple concept, but one that politicians and bureaucrats seem to have difficulty comprehending. Everything from putting gas in the car to buying groceries could become harder.

Polling data among registered voters reflect this opposition at the grassroots level. A recent survey from the American Energy Alliance shows that the majority of American voters oppose EPA’s recently proposed power plant regulations after they learn about the sweeping impacts the rule would have on jobs and economic growth. Before receiving any information about the regulations, no less than 57 percent of voters in any state supported the regulations. But after listening to arguments both for and against the new rules, fewer than half of respondents in each state supported them. The survey looked at registered voters in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, and North Carolina.

What this poll shows is that the more people learn about the impacts of the new proposed rules on power plants, the more they turn against them. Folks may be initially open to the rules when they first hear the Obama administration’s vague claims about how this latest ream of top-down EPA red tape will improve the environment, but their support evaporates when they learn more about the rules and the harm they will do to the economy.

Given this growing grassroots opposition to the proposed rules and the harm they will inflict on fragile local economies, lawmakers should seek ways to push back on this federal takeover of the energy market. At the state and local level, too, elected officials should stand up against President Obama's EPA and protect American prosperity and access to affordable energy.


EPA Regulation Supporters Defend Electric Bill Increase

On June 2nd, President Obama announced new EPA regulations that would impose significant restrictions on power plants.

Last week, environmental activists gathered in front of the EPA headquarters to show their support for the new regulations.  There was live music, toys for the kids and free ice cream provided by Ben & Jerry’s.

The new regulations are intended to cut down on carbon emissions which the activists insist are endangering life on planet Earth.  But imposing these regulations will come with a steep cost to American consumers who will have to cover the new costs imposed on the energy companies with higher utility bills.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates the regulations could put 224,000 Americans out of work annually and increase electricity costs by more than $289 billion.

Even the EPA itself estimates that the new regulations will cause electricity prices to increase dramatically over the next 6 years.

Americans don’t hear much about these new costs from environmental activists or the Obama Administration, so I decided to head down to the rally and ask them about it myself.


Breakthrough in the Australian State of NSW: Government  go-ahead for fracking project

NSW is very fearful of unconventional gas, even though the neighboring State of Queensland is gung ho about it

AGL Energy has moved a step closer to developing a controversial coal-seam gas project in New South Wales after the state government allowed it to conduct fracking activities at four test wells.

The Gloucester project is significant because it could provide the state with 15 per cent of its natural-gas needs and power close to one million homes if it goes lives in 2016 as planned. Energy companies, including AGL, say the state is facing a supply squeeze, as three giant gas-export projects in neighbouring Queensland threaten to deplete domestic reserves when they start up next year.

Proposed developments in NSW, however, are facing stiff opposition from environmentalists and farmers concerned that drilling practices for extracting methane trapped in coal seams could contaminate underground water supplies.

AGL’s decision to invest in the project will partly rest on the results of the four-well pilot project, which will test the quality of the resource. To proceed with the tests, the company had been relying on state government approval for it to carry out hydraulic fracturing, a controversial drilling technique that cracks underground rocks using high-powered bursts of water, sand and chemicals.

“This will not be the only solution to our reliance on gas from interstate, but it is a significant and vital step in the right direction to improve supply for NSW,” state Energy Minister Anthony Roberts said today.

NSW currently provides only 5 per cent of its own natural gas, but this could rise to 20 per cent if the Gloucester project goes ahead, AGL chief executive Michael Fraser said.

None of the Gloucester project’s output would be exported overseas, he said.

NSW has some of the country’s toughest coal-seam gas rules, having banned wells within two kilometres of residential areas, and land containing vineyards and horse studs. The rules, which came into effect in October, forced AGL to write down the value of its proposed Camden and Hunter gas projects.

The Gloucester project is in a more remote area, so it isn’t exposed to the same regulatory impediments.

The project, however, is still likely to face opposition from environmentalists and some farmers and community groups that claim it is still too risky.

Credit Suisse last week said it has only attributed $88 million in value to the project out of a $347.5 million book value, due to delay risks.

The broker said AGL might have to guarantee land values in the areas to win the blessing of farmers.

“A coordinated campaign targeting AGL’s electricity and gas customers could result in customer loss,” it said.

The state government’s tough stance is in stark contrast to neighbouring Queensland, where companies including ConocoPhillips and Total SA are spending more than $60 billion combined to liquefy coal-seam gas for export to Asia.



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

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


7 August, 2014

Brain-dead Warmist logic again

D'oh!  If the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world, then it is not warming at all:  The rest of the world is not warming and 2 multiplied by zero gives a sum of zero.  And if the Arctic is indeed warming while the rest of the world is not then the warming is clearly the product of local influences, not global ones.  Hence Arctic warming does not prove global warming

Scientists were baffled by the mysterious craters that appeared in northern Russia earlier this month. Researchers now believe these craters may have been created by a build-up of methane over centuries that then erupting out of the thawing ground.

But strange, unexplained holes are just the beginning of what could be a series of mysterious happenings on the planet – all caused by melting Arctic ice, scientists believe.

According to a report by David Biello in Scientific American, temperatures across the Arctic are warming roughly twice as fast as the rest of the globe.

‘At some point, we might get into a state of permafrost that is not comparable to what we know for 100 years or so, some new processes that never happened before,’ geologist Guido Grosse of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research told Mr Biello.

A similar process is taking place in the melting regions of the Arctic where lakes, known as thermokarsts, which are lakes that break down plant material into methane.

This methane can then escape out of the lake or the ground, and once lit, could set ice on fire.

Permafrost is also leading to ‘drunken trees’ as the firm soil slowly transforms into mud causing the plants that grow in them to lean to one side.

Nasa claims that arctic permafrost soils have accumulated vast stores of organic carbon - an estimated 1,400 to 1,850 billion tonnes of it.

That's about half of all the estimated organic carbon stored in Earth's soils. In comparison, about 350 billion tonnes of carbon have been emitted from all fossil-fuel combustion and human activities.

Most of the Arctic’s sequestered carbon is located in thaw-vulnerable topsoils within 3 meters of the surface.

'Permafrost soils are warming even faster than Arctic air temperatures - as much as 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius in just the past 30 years,' said Nasa's Charles Miller.

'As heat from Earth's surface penetrates into permafrost, it threatens to mobilise these organic carbon reservoirs and release them into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane, upsetting the Arctic's carbon balance and greatly exacerbating global warming.'

But separate research earlier this week suggested that some Arctic lakes store more greenhouse gases than they emit into the atmosphere.  This counters a widely-held scientific view that thawing permafrost accelerates atmospheric warming.

The study shows that permafrost rich in organic material will see the growth of mosses and other plants flourish, leading to greater amounts of carbon absorption.

Supported by the National Science Foundation, the study was published this week in the journal Nature and focused on thermokarst lakes.


EPA Power Grab Has Huge Economic Consequences

Barack Obama’s checkered history – his string of scandals, his divisive demeanor as chief executive, his unconstitutional executive fiats and his damaging foreign policy – causes many people to wonder whether he even cares about the U.S. or her people and wants to punish us simply for being America.

Case in point: The EPA rules for coal plants. In 2008, Barack Obama promised that “[u]nder my plan of a cap and trade system electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Coal-powered plants … [and] natural gas, they would have to retrofit their operations.”

Rep. John Dingle (D-MI) pointed out, “People don’t realize this is a tax, and a great big one.” This is one promise Obama intends to keep.

After having his pet project denied by Congress, Obama decided to create an alternative system for reducing carbon emissions. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy recently introduced the Clean Power Plan proposal, a mess of regulations that would deal a huge blow to the power industry and the entire economy if enacted. Even though over 80% of the nation’s electricity is produced by power plants burning fossil fuels, the EPA would require them all to lower carbon emissions enormously.

“Even before we put pen to paper,” said McCarthy, “we … held 11 public listening sessions nationwide. We heard from thousands of people through phone calls, emails, meetings, and more.”

She added, “Starting June 2 … we officially entered the public comment period … We expect great feedback at these sessions. [W]e also expect a healthy dose of the same tired, false and worn out criticism that commonsense EPA action is bad for the economy.” So the EPA expects the debate to be over before it even begins.

McCarthy claimed that by 2030, the EPA would shrink electricity bills roughly eight percent. Right.

For a bit of perspective, average electricity prices more than doubled between 1984 and 2014. Prices reached a record high in June, but annual per capita production peaked in 2007. Meanwhile, the Census Bureau says that between 2007 and 2014 the population increased 6%. So while there’s an increasing demand for electricity, production is being cut to Obama’s target levels for carbon output. The Congressional Budget Office estimates Obama’s witch hunt against coal will cost the average family an additional $1,600 per year.

The EPA’s regulations treat old and new coal-burning plants differently. Those for the new plants are so harsh that any further construction would almost certainly be canceled.

Those for existing plants vary according to the state where they’re located, but the EPA’s formula would still result in plant closures. Those who manage to retrofit and stay profitable would have to raise prices astronomically. Many plants already operating wouldn’t make the cut. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) predicts Mississippi’s entire coal industry would be shut down. Of course, any business that uses electricity would be seriously affected as well.

As usual, Obama hits people hardest who can least afford it. People who’ve lost jobs and families living paycheck to paycheck face the impossible – choosing between heating their homes in the winter and feeding their families. This is how the NeoComs add to their underclass. Obama’s senseless policy will devastate the American middle class.

Some activist groups are angry. One NAACP representative writes, “[T]he race to a cleaner energy future is … like a bad game of dodge ball with communities of color on the losing side.” Historic loyalty to the Democrat party among blacks is beginning to slip.

Obama acknowledged the biggest challenge is making voters understand the necessity of the changes. But his efforts at converting them are failing. In a recent Pew study, 55% of the public doesn’t believe in man-made global warming. Hence he simply acts against the people’s will.

Two rays of hope could foil Obama’s designs. First, states have been directed only to develop plans by 2016 for executing the changes, allowing Obama to dodge responsibility once the rules are implemented. A Republican president and congressional majority in 2016 could rescind the entire plan before it gets off the ground.

Second, a study conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Rhodium Group concluded that while Obama’s plan would cut demand for coal, it would simultaneously stimulate the already rapidly growing demand for natural gas. Several states sit atop fields of enough natural gas that over time could make us energy independent, create thousands of good-paying jobs and powerfully stimulate the economy.

The short-term news isn’t good. But if enough of the American people refuse to go along such as Gov. Rick Perry, who has previously defied EPA regulations in Texas, the U.S. economy could yet survive Obama.


EPA's Gina McCarthy Broke the Law by Destroying Official Text Messages and Should Resign

Text messages sent on a private telephone between Maureen McDonnell, wife of Bob McDonnell, and businessman Johnnie Williams are key evidence in the corruption trial of the former Virginia governor, according to the Washington Post.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s aides also produced text messages in the “Bridgegate” investigation, again using private telephones.

Just like email, text messages can be preserved and produced. Federal employees are required to preserve text messages concerning official business.

But it appears they often aren't. Will there be any consequences for this systematic lawbreaking?

As we recently learned in the IRS affair, federal agencies are destroying their text messages.

Coincidentally, political appointees and political activists in career civil service positions in the federal government are increasingly turning to texting just as the watchdogs using the Freedom of Information Act and congressional investigators are more frequently exposing improper activity against the taxpayer.

It was in this context that I recently received a Friday afternoon document production under a FOIA lawsuit I and colleagues at the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed seeking nothing but text messages.

Our first such suit was for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy’s texts generated while leading President Obama’s “war on coal.”

After EPA claimed none existed, McCarthy admitted through the Department of Justice that she had in fact deleted each and every one of her many thousands of texts on her EPA-provided phone.

She claimed they were all “personal,” even after we proved her correspondents indeed included multiple members of her EPA team.

So we sought the texts of senior EPA aides with whom McCarthy corresponded, according to metadata we obtained.

This led to Friday’s production of 76 pages of text messages. None that remained were to or from McCarthy. All that did remain were mundane. Their content isn’t the point. Their existence is.

From years of working with FOIA and inquiring of other watchdog attorneys and congressional investigators, it is my understanding that EPA has never before produced text or instant messages.

This is despite the fact that many, possibly even most, FOIA and congressional oversight requests cover them (e.g., seeking "records" or "electronic records" on particular subjects or to/from certain officials).

At least with Obama’s EPA and the IRS, it appears we now know why — they are destroying them, illegally. This isn't a "gaping open-records loophole," it is wanton lawbreaking because the law is quite clear.

The texts EPA produced on Friday prove that EPA's IT system does not automatically delete text messages; that is, for messages not to be there now, they had to be deleted from the system.

These texts also show that not everyone destroyed all of their messages, as McCarthy has admitted she did. Her behavior was deliberate, serial and flagrant.

That she permitted and even engaged in this behavior as the official designated with responsibility for ensuring her and her office’s texts were properly maintained should send her packing, as happened with her predecessor, Lisa Jackson, after exposure of Jackson’s false-identity email account in the name of “Richard Windsor.”

There is, however, an even more important aspect to this behavior, and it extends beyond EPA to every federal agency where we find such lawlessness.

The messages McCarthy admitted to destroying were all from her tenure leading President Obama’s “war on coal.”

As I and colleagues at another group, the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, have informed the EPA, the administrative record underlying its war on coal is inherently incomplete as a result of this behavior.

EPA’s rules should be suspended, or withdrawn, until it recreates the discussions it moved over to an alternative to email with no backup, then destroyed.

It is unimaginable that a court, presented with an agency admission of having destroyed each and every one of another class of legally identical records — email — would shrug and permit the regulators to continue unimpeded with radical regulatory changes.

There is therefore no reason why EPA should be permitted to continue with its “war on coal,” which each and every one of the officials we have now caught destroying records was materially involved in executing, unless and until it recreates the deleted correspondence which we know from agency documents number in the many thousands.

The Federal Records Act requires this. That this is the result not of incidental loss but serial and deliberate destruction only compounds the matter.

We have sued EPA seeking this. Their answer called it an “intrusive” attempt to make them comply with record-keeping laws that no one can make them obey.

Congress to date has been powerless or simply uninterested in offering the response that EPA’s regulatory assault demands.

While not a reassuring prospect, it is now up to the courts to do what obviously must be done, at least as far as making EPA try to reconstruct what its senior officials destroyed.

So far, EPA and Obama’s Department of Justice have fought us every step of the way.


It's about the Money, Not the Climate

By Alan Caruba

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), the Irish poet and dramatist, wrote “Pray don't talk to me about the weather. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else.”

These days, when some world leader or politician speaks of the climate—the weather is what is happening right now wherever you are—they are not talking about sunshine or rain. They are talking about a devilishly obscene way of raising money by claiming that it is humans that are threatening the climate with everything they do, from turning on the lights to driving anywhere.

That’s why “global warming” was invented in the late 1980s as an immense threat to the Earth and to mankind. Never mind that Earth has routinely passed through warmer and cooler cycles for billions of years; much of which occurred before mankind emerged. And never mind that the Earth has been a distinct cooling cycle for the past seventeen years and likely to stay in it for a while. If the history of ice ages is any guide, we could literally be on the cusp of a new one.

If, however, a government can tax the use of energy, it stands to make a lot of money. That is why carbon taxes have been introduced in some nations and why the nearly useless “clean energy” options of wind and solar have been introduced even though they both require the backup of traditional coal, natural gas and nuclear energy plants because they cannot produce electricity if the wind isn’t blowing and the sun is obscured by clouds.

Taxing energy use means taxing “greenhouse gas” emissions; primarily carbon dioxide (C02) so that every ton of it added to the atmosphere by a power plant and any other commercial activity becomes a source of income for the nation. The Australians went through this and rapidly discovered it drove up their cost of electricity and negatively affected their economy so much that they rid themselves of a prime minister and the tax within the past year.

Fortunately, every effort to introduce a carbon tax has been defeated by the U.S. Congress, but that it has shelled out billions for “climate research” over the years. That doesn’t mean, however, that 41 demented Democrats in the House of Representatives haven’t gotten together in a “Safe Climate Caucus” led by Rep. Henry A. Waxman. The Washington Post reported that when it was launched in February 2013, the members promised to talk every day on the House floor about “the urgent need to address climate change.”

Check out the caucus and, if your Representative is a member, vote to replace him or her with someone less idiotic.

When you hear the President or a member of Congress talk about the climate, they are really talking about the scheme to generate revenue from it through taxation or to raise money from those who will personally benefit from any scheme related to the climate such as “clean energy.”

The need of governments to frighten their citizens about the climate in order to raise money is international in scope. A United States that has a $17 trillion debt is a prime example, much of it due to a government grown so large it wastes taxpayer’s money in the millions with every passing day whether it is sunny or rainy, warm or cold.

In late July, Reuters reported that Christine Lagarde, the chair of the International Monetary Fund, (IMF) opined in her new book that “energy taxes in much of the world are far below what they should be to reflect the harmful environmental and health impact of fossil fuels use.”

Please pay no attention to the billions of dollars that coal, oil and natural gas already generate for the nations in which they are found. Nations such as India and China are building coal-fired plants as fast as possible to provide the electricity every modern nation needs to expand its economy, provide more employment, and improve their citizen’s lives in every way imaginable.

“For the first time,” Reuters reported, “the IMF laid out exactly what it views as appropriate taxes on coal, natural gas, gasoline, and diesel in 156 countries to factor in the fuel’s overall costs, which include carbon dioxide emissions, air pollution, congestion and traffic accidents.” The problem with this is that the costs cited are bogus.

“Nations," said Lagarde, "are now working on a United Nations deal for late 2015 to rein in greenhouse gas emissions that have hit repeated highs this century, but progress has been slow as nations fret about the impact any measures may have on economic growth.” As in bad impacts!

Ignore the claims that carbon dioxide affects the climate. Its role is so small it can barely be measured because CO2 represents 380 parts per million. When our primate ancestors began to climb down out of the trees, CO2 levels were about 1,000 parts per million. More CO2 means more crops, healthy growing forests, and all the other benefits that every form of vegetation provides. The breath we humans exhale contains about 4% of CO2.

The fact is that the United States and other nations are being run by politicians who are incapable of reducing spending or borrowing more in order to spend more. Venezuela just defaulted again on the payment of bonds it issued to raise money. They did this in 2001 and one must wonder why any financial institution purchases them.

There are eleven other nations whose credit ratings are flirting with big trouble. They include Greece, Ukraine, Pakistan, Cypress, and in the Americas Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador and Belize. Borrowing by such nations is very expensive. A U.S. Treasury Note pays an annual coupon of just 2.5%, but the yields on 10-year bonds issue by Greece reached 29% in early 2012, just before it defaulted.

Adding to problems in the U.S. is the Obama agenda being acted upon by the Environmental Protection Agency whose “war on coal” has shuttered several hundred plants that produce the electricity needed to maintain the economy. In coal producing states this is playing havoc and it is driving up the cost of electricity in others.

The growth of oil and natural gas production in the U.S. is almost entirely on privately owned land as opposed to that controlled by the government. Supporting the attack on energy are the multi-million dollar environmental organizations like Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club.

There is no “global warming” and the climate is determined by the Sun, the oceans, clouds, and volcanic activity. Nothing any government does, here and worldwide, has any impact on it, but if nations can demonize the use of energy and tax the CO2 it produces, they can generate more money to spend and waste.

The lies that governments, the United Nations, and the International Monetary Fund tell about the climate are about the money they can extract from citizens who must be kept frightened enough to pay taxes on their use of energy.


Global warming’s public relations gambit

By Rick Manning

Get ready America, many of the world’s largest public relations firms are creating a climate change litmus test by asserting that they will not work for companies or organizations that don’t buy the global warming mantra that is being used to destroy the free market system.

What these PR geniuses apparently fail to realize is that by taking this action, any company or group that they currently represent has to be assumed to hold the same global warming position that they so lovingly cling to, making them prime economic boycott targets by those who oppose the climate change agenda.

One wonders if they have already gone to their clients in the energy field and informed them that they will no longer represent them unless they sign a note certifying that they corporately bow to the PR firm’s political beliefs?

Will they drop representing a company’s interests on real estate matters, because the company supports free market groups that oppose the global warming mantra?

Will they refuse to represent investment groups that have holdings of energy companies that are fighting against the global warming agenda?

Will they force all their employees to sign an oath of fealty to the global climate change gods?

To enforce their edict they would have to do all of these things, but none of them matter.  The market system allows people and companies to make choices about whom they hire to provide public relations advice, and it would be counter to a company’s interest to hire a public relations firm that opposes their core, underlying business.  If corporate decision makers act rationally, they will seek out public relations firms that message to as broad of a group of people as possible rather than limiting themselves to those who mindlessly bleat to the same hype.

What’s more, public relations firms don’t really create anything other than ideas on how to convey a position to targeted audiences usually with the goal of selling a product, or presenting a client in a positive light.

These firms have to understand market segments and how to speak with them in order to effectively do their job.  Raising the obvious question, why would anyone hire a firm that does not have a single person on staff who can admit that they relate to the more than 40 percent of Americans who Gallup has found believe that man-made global warming is overstated?

Would any truck company hire a PR firm that not only despises their product, but also looks down upon their potential customers?

And that is why this grand announcement will fall flat into meaninglessness.  In the end, it is about getting the business.  There are many public relations firms that provide essentially the same services. Potential clients have lots of choices.

This decision opens the door for a new group of public relations firms who aren’t hamstrung by global warming dogma, and the corporate behemoths that currently dominate the landscape will either collapse of their own self-important weight or quietly change their policy.

Being very smart at analyzing downstream impacts of their actions, these public relations behemoths certainly know the ramifications of their global warmist only pledge.  A pledge that leads to one of two conclusions:  either this is just standard PR puffery signifying nothing, or they mean it, revealing a market myopia unsuitable for anyone in their business.

Either way, the free market will decide the wisdom of their politics, and many large corporate accounts will now be available to young, hungry entrepreneurs as a result.


Rich Kozlovich debunks yet another Greenie claim about GMOs

"Resistance" to herbicides will develop whether it is sprayed on or bred in

The Health Ranger’s fifth complaint against these products is that, “GMO agriculture is breeding a new generation of chemical-resistant superweeds”, saying:

“The rise of chemical-resistant superweeds is a horrible problem for modern farmers. In the same way that deadly superbugs have arisen from the abuse of antibiotics in hospitals, "Frankenweeds" have arisen from the continued growing of GMOs and the routine application of glyphosate to crop fields.

Glyphosate-resistant superweeds have become such a problem that the very industry which once claimed GMOs would require "fewer chemicals" to grow food is now recommending fields be treated with a triple or quadruple layer of multiple chemicals to attack the superweeds with different chemicals.

That's why agriculture experts are right now sounding the alarm over glyphosate, GMOs and superweeds, calling for an end to the unsustainable GMO farming practices that seriously threaten the sustainability of agriculture.”

Crops such as cotton, corn, soybeans, alfalfa and sugar beets have been genetically altered to tolerate glyphosate in order to increase yields and avoid the costly and time consuming weed control processes of the past.  This has been so successful eco-activists claim farmers have adopted an over reliance on GMO’s (which increased production by more than 98 billion dollars over the last twenty plus years and saving from having to use hundreds of millions of kilograms of pesticides from being sprayed) resulting in “overuse” of glyphosate creating “superweeds”, such as Palmer amaranth. And it would appear weeds are showing up in fields all over the world that have become resistant to the herbicide glyphosate.

Palmer amaranth is particularly insidious because it out competes cotton – and other crops - for all the things necessary for productive harvests – moisture, light and nutrients.  So, are these now “superweeds”?

Before we answer that question we have to understand what exactly “resistance” is.   Often times I will see commentaries claiming an evolutionary spurt is causing resistance.  Nonsense!  Evolution has nothing to do with these changes in plants or insects, bacteria or virus’ for that matter.  I’m going to address this from an insect control perspective because it’s easy to explain and the pattern is universal. 

Resistance is a genetic phenomenon where-in a percentage of the target pests are naturally resistant to some compound.  Hence each successive generation will pass that trait to some of their offspring thus having more resistant numbers in the population.  Eventually the resistant members become the dominant gene pool.  However they’re not “super-roaches”, “super-rats”, or super anything else for that matter.     Whether its cockroaches, weeds, or pathogens – resistance is the pattern in nature!  Something we only fully realized after insect pests developed resistance to DDT, including bed bugs.  We didn’t know we were following nature’s patterns and cycles.  We know that now and can adapt.

While hyperventilating one writer claimed “Chemicals Are Creating Frightening New Superweeds.” Then disparagingly asked, The 'Solution'? More Chemicals.

Yes - that is the solution!

Eco-activists state that this has to stop because these “superweeds” have found their way into organic fields.  Let’s understand this correctly.  This is another logical fallacy that’s a lie of omission.  Whether it’s these resistant varieties of weeds or the non resistant varieties these organic farmers are going to be devastated without the use of herbicides, so making this claim is nothing more than a red herring fallacy, since they're not allowed to use synthetic herbicides anyway and still be 'organic'.  As for those farmers who are not 'organic' farmers, but still aren't using transgenics - they're would still have to face the problem of resistance eventually.  Transgenics didn't create the resistance problem, but transgenics will be the solution!

Companies such as Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and other biotech companies didn’t stop researching new and innovative approaches to transgenics when the current products went on the market.  They clearly understand the “resistance” factor in pesticides and have been working of herbicide resistant crops which will become available. Will these new products eventually become ineffective? Of course!  But that’s no reason to abandon chemistry that works – especially when there’s no alternative, and it’s more environmentally friendly than plowing and tilling.

If there is no alternative there is no problem!

Ah, but there is – according to eco-activists – an alternative.  Heirloom varieties!  These are varieties that have been grown for hundreds of years and breed true year after year.  In other words, “organic” farming, which I addressed in a previous post!

Heirlooms are hardy, but as is the case with all these old hardy varieties - they aren’t that productive.  And they’re still left with the problem of weeds and insect pests because even these varieties come under attack from something, and then there are all the other negative issues surrounding “organic” farming.

They claim we can only thrive by obeying nature’s rules.  I couldn’t agree more.  And what’s nature’s rule regarding plant pests?  Plants can’t run away when attacked, they don’t have claws, they don’t have teeth, they don’t have heavy fur coats to protect themselves – so what do they do?  They make their own pesticides to sicken, kill or repel pests.  The vast majority of pesticides we consume are naturally occurring in the food we eat, and most of them test carcinogenic.  So I subscribe to nature’s pattern.  Build a better pesticide, and create more GMO’s to tolerate them.

Eco-activists demand perfection - from everyone else.  A perfection they're incapable of delivering.  They demand utopia, claiming they can deliver it if we just listen to them, but when you consider their policies have killed more people over the last 60 years, (probably more than the socialist monsters of twentieth century like Stalin, Hitler and Mao combined) we must believe the facts of history.  They only deliver dystopia - squalor, misery, poverty, disease, suffering and early death.  The legacy of the left!

Those who are rational recognize that history and sanity forces upon us the conclusion the best we can hope for is the most acceptable imperfection. And as imperfect as these modern agricultural marvels are - they've saved more lives than any advancement in all of humanity's previous history.



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

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


6 August, 2014

The Warmists really think you're dumb

The graph below was provided with the article below.  Yet the graph clearly shows a DECLINING trend, exactly the opposite of what they are claiming!  And if you look at the statistics for the number of fires between 1960 and 2013 all the big numbers occur in the '60s and '70s -- again the opposite of what they are claiming!

The administration released a video  Tuesday aimed at clarifying the link between climate change and one of the most tangible products of climate change: wildfires. Wildfires have been an an increasing topic of conversation on Capitol Hill, thanks both to the record wildfire years we've had this decade and to a strain on funding to fight them.

If you want to make the case that we need to act on climate change, linking warming to the destructive power of more wildfires makes a nice impetus. And so, John Holdren, Obama's science adviser, sat down in front of the camera.

"Climate change," he says, "has been making the fire season in the United States longer and more intense." This isn't only because temperatures are higher and the soil contains less moisture, he says; it's also because the changing climate is "bringing us more dead trees -- kindling, in effect -- killed by a combination of heat stress, water stress, and attacks by pests and pathogens that multiply faster in a warmer world." And that trend, which is affecting the Southeast even more than the Western U.S., is expected to continue and grow.

The documentation for this is at the government's National Climate Assessment, a document released  this year that combines governmental and external research into the likely effects of the warming climate. These fires, the White House is saying explicitly, are what warming looks like. The ongoing California drought, which is likely worsened by a warming Atlantic Ocean and prompting strict water rationing across the state, is affecting more people right now. But a burning house and a soot-blackened firefighter are much more compelling visuals in what is a mostly political fight.

The administration has stumbled upon another bit of bad luck in making the case on climate change. While 2014 has given the world its hottest May and June on record, and while California has had the hottest first half of the year in its known history, North America has actually been colder than normal. People are more likely to accept climate change after it has been warmer, according to a study. And 2014 has been less warm than, say, 2012 -- the warmest year in recorded U.S. history.


Colorado to Pull Anti-fracking Initiatives

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has persuaded anti-fracking groups to scrap two ballot initiatives that would have curtailed oil and gas drilling, and news of the agreement on Monday lifted share prices of oil producers.

Hickenlooper, in a televised news conference, said he had instead put together a task force with representatives from industry, environmental groups and local communities to set standards for the state's growing petroleum industry.

This "will provide an alternative to ballot initiatives that, if successful, would have regulated the oil and gas industry through the rigidity of constitutional amendments and posed a significant threat to Colorado's economy," he said in a broadcast by Denver's CBS station.

The compromise was seen as a positive for energy companies with big operations in Colorado like Noble Energy Inc and Anadarko Petroleum Corp, sending their share prices up more than 5 percent.

Several municipalities in Colorado worried about environmental issues have sought to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which uses a mix of pressurized water, sand and chemicals to unlock hydrocarbons from rocks.

But those efforts have faced challenges, with lawyers and courts saying their legality would depend on the state's own laws for fracking.


Coal country sues EPA over climate rule

A dozen states representing America’s coal country are suing the Environmental Protection Agency to block forthcoming regulations imposing new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

The lawsuit, filed late last week in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, accuses the agency of overstepping its authority under the Clean Air Act.

West Virginia, Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wyoming and Indiana are named as plaintiffs in the case.

“Congress has already rejected legislation that would put limits on carbon dioxide emissions, and a law of this significance should be passed by the legislative branch,” said Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), a former member of Congress who served in the House Republican leadership, about the legal challenge.

At issue is the EPA’s move to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants via new standards to be imposed under the Clean Air Act. The regulation, a centerpiece of President Obama’s climate initiative, aims to cut carbon pollution from plants by 30 percent by 2030.

The states contend that the Clean Air Act prohibits the EPA from regulating emissions from existing sources. The EPA offered the regulation under Section 111(d) of the statute. But the states argue that plants are already regulated under Section 112, so the EPA has no authority to regulate power plants under Section 111(d).

The lawsuit comes a month after most of the states joined a lawsuit filed by the coal company Murray Energy, which made the same legal argument against the rule.


Feds Will Spend $450K to Help Native Americans Adapt to 'Climate Change’

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to spend up to $450,000 in taxpayer dollars to teach Native American tribes in the Great Basin region ”climate adaptation plans” for their hunting, fishing and gathering activities.

“Due to climate change, the natural landscapes are becoming impacted,” and the “traditional practices for hunting, fishing, and gathering for ceremonial purposes” can potentially create further impacts,” according to BLM’s Cooperative Agreement announcement.

“It is important to educate those who are engaging in these gathering activities to reduce impacts on public lands. If tribes are able to develop adaptation plans for their gathering activities, they would have a process to follow that could reduce negative impacts on the landscape,” the Request for Applications (RFA) explains. (See RFA Template MLR (1).doc)

The applicant “will focus on climate change impacts in the Great Basin region,[and] target tribes from the region to attend,” the grant application stated. “The course is intended for tribal environmental and natural resource professionals who expect to be involved in climate change adaptation planning.”

The Great Basin Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GBLCC), is one of 22 LCCs nationwide established by the Department of the Interior (DOI) in 2010 to “better integrate science and management to address climate change and related issues.”  The Great Basin area covers parts of Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and California.

The Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, the Upper Snake River Tribes Foundation, and the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation all have representatives on the GBLCC.

Todd Hopkins, GBLCC's science coordinator, told that the trainings will focus on “actions that the tribes can take in response to changing climatic conditions.”

Hopkins said that GLBCC collaborated on a similar three-day training course with the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) last fall, which was funded through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and titled “Climate Adaptation Training for Tribes.”

The RFA says the proposed training “will build on existing collaborations” from that earlier course.

Hopkins said that the upcoming trainings will work off of ITEP’s Climate Change Adaptation Planning curriculum.

As part of last year’s training, Dr. Kurt Johnson, national climate scientist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, created a guide which provides an introduction to “climate change vulnerability assessment” and provides a chart categorizing local species’ potential vulnerability to climate change.

Hopkins said that the climate change adaptation training is focused on Great Basin tribes because they are “place-based and their gathering is very much traditional in a sense that they use certain traditional foods and resources at certain times of the year, and because of climate shifts they are more impacted than other folks who may, say, go hunt in another place.”

“We making a special effort to reach out to tribes and provide training on climate adaptation so that they can decide how best to sustain and secure their culture for future generations,” he added.

In July, President Obama announced the Tribal Climate Resilience Program to “help tribes prepare for climate change.” As part of this initiative, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will “dedicate $10 million in funding for tribes and tribal organizations to develop tools to enable adaptive resource management, as well as the ability to plan for climate resilience.”

“Tribes are at the forefront of many climate issues, so we are excited to work in a more cross-cutting way to help address tribal climate needs,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in the White House statement announcing the program. “We’ve heard from tribal leaders loud and clear: when the federal family combines its efforts, we get better results - and nowhere are these results needed more than in the fight against climate change.”

BLM estimates that the training for Great Basin tribes, which is not part of Obama's $10 million initiative, will cost $450,000 over the next five years, with an award ceiling of $90,000 for the first year. The grant was announced on July 22 and will remain open for applications until August 8.


Rich Kozlovich knocks another GMO scare on the head

The Health Ranger’s ninth complaint is that; “GMOs may be harming pollinators”. He goes on to say:

“Although the evidence on this isn't yet conclusive, GMOs may be contributing to the harming of all-important pollinators, without which we would all starve from lack of food crops.

Honeybee pollinators are dying in record numbers across North America, and many scientists fear we may be witnessing a catastrophic collapse of pollinator populations. Evidence is already emerging that neonicotinoids -- a class of pesticide chemicals -- may be responsible for the collapse, but there's also evidence that GMOs may be worsening the population decline.

Were GMOs ever tested for their long-term impact on pollinators in the wild? Of course not. That would cost too much money, and the promotion of GMOs is all about making money; the environment be damned.”

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man." - Albert Einstein"

Well, let’s take that last part first. Although this Einstein quote is spouted over and over again, it’s not clear that Albert Einstein ever said any such thing. And if he did it proves beyond any shadow of a doubt he may have been a great physicist, but he stunk as an entomologist.

Secondly – and there he goes again – claiming GMO’s “may” be harming pollinators. Another weasel word claim based in the Precautionary Principle. Criticism in the form of a question without one iota of evidence. As for his question; “Were GMOs ever tested for their long-term impact on pollinators in the wild? Of course not. That would cost too much money, and the promotion of GMOs is all about making money; the environment be damned.”

Testing the long term impact in the wild (what does that mean?) isn’t too expensive – it’s impossible. How do you define “in the wild”? What tests should be conducted? What should be tested? Where should it be tested? However, the decades of continued use of GMO’s has demonstrated no harm in the wild, whatever “in the wild” means. Once again – the real world is the final testing ground for every new product. The question he needs to answer is this. What “in the wild” harm can anyone point to? None of that can be properly defined, which is a common tactic among the eco-activists, that way they can keep asking the same questions without being specific. Specifics are what pin them down and they avoid that like the plague because when they do they enter the world of facts and science, where they consistently lose, because they’re fighting a battle of emotion, and always have.

We need to get this. They win the battle of emotions. We win the battle of facts. To win the war we need to start winning both the battle of emotions and facts.

As for GMO’s having a detrimental impact on pollinators, the article Let's deal with the idea there really is a any problem with pollinators in the first place. Let’s start with European honey bees and whether their numbers are declining – and what are the real facts about what would happen if every bee on the planet died tomorrow.

On January of 2012 I pointed out in my article, Colony Collapse Disorder: Cause – All Natural:

“First, it is not true that there has been a mysterious worldwide collapse in honey bee populations. In fact managed hives (which contain the bees which do the vast majority of our pollinating) have increased by a remarkable 45 per cent over the last five years. Lawrence D. Harder from the department of biology at the University of Calgary and Marcelo Aizen from Buenos Aires set about pinning down a couple of myths…….The bee disaster scenario is dependent upon data which is far too regional to take seriously and ‘not representative of global trends’. The truth is that there are more bees in the world than ever. They go on to say; ‘It is a myth that humanity would starve without bees.’ While some 70 per cent of our most productive crops are animal-pollinated (by bees, hoverflies and the like), very few indeed rely on animal pollination completely. Furthermore, most staple foods — wheat, rice and corn — do not depend on animal pollination at all. They are wind-pollinated, or self-pollinating. If all the bees in the world dropped dead tomorrow afternoon, it would reduce our food production by only between 4 and 6 per cent.....‘Overall we must conclude that claims of a global crisis in agricultural production are untrue.’"

President Obama signed an executive order this past June to all Cabinet secretaries and agency heads requiring “the federal government to develop a plan for protecting pollinators such as honey bees, butterflies, birds and bats in response to mounting concerns about the impact of dwindling populations on American crops.” The President claimed,“the problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment".

Blatant nonsense! On Saturday, June 21, 2014 I posted the article, Presidential PollinatorProtection: More Activity as Substitute for Accomplishment, dealing with each pollinator the President addressed. I went on to say:

Let's now deal with the slaughter of bats - which are all protected - and birds - many of which are protected or endangered. It's the green movement that must take responsibility for their slaughter through their promotion of wind energy. Bats are killed extensively by the “low-pressure air pockets created around the swirling blades of the turbines cause bats' lungs to implode, instantly killing them”.

This is a direct result of following the same idiotic green energy production ideas that failed under Jimmy Carter, and another lack of consistent thinking that should concern everyone. These Cuisinarts are causing massive slaughters worldwide of protected birds and bats; massively larger than environmentalists claimed was being caused by DDT (which was a lie and doesn’t kill bats at all) and the government has given them a pass!

As I pointed out in my article, "Green Power and Precautionary Double Standards”;We absolutely know these monsters are killing at least 573,000 birds every year, including some 83,000 eagles, hawks and other raptors - in clear violation of US laws. Other estimates put the toll at closer to 13,000,000 birds and bats annually. Why are the "precautionary" activists stone-cold silent about that? Why? Because “unintentional kills are to be expected”! If you killed a bald eagle in an “unintentional” accident would you get the same kind of pass? No! Because this double standard is deliberate.

(Editor's Note: Since this article was published some have finally stepped up, but they also fail in consistent thinking because they're willing to accept kills in smaller numbers.)

What about butterfly protection? That is nothing more than a direct attack on genetically modified crops. In reality there’s no real evidence GMO’s impact butterflies negatively, except for a Cornell study in 1999, and even the author, Professor John Losey, noted the study was a "laboratory study” and not to be taken too seriously against real world activity. The butterflies in the study were forced to feed on corn pollen, which proved something entomologists already knew – Bt enhanced corn pollen can kill Monarchs. Apparently he doesn’t believe this study lays ground work for any real concern saying; "our study was conducted in the laboratory and, while it raises an important issue, it would be inappropriate to draw any conclusions about the risk to Monarch populations in the field based solely on these initial results."

In the real world Monarch butterflies don’t like, and generally don’t eat corn pollen, or anything corn pollen rests on if given other options. As for Bt enhanced corn pollen landing on other plants such as milkweed - it had better be right next to the corn field since corn pollen is heavy and doesn’t travel far, and there is very little milkweed around corn fields. Also the study did not display how much Monarchs would have to eat to be harmed or how much exposure there would have to be to Bt in the real world.

Steve Milloy notes other scientist who’ve weighed in on this subject saying:

"Warren Douglas Stevens, senior curator of the Missouri Botanical Garden, suspects that in a natural setting butterflies, which apparently don't like corn pollen, would avoid eating it if they encountered it on their food source.

Tom Turpin, professor of entomology at Purdue University, believes there is little threat to Monarch butterflies encountering Bt pollen on milkweed because there is very little milkweed in and around cornfields. Preliminary studies have shown that corn pollen, which is fairly heavy, does not travel very far.

John Foster, professor of entomology at the University of Nebraska, believes automobiles pose a greater risk to Monarchs than Bt corn."

However this Cornel study provoked a very real effort to discover what impact Bt enhanced corn pollen would have on Monarchs and answer the questions regarding dose and exposure by a “large informal group of scientists who came together in workshops held by ARS to discuss the questions" of dose and exposure. Their work demonstrated that:

“monarch caterpillars have to be exposed to pollen levels greater than 1,000 grains/cm to show toxic effects.

Caterpillars were found to be present on milkweed during the one to two weeks that pollen is shed by corn, but corn pollen levels on milkweed leaves were found to average only about 170 pollen grains/cm in corn fields.

Reports from several field studies show concentrations much lower than that even within the cornfield. In Maryland, the highest level of pollen deposition was inside and at the edge of the corn field, where pollen was found at about 50 grains/cm2. In the Nebraska study, pollen deposition ranged from 6 grains/cm2 at the field edge to less than 1 grain/cm2 beyond 10 meters. Samples collected from fields in Ontario immediately following the period of peak pollen shed showed pollen concentrations averaged 78 grains at the field edge.

In the Nebraska study, pollen deposition ranged from 6 grains at the field edge to less than 1 grain/cm beyond 10 meters. Samples collected from fields in Ontario immediately following the period of peak pollen shed showed pollen concentrations averaged 78 grains at the field edge.”

The conclusion arrived at by this group of scientists? "There is no significant risk to monarch butterflies from environmental exposure to Bt corn."

The claim that we don’t know if GMO’s have an impact on pollinators is a red herring that has no basis in reality, and we need to understand that!


Australia: Moree Solar Farm Puts Big Solar in Big Sky Country

PM Abbott plans to scrap the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The sooner he gets it done the better

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced $101.7 million of support for Moree Solar Farm, which upon completion will be one of the largest solar plants in Australia.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht congratulated renewable energy company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) who are set to begin construction on the project shortly.

"Moree Solar Farm will be the first large-scale solar plant in Australia to use a single-axis horizontal tracking system, where panels follow the sun across the sky to capture sunlight and maximise power output," Mr Frischknecht said. "The 56MWac (70MWp) farm will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 15,000 average New South Wales homes."

Mr Frischknecht said the Moree community would benefit from the project and had been keen supporters, along with the Moree Plains Shire Council, for several years. "The $164 million Moree Solar Farm will benefit the local economy and will also deliver an estimated 130 local jobs during the construction phase over 2014-2016.

"More than 50 locations around Australia were investigated before the developers selected the site 10 kilometres out of Moree in NSW's northern wheat belt, an area known as 'big sky country'. The location benefits from high levels of solar radiation and also allows the solar farm to connect to the national electricity grid."

Mr Frischknecht said the project, which is also being supported by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, would aim to demonstrate that large-scale solar power plants can be constructed and operated within Australia's major electricity grids.

"ARENA will work with FRV to share the valuable knowledge gained in delivering the Moree Solar Farm with the rest of the industry," Mr Frischknecht said. "We recognise reducing early mover disadvantage and supporting the transfer of information will help advance development of more utility scale solar plants in Australia."

Moree Solar Farm is a solar flagship project ARENA inherited when it was established in July 2012. Last week another former flagship project supported by ARENA reached a major milestone when the first of approximately 1.35 million panels were installed at AGL's large-scale solar plant in Nyngan, NSW.



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

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


5 August, 2014

Persecution of a skeptic

John Droz reports on more ruthless Leftism

Dr. Henrik Møller, is an world-renowned expert on infra-sound, and has published several high-quality studies on low-frequency acoustics (like here, here, here, and here). More recently, some of these have dealt with industrial wind energy noise (e.g. here — which was peer-reviewed).

He has been praised as Denmark's "leading noise researcher." What’s even more important is that he has been courageous enough to have publicly spoken out against poor government policies, as well as the misinformation disseminated from the wind energy cartel.

In Denmark there have been several newspaper reports about this surprising firing, but I'm sending this to the AWED list as such an event should have much wider coverage. Here are English translations of a few Danish articles (I have the originals as well). It seems to me that some of the key points made in them are:

— Dr. Møller has had thirty eight (38) years of distinguished service for Aalborg University.

— Ironically, this institution publicly prides itself as looking out for its professors: “At Aalborg University we focus intensively on staff welfare and job satisfaction.”

— He was the only one of 200± researchers at the Department of Electronic Systems in Aalborg who was let go...

— The purported reason for his firing, is that the professor is no longer “financially lucrative" for the university...

— Despite claiming that the termination was due to a shortage of funds, the university had recently hired two additional people in the same department...

— Dr. Møller's reasoned responses were:

1) During the last year he may not have produced that much income, but in many other years his work resulted in substantial profit to the university.

2) Statistically, approximately half of the faculty would be operating at a loss — so why single him out?

3) In his prior 38 years of employment, and reviews, he was never informed that his job was solely dependent on outside funding.

4) Additionally, prior to the sacking, he had not been informed that his income production was a problem that need to be addressed — giving him a chance to do so.

— The Danish Society of Engineers, and the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs, have gone on record stating that it is unreasonable to dismiss researchers due to a lack of grants. Furthermore they reportedly said such a policy is contrary to the Danish University Act, which specifies that the purpose of research is to promote education, not to be a profit-making venture...

— The VP of the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations stated that it's rare that a Danish professor is fired.

— It has been reported that the wind industry has frequently complained about Dr. Møller to his boss (Dean Eskild Holm Nielsen)...

— Consider this: the same Dean Nielsen was a keynote speaker at the Wind Industry Association’s meeting, the day after he fired Dr. Møller!

— As one article explains, this termination might have also come from the fact that the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has a very close association with the wind industry, and that Dr. Møller's scientific research had resulted in embarrassing revelations.

— The same article states that with Dr. Møller out of the picture, wind industry friendly DTU will now take over responsibility for assessing acoustical impacts of industrial wind turbines on Danish citizens. (I wonder what conclusions they will reach?)

As one report accurately stated: it takes courage for academics to focus on scientific research, instead of pursuing outside funding.

Please consider writing a short, polite email to Dr. Møller's boss (the person who fired him), Dean Nielsen (, objecting to this shameful termination.
[It would be helpful to cc a reporter at an important Danish newspaper: Axel Pihl-Andersen (, and bcc Dr. Møller (]

Via email

Big rethink on the Arctic

That terrifying methane-filled permafrost is not so terrifying after all

Research suggests that some Arctic lakes store more greenhouse gases than they emit into the atmosphere.

This counters a widely-held scientific view that thawing permafrost accelerates atmospheric warming.

The study shows that permafrost rich in organic material will see the growth of mosses and other plants flourish, leading to greater amounts of carbon absorption.

Supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the study was published this week in the journal Nature and focused on thermokarst lakes.

These occur when permafrost thaws and create surface depressions that fill with melted fresh water, converting what was previously frozen land into lakes.

The research suggests that Arctic thermokarst lakes are 'net climate coolers' when observed over longer time scales, namely several thousand years, although they initially warm the climate.

'Until now, we've only thought of thermokarst lakes as positive contributors to climate warming,' said lead researcher Dr Katey Walter Anthony, associate research professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Northern Engineering.

'It is true that they do warm climate by strong methane emissions when they first form, but on a longer-term scale, they switch to become climate coolers because they ultimately soak up more carbon from the atmosphere than they ever release.'

The researchers observed that roughly 5,000 years ago, thermokarst lakes in ice-rich regions of North Siberia and Alaska began cooling, instead of warming the atmosphere.

'While methane and carbon dioxide emissions following thaw lead to immediate radiative warming, carbon uptake in peat-rich sediments occurs over millennial time scales,' the authors write. 

They found that high rates of carbon absorption in lake sediments were stimulated by several factors including erosion and nutrient release from thawing permafrost.

'These lakes are being fertilised by thawing yedoma permafrost,' explained co-author Dr Miriam Jones, a research geologist for the US Geological Survey.

Yedoma is a type of permafrost that is rich in organic material, which means mosses and other plants flourish in the lakes.

This leads to increased carbon uptake rates that are among the highest in the world. 

The study also revealed another major factor of this process: when the lakes drain, previously thawed organic-rich lake sediments re-freeze.

The new permafrost formation then stores a large amount of carbon processed in and under thermokarst lakes, as well as the peat that formed after lake drainage.

Researchers note that the new carbon storage is not forever, since future warming will likely start re-thawing some of the permafrost and release some of the carbon in it via microbial decomposition.

As roughly 30 per cent of global permafrost carbon is concentrated within 7 per cent of the permafrost region in Alaska, Canada and Siberia, this study's findings also renew scientific interest in how carbon uptake by thermokarst lakes offsets greenhouse gas emissions.


The News Media Now Reports All Weather as "Extreme"

By Alan Caruba

In a desperate effort to keep the global warming hoax alive even though it is now called “climate change”, the meteorologically challenged print and broadcast media is now declaring all weather “extreme” these days.

The Media Research Institute recently analyzed broadcast network transcripts between July 1, 2004 and July 1, 2005, along with those between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014. What it discovered was the network coverage of “extreme weather” had increased nearly one thousand percent!

As Sean Long reported, “during that time, extreme weather was frequently used by the networks to describe heat waves, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, and winter storms, and they often included the phrase in onscreen graphics or chyrons during weather stories.”

Thanks to Al Gore who continues to lie about global warming despite the fact that the Earth has been in a cooling cycle for seventeen years, the news media, print and broadcast, now substitutes its latest reincarnation, “climate change”, when reporting the weather. It’s worth noting that the weather is what is outside right now wherever you are and climate is something that is measured in decades and centuries.

The one thing you need to keep in mind is that every form of weather has been around for much of the Earth’s 4.5 billion years. Long before humans were blamed for causing it, they developed ways to adapt and survive, but tornadoes, hurricanes and floods, among other events, still kill humans with the same indifference to them that Mother Nature has always demonstrated.

Gore became a multi-millionaire based on the global warming scam and, along the way; the U.S. wasted an estimated $50 billion on alleged “research” whose sole purpose was to give credence to it. Too many scientists lined their pockets with taxpayer dollars and many government agencies increased their budgets while falsifying their findings.

The entertainment media got into the act by producing films such as Showtime’s “documentary series” called “Years of Living Dangerously.”  It has received two nominations for “Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series and Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming.” Its executive producer, Joel Bach, said “Every day, more Americans are experiencing the devastating impacts of a warming world and we had to tell their story.” Except that the world is NOT warming.

The Showtime series featured those noted climatologists and meteorologists, Harrison Ford, Jessica Alba, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Matt Damon among others. The final episode featured President Obama whose climate lies rival Al Gore’s. “Science is science”, said the President. “And there is no doubt that if we burned all the fossil fuel that’s in the ground right now, that the planet’s going to get too hot and the consequences could be dire.”

The real dire consequences people around the world are encountering include frostbite and freezing to death.

In a June article in Forbes magazine, James Taylor, editor of The Heartland Institute's Environmental & Climate News, noted that “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most accurate, up-to-date temperature data confirm the United States has been cooling for at least a decade. The NOAA temperature data are driving a stake through the heart of alarmists claiming accelerating global warming.” The latest data support the longer cooling cycle that began around 1997.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) recently announced that “The growing consequences of climate change are putting many of the country’s most iconic and historic sites at risk”, citing Ellis Island, the Everglades, Cape Canaveral and California’s Cesar Chavez National Monument. The UCS said that “we must work to minimize these risks in the future by reducing the carbon emissions that are causing climate change…” This is utter rubbish.

Called a “pollutant” by the Environmental Protection Agency, carbon dioxide is, along with oxygen, a natural gas that is vital to all life on Earth as the “food” on which all vegetation depends.

William Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Bracket Professor of Physics at Princeton University, told the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that “Our exhaled breath contains about 4% CO2. That is 40,000 parts per million or about 100 times the current atmospheric concentration. Our own primate ancestors evolved when the levels of atmospheric CO2 were about 1000 parts per million, a level that we will probably not reach by burning fossil fuels, and far above our current level of about 380 parts per million.”

The Earth would benefit from more, not less, CO2.

How concerned is the public? Not very. In May, a Gallup poll noted that Americans consider unemployment/jobs, government corruption, and the economy as the three “most important” problems facing the nation. “Just 3% of those surveyed listed the environment/pollution as America’s most important problem. From a list of thirteen problems, it was number twelve.

The news media will continue to misrepresent the weather and/or climate and those determined to keep us from accessing and using the USA’s vast reserves of coal, oil and natural gas will continue to lie about it. The good news is that a growing portion of the public no longer believes the three decades of lies.


Sheer speculation about GMOs

Another one of Rich Kozlovich's systematic replies to a Greenie loon

Mike Adams, who publishes Natural News and styles himself as the Health Ranger recently posted an article entitled, The Agricultural Holocaust explained: the 10 worst ways GMOs threaten humanity and our natural world on July 27, 2014.

The Health Ranger’s sixth complaint is that, “GMOs may have long-term unintended consequences on the environment”.  His logic is as follows:

"What happens when genetically engineered plants cross-pollinate with non-GMO plants and are then subjected to the random mutations of plant evolution?

No one knows because it's never been tested in the open world. Or, I should say, it's being tested right now on us all, in the world's largest genetic experiment ever conducted (without our consent, no less).

The problem in all this is that Mother Nature has a way of bringing about unintended consequences, even from well-meaning scientists. Is it possible that an artificial, genetically engineered trait could dominate future plant generations but begin to show a completely unintended physiological trait that scientists never intended? You bet it is. From Thalidomide to Fukushima, the world is full of examples of catastrophic consequences that scientists once swore could never happen."

First of all I’m not aware of any “random mutations” caused by GMO’s, and apparently neither is the Health Ranger since he didn’t list any.  Another lie of omission and another logical fallacy! He says this hasn’t been tested in the open world, and then states the world is an ongoing testing lab.  Did he really say that?  It can’t be both ways!

However, I can tell you absolutely what will happen to any of these plants if they were subjected to “random mutations”, or mutations of any kind.  First of all, if this was an issue of plant evolution as he speculates, it would be meaningless because evolutionary theory requires millions of years and an untold number of mutations before any meaningful change would take place.  However, in the real world versus the theoretical world, 99 out of 100 mutations are harmful, and about 20 out of the 99 are lethal.  Ergo, those that survived would not last long in the real world and thus have no impact on anything, because only those things that survive and thrive affect their surrounding environment.  And why exactly is that bad?

I often see ec0-activists claiming that DDT “destroyed whole ecosystems”.  I have yet to see anyone tell me which ecosystem was destroyed.  I have yet to see anyone who can actually define an ecosystem.  Let’s try and understand that these so-called ecosystems can’t be destroyed.  Ecosystems change, that’s not destruction.  Too little water, too much water, too much heat, too much cold, and the plants and animals that populated that are will cease existance in an area and will be replaced with different animals and plants.  That’s not destruction - that’s change - and that’s gone on throughout Earth’s history.

As for defining an ecosystem; the only legitimate ecosystem is the planet itself, and the environmental variations are extreme.  Everything else is a temporary environment that’s subject to change to the detriment of some species and the benefit of others.

When products are released for use to the public - that is the final testing ground for every new product there is.  Whether it’s paint, cars, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, shampoo or baby formula!  Since GMO's have been used extensively for decades we can definitively state - GMO’s have been seriously tested worldwide and none of his speculations have any foundation in reality.

So what is foundational logic for the views expressed by eco-activists?  As is always the case they make unwarranted claims via speculative questions, spew out logical fallacies, lies of omission, lies of commission and freely make use of weasel words such as – “this may occur”, or “is it possible”, or “could dominate” which is purely speculatory, but raises concerns in people’s minds.  All of which is an appeal to the Precautionary Principle, an irrational concept that demands we “must” prove something is safe before it can be used. If the world had adopted the Precautionary Principle in 1850 we wouldn’t have electricity – because we know electricity isn’t safe.

Since there is no foundational evidence for their claims for harm, which is presented in the form of questions.   This is an attempt to put the ball in someone else’s court for answers they know can't be supplied because – as I have said before, and it gets a bit tiring saying it – they’re demanding someone prove a negative.  Can’t be done.

Are there unintended or even undesirable consequences with technology old and new?  Of course! We live in a risk versus benefit world.  Every new advancement will have negative potentials - which eco-activists harp on constantly - but they never evaluate the consequences of not adopting new technology. 

Perhaps they're needing help to achieve clarity? Well then, here it is!

All these amazing modern technological agricultural advancements of the twentieth and twenty first centuries have benefitted humanity far beyond anything medieval mankind ever dreamed of, including average life spans of 70 and even 80 years in some areas of the world.   Admittedly, medical science has made amazing progress during that same time frame, but there's two things the most amazing medical wonders ever devised can't cure - malnutrition and starvation!  That falls under the purview of pesticides and GMO's and those who utilize that technology.


Wind Turbines & White Elephants

Following the story about the Welsh Govt’s £48K wind turbine in Aberystwyth, which has only produced £5 worth of electricity in the last five years, readers have sent me some more examples of wasted money.

1) Dover

Dover Express report:

THE much-trumpeted £90,000 wind turbine installed outside the council offices has generated just a tenth of the energy it should have done, the Express can reveal.

"The 17-metre machine, erected outside the Dover District Council headquarters in Whitfield, was supposed to generate 45,000 kW hours per year, producing 7 per cent of the electricity used in the offices.

But the Express can reveal that just 22,080 kWhrs has been generated in total since November 2007 – less than 4,500 kWhrs per year.

Critics have called the project a "white elephant", but the authority has defended the scheme and said it has "raised the profile" of renewable energy by educating people across the district."

At 15 pence/KWh, the value of electricity produced is just £675 pa. Assuming (very generously!) no maintenance or interest charges, the payback is 133 years!

Interestingly, the paper reports:

"Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request about costs and savings six months after the grant-funded turbine was installed, DDC said at the time: "It should save 45,000 kWhrs per year, producing 7 per cent of the electricity used in the offices."

But, this week, it appeared to backtrack from the numbers, saying the 45,000 kWhrs figure was the upper limit it could generate and was only achievable with constantly favourable wind speeds and direction.

A spokesman said: "The 45,000 kWhrs quoted is the optimum generation – in order to achieve this, the wind speed would always need to be at the maximum speed that the turbine could operate safely in, and the wind direction would always have to be favourable"

Confusion between capacity and output is commonplace. Did the council get its sums wrong in the first place? Or did they knowingly waste £90K of ratepayers money, just to “raise the profile of renewable energy?

2) Derby

We then have the story from the Derby Telegraph of two turbines owned by Severn Trent Water, which have yet to produce any power, despite being ready last December.

The reason? They interfere with the radar at nearby East Midlands Airport.

They are now waiting for the airport to install new radar equipment to “ensure that the airport can operate safely”. I wonder who will pay for that?

3) Milton Keynes

It gets worse, as the Milton Keynes Citizen reports!

"Three costly wind turbines built in the grounds of a school are now to be dismantled – after allegedly generating just £3.67 worth of electricity in NINE years.

Milton Keynes Council paid £170,000 for the giant turbines at Oakgrove School at Middleton .

But shortly after the school opened in 2005, the structures were switched off for health and safety reasons due to a manufacturing defect.

A source told the Citizen: “It all seems to be an extraordinary waste of money. None of it is the fault of the school itself – they’ve just been stuck with these huge things that have proved useless.”

The turbines were provided by a German company which has since gone into liquidation, leaving the council unable to get compensation

4) Hinckley

The Hinckley Times have the story of the £40K turbine at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, which has used more electricity than it has generated.

"An eco-friendly wind turbine installed to save energy at a Hinckley college has been labelled a “disaster” after revelations it has expended more power than it has produced.

In its three year lifespan the 31.5ft turbine – thought to have a price tag of around £40,000 – has turned only 8% of the time and has not created electricity but used enough to run an energy hungry household for two years.

When installed on the roof of the new North Warwickshire and Hinckley college campus on Lower Bond Street in September 2011, education chiefs lauded it as part of their commitment to embed sustainability across all college activities and a weapon in the fight to cut carbon emissions by 35% within four years.

But since its set up the vertical axis blades of the turbine have only been spinning for 8% of the time and only been working for 38% – during the remaining 62% of the time, because of its settings, conditions have been ‘unsuitable’ – ie the wind at 5m/s, a fresh breeze – has been deemed too strong and it switches off.

This means the device has used 497 kHw more than it has made – enough to run a fridge for a year, a microwave daily for half-an-hour for two years and a tumble drier daily for six months."

Figures from the college show (based on the average price of a kHw at 17p) the turbine has used £1,730 worth of electricity, twice the annual bill of a high energy usage household.

But what the hell? As was the case in Dover, it is apparently OK to waste taxpayers’ money, just to promote “sustainability”.

Andy Crowter, group director of facilities and estates at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, said:

”The turbine is not there primarily to create income but to promote sustainability – one of the most important challenges facing the UK. The turbine is a symbol of the college’s awareness of its environmental responsibilities, an icon of good practice to its students and recognition of the college’s award winning Carbon Reduction Plan. “

5) Canada

And it’s not just in Britain, as the National Post report:

"Several Prince Edward Island rinks that were convinced to make the expensive conversion to wind power, but never saw the promised savings, are now trying to get rid of the trouble-plagued turbines and win compensation for their troubles.

“We went into debt to purchase this windmill on the promise that it would make us money and it would help us with our power costs,” said Tom Albrecht, vice-president of the South Shore Actiplex in Crapaud, P.E.I., which spent $70,000 and received another $230,000 from the federal and provincial governments to install a turbine.

“The bottom line is buy us out and give us our money back.”

Last week, the Wind Energy Institute of Canada apparently decided to shut down turbines at at least some of the rinks, as it worked through technical problems, according to Darin Craig, past president of the South Shore Actiplex board.

More HERE  (See the original for links)

Australia: Self-righteous Greens must obey law

"IF you are going to steal," they say in America, "steal big." Jonathan Moylan did just that: by issuing a fraudulent ANZ press release claiming the bank had withdrawn its support from the Maules Creek mining project, he knocked $300 million off the market capitalisation of Whitehaven Coal.

But far from imposing the maximum penalty for market ­manipulation of 10 years in jail, the NSW Supreme Court has now let him off with a gentle slap on the wrist, releasing him from a sentence of 20 months’ imprisonment in exchange for $1000 and a two-year good behaviour period.

Moylan, you see, is a green; and although “the market was manipulated, vast amounts of shares were unnecessarily traded and some investors lost their investment entirely”, the court concluded leniency was warranted, as the anti-coal activist, who has a long string of trespass offences to his name, did not act for or obtain a personal financial gain.

No, Moylan wasn’t motivated by a thirst for yachts, fast cars and the company of starlets. He gets his kicks dreaming of a world without coal.

But if fanaticism excuses crime, are jihadists now entitled to issue misleading financial information about Jewish-owned companies in their quest for the global ­caliphate?

Or is there one law for the zealots of Gaia and another for everyone else?

Moylan was hardly unaware that he was committing a crime. On the contrary, immediately before issuing the fraudulent press release, he downloaded the relevant legislation, which specifies that the maximum penalty for the offence of market manipulation was doubled in 2010, reflecting the harm fraud does to investors and to public confidence in the financial system.

But Moylan was convinced that “change doesn’t happen without people taking risks”; so he methodically prepared his crime, creating a false web address with the ANZ’s name, analysing previous ANZ market announcements, illegally copying the ANZ logo, and identifying the names and phone numbers of the ANZ officers listed on press releases of investor information.

He also studied the impact that market developments had had on Whitehaven’s share price, found its share price to be “volatile” and concluded that Whitehaven’s “current profit margin is paper thin”. It must have been obvious to him that his false press release could cause chaos.

And indeed it did. On the day of his fraud, trading in Whitehaven shares was three times greater than it had typically been, as panic-stricken small investors and managed funds liquidated their holdings, taking heavy losses.

Nor did Moylan try to prevent the chaos once it started to unfold. Masquerading as an employee of the ANZ to a journalist who phoned the number he had given, his first reaction was to try to bluff his way through. It was only when it became clear that the press ­release was a hoax that he fronted up, and even then he continued to lie, including to callers from the ANZ itself.

Yes, once he was uncovered, Moylan confessed; but the evidence against him was overwhelming. It is also true that he subsequently apologised to the ­investors he harmed. But as the court found, until sentencing loomed, “many of the earlier expressions of remorse were somewhat qualified”, and he has never expressed regret for the damage to the ANZ’s reputation and to Whitehaven Coal itself. Instead, he blamed the media for not spotting the fraud more quickly and submitted that “the journalists more than the offender ought to be held to account for the ultimate effect on the market”.

Moreover, Moylan is no Nelson Mandela: lacking the moral courage to take responsibility for his actions, he “chose not to give evidence at the sentencing proceedings”, preventing “his understanding and expectations” of how the market works from being ­tested.

This was, in short, “offending attended with a considerable degree of planning and premeditation”, whose consequence in terms of “actual damage was considerable”, undertaken in full knowledge of the penalties by a well-educated man who “has been prepared to break the law on a number of occasions”.

Sure, he sought “to further the causes in which he believes”. And he is, no doubt, full of “passion and concern for social justice”. But he committed the serious crime of fraud, using “thorough planning so that at least in the short term the recipients of the false media release would believe the truth of what was contained within it”.

The leniency therefore not only adds insult to the injury Moylan’s victims suffered; it also suggests an abhorrent double standard, in which the self-­appointed guardians of the planet are shielded from the law’s full force.

Yet it would be wrong to blame the court alone. Rather, its decision reflects an environment in which, day after day, the Greens, led by Christine Milne, paint mining coal as a crime, thus legitimising those who, having failed to convince voters of their cause, descend into illegality to prevent mining occurring. And it is merely the latest incident in which the greens and their fellow-travellers celebrate actions, such as those of the Sea Shepard, which flaunt a disregard for legalities.

But to have one law for the greens and another for everyone else is to have no law at all. If that is where we are, then our clocks, like Baudelaire’s, should have their hands removed and bear the legend “it is too late”. Too late for thought; but not too late for stupidity so grievous as to slow the rotation of the earth. Too late for honesty; but not too late for the shrill arrogance of the self-righteous. And worst of all, too late for justice, which, no longer blind, has been struck deaf and dumb.



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

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


4 August, 2014

Trade, the Precautionary Principle, and Post-Modern Regulatory Process: Regulatory Convergence in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership


The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (“TTIP”) has been hailed as an opportunity for the world’s two largest consumer markets to expand inter-regional trade, investment and jobs, and to secure greater regulatory convergence that could considerably reduce costly and market-distorting extra-territorial non-tariff regulatory trade barriers. This opportunity notwithstanding, Europe’s precautionary principle (“PP”) has been identified as a potential obstacle to a successful TTIP outcome. In our view, the TTIP presents a significant opportunity for creating a process for regulatory cooperation, harmonization, and convergence.

In this article, we focus on the PP and related differences in regulatory procedures. Specifically, we discuss the PP’s relation to post-modernism, and its influence on EU regulatory procedure and science, highlighting the paradoxes inherent in the PP. To put these issues into perspective, we also review the ‘reality of precaution.’ In light of this analysis, we assess the effectiveness of the trading partners’ attempts to reduce the regulatory divide, and explore what the EU and US can learn from each other. We then proceed to present some recommendations on how they should proceed in the TTIP negotiations.


A further reply to an anti-GMO liar

By Rich Kozlovich

Mike Adams, who publishes Natural News and styles himself as the Health Ranger recently posted an article entitled, The Agricultural Holocaust explained: the 10 worst ways GMOs threaten humanity and our natural worldon July 27, 2014.

He claims that, “GMOs collapse biodiversity”, saying;

"In an effort to monopolize the global seed supply, GMO companies are buying up smaller seed companies and shutting them down, collapsing their seed supplies. The following chart shows some of the seed consolidation activity that's concentrating ownership over seeds into the hands of a very small number of powerful, unethical corporations:"

(Editor’s Note: He provides a chart in the article. However, there’s no citation or link as to its origin. I can’t confirm anything the chart shows, except there seem to be an awful lot of seed companies - and based on everything else he’s said in this article – I have to wonder if he doesn’t want anyone to know its origin.)

"This consolidation of seed companies has caused an alarming collapse in seed diversity over the last decade, placing humanity at increased risk for catastrophic crop failures due to a loss of genetic diversity.

That's the problem with genetic conformity: it makes the crops far more susceptible to systemic diseases that can cause catastrophic crop failures. Precisely this scenario is happening right now with banana crops, as most commercial banana trees are genetically identical clones.

As a result, a fungus has attacked banana cropsand is causing devastating destruction across the banana industry. The industry is responding by -- guess what? -- foolishly turning to genetically engineered bananas which will suffer from the exact same weakness of genetic conformity, practically guaranteeing a future disease epidemic.”

Before I go on, let me state from the outset that the worst lies start with the truth. But once the truthful statements have been twisted with lies of omission and logical fallacies it’s perverted to generate erroneous conclusions. It’s a lot like snake oil salesmen and a fast hustle. It’s true that genetic diversity is important to continued health in seeds, but everything he says after that is seriously flawed.

Let’s start with this business of loss of genetic diversity he claims is being caused by “unethical” companies deliberately causing a “collapse” (what does that mean?) in the seed market. That’s a load of horsepucky! When I first read his claims I have to admit it took me by surprise because not once could I remember seeing any commentaries about this, and there was nothing in my files. So I sent out a request for information to my net hoping someone out there could provide some information on this. People started responding back about what he portrays as a deliberate and nefarious effort to destroy biodiversity.

We have to understand that, just as in any industry, there are natural ebbs and flows. There is a constant ebb and flow regarding seed stock involving GMO’s, non-GMO’s, hybrids, self pollinators, and cross pollinating plants. Just as there is in any business. Recently there’s a resurgence in non-GMO breeding efforts because it appears we’re in a growers market. This makes sense as the ASTA -American Seed TradeAssociation states on its web site – “everything starts with the seed”.

One of my correspondents, who works for a large international trade association involved in Agriculture, stated the entire seed industry is very “robust….big and small companies alike”. All these so-called consolidations have actually strengthened the mid-sized and small companies because they’re more agile than the larger companies and can move more quickly into profitable situations.

As for these companies deliberately trying to “collapse” the seed market – I keep asking - what does that mean? Does he imply these companies are buying up smaller seed companies and destroying their seed stock? It seems to me that’s what he’s trying to convey – but he won’t dare say it because he knows it’s a lie. No company would deliberately destroy seed stock because these large science based companies know better than anyone how science is constantly moving forward and tomorrow they may suddenly discover a new tool to unlock some “genetic assets in a seed line”. “Self interest alone would compel companies to preserve genetic resources.”

Is he trying to say these large companies are buying up all the small companies and hiding seed stock? Well, that’s loony. They’re buying seed stock to utilize it in some fashion, and they’re not ever going to eliminate the small and mid-size companies, and I doubt if they want to. It wouldn’t be worth the cost and it wouldn't prevent new companies from forming. GMO companies are not causing a loss in genetic diversity, they’re preserving genetic diversity and enhancing the genetic diversity that already exists.

About twenty five years ago Waste Management Incorporated decided the pest control industry was a good fit for their corporation because they felt they had corporate expertise in the legislative and regulatory arena that was compatible with the pest control and lawn care industries. So they went around the country and bought up a large number of quality regional pest control companies. Overnight they became the number three company in the nation.

A lot of prominent people in the pest control industry started covering themselves in sackcloth and ashes, wringing their hands, believing this was the end of the small pest control companies – the conglomerates were taking over – “it’s the end of the pest control industry as we know it!” A few old hands just chuckled, shook their heads and said – that will never happen – and they were right, and the conglomerate “consolidation” scare ended.

Are bigger companies still buying smaller companies? Of course! That’s the nature of business! Are small companies still coming into existence? Of course! That’s the nature of business! Everything else is horsepucky!

There’s one more thing about his claim that large companies are deliberately “collapsing” (what does that mean?) the seed market that bothered me from the start. He provides not one piece of evidence other than a chart without a source link - not one link to a commentary explaining the information on the chart - not one commentary from anyone in the seed market, including any small companies warning us of these alleged abuses - not one quote from an honest broker of information and not one news story! Why?

He then asks us to take a leap of faith and believe that GMO’s are destroying the banana crops in the world. He now issues another really big lie of omission, claiming;

“This consolidation of seed companies has caused an alarming collapse in seed diversity. As a result, a fungus has attacked banana crops and is causing devastating destruction across the banana industry. The industry is responding by -- guess what? -- foolishly turning to genetically engineered bananas which will suffer from the exact same weakness of genetic conformity, practically guaranteeing a future disease epidemic.”

There’s a real problem with this Jeremiad in that he fails to include in his statement. The lack of bio-diversity is common in bananas because bananas are self pollinating. Bananas are not suffering from a lack of diversity due to GMO’s. There are wild species that are pollinated by bats, but those used in food production aren’t. I don’t know about anyone else, but somehow I think that’s an important piece of information. Don’t you?

Currently the banana we’re most familiar with the a variety called the Cavendish, and it is under attack from something called the Black Sigatoka fungus, which is becoming resistant to fungicides. Did any kind of genetic engineering have anything to do with this. NO!

The variety that preceded the Cavendish was called the Gros Michal, also a self fertilizing banana. It became commercially “unviable” in the 1950’s due to the Panama Disease, which is caused by a fungus to which the Cavendish is immune. However, the Gros Michel isn’t extinct and can be used where the Panama disease isn’t found. But let’s understand this. The Gros Michel variety became commercially interesting in the 1820’s and it took about 130 years before this naturally occurring problem struck. All that happened long before GMO's.

Within the next 10 to 20 years is seems likely the Cavendish, which like almost all bananas lacks genetic diversity, will suffer attacks that can’t be thwarted with fungicides. This will have a serious impact on large commercial and small farm agriculture. However there are a very large number of varieties of bananas out there we’re not familiar with which could produce one or more replacements, although they would be substantially different than  what we’re used to. But no matter what direction agriculture goes in this matter we must come to realize that this problem is a naturally occurring one that can’t be blamed on GMO’s. In fact it seems rational that GMO’s will be the answer!

Scientists have made announcements about the complete sequencing of the banana genome, and by utilizing genes from wild species that reproduce via seeds they could potentially develop a non-seed variety that would be immune to fungi and even pathogens. Resistant genes from onions and dahlias were introduced into plantains –a member of the banana family used in cooking - which are demonstrating resistance to a greenhouse fungus. Will they make it in the real world? The only rational answer is yes - eventually! Will this lead to high tasty high yield bananas at some point. The only rational answer must be a resounding YES, eventually! But only if we abandon all this scare mongering about GMO’s. GMO’s will save commercial banana production and will end the need to make so many applications of fungicides, which is a very real financial burden for small farmers. That's why American Farmers Just Love Their GMOs and You Should Too.


Roger Pielke Jr. on FiveThirtyEight and his Climate Critics

By Keith Kloor

Earlier in the year, Roger Pielke Jr. was named as a contributing writer for Nate Silver’s newly re-launched FiveThirtyEight site. Shortly after that, Pielke, a climate policy scholar and political scientist at the University of Colorado, in Boulder, published an article at FiveThirtyEight headlined, “Disasters Cost More Than Ever–But Not Because of Climate Change.”

Critics pounced immediately in blogs and on Twitter. That harsh reaction was then reported and commented on at Salon, Huffington Post, Slate, the Columbia Journalism Review, and elsewhere.

I recently conducted a Q & A with Pielke about this episode and the aftermath. The links in my questions are from me. I asked Pielke to provide his own links.

KK: It’s been noted on Twitter that you are not listed on the main contributors page for FiveThirthyEight. Does this mean you no longer write for the site? If so, can you explain what happened?

RPJR: That is correct, I no longer write for 538. Last month, after 538 showed some reluctance in continuing to publish my work, I called up Mike Wilson, the lead editor there, and told him that it was probably best that we part ways. I wished them well in their endeavor going forward. I remain a fan. Since then I have joined up with SportingIntelligence, a UK-based website that focuses on analyses of economic and other quantitative aspects of sport. It’s a great fit. And of course, I continue to publish in places like USA Today and the Financial Times on a wide range of subjects

KK: What do you make of the uproar your FiveThirtyEight piece generated? I know it quickly degenerated into an ugly pile-on, which I and some other journalists found unseemly. But did critics have any legitimate points you want to acknowledge?

RPJR: Well, that first piece was written on a subject that I have written on many times before (and perhaps as much as anyone) – disasters and climate change. The short essay was perfectly consistent with the recent assessments of the IPCC. The fact that some folks didn’t like it was not surprising — most anything on climate change is met with derision by somebody. What was a surprise was the degree to which the negative response to the piece was coordinated among some activist scientists, journalists and social media aficionados. I think that took everyone by surprise. I learned some new things about certain colleagues and journalists — both really good things and some really pathetic things. Seeing a campaign organized to have me fired from 538 also taught me a lesson about the importance of academic tenure.

KK: If you could write the piece over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

RPJR: Looking back, probably the main thing I would do differently would be to simply not write about climate change at 538. When I was originally hired there was actually zero discussion about me focusing on climate or even science, but rather covering a wide range of topics. I made clear to Nate and Mike that I was looking to at least partially escape from the climate change wars by focusing on other issues.  The climate change piece was an obvious place to start even so because the IPCC reports had just been released and the topic is also covered so thoroughly in the peer reviewed literature. Clearly, that judgment was wrong!

KK: Have you and Nate Silver talked about this ordeal? What was his reaction?

RPJR: I have not spoken with or corresponded with Nate since that first piece. Of course, I do wish that 538 had shown a bit more editorial backbone, but hey, it is his operation.  If a widely published academic cannot publish on a subject which he has dozens of peer-reviewed papers and 1000s of citations to his work, what can he write on?  Clearly Nate is a smart guy, and I suspect that he knows very well where the evidence lies on this topic. For me, if the price of playing in the DC-NYC data journalism world is self-censorship for fear of being unpopular, then it is clearly not a good fit for any academic policy scholar.

KK: The condemnation of your 538 piece quickly spiraled into ugly personal broadsides painting you (incorrectly) as a climate skeptic. This happened in various high profile venues, such as Slate. How did you feel when this happened?

RPJR: If you are engaged in public debates on issues that people care passionately about, then you will be called names and worse. It goes with the territory. It is not pleasant of course, but at the same time, it is a pretty strong indication that (a) your arguments matter and (b) people have a hard time countering them on their merits. Even so, it is remarkable to see people like Paul Krugman and John Holdren brazenly make completely false claims in public about my work and my views. That they make such false claims with apparently no consequences says something about the nature of debate surrounding climate.

More HERE  (See the original for links)

No Evidence That Climate Change Is Increasing Disaster Losses

Roger Pielke Jr.

A new paper appeared in Climatic Change this week by Visser et al. which looks at disasters and climate change (open access here).  Like other studies and the IPCC assessment, Visser et al. find no trends in normalized disaster loses, looking at several metrics of economic and human losses.

They conclude:

"The absence of trends in normalized disaster burden indicators appears to be largely consistent with the absence of trends in extreme weather events. This conclusion is more qualitative for the number of people killed. As a consequence, vulnerability is also largely stable over the period of analysis."

The top line conclusion here is not surprising, though it is interesting because it uses independent methods on largely independent data. It is consistent with previous data and analyses (e.g., Bouwer 2011, Neumayer and Bartel 2011, Mohleji and Pielke 2014) as well as with the conclusions of the recent IPCC assessments (SREX and AR5).

What is perhaps most interesting about this new paper is their discussion of vulnerability. Some have argued that our methodological inability to fully account for possible changes in vulnerability to losses over time may mask a climate change signal in the data. (It's gotta be there somewhere!) This line of argument has always been suspect, because there are not relevant trends in phenomena such as floods and hurricanes which would lead to an expectation of increasing normalized losses.

Visser et al. take this issue on and offer several explanations as to why vulnerability does not mask any hidden signals:

"Firstly, global disaster management initiatives have only recently been put in place. The Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) was adopted by 168 Member States of the United Nations in 2005 to take action to reduce vulnerabilities and risks to disasters (UNISDR, 2011). Although these highly important efforts will certainly pay off in the near future, it is unclear whether they are reflected in the sample period chosen for this study. Similar conclusions are drawn in IPCC (2014). . .

Secondly, it is unclear to what extent adaptation measures work in practice. Heffernan (2012) argues that many countries, and even the richest, are ill-prepared for weather extremes. As an example, he names Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked a loss of 50 billion USD along the northeast coast of the US in 2012. As for early warning systems, Heffernan states that not all systems are functioning well. For example, in 2000, Mozambique was hit by a flood worse than any in its history, and the event was not at all anticipated. Warnings of above-average rainfall came too late and failed to convey the magnitude of the coming flood.

Thirdly, a positive trend in vulnerability may be offset by the increasing number of people moving from rural to urban environments, often situated in at-risk areas (UN 2012). Since many large cities lie along coastlines, these movements will make people more vulnerable to land-falling hurricanes (Pielke et al. 2008), coastal flooding and heatwaves (due the urban heat island effect). With regard to economic losses, Hallegatte (2011) argues that these migration movements may have caused disaster losses to grow faster than wealth.

Fourthly, it is unclear how political tensions and violent conflicts have evolved over large regional scales since 1980. On the one hand, Theisen et al. (2013) show that the number of armed conflicts and the number of battle deaths have decreased slightly at the global scale since 1980. On the other hand, these methods are rather crude as far as covering all aspects of political tensions are concerned (Leaning and Guha-Sapir et al. 2013).

We conclude that quantitative information on time-varying vulnerability patterns is lacking. More qualitatively, we judge that a stable vulnerability V t, as derived in this study, is not in contrast with estimates in the literature."

In short, those who claim that a signal of human caused-climate change is somehow hidden in the disaster loss record are engaging in a bit of unjustified wishful thinking. The data and evidence says otherwise.

The bottom line? Once again, we see further reinforcement for the conclusion that there is no detectable evidence of a role for human-caused climate change in increasing disaster losses. In plain English: Disaster losses have been increasing, but it is not due to climate change.


Gina McCarthy's strange conception of "investment"

In the laguage of the Left, government spending is called "investment" but the head of the EPA goes even further off the rails in the matter

I don’t think Gina McCarthy had thought this through. McCarthy to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee:

“And the great thing about this proposal is it really is an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control. It’s about increased efficiency at our plants…It’s about investments in renewables and clean energy. It’s about investments in people’s ability to lower their electricity bills by getting good, clean, efficient appliances, homes, rental units,”
“This is an investment strategy that will really not just reduce carbon pollution but will position the United States to continue to grow economically in every state, based on their own design,” McCarthy added.

She is discussing something called the Clean Power Plan. Mark this day. She goes on to find the perpetual motion machine of economics:

"Sir, what I know about this rule is that I know it will leave the United States in 2030 with a more efficient and cleaner energy supply system — and more jobs in clean energy, which are the jobs of the future,” McCarthy responded.

The EPA doesn’t just have a landline to God. They are God. They can use less energy to generate more wealth, more employment, and global peace.

But she said she doesn’t expect any adverse impact from this rule — “other than to have jobs grow, the economy to grow, the U.S. to become more stable, the U.S. to take advantage of new technology, innovation and investments that will make us stronger over time.”

Asked to explain what consumers can expect from the new rule, McCarthy said EPA expects people to see lower energy bills “because we’re getting waste out of the system.” In other words, if electricity costs more, people will use less of it.

The whole supply-demand idea of economics is obviously wrong. By making electricity cost more and shifting people off electricity to other forms of energy, demand will fall for electricity. OK. At the same time increasing demand for other energy will make that cheaper instead of more expensive. Somehow technological advance only works on EPA approved topics.

We should have done this years ago. If we had stopped using coal, oil and gas in 1970, we could have been so rich now.


UK: Proposals to fight climate change will trigger 'astronomical costs', campaigners warn

The Climate Change Committee said Britain needs to "strengthen" its policies and do more to boost renewable energy such as windfarms.

It said that without tougher action Britain will miss its 31 per cent target of cutting emissions by 2025 and may only manage a 21 per cent reduction.

That will hinder it meetings its commitment to cut emissions by 80 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050.

The CCC called for more progress on insulating homes, promoting the uptake of ground source and air source heat pumps, and investment in support for electric vehicles.

The CCC also urged the Government to end the "high degree of uncertainty" about its support for renewable energy.

It urged ministers to provide funding to deliver  strategies for commercialising offshore wind.

Critics warned that households which already pay an average £1,264 for electricity and gas would face higher bills if the Government follows the CCC's advice.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change already forecasts that green levies will account for 5 per cent of  gas and 11 per cent of electricity bills by 2020.

But Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation said: "UK households and consumers already face a cumulative £50 billion bill for renewable energy subsidies by 2020 in the form of the green Levy Control Framework.

"If the CCC's post-2023 proposal were to succeed, the additional costs would be astronomical. This is politically unsustainable."

Dr Peiser also pointed to Chancellor George Osborne's scepticism about green policies and his pledge not to make Britain uncompetitive in the global market.

He said: "George Osborne has repeatedly made clear that the government will not cut UK CO2 emissions faster and deeper than other countries in Europe."

Dr Lee Moroney of the Renewable Energy Foundation, a think-tank which opposes energy subsidies, said: "In spite of the Chancellor’s sensible promise in 2011 not to cut emissions faster than our competitors, the Climate Change Committee is recommending faster, deeper cuts than the EU.

"The Committee’s proposal is an enormous and very risky gamble on the future price of fossil fuels with the costs falling on consumers and taxpayers already groaning under the burden of ever-increasing energy costs."

But the CCC said that action now offers "significant cost savings" compared to delaying.

It argued that reducing emissions can be achieved "at affordable cost".

Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said: “Climate Change demands urgent action.



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

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


3 August, 2014

Kidney Stoned and Global Warming?

You can correlate an increasing trend of one phenomenon to an increasing trend for any other thing and ... Eureka! ... someone stupid enough will attribute causation.

First of all, observations are affected by observation tools.  A year ago, my wife went to the ER in terrible abdominal pain.  They gave her two shots of morphine and antibiotics for a urinary tract infection.  When she continued to have pains in the following days, she saw a specialist who did an ultrasound scan and found a bulging in her kidney tract cause by a large stone that had recently passed.  The point being that there is a strong likelihood that better analysis reveals more incidents.

That said, there are many dietary factors that can increase the possibility of kidney stones, including higher protein consumption.  Strangely, my wife went on a low-carb, high protein, high fat diet several years ago.  But, no, it was global warming.

Anything to get published.

Above comment received from a reader

Senate Committee Report Details Environmentalists' Inner Workings

None dare call it a conspiracy

Over the past fifty years, America’s environmental movement has grown from college kids adorning flowers to a billion dollar industry. With huge budgets to employ lobbyists, lawyers, and public relations professionals, many of America’s leading environmental non-profits are unrecognizable from their modest beginnings. What may seem like an organic, disparate movement is actually a well oiled machine that receives its funding from a handful of super rich liberal donors operating behind the anonymity of foundations and charities, according to a new report out today by the Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW).

The EPW report titled The Chain of Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA meticulously details how the “Billionaires’ Club” funds nearly all of the major environmental non-government organizations (NGO), many media outlets, and supposed grassroots activists. The Billionaire Report continues by describing the cozy relationship many environmental groups have with the executive branch and the revolving door that makes this possible.

The most striking aspect of the Billionaire Report is the sheer amount of money that is in play. In 2011 alone, ten foundations donated upwards of half a billion dollars to environmental causes. Many of these foundations, whose assets are valued in the billions, meet and coordinate under the framework provided by the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA). Described as the “funding epicenter of the environmental movement,” EGA members doled out $1.13 billion to environmental causes in 2011. EGA’s membership is not public but its clout is self-evident given the amount of money its members direct to recognizable environmental NGOs.

Often times, EGA members will elect to indirectly fund organizations that are the face of the environmental movement. For example, instead of directly cutting a check to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) or the Sierra Club, the Hewlett Foundation or the Packard Foundation will contribute to the Energy Foundation. The Billionaire Report describes the Energy Foundation as “a pass through charity utilized by the most powerful EGA members to create the appearance of a more diversified base of support, to shield them from accountability, and to leverage limited resources by hiring dedicated energy/environment staff to handle strategic giving.”

Not all of this money is being used to write white papers about how wind is going to power our country or how the EPA should implement this or that regulation. In fact, millions of dollars from the Energy Foundation find their way into political spending. The Billionaire Report illuminates this process by showing how the Green Tech Action Fund is financed:

Between 2010 and 2012, both foundations [Hewlett Foundation and Packard Foundation] donated hundreds of millions of dollars to ClimateWorks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) foundation. ClimateWorks then gave nearly $170 million to the Energy Foundation. Hewlett and Packard gave directly to the Energy Foundation. The Energy Foundation then gave $5,676,000 to Green Tech, and ClimateWorks gave it $1,520,000. The Energy Foundation was incredibly brief, broad and vague in describing the purpose of its 2011 and 2012 grants of $1 million, respectively, to Green Tech. The 2011 description states: “To support clean energy policies,” while in 2012 the purpose is listed as: “To advance clean technology markets, especially energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.”

Green Tech, in turn, donated heavily to at least three 501(c)(4) far-left environmental activist organizations during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.

In addition to playing in national politics through the Energy Foundation, New York and California based foundations use a handful of other charities to prop-up local activist groups. The Billionaire Report looks at the efforts in New York and Colorado to prohibit and hamstring hydraulic fracturing:

A pseudo-grassroots effort to attack hydraulic fracturing has germinated from massive amounts of funding by three foundations: Schmidt Family Foundation, Tides Foundation and Park Foundation…In typical secretive billionaire donor fashion, the foundations’ funding was funneled through fiscal sponsors. Funding through these intermediary organizations, such as the Sustainable Markets Foundation (SMF) and Food & Water Watch, create distance between the wealthy foundations and alleged community-based outfits….

One scheme, led by the New York-based Park Foundation and California-based Schmidt Family Foundation, provides numerous grants to the New York-based SMF, which serves as the fiscal sponsor for multiple New York groups engaged in this effort, including Water Defense, Frack Action and Artists Against Fracking. During 2011, SMF gave $147,750 to Water Defense. The following year, SMF funneled a $150,000 grant “to support Water Defense” from Schmidt. Notably, Water Defense was founded in 2010 by actor Mark Ruffalo, who has an estimated net worth of $20 million and was listed on Time Magazines’ 2011 “People Who Mattered” for his anti-fracking efforts. In 2011, SMF gave Frack Action $324,198, with $150,000 stemming from Schmidt grants to SMF. Ironically, one of the Schmidt grants specified that $100,000 go “to support Frack Action’s grassroots campaign fighting for a ban on horizontal hydraulic fracturing” (emphasis added).

However, the mere funding from the California-based Schmidt demonstrates Frack Action’s campaign is anything but grassroots. In 2012, SMF received $185,000 for Frack Action through grants from Park and Schmidt. While the amount of money funneled to Yoko Ono’s Artists Against Fracking cannot be identified, as SMF’s 2012 IRS Form-990 is unavailable, Artists Against Fracking’s now-removed website directs donations to SMF.

While even passive political observers are aware of environmentalists’ political activities – who could forget American Lung Association’s coughing baby? – few people fully appreciate how interconnected the environmental movement is with the current White House and its regulatory agencies. For evidence of the environmental movement’s influence, look no further than the EPA’s recent GHG regulation for existing plants. This regulation, hailed by its supporters as the crowning achievement of the Obama Administration, drew heavily from a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) model regulation. The New York Times wrote that the EPA used NRDC’s regulation as its “blueprint.” NRDC’s clout within Democrat circles is well known and inspired the 2009 Greenwire article “NRDC Mafia Finding Homes on Hill, in EPA .”

But NRDC is by no means the only activist group with alumni in key executive branch positions. The Billionaire’s Report calls attention to Deputy Administrator for the EPA Bob Perciasepe was the former Chief Operating Officer of the National Audubon Society. The EPA’s Region 9 Administrator used to work for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund as well as the NRDC. Acting Administrator/Deputy Administrator for the Office of Water Nancy Stoner was Co-Director and Senior Attorney for NRDC’s Water Program. EPA’s Region 2 Administrator was previously the Executive Director of the Environmental Advocates of New York.

While former hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer may be grabbing headlines over his pledge to spend $100 million dollars this election cycle, it is clear that the modern environmental movement is already well funded and organized. Totaling more than 90 pages and containing over 400 citations, the Billionaire Report will begin an important conversation about who really funds the environmental left and what they really represent.


Updated list of 29 excuses for the 18 year 'pause' in global warming

"If you can't explain the 'pause', you can't explain the cause"

RSS satellite data showing the 18 year 'pause' of global warming

An updated list of at least 29 excuses for the 18 year 'pause' in global warming, including recent scientific papers, media quotes, blogs, and related debunkings:

1) Low solar activity

2) Oceans ate the global warming [debunked] [debunked] [debunked]

3) Chinese coal use [debunked]

4) Montreal Protocol

5) What ‘pause’? [debunked] [debunked] [debunked] [debunked]

6) Volcanic aerosols [debunked]

7) Stratospheric Water Vapor

8) Faster Pacific trade winds [debunked]

9) Stadium Waves

10) ‘Coincidence!’

11) Pine aerosols

12) It's "not so unusual" and "no more than natural variability"

 13) "Scientists looking at the wrong 'lousy' data"

 14) Cold nights getting colder in Northern Hemisphere

15) We forgot to cherry-pick models in tune with natural variability [debunked]

16) Negative phase of Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation

17) AMOC ocean oscillation

18) "Global brightening" has stopped

19) "Ahistorical media"

20) "It's the hottest decade ever" Decadal averages used to hide the 'pause' [debunked]

21) Few El Ninos since 1999

22) Temperature variations fall "roughly in the middle of the AR4 model results"

23) "Not scientifically relevant"

24) The wrong type of El Ninos

25) Slower trade winds [debunked]

26) The climate is less sensitive to CO2 than previously thought [see also]

27) PDO and AMO natural cycles and here

28) ENSO

29) Solar cycle driven ocean temperature variations

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

The Environmental Corruption Agency

By Michelle Malkin

The lofty motto of the Environmental Protection Agency is "protecting people and the environment." In practice, however, EPA bureaucrats faithfully protect their own people and preserve the government's cesspool of manipulation, cover-ups and cronyism.

Just last week, Mark Levin and his vigilant Landmark Legal Foundation went to court to ask federal district judge Royce Lamberth to sanction the EPA "for destroying or failing to preserve emails and text messages that may have helped document suspected agency efforts to influence the 2012 presidential election." The motion is part of a larger Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to force EPA to release emails and related records from former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and others "who may have delayed the release dates for hot-button environmental regulations until after the Nov. 6, 2012, presidential election."

Thanks to Levin and Landmark, Jackson and other EPA officials admitted in depositions that they used personal, nongovernmental email accounts to hide communications about official EPA business sent and received on their government-issued BlackBerries and smart phones. The agency has continued to drag its feet for two years in response to Landmark's FOIA requests.

Levin minced no words: "The EPA is a toxic waste dump for lawlessness and disdain for the Constitution." Not to mention disdain for the public's right to know. As Levin added: "When any federal agency receives a FOIA request, the statute says it must preserve every significant repository of records, both paper and electronic, that may contain materials that could be responsive to that request."

The agency is legally obliged to notify all involved in the suit to preserve everything in their possession that could be discoverable in the litigation. But the feds have bent over backward to delay and deny. "(T)he people at the EPA, from the administrator on down, think they're above the law, that no one has the right to question what or how they do their jobs," Levin blasted. "Well, they're wrong. The laws apply to everyone, even federal bureaucrats."

That's a bedrock principle the EPA has defied over and over again. As I first reported 13 corruption-stained years ago in 2001, former EPA head Carol Browner oversaw the destruction of her computer files on her last day in office under the Clinton administration — in clear violation of a judge's order requiring the agency to preserve its records. Browner ordered a computer technician: "I would like my files deleted. I want you to delete my files." In 2003, the agency was held in contempt and fined more than $300,000 in connection with another email destruction incident under Browner's watch.

It was Levin's Landmark Legal Foundation — upheld by Judge Lamberth — that held the corruptocrats accountable then, as they are now.

As President Obama's energy czar, Browner went on to bully auto execs "to put nothing in writing, ever" regarding secret negotiations she orchestrated on a deal to increase federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. She was also singled out by Obama's own independent oil-spill commission for repeatedly misrepresenting scientists' findings and doctoring data to justify the administration's draconian drilling moratorium.

Browner previously had been caught by a congressional subcommittee using taxpayer funds to create and send out illegal lobbying material to more than 100 left-wing environmental organizations. She abused her office to orchestrate a political campaign by liberal groups, who turned around and attacked Republican lawmakers for supporting regulatory reform.

The names may change, but the politicized rot stays the same. The GOP staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee issued a detailed report this week on the secretive "Billionaire's Club" behind EPA. The analysis exposed how a massive network of left-wing foundations, activists and wealthy donors exploits IRS-approved "charitable" status and tax-deductible donations to lobby illegally on behalf of the EPA and operate a "green revolving door" between government and far-left groups.

Among the key players: the Environmental Grantmakers Association, which coordinates green grants and refuses to divulge its membership list to Congress, and Democracy Alliance, the dark-money outfit led by Philip Gara LaMarche that does not disclose its members or donor-recipients.

"These entities propagate the false notion that they are independent citizen-funded groups working altruistically," according to the report. "In reality, they work in tandem with wealthy donors to maximize the value of the donors' tax-deductible donations and leverage their combined resources to influence elections and policy outcomes, with a focus on the EPA."

Saving the planet? Ha. The leftist-controlled Environmental Corruption Agency is only in business to serve its pals and subvert its political enemies, while endangering resource security and sabotaging the deliberative process. Real environmental protection starts with draining this fetid swamp.


British anti-fracking 'expert' and question marks over his credentials: Ex punk rocker 'lied and peddled pseudo science'

Anti-fracking campaigners describe him as ‘a world-class star of geological research’, but David Smythe was accused today of being less than totally honest about his credentials as a shale gas expert.

The retired geologist and former punk rock guitarist has been prominent in highlighting the dangers of fracking and last week helped to persuade a county council to reject an application to drill an exploratory shale well.

But a professor at his old university now accuses him of ‘pseudo-scientific scaremongering’.

The Geological Society has also written to Mr Smythe – who has the title ‘Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow’ – demanding that he stops claiming to be a chartered geologist.

Glasgow University, where he last worked in 1998, has told him he must not suggest that its academics share his views.

And Prof Paul Younger, Glasgow’s professor of energy engineering, said Mr Smythe – who played bass guitar in the 70s punk band The Rezillos – was unqualified to give expert evidence on fracking, having retired 16 years ago.

’He has published nothing on (shale gas) in any proper scientific forum – no doubt because he knows he would never get past peer review with his pseudo-scientific scaremongering.’

But Mr Smythe, 67, who now lives in the South of France, hit back saying he could find no publications on fracking by Professor Younger, adding: ‘So you could say he is no more an expert than me.’

In recent months Mr Smythe – who was head of Geophysics at Glasgow from 1988 until the department was closed in 1998 – has warned of the potentially serious environmental damage that fracking poses, including a huge risk of water contamination.

Last week he helped to persuade West Sussex County Council to reject an application by Celtique Energie to explore for shale oil, describing its application as ‘incomplete, incompetent and disingenuous.

He has also given evidence on behalf of campaigners against a subterranean methane project involving drilling 22 bore holes 800 metres deep into the Falkirk countryside.

Mr Smythe suggested the process of removing the gas could result in earthquakes becoming more likely in the area and potential contamination of streams and rivers, posing a threat to human health.

In a recent newspaper interview Professor Younger said: ’He falsely claims to be a chartered geologist. That’s fraudulent. It’s wilful untruth.

‘I am concerned about the damage to the reputation of the university by someone who never fails to use his university affiliation.’

Professor David Manning, president of the Geological Society, wrote last month to Mr Smythe telling him not to use the title ‘chartered geologist.’

David Smythe has given evidence on behalf of anti-fracking campaigns and claims to have done extensive research into unconventional energy extraction

Mr Smythe, who believes he may be an illegitimate descendant of Prince Albert, admitted that he should not have claimed to be a chartered geologist but said that it was a ‘completely trivial matter’ because he had been one once but had stopped paying his subscription in 1996.

But a spokeswoman for the Geological Society said that the title required proof of ‘continuous professional development’, not just payment of a subscription.

Mr Smythe, who lives in the Languedoc and rents out a self-catering apartment in his mansion overlooking the Canal du Midi, insists he had done extensive research into unconventional energy extraction.

He said Professor Younger sent him a ‘very abusive email’ after he appeared on a recent radio programme in Scotland ‘ accusing me of arm-waving and talking nonsense.’

Mr Smythe, whose 1970s punk band had its biggest success with a cover version of the Fleetwood Mac song ‘Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight’ added: ’You could say it is sour grapes.’

The University of Glasgow confirmed Mr Smythe has right to use the title ‘emeritus professor’ and the retired scientist said he had never suggested that his views were shared by the university.

‘A lot of British academics have in effect been bought off by the oil industry. They depend on grants from that industry so they dare not speak out critically,’ he said.

‘I write reports [on fracking] for public inquiries to a very high standard because my aim is that I’m providing all the evidence if any such inquiry decision were to go to judicial review.’

Mr Smythe is advising Frack Free Fernhurst, a group opposing fracking in the South Downs national park.


Lunacy on sea: As Ministers agree to the world's biggest wind farm off Brighton, has Britain ever succumbed to a more catastrophic folly?

By Christopher Booker

What should be our reaction to daft stories like the one recently reported in the Daily Mail about the 60ft wind turbine put up by the Welsh government outside its offices in Aberystwyth to proclaim to the world just how ‘green’ it is?

Erected at a cost of £50,000 to the taxpayer, it turned out that this turbine was so absurdly inefficient it was providing only £5 worth of electricity a month. It would take more than 750 years to make the money back.

In recent years, we have seen plenty of little tales like this, showing how often those who build these mini-turbines just to promote the wonders of wind power seem to get horribly caught out.

There was, for instance, the windmill put up next to a school in Portland, Dorset, which had to be switched off because it was killing so many seagulls that the headmaster had to come in early every morning to remove their corpses, so the children wouldn’t be upset.

There were the turbines built next to the playgrounds of 16 schools in the north of Scotland, which had be shut down for ‘health and safety’ reasons after the blades of one flew off in a mere 40 mph wind - when, fortunately, no children were in range.

Then, of course, there was that babyish little windmill David Cameron wanted to put on the roof of his £2.7million Notting Hill home in West London. It would have provided enough current to power four low-energy light bulbs - but, fortunately, it provoked such protests from his neighbours that it was never heard of again.

On one level, we may find stories like this darkly comical. But it is time we stood back to take a more grown-up look at the very much larger and more serious picture of just where we are being taken by this infatuation with wind turbines, which lie at the very centre of our national energy policy.

Today, we already have more than 5,000 giant turbines, with 25,000 smaller versions.

They are proliferating so fast that from Cornwall to Caithness, East Anglia to Cumbria, hundreds of local protest groups have sprung up to say ‘enough is enough’.

But the crucial objection to this obsession with wind farms is not just that they disfigure our beautiful countryside or kill shocking numbers of bird and bats.

In purely practical terms, the real issue must surely be that they are so astonishingly useless at achieving what they are supposed to do. Put all those 5,000 giant turbines together and their combined output still averages less than that of our single largest coal-fired power station.

The obvious reason for this - though our politicians will never admit it - is that the wind is the most inefficient means of producing electricity ever devised, because it blows so variably and unpredictably.

In fact, the whole case for wind farms is based on a central, endlessly repeated lie.

This is the way in which its propagandists invariably talk about them only in terms of their ‘capacity’, by which they mean the amount of electricity they could produce if the wind was blowing at optimal speed 24 hours a day.

We are told about ‘capacity’ all the time - by the wind industry, politicians such as Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey, the BBC and even the pages of Wikipedia.

But the truth is that, thanks to the wind’s unreliability, they will produce on average only between a quarter and a third of their ‘capacity’.

Often, indeed, when we need electricity the most, on freezing, windless days in mid-winter, they produce virtually no electricity at all.

Furthermore, far from providing us, as we’re told, with unlimited clean, green, free, planet-saving energy, wind farms are not just inefficient. They are also so ludicrously impractical that if we weren’t all forced to subsidise them to the tune of billions of pounds through our electricity bills, no one would ever dream of building them.

A cursory glance at the economics of the ‘smaller’ 100 ft-plus windmills and the giant turbines in massive wind farms illustrates my point.

When I looked at one of these smaller ones the other day, near where I live in Somerset, I was astonished to discover that, though it is 120 ft and would have cost at least £250,000 to install, it only has the ‘capacity’ to generate a maximum of 50 kilowatts at any given moment.

But allowing for the vagaries of the wind, its actual output will average a mere 13 kilowatts - barely enough to boil four kettles - at any one time.

Yet, for this, the owners can expect to receive £24,000 a year, of which a staggering £17,500 will be subsidy, paid for by all of us through our electricity bills.

The sums for giant turbines are just as shocking. Earlier this month, Mr Davey gave the go-ahead to his latest monster project, to build the largest wind farm in the world just off the Sussex coast, right opposite Brighton.

Davey gave the German energy firm E.on the green light to spend £2 billion on building 100 or more colossal turbines up to 700 ft tall, nearly 200 ft higher than the Blackpool Tower.

The ‘Rampion’ wind farm (so named, in yet another propaganda exercise, by the children of a Sussex primary school) will cover more than 60 square miles of the English Channel.

As even its developers say on their website, it will be visible all the way from Beachy Head to the Isle of Wight.

This mighty forest of turbines, we are told, will supply to the national grid ‘700 megawatts’ of power, enough to heat and light ‘450,000 homes’.

Yet, in truth, thanks to the vagaries of the wind, their actual output - as E.on’s own website admits in very small print - will be lucky to reach 240 megawatts, a third of that figure.

Even for this, E.on can hope to earn £325 million a year. Yet, shockingly, more than two-thirds of that sum, £220 million a year, will be paid by all of us in subsidies.

To see just how crazy this is in money terms, we can compare E.on’s wind farm with our latest large gas-fired power station, opened two years ago by another German firm, RWE, at Pembroke in south Wales.

Its capital cost was £1billion, half that of the wind farm. But, in return for that, the gas-fired plant can be relied on to generate nearly ten times as much electricity, 2000 megawatts, 24 hours of every day.

For that constantly available supply of power, even taking into account the price of gas compared with wind power which is free, the cost is £50 per megawatt hour. While for the wildly unreliable supply we shall get from Mr Davey’s monster wind farm, it is £155 per megawatt hour, more than three times as much.

This is the kind of mad mathematics I come across all the time when taking a hard look at the price we are increasingly having to pay for what I have called the great wind scam.

It’s this weird delusion that we can base more and more of our national electricity supply on subsidising ever more grotesquely expensive wind farms.

It is a course we first seriously embarked on in 2003 under Tony Blair. In 2008, Gordon Brown boasted that he wanted us to spend £100billion on wind farms.

It was a claim echoed by Chris Huhne, Davey’s Coalition predecessor as Energy secretary, who talked of how we would need to build as many as 30,000 turbines to achieve a government target, six times as many as we have now.

The reason why all our politicians feel they must aim for such recklessly ambitious targets is that, in 2007, Tony Blair agreed with his EU colleagues that Britain would, by 2020, be producing 15 per cent of our energy from ‘renewables’, such as wind power.

But Blair was so technically illiterate in making this pledge that he did not realise what he was letting us in for.

Because much of our energy, such as the gas we use to cook and heat our buildings, cannot be sourced from renewables, he was committing us to produce nearly a third of our electricity - 32 per cent - from renewables. And most of it had to come from wind power.

This was a far greater jump than that required from other EU members, which were already producing much more of their power from renewables such as hydro-electric schemes.

In practice, there is no conceivable way we could hope to achieve Huhne’s plan for 30,000 turbines. It would mean building 11 giant ones every day for the next six years, which is completely out of the question.

But that has not prevented Mr Davey and his colleagues from trying. And, in doing so, they are offering the mainly foreign-owned firms that build those wind farms subsidies which are higher than those available anywhere else in the world.

For onshore turbines, Davey is prepared to give wind farm owners a subsidy of nearly 100 per cent on top of the market rate for electricity.

However, subsidies for electricity provided by offshore wind farms is now more than twice as much - which is why firms from Germany, France, Sweden and other countries have been rushing to cash in on Britain’s unique subsidy bonanza.

But all this creates yet another huge practical problem that Mr Davey does his best to keep from public view. This is the fact that the more wind farms those subsidies call into being, the more we must look to conventional power stations to provide back-up for whenever the wind speed varies.

At the moment, by far the cheapest source of electricity is coal, still providing more than a third of our power and costing six times less than what we get from Mr Davey’s subsidised offshore wind farms.

But Mr Davey and his predecessors have been steadily closing down what they see as those dreadful, polluting, CO2-emitting coal-fired power stations - and the ones that remain are not flexible enough to provide the instant back-up needed to keep our lights on whenever the wind drops.

The more wind farms we build, the more we will need gas-fired power stations to provide that instantly available back-up, not just to keep our lights on but to keep our computer-dependent economy running at all.

And guess who is going to have to pay to keep those gas-fired plants permanently and expensively running on stand-by for when they are needed, chucking out more of Mr Davey’s hated CO2 than is saved by all his wind farms? We are, of course, through our electricity bills.

We are looking here at the makings of a national catastrophe: one that will not just push our electricity bills through the roof, but could well lead to major power cuts and blackouts.

This will be the price we pay for a bout of collective insanity over renewable energy, for which it is hard to think of any historical parallel. It truly is time we woke up to the reality of where this crazed obsession with wind turbines is leading us.

Rather like the mammoth new Rampion offshore wind farm, when it comes to our policy on wind farms, Britain really is all at sea.


Australia: Green Army ready to march (but it's not work for the dole)

Australia's alternative to the carbon tax is to plant trees etc.

The government's $525 million Green Army conservation initiative was rolled out on Saturday.

Launching the project at Carss Bush Park in Sydney's south, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Environment Minister Greg Hunt said it would be the largest environmental workforce the country had mobilised. About 2500 young people were expected to join up this year to work on 250 projects around Australia.

"It's six months of good work and good comradeship that you can come back and look at in the years ahead and say, 'I did that for my country'," Mr Abbott said.

"This is not a work for the dole project, I want to stress this. It's an environmental traineeship."

The workers would be paid between $10 to $16 an hour while engaged in the project, less than minimum wage but higher than the Newstart or Youth Allowance rate.

Mr Hunt said he didn't anticipate the hourly rate would discourage young Australians from signing up.

"They not only earn the funds, but most significantly the work skills, and hopefully they'll come out of it with certificates and occupational health and safety training and first aid training," he said.

The number of participants was expected to rise to 15,000 by 2018.

The Green Army, one of a range of proposals put forward by the federal government as an alternative to the repealed carbon tax, will recruit young Australians to engage in restoration and heritage protection projects.

The project will include pest animal management and the monitoring of threatened local animal species.

Workers will be able to obtain certificate I and II qualifications in various environmental fields for their efforts.



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

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


1 August, 2014

'Chill out about GM food': We've been modifying crops for thousands of years, claims scientist

Supporters of genetically modified food claim they it help feed the world and eradicate disease, while their opponents believe they could contaminate natural food and even harm people.

Now, American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who presents the TV documentary Cosmos, has defended controversial genetically modified organisms (GMOs), saying that people should just ‘chill out’.

He claims that practically every type for food for sale is genetically modified in some way already and that there are few ‘wild’ crops and animals left.

The scientist, who has already spoken out against critics of evolution and climate change, gaves his opinion in a video first spotted by Mother Jones.

He can be seen answering a question about his views on GM food, to which he replied: ‘I'm amazed at just how much objection genetically modified foods are receiving.

'It smacks of the fear factor that exists at every new emergent science, where people don't fully understand it or don't fully know or embrace its consequences and are therefore rejecting it.

‘What most people don't know, but should, is that practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food.

‘There are no wild seedless watermelons; there's no wild cows…You list all the fruit, and all the vegetables, and ask yourself: “Is there a wild counterpart to this?” If there is, it's not as large, it's not as sweet, it's not as juicy, and it has way more seeds in it.

‘We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It's called artificial selection. That's how we genetically modify them. So now that we can do it in a lab, all of a sudden you're going to complain?’

He suggests that opponents to GM food should eat apples that grow in the wild that are small and sour, unlike the sweeter and larger types that are sold in supermarkets.

‘We are creating and modifying the biology of the world to serve our needs. I don't have a problem with that, because we've been doing that for tens of thousands of years. So chill out,’ he said.

It is not clear from the video at which event the scientist made his remarks and when it took place.

While government organisations and other top scientists may have stopped short of telling protestors to ‘chill out,’ many institutions, including the National Academy of Sciences and the European Commission say that GM food is not unsafe.

Some people question the wisdom of tampering with nature, but a number of prominent scientists believe that GM crops are the key to feeding the world's rapidly expanding population.

By manipulating the genes in wheat and potatoes, experts have managed to make them resistant to fungal infections, which leads to food shortages.

'Super bananas' laced with vitamin A could be on sale in 2020 in a bid to tackle deficiency in Africa, while scientists believe that GM mosquitoes could be the secret to wiping out dengue fever.


Testimony on EPA’s proposed rules for existing power plants — Atlanta, Georgia

Marita Noon

Today, I have come to address the EPA’s proposed rule regarding carbon emissions from existing power plants. I speak on behalf of myself and my personal views.

I also represent the Washington DC based group: Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and its 60,000 supporters. Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow has been working on issues of environment and development for more than twenty-five years with a board consisting of more than fifty scientists and academic advisors from leading universities, think tanks, and laboratories from around the world. I serve as a policy analyst for Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow.

I was here yesterday and earlier today. I’ve listened to the well intentioned pleas from many who have begged you, the EPA, to take even stronger action than this plan proposes. One even dramatically claimed; “You are the Environmental Protection Agency. You are our only hope. If you don’t protect us no one will.”

I heard a teary-eyed, young woman tell a tale about a man she knows who is dying of cancer, supposedly, because he grew up near a coal-fired power plant—he couldn’t be here, so she told his story. She also said: “I am fortunate enough to have not been around in the 1960s when there was real smog.” Her father has told her about it.

Another addressed how she gets headaches from emissions. She told how lung tissue can be burned. And, how particulates are why people can no longer see the mountain in her region.

An attorney’s testimony told about seeing “carbon pollution” every day from his 36th floor office “a few blocks from here” from where he looks “out over a smog covered city.”

The passion of these commenters supersedes their knowledge as none of the issues I’ve mentioned here, and there are many more, are something caused by carbon dioxide—a clear, colorless gas that each of us breathe out and plants breathe in.

Carbon dioxide is a natural, and essential, part of the environment—with massive, unknown, quantities of carbon dioxide emitted each year from natural sources such as volcanoes. Were you able to eliminate carbon dioxide from every industrial source in the United States, it will have virtually no impact on global carbon dioxide emissions.

I understand the concerns over true smog and pollution. I grew up in southern California—graduating from high school in 1976. At that time, we had made a mess of our environment. We had polluted the air and water. Cleaning up our collective act was an important public policy issue. San Bernardino, California, where my family lived, was in a valley, surrounded by mountains. If was not uncommon for a family to move into the area in the summer, when the smog was the worst, and not even know the beautiful mountains existed. In the fall when the winds came in and blew the smog out to sea, newcomers where amazed to discover the mountains.

But that pollution, that smog, has largely been cleaned up. Utilities have spent hundreds of billion dollars on scrubbers, and other highly technical equipment, to, successfully, remove the vast majority of the particulates. People often see a billowing white cloud coming from the stacks at a coal-fueled power plant and confuse it with pollution when it is really H2O—water in the form of steam. Depending on the time of year, or the time of day, it may be more or less visible. The weather conditions may make it settle like fog until the sun burns it off. And this, I believe, is mistaken for pollution.

If you haven’t seen Randy Scott Slavin’s Bird’s-Eye-View of New York City, I encourage you to check it out as it shows an amazingly clean city—despite the more than 800 million people living in those compact 469 square miles. New York City is one of the most populated places on the planet, yet its air is sparkling.

This rule is not about pollution. It is about shutting down coal-fueled power plants and killing jobs and raising electricity rates—both of which punish people who can least afford it. But plenty of others have addressed the economic impact so I won’t take more of my time on that topic.

But, I do want to address the constitutionality of the proposed plan as it does exactly what the Supreme Court admonished the EPA about on June 23. Justice Antonin Scalia, for the majority, wrote this about the Tailoring Rule decision: “Were we to recognize the authority claimed by EPA in the Tailoring Rule, we would deal a severe blow to the Constitution’s separation of powers… The power of executing laws…does not include a power to revise clear statutory terms that turn out not to work in practice.” Yet, this is exactly what this proposed plan will do.

Later in the decision, Scalia says: “When an agency claims to discover in a long-extant statute an unheralded power to regulate “a significant portion of the American economy” . . . we typically greet its announcement with a measure of skepticism. We expect Congress to speak clearly if it wishes to assign an agency decisions of vast “economic and political significance.”

I believe on these grounds, this plan must not go forward.

I fear that if it does, America will pay a dear price. This hearing was scheduled to take place down the street at the Sam Nunn Federal Center. However, it was moved due to a power outage. Note: business cannot be done without power. You were able to move this hearing. In a reduced-power environment businesses will move to places where they have access to energy that is effective, efficient, and economical. They will move, as many have already done, to places with far-looser environmental policies and the perceived gain will be lost.

Thinking that what we do in the United States will have a serious impact on global carbon dioxide emissions is like thinking that declaring a “no pee” sectionin the swimming pool will keep the water urine free.

I’ll end with a quote from the smog-viewing attorney who closed with: “I am hopeful that my new grandchildren. Who will live into the 22nd century, will enjoy a world that my grandparents, born in the 19th century, would recognize.” If this plan is passed, he may get his wish. His grandparents’ world contained of none of the energy-based modern conveniences or medical miracles we consider standard and essential today—let alone those yet to be developed or discovered by the 22nd century.

Remember, the countries with the best human health and the most material wealth are those with the highest energy consumption. America needs energy that is abundant, available and affordable.


Carbon Rebates: Better than Carbon Regulations?

The New York Times is running today an op/ed, "The Carbon Dividend," by University of Massachusetts economist James Boyce touting a new bill by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) that would set up a cap-and-dividend program that aims to limit U.S. emissions of globe-warming carbon dioxide. Boyce explains that the plan...

    "...would require coal, oil and natural gas companies to buy a permit for each ton of carbon in the fuels they sell. Permits would be auctioned, and 100 percent of the proceeds would be returned straight to the American people as equal dividends for every woman, man and child...

    The number of permits initially would be capped at the level of our 2005 carbon dioxide emissions. This cap would gradually ratchet down to 80 percent below that level by 2050. Prices of fossil fuels would rise as the cap tightened, spurring private investment in energy efficiency and clean energy. Energy companies would pass the cost of permits to consumers in the form of higher fuel prices. But for most families, the gain in carbon dividends would be greater than the pain. In fact, my calculations show that more than 80 percent of American households would come out ahead financially—and that doesn’t even count the benefits of cleaner air and a cooler planet.

    As the cap tightened, prices of fossil fuels would rise faster than quantity would fall, so total revenues would rise. The tighter the cap, the bigger the dividend. Voters not only would want to keep the policy in place for the duration of the clean energy transition, they would want to strengthen it.

    The net effect on any household would depend on its carbon footprint—how much it spent, directly and indirectly, on fossil fuels. The less carbon it consumed, the bigger its net benefit. But why would a vast majority emerge as winners?

    There are two reasons. First, among final consumers, households account for about two-thirds of fossil fuel use in the United States. Most of the remainder is consumed by government. In Mr. Van Hollen’s bill, households would receive these other carbon dollars, too.

    Republicans should welcome this feature, since over the years it would return billions of dollars from the government to the people. Unlike a carbon tax, which brings in more revenue for the government, Mr. Van Hollen’s bill is, in effect, a tax cut."

Boyce likens the proposal to the popular Alaska permanent fund that divvies up oil and gas royalties to each Alaskan citizen. (To get a better idea how the Alaska fund works, see my colleague Jesse Walker's "One State Already Has A Basic Income Plan.")"

Given that the bastards in Washington and various statehouses are going to "do something" about climate, this proposal could be thought of as a least bad policy alternative policy. After all, our policymakers have already screwed up the economy with ethanol mandates, EPA coal regulations, CAFE standards, feed-in tariffs, renewable portfolio standards, tax credits for solar, wind, and electric cars, and on and on and on. So what about a deal? Get rid of all of those regulations, mandates and requirements in exchange for this straigtforward carbon dividend plan.


Obama Invited to Meet Coal Miners Losing Their Jobs Because of EPA Regulations

As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) holds public meetings this week on its latest round of proposed regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s fossil-fuel-fired power plants, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) said President Barack Obama should trade a trip to the golf course for a visit with coal miners across America who are losing their jobs.

“I’ve got an invitation here. This is a letter I sent to the president of the United States,” Kelly said on Wednesday at a press conference outside of the Capitol. “And this is an invitation for him to come to the coal nation.

“I want him to get off of the back nine and come into the mines,” Kelly said. “I want to get his golf cap off and get his hard hat on.”

On June 2, the EPA announced its Clean Power Plan “to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants.”

"Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in the press release announcing the plan. “EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama's Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source – power plants.

"By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids,” McCarthy said.

On Monday, EPA announced a series of public meetings on the proposed rule, with the comment period before it becomes finalized ending on Oct. 16.

The executive summary of the rule states: “This rule, as proposed, would continue progress already underway to lower the carbon intensity of power generation in the United States (U.S.). Lower carbon intensity means fewer emissions of CO 2, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. This proposal is a significant step forward in the EPA and states partnering to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions in the U.S.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opened the Wednesday’s press conference by saying the EPA’s rules have already hurt people in his state.

“In Eastern Kentucky we’ve lost 7,000 coal mining jobs during the Obama years,” McConnell said. “It hasn’t always been that way – we actually gained over 3,000 during the Bush years.”

Then McConnell introduced Jimmy Rose, a finalist on season eight of the television series “America’s Got Talent,” who sang his hit song “Coal Keeps the Lights On.”

“They went plumb down crazy in Washington.

They're talking about closing the mines.

They're gonna bleed us all dry from the inside out.

They don't care that much about the little man or the calloused hands.

It's a way of life 'round, just like it's always been.

Coal keeps the lights on.

My hometown keeps food on the spoon in my youngin's mouth.

Tires on the truck and a sundress on my baby girl.

Coal keeps the bills paid, the clothes on the backs,

and shoes on the feet in the high school halls of the Mountain Lions

and the Bill County Bobcats on the hill.”

Rose, who is also a military veteran, got a rousing response to his song from both lawmakers and others at the press conference.

Then Kelly echoed Rose’s sentiments in his song by saying that coal is vital not only to coal miners and their families, but the U.S. economy.

“This is coal’s day in court,” Kelly said. “This is our chance to stand up and say what we believe in, what we know is right and what we know is true.

“And we know what is truly American about this,” Kelly said. “The workhorse of this nation’s economy has always been coal.”

Both McConnell and another Kentucky lawmaker - Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) – spoke at the press conference about the EPA’s unilateral actions on U.S. energy policy.

McConnell said even if coal production is increasing at rapid rates and without regulation in places like China and India, the United States is suffering under EPA rules.

“And yet here we are in our native country suffering from the policies of this administration and this EPA that’s out of control – as the federal courts have said – and leaving our people in desperate straits,” McConnell said. “It’s time for that to stop.”

Paul said Obama needs “to understand that in our country the legislature passes laws.

“The greenhouse law or regulation won’t pass Congress so he’s going around Congress,” Paul said.

“I say to the president, Come to our state and see the despair,” he added. “But also read the Constitution – this isn’t the way that it should be.”


The Carbon TAX Scam

By Alan Caruba

In a recent appearance before a congressional committee, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told them that the agency’s proposed sweeping carbon-regulation plan was “really an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control.”

If the plan isn’t about pollution, the primary reason for the EPA’s existence, why bother with yet more regulation of something that is not a pollutant—carbon dioxide—despite the Supreme Court’s idiotic decision that it is. Yes, even the Court gets things wrong.

Carbon Tax

What the Greens want most of all is a carbon tax; that is to say, a tax on CO2 emissions. It is one of the most baseless, destructive taxes that could be imposed on Americans and we should take a lesson from the recent experience that Australians had when, after being told by a former prime minister, Julia Gillard, that she would not impose the tax, she did. They get rid of her andthen got rid of the tax!

As Daniel Simmons, the vice president of policy at the American Energy Alliance, wrote in Roll Call “Australia is now the first country to eliminate its carbon tax. In doing so, it struck a blow in favor of sound public policy.”  Initiated in 2012, the tax had imposed a $21.50 charge (in U.S. dollars), increasing annually, on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted by the country’s power plants.” At the time President Obama called it “good for the world”, but Australians quickly found it was not good for them or their economy.

Favored by several Democratic Senators that include New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen, Alaska’s Mark Begich, and North Carolina’s Kay Hagan, the Heritage Foundation, based on data provided by the Energy Information Administration, took a look at the impact that a proposed U.S. carbon tax would have and calculated that it “would cut a family of four’s income by nearly $2,000 a year while increasing its electricity bills by more than $500 per year. It would increase gas prices by 50 cents per gallon. It could eliminate more than a million jobs in the first few years.”

Simmons noted that “It only took (Australians) two years of higher prices, fewer jobs, and no environmental benefits before they abandoned their carbon tax.”

We don’t need, as Gina McCarthy told the congressional committee, “investments in renewables and clean energy” because billions were wasted by Obama’s “stimulus” and by the grants and other credits extended to wind and solar energy in America. They are the most expensive, least productive, and most unpredictable forms of energy imaginable, given that neither the wind nor the sun is available full-time in the way fossil fuel generated energy is. Both require backup from coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy plants.

In addition to all the other White House efforts to saddle Americans with higher costs, it has now launched a major effort to push its “climate change” agenda with a carbon tax high on its list. A July 29 article in The Hill reported that “Obama is poised to sidestep Congress with a new set of executive actions on climate change.”

If we don’t jump-start our economy by tapping into the jobs and revenue our vast energy reserves represent, secure our southern border, and elect a Congress that will rein in the President, the U.S. risks becoming a lawless banana republic. Carbon taxes are one more nail in the national coffin.


Hostages to a renewable ruse

Comment from Australia

IF there is a sound more pitiable than the whine of a pious environmental activist, it is the wail of a ­financier about to do his dough.

The mournful chorus now wafting from Greg Hunt’s waiting room is the sound of the two in unison, pleading with the Environment Minister to save the life of their misshapen bastard child, the renewable energy target.

You have to hand it to Hunt, who either has nerves of steel or is stone deaf, for he has retained both his cool and his fortitude.

The RET review by Dick Warburton on the government’s behalf has brought the rent-seekers out in force, for billions of dollars of corporate welfare is resting on its outcome.

As it stands, the RET will produce a bounteous return for a small group of investors shrewd enough to get into the windmill game while the rest of us are slapped with four-figure power bills.

Wind farms may be ugly but they are certainly not cheap, nor is the electricity that trickles from them. No one in their right minds would buy one if they had to sell power for $30 to $40 a megawatt hour, the going rate for conventional producers.

But since the retailers are forced to buy a proportion of renewable power, the windmill mafia can charge two to three times that price, a practice that in any other market would be known as price gouging.

As if a $60 premium were not reward enough, the transaction is further sweetened with a renewable energy certificate that they can sell to energy producers who insist on generating power in a more disreputable manner.

The going rate of $40 a megawatt hour means the total income per megawatt for wind farms is three to five times that of conventional power, and unless the government changes the scheme that return is only going to get better.

In an act of rent-seeking genius, the renewable lobby managed to persuade the Rudd government to set the 2020 target as a quantity — 41 terawatt hours — rather than 20 per cent of overall power as originally proposed.

Since the target was set, the energy generation forecast for 2020 has fallen substantially, meaning the locked-in renewable target is now more like 28 per cent.

That will send conventional producers scrambling for certificates, pushing up their price beyond $100. It’s a mouth-watering prospect for the merchant bankers and venture capitalists who were smart enough to jump on board, and brilliant news for Mercedes dealerships on the lower north shore, but of little or any benefit to the planet.

The cost of this speculative ­financial picnic will be about $17 billion by 2030 or thereabouts, ­according to Deloitte, which produced a report on the messy business last week.

Since the extra cost will be added to electricity bills, the RET is a carbon tax by another name, a regressive impost that will fall most heavily on those with limited incomes, such as pensioners.

The lowest income households already spend 7 per cent of their disposable incomes on energy, according to the Australian Council of Social Service. Energy takes just 2.6 per cent of the budget of those on high incomes.

Thus under the cover of responding to climate change — “the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time” — billions of dollars are taken from the poor and given to the rich investors in the unsightly industrial turbines that are blighting the lives of rural communities and stripping value from the properties of people who just wish to be left to live in peace.

If the anti-Abbott budget bashers who are squealing about a minor adjustment to pension indexation were serious, they would demand the end of the RET’s iniquitous transfer of wealth.

Yet ironically they find themselves on the side of crafty merchant bankers in the romantic expectation that this complex ­financial ruse is doing something to assist the planet.

To speak up in opposition to this social injustice is to find oneself condemned as a climate change denier, right-wing ideologue, apologist for the coal industry or, worse still, to be ignored altogether, as the ABC’s Four Corners managed to do in its renewable energy special last month.

The corporation flew reporter Stephen Long to California to tell us how wonderful the renewable energy bonanza is going to be and how foolish Tony Abbott’s government is to even question the proposition that too many windmills are barely enough.

“This government has an ideological agenda,” insisted John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council.

“They want to carve out the impact of renewable energy on the network and they want to stop renewals in their tracks.”

Jeremy Rifkin, author of a book called The Third Industrial Revolution, told Long: “Australia’s the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy. There’s so much sun; there’s so much wind off the coast, and so it makes absolutely no sense when you have an abundance of renewable energy, why would you rely on a depleting supply of fossil fuels with all of the attendant ­consequences to society and the planet?”

Fatuous arguments of this kind are rarely challenged on the ABC, nor are the purveyors of renewable energy subjected to the degree of scepticism that others with corporate vested interests can expect. Instead they find themselves in the company of a cheer squad.

“The new developments with renewable energy and storage seem to have passed the Prime Minister by,” Long editorialised halfway through his dispiriting ­report.

Finally, however, as Long was about to run out of time and throw back to Kerry O’Brien, he let slip the awkward truth he had managed so far to avoid.  “Yes, it costs money to create the infrastructure for renewable energy,” he says. “A lot of money.”

Indeed it does, and if the arbitrary, inefficient and regressive mechanism of the RET is all that is left to overcome that hurdle, we may as well give up.

It is through this complicated method that the consumers are forced to pay a subsidy to wind farms without the need for a ­carbon tax.



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

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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.


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"

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

Index page for this site


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International" blog.


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
Of Interest


"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
Western Heart
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
The Kogarah Madhouse (St George Bank)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page (Backup here).
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following: