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

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

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31 August, 2015

Obama to push global-warming treaty in trip to Alaska

Some awkward facts you won't hear from Obama:  "Alaska’s summers are warm with temperatures that can reach into the 90°s. Ft. Yukon holds the all-time record with a sizzling 100°F temperature recorded in 1915. Many believe that the far northern part of Alaska would be the coldest. Actually, the record for Alaska (and the entire U.S. for that matter) was set in 1971 at Prospect Creek in the northern interior: a bone-chilling -80°F!"

Alaskan temperatures have on average increased considerably in recent decades, far more so than most places on earth.  The fact that they are out of step with the rest of the word does however show that we are not seeing anything global here. The process is local -- probably due to  slow changes in ocean currents which are probably cyclical and so may soon reverse

With melting glaciers and rising seas as his backdrop, President Obama will visit Alaska next week to press for urgent global action to combat climate change, even as he carefully calibrates his message in a state heavily dependent on oil.

Obama will become the first sitting president to visit the Alaska Arctic when he travels to Kotzebue – population 3,153 – just north of the Arctic Circle at the end of his three-day trip. He’ll kick off the visit Monday with a speech to a State Department-hosted conference in Anchorage on climate change and the Arctic.

The unambiguous goal of the president’s trip is to use dramatic and alarming changes to Alaska’s climate to instill fresh urgency into his global warming agenda. Sea ice is melting, critical permafrost is thawing and Alaska’s cherished glaciers are liquefying – powerful visuals that Obama hopes will illustrate the threat to natural wonders and livelihoods and serve as a global call to action.

“This is all real,” Obama said in his weekly address released Saturday. “This is happening to our fellow Americans right now.”


Ya gotta laugh:  California nightmare dreaming

They sure believe in having a bet each way below.  The drought will get worse, they say.  And then there will be floods. They may well be right.  But does that have anything to do with global warming?  Seeing that there has been no statistically significant  global warming for 18 years, global warming cannot account for either phenomenon.  Something that doesn't exist doesn't cause anything. What we are seeing is normal California climate oscillations.  It is mostly a dry state with occasional drought-breaking rains.  Always was.  Always will be.

There were some significant rains recently in fact -- but no mention of them below, of course.  California news from a few weeks ago: "Monsoonal moisture has increased rain events, cloud cover and humidity levels in what is normally a very dry time of year. The active Pacific hurricane season has helped enhance the rain events, leading to flooding for some parts of the state and even record rain amounts."

What clowns the Warmists are!

California's unabated drought (the one that's been going on for four long years) has parched the entire state and led to some frightening consequences (parts of the state are sinking), but the worst is yet to come and "there's no way out," according to climate scientists. Those were their literal words. They presented to regulators and reps from the Governor's Office at the California Climate Change Symposium this week, the Daily Breeze reports, telling them that the drought had been dramatically exacerbated by global warming, and that there's a lot worse in store: less water, more pollution, scarier weather, bigger storms, floods, and fires.

"What we're beginning to understand is that there's no way out," said Susanne Moser, who's described as a leading expert on climate change. "We need transformational change. We don't need more studies as much as we need to communicate the urgency and make solid changes. We need to not debate forever." But as the DB's Sandy Mazza writes, there's little funding at all to handle climate change and its effects, and even less for low-income communities, which are "therefore less prepared than their more affluent counterparts." But even the preparation that's already been done is wildly insufficient: "We're getting over the illusion that we can (fix) this with just a few little changes ... We have to break old habits," says Moser. Here's some of what the scientists are warning about; maybe they'll scare us into breaking some habits:

— An analysis of climate change's effect on the state's drought published in Geophysical Research Letters concluded that climate change made California's "dry season" as much as 20 percent worse. Plus, the combo of hot temperatures and little precipitation are "more likely" to result in a drought, so a warmer climate would probably be a droughtier one, a Stanford researcher explained.

— The heat evaporates more groundwater too, which is depleting underground reserves; those won't refill as easily as a reservoir might, "posing a problem for future drinking-water supplies."

— In addition to droughts, we should also expect excessive water. "We're in the middle of a drought but we're going to be in the middle of a flood, and we're less prepared for that," the president of Oakland's Pacific Institute says. Scientists are expecting an enormous El Niño effect this winter, which will mean biblical amounts of precipitation.

— One result of a warmer overall climate will be higher sea levels. Though areas along the coast, like the Port of LA, have already made some effort to prepare for a rise in waters, coastal 'hoods and "Low-lying areas, including the Los Angeles International Airport, are at risk of being submerged in water."

— Meanwhile, warmer atmospheric conditions hold more water, which can amount to more intense storms, said a US Geological Survey hydrologist, so we'll have those, too. "Atmospheric rivers," a thread of "thick precipitation" that travels through the air like a stream or river, will increase as the climate warms up. (The tail-end of an atmospheric river hit the Bay Area in late December and it was ROUGH.)

— But even though "big storms are expected this winter, Californians should actually anticipate worsening droughts, scientists said." New findings presented at this symposium suggest that there's a 95 percent chance that the changing, warming climate created that high pressure ridge—aka the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge—that's kept rain from falling on California for years—and will probably do it again. "Global warming has at least tripled the probability of the atmospheric condition" that produced the ridge.

— It's not just coastal areas that will be in trouble. Warmer temperatures are creating bigger forest fires (which in turn produce carbon emissions). "Wildfires are of particular concern because conifer forests are thicker than ever and a drier, hotter climate is especially conducive to fire," said one hydrologist.


Climate is dooming the profiteers of doom

Exclusive to WND: Lord Monckton reacts to 'bombshell dropped' on 'global warming' claims

ERICE, SICILY – Here at the World Federation of Scientists’ annual meeting on energy seminars, the warm autumn sun shines on the golden-gray limestone of the medieval monasteries that are now temples of science, asking much the same questions about the origin and destination of the universe as the pious monks once asked.

One thing has become ever clearer in the five years since I first came here to deliver a lecture to 200 of the world’s most eminent scientists on the apparently obscure topic of clouds and climate sensitivity: The profiteers of doom are themselves doomed. The climate is not responding as the bed-wetters had said it would.

There have been two plenary sessions devoted to the climate this year. By convention, the Erice meetings are subject to Chatham House rules, which prevent me from repeating what any particular participant said. However, I can certainly report that the increasing temperature of the debate between the true-believers in climate doom and the hard-headed skeptics is not matched by global mean temperature, which has not risen for 18 years and seven months, even though fully one-third of man’s effect on the climate since 1750 has occurred in the same period.

In the Canadian army, trainees are taught what it is like to have to fight an opposing force. They call the imaginary enemy the “Fantasians.” That seems to me to be the perfect word for the true-believers in climate cataclysm. They are increasingly removed from reality.

Gradually, the Fantasians who used to attend the annual seminars here on a noble mountain-top overlooking the azure Mediterranean have slunk away. They know the end of their dominance is near.

For, as was pointed out during the plenary sessions here, the rate of global warming since the U.N.’s climate panel made its first exaggerated predictions in 1990 has been little more than a third of what we were told it would be.

As always here in Erice, a quiet, learned bombshell was dropped – and dropped so subtly that most of the participants did not at first notice. I cannot give details of the form this bombshell took, for that would pre-empt a forthcoming publication in one of the leading learned journals of climate science.

But I can tell you what it means. The Fantasians’ computer models have made a prodigious exaggeration of one particular variable in the equation that tells them how much global warming to expect. What this means is that there will in fact be considerably less manmade global warming over the coming century than even I had at first thought.

As recently as January this year, in a learned paper with three distinguished colleagues, I wrote in the Science Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences that there would not even be 1 Celsius degree of new manmade global warming this century.

The effect of the bombshell, delivered by one of the sharpest of the many sharp minds here, will halve that estimate. There cannot now be more than 0.5 Celsius, or about 1 Fahrenheit, of new manmade warming by 2100 compared with today.

For that bombshell, though the biggest of them all, was not the only one to be quietly dropped into the windowless, earthquake-proof, reinforced-concrete bunker that is the chief lecture-hall at the Ettore Majorana Centre for Scientific Culture. It was also revealed that the U.N.’s accident-prone climate panel has cut another key variable in the global-warming equation by a quarter, reducing the warming we may expect by as much as a third.

It was also explained that only two-thirds of the global warming predicted to occur in response to our altering the climate will occur within a century of our influence, and that in any event our influence does not all occur in the present but will increase slowly over the 21st century, again halving the warming predicted by the hapless U.N. climate panel.

Of course, the panel also predicts that there will be some further warming from our past sins of emission. But here’s the thing: Even if the U.N. is right about that (which is unlikely after 223 months without any global warming), we can do nothing about it. Once we have returned to the atmosphere some of the CO2 that was once resident there in concentrations at least 15 times today’s, there is very little that we can do to get it back out again. Nature will do that for us over time, but we cannot much accelerate the process.

The point is that, even in theory (through probably not in practice), the only warming we can now affect is the warming that has not yet occurred this century.

But what about the warming that will therefore occur in the next century? Scientifically speaking, there is no need to worry about it, because a rate of warming so slow that we shall only see half a degree of new manmade warming this century is not going to lead to catastrophe.

Economically speaking, it might be worth doing something to try to prevent some of this year’s expected global warming, but the next century is too far away for us to need to take any steps now. The rational course would be to wait and see whether global warming accelerates: After all, the planet is scarcely warmer today than it was two decades ago, so we have plenty of extra time to see whether any action needs to be taken before throwing taxpayers’ money away on boondoggles like wind farms that slice birds and bats to bits and swipe them out of the sky, or solar collectors that fry passing birds to a crisp.

Naturally, the pompous Fantasians who have a meal-ticket for life negotiating meaningless but cripplingly expensive climate deals at the interminable series of U.N. annual climate conferences do not know anything about this. They have no idea how very silly they are beginning to look. If they bothered to read WND, they would know the truth.


Old bag Slingo Making It Up As She Goes Along

With just a couple of days left, the Met Office have confirmed just how cold the summer has been in the UK:

"Despite a dry and sunny June and a brief heat-wave at the start of July, summer overall looks set to be cooler than average and cooler than either summer 2013 or 2014. It has also been rather wetter than average, however sunshine totals are expected to be near average.

In general the weather has been dominated by a westerly flow from the Atlantic, bringing often cool and rather wet conditions, especially in the north and west, with the south-east generally experiencing the best of any warm, dry, sunny spells.

Using provisional figures up to 26 August* and then assuming average conditions for the final few days of the month, Met Office statistics show the UK mean temperature for this summer will be around 14 °C. This is 0.4 °C below the long term average (1981-2010)."

Apart from 2011 and 2012, this would make it the coldest summer since 1998.

Unsurprisingly, the Met Office did not see this coming at the end of May.

While they admit that uncertainty was large, the vast majority of their modelled projections were well above the outcome, including one which would have broken the record of 15.78C by a large margin.

None of this will come as any great surprise, but what is interesting is what Julia Slingo has to say about it on the Met Office blog:

Note again: "If we look beyond our shores there have been some big changes in the global climate this year. El Niño is in full flight, disturbing weather patterns around the world. The low pressure that has dominated our weather is part of a pattern of waves in the jet stream around the world that has brought crippling heat waves to places like Poland and Japan. And, looking back over past El Niños, you could have expected that a more unsettled summer might be on the cards for the UK."

So it’s all the El Nino’s fault! Well perhaps not.

Returning to the 3-Month outlook above, this is what the Met Office had to say at the end of May:

Note: "However, El Niño is not known to have a significant influence on the climate across northern Europe at this time of year."

In other words, Slingo is just making it up as she goes along. They were even saying exactly the same thing in their 3-Month outlook at the end of July.

Slingo claims in her article that none of this could have been foreseen, even though now she also claims that the weather should have been expected with El Nino conditions.

However, one commenter rather shows up her incompetence:

It is a mystery how this incompetent woman has kept her job for so long.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

Global Warming Policies May Increase Water Deficits

Is it possible that emissions-curbing policies endanger the water supply even more than climate change itself?

“Using biofuels as a way to cut greenhouse gas emissions could put U.S. water resources under increasing pressure. Researchers find that a heavy reliance on bioenergy could mean a 42 percent increase in water consumption across the US by 2100,” The Carbon Brief reported.

That’s the takeaway from a new study from the University of Maryland and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). The problem centers on emissions policies designed around biofuels.

“The results clearly show, for the first time to our knowledge, that climate change mitigation policies, if not designed with careful attention to water resources, could increase the magnitude, spatial coverage, and frequency of water deficits. The results challenge the general perception that mitigation that aims at reducing warming also would alleviate water deficits in the future,” the study said.

Lead author Mohamad Hejazi said the findings mean that water must be carefully considered in any policy intervention. “If we don’t pay careful attention to water, we could end up with climate mitigation policies that yield such negative consequences,” he said.

Responding To Climate Change (RTCC) broke down the meaning of the study: “Their models show that while mitigating climate change boosts water supply, this is outweighed by increased demand... In other words, green policies risk causing more water stress than climate change itself.”

It’s not the act of curbing emissions, but rather the use of thirsty bioenergy crops, that creates problems. “A scenario involving less bioenergy saw water demand rise 12 percent instead of 42 percent, with nuclear and geothermal energy the main drivers. But the authors noted bioenergy was seen as a cost-effective option, with potential for negative emissions if coupled with carbon capture and storage,” the study said.

Bioenergy crops are also criticized for taking up space that could be used for food crops.


Katrina: Not Global Warming, and Not Worst-Case Scenario

By forecaster Joe Bastardi

I don’t know if people remember but I caused quite a stir the Friday afternoon before Hurricane Katrina struck when, on national TV, I said it was coming for New Orleans. I reminded people that I had downplayed Ivan in New Orleans the year before when apparently there was a rumor the mayor, thinking it would hit the city, ordered 10,000 bodybags. Ivan was not their storm, but I knew exactly what kind of storm would result in a disaster. I will explain that below. In any case, I was recently reminded of all this at a dinner with some clients in Houston. One of them thanked me because, as my client, I called him at two o'clock in the afternoon when the European (ECMWF) computer model run came in confirming my worst fear: It was coming for New Orleans. In what I do, serving the client to keep them prepared comes first. The TV was, is and always will be secondary. That being said, I am always going to speak my mind on these matters.

I am not writing this to relive yesterday. I have kept out of all the Katrina hoopla; in fact, I look on with a bit of ironic amusement at the way people recall the storm. It’s like a 10-year high school reunion, where some of the things that are being said just don’t fit the overall missive. I can’t wait for the 25-year reunion. Should be good. You remember how those go: The 3-1 win in the districts turns into a 7-0 perfect game in the finals of the states. It’s like a weather version of Napoleon Dynamite’s “Uncle Rico.”

The term I used for what Katrina would do was a “pincer movement” pushing water back through Lakes Bourne and Pontchartrain, with the water then coming back into New Orleans from hurricane force northwest winds on the backside. This was based on an idea I had read back when I was a child, in the February 1965 issue of Weatherwise on the review of Hurricane Hilda, 1964. The author made a point to say that if the storm had regained hurricane intensity east of New Orleans it might have flooded the city from the north. The point is that, even back in the 1960s, they were concerned about this. And, well, they should have been, as Category 4 Betsy in 1965 caused major problems there, but even that didn’t track in the ideal manner. Neither did Katrina, and people have to realize that no amount of man-made global warming clamor can change the fact it was not worst case. I said it then, and I will say it again as my contribution to the 10-year reunion: The 1947 hurricane, with Katrina’s intensity or greater (remember, Camille in 1969 was a Category 5 with a similar path to Katrina), would be the worst-case scenario.

This endgame is similar to the Category 5 “Fist of Fury,” a smaller but more violent Camille in 1969.

Now notice Betsy, a giant of a storm, occurred in 1965 despite an El Niño.

The track was south of the Mississippi River, so the worst storm surge came not through Lakes Bourne and Ponchartrain but from the southeast where the Delta can break it up. That being said, water came up so high, people were trapped in their attics! The mayor of New Orleans, before his Ivan misread, said for people to make sure they had axes, in reference to what folks had to do to get out of their houses because of Betsy. But even that was not the worst-case scenario.

Here is the ultimate track, with the intensity of any of these three storms: The 1947 Fort Lauderdale hurricane, a Category 4 storm, but not nearly as strong at New Orleans.

A 20-25 foot storm surge back through those lakes and New Orleans is rendered helpless. There is little anyone can do with an approach from the east-southeast, north of the mouth of the Mississippi.

This is certainly not global warming. It’s like with Sandy. Years before, I wrote a paper and did talks to insurance companies on what I called the “Philadelphia Story,” a storm worse than Sandy but of the same genre — one that came from the southeast. Why? Well, my dad, a meteorologist, would always pull out maps of Hurricane Hazel’s pattern (1954) then track hurricanes like the one in 1933 into the mid-Atlantic States, or the 1903 storm into Atlantic City, and observe: The question isn’t why it should happen, but why not. So it is here.

My contribution to the reunion is this: Katrina was not global warming, and it was not the worst-case scenario. And if a worst-case storm shows up, it should be apparent that it would not be global warming, either.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)


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


30 August, 2015

UK: End of the solar panel boom as subsidies slashed by Tories

Ministers moved to slash massive subsidies for solar panels yesterday, amid signs the Government’s enthusiasm for green energy is waning.  In a surprise move, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd announced a consultation aimed at cutting the subsidies by almost 90 per cent.

If implemented, such a step would remove virtually all incentive for home owners to install the panels and could mean the end of Britain’s solar power boom.

In recent weeks, ministers have tightened planning restrictions and reduced subsidies for wind farms. They also closed the £540million Green Deal, which gave out loans for domestic energy efficiency improvements.

Ministers claim they are taking ‘urgent action’ to tackle overspend within the Department of Energy and Climate Change and to protect ‘hard-working bill payers’.

Its latest consultation says government spending on feed-in tariffs – schemes that pay producers a subsidy for the electricity they generate – should be limited to between £75million and £100million by 2018/19.

Feed-in-tariff payments on domestic solar panels will also be cut by £192 a year for the typical household, according to calculations.

The Tories have already announced that taxpayer subsidies for wind farms are to be axed a year early, part of a ‘big reset’ of support given to renewable energy.

The Government is expected to go further and review all support given to green energy which is funded by levies on bills worth £4.3billion-a-year. The latest announcement will come as an embarrassment for energy minister Amber Rudd, who promised in May to ‘unleash a new solar revolution’.

Green energy campaigners have criticised the ‘absurd’ Government plans as ‘politically motivated’.

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Alasdair Cameron said: ‘From California to China, the world is reaping the benefits of a solar revolution, yet incredibly in the UK David Cameron is actually trying to shut down rooftop solar.

‘These absurd solar cuts will send UK energy policy massively in the wrong direction and prevent almost a million homes, schools and hospitals from plugging in to clean, renewable energy. This is politically-motivated, and will take away power from people and hand it back to big energy firms.’

The DECC said it was taking urgent action to ‘get a grip of this overspend’, adding: ‘Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly.’


Europe's Carbon Credit Program Only Made Money -- for some

Well this is awkward. A study from the Stockholm Environment Institute investigating the effectiveness of the carbon credit program run by the United Nations found that it backfired. Well, unless the real intent was to enrich some at the expense of others.

Instead of trimming greenhouse gas emissions, the program increased them by 600 tons. How? For some countries, there was money to be made or a con to be played. The BBC reports that 73% of the programs the institute studies would have happened naturally, without any extra effort to cut back on emissions or save the trees.

“Imagine that,” Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw writes. “The Russians in particular did quite well by citing any number of programs, including one where they agreed to stop burning coal waste at mining facilities which was dumping massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

The catch was that the Russians had not previously been burning the coal waste. They only started doing it so they could stop and claim the credits for it. Of course, when the Russian representative was reached for comment, he said, ‘It’s simply not true.’”

It just goes to show that Hillary Clinton was right — at least about some of her fellow statists: You can’t change hearts and minds, only the law. And those unchanged hearts will make a mockery of intrusive government programs.


A mockery of "renewables" -- from the Left

See below

A recent Greenpeace tweet celebrated the fact that renewable energy is now the world's second largest source of electricity: "Woohoo! #Renewables world’s 2nd largest source of electricity.”

Is it useful to mislead people about our progress in fighting climate change? I think not. People rarely re-assess their prejudices without some incentive and if they believe the renewable band wagon is travelling well, then why bother thinking about anything else?

Here's a few charts from the reports (1 and 2) which prompted the story and the tweet:

First, look at the top chart. There are three nominally renewable wedges in the chart and the only one of any significance is hydroelectricity. Wind, solar, geothermal, tidal and all the other subsidy sucking technologies aren't even worth their own slice in the pie.

Is hydroelectricity green? Typically, hydroelectric dams flood vast areas, totally trashing both human and animal habitats in the process; preceded of course by displacement and death respectively.

The resulting turgid watery habitat generates significant quantities of methane that weren't generated before; not just from rotting vegetation, but as the methane dissolved in the water is released on the spillways of the hydroplant.

The dam builders have been getting a free lunch for decades now by generating significant greenhouse gases but not having to list them in their Greenhouse gas inventories. Even if the reservoir created is small, hydro dams typically change river flows with a wide range of ecological consequences... generally negative unless your particular ecological interest extends to jet or water skis.

Is this the kind of ecological devastation Greenpeace should be woohooing about?

And the deeper you dig the worse it gets.

Looking at the IEA data on the global change in electricity production between the 2010 report and the most recent 2014 report, we can see that renewable growth between 2008 and 2012, even including hydro, hasn't even matched fossil fuel growth, let alone displacing anything.

Put simply, while renewables now have a slightly bigger percentage of the pie, the area of the pie they need to replace is larger than ever. It's like climbing a hill where you go up 300 meters only to find that the hill is growing and is now 600 meters higher than when you started.

Pulling the plug on nuclear in Japan and Germany, due respectively to mass hysteria and viral ignorance at the highest levels, has only made matters worse.
We don't need anybody misleading people into thinking that we can beat climate change with sloppy thinking and toy energy systems.

The situation looks even worse when we consider not just electricity, but the full gamut of fossil fuel use.

Again, as the two graphs show, renewable energy, as distinct from just electricity, is mostly hydro or biofuels and biofuels are even more of an environmental disaster than hydro electricity. Nor do they displace enough CO2 to be useful in any solution to our emissions problems.

What is blindingly obvious to all but the closed-minded is that the poster children of renewable energies, wind and solar, are doing exactly what they did back in the 70s and 80s when they were rolled out as a solution to the oil crisis; sweet bugger all.

In contrast, the energy system which broke the oil crisis has experienced considerable development and is now better than ever; nuclear power.

It's tough to admit to being wrong, but many in the environment movement have done it and are now backing nuclear power.


Climate scientists claim to predict storms in 100-10,000 years, but can't predict tropical storm Erica 1 day in advance

Thumbing its nose at some of the world’s most skilled computer models and forecasters, Tropical Storm Erika cruised relentlessly almost due west through the northern Caribbean on Friday, failing to make a long-predicted northwestward turn toward the Bahamas. The National Hurricane Center placed Erika's ill-defined center at 11:00 pm EDT Friday at 18.5°N, 72.9°W, or about 40 miles west of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Erika’s top sustained winds were set at 45 mph. Hurricane-hunter flights on Friday had found flight-level winds of as high as 55 knots (more than 60 mph) on the north side of Erika.

Erika has been a troubled-looking system, with thunderstorms mostly straggling behind and south of the center due to upper-level northwesterlies producing vertical wind shear (the difference between upper- and lower-level winds) of about 30 mph. Despite the shear, Erika’s large circulation maintained a broad north-to-south oriented region of intense convection through most of Friday before thunderstorms consolidated toward its north end on Friday evening.

Most of the core convection passed just south of Puerto Rico, so by and large, the island missed out on the rain that it so desperately needs. San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport reported just 0.25” on Thursday and 0.22” on Friday. Heavy rains swept through the Dominican Republic late Friday: a personal weather station in Barahona reported 23.76" of rain between 1 pm Friday and 2 am Saturday, including 8.80" in one hour from 8 pm to 9 pm Friday. Late Friday night, a very intense cluster of thunderstorms was moving slowly across southwestern Haiti, including Port-au-Prince.


EPA Checked in Its Takeover of America's Waterways

The EPA was hours away from implementing an expansive interpretation of the Clean Water Act when a judge in North Dakota issued an injunction blocking the power grab. In response to a suit brought by 13 states, Judge Ralph Erickson halted Thursday the EPA’s rule that would have, according to Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), placed the agency in control of every ditch, man-made pond and flood plain in the nation.

Erickson wrote, “Once the rule takes effect, the states will lose their sovereignty over intrastate waters that will then be subject to the scope of the Clean Water Act.”

The EPA isn’t accepting the judge’s orders. It said in a statement that it will only comply with the injunction in the 13 states that were part of the suit. However, there are nine other suits brought against the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in regards to the water rule. In total, 29 states are questioning the EPA’s authority in the matter.

In addition to having a river in Colorado to clean up, the courts have been checking the EPA’s abuse of power — such as the Supreme Court’s June ruling about the EPA’s emission guidelines for coal plants. This hasn’t been a good stretch for the EPA.


‘There is a moral case for fossil fuels’

The moral case against fossil fuels is rooted in the standard that we should be minimising our impact. And the moral case for fossil fuels questions that at its root. It doesn’t just say these windmills are chopping off birds’ heads. It says that the whole standard, the whole metric by which we’re going to evaluate fossil fuels, is maximising human wellbeing. And when you adopt that standard, you see that there absolutely is a moral case for fossil fuels.’

Alex Epstein, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress and the author of a brilliant, bracing new book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, makes for a passionate interviewee. He’s also got the facts to back up what, in today’s green-hued zeitgeist, appears to be an achingly unfashionable argument. But it’s true: if the moral standard by which you evaluate fossil-fuel usage is the betterment of human life, then fossil fuels are indisputably a moral good.

As Epstein points out in The Moral Case, ‘Today the world uses 39 per cent more oil, 107 per cent more coal, and 131 per cent more natural gas than it did in 1980’. And during that period, the basic measures of human wellbeing have shown marked improvements:

‘World life expectancy at birth has gone up from 63 in 1980 to 70 in 2012. The child mortality rate on the planet went down from 115 to 47 per 1,000 live births. Infant mortality declined from 80 to 35 per 1,000 live births in the same time period… Malnutrition, defined by the percentage of children under five with significantly below average weight or height for their age, has been constantly decreasing at a significant rate since 1990. Access to electricity and improved water sources, which are basic indicators for human wellbeing, hygiene, and health in general, went up as well. Developing countries in the sub-Saharan and East Asian region have been particularly impressive; East Asian developing countries now have an average life expectancy at birth of 73 years.There is much credit to be given to industrial-scale energy, primarily from fossil fuels.’

But what’s so surprising about the correlation between our colllective ability to produce more and more energy – nearly 90 per cent of which is produced from fossil fuels – and the vast improvements in life expectancy, infant mortality, food provision and so on, is that energy production using fossil fuels has so few champions. A fog of defensiveness even hangs over the fossil-fuel sector itself. It’s as if no one can see what to Epstein is blindlngly clear: there is a positive, indeed moral, case to be made for these most unfairly maligned of human resources. They have, in Epstein’s words, allowed humanity to flourish, that is, to enlarge our capacity to pursue our desires.

As Epstein explains, both sides of the climate-change debate, be they alarmist or sceptical, share the same assumption – that the so-called human footprint is a problem. ‘The issue has been framed as “how much are we impacting climate?”. If you look on a conservative website, for instance, you’ll see a section on climate. And, for me, this makes as little sense as if you had a medical website with section called “vaccine side effects”...  The green movement has completely framed the issue with the goal being to minimise our impact on climate, hence a lot of conservatives have countered with a defensive “well, we’re not actually doing that much”.’ So, rather than point out, as Epstein puts it, that ‘the burning of ancient dead plants is an unbelievably positive process’, too many are content to say that fossil-fuel use isn’t that negative.

It’s not always been that way, of course. The Moral Case usefully recalls the perspective of those enthused by the transformative potential, the capacity to create and flourish, unleashed by the Industrial Revolution. In 1865, the economist William Stanley Jevons wrote: ‘With coal almost any feat is possible or easy; without it we are thrown back into the laborious poverty of earlier times.’ And if the coal ran out, he wondered? ‘We [should] miss our grand dependence, as a man misses his companion, his fortune, or a limb, every hour and at every turn [is] reminded of the irreparable loss.’ It wasn’t as if the environmental harms, as today’s green argot has it, were yet to be recognised. ‘Pollution was visible as the smoke dampened the sunlight in the cities, darkened the laundry hanging to dry, and even blackened the trees with soot’, writes Epstein. ‘Still, the energy from coal was so valuable that these side effects were more than tolerated. In many cases, they were embraced. Take Manchester, England, a major industrial city full of coal waste. There was no movement against air pollution in Manchester – even though its pollution makes China’s air today seem pristine. Why not? Because, as one commentator put it, the smoke was an “inevitable and innocuous accompaniment of the meritorious act of manufacturing”.’

Today, however, things are different. What was once grasped as an ‘innocuous’ by-product of fossil-fuel useage, to be ameliorated with better technology, has become the all-consuming focus of any discussion of how best to produce energy. It’s all about the side effects. We’re not encouraged to look at what ever-improving energy production can do for us, how it can liberate and empower us. No, we’re urged to look at what it can do to the planet, how it can enslave and damage nature. This worldview, this nature- rather than human-centred morality, dominates political and cultural life today. It allows the likes of environmentalist Bill McKibben to declare in Rolling Stone magazine that the fossil-fuel industry is ‘Public Enemy Number One’ and call for a mass-movement to demonise it and deprive it of political standing, ‘much as South Africa’s Apartheid regime had been demonised and dismantled due to the moral outrage of private citizens around the world’.

On this nature-centric ideology, Epstein is particularly cutting. He says ‘we’re taught to think that Planet Earth, nature, is something superior to human beings and that we’re to serve it by refraining from impacting it, or transforming it, or altering it in any way’. He calls this ‘the fragile-mother view of nature’: ‘It’s as if this Garden of Eden is giving us what we need, but it exists in this delicate balance, so we need to tread lightly, and make no impact.’ But, says Epstein, ‘this Disney-esque view of the planet is false. The planet has unbelievable potential, but, in its unaltered state, it is resource-poor, and very threat-rich. So man’s primary activity on the planet is to transform it to meet his needs.’

This is key to countering the humans-are-bad-for-nature sentiment, the conviction that we need to minimise our impact on the planet. Not only, Epstein tells me, are we part of nature, we’re ‘the best part’. Impacting on the natural world, transforming and altering it, is a ‘moral enterprise’. It is part of the perpetual struggle to forge a world capable of meeting our ever-developing needs. Humanity is ‘unnatural’, if by that it is meant we are constantly freeing ourselves from natural necessity – and that’s a good thing. As Epstein notes, this means that a newborn child, who may once have died of ‘natural causes’, will survive thanks to an incubator – a human invention that requires a reliable source of energy. And it’s not just incubators, of course. All around us are machines and technologies that allow us to do remarkable and literally death-defying things, machines and technologies that free us from nature’s thrall. And energy, or ‘machine calories’, is crucial to this development and flourishing.

Certain environmentalist fetishes need exposing here. Nature is not benevolent; it’s indifferent. It’s only through human activity, through maximising our impact, that we turn it from something for itself, into something for us – that is, we humanise it. And this goes for the climate itself. ‘We don’t take a safe climate and make it dangerous’, writes Epstein. ‘We take a dangerous climate and make it safe. High-energy civilisation, not climate, is the driver of climate livability. No matter what, climate will always be naturally hazardous – and the key question will always be whether we have the adaptability to handle it or, better yet, master it.’ Such mastery won’t be achieved through minimising our impact on nature, through genuflecting towards some fantastical Mother Earth. Rather, it requires a desire to increase humanity’s impact, to develop its footprint. Epstein writes, ‘Development is the transformation of a nonhuman environment into a human-friendly environment using high-energy machines. Development means water-purification systems, irrigation, synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, genetically improved crops, dams, seawalls, heating, air-conditioning, sturdy homes, drained swamps, central power stations, vaccination, pharmaceuticals, and so on.’

All of which sounds wonderful. ‘But what of the science?’, Epstein’s critics would say. What of the experts telling us that humanity, through its increasing use of fossil fuels, is impacting on nature, and the climate in particular, to a catastrophic extent? Epstein’s retort is simple – déjà-vu. In the 1970s and 1980s for instance, there was no shortage of similar doomsaying. ‘If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000’, wagered prominent ecologist Paul R Ehrlich. In 1986, NASA’s James Hansen said that because of the ‘greenhouse effect’, global temperatures would rise early in the next century to ‘well above any level experienced in the past 100,000 years’. And so on and so on.

‘It’s important that people know the track record [of climate-change alarmism]’, Epstein tells me. ‘It’s not even that it’s not mentioned. It’s that it gets mythologised as accurate. So James Hansen recently published a so-called study, and it was about these dramatic rises in sea levels. And the journal described Hansen as the guy who has been most correct on climate change. But here’s the thing: any normal person who did not predict a climate catastrophe would have a far better track record on this issue than James Hansen. He predicted this incredibly dramatic, runaway global warming and there was none.’

Indeed, as The Moral Case explains: ‘Since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve increased CO2 in the atmosphere from 0.03 per cent to 0.04 per cent, and temperatures have gone up less than a degree Celsius, a rate of increase that has occurred at many points in history. Few deny that during the past 15-plus years, the time of record and accelerating emissions, there has been little-to-no warming – and the models failed to predict that.’

Pointedly, Epstein is worried not only about the rectitude of the so-called science, but the elevation of The Science as a source of implacable authority. It’s as if it’s enough for those adhering to the minimise-human-impact, nature-centric worldview merely to invoke The Science to win the debate. The Science tells us that we must reduce CO2 emissions; The Science tells us we must reduce energy consumption; The Science tells us we have to fly less; The Science tells us to jump off a bridge… Epstein is unmoved. ‘Any given science cannot tell you how to act’, he says, mentioning the fact he himself trained to be a scientist when younger. ‘Science can only really give you information, not instruction. We have a very religous-dogmatic approach to science, which has a long history, exploiting science’s deserved prestige for its legitimate accomplishments. Hence dictators and charlatans always want to call what they do “science”. So as soon as you hear someone say “you should do X because The Science with a capital S says so”, you’ve got to start questioning it – or start running.’

Epstein continues: ‘To say “I want a scientist to tell me what to do” is absurd. It’s not as though Isaac Newton could tell you what house to get. Yeah, some of his knowledge could be relevant to that – certain physical laws. But he was not an oracle. No, it’s legitimate to want to be informed by science [but not to be told what to do by science]. The place of the scientist in our culture needs to be re-evaluated.’

Which, in a sense, is part of the purpose of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. Epstein is reframing the entire debate about climate change and energy. He is taking it out of the hands of The Science, and countering the nature-centric presuppositions of the debate, in which the objective is to reduce humanity’s impact on nature. It’s a deeply humanist move, and one for which he deserves the last word: ‘The moral case for fossil fuels is not about fossil fuels; it’s the moral case for using cheap, plentiful, reliable energy to amplify our abilities to make the world a better place – a better place for human beings.’



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, 2015

Amusing:  Warmists try to strike back at skeptical scientists -- but bomb out

If you read the guff below by climate robot Nuccitelli and his merry men, it seems like they have got something.  But they haven't.

I very rarely refer here to anything on Anthony Watts' site on the grounds that anybody reading this site has probably  already read Watts.  This time, however, what Watts points out is too funny to ignore.

The best bit is that Nuccitelli & Co submitted their paper to five different climate journals before they got it accepted for publication.  One of the rejecting journal referees commented pointedly:  “The manuscript is not a scientific study. It is just a summary of purported errors in collection of papers, arbitrarily selected by the authors.”

More at the Watts site.  Nuccitelli & Co do have some idea of what science is but they are no good at doing it

The scientific consensus behind man-made global warming is overwhelming: multiple studies have noted a 97 percent consensus among climate scientists that the Earth is warming and human activities are primarily responsible. Scientists are as sure that global warming is real — and driven by human activity — as they are that smoking cigarettes leads to lung cancer.

But what if all of those scientists are wrong? What if the tiny sliver of scientists that don’t believe global warming is happening, or that human activities are causing it — that two to three percent of climate contrarians — are right?

That’s the hypothetical question that a new study, authored by Rasmus Benestad, Dana Nuccitelli, Stephan Lewandowsky, Katharine Hayhoe, Hans Olav Hygen, Rob van Dorland, and John Cook, sought to answer. Published last week in the journal Theoretical and Applied Climatology, the study examined 38 recent examples of contrarian climate research — published research that takes a position on anthropogenic climate change but doesn’t attribute it to human activity — and tried to replicate the results of those studies.

The studies weren’t selected randomly — according to lead author Rasmus Benestad, the studies selected were highly visible contrarian studies that had all arrived at a different conclusion than consensus climate studies. The question the researchers wanted to know was — why?

“Our selection suited this purpose as it would be harder to spot flaws in papers following the mainstream ideas. The chance of finding errors among the outliers is higher than from more mainstream papers,” Benestad wrote at RealClimate. “Our hypothesis was that the chosen contrarian paper was valid, and our approach was to try to falsify this hypothesis by repeating the work with a critical eye.”

It didn’t go well for the contrarian studies.

The most common mistake shared by the contrarian studies was cherry picking, in which studies ignored data or contextual information that did not support the study’s ultimate conclusions. In a piece for the Guardian, study co-author Dana Nuccitelli cited one particular contrarian study that supported the idea that moon and solar cycles affect the Earth’s climate. When the group tried to replicate that study’s findings for the paper, they found that the study’s model only worked for the particular 4,000-year cycle that the study looked at.

“However, for the 6,000 years’ worth of earlier data they threw out, their model couldn’t reproduce the temperature changes,” Nuccitelli wrote. “The authors argued that their model could be used to forecast future climate changes, but there’s no reason to trust a model forecast if it can’t accurately reproduce the past.”
The researchers also found that a number of the contrarian studies simply ignored the laws of physics. For example, in 2007 and 2010 papers, Ferenc Miskolczi argued that the greenhouse effect had become saturated, a theory that had been disproved in the early 1900s.

“As we note in the supplementary material to our paper, Miskolczi left out some important known physics in order to revive this century-old myth,” Nuccitelli wrote.

In other cases, the authors found, researchers would include extra parameters not based in the laws of physics to make a model fit their conclusion.

“Good modeling will constrain the possible values of the parameters being used so that they reflect known physics, but bad ‘curve fitting’ doesn’t limit itself to physical realities,” Nuccitelli said.

The authors note that these errors aren’t necessarily only found in contrarian papers, and they aren’t necessarily malicious. In their discussion, they offer a suite of possible explanations for the mistakes. Many authors of the contrarian studies were relatively new to climate science, and therefore may have been unaware of important context or data. Many of the papers were also published in journals with audiences that don’t necessarily seek out climate science, and therefore peer review might have been lacking. And some of the researchers had published similar studies, all omitting important information.


Lamebrain Obama Called Conservatives Hypocrites on Solar Energy and Free Markets. Here’s What He Got Wrong

President Obama is having a hard time with the definition of free market.  The most recent example came from his remarks at the National Clean Energy Summit, an event hosted by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to promote solar power.

Obama told a crowd in Las Vegas that solar and renewables now make economic sense and blasted conservative think-tanks for being insincere when it comes to the free market. He said, “Now, it’s one thing if you’re consistent in being free market. It’s another thing when you’re free market until it’s solar that’s working and people want to buy and suddenly you’re not for it any more.”

The way America does solar is not free-market.

If solar made as much economic sense as Obama purports, it wouldn’t need help from Washington or continually push to extend the handouts it receives.

If solar operated in a free market, taxpayers wouldn’t have lost more than half a billion dollars on Solyndra.

Private investors would have taken that risk and lost their own money—or even better—made money. But instead we have policies where well-connected special interests and campaign donors direct how taxpayer money is spent and where private capital flows. The well-connected investors stand to reap all the profits, and the taxpayers bear all of the risk.

The market-distorting handouts for solar come in a variety of forms. The solar industry benefits from a generous 30-percent targeted investment tax credit, state grant and incentive programs, a taxpayer-funded initiative at the Department of Energy to lower the cost of solar, net metering policies that shift the costs of solar users to non-solar residents, taxpayer-backed federal loan guarantees, and Department of Defense mandates.

How are any of these viewed as free-market? Only through the lens of the Obama administration.

In fact, in the same speech, Obama announced a handful of new subsidies to prop up the solar industry on the backs of taxpayers and defended one of the biggest state-led anti-free-market policies: renewable electricity standards.

Obama stated:

    "When you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests, or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards, or to prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding, that’s s problem."

Renewable electricity standards mandate that a state must produce a certain amount of its electricity from renewables by a certain date.

Mandates that guarantee a share of the market and do not require innovation or competitive practices to lower costs and compete with other energy sources are not free-market.

It’s what Obama correctly defined as “rent seeking.”

Rent seeking occurs when politicians dictate how private-sector resources are spent. The industries that stand to benefit from or be harmed by those policy decisions will increase their lobbying for government handouts and to prevent their competitors from receiving the handout.

Obama also boasted that the “solar industry now employs twice as many Americans as mining coal.” First of all, when your administration empowers overzealous regulators to implement job-crushing regulations on the coal industry with no meaningful direct environmental benefit, the number of coal miners working an honest day’s work is going to shrink.

Secondly, solar employing twice as many as the coal industry is not the right metric for success or progress.

The reality is, we’re getting dramatically less energy bang for our subsidized solar buck.

Coal provided nearly 40 percent of America’s electricity in 2014, and solar provided 0.4 percent.

If the goal were simply to create jobs, we could rid the world of mechanical equipment and hire workers to dig our ditches. But the result would be a less prosperous United States and a lot of lost value creation, which would ultimately destroy more jobs than it created.

Subsidizing energy technologies directs labor and capital away from its most efficient use.

At Heritage, we’ve consistently pushed to end subsidies for all energy sources and technologies, including fossil fuel and nuclear subsidies.

We’ve identified barriers to break down to make renewables more competitive. We want to end cronyism and the political process that picks winners and losers and allow the market to determine what provides America with reliable energy at competitive prices.

Obama criticized opponents of his plan for standing in the way of progress.

But it’s his very policies that obstruct long-term progress of the industries they want to succeed and try to promote.

Instead of relying on a process that rewards competition, taxpayer subsidies prevent a company from truly understanding the price point at which the technology will be economically viable.

There’s a stark difference between opposing solar power and opposing solar power subsidies.

If the industry can compete without crony government programs, then that will be actual progress, and families and businesses will be better off as a result.

But let’s not pretend that solar is operating in a free-market environment. Instead, let’s open access to resources, remove all government favoritism, and unshackle energy sources and technologies bogged down by regulatory obstacles.


Oil’s down, gasoline isn’t. What’s up?

By Marita Noon

A little more than a year ago, oil prices were above $100 a barrel. The national average for gasoline was in the $3.50 range. In late spring, oil was $60ish, and the national average for gas was around $2.70. The price of a barrel of oil has plunged to $40 and below — yet, prices at the pump are just slightly less than they were when oil was almost double what it is today.

Oil and gasoline prices usually travel up or down in sync. But a few weeks ago, the trend lines crossed and oil continued the sharp decline while gasoline has stayed steady — even increasing.

Oil’s down, gasoline isn’t. Consumers are wondering, “What’s up?”

Even Congress is grilling refiners over the disparity.

While, like most markets, the answer is complicated, there are some simple responses that even Congress should be able to understand. The short explanation is “refineries” — but there’s more to that and some other components, too.

The U.S. has approximately 20 percent of the world’s refining capacity. Fuel News explains that “on a perfect day,” these domestic facilities could process more than 18 million barrels of crude oil. But due, in large part, to an anti-fossil fuel attitude, it is virtually impossible to get a new refinery permitted in America. Most refineries today are old — the newest major one was completed in 1977. Most are at least 40 years old and some are more than 100. Despite signs of aging, refining capacity has continued to grow. Instead of producing at 70 percent capacity, as they were as little as a decade ago, most now run at 90 percent. They’ve become Rube Goldberg contraptions that have been modified, added on to, and upgraded. The system is strained.

To keep operating, these mature refineries need regular maintenance — usually done on the shoulders of the busy driving seasons and when systems need to be reconfigured for the different winter and summer blends. Even then, things break. Sometimes a quick repair can keep it up and running until the scheduled maintenance — known as “turnaround.” Sometimes, not. Fixing the equipment failures on the aging facilities can take weeks.

This year, several unexpected maintenance issues happened in the spring. Other refineries worked overtime to make up the shortage. That, plus low crude prices, means that many refiners didn’t shutdown for the usual spring turnaround. Fuel News notes, potential profit encouraged refiners to “get while the getting’s good.”

This pedal-to-the-metal approach is catching up with the sagging systems. On August 8, BP’s Whiting, Ind. refinery, the largest supplier of gasoline in the Midwest, faced an unplanned shutdown due to a leak and possible fire hazard in its Pipestill 12 distillation unit — which processes about 40 percent of its 413,000 barrel per day capacity.

The closure of the largest of Whiting’s three units caused an immediate jump in gasoline prices in the Midwest. Stockpiles were drawn down to fill demand during summer’s peak driving season. Gasoline has been moved — via pipeline, truck, and train — from other parts of the country to balance out supply. So, while the biggest price increase was in states like Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois, prices rose nationwide beginning on August 11.

Meanwhile, because the Whiting plant wasn’t sucking up crude oil, its supplies grew and drove crude prices down further — hitting a six-year low. The Financial Times reports, “An outage at Whiting’s main crude distillation unit could add almost 1m [million] barrels to Cushing [The Oklahoma oil trading and storage center] every four days as long as it is out.”

Making matters worse, another Midwest refinery, Marathon’s Robinson, Ill. facility, which has a capacity of 212,000 barrels per day, is down for repairs that are expected to take two months.

Others smaller outages include Philadelphia Energy Solutions and the Coffeyville Resources’ refinery in Kansas. BloombergBusiness states, “As many as seven other Midwest refineries could shut units for extended time this fall.” Though, other reports indicate that some of the planned maintenance may be put off due to profit margins that are at a seven-year high.

While there are some other contributing factors, the current mix of supply and demand explains “what’s up?” The lack of new refineries punishes the whole system. Gasoline prices are up — hurting consumers. Crude prices are down—hurting producers.


What Is Obama's Top Population-Control Freak Hiding?

The most transparent administration in American history is at it again — dodging sunlight and evading public disclosure.

Joining former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her secret servers, former IRS witch hunt queen Lois Lerner and her secret email accounts, former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and her Internet alter egos, and former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his non-public email account is White House science czar John Holdren.

President Obama’s top climate change adviser is defending his hide-and-seek game in federal court. Earlier this month, the Washington, D.C.-based Competitive Enterprise Institute appealed a D.C. district court ruling protecting Holdren’s personal email communications from Freedom of Information Act requests.

CEI argues that federal transparency law “applies to the work-related records of agency employees regardless of where they are stored. Many agencies routinely instruct their staff to preserve any such documents that they might have on their personal email accounts.” Yet, as head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Holdren has placed himself above the law and spirit of transparency that Obama fraudulently vowed to uphold.

“It makes little sense to claim that an agency is not ‘withholding’ documents when it refuses to produce documents held by its own chief executive that relate to ‘agency business,’” CEI’s legal brief rightly argues. “Even if OSTP had demonstrated that these emails were not within its actual control — which it did not — its failure to search its director’s personal account would still violate FOIA because any agency records in that account fall within the agency’s ‘constructive control.’”

The White House science czar’s private email account resides with his former employer, the Woods Hole Research Center. It’s a far-left eco-alarmist group that pushes radical anti-capitalist interventions (Remember “cap and trade”?) to eliminate the decades-long hyped “global climatic catastrophe.” Their ultimate goal? Establishing government rule by eco-technocrats who detest humanity.

To this day, Holdren has escaped questions about his freaky-deaky population-control agenda. Remember, this is the unrepentant sky-is-falling guru who joined fellow whack jobs Paul and Anne Ehrlich in co-authoring “Ecoscience,” a creepy tome that called for saving the planet by proposing that:

    Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not.

    The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation’s drinking water or food.

    Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise.

    People who “contribute to social deterioration” (i.e. undesirables) “can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility” — in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.

    A transnational “Planetary Regime” should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans' lives — using an armed international police force.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy obstinately refused to answer my questions for Holdren on his views about forced abortions and mass sterilizations or on his continued embrace of forced-abortion advocate and eugenics guru Harrison Brown, whom he credits with inspiring him to become a scientist. Holdren’s mentor likened the global population to a “pulsating mass of maggots.”

These are not harmless dalliances of the past. Holdren’s insidious ideology — and his hidden policy communications — now have an untold impact on American taxpayers. He is the top strategist in Obama’s war on carbon, war on coal, war on the West and war on the economy. Holdren is the zealot “right at the heart” (as The New York Times put it) of devising White House climate change initiatives that reward environmental cronies, send electricity rates skyrocketing and kill jobs.

Who is Holdren conducting government business with, and what is he hiding from the public? What data is being doctored, what scientific evidence is being stonewalled in the name of rescuing the planet and consolidating power in the hands of the green elite? It’s time to turn up the heat.


Jim Inhofe on What the Left Gets Wrong About Climate Change

Sen. Jim Inhofe is no stranger to the climate change debate. The Oklahoma Republican, who leads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, believes that government and regulation are a big problem.

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Inhofe explained why people should care about the climate debate and what prompted him to bring a snowball to the floor of the Senate earlier this year.

In a separate exchange, Inhofe talked about the government’s regulation of U.S. waterways. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced the Waters of the United States rule, known as WOTUS.


The Percival Effect

Correlations, Causes and Disproofs 

Viv "Farmer" Forbes

Every morning just before dawn our rooster crows and soon afterwards the sun comes up. We have observed no exceptions over three months - clear evidence of perfect correlation. Therefore we have concluded that the crowing rooster causes the sun to rise.

My wife Flora (who believes that the Cooee birds bring the rain) said: “I knew that ages ago - Professor Percival told me.”

So I consulted Professor Percival, our neighbour. He is Professor Emeritus in the “Science in Society” Department at Top-Line University. He specialises in the effect of sound waves on atmospheric transmissivity. He says that some roosters produce sound waves of just the right frequency to affect the dawn visibility through the thick morning atmosphere. He has written pal-reviewed papers on the subject which has been named “The Percival Effect”. In all the hallowed halls, it is regarded as “settled science”.

However, we decided that our rooster was not doing his day job, so he ended up as roast dinner last night.

Flora was very concerned – “what if the sun does not appear at all tomorrow?” she wailed.

But the sun rose as normal.

Flora was relieved but a concerned Professor Percival went off to check his calculations “for feedback loops”. He is still checking.

One thing was proved conclusively in just one day – the rooster’s crowing does not make the sun appear. Something else causes the sun to rise. Our ninety-two correlations did not prove causation. But just one disproof was needed to kill the Percival Effect.

So it is with the Greenhouse Effect. For about 20 years now, carbon dioxide levels have risen steadily but global temperatures are trending level. Therefore CO2 does not control global temperature.

One disproof is all that is needed.

“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” -- Albert Einstein



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, 2015

How strong is the link between global warming and California drought?

Easy answer:  No link at all. For a start, drought is a normal occurrence in California.  Second, since there has been no global warming for 18 years, it cannot  be influencing anything.  Things that don't exist don't have effects.  None of that is confronted by the lamebrain below.  He just regurgitates the usual data-free Leftist propaganda.  And thirdly, there is no significant drought.  Releasing dam water to flow straight out to sea for various crazy Greenie reasons is why there is a shortage of water for homes and crops

Further studies are being conducted at this moment to explore the contributions of particulars to the climate variability which brought about the drought and temperature components related with anthropogenic warming. Thus, when rainfall declined in 2012, the air sucked already scant moisture from soil, trees and crops harder than ever.

The climatic change and its effects may be experienced globally and warmer air and weather are not the only ones to blame since other factors such as evaporation rates and precipitation form part of the main contributors.

If human-caused greenhouse gas emissions were not trapping heat, leading to climate change, the state’s drought could be up to 27 percent less severe than it is, the study researchers say.

Yes, global warming is more than three times higher than natural climate changes and this is bad for California.

The study, authored by five researchers from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and one from the University of Idaho’s geography department, said if this trend continues then the state will experience more “persistent aridity” within a few decades, according to an August 20 press release from Columbia.

It’s very clear the warming of California has increased the probability of conditions that create drought.

Unlike the natural variation in climate which produces extreme conditions only occasionally, the demand of additional moisture on account of global warming is on the rise every year with concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rising higher consistently.

The study, said that average California temperatures have increased 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 113 years. Because of global warming Californian mountain snows have started melting in an accelerated way as well, whereas 10 years ago the melting was dispersed more gradually in time and has helped freshening up the lowlands during the hot season. The monthly changes were simulated in the quantity of water in each bucket between 1901 and 2014. It was found that global warming has contributed between 8 and 27% to the severity of 2012-2014 California drought. Due to the growing global temperature, this fact is turning out to be true for most places worldwide. This means that by around the 2060s, more or less permanent drought will set in, interrupted only by the rainiest years. If California finds itself struggling with this drought, serious planning needs to take place in order to be resilient to a future where it’s increasingly likely that the current drought will look like child’s play.


Sen. Lee: WH Hasn’t Responded to Congressional Inquiries Regarding EPA’s Toxic Spill

 Neither the White House nor the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – the federal agency tasked with protecting public health and the country’s natural resources – have responded to inquiries sent by members of Congress from states impacted by the EPA’s toxic chemical spill in Colorado two weeks ago, a spokesperson with Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) office told

Senate and House members from Utah, New Mexico and Colorado have sent letters to President Barack Obama and EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins, Jr. seeking accountability for the estimated three million gallons of toxic mine waste EPA employees released into Western waterways.

But Sen. Lee sent out a press release on Thursday explaining that he and other members of Congress from the states affected have still not received replies from the Obama administration.

The mine waste, which contained high concentrations of arsenic, lead and other heavy metals, was accidentally released into the Animas River by EPA workers as they inspected the long-abandoned Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado on Aug. 5, the Associated Press reported.

In an Aug. 17 letter to the president signed by all members of the congressional delegation from Utah, where the polluted water reached Lake Powell after travelling 300 miles downstream, the administration was chided for its slow response to the “disaster”.

“Unfortunately, EPA failed to contact the state of Utah within twenty-four hours of the spill. This reckless behavior is intolerable,” the letter states.

“The federal government must implement a more transparent and efficient cleanup effort if it is to aid Utah’s scientists and make our communities whole again,” adds the letter, which was signed by Lee, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and GOP House members Rob Bishop, Jason Chaffetz, Chris Stewart and Mia Love.

“In the long-term, the federal government must ensure that the state and local governments forced to spend money protecting their citizens are adequately and quickly compensated,” the letter added.

In an Aug. 19 letter to Elkins, all the senators from the states of Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, including Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), pointed out that “the release of contaminated water from this legacy mine has polluted the Animas River in Colorado and spread through New Mexico, Utah, the Southern Ute Indian Reservation and the Navajo Nation.”

“The EPA’s execution of this project fell far short of the standards to which any cleanup operation should adhere,” the members of Congress complained.

They also provided 13 questions they want to see answered by the inspector general’s “preliminary inquiry” into the spill.

The 13 questions seek specific facts, including the expertise of the EPA workers at the Gold King Mine; the criteria EPA would apply for such work if it was done by a private sector company; whether the delay of information to interested parties about the spill created any health risks; and details about the procedures, or lack thereof, that led to the spill.

As reported earlier by, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said at a news conference on Aug. 11 that her agency is “taking responsibility” for the toxic release.

But according to the AP, the problem is not going away anytime soon.

“It will take many years and many millions of dollars simply to manage and not even remove the toxic wastewater from an abandoned mine that unleashed a 100-mile-long torrent of heavy metals into Western rivers and has likely reached Lake Powell,” AP reported Aug. 13.

“Plugging Colorado's Gold King Mine could simply lead to an eventual explosion of poisonous water elsewhere, so the safest solution… would be to install a treatment plant that would indefinitely clean the water from Gold King and three other nearby mines.”


Obama: 'Tea Party Agrees With Me on Solar Energy'

In a Monday speech before the National Clean Energy Summit, Barack Obama told the crowd that clean energy “is not and should not be a Republican versus Democrat issue.” He’s right about that, but he instead tried to drive a wedge between the Tea Party and the organizations backed by the Koch brothers.

First, Obama gave an example of the Florida Tea Party’s push to deregulate the state’s solar industry, advocating for a freer market, trying to change the laws so that private citizens can sell energy generated by their solar panels to energy companies. To that end, they are joined by progressives such as the Green Party.

But Obama mistakes the Tea Party trying to affect local change as an endorsement for his energy policies. With that assumption in mind, he fired upon national lobbying groups suspicious of renewable fuels. “When you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding, that’s a problem,” Obama said. “That’s rent-seeking, and trying to protect old ways of doing business and standing in the way of the future. … They’re trying to undermine competition in the marketplace.”

But Obama’s new way of doing business involves heavy subsidies that keep industries like ethanol and solar kicking around for another year. It’s a way of business that requires the cost of electricity to “necessarily skyrocket” in order to make green energy viable. It’s an industry that’s only green because it’s under a government spigot — not exactly a Tea Party-endorsed practice, and nothing to do with the competitive free market.


Renewables Offer No Bang for Your Megawatt

Advocates of renewable energy are touting a new statistic that 70 percent of new electricity generation capacity in the first half of 2015 was renewable. While this figure is technically true, it merits an asterisk. That 70 percent refers to how much energy power plants could produce if they were running at full power all the time, a metric called installed capacity. It does not mean that 70 percent of new energy generated in the first half of 2015 came from renewables.

To find out how much energy the new power infrastructure will actually produce, we must look at the capacity factor for various types of energy. The capacity factor measures the ratio of the energy a power plant actually produces to how much it could produce if it were running at maximum power all the time. A higher factor indicates that a source of electricity is more likely to reach its full potential. Capacity factor may be thought of as how much bang you get for your installed megawatt.

Of course, capacity factors vary across energy sources. Coal-fired power plants reach a capacity factor of 61 percent, and natural gas combined-cycle plants hover around 48 percent. Nuclear power fares the best by this metric, with a factor of 92 percent. The most inefficient sources of electricity are renewables: hydroelectric (38 percent), wind (34 percent) and solar photovoltaic (28 percent). The one exception is geothermal, at 69 percent.

Large amounts of new renewable capacity, therefore, do not always translate into large amounts of new power generation. For instance, wind power comprises six percent of total installed capacity in the United States, but produces only three percent of the electricity. Nuclear power, by contrast, punches above its weight—it makes up only 10 percent of installed capacity but produces 19 percent of America’s electricity.

The following chart shows the capacity factors of various types of energy since 1980. While fossil fuels have maintained roughly the same capacity factor over the last few decades and nuclear power plants have got far more efficient, non-hydroelectric renewables have slipped.

Non-hydroelectric renewables have disappointed over the past three decades. Federal policies such as the Wind Production Tax Credit have encouraged the addition of new renewable capacity, but this has not given us a comparable amount of new renewable electricity. Since less-efficient wind turbines and solar panels have been added to more reliable geothermal wells, the overall renewable capacity factor declined from over 60 percent to an abysmal 34 percent in 2012.

Renewables have a low capacity factor because their power sources are dependent on the elements—the sun does not always shine, and the wind does not always blow. Solar panels will see their energy output spike in the middle of a clear day, but then drop down to zero at night. Additionally, wind turbines in the breezy Midwest will often achieve higher output than those in other parts of the country. Renewable energy generation depends on more factors than other energy sources, making it more unreliable.

The one trend that stands out from this graph is nuclear energy. Since 1980, capacity factor has increased from 55 percent to over 90 percent in recent years. Improvements such as reduced maintenance periods and fewer unplanned outages have contributed to this remarkable change. Advantages such as low variability in input costs have also given nuclear a leg up in reliability.

The United States added nearly 2000 megawatts of new wind capacity in the first half of 2015. It would take just over a third of that capacity to generate a comparable amount of electricity using nuclear power. But government policy tips energy investment in favor of renewables: in 2013, nuclear power got just $1.7 billion in subsidies, compared to twice that for fossil fuels and eight times as much for renewables. The federal government is quite literally subsidizing unreliability.

Incredibly, the Obama administration is doubling down on its aversion to reliable energy with its new EPA rule regarding carbon emissions. Nuclear power emits zero carbon, yet the EPA will not allow states to count existing or under-construction nuclear plants towards their emissions-reduction goals. There is little rationale for this provision other than supporting renewables, but such a rationale is self-defeating given that renewables require other sources of power to back them up.

Subsidies and regulations are generally more trouble for an economy that they are worth. But if the government is not going to get rid of energy subsidies and EPA commandments, it should at the very least update them to reflect which power sources show the most promise. The high reliability of nuclear power, as measured by its capacity factor, is a good indicator of the way forward.


Energy switch shames Scotland

Power giant soaks up subsidy but cuts and runs at first sight of costs, with ScotNat connivance, writes Brian Wilson

I am not easily shocked these days and outrage should be saved for special occasions. However, the sound of Fergus Ewing, energy minister at Holyrood, on radio was enough to awaken…well, shock and outrage.

Consider the scenario. A multinational company which bought into a great Scottish industry has betrayed its promises, is about to prematurely close one plant with the loss of 270 quality jobs and renege on construction of another, thereby turning Scotland into a large-scale importer of a commodity of which it has long been a substantial exporter.

I can think of no previous occasion on which, in such circumstances, a Scottish minister of any political colour would not be fighting to reverse these decisions; using the levers of government to achieve that outcome; and would be taking to the airwaves only in order to challenge the morality and legitimacy of what was being done.

The multinational company is Iberdrola. The industry is power generation. The broken promises are in respect of Longannet and Cockenzie. The implications for the Scottish economy extend far beyond these places. The minister is Ewing and his preferred role is as apologist-in-chief for Iberdrola. It is an utter disgrace.

According to both Iberdrola and their well-drilled mouthpieces, this is all about £40 million – the difference in transmission charges because Longannet is in the middle of Scotland rather than on the fringes of London, a geographic detail that presumably did not escape them when they acquired Scottish Power after the trading regime was introduced.

Even that £40m figure is misleading, as we shall see. But the wider point is that the same trading arrangements which are being blamed for these decisions have poured huge profits into the coffers of Iberdrola and will continue to do so for many years to come while we are left to bemoan Longannet, no more, Cockenzie, no more.

When Iberdrola bought Scottish Power, the package contained responsibilities as well as a lucrative set of assets. Privatisation in Scotland left our two companies with the massive advantage of vertical integration, unlike their English counterparts. For Iberdrola, one of the prizes this offered was easy access to the UK renewables market – and subsidies.

It is absurd to moan about transmission charges without considering the wider context of the British Electricity Transmission and Trading Arrangements which came into effect in 2005. They gave Scottish generators the right to sell renewable energy into the British market with subsidy paid for by consumers throughout Britain. Iberdrola has been the biggest single beneficiary of that reform.

Not only that, but to facilitate this major benefit, billions of pounds worth of new infrastructure was approved by Ofgem. Iberdrola’s grid company, Scottish Power Transmission, was in the forefront of that work while the renewables branch profited mightily from the market it facilitated.

We heard little about transmission charges because they were dwarfed by the subsidies Iberdrola were (and are) receiving via the Renewables Obligation.

To compartmentalise the “cost” of transmission charges in respect of Longannet in order to justify killing it off four years early, or perhaps even more outrageously to brand Cockenzie too uneconomic to proceed with, and thereby break the promise of a new gas plant, is a denial of all the responsibilities which came with the acquisition of Scottish Power. Why is the Scottish Government not saying so?

For Iberdrola, it is a case of take, take, take. Fair enough – their obligation is to their investors, the largest of whom is the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Qatar. The scandal is that Ewing, scion of the patriotic dynasty, should rush to the defence of this behaviour solely because he sees political advantage in turning it – quite falsely – into a Scotland v England conflict; a misrepresentation that Iberdrola are understandably anxious to facilitate.

A large part of Iberdrola’s UK customer base is in the north-west of England and north Wales, as a result of Scottish Power having bought Manweb in 1995. They also have extensive generation interests in these areas – and therein lies another aspect of this sorry tale. Iberdrola are investing in the Western Link sub-sea cable between Hunterston and Holyhead. For Scottish consumption, this was presented as a means of exporting Scottish renewables.

For other audiences, the story is reversed. The Western Link will be capable of importing 3.9 gigawatts of power into Scotland, equating to 70 per cent of maximum winter demand. With Longannet and Cockenzie closed, not to mention Hunterston and Torness thereafter, Scotland will become massively dependent on electricity produced in England from coal, gas and nuclear power. What a triumph for Scottish Nationalism.

The bond of mutual cynicism between the SNP and Iberdrola was sealed on 13 September 2010 when Alex Salmond and Ignacio Galan, chairman of the multinational, made a ludicrous announcement – treated entirely uncritically by most of the Scottish media – that the Spanish company would be investing £2.7 billion in Scotland by the end of 2012, no less. Of course, it never happened and nobody bothered to check.

At the time, it was a great coup for Salmond because he could present it as endorsement for his “Saudi Arabia of renewables” nonsense. On the same day, Salmond announced plans for Gamesa, the turbine manufacturer, to invest in Scotland. That never happened either and not a single one of Iberdrola’s lucrative wind turbines has been the product of Scottish manufacturing. We have been conned, right, left and centre. In evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee earlier this year, Iberdrola said Longannet would be viable on £10m a year transmission charges, the same as the English Midlands. The same committee was told by National Grid that Longannet transmission charges would fall in 2016-17 by £10m. So even within this compartmentalised accounting, the gap is down to £20m and falling.

Any minister worth his salt would fight to find a solution within these parameters, using the massive leverage the Scottish Government has with Iberdrola if it chose to exercise it. Instead, workers in Fife and East Lothian, along with the wider Scottish economic interest, are being sacrificed in return for yet another bogus point of grievance, while Iberdrola laugh all the way to the bank.

What’s Spanish for: “What a bunch of patsies”?


The Energy Liberation Plan

Alex Epstein

Thanks to American ingenuity, this country has the potential to become the energy engine of the world—jumpstarting our economy, guaranteeing our energy security, helping billions to pull themselves out of poverty, and creating millions of highly productive jobs—all while improving the quality of our environment.

The energy industry is the industry that powers every other to improve human life. The more affordable, plentiful, and reliable energy we can produce, the more (and better) food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical care, sanitation, clean water, technology, and everything else we can have.

Unfortunately, because of backwards energy and environmental policies that are anti-development, not anti-pollution, we are squandering the opportunity of a generation, through blind opposition to our three most potent sources of power: hydrocarbon energy (coal, oil, and gas), nuclear energy, and hydroelectric energy.

It’s time to replace today’s energy deprivation policies with energy liberation policies.

On October 5 I will be releasing the Energy Liberation Plan for consideration by 2016 political candidates.

The Energy Liberation plan is not like other energy plans, which are based on special treatment for some industries over others, and designed by people who think they know the energy business better than the energy business does and what consumers need more than consumers do.

The Energy Liberation Plan is based on the timeless wisdom of our Founding Fathers, who believed that everyone has the right to produce and consume as they judge best so long as they do not violate the rights of others. This principle leads to prosperity and justice in every area and in every era. It certainly applies to today’s energy policy.

Here is a preview of the five steps to Energy Liberation.

Step 1: Liberate energy consumers and communities from the meddlers who prevent us from choosing the most affordable, reliable energy.

    Abolish all energy mandates, subsidies, and special taxes, including all Renewable Fuel Mandates, Renewable Fuel Standards—anything and everything designed to make us consume uncompetitive, expensive forms of energy.

    Abolish all subsidies for government-preferred vehicles, stopping injustices such as forcing taxpayers to pay wealthy Tesla buyers upwards of $10,000.

    Liberate states to protect their air and water, removing these local issues from the jurisdiction of an unaccountable EPA that imposes massive costs on faraway places, leading to communities deciding on the best energy sources for their overall well-being.

If we restore consumer choice, abolishing all subsidies and mandates whatsoever, all consumers and businesses will have the opportunity to pay the lowest electricity rates and transportation costs.

Step 2: Liberate energy producers and builders from anti-development policies that prevent them from finding and developing the most affordable, reliable forms of energy.

    Restore true ownership to property owners, preventing laws like the Endangered Species Act from interfering with an owner’s right to create value, prioritizing a snail darter or sage grouse over human rights and well-being.

    Allow people to benefit from offshore and federal lands by allowing development in non-national park areas, putting an end to the practice of anti-development policies on 1/3 of American land.

Today’s governments treat development as guilty until proven innocent. They need to recognize that development, done safely and responsibly, is essential to prosperity and to high environmental quality.

Step 3: Liberate energy transporters from anti-development and xenophobic policies that prevent us from selling abundant, world-class energy to allies around the globe.

    Liberate exports of coal, the world’s fastest-growing fuel, to create prosperity in America and help billions around the globe bring themselves out of poverty, creating greater wealth for all humans on the planet.

    Liberate exports of crude oil, allowing our productive companies to sell their product to allies at a fair price instead of wasting resources at distorted domestic prices, which decreases productivity and efficiency.

    Liberate the export of natural gas, creating a global market for our prolific gas producers.

Restricting our energy producers’ ability to sell energy around the world makes no more sense than restricting Apple AAPL -6.80%’s ability to sell iPhones around the world. The world is ours to win—as long as we are free to participate in it.

Step 4: Liberate energy innovators from technophobic policies that prevent technologies like nuclear power and shale energy (including fracking) to reach their potential.

    Allow nuclear progress by replacing superstition-based laws with science-based laws, so that the US can be a leader in nuclear power like it once was.

    Acknowledge that nuclear power is one of the most innovative and safest technologies available and that its future potential is even greater, which makes spreading the false narrative about the dangers of nuclear power and arbitrary red-tape-regulations a major sin, preventing a safe, clean, and inexpensive resource from growing to its full potential.

    Stop the demonization of hydraulic fracturing and shale energy, which are safe, proven technologies.

Anyone who truly cares about the freedom to introduce alternative forms of energy should commit to stopping the technophobic opposition to nuclear power and to hydraulic fracturing.

Step 5: Protect individual rights and maximize environmental quality through laws requiring proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Recognize that our Constitution provides that laws are passed by Congress and the states and dutifully enforced by the executive branch—and repeal the many executive orders that violate this principle.

    Recognize that our legal system requires that to hold someone guilty of a crime one needs proof of harm beyond a reasonable doubt—and apply this to our treatment of energy producers. Recognize that while there may be proof beyond a reasonable doubt that human behavior has some influence on the global climate system, there is no such proof that we are causing a climate catastrophe. Such claims are all based on invalid models that have not and cannot accurately predict the climate. What we absolutely can predict is that restricting energy use, including fossil FOSL -3.51% fuel use, will make Americans both poorer and more vulnerable to climate danger.

    Refuse to sign any global treaty that would increase energy prices, above all restrictions on our most affordable, abundant, reliable energy sources, which will enable us to continue the last 30 years of progress instead of reversing it.

Fundamentally, governments need to be clear with each and every law regarding the protection of environmental quality that the overall goal is to protect human well-being and flourishing, and objectively analyze all the facts with that in mind. As I wrote in The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels: We are not trying to save the planet from human beings, we are trying to improve it for human beings.

Tell your favorite political candidates that you don’t want them to put forward another “energy plan” to dictate when and whether we are free to choose, use, find, develop, generate, transport, and sell it. Tell them to support the Energy Liberation Plan—and empower 300 million Americans with the greatest value a politician can give: freedom.



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26 August, 2015

Humans Allegedly Set To Wipe An India-Sized Chunk Of Forest Off The Earth By 2050

More prophecy based on a straight-line extrapolation. Loss of forest cover can be regrettable but we all live on land that was once forest so we can't just assume that any given loss is bad.

The article itself notes that anti-logging laws have largely mitigated any problem in the Amazon so it is mainly S.E. Asia that is losing its native forests.  The forests there are being replaced by oil-palm plantations. So we are seeing a change in forest cover, not a loss of it. 

If Greenies think that the change is deplorable they need to recognize that they and the food alarmists are responsible for it.  Palm-oil is a profitable crop because of the various bans on dietary fats that have been put in place by food alarmists. First saturated fats were banned in food manufacturing and now trans-fats have just about been phased out.  Palm oil is all that is reasonably left for manufacturers to use. 

That the human race has been using saturated fats (such as dripping or tallow) in its cookery as far back as we can go does not faze the food alarmists.  The flimsiest evidence that something is bad for you sends them into hysteria, eventually pushing weary legislators into giving them the bans that they want. 

No doubt palm oil will also be found to be bad for you in due course so at that point the palm oil plantations will probably be replaced by pine planations.  But Greenies don't like pines, either.  There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

By 2050, an area of forests the size of India is set to be wiped off the planet if humans continue on their current path of deforestation, according to a new report. That’s bad news for the creatures that depend on these forest ecosystems for survival, but it’s also bad news for the climate, as the loss of these forests will release more than 100 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The report, published Monday by the Center for Global Development (CGD), found that, without new policies aimed at cutting back on deforestation, 289 million hectares (about 1,115,840 square miles) of tropical forests will be cleared away. That’s a chunk, the report states, that’s equal to one-seventh of what the Earth’s total tropical forest area was in 2000.

And, according to the report, the 169 gigatons of carbon dioxide that this deforestation will unleash is equal to one-sixth of the carbon budget that humans can emit if they want to keep warming below 2°C — the level that’s generally viewed as the maximum warming Earth can endure while still avoiding the most dangerous climate impacts (and even 2°C is seen by many experts as too high).

The study, unlike other recent studies on deforestation, projects that in a business-as-usual scenario, in which the world doesn’t make any effort to reduce deforestation, tropical deforestation will increase, rather than decrease. According to the study, tropical deforestation rates in such a scenario will likely climb steadily in the 2020s and 2030s and then speed up around 2040, “as areas of high forest cover in Latin America that are currently experiencing little deforestation come under greater threat.”

The study does point to one change in policy that would cut deforestation rates and help alleviate climate change: a price on carbon. According to the report, a price of $20 per ton of carbon would keep 41 gigatons of carbon dioxide from being emitted between 2016 and 2050, and a price of $50 per ton would keep 77 gigatons from being emitted.

“Our analysis corroborates the conclusions of previous studies that reducing tropical deforestation is a sizable and low-cost option for mitigating climate change,” the study’s authors write. “In contrast to previous studies, we project that the amount of emissions that can be avoided at low-cost by reducing tropical deforestation will increase rather than decrease in future decades.”

The study also noted that, if all tropical countries put in place anti-deforestation laws that were “as effective as those in the Brazilian Amazon post-2004,” then 60 gigatons of carbon dioxide would be kept out of the atmosphere. Brazil took action against deforestation in 2004 and 2008, and deforestation rates in the country have fallen from 27,000 square kilometers (about 10,424 square miles) in 2004 to 7,000 square kilometers (about 2,700 square miles) in 2010

More twaddle HERE

July's 'Record Warmth' Is Much Ado About Nothing

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published its July temperature recordings this week. According to the report, “The July average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.46°F (0.81°C) above the 20th century average. As July is climatologically the warmest month for the year, this was also the all-time highest monthly temperature in the 1880–2015 record, at 61.86°F (16.61°C), surpassing the previous record set in 1998 by 0.14°F (0.08°C).”

While last month allegedly now stands as the globe’s warmest in the modern era, digging a little deeper, NOAA says land surface temperatures ranked sixth warmest for any July dating back to 1880, while sea surface temperatures beat all records for any month.

Let’s assume this is true. The report rightly notes, “The global value was driven by record warmth across large expanses of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.” Indeed, an impressive El Niño is underway in the Pacific, which has the potential to become the strongest on record — beating out the Super El Niño of 1997-1998. As noted above, July 2015 beat the previous record set … in 1998. In other words, natural temperature oscillations in the ocean, like El Niño, have profound effects on the global thermometer.

But it’s important to note that all of this data is derived from NOAA’s flawed methodology, and the reality is that, taking satellite measurements into account — which the alarmists simply won’t do — July 2015 was the hottest since, well, July 2014.

Climate blogger Jo Nova writes, “We only have 30 years of good climate data: the satellites tell us the pause is real, and last month’s summer temperatures is not a record anything. According to the UAH and RSS global satellites, lower troposphere averages for July 2014 were 0.30C and 0.34C, compared to July 2015 of 0.28C. Even June 2015 was hotter (UAH, 0.35C; RSS, 0.39C).”

Mull on that: NOAA says July 2015 was the hottest ever; satellites show it didn’t even match June’s numbers. What are you going to believe — comprehensive satellite recordings or fake data?


NOAA: Hurricane Drought Hits Record 118 Months

 As of today, it has been a record 118 months since the last major hurricane struck the continental United States, according to records kept by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Hurricane Research Division, which list all hurricanes to strike the U.S. mainland going back to 1851

A major hurricane is Category 3 or higher hurrucine. The last one to strike the continental U.S. was Hurricane Wilma, which made landfall in Florida on Oct. 24, 2005.

President Obama is the first president in 122 years, since Benjamin Harrison was in office, who has not seen a major hurricane strike the U.S. during his time in office. In a statement on its website, NOAA expressed concern that Americans might suffer from “hurricane amnesia.”

The second longest stretch between major hurricanes hitting the continenatla U.S. was the eight years between 1860 and 1869, NOAA records show.

“It has been 10 years since Hurricanes Katrina (Aug. 29), Rita (Sept. 23/24) and Wilma (Oct. 24) made landfall along the Gulf Coast during one of the most active hurricane seasons in recorded history,” NOAA said in a statement marking the 10-year anniversary of the 2005 hurricane season.

“Wilma is also the last major hurricane to strike the U.S.--an unprecedented stretch that could unfortunately lead to ‘hurricane amnesia’ for the destruction such a hurricane can cause.”

Such a “drought” in major hurricane activity is “a rare event,” occurring every 177 years, according to a study published in May by researchers at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies entitled The Frequency and duration of U.S. hurricane droughts, who concluded that “the admittedly unusual 9-year U.S. Cat3+ landfall drought is a matter of luck.”

Dr. Gerry Bell, NOAA's lead seasonal hurricane forecaster, told that the agency's seasonal outlooks are "not a hurricane landfall predictor. Where hurricanes strike and how strong they are depends on weather patterns, and there's no way to predict those patterns months in advance," he told

"What we do know is that we have a cycle in which there are more hurricanes and fewer hurricanes. In 2003, '04 and '05, we had one storm after another," he continued. "Beginning with 2006, we started getting a break, as weather patterns in the Eastern United States steered a lot more storms out to sea. Right now, that is expected to be the overall pattern this year" during hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

But Bell warned that storms that are not classified as major hurricanes can still do a tremendous amount of damage.

"We tell coastal residents to prepare every hurricane season, because it only takes one storm to make it a bad year," he said. Hurricane strength is "only one factor," he added. The size of the storm surge, whether it spins off tornadoes, and the amount of rainfall created by a slow-moving storm can create as much damage as a major hurricane, he said.

NOAA classifies hurricanes from 1 to 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale according to the speed of their sustained winds and the type of damage they inflict.

 A Category 3 storm is defined as one with winds between 111 and 129 miles per hour, which can cause “devastating damage” to trees, buildings and infrastructure.

Category 4 hurricanes, with sustained wind speeds between 130 to 156 mph, and Category 5 hurricanes, with winds 157 miles per hour or more, are capable of “catastrophic damage,” according to NOAA.

Only three known Category 5 storms made landfall in the U.S. in modern history: the unnamed Labor Day hurricane that hit the Florida Keys in September,1935; Hurricane Camille, which made landfall in Mississippi in August, 1969; and Hurricane Andrew, which ravaged Florida in August, 1992.

The five deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history were all Category 3 or 4 when they struck the U.S., including the Category 4 storm that hit Galveston, Texas in 1900 that killed as many as 12,000 people.


EPA Knew of 'Blowout' Danger Ahead of River Accident

Earlier this month, the EPA accidentally dumped three million gallons of toxic sludge into the Animas River in Colorado. EPA Chief Gina McCarthy apologized, saying, “[W]e’ve committed to a full review of exactly what happened to ensure it can never happen again.”

Well, documents released Friday indicate the EPA not only knows exactly what happened but it knew in advance what could happen. Prior to the accident, according to an EPA report from June 2014, “This condition has likely caused impounding of water behind the collapse. In addition, other collapses within the workings may have occurred creating additional water impounding conditions. Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediment from inside the mine, which contain concentrated heavy metals.”

Some of the reports, however, were redacted by EPA officials, which itself leads to other questions. First among them is why it took the EPA 24 hours to notify anyone of the accident, especially given they knew the danger ahead of time.

Finally, McCarthy gave the good news Friday that the “river is restoring itself.” But when was the last time the EPA said that about an accident caused by a private company?


The Greens Demolition Of Tasmania

If the Greens had their way, Tasmania would not have any industry or any economy. The Greens would prefer Tasmanians to revert back to the stone age and hunt for their food

The state election in March last year saved Tasmania from becoming an Aussie version of the Amish. They came within a whisker of existing without any meaningful business and were just about forced to re-invent the horse and cart. A 12.2 per cent swing to the Liberals meant they had the first pro-business state government in years.

With the Greens sharing power, it’s Earth Hour all year round if you want to run a business. Tasmania suffered years of neglect under a Labor/Green state goverment, and the result was loss of jobs, loss of industry, loss of standards and loss of wealth.

The Greens would like to see them scavenging for seeds and berries to eat, and trading possum pelts for a living, as long as the possums had died of natural causes first. The Federal Government should have come down hard and ruled that if the state doesn’t produce anything or earn any money, there will be no welfare available. As it stands, Tasmania has the highest number of illiterates in the country and the highest per capita of people living off a government hand out.

Tasmania is rich in minerals, it has great natural resources including fisheries and farming and tourism. It is nearly the size of England with a population of 500,000. There are 23 local councils who all fight with each other and are dominated by the Greens. It’s almost impossible to run a business. The Greens simply bring in overseas “experts” or apply to some international body to stifle any development.

The trashing of the Triabunna pulp mill and its associated port on Tassie’s east coast offers an insight into the looney Green’s tactics. The mill was purchased from Gunns in 2011 by the Wilderness Society. A Tasmanian parliamentary inquiry found the mill to be a viable business and said the purchasers had a contractual obligation to keep it running. Wilderness Society boss Alec Marr and his cronies went in and wrecked the joint.

A group of businessmen wanted to develop a tourism venture by running a cable car from the top of Mt Wellington down to Hobart and then join up with an overhead tramway that would travel around the Hobart waterfront. The tramway was to be purchased secondhand from Sydney. It would have created building jobs and permanent employment. NO! said the Greens.

It’s not only in Tasmania. The Greens are out to stop all 21st century development. Christine Milne’s solution for second airport in NSW, take a train. In Victoria, scrap the East/West Link and take a train. The same people who have prospered due to human progress now want to prohibit that from the next generation. The loopy Greens are the ‘Taliban’ of the Australian economy.

The Green voter doesn’t have the intellectual capability to understand the gravity of their policies, but is more worried about gaining favour among their urban social peers because it’s cool to vote Green. The Universities are the problem, not the solution. Almost all Leftist policies emanate from radical university lecturers. Christopher Pyne should be spending his time trying to eradicate this cancer from the teaching/lecturing mob.

The demographics are that a lot of them will have a university degree, where the ability to think and reason should be highly developed. However, there are very few of them who understand the basics of maths and economics.

Tasmanians have learnt a very painful lesson and it is doubtful they will ever hold the Greens party in the esteem they once did. Unfortunately, the inner city elite on the mainland have yet to learn that painful lesson, but eventually they will be forced to acknowledge that the socialist nirvana promised by the Greens is nothing more than a mad dreamscape.

Tasmania would like to develop a new and unique export industry – shipping off the loopy Greens to their spiritual home in North Korea.


Dishonest environmental campaigns will harm lions

IVO VEGTER  -- writing from South Africa

In the emotion-laden debate about hunting, environmental campaigners do their cause no favours by accusing others of errors and word play, while doing exactly that themselves.
In the wake of my column about lion hunting, prompted by the global outrage over the illegal killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, a major anti-hunting campaign tackled me. I was “just plain wrong” and “just didn’t get it”, they told their social media audience.

Unsurprisingly, the Global March for Lions (GML), a protest group launched last year by Christine Jordaan in support of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH), wanted to discredit the column I’d written. After all, they oppose trophy hunting, while I do not.

Their general view, that a ban on trophy hunting and private or public restrictions on trade will “save lions”, is a subject I dealt with in that column, and won’t repeat myself in detail here.

My case is made much more eloquently in a short film on the Bubye Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe. This was once a huge cattle ranching farm, but has been converted into a thriving game conservation area where big game thrives as part of a sustainable ecosystem, supported by hunting alone. Anyone who is inclined to jump to emotional conclusions about hunting should watch this first.

In expressing its disagreement, the GML made public claims about my article that were, quite simply, false. Speaking to thousands of followers around the world, it asked where I got my statistics from, as if I had cited no support for them. It accused me of failing to distinguish between captive-bred and wild lions. It said I gave Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa cover for “abusing definitions” by not bothering to mention the applicable laws. It challenged my observation that lions are classified as vulnerable – a status less than endangered – by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, claiming that lions are endangered. It said I was “going as far as trying to highlight what hunting brings to (an) economy”.

All these claims are untrue. I responded to them, because my opinion on hunting is controversial enough without having an activist organisation trying to falsely discredit it.

Implying that I’d just made it up on the spot, the GML questioned the basis of my claim that on a typical hunting farm, between 2% and 5% of male lions are actually shot by trophy hunters, and that academics consider this rate to be “sustainable and low-risk if well-managed”. They did so despite the fact that I supplied a link to my source, a study by Lindsey et al, published in the journal Conservation Biology. I consider that dishonest on the part of a global campaign that publicly attacked my command of the subject. My columns do not contain links to sources for nothing.

The GML activist wrote: “Saying that SA's wild lions are captive bred is plainly wrong,” pointing out that there are 3,000 wild lions and 8,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa. But I never said that, I did made the distinction, and I also quoted similar numbers.

The Biodiversity Management Plan for Lions, published in April 2015, and to which I linked, estimates the total number of captive-bred lions in 200 facilities across South Africa to be 6,000, while the wild and “managed wild” population amounts to 3,155. Captive lions are those that exist on commercial game farms, where they generate revenue. Lions are considered to be wild if they exist in formal national parks, where their populations “are largely unmanaged, stable and viable”. Lions are classified as “managed wild” in smaller reserves, where population growth is actively limited and genetic diversity is maintained. Threats to these populations in South Africa “are generally low”, and they have “increased by 30% in the last three decades.”

Saying that I confused these groups is plainly wrong. By contrast, anti-hunting campaigns do conflate poaching with hunting, trophy hunting with “canned hunting”, and South Africa’s lion conservation issues with those of other countries.

I was accused of not quoting the Threatened or Protected Species (Tops) regulations in my column, thereby helping Molewa “abuse definitions”. Of course, a campaign that seeks to ban trophy hunting altogether is likely to disagree with Molewa about what exactly constitutes prohibited “canned hunting”. However, I do not have to parrot their opinions. More importantly, I did quote the relevant legislation. I cited the regulations specific to lions, which were published in April 2015, and therefore supercede the more general Tops regulations of 2013. I provided the requisite link so I did not have to quote legislation verbatim. Suffice to say that these rules prohibit a range of practices that constitute “canned hunting” in section 72. The GML believes these rules to be “incorrect” and that they constitute “a play on words”, but it is not a failure on my part not to say so, and not to rail against a minister whose department actually supports both the GML and the CACH.

The GML’s assertion that lions are “endangered” because their numbers are akin to those of rhino is patently false and reveals a grave lack of understanding of conservation issues. Absolute numbers are not the sole indicator of the health or conservation status of a population. The IUCN classification is clear. Lions are not endangered, no matter what the GML says. As I wrote, South Africa may not even have the carrying capacity for more wild lions. In fact, the management plan co-developed by the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and Panthera, a respected conservation group, argues that a stable population of mature lions greater than 1,500 – as South Africa has – should not even qualify as vulnerable, and the IUCN should downgrade the status of this sub-population. The only reason the GML wants to convince people that lions are endangered is to get its IUCN status upgraded, and to get it listed under the US Endangered Wildlife Act. This is patently dishonest.

Certainly, I did “go as far as trying to highlight what hunting brings to an economy”. In my previous column about hunting, I also noted that the industry was worth a not inconsiderable R6.2-billion. It is a part of the debate, and one that I believe is important.

They may choose to ignore what hunting brings to an economy, because they believe that a lion’s life cannot be worth that much, but merely raising the issue in debate does not make me biased, as the GML claims. It recognises that the needs and wants of communities living closest to wildlife should be taken into account by policy makers.

I’ll admit, I do not have a very high opinion of well-off white people who simply dismiss what hunting brings to an economy. I think such people are elitists who implicitly value animal life more highly than human life, which is only underscored by the scale of the internet outrage over animals compared to the outrage over humans who are killed, abused, or mired in poverty.

When I said that dishonesty in fundraising should be illegal – on the grounds that selling anything under false pretences constitutes fraud – the person behind the GML’s Twitter account replied “luckily we’re a campaign and don’t fundraiser (sic) then”. It added that it was not part of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting, as it appears. But it supports the CACH, which does call for donations to pursue its cause, it clearly aims to support the CACH in raising funds. Instead of its own web address, the CACH’s address appears on the logo banners of the Global March, and the CACH in turn promotes the GML. They explicitly admit to being closely associated – in fact, the CACH is first on the GML’s list of participating organisations, as its founder’s inspiration. To suggest that the group’s claims are not made in support of fundraising is disingenuous in the extreme.

The danger is that the uninformed public will gladly believe anything such a group says. The pressure on governments to act is fuelled by exaggerated claims, false accusations and rash presumptions. Worse, private organisations may find the public pressure to restrict the sale and transport of legal trophies too much to resist, whether the cause is justified or not.

Respectable media pick up these claims, and repeat them with a dash of sensationalism. Who is going to dispute National Geographic, when it says: “Up to 7,000 lions are living behind bars in South Africa“? That is simply not true.

Who will explain that only a small percentage of captive-bred lions are in fact hunted for sport, and that of those, only a fraction can be described as “canned hunts”? Who will tell them it is not at all clear that banning hunting, whether for sport or game management, will “save our lions”? Who will tell them of places like the Bubye Valley Conservancy, where lion conservation is exclusively dependent on the success of the hunting industry, and will end if trophy hunting is banned?

Who will tell people that restricting imports of trophies, or pressurising American Airlines, eBay or FedEx to refuse to facilitate trophy sales will backfire, because it will lead to a decline, not an increase, in the lion populations of many African countries, as it did in Kenya?

Who will explain that the biggest threat to lion populations is habitat destruction in countries where the animals have little economic value, so anti-poaching efforts are not worth it, and to convert game farms to cash-generating crops or livestock has more value to both farm owners and the local population?

Who will correct Time magazine when it conflates hunting with poaching, as if they are the same thing? They are not. Much revenue generated by lion hunting is used to fight the threat of poaching. Even if you believe that hunting farm owners do not care about conservation, they do care about protecting their assets from thieves.

Who will warn those readers that Time magazine, like the GML, conflates rhinos and lions, as if the two animals face the same conservation issues? Does anyone notice when activists and journalists write about Africa as if it is all just one big country, and lion populations everywhere face the same pressures?

By all means, campaign against canned hunting. There is a good case to be made that inexperienced hunters do sometimes hunt animals from the back of vehicles, while the animals are in enclosures or under sedation, and that this is unnecessarily cruel. There is a good reason to campaign against this practice. Even the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa has called upon its members to step up their game in this respect, if you’ll excuse the pun.

But if you’re making that case by exaggeration and falsehoods, in support of a larger goal like banning all sport hunting, then you do not deserve the support – or the money – of the public. That, simply speaking, is fraud, and it discredits the conservation cause which you claim to support.

Besides, nobody has the right to whip up internet lynch mobs to destroy the careers of individuals, as GML explicitly does. If what those hunters did was wrong, they are entitled to a fair hearing. Mob justice has no place in a civilised society. For someone who is willing to sit in judgment upon others to call me “arrogant”, as GML did (in a message that appears to have been deleted), is rich.

Besides ruining lives and livelihoods far beyond just the hunter in question, such campaigns bring about over-compensation in public policy. This throws out the baby with the bathwater. While activists celebrate moves to prohibit trophy hunting, they do not actually help lions.

These groups only satisfy the knee-jerk emotions of internet mobs and their own campaign funds, while ironically, they accuse others of barbaric greed. Whether well-intended or not, they are no better than the caricature they draw of trophy hunters. Except that hunters are more honest and cause less harm to lions



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, 2015

Deceptive temperature record claims

Warmest month announcements have no scientific basis

By Tom Harris

The U.S. government is at it again, hyping meaningless records in a parameter that does not exist in order to frighten us about something that doesn’t matter.

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced this week that according to their calculations, July 2015 was the hottest month since instrumental records began in 1880. NOAA says that the record was set by eight one-hundredths of a degree Celsius over that set in July 1998. NASA calculates that July 2015 beat what they assert was the previous warmest month (July 2011) by two one-hundredths of a degree.

But government spokespeople rarely mention the inconvenient fact that these records are being set by less than the uncertainty in the statistics. NOAA claims an uncertainty of 14 one-hundredths of a degree in its temperature averages, or near twice the amount by which they say the record was set. NASA says that their data is typically accurate to one tenth of a degree, five times the amount by which their new record was set.

So, the new temperature records are meaningless. Neither agency knows whether a record was set.

Such misrepresentations are now commonplace in NOAA and NASA announcements. They are regularly proclaiming monthly and yearly records set by less than the uncertainties in the measurements. Scientists within the agencies know that this is dishonest.

They also know that calculating so-called global average temperatures to hundredths of a degree is irrational. After all, there is very little data for the 70 percent of Earth’s surface that is ocean. There is also little data for mountainous and desert regions, not to mention the Antarctic. Much of the coverage is so sparse that NASA is forced to make the ridiculous claim that regions are adequately covered if there is a temperature-sensing station within nearly 750 miles. This is the distance between Ottawa, Canada, and Myrtle Beach, S.C. cities with very different climates. Yet, according to NASA, only one temperature sensing station is necessary for the two cities and the vast area between them to be adequately represented in their network.

In the final analysis, it is no more meaningful to calculate an average temperature for a whole planet than it is to calculate the average telephone number in the Washington D.C. phone book. Temperature, like viscosity and density, and of course phone numbers, is not something that can be meaningfully averaged. “Global temperature” does not exist.

In their award winning book, “Taken By Storm” (2007), Canadian researchers Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick explain: “Temperature is not an amount of something [like height or weight]. It is a number that represents the condition of a physical system. In thermodynamics it is known as an intensive quantity, in contrast to quantities like energy, which have an additive property, which we call extensive in thermodynamics.”

Even if enough accurate surface temperature measurements existed to ensure reasonable planetary coverage (it doesn’t) and to calculate some sort of global temperature statistic, interpreting its significance would be challenging. What averaging rule would you use to handle the data from thousands of temperature-sensing stations? Mean, mode, median, root mean square? Science does not tell us. For some groups of close temperature measures (and NASA and NOAA are dealing with thousands of very close temperatures), one method of calculating an average can lead to a determination of warming while another can lead to a conclusion of cooling.

Even if you could calculate some sort of meaningful global temperature statistic, the figure would be unimportant. No one and nothing would experience it directly since we all live in regions, not the globe. There is no super-sized being straddling the planet, feeling global averages in temperature. Global warming does not matter.

Future generations are bound to ask why America closed its coal-fueled generating stations, its cheapest, most plentiful source of electric power, and wasted billions of dollars trying to stop insignificant changes in imaginary phenomena.

The sad answer will be that it had nothing to do with the realities of science, technology or economics. The tragic blunder is based on satisfying political expedience for a privileged few, egged on by vested financial interests, and supported by largely uninformed activists granted the media platforms needed to sway public opinion. As Jay Lehr, science director of the Chicago-based Heartland Institute said, “It is a scam that dwarfs all others that have come before.”


I bet the Met Office didn't see this storm coming either! As BBC dumps climate change obsessed weather service after 93 years

By Quentin Letts

Three weeks ago, the BBC broadcast my Radio 4 programme What Is The Point Of The Met Office?  Yesterday, after a relationship of 93 years, the Corporation stunningly dropped the Met Office as its official supplier of weather forecasts.

I cannot say I was wholly surprised. And yet, despite having some doubts about the modern Met Office, I would hate to be blamed for killing off a British institution whose forecasts long kept us safe and, at D-Day, helped us beat Adolf Hitler.

The Met Office may only have itself and some of its more swivel-eyed defenders to blame. With its hunger for news headlines, it occasionally went further than it should have done in predicting ‘barbecue summers’ and so forth.

Sometimes you got the impression its forecasts were being written by the same hand that authored the Book of Genesis and its chapters about Noah’s flood. Gosh, they did love to whip up a storm about a few isobars.

The same hyperbolic desire for attention saw the Met Office meekly agreeing to dumb down its presentation techniques and allow broadcasting editors and producers to turn the Met’s once dry forecasts into melodramatic, matey interludes fronted by autocuties.

The men and women telling us the weather long ago stopped being dispassionate boffins. Instead they grinned, cooed, empathised, screwing up their eyelashes when they told us it was going to rain and advising us to wear sun cream during heat waves.

Do I think here of the likes of the infuriatingly simpery Helen Willetts, twisting her face in agony when she warned us of showers? Do I think of Tomasz Schafernaker, a tweeting turnip of a Met Office/BBC weather presenter who posed on the front of a magazine as a sex symbol wearing only his shorts? You bet I do.

Sheer meteorology of the forecasts was crushed by modish silliness, in an ill-guided quest for egalitarianism, a stupid horror of sober scientific delivery. It damaged both our society and the good reputation of the Met Office.

Has the Beeb become exasperated at the accuracy of those forecasts, such as the infamous time poor Michael Fish pooh-poohed the idea that southern England was about to be walloped by a hurricane in 1987? Surely not. (Fish’s boss, Bill Giles, subsequently took the blame.)

Give or take the odd washed-out village fete, the Met Office has been pretty good at short-term weather predictions. British weather is among the most idiosyncratic in the world.

The likes of Fish and his colleagues Bill Giles and John Kettley and their successors generally got their predictions right. They did so through a mixture of computerised calculations, scientific training and personal experience.

Now that those giants of the weather prediction game have gone from our screens, we have been left with a largely forgettable squad of presenters.

But if that is a shame in itself, it’s as nothing to the Met Office’s political lobbying, pushing a green, climate-change agenda with such force it stopped being seen as a dispassionate observer and started to look too much like a political player.

Coming on top of the earlier drift to trendiness, how could we be sure the main driver here was raw science rather than a desire to be part of the Establishment consensus?

In the course of my Radio 4 programme I interviewed senior backbench MPs Graham Stringer (Lab) and Peter Lilley (Con), who felt the Met Office had in recent years become too partisan in its presentation of the facts regarding climate-change. Mr Lilley cited Met Office predictions ten years ago of serious climate change which has not occurred.

When I put this criticism to the Met Office and its charming spokesman Helen Chivers, it was not denied.

Simply for giving airtime to Messrs Stringer and Lilley, I was savaged by the Twittersphere. The e-lynch mob was led, amazingly, by the BBC’s climate-change correspondent, Roger Harrabin. How foolish he now looks, given that his own employer has ditched the Met Office.

Some of the internet reaction was foul. A contributor to a ‘comedy website’ called for me to be shot, twice (just to make sure I was dead). ‘End the man,’ wrote another contributor; this on a website supported by advertisements from mainstream companies such as Amazon.

The vehemence of that reaction against my little programme convinced me that the green lobby has become dangerously intolerant.

The BBC indicated yesterday that money was a major reason for its shock decision — which means its forecasts may in future be provided by a private company, possibly with foreign owners. The Corporation had been paying £30 million a year for its forecasts from the Met Office. Anyone who wishes the BBC to slim down must hope that its future supplier will be a great deal cheaper.

The Beeb’s money supported a surprisingly large and chic Met Office headquarters in Labour-voting Exeter, where the bulk of the organisation’s 1,700 employees are based. The vastness of the organisation may be indicative of a dated attitude regarding manpower efficiency.

And there is the inescapable fact that the top executives at this public body have in recent years been paid more than the Prime Minister.

These salaries for the likes of chief executive Rob Varley and chief scientist Dame Juliet Slingo (both thought to be on roughly £175,000 a year) may look hard to justify if the organisation is no longer earning enough fees to pay its outgoings.

Could it be that economic realities are hitting home, and that the Met Office has become tainted by just the sort of political correctness the BBC at present needs to avoid if it is to persuade the Cameron Government to renew its Royal Charter without further infringements on its financial well-being?

In the meantime, we must wait to see what the West wind will blow us in terms of forecasts from next year. Just don’t expect breathless predictions of a barbecue summer.



Energy and Climate Change secretary Amber Rudd is gearing up to slash solar power subsidies as part of the government’s latest effort to cut costs for consumers.

Last year, Britain installed more solar panels than any other country in Europe, with demand bolstered by generous payments of 43p per kilowatt hour, nine times the wholesale rate. More Britons took advantage of the scheme than the government anticipated, with over 600,000 homes and businesses reportedly installing solar panels.

Given the greater-than-expected rate of take-up, and concerns that the subsidies – which are paid for via energy bills – were putting undue pressure on household budgets, the government began slashing the subsidies, which currently stand at 12.9p per kilowatt hour.

But it is widely expected that Rudd will go even further, cutting the current rate by as much as half this autumn.

Earlier in the year, Rudd announced a consultation on the solar subsidy scheme, which is expected to close the first week of September.

When she opened the consultation, Rudd said: “Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly.”

“As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies,” she added. “We’re taking action to protect consumers, whilst protecting existing investment.”

When contacted by City A.M. yesterday, an energy department spokesperson echoed Rudd’s earlier comments, saying: “We always look to get the best deal for consumers, so when forecasts showed that spending on renewable energy subsidy schemes was set to be higher than expected, we were determined to get a grip.”

The government has already removed subsidies for other renewable energy initiatives, including the guaranteed level of subsidy for biomass conversions. It is expected to reveal the results of a separate consultation, on feed-in tariffs, next month.


Anti-GMO Radicals Harass Scientists with Deluge of Freedom of info requests

Anti-GMO radicals are harassing scientists who work at state universities — including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign — with an onslaught of speculative Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, according to a report in the 13 August edition of Nature magazine, one of the world’s leading weekly science journals.

Led by the leftist group, US Right to Know, the activists, who oppose the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food and medicine, are requesting confidential documents that demonstrate the correspondence between academic research activity and industry.

Industry commonly funds research in academia. So does the government. Researchers who are employed at state universities, like Washington State University and the University of Florida, both of which receive state, and federal, funds, are subject to the FOI laws. Radicals at US Right to Know, ironically, are not covered by FOI, and have not disclosed their funding sources.

Radicals asked a total of 40 researchers to hand over documents, though some, like the University of Nebraska, have refused to produce the documents. Others, like Washington State, have agreed to turn over documents, including e-mail, Nature reported.

The liberals are distraught that some scientists have posted remarks on a web site called, GMO Answers, which is produced by the PR firm, Ketchum, in New York City, as the food fear assault mounted by these activists seeks to silence opposition to its un-scientific scare campaign.

Not many normal people support the unhinged leftists and their anti-science campaign. In remarks yesterday at the Heartland Institute’s open house, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) gave a speech, which, among other things, voiced support for continued federal backing of science and technology at the Fermilab, located in Batavia, Ill., which has conducted research on the ethics of genetic engineering, among other important scientific work.


Democratic Republic of Congo climate plan ‘leaves laggards with no excuse’

The power of a plan, no less. Fantasies are not limited to Western universities

“If we are able to deliver no-one should have an excuse not to.”

The words of Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, climate negotiator for the Democratic Republic of Congo and an architect of the country’s recently submitted UN climate plan.

On 18 August the DRC, rated 186 out of 187 in the UN’s Human Development Index, became the 55th country to submit its contribution to a planned global climate deal.

Its ambition impressed and stunned many observers.  The nation of 75 million, which is responsible for 1.57% of global emissions, said it would target 17% greenhouse gas cuts on a business-as-usual baseline by 2030.

By 2025, it said 3 million hectares of trees would be planted; this in a country where nearly 68% of land is already covered by some of the world’s most diverse and ecologically important forests.

And it would also seek to protect 152 million hectares still covered by vegetation, which, according to the national plan (and depending on how you account for land use change emissions), places it in the unusual position of being a country that absorbs more CO2 than it produces.

This potentially makes the DRC’s climate pledge one of the most important to date.

“The intact forest in the Congo Basin is a globally significant carbon sink,” says Simon Lewis, a scientist from University College London who runs an African tropical forest monitoring scheme.

“We calculated that African tropical closed canopy forests account for about 0.3Gt (300 million tonnes) of carbon uptake each year… of which vast majority is in the DRC, because that is where most of Africa’s tropical forests are.”

Mpanu Mpanu worked with a team of eight to deliver the DRC’s contribution to a global climate pact well ahead of a soft deadline of 1 October set by the UN.

They identified forests, agriculture and energy as their main action areas, in a country scarred by civil wars that started in 1996, when dictator Mobutu Seso Seke stepped down from power.


Liberal scientists say global warming, not illegals, worsening California drought

What would we do without liberal scientists – scientists who, in order to earn their paychecks, are required to find problems with whatever their grants pay for?  In this case, they are required to find dangers from global warming.  If they don't, their grants are cut off, and they have to get productive jobs, or get retrained to speak Spanish and deliver social services to families of Dreamers.

Don't worry – scientists are still doing their jobs!

"Global warming caused by human emissions has most likely intensified the drought in California by roughly 15 to 20 percent, scientists said Thursday, warning that future dry spells in the state are almost certain to be worse than this one as the world continues to heat up".

Oh, no!

"Even though the findings suggest that the drought is primarily a consequence of natural climate variability, the scientists added that the likelihood of any drought becoming acute is rising because of climate change".

Wait.  Would you call this hedging a bit?  So the drought is primarily natural in cause, and global warming is...what again?

“This would be a drought no matter what,” said A. Park Williams, a climate scientist at Columbia University and the lead author of a paper published by the journal Geophysical Research Letters. “It would be a fairly bad drought no matter what. But it’s definitely made worse by global warming.”

Okay.  Got it.  The only problem is, there hasn't been any global warming in 18 years.  Really.

It's all natural temperature variation.  But there is another side to water scarcity, which is consumption.  And 3 million illegal aliens in California are undoubtedly contributing to water shortages.  Why don't scientists ever talk about that?  Probably because they would lose their jobs.  It's safer to talk about a scientific process they can't prove than a factual certainty that is staring them in the face but would get them fired if they mentioned it.

Articles have started appearing talking about evil property owners who "guzzle" water for their lawns.  But you will never see articles about illegal aliens guzzling water.  Illegals don't guzzle.  They dream and are busy ascending to the most virtuous state of being mankind can ever achieve.  Meanwhile, the California water shortage is caused by a hockey stick-like increase in temperature that has not been happening for the past 18 years.

Actually, California has plenty of water available but simply chooses not to store it for human consumption.  Instead, it focuses on putting black balls in the water supply, and educating people to eat less "water rich" food.



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, 2015

The American Meteorological Society Published Egregious Half-Truths

A stunning example of how Warmism corrupts science

By Jim Steele

Background: In 2000, the Bulletin of the Meteorological Society published “Impacts of Extreme Weather and Climate on Terrestrial Biota" by Camille Parmesan, Terry Root, and Michael Willig. The paper introduced to the peer-reviewed literature analyses by Parmesan that extreme weather events had caused an extinction event in California’s Sierra Nevada and advocated the extreme weather was the mechanism by which global warming was driving animals northward and upward as Parmesan claimed in her first controversial paper discussed here. According to Google Scholar, the BAMS paper has been cited by 324 consensus articles. Thomson Reuter's Essential Science Indicators  report that by December 2009, Parmesan went on to be ranked #2 among highly cited authors for papers devoted expressly to global warming and climate change.

Below is a map of Parmesan's study site first published in Singer, M., and C. D. Thomas (1996) Evolutionary responses of a butterfly metapopulation to human and climate-caused environmental variation. American Naturalist, vol. 148, p. S9–S39. I have added call out boxes.

Notice how surgically "climate change" supposedly killed individuals on the annual plant Collinsia (Xs) in the logged clearing while just a few feet away the same species was originally reported to be thriving on its normal host plant in undisturbed habitat. The observations of those thriving populations were later "amputated" from Parmesan's extinction story that she spun in “Impacts of Extreme Weather and Climate on Terrestrial Biota

Parmesan et al biased their conclusion by omitting observations that all other individuals in the surrounding natural habitat had survived better than had ever been observed during the same weather events. Only the butterflies that had recently colonized a novel plant species in a highly disturbed logged area had been extirpated.

If all observations were honestly presented, it would have been both an example of nature’s resilience and an example of the effect of landscape changes on microclimates. By omitting half of the data, their paper manufactured an illusion of extreme climate catastrophe as discussed here. So I requested an official retraction. It was no more honest than Enron officials leaving half the data off their books.

Nonetheless, Parmesan’s illusion was immediately adopted by top climate scientists David R. Easterling, Gerald A. Meehl, Stanley A. Changnon, and Thomas R. Karl who immediately invited Parmesan to co-author the paper Climate Extremes: Observations, Modeling, and Impacts published in the journal Science. The bulk of that paper showed there was no increase in heat waves, droughts or other catastrophic events, but they then offered Parmesan’s half-truths to suggest just few extreme events related to climate change will cause grave ecological disruptions writing “In wild plants and animals, climate-induced extinctions, distributional and phenological changes, and species’ range shifts are being documented at an increasing rate.”

However that paper’s only example of “climate-induced extinctions” were Parmesan’s butterflies and amphibian extinctions at Monte Verde as discussed in the unsupported story of the Golden Toad discussed here. This new paper, according to Google Scholar, was then cited by over 1790 consensus articles.

In light of the rightful objections that “pal-review” can create a false illusion of a paper’s scientific objectivity (that resulted in Copernicus Publishing terminating the skeptical journal Pattern Recognition in Physics), I encourage climate scientists James Annan, Gavin Schmidt and others who objected to “pal-review” to join me in asking the American Meteorological Society to reprimand and retract papers that knowingly omit data that undermine scientific integrity. 

I encourage readers to respectfully email the American Meteorological Society or and share your opinion about whether or not their reasons for not retracting the paper were valid and in the best interest of science. Dr. Rosenfeld at was the editor with whom I was communicating, but he mentioned having some health issues, so to be kind I suggest your opinions be sent to the first two email addresses.

The AMS refused to retract -- using very specious justifications. Jim Steele wrote back, noting very serious implications:

In “An Information Statement of the American Meteorological Society?(Adopted by AMS Council 20 August 2012)” the society argued,  “Evidence for warming is also observed in seasonal changes across many areas, including earlier springs, longer frost-free periods, longer growing seasons, and shifts in natural habitats and in migratory patterns of birds and insects.” Parmesan papers have been essential in creating the impression that rising CO2 has shifted natural habitat. But as demonstrated in the paper under discussion, if the whole truth was told, a much different story would emerge and fears of ecological climate catastrophe would give way to more rational analyses of landscape change and natural cycles.

The AMS’ climate change statement also argued “Climate is always changing. However, many of the observed changes noted above are beyond what can be explained by the natural variability of the climate.”  But in truth the extinction of this local butterfly population was much better explained by natural variability and landscape changes, and that again contradicts the AMS’s claim that natural variations can not explain current events.

 The AMS’ climate change statement claims the “AMS Information Statement intended to provide a trustworthy, objective, and scientifically up-to-date explanation of scientific issues of concern to the public at large.” Perhaps the AMS fears that retracting a faulty paper would call attention to the possibility that there may be more peer reviewed papers that are not so trustworthy, papers that demand more skeptical scrutiny. By not retracting a paper that so blatantly manipulated the data presentation, you bite off your nose to save your face. The justifications used to avoid retracting the paper suggests the AMS editorial policy strayed from being  “objective, nor scientifically up-to-date”.

 That the AMS would justify publishing half-truths based on technicalities and spurious precedents taints the rest of the scientific community who strive to uphold science’s highest standards. It undermines the public’s trust in environmental science, making it much more difficult for us to convince others about cases where we truly need better environmental stewardship.  Good environmental stewardship demands unadulterated science to guide our policies, not the half-truths the AMS now condones.


Cui bono?

What lies behind all the Warmist lies and deceptions?  Who benefits?  Paul Driessen says below that the Larry Bell book explains how profiteers of climate doom keep the money flowing 

No warming in 18 years, no category 3-5 hurricane hitting the USA in ten years, seas rising at barely six inches a century: computer models and hysteria are consistently contradicted by Real World experiences.

So how do White House, EPA, UN, EU, Big Green, Big Wind, liberal media, and even Google, GE and Defense Department officials justify their fixation on climate change as the greatest crisis facing humanity? How do they excuse saying government must control our energy system, our economy and nearly every aspect of our lives – deciding which jobs will be protected and which ones destroyed, even who will live and who will die – in the name of saving the planet? What drives their intense ideology?

The answer is simple. The Climate Crisis & Renewable Energy Industry has become a $1.5-trillion-a-year business! That’s equal to the annual economic activity generated by the entire US nonprofit sector, or all savings over the past ten years from consumers switching to generic drugs. By comparison, annual revenues for much-vilified Koch Industries are about $115 billion, for ExxonMobil around $365 billion.

According to a 200-page analysis by the Climate Change Business Journal, this Climate Industrial Complex can be divided into nine segments: low carbon and renewable power; carbon capture and storage; energy storage, like batteries; energy efficiency; green buildings; transportation; carbon trading; climate change adaptation; and consulting and research. Consulting is a $27-billion-per-year industry that handles “reputation management” for companies and tries to link weather events, food shortages and other problems to climate change. Research includes engineering R&D and climate studies.

The $1.5-trillion price tag appears to exclude most of the Big Green environmentalism industry, a $13.4-billion-per-year business in the USA alone. The MacArthur Foundation just gave another $50 million to global warming alarmist groups. Ex-NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chesapeake Energy gave the Sierra Club $105 million to wage war on coal (shortly before the Club began waging war on natural gas and Chesapeake Energy, in what some see as poetic justice). Warren Buffett, numerous “progressive” foundations, Vladimir Putin cronies and countless companies also give endless millions to Big Green.

Our hard-earned tax dollars are likewise only partially included in the CCBJ tally. As professor, author and columnist Larry Bell notes in his new book, Scared Witless: Prophets and profits of climate doom, the U.S. government spent over $185 billion between 2003 and 2010 on climate change items – and this wild spending spree has gotten even worse in the ensuing Obama years. We are paying for questionable to fraudulent global warming studies, climate-related technology research, loans and tax breaks for Solyndra and other companies that go bankrupt, “climate adaptation” foreign aid to poor countries, and much more.

Also not included: the salaries and pensions of thousands of EPA, NOAA, Interior, Energy and other federal bureaucrats who devote endless hours to devising and imposing regulations for Clean Power Plans, drilling and coal mining bans, renewable energy installations, and countless Climate Crisis, Inc. handouts. A significant part of the $1.9 trillion per year that American businesses and families pay to comply with mountains of federal regulations is also based on climate chaos claims.

Add in the state and local equivalents of these federal programs, bureaucrats, regulations and restrictions, and we’re talking serious money. There are also consumer costs, including the far higher electricity prices families and businesses must pay, especially in states that want to prove their climate credentials.

The impacts on companies and jobs outside the Climate Crisis Industry are enormous, and growing. For every job created in the climate and renewable sectors, two to four jobs are eliminated in other parts of the economy, studies in Spain, Scotland and other countries have found. The effects on people’s health and welfare, and on overall environmental quality, are likewise huge and widespread.

But all these adverse effects are studiously ignored by Climate Crisis profiteers – and by the false prophets of planetary doom who manipulate data, exaggerate and fabricate looming catastrophes, and create the pseudo-scientific basis for regulating carbon-based energy and industries into oblivion. Meanwhile, the regulators blatantly ignore laws that might penalize their favored constituencies.

In one glaring example, a person who merely possesses a single bald eagle feather can be fined up to $100,000 and jailed for a year. But operators of the wind turbine that killed the eagle get off scot-free. Even worse, the US Fish & Wildlife Service actively helps Big Wind hide and minimize its slaughter of millions of raptors, other birds and bats every year. It has given industrial wind operators a five-year blanket exemption from the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Migratory Birds Treaty Act and Endangered Species Act. The FWS even proposed giving Big Wind a 30-year exemption.

Thankfully, the US District Court in San Jose, CA recently ruled that the FWS and Interior Department violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws, when they issued regulations granting these companies a 30-year license to kill bald and golden eagles. But the death tolls continue to climb.

Professor Bell’s perceptive, provocative, extensively researched book reviews the attempted power grab by Big Green, Big Government and Climate Crisis, Inc. In 19 short chapters, he examines the phony scientific consensus on global warming, the secretive and speculative science and computer models used to “prove” we face a cataclysm, ongoing collusion and deceit by regulators and activists, carbon tax mania, and many of the most prominent but phony climate crises: melting glaciers, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, disappearing species and declining biodiversity. His articles and essays do likewise.

Scared Witless also lays bare the real reasons for climate fanaticism, aside from lining pockets. As one prominent politician and UN or EPA bureaucrat after another has proudly and openly said, their “true ambition” is to institute “a new global order” … “ global governance” … “redistribution of the world’s resources” … an end to “hegemonic” capitalism … and “a profound transformation” of “attitudes and lifestyles,” energy systems and “the global economic development model.”

In other words, these unelected, unaccountable US, EU and UN bureaucrats want complete control over our industries; over everything we make, grow, ship, eat and do; and over every aspect of our lives, livelihoods, living standards and liberties. And they intend to “ride the global warming issue” all the way to this complete control, “even if the theory of global warming is wrong” … “even if there is no scientific evidence to back the greenhouse effect” … “even if the science of global warming is all phony.”

If millions of people lose their jobs in the process, if millions of retirees die from hypothermia because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly, if millions of Africans and Asians die because they are denied access to reliable, affordable carbon-based electricity – so be it. Climate Crisis, Inc. doesn’t care.

Free market principles do not apply, and free marketers need not apply. The global warming industry survives and thrives only because of secretive, fraudulent climate science; constant collusion between regulators and pressure groups; and a steady stream of government policies, regulations, preferences, subsidies and mandates – plus taxes and penalties on its competitors. CCI gives lavishly to politicians who keep the gravy train on track, while its attack dogs respond quickly, aggressively and viciously to anyone who dares to challenge its orthodoxies, perks, power and funding.

Climate change has been “real” throughout Earth and human history – periodically significant, sometimes sudden, sometimes destructive. It is driven by the sun and other powerful, complex, interacting natural forces that we still do not fully understand … and certainly cannot control. It has little or nothing to do with the carbon dioxide that makes plants grow faster and better, and is emitted as a result of using fossil fuels that have brought countless, wondrous improvements to our environment and human condition.

Climate Crisis, Inc. is a wealthy, nasty behemoth. But it is a house of cards. Become informed. Get involved. Fight back. And elect representatives – and a president – who also have the backbone to do so.

Via email

Study shows Pacific island reefs can match rising sea levels

Coral reefs are a lot more resilient than previously thought. At least according to a new study published yesterday that showed Pacific island coral reef can grow fast enough to match rising sea levels, even with increased ocean temperatures. coral reefs

Because they grow vertically on shallow reef flats, researchers observed that Porites microatolls coral is keeping pace with current sea level rise, but may have trouble under the worst-case IPCC scenarios. The Porites microatoll, whose growth is largely lateral and limited by exposure to air, is named for its resemblance to island atolls (see picture).

Researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology, who published their study in the Royal Society Open Science, say their findings provide the first evidence that "well-managed reefs will be able to keep up with sea-level rise through vertical growth." However, if CO2 emissions rise past 670 parts per million (ppm), which may cause ocean temperatures to increase 2.2 degrees Celsius, reefs will have a hard time keeping up with the projected sea level rise.

Currently CO2 levels worldwide are 400 ppm (.o4 percent), but once they cross the 670 ppm threshold, the corresponding rise in ocean temperatures may hamper even a healthy reefs ability to survive. "Reefs will continue to keep up with sea-level rise if we reduce our emission of greenhouse gases," said Florida Tech’s Rob van Woesik, a professor at FIT's Department of Biological Sciences and the study's lead author. "If reefs lose their capacity to keep up with sea-level rise they will drown."

The study, which focused on Palau island in the western Pacific Ocean, was also co-authored by researchers from the University of Queensland and the Palau International Coral Reef Center. Palau is an island country that is part of the larger Pacific island group of Micronesia and relies on the reef system to break apart storm waves.

The researchers measured "570 reef-flat Porites microatolls (a type of coral) at 10 locations around Palau, which revealed recent vertical skeletal extension (78±13?mm) over the last 6–8 years," consistent with the observed increase in sea level. The study's authors then used the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) greenhouse-gas concentration trajectories from its 2014 fifth Assessment Report to model four different outcomes for the Porites microatolls. It showed that under the low- to mid-RCP scenarios, reef-coral growth will keep up with sea-level rise."

These IPCC's RCP pathways are primarily used for climate modeling and research and "describe four possible climate futures," depending on how much greenhouse gases are emitted in the future.

However, under the IPCC's worst-case RCP scenario, where "greenhouse gas concentrations exceed 670?ppm atmospheric CO2 levels with a concomitant increase of 2.2 degree Celsius in sea-surface temperatures by 2100," their "predictions indicate that Poritesmicroatolls will be unable to keep up with projected rates of sea-level rise."

CO2 levels have increased at a rate of approximately 2 ppm/year since recordkeeping began. That means if current trends continue, CO2 levels will have increased only 170 ppm by the year 2100, much less than the 670 ppm or higher needed to affect the reef systems described in the study. There is also an annual fluctuation of about ~10 ppm that is negatively correlated with the Northern Hemisphere's growing season (plants absorb CO2 during the spring/summer/early fall).

As reported here, other studies have also shown coral reefs are far more resilient then previously estimated. One 13-year study of coral reefs showed "them spontaneously recovering," refuting the "often doomsday forecasts about the worldwide decline of the colorful marine habitat." Tom Frazer, professor of aquatic ecology at the University of Florida and part of that study, told Reuters, "People have said these systems don't have a chance. What we are saying is: 'Hey, this is evidence they do have a chance.'"

Another study—funded by NOAA—showed that coral reefs can also adapt to warmer ocean temperatures through a variety of processes. Even after the great coral die-off in 1998 from a particular brutal El Niño, most of the coral reefs across the planet rebounded to their original numbers. Coral can also perish from a variety of issues: environmental stressors, such as elevated temperature; changes in salinity; high solar radiation; pollutants; and/or diseases.

This latest study from the Florida Institute of Technology will be good news to the thousands of people who populate these Pacific islands and rely on the intricate reef system for protection and tourists.


Making Environmentalism Divisive

In May, Murray Energy, which sits along the old National Pike here in eastern Ohio, told nearly 1,500 workers at five of its West Virginia mines that their jobs were eliminated.

In Ohio, 249 Murray jobs were gone; nearly 170 employees were out of work in Illinois.

The announcement wasn't an isolated one. Mines are being boarded up and thousands of coal jobs are vanishing across America, in part because of competition from abundant natural gas but in larger part because of new federal regulations limiting carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants.

One month later, Murray filed two lawsuits against the U.S. EPA to halt its rewriting and expanding of the definition of "waters of the United States."

The energy company said the change is unconstitutional and not only reflects an unprecedented expansion of federal regulatory authority but also is one of the largest federal land grabs in history.

According to the Obama administration's EPA, any area that is wet, or has the potential to be wet, would be subject to the Clean Water Act.

When Congress adopted the Clean Water Act in 1972, it never intended to allow room for regulatory creep. Certainly the act was not put in place to divide the country politically; in fact, it was supported by congressional Democrats and Republicans alike.

Caring about the environment was an American thing back in the 1960s and '70s, when pollution clogged our rivers and streams and litter piled up on our highways and streets; you felt patriotic about it.

Today's environmentalists - the kind who look at "climate change" as a religion preaching that non-believers will burn in hell - have won; Appalachian jobs, people, communities and families have lost.

We all used to be in this together, cleaning up pollution and litter, punishing companies that did bad things in the night - but retaining the industries that provided jobs that kept generations of families together in the communities where they lived.

Growing up, there wasn't a kid I knew who wasn't impacted by the "crying Indian" ad of 1971, in which an American Indian paddled his canoe on a river past gritty smokestacks and floating pollution. As he stepped onshore, he was pelted with a bag of garbage that landed at his feet. A close-up of his face showed a single tear, as an announcer intoned: "People start pollution, people can stop it."

Today, liberal elites, academics and coastal progressives believe they are the only ones who can speak with authority about the environment, and are the only purists on that issue.

Stuck in their "green movement" ivory towers, they do not understand that the things they preach have long been part of our culture; instead, they use those as wedge issues to drive up votes in elections.

Republicans take the biggest hit on environmentalism, which is interesting because conservatism means to conserve permanent things; evangelicals, one of the GOP's biggest voting blocs, believe they have a duty to conserve, preserve, and restore Creation until Christ returns.

The blame for turning environmental stewardship into a politically poisoned well rests with Al Gore; he has pushed people needlessly further to each of the extreme sides of the issue, ruining any serious discussion or an exchange of ideas from which all of us could benefit.

A couple of years ago I was waiting for my kids to finish whitewater rafting at Ohiopyle when I decided to shop for some family gifts at a local shop. The bill was more than $200, a nice sum for a small business.

The young lady ringing up the sale proceeded to place my purchases in a used bag that had a huge hole in it. When I asked her if I could have another bag without a hole, she launched into a loud tirade - including finger-pointing - about how I was one of "those people" who don't believe in "the movement" and how I must clearly "hate the Earth."

There were no purchases made that day. And I felt badly for the young lady, not just because she lost her commissions but because she suddenly had a personal glimpse into how it feels to have your wallet impacted by politically correct environmentalism.


US Gives Shell Final Nod to Drill for Oil in Arctic

After years of delay and almost endless restrictions

The Obama administration on Monday granted Royal Dutch Shell the final permit to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic for the first time since 2012, a move environmentalists vowed to fight.

The Interior Department gave Shell the final permit to drill into the oil zone in the Chukchi Sea off northern Alaska after the Fennica, an icebreaker the company leases that carries emergency well-plugging equipment, was repaired after suffering a gash in its hull.

The permit was expected as the department had previously approved Shell's exploration program before the Fennica hit uncharted shoals in southern Alaska.

Shell obtained the leases in the Chukchi during the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Shell has spent about $7 billion on exploration in the Arctic. It has not explored in the region since 2012, when the company suffered a series of mishaps in region, including losing control of an enormous rig, from which the Coast Guard had to rescue 18 workers.

The Arctic is home to what the U.S. government estimates is 20 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas.

Shell's determination to drill there has spawned funding drives and a wave of protests by environmentalists who want to protect whales, walruses and polar bears in a vulnerable region that scientists say is changing rapidly due to global warming.

Curtis Smith, a Shell spokesman, said the company "looks forward to evaluating what could potentially become a national energy resource base." Shell said it was possible it could complete a well this summer, but it is not releasing a timeline for the drilling.


Warmist lies about walruses

The walrus is another example of improving environmental stewardship. Valued for its oil and ivory tusks, the Pacific walrus was subjected to intense commercial slaughter in the mid 1800s, and by the early 1900s, many worried they would soon go the way of the dinosaurs. Although population estimates have always been highly uncertain, as hunting was progressively limited, Pacific Walrus populations “increased from 50,000 to 100,000 animals in the late 1950s to more than 250,000 animals by 1985,” and they are believed to have now reached their maximum carrying capacity.557 As walrus numbers rebounded, they have crowded together at historic coastal haul-outs (Haul-outs are land locations where walruses congregate when not swimming). However some advocates are using the walrus’ recovery as evidence of ecological disruption caused by global warming and the loss of sea ice. But their fears would vanish if they had a more historical perspective.

In 1923 Captain Joseph Bernard published an account in the Journal of Mammalogy about the inspiring conservation efforts he had observed in the village of Ingshong on the Siberian coast.558 There the wisdom of walrus conservation, dressed in the trappings of shamanic beliefs, had fostered a dramatic comeback in local walrus abundance.

In 1925 Bernard again wrote in the Journal of Mammalogy, advocating for walrus sanctuaries in Alaska to the south of Barrow.559 He contrasted the more conservation-minded village of Ingshong to the settlement of Point Hope on the Alaskan Coast. Thirty years before, the walruses had hauled out by the thousands and some would even wander into town. However the traders, whalers, and Inuit of the settlement were all too quick to shoot any weary walrus coming ashore. Subsequently, for the last twenty years live walruses had become a rare sight on that beach.

The European settlers of that time had embarked on a withering onslaught, motivated by a lucrative ivory market. In just a few decades the only surviving walruses were the ones that had learned to avoid coastal haul-outs, finding greater safety on the ice floes or more remote islands. Nomadic Inuit hunters showed no greater restraint than the Europeans. They followed the wary walrus herds out onto the ice floes. Although walrus meat was highly valued, ivory tusks brought much greater returns. Along the 200 miles of shoreline near Pt Barrow, Alaska, Bernard counted 1000 walrus corpses washed ashore.

One third of the corpses still retained their tusks; although shot, they had managed to slip into the waters before the hunters could cleave their tusks. The nightmare was likely far greater than evidenced by mere shoreline counts. If Bernard counted 1000 rotting carcasses washed ashore by the westerly winds, how many more were carried by the currents out to the Arctic Ocean, or to other distant beaches?

From 1900-1930, the annual harvest of Pacific walrus averaged 5000 per year. Despite growing concerns voiced by Bernard and others, that figured doubled to 10,000 per year between 1930 and 1950. The Pacific walrus was seemingly headed for extinction. Fearing this may be the last chance to observe living walruses, Francis Fay began compiling one of the most complete accounts of the ecology and biology of the Pacific Walrus for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. After more than two decades of research, “The Ecology and Biology of the Pacific Walrus” was published in 1982.560

The 1950s were the 20th century’s nadir of walrus abundance. Over-hunting of whales and walruses had been so severe, the native Yupik of the St Lawrence Island found themselves on the verge of starvation. The Yupik had dodged an earlier threat of extirpation in 1879 when disease was introduced by visiting whalers. When John Muir and a Smithsonian naturalist visited the island they were horrified to find huts strewn with hundreds of dead bodies. There were few survivors. Although the Yupik population had only rebounded to just one-third of their pre-epidemic population, the slaughter of whales and walruses now denied the surviving Yupik adequate sustenance. According to Fay, “If remedial food supplies had not been provided by Federal and State governments, the islanders probably would have been afflicted again by starvation and death in 1954-55.”

When the walrus were plentiful in the 1800s, they had hauled out in great numbers on beaches. Fay reported that of “numerous coastal hauling grounds that were used on the Siberian coast in the early part of the century, only three remained in use by the mid-1950’s.” There were just too few Tenastze to guard the walruses. Thanks to hunting restrictions, the walrus rebounded. As populations returned to historical peak abundance, they began returning to former coastal haul-outs.

Most recently walruses returned to an Alaskan beach about 140 miles southwest of Barrow. It was the general location that Captain Bernard wanted protected as a walrus preserve, and news of the walruses’ return would have certainly caused the good captain to celebrate. But not the global warming advocates. A stampede, most likely provoked by a hunting polar bear, left several trampled walruses. Although historically tramplings had been associated with great abundance, advocates spun it as proof of deadly CO2.

The Huffington Post published the following: “ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Trampling likely killed 131 mostly young walruses forced onto the northwest coast of Alaska by a loss of sea ice, according to a preliminary report released Thursday.” “Obviously it's a real tragedy, and it's one we're going to see repeated more and more as the climate warms and the sea ice melts," said Rebecca Noblin, staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). The CBD had petitioned to list walrus as threatened or endangered because of increased CO2 levels. The article makes the bold claim, "Were it not for the dramatic decline in the sea ice, the young walruses at Icy Cape most likely would be alive on the ice and not dead on a beach," said WWF [World Wildlife Fund] biologist Geoff York.”

However, by all historical accounts, land haul-outs were very common in a time of abundant sea ice. The lawyers and advocates were ignoring (or ignorant of) Bernard’s 1925 lament that “Thirty or forty years ago in various places along the Alaskan coast walruses were known to haul-out in countless numbers (emphasis added).” 559 It’s also doubtful they had ever read Fay’s mid-century accounts in which death by trampling was listed as one of the “top 3 natural causes of death to walrus calves exceeded only by deaths caused by killer whales and polar bears (emphasis added).” 560

Fay’s research had compiled numerous reports depicting far greater mortality from trampling. Those deadly events happened when animals either hauled out in panic when pursued by killer whales, or when stampeded by attacking polar bears or humans. For example, in 1975, researchers reported a large number of dead animals during a stampede from a traditional hauling ground at Cape Blossom on Wrangell Island. The low-flying aircraft of the researchers had caused that stampede.560

In the heavy ice year of 1979, Fay examined the remnants of the greatest trampling tragedy yet recorded. On Punuk and St Lawrence Island, “At least 537 animals died at one haul-out area,” and approximately 400 other carcasses washed ashore from other locations. Nearly all of the dead were extremely lean, having less than half as much subcutaneous fat as healthy animals examined in previous years.” St Lawrence Island and the Punuk islands lie directly in the migratory path of the walrus’ southward journey from their summer feeding grounds in the Chukchi Sea to their wintering areas in the Bering Sea. The tramplings were spread out over both traditional haul-out locations on the Punuk Islands and in “four other locations on St. Lawrence Island where locals claimed they had not been seen in recent memory.” A more thorough investigation unearthed abundant old carcasses and bones and laboratory dating techniques revealed those “new” haul-outs had been very active in the early 1900’s before hunting pressures decimated their populations.

The Demise of the Atlantic Walrus

All evidence indicates that walruses have always hauled onto land even during the severe ice conditions of the Little Ice Age. It was overhunting that drove walruses from the beaches, and this is clear from historical accounts of the first encounters between walrus and European hunters on the pristine Svalbard archipelago. In archaeologist Robert McGhee’s superb book on the Arctic, The Last Imaginary Place631, he devotes an entire chapter to the “rape of Spitsbergen” (Svalbard’s largest island) and vividly documents the excesses of European harvests and glimpses of previously untouched Arctic wildlife.

Svalbard is located about 180 kilometers to the east of Greenland across the Fram Strait. Each year the Arctic winds remove much of the Arctic’s sea ice through the Fram Strait, sending ice southward to melt in the northern Atlantic. The Arctic ice piles up on the frigid northern half of Svalbard, in contrast to its ice-free southern half. In March, sea ice has reached its maximum extent and thickness, but the warm nutrient-rich waters can keep Svalbard’s south side ice-free. Those nutrient-rich waters once sustained an awe-inspiring profusion of life that has yet to fully recover from overhunting.

Although ancient hunters had reached the Arctic 5000 years ago, they never reached the islands of the Svalbard archipelago. It remained pristine until the Europeans first discovered the islands in the 1500s. In 1596, the Dutch explorer Willem Barents is believed to be the first person to ever set eyes on Svalbard and the Barents Sea now bears his name.

But the news of a stupendous Arctic bounty spread. Eight years after Barents’ discovery, the English Muscovy Company set sail to harvest Svalbard’s abundant meat and furs. Their ships’ logs provide vivid accounts of massive herds of “sea horses” resting on the beaches. From company records, biologists estimate that the Svalbard Archipelago alone supported close to 25,000 walruses before European hunting began. That’s thousands more than currently populates the entire Atlantic sector today. By trapping the walrus on the beaches, within just six hours they butchered six to seven hundred walruses, and filled their boat with tusks and hides. But even more valuable were the 11 tons of oil for cosmetics and oil lamps that were highly prized by Europeans battling the frequent bouts of extreme cold that punctuated the ongoing Little Ice Age. Walruses and even polar bear were boiled to render their oil.631

The walrus survived the first wave of hunters because Europeans quickly turned their harpoons on a far greater source of oil, Svalbard’s whales. The logs from those early walrus hunts spoke of an “endless pool of whales,” as did Henry Hudson’s during his ill-fated search for the Northwest Passage. After the whales were virtually eliminated by the 1800s, hunters again focused on the walrus; the most vivid description of their hunting techniques were preserved in Sir James Lamont’s 1852 Seasons with the Sea Horses:

“On one venture, after discovering a herd of several thousand walrus reposing on the land, four boats carried 16 men armed with lances. They stalked the shoreline in order to place themselves between the walrus herd and the ocean. As the first wave of stampeding walrus tried to enter the water, they were killed or injured creating a row of dead bodies inhibiting the escape of the others. With lance or axe in hand, the crews marched forward and descended on the trapped herd, killing the rest. A total of 900 walrus were killed that day.”631

Several northern European nations rushed to avail themselves of Spitsbergen’s cornucopia of marine life, sending warships to protect the hunters. The frenzied competition led to the destruction of Svalbard’s wildlife.

Although most wildlife had already been eliminated, the 1920 treaty of Spitsbergen finally ended the tragedy of the commons and the “rape of Spitsbergen”. In 1986 when McGhee went to Svalbard to search for any evidence that early Inuit or more ancient Tuniit may have reached the island, he only found evidence of the European overkill. Massive whalebones abounded, and beaches were littered with tusk-less walrus skulls. The birds had returned to the ponds and cliffs, while the reindeer and fox were now more common. But the beaches that once sheltered thousands of walrus were still empty and silent.

Walrus Summer Migration

The notion that walruses only haul-out on land when deprived of ice is a story that would have been laughed at just 30 years ago. Previously it was thought that ice denied walruses access to their hunting grounds. Walrus require shallow seas where they suction the seafloor for shellfish. As late as 1982 scientists stated, “the maximum absence of ice in the Chukchi Sea beneficially influences the population of the Pacific walrus permitting the animals to use vast feeding grounds in the summer and autumn seasons (emphasis added).” 561 Walruses do not require sea ice to hunt. Like Gray whales, they are associated with Arctic sea ice because it covers their food supply, and the current patterns of walrus migration support that view.

Unlike most females, thousands of male walruses never follow the receding ice pack but instead migrate southward to ice-free waters of the southern Bering Sea. Around Bristol Bay, Alaska, walruses readily forage up to 130 kilometers from their nearest haul-out site. The walrus’ main constraint is the water’s depth; they avoid regions where depths exceed 60 meters. Throughout the summer, adult males rest at their land haul-out sites for several days at a time between their offshore foraging trips which last four to ten days.”562 Swimming at normal swim speeds of 10 km/hour, walrus can cover the entire span of most shallow sea shelves in a few days, so there is little need for ice floe transportation. The males that do migrate north generally abandon the sea ice in spring and congregate on land haul-outs along the coasts of Russia and Alaska.562,563

Alarmists suggest the increasing use of land haul-outs is a sign of disaster, caused by the loss of sea ice. However all the evidence argues that as walrus populations increase, so does the use of land haul-outs. It is a sign of the walrus’ successful recovery. When the Pacific walrus was teetering on the edge of extinction, “no walruses were observed along the Alaska Peninsula”, and only about a thousand animals were recorded at Walrus Island in Bristol Bay Alaska.562 By 1960 both Russia and Alaska had instituted protective measures and within 20 years, walrus populations rebounded to pre-exploitation levels. As the numbers grew, they began to reoccupy traditional land haul-outs. By 1980, the numbers of walrus hauling out on Walrus Island in the Pribilofs had grown from 3,000 to 12,000.562

The use of land haul-outs still varies annually and (although poorly studied) is likely due to fluctuations in food supply. Massive herds suctioning the sea floor will eventually deplete a local food supply. Furthermore, regime shifts such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation alter the winds and currents that deliver nutrients. Most likely the productivity of ocean floors also oscillate in approximate 20 year cycles. For example, at Cape Pierce in southern Bristol Bay, more than 12,000 walruses were hauling out on the beaches each summer in the 1980s. Then suddenly most walruses disappeared for over two decades. Recently they have been returning to Cape Pierce and as of 2008, their numbers increased to over 5000.563

The Pacific Walrus is now believed to have recovered fully to its historic population of about 200,000, but surveys have been limited and therefore carry great statistical uncertainty. However in the Atlantic there is no question this subspecies has never recovered from the human quest for blubber and ivory. Large herds had once hauled out on islands and the mainland beaches as far south as Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. All those southern populations were completely exterminated. The early walrus population along the St. Lawrence River alone has been estimated at over 100,000.

In contrast, today the entire Atlantic subspecies is confined to waters further north. No longer migratory, they typically reside in polynya, and their total population is a mere 20,000.565 With such low numbers, stories of trampling are rare from the Atlantic sector. A beach packed with walruses is evidence of better conservation, not global warming doom.



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

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


23 August, 2015

Climatologist: We Have a ‘Moral Imperative’ to Burn Fossil Fuels

Warmists often invoke morality -- which they don't believe in -- as part of their call for carbon restrictions.  But the real moral imperative is to stop their destructive campaigning

 We have a “moral imperative” to burn carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuels because the energy they provide is a “liberator” of humanity, says Dr. John Christy, a climatologist and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, Huntsville.

“We are not morally bad people for taking carbon and turning it into the energy that offers life to humanity in a world that would otherwise be brutal,” Christy wrote in a recent oped. "On the contrary, we are good people for doing so."

He also challenged what he says are contradictions in Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, in which the pontiff called climate change “one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

The pope’s encyclical “displays a lack of understanding of how the real world works,” Christy told According to microwave data from satellites going back to 1978, which are precise to within .08 of a degree, “very little warming is taking place,” he pointed out.

In his encyclical, Pope Francis also wrote that “a very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system…. The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system….There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced.”

“The encyclical calls for renewed attention to the ‘wisdom’ that all human life is sacred, having ‘infinite dignity,’” Christy pointed out in his oped. “On the other hand, we are asked to forgo the fundamental means by which human life flourishes today – carbon-based energy (coal, oil, natural gas).”

Carbon-based energy, which is “the most affordable and reliable source of energy in demand today, liberates people from poverty,” Christy explained to “Without energy, life is brutal and short.”

Pointing out that it was “warmer 4,000 to 5,000 years ago than it is today,” Christy said that the computer models cited by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted global warming that is “three times” what the satellite data shows is the Earth’s actual temperature. “It demonstrates we do not know how to model the climate system, in my view,” Christy said.

 “All the datasets show some slight warming (+0.11 degrees Celsius per decade since Nov. 16, 1978), some more than others,” he told “But still, the amount of warming is much, much less than what was anticipated from climate models, and that’s what I’ve been showing and demonstrating in various venues, including Congress.

“In a congressional hearing last May, I demonstrated that the models are significantly above in their temperature projection from where we actually are right now. So if you go back 36 years to 1979 and run the models, they all show lots of warming. The real world shows very little warming” despite rising levels of CO2.

On May 13, Christy told the House Committee on Natural Resources that even if the U.S. completely eliminated its fossil fuel emissions, so that “there would be no industry, no cars, no utilities, no people” - the impact on global temperatures would be “so tiny as to be immeasurable.”

“The two largest impacts on temperature are the El Ninos in the Pacific as well as volcanic eruptions, which shade the Earth when they put the dust and smoke in the stratosphere. So once you account for both of those, there’s not a whole lot of warming in the planet,” Christy told

“The conclusion we have reached is that the world, the global climate, is not very sensitive to carbon dioxide. And that can occur if the climate responds in its many facets to release heat – when you add the heat from carbon dioxide. So carbon dioxide does allow more heat to be retained in the climate system, but the climate system also has many ways to allow an increased release of heat into space.

”So we think that’s what’s going on, that there are feedbacks that are allowing that heat to escape and not accumulate the way models have indicated it should.”

Fossil fuels cannot easily be replaced with renewable sources of energy without imposing much higher costs on the very people who can least afford it, Christy pointed out.

And drastically reducing the use of fossil fuels, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed under its Clean Power Plan, will have a “miniscule” effect on global temperatures, Christy added.

“The science is fairly simple in terms of numbers. The amount of carbon dioxide emissions avoided by this plan is miniscule compared to the world emissions. Therefore, its impact on the global temperature will be miniscule.

“It will be so tiny we can’t even measure it. It’s going to be less than .02 of a degree for the next several decades," Christy said. “We measure the global temperature through satellites, my colleague Roy Spencer and I, here at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. And we see changes of more than that from day to day. It would be impossible to detect and attribute a .02 degree change to any regulation that was proposed.”

Christy pointed out that there is little chance that renewable resources of energy such as wind, solar and biomass will replace fossil fuels anytime soon, noting that the “world utilization of coal is growing every year, even in places like Japan and Germany, because they realize their renewable portfolios just do not provide the energy a modern economy needs.”

“Cost and reliability – both of those are factors in renewables. They’re just not able to produce the amount of energy a modern economy needs,” he told “And they have demonstrated that over and over. The only renewables you see out there, by and large, are those that are heavily subsidized, so their cost is very high. They’re just not as affordable.

"And the poorest people on the planet aren’t going to pay the highest price for energy. That’s just a fact,” he stated.

Christy added that during the next year or so, there will likely be “a bump in global temperatures from the huge El Nino that’s occurring out in the Pacific. So be ready for a bunch of press about ‘warmest month, warmest year’ and so on due to this El Nino.

“It will be couched in terms of human-caused global warming, but no one can prove how much warming is due to humans and how much is due to Mother Nature. And [global temperatures] will come down off that when that El Nino is spent,” he told

There will be a “lot of noise and wringing of hands and pronouncements of a grand deal to come” at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11) conference, which will be held in Paris, France from November 30 to December 11, Christy predicted.

“But the world will continue to burn carbon because the world needs energy - that’s the enabler of human progress and longevity. So no matter what they say in Paris, emissions will rise.”


Polar ice caps stable since 1979

1979 is a very important year in global warming science.

On the weather front, the World Meteorological Association issued a declaration from their meeting in Geneva, Switzerland that included the appeal “to foresee and to prevent potential man-made changes in climate that might be adverse to the well-being of humanity.” Later, the WMO joined with the United Nations Environment Programme to form the International Panel on Climate Change, the U.N. panel whose global warming predictions have been discredited by the earth’s failure to warm.

Another major event was the launch of a satellite system designed to track global temperatures and other environmental phenomena like the health of the polar ice caps.

Today, we have the benefit of reviewing thirty-six years of satellite data detailing the shrinking or increase of the polar ice caps, and the results are amazing.

The global ice area is virtually the same today as it was in 1979.

After all the worry about polar bears dying from lack of sea ice habitat (Note: Polar bears may well be more abundant today than in 1979.) and carbon-dollar-capturing Al Gore, Jr.’s dire prediction of the total disappearance of the Arctic ice cap by 2013 and the resulting rising tides, it turns out that there has been little, if any, change.

What’s more, the satellite system, which – unlike ground monitoring stations – is not impacted by localized variants caused by development, has found that the global warming pause now stands at seventeen years. In fairness, the average temperatures are higher than all but a couple of years between 1979 and 1988, but the predicted escalation of temperatures that undergirds the entire push for massive changes to the world’s electricity generation system are paltry.

With polar ice caps remaining stable since the beginning of the global warming crisis, and the earth’s temperatures stubbornly refusing to rise for almost two decades, despite increasing carbon emissions, every assumption used by the Environmental Protection Agency to justify their regulatory assault on America’s legitimate energy sector needs to be rethought.

Little did those who launched the climate satellite in 1979 know that they were putting into place the scientific data collection technology that changed everything in the global warming debate. One wonders what it feels like to be hoisted on one’s own petard.


EPA's McCarthy Admits Clean Power Plan Hits Minorities Hardest

In June 2014, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the Clean Power Plan, which the Obama administration finalized earlier this month, “is about environmental justice … because lower-income families and communities of color are hardest hit.” Why, then, is the EPA enacting standards that adversely affect minorities? Last week, McCarthy similarly remarked, “We know that low-income minority communities would be hardest hit.” But there was one important distinction: She wasn’t referring to environmental hazards but the plan itself. In other words, the EPA’s massive power grab, which ostensibly “is about environmental justice,” instead hurts those it’s supposedly intended to protect. That’s not the surprising part — independent studies have already warned about the consequences. What’s surprising is hearing the head of Barack Obama’s EPA admit it.

McCarthy counters by arguing that consumers will see substantial savings by 2030 and that the government intends to help minorities neutralize the initial impacts by giving states that invest in new and upcoming energy efficiency programs a 2-for-1 federal credit. But as The Daily Signal’s Nicolas Loris writes, existing energy efficiency programs have failed to live up to expectations. And just because the government wants to make purchasing decisions for you doesn’t mean consumers are better off: “Arguing that increasing energy prices with regulations will save money by forcing energy-efficient product purchases is equivalent to cutting employees' salaries and telling them that they will save money by shopping at Target. Just as the option to save money at Target existed before the pay cut, families and businesses already have an incentive to purchase energy-efficient products. When the government mandates efficiency, it removes that choice and makes consumers worse off.” No one is against energy efficiency, but that’s best attained through innovation in the free market. When the government gets involved, the results are bad for everyone.


EPA mandate potential 'disaster' in the making, say experts

LA's scheme to cover a reservoir under 96 million "shade balls" may not be all it is touted to be, experts told, with some critics going so far as to refer to the plan as a "potential disaster."

 The city made national headlines last week when Mayor Eric Garcetti and Department of Water officials dumped $34.5 million worth of the tiny, black plastic balls into the city's 175-acre Van Norman Complex reservoir in the Sylmar section. Garcetti said the balls would create a surface layer that would block 300 million gallons from evaporating amid the state's crippling drought and save taxpayers $250 million.

Experts differed over the best color for the tiny plastic balls, with one telling they should have been white and another saying a chrome color would be optimal. But all agreed that the worst color for the job is the one LA chose.

"Black spheres resting in the hot sun will form a thermal blanket speeding evaporation as well as providing a huge amount of new surface area for the hot water to breed bacteria," said Matt MacLeod, founder of the California biotech firm Modest Moon Farms. "Disaster. It’s going to be a bacterial nightmare.”

Any color covering will help stop wind-driven evaporation, said Robert Shibatani. principal hydrologist for the Sacramento-based environmental consultant The Shibitani Group. But when it comes to the hot summer sun sucking water out of the reservoir, color is everything, he said.

"Ideally you would want a chrome surface," he said. "The worst would be matte black, which has a reflectivity close to zero."

Biologist Nathan Krekula, a professor of health science at Bryant & Stratton College in Milwaukee, said black balls will absorb heat, transfer it to the water and cause evaporation. And he agreed with MacLeod that the heat will prove hospitable to bacteria.

"Bacteria required a few things to grow a dark, warm and moist environment," he said. "The balls will give them the perfect environment to live in.

"What works in backyard fish pond does not always transfer to large scale system such as this, Krekula added. "Keeping the balls clean when covered in bacteria and mold slime will be a monumental task."

Dennis Santiago, a risk analyst for Torrance-based Total Bank Solutions, suspects the real goal for the black-ball cover is to avoid steep Environmental Protection Agency fines. The federal agency's "Long-Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule," announced in 2006, would require public and private water utilities to spend billions to cover open-air reservoirs that hold treated water to prevent contamination. Officials in several districts around the nation have balked at the EPA mandate, notably in New York, where lawmakers are fighting to block a $1.6 billion concrete cover the EPA has ordered built over a Yonkers reservoir.

“This is not about evaporation," Santiago said. "The water savings spin is purely political. What the black balls are really about is that [Los Angeles] needs to stay in-compliance with an EPA requirement to place a physical cover over potable water reservoirs.”

Garcetti's office did note that the ball covering provides a "cost-effective investment that brings the LA Reservoir into compliance with new federal water quality mandates," but its emphasis on blocking evaporation was the clear focus at the event. Los Angeles Department of Water spokesman Albert Rodriguez told the city has plenty of time to get in compliance with the EPA.

While this latest shade ball initiative continues to generate publicity, it is not the first time Los Angeles utilized the concept. After high levels of bromate, a potentially carcinogenic chemical, were found in the Silver Lake and Ivanhoe reservoirs in 2008, the Department of Water deployed the balls.

Sydney Chase, president of XavierC, one of the shade ball supply companies behind the project, said the color is a result of pure black carbon being added to the high density polyethylene plastic to take in ultra-violet rays and subsequently stop sunlight from penetrating the plastic. Any other color would have required dyes, said Rodriguez, which could have then leached into the water while the carbon black does not.


Climate Cooling Role of Forests Uncovered

New study shows climate scientists have previously under-estimated the major cooling role forests play in regulating climate. Forests cover over 21% of the Earth's surface.  Scientists say their global regulation of surface temperature highlights the important role of forests in local, regional and global climate.

The new paper [1] published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, shows that the transpiration of forest ecosystems through the growing season dissipates more energy and lowers the Bowen ratio. In other words, this study reinforces the need for government climate researchers to include land use and land cover change when seeking to calculate human impact on the global energy balance.


[1] Most global temperature analyses are based on station air temperatures. This study presents a global analysis of the relationship between remotely sensed annual maximumLST (LSTmax) from the Aqua/Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor and the corresponding site-based maximum air temperature (Tamax) for every World Meteorological Organization station on Earth. The relationship is analyzed for different land cover types. We observed a strong positive correlation between LSTmax andTamax. As temperature increases, LSTmax increases faster than Tamax and captures additional information on the concentration of thermal energy at the Earth's surface, and biophysical controls on surface temperature, such as surface roughness and transpirational cooling. For hot conditions and in nonforested cover types, LST is more closely coupled to the radiative and thermodynamic characteristics of the Earth than the air temperature (Tair). Barren areas, shrublands, grasslands, savannas, and croplands have LSTmax values between 10°C and 20°C hotter than the corresponding Tamax at higher temperatures. Forest cover types are the exception with a near 1:1 relationship betweenLSTmax and Tamax across the temperature range and 38°C as the approximate upper limit of LSTmax with the exception of subtropical deciduous forest types where LSTmax occurs after canopy senescence. The study shows a complex interaction between land cover and surface energy balances. This global, semiautomated annual analysis could provide a new, unique, monitoring metric for integrating land cover change and energy balance changes.
Summary and Conclusions

[47] We compared the LSTmax from the Aqua/MODIS sensor to the corresponding site-basedTamax for every WMO station on Earth where Tamax is available. We first examined the relationship irrespective of land cover type, and as expected, a consistent positive correlation was observed between LSTmax and Tamax. Our results show that as temperature increases and more thermal energy is concentrated at the Earth's surface, LSTmax and Tamax become increasingly decoupled. At the highest temperatures, LSTmax can be as much as 20°C higher than the corresponding Tamax. Tair can significantly underestimate the actual radiative surface temperature, especially at high temperatures and in nonforested areas. Because LST is more tightly coupled to the radiative and thermodynamic characteristics of the Earth's surface, it may be an improvement to substitute LST for Tair in calculations of the global average surface temperature in the radiative-convective equilibrium concept equation [Pielke et al., 2007].

[48] We found the strength of the LSTmax/Tamax relationship to be land-cover-dependent. At low temperatures, LSTmax and Tamax are well coupled for all land cover types. Forests are the only cover type that maintains a strongly coupled LSTmax/Tamax relationship at highest temperatures and are distinct from the other land cover types because both LSTmax and Tamaxtend to range between the same values. The transpiration of forest ecosystems through the growing season dissipates more energy and lowers the Bowen ratio, and is the key driver for the stronger coupling of LSTmax and Tamax. Forests cover over 21% of the Earth's surface and span a very large latitudinal gradient. The global regulation of surface temperature highlights the important role of forests in local, regional and global climate.

[49] Humans continue to dramatically influence global land cover through habitation, forest clearing, agriculture, and increasingly through anthropogenic driven climate change. This study reinforces the need to include land use and land cover change in holistic climate change studies and the important role that forests have in the global energy balance. Regarding policies proposed to influence forestry and land management practices for climate change-mitigation, the greatest uncertainties are in the biophysical influences that temperate forests have on climate [Jackson et al., 2008]. This study shows that temperate forests characterized by a seasonal summer drought cycle, such as in western North America, have a similar cooling effect on LSTmax and Tamax as tropical forests. A change to any other land cover type will result in a higher LSTmax, with commensurate impacts on the surface energy balance and hydrologic cycle of the affected area. Temperate forests with moist, humid summers do not have the same cooling effect on the expression of LSTmax and Tamax relative to the surrounding nonforested cover types because water is not limiting in the ecosystem during the time of thermal maxima.

[50] LST provides additional information on energy partitioning at the land surface-atmosphere boundary, and is more sensitive to changes in vegetation density compared toTair. With continuous spatial coverage the satellite-derived LSTmax data set may have value in studying the energy balance heterogeneity of the global land surface. The LSTmax is a particularly robust metric of the canopy temperature because during high Sun around noon when maximum temperatures occur, more short-wave radiation penetrates deep into the canopy of vegetation [Huband and Monteith, 1986]. The multidimensional thermal view of the environment that accurate, satellite-derived LST provides is critical to the actual experience of many organisms.

[51] The unique information provided by LST compared to Tair also enhances the benefits of combining these two variables together. Our findings suggest that the LSTmax/Tamaxrelationship presents new ways to track climate change, especially as these changes impact one climatological variable more than the other. For example, should summers become warmer in the cryosphere, as predicted by climate change, more snow free areas and drier soil conditions would result in the LSTmax rising faster than the Tamax. These long-term trends in the LSTmax/Tamax relationship would need to be tracked for decades. It may be important to further compare these data sets with other satellite based and ground based data sets such as the MODIS Albedo product, and with data from Fluxnet sites.


Head of Leftist outfit condemns Australia for mining coal

He calls Australia "the country that plans to ruin the world", would you believe?   His grip on reality is clearly shaky.  Like all of the Green/Left, he is amping up the hysteria to counter the 18-year LACK of any statistically significant global warming.

The Australia Institute describes itself as "the country’s most influential progressive think tank".

AUSTRALIA is the “little country that wants to ruin the world”, and it might just succeed thanks to Tony Abbott’s push to increase coal mining.

That’s the view of The Australia Institute’s chief economist Dr Richard Denniss, who says our government’s attitude to mining is “bat sh*t crazy” and warned it could undermine global efforts to stop climate change.

Speaking at an event in London, Dr Richard Denniss said government-backed plans to ramp up Australia’s coal output to more than 604 million tonnes a year was very dangerous. "To put it simply, if the world wants to tackle climate change and Australia wants to double its coal exports, someone is going to lose,” he said.  “If we succeed in our stated ambition of building mines that dwarf European cities, some countries, then there is no way we’re going to tackle climate change.”

The comments come as Kiribati’s President Anote Tong launched a global appeal to leaders and companies to support a moratorium on new coal mines ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this December. It’s billed as the most significant event since the Kyoto Protocol for securing an agreement to tackle carbon emissions.

However Dr Denniss said Australia could single-handedly scupper these global efforts by putting downward pressure on prices which flood the market with cheap coal and make a transition to renewables less likely.

He said Australia’s share of the seaborne coal market is greater than Saudi Arabia’s share of global oil and “our plans are going to have consequences far beyond our borders.” “If you think Saudi Arabia doubling the oil output would put downward pressure on price, then Australia doubling coal exports would put downward pressure on price.”

“We’re a little country that plans to ruin the world and our politicians are not going to stop this.”

The Abbott government has made mining and infrastructure investment central to their economic plan with the Prime Minister saying coal is “good for humanity” and will power the world for “decades to come”.

Earlier this month Mr Abbott accused the judiciary of “sabotage” for holding up approval of the Carmichael coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin after conservation groups raised concerns about native animals in the area. The massive and controversial project from Indian energy giant Adani includes plans for a mine, railway and port in the Great Barrier Reef that has been in the works for five years and is now awaiting final approval.

The government has claimed it will add 10,000 jobs to the area, though this figure has been disputed and comes at a time when the mining industry is shedding workers, losing more than 33,000 jobs between May 2014 and May 2015.

Dr Denniss said a moratorium on new mines makes good economic sense as it would keep coal prices high and prevent the “green paradox” — whereby the threat of action actually forces companies to ramp up production.

“If you owned a truck full of ice cream and the refrigerator broke, what would you do? You would drop the price and sell as much ice cream as you could. Just like Australia is planning to do.”

He also said it’s crucial Australians “get their heads around” the scale of the development and don’t hang their economic future on what many believe to be a dying industry.  “We’re an insecure country that worries about our place in the world and when big companies promise us big things it inspires a group of Australians to feel safe,” 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


21 August, 2015

The End of the Arctic? Ocean Could be Ice Free by 2015

So said well-known Warmist idiot Mark Hertsgaard in 2013   -- excerpt below.  No need to say he is a false prophet, is there?  Arctic ice has in fact become more extensive recently.  What he says sounds so reasonable and well-informed.  Paranoid schizophrenics often do.  Though I think he is really just a publicity hound who will do and say whatever it takes to get noticed. He is known to be economical with the truth, cheerfully representing himself as being what he is not.   Another one of his gems is that we are going to run out of wheat.  He also fancies himself as  Galileo but has got it exactly backwards. It is Hertsgaard who relies on conventional authority and who quotes not one single scientific fact.  He's diligent in his evangelism, though.  He has written six books including, most recently, “HOT: Living Through the Next 50 Years on Earth.”

Say goodbye to polar bears and a whole lot of ice. New research suggests the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free by 2015, with devastating consequences for the world. Can it be stopped?

Someone better tell Santa Claus. First it was polar bears that were threatened by global warming. Now it’s reindeer too. As temperatures in the Arctic skyrocket, reindeer are suffering staggeringly large, rapid population losses. “Herds of reindeer have declined by one-third since the 1990s as their access to food sources, breeding grounds and historic migration routes have been altered,” reports the environmental audit committee of the British Parliament.

The entire planet is getting hotter, but the top of the world is warming twice as fast as the global average. One leading expert, Peter Wadhams, a professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge, says the Arctic Ocean could be completely free of ice in summer as soon as 2015. An overheated Arctic in turn threatens catastrophic knock-on effects for the rest of the globe, including more extreme weather; faster sea level rise; and a higher chance of accelerating global warming to where it becomes unstoppable—what scientists refer to as “runaway” global warming.

Yet even as the number of reindeer in the Arctic is declining, the number of warships, cargo vessels and drilling rigs is increasing. In a little-noticed announcement, the United States Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, said on November 22 that the Pentagon is increasing its Arctic presence. Citing a “potential for tapping what may be as much as a quarter of the planet’s undiscovered oil and gas,” Hagel declared that the US “will remain prepared to detect, deter, prevent and defeat threats.” For his part, Russian president Vladimir Putin has pledged to turn the Arctic into “an international transport artery” that could cut one-third of the travel time and costs for trade between Europe and Asia compared to the traditional route through the Suez Canal. China, too, is setting its sights upon the Arctic. In May, it gained “observer” status on the Arctic Council—a high level intergovernmental group that coordinates international policies at the top of the world—despite its lack of territorial holdings in the Arctic. Chinese state-owned firms have also signed deals to exploit oil, gas and minerals in the Arctic.

Arctic ice cover has been declining since the 1950s, said professor Wadhams, who has led forty polar expeditions since first visiting the region in 1969. The biggest decline occurred in 2007, when the area covered by ice in summer decreased to roughly half of its usual amount. That left “an ocean of open water at the top of the planet—an unprecedented effect,” Wadhams said in an interview.

There was another large decrease in 2012, but Wadhams and other experts also worry that the thickness of Arctic ice is plummeting. Since satellites cannot accurately measure ice thickness, Wadhams has been going on board British nuclear submarines to map the ice from below with sonar. Arctic ice thickness has declined by 43 percent between the 1970s and 2000s, Wadhams has calculated, “an enormous loss” that he attributes to the higher temperatures of both air and sea in the Arctic.


Billionaire George Soros warms up to coal as stock prices hit bottom

He clearly expects coal usage to bounce back.  He will profit off other people's losses -- losses he helped engineer

Billionaire investor George Soros, who has demonized fossil fuels for years through his think tanks and political contributions, seems to have warmed up to Big Coal now that stocks are dirt cheap.

The left-wing hedge fund legend has raised eyebrows with major purchases of stock in two large coal companies, firms his critics say he helped bring to their knees. While buying low is the hallmark of any shrewd investor, buying coal goes against the political and environmental ideology Soros has long espoused.

“I find it very interesting that George Soros would buy shares in those coal companies,” said Daniel Simmons, vice president for Policy at the Washington DC-based free market energy group, Institute for Energy Research. “I am confused given the non profits he funds and how hard they have worked to demonize coal.”

Soros, whose Climate Policy Initiative think tank recently urged the world to stop using fossil fuels in general and coal in particular, snapped up 1 million shares of Peabody Energy and half a million shares of Arch Coal, giving him significant stakes in what’s left of the U.S. coal industry.

The trades would have cost Soros a lot more six years ago, when Peabody, which trades under the symbol BTU, was at about $90 a share. Under the Obama administration, which has punished the coal industry with costly mandates and regulation, Peabody shares have fallen to around $1.

Neither Soros nor his New York-based investment firm, Soros Fund Management, would comment on the coal play, citing a longstanding policy of not discussing investments.

The 85-year-old hedge fund manager has a net worth of $24.2 billion, according to, which makes him the 19th wealthiest person in U.S. and second among hedge fund managers.

The most recent filing shows Soros Fund Management holds stakes in 263 companies with a total value of nearly $11 billion.

The filing shows the purchases of 553,200 shares of Arch Coal for $188,000 and an investment of $2,254,000 into Peabody Energy for 1,029,400 shares, which means he’s lost money on both so far. Peabody, the biggest coal producer in the U.S. by output, said in a recent statement that it “has been trying to turn itself around as it faces challenges from low natural-gas prices, a glut of global coal supplies, weakened demand from China and a growing public call to cut carbon emissions.”

Free market energy experts note Soros has invested more than a billion dollars into think tanks, lobbyists, political action committees and politicians who have pushed for regulations that have nearly destroyed the coal industry, in favor of so called “clean energy.”

Soros backed President Obama, who notably campaigned in 2008 shutting down the coal industry, a promise industry experts say he’s kept.

“The drop in coal market stock is directly related to the promise that Obama made to his environmental extremist supporters – ‘you can build coal fired power plants, but we will shut them down,’” said John Sparr, a mining engineer and geologist who specializes in the coal industry.

Investments in coal under current conditions bear little risk given the low stock prices. “With markets dwindling, coal companies shutting down and workers being laid off, it is no wonder that stocks are crashing,” Sparr said.

But should there be a change in the regulatory climate, coal stocks could become a bargain.

Michael South, a UK-based mining and energy consultant, told that while coal prices have suffered around the world in part because of a drop in demand from China and other countries, and fracking, which produced natural gas at a cheaper price, there is still a huge need for coal, and eventually prices will go up.

“George Soros spent millions of dollars and multiple years helping to driving down price of coal,” said H. Sterling Burnett, research fellow and managing editor, at the Heartland Institute. “If he buys enough stock to have controlling interests in these coal businesses, closes them down and leaves the coal in the ground, we might accept that he is a true believer, that his investment was all about stopping climate change and saving the environment."

“But my suspicion is that he helped to drive stocks down, bought as many shares as he can, and, when stocks rebound, he can sell his shares and make a huge profit.”


After Curbing Coal, EPA Proposes Steep Cuts in Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Wells

Because the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan will force states to reduce the energy derived from coal-fired power plants, the states are expected to rely more on cleaner-burning natural gas -- and that explains the EPA's new plan to reduce methane emissions.

The EPA announced on Tuesday that it aims to reduce methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels by the year 2025.

“Cleaner-burning energy sources like natural gas are key compliance options for our Clean Power Plan, and we are committed to ensuring safe and responsible production that supports a robust clean energy economy,” EPA Administration Gina McCarthy said.

The proposed methane standards -- now subject to a 60-day public comment period -- will complement voluntary efforts by the oil and natural gas industry, and they are based on technology currently used by the industry, the EPA said.

But the oil and gas industry says its voluntary efforts are working just fine:

“The oil and gas industry is leading the charge in reducing methane,” American Petroleum Industry CEO Jack Gerard said in a news release. “The last thing we need is more duplicative and costly regulation that could increase the cost of energy for Americans.

"Even as oil and natural gas production has surged, methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells have fallen nearly 79 percent since 2005, and CO2 emissions are down to 27-year lows. This is due to industry leadership and significant investments in new technologies,” Gerard added.

To cut methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, the EPA will require the oil and gas industry to:

-- Find and repair leaks;

-- Capture natural gas from the completion of hydraulically fractured oil wells;

-- Limit emissions from new and modified pneumatic pumps; and

-- Limiting emissions from several types of equipment used at natural gas transmission compressor stations, including compressors and pneumatic controllers.

McCarthy called the proposed rules "cost-effective" and said they underscore EPA's commitment to "reducing the polllution fueling climate change and protecting public health, while supporting responsible energy development."

To the EPA, "responsible" energy development means wind, solar and other "green" technologies that are more expensive than fossil fuels and are still in development.

The EPA describes methane, a key constituent of natural gas, as a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times greater than that of carbon dioxide.

It says methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities, and nearly 30 percent of those emissions come from oil production and the production, transmission and distribution of natural gas.

The American Petroleum Institute points to the EPA's own analysis, which shows that total methane emissions from natural gas systems are down 11 percent since 2005 – a direct result of industry innovation at the same time production has increased significantly.

"API supports a common-sense regulatory approach that builds on cost-effective controls already required by EPA for new equipment,” CEO Gerard said. “Combined with smart, voluntary efforts for existing sources, this approach will continue to lower methane emissions. To avoid undermining American competitiveness, we urge the EPA to coordinate its efforts and not add duplicative rules.”

(The EPA's Clean Power Plan, announced two weeks ago, requires the nation to cut its carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030. Individual states have until 2018 to submit their final emission reduction plans to the EPA.)


Obama's Toxic Environmental Pollution Agency

By Michelle Malkin

Here in my adopted home state of Colorado, orange is the new Animas River thanks to the blithering idiots working under President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency.

It's just the latest man-caused disaster from an out-of-control bureaucracy whose primary mission is not the Earth's preservation, but self-preservation.

As always, the government cover-up compounds the crime — which is why the agency's promise this week to investigate itself has residents across the Rocky Mountains in stitches. Or tears.

After the EPA and officials and their contract workers accidentally spilled three million gallons of pent-up toxic sludge on August 5 from a defunct mine in San Juan County that hadn't operated since 1923, EPA apparatchiks delayed notifying residents for more than 24 hours. They vastly underestimated the volume and spill rate of gunk. Then, while refusing to release data, EPA head Gina McCarthy flew to the glowing river to fecklessly declare that the water "seems to be restoring itself."

The cleanup costs for the Colorado spill alone are estimated at $30 billion. Small farmers, ranchers and tourist-related businesses will be reeling for years to come — yet the EPA is simultaneously pushing forward with Draconian ozone regulations (based on cherry-picked junk science) that will punish the state's residents with no discernible health benefits.

If only Mother Nature could help wash away the institutionalized corruption that has been leaching from Obama's EPA headquarters since Day One:

—BP oil spill data doctoring. Former White House Director of the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy Carol Browner and the EPA suffered no consequences after they repeatedly lied and cooked the books in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010. Browner, who pulled the puppet strings of then-EPA head Lisa Jackson, misled the public about the scope of the disaster by falsely claiming that 75 percent of the spill was "completely gone from the system." Then she falsely claimed that the administration's initial report on the disaster was "peer-reviewed."

The Interior Department inspector general also singled out Browner for misrepresenting the White House's blue-ribbon science panel, which opposed a six-month drilling moratorium, and exposed how she butchered their conclusions to justify the administration's preordained policy agenda.

Browner, an inveterate left-wing crony lobbyist/activist, left office without so much as a wrist slap. Brazen data doctoring and destruction are her fortes. As EPA head during the Clinton administration in the 1990s, she was held in contempt by a federal judge after ordering a staffer to purge and delete her computer files. Browner had sought to evade a public disclosure lawsuit by conservative lawyer and author Mark Levin's Landmark Legal Foundation.

—Email evasion and transparency trouncing. While Browner was doing her dirty work as Obama's unaccountable eco-czar, Jackson busied herself creating sock-puppet email personalities to circumvent public disclosure rules as the agency crafted radical climate-change policies in secret. She learned the tricks of the trade from Browner. Jackson admitted to using the pseudonym "Richard Windsor" on one of at least two separate secret government accounts. Competitive Enterprise Institute fellow Christopher Horner discovered the elaborate ruses in 2012. The agency had stonewalled Horner's FOIA requests on the use of alias accounts at the agency; CEI sued to force the administration to comply.

In December 2012, Jackson resigned amid multiple investigations. Not a wrist slap. Not a scratch. In March of this year, a federal judge blasted the agency for avoiding a separate FOIA request by Levin's Landmark Legal Foundation related to sock-puppet email accounts created by Jackson and others "who may have delayed the release dates for hot-button environmental regulations until after the Nov. 6, 2012, presidential election."

Apple Computer hired Jackson in 2013 (and all of her multiple personalities). Two months ago, the company proudly announced that it was promoting Jackson to "vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives" and head of the company's "global government affairs and public policy teams."

—Enabling sex predators and porn addicts. Last month, the EPA inspector general finally testified on Capitol Hill about the agency's chronic mismanagement of alleged sexual perverts on the payroll. One employee "engaged in offensive and inappropriate behavior toward at least 16 women, most of whom were EPA co-workers," the IG reported. Supervisors "were made aware of many of these actions and yet did nothing."

Well, not exactly "nothing." The employee was actually promoted to assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Homeland Security — a position he used to harass six more women.

Two other EPA workers were caught binging on porn during work hours; one was observed getting his X-rated fix by a minor who was at the office during Bring Your Child To Work Day. EPA allowed one perv to retire with full benefits; the other is still on leave collecting a $120,000 yearly salary.

Double standards. Data destruction. Imposition of radical job-killing regulations. Law-breaking with impunity. Only in Washington does a rogue government agency with an $8 billion budget get away with such serial incompetence and criminality in the name of the "public good." Protecting the environment has become a full employment racket for green crooks and cronies.


America’s big ‘green’ wrecking machines

Politically connected industrial wind zealots are destroying rural America and electricity markets

Mary Kay Barton

“If you have no conscience, no morals, no aesthetic sensibility, no understanding of free markets; if you hate wildlife, people and the natural landscape; if you loathe private property… then the ... wind industry is undoubtedly the place for you.... Only the Taliban at Bamiyan or ISIS at Palmyra can really come close to matching the wind industry’s scorched-earth zeal...” ~ James Delingpole

The destruction of rural America is ongoing, thanks to those who continue to push industrial wind energy as a fantasy-cure for the alleged problem of “Climate Change.”

$Trillions have been spent on ‘renewables’ worldwide, yet carbon dioxide has not been significantly reduced, while rural America is paying the ultimate price. Our countrysides, wildlife and Constitutional private property rights are being sacrificed on the altar of “green” energy … for no net benefit.

U.S. taxpayers and ratepayers need to awaken to the environmentally destructive wealth transfer and corporate land grab that is industrial wind energy, before more of our priceless American countrysides and wildlife are destroyed.

Ironically, many states are outlawing certain pesticides to “protect bees, birds, butterflies and other pollinators,” while continuing to use Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) to mandate industrial wind sprawl, which slaughters pollinators, eagles, and countless other birds and bats.

Elected officials – Democrat and Republican alike – who are onboard with President’s Obama’s ‘green’ assault in the name of halting “climate change” – are complicit in destroying the rural fabric, environment and wildlife that is the grandeur of America, including the slaughter of our nation’s bald and golden eagles. This assault must be ended, and those who promote it removed from office.

WHY should American taxpayers continue to fund dysfunctional wind energy, when even USEPA air chief Janet McCabe admits that the EPA’s analysis shows “wind power can expand throughout the Clean Power Plan compliance period, from 2022 to 2030, even if the tax credit is not renewed”? As long as taxpayer-funded wind welfare (the Wind Production Tax Credit, or PTC) exists, states without RPS policies are subsidizing the market-distorting, environmentally-destructive energy choices imposed by the politically powerful, while those with RPS policies are shielded from the true costs of wind energy.

Having fought industrial wind development for years in my community, I have come to understand that only a grassroots rebellion, led by rural environmentalists against the wealthy, powerful, special-interest urban fake-environmentalists will be able to turn the tide.

A brochure recently distributed by APEX ‘Clean’ Energy in western New York State, along the shores of Lake Ontario, is typical of deceitful windy-disinformation campaigns seen across the United States. Much like APEX’s website – which pictures APEX’s staff in an idyllic countryside setting with NO industrial wind turbines in sight – the front cover of APEX’s brochure pictures a farm without a single industrial wind turbine in sight! It is absurdly titled: “Wind Energy: Good for Property Values.”

How stupid does APEX think people are? Any honest real estate agent will tell you the most important consideration when buying a property is: “Location, Location, Location!”

Even worse is the shameless Wyoming County (New York) supervisors who are quoted in APEX’s brochure: Eagle’s Joe Kushner and Sheldon’s John Knab, both of whom will not seek re-election this year. At least one is reportedly leaving the area.

Both Kushner and Knab pimped their towns out to Big Wind for a few recycled taxpayer dollars, making themselves some of the wind industry’s favorite go-to-guys. Sheldon Supervisor John Knab has traveled as far as the state of Alabama (that we know of), speaking on behalf of the wind industry. The two seem despicably intent on turning more countrysides into bird-slaughtering, industrial wind factories, by aiding and abetting Big Wind hucksters like APEX and their blowhard-disinformation campaigns.

The civil discord and environmental destruction that Knab and Kushner orchestrated here in Wyoming County, NY is reminiscent of Native Americans who sold Manhattan for a bunch of beads, their naiveté taken advantage of by those who could not care less about them.

APEX’s brochure also disingenuously lists two Orangeville, NY properties as selling above assessed value, while failing to mention that both properties had significant acreage. That’s an important consideration, since Wyoming County farmland has been selling for $6,000 - $12,000 per acre since the Batavia yogurt factory was built.

For obvious reasons, APEX did NOT mention the fact that at least ten Orangeville properties have sold below their assessed value since Invenergy’s wind factory went up, and many others haven’t sold at all.

APEX’s brochure also neglected to mention the ongoing lawsuit in Orangeville, and our skyrocketing Wyoming County tax rate, which has risen yearly for the past 12 years (another 9.68% this year), in direct correlation with the installation of wind factories here. It is likewise no surprise that APEX didn’t include this report – which shows a 56% decrease in property values near APEX’s Illinois project.

It’s the same story everywhere. Sprawling industrial wind factories negatively impact property values!

More wind also means “skyrocketing” electricity rates – just as President Obama promised, and as is happening in New York and other “green” energy states.

According to NYSERDA, the average NYS residential electricity rate in 1999 was 13.3 cents per kilowatt hour. The first NYS wind factories went up in 2000 (Wethersfield & Madison). Twenty wind factories later, the average residential electricity rate in NYS as of February 2015 is 19.8 cents per kWh (according to the EIA, as cited by NYSERDA). That is one of the highest rates in the nation, and nearly a 50% increase since New York State began mindlessly plastering countrysides with industrial wind factories. Only 2% of NYS’s electricity comes from coal, and we have an endless supply of hydro.

The truth is, wind energy’s actual performance shows it is a LEMON by any measure. Indeed, New York State’s wind factories have been averaging a pathetic 24% of rated capacity. Any other piece of equipment – be it a machine, person or animal – that operated only 24% of the time would have been put out to pasture long ago! Who among you would buy a vehicle that only operated 24% of the time? You wouldn’t. You couldn’t afford to. It’s just that simple.

But when the state and federal government are in charge of spending our money, economic reality doesn’t seem to matter. It’s not their money, and they are never held personally accountable.

Physicist and Malone, NY town board member Jack Sullivan recently explained the reality of wind power’s abysmal energy output in his article, “Some lessons from New York.” Both Vesta and GE turbines have a manufacturer’s life expectancy rating of only 20 years, he notes – and yet “no New York wind project is on track to sell enough electricity in 20 years to pay for itself.” [emphasis added]

Even worse, Sullivan’s calculations are based on the wind industry’s self-serving claim that turbines have a 20-year life expectancy. The added inconvenient reality, however, is that “wind turbines last only half as long” as the industry claims – making their cost-benefit claims even more fraudulent.

These facilities are not “wind farms.” They’re tax farms. They are in the business of harvesting our hard-earned taxpayer and ratepayer dollars – and transferring them into the pockets of rich, multi-national corporations that then give big dollars to the politicians who keep this scam rolling merrily along.

All of this is enabled by obscene cronyism in high places and by the short-sightedness, willful ignorance and rampant greed of those who are willing to suck on the teat of wind welfare at the rest of our expense.

Via email


Australia seeks to hobble Greenie lawfare against coal mining

Canberra plans to restrict the rights of green groups to challenge government approval of mining projects, in a move to prevent what Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, says is “endless legal sabotage” that is costing jobs.

The crackdown follows expressions of concern from India over an Australian court’s decision this month to overturn approval for Adani Mining’s A$16bn (US$12bn) Carmichael coal mine in Queensland because of its potential impact on the endangered yakka skink and ornamental snake. It marks the latest stage in a battle between the government and campaigners that accuse Mr Abbott of prioritising industrial development over environmental protection.

“Everyone wants to give the Carmichael mine in Queensland a fair go,” Mr Abbott said on Wednesday.

“They shouldn’t be subject to endless legal sabotage because the law gives green groups an unusual level of access to the courts.”

The coalition plans to table legislation in parliament to alter a law that allows campaign groups to challenge government environmental approvals for major investments. Under the proposed changes, only people directly affected by a development could challenge its approvals.

The coalition faces a battle to pass the amendments through the Senate, where it needs to draw on the support of independent senators. The opposition Labor and Green parties have said they oppose the changes.

India’s High Commissioner to Australia, Navdeep Suri, recently expressed his disappointment to Andrew Robb, Australia’s trade minister, over delays to Adani’s proposed mine. This prompted Mr Robb to warn last week that green groups’ campaign against Adani’s mine was jeopardising talks over a trade deal between Australia and India.

The Federal Court of Australia’s decision to set aside government approval for Adani followed a legal action by a local green group. It forces Australia’s environmental minister to reconsider Adani’s application to build a huge mine in the Galilee basin — one of the world’s biggest untapped coal reserves.

Adani’s mine, port and rail project has become a potent symbol of the battle between the fossil fuel industry and environmentalists, who say burning the coal reserves in the Galillee basin would cause catastrophic climate change and damage the nearby Great Barrier Reef.

Human rights groups warn that the government’s proposed legal change threatens to undermine core democratic freedoms.

“The ability to take legal action in the public interest is central to ensuring governments remain accountable. Locking particular groups out of the courts is heavy-handed and will mean that bad decisions will go unchecked and unchallenged,” said Ruth Barson, senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre.

Industry groups representing the mining sector have welcomed the government’s crackdown on environmentalists.

“Over recent years a large number of new projects and mine expansions have been subject to a calculated campaign of protests and harassment, including vexatious and incessant legal appeals lodged by a small band of extreme environmental groups,” said Brendan Pearson, chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia.

He said a BAEconomics study found that reducing project delays by one year would add A$160bn to national output by 2025 and create 69,000 jobs.

Research by the Australia Institute, a progressive think-tank, suggests third-party appeals to the Federal Court have affected just 0.4 per cent of all projects referred under the legislation.

The ruling Liberal-National coalition recently convened a parliamentary committee to consider how to strip tax privileges from environmental groups that campaign against resource projects.



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

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20 August, 2015

Are "Smart" meters dumb?

As ComEd rolls out 4,000,000 Smart Meters in an effort to “modernize the electricity grid,” many Illinois residents are pushing for a no-cost or at least low-cost option to keep their existing analog meters. Instead of benefits to the consumer, these residents see risks and increased electricity bills associated with digital Smart Meters. They are not alone.

The National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy report calls Smart Meters “a canard—a story or hoax based on specious claims about energy benefits.” It goes on to say, “Congress, state, local governments, and ratepayers, have been misled about the potential energy and cost saving benefits paid for in large part with taxpayer and ratepayer dollars.”

Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General writes, “Utilities have shown no evidence of billions of dollars in benefits to consumers from these new meters. The utilities want to experiment with expensive and unproven technology, yet all the risk will lie with consumers. The pitch is that smart meters will allow consumers to monitor their electrical usage, helping them to reduce consumption and save money. Consumers do not need to be forced to pay billions for smart technology to know how to reduce their utility bills. We know how to turn down the heat and shut off the lights.”

Judge O’Connell of the Michigan Appellate Court writes in an opinion on an opt-out-rate case, “The Public Service Commission and Consumers Energy advance the notion that smart meters will save the public money on their utility bills.  Unfortunately, this argument is inherently illogical:  how can smart meters save money when Consumers seeks to add millions of dollars to the base rate to fund the AMI [Smart Meter] program?  It appears, as the Attorney General argues and as in other states, that the smart meter program actually increases rates.” ComEd promotes the same illogical reasoning.

Some state and local jurisdictions across the country are becoming aware of risks associated with Smart Meters and objecting to deployment and/or insisting on opt-outs. In California there are 57 jurisdictions opposed to installation and 15 have passed ordinances making Smart Meter installations illegal. In spite of the opposition and opt-outs being offered in California and other states, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has interpreted a state utility law tomandate compliance.  Therefore, 4,000,000 Wireless Smart Meters are to be installed on ALL homes and buildings in the ComEd service territory.

Warrenville Environmental Advisory Commission (WEAC) put in their newsletter: “WEAC would like to make a true opt-opt possible; the City does not have regulatory authority to do so.”

It now rests on the shoulders of informed citizens to educate their lawmakers, local government officials, community leaders, and neighbors.  Many citizens are diligently working to secure an opt-out option and protect their families from the health effects, fire hazards, privacy violations, and cyber security risks which continue to be reported in the U.S. and around the world.  There are 200 environmentally conscious groups opposing Smart Meter deployments in their countries and local communities.

Ironically, Wireless Smart Meters are not necessary to modernize the Smart Grid and are certainly not “Green”.  These meters add layers of RF radiation to the environment and require extra energy usage for collectors, routers, and to run various functions of the mesh networks.

Illinois lawmakers must have been misled with regard to the “benefits” and not told about the consequences to have allowed this ill-advised program to proceed.  What is essential now is for lawmakers to secure a permanent low-cost or no cost opt-out for their constituents.

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) argues that allowing customers to refuse a Smart Meter is good public policy because forcing customers to accept a Smart Meter will not be conducive to gaining widespread customer acceptance.  CUB is  further convinced that forcing customers who, whatever their reasons, do not desire a Smart Meter [to accept one] unfairly punishes those customers.

Judge O’Connell, when discussing the issue of an opt-out fee in the case referenced above, writes, “Why penalize those citizens… who have pacemakers and implant devices [by] being exposed to smart meters that are not UL certified safe for these devises.  Electro-sensitivity may prevent some citizens from installing smart meters or visiting homes that have working smart meters.”

In the same decision when addressing health consequences, Judge O’Connell writes, [Smart meter] “issues are of great concern, not just locally, but also nationally and internationally.  I note that 50  years ago, only a few brilliant minds were concerned about the health hazards of smoking, and we have only recently become aware of the health hazards of second-hand smoke.  I suspect there is no need to mention the health hazards of lead-based paint or radium painted glow-in-the dark watches.  At the time, all of these products were not considered health hazards.”

The Judge continues, “Historically, it is less burdensome to address these issues as they arise than to attempt to reform 20 years of ill-conceived policy decisions.”    

Some of the reasons why Smart Meters are an “Ill-conceived policy decision”:

1)  In May of 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified Radio Frequency emissions from Smart Meters as Class 2B Carcinogen. According to Richard Conrad, Ph.D., “This means in order to continue to receive electrical power, people are forced to live with a device on their homes that emits possibly carcinogenic microwaves 24/7.  The results of thousands of studies strongly suggest that microwaves are not safe for humans.  If the smart meter roll-out plan had been submitted as a proposal for an experiment on human beings, which it undeniably is, any institutional Review Board…would have rejected it outright.

2) Utilities were exempt from conducting environmental or health impact studies. Electric companies were excused from any governmental or public review showing how the decision to implement Wireless Smart Meters was safe for humans, plants, animals and the planet.

3) Privacy is a great concern. Household activities and behavior within closed doors can now be monitored through the collection of detailed discrete data. Personal habits, work schedules, and family activities are being recorded. Interpreting the data can let the utility or unwelcome parties know when the family is home or on vacation. Electric companies selling the data to a third party is now in question. In the end, the data is more valuable to the power company than the rates collected.

4) Using wireless Smart Meter Networks to connect every household appliance, alarm system, computer, car-charging station, etc., in every home, business, and government building to the Internet leaves every aspect of modern living vulnerable to cyber-attack.

On the issue of privacy Judge O’Connell writes, “Appellants argued that smart meters may in fact be the instrument of monitoring, listening, and viewing activities in individual’s homes. They also argued that smart meters are networked and, without proper security measures, anyone, including the government and hackers, could monitor a customer’s activities. I would find it disconcerting, if true, that a smart meter in conjunction with a smart television might allow others to listen and record private conversations in one’s living room.”

5) Every Smart Meter is an open portal or access point into the Smart Grid. This means foreign or domestic hackers on a larger scale and thieves on a smaller scale have an open invitation to whatever data they want to take or whatever system they want to disrupt. Consider the 4,000,000 access points ComEd is installing throughout Illinois and how vulnerable that makes residential communities.

6) Tom Lawton from TESCO on Smart Meters: “the number of reported fires in the United States has increased dramatically to the point where [Smart] Meter fires have dominated the news locally, nationally and internationally at various times in the past three years. Utilities going through a full deployment are seeing incident rates one and two orders of magnitude greater than normal, leading to a media frenzy and a public focus on the safety of the [Smart] Meter on the side of their house.”

7) Norman Lambe (LA Home and Business Insurance Examiner) writes, “The real problems concerning the installation of 51 million Smart Meters in this country are being ignored, in spite of the evidence that we have a clear and present danger.  When the electrical utility determines that a Smart Meter is the issue, they have been removing the meter. [That means] tampering with evidence concerning the cause of the fire. However, the real issue as to why all the [Smart] Meters are failing is not being dealt with.”

Smart Meters can well be considered an “ill-conceived policy” in light of the health threat, invasion of privacy, hacking potential, fire risk, and increased electric bills for the majority of residents. It is unjust and not the American way to force these meters on every home without warning residents of the potential risks and offering them a choice. ComEd customers who want to ensure their family’s privacy and safety should have the option of an opt-out for their own peace of mind.


WOTUS: Woe to us

After contaminating the Animas River, EPA wants to regulate the water in your backyard

Marita Noon

Unless a federal judge issues a preliminary injunction, the definition of the “Waters of the U.S.” will change radically on August 28. The change will give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate the water in your backyard – even water that might be in your backyard only because of a heavy rain. Even “any area where agencies believe water may flow once every 100 years,” says West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

Thirty-one states, in four districts, have filed motions with the federal courts to block the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) from enforcing the new “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule, which represents a dramatically new interpretation of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The agencies’ Federal Register notice calls the new rule “definitional” and states: “The rule will ensure protection for the nation’s public health and aquatic resources, and increase CWA program predictability and consistency by clarifying the scope of ‘waters of the United States’ protected under the Act.” (WOTUS was published in the Federal Register on June 29 and will become effective on August 28.)

The interpretation is important. The CWA used to apply to “navigable waters.” Now, as Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently said, they will “include almost any piece of land that gets wet and puddles.”

Morrisey calls the rule “regulatory lunacy.” He has hosted town-hall meetings where he’s heard from citizens concerned that “this rule would infringe on their property rights and force them to pay thousands of dollars to do basic work around their homes, farms and workplaces.” Morrisey adds: “This rule expands a scheme whereby property owners have to ask the EPA for permission to do yardwork.” He says “Failure to comply with the new regulations could result in fines of up to $37,500 a day.”

While the word “navigable” hasn’t been removed from the CWA – that would require an act of Congress – the EPA has expanded that definition to include any water that has a “significant nexus” with navigable waters. This is where water in your back yard could be impacted. Regarding the final rule, Paxton explains: it “is so broad and open to interpretation that everything from ditches and dry creek beds, to gullies, to isolated ponds formed after a big rain, could be considered a ‘water of the United States.’”

For decades, the CWA’s single word “navigable” has been contentious with those who want to expand government control and limit industrial activity, such as oil and gas development, mining, ranching and farming. Former Representative Jim Oberstar (D-MN) fought hard to have the word navigable removed from the CWA and expand its control to any waters. Despite repeated bites at the apple, prior Congresses refused to pass his legislation.

EPA, once again, uses rulemaking to do what its proponents couldn’t do through legislation. Indeed, that has been a hallmark of the Obama administration.

A July 28, officials from 31 states signed a letter written by North Dakota Assistant Attorney General Margaret Olson. Sent to both to EPA and ACOE, it requested a minimum nine month extension of the WOTUS effective date. The letter states: “the new regulation will also have a significant impact on agricultural, homebuilding, oil and gas and mining operations, as they try to navigate between established state regulatory programs and the EPA’s and ACOE’s new burdensome and conflicting federal requirements. This uncertainty especially threatens those states that rely on revenues from industrial development to fund a wide variety of state programs for the benefit of their respective citizens.”

On August 11, thirteen states – including Alaska, Colorado, North Dakota and New Mexico, the oil and gas “heavyweights,” as Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI) calls them – became the latest to ask a federal judge to block the controversial rule from taking effect. The states have asked for a hearing on the motion during the week of August 24. NGI states: “The oil and gas industry is opposed to the regulations because they believe it could stifle development.” A statement by the Independent Petroleum Association of America supports this assertion: “The 297-page rulemaking would require a federal permit for any activity that results in a discharge into any body of water covered by the new definition of ‘waters of the United States,’ including small streams and wetlands.”

The Texas Railroad Commission, which overseas oil and gas activity in the state, joined the multi-agency multi-state lawsuit because “the rule redefines navigable waters as used in the CWA, allowing the EPA and ACOE to regulate private land anywhere in the United States where water can conceivably flow – even dry creek beds and manmade ditches. The Texas economy is a proud beneficiary of shale drilling, and some of the water used in this process would move under the jurisdiction of the EPA with the implementation of this rule change.”

Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association told me: “This rule embodies all that is wrong with EPA’s overall regulatory approach: its costs will far outweigh any benefits, it violates both the spirit and intent of Congress in the Clean Water Act, and it has been sold as a benign attempt to add ‘clarity’ and ‘certainty’ to the marketplace, when in fact it only clarifies and makes certain the threat EPA poses to a wide swath of the economy – from mining and farming to home building and construction.”

Jason Bostic, Vice President of the West Virginia Coal Association adds: “It’s no longer about water or discharges. It’s about regulating the landscape.”

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia filed on June 28, on behalf of 9 Southeastern states (now 11, with the addition of Indiana and North Carolina), received an expedited briefing, and oral arguments were heard on August 12. Morrisey’s office told me they are hopeful for a decision by August 28.

North Dakota’s Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem believes the states are entitled to an injunction “because implementation of the Rule will cause immediate and irreparable harm and deprive the States of the opportunity to present the merits of their case prior to this unprecedented jurisdictional over-reach taking effect.”

In addition to the 31 states, on July 2 a coalition of a dozen industry groups – from agriculture to manufacturers to mining – filed a complaint against the EPA and ACOE over the WOTUS rule.

The goal of the legal actions is to delay or defeat the regulations before they go into effect. The question is: Will the courts grant still more unfettered discretion to EPA and ACOE, even when they blatantly ignore legislative actions and intent, as demonstrated by Congress repeated refusal to delete or redefine “navigable” in the statute? Or will courts finally impose limits on these and other rogue agencies?

In a statement, Morrisey explains: “While the Clean Water Act gave the EPA and Corps authority to regulate ‘navigable waters’ – defined as ‘waters of the United States’ – Congress made sure that states would retain their constitutional, sovereign responsibility over non-navigable, intrastate lands and waters. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice rejected the agencies’ attempts to expand their authority (in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. Army Corps of Engineers and Rapanos v. United States). However, this latest rule written by the two administrative agencies gives them virtually limitless power over these waters.”

Rules like WOTUS, and the recently announced Clean Power Plan, are lauded by environmental groups that are the likely impetus for the regulatory overreach. Senator David Vitters (R-LA), Chairman of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy regarding “reports that the Agency inappropriately coordinated with outside organizations during the WOTUS rulemaking process.”

His statement on the matter reprimands EPA: “For decades, the Department of Justice has recommended that federal agencies do not lobby the general public to build political support for policies promoted by the Executive Branch. In 2014, the EPA embarked on an unprecedented public relations campaign, which may have violated anti-lobbying laws, to promote the WOTUS rule by working closely with outside organizations including the Sierra Club and Organizing for Action, which is closely affiliated with President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.” And EPA did this with our tax money.

Apparently, the EPA – which allowed millions of gallons of toxic waste to spill into the Animas River –in league with its “far-left environmental allies,” believes it can do a better job of protecting waterways, streams and wetlands than the states. A wide majority of states and industry disagree.

The coalition hopes the lawsuits – which are expected to be combined into one – will overturn the rule and prove that the EPA has gone far beyond it jurisdiction with this expansion of regulatory authority.

Via email

Cost of EPA's toxic spill could soar to nearly $30 billion

The cost of cleaning up a major toxic waste spill in the West caused by an Environmental Protection Agency contractor could soar as high as $27.7 billion.

That's the conclusion of study released Tuesday morning by the right-leaning American Action Forum. The group is one of the first to attempt to estimate the clean-up cost of what will likely be remembered as one of the biggest environmental disasters of 2015.

The toxic spill began Aug. 5 when an EPA contractor accidentally ruptured a wall holding back millions of gallons of wastewater containing a variety of toxic substances such as mercury and lead at a closed gold mine in Colorado.

The resulting spill created a yellow plume of toxic sludge that flowed through Colorado, New Mexico and Utah via the Animas and San Juan rivers.

EPA and state officials say much of the toxic plume has dissipated in the Animas River, which the EPA confirmed Friday as being back to pre-spill conditions. But concerns remain that pollution in the rivers' sediment layers may have to be removed, with officials predicting a clean-up effort that could take years to complete.

The American Action Forum's study attempts to piece together estimates of the cost of the clean-up effort by reviewing a variety of the EPA's own assessments and modeling that were used for related events such as oil spills.

It also examined agency cost estimates for its controversial Waters of the U.S. rule, as well as regulations for limiting water discharges from power plants.

The study concludes that the cost of the toxic waste spill "might range between $2.7 million, $424 million, or $16.3 billion, but it will probably take months to assess the full damage," which could push estimates higher.

The study says using EPA's assessments for oil spills could push the clean-up costs to as high as $27.7 billion. But the study concedes that it cannot be precise in its cost estimates, because there is little precedent for the EPA to rely upon to inform a direct assessment of the clean up.

"I think it is more likely to be in the millions because the high-end figures are based off of oil spills in the Arctic (a close comparison), however the total volume for this is less than the average major oil spill," Sam Batkins, American Action Forum's regulatory affairs director, said in an email.

The study shows that EPA's cost assessment of a power plant rule is also instructive in determining the clean-up costs, because it deals with toxins being discharged into the water, although at much lower concentrations than were recorded in the Animas spill.

It says that the spill in Colorado released more than 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into the water, "which translates into more than 25 million pounds."

The group calculates that by assuming "a monetary equivalent of 90 cents per gallon of toxic waste the cost of the Animas River spill [will] be at least $2.7 million" when using the numbers from the power plant rule.

However, there are problems in using the power plant rule as a basis of comparison. The rule "was not designed to regulate acute pollution events, but rather the gradual effects of water pollution," the study says. The Animas River spill had 300 to 3,500 times the normal levels of arsenic and lead.

The $2.7 million estimate also does not account for the cost of so-called "non-use" benefits. The Animas spill reflects a number of "direct use costs" based on the "thousands of local residents, farmers, anglers and tourists [who] cannot use the river in its polluted state." On top of those costs, others could be added.

At the same time, the study raises questions about the EPA's priorities. It suggests that the Animas spill occurred at a time when the agency had sought to increase its focus on President Obama's climate change agenda. The president's budget proposed reducing funding for EPA water protection programs to do that, the study says.

"In the president's [fiscal year] 2015 budget, he and EPA proposed to cut more than $555 million from clean water protection while increasing the climate change budget by $46 million," reads the concluding paragraph of the analysis. "Perhaps we are seeing the results from those budget decisions now."


UK: New fracking drive 'to spark rural warfare'

The Greens will be out in force, using their usual coercive tactics

Campaigners warned of ‘battles’ to defend the countryside last night as vast new areas of England were left facing the possibility of being fracked.

Licences for 27 areas, mostly in northern England and the Midlands, including near Nottingham, Sheffield, Lincoln and Preston, have been awarded to companies to explore for oil and gas.

A further 132 areas, including parts of the West Country, the South Coast, the North East and North West, will follow suit subject to further environmental assessment and conditions to protect wildlife and habitats.

Around 1,000 square miles of England are covered by the 27 confirmed licences, with a further 5,000 square miles subject to consultation. It comes after measures to fast-track planning applications for fracking were revealed, with ministers able to step in and take over decision-making from local councils.

Fracking involves injecting water, chemicals and sand into shale rock to release the gas trapped within. Energy minister Lord Bourne said backing onshore oil and gas, and the safe development of the shale gas industry, would help build a more resilient economy, create jobs and secure energy supplies.

‘Keeping the lights on and powering the economy is not negotiable, and these industries will play a key part in providing secure and reliable energy to UK homes and businesses for decades to come,’ he said.

But Greenpeace’s Daisy Sands said: ‘This is the starting gun to the fight for the future of our countryside. Hundreds of battles will spring up to defend our rural landscapes from the pollution, noise and drilling rigs that come with fracking.’

Andrew Pendleton, of Friends Of The Earth, said: ‘Opening up huge swathes of northern England to a fracking blitz will only provoke more anger and controversy, because wherever fracking has been proposed, it has been opposed by local people.’

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said the 27 blocks of land already offered to fracking companies included 53 sites of special scientific interest and three of the charity’s nature reserves, Dearne Valley in South Yorkshire, Fairburn Ings in West Yorkshire, and Langford Lowfields in Nottinghamshire.

It called on the Government to introduce new measures to rule out fracking in all protected areas including sites of special scientific interest.

Among the companies securing the 27 licences is Cuadrilla, which has secured a licence for areas between Barnsley and Doncaster and between York and Bridlington.

Ineos has won two blocks to the east of Sheffield and one south west of Mansfield.

The most successful company was IGas, which has secured seven areas to the north east of Sheffield, the north east of Barnsley and around Lincoln.


Like Cheap Natural Gas? Obama’s Clean Power Plan Will Regulate It Out of Existence

U.S. households are saving hundreds of dollars a year because natural gas prices are low, but that’s about to change. A study by NERA Economic Consulting has found new regulations on power plants mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) will increase natural gas prices to 2007 levels, virtually guaranteeing these savings will soon be wiped out.

A study by the Brookings Institution found natural gas prices have plummeted as horizontal hydraulic fracturing, also known as horizontal “fracking,” has caused U.S. natural gas production to skyrocket to all-time highs, making the United States the world’s top producer of natural gas.

Record-high production caused natural gas prices to fall from $8.03 per million cubic feet (mcf) in 2007 to less than three dollars today. As a result, U.S. natural gas consumers will save $181 to $432 per person, depending on which part of the country they live in. For a family of four living in Ohio, the savings add up to $1,036 of their money they get to keep. People change car insurance providers to save substantially less money than that.

Unfortunately, these savings will soon go up in smoke because of CPP.

The goal of the Obama administration’s new regulations is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent of 2005 levels by 2030. Because wind and solar account for less than 5 percent of U.S. electricity generation, despite receiving decades of subsidies and billions of taxpayer dollars, this goal can be accomplished only by shutting down coal-fired power plants and replacing them with natural gas-fired electricity generation.

This transition has already begun. In April of this year, natural gas accounted for more electricity generation than coal for the first time ever, with natural gas generating 31 percent, compared with 30 percent for coal. Regulating coal out of our energy portfolio will have serious negative consequences because it means abandoning a reliable, abundant, and affordable source of energy. The Obama administration’s ideological war against coal means demand for natural gas for electricity generation will continue to grow, with the goal of the CPP to increase the use of natural gas to account for an average of 70 percent of the electricity generated in each state, causing natural gas prices to climb back up to approximately $7.80 per mcf and essentially incinerating the savings U.S. consumers currently enjoy.

Those who argue the power plant rules are needed to avoid the negative effects of climate change should reconsider their position. EPA’s own climate models show the regulations will reduce the amount of projected warming by a negligible .018 C, an amount below the margin of error in the calculations. In other words, these regulations will cost billions of dollars to implement, will significantly increase the costs of natural gas and electricity, will hurt low-income families the most, and will have no positive impact on the environment whatsoever.

EPA officials argue we need the rules in order to set an example for the rest of the world. That brings to mind something our mothers told us: “If your friends all jumped off a bridge, would you jump off too?” The big carbon dioxide emitters, such as China and India, are listening to Mom and are not going to jump with us. On the contrary, they’re building new coal-powered plants every day.

Low natural gas prices made possible by horizontal fracking are a tremendous boon for families struggling to make ends meet, but even these low prices are barely compensating for the significant, long-term damage being inflicted upon our energy system by the Obama administration’s reckless war against affordable energy. By the time people realize the impact of the Clean Power Plan regulations, it may be too late to reverse the damage.


Australian PM wedges the Left on coal jobs

Tony Abbott has escalated his ­attack on anti-coal activists and challenged Labor to stand up for jobs, by moving to ban green groups from using the courts to stop major developments such as the Adani coalmine.

The government used the ­announcement, which would strike out the provision in environmental laws that allows green groups to challenge development consent for major projects unless they have a direct interest in the project, to declare that only the Coalition was standing up for workers.

Labor and the Greens immediately declared they would not support weakening environmental protections.

The Prime Minister said the issue was a test for the Labor Party. “Are they more interested in the politics of the green movement and are they more inter­ested in the preferences of the Greens Party or do they really care about the workers of Australia?’’ Mr Abbott said.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the government was concerned that groups with a philosophical opposition to coal were determined to delay and disrupt every coal project using protracted litigation. “It is about time the Labor Party stood up for the workers,’’ Mr Macfarlane said. “We stand up for workers. How about you guys stand up for the workers for a change.’’

Adani’s Carmichael coal project in central Queensland has proven a flash point between green activists trying to stop the development of new coalmines to limit climate change and the ­Abbott government, which has backed the development on the basis it will bring up to $31 billion in investment and create 10,000 jobs. Mr Abbott this month lashed the Federal Court action that sparked the delay in the approval of the mine, warning against ­allowing the courts to evolve into a “means of sabotaging projects’’.

Attorney-General George Brandis yesterday announced the government would remove ­Section 487 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, the provision that he said “allowed radical green ­activists to engage in vigilante litigation to stop important economic projects’’.

The move would return legal action against projects to the common law, meaning litigants would have to have a direct interest in the case to be given standing, such as landholders affected by a resources project.

Senator Brandis said Section 487 of the EPBC Act “provides a red carpet for radical activists who have a political, but not a legal, ­interest in a development to use aggressive litigation tactics to ­disrupt and sabotage important projects’’.

The government’s move won the immediate backing of resources groups but was savaged by green groups.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Brendan Pearson said a large number of new projects and mine expansions in ­recent years had been “subject to a calculated campaign of protests and harassment, including vexatious and incessant legal appeals lodged by a small band of extreme environmental groups’’.

“If unchecked, this gaming of legal and approvals processes campaign will exact a significant toll on the Australian economy,” Mr Pearson said. “This strategy has already led to a delay in the Carmichael project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, posing a threat to 10,000 jobs and billions of dollars in investment.’’

Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy said the government seemed “determined to strip ­Australians of the right to legitimate legal action to protect ­nature in this country’’.

WWF-Australia chief executive Dermot O’Gorman cautioned that proposed changes to the EPBC Act “increase the risk of corruption by removing checks and balances in government decision-making’’.

Greenpeace accused the ­Abbott government of “throwing a tantrum” and said the move would “gut national environmental protection laws’’.

Mr Abbott said the Adani issue was “a setback for the reputational risk of Australia’’ and jobs were being threatened by “the militancy of the green movement led by the Mackay Conservation Group’’.

He said the group was located 600km from the mine and was represented by the NSW Environmental Defender’s Office, which was located a 13½-hour drive from the mine.

“There has been a litany of challenges against a mine that in fact is going to power up the lives of 100 million impoverished people in India,” Mr Abbott said. “It represents $20bn of investment in Australia and 10,000 new jobs in Australia. And they are real jobs for truck drivers, train drivers, electricians, engineers, mechanics and geoscientists stretching from Cairns to Mackay, Brisbane to Perth.’’

Ellen Roberts, the co-ordinator of the Mackay Conservation Group, accused the government of seeking to divert attention from its drop in the polls.

“Coal companies should not be above the law and the government should not be doing their bidding by changing the law to remove the rights of the community to have a say,’’ Ms Roberts said.

Opposition environment spokesman Mark Butler and legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus declared Labor would not support weakening environmental protections or limiting a community’s right to challenge government ­decisions.

“Since being passed by the Howard government 15 years ago, the EPBC Act has been the ­overriding national environmental protection law, including throughout the mining boom — and environmental groups are ­required to operate within this law,’’ Mr Butler said.

The government had been caught out for not properly managing the approval process for the Adani mine under the act, he said.



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19 August, 2015

Trenberth restates the faith

He would!  He says that natural variability is preventing warming.  By that logic, maybe the slight warming of the 20th century was caused by natural variability too.  It is all just speculation

There are signs that the planet is heating up, and even 'on fire.'  This is according to Dr Kevin Trenberth, a scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, who claims the global warming 'pause' is now over.

The so-called pause refers to the fact that the temperature of Earth's surface has increased by just 0.06°C in the past 15 years.

It has been used by some groups as evidence that climate change is not happening.

But Dr Trenberth argues that natural variability in weather patterns has masked the upward trend in temperatures, and he says this variability may be about to end.

He points out that in the western region of North America, the prolonged drought has led to high temperatures and many wildfires, from Canada and the Northwest earlier this summer to California more recently.

In the Pacific, hurricanes, typhoons and tropical cyclones have caused havoc, and with several damaging hits in Japan, China and Taiwan, in particular.

Globally, surface temperatures have been setting record high values. US temperatures this year are well above average.

Meanwhile, precipitation has been above average in much of the US outside of the West, making temperatures lower than they otherwise would have been.

In a paper titled, 'Has There Been a Global Warming Hiatus?', Trenberth argues natural variability through of the oceans, atmosphere, land and ice is responsible for the strange weather.

'The warmest year in the 20th century was 1998. However, since then there has been an apparent absence of an increase in global mean surface temperature (GMST) from 1998 through 2013.

'This has become known as the 'hiatus,' said Trenberth, writing in The Conversation. 'While 2005 and 2010 GMST values slightly exceeded the 1998 value, the trend upwards slowed markedly until 2014, which is now the warmest year on record.

'Moreover, there are excellent prospects that 2015 will break that record – the past 12 months through June 2015 are indeed the warmest 12 months on record. 'It looks like the hiatus is over.'

Trenberth says there are major natural variabilities that prevent the global temperature rise from simply being linear.

The main variability is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation - or PDO - in which the planet's largest ocean goes through a cycle of burying heat and then releasing it.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the PDO has gone into a positive phase when stored heat gets released to the atmosphere and across the globe.

'There are major changes in Pacific trade winds, sea level pressure, sea level, rainfall and storm locations throughout the Pacific and Pacific rim countries, but also extending into the southern oceans and across the Arctic into the Atlantic,' said Dr Trenberth.

'There is good but incomplete evidence that these changes in winds alter ocean currents, ocean convection and overturning, which leads to changes in the amount of heat being sequestered at greater depths in the ocean during the negative phase of the PDO.'

'The role of natural variability paints a different picture than one of steadily rising global mean temperatures,' added Dr Trenberth.

'Indeed, the combination of decadal variability plus a heating trend from increasing greenhouse gases makes the GMST record more like a rising staircase than a monotonic climb.'


Recent British environmental excesses


Regular readers know this column collects daft stories about rare species and the impact of preservation on progress.

Many of you will remember Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, in South Wales, spending £190,000 building a special suspension bridge to allow dormice to cross a new bypass near Pontypridd.

Work on the road was halted while the bridge was built, along with the construction of 60 dormouse boxes and the digging of new ponds for the relocation of newts and other vulnerable amphibians. I can recall writing at the time that although the idea seemed crazy and the cost excessive, any society which can be bothered to build a bridge for dormice can’t be all bad.

Unfortunately, conservation can be taken to extremes. A few weeks ago, I brought you news that work on a much-needed housing development in an abandoned limestone quarry had come to a standstill after it was discovered that the area was the natural habitat of the Horrid Ground-weaver Spider.

More than 2,000 nature lovers signed a petition claiming the project, which would have provided 57 new homes, could cause the extinction of the spider, known in Latin as the Nothophantes Horridus.

Now we learn that the Planning Inspectorate has upheld the local council’s decision to refuse permission for the work to go ahead, so the frustrated developers will have to look for a new site elsewhere.

Supporters of the Horrid Ground-weaver Spider are claiming a great victory. ‘What a fantastic result for wildlife,’ declared Andrew Whitehouse, who runs an outfit called Buglife.

So it might be, but what a terrible result for any family hoping to move into one of these new homes.

Now here’s the really silly bit. This could well turn out to be a hollow victory. The spider, which is said to live in cracks in the limestone, has only ever been spotted twice. The last time was in 1995 and it hasn’t been seen since. So for all anyone knows, it could be extinct already.

Then there was the case of the Depressed River Mussel, which was indirectly responsible for severe flooding in the Thames Valley last year. Hundreds of riverbank homes suffered water damage because the Environment Agency abandoned dredging to save this obscure creature. And to hell with the devastation this single-issue madness would wreak on homeowners.

Our planning authorities seem to have a particular soft spot for molluscs of every variety.

For years, drivers have been getting stuck in traffic jams at the Acle Straight, a single-carriageway stretch of the A47 between Norwich and Great Yarmouth, which motoring organisations have been campaigning to have widened.

The stumbling block has been the presence of a colony of Little Whirlpool Ramshorn Snails, which haven’t been seen outside East Anglia since the Eighties. Maybe they’re all holed up with the Horrid Ground-weaver Spiders.

This week it was reported that plans to widen the road hinge upon whether the snails, which have shells less than a fifth of an inch in diameter, can be relocated successfully.

Fair enough, you might say. But the relocation of the snails is going to take three years, during which time they will be subjected to intensive monitoring.

So it will be 2018 before any decision to go ahead with the road widening can be taken. Meanwhile, traffic will remain at a crawl for the forseeable future, with all the extra greenhouse gases from exhaust fumes that will cause.

What a complete parcel of molluscs. Or should that be a complete parcel of escargots?

This is the kind of bio-diversity dilemma environmentalists keep coming up against — in this case the rights of snails versus the hole in the ozone layer.

One of the funniest conflicts currently raging around our coasts is the conflict between marine life and off-shore wind farms.

From the North Sea to the South Coast, biologists are warning that the giant wind factories so beloved of the ‘climate change’ fanatics are posing a serious threat to the eco-system.

Apparently, the construction and operation of these unsightly War Of The Worlds turbines causes extreme distress to dolphins, particularly the low-level hum the windmills emit when they are turning.

The noise and vibration interferes with the sonic communications not just of dolphins, but porpoises, basking sharks and, especially, whales — the poster boys of the Save The Planet movement.

The problem has become so severe that conservationists want safe havens established to protect the marine mammals.

The road to Hell, and all that. It turns out that in building wind farms to save the polar bears, we’re in danger of wiping out the whales and dolphins.

You couldn’t make it up.

My favourite story this week comes from Llandudno, North Wales, where the council recently upgraded the street lights at a local beauty spot, which is popular with members of the local dogging community who gather for alfresco sex with strangers after dark.

Unfortunately, they’ve had to be switched off again because the light from the new high-intensity sodium lamps is interfering with the sex lives — of glow worms.

Amateur naturalist Jenni Cox noticed that male glow worms were congregating under the lamp-posts and ignoring hundreds of female glow worms gathered nearby.

Apparently, when the females are in the mood for love their tails start to glow. (Well, they’re not called glow worms for nothing.) But these courting signals were being obliterated by the new street lights.

And although the females were raring to go, the males were leaning on the lamp-posts, presumably smoking, sipping super-strength lager and talking football.

So while the bright lights may have deterred doggers, they also put the glow worms right off their stroke.

I’ve no idea whether glow worms are endangered, but if Llandudno Council hadn’t turned off the new street lights they pretty soon would have been.

And it doesn’t get much sillier than that.


Scotland’s irrational GM crop ban

The Scottish government has decided to ban genetically modified crops to ensure Scotland maintains its ‘clean, green status’. This phrase, symbolic of what we are supposed to want to preserve, has not been defined, and we have no way of discerning exactly how it relates to the consequences of GM crops. Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Scottish National Party Member, announced the policy as Scotland’s stance, ahead of the government’s request to be exempted from EU-authorised GM crops.

None of the reasons given for the prohibition follow from the evidence we have about GM crops nor from countries’ experiences with them. One anti-GM-crop writer, Mike Small of Bella Caledonia, remarkably complained we are falling foul of an ‘expertocracy’ because of our ‘unswerving devotion to scientists’. He has also given a number of reasons why we should support the prohibition of GM crops in Scotland. Among those were that GM crops are a long-term economic disaster for farmers; do not increase yield potential; increase pesticide use; and have not been shown to be safe to eat. These claims are simply wrong.

If we take a look at a meta-analysis conducted last year of the impacts of genetically modified organisms we see that the agronomic and economic benefits of GM crops are large and significant. The positive feedback we hear from people in developing countries is reflected in the studies as we find that yield and profit gains are higher in developing countries than in developed countries. It concludes that, on average, GM technology has increased crop yields by 21%, reduced pesticide quantity by 37% and pesticide cost by 39%, and meant average profit gains of 69% for GM-adopting farmers.

The World Health Organisation has verified that all GM foods available in the international market have passed safety assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. People have been consuming them for decades in the United States and in 2014 GM crops made up 94% of soybean acreage, 93% of all corn planted, and 96% of all cotton. For as long as populations have consumed them no resulting effects on human health have been shown in the countries where they have been approved.

While farmers in the rest of the UK are looking to take advantage of GM technology, farmers in Scotland are concerned by the Scottish Parliament’s backwards policy; spokespeople for the agricultural industry say it will impede their efficiency and competitiveness. They are right: Scottish farmers will not be capable of competing in the same market as their neighbours if shut off from technological advances just as other countries are adopting GM crops.

To give any credence to Mike Small and similar superstitious claims would be to completely go against accepted evidence and rationality. So if Scottish politicians follow through with the GMO prohibition without any credible counteracting evidence that it would be harmful for Scotland, it will not only hold the country back, but the boundaries of scientific research will be redefined and Scotland might lose its leading research experts to more supportive political environments.


Wind "better than nuclear"?

Written by Mark Duchamp, Save the Eagles Intl.

Japan has just reactivated a nuclear reactor, Sendai 1, the first of 20 that may soon get back on line (1)(2). This, and a pro-nuclear comment on our webpage, prompts us today to state our position on that form of energy. nuclear or windSave the Eagles International are not keen on nuclear power plants, to say the least. If they can be done without, all the better. But can they be replaced by intermittent energy like wind? This is the question that must be asked.

The answer is no. Not until we find a way to store electricity. This would have to be done at the scale required to fuel a modern economy, ensuring grid frequency stability in spite of wind variations. So far, this has proved to be an impossible task. As long as the problem is not solved, the erratic nature of wind has to be compensated "real-time" by fossil-fuel power stations operating in back-up mode, consuming more fuel than they would otherwise.

Germany, for instance, has tried to replace nuclear by wind and solar, and failed. They had to build additional coal-fired power stations to keep the lights on in periods without wind or sunshine. And the rest of the time, these thermal plants are needed to regulate variable wind or solar energy, otherwise numerous blackouts would occur. As a result, Germany's use of fossil fuels has increased.

In France, which has vowed to close down some of its nuclear plants, much publicity is being given to the "transition énergétique", which rests mostly on wind power. But at the same time, the country has been discreetly building up its gas-fired generation capacity: 16 units since 2005 (3). Officially, they were built to replace dirtier coal-fired power stations. But France has 10,000 MW of installed wind power, more than the generation capacity of the coal plants that were closed down. And many more wind farms are in the pipe-line. So, actually, the new gas turbines will be used mostly to back-up the intermittency of wind power, and balance its unstability. Nuclear plants are not flexible enough to do that.

The double investment intermittent energy + fossil fuels, for the same total output, has pushed the price of electricity upwards wherever the switch to "green" energy is taking hold. Because of that, plus the high cost of wind & solar and related grid upgrades, German households, like their Danish neighbors, are paying 100% more for power than they would in most EU countries. In the UK, the spiralling cost of subsidies to onshore Wind got out of control, so the government announced a cut-out date, April 2016. As for France, a special tax has been slapped on utility bills, "la CSPE", which keeps being hiked year after year. As it has reached € 6 billion, i.e. 15% of utility bills, there is now talk of spreading it over fuel and gas bills.

Intermittent energy causes more fossil fuels to be burnt (4). Besides, its high cost (5) is causing a double problem: "fuel poverty" in humble households, and job destruction as investments and whole industries are attracted by lower energy prices abroad. Japan has been quick to understand the dangers of the German "energy transition" model: today, "Sendai 1" is active again, in spite of Fukushima. Nuclear energy appears to be back for the long haul in Japan (6).

At Save the Eagles International we wish we could, like many, daydream that intermittent energy can replace coal, gas and nuclear power. But we have to deal with realities, unfortunately.


Fossil Fuel Energy and Economic Wellbeing

By economist Dr. Michael Canes

"Today, fossil fuels supply better than 86 percent of the marketed energy used worldwide. The proportions of oil, gas and coal vary by region but basically these three fuels supply the great majority of energy used to produce economic output everywhere in the world.

"Energy is an essential input into economic activity of every kind. More energy enables an economy to produce more output and also to grow. For example, energy is used to distribute goods throughout regions, countries and the world. If less energy were available for the purpose, trade and markets would shrink, with adverse effects on income and consumption. Further, energy is an input into the research and development of new products or new ways of making older ones, and so is a key component of technological advance. Abundant, inexpensive energy therefore provides great advantages and is highly desirable. Because fossil fuels are such a large part of the world's energy supply, they play a very prominent role in enabling people everywhere to enjoy what they have and to look forward to better times ahead."
Dr. Michael Canes is a Distinguished Fellow at the Logistics Management Institute (LMI) in McLean, VA, where he conducts research on energy and environmental matters.  "Fossil Fuel Energy and Economic Wellbeing" is available for free download  here

Press release

Australian Psychological Society uses biases and fallacies to accuse skeptics of bias and fallacies

Woolly-headed old lady leaps to the defence of something she knows nothing about

If psychologists want to be taken seriously, and want psychology to be called “a science”, they need to elect a director who knows what science is.

The Climate Study group in Australia published a half page advert in The Australian last week – Psychology and Climate Alarm: how fear and anxiety trump evidence.  See the advert here.

In reply, Prof Lyn Littlefield, Executive Director of the [Leftist] Australian Psychology Society wrote a letter to The Australian protesting — claiming that the Climate Study Group are the ones suffering from the confirmation bias they accuse climate scientists of.

“The advertisement, ‘Psychology and the New Climate Storm’  misuses psychology-based arguments to add credibility to myths and misinformation about climate change. In doing so, the authors illustrate aptly the very error bias (confirmation bias) they are erroneously attributing to the climate science community.”

It’s the “the pot calling the kettle black”, exclaims Littlefield. But since her arguments are entirely fallacies, this is the kettle calling the pot calling the kettle black.  The Climate Study Group mentioned many scientific observations, and in reply Lyn Littlefield can’t find an error in any of them, she can only cite “the consensus”. So instead of using a thermometer to measure the temperature, she wants to use keyword studies in abstracts of publications, and pronouncements of sub-committees of scientific associations.

Hey, it’s not like consensuses have been wrong before, or grants committees, journal editors, and scientists could possibly have any personal motivations, training deficits, or biases, right? But who would expect a psychologist to spot those…

Littlefield seems to think that scientists are robots. She talks of “vested interests” of the skeptics, but is blind to the 3500:1 ratio of funding for climate “belief”. Then she accuses skeptics of cherry picking and bias. It’s projection, projection all the way down.

The world cooled for 37 years while CO2 rose. Does that matter? No, says Lyn, the Royal Society was founded in 1662. Welcome to a conversation with a blind believer. Seriously, the good scientific psychologists need to speak up lest the fawning confused believers in their profession stay glued to the public mouth-piece. (Lucky  Jose Duarte has spoken, and Littlefield should read his blog. Where are the other good psychs?)

Littlefield wants to talk “fallacies”, so let’s take her “jumping to conclusions” fallacy and raise it. Those who jump to assume long reports from human committees are “facts” are falling for the fallacy known as “argument from authority”. Real scientists look at the data — which is exactly what the Climate Study Group did.
The danger of believing press releases — there is a reason “argument from authority” is a fallacy

Littlefield seems to think that if an association issues a statement it’s an accurate reflection of the members, but these societies almost never survey their members. Those of us who understand the psychology of groups know that most associations speak on behalf of the six most motivated volunteers who signed up for the sub-committee on Climate Thingys. (You’d think, maybe, a psychologist might know that?) It’s just another reason the scientific method does not include “opinions of associations”. We have almost no evidence of what the members opinions are because no one asked them, and it wouldn’t matter anyway because it’s not evidence about the climate. (Perhaps we should start a new society to supplant the Royal Society for people like Littlefield — maybe the Royal Gossip or the Royal Opinion?)

Lucky Professor Littlefield, director of The Australian Psychology Society, does not assess surveys for a living, eh?
Surveys show there is no consensus among scientists

For the record if Littlefield did some (any) research before writing to newspapers, she’d know there are a few surveys of scientists but they pretty much all have devastating news for naive fans of a “consensus”. Empirical data shows only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, that  52% of meteorologists think natural causes are more important and only 43% of climate scientists (fergoodnesssake) agree with the biblical certainty expressed in the IPCC. Clearly skeptics outnumber believers, but as a scientist, I’d never use that to defend my views. It all comes back to real evidence instead — observations from stuff like satellites, sediments, ice cores and boreholes.
Define “climate science denial” — is that where psychologists deny the empirical evidence?

Littlefield understands that the work “empirical” is a good word to use to sound scientific.  If only she knew about empirical climate data, instead of empirical data of online-anonymous-surveys. One sort of data matters:

 There is a growing body of empirical research into the psychology of climate science denial,  and a number of these characteristics are on display in the Climate Study Group’s  advertisement.

The Climate Study Group can back up their statements with empirical data, which unequivocally shows that the models are wrong, the hot spot didn’t appear (even according to the IPCC), the surface stopped warming when it shouldn’t have, and the warming started long before it was supposed too (1680 versus 1900). Logically the “climate science deniers” are the ones who think 28 million weather balloons don’t matter, but ten anonymous responses in a survey of unskeptical sites do.
A real discussion we need to have is about the pathetic state of psychology

Are the successful scientists and corporate directors misusing psychology, or is it the psychologists misusing psychology?

There are questions the Australian Psychology Society really need to answer. “Climate denier” is an abusive form of namecalling; does it have a place in university psychology? It defies any literal definition; no one denies we have a climate and no one denies the climate changes. There don’t appear to be any people who fit the definition. Even PhD students of psychology (like John Cook) are being encouraged to use it. Does accurate English matter in psychology?

Does Littlefield think it’s OK for psychologists to generate derogatory media headlines based on three anonymous responses? Does she think it’s useful to survey sites that are hostile to skeptics to find out what skeptics think? (Would she survey Jews in order to understand what Palestinians feel?) Is it acceptable to claim that 78,000 skeptics saw a link to a survey on a site run by a co-author that never hosted the link? Does the APS care about truth, or does the ends justify the means?

These kinds of “climate” psychology studies start from the “consensus” fallacy (despite the empirical evidence that the consensus does not exist) . Do they serve the taxpayer, or is it just a way of improving propaganda in order to bilk the public for more big-government funds?

There’s a unspoken potential vested interest here. Corporates, miners, and skeptics don’t funnel much money on the climate issue to research psychologists because they know how pointless it is. Big-government however seems happy to fund psychologists who use the money to promote their own personal political (big-government) beliefs. Does psychology suffer from its own “confirmation bias”?   Aren’t “climate” psychologists just government-funded activists in the Climate Change Scare Machine?

The evidence Littlefield either denies or is ignorant of is that the climate models depend on assumptions about feedbacks that observations have long proven to be false.

The models not only fail on global decadal scales, but on regional, local, short term, [1] [2], polar[3], and upper tropospheric scales[4] [5] too. They fail on humidity[6], rainfall[7], drought [8] and they fail on clouds [9]. The hot spot is missing, the major feedbacks are not amplifying the effect of CO2 as assumed.

 –see  the scientific references for those.

The consensus that doesn’t exist, depends on models that don’t work. Can anyone spot a problem?



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, 2015

EPA’s gross negligence at Gold King

Fear-mongering, pollution standards and negligence rules don’t apply when EPA is at fault

Paul Driessen           

On August 5, an Environmental Restoration company crew, supervised by US Environmental Protection Agency officials, used an excavator to dig away tons of rock and debris that were blocking the entrance portal of Colorado’s Gold King Mine, which had been largely abandoned since 1923. Water had been seeping into the mine and out of its portal for decades, and the officials knew (or could and should have known) the water was acidic (pH 4.0-4.5), backed up far into the mine, and laced with heavy metals.

But they kept digging – until the greatly weakened dam burst open, unleashing a 3-million-gallon (or more) toxic flood that soon contaminated the Animas and San Juan Rivers, all the way to Lake Powell in Utah. To compound the disaster, EPA then waited an entire day before notifying downstream mayors, health officials, families, farmers, ranchers, fishermen and kayakers that the water they were drinking, using for crops and livestock, or paddling in was contaminated by lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic.

Three million gallons of turmeric-orange poisonous water and sludge is enough to fill a pool the size of a football field (360x160 feet) seven feet deep. Backed up hundreds of feet above the portal into mine adits, stopes, rooms and other passageways that begin at 11,458 feet above sea level, the flash-flooding water had enough power to rip out a road and propel its toxic muck hundreds of miles downstream. (You can review EPA’s incompetence and gross negligence in these project photos* and post-disaster images.)

Anyone who follows mining, oil spill and power plant accidents knows the EPA, Obama White House and Big Green environmentalist rhetoric: There is no safe threshold for chemicals. They are toxic and carcinogenic at parts per billion. The water will be unsafe for years or even decades. Wildlife will die. Corporate polluters are criminals and must pay huge fines. We will keep our boots on their necks.

This time the White House was silent, and Democrats and eco-activists rushed to defend EPA and shift the blame to mining and mining companies. EPA officials made statements they would never use if a private company had caused the blowout: EPA had simply “miscalculated” how much water had backed up. It was just trying to stick a pipe into the top of the mine to safely pump liquid out for treatment. We were “very careful.” Contaminants “are flowing too fast to be an immediate health threat.” The river is already “restoring itself” back to pre-spill levels, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy insisted.

The evidence strongly suggests that EPA never studied or calculated anything, had no operations plan vetted and approved by state officials or mining experts, was not trying to install a pipe – and was grossly careless and negligent. Toxic sludge was carried and deposited along hundreds of miles, contaminating water and riverbeds, where it will be stirred up for years during every heavy rainfall and snowmelt.

Mining engineers told me the prudent approach would have been to push or drill a 4-inch pipe through the rubble into the mine, to determine the water pressure, toxicity and extent of water backup in the mine – and then build a strong cofferdam below the portal – before proceeding. Simply removing the debris was stupid, dangerous and negligent, they said. It will take years now to correct the damage and assess costs.

A week after the great flood, EPA finally built a series of retention ponds to contain and filter out heavy metals and chemicals. But the August 5 surge and sludge are still contaminating Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico rivers, in arid regions where water is scarce and precious. The Navajo Tribal Unity Authority says meeting EPA standards for clean drinking water could double the tribe’s costs for building a new treatment plant and cost millions more in testing and operating expenses.

EPA says it will pay for testing, property damage, human injuries and hauling safe drinking water. But will it pay to truck in safe water for livestock and irrigation, and pay for crops and livestock lost because there is no water in the meantime, and cover millions in lost incomes for outfitters and hotel operators during what would have been their peak tourist seasons? Exxon paid such costs after the Valdez spill in Alaska; BP did likewise after its Macondo spill in the Gulf of Mexico; so have coal companies.

Shouldn’t EPA do likewise, instead of asserting “sovereign immunity” despite its gross negligence? Shouldn’t it cover these costs out of the millions of dollars it uses for employee bonuses and to pay environmental activists and public relations firms to promote its image and agenda – instead of sticking taxpayers with the tab via special appropriations? Will EPA reimburse state and local governments and private charities for assistance they have already rendered? Will it fire the irresponsible officials, or at least demote and discipline them? Will Environmental Restoration pay its fair share?

Under standards that EPA and environmentalists apply to the private sector, Gold King was a disaster. However, the accident could also be an impetus for reflection and responsible regulatory reform.

Anti-mining pressure groups and factions within EPA will use this accident to press for new layers of mining rules, bonds, payments and liabilities. They are unnecessary – and will only restrict the jobs, expertise and revenues needed to ensure that exploration, mining, reclamation and repair of abandoned (orphan) mines are done properly. Modern mining, processing and pollution prevention methods are vastly superior to those employed even 50 years ago, and do not cause the exaggerated impacts alleged by EarthJustice  and others. Moreover, the metals and minerals are essential for the wondrous technologies and living standards, the health, housing, transportation and recreational pursuits, that we enjoy today.

The Gold King blowout was predictable and preventable. The mine was leaking slightly polluted water, but the problem was not serious and was being addressed, and the former mining town of Silverton, CO had repeatedly asked EPA not to intervene or make Gold King a Superfund site. Mining engineers and other experts were available, and some had offered their insights and expertise. EPA ignored them.

EPA – and all government agencies – should end their We-know-best and We-know-what-we’re-doing attitudes … and seek outside advice from real experts in the trenches. They should also develop careful operating plans, assess worst-case scenarios, and take steps to ensure that the worst doesn’t happen. Sometimes they just need to do nothing, get out of the way, and let the private sector handle problems.

But they should support Clean Water Act and other revisions to make it easier, less costly and less fraught with potential liability for companies or coalitions of dedicated parties to fix pollution discharge problems at the relatively few abandoned mines that are leaking contaminated water at worrisome levels.

EPA’s new view that these pollutants are not as toxic as previously claimed – and that nature can and does clean things up – is refreshing, even if self-serving. (My use of “toxic” in this article mostly reflects currently prevailing agency, activist and public health industry attitudes and safety standards.)

Standards for maximum contaminant levels and maximum safe exposures are often absurdly low, and the concept of “linear no threshold” (that there is no safe exposure or blood or tissue level for lead, cadmium, arsenic and other metals) is outdated and wrong, Dr. Edward Calabrese and other experts argue.

Pollution, exposure and blood levels are often safe at significantly higher levels than regulations currently allow. Moreover, low levels of exposure to radiation and many chemicals can actually provide protection from cancer, disease and pollutants. While this concept of hormesis is generally ignored by current regulations, we know that a little alcohol improves heart functions, whereas a lot causes multiple problems; an 80 mg aspirin can prevent strokes, but a bottleful can kill; and many vaccinations inject disease strains that cause a person’s immune system to produce antibodies and prevent the disease.

The Obama EPA is already using WOTUS rules on water and a Clean Power Plan on electricity generation and climate change to control virtually everything we make, grow and do. Congressional committees, presidential candidates, businesses and citizens need to get involved, debate these issues, ask tough questions, and work to implement appropriate reforms. Our courts and Congress must not allow another collusive sue-and-settle lawsuit – or a new regime of government controls and mine closures that would drive yet another nail into the coffin of western state and local economies … and cleanup efforts.

Gold King presents a teachable moment. Let’s make sure we learn the correct lessons.

* It appears that EPA deleted its entire photo album, so that people can no longer view them. We are trying to find a citizen archive of the images and will link to it, if possible. Again we have “the most transparent administration in history” (quoting President Obama) at your service.

Via email

Computer Games as Harmful as ‘Global Warming’? New Research Smacks Down Pseudo-Science Claim

Greenfield is a suck-up.  She got made a Baroness for peddling myths that the Left like to hear

New research published this week by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) demolishes a destructive pseudo-science argument mischievously marketed by a fellow at Oxford University that, without evidence, characterizes kids’ computer games as a pending health threat, “like global warming.”

The BMJ piece is entitled, The debate over digital technology and young people, and appears in the 12 August edition of the BMJ, one of the world’s most prestigious journals.

“Through appearances, interviews, and a recent book, Susan Greenfield, a senior research fellow at Lincoln College, Oxford, has promoted the idea that Internet use and computer games can have harmful effects on the brain, emotions, and behavior, and draws a parallel between the effects of digital technology and climate change,” write the authors Vaughn Bell, et al. “Despite repeated calls for her to publish these claims in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, where clinical researchers can check how well they are supported by evidence, this has not happened, and the claims have largely been aired in the media.”

The article’s authors, furthermore, added the devastating declaration, “As scientists, working in mental health, developmental neuropsychology, and the psychological impact of digital technology, we are concerned that Greenfield’s claims are not based on a fair scientific appraisal of the evidence, often confuse correlation for causation, give undue weight to anecdote and poor quality studies, and are misleading to parents and the public at large.”

Greenfield’s controversial book is called, Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving their Mark on Our Brains (Rider, 2014). “We think it is unfortunate that Greenfield’s media profile means her claims have an exaggerated impact on public debate given their limited evidence base,” the BMJ article’s authors wrote.  The scientist’s work, to be true science, “needs less shock and more substance.”


Decarbonize Yourselves First!

 Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser   

The penultimate climate pow-wow is going to take place in Paris later this year. The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference  (COP21) is widely touted as a “make-or-break” event to prevent a global climate catastrophe that’s supposed to be just around the corner. climate argument

Most likely, there will be over 10,000 government and UN representatives, all the NGOs in the world, some industry observers and a few others from all corners of the world. Even Pope Francis plans to attend and provide encyclical guidance. For the majority of the blessed, the goal will be to convert the imbeciles (like you and me) to the bad-carbon-footprint and need-for-decarbonisation belief. Will their sermons fall on eagerly listening ears?

Row, row, row your Boat

Oh, these wannabe savers of the world are not likely to arrive by trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific rowboat, nor by a wind-powered multi-mast “clipper;” those went out of style a hundred years ago. Of course, the attendees of the Paris event don’t need to spare any carbon whatsoever. After all, they are among the chosen few to tell the rest of the world what to do or not. The “new science” of how to save the earth does not apply to them, it’s just for the unwashed masses like you and me.

Basically, the do-gooders want you to “decarbonize” at all costs, everything, and most preferentially yourself. How else can you reduce the world population from 7 or 8 billion to fewer than one billion which Professor HJ Schellnhuber opines as necessary? He is the director of the Potsdam Institut für Klimafolgenforschung,  (a German government-funded outlet for climate impact research, commonly known as PIK) who has all the answers. Oh, even the Pontiff appears to approve of them, why else would he recently have named Schellnhuber to the 400-year old institution of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS)?


Oil company funding

Judith Curry

This is too often used as an excuse to reject a climate scientist or their findings, even if the funding is very indirect and has nothing to do with the specific study.  For example, having accepted travel funds from a think tank that is in some way has some funding from an unacceptable industry group or individual can be game over for that individual.

In climate change research, there is no righteous source of funding – government funding can be a source of bias just as much as industry funding can, and there is A LOT more government funding out there.  The need for greater intellectual (and political) diversity in climate change research has been addressed in this previous post.

That said, funding is probably a smaller source of bias than peer pressure to follow a consensus and to defend your own hypothesis, not to mention political preferences, environmental proclivities and career pressures.

In climate science, the ‘bogey’ is funding from fossil fuel companies.  Well, regional power providers are also involved in wind power, solar power, geothermal and hydropower (not to mention nuclear, but not clear if nuclear is ‘good’ or ‘bad’?).  Not to mention providing power for all those computers running weather and climate models.  And where would the climate research elite be without fossil fuels to support their extensive air travel (its a badge of honor among them to be flying at least 100,000 miles per year).  And is  natural gas good, relatively good, or bad?

So . . . is funding from power and oil companies ok if it funds research related to wind, solar geothermal and hydro?  Better predictions of extreme weather events that hamper both energy supply and demand, whatever the source of power?  Or is it only a problem if it supports outreach efforts by a climate scientist to deny humans are the cause of climate change?

If independent scientists obtain funding from power and oil companies, would this help support needed intellectual diversity into climate science to avoid the massive groupthink we now see?

There is a lot we can learn by the extensive experiences and track record of the health/nutrition research interaction with industry funding.

At Georgia Tech, we are encouraged by the administration to interact with industry and get industry funding, particularly in this era of shrinking federal research dollars.  Georgia Tech gets plenty of money from oil and power companies, although not nearly as much as heavy hitters such as Stanford, etc.  [see Big Oil Goes To College]  So . . . is funding from oil and power companies ok, as long as it isn’t used for climate research?

You can see that there is a lot of hypocrisy and stuff that simply doesn’t make sense.  We need to have a serious discussion about bias in scientific research, and sources of funding is only one part of this discussion.

But witch hunts related to funding, even if unrelated to research, is a very disturbing trend


“A Disgrace to the Profession” The World’s Scientists own words on Mann and his Hockey Stick

The unstoppable Mark Steyn has collected illuminating quotes from Michael Mann’s peers about the value of the Hockey Stick and Mann’s work.  Steyn has both announced the book, and taken apart the critics like “Sir Charles” already. In fine form:

“…not a single amicus brief was filed in support of Mann by any scientist or any scientific body. As I say in the book, Mann claims to be taking a stand for science, but science is disinclined to take a stand for him”

Is there any writer more apt, more prosaic or more entertaining? There are cartoons from Josh too:

"A guy can’t sit around waiting for litigious fake Nobel Laureates to agree to discovery and deposition. So, with the Mann vs Steyn Trial of the Century currently stalled in the choked septic tank of the DC court system, I figured I might as well put some of the mountain of case research clogging up the office into a brand new book – all about the most famous “science” graph of the 21st century and the man who invented it.

Michael E Mann’s defamation suit against me for a 270-word blog post is about to enter its fourth year in the District of Columbia Superior Court, so I’m confident this little tome should be good for at least a third of a century.

As you know, Mann’s plan was to sue me into silence. I leave it to legal scholars to assess whether that’s working out quite as he intended. However, as Barack Obama likes to say, this isn’t just about me. It’s also about the perversion of science and the damage done by the climate wars in which Mann has played such an egregious part.

If you’d like to support my end of this interminable case, then “A Disgrace To The Profession”: The World’s Scientists – In Their Own Words – On Michael E Mann, His Hockey Stick, and Their Damage To Science: Volume One is a great way to do it, and have a few laughs along the way (courtesy of Josh’s cartoons)"

One of the people who inspired Steyn to start this project is Professor Jonathan Jones of Oxford University:

    "The Hockey Stick is obviously wrong. Everybody knows it is obviously wrong. Climategate 2011 shows that even many of its most outspoken public defenders know it is obviously wrong. And yet it goes on being published and defended year after year.

    Do I expect you to publicly denounce the Hockey Stick as obvious drivel? Well yes, that’s what you should do. It is the job of scientists of integrity to expose pathological science… It is a litmus test of whether climate scientists are prepared to stand up against the bullying defenders of pathology in their midst."


Australia: The Left's climate-change policy a one-way ticket to energy hell

If you want to know what the lead-filled sock of fate has in store for us, look no further than Labor's -climate-change policies.

With barely one per cent of global emissions, Bill Shorten would have us mandate a share of renewable energy two times greater than that aimed at by the world's largest emitters.

The threat that poses to consumers, who would face dramatic increases in power bills, is obvious; but the mere possibility of so -irrational a policy - which would squander an amount equivalent to the sum of the budget deficits over the forward estimates - must compound the sovereign risk that is already damaging Australia's international competitiveness.

Of course, the renewables lobby has beamed with joy ever since Shorten announced that "Labor's ambition is to see 50 per cent of our electricity energy mix generated by renewable energy by 2030". And however poor renewables may be at actually generating power, that lobby's capacity to generate spurious arguments would make the sun shine at night.

We have, for example, been told that far from raising prices, the Renewable Energy Target reduces them. However, that is only true for so long as the growing stock of renewables adds to overcapacity in the National Electricity Market, forcing prices in that market down to the cash costs of keeping plants going. In addition to being inherently inefficient (since it makes no sense to aggravate a capacity glut), any benefit to consumers must be short-lived, as prices will rise once the surplus plants leave the market.

But it is even worse than that. In most markets, when supply exceeds demand, it is the highest cost suppliers who get knocked out, cushioning the price increases associated with a return to balance. In this market, however, the exact opposite is occurring, as the renewables mandate ensures the costliest capacity remains while cheaper capacity is prematurely scrapped.

That process is already apparent, with expensive renewables accounting for 98 per cent of the 1100 megawatts of capacity added last year to the NEM, while coal plants, which have low operating costs, accounted for 90 per cent of the 4500 MW that have been withdrawn or whose withdrawal has been announced.

Were the renewables target nearly doubled, as Labor proposes, the distortion would be even more severe. Quantifying the impacts involves myriad assumptions; but a reasonable estimate (derived using a model developed for the Minerals Council by electricity specialists Principal Economics) is that increasing the renewables -- target would raise the costs of power by $86 billion, which amounts to $600 per household per year.

Given that the average family has an annual electricity bill of some $1600, adding $600 is hardly trivial. Nor could anyone claim $86bn is small change for the Australian economy as a whole: not only is it more than twice this year's budget deficit, but it exceeds the total deficits forecast over the period to 2018-19.

And since any abatement it buys could be obtained far more cheaply by other means, it would be wasteful even were cutting emissions worthwhile.

However, the economic costs of Labor's proposal don't end there. After all, Shorten also intends to introduce a tax on carbon. While the details have not been released, it is clear any such scheme would disproportionately raise the costs of the coal-fired generators, accelerating their exit, and so further boosting prices. And by piling a carbon tax on top of the tax associated with the RET, it could make the distortions caused by increasing the RET even greater than the $86bn cited above.

The extent of the additional loss will depend both on the precise nature of Labor's carbon tax scheme and on its rate. But Treasury's modelling of Julia Gillard's carbon tax suggests that, given a carbon tax, the additional loss from raising the RET would (on an admittedly rough estimate) be in the order of $38bn, taking the total cost of Shorten's renewables policy well over $100bn.

Not that the renewables lobby would ever accept those figures. Rather, it argues that the cost of renewables will plummet as their share in the energy mix rises. But those arguments are hopelessly flawed.

To begin with, as the Productivity Commission found in reviewing the original modelling for the carbon tax, Australia's share of global investment in renewables is so small that any scale economies from doubling that share would reduce costs by less than one-tenth of one per cent. Moreover, far from falling, the economic costs of increasing wind capacity are likely to rise, as many of the best sites have already been taken, forcing growth to occur where transmission costs are high and capacity utilisation low and intermittent.

And with massive demand in the developing world for coal and gas plants, technological progress in fossil-fuel generation is at least as rapid as that in renewables, keeping it highly cost competitive.

Little wonder then that in the US, states such as West Virginia and Kansas have now decided to scrap their renewable energy mandates altogether, while Ohio has deferred the steady increases its law originally required. And as data from the US federal Energy Information Administration shows, electricity is 22.9 per cent more costly in those states with renewables mandates than in those without, competition to attract footloose capital and labour seems set to accelerate the trend away from compulsory targets.

Such a move would make even more sense in Australia, given our uniquely abundant resources of brown coal that is costly to transport. Those resources, and the very low power prices they allowed, have long underpinned our prosperity; by throwing what little remains of that advantage away, Shorten's policy, were it ever implemented, would be a one-way ticket to energy hell.



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, 2015

How Amusing! A Warmist attack on Prof. Judith Curry that is totally lacking in substance

Unlike the Left, I am not afraid to hear what people with different opinions to mine say.  So I read a fair bit of the stuff that emanates from the Green/Left.  It's mainly amusing for its feeble reasoning and boiling anger but occasionally something seems worth mentioning.  A recent attack on Judith Curry is a case in point.

I won't reproduce the attack as it is mostly abuse and is full of foul language but I give the source below for those who wish to check.  The attempted hit-piece is by the Tony Heller impersonator, Greg Laden, and is titled "As the World Burns, Episode I: Judith Curry & Mark Steyn, Partners in Slime".  Just the title tells you most of what you need to know, I think.

So does the article parade some new climate facts?  Of course not.  Warmists basically don't have any.  All they have is speculation, lies and abuse -- like pretending that statistically non-significant temperature changes exist.

The post seems to have been inspired by the fact that a well-known and senior climatologist, Wallace Broecker, said some derogatory things about "Hockeystick" Mann. Laden wants to discredit what Broecker said. How does he do that?

He points out that Broecker does not pull his punches.  If he thinks something is crap, he says so.  He is an energetic and  fearless critic. Therefore Broecker's adverse comments about Mann reflect ill will rather than a considered judgment.

I think you can see that, when I put Laden's argument in temperate language, it just does not hold up.  There is no evidence presented to say that Broecker has ever been wrong about anything.  We don't even have a critique of what he said about Mann.  All we have is an attack on Broecker's character: How typically Warmist.  And how infantile!

Did I say "feeble reasoning and boiling anger"?


A win for wildlife

By Robert Johns

The American Bird Conservancy,  where I am director of public relations, issued the following press release yesterday in response to a U.S. District Court ruling that the federal government should follow federal environmental law.

(Washington, D.C., August 12, 2015) The U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, in San Jose has ruled that the Department of the Interior violated federal laws when it created a final regulation allowing wind energy and some other companies to obtain 30-year permits to kill protected Bald and Golden Eagles without prosecution by the federal government.

The American Bird Conservancy (ABC), a plaintiff in the lawsuit, hailed the decision. “We are pleased that the courts agreed with us that improper shortcuts were taken in the development of this rule,” said Dr. Michael Hutchins, Director of ABC’s Bird Smart Wind Energy Program. “The court found that important laws meant to protect our nation’s wildlife were not properly followed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, putting Bald and Golden Eagles at greater risk.”

The court wrote: “… substantial questions are raised as to whether the Final 30-Year Rule may have a significant adverse effect on bald and golden eagle populations.”

In particular, the courts cited a lack of compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). “We’re ready to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct the required NEPA analysis and formulate a better system to protect eagles from poorly-sited wind energy projects,” said Hutchins. “We must come up with a better system to assess the potential risks to birds and bats prior to a project’s siting and construction and to track and mitigate project impacts post-construction.”

The previous “eagle take” rule, adopted in 2009, provided for a maximum duration of five years for each permit to kill eagles. A key part of the court’s ruling held that:  “… FWS has failed to show an adequate basis in the record for deciding not to prepare an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) — much less an EA (Environmental Assessment) — prior to increasing the maximum duration for programmatic eagle take permits by sixfold.”

“ … While promoting renewable energy projects may well be a worthy goal,” the ruling continued, “it is no substitute for the [agency’s] obligations to comply with NEPA and to conduct a studied review and response to concerns about the environmental implications of major agency action. … Accordingly, the Court holds that FWS violated NEPA’s procedural requirements and that the Final 30-Year Rule must therefore be set aside and remanded to FWS for further consideration.”

The court cited concerns that had been raised by FWS staff during development of the 30-year eagle rule, stating: “The record [in the case] bolsters the Court’s conclusion, as FWS’s failure to adequately ‘address concerns raised by its own experts’ is cause for the Court to find a NEPA violation.”

ABC filed the lawsuit on June 19, 2014 in federal court against the Department of the Interior, alleging multiple violations of federal law in connection with the December 9, 2013 rulemaking. ABC contended that DOI violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and other statutes.

ABC believes that wind energy and other renewable energy sources can be encouraged without putting Bald and Golden Eagles, and other protected wildlife, at risk. Proper siting of turbines is critical: New ABC-funded research has revealed that more than 30,000 wind turbines have been installed in areas critical to the survival of federally-protected birds in the United States and that more than 50,000 additional turbines are planned for construction in similar areas.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is one of ABC’s most important partners,” said ABC President George Fenwick. “We collaborate frequently, share many goals, and have enjoyed many successes together. However, FWS is encountering unprecedented financial constraints that lead to shortcuts and poor decisions. We hope that this court decision shines a light on the need for the Service to be fully empowered to do the job it is mandated to do. Our nation’s wildlife – and the agency appointed to protect it – deserve nothing less.”


Report: Danger of Government-Created Solar Bubble Bursting When Subsidies Expire in 2016

Federal subsidies have created a massive “green bubble” in the solar industry that is in danger of bursting when they expire next year, leaving taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars, according to a report by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA).

Homeowners and businesses that install a solar energy system are currently entitled to a 30 percent Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which was initially passed by Congress in 2006 and extended for another eight years in 2008.

However, the ITC will drop to 10 percent for commercial and zero for residential properties on Dec. 31, 2016.

And even members of the heavily-subsidized solar industry, which provides less than one percent of the nation’s electricity, are worried that it cannot stand on its own without government handouts.

“The reality is that we will lose 100,000 jobs if we lose the ITC — and these are conservative numbers. Ninety percent of solar companies will go out of business,” Rhone Resch, executive director of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), told participants at PV American 2015 in March.

SEIA spokesman Ken Johnson said that lobbying Congress to extend the ITC beyond 2016 is the group’s “top priority.”

According to the TPA report, entitled From Washington to Wall Street: How Government Policies are Skewing Solar Investments, solar companies are currently “bundling and securitizing” third-party solar leases, similar to the activity that triggered the housing market collapse.

“Since most homeowners do not have enough tax liability to utilize the Investment Tax Credit and some state incentives, the leasing company can take advantage of subsidies the average homeowner cannot,” the report explained.

“Solar leasing companies then take hundreds or thousands of leases and PPAs [in which the homeowner pays the company for the solar power produced] and bundle them together to offer them to investors (banks, insurance corporations and corporate investors) as asset backed securities, using the homeowner’s lease or PPA payment to service the debt.”

But the report pointed out that after 23 years, production of wind power “dropped off significantly” when a similar $12 billion annual federal wind production tax credit was set to expire, warning that “solar could well suffer a similar fate.”

“Much like the government-created housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis, handouts at the federal and state level are creating a solar bubble that taxpayers are propping up, and it will the taxpayers and investors who take the hit when the industry comes crashing down,” the TPA report predicted.

According to a March report to Congress by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “the total value of direct federal financial interventions and subsidies [to the energy sector] decreased 23% between FYs 2010 and 2013, declining from $38 billion to $29.3 billion” even as domestic energy production “rose 10% from 73.7 quadrillion Btu in FY 2010 to 81.1 quadrillion Btu in FY 2013.”

However, during that same time period there was a $4.2 billion increase in solar subsidies, “from $1.1 billion in FY 2010 to $5.3 billion in FY 2013…reflecting a large increase in the installation of solar facilities utilizing the ARRA [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009] Section 1603 grant payments or the 30% Investment Tax Credit.”

TPA calculates that the total amount of federal subsidies, including loans, grants and tax incentives, amounts to about $39 billion annually in addition to generous state and local subsidies.

Yet despite these massive government subsidies, firms such as SolarCity, the nation’s largest solar energy provider, and other solar installation and leasing companies are operating at a loss,” the report points out. 

“We’re concerned that taxpayers and consumers are going to be caught in this web. Because homeowners will be caught." TPA president David Williams told

"Because if a company goes bankrupt, who services those panels, who services the house to make sure that the panels are working correctly, what happens to the lease or to the loan, however they purchased these panels? Taxpayers.

"Because Congress has this penchant for bailing out companies, big and small. And I think that if the bubble does burst, you’re going to have a lot of members of Congress who don’t want to accept the failure of green energy and make sure that the people that did get these panels, and that they would actually prop up these companies with taxpayer funds,” he said.

He added that many homeowners who installed expensive solar systems because they wanted to “get off the grid” and reap a financial bonanza by selling electricity back to their local utility have been disappointed with their real-world results.

“They’re not receiving as much money as they thought because the peak usage time is in the evening and at night when the sun’s not out, and they’re generating most of their electricity during the day when they’re not using it. They don’t have the battery capacity to sell much of it back to the grid right now, so we’re not seeing the big windfall coming to homeowners selling their power back to the grid.”

Other homeowners who signed long-term leases for a rooftop solar array, which can cost between $15,000 and $50,000, are finding that the added monthly cost makes it harder to sell their homes, Williams added.

"No rooftop solar customer actually leaves (the grid)," said Kevin Geraghty, NV Energy's vice president of energy supply, pointing out that solar customers rely on the grid during the times when the sun is not shining.

Electric utilities use “net metering” to allow customers with solar panels to sell their excess electricity back to the grid.

But the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) points out that “since net-metered customers are both buying and selling electricity, they are relying on the grid more than customers without rooftop solar or other DG [distributed generation] systems.”

But “they also avoid paying for all of the fixed costs of the grid that delivers power when they need it,” EEI noted, creating higher electricity costs for other customers.

The institute recommends that net-metering rates be updated to ensure that “everyone who uses the electric grid helps pay to maintain it and to keep it operating reliably at all times.” But if such policies are adopted, the cost of solar power would most certainly increase.

“We’re not against solar per se. If people want to put a solar array on top of their house, more power to them. But we want people to know exactly how much it’s costing the homeowner, the taxpayers, and the truth behind the amount of taxpayer subsidies that this industry is receiving,” Williams told

“Would the solar industry be viable without government subsidies?” asked him.

“That’s the $39 billion question. We need to see that,” Williams replied. “I hope it is. I hope that we can get to a point where solar power isn’t subsidized and it survives, because we really need an all-of-the-above approach when it comes to energy. But we can’t prop up an industry just because we think it’s cool and we like it.”

The U.S. is not the only country that is phasing-out solar power subsidies.

After heavily promoting solar power, the Spanish government cut subsidies to its solar companies last year, leaving them 22 billion euros in debt.

One of those companies – Abengoa SA, which is headquartered in Seville – received $2.8 billion from the US government in 2009, making it the single largest recipient of federal stimulus dollars.

In 2013, Abengoa opened the massive $2 billion Solana Generating Station near Gila Bend, Arizona, which was designed to produce a million megawatt hours of electricity each year.

However, two years later, Solana “is putting out roughly half that,” according to MarketWatch, and financial analysts say Abengoa faces a 76.9% probability of going bankrupt during the next two years.

Last month, UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd also announced plans to cut solar subsidies, which she said would help to reduce UK residents’ electricity bills.

“We can’t have a situation where industry has a blank cheque, and that cheque is paid for by people’s bills,” Rudd said.


HHS Secretary Pitches Clean Power Plan to Kids, With Reference to 'Cooties'

The Obama administration is pitching its Clean Power Plan (anti-coal plan) with a blog posted on the Health and Human Services website

"The only thing your kids should be afraid of catching in the backyard is cooties," says Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

That's one of the reasons why the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan is "good for our children’s health," Burwell blogged last week.

She explained that the rule finalized this month by the Environmental Protection Agency will "leave the planet safer and healthier for our children and our grandchildren" by cutting carbon pollution from coal-fired plants.

Burwell then listed five reasons why the 1,560-page rule will help future generations:

-- Because breathing outdoors shouldn't send kids to the hospital. (A reference to children with asthma.)

-- Because the outdoors should be for running, not runny noses. (She says climate change is lengthening the pollen/allery seasons.)

-- Because they will get enough smoke around campfires. (Burwell links increased frequency of wildfires to climate change.)

-- Because the only thing your kids should be afraid of catching in the backyard is cooties. (She warns that illnesses such as tick-borne Lyme disease will become more frequent "as increased carbon pollution warms our climate.")

-- Because you have enough to worry about without the threat of extreme weather events. ("A warming climate caused by carbon pollution could contribute to severe cold spells and heat waves that threaten the lives of countless children and their families living in poverty," Burwell wrote.)

The blog includes a graphic claiming that the Clean Power Plan will reduce premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90% in 2013 and will “reduce the pollutants” that cause asthma attacks in children by 70% in 2030.

“The Clean Power Plan offers a future with a healthier economy, healthier environments and healthier childhoods,” Burwell wrote. “Together, we can bring our children a world that is a bit greener and a bit healthier.”

But critics, including Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), said the Clean Power Plan will reduce energy reliability, jobs, and economic growth.


House Committee Calls EPA’s Gina McCarthy Testimony ‘False and Misleading’

Committee requests McCarthy correct the record and be ‘truthful’ with American public

Republican members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology wrote to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy and called her testimony at a hearing in July “false and misleading.”

On July 9, McCarthy testified to the House Committee on the transparency of the EPA’s regulatory agenda. Members of the committee asked McCarthy about the “secret science” that goes in to justifying EPA regulations because they want to ensure the data is available to the American people.

Rep. Frank Lucas (R., Okla.) asked McCarthy whether the agency had made data that was used to craft the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule public. While McCarthy said that the information was “available,” the Committee maintains that EPA did not provide any scientific or legal justification for the figures Lucas asked for.

“Your statement that the information and data requested in Mr. Lucas’ question was publicly available in the EPA docket was false and misleading,” the committee wrote. “Based on the Corps’ memorandum, it is apparent that the figures outlined in EPA’s final WOTUS rule were completely arbitrary and not based on any science.”

The letter cites three more examples during questioning at this particular hearing where the Committee deemed McCarthy’s statements either false or misleading.

It was at this same hearing that McCarthy said she did not know the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere, information fundamental to EPA’s regulations.

“Providing false or misleading testimony to Congress is a serious matter,” the committee wrote. “Witnesses who purposely give false or misleading testimony during a congressional hearing may be subject to criminal liability.”

“With that in mind, we write to request that you correct the record and to implore you to be truthful with the American public about matters related to EPA’s regulatory agenda going forward.”

Members who wrote and signed the letter to McCarthy include Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), Rep. Frank Lucas (R., Okla.), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R., Ill.), Rep. Bill Posey (R., Fla.), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R., Okla.), Rep. Randy Weber (R., Texas), Rep. Bill Johnson (R., Ohio), Rep. John Moolenaar (R., Mich.), Rep. Steve Knight (R., Calif.), Rep. Bruce Westerman (R. Ark.), Rep. Gary Palmer (R., Ala.), Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R., Ga.), and Rep. Ralph Lee Abraham (R., La.).

“We will review and respond to the letter,” said Liz Purchia, deputy associate administrator at the EPA.


EPA Administrator: Climate Change Affects ‘Our Ability to Earn a Decent Living’


 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy said on Tuesday that climate change affects “everything and everyone we love,” including our ability to secure a livelihood.

“Climate change is one of the most important issues tahst we face . It is a global challenge, but in many ways it’s also very personal to all of us, because it affects everything and everyone we love,” McCarthy said. “It affects our kids, our communities, even our ability to earn a decent living.”

McCarthy was speaking at the Resources for the Future think tank in Washington, D.C., where she lauded the Clean Power Plan, the new federal rule to regulate carbon emissions from U.S. power plants.

She did not expand on how climate change affects people’s ability to earn a living, but according to the American Action Forum, the Clean Power Plan will mean thousands of people losing their jobs.

According to research done by the policy institute, the regulation would result in the shuttering of 66 coal plants and the loss of 125,800 jobs.

The research also found that coal generation would be reduced by 48 percent.

According to American Coalition of Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), using data from the federal Energy Information Administration, coal resources in the United States represent one-quarter of the world’s total coal supply. The U.S. has more than 260 billion tons of coal reserves and currently uses about 925 million tons of coal a year.

At this rate, the U.S. coal supply would last for 280 years, according to ACCCE.



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


16 August, 2015

We live in an era of unusual climate STABILITY

That's what the article below says in its academic way.  I have been saying it for years

Unstable AMOC during glacial intervals and millennial variability: The role of mean sea ice extent

Florian Sévellec & Alexey V. Fedorov


A striking feature of paleoclimate records is the greater stability of the Holocene epoch relative to the preceding glacial interval, especially apparent in the North Atlantic region. In particular, strong irregular variability with an approximately 1500 yr period, known as the Dansgaard–Oeschger (D–O) events, punctuates the last glaciation, but is absent during the interglacial. Prevailing theories, modeling and data suggest that these events, seen as abrupt warming episodes in Greenland ice cores and sea surface temperature records in the North Atlantic, are linked to reorganizations of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). In this study, using a new low-order ocean model that reproduces a realistic power spectrum of millennial variability, we explore differences in the AMOC stability between glacial and interglacial intervals of the 100 kyr glacial cycle of the Late Pleistocene (1 kyr=1000 yr). Previous modeling studies show that the edge of sea ice in the North Atlantic shifts southward during glacial intervals, moving the region of the North Atlantic Deep Water formation and the AMOC also southward. Here we demonstrate that, by shifting the AMOC with respect to the mean atmospheric precipitation field, such a displacement makes the system unstable, which explains chaotic millennial variability during the glacials and the persistence of stable ocean conditions during the interglacials.

Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 429, 1 November 2015, Pages 60–68

President Obama to visit Alaska's Arctic region in bid to fight climate change

President Obama will become the first sitting commander in chief to visit the Alaskan Arctic, the White House announced Thursday, the latest in a string of stops this summer that have been presidential firsts.

In a trip from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, Obama will visit the state's rapidly melting glaciers and meet with hunters and fishermen whose livelihoods are threatened by global warming as he seeks to draw attention to his fight against climate change.

In a video released Thursday from the vacation home he's staying at here, Obama said he's going to Alaska because it is on the "front lines of one of the greatest challenges we face this century."


The map below dates the melting in Alaskan glaciers. It shows that other Presidents could have visited the state's "rapidly melting  glaciers", like:

George Washington in  1794
John Taylor and James Polk in 1845
Franklin Pierce in 1857
James Buchanan in 1860
Rutherford B Hayes in 1880
Benjamin Harrison in 1892
Theodore Roosevelt in 1907
William Taft in 1912
Harry Truman in 1948

. . . all of them prior to any AGW.

EPA’s Gina McCarthy should be fired for Western waterway mess

By Rick Manning

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy’s career of administrative neglect, malfeasance and outright incompetence has been capped by her Agency unleashing one of the worst environmental disasters of the 21st century. EPA clean-up crews breached a waste storage dam that produced a torrent of heavy metal-laden toxic waste, potentially fouling an entire western river system and impacting the drinking water of tens of millions of people.

While McCarthy didn’t personally bulldoze the dam herself, it is no surprise to those who have followed her Peter Principle-driven career that this would occur on her watch.

During the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan, toxic radioactive clouds headed across the Pacific Ocean toward the United States. Fortunately, the U.S. has an extensive air radiation reporting network in place. Unfortunately, the EPA Inspector General (IG) reported that twenty percent of the Agency’s stationary radiation monitors were out of service at the time they were needed most.

In a report titled, “Weaknesses in EPA’s Management of the Radiation Network System Demand Attention,” the IG worried that the system is “vulnerable” writing, “Because EPA managed RadNet with lower than required priority, parts shortages and insufficient contract oversight contributed to extensive delays in fixing broken monitors. In addition, broken RadNet monitors and relaxed quality controls contributed to the filters not being changed timely. Out-of-service monitors and unchanged filters may reduce the quality and availability of critical data needed to assess radioactive threats to public health and the environment.”

Who was in charge of the RadNet system? You guessed it, Gina McCarthy.

And then there is the Energy Star program that McCarthy oversaw at the EPA. Energy Star is designed to provide consumers with a means of assessing the energy efficiency of various appliances which they purchase. Yet, under McCarthy’s leadership, the program failed in its basic mission by allowing a broad range of products to receive the energy efficiency seal, not just the most efficient.

Here is what the IG wrote in their report, “We found that the design and execution of the Energy Star program ensured neither the integrity of the label nor the achievement of greenhouse gas emission savings.”

Sound familiar? A casual neglect of basic system management effectively defrauded those consumers who counted upon accurate Energy Star ratings in making product choices.

Of course, McCarthy was also the supervisor of John Beale who got 32 months in prison for defrauding the federal government by collecting a paycheck from the EPA while claiming that he was working as a spy for the CIA. Incredibly, Beale, the highest paid employee at the EPA, was a no-show for one stretch that totaled eighteen months. That’s right, eagle-eye Gina did not notice that her highest-paid employee wasn’t around for a year and a half.

To quote the Washington Post, “Indeed, the agency was so lax in its oversight that Beale ostensibly retired in September 2011 — complete with a farewell dinner cruise on the Potomac — only to continue pulling a paycheck for another 19 months.”

Eventually, McCarthy stumbled across the scam and ordered an investigation, but before one gets too excited by her acumen, remember that Beale was her direct report. She had to sign off on his fake expense reports, and the bonuses he received while not showing up to work at all.

But wait, tragically there’s more in McCarthy’s record to show a pattern of failed leadership and, in this case, the consequences were fatal.

On her watch as the head of Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection, accidental drownings continued at Connecticut parks due to the failure of her agency to properly manage staffing of areas under her control. Between 1999 and 2007, 21 people drowned. A local newspaper, after noting that Gina McCarthy was well aware of the lifeguard staffing problem at state parks, wrote, “The summer season is over at Squantz Pond [State Park], but the spotlight must remain on the Department of Environmental Protection’s mismanagement of this park.”

The heartbreaking fact is that McCarthy’s Department’s failure to adjust lifeguard schedules and swimming area availability to meet the staffing in place was spotlighted by the media as being directly responsible for the avoidable deaths.

As if all that weren’t enough, while McCarthy served as Assistant Secretary of Pollution Prevention, Environmental Business and Technology in Massachusetts, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was notified that its vehicle emissions tests were seriously flawed. Cars that should have failed were being passed, and vice versa. Sierra Research, which was hired by Massachusetts to review the testing program, wrote that the false failures rate was “the highest by far ever seen by Sierra.”

What did McCarthy do upon discovering this system that was putting polluting cars back on the road while red flagging ones that should have passed the emissions test? Her Agency had Sierra Research massage the numbers to make them seem better. After checking the testing machines, Sierra Research then discovered that about half didn’t work. Undaunted, McCarthy’s team continued to administer the faulty test anyway.

As the mustard-yellow EPA toxic spill oozes its way southward toward the Colorado River and Las Vegas’ drinking water in Lake Mead, it is important to remember that the same person overseeing the EPA also ignored a broken radiation detection system that could have proved disastrous, failed energy-conscious consumers, left swimming areas without lifeguards leading to multiple deaths, gave bonuses to a high profile non-attending employee and operated a state emissions testing system where about half the testing machines didn’t work.

McCarthy’s long history of managerial failure can no longer be chalked up to bad luck. She has been trusted to run the Environmental Protection Agency, and under her stewardship vital western waterways have been destroyed. If President Obama refuses to hold her accountable, Congress should, by withholding her salary as part of the government funding process.

Given Gina McCarthy’s track record, her current failed management of the EPA is the most predictable disaster in history, and no one can say the Senate wasn’t warned. Americans for Limited Government produced and distributed a report on McCarthy’s record of managerial mess-ups along with evidence of her ideological unsuitability to lead the EPA when she was under consideration for Senate confirmation.

This is one time it truly hurts to have to say, “We told you so.”



A New Climate and Energy Organization

Today, William Happer, Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor emeritus of Physics at Princeton University, announced the formation of a new climate and energy organization - the CO2 Coalition. Happer said that the mission of the Coalition is to shift the debate about climate and energy to one that is science-based instead of one driven by special interests and emotion.

"For too long, science has been misrepresented in discussions about the climate system, the impact of CO2 on it, and the value of fossil fuels to society. Policies that do not accurately reflect scientific facts and distort the scientific process will do more harm than good".

The CO2 Coalition is non-partisan. Its initiatives will be based on two scientific facts. The molecule CO2 is a nutrient, not a pollutant. The increase in levels from 250 parts per million, almost a starvation level for plants, to the current 400 parts per million has resulted in a greening of the planet, more efficient crop and plant growth, and more efficient water use by them. And the additional greenhouse warming of more CO2 will be moderate and beneficial. "

Happer said, "We have no illusions about the difficulty of our challenge. The climate-catastrophe campaign over the last quarter of a century has led a large number of citizens, the media, and elected leaders to believe that emissions of CO2 from the use of fossil fuels have already damaged our climate system and will lead to a climate catastrophe if emissions are not promptly reduced. We intend to show, with scientific facts, that those assertions are wrong. The responsible use of fossil fuels and continued emissions of CO2 will be beneficial for life on earth, and will allow billions of human beings to enjoy the same benefits as citizens of the most developed countries."

The Coalition is led by a distinguished Board of Directors and Advisory Committee - they are listed below. More information about the CO2 Coalition can be found on our website

Via email

Envirofascist Industry: Growth Through Coercion

The Climate Change Business Journal estimates that the envirofascist industry is “worth” $1.5 trillion annually — a fairly impressive revelation at the surface. You can obtain the report yourself for a mere $995 if you feel so inclined.

Fortunately for us, the Insurance Journal already did the dirty work and reports, “The San Diego, Calif.-based publication includes within [the climate change] industry nine segments and 38 sub-segments. This encompasses sectors like renewables, green building and hybrid vehicles. That also includes the climate change consulting market, which a recent report by the journal estimates at $1.9 billion worldwide and $890 million in the U.S.

Included in this sub-segment, which the report shows is one of the fastest growing areas of the climate change industry, are environmental consultants and engineers, risk managers, assurance, as well as legal and other professional services.” In other words, as Power Line’s John Hinderaker points out, “What is striking about the global warming industry is that its growth is driven more or less entirely by ‘policymaking,’ i.e., government mandates and other policies.

This is why ‘green’ businesses contribute so lavishly to the political campaigns of politicians who drink the global warming Kool-aid.” From Solyndra to the Chevy Volt, the green industry is heavily supported through government (read: taxpayer) subsidies because profit is essentially nonexistent. In other words, that’s the antithesis of a free market.

Hinderaker adds, “A $1.5 trillion industry that can survive only by relying on the coercive powers of government will inevitably be a major force for statism.”




"Despite an explosion in population greater than Malthus could have ever imagined, global living standards are higher than ever"

We live in an age of all-pervasive cultural pessimism. In one sense, this is understandable. The 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment, produced an explosion of scientific discovery as men’s minds escaped from the shackles of subservience to authority, both political and ecclesiastical. The 19th century was the great age of optimism, as technological development exploited the achievements of science, bringing inventions like the locomotive, the electric light and the telephone.

That optimism dissipated in the 20th century, when two disastrous world wars exposed the dark side of mankind. Far from recovering a sense of hopefulness during the relative peace of the 21st century, gloominess has become the default position of the intellectual classes in the Western world. As Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, “Laudato Si’,” puts it: “We may be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth.”

Ronald Bailey begs to differ. As his book demonstrates, a careful examination of the evidence shows that, at least in material terms (which is not unimportant, particularly for the world’s poor), life is getting better. The overriding reason for this, according to Mr. Bailey, is continuing technological progress, facilitated—and this is crucial—by the global triumph of market capitalism.

Among the scares examined by Mr. Bailey in “The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-First Century” are overpopulation, the exhaustion of natural resources (particularly oil), the perils of biotechnology and genetic modification, and global warming.

Mr. Bailey has little difficulty demonstrating that, despite an explosion in world population greater than Thomas Malthus could possibly have envisaged in the 18th century, global living standards are higher than ever. “Food,” he writes, citing statistics from the World Bank and other organizations, “is more abundant today than ever before in history.” In the past 50 years alone, global food production has more than tripled.

It is also more than likely, in the opinion of most demographers, that world population will peak in the relatively near future and then start to decline. Mr. Bailey attributes this to the related phenomena of growing personal wealth in the developing world and the advance of education, particularly for girls, in those countries. He underplays, I suspect, another factor: Perhaps the most striking aspect of global development is the dramatic migration of population from the country to the city. Of course, this population movement is excellent news for wildlife and biodiversity.

It is even easier for him to show that a fear of the world running out of natural resources, popularized by scaremongers like Stanford demographer Paul Ehrlich, is wholly without foundation, as an elementary understanding of markets clearly shows. No doubt the age of oil will one day come to an end. But as my old friend Saudi Arabia’s Sheikh Yamaniused to point out, the Stone Age did not come to an end because we ran out of stone.

As for the alleged perils of biotechnology and genetic modification (which is simply an improved form of the age-old practice of the selective breeding of plants), if there was any substance to the fears of Frankenfoods, these practices would have stopped decades ago. What the green revolution has done is feed the world and reduce poverty on an unparalleled scale.

I part company to some extent with Mr. Bailey on global warming, where he claims that “the balance of scientific evidence suggests that man-made climate change could become a significant problem by the end of this century.” This is highly unlikely. The so-called greenhouse effect is certainly a scientific fact, but all the evidence suggests that its magnitude is modest, its progress is slow and we can readily adapt to it.

The estimated rise in mean global temperature since around 1880 is 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet the extent to which humans are responsible for this change is outweighed by the climate system’s own variability. Nations like Singapore, whose climate is 22.5 degrees hotter than the global average, suggest that urban planning can continue to outpace nature, as former global-warming alarmist James Lovelock rightly noted in his recent book, “A Rough Ride to the Future.”

And, as Mr. Bailey points out, the overriding case against the abandonment of fossil fuels is that any benefit that might occur would only help generations yet unborn at the expense of impoverishing those alive today, particularly those in the developing world. Which is why the world will not abandon fossil fuels.

If there is a connecting thread among all these irrational prophecies, and the profoundly harmful policies that the doomsters recommend, it is the precautionary principle, which this book rightly castigates. Based on a confusion between the sensible precept “be careful” and the nonsensical proposition that you can’t be too careful, it insists on taking the worst-case scenario as the outcome that should dictate policy. On that basis, one would never get in a car. And the massive technological advances that we have seen since the Industrial Revolution, and the reduction in global poverty that has followed, would never have occurred.

Another factor is the quasi-religious appeal of these prophecies, which may help to explain the papal encyclical to which I referred at the start. Even more recently, the Church of England at its latest synod called for all vicars to be trained in “eco-theology” as well as the Bible. It also called for churchgoers to do without lunch on the first day of each month, as a fast against climate change. Perhaps this should not be mocked: It might help combat obesity, which is probably more damaging than climate change.
“The End of Doom” is not quite in the same class as Matt Ridley’s classic, “The Rational Optimist,” but it is a good book and deserves to be widely read.



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, 2015

The economics of mitigating climate change: What can we know?

The academic journal article below by Richard A. Rosena and  Edeltraud Guentherb is amusing.  It says that we have insufficient knowledge to predict future economic impacts of climate change but they still end up saying "mitigation policies must be forcefully implemented anyway".  They had to say that in order to get their article published


The long-term economics of mitigating climate change over the long run has played a high profile role in the most important analyses of climate change in the last decade, namely the Stern Report and the IPCC's Fourth Assessment. However, the various kinds of uncertainties that affect these economic results raise serious questions about whether or not the net costs and benefits of mitigating climate change over periods as long as 50 to 100 years can be known to such a level of accuracy that they should be reported to policymakers and the public. This paper provides a detailed analysis of the derivation of these estimates of the long-term economic costs and benefits of mitigation. It particularly focuses on the role of technological change, especially for energy efficiency technologies, in making the net economic results of mitigating climate change unknowable over the long run.

Because of these serious technical problems, policymakers should not base climate change mitigation policy on the estimated net economic impacts computed by integrated assessment models. Rather, mitigation policies must be forcefully implemented anyway given the actual physical climate change crisis, in spite of the many uncertainties involved in trying to predict the net economics of doing so.


EPA chemical spill was deliberate

Letter to Editor PREDICTED COLORADO EPA SPILL One Week Before Catastrophe=> So EPA Could Secure Control of Area

Last Wednesday, a small EPA-supervised work crew inspecting the Gold King mine accidentally knocked a hole in a waste pit, releasing at least three million gallons of acidic liquid laden with toxic heavy metals. (ABC)

This letter to editor, posted below, was published in The Silverton Standard and The Miner local newspaper, authored by a retired geologist, one week before EPA mine spill. The letter detailed verbatim, how EPA officials would foul up the Animas River on purpose in order to secure superfund money. If the Gold King mine was declared a superfund site it would essentially kill future development for the mining industry in the area. The Obama EPA is vehemently opposed to mining and development.

The EPA pushed for nearly 25 years, to apply its Superfund program to the Gold King mine. If a leak occurred the EPA would then receive superfund status. That is exactly what happened.

The EPA today admitted they misjudged the pressure in the gold mine before the spill – just as this editorial predicted.

The letter was included in their print edition on July 30, 2015. The spill occurred one week later.


Poor countries need coal power

Last week Oxfam released a report, “Powering up against poverty: why renewable energy is the future”, which argued that advances in renewable energy mean there is “no trade-off between improving lives and tackling climate change".

Comforting as this message is, it is also fundamentally inaccurate. Given existing technologies, expanding access to electricity almost always increases CO2 emissions. There are real trade-offs between addressing poverty and climate change.

The report’s primary purpose is to debunk claims that “coal is good for humanity”. Poor communities are generally the most vulnerable to climate impacts, so Oxfam has good reason to oppose disingenuous efforts to link coal with poverty reduction.

However, since western NGOs, governments and banks have enormous influence over what projects are funded in the developing world, misleading analysis can be disempowering.

Ideally, a development NGO should provide evidence-based analysis that assists affected communities to make their own decisions.

Is solar power best?

If a rural household or community living far from a central grid wants a very modest supply of electricity, then solar micro-grids are now the cheapest option.

However, low-cost solar systems are only sufficient to power a few lamps or small devices for a few hours a day. And while an electric lamp is better than nothing, if given the chance most people would also use electricity for refrigeration, cooking, washing and computing. Reliable power also makes a variety of businesses and light industries possible.

The lure of more reliable, higher-capacity supply means communities almost always opt for a centralised grid connection as soon as it becomes affordable (in some cases NGO-provided micro-grids have been abandoned). It’s at this level of access – where electricity consumption is typically still only a fraction of what the rich world takes for granted – where addressing energy poverty conflicts with climate goals.

Developing world still looks to fossil fuels

The Center for Global Development recently crunched the data for President Obama’s “Power Africa” initiative, and found that if the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation were allowed to invest in natural gas projects (not just renewables) it could roughly triple the number of people who gained electricity access from a US$10 billion investment. Whereas a renewables-only portfolio could supply 30 million people, natural gas could reach 90 million and generate around ten times as much electricity.

Oxfam emphasises the rapid growth of renewable energy in developing countries. This is partly because, since 2013, the World Bank and other funders have stopped supporting developing-world coal projects.

While there may be plausable justifications for these policies, honesty requires that we call them what they are: forms of “carbon conditionality” through which western priorities are imposed on the global poor.

Developing states commonly reject this conditionality. For example, one Indian official has confirmed New Delhi’s hope that the new Chinese-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will support coal projects.

India is seeking, in the name of development and poverty reduction, to double domestic coal production in the next five years and to rapidly expand coal-fired generation.

India’s plans illustrate the catch-22 facing the developing world. Climate change threatens impoverished people, but escaping poverty is near impossible without fossil fuels.


TransCanada quietly plots response as Keystone XL rejection seems imminent

The Canadian company involved in the controversy-plagued Keystone XL project has begun planning its response as indications mount the proposed oil pipeline will be rejected by U.S. President Barack Obama.

In its public statements, TransCanada Corp. is expressing hope Obama might still approve the pipeline, which over the course of its years-long delay has become an irritant between the U.S. and Canadian governments.

But people close to the project say the company has become all but convinced a rejection is imminent based on signals the White House is sending publicly and privately — and it's now considering the next move.

One possible response is a challenge under the North American Free Trade Agreement to recoup damages from the U.S. government. Another is immediately re-filing a permit application with the U.S. State Department before the 2016 presidential election..

A source involved in the project said the company is consulting lawyers on the mechanics of a NAFTA challenge, and weighing the legal and political implications.

He said the main suspense now is how Obama will make his big announcement — quietly, in a mid-summer Friday afternoon statement, or boldly from a platform like his upcoming Aug. 31 trip to a climate-change conference in Alaska.

"There's a broad acceptance that the decision's been made," he said, adding that different White House employees had suggested a rejection's coming.

"The rumour is that the decision to deny has been made, and they're just waiting for the right time and venue."

He said the company would not likely reveal its next move on the day of the Obama announcement: "I think the most likely scenario is we'll let it cool for a while. And then we'd have this more vigorous discussion."

One aspect of that internal discussion is the political calculus — and whether fanning the flames during the 2016 U.S. election campaign would help the project, or harm it.

Keystone could easily become a 2016 issue, with Republicans already accusing Democratic stalling of hurting the economy, energy security, and relations with next-door neighbour Canada. Meanwhile, Democrats have been pushing their party front-runner Hillary Clinton to state her position on the $8-billion (US) project.

One expert said he'd advise the company to hold off, and hope a more pipeline-friendly administration takes office in 2017. The U.S. government has a 13-0 record in NAFTA cases. A suit would likely fail, cost the company a few million dollars, and possibly antagonize the U.S. government, said David Gantz, who was been a panelist on NAFTA cases and who teaches trade law at the University of Arizona.

"I think it's a fairly long shot, it's an expensive way to do a long shot, and it doesn't seem to me to be something they're very likely to do," said Gantz.

"They can talk about doing it but my guess is once they have consulted with counsel... they will decide it's — if not a long shot, then well under a 50-50 chance."

He said the company could try filing under NAFTA's articles 1102, 1105 or 1110 — which deal with discrimination, unfair or arbitrary treatment and expropriation.

But another expert said the company might as well try. She said a recent decision against the Canadian government in the Bilcon case involving a Nova Scotia quarry could give TransCanada some hope.

"Why not? And see where it goes," said Debra Steger, who was the first director of the World Trade Organization's appellate body, and now teaches law at the University of Ottawa.


Carly Fiorina hits the ‘sweet spot’ on climate change

by Judith Curry

Carly Fiorina shows how to address the left on climate change

The National Review has an interesting article on Republican Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s views on climate change. Excerpts:

In the political battles over climate change, there are three distinct and relevant questions:

First, does mankind have a material effect on the Earth’s climate?
Second, if mankind does impact the climate, is that impact harmful?

And third, if we assume that mankind is harming the environment, will any given American policy or collection of policies have a meaningful beneficial impact?

So far, the conservative movement has mainly pushed back on the “scientific consensus” related to the first question — the extent of human influence over the Earth’s climate. To see a textbook example, watch Ted Cruz’s recent interview with Katie Couric earlier this year, when he confronted her with the miserable recent history of environmentalist predictions.  (JC note:  Ted Cruz’s climate change statement was discussed on this previous post).

But is there a path to consensus in the third key political question, whether climate-change regulations will have any meaningful impact on the climate? Climate-change activists constantly say that “we have to start somewhere.” But what if in fact we’re starting nowhere? What if we’re asking Americans to sacrifice to no purpose? What if America can’t stop climate change?

That’s Carly Fiorina’s argument, and it may represent the best, and most easily defensible, path forward to consensus. Here she is, like Ted Cruz,  making her case to Katie Couric.

JC note: Link to the original article to listen to Fiorina’s interview with Couric. She makes the following points: We need innovation rather than regulation – we need to make coal cleaner. We need to tell people the truth about tradeoffs and the fine print, about how wind power is slaughtering birds. Finds there to be many more serious threats than climate change – we need to keep climate change in perspective with other more serious issues facing us.

The short version of Fiorina’s argument is this: If the scientific consensus is that man-made climate change is real, there is also consensus that America, acting alone, cannot stop it. Indeed, the Chinese are only too happy to watch us constrict our economy as they capture the market in clean coal. California enacts regulations that will make no difference in global climate. The Obama administration enacts regulations that will make no difference in global climate. Yet Americans are asked to pay the price for — to take one example — climate regulations that, by 2030, would only save the world the equivalent of slightly over 13 days of Chinese emissions.

The Left doesn’t seriously dispute the notion that American regulations aren’t going to save the planet, but they justify the demand for American sacrifice by essentially ascribing a mystical power to our national policies — as if our decision to fall on our own sword will so move India and China and the rest of the developing world that they’ll essentially have their own “come to Jesus” movement in defiance of national interest and centuries of national political culture.

“America leads,” they proclaim. “The world laughs,” is the proper response. Nations, as the saying goes, do not have friends, only interests. Our geopolitical competitors will not sacrifice their strategic interests for the sake of combating global warming. Nor will developing nations sacrifice their economies, or their people’s lives, by restraining their own economic growth.

Americans have proven time and again that they’re willing to sacrifice — if convinced that their sacrifice has a purpose, that it accomplishes an objective. There’s certainly room for Cruz’s climate-change skepticism in the national debate, but there just may be more room for Fiorina’s economic, scientific, and geopolitical realism. The Left is asking America to sacrifice for nothing — for no true economic benefit, no true climate benefit, and no true or meaningful “global leadership.” That’s a bad deal even for those who believe in man-made climate change, yet that’s the “deal” the Left demands.

JC reflections

The debate on climate change needs to move to question #3, regarding whether the proposed policies will have any impact on the climate.  Not just America’s contributions to reducing emissions, but the cumulative global INDCs.  The answer is that it will not have any meaningful impact on the climate.  Once this is accepted, then the climate change problem is open to reframing and pushing the ‘restart’ button.

As a political tactic, Carly Fiorina hits the sweet spot.  She doesn’t challenge the scientific consensus, but rather focuses on the fact that if human caused climate change is real, we can’t stop it on the timescale of a few decades.  Her emphasis on innovation rather than regulation is exactly on target; wind and solar just aren’t going to cut it.

Carly Fiorina hit a ‘home run’ in the first Republican debate and is starting to rise in the polls.


Obama's War on Coal Targets Red States

Here’s today’s political quiz question: What do these five states — Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, California and Maine — have in common? Yes, they are blue states ruled by Democrats, but that’s not all. These are the states that use the least amount of coal — 2 percent or less — for electric power.

In fact, almost all the states that are politically liberal and vote unfailingly Democratic are low coal use states. For instance, Washington, New York, Oregon and New Jersey are also in the top 10 states least reliant on coal. Only conservative Idaho is a red state with low coal consumption.

Meanwhile, the heavy coal using states bleed red. West Virginia, Kentucky and Wyoming all get about 90 percent of their electric power from coal. Missouri, Utah, Indiana and North Dakota also get 75 percent of their electricity from coal.

Obama announced last week the toughest environmental regulations ever against coal. This is part of the president’s war on coal that he announced when he was running for president in 2008. He has long admitted these policies, which aim to reduce emissions from coal burning electric power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, will “bankrupt” the coal industry. It’s working. Coal towns are being vaporized across America and coal companies are going out of business.

But the pain from the new Environmental Protection Agency rules won’t be evenly distributed across America. Far from it. The liberal coastal states will feel relatively modest jobs losses because they rely less on manufacturing. On the other hand, coal-producing states, such as West Virginia and Wyoming, will see massive job losses and increases in electric utility costs.

A 2014 study by the Heritage Foundation finds the nationwide costs will be about $100 billion a year eventually, or a reduction in GDP by about one-half a percentage point; additionally, a family of four’s annual income will drop by $1,200. Obama’s policies that have had such a crushing effect on middle-income family finances are about to get a whole lot worse.

Would Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, two of the biggest cheerleaders for the new regulations, be so euphoric if their voters were paying these massive costs for their green agenda? But the East- and West-Coast environmentalists can live with raising costs and unemployment in “flyover country.”

It’s time to label the Obama green policies what they truly are: steep taxes on red state America. By the way, many purple states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia also get hammered by Obama’s climate change agenda.

The de facto tax that Obama wants to impose on American coal is doubly dastardly because its impact will be felt hardest in relatively poorer states. And because Census Bureau data confirms that poor households spend four times more of their income on energy than rich families, the Obama policy will make income inequality much worse.

But of course the upper crust Manhattan liberals, who fund the Sierra Club and Obama and profess to care so much about the poor, can live with that. So much for “environmental justice.”

Maybe all of this pain would arguably be worth it if somehow these policies were going to reduce global carbon emissions and stop global warming as Obama assures us they will. They won’t. New data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and other sources tells the opposite tale. China and India are adding coal plants on a massive scale. At least 1,000 new coal plants are planned worldwide.

According to data from the EIA, for every unit of reduction in U.S. coal power capacity from 2011-2040, China and India alone will add more than 14 units. Even if the U.S. cut coal use to zero over the next 25 years, global emissions from coal will rise sharply. By 2040, China’s coal power capacity alone will be nearly 4 times the current U.S. capacity. So the Obama plan is all pain and no gain. It would be like trying to reduce unwanted pregnancies in the third world by having Americans use more birth control. Stupid.

But back to the Obama assault on red and purple states. Let’s hope the voters get the message that Obama’s green energy policies are directed at their jobs and their paychecks. Most people in blue states and the workers around the rest of the world won’t feel a thing. This is fair?



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, 2015

NM Gov. Martinez: 'We Have People Preparing a Lawsuit' Against EPA

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) says her state may sue the Environmental Protection Agency for causing an environmental disaster that will have repercussions for years to come.

"I'm not taking anything off of the table. Right now, we have people preparing for a lawsuit if that is what we need to do, but nothing is off the table right now," Martinez told Fox News Tuesday morning.

"We cannot have different standards for private industry and for the federal government, and we are going to hold them accountable. The long term damage and the short-term damage is unpredictable, but we know that it's devastating."

Both New Mexico and the Navajo Nation declared a state of emergency, after toxic waste from an abandoned gold mine in Colorado flooded into the Animas and San Juan River valleys, heading toward Lake Powell in Utah, which supplies much of the water for the Southwest.

Television footage showed miles and miles of river water turned yellow from the contamination.

"We are not aware of all of the toxins that in the river," Martinez said on Tuesday. "The EPA has not been commuicating and has not been forthcoming with the State of New Mexico as to the different types of toxins."

According to press reports, the water is full of heavy metals, including lead, arsenic, and cadmium.

In a brief statement on its website, the EPA noted that on August 5, while investigating the Gold King Mine in Colorado, an EPA cleanup team triggered a large release of mine wastewater into Cement Creek.

As workers moved the debris that plugged the mine tunnel, millions of gallons of sludge spilled into a nearby creek, and from there to the other rivers.

"EPA is working closely with responders and local and state officials to monitor water contaminated by the release," the agency said.

"The release’s path flows through three of EPA’s regions -- Region 8 (Colorado/Utah & Southern Ute Tribe); Region 6 (New Mexico), and Region 9 (Navajo Nation). EPA has activated its Emergency Operations System to ensure coordination among its regions, laboratories and national program offices in Washington, D.C. EPA is closely coordinating with officials in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Southern Ute Tribe and Navajo Nation."

But Martinez disputes the EPA's claims of close coordination: "Initially we weren't even told that the toxic spill had ended up in the river."

Martinez said it took the EPA almost 24 hours to even notify New Mexico about the spill. "And it actually didn't even come from the EPA. The Ute -- the Southern Ute Indians are the ones who actually informed us that this toxic spill had taken place into the river."

Martinez noted that the heavy metals will settle in the water, and she said the problem could be exacerbated months from now by melting snow, which could stir things up again.

"They told us that there were 1 million gallons of toxic waste that was flowing into the river initially. And then it turned inton 3 million gallons. And EPA has admitted that they are responsible for this. And I'm hoping they will hold themselves to the same standards that they would hold any other industry or business."

In the meantime, the governor said she has instructed all ranchers to keep their cattle away from the river. People in the area have been told to stay away from the yellow waters and avoid drinking from wells and systems that may have been contaminated.

Environmental activist groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and EarthJustice, had nothing to say on their websites about the river contamination out West, although those groups are quick to blast the coal and energy industries and other (non-EPA) polluters.


Samuelson: Curbing global warming: mission impossible?

Until it’s discredited by falling temperatures, global warming is a reality. We can still debate how much has occurred and the share attributable to human activity, but the more relevant question is what — if anything — can be done about it. President Obama’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from electric power plants, accounting for roughly one-third of U.S. greenhouse emissions, shows the practical limits in a democratic society.

Let’s assume, for simplicity’s sake, the plan works perfectly. It achieves its goal of reducing CO2 emissions from power plants in 2030 by 32 percent from a base year of 2005. Other problems fade. Court challenges to the regulations are rejected. The expansion of solar and wind generation does not lead to less-reliable electricity supplies. Greater efficiencies and cheap natural gas avoid sizable consumer rate increases.

Even under these favorable assumptions, Obama’s plan won’t immediately depress global temperatures, which — if the logic of climate change holds — will be higher in 2030 than today.

A refresher course in global warming explains why. What counts are the amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It’s these concentrations that are said to trap heat and raise temperatures. The concentrations have gone from roughly 280 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in preindustrial times, around 1800, to about 315 ppm in 1960 to 400 ppm now. As long as concentrations increase, so does the potential for more warming.

Obama’s plan doesn’t reduce these concentrations. It just cuts — but does not eliminate — the annual emissions into the atmosphere. These emissions raise concentration levels, which are now growing by about 2 ppm per year, says Princeton climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer.

True, Obama’s plan might slow this a tad. However, the larger point is that ongoing power plant emissions, though diminished, would continue to boost concentration levels.

Here’s the dilemma. Eliminating fossil fuel emissions from coal, oil and natural gas would presumably stabilize most human impact on global warming. But if done now, it would also destroy modern economies, because fossil fuels provide four-fifths of the world’s primary energy. There’s no quick way of finding substitutes for all the fossil fuels. A single-minded focus on global warming would plunge the world into depression.

Politicians straddle the dilemma by talking tough on global warming while giving priority to the economy. Obama’s approach seems in this spirit. His rhetoric last week was stark.

“No challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than a changing climate,” he said.

Compared with this threat, his plan is modest. Indeed, it builds on existing trends. Electric utilities have already cut CO2 emissions by about 15 percent since 2005 by switching from coal to cheap natural gas, which has about half of coal’s emissions.

We need more candor on global warming. Obama’s plan is a big deal for electric utilities and, if it goes awry, potentially for millions of households. The plan is complicated. States receive emissions goals and can meet the goals through various policies (energy efficiencies, a cap-and-trade program, a carbon tax, more natural gas generation, preferences for wind and solar). Love it or hate it, the plan still contributes to higher CO2 concentrations. It may be worth doing; we may learn valuable lessons. But it’s no panacea.

Similar considerations apply globally. In 2010, major countries adopted a goal of limiting the worldwide temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from the preindustrial period. The International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris recently estimated that meeting this goal would, in effect, require all fossil fuel emissions to be eliminated by 2040.

Needless to say, this isn’t going to happen. As the IEA has noted, countries’ policies “fall short of the action necessary to meet the 2 degrees Celsius climate goal.”

There is a “mission impossible” quality to curbing global warming, though few say so openly. The dependence of economic growth on fossil fuels seems too strong to overcome.

There are two hopes for doing so. One is that the warming predicted by some computer models is overstated; there is much uncertainty.

The second hope is that technological breakthroughs liberate economic growth from fossil fuels. It’s easy to list desirable advances: better batteries and electricity storage (this would favor more wind and solar power); safer and cheaper nuclear power; and cost-effective “carbon capture” (this would store power plants’ emissions underground).

The Internet shows that rapid technological revolutions are possible. On the other hand, these energy technologies have been explored for decades — and still aren’t available.


EPA's global warming rule will kill Wisconsin jobs

The federal Environmental Protection Agency issued its final global warming rule for coal-fired power plants recently. If allowed to go into effect, the rule will kill Wisconsin factory jobs and force families to pay more for their electricity.

There are many reasons why the EPA's rule is bad for Wisconsin and our country, but for the sake of brevity, I have boiled the list down to the top five reasons it will be a self-inflicted wound on our economy and global competitiveness.

1. The rule will be extremely costly. Previous estimates from state utility regulators predicted total costs ranging from $3.4 billion to $13.4 billion for Wisconsin power plants. The final rule actually requires stricter emission targets for Wisconsin, thus driving energy prices higher. These higher costs will be paid by every family and business in Wisconsin that uses electricity.

2. The rule will kill middle-class jobs. Manufacturers cannot compete in domestic or global markets unless they have access to affordable and reliable energy. The EPA rule will raise electricity prices, driving factory jobs overseas to countries such as China. Wisconsin will be hit especially hard because manufacturing is our No. 1 business sector. The unfortunate reality is that thousands of middle-class factory workers will pay the price for these regulations with their jobs.

3. The rule is ineffective. Regardless of what you think about the science of global warming, it's clear the EPA rule will not have a meaningful impact on global temperature. An analysis of the prior version of the rule, using the EPA's own data and assumptions, predicted it would reduce the average global temperature by a minuscule 0.016 degrees Fahrenheit. It also would reduce sea levels by 0.01 inches, or about the thickness of three sheets of paper. Despite its oppressive economic cost, the rule will produce negligible climate benefits — it's all pain and no gain.

4. The rule sets poor energy policy. The United States is blessed with abundant energy, yet the EPA rule sets us on the path to energy scarcity — and the higher costs that accompany it. Our country has the largest coal reserves in the world — more than 250 years of supply — but the EPA rule seeks to cut ourselves off from this abundant, affordable and domestic source of energy. Instead of using coal to our strategic energy advantage against competitors such as China, President Barack Obama and his EPA are making coal economically untenable.

5.The rule is illegal. The EPA goes far beyond the authority granted by Congress to regulate power plants, and instead seeks to regulate activity "outside the fence" of these facilities. For example, the rule seeks to impose economywide energy efficiency and renewable energy mandates that EPA has no authority to impose. The new rule also contemplates state and regional cap-and-trade emission schemes — an idea specifically rejected by Congress on a bipartisan basis. How could the EPA possibly have authority that Congress deliberately opted against giving it?

Of course we all want to breathe clean air, but we don't need to destroy our economy with misguided global warming rules to get there. In reality, power plant emissions that cause smog and soot have been reduced by 75% and 82% respectively since 1980.

Quite simply, the EPA's new global warming rule is an economic disaster waiting to happen. The unelected Washington D.C. bureaucrats are steering our economy on a collision course with unaffordable energy and lost jobs. Our only hope is for federal courts to steer us back on track by invalidating this costly rule.


Claims of Global Warming Health Threat Receive Pushback

Many health care experts disagree with claims made in a report in the Lancet supporting President Barack Obama’s assertion climate change poses a public health threat through increased risk of food insecurity and air pollution, among many other things.

The article argues air pollution can cause allergies and asthma; drought could lead to food shortages; and degraded ecosystems could increase human contact with pests carrying vector-borne diseases.

“Here is a better message for doctors to give their patients: The moderate warming that is now being forecast for the foreseeable future will actually be good for health,” said John Goodman, president of the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research.

“It will produce larger harvests and more abundant food at lower prices,” Goodman said. “It will also reduce the number of deaths from extreme cold.”

Politics ‘in the Exam Room’

Obama and officials in his administration have attempted a number of times in recent months to link global warming and public health problems. They argue doctors should warn their patients global warming could make their health worse, says Beth Haynes, M.D., executive director of the Benjamin Rush Institute.

“The call to inject global warming propaganda into medical practice and training is indicative of the problems created when government is overly involved in medicine,” said Haynes. “Politics do not belong in the exam room or on the official curriculum for medical training.”

“Obama wants your doctor to dose you with EPA’s brand of alarmist propaganda,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior fellow Marlo Lewis Jr. “For example, EPA’s recent ‘Benefits of Global Action’ report claims that unchecked global warming will kill 57,000 Americans in 2100 [due to] increasing ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution.

To get that scary number, EPA models the impact of an implausible 9º F warming on today’s ozone-precursor and PM2.5 emissions, even though all significant sources of U.S. air pollution will likely have been eliminated long before 2100.”

Lewis concluded, “Americans want their doctors to practice real medicine, not climate quackery.”


Just When the Science Was Settled...

In a move reminiscent of the tobacco industry invoking science to move its product, Coca-Cola has turned to science to prove that soda is not the cause of obesity — the lack of exercise is.

The New York Times reports, “Health experts say this message is misleading and part of an effort by Coke to deflect criticism about the role sugary drinks have played in the spread of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.”

It’s yet another attempt to use Science as propaganda to advance a cause — just like the government has said “the science is settled” when it comes to the issue of global warming.

But while the government insists human industry is the cause of rising temperatures and government must restructure the economy as a result, keep in mind that government science can’t even decide if skipping breakfast is good or bad.

While the government has said in the past that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, one that would stabilize the body’s metabolism, a recent study found that those who skipped breakfast either lost or maintained their weight.

While the government is questioning its stance on eating bacon first thing in the morning, remember: You can trust them on global warming.


“We Are Now Starting To See A Dramatic Cooling In The Arctic”, Says Former NOAA Meteorologist

Trillions are being spent on the completely wrong scenario, an independent veteran meteorologist implies. Instead of warming, we need to worry about the coming 125-year cool period, which has already begun.

A former National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist has spoken out in a just released 49-minute video that looks at climate change and what lies ahead.

The recent cold winters and expanding polar ice caps are ominous signs of a global cooling that has already begun, maintains David Dilley, now President and Founder of Global Weather Oscillations, Inc. Claims of warming have not been properly founded.

Photo right: David Dilley, Global Weather Oscillations

Dilley has forty-two years of professional experience in the meteorology and climatology and many publications. He was with NOAA for twenty years. Not only is the government wrong with its claims of a coming warming, Dilley accuses the federal government of fiddling with global temperature data with the aim of producing a false picture of what is going on.

In his must-see video presentation dubbed “Is Climate Change Dangerous?“, he examines the many drivers and factors behind climate change and why we need to focus on the real problem of a coming cooling.

Here are the points he makes in the video:

1. The 18+ years temperature pause is real. (4.09)
2. Natural cycles are behind the current pause.
3. Ice cores show CO2 lags temperature. (5.00)
4. 7000 years ago there was 50% less Arctic ice. (8.20)
5. The 1000-year cycle is real. (9.20)
6. Planet has been cooling over past 10,000 years. (9.34)
7. Natural cycles are driving our climate. (10.04)
8. Shows cooling from 2023 to 2150.
9. Current warming is perfectly natural.
10. Milankovitch cycles driving large-scale cycles. (13.00)
11. Gravitational forces can bulge Earth’s core by 1.4 km (15.35)
12. Gravitational forces impact global temperature (17.20)
13. Warming and cooling both begin at the poles (17.48)
14. Arctic warming/melt was caused by warm ocean pulses (19.50)
15. “Now starting to see a dramatic cooling in the Arctic“. (22.50)
16. “Arctic is cooling rapidly now. Rapidly!” (24.06)
17. Both poles are cooling rapidly now. (25.05(
18. Poles don’t show signs of warming. (26.30)
19. Western drought and Eastern cold due to 26-year cycle. (27.55)
20. Polar vortices due to Arctic/global cooling. (29.25)
21. Lunar cycles correlated with warming/cooling cycles. (31.30)
22. Rapid global cooling by 2019. (32.00)
23. “Temperature fiddling” are “more political than anything”. (32.56)
24. “Could be the biggest scientific scandal ever”. (33.20)
25. IPCC using “estimated temperatures”. (34.00)
26. How the government manipulated, rewrote data. (36.00)
27. “This is temperature fiddling.” Not the truth. (36.45)
28. NASA, NOAA’s “politically driven press releases”. (37.00)
29. Met Office calls NOAA’s 2014 claim untrue. (38.00)
30. Major data fiddling, cheating by NOAA. (39.50)
31. “The 97% consensus is bogus”. (41.00)
32. John Cook cooked the consensus data. (41.30)
33. 85% meteorologists say climate change is natural. (42.20)
34. Global cooling is the real danger. (43.20)
35. Volcanoes and cooling often correlated. (44.00)
36. Crop failures from cooling “very likely”. (45.45)
37. “Extremely cold” from 2025 to 2050. (46.36)
38. Global cooling next 125 years. (47.00)
39. “The cooling is coming”.



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, 2015

Another attack on refrigeration and airconditioning

Banning CFCs because of their alleged effect on the Ozone hole meant that other more difficult-to-use chemicals had to be used in refrigeration, bumping up costs.  One of the alternatives was HFCs.  Now the nutters want that banned too.  There are of course still other approved alternatives -- such as propane -- but again converting to them will bump up the costs of refrigeration and air conditioning.  And here's a thing:  The remaining approved alternatives are derivatives of fossil fuels!  Horror!  How long before they are banned too?

The proposal below is also sneaky.  They want to ban HFCs under the Montreal protocol, even though it does NOT affect the ozone layer.  They want to do that because it is in theory a greenhouse gas.  But they are not game to expose it to climate change negotiations

The article below is written by an Australian refrigeration guy.  He is no doubt looking forward to the extra work he would get from a requirement for new refrigeration gases

The Montreal Protocol is famous for being perhaps the most successful environmental treaty anywhere.  It has assisted countries in phasing out CFCs and other ozone depleting substances (which are also very strong greenhouse gases).  With current controls on track, the ozone hole is closing and will be largely repaired by the 2040s.

The Montreal Protocol and action to control CFCs has spectacularly successful in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the CSIRO, emissions in Australia were reduced from the equivalent of more than 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year in the early 1990s to less than 10 million tonnes today.

Given its positive experience in managing down CFCs and HCFCs (similar gases) five countries have proposed that the Montreal Protocol manage the phase down of HFCs.  HFCs are potent greenhouse gases and primarily used as replacements for ozone depleting substances.  The first of these draft amendments was forwarded six years ago.  

The proposals discuss a phase down that could reduce emissions by a further 85%.

There is broad support for this phase down: the US, EU, the Pacific countries, China, India, every African country, other developed countries and more support it.  Australia has pledged its commitment as well.

While often seen as a side issue, HFCs have become of significant interest to major countries.  Efforts to control HFCs have been part of several G8 communiqués and bilateral meetings between President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry and their international counterparts.  Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop proclaimed Australia’s support at the UN climate summit last year.

Why are leaders focused on this now? Two reasons: firstly, emissions of HFCs can be managed cost effectively and comparatively quickly and easily through a global phase down. It is also hoped that an agreement could be struck at the major negotiations in early November in Dubai.  Agreement on this issue would provide a useful fillip to the Paris climate talks only a few weeks later.

Industry and environmental NGOs also think a phasedown is good policy as it provides both guaranteed environmental protection and economic certainty, and past experiences with CFCs and HCFCs.

While it is surprising to some at first blush that HFCs are being considered in the Montreal Protocol – after all they are not ozone depleters – the subject is both too technical and quirky for consideration in the climate negotiations.  The practicality of addressing this issue in the Montreal Protocol is simply overwhelming.

The Montreal Protocol has not been able to commence negotiations on a how a phase down would work however.  There are a few countries – mostly from the Middle East – who are yet to be convinced that negotiating a phase down is a good idea.

The rationale for their reluctance is unclear, but likely includes concern that there may not be alternatives that meet the requirements for countries with extremely high temperatures, concern about whether adequate funding will be available, and the precedent that making commitments to protect the climate would set.

The last meeting of the Montreal Protocol’s Open Ended Working Group ended – well adjourned – very late on a Friday evening 2 weeks ago without agreement to start negotiations on an HFC phase down.

After six years, high powered political engagement and extremely long negotiating hours the sense of frustration from most is palpable.

So what happens now?  In scenes reminiscent of the UNFCCC and COP 6 bis meeting, the Open Ended Working Group will again be gaveled into session for a last gasp effort to reach agreement so that negotiations can actually start in November.

Fingers crossed that further urgent discussions will let the real negotiations finally commence and allow a comparatively easy win for the climate.


The sea otters and the case for conservative optimism


I was in Alaska last week with several hundred clever and patriotic National Review readers. It's a wonderful place, Alaska. We saw whales and bears and bald eagles and sea otters; and I couldn't help noticing that, despite the mandatory pessimism of the environmental movement, all these species are becoming more numerous.

Who'd have thought it? Alaska is the state with the lowest rate of personal taxation in the Union, a Republican redoubt, and a place synonymous with Big Oil. Yet it turns out to be a remarkably good steward of rare animals.

Sea otters, in particular, had been hunted almost to extinction. It was their fur - "soft gold" - that had pulled Russian adventurers across the vastness of Siberia in the first place. A single pelt could fetch the equivalent of two years' wages in the entrepôts of northern China. A century ago, there were barely a thousand sea otters left. Now there are hundreds of thousands, cutely holding hands as they lie face-up in the water so as not to drift apart in their sleep.

Capitalism turns out to be as good for the natural world as for people. Karl Marx taught that nature was a resource to be exploited, a doctrine which found brutal realization in the smokestack industries of the U.S.S.R. But private ownership incentivizes us to treat flora and fauna as renewable resources.

It's not that free markets make us kinder; but they make us richer, which means we can afford to do things that our ancestors couldn't, such as leaving whales alone. The global recovery in whale numbers is one of the untold miracles of recent years.

Species which were recently endangered are becoming so abundant that they are having an impact on fish stocks. Much the same applies to bears. Where our poorer ancestors shot them with rifles, we can afford to shoot them with cameras.

It's true across the developed world. Where I live in the southern counties of England, red kites occupy the ecological niche that bald eagles do in Alaska. I had never seen one in the wild until my thirties. Now, like the Alaskan eagles, they are almost as common as pigeons. Salmon have returned to the Thames and, extraordinarily, otters have followed the salmon.

Conservatives, in general, are prepared to believe good news on the environmental front. We recall the ludicrous predictions of overpopulation and energy shortages from the 1970s. We see that technology - above all, the ability to get more food out of a fixed quantity of soil - is freeing up more space as farmland is "rewilded." We allow ourselves the occasional chuckle at the doom and gloom of the greenies.


Obama’s Clean Power Plan: Solar Companies Win, Taxpayer’s Lose

The solar industry is jubilant over President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, released in its final form on Monday, August 3. The same day, however, some other news reminded the public of what happens when government policy mandates and incentivizes a favored energy source: Taxpayer dollars are gobbled up and investors lose out.

“The fundamental objective of the Clean Power Plan,” according to Solar Industry Magazine, “is the phasing out of coal-fired power plants in favor of low- or zero-emission sources…” It does this through three “building blocks,” one of which is: “increase electricity generation from non-emitting renewable sources, such as solar and wind.”

The International Business Times (IBT) reports: “The proposed regulations to combat climate change will likely spur an exponential amount of additional solar deployment.”

In a post titled: “How Obama’s Clean Power Plan will fuel the solar industry’s rapid growth,” contributor Lyndsey Gilpin, quotes Shayle Kann, senior vice president of GTM Research: “It could be a major catalyst for solar nationwide.” Gilpin points out: “Apart from the Solar Investment Tax Credit, the federal tax credit for solar, the Clean Power Plan is the first national policy for renewable energy.”

While the excitement from solar proponents is palpable, it is surprising how shameless they are about sucking the government teat while bemoaning the low price of natural gas—which Solar Industry Magazine calls “a fly in the ointment” and “inconvenient.” It blames “new technologies for oil and gas extraction” (no wonder they keep trying to kill hydraulic fracturing). Gilpin states: “in all its 1,560 pages, the Clean Power Plan doesn’t directly address the actual deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. It does, however, give states and utilities an incentive to create and enhance mechanisms that will increase deployment of solar.” (Italics added)

The IBT coverage acknowledges that subsidies and regulation are driving the “uptick” in solar deployment. It states: “exactly how much of an increase will be determined by subsidies …while new regulations encourage families and business to invest in solar power.” It continues: “Proponents for the plan and the move toward solar said the government is working hard to create incentives to help families strapped for cash make the switch to renewable energy, such as solar panels.” Though, as Gilpin points out: “The Clean Power Plan is geared toward centralized utility scale solar, meaning electricity sold to wholesale utility buyers, not end customers.”

One such “utility scale solar” company is Abengoa. The Spanish solar company was the single largest recipient of taxpayer funding through Obama’s 2009 Stimulus Bill—$2.8 billion—but has been beset with corruption and allegations that it routinely violates U.S. immigration, environmental, and workplace safety laws. The company is currently under investigation by U.S. Customs and Immigration Service and the Department of Labor. Abengoa creates spinoffs that enable it to move funds from one to the other, apparently hiding money and falsifying records.

In November 2014, Abengoa bonds were “hammered on accounting concerns,” Reuters reported. It added: “The company has so many different buckets of debt and management has cleverly used this to report reductions in reported net leverage.”

At the time, ratings firm Fitch posted the following: “Fitch will closely monitor management’s response to the current market turmoil and the company’s access to capital markets in the coming days for any further deterioration in the credit profile.”

In another November account, Reuters explains: “Abengoa, an engineering company that expanded massively into renewables, has been struggling with a heavy debt burden since a decade-long economic boom in Spain ended abruptly in 2008.” It must have seen Obama’s push for solar as the answer to its problems. It moved into the U.S. with its hand out and high-profile players—such as former Vice President Al Gore and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson—on its team.

I’ve written extensively on Abengoa, as a part of my “Obama’s green-energy, crony-corruption” series, and done a detailed report published by The Daily Caller. I’ve interviewed many former employees and followed its shenanigans. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised when, on August 3—the same day Obama’s Clean Power Plan was touted, headlines announced, once again, that Abengoa shares “plunged.”

Bloomberg reports that the August 3 drop—75.70 percent from its high on September 3, 2014, is because the “company’s plan to shore up capital failed to reassure investors that it can stop burning cash.” Reuters adds: “some analysts are concerned the company is over committing to cash-intensive projects in countries like Brazil and Mexico rather than focusing on cutting debt.”

Abengoa, which went public (NASDAQ) on October 17, 2013, at an opening share price of $12.37, once enjoyed a “top pick” and “safest” moniker, hit a high of $28.88 on September 3, 2014 but has now nosedived to $6.50. The law firm Levi & Korinsky—which claims it has “extensive expertise in prosecuting securities litigation involving financial fraud, representing investors throughout the nation in securities lawsuits, and has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for aggrieved shareholders”—is now investigating Abengoa and its Board of Directors for possible violations of federal securities laws.

Now, after the Clean Power Plan was announced, Abengoa is trying revive a project that previously failed to pass permitting in time to qualify for subsidies. With more money available, it likely wants the additional funding the Palen Solar Power Project would provide.

A former human resources director at one of Abengoa’s subsidiaries, who served as my “deep throat” in my earlier reporting, said: “What I came to realize, and it took me a while because I didn’t want to realize it, is that they understood. They knew the law. They didn’t care. I really came to believe that they’re so politically connected that it’s just hubris and arrogance.”

Today, this “top pick” has a 76.9 percent “probability of bankruptcy.” And, it is our tax dollars that won’t be paid back.

So, when you hear the solar power proponents chirping about regulations that encourage investment in solar, incentives to help families, and mechanisms to increase deployment, remember they are taking our tax dollars and giving them to companies like Abengoa that get the funding because of connections. They win, while we lose.


Naomi Klein Admits that ‘Global Warming’ is All About Anti-Capitalist Polemics, And Has Nothing to Do, Really, With Science

Liberal writer Naomi Klein’s magnum opus on the environment, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, is a must-read for conservatives and libertarians.  The mask is off. Klein admits progressive policies on the environment are really about what Marx and Lenin said the communist revolution desired 100 years ago — the overthrow of capitalism. This is not about science, or health, at all.  “Our economic model is at war with the Earth,” writes Klein. “We cannot change the laws of nature. But we can change our economy. Climate change is our best chance to demand and build a better world.”

Not that it is an easy read. Making it through even the first chapter of this screed was a shock to the system for me, and probably for any other reasonable person. The turgid, dialectical writing style of Das Kapital is refreshing compared to this book.

Klein, who jets around on airplanes from one clandestine progressive confab to another, cavorting with indigenous people, rock stars, and U.N. minions, had her epiphany on the environment when her airplane was stuck a few years back on the tarmac at an airport. The wheels were caught in melted asphalt, and the plane had to be towed down the runway.

For the author, this completely boring, run-of-the-mill flight delay became a flight of fancy, inspiring her new work. This flight delay, she reasoned, was evidence of climate change. Who cares, she added, if we know that the solar cycles impact the planet, even more than CO2 emissions ever could. Science is not the point, but it makes for a great alibi. “The really inconvenient truth is that it’s not about carbon—it’s about capitalism. The convenient truth is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better,” she writes.

Another motivational moment for Klein, a single mother, happened when she was reading a children’s book to her son. The story was about a moose. She worried that the young lad would “never seen a moose” in his life. Then, reading another children’s book, this one about bats, she worried that the boy would “never see a bat.” Her overly emotional reactions to everyday things — plane delays, reading bed time stories to junior — are something that she feels must motivate us all to give up our way of life.

This is one goofy gospel.

Who knows what Klein would have written had that plane not been delayed, and if her kid had read some Dr. Seuss classics, rather then the literary garbage she gave him?

“We have been told the market will save us, when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day. We have been told it’s impossible to get off fossil fuels when in fact we know exactly how to do it—it just requires breaking every rule in the ‘free-market’ playbook: reining in corporate power, rebuilding local economies, and reclaiming our democracies,” she writes.

Klein’s marketing team — one homage to capitalism she seems to be okay with — believes this book will “redefine” this era, as they think her earlier work,  No Logo did for globalization, and other tome, The Shock Doctrine changed the way “we think about austerity.” I wouldn’t bet on that. I’m planning to do some market research and open it up on the plane later this month, and see how others react, as I head to Las Vegas with James Taylor to the National Energy Summit. I just hope the flight isn’t delayed.


GMO’s are organic

An interesting article by former organic food farmer and USDA organic food inspector, Mischa Popoff taught me something new. I never thought about it before, but GMO’s are, or at least can be, considered organic foods. Since, contrary to my wife, I’m not an organic food junkie, indeed, I don’t trust the stuff and certainly have never found it to taste better than conventionally grown foods, I also didn’t realize that much of the organic food sold in today’s stores is from foreign countries, with much laxer food health and safety standards.

Popoff article really opened my eyes. He detailed his early support for and participation in the organic food movement, and how he broke with it over its embrace of big government and its castigation of genetically modified foods. His article is worth reading in full, as are other of his pieces but one portion really caught my eye:

Natural substances were experimented with to replace Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, but all proved ineffective, leaving the roots of weeds to regenerate, or proving more toxic than Roundup, turning an organic field into a moonscape devoid of beneficial insects and microorganisms.

Not a single peer-reviewed article was written admitting to the failure. Organic farmers have been forced to till their land as their grandparents did to kill weeds ever since, a practice that requires at least ten-times more fossil fuel per-acre than spraying. And this created market pressure for retailers to shift to dubious imported certified-organic food as fewer American farmers could justify the astronomical fuel cost of converting to organic.

Rather than listen to the concerns of domestic farmers, urban activists who had never worked a day on a farm simply redoubled their attack against the single most-promising innovation in farming since the discovery of the ammonia-synthesis process in 1917: genetically-modified organisms. GMOs not only facilitate no-till farming, but have also allowed almost all American farmers growing corn, soybean and cotton to quit pulverizing their soil.

Moreover, they have never once been taken to task for the fact that non-GMO, government-approved certified-organic food often does not even come from American fields. [And] a whopping 43 percent of certified-organic food now contains synthetic pesticide residue.

In other words, nearly half the food advertised as organic is not. Something to think about.


Why Uranium Is Your Friend

Is the jury still “out” on nuclear power safety? Or is it ready to issue a verdict? Nuclear power, in the popular imagination, is dangerous because of one of its potential applications: Nuclear weapons.

But for nuclear-generated electricity, should we be worried? A review in the U.K. medical journal Lancet, concludes that nuclear electricity is safer for workers than coal mining, for example.

In terms of fatalities, it’s five times safer for workers in the nuclear industry, including miners, than for those in the carbon-based fuel power industries. But for the general public it’s fifty times safer than the safest form of carbon energy- natural gas. How can this be? Don’t uranium miners have accidents comparable to coal miners? They do. But they extract much more usable energy in a day’s work than those extracting fossil fuels.

What about nuclear power plant accidents such as those at Chernobyl and Fukushima? Surely, workers and civilians living nearby were killed or harmed, but their percentages have been small. For conventional power, it is air pollution that is harmful. It is said to harm far more workers and civilians than mining accidents, power plant disasters, and disposal activities combined. So if you’re downwind from a coal plant, you won’t live as long as if you’re upwind. You should be happy. Uranium is your friend.

Then there is plutonium, a byproduct of uranium fission. Other byproducts of fission, usually called nuclear waste, must be considered as well. Plutonium is good if it is “burned” up in a nuclear reactor, but it can ruin your day if it is used by bad actors to make a nuclear weapon. It costs money to process/recycle nuclear waste and there is controversy over its economic benefits. Long term it probably makes sense to reprocess (and burn) the plutonium and use/dispose the remaining waste components in whatever cost-effective processes make sense. To do otherwise invites trouble.



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, 2015

EPA meddling Causes Massive Spill of Mining Waste Water in Colorado, Turns Animas River Bright Orange

The EPA says it was using heavy machinery to investigate pollutants at the Gold King Mine on Wednesday morning when it accidentally released an estimated 1 million gallons of mining waste into a creek. The waste spewed from the creek into the Animas River north of Silverton, Colorado, turning the water an opaque orange color reminiscent of boxed mac and cheese.

The wastewater released contains heavy metals including lead, arsenic, cadmium, and aluminum, Ostrander said. The EPA is preparing a plan to sample private water wells along the Animas River valley to test for contamination, including mercury contamination, he said.

But the EPA has not released information about what concentration of metals are present in the water, or how much a threat to human and ecosystem health the wastewater might pose. EPA officials did confirm that the sheriff’s office of La Plata County, Colorado, was correct in closing the river to the public, however. “What we received back from the first five samples show that the elevated levels of dissolved metals confirm that the sheriff here took the right measure in putting out the advisory and asking that people not have contact with the river,”  Sean McGrath, the EPA administrator for the region that includes Colorado, said at the meeting Friday. “I can assure you we are moving the lab analysis as quickly as I can. The sheriff’s actions were absolutely appropriate.”

On Wednesday morning, an EPA crew was working on a Superfund-related project to stop historic leakage of wastewater from the mine when they “hit a spot” that destabilized a retaining dam and caused the release.

“We were up in this area doing what’s called site investigation. This is work that we do in Superfund to understand the extent of the understand how to work to stop that flow,” McGrath said. “In doing our work up there, we hit a spot where water started coming out that we hadn’t expected. We come to find out there was quite a bit more mine waste water up there than we had expected, for sure. In fact the dam that had been holding that water back was just soils and loose materials instead of solid rocks. That started to flow out, and [the wastewater] quickly broke through and drained out.”

By Friday morning, the plume of orange had made its way downstream and was eight miles from the northern border of New Mexico, the EPA said in an emailed statement. The Animas River flows for 126 miles and is a tributary of the larger San Juan River, part of the Colorado River system. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez says she wasn’t notified of the spill for a full day after the event.

"The governor is disturbed by the lack of information provided by the EPA to our environmental agencies in New Mexico and strongly believes that people in our communities downstream deserve to have all the information about this situation,” Chris Sanchez, the governor’s spokesman, said in an emailed statement Thursday. “For example, we were not notified about this release until 9:30 a.m. this morning even though the release is reported to have occurred at approximately 10:40 a.m. yesterday. And the first notification received by the State of New Mexico came from an official with the Southern Ute Tribe, not EPA.”

“Governor Martinez hopes the EPA will be more cooperative and forthcoming moving forward as we work to address this situation and that the EPA will demand the same of itself as it would of a private business responsible for such a spill.”



Written by Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser   

That’s what a colleague from former times asked recently. You had to choose between YES or NO. Only some 20 of the 150+ former colleagues he so canvassed bothered to answer. He might have just as well asked “Do you have a mother?”—Silly questions deserve no answer.

Planet Earth

Planet Earth’s history of “climate change” (CC) is about 4,500,000,000 years in the making. Why would anyone think that it stopped yesterday, last year, last decade, last century, or even a millennium ago? Do you think the rate or direction of natural CC has changed because the dinosaurs died out many million years ago? Or do you believe it was because humans arrived en masse on the scene a few thousand years ago?  Let’s look at some real drivers of climate change.

Continental Drift, Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Have the mid-oceanic ridges stopped spreading or has the North American Plate stopped pushing over the Pacific Plate (also known as Juan de Fuca Plate)? None of that.

Have earthquakes and tsunamis become a thing of the past? Not at all (remember Fukushima)!

Every year there are approximately ten thousand earthquakes of Richter scale magnitude 2 or greater being recorded and once in a while there is a major movement in the earth’s crust, often with dramatic consequences for mankind. Quakes with magnitudes 8 or 9 release an amount of energy equal to many nuclear bombs, all within a few seconds.

Some 20 to 50 volcanoes are erupting all the time, some spewing plumes of ash and gas miles high into the atmosphere, others creating new mountains or islands out of red-hot lava. A few days ago, the Manam volcano (Papua New Guinea) erupted with sending volcanic ash as high as 65,000 feet (~20,000 m) into the sky. Guess what drove the plume that high? Carbon dioxide, coming out in vast quantities from the bowels of the earth! That’s the same atmospheric trace gas that you generate by burning coal, oil, wood, or gas to heat your home in winter!

But not everything is hot on earth; there are some “cold spots” too.

Ice Shields Extent

The last (of several) ice ages had a firm grip on North America, Europe, and Asia. At its height, nearly all the northern parts of the continents (roughly the entire area north of latitude 45 N) were covered with a thick layer of ice. How thick you ask? It was anywhere between one and three miles thick.

That massive ice shield though was not a stationary thing at all. It kept moving south, day and night and any obstacle would simply be ground down by the sheer mass and the associated grinding material, like house-size boulders of hard rock from way up north. You don’t need to go far into Ontario’s “cottage country” to see the traces first hand. Granite rocks with feldspar and quartz veins have been ground flat and polished to reflect the sun into your eyes. Also, in many places you can still quite clearly see the groves left behind by larger rocks scraping along the bottom of the moving ice, like in the below.

Melting the Ice Shields

These continental ice shields had reached their maximum extent approximately 20,000 years ago but had completely melted away some 5,000 years ago. Now that’s real climate change in action! Yes the CO2 levels increased too, but only with a time lag of 800 years. As clearly established from deep ice cores on Greenland, that CO2 increase was not the cause but the consequence of the melting.

You’d need many times the energy of all fossil fuels ever burnt and those still in the ground to melt that giant “ice cube.” Still, Mother Nature did it without much fanfare and – here comes the kicker – without any change in the atmospheric CO2 (carbon dioxide) level up front. That alone should tell you how mistaken the CO2-doomsayers are. Carbon dioxide in air is not a factor for climate.

Doomsayers’ Credo

The doomsayers’ credo is to blame nearly every natural event on CC. If it’s hot it must be because of CC. Even if it’s colder than usual, they want you to believe that it’s just another sign of “CC-induced” weather extremes. The polar ice caps were predicted to have melted away by now. What, they increased instead? Obviously more proof of CC extremes; blah, blah.

Other CO2-based claims, like rapidly rising ocean levels supposedly wiping out the Micronesian atolls and drowning the Maldives have not materialized either. Both the landmasses of the atolls and their populations are steadily increasing. If you really want to see what’s happening in the Tuvalu or Maldives go to Google Earth and take a close look, or visit the holiday resort industry web pages that extol the virtues of the fancy resorts there.

The PIK, Germany

The list of wrong predictions, misunderstandings of cause and consequence and false proclamations is a long one. Why else would the luminaries from the PIK, i.e. the Potsdam Institut for Klimafolgenforschung (Germany) and elsewhere have advised Pope Francis to make claims about CO2 that have been proven false decades ago? Of course, that institute’s head honcho has not answered the questions in my Open Letter of June 30, 2015 (it was sent to him by email too). If he would have answered he would either have to admit that he is wrong or subsequently be proven so by the scientific evidence available.

If I remember correctly, in 2008 one of PIK’s finest climate-warmists, Prof. S. Rahmstorf, claimed that by 2015 the last bit of sea-ice in the Arctic summer would disappear. Actually, the exact opposite happened. In the and in the Arctic it has returned to the mid-to-upper level seasonal average and in the Antarctic the ice extent has risen to a new all-time record size. In fact, even in late July 2015, the Canadian icebreaker CCGS Pierre Radisson had difficulties in Frobisher Bay on the east side of Labrador when trying to plough a path through the ice for the supply ships for the settlement there.  I wonder if Rahmstorf has ever been to the Arctic—in winter of course.

PIK’s Double-Speak

There are also scientific falsehoods being spread by the PIK. For example about the carbon dioxide residence time in the atmosphere and the supposed ocean acidification. They also like to forget to mention the close to 1,000-year time lag for CO2 increase that FOLLOWS RATHER THAN LEADS global warming. It’s inconceivable that they don’t know better. I’ll go into details about these in the future. Suffice to say now that the PIK people either don’t understand the processes in nature or simply don’t care about stating the truth.

According to PIK’s founder and president, Prof. H.J. Schellnhuber, the world can only sustain a population of one billion people or so. The other 6 or 7 billion, presumably, need to be “decarbonized” forthwith. In contrast, the Pontiff’s recent encyclical Laudato Si says “To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.” As Schellnhuber has recently been nominated to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, I wonder if the Pope was aware of that; it looks to me like a massive conflict of opinions.

Revised Questions

With that in mind, let’s revise the original question about “do you believe in climate change” and put it into the right context:

Has there been climate change in the past? Yes, of course.

Will there be climate change in the future? Yes, of course.

Is CO2 (or fossil energy resource use) the cause of climate change? Certainly not!—Any sane person’s answer must be a resounding NO!


UK: Fast track for fracking bids: Ministers set to be given powers to speed up applications if they are being delayed by councils

Fracking sites could be fast-tracked through the planning system under new rules to be announced this week.  Ministers will be given new powers to push through shale gas applications if they are being held up by councils.

It is a response to concerns from ministers that Britain will have to rely on unstable imports and expensive solar and wind power.

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd warned the current system allowed applications to be ‘dragged out for months or even years on end’.  The delays could spell the ‘death’ of a ‘vital national industry’, she said.

Miss Rudd warned that Britain could be forced to import three-quarters of all its oil and gas by 2030 if it doesn’t exploit shale.

Applications for shale sites have been held up amid ferocious opposition from green campaigners and and some local residents’ groups.

Ministers are frustrated at Britain’s failure to join the fracking revolution which has transformed energy supplies in the US – and slashed energy bills.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Miss Rudd said: ‘We need more secure, home-grown energy supplies and shale gas must play a part. ‘We can’t continue with a system that sees applications dragged out for months, or even years on end which doesn’t give certainty to industry and which could spell the end of a potentially vital national industry.’

She added: ‘Planning authorities generally fail to meet a target to process environmentally sensitive applications in 16 weeks or less.’

Official estimates suggest shale could create more than 60,000 new jobs in the UK, and bring billions of pounds in revenue for the taxpayer.

It could also see communities benefit, as a slice of revenue is set aside for local councils.

One application by the firm Cuadrilla for wells on the Fylde coast was rejected by Lancashire county council in June, more than a year after it was first submitted. An appeal decision is not expected for many months.

The guidance will be issued by Communities Secretary Greg Clark, who is to write to councils this week.  He will say: ‘There is an urgent need to explore and develop our shale gas and oil resources in order to unlock their potential benefits and to help meet our objectives for secure energy supplies, economic growth and lower carbon emissions.’

Updated rules will make it easier for him to take charge of appeals for shale to go ahead if they have been rejected by councils.

New licences for gas exploration are expected to be handed out within weeks. That could clear the way for new exploration once councils approve drilling sites.

Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said safe fracking was a ‘key priority’.  ‘We are exploring ways to really kickstart the industry as we know it could support over 60,000 jobs and lead to tens of billions of pounds of investment in the UK, helping to create lasting economic security for hardworking people and families across the country,’ she said.

‘We will be using gas to heat our homes and cook our meals for decades to come, and it makes total sense that we make the most of this home grown energy source we have right here in Britain instead of relying more and more on volatile foreign gas imports.’

Opponents of fracking claim the process of pumping water and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to release gas is dangerous and could pollute water supplies.

Fracking was put on hold four years ago after a minor earthquakes near Blackpool which was linked to test wells.


UK: Build Wind Farms in National Parks? Now we've REALLY lost the plot

Did you ever read a madder headline in your life?

Sure, Natural England isn’t nearly as nature-loving as it sounds. It’s just another of those pointless Quangos which David Cameron may yet attempt to justify his existence by banning. Even so,  building 300 foot high turbines in what’s left of Britain’s unspoilt landscape  does rather go against Natural England’s supposed mission objective, viz (or so it says on its website):

“Natural England is here to conserve and enhance the natural environment, for its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of people and the economic prosperity that it brings.”

So the best way of conserving natural England, a body calling itself Natural England has decided, is to destroy it. Can anyone come up with a more ludicrous example of the warped, supposedly “progressive” but in fact utterly poisonous, wrong and self-defeating thinking so prevalent in these dark times?


Governor moonbeam conflates California fires with “climate change”

Governor Jerry Brown blames the California drought and dangerous wildfires on “climate change.”  The Daily Journal quotes Brown saying:

“This is a wakeup call,” Brown said standing in front of a scorched hillside at the FireCowboy Camp Trailhead a few miles outside of Lake County. “California is burning,” boldly asking politicians, “What the hell are you going to do about it?”

‘He attributed the now four-year drought California faces to the extreme weather conditions brought by climate change, an issue he’s recently had on his agenda.

On Wednesday, the governor penned an open letter to GOP presidential candidates, asking them to address climate change during their first debate.

He told reporters Thursday, however, that “This is not a game of politics. We need to limit our carbon pollution. These are real lives and real people,” adding, “We need to make major changes in the way we operate.”

US wet and dry history graphYet historical records show that extreme weather is running from normal to low, including drought and fire.

Should California deal with its very real drought by ramping up emergency response and securing new sources of fresh water, or by demonizing American industry and CO2?

Exploiting genuine hardship and suffering to advance the global warming narrative is shameful.

Question for Governor Brown: Had Henry Ford never mass-produced the automobile or Edison invented the light bulb, had we never had the industrial revolution and lived in squalor, would California have had one more of drop of rain?


The evils of Government-induced Climaphobia

Tom Harris

Imagine pro-tobacco groups wanted to participate in fund raising marches for cancer research. ‘We want to help defeat cancer too,’ the tobacco advocates announce.

Anti-cancer campaigners would never march in solidarity with tobacco promoters. They know that if smoking increased, cancer rates would undoubtedly rise as well. Marching arm in arm with those working against one’s interests is irrational.

This logic does not seem to have occurred to the groups concerned with social justice and wildlife protection who participated in the July 5 “March for Jobs, Justice, and the Climate” in Toronto.

They were, in effect, marching with the enemy, groups such as and Citizens’ Climate Lobby which unwittingly encourage outcomes that are harming the poor and disadvantaged, biodiversity, and endangered species.

For example, by promoting the idea that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must be reduced to prevent dangerous climate change, climate mitigation activists support the expanded use of biofuels. This is resulting in 6.5% of the world’s grain being diverted to fuel instead of food, causing food price spikes that are a disaster for the world’s most vulnerable people.

The growing demand for biofuels is also creating serious problems for indigenous land owners in developing countries. In a February 2015 open letter to the European Parliament endorsed by 197 civil society organisations from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, it was asserted:

“The destruction of forests and fertile agricultural land to make way for oil palm plantations is jeopardising the food sovereignty and cultural integrity of entire communities who depend on the land as their source of food and livelihoods.”

Replacing virgin forests with monoculture plantations to provide palm oil for biodiesel greatly reduces biodiversity over vast regions.

In another attempt to reduce CO2 emissions, hundreds of thousands of industrial wind turbines (IWT) are being constructed worldwide. For example, the Ontario government is erecting 6,736 IWTs across the province, the most recent as tall as a 61 story building.

Only 4% of the province’s power came from wind energy in 2013 and 1% from solar, yet together they accounted for 20% of the commodity cost paid by Ontarians. Despite massive government subsidies for wind power, electricity rates in Ontario have soared, mostly affecting the poor and seniors on fixed incomes.

IWTs kill millions of birds and bats across the world. Ontario’s situation has drawn the attention of the Spain-based group, Save the Eagles International, which, on May 23, issued the news release “Migrating golden eagles to be slaughtered in Ontario.”

They showed that some of the turbines planned for Ontario are being placed directly in the path of migrating golden eagles, which are already an endangered species.

The consequences for people living near IWTs can be severe as well. Besides a significant loss in property value, health concerns abound.

A particularly tragic example is occurring in the West Lincoln and surrounding regions of Southern Ontario.  There, despite the objections of local residents, wind developers have received approval to install at least seventy-seven 3 Megawatt IWTs, each up to 609 ft. tall, the largest such machines in North America.
One resident, Shellie Correia of Wellandport has a particular reason to be concerned.

Her 12 year old son Joey has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and it is crucial that he live in an environment free from excessive noise. But as a result of Ontario’s Green Energy Act, the primary focus of which is climate change mitigation, an IWT will be sited only 550 metres from their home.

Correia explained in her January 2015 presentation before the government’s Environmental Review Tribunal, “On top of the incessant, cyclical noise, there is light flicker, and infrasound. This is not something that my son will be able to tolerate.”

But the approvals go ahead anyways. As Correia told the Tribunal, “No one was able to help, because of the Green Energy Act.”

The drive to reduce CO2 emissions makes it difficult for developing countries to finance the construction of vitally-needed hydrocarbon-fueled power plants. For example, in 2010 South Africa secured a $3.9 billion loan to build the Medupi coal-fired power station only because developing country representatives on the World Bank board voted for approval.

The U.S. and four European nation members abstained from approval because of their concerns about climate change. They apparently wanted South Africans to use wind and solar power instead, sources too expensive for widespread use even in wealthy nations.

Finally, because of the belief that humans control climate, only 6% of the one billion dollars spent every day across the world on climate finance goes to helping vulnerable people cope with climate change today. The rest is spent trying to stop phenomena that might someday happen.  This is immoral, effectively valuing the lives of people yet to be born more than those in need today.

In all of these cases, climate mitigation takes precedence over the needs of the present. Groups such as Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Oxfam Canada, and Great Lakes Commons, all of which participated in Sunday’s event, must distance themselves from climate activists, not march with them.



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

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10 August, 2015

A new record Pause length: no warming for 18 years 7 months

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

For 223 months, since January 1997, there has been no global warming at all (Fig. 1). This month’s RSS temperature shows the Pause setting a new record at 18 years 7 months.

It is becoming ever more likely that the temperature increase that usually accompanies an el Niño will begin to shorten the Pause somewhat, just in time for the Paris climate summit, though a subsequent La Niña would be likely to bring about a resumption and perhaps even a lengthening of the Pause.

Figure 1. The least-squares linear-regression trend on the RSS satellite monthly global mean surface temperature anomaly dataset shows no global warming for 18 years 7 months since January 1997.

The hiatus period of 18 years 7 months is the farthest back one can go in the RSS satellite temperature record and still show a sub-zero trend. The start date is not cherry-picked: it is calculated. And the graph does not mean there is no such thing as global warming. Going back further shows a small warming rate.

The Pause has now drawn blood. In the run-up to the world-government “climate” conference in Paris this December, the failure of the world to warm at all for well over half the satellite record has provoked the climate extremists to resort to desperate measures to try to do away with the Pause.

First there was Tom Karl with his paper attempting to wipe out the Pause by arbitrarily adding a hefty increase to all the ocean temperature measurements made by the 3600 automated ARGO bathythermograph buoys circulating in the oceans.  Hey presto! All three of the longest-standing terrestrial temperature datasets – GISS, HadCRUT4 and NCDC – were duly adjusted, yet again, to show more global warming than has really occurred.

However, the measured and recorded facts are these. In the 11 full years April 2004 to March 2015, for which the ARGO system has been providing reasonably-calibrated though inevitably ill-resolved data (each buoy has to represent 200,000 km3 of ocean temperature with only three readings a month), there has been no warming at all in the upper 750 m, and only a little below that, so that the trend over the period of operation shows a warming equivalent to just 1 C° every 430 years.

Figure 1a. Near-global ocean temperatures by stratum, 0-1900 m. Source: ARGO marine atlas.

And in the lower troposphere, the warming according to RSS occurred at a rate equivalent to 1 C° every 700 years.

Figure 1b. The least-squares linear-regression trend on the UAH satellite monthly global mean surface temperature anomaly dataset shows no global warming for 18 years 5 months since March 1997.

Then along came another paper, this time saying that the GISS global temperature record shows global warming during the Pause and that, therefore, GISS shows global warming during the Pause. This instance of argumentum ad petitionem principii, the fallacy of circular argument, passed peer review without difficulty because it came to the politically-correct conclusion that there was no Pause.

The paper reached its conclusion, however, without mentioning the word “satellite”. The UAH data show no warming for 18 years 5 months.

Figure 1c. The least-squares linear-regression trend on the UAH satellite monthly global mean surface temperature anomaly dataset shows no global warming for 18 years 5 months since March 1997.

For completeness, though no reliance can now be placed on the terrestrial datasets, here is the “warming” rate they show since January 1997:

Figure 1d. The least-squares linear-regression trend on the mean of the GISS, HadCRUT4 and NCDC terrestrial monthly global mean surface temperature anomaly datasets shows global warming at a rate equivalent to a little over 1 C° per century during the period of the Pause from January 1997 to July 2015.

Bearing in mind that one-third of the 2.4 W m–2 radiative forcing from all manmade sources since 1750 has occurred during the period of the Pause, a warming rate equivalent to little more than 1 C°/century is not exactly alarming. However, the paper that reported the supposed absence of the Pause was extremely careful not to report just how little warming the terrestrial datasets – even after all their many tamperings – actually show.

As always, a note of caution. Merely because there has been little or no warming in recent decades, one may not draw the conclusion that warming has ended forever. The trend lines measure what has occurred: they do not predict what will occur.

Furthermore, the long, slow build-up of the current el Nino, which has now become strongish and – on past form – will not peak till the turn of the year, is already affecting tropical temperatures and, as the thermohaline circulation does its thing, must eventually affect global temperatures.

Though one may expect the el Nino to be followed by a la Nina, canceling the temporary warming, this does not always happen. In short, the Pause may well come to an end and then disappear. However, as this regular column has stressed before, the Pause – politically useful though it may be to all who wish that the “official” scientific community would remember its duty of skepticism – is far less important than the growing divergence between the predictions of the general-circulation models and observed reality.

The divergence between the models’ predictions in 1990 (Fig. 2) and 2005 (Fig. 3), on the one hand, and the observed outturn, on the other, continues to widen. If the Pause lengthens just a little more, the rate of warming in the quarter-century since the IPCC’s First Assessment Report in 1990 will fall below 1 C°/century equivalent.

Figure 2. Near-term projections of warming at a rate equivalent to 2.8 [1.9, 4.2] K/century, made with “substantial confidence” in IPCC (1990), for the 307 months January 1990 to July 2015 (orange region and red trend line), vs. observed anomalies (dark blue) and trend (bright blue) at just 1 K/century equivalent, taken as the mean of the RSS and UAH v. 5.6 satellite monthly mean lower-troposphere temperature anomalies.

Figure 3. Predicted temperature change, January 2005 to July 2015, at a rate equivalent to 1.7 [1.0, 2.3] Cº/century (orange zone with thick red best-estimate trend line), compared with the near-zero observed anomalies (dark blue) and real-world trend (bright blue), taken as the mean of the RSS and UAH v. 5.6 satellite lower-troposphere temperature anomalies.

The page Key Facts about Global Temperature (below) should be shown to anyone who persists in believing that, in the words of Mr Obama’s Twitteratus, “global warming is real, manmade and dangerous”.

The Technical Note explains the sources of the IPCC’s predictions in 1990 and in 2005, and also demonstrates that that according to the ARGO bathythermograph data the oceans are warming at a rate equivalent to less than a quarter of a Celsius degree per century.

Key facts about global temperature

More HERE  (In addition to the scholarly disquisition above, there is a large appendix of technical notes for the benefit of anyone who is inclined to question anything in what Lord Monckton has said)

EPA’s punitive, fraudulent Clean Power Plan

Congress, states and our next president must end EPA harm to human health and welfare

Paul Driessen

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan (CPP) requires that states reduce their electric utility sector carbon dioxide emissions an average of 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. EPA twisted 80 words in the Clean Air Act into 1,560 pages of regulations (plus appendices) demanding that utilities return CO2 emissions almost to 1975 levels, while our population grows by 40 million.

Some 30 states will have to slash their power plant CO2 emissions by more than 32% and at least 12 will have to implement 40-48% reductions. That is a tall order, since all those states now get 50-96% of their electricity from coal, and all of them depend on coal plus natural gas for nearly all their electric power. Imposing that transition and a conversion to 20% or more expensive and unreliable wind and solar energy by 2030 will be disastrous. It will bankrupt families, businesses, industries, communities and even states.

Electricity rates will rise not merely to the 15-17 cents/kWh in “green energy” states like California, from the 8-9 cents per kilowatt-hour currently paid in coal-reliant states. They could skyrocket to the 36-40 cents/kWh now paid in Denmark and Germany (70-80 cents when taxpayer subsidies are included).

That will hammer everything we make, grow, ship, eat and do. It will impair our livelihoods, living standards, liberties and life spans. And these destructive rules are being imposed by callous, imperious, unelected, unaccountable federal bureaucrats who are circumventing our laws and Constitution; disregarding the clear will of Congress, which has rejected nearly 700 climate bills; and colluding regularly with radical Big Green pressure groups on sue-and-settle lawsuits and new regulatory edicts.

Under the CPP, everything business owners, workers, families and communities strived for their entire lives will be at risk. Millions of workers will lose their jobs, leaving more families destitute and welfare dependent, their sense of self-worth destroyed. Many will have to choose between buying food and gasoline, paying the rent or mortgage, going to the doctor, giving to their church, or saving for retirement.

Families will face severe sleep deprivation, greater stress and depression, and more drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse, theft and robbery. Nutrition and medical care will suffer. More people will have strokes and heart attacks. More will die prematurely or commit suicide. More elderly people will perish from hypothermia, because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly.

Instead of acknowledging any of this, EPA employs a “social cost of carbon” scheme that places arbitrary inflated costs on damages it claims result from alleged climate risks from using carbon-based fuels. It includes every imaginable and imaginary cost of using fossil fuels – even absurd claims that its anti-energy plan will reduce asthma rates, which have been increasing while pollution rates are going down.

Meanwhile, the EPA and White House ignore even the most obvious benefits of using fossil fuels.

The Obama EPA keeps its questionable data and analyses secret, refusing to share them even with Congress or governors. It ignores the fact that global temperatures haven’t budged in 18 years, and no category 3-5 hurricane has hit the USA in a record 9-3/4 years – contrary to all climate alarm predictions. About the only thing EPA does admit is that slashing America’s CO2 emissions, and causing all this economic havoc, will prevent less than less than 0.03 degrees F of global warming 85 years from now.

These green dictators refuse to debate any of this. Indeed, they do not want anyone to talk about it.

The intolerant Left is “killing free speech,” says liberal commentator Kirsten Powers. It is committed to tolerance, pluralism and reasoned debate only for itself, and only to advance its agenda. Otherwise, it applies “authoritarian demands for intellectual conformity,” and relentlessly vilifies and tries to silence anyone who speaks up, asks inconvenient questions or challenges the “progressive” worldview.

“Free speech,” says George Will, “has never been … more comprehensively, aggressively and dangerously threatened than it is now. Today they are attacking the theory of free speech … the desirability of free speech … and indeed the very possibility of free speech….”

As if on cue, the IRS targeted numerous conservative groups – and the Milwaukee prosecutor and police monitored emails, invaded homes, seized computers and records, and threatened jail for anyone who disclosed these abuses, to intimidate and silence Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s supporters.

Their actions destroy our fundamental First Amendment rights of free speech, assembly, association and debate. Worse, they severely impair the unalienable rights of people to enjoy affordable, reliable energy and the quality jobs, living standards, health and welfare it brings.

“The ruling class demonizes any questioning of its demands,” says Boston University professor emeritus Angelo Codevilla. “The pretexts differ” from issue to issue,” he notes. “But the reality is the same: Bow or be persecuted.… Consequently, if we wish to remain who we are in the face of threats and declamations meant to force us to honor intellectual and moral falsehoods, we have no alternative but clearly and loudly to distinguish between true and false, and fully make the case for what we believe to be right.”

We must not mince words regarding the evils that energy and climate totalitarianism inflict on families, industries, communities and nations. We must confront the deceit and deceivers, abuses and abusers – and present the hard, ugly realities of what life would be under conditions imposed by eco-extremists.

Right now, we have too many taxes and regulations, too much secrecy and fraud, too many extremists, and far too little accountability in EPA. There is too much eco-religious fervor, too little science and humanity. Poor and minority families are hurt most of all. Our governors, state and federal legislators, attorneys general, courts, next president, and citizen, industry and scientific groups need to take action:

 *         Refuse to comply with the CPP. Curb the excessive power and representation of environmentalists and bureaucrats in our government. End the constant collusion and the sue-and-settle lawsuits between government agencies and radical environmentalist pressure groups. Cut agency budgets, especially the billions of dollars that EPA and other agencies give to anti-energy advocacy organizations and biased advisory panels.

*         Gain access to thus-far secret EPA, NOAA, IPCC and other data, computer codes, models and studies – and subject them to full review by independent experts, to determine which assertions, policies and regulations are valid, and which are based on serious error, deceptive claims or outright fraud.

 *         During the review process, suspend and defund implementation of regulations and programs that raise serious questions about their honesty and validity. Terminate rules and programs found to be based on fraud, junk science, doctored data, collusion or concocted evidence – and penalize or terminate agency personnel who have engaged in deceptive or fraudulent practices.

*         Ensure that regulatory agencies and their advisory councils are honest and transparent; that they represent a broader spectrum of expertise, viewpoints and interests than they do now; and that they fully assess evidence for and against proposed regulations, and their true benefits and costs.

 *         Restore federalism and the separation of powers for Congress and state governments, and end the deference that courts too often give to agency discretion and authority for even outrageous actions and power grabs by federal agencies.

 *         Present true stories of workers and families whose jobs and businesses have been threatened or destroyed by EPA and other government policies, programs and diktats; how these citizens have fought back; and their victories over energy, environmental and economic totalitarianism.

These vital actions will almost certainly be opposed by President Obama, Democrats, environmentalist pressure groups, and other members of the Climate Crisis and Renewable Energy Complex. But they are absolutely essential if the United States is going to have an economic and employment revival, and poor, minority and blue-collar families are to be protected from fraud, regulatory excess and ruling elites.

Via email


EPA relies on secret comments in No Power Plan rulemaking

By Nathan Mehrens

EPAAfter the release of the Obama Administration’s much-publicized “Clean Power Plan” regulations, reports have indicated that the regulatory process that went into developing this “Plan” may not have been as transparent as touted. Environmental extremist groups were apparently regularly communicating and coordinating with officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency developing the “Plan,” regarding the regulations that comprise the “Plan.” These regulations restrict carbon emissions from power generation facilities.

This is certainly not the first time that they have done this. In other contexts we’ve seen a very cozy hand-in-glove relationship between environmental extremists and the agency personnel that regulate us. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by my organization, Americans for Limited Government, it was revealed that several of these groups were working very closely with the EPA on issues surrounding the handling of coal ash.

This is not how the regulatory process was designed to work. The way it is supposed to work is straightforward:

(1.) the agency hosts public meetings to discuss the subject that is to be regulated;

(2.) the agency is to then take the comments provided in the stakeholder meetings into consideration when developing a proposed regulation;

(3.) after a proposed regulation is developed, it is to be published in the Federal Register and a period of public comment, typically not less than sixty days, is to occur;

(4.) after receiving public comment on the proposed regulation, the agency is to then develop a final rule. This final rule needs to provide a reasoned analysis of how the agency made the decisions it made when finalizing the regulation.

If these steps are followed, then a good deal of deference is provided by the courts to the agency in any litigation challenging the regulation. The regulatory process is supposed to be open and transparent, and the regulations are to be developed using information that is public — not information supplied in secret by activists.

Based on the reports cited above, it appears that the EPA has not been following the proper procedure in how it is regulating us. This is unfortunate because, in many cases, the extremist environmental groups have spent years developing both contacts within the agency and, in some instances, have developed the “farm team” of personnel who now occupy many of the regulation-writing positions.

This cuts the effectiveness of the general public out of the process, because who are you going to listen to — four million individuals who submit comments on an issue, or the “expert” who has carefully developed a relationship with you in order to be in a position to give you a detailed plan of action when the time is right?

Years ago, the EPA developed a policy prohibiting the kind of secret dealings on regulations that we are now seeing. Apparently, at some point, they decided to ignore this policy.

In response to the 1977 decision of the D.C. Circuit in Home Box Office, Inc. v. FCC, the EPA Administrator developed a policy titled “Ex Parte” Contacts in EPA Rulemaking. This policy is still posted on the EPA’s website as part of their regulatory procedures manual.

This policy very tightly mandated that non-public (ex parte) communications regarding pending regulations not occur between regulators and those with an interest in the regulation. In particular, policy advised as follows: “Whenever it is feasible to eliminate private conversations with a person interested in a rulemaking after the rule has been proposed, you should do so. (This would not bar routine status inquiries, etc. — only conversations directed at the merits of the rule itself.) Where this is not feasible, a memorandum to the file should be prepared by the agency participants stating in detail what happened. This memorandum should then be placed in the comment file just as if it were a public comment [emphasis added].”

Based on reports of contacts between EPA personnel and environmental extremists, this policy is no longer being followed by the EPA. This is unfortunate, as it means that the regulations which are promulgated – regulations which are a type of law applying to a wide swath of our entire lives – are being written not in the open, but rather in secret.

Like many problems with the rulemaking process, this is an area that Congress should investigate and fix. No longer should Congress let agencies write regulations in the dark while guided by activists, but instead Congress should do two things: (1.) reclaim its authority to write our laws, and (2.) in those instances where a delegation of rulemaking authority to an agency remains, pass legislation to ensure that any regulations that are promulgated using ex parte communications are unlawful. Doing this will return some small measure of agency accountability to the public.


Greenie says: Clean Power Plan Is 'A Great Start,' But 'I Think We Can Do More'

First coal, then natural gas? Apparently so.  A spokesman for the Environmental Defense Fund defended the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan on Wednesday, saying the benefits of carbon-reduction are "important" and "real" -- and hinting that they are just a start: methane emissions from natural gas may be targeted next.

"I think we can do more," EDF's Jeremy Symons told CSPAN's morning call-in show. "I think once we get on this path, we will find that we can do more faster. But it's a great start."

Under the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, each state must decide how to rearrange their energy mix to achieve EPA-mandated, pollution-reduction targets. Basically, the plan will force states to abandon coal as an energy source in favor of the wind and solar industries, which are not as cost-effective or desirable in a free market.

With coal out of the picture, Symons said natural gas "can and should compete with clean energy." But, he added, "one issue with natural gas -- natural gas does pollute less than coal in terms of carbon pollution when it's burned. But it emits more (pollution) than clean energy and certainly, the best option, which is energy efficiency.

"But there is one piece that's unaccounted for still, that needs to be dealt with and is unfinished business, and that's the methane emissions from the oil and gas production and transportation sector.  "Methane's a very potent greenhouse gas, 80 times or more potent than a ton of CO2 for every ton of methane," Symons said.

"So we need to plug the leaks, which are wasting a valuable natural resource in natural gas throughout the system and stop that pollutant. That's going to save money, it's good business, it's good stewardship. So let's do that. Let's make sure that we get the markets right and let the technologies compete."

According to the Environmental Defense Fund website, "About 1/3 of the warming we’re experiencing today is due to methane and similar climate pollutants. In the U.S., natural gas production and distribution is the biggest source of methane leaks.

"Fixing these leaks is key. Natural gas companies and utilities should improve their own monitoring of natural gas leaks, but a national policy to reduce methane leaks across the supply chain would ensure that all sectors of the natural gas industry are doing their part to reduce pollution."

EDF notes that lawmakers "are starting to wake up to the threats of methane," after the White House this year announced plans for a federal limit on that pollutant.

Symons on Wednesday indicated that the free market isn't conductive to pollution control:

"We want to reduce pollution. That's what we're about. And we want the market to compete to reduce that pollution. POllution is not free.

"When you keep talking about the freedom of markets, the markets are wrong right now. The makets have not incorporated the fact that carbon pollution is causing the damage. We want to make sure that businesses are making choices based on the total impact of the choices that they make.

"Given that -- gien the power of markets, we can get the kind of results on carbon pollution that we got on sulfur dioxide to deal with the acid rain problem..." (The Obama administration set stricter controls on sulfur dioxide in 2010.)

Appearing with Symons on CSPAN, Myron Ebell of the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute noted that Symons had "let the cat out of the bag" by admitting carbon pollution is "only the first step."

"And as we go along, each step will be more and more expensive. So the Obama administration and the environmental movement have big plans, and this is only a small piece of it," Ebell said.

The EPA says its Clean Power Plan, by the year 2030, will reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels. At the same time, "utility-scale" solar and wind capacity is projected to double by 2030, compared to 2013 levels.


Japan dials back the panic over nukes

Japan is about to do something that’s never been done before: Restart a fleet of mothballed nuclear reactors.

The first reactor to meet new safety standards could come online as early as next week. Japan is reviving its nuclear industry after all its plants were shut for safety checks since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that wrecked the Fukushima Dai-Ichi station north of Tokyo, causing radiation leaks that forced the evacuation of 160,000 people.

Mothballed reactors have been turned back on in other parts of the world, though not on this scale -- 25 of Japan’s 43 reactors have applied for restart permits. One lesson learned elsewhere is that the process rarely goes smoothly. Of 14 reactors that resumed operations after being offline for at least four years, all had emergency shutdowns and technical failures, according to data from the International Atomic Energy Agency and regulators in the U.S. and Canada.

“If reactors have been offline for a long time, there can be issues with long-dormant equipment and with ‘rusty’ operators,” Allison Macfarlane, a former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said by e-mail.

In Sweden, E.ON Sverige AB closed the No. 1 unit at its Oskarshamn plant in 1992 and restarted it in 1996. It had six emergency shutdowns in the following year and a refueling that should have taken 38 days lasted more than four months after cracks were found in equipment.

Industry Renaissance

Japan’s restarts are being closely watched as the Fukushima disaster snuffed out what was then called a global nuclear renaissance. Success in Japan might allow the industry to re-emphasize nuclear as carbon-free energy before international climate talks in Paris this year, where almost 200 nations will negotiate emission standards.

This week, the Obama administration outlined a limited role for U.S. nuclear plants in its carbon reduction rules, withdrawing some credit for existing nuclear units while giving credit to new reactors under construction.

The first Japanese reactor to restart is at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant on the southern island of Kyushu. It could be back online as soon as Aug. 10, according to the company.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has run safety checks and ensured that Kyushu Electric performed the maintenance required for a restart, Tadashi Yamada, an agency spokesman, said by e-mail. The authority’s rules require nuclear operators to prepare dozens of safety countermeasures, such as building a secondary control room and constructing larger tsunami walls.


Kyushu Electric has performed regular checks since the reactor was shut to ensure it restarts and operates safely, said a company spokesman, who asked not to be identified because of company policy.

“If a car isn’t used for a while, and you suddenly use it, then there is usually a problem. There is definitely this type of worry with Sendai,” said Ken Nakajima, a professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute. “Kyushu Electric is probably thinking about this as well and preparing for it.”


Australia: Ever seen this before, a kangaroo feeding in the snow?

David Viner would be surprised.  "Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past", he said 15 years ago.  Being a false prophet is lucrative, though. Viner was Global Director - Climate Change, Environment and  Sustainability at the British Council up until 2011.  Report below from a couple of weeks ago

Sydney hasn't seen snow since 1836. The Antarctic storm has caused traffic accidents, school closures and power outages around the state on Australia’s southeastern coast

Kangaroos are a common sight for Australian vineyard owner Bill Shrapnel. But a winter storm this week was the first time he’d seen a ’roo in the snow.

Shrapnel guesses about 30 of the “timid” and “watchful” creatures live on his 77-acre Colmar Estate vineyard in Orange, New South Wales.

But before he peeked out his back window Thursday, he had never seen one of the kangaroos in the snow.

“They just turned up and started to feed. The younger ones boxed with one another as if it was just another day.”

A surprised Shrapnel snapped a photo, which his daughter shared on social media.

Shrapnel, 62, and his wife Jan moved to Orange earlier this year from Sydney, which hasn’t seen snow since 1836.

While the couple had prepared for their first winter, he says, “having it snow three times in a week is not what we expected.”

The winter storm caused traffic accidents, school closures and power outages around the state on Australia’s southeastern coast.

Thredbo, a ski resort in New South Wales, recorded 30 cm of snowfall, and highs in Orange and other wintry towns were below 5 C.



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8 August, 2015

Irrigated Farming traps carbon

Will this make Greenies like irrigated farming and the associated dams?  Unlikely.  Their hatred of dams and farming is deeply irrational

Since the dawn of farming, humans have been accidentally creating a huge carbon sink that by now may store more carbon than all of the world’s living plants.

But this sink is in the last place that you’d expect to find huge amounts of carbon – under the desert.

That is the surprising conclusion of work done in one desert in China. If the findings are confirmed in other deserts around the world, it could present a way of taking carbon out of the atmosphere. But it also means we need to be careful not to disturb the huge carbon sinks stored under desert sands.

“Basically, people thought the whole arid region is totally negligible to the global carbon budget,” says Yan Li of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Urumqi, China. “We are arguing that that’s not the case.”

Li and colleagues took samples of water from the Tarim Basin, a salty aquifer under a desert in north-west China. They measured the carbon content of the water there and dated it.

They then repeated the process with water that flows into Tarim Basin from glaciers, and with water that is used to irrigate local farms, which comes from a nearby river. Using that information, they could draw a timeline showing how much carbon got into the basin and at what time.

Remarkably, over human history, the rate at which carbon was sunk into the groundwater rose dramatically, increasing by more than 12 times over the past 8000 years. The particularly high levels of carbon storage in this region began 2000 years ago when the Silk Road opened up, which resulted in increased levels of human activity and farming around the Tarim Basin.

Desert sands have been examined for carbon storage before, but that did not reveal this process because the carbon is not stored in the sand – it is transported down into the groundwater, Li says.

The process begins when humans start to grow crops in the sandy soil. As the plants suck carbon dioxide out of the air, some is released into the sand and more is added by microbes that break down nutrients in the soil.

Normally that CO2 would escape into the air, but in arid farming, a lot of water is used to combat rising salinity caused by evaporating water. The extra water dissolves the CO2 and deposits it in the aquifer below.

So long as the aquifer is a closed system – which it usually is – the CO2 will stay there.

The mechanism makes sense and has been rigorously studied, says Pep Canadell of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Canberra, Australia. Canadell is executive director of the Global Carbon Project, which aims to develop a complete picture of the world’s carbon budget.

But he has doubts about the global importance of desert carbon sinks.  “One needs a lot of irrigation in the desert to make this mechanism globally meaningful,” says Canadell. “One region in China doesn’t make the world.”

Li agrees, saying that this is the first time that this process has been identified, so it has not even been looked for elsewhere yet.

He says that the salty water in these sorts of aquifers is not usually thought of as a resource – it cannot be used for irrigation, for example – so it has barely been studied. “It’s basically out of sight, out of mind,” he says.

Li expects the process to occur elsewhere, although it will vary with the pH of the soil – the more alkaline it is, the more carbon can be absorbed by irrigation water.

And because between 5 and 10 per cent of arid regions are farmed, there will be about a trillion tonnes of carbon stored in saline aquifers if similar mechanisms are at work across the globe – a quarter more than is stored in living plants.

If confirmed, this has two important implications, according to Li.

The first is that these saline aquifers should be left alone. There have been plans to use them for various things, including geothermal energy and irrigation. “To open up the saline ground water would really be a problem for sure,” Li says.

But more positively, Li thinks the mechanism could be exploited as a form of carbon sequestration by expanding irrigated farming on the edges of deserts.


Poorly-founded claims about ocean acidification.  Bulk of research on impacts of ocean acidification is FLAWED, new study finds

Hundreds of doom-laden studies about the effects of climate change on the Earth's oceans may be flawed and unreliable, a major review has found.

For years, scientists have warned that rising levels of carbon dioxide are marking our seas more acidic – and that this spells disaster for marine life.

But a review of hundreds of studies into the effects of acidity on sea creatures suggest the vast majority may be unreliable or not fit for purpose.

The review – by two experts in Australia – said only 27 of more than 400 studies into the issue were appropriately carried out.

And 278 studies were 'clearly inappropriate' which means a huge amount of research is not fit for purpose. Some of the research, if 'reanalysed', might yield useful data, but not in its current form, say the authors.

Christopher Cornwall, who studies ocean acidification at the University of Western Australia, and ecologist Catriona Hurd of the University of Tasmania, wrote in their paper in the ICES Journal of Marine Science: 'This analysis identified that most laboratory manipulation experiments in ocean acidification research used either an inappropriate experimental design and/or data analysis, or did not report these details effectively.'

To test the effect on ocean creatures – whether lobsters, plankton, mussels, or fish – is a complex business. It requires using big tanks of seawater containing sealife to slosh around on moving tables that simulate the effect of the tides for days on end. Seawater is made more acidic by adding chemicals.

Errors made in the studies include increasing acidity without increasing temperature, not looking at other effects such as an increase of chemicals called carbonates and failing to eliminate the risk of observer bias.

The authors, commenting in Nature, say the 'overwhelming evidence' of ocean acidifiation still stands. [They had to say that]. But they say it is hard to assess the impact of ocean life from most of the experiments that have been carried out.


Obama: Iranian oil, good. Canadian oil, bad. American oil, bad

President Obama’s confusing approach to energy encourages our enemies who shout “death to America,” while penalizing our closest allies and even our own job creators.

Iran’s participation in the nuclear negotiations that have slogged on for months, have now, ultimately, netted a deal that will allow Iran to export its oil — which is the only reason they came to the table (they surely are not interested in burnishing Obama’s legacy). International sanctions have, since 2011, cut Iran’s oil exports in half and severely damaged its economy. Iran, it is estimated, currently has more than 50 million barrels of oil in storage on 28 tankers at sea — part of a months’ long build up.

It is widely reported that, due to aging infrastructure and saturated storage, it will take Iran months to bring its production back up to pre-sanction levels. The millions of barrels of oil parked offshore are indicative of their eagerness to increase exports. Once the sanctions are lifted — if Congress approves the terms of the deal, Iran wants to be ready to move its oil. In fact, even before the sanctions have been lifted, Iran is already moving some of its “floating storage.”

On July 17, the Financial Times  reported, “The departure of a giant Iranian supertanker from the flotilla of vessels storing oil off the country’s coast has triggered speculation Tehran is moving to ramp up its crude exports.” The Starla, “a 2 million barrel vessel,” set sail — moving the oil closer to customers in Asia. In April, another tanker, Happiness, sailed from Iran to China, where, since June, it has parked off the port City of Dalian.

Starla is the first vessel storing crude offshore to sail after the nuclear deal was reached — which is, according to the Financial Times, “signaling its looming return to the oil market.” Reuters calls its departure “a milestone following a months-long build-up of idling crude tankers.” Analysts at Macquarie Capital apparently think the oil on Starla will not be parked, waiting for sanctions to be lifted. A research note, states that Iran is “likely assuming that either a small increase in exports will not undermine the historic accord reached or that no one will notice.” We noticed.

Already, before sanctions are lifted, global oil prices are feeling the pressure of Iran’s increased exports. Since the deal’s been announced, crude prices have lost almost all of their recent gains.

While the Obama Administration’s actions are allowing Iran, which hates America, to boost its economy by increasing its oil exports, they are hurting our closest ally by continuing to delay the Keystone pipeline — which would help Canada export its oil.

After six-and-a-half years of kicking the can down the road, and despite widespread support and positive reports, the Keystone pipeline is no closer to construction than it was on the day the application was submitted. It is obvious President Obama doesn’t like the project, which will create tens of thousands of jobs, according to his own State Department. Back in February, he vetoed the bill Congress sent him that would have authorized construction, saying that it circumvented “longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest.” At the time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said, “Congress won’t stop pursuing good ideas, including this one.” But he was not able to gather enough votes to override the veto, and, since then, we’ve heard nothing about the Keystone pipeline. In Washington, DC, silence on an important issue like Keystone isn’t always golden.

There is no pending legislation on Keystone, but the permit application has still not been approved or rejected. I had hoped that the unions, who want the jobs Keystone would provide, would be able to pressure enough Democrats to support the project, to push a bill over the veto-proof line. But that didn’t happen. For months, Keystone has been silently dangling. But that may be about to change.

Reliable sources tell me that Obama is prepared to, finally, announce his decision on Keystone. According to the well-sourced rumor, he is going to say, “No” — probably just before or after the Labor Day holiday. He’ll conclude that it is not in the “national interest.” So helping our ally grow its economy and export its oil is not in our national interest but helping our sworn enemy do the same, is? It’s like the “Channeling Jeff Foxworthy” parody states, we just “might live in a country founded by geniuses and run by idiots.”

Speaking of economic growth and oil exports, what about here at home, in the good old U.S. of A.? Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) questions the deal that allows Iran to export its oil, while we cannot. “As Congress begins its 60-day review of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about whether it is in our nation’s — and the world’s — best interests. Not least among them are the underexplored, but potentially significant, consequences the deal will hold for American energy producers.”

Most people don’t realize that the U.S. is, as Murkowski says in her op-ed, “the only advanced nation that generally prohibits oil exports.” Due to decades-old policy, born in a different energy era, American oil producers are prohibited from exporting crude oil because it was perceived to be in “short supply.” (Note that refined petroleum product, such as gasoline and diesel, can be exported and is our number one export. We are also about ready to ship our first major tanker full of natural gas to Europe.) Today, when it comes to crude oil, our cup runneth over. The U.S. is now the world’s largest producer of oil and gas. Rather than short supply, we have an oversupply — so much so that American crude oil (WTI) is sold at a discount over the global market (Brent). This disadvantages U.S. producers but doesn’t benefit consumers because gasoline is sold based on the higher-priced Brent.

Murkowski argues that it is time to lift the 40-year-old oil export ban. She’s introduced bipartisan legislation that would do just that, but, if he were so inclined, President Obama could reverse the policy himself — if he found it to be in the national interest. And how could it not be?

Allowing U.S. crude oil onto the world market enhances global energy security, as it would be less impacted by tensions in the Middle East. Our allies in Europe and Asia would have access to supply from a friendly and reliable source — remember the Arab Oil Embargo crippled Japan’s economy because it had no domestic supply and was overly reliant on Arab sources. Lifting the oil export ban would allow U.S. crude to be sold at the true market price, not the discounted rate, which would help stem the job losses currently being felt throughout the oil patch due to the low price of oil and exacerbated by the drop in the price of crude triggered by the Iran deal.

So, the Obama Administration is lobbying Congress to lift the sanctions on Iran, a country that views America as The Great Satan. Lifting sanctions would allow Iran to resume full oil export capabilities and boost its economy — while refusing to give our allies and our own country the same benefit. Iranian oil will enter the world market, while Canadian and American oil is constrained. How is that in the “national interest?”

It appears we might just be living in a country founded by geniuses and run by idiots.


EPA: A Rogue Agency

The Fourth Circuit has joined a growing number of courts, including the Supreme Court, in slapping down actions by the EPA. The court recently denied the EPA’s challenge to a discovery order from a federal judge in West Virginia.

The case, Murray Energy Corp. et al. v. Gina McCarthy, involves §321 of the Clean Air Act. This section creates a nondiscretionary duty for the EPA to conduct continuing evaluations of potential loss or shifts in employment due to EPA regulations under authority of the Clean Air Act.

Gina McCarthy, the administrator of the EPA, has not been tracking employment movement. Her theory is that continuing evaluations do not have to begin immediately, but can begin at any time. This is just another example of an executive branch agency acting like they are above the law.

Murray Energy had enough of the agency ignoring the law and sued Gina McCarthy, in her official capacity as administer of the EPA. They ask the court to do three things in their lawsuit. First, they ask the court to declare Gina McCarthy to be in violation of §321 of the Clean Air Act, Second, they ask for a court order directing her to look at potential job losses and shifts as a result of the EPA’s regulations. Third, they ask for injunction barring any new regulations affecting the coal industry before the §321 requirements are met.

Murray Energy believes that Gina McCarthy’s dereliction of her duties under the Clean Air Act is part of the Obama EPA’s “War on Coal.” The theory is that the EPA is using the Clean Air Act to encourage power providers to shut down coal plants or switch them over to other fuels. Since 2010 an estimated 330 coal-fired plants have been shut down or converted to other fuels.

McCarthy sought to dismiss the lawsuit, which the district court denied. Since then, the EPA has been uncooperative. According to Murray Energy, the EPA has refused to designate witnesses, schedule depositions and failed to respond to interrogatories and requests for production. All of this has made it impossible to for Murray to conduct discovery.

District Judge John Preston Bailey agreed with Murray and ordered the EPA to respond to the discovery requests. The EPA asked the Fourth Circuit to reverse the order to comply, but the Fourth Circuit refused.

The EPA, like many executive branch agencies, feel they are above the law. Whether it is not taking costs into consideration when rulemaking, looking to implement rules clearly not allowed by the Clean Air Act, or disregarding a section of the Clean Air Act, Obama’s EPA is a rogue agency. Courts are getting wise and showing the EPA that they are not above the law.


Climate Scientists Rip Apart EPA’s Global Warming Rule

The Obama administration recently unveiled regulations further limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and some climate scientists are criticizing the rules for doing virtually nothing to reduce global temperature rises — the whole point of reducing CO2.

“Well the one thing you don’t hear President [Barack] Obama mention is how much his proposed emissions reductions will reduce global warming,” wrote Dr. Judith Curry, a climatologist at Georgia Tech. “It has been estimated that the U.S. [climate plan] of 28% emissions reduction by 2025 will prevent 0.03 [degrees Celsius] in warming by 2100.”

“And these estimates assume that climate model projections are correct,” Curry wrote, “if the climate models are over-sensitive to CO2, the amount of warming prevented will be even smaller.”

The EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan aims to reduce emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The EPA has touted billions of dollars in public health and nebulous “climate benefits,” but avoids mention of the rule’s impact on global temperatures.

Curry wasn’t alone in her criticism of the Obama administration’s global warming agenda, scientists with the libertarian Cato Institute criticized the plan for doing little for global temperature while increasing energy prices.

The EPA, however, argues the Clean Power Plan alone is not meant to address global warming, but instead they say rule will galvanize global support for an international agreement to cut CO2 emissions. The Obama administration has gotten tentative agreements from China and Brazil to curb their greenhouse gas emissions, but they won’t make any immediate cuts.

The agency also justified the Clean Power Plan by claiming it would reduce asthma rates, which they say will be exacerbated by global warming. A White House fact sheet claims the rule will “avoid up to 3,600 premature deaths, lead to 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children, and prevent 300,000 missed work and school days.”

But claims linking global warming and asthma rates are dicey. So far, there’s no strong link between increasing temperatures and asthma attacks. Cato scientists slammed EPA for making such claims.

“The public health arguments are even weaker,” Curry wrote. “CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with asthma. Extreme weather events are not increasing with increased CO2; extreme weather events are dominated by natural climate variability. Particularly in the U.S., extreme weather was substantially worse in the 1930’s and 1950’s.”

“Trying to sell this plan as economic and public health issue is a ploy to develop political will for President Obama’s preferred energy policies,” Curry wrote.


Obama’s Climate Hubris Scales New Heights

But it will be for nothing

This week President Obama is hailing his Clean Power Plan as "the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change."

Obama is posing as the environment's savior, just as he did in 2008, when he promised his presidency would mark "the moment when . . . the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." Seven years later, that messianic legacy is in doubt.

Obama's Clean Power Plan has never had legislative support, even when his own party controlled both houses of Congress. Now he's trying to impose it without Congress, an audacious ploy his old Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe condemns as "burning the Constitution."

As his presidency wanes, Obama is desperately burnishing his eco-credentials with environmental zealots like Pope Francis and the leftists at the U.N. and in the European Union. But here at home, his plan would be a disaster economically, which explains its failure in Congress.

Hillary Clinton is pledging to support the plan, while Republicans vying for their party's presidential nomination are vowing to oppose it. The Clean Power Plan will be a fiercely debated issue in coal-consuming swing states like Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania - where the race for the White House is usually decided.

Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is imposing the Clean Power Plan on all 50 states, requiring each state to close down coal-burning electric plants, and shift to other sources of electricity - natural gas burning plants, nuclear plants, solar and wind power generators - in order to reduce carbon emissions by one-third.

Nationwide, about 40 percent of electric power is produced by coal plants. Forcing these utilities to close will burn consumers with higher electric bills. It will also send hundreds of thousands of jobs a year up in smoke, as employers pay more to operate their businesses, according to Heritage Foundation economists.

And for what? The purported benefit is to avoid an imperceptible 0.02 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures by the year 2100. That's the official EPA estimate of the benefits of this Clean Air Plan. You must be kidding.

That's what as many as 25 governors are saying, and they are expected to file a lawsuit challenging the plan. They've got a strong case. Although the EPA bases its authority on the Clean Air Act of 1970, nothing in that law authorizes the agency to do more than require plants to use the best available technology - like scrubbers - to reduce emissions.

Congress never authorized the EPA to force states to close coal plants and move on to nuclear, or wind and solar. "The brute fact is that the Obama administration failed to get climate legislation through Congress. Yet the EPA is acting as though it has the legislative authority anyway to re-engineer the nation's electric generating system," says Tribe. "It does not."

Defenders of the president's environmental agenda say he has to act alone because the Congress is gridlocked. That's untrue. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are against the plan, and for good reasons.

Obama's EPA has tried several end-runs around Congress, creatively interpreting the 45-year-old Clean Air Act to suit its agenda.

But it hasn't always gotten away with it. In a stinging U.S. Supreme Court rebuke against the administration's restrictions on mercury emissions, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that "it is not rational, never mind ‘appropriate' to impose billions of dollars in economic costs" when the benefits are so uncertain.

The same could be said for the plan announced on Monday. Defenders of the new regulation predict falling energy costs from renewable sources, but so far that is pie in the sky speculation. Like the president's prediction that the average family would save $2,500 because of Obamacare.

But long before the Supreme Court weighs in on this new plan, presidential politics is likely to determine its fate. Another example of how high the stakes are in 2016.

That's what as many as 25 governors are saying, and they are expected to file a lawsuit challenging the plan. They've got a strong case. Although the EPA bases its authority on the Clean Air Act of 1970, nothing in that law authorizes the agency to do more than require plants to use the best available technology - like scrubbers - to reduce emissions.



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

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


7 August, 2015

The Donald on global warming

Long story short: Trump's not buying it. Very clear on Twitter:

He offered this more nuanced take to the Palin Update radio show:

The real climate change is going to be nuclear climate change if we're not smart and tough and very, very careful because that's a big danger and that's a real danger. I think Obama just said that the biggest threat that we have on the planet today is climate change, and a lot of people are saying, did he really say that? We have people chopping off heads and he's talking about climate change. I call it weather. I call it weather. You know, the weather changes.

You look back and they were calling it global cooling and global warming and global everything, but if you look back and the biggest tornados were in the 1890s, the biggest hurricanes were in the 1860s and 1870s. It's weather. You're going to have bad weather. So often I watch the evening newscasts and every time there is a rainstorm some place, and then they wonder why they don't do well, they say, `It's raining here and it's raining there,' usually leading the program. I call it weather. Maybe there's a little bit of change, I don't happen to believe it's manmade.


Cecil's death 'horrifying' but UK won't ban hunting trophies

The slaughter of Cecil the Lion was 'illegal, horrifying and disgusting' the environment minister said yesterday.

But Rory Stewart refused to commit to a ban on the import of trophies like lion heads or put pressure on British Airways not to carry them.

In reaction to the killing of Cecil, three U.S. airlines, Delta, American and United have banned the transport of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino or buffalo remains killed by trophy hunters.

Mr Stewart revealed 61 licences had been granted to bring animal trophies into the UK last year and there is no immediate sign of them being refused in future.

His comments come as a local Zimbabwean hunter, Theo Bronkhurst appeared in court in Hwange, Zimbabwe for failing to stop dentist Walter Palmer from killing the rare black-maned lion with a bow and arrow last week.

Bronkhurst told a court he thought it was 'frivolous and wrong' to bring charges against him. Palmer is facing calls for extradition from the US over the killing which shocked the world.

In an unusual photocall, Mr Stewart pledged £5million pounds to go to wildlife conservation efforts as he stood inches away from a seven-year-old live tiger, Jae Jae, who prowled safely behind the glass wall of his enclosure at London Zoo.

Mr Stewart said the trade in antique animal trophies can be used to cover the sale of illegally hunted animals.

Asked if he was 'happy for legally hunted trophies to be brought into the UK,' Mr Stewart replied: 'Let me start with the legal position.

'This practice is legal in certain countries. It's important to understand why it's legal... It's legal because conservationists believe this is the best way to engage local populations with conservation.

'The second question is around whether the UK should ban. We are looking very carefully at that... We are discussing it with the public, we are discussing it with other countries.

'This is not about a short term solution but thinking about the interests of the animals.'

He said while some countries such as Botswana, had banned hunting, others made large sums from it– such as $300million (£191million) a year for one government, thought to be Zambia 'which is then ploughed back into conservation. These are difficult issues.'

Mr Stewart added that last year the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) granted only 61 licenses to import trophies such as lion heads, paws and skins into the UK – although only 16 were actually used. 'We have taken less than 60 licenses out of 25,000 lions [living in the wild].'

He added: 'The key thing is protecting the lions in Africa and that means working with African governments so anything you do has to be a very serious discussion with these governments.'


The President's Clean Power Plan Is Built Upon a Pack of Lies

By Craig Idso

Today, President Obama unveiled his administration’s latest initiative to combat climate change, the Clean Power Plan. Authored and overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency, the new program requires a national reduction in power plant carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 32 percent just a mere decade and a half from now. Such a mandate, in and of itself, is a Herculean task that can be debated as to whether or not it is even possible to accomplish, as forecasts from the Administration’s own Department of Energy indicate ever more energy will be needed in the years and decades ahead — a need that is unlikely to be met without expanding the production of energy from fossil fuel combustion.

In the days, weeks and months ahead a lively debate will likely ensue with regard to how the President’s new emission rule will be implemented, the amount of jobs it will create, the lives it purports to save, the plan’s reliability, affordability and flexibility, the virtues of expanding renewable energy sources, and — dare we state it — the racial implications for implementing (or not implementing) the new rule.

As important as these features and characteristics are, however, it is crucial to note that none of them truly matter. They are all distractions from where the real debate should be taking place: the reason why the plan is being implemented.

According to the President and his acolytes, the Clean Power Plan is necessary in order to “tackle the threat of climate change.” In their view, increasing CO2 emissions are leading humanity down a dangerous path of irreversible global warming and climate change. Carbon dioxide is a perilous “pollutant” that will wreak havoc on society and the environment unless the new emission rule is implemented.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is built upon a pack of lies. This I know because for the past two decades I have read and published reviews of literally thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers that show rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations have little impact on global climate. These reviews, along with some of my own original research, are archived on the CO2 Science website,, as well as in the 2013 publication Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science. This massive collection of papers definitively refutes the narrative President Obama is attempting to sell America and the rest of the world; for there is nothing unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about the planet’s current level of warmth, extreme weather events are not increasing, and the net impact of rising temperatures is to actually save human lives.

Furthermore, it is equally disingenuous of the President and his Administration to characterize CO2 as a “pollutant.” Carbon dioxide is a well-known aerial fertilizer, and many thousands of studies have proven the growth-enhancing, water-saving and stress-alleviating benefits it provides for the biosphere, which benefits were recently summarized in the 2014 publication Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts.

The reality is that rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are stimulating the productivity of the entire biosphere, where despite all of the many real and imagined assaults on Earth’s vegetation that have occurred over the past several decades, including wildfires, disease, pest outbreaks, deforestation, and climatic changes in temperature and precipitation, as shown in the figure below, the terrestrial biosphere has become, in the mean, an increasingly greater sink for CO2-carbon, more than compensating for any of the negative effects these phenomena may have had on the global biosphere. Additionally, the direct monetary benefits of atmospheric CO2 enrichment on global crop production have been estimated to have been a staggering $3.2 trillion over the period 1961-2011.

Five-year smoothed rates of carbon transfer from land to air (+) or from air to land (-) vs. time. Adapted from Tans (2009, Oceanography 22: 26-35).

The Obama Administration should be fully aware of all of these truths. Copies of both Climate Change Reconsidered publications have been submitted to the EPA and other government agency officials over the years in one form or another. Sadly, however, rather than acknowledging these verities, the Administration has been hell-bent on disregarding them. This is where the real story lies and where the debate should be centered; for how in the world can a substance so beneficial and essential to life on Earth be so incorrectly demonized and regulated as a pollutant when literally thousands of scientific measurements and observations indicate otherwise?

Clearly, the people behind these actions care little for the truth, little for fossil fuels, little for affordable energy and little for the millions of unfortunate people who will suffer the negative consequences of the President’s misguided plan.


Obama’s New Energy Plan Could Cost $2.5 Trillion in Lost Economic Growth

The Obama administration unveiled its climate change regulations for new and existing power plants, calling the plan “the biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change.”

It may be the most “important” from a top-down, regulatory mandate for high energy prices, but it won’t accomplish much, if anything, in terms of combating climate change.

Even though electricity generation accounts for the single largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, the estimated reduction is minuscule compared to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Climatologists estimate that the administration’s climate regulations will avert less than two hundredths of a degree Celsius by 2100.

In fact, all the plan will do is bring about higher energy bills, lost income, fewer jobs and a weaker economy – with little to no impact on the Earth’s temperature.

The role of the federal government should be not to promote or restrict any energy source or technology, but instead to enforce free-market policies that generate innovation and provide competitive prices.

In fact, the federal government has done much more to restrict the development of these energy sources than promote them, with Obama’s climate regulations being the latest blow.

Coal currently provides approximately 40 percent of America’s electricity as an affordable, reliable source.

Obama is upping the ante on existing power plants, forcing power plants, on average, to cut carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, with interim targets starting in 2022.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed separate carbon dioxide (CO2) regulations for new power plants and existing units but issued the final regulations concurrently.

The emissions threshold for new power plants will require coal-fired plants to install carbon capture and sequestration technology (CCS).

This will likely spell the end of new coal-fired power plants since no credible basis exists to state that CCS is adequately demonstrated today.

CCS faces questions about technical scalability, regulatory challenges, long-term liability of storing the captured CO2 and above all, cost that make it a non-option.

And that CCS yields no environmental benefit makes the requirement farcical.

The new regulations would drop that to 27 percent by 2030, forcing states to switch to more expensive, less reliable renewable power.

But “the war on coal,” as many are dubbing the regulations, is truly a war on American families and businesses.

Americans feel the pain of higher energy prices directly, but also indirectly through almost all of the goods and services they buy, because energy is a necessary staple of production for almost all goods and services.

Further, a regulation that increases energy prices will disproportionately eat into the income of the poorest American families.

The cumulative economic impact of higher energy prices will be hundreds of thousands of jobs lost and more than $2.5 trillion in lost economic growth.

To allegedly soften that blow, the EPA is touting the notion of flexibility to the states, arguing that states can set up regional cap-and-trade programs, increase renewable or nuclear power generation or mandate more energy efficiency standards.

States will have one year to develop and submit their own compliance plan or develop regional plans with other states, though the EPA will grant extension waivers as long as two years.

No matter how states concoct their plans, the economic damages will be felt through higher energy costs, fewer job opportunities and fewer choices through implementation of efficiency mandates that remove decision making from producers and consumers.

The EPA’s idea of flexibility will not soften the economic blow; it merely means that families, individuals and businesses will incur higher costs through different state or regional-imposed mechanisms.

And by placing the entire onus on the states to devise their own carbon-cutting plans, the federal government evades all accountability to Americans and leaves state officials to take the political heat.

The climate benefit that Americans receive for higher electricity rates, unemployment and lower levels of prosperity is almost, if not completely, nonexistent. Government regulators could limit all greenhouse gas emissions produced by the United States, and that number jumps to only a tenth of a degree of averted warming.

Therefore, Congress and state officials should not wait on the courts to act in this matter.

Any delay in fighting the entirety of the regulation could cause the closer of many reliable, low-cost power plants, mandate pricier alternative energy and set steep prices on carbon dioxide for regional cap-and-trade programs.

Members of Congress and state governments should fight the regulation, rather than settling for a slightly more palatable version of the regulation that will still bring injurious economic results and no climate or environmental benefit.


Tennessee’s Fracking Controversy

Shale gas deposits underlie about a third of the State of Tennessee. Tapping that low-carbon resource is essential if electric utilities there and across the nation have any hope of complying with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Energy Plan, which mandates a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

Yet environmental groups are fighting furiously against proposals to recover Tennessee’s abundant natural gas supplies because doing so requires expanding hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) of the state’s shale formations. That opposition is both perverse and disingenuous of people demanding action against climate change, not by shifting from coal to natural gas, but instead by relying more heavily on solar and wind power to meet the nation’s energy needs.

“Perfect” energy options have become the enemy of “good” and practical ones.

Generating electricity from renewables hinges on the availability of other energy sources on days when the weather isn’t cooperating. Without natural gas as a backup, the sun and the wind are not reliable enough to supply today’s energy demands. Solar and wind combined contribute less than 5 percent of the nation’s electricity requirements – and that share would be much smaller but for tax credits and state mandates requiring greater reliance on renewable energy sources.

Wind turbines, on average, generate electricity 25 percent of the time and solar arrays are online even less regularly. The nation’s base-load natural gas and nuclear-powered plants, in contrast, produce electricity over roughly 90 percent of the day and the year.

Although energy companies have been buying mineral rights to the Chattanooga Shale in the eastern part of the state, fracking has yet to take hold in a big way because it hasn’t been profitable at today’s low natural gas prices. But if and when those prices rise or new drilling innovations reduce the cost of fracking, gas production will take off.

Even now, though, TVA needs the state’s natural gas – and additional nuclear power – to reduce its reliance on coal-fired electricity generators. And Tennessee needs the jobs and other huge economic benefits that will come with more natural gas production.

There’s a lot at stake. The University of Tennessee wants an energy company to frack on about 8,000 woodland acres maintained as an outdoor laboratory on the Cumberland Plateau. The lease revenues potentially total hundreds of millions of dollars. The university has proposed using some of that revenue to support research on fracking’s environmental risks. But corporate funding of public institutions of higher learning is anathema to Greens and some faculty members, who contend that such a pact with the “Devil” creates a conflict between the public’s interest and that of external sponsors.

The reality is that universities nationwide face mounting pressures to increase corporate funding to offset ongoing reductions in government spending on teaching and research. There’s nothing wrong with this. To the contrary, private financial support for universities has led to breakthroughs in everything from biotechnology and computing to public health. Why not use oil and gas money to support good science at Tennessee’s flagship school on fracking or to endow a chair in petroleum engineering?

Fracking is underway nowadays in a dozen states around the country. Shale formations underlie a wide swath of Appalachia, and the oil and gas industry is eager to expand its fracking operations into New York, North Carolina, and Maryland. No one can deny the huge economic potential of the Chattanooga Shale, which is an extension of the giant Marcellus Shale to the northeast.

Fracking ordinarily involves injecting large amounts of water underground under high pressure, but the Chattanooga Shale is too fragile for that, so nitrogen gas is injected instead. That process reduces the quantity of water needed for drilling, leaving more available for irrigation and other uses. Hence, there is little or no need for wastewater injection wells in Tennessee, a recovery technique that has been linked to incidents of groundwater contamination – but only a few of them – since fracking began in the 1940s.

The growth of shale-gas production has produced unquestionable environmental benefits. Natural gas has less than half the carbon content of coal. Owing largely to a switch from coal to gas in electricity generation, U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions have fallen to 1990 levels. Fifteen years ago, gas accounted for 16 percent of national electricity production; its share has increased to 27 percent today. Coal use has gone in the opposite direction, plummeting from 51.3 percent of the total in 2000 to 39 percent today.

Neither Tennessee nor any other state can meet the EPA’s carbon-dioxide reduction goal without natural gas and nuclear power. If fracking is banned, electricity prices will go up, heating prices will rise, and the jobs created by the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing, all of which can be attributed to falling energy prices, will go by the wayside.


Australia: Another Green/Left conspiracy theory

Back in the '80s and '90s people still trusted scientists.  Some naive people still do.  So pronouncements from scientists about global warming were treated with respect.  Even Margaret Thatcher was taken in for a time.  There are a lot of people who understand science, however, and, as they began to look at the facts behind the warnings, they saw that it was all just a storm in a teacup with a poorly-founded prophecy built on top. 

And that fact eventually percolated through to a lot of people, including a lot of decision-makers.  But, because the prestige of science was great, few people denounced the scare outright.  Instead it began to get just lip service from many decision-makers.  Only Leftists retained fervour -- because the theory justified their hunger for control over us all so well.

But Leftists don't want to believe any of that so they are constantly putting out conspiracy theories:  Shady people in dark places are manipulating is all. Antisemitism is the grandfsather of such theories.  Conspiracy theories are the recourse of people who don't really understand what is going on.  They are a substitute for real enquiry. So Leftists have always been big propagators of them.

And so it has been with the Green/Left.  The accusations of a dark conspiracy to prevent action on global warming never stop.  Below is the latest one from Australia

There’s something about climate change that almost everyone in Australia has either forgotten or never knew in the first place.

In 1990 Bob Hawke announced his government wanted the country to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the year 2005.

For a fleeting moment, it seemed the Australian public, politicians and the media were in agreement with the science.

But a new book investigates how the industries that stood to lose the most worked to undermine the science and entirely reshape the story being told to the public.

“We have been propagandised,” says the author, Maria Taylor.
Hawke was ready

In 1989 Hawke described a “growing consensus amongst scientists” showing there was a strong chance that major climate change was on its way, that this change was linked to human activity, and this could have “major ramifications for human survival” if nothing was done.

Public statements by scientists in Australia and around the world, backed by government reports and research, had established unambiguously that humans were causing climate change. Bold steps needed to be taken if the major risks of catastrophic climate change were to be mediated.

The UN’s intergovernmental plan on climate change delivered its first blockbuster assessment of the climate science in 1990.

Taylor’s book recalls how Australia was working its way towards a detailed plan to deliver Hawke’s proposal. State governments had response strategies in place. Politicians were largely on board. So was the fourth estate. The public understood the science and the huge risks of not acting.

Now, a quarter of a century later, climate change has been turned into a toxic political football. Scientists have their integrity attacked on a daily basis.
Australia's climate change 'debate' all talk and no action
Lenore Taylor Political editor
Read more

Climate science denial is a feature of the conservative media and many members of the public are either confused about the science, ambivalent about the issue or entirely uninterested.

So how has Australia has managed to find itself behind where it was a quarter of a century ago?
The book

Around 2007, Taylor was asking herself that question. How did the corporate interest replace the public interest? How did climate science become “controversial” in the eyes of the public?

Taylor, who is a journalist and newspaper publisher, wanted to know how Australians were “persuaded to doubt what they knew”.

She reviewed hundreds of newspaper articles and government reports for a PhD thesis and now book, called Global Warming and Climate Change: What Australia Knew and Buried … Then Framed a New Reality for the Public” (you can download a copy free from publisher ANU Press).

Taylor also interviewed about a dozen key insiders, including scientists, advisers, politicians and journalists. She says the fact that Australia was ready and willing to act 25 years ago has itself been a forgotten story.

    Almost no one that I spoke to remembered the 1990 emissions reduction target. Even people like [former energy minister] John Kerin, who co-signed it!

In the book Taylor explains how from the late 1980s industry groups, free market advocates and climate contrarians got to work to reframe the issue from the science to the economics.

By 1996 much of the damage was done. The advent of John Howard’s government ensured there would be no more genuine progress.



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, 2015

Tell a big enough lie often enough...

Folksy assertions and an obvious lie from Obama below.  How can renewable power be cheaper when you have to back it up with  other plant for the times when the wind doesn't blow and the sun is not out?  Roughly doubling the capital costs of generation has got to push up prices.  Saying anything else is a Goebbels performance

"No challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than a changing climate," President Obama said Monday in a speech announcing his plan to achieve a 32-percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by the year 2030.

Although President Obama did not name the critics of his Clean Power Plan on Monday, he clearly was addressing Republicans.

"We've hear the same stale arguments before," he said. "Every time America has made progress, it's been despite these kinds of claims. Whenever America sets clear rules and smarter standards for our air, our water, our children's health, we get the same scary stories about killing jobs and businesses and freedom."

Obama then told a story about arriving in Los Angeles for college as an 18-year-old, in late August.

"I was moving from Hawaii. And I got to the campus, and I decided I had a lot of pent-up energy, and I wanted to take a run, and after about five minutes, suddenly, I had this weird feeling like I couldn't breathe. And the reason was, back in 1979, Los Angeles still was so full of smog that there were days where people who were vulnerable just could not go outside, and they were fairly frequent."

He got personal again at the end of his speech: "I don't want my grandkids not to be able to swim in Hawaii or not to be able to climb a mountain and see glacier because we didn't do something about it. I don't want millions of people's lives disrupted and this world more dangerous because we didn't do something about it. That'd be shameful of us. "This is our moment to get this right and leave something better for our kids. Let's make most of that opportunity."

At Monday's White House briefing, spokesman Josh Earnest said the Clean Power Plan will prompt states and individual utilities to "ramp up their investments in efficiency, ramp up their investments in renewable energy, which is cheaper to produce than energy that's produced by coal
, and making those kinds of investments will lead to savings in the utility bills of customers down the line, and that is what we're focused on, both in terms of saving consumers money but also a whole set of benefits that are associated with shifting to renewable energy or the use of less energy."

President Obama refuted critics who "claim that this plan will cost you money, even though this plan, the analysis shows, will ultimately save the average American nearly $85 a year on their energy bills." [I guess the EPA has produced some hokum to "prove" that scrapping coal will lower prices but Obama himself said a few years back that doing so would cause electricity prices to soar]


Obama's Clean Power Plan Is Costly Political Theater

On Monday, Barack Obama announced new rules for his long-dreaded Clean Power Plan. This past spring, we warned that Obama’s agenda to combat global warming would be finalized during the hottest days of summer. As with almost every other agenda under Obama, it’s even worse than expected — and all to prevent warming of 0.01 degrees Celsius.

Winston Churchill once said, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” And make no mistake: Obama’s plan has little or nothing to do with climate and everything to do with his social justice worldview, in which he wants to handicap the U.S. ostensibly to the benefit of the rest of the world.

Obama was originally set to unveil his new rules outside of the White House. However, due to the sweltering heat, he chose to move the announcement inside. Naturally, Leftmedia talkingheads couldn’t pass on the opportunity to blubber that “Mother Nature … was making his point for him.” But newsflash: It’s always hot in August. Clearly, the central planners were aiming for a bit of theatrics.

As for the details, according to The Wall Street Journal, the new rule “would require a 32% cut in power-plant carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels, an increase from the 30% target proposed last year.” According to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the estimated annual cost by 2030 will be $8.4 billion. But keep in mind that government estimates are always low.

The new regulations will require states to create a plan to reduce power-plant emissions in order to reach the nationwide carbon reduction target. The state compliance plans are supposed to be completed by 2018, and states should reach their first targets for reduction by 2022. If a state doesn’t comply, then it will be forced by the EPA to adopt a federal plan.

The Journal further notes, “The final rule calls for the nation to get 28% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030, versus roughly 13% last year. Industry experts say cutting carbon emissions 32% by 2030 will require billions of dollars in investments for new transmission lines that accommodate more solar and wind power and new pipelines to feed natural-gas-fired power plants, as coal becomes less important as a fuel.”

However, new pipelines for natural gas won’t be necessary. Obama has called natural gas a “bridge fuel” and has hailed its use as a way for the nation to move away from coal in the quest toward renewable energy. But the final version of Obama’s plan does not increase the use of natural gas; it maintains current levels. So he’s slamming the door shut on coal, and, while he’s at it, stopping the expansion of the use of natural gas. Obama’s leaving no room for more jobs to be created in the private sector.

But hey, since there will be new regulations to enforce, the EPA will need more manpower. Indeed, Obama’s EPA announced that it will hire an additional 800 new regulators. Obviously, 15,000 EPA workers aren’t enough to enforce the proposed regulations. It just shows how much Obama cares about creating jobs, right? Washington jobs, that is, which by the way will assist in putting private sector companies out of business for not complying with EPA demands. This is not quite what we would call the American Dream.

Neither is the cost of complying with the EPA’s proposal. Obama once admitted that, under his plan, energy prices would necessarily skyrocket. A study by the Energy Information Administration confirms that’s exactly what’s happening. If Obama’s plan is implemented, electricity prices will rise on average 4%, though some higher estimates predict increases of 12%-17%. Regardless, Americans will pay more, which doesn’t bode well for those struggling to make ends meet.

Yet the issue of climate change is more important to Obama than those struggling today. He wants it to be part of his legacy of fundamentally transforming America. Ahead of the climate change summit in Paris later this year, he wants to be seen as leading the way on combating emissions. He wants to be seen as the leader who saved the planet from capitalism. In addition, as with all issues, he wants environmental stewardship to be a divisive political game.

Why is it that liberal elites in the Democratic Party are portrayed as the authorities on all things environment? Why is it that conservatives and members of the Republican Party are portrayed as anti-science deniers, as haters of the environment, as if we delight in destroying the planet?

The short answer is that it gives an additional platform for Democrats. It provides an agenda for more control over how we live our lives. It becomes a wedge issue to drive votes in elections. And it pits state sovereignty against federal authority.

Fortunately, at least for now, many state governments have resisted the EPA power plan and Obama’s climate change agenda. Many state governments have insisted they will not comply, as it will ruin their economies. The issue will likely make it to the courts, and we hope the Supreme Court will rebuke the EPA once again, as it did in Michigan v. EPA. Liberty depends on reigning in the EPA, not emissions.


California’s Green-Energy Policies Are Driving Rising Numbers Into Energy Poverty

California has consistently been at the forefront of U.S. energy policy, including aggressive efforts to promote renewable generation, discourage consumption, and create a “low-carbon” economy. By 2020, California will require that one-third of electricity consumed in the Golden State be generated from renewable sources.

Not only is electricity purchased from renewable sources by the state’s utilities more expensive than electricity purchased in the wholesale market; California requires utilities to adopt rate structures that raise the price of electricity as consumption increases. The state is also home to a carbon cap-and-trade program aimed at reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels—roughly 433 million tons of CO2 equivalent—by 2050.

The supply and cost of electricity in California are affected by public programs designed to incentivize development of renewable sources: subsidies to encourage development of solar photovoltaic (PV) power at residential and commercial locations; “feed-in” tariffs to encourage small (less than 3 megawatts capacity) PV and bioenergy resources; a carbon cap-and-trade program to reduce GHG emissions; and, most significantly, a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandate.

Partly to meet such mandates, California’s average residential electricity prices have increased significantly: the cost of acquiring energy from renewable sources is far higher than the market price of power. Further, because most wind and solar generation is developed in remote locations, California’s utilities have constructed hundreds of miles of new high-voltage transmission lines, whose costs are passed on to households.

Despite projections of imminent cost-competitiveness with fossil fuels, renewable generation continues to be considerably more expensive. During 2003-2013, overall average cost of renewable generation acquired by the aforementioned utilities rose by 55 percent, from $54/MWh to $84/MWh. In contrast, in 2013, the average wholesale market price of generation was slightly more than $46/MWh.

As the Golden State continues its pursuit of a low-carbon economy, its green-energy policies are driving rising numbers of Californians into energy poverty. In 2012, nearly 1 million households spent more than 10 percent of their income on energy bills. In hotter, less affluent inland counties, the rate of energy poverty was as high as 15 percent of households. Absent significant policy reform, the state’s rate of energy poverty seems destined to rise higher.

To alleviate current inequities, California legislators should:

1. Conduct a Cost-Benefit Review. Commission a comprehensive, impartial cost-benefit analysis of the state’s energy policies. Do the benefits of California’s proposed GHG reductions—which, even if realized, will negligibly affect global emissions and climate—outweigh their considerable and rising cost to local businesses and households, particularly low-income Californians?

2. Make the State’s Tariff Structure More Fair. Impose a greater share of the burden of renewable mandates on wealthier households and avoid over-allocating fixed-utility costs to lower-income households, which are least likely to participate in California’s subsidized rooftop solar PV programs.

California’s energy policy is making life more difficult for its low-income residents. The state should reassess its renewable-energy campaign and decide whether forcing its residents into energy poverty is worth the benefits of lower carbon emissions.


For Endangered Galápagos Penguins, Climate Change May Come With Benefits

The Galápagos penguin—the only penguin native to the northern hemisphere—may be experiencing benefits from climate change. 

Shifting equatorial winds and water temperatures, possibly related to climate change, have caused an important undersea river called the Equatorial Undercurrent to rise up and hit the Galápagos Islands a bit farther north of its historic course.

According to a new study led by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a steady supply of cold ocean water has rejuvenated the marine food web on the western side of the Galápagos archipelago—where a vast majority of the Galápagos penguin population resides.

With more fish to eat, adult Galápagos penguins have hatched and reared more baby penguins to adulthood, more than tripling their numbers from just a few hundred 15 years ago to more than 1,000 today. It’s also been good news for fur seals and iguanas native to the region.

“When you see a cold pool of water where you’d expect to see warm water, that indicates something is mixing that water up from below,” said Kristopher B. Karnauskas, an associate scientist with WHOI and lead author of the study. “That water is feeding everything from plankton on up. It has been strengthening in the past 30 years and expanding northwards.”

Karnauskas and his colleagues found the connection between the Equatorial Undercurrent’s shift and penguin population growth by comparing satellite data on sea surface temperatures in the Galápagos with year-on-year census counts of the Galápagos penguin.

An estimated 2,000 penguins once roamed the islands, but by the early 1980s fewer than 500 remained. Introduced predators such as cats, dogs, and rats had long weakened their health and numbers, leaving the species especially vulnerable to depleted food supplies during El Niño weather cycles. “The penguins tend to die off during El Niño events, which are a massive sweeping circulation in the whole ocean” that warms sea surface waters and drives away fish, said Karnauskas.

The Galápagos penguin gained U.S. endangered species status in 2000 and is classified as “endangered”—just two steps away from extinct—on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

Karnauskas believes his study's findings suggest strategies that could help the penguins' numbers continue to grow.

“The sea surface temperature trend shows that just to the north of where most of the penguins are has become more of a suitable environment than it has in the past,” he said. “If that continues, I would cautiously draw a box around the north part of the island and say, 'If there’s any place conservation can help the penguins, that’s where I would do it.' ”


John Cook returns with his usual unscientific propaganda

Since this blog watches those who watch the deniers, a post on the infamous suspected identity thief John Cook’s July 22 piece “The 5 telltale techniques of Climate Deniers” seems in order.

His first claimed technique: Fake experts

This coming from a person who apparently photoshopped himself in a Nazi uniform then later posted comments under another’s name on the not-so-secret Skeptical Science forum. Comments attributed to Cook show he posted as Lobos Motl, a physicist who is skeptical of many of the claims of AGW. The idea that John could actually use the word “fake” seriously in a sentence says it all.

“Fake experts” means anyone who disagrees with any part of AGW, including the solutions proposed. So, besides parroting the proper attitude and allegiance, what makes someone an expert? It can’t be your degree–many acceptable and not acceptable experts have the same degrees. It’s not working in the field of climate science as there are several well-known persons who are working in the field who disagree with much of is claimed by climate science. It is belief in the entire AGW meme that makes you an expert. Not the science, not the degree. Just belief and agreement.

What makes climate science so special that only a few designated persons who all agree 100% on the meaning of climate change are the only experts? Answer: Nothing. It’s a smoke screen to silence any legitimate opposition (actually ALL opposition). What makes climate science special is it’s about agreement, not science and not about truth.

His second claimed technique:

Logical fallacies are used by climate deniers. He uses the fallacy of “jumping to conclusions” as an example. Climate change was natural in the past so it is now.

John’s analogy–you find someone dead with a knife in their back. You conclude they died of natural causes because people have done so in the past. I’m starting to see why John was a cartoonist. Rational thought is not required.  I know of no one who would jump to such a conclusion.  When someone says the climate has always changed, they are stating a fact.  The most egregious error in John’s claimed improper technique is that scientifically speaking, the person making the claim of “unnatural” has to prove their claim. The knife in the back is relatively solid proof of an unnatural death, unless someone just stabbed a knife into a dead person. Of course, if John knows the AGW scientists cannot prove that current warming or lack thereof is not natural, the smoke and mirrors game here does make sense.

His third claimed technique:

Impossible expectations. Like models that accurately predict? Really? Out of 102 models averaged, it seems none accurately predicted the leveling of temperatures over the past 18 years. None.

John, I have a great deal on a used car for you. About half the time it starts, sometimes it keeps running and sometimes not, it leaks anywhere from 1/2 to 3 quarts of oil, the wipers are random, tires hold air for a while and one or two doors open from the outside. Should work well if you don’t have impossible expectations of the car.

His fourth claimed technique:

Cherry picking. What’s this with the fruit fetish anyway?

Every single scientist on the planet picks and chooses the data he/she uses. If the data supports their theory/hypothesis with one selection but not another, the additional nonconforming data must be included. That’s not what climate scientists do, however. Often the values chosen seem to be chosen merely because they fit the theory. Then there is the constant adjusting of temperatures that goes on. While some adjustments may be needed, continual adjustment seems to point to making the data fit the theory.

Interestingly enough, John seems to be admitting there has been a leveling of off of temperatures in this statement: “For example, a persistent myth is that global warming stopped in recent decades. This is done by focusing on one slice of our climate system — the surface temperature record. Further, it relies on cherry-picking short time periods. This ignores the long-term trend and more importantly, ignores the many warming indicators telling us that our planet continues to build up heat.” There’s really no indication of what those many warming factors are nor why we should pay attention to something besides atmospheric temperatures. The global average temperature is the gold standard of climate change theory, yet suddenly we are to ignore it and move on?  Maybe.  After all, it didn’t cooperate and keep increasing.  Reality can be such a pain.

Climate scientists often do not start in the late 1800’s and run the entire record when demonstrating warming, so the claim of cherry-picking would apply to climate scientists as well.  Any elimination of any data can be claimed to be cherry-picking by someone, accurately or not.

John claims species are migrating to warmer climates yet there is scant if any evidence that this is occurring at a more rapid pace than in the past. Perhaps eyeballing some things are fine for climate science. Using actual data might result in fruit picking. He also mentions Greenland and Antarctica losing ice, but no mention of the Arctic. Do I smell pie baking?

His fifth technique:

Conspiracy theory beliefs. John complains skeptics claim there is a conspiracy of scientists and politicians to push AGW. (Coming from a person with virtually zero science knowledge and no advanced degrees who suddenly works for a university doing research studies, that might not be a really good idea.)

I’m following John’s lead here and going with an informal fallacy I am calling “the fallacy of self-delusion”. Global warming advocates constantly claim oil and gas are in a conspiracy to silence the AGW scientists. They are so incredibly self-deluded they do not see their own major conspiratorial claims. The good new is John’s fifth technique puts climate change advocates squarely in the science denier camp. Confirmation that climate change advocates are indeed science deniers.


Australian wind Inquiry Recommends careful regulation

The Senate Inquiry into wind farms has tabled a final report. The report recommends a series of ‘National Wind Farm Guidelines’ to be enforced against state governments which would have their eligibility to participate in the Clean Energy Certificate market created under the Renewable Energy Target threatened if they fail to comply.

The committee, which was dominated by senators who have publicly voiced their aversion to the wind energy sector, also recommended the establishment by statute of an ‘Independent Expert Committee on Industrial Sound’ (IECIS).

The committee on industrial sound would carry the remit of “conducting independent, multi-disciplinary research into the adverse impacts and risks to individual and community health and wellbeing associated with wind turbine projects”.

Earlier this year the National Health and Medical Research Council completed its own report which found that “there is no direct evidence that exposure to wind farm noise affects physical or mental health”.

But the committee took aim at a number of respected institutions and academics who concurred with the international consensus that wind farms are not harmful to human health.

The Australian Medical Association was accused of a “lack of rigour” and “slavish repetition of the findings of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s reviews,” which the committee was also highly critical of.

Instead, it recommended the committee on industrial sound become the dominant body and assume responsibility for developing a system of ‘National Wind Farm Guidelines’ in an attempt to push states to accept Federal standards on “visual amenity”, noise levels, standard buffer zones from residences, and community consultation processes.

The report is predicated on the position that “the wind sector in Australia is suffering from a crisis in community confidence” and that this must be solved through greater Federal involvement, despite recent polling indicating voters want the Commonwealth to do more to boost clean energy.

“There is deep scepticism within many local communities about the way in which wind operators are monitored and the complicit role of state governments in fudging results that find compliance,” the report said.

Under the recommendations state and territory governments would be required to “seek the advice of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Industrial Sound [as to] whether the proposed project poses risks to individual and community health” before granting approval.

State governments would then be unable to approve a project until the Federal Health Minister was satisfied the “risks to human health” had been mitigated.

The Federal government has already agreed to key recommendations of the report, including establishing the committee on industrial sound by the beginning of September this year and creating a Wind Farm Commissioner to handle grievances.

Labor Senator Anne Urquhart has already made her party’s grievances clear, with Labor slamming the report as “reckless, ridiculous and irresponsible”, a position which raises questions about whether the Federal government will be willing to open a new legislative battle front to implement key recommendations.

Senator Urquhart was the only Labor member on the committee and she prepared a dissenting report to prosecute the opposition’s argument that “this isn’t just an attack on wind” but rather the nation’s “entire renewable energy industry”.

“The majority report is belligerently deaf to the expert advice that wind energy is not only safe, but it is affordable and should play a critical role in Australia’s transition to a low-carbon economy,” Urquhart said

“Not one professional scientific, medical or acoustics body in the world holds the proposition that wind farms are dangerous to human health, and yet the majority report predicates a raft of onerous recommendations on this completely unsubstantiated claim.”

Federal Labor recently announced a policy of achieving 50 per cent renewable energy within 15 years and its state satellites are likely to share Uruhart’s concerns over “the Prime Minister’s blind obsession with destroying an industry that promises billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs in regional communities”.

The Victorian Labor government recently called on the Commonwealth to relax the Renewable Energy Target’s foundational legislation after the opposition was forced to cut it by 20 per cent, but yesterday’s recommendations could create far bigger headaches if successfully implemented.

The report recommends a project’s ability to attract subsidies under the Renewable Energy Target be contingent on its compliance with Federal guidelines on matters such as “visual amenity” and noise levels, including retrospectively with companies given “a period of no more than five years with which to comply”.

It also argues that all new projects should be eligible to trade under the Renewable Energy Target for no more than five years and that this should be subject to a requirement to “link the issuing of renewable energy certificates with confirmed greenhouse gas reduction”.

In 2013, wind power attracted 60 per cent of Renewable Energy Certificates and accounted for 63 per cent of total renewable-generated electricity.

In its dissenting report Labor criticised the Inquiry’s terms of reference for not considering “the broader imperative … to mitigate the impact of climate change”.

“In short,” the dissenting report reads, “the terms of reference have been framed so as to avoid consideration of the primary issues that must be addressed by public policy regarding Australia's energy generation mix”.



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

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5 August, 2015

Joe Romm, a paid climate shill, is pumping out the hysteria again -- invoking morality, not science

You would think it was the ravings of a madman or religious fanatic if you didn't know it is his bread and butter.  It must feel strange for him to be quoting the Pope as an authority.  He quotes no actual climate facts -- just the words of his fellow climate ravers.  So let me quote some relevant facts: The "fossil" fuel era has been enormously beneficial.  As CO2 levels have grown so has wealth and life expectancy.  See the first chart below. Do we want to cut that back?  We might if the earth really were dangerously warming but the second chart shows that on a geological timescale there are ups and downs but overall the earth is actually cooling

The next few years are unprecedented in human history. We know with unusually high scientific certainty that the near-term choices we as a nation and a species make about carbon pollution will determine whether or not we will destroy our livable climate in the coming decades — thereby ruining the lives of billions of people irreversibly for centuries to come.

We have no right to destroy the soil (and other elements of a livable climate) for our children and future generations — a point Thomas Jefferson explained was universally self-evident in a 1789 letter to James Madison.

And so we as a nation have a moral imperative to act. The world’s top scientists and governments could not be clearer on that point. Nor could the Pope be in his recent climate encyclical.

We can and should debate what type of action is necessary to act in a moral fashion in these unprecedented times. But it is no longer a rational or moral option to continue being entranced by the Siren song of “technology, innovation, blah, blah, blah” from conservatives like Jeb Bush and other rejectionists. They imply oppose all strategies that could plausibly achieve the kind of steady and serious ongoing reductions we need — such as pricing carbon pollution or regulating carbon pollution.

The stakes behind the CPP are simply too high, as the leading opponents of action have made all too clear. For instance, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not merely urged states to ignore the law’s requirement for them to put forward a state implementation plan to meet the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan standards.

In one of the most shocking statements ever issued by any U.S. political leader, McConnell actually admitted publicly that his goal is to stop a global deal to avert catastrophic climate change. It was the (primarily) conservative opposition led by McConnell that brought down the 2009 House climate bill in the Senate. That opposition left President Obama and the EPA no choice but to put on the table a plan to enact carbon pollution standards for existing power plants.

Obama’s actual Clean Power Plan is the bare minimum the United States can do and remain a moral nation.

At the end of his encyclical, the Pope called on God to “Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live. The poor and the earth are crying out.” So not only do we bear the most responsibility for the current problem, we are the country with the most power and money to do something about it — power and money we achieved to a great extent by fossil fuels.

The Alternative Is Catastrophic

The Clean Power Plan is the bare minimum we can morally do because it’s part of an overall U.S. carbon reduction target that itself is not adequate to avoid the 2°C (3.6°F) total that the world’s leading scientists and governments have repeatedly agreed is the absolute limit the world can risk.

And it always bears repeating that inaction is doubly immoral because every major country has the knowledge that action is so damn cheap — especially compared to inaction — because that’s what all the independent economic analyses and all of our real world experience cutting emissions demonstrate.....

The significance of the Clean Power Plan in enabling a climate deal is clear from the fact that the fossil-fuel-funded opponents of action, led by Sen. McConnell, have desperately been trying to kill a Paris deal by persuading the rest of the world that America won’t meet its obligations.

But the truth is that we can and will meet those obligations — and I am certain in fact this nation will surpass them. Why? As morally and scientifically urgent as the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is now, that urgency is going to grow exponentially over the next few years, as global temperatures and extreme weather soar, as the dire nature of our situation becomes painfully obvious to more and more people.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said (“echoing the words of 19th century abolitionist and Unitarian minister Theodore Parker”): “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The bend occurring now is a true inflection point in human history. Some may bet against justice and morality prevailing, but I won’t.


WH Anticipates 'A Difficult Transition' to 'Clean Power'

The usage of "clean" above always amuses me.  Muslims describe girls who have been subjected to genital mutilation (cliterodectomy) as "clean".  That puts Warmists into exactly the right category, I think

President Obama will unveil the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan on Monday, imposing stricter-than-expected carbon dioxide limits on the states.

"There's no doubt that this is going to be a difficult transition," Obama's spokesman Josh Earnest told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday. "But it's a transition that is clearly in the best interests of our economy, it's clearly in the best interest of the health of children all across the country, and it's in the best interests of the planet."

Earnest said he thinks the EPA Clean Power Plan "is the culmination of what the president talked about in 2007 and 2008."

Even before he became president, Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to wean the nation off coal.

"If somebody wants to build a coal fired plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted," Barack Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle in January 2008.

He added later in the same interview, “Under my plan -- electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

Rates may skyrocket, but the White House insists customers' bills will come down -- likely because people won't be able to afford as much electricity.

"If we actually make progress in investing in this clean energy, what we're actually going to do, we're actually going to lower costs for consumers," Earnest said on Monday.

The new rules take effect in 2022, and states must meet the carbon dioxide reduction targets -- a 32 percent reduction from 2005 levels -- by 2030. Obama's proposed rule last year called for a 30 percent cut.

"We're going to take the most important, substantial step that our country's every taken to reduce the causes of climate change," Earnest said on Monday. "And what we're going to do, we're going scale back the carbon pollution that our power generators are currently allowed to spew into the atmosphere."

"For too long, we've seen Washington, D.C., putting off and delaying action, serious action, to fight the causes of climate change. And we've seen special interests mobilize to try to fight any effort to do that. And I have no doubt that special interests in Washington, D.C., are going to squeal -- as are the politicians who are in their pocket.

"But the fact of the matter is, these rules are going to do something to finally confront the causes of climate change, it's actually going to have significant benefits for public heatlth, particularly children with asthma, and it's going to accelerate the progress that we've made already in transitioining to a clean energy economy."

As the Associated Press noted, it will be up to Obama's successor to implement the EPA's Clean Energy Plan. The AP also reported that the Obama administration estimated the emissions limits will cost $8.4 billion annually by 2030.

The actual price won't be clear until states decide how they'll reach their targets. But people in the energy industry said the stricter limits make Obama's mandate even more burdensome, costly and difficult to achieve.


Obama's effort to polish climate legacy faces battle from GOP

President Obama wants his signature climate change regulation to be a hallmark of his White House legacy. But whether the rule, which will be finalized Monday, will remain intact won't be decided until after his presidency as Republicans and the energy industry try to kill it through legislation and the courts.

For now, the emissions rules for power plants that Obama will announce at a Rose Garden ceremony Monday afternoon represents a high point for his presidency's environmental credentials.

Environmental allies, who challenged Obama early in his presidency to act on the climate after a sweeping cap-and-trade bill collapsed in the Senate, quickly praised the effort, though some contended the regulation didn't go far enough considering the United States has met nearly half the final rule's goal of slashing electricity emissions nationwide 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The rest of the roughly 17 percent of emissions the U.S. power sector must cut to meet the mark will be met largely by imposing limits that will shift the power sector away from coal, which provides about 39 percent of the nation's electricity, and toward renewable energy and natural gas.

"It's a simple idea that will change the world: Cut carbon pollution today so our kids won't inherit climate chaos tomorrow. That's what this historic plan will achieve," said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Obama will try to use the rule to achieve one of his most ambitious foreign policy aims: Securing a long-desired international climate change agreement, which countries hope will put the world on a path to keep global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2100.

But along the way the administration will have to fight off Republicans, who have sought to undermine international confidence in the rule.

Republicans have suggested the idea of sending a letter to the United Nations regarding climate negotiations that are set to begin in November in Paris. It would resemble Sen. Tom Cotton's, R-Ark., missive to Iran, which said Republicans don't support the nuclear agreement that Obama and other world leaders were crafting. Red states, following a call from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are considering not submitting plans to comply with the EPA rule because they think all or parts of it are illegal.

Republican presidential contenders slammed the rule and said they would scrap it if they win the White House. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has hinted his state won't comply with the rule, said that he would "stop the Costly Power Plan," a play on the rule's name, the Clean Power Plan.

While international negotiators have expressed concern about the Republican resistance, administration officials say diplomats are convinced that the White House is committed to the effort.

After years of the U.S. being a somewhat reluctant participant in the UN negotiations, Obama has vowed to take the lead. Administration officials have told other nations that the U.S. is serious about the talks, with the climate rule serving as the bulwark of the Obama administration's commitment.

"This rule actually enhances in important ways our ability to achieve the international commitments that we have made," Brian Deese, an adviser to Obama, said during a Sunday conference call with reporters.

With the rule now finalized, GOP efforts aimed at weakening the rule are likely to build. They will want to leave a paper trail of disapproval for the rule, which they say will raise electricity costs and kill the coal industry.

Once the rule is submitted to the Federal Register, a GOP Senate source told the Washington Examiner that Senate Republicans are likely to move on a Congressional Review Act, a maneuver that allows Congress to vote down major regulations by majority vote. All 56 Senate Republicans would likely show disapproval of the rule, but centrist Democrats who oppose the rule aren't expected to cross Obama on a Congressional Review Act vote, so it's not likely to survive a veto.

Instead, Senate GOP leadership likely will have to introduce legislation that replaces the power plant rule with an alternative that centrist Democrats might support. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has her bill to roll back the power plant rule waiting in the hopper, which the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is scheduled to take up on Wednesday. The House, meanwhile, already has passed legislation from Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., that would handcuff the rule, and Republicans also plan to use the budget process to limit the rule.

Even if those efforts don't clear Congress, the industry and Republicans think they will have cooled the international community's confidence that the U.S. can deliver on the international promises it has made to curb nationwide emissions 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, a figure that hinges on the yet-uncertain fate of the power plant rule. Most climate scientists say that greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels such as coal, are driving manmade climate change.

"[W]hen 245 house members and 56 senators vote against a rule, even the UN dimwits are going to surmise that all is not well," said Mike McKenna, a GOP strategist who lobbies for energy companies.

Coal-heavy states and the energy industry are expected to file lawsuits, and it's unlikely that they will wrap up in time for the Obama administration to defend it if the rule lands in the Supreme Court. Roger Martella, a partner in the environmental practice at Sidley Austin LLP, suggested that Obama would want a bit more clarity regarding the rule's judicial status heading into the UN talks.

"He's going to want to talk about a rule that's been finalized," Martella said at a Washington event last month. "So there is a question of how soon will the courts look at this."

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy didn't answer a question Sunday about whether the administration would seek an expedited judicial review in the event of a lawsuit.

Some industry officials who oppose the rule have suggested that the administration would delay publishing the rule in the Federal Register — which is when affected parties can officially file lawsuits and Congress can move to a Congressional Review Act — until December to avoid a potential injunction or a vote expressing widespread disapproval of the rule heading into the UN talks. They contend there is precedent for the EPA to delay publishing controversial regulations. For example, more than three months passed before EPA submitted its proposed rule for carbon emissions limits on new power plants after announcing it in September 2013.

McCarthy, when asked when the EPA would publish the rule in the Federal Register, said, "I can't give you an exact date." An EPA spokeswoman told the Examiner that the agency "will follow our normal procedures for publishing in the Federal Register, which is as soon as practicable."

Still, some see the theory that the EPA would wait several months to submit the rule in the Federal Register as "implausible," said William Yeatman, a senior fellow with the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute.

"It would be too cynical, even for this administration, to try to advance its foreign policy via publication tricks in the Federal Register. Also, I think they're very satisfied, even proud, of this rule, and also (mistakenly) confident about its politics," he wrote in an email to the Examiner.


Climate change is about power, not environment

By Rick Manning

Global warming alarmists must be shaking their heads in disbelief. Just when they felt they had the stars aligned to push their anti-free enterprise/capitalism agenda on the international stage and claim the power they crave, the climate and scientists have begun to turn against them.

Sidney, Australia has snow for the first time since 1836. To put this in perspective, in 1836,  Andrew Jackson was President of the United States, Victoria was a year away from being crowned Queen of England upon her 18th birthday, and Davey Crockett met his heroic end at the Alamo.

Needless to say, it has been a long time since Sidney, Australia has seen snow.

In other news, the Big Island of Hawaii had snowfall in July. Not to be outdone, the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California also had snowfall this July.

Antarctica set a new record for ice extent in 2014, and continues to set records for how much ice covers the oceans surrounding this southern hemisphere continent as 2015 progresses.

And to confuse the science-is-settled-on-global-warming crowd even further, some solar scientists are now projecting that due to changes in the sun’s cycles, the earth is likely to suffer from what is known as a “Little Ice Age” starting in 2030, as the heat-giving star settles into a very rare pattern of inactivity. Imagine their consternation at learning that the sun actually plays a role in the earth’s temperature.

Alarmists are battling the climate record showing an eighteen-year hiatus from warming by changing and erasing temperature data collection to create the results needed to justify their continued funding; the church of global warming is also struggling to explain why the much more reliable satellite temperature data also continues to embarrass them by showing no new warming for almost two decades.

Yet, the Obama Administration pushes on with their attempts to destroy coal-fired electric generation, as well as the misguided taxpayer funding of bird- and bat-destroying wind farms and regulatory schemes intended to hamstring oil-based domestic energy production.

The reason is simple.  The global warming agenda is not about the planet, otherwise world environmental do-gooders would be focused upon the world’s worst polluting nation, China, rather than giving them a pass.

Now, the head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, readily admits that the real climate change agenda has nothing to do with the environment, but instead is about redistribution of wealth stating, “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history.”

Figueres continued, “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for the, at least, 150 years, since the industrial revolution.”

So there you have it, you cannot argue climate facts with those determined to twist scientific data to justify a worldwide, fundamental economic transformation toward a socialist model governed by an international body.

The only way to beat this global economic coup d’état is to beat them politically with the first step being to stop taxpayer funding for those who plot our national demise at the Environmental Protection Agency, the United Nations, and elsewhere.

Failure to deny these institutions the political means to enact their plan is an almost guaranteed pathway to their successful collapsing of the free enterprise system along with the middle class that it creates.


Wait, Polar Bears Can Dive?

Scientists are excited to share some breaking news. Polar bears aren’t just good swimmers, they’re good divers too. CBS News has the scoop: “Scientists recently observed a polar bear dive that lasted 3 minutes, 10 seconds, shattering the previous known record by about 2 minutes. … Polar bears are known to dive for food … [and] typically stay submerged for anywhere between 3 and 30 seconds when diving. Sometimes, they’ll stay submerged longer to look for kelp, but the longest recorded kelp dive lasted only about 1 minute, 12 seconds.”

You’re probably thinking, “So what! Tell me more about the dead lion in Africa!” But you’ll never guess what brought about this polar bear adaptation. Well, ok, you probably will. Global warming is melting all the ice. CBS says, “[I]t could be a sign that these animals are evolving to survive in a habitat that is rapidly changing. Global warming is leading to a dearth of sea ice, the researchers said, meaning polar bears have less ice on which to hunt. As such, the animals must spend more time in the water than they did previously.”

But it was just a year ago that some scientists worried about too much ice preventing polar bears from hunting. And as of last September, the Arctic ice cap had expanded substantially. So maybe polar bears have been good at diving all along.


A Leftist account of Australia's climate policy

They see that the current policy is only very light Green.  They deplore that.  I praise it. I have deleted some abusive adjectives below

In stark comparison to the wide-ranging plan Obama announced to curb America’s carbon pollution, the climate the Abbott government has cultivated around global warming leaves it with very few options.

Clearly, there will be no carbon tax. Axing the tax has - as we all know, know, know - been perhaps the government’s proudest achievement. And true to form, after Labor announced a couple of weeks back that they would introduce an emissions trading scheme, Hunt has repeatedly parroted the false declaration that “an emissions trading scheme is just a carbon tax with a different name”.

Presumably that means that an ETS - favoured by lefty institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and at least 40 national governments worldwide - is also off the cards.

Let’s face it, this government has always been about Direct Action! Getting in there; planting trees; raising a (green) army! That’s the ticket to electoral success and the government shows no indication of admitting one syllable of failure.

But there are other ways - besides great big new taxes on everything - to tackle emissions. In the pensive hours before the major new US policy was detailed, media speculated it would pave the way for a massive escalation in renewables deployment.

On this point too though, the government has been direct with the Australian people about its inaction.

As the Prime Minister, defending the government’s tardiness in slashing the Renewable Energy Target, told broadcaster Alan Jones: “What we did recently in the Senate was to reduce, Alan, capital R-E-D-U-C-E, the number of these things [wind turbines] that we are going to get in the future.”

“Frankly,” Abbott said, “I would have liked to have reduced the number a lot more”.

While it “got the best deal [it] could out of the Senate”, the government only managed to cause investment in renewables to tank by 90 per cent. What a hash! But the point is that renewables have more or less been ruled out by the Abbott government.

So why not just pump up the Direct Action to give the government a way out of this jam?

Here’s the thing; the only way the government could feasibly use Direct Action to cut carbon pollution to the levels that’ll be required after the current 2020 commitment period is by dramatically modifying the so-called ‘safeguard mechanism’ that’s built into the scheme.

Under its policy the Abbott government pays polluters to pollute a little less, and the safeguard mechanism was supposed to prevent the polluters that aren’t being paid from going silly and increasing their emissions.

Right now, it’s more or less lying dormant, which brings us back to that RepuTex analysis and its judgement of the government’s climate policy as “untenable” unless the safeguard mechanism is beefed up.

As the analysis notes, “None of Australia’s top 20 emitting facilities are currently expected to incur any liability under the scheme, despite almost all being forecast to grow their emissions over the next ten years.”

Basically, there’s nothing to stop big polluters from polluting more unless there’s a serious tightening of the policy, and emissions increases from those vast majority of companies that would have no obligation under Direct Action to cut their carbon are likely to far outweigh the mitigation that the government is using our money to pay for.

But there’s hope. “While the scheme is currently a ‘toothless tiger’, it may readily be characterised as a ‘hidden dragon’ given the potential scope for a more meaningful compliance market to emerge,” the RepuTex analysis said.

Unfortunately for the Abbott government the Labor Opposition, which might ordinarily be quite fairly characterised as a ‘toothless tiger’, would exploit the hypocrisy the government would need to display to fix the safeguard mechanism in its quest to make climate change a key battleground at the next Federal election.

For the government to make the ‘safeguard’ mechanism work, it would effectively need to put a cap on carbon in the economy and create a financial disincentive for polluters who exceed their share.

On Hunt’s  logic, which dismisses anything that caps pollution, that’s just another damn 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

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4 August, 2015

Obama has a dream -- that his children one day will have hellishly expensive electricity

But it will remain a dream.  He will be out of office in 18 months so he won't be able to make it happen.  The Donald will probably kick it into the long grass

President Barack Obama will unveil on Monday the final version of his plan to tackle greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants as he aims to cement his legacy on climate change, a senior administration official said.

The revised Clean Power Plan will seek to slash carbon emissions from the power sector 32 percent from 2005 levels in 2030, a 9 percent increase over a previous proposal.

The regulation will usher in a sweeping transformation of the U.S. electricity sector, encouraging an aggressive shift toward more renewable energy away from coal-fired electricity.

Industry groups and some lawmakers from states that have relied on coal-based energy have said they will challenge it in the courts and through Congressional maneuvers, accusing the administration of a regulatory assault that will drive up energy prices.

The White House was defiant, and said the release of the plan was 'the starting gun for an all-out climate push' by the president and his cabinet.

'My administration will release the final version of America's Clean Power Plan, the biggest, most important step we have ever taken to combat climate change,' Obama said in a video posted by the White House Sunday at midnight.

He said there have been no federal limits to date on carbon pollution from power plants, the biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan will be central to the United States' contribution to a United Nations agreement to tackle climate change, in which the Obama administration has vowed to play a leadership role.

Each state will be required to submit a plan to the Environmental Protection Agency next year, spelling out how it will meet an emission-cutting goal assigned to it.

Five governors who have opposed the rule have already said they will not comply.

The final version will accelerate the deployment of renewable energy based on updated projections that the share of renewable energy generation capacity in 2030 will be higher at 28 percent, compared to 22 percent in last June's version.

The Obama administration also changed its projection about the share of natural gas in the U.S. power mix in 2020, avoiding what it said would be an 'early rush to gas' away from coal.

'Instead, the rule drives early reductions from renewable energy and energy efficiency, which will drive a more aggressive transformation in the domestic energy industry,' according to a senior administration official.

The revised rule contains two new measures the administration said will 'cut energy bills for low-income families' and drive down renewable energy technology costs, pre-empting arguments by opponents that plan will be too costly.

It will create a Clean Energy Incentive Program to reward states that take early action to deploy renewable energy project before the regulation kicks in 2022.


Why the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets are Not Collapsing

Written by Professor Cliff Ollier

Global warming alarmists have suggested that the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica may collapse, causing disastrous sea level rise. This idea is based on the concept of an ice sheet sliding down an inclined plane on a base lubricated by meltwater, which is itself increasing because of global warming.

In reality the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets occupy deep basins, and cannot slide down a plane. Furthermore glacial flow depends on stress (including the important yield stress) as well as temperature, and much of the ice sheets are well below melting point. collapsing ice sheet

The accumulation of kilometres of undisturbed ice in cores in Greenland and Antarctica (the same ones that are sometimes used to fuel ideas of global warming) show hundreds of thousands of years of accumulation with no melting or flow. Except around the edges, ice sheets flow at the base, and depend on geothermal heat, not the climate at the surface. It is impossible for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to ‘collapse’.

In these days of alarmist warnings about climate warming, the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica have an important role. Many papers have described their melting at the present times, and dire predictions of many metres of sea level rise are common. Christoffersen and Hambrey published a typical paper on the Greenland ice sheet in Geology Today in May, 2006.

Their model, unfortunately, includes neither the main form of the Greenland Ice Sheet, nor an understanding of how glaciers flow. They predict the behaviour of the Ice Sheet based on melting and accumulation rates at the present day, and the concept of an ice sheet sliding down an inclined plane on a base lubricated by meltwater, which is itself increasing because of global warming.

The same misconception is present in textbooks such as The Great Ice Age (2000) by R.C.L. Wilson and others, popular magazines such as the June 2007 issue of National Geographic, and other scientific articles such as Bamber et al. (2007), which can be regarded as a typical modelling contribution. The idea of a glacier sliding downhill on a base lubricated by meltwater seemed a good idea when first presented by de Saussure in 1779, but a lot has been learned since then.

In the present paper we shall try to show how the mechanism of glacier flow differs from this simple model, and why it is impossible for the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets to collapse. To understand the relationship between global warming and the breakdown of ice sheets it is necessary to know how ice sheets really work.

Ice sheets do not simply grow and melt in response to average global temperature. Anyone with this naïve view would have difficulty in explaining why glaciation has been present in the southern hemisphere for about 30 million years, and in the northern hemisphere for only 3 million years.

A glacier budget

In general glaciers grow, flow and melt continuously. There is a budget of gains and losses. Snow falls on high ground. It becomes more and more compact with time, air is extruded, and it turns into solid ice. A few bubbles of air might be trapped, and may be used by scientists to examine the air composition at the time of deposition.

More precipitation of snow forms another layer on the top, which goes through the same process, so the ice grows thicker by the addition of new layers at the surface. The existence of such layers, youngest at the top and oldest at the bottom, enables the glacial ice toWhen the ice reaches a lower altitude or lower latitude where temperature is higher it starts to melt and evaporate. (Evaporation and melting together are called ablation, but for simplicity we shall use 'melting' from now on). If growth and melting balance, the glacier appears to be 'stationary'. If precipitation exceeds melting the glacier grows. If melting exceeds precipitation the glacier recedes.

How glaciers move

Flow is mainly by a process called creep, essentially the movement of atoms from one crystal to another. The first clues to this came from the study of lake ice, which can flow at a stress much lower than the shear strength of 'regular' ice if the stress is applied parallel to the lake surface. This results from the crystal properties of ice. Ice is a hexagonal mineral with glide planes parallel to the base. Lake ice is almost like a sheet of columnar basalt, with the c-axes vertical and the glide planes all parallel to the lake surface, so a push parallel to the glide planes deforms the ice readily. Much greater stress is needed to deform ice perpendicular to the glide planes.

Another method of flow is important in 'regular' ice. There is constant gain-and-loss of atoms between different crystals in a mass of ice, and in the absence of any stress an individual grain of ice will lose about the same number of atoms that it gains, and so remain unchanged.

But if a crystal is stressed it will lose more atoms than it gains and so shrink, while a nearby unstressed grain will gain more than it loses and so grow. In this way there will be preferential growth of those ice crystals which are oriented in such a way that their glide planes are parallel to the stress, and grains in other orientations will tend to disappear. This is observed in glaciers, where it is found that not only does a marked crystal orientation appear with distance down-valley, but the ice crystals at a glacier snout may have a volume about a thousand times greater than that of the first-formed ice crystals at the source of the glacier. These observations cannot be explained by mechanisms that ignore the crystal structure of ice.

The flow of material in a solid crystalline state is known as creep. There are three laws of creep relevant to the flow of ice:

    Creep is proportional to temperature.

    Creep is proportional to stress (essentially proportional to the weight of overlying ice)

    There is a minimum stress, called the yield stress, below which creep does not operate.

All these laws have significant effects on glacier movement, and on how glacial behaviour might be interpreted. Alpine glaciers differ significantly from ice caps like Greenland and Antarctica, even though the laws of physics remain the same, and care is needed to transfer knowledge of one kind of glacier to the other.

Creep is proportional to temperature

The closer the temperature comes to the melting point the greater the creep rate. In experiments at a fixed stress it was found that the creep rate at -1°C is 1000 times greater than at -20°C. In valley glaciers the ice is almost everywhere at the prevailing melting point of ice, because the latent heat of ice is very much greater than its specific heat. Very little heat is required to raise the temperature of an ice block from -1°C to 0°C; it takes about 80 times as much heat to turn the same ice block at 0°C into water at 0°C.

Because the temperature does not vary in valley glaciers they are not affected by this first law of creep. But ice caps are very different. They are cooled to temperatures well below freezing point, which reduces their capacity to flow very greatly. Ice caps can be kilometres thick, and their warmest part is actually the base, where the ice is warmed by the Earth's heat, and where flow is concentrated.

The drilling of the Northern Greenland Ice Core Project (NGRIP) was stopped by relatively high temperatures near the base and new equipment had to be designed to drill the core from 3001 m to 3085 m. Because ice flows only at the base, great thicknesses of stratified ice can accumulate, as revealed in the ice cores.

The reports about some Greenland cores claim no flow at all! This is presumably the result of cold-based ice. A large geomorphologyliterature describes delicate landforms such as tors and patterned ground in areas that were formerly covered by an ice sheet. The general view is that cold-based ice essentially preserves any pre- existing landforms, and the erosion potential of cold-based ice is zero or minimal. Importantly for ideas of 'collapse', the ice is not sliding. Indeed it is not moving at all.

Greenland differs from Antarctica in that the ice sheet spills out through gaps in the mountain rim, and the glaciers overlie deep narrow valleys. According to van der Veen and others such valleys have higher than usual geothermal gradients, so it might be geothermal heat, rather than global warming, that causes some Greenland glaciers to have higher than usual flow rates.

The overspills have some of the characteristics of alpine glaciers, where evidence of glacier recession is more obvious. In many parts of the world glaciers have been receding since 1895 and with increasing pace since 1930. There is no obvious explanation for this and these dates have no clear counterpart in temperature or carbon dioxide records.


The Inconvenient Truth About Climate Policy

It won't make a lick of difference when it comes to global temperatures

"Climate change is a manmade crisis, and so the need to implement sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions is paramount". That summarizes the constant drumbeat of conventional wisdom, which raises an interesting question: If the Obama administration's Climate Action Plan – a 17 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 – were to be implemented immediately, what temperature reduction would that yield by the year 2100?

The answer: 15 one-thousandths of a degree. Yes, you read that correctly. The effect would be too small even to be measured, let alone to affect sea levels and cyclones and all the rest. That number, by the way, is not some screwy calculation from the back of an envelope. It comes from the Environmental Protection Agency's own climate model, not that the EPA has ever admitted this publicly, obviously because it is embarrassing. That is why the EPA's benefit/cost "analysis" of its Clean Power Plan and the other components of its climate policy assumes a deeply dubious array of "co-benefits" in the form of particulate reductions and other impacts that are simply invented out of whole cloth or that already are counted as justifications for other regulatory policies. Without such machinations, the Climate Action Plan would collapse as a regulatory framework, because it is all cost and no benefit. Literally.

But let us ignore that. Maybe the U.S. acting alone cannot do much, but cooperation at the international level would be meaningful. That is the advertised rationale for the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which has been holding meetings, traveling on jets and feasting at upscale restaurants for 25 years, the forthcoming climax of which will be the 21st "Conference of the Parties" in Paris in December. Let's assume that the agreement between the U.S. and China that was announced last November will be implemented fully, even though the Chinese effectively disavowed it almost immediately, and did so smack dab in the middle of the 20th Conference of the Parties in Lima, Peru. That agreement calls for an additional 10 percent reduction by the U.S. by 2025, with no actual reduction by the Chinese; this additional cut in U.S. emissions gets us another temperature reduction of one one-hundredth of a degree.

But let's not stop there. Let's use our imagination and assume that China reduces its emissions by 20 percent by 2030. That gets us two tenths of a degree. Throw in a 30 percent reduction by Europe and Japan and the rest of the industrialized world, also by 2030. That's another two tenths of a degree, for a grand total of 0.425 degrees, under a "climate sensitivity" (loosely, the effectiveness of greenhouse gas reductions) assumption 50 percent greater than that adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its latest assessment report. Is an effect that small worth 1 percent of global GDP, or roughly $600 billion to $750 billion per year, inflicted disproportionately upon the world's poor?

But, you say, isn't there a looming crisis? Aren't the effects of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations already observable and serious? That is the argument heard constantly. But what is the actual evidence on climate trends published by government agencies, by research bodies funded by government agencies and in the peer-reviewed literature? Answer: The temperature record is ambiguous, as is the correlation of greenhouse gas concentrations and the rate of sea-level increases. The Arctic and Antarctic sea ice covers do not differ by a statistically significant amount from the respective 1981-2010 averages. The Arctic ice cover is near the bottom, but within, the relevant range, and the Antarctic ice cover is near the top, and exceeds in some months, the relevant range. Tornado counts and intensities are in a long-term decline. The frequency and accumulated energy of tropical cyclones are near their lowest levels since satellite measurements began in the early 1970s. U.S. wildfires are not correlated with the temperature record or with increases in greenhouse gas concentrations. The Palmer Drought Severity Index shows no trend since 1895. Over the last century, flooding in the U.S. has not been correlated with increased greenhouse gas concentrations. World per capita food production has increased and undernourishment has decreased, both more-or-less monotonically, since 1993.

[READ: Views You Can Use: Cool to Francis' Climate Views]

We continually hear such assertions as "2014 was the planet's warmest year on record [and that] fourteen of the fifteen hottest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century." Perhaps surprisingly, such factoids are far less informative than many seem to assume. The recent year-to-year differences are almost never statistically significant. More important, the "hottest year" rhetoric is based on the surface temperature record, a collection of data that is deeply problematic, with heat-island effects difficult to expunge from the data, poor placement and shifts in the measurement stations, etc. An example: For over a century, "China" was 137 monitoring stations in four cities, and as those cities grew, "China" warmed. Surprise!

The satellite data tell a different story, which is why the reported surface temperature path is consistently higher than the satellite record. More broadly: The earth has been warming in fits and starts since the end of the little ice age around 1850, and so a warming trend is neither surprising nor informative. The real question is: How much of it has been caused by greenhouse gas emissions? The answer is "more than zero," but beyond that no one knows, and anyone who claims to know is talking out of a hat.

And then there is the temperature "hiatus." Despite increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, there has been virtually no temperature increase since roughly 2002, despite the predictions of the climate models. No one knows why; the science is not settled, nor can it ever be, by definition.

Is it an accident, as Pravda used to put it, that the Clean Power Plan would raise energy costs disproportionately in red states, thus reducing their competitive advantages over blue ones? Do not underestimate the power of wealth redistribution as a force driving policymaking in the Beltway. Such propaganda terms as "carbon pollution" are useful as tools toward that end, as they are designed to end debate before it begins by assuming the answer to the underlying policy question. Carbon dioxide is not "carbon" and it is not a pollutant, as a minimum atmospheric concentration of it is necessary for life itself. By far the most important greenhouse gas in terms of the radiative (warming) properties of the atmosphere is water vapor; why does no one call it a "pollutant"? Presumably it is because ocean evaporation is a natural process. Well, so are volcanic eruptions, but no one argues that the massive amounts of particulates and toxins emitted by volcanoes are not pollutants. The climate debate is desperately in need of honesty and seriousness, two conditions characteristic of neither the Beltway nor the climate industry.


The Unsettling, Anti-Science Certitude on Global Warming

Climate-change ‘deniers’ are accused of heresy by true believers. That doesn’t sound like science to me


Are there any phrases in today’s political lexicon more obnoxious than “the science is settled” and “climate-change deniers”?

The first is an oxymoron. By definition, science is never settled. It is always subject to change in the light of new evidence. The second phrase is nothing but an ad hominem attack, meant to evoke “Holocaust deniers,” those people who maintain that the Nazi Holocaust is a fiction, ignoring the overwhelming, incontestable evidence that it is a historical fact. Hillary Clinton’s speech about climate change on Monday in Des Moines, Iowa, included an attack on “deniers.”

The phrases are in no way applicable to the science of Earth’s climate. The climate is an enormously complex system, with a very large number of inputs and outputs, many of which we don’t fully understand—and some we may well not even know about yet. To note this, and to observe that there is much contradictory evidence for assertions of a coming global-warming catastrophe, isn’t to “deny” anything; it is to state a fact. In other words, the science is unsettled—to say that we have it all wrapped up is itself a form of denial. The essence of scientific inquiry is the assumption that there is always more to learn.

Science takes time, and climatology is only about 170 years old. Consider something as simple as the question of whether the sun revolves around the Earth or vice versa.

The Greek philosopher Aristarchus suggested a heliocentric model of the solar system as early as the third century B.C. But it was Ptolemy’s geocentric model from the second century A.D. that predominated. It took until the mid-19th century to solve the puzzle definitively.

Assuming that “the science is settled” can only impede science. For example, there has never been so settled a branch of science as Newtonian physics. But in the 1840s, as telescopes improved, it was noticed that Mercury’s orbit stubbornly failed to behave as Newtonian equations said that it should.

It seems not to have occurred to anyone to question Newton, so the only explanation was that Mercury must be being perturbed by a planet still closer to the sun. The French mathematician Urbain Le Verrier had triumphed in 1846 when he had predicted, within one degree, the location of a planet (later named Neptune) that was perturbing Uranus’s orbit.

He set out to calculate the orbit of the planet that he was sure was responsible for Mercury’s orbital eccentricity. He named it Vulcan, after the Roman god of fire. Once Le Verrier had done the math, hundreds of astronomers, both amateur and professional, searched for the illusive planet for the next few decades. But telescopic observation near the immensely bright sun is both difficult and dangerous. More than one astronomer injured his eyesight in the search.

Several possible sightings were reported, but whether they were illusions, comets, or asteroids is unknown, as none could be tracked over time. After Le Verrier’s death in 1877 the hunt for Vulcan slacked off though it never ceased entirely.

Only in 1915 was the reason no one could find Vulcan explained: It wasn’t there. Newton had written in the “Principia” that he assumed space to be everywhere and always the same. But a man named Albert Einstein that year, in his theory of general relativity, demonstrated that it wasn’t always the same, for space itself is distorted by hugely massive objects such as the sun.

When Mercury’s orbit was calculated using Einstein’s equations rather than Newton’s, the planet turned out to be exactly where Einstein said it would be, one of the early proofs of general relativity.

Climate science today is a veritable cornucopia of unanswered questions. Why did the warming trend between 1978 and 1998 cease, although computer climate models predict steady warming? How sensitive is the climate to increased carbon-dioxide levels? What feedback mechanisms are there that would increase or decrease that sensitivity? Why did episodes of high carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere earlier in Earth’s history have temperature levels both above and below the average?

With so many questions still unanswered, why are many climate scientists, politicians—and the left generally—so anxious to lock down the science of climatology and engage in protracted name-calling? Well, one powerful explanation for the politicians is obvious: self-interest.

If anthropogenic climate change is a reality, then that would be a huge problem only government could deal with. It would be a heaven-sent opportunity for the left to vastly increase government control over the economy and the personal lives of citizens.

Moreover, the release of thousands of emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit in 2009 showed climate scientists concerned with the lack of recent warming and how to “hide the decline.” The communications showed that whatever the emailers were engaged in, it was not the disinterested pursuit of science.

Another batch of 5,000 emails written by top climate scientists came out in 2011, discussing, among other public-relations matters, how to deal with skeptical editors and how to suppress unfavorable data. It is a measure of the intellectual corruption of the mainstream media that this wasn’t the scandal of the century. But then again I forget, “the science is settled.”


Spanish windmill company tops list of US corporate welfare hogs

How much welfare Uncle Sam provides companies has long been one of the great mysteries of taxpayer spending. Like a secret underground river, boodles have flowed out of the Treasury and into corporate bank accounts without notice.

Now we finally have a first look at the size of that river and where the cash goes.

The federal government has quietly doled out $68 billion through 137 government giveaway programs since 2000, according to a new database built by a nonprofit research organization, Good Jobs First. It identified more than 164,000 gifts of taxpayer money to companies. You can look up company names, subsidy programs and other freebies at the Subsidy Tracker 3.0 website.

A report the organization released today, “Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations,” shows that big businesses raked in two-thirds of the welfare.

The most surprising and tantalizing finding is the identity of the biggest known recipient of federal welfare. That dubious honor belongs to Iberdrola, a Spanish energy company with a reputation for awful service and admissions of incompetence. It collected $2.1 billion of welfare on a $5.4 billion investment in U.S. wind farms from coast to coast.

40 percent discount

Iberdrola, the biggest welfare recipient in the Good Jobs database, says it “is proud of our investment in the United States, the American jobs it has created and the enduring infrastructure it has resulted in that benefits consumers all over the country.”

Dan Hucko, the company’s top American spokesman, called the cash-for-wind program “a remarkable success story for U.S. taxpayers, for local communities and for American jobs” partly because Iberdrola invested $5.4 billion more to collect the money under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act, the 2009 stimulus.

The nearly $2.2 billion of welfare Iberdrola received is effectively a 40 percent discount on its $5.4 billion investment. Think about how well off you would be if you could buy investments and get 40 percent back in cash from the federal government.

The cash payments were made in lieu of tax credits that companies could use to offset profits. During the financial collapse that began in 2007, profits temporarily evaporated at many firms, making the corporate tax credits worthless.

Hucko said, “The federal government uses tax policy to drive private sector investments that create jobs, address the country’s energy needs, reduce the threat of climate change and ensure the safety and reliability of the nation’s electricity and natural gas transmission infrastructure.”

Quite right, but it is also a reminder that America has never had a free market. Government not only makes the rules but also picks winners and losers through tax breaks and cash welfare to corporations. These activities get hardly any attention compared with the constant attacks on Social Security benefits and other so-called entitlements.


Wind farms use fossil fuels for construction and operation

By Gary Johns, commenting from Australia

[Leftist leader] Bill Shorten should have asked a couple of questions before committing Australia to a 50 per cent renewable target. Can you build a wind turbine, or start a wind turbine, without fossil fuels?

The answer is no and no, you cannot. So what is the point of saddling Australia with an increasing load of wind turbines? (Much is also true for solar.)

Whatever one's beliefs on the veracity and level of threat from climate change, what is the point in spending hard-earned dollars on expensive and inadequate-for-purpose technology?

The energy density of wind power is a little over one watt a square metre. As Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper author Robert Bryce tells, if all the coal-fired generation capacity in the US were to be replaced by wind, it would need to set aside land the size of Italy. Hydrocarbons are denser energy sources than wind. There is nothing that can overcome that fact.
James Hansen, the former NASA climate scientist, wrote in 2011: "Suggesting that renewables will let us phase out rapidly fossil fuels is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter bunny."

The other thing about renewables is that they cannot produce the intensity of heat required to not only build turbines but just about anything else that makes the modern world modern.

The material requirements of a modern wind turbine have been reviewed by the US Geological Survey (Wind Energy in the United States and Materials Required for the Land-Based Turbine Industry From 2010 Through 2030). On average, 1 megawatt of wind capacity requires 103 tonnes of stainless steel, 402 tonnes of concrete, 6.8 tonnes of fibreglass, three tonnes of copper and 20ÿtonnes of cast iron. The blades are made of fibreglass, the tower of steel and the base of concrete.

Robert Wilson at Carbon Counter takes us through the -science. Fibreglass is produced from petrochemicals, which means that a wind turbine cannot be made without the extraction of oil and natural gas. Steel is made from iron ore. To mine ore requires high energy density fuels, such as diesel. Transporting ore to steel mills requires diesel.

Converting iron ore into steel requires a blast furnace, which requires large amounts of coal or natural gas. The blast furnace is used for most steel production.

Coal is essential, not simply a result of the energy requirements of steel production but of the chemical requirements of iron ore smelting.

Cement is made in a kiln, using kiln fuel such as coal, natural gas or used tyres. About 50 per cent of emissions from cement production comes from chemical reactions in its production.

Then there is the problem of priming windmills. Large wind turbines require a large amount of energy to operate. Wind plants must use electricity from the grid, which is powered by coal, gas or nuclear power.

A host of the wind turbine functions use electricity that the turbine cannot be relied on to generate - functions such as blade-pitch control, lights, controllers, communication, sensors, metering, data collection, oil heater, pump, cooler, filtering system in gearboxes, and much more.

Wind turbines cannot be built and cannot operate on a large scale without fossil fuels.

As important, wind and solar do not have the energy densities to create an economy. Forget trains, planes and automobiles; your humble iPhones, laptops and other digital devices consume huge amounts of electricity and cannot be made with renewables. That most modern of new economy inventions, the computing cloud, requires massive amounts of electricity.

As Mark Mills wrote: "The cloud begins with coal." The greenies who got into the ears of Labor leaders to convince them that the era of fossil fuels is over should think again.

Reservoirs of methane hydrates - icy deposits in which methane molecules are trapped in a lattice of water - are thought to hold more energy than all other fossil fuels combined.

The Japanese, among others, hope that the reservoirs will become a crucial part of the country's energy profile, as Nature reported in April 2013. A pilot project 80km off the country's shores has produced tens of thousands of cubic metres of gas.

As with any new resources there are risks and much work is to be done for safe extraction, but the UN Environmental Program report in March, Frozen Heat: A Global Outlook on Methane Gas Hydrates, was very keen to "explore the potential impact of this untapped natural gas source on the future global energy mix".

Bill, you are suffering from Big Wind. You have let down the party and the nation.



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, 2015

New paper finds increased CO2 or methane will have 'essentially no effect' upon global temperature or climate

Adiabatic influence the big factor

A new paper by USC Professor Emeritus of Geology, Dr. George Chilingar (with three co-authors), finds that increasing levels of the greenhouse gases CO2 & methane will have "essentially no effect" upon global temperatures or climate.

The authors utilize a one-dimensional adiabatic model of climate to demonstrate that the entire tropospheric temperature profile of the atmosphere on both Earth and Venus may be mathematically derived solely on the basis of atmospheric pressure/mass and solar activity, confirmed by observations on both planets, despite vast differences in atmospheric composition and mass/pressure on Earth and Venus. The paper corroborates the 33C Maxwell/Clausius/Carnot greenhouse theory and thereby excludes the alternative 33C Arrhenius radiative greenhouse theory.


"The writers investigated the greenhouse effect using their adiabatic model, which relates the global temperature of troposphere to the atmospheric pressure and solar radiation. This model allows one to analyze the global temperature changes due to variations in mass and chemical composition of the atmosphere. Even significant releases of anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere do not change average parameters of the Earth’s heat regime and have no essential effect on the Earth’s climate warming.

Moreover, based on the adiabatic model of heat transfer, the writers showed that additional releases of CO2 and CH4 lead to cooling (and not to warming as the proponents of the conventional theory of global warming state) of the Earth’s atmosphere. The additional methane releases possess a double cooling effect: First, they intensify convection in the lower layers of troposphere; Second, the methane together with associated water vapor intercept part of the infrared solar irradiation reaching the Earth.

Thus, petroleum production and other anthropogenic activities resulting in accumulation of additional amounts of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have practically no effect on the Earth’s climate."

Physically, an explanation of the cooling effect of the atmosphere with the high content of “greenhouse gases” is the high efficiency of the convective heat transfer from the planet’s surface to the lower stratosphere, from which this heat is rapidly dissipating into the outer space through radiation. As the greenhouse gases absorb the Earth’s heat radiation in the lower layers of troposphere, its energy transforms into the heat oscillations of the gas molecules. This, in turn, leads to expansion of the gas mixture and its rapid ascent to the stratosphere where the heat excess is lost through radiation into the outer space. 

To replace these volumes of the warm air, the already cooled air descends from the upper troposphere. As a result, the global average atmospheric temperature slightly decreases. One particular consequence of it is that with an increase in the carbon dioxide and methane contents in troposphere the convective mass exchange of the atmospheric gases must substantially accelerate.

Thus, it is not out of the question that the intensification of synoptic processes in Earth troposphere (but not temperature increase) may be a result of the carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” accumulation."

The primary equation of the paper [2] is similar to the 'greenhouse equation' described in a recent series of posts on the 33C Maxwell/Clausius/Carnot greenhouse theory.

The "Greenhouse Equation" calculates temperature (T) at any location from the surface to the top of the troposphere as a function of atmospheric mass/gravity/pressure and radiative forcing from the Sun only, and without any radiative forcing from greenhouse gases. Note the pressure (P) divided by 2 in the greenhouse equation is the pressure at the center of mass of the atmosphere (after density correction), where the temperature and height are equal to the equilibrium temperature with the Sun and ERL respectively.

The primary differences between Chilingar et al equation [2] and the 'greenhouse equation' are:

1. Chilingar et al introduce a correction for solar insolation based on the Earth's precession angle of 23.44 degrees

2. Chilingar et al assume an Earth surface temperature of 288K or 15C, whereas the HS 'greenhouse equation' only assumes the equilibrium temperature of the Earth with the Sun (255K or -18C) & atmospheric mass/pressure to derive the surface temperature, as well as that of the entire troposphere, replicating the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere.

An upcoming post will join the mathematics of these two equations to explain the entire temperature profile of the atmosphere from the surface to the edge of space at 100+ km geopotential altitude, without incorporating 'radiative forcing' from CO2.


Do Increasing Contents of Methane and Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere Cause Global Warming?

G. V. Chilingar, O. G. Sorokhtin, L. F. Khilyuk, M. Liu


In the Earth atmosphere, methane gradually converts into carbon dioxide which, according to the conventional anthropogenic theory of global warming, is the main driver of global climate change. The authors investigated the greenhouse effect of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere using their tested adiabatic model, which relates the global temperature of troposphere to the atmospheric pressure and solar activity. This model allows one to analyze the global temperature changes due to variations in mass and chemical composition of the atmosphere. Even significant releases of anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere do not change average parameters of the Earth’s heat regime and have no essential effect on the Earth’s climate. Thus, petroleum production and other anthropogenic activities resulting in accumulation of additional amounts of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have practically no effect on the Earth’s climate


The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time

It’s been over a month since I wrote an update on “The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time,” so it’s time to check in on it again.  For those not following this, the fraud in question is the world temperature data tampering fraud, by which the keepers of historical world temperature records adjust temperatures in earlier years downwards in order to create or enhance warming trends and support the narrative of catastrophic global warming.  The principal perpetrators of the fraud are U.S. government employees in the agency known as NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

Readers of the previous articles know that NOAA has been caught red-handed over and over adjusting earlier temperatures downward.  They uniformly provide no explanation beyond something like “our homogenization algorithm is working appropriately,” refuse to give any details, and expunge the earlier raw data to make it as hard as possible for anyone to prove the fraud.

Numerous examples of NOAA’s pervasive and unexplained adjustments have been published on websites including ICECAP, RealScience, NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat, WattsUpWithThat and others.  And numerous independent researchers have done a lot to thwart NOAA’s data deletion efforts by archiving earlier versions of the data. 

You can’t follow this issue at all without knowing that there are very credible and thoroughly demonstrated instances of pervasive data tampering by NOAA.  You also can’t follow this issue at all without knowing that there are several other independent data sets, most notably the two satellite data sets of UAH and RSS covering the period 1979 to present, that do not show the warming that the NOAA data shows.

And yet, with this background, NOAA keeps putting out press releases, more or less monthly, trumpeting alleged new high temperature records, and supposed “news” outlets pick up the releases and put out stories with one scary headline after another, never mentioning that other data sets do not show the same records or warming, and never mentioning that serious and thoroughly-proved allegations of data tampering have been made against NOAA and never refuted.

Not meaning to pick specifically on Bloomberg News, but their website front page has made a point for several months of having a global warming scare headline up there at nearly all times.  For example, today there is “World Breaks Temperature Records As Climate Summit Nears.”  (“Global land and sea surface temperatures from January through June were 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, the highest since recordings started in 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a report.”)  Yesterday it was “Monster El Nino Makes Record Hot Year Look Inevitable.”  (“This has been the hottest start to a year by far, according to data released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”)  Or try June 18, “This Year Is Headed For The Hottest On Record, By A Long Shot.”   (“Last month was the hottest May on record, and the past five months were the warmest start to a year on record, according to new data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”)  Or April 17: “Global Temperature Records Just Got Crushed Again.”  (“March was the hottest month on record, and the past three months were the warmest start to a year on record, according to new data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”)  Notice that every time the source is specifically NOAA, without any mention of other data sets that do not show the same thing, nor any mention of the well-established allegations of data tampering against NOAA.  Pathetic.

Believe me, Bloomberg is not the only one.  To give just a couple of examples, here is NBC News from yesterday, “Another Month, Another Global Heat Record Broken.”  (“Off-the-charts heat is “getting to be a monthly thing,” said Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. June was the fourth month of 2015 that set a record, she said.”)  Or the New York Times from March 18, “Winter Sets Global Heat Record Despite US East’s Big Chill.”  (“Federal [NOAA] records show that this winter and the first two months of 2015 were the hottest on record globally, with a chilly U.S. East sticking out like a cold thumb in a toastier world.”)  Always NOAA and only NOAA.  Never any mention of other data sets or what they show.  Never any mention of known NOAA data tampering.

A website called NoTricksZone has a good roundup  today comparing the latest NOAA data showing supposed “records” with data from the other independent (and also more accurate) satellite data sets.  It’s just as you’d expect:

NOAA claims that the global surface temperature reached a new all-time record high with an anomaly +0.88°C – the warmest since recordkeeping began in 1880!  However measurements taken by satellite Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) show that although June 2015 indeed was a warm month at +0.39°C, it was only the 4th warmest June ever, and more than 30 other earlier months have seen greater positive anomalies [in records going back to 1979]  Satellite data (revised) [also data going back to 1979] taken by the University of Alabama in Huntsville UAH show that the June 2015 temperature anomaly was +0.31°C, a warm month but not the hottest June ever as three other June months were as warm or warmer.  Moreover plots of the RSS and UAH data continue to show that global temperatures have been flat for now close to 20 years.

NoTricksZone then has the following comment from meteorologist Joe d’Aleo:

“The problem is that the same staff responsible for creating the reports about the climate . . . and running some of the greenhouse models that project the scary scenarios . . .  are also responsible for the databases that validate the forecasts. . . .  There is a lot of control available for modelers to predict a desired result, and data source inconsistencies allow NOAA to be creative – and the result is a hybrid of data and models (with their adjustments like TOA, infilling and homogenization) to show whatever the puppet-masters in government require. It may be that some really believe in their science and work hard to mine the data, achieving a form of bias confirmation. In other cases it is ideologically or politically driven or a matter of job security.”

Also at NoTricksZone from a couple of weeks ago (July 7) is the latest discovery of yet another example of widespread NOAA data tampering.  A guy named Michael Brakey is an energy consultant in Maine, and for his job had reason to archive older temperatures to keep track of how his home efficiency solutions were working.  To his amazement, on repeated visits to NOAA’s website to collect data, he found that older temperatures had been systematically altered downward:

In early 2015, I revisited the NOAA website and updated my HDD [heating degree day] and cooling degree-day (CDD) data for a local television presentation. Here I was shocked to discover that NOAA had not only rewritten Maine climate history for a second time in the last 18 months, but with all the tinkering they also screwed up southern interior Maine averages.

There’s lots more detail at the link, including additional discovery of massive data tampering with archived temperatures in Ohio and Tennessee.  The tampering is always in the same direction — earlier temperatures get cooler, thus enhancing warming trends, and making the latest data look like a “record.”

Brakey asked NOAA to explain, and got this:

“…improvements in the dataset, and brings our value much more in line with what was observed at the time. The new method used stations in neighboring Canada to inform estimates for data-sparse areas within Maine (a great improvement).”

Replacing actual, observed temperatures in Maine with observations from “neighboring Canada” supposedly brings the value “more in line with what was observed at the time”?  It couldn’t be more preposterous.  Bloomberg, NBC, New York Times, and the rest of you: do you realize the extent to which you are getting scammed?  Or are you part of the scam?  It’s just beyond belief.


Chicago Archdiocese new EPA effort is misguided and destructive, Greenpeace co-founder says

In mid-July, the Chicago Catholic Archdiocese announced it was launching a formal project with the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency to promote global warming awareness.

Chicago’s new Archbishop Blaise Cupich was ready to answer those raising questions about the church-state partnership. “Those who do not think religious organizations should have an opinion on climate change misunderstand the purpose of the former and the moral dimensions of the latter,” Cupich said at a Chicago press conference with EPA Secretary Gina McCarthy.

But the archdiocese’s new awareness of energy issues has nothing to do with mistaking the purpose of the Church, according to Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace.

“A lot of world leaders are taking a measurement of what people are thinking, and they all want to be the hero on this one,” Moore said in a phone interview with Watchdog Arena.

“Of course, that’s fairly natural for religion to do, because they’re always trying to save souls.”

The Chicago Archdiocese is the first in the nation to establish a benchmarking effort to record and evaluate the archdiocese’s energy usage in its 2700 church, school, residential and administration buildings.

Moore, who holds a PhD in ecology from the University of British Columbia, says many see the climate change movement as a form of religion, but for him, it has more to do with pointing to the “original sin.”

“What they’re basically saying is that we are the enemies of the Earth and the environment, and therefore we should do everything we can to make it seem as though we are not really here,” he said.

Shortly after Pope Francis released his encyclical on climate change earlier this year, Cupich re-emphasized the Holy Father’s concern that global warming would eventually devastate the Earth.

“The Holy Father urges us to stop the steady march to a warmer planet that will change sea levels and crop growing patterns, parch fields and promote famine, and lead to human misery on a scale yet unimagined,” he said.

Cupich said Pope Francis wanted to reduce the use of fossil fuels, rely more on renewable energy sources and re-think over-cooled and over-heated homes and workplaces.

Moore, who left Greenpeace in 1986 and has since become a global warming skeptic, said such suggestions create within the minds of the Catholic faithful “a self-defeating guilt trip.”

“You’re afraid you’re going to kill your kids and grandchildren by running your SUV, and you feel guilty for doing it,” Moore said. “The reasoning appeals to those two human motivators – guilt and fear – and for some reason, there’s always been somebody standing on the street corner with a sign saying, ‘the end is nigh.’”

Moore, who said he left Greenpeace when his fellow directors abandoned science and plunged into social activism, warned, “We are really doing a disservice by teaching people that fossil fuels are evil. Fossil fuels are, in fact, the largest solar storage of energy there is on the earth.”

Fossil fuels originated in plants and plankton, which grew by photosynthesis in the sea and on the land, and are now buried deep in the earth, Moore said.  “They are 100 percent organic, they were created by solar energy, so they were renewable at the time, and now they’re the largest storage batteries on the earth.”

Cupich said Pope Francis is concerned that abuse of the environment will adversely affect the poor, who are the most vulnerable.

“They suffer most from the degradation of the earth – they are the least protected from the increasingly violent swings of nature caused by global warming,” the the archbishop said. “The poor have the greatest exposure to air pollution, droughts, unsafe drinking water and the spread of diseases.”

“I’ll tell you what’s worse on the poor – not having any energy to heat their homes,” Moore said in response to the archbishop’s comments. “To hold that position is either extreme naiveté or it’s not caring about what happens.”

Moore, who this week released with Prager University several short videos about his experience with Greenpeace and alternative perspectives on carbon emissions, said in contrast to the Pope’s warnings, he thinks the best is yet to come concerning the world’s energy use.

“The idea that we are enemies of the earth is a terrible thing to tell our children, because we are from the Earth, we evolved with the rest of life,” he said. “Personally, I’m extremely optimistic about the evolution of our consciousness on this subject.”


Americans May Now Be Forced to Use Dishwashers That Don’t Clean Dishes

By Daniel Mitchell

When writing about the burden of regulation, I often share big numbers about aggregate cost, job losses, time wasted, and foregone growth.

But I sometimes wonder if such data is effective in the battle for good policy.

Maybe it’s better, at least in some cases, to focus on regulations that affect quality of life for regular people. Lots of ordinary citizens, for instance, are irked that they’re now forced to use inferior light bulbs, substandard toilets, and inadequate washing machines because of regulatory silliness from Washington.

And it looks like we’ll now be forced to use dishwashers that don’t clean dishes thanks to proposed regulations that will reduce water use (which is in addition to a 2012 regulation that already restricted water use).

The Hill reports on the Nanny State’s latest salvo in the war against modern civilization.

    “The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers is accusing the Department of Energy (DOE) of a politically motivated drive to increase dishwasher efficiency standards, which are so bad that they would cause consumers to re-wash dishes, erasing any efficiency gains. Rob McAver, the group’s head lobbyist, said regulators are going too far and the new rules will allow only 3.1 gallons to be used to wash each load of dishes. … They then ran standard tests with food stuck to dishes. ‘They found some stuff that was pretty disgusting,’ McAver said. … ‘The poor performance that would result would totally undercut and go backwards in terms of energy and water use, because of the need for running the dishwasher again, or pre-rinsing or hand-washing, which uses a lot of water,’ he said.”

Great, another bone-headed step by the government that will make life less enjoyable.

I’m already one of those people who rinse my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher because I hate the idea that they won’t be fully clean afterwards.

So I can only imagine how bad it will be if this absurd example of red tape is imposed and I have to buy a new dishwasher.

I guess I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that my current dishwasher doesn’t break down.

Especially since the rules make new dishwashers more expensive.

    “Ernest Istook, former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, wrote in a Washington Times piece that complying with the 2012 rule, based on DOE estimates, added roughly $44 to the cost of each machine. ‘Now their 2015 proposal will add another $99 to the price tag, even by DOE’s own admission,’ he wrote.”

Julie Borowski has the right assessment. Her column for Freedom Works is from 2012, but it’s very appropriate still today.

    “Are you disappointed in every shower head that you purchase? Does your toilet have trouble flushing? Have you noticed that your dishes are still dirty after the dishwasher cycle is completed? … Some of us may be quick to blame the manufacturer of these home appliances. But the manufacturers are just abiding by the costly regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy.”

What’s really frustrating is that these regulations reduce the quality of life without even reducing water usage.

    “… it has only led to people hacking their shower heads to remove the intrusion that is blocking water flow in order to have a more relaxing shower that actually gets them clean. There is no proof that the water restrictions have actually saved water because many people just end up taking longer showers than they otherwise would.”

Amen. Every so often I wind up at a hotel with restricted-flow showerheads and it’s a hassle because I probably spend twice as long in the shower.

Not to mention problems government has created elsewhere in bathrooms.

    “… water restrictions are also the reason that our toilets have trouble flushing. Many of us have become accustomed to flushing the toilet multiple times before the toilet bowl is clear. The 1992 Energy Policy Act states that all toilets sold in the United States use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. These water restrictions are the reason why we have to use plungers far more often than we used to.”

I won’t torment readers with a TMI moment, but I will say that I now routinely flush at the halfway point when seated on a toilet. And even that doesn’t necessarily preclude a third flush at the end of the process.

The only good news is that this gives me a daily reminder that government has far too much power to micro-manage our lives.


Cheap Power or "Clean" Energy? India’s $200 Billion Dilemma

A weak link lurks in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for an unprecedented $200 billion expansion of clean energy: cash-starved state electricity distributors.

The retailers have racked up more than 2.5 trillion rupees ($39 billion) of losses partly because they’re forced to sell below cost to keep energy affordable, Power Ministry data show. Reliant on loans and subsidies, their scope to embrace solar and wind over cheaper, dirtier coal-fired supplies is in question.

That leaves Modi juggling the needs of India’s 750 million poor, his clean-energy ambitions, and pressure to pledge emissions curbs at a United Nations global warming summit in December. For billionaires such as SoftBank Group Corp.’s Masayoshi Son who have vowed major solar investment in India since Modi took office last year, distribution poses a key risk.

“Most distribution companies are a big question mark,” said Sunil Jain, chief executive officer at New Delhi-based Hero Future Energies, which runs 260 megawatts of renewable plants. “We’ve raised the issue of distributors’ health with the government many times. We face the risk of delayed payments.”

Modi’s objective is 175 gigawatts of green energy capacity by 2022, up from about 37 gigawatts, at an estimated cost of $200 billion -- more than the size of Vietnam’s economy. SoftBank, Adani Enterprises Ltd., Reliance Power Ltd., SunEdison Inc. and Trina Solar Ltd. are among those planning investment.

The premier’s push has helped spur rallies in renewable energy companies, such as wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy Ltd., which has risen 48 percent this year, compared with a 1 percent gain in the S&P BSE Sensex index.
Billionaire Pledges

Son’s $20 billion venture with Bharti Enterprises Pvt. and Foxconn Technology Group will seek potential sites in sun-baked Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh states.

Yet those regions, together with Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, suffered distribution losses of about 540 billion rupees in the year through March 2013 alone, a report by government-controlled Power Finance Corp. shows.

These four states also account for a significant chunk of India’s solar goals -- such as 30 percent of a national 40-gigawatt target for rooftop panels by 2022, according to India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

Rajasthan’s state power transmission utility, Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Ltd., underscores the challenge ahead.

“We’re getting conventional power at 3 rupees a unit,” said its Operations Director R.P. Barwar. “There’s no point paying almost double that rate for solar.”

Barwar said the utility won’t purchase renewable energy beyond the amount required by regulators, adding electricity generators will have to look for other customers.
Diversify Risk

Half of Tamil Nadu’s 8,000-megawatt wind capacity is curtailed partly because distributors can’t afford it, according to ReNew Power Ventures Pvt. Chief Executive Sumant Sinha.

Such examples show why successful renewable projects will have to encompass sales to private companies -- as captive providers or over the open market -- as well as to utilities to be successful, consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers India said.

“The renewable target can’t be based on sales to utilities alone,” said Sambitosh Mohapatra, a partner at the consultancy. “And investors do realize that.”

Another approach, practiced by wind specialist Mytrah Group, is to operate across a number of states to diversify distribution risk. Mytrah’s business is spread over six states.

India remains reliant on coal, which fires about 60 percent of its power generation capacity. While Modi is trying initiatives such as dollar-linked solar contracts to cut costs and woo investment, India has yet to allow higher distribution charges so utilities can afford more renewable supplies.

“Many of these utilities have no ability to buy cheaper conventional power,” said Debasish Mishra, a senior director at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India Pvt. in Mumbai. “It raises questions whether they would buy costlier renewable power.”


What’s Wrong With the Senate Energy Bill?

The Senate is attempting to move forward with allegedly non-controversial legislation, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, which, according to proponents, contains no “poison pills.”

But for anyone who wants to swallow a strong dose of government intervention and anti-market energy policy, this bill is chock-full of poison pills.

Like the last two major energy bills passed in 2005 and 2007, a few good provisions do not outweigh the abundance of bad policies that waste taxpayer dollars, restrict energy choice and distort markets.

Reforming old laws and breaking down government-imposed barriers to make energy markets more innovative and competitive takes energy policy in the right direction, but the Energy Policy Modernization Act largely perpetuates the status quo of the government thinking it knows best, by picking winners and losers.

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.  We’ll respect your inbox and keep you informed.

The legislation provides taxpayer-funded subsidies generating renewable energy and efficiency retrofits at schools and at non-profit organizations, and for improving energy efficiency for state and tribal buildings.

Not only are these programs duplicative of state efforts, but they are also wasteful and distort the choices that families, businesses, schools, and state and local governments can make on their own.

American families and businesses have many different needs. A one-size-fits-all regulation or subsidy to artificially elevate the importance of energy efficiency is not only wasting taxpayer dollars, but skewing consumer preferences and the market at large.

Businesses and families make energy-saving investments when it makes sense for them to do so, and as a result, energy use per dollar of Gross Domestic Product has fallen dramatically.

The paternalistic view of federal intervention in energy efficiency ignores the trade-offs, budget constraints and payback periods that families and investors face, as well as the preferences they hold.

Similarly, politicians should not think that if they play puppet master using taxpayer dollars, the market pieces will fall into place.

The Energy Policy Modernization Act contains an array of programs such as:

    Taxpayer money to train the next generation of workers

    Grant money for projects eligible for electricity grid modernization

    Government-provided incentives for hydroelectric production

    Research demonstration projects for geothermal energy and hydrokinetic energy

    Expands authority for government money for biopower and bioheat systems

    A low-interest loan program for industrial bioheat systems

    Amends and reauthorizes a program to make methane hydrates a commercially viable source of energy

    Recycling critical minerals

    Promotes commercialization of carbon capture and sequestration as an objective of the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy

These programs perpetuate the same, tired thinking in Washington that the market works like baking a cake.

If you sprinkle a few government programs here, some taxpayer-provided incentives there, and add in handouts for jobs training programs, you’ll have a viable new product that generates wealth and opportunity when all is said and done.

And politicians get to say: we built that, which certainly doesn’t hurt come election time.

Not only is this not the role of government and an ill-informed idea of what drives growth and prosperity, but the government-can-make-markets line of thinking backfires, wasting taxpayer money and trapping labor and capital in unproductive places, driving up prices.

Government programs that promote specific technologies or attempt to drive investment distort the market by dictating where investments flow, taking labor and capital away from potentially more promising endeavors.

At best, the programs may provide some subsidized production and jobs, which politicians can point to as a positive, but it is not the recipe for a sustainable industry and a thriving economy.

Nor does it show how those resources could have been more productive in other sectors of the economy.

The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 would be an extension of everything that’s wrong with energy policy in the United States because it continues the mindset of government intervention over the energy economy.

To increase energy production, create jobs and grow the economy, Congress should pass reforms that open access to markets, eliminate favoritism for any energy sources and create a regulatory pathway that allows innovative, competitive technologies to flourish, many of which already have bipartisan support.



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

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


2 August, 2015

Halfway to Hell: Global Temperatures Hit Critical Point, Warn Scientists (!)

Ya gotta laugh! A one degree temperature rise in 135 years!  Panic!  No-one even noticed it until the Greenies began to froth at the mouth about it. And even that one degree embodies a prediction.  The reality is around two thirds of that. 

They list what appear to be five interlocking temperature graphs.  They are interlocking indeed.  They all use the same basic terrestrial temperature readings.  They are far from independent. 

How strange that the authors have omitted the much more comprehensive satellite records!  The fact that the satellite record shows NO warming might have something to do with that.  The whole article below is essentially a fraud ginned up to influence the forthcoming Paris climate conference

And the wording is really slimy. The bit that amused me most was:  "Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns already increase heat-related illnesses".  That's true by definition. What about illness from all causes?  It's actually COLD that increases illness from all causes!

And there's the old chestnut that "2014 was the hottest year since records began".  Which records?  Certainly not the satellite record. And even if we take the terrestrial records as honestly compiled, the 2014 temperature differed from the temperatures of the last 18 years only by hundredths of one degree. So "2014 was the hottest year since records began" gives a quite false impression that the temperature rise is ongoing.  It is not.

And what about the "scientists" in the heading?  WHICH scientists?  Certainly not all scientists.  An honest heading would be "Many Scientists" but honesty is not to be expected of Warmists, of course.

I could go on but the crooks below have pulled out every trick in the book to make their case -- which shows you how non-existent their case is.  It's propaganda worthy of Dr. Goebbels

As 2015 shapes up to be the hottest year on record, scientists warn the world could be halfway towards surpassing countries’ self-set red line of 2C temperature rise.

New research commissioned by the New Scientist shows that four out of the five major surface temperature records are set to pass the 1C point this year, measured from the 1850-1899 average.

At 1C climate change is already affecting the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations as warming brings escalating sea level rise and more intense and volatile weather extremes.

Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns already increase heat-related illnesses, enhance the spread of disease, reduce crop yields and threaten access to clean water and could result in forced migration, conflict and social disruption.

Bold climate action will save huge numbers of lives and produce significant cost savings in the health sector. Direct health impacts from climate change are expected to cost the world US$2-4 billion a year by 2030.

2014 was the hottest year since records began.

Now with an El Nino underway and predicted to intensify, it looks as if the global average surface temperature could jump by around 0.1C in just one year. And, 2015 is “shaping up to smash the old record.”

The latest research underscores the urgency for government’s to act and the solutions are ready and waiting.

In December governments will meet in Paris to agree a new global climate pact, aimed at moving the world closer to keeping warming below the 2C threshold, or even the 1.5C demanded by vulnerable countries.

With the renewable sector strengthening every day and fossil fuels facing a battle for survival, there is no excuse for inaction.

Governments must arrive in Paris ready to signal their collective vision for a complete phaseout of fossil fuels in favor of a 100 percent renewable future.


Now it's Legionnaires' Disease that is supposedly caused by global warming

Pesky fact:  Even the much-massaged terrestrial temperature data show no statistically significant global warming for many years.  So NOTHING can be due to global warming over that period

The number of reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease is on the rise in the United States and researchers say the increase could be partly a result of climate change.

More than three times as many cases of legionellosis, of which Legionnaires’ disease is one form, were reported in 2009 than 2000 — 3,522 up from 1,110, according to a 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York City, where an outbreak in Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx has killed two people and sickened 46 since July 10, has seen a similar rise. The incidence of cases increased 230 percent from 2002 to 2009, with the greatest number in high-poverty neighborhoods, according to an October study in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The recent outbreak in the Bronx, where residents already have high rates of asthma, is the second in the borough this year. Twelve cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported in December and January and were traced to an apartment complex cooling tower.

On Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that two rooftop cooling towers in the area had been found to be contaminated, including one at Lincoln Hospital. Both are now being disinfected, he and the New York City Health Commissioner, Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, said.

"We’re aggressively investigating and testing all possible sources," de Blasio said.

Legionnaires’ disease, identified after 34 deaths among American Legionnaires returning from a 1976 convention in Philadelphia, is a sometimes deadly pneumonia that is spread through the environment, rather than person to person, often in a mist of contaminated water from cooling towers, hot tubs, showers or faucets. It is not contagious.

Dr. David N. Fisman, a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, said in an email that he doubted the increase was the result solely of improved testing. The rise is linear and across all regions of the United States, he said.

It is difficult to be certain that climate change is a factor but it seems plausible, he said. The bacteria is more infectious in warm temperatures and some studies, including one he and others did in 2005, have shown that wet, humid weather predicts an upsurge in the risk of contracting the disease over the following week or two. That finding was not replicated in Toronto, he said, but there the disease peaks later in October in that area.


Another ecoflop

"Green" buildings have a woeful history of bungles and a new eco development has been plagued by damp, draughts and dodgy gas pipes

An eco development by Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud has been plagued with a series of building blunders including damp, draughts and problems with the gas supply.

The 78 properties in Stroud, Gloucestershire quickly sold out as buyers snapped up the state-of-the-art homes, which have been 'super insulated' and triple glazed to preserve energy.

But now homeowners have reported a string of complaints with the houses, which include damp on the walls, draughty windows, uncapped chimneys and poorly installed plasterboard.

Some properties also did not comply with standard reulations for central heating systems as a gas leak was discovered.

Several residents were forced to move out of their houses for up to three weeks and put their belongings into storage, while extensive repairs were carried out.

The development, called Applewood, is built on the site of the former Cashes Green Hospital in Stroud.

It was designed by Mr McCloud's property company HAB - Happiness Architecture Beauty - and built by construction firm GreenSpace.

The estate, has a variety of green spaces including a 'pocket orchard' and a natural 'wildlife corridor' running through the site.

Clare Honeyfield, 51, moved into her £125,000 apartment at Applewood almost a year ago.

Her company Made in Stroud, even provided some of the product for the interior of the show home.

But now she said: 'I bought this very much on the Kevin McCloud brand. They were designed by his architect company. I could not feel more let down.

'I don't see the corporate social responsibilty I would expect from Kevin McCloud's company. I feel like we have been dumped while they move on.

'I absolutely regret buying into the Kevin McCloud brand. I feel very disappointed.

'You could make a whole episode of Grand Designs about the issues the neighbours here are going through.

Ms Honeyfield first started to notice problems with her apartment late last year and says she has been trying to resolve them ever since.

Three weeks ago, she moved out of her property with all of her possessions for repairs to take place, and only moved back in yesterday.

She explained: 'I have been in a property for nearly a year which isn't gas safe. It's not a saleable property.

'In October I noticed damp patches on the chimney breast in the bathroom and the bedroom.

'The wrong sort of plasterboard had been used and it had been put straight onto the brickwork.

'It now turns out the chimneys weren’t capped. I had to have three of the windows replaced because they had been fitted out of square and there wasn’t a proper seal.

'My property is also still not gas safe because there isn’t an isolator valve on my gas supply.'

Another resident, who moved into a property last year with her husband but did not want to be named, added: 'We bought these houses in good faith to a certain specification, they were sold with a slightly different ethos than the average new build.

'It was all caring and community based, it was all about sustainable living.'

While another mother, who moved in with her husband and two children, said: 'Across the site the bills that people have been getting have ranged from £45 a month for gas and electric to some people who were sent bills for £1,000 a month.  'Basically I think a lot of the meters were faulty, that’s why loads of them have been replaced.

'Subsequently at some point somebody had a gas leak and called out the emergency gas people who came and took at it and said this is not compliant with the current gas regulations.

'That opened up an investigation and 90 per cent of the properties have this issue. It’s already well known in the Stroud community that we’ve had these issues.'

The problem has been so extensive that Stroud MP Neil Carmichael has met with around 20 residents and now intends to write to GreenSquare on their behalf.

HAB has since tried to defer blame for the project onto GreenSquare, who partnered the company on the project.

Simon McWhirter, HAB’s head of sales said: 'HAB’s partner at Applewood, GreenSquare Group, was responsible for the delivery of the scheme and we must defer to them to comment on the construction issues that have come to light since the development was completed.

'It’s clearly been a very frustrating time for the residents and we’re sorry that their experience has not been as good as it should have been.

'However, we are pleased that a plan is in place that will resolve all of the outstanding issues, and we’ll continue to monitor the situation very closely.'

Meanwhile GreenSquare has opened a temporary site on the development to help coordinate the repairs.

Phil Bowley from the firm said: 'We have been working to deal with a series of "snagging issues" picked up from our surveyors’ survey visits earlier in the year and are glad the majority of these have been resolved in recent weeks.

'When we asked an independent Gas Safe registered expert to have a look at the gas installations our contractors had completed at Applewood, he found that they did not comply fully with regulations because pipes had been routed within the cavity walls.

'But he confirmed that they are not considered to be dangerous and can continue to be safely used until remedial work is carried out.'

The completed community comprises of 21 four-bedroom houses, 29 three-bedroom houses, 14 two-bedroom houses, eight two-bedroom apartments and six one-bedroom flats.


Bikers, boaters and big oil unite in fight against biofuel

Count bikers, boaters and, to hear some say, even God, among those who oppose the US law that forces refiners to use corn to make gasoline.

In more than 413,000 public comments to the Environmental Protection Agency, ethanol opponents are battling it out with big oil producers and farmers in a bid to reshape the 2007 law. The agency, which in May proposed lowering the amount of ethanol refiners must use in gasoline, is expected to release final targets November 30.

The plan has drawn passionate responses from both sides. "If God meant corn to be used for fuel he would have made it flammable in its natural state," said Kathleen Baker of Clarkston, Washington, one of at least 23 people who invoked the Holy Spirit in comments to the EPA.

Tom Morgan, from Mondamin, Iowa, wrote that the ethanol mandate helps to defund "terrorists," by reducing dependence on foreign oil. Pal Ray took aim at government intervention in the fuel markets.

"The stupid government is subsidizing production using our food crops," Ray wrote.

In May, the EPA, in a long-delayed announcement, proposed lowering the amount of ethanol to be used this year to 13.4 billion gallons and to 14 billion in 2016, less than the 15 billion required under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.

That was good news to recreational boat owners and motorcycle riders who wrote EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy saying the law's Renewable Fuels Standard would increase the total concentration of ethanol in gasoline beyond 10 percent, a level that could damage their engines. They have joined ranks with bar owners, a household cleaning lobby and environmentalists who say ethanol raises food prices.

Motorcycle woes

Mark Petit, from Yakima, Washington, told the EPA that his Honda Valkyrie motorcycle gets fewer miles to the gallon on ethanol-laced gasoline and that the US should simply "eliminate the RFS mandate."

Valero Energy, the biggest US refiner and third- largest ethanol producer, agreed. The San Antonio-based company is pushing EPA to overhaul the program to better reflect how motor fuel makes its way to filling stations.

Ethanol supporters, like the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy, Washington-based trade groups, say the EPA's proposal undercuts the industry's future and that targets should not be eased. The American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, which represent oil producers and refiners, say the EPA didn't go far enough in reducing the requirements.

Production of the biofuel is 1.2 percent higher than it was a year ago, government data show.

Farmers who grow corn and other feedstocks for biofuels say the program has been a growth engine for the rural economies and has helped the environment by reducing smog.
Big oil

"As ethanol producers, traders and marketers, we believe that the original goals of the RFS are reasonable and within reach," Archer-Daniels-Midland, the second-biggest US ethanol maker, said in comment to the agency.

Todd Becker, chief executive officer of ethanol producer Green Plains Renewable Energy, said the biofuel's opponents have fallen for Big Oil's public relations campaign.

"Use reverse logic," Becker said in an interview. "You're mandated to use 90 percent gasoline. You're being held hostage."

The public comment period on the proposal ended July 27.


Not a Typo: Military Pays Nearly $30 a Gallon for Green Fuel

A recent Government Accountability Office report on the Department of Defense’s fuel consumption habits illustrates just how expensive alternative fuel actually is. From 2007 to 2014, the military burned through 32 billion gallons of petroleum-based fuel. During that time, it also invested in two million gallons of alternative fuel to develop an alternative fuel supply. It makes sense: It’s all a part of developing resiliency.

But while the Pentagon paid on average $3.35 for a gallon of conventional fuel, it paid $29.30 per gallon for a plant-based naval and jet fuel called F-76. Wage a war powered on the stuff, and you might just run out of money before you could win.

Still, DOD is planning on increasing the amount of F-76 it uses — all in the name of powering 50% of the military on alternative fuel by 2020. “To help the Navy purchase alternative jet and naval distillate fuels blended with conventional fuels, the Department of Agriculture plans to provide funding directly to alternative fuel vendors that meet certain requirements and receive awards from DOD,” the GAO reports. “These funds are intended to defray some of the alternative fuel producer’s extra costs — such as costs of domestic feedstocks.”

In other words, the Department of Agriculture will provide subsidies so that alternative fuels don’t eat away at the Pentagon’s budget. It’s an accounting trick meant to disguise the real cost of outfitting the green army. Just for your information, an M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank burns a gallon of fuel for every 0.6 miles.


Australian public broadcaster has a climate change obsession

Like a judge turned advocate, or umpire turned player, the ABC’s Media Watch has become a ­spruiker in one of the nation’s most crucial policy debates — ­climate change.

Jonathon Holmes, a former presenter and columnist for The Age, this week trumpeted his fondness for renewable energy and disinterest in the cost of electricity.

Defending [Leftist leader] Bill Shorten’s  uncosted promise to deliver 50 per cent of Australia’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, Holmes said “no one has a clue what the comparative cost of coal-fired and renewable energy will be by 2030.”

He also argued that renewables “create at least as many — arguably far more” jobs than coal-fired ­electricity and that News Corporation Australia (publisher of The Weekend Australian) has launched an “assault on climate change ­action.”

He is free to subscribe to whatever ill-founded conspiracy theory he likes, of course, and The Age is perfectly entitled to publish them.

But it would be a shame if he had used his pulpit at Media Watch to promote Leunig Left views.

Holmes fronted Media Watch from 2008 until 2013 when he was replaced by Paul Barry.

Over that period climate policy has been one of the nation’s most contentious political, economic and environmental issues: Labor’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme was proposed, rejected and then dropped; the Coalition switched from supporting emissions trading schemes to opposing them; Labor ruled out a carbon tax then introduced one; the Coalition repealed it; and now Labor again proposes a trading scheme and the ambitious renewables target.

A quick check of Barry’s Twitter feed shows he shares the ­climate alarmist and renewable-at-any-cost stance of his predecessor (along with a healthy dose of Murdochophobia).

Views such as these might be economically naive and politically jaundiced but they are common enough among university activists and Greens politicians, so we can hardly get too excited about Barry subscribing to them.

But what if this Green Left push infiltrated the professional posture of senior journalists at the national broadcaster?

What if Media Watch — a program the ABC says aims to expose “conflicts of interest, misrepresentation and manipulation” — was used to consistently promote a climate alarmist and pro-renewables mindset?

This week, Media Watch returned to an old theme when it picked up commentators using an erroneous figure relating to the high cost of wind and solar energy over coal.

The mistake inflated the costs by a factor of 10 (so was most likely the result of a misplaced decimal point). It occurred in this newspaper’s Cut&Paste section more than four years ago and was ­corrected.

Given the incorrect figures made wind power 19 times more expensive than coal, “you’d have to be mad to support it (wind ­energy),” Barry mocked.

Yet the correct figures showed wind was twice as expensive as coal and that solar is more than five times the cost — so the pertinent question might be whether you would be mad to support renewables on those numbers?

Barry didn’t make that point or pose that question.

Far from being a binary emotional question about “belief” in climate change and “love” for renewables, climate policy involves a complex serious of competing objectives to reduce emissions, contain costs and support economic growth.

Every cost needs to be measured against a desired benefit, and each goal needs to be weighed against the known costs.

Aside from this newspaper, and perhaps the Australian Financial Review, few media organisations have looked at these issues seriously.

The Australian has long accepted the scientific basis of anthropogenic climate change, understanding the need to reduce CO2 emissions and, for a quarter of a century, has argued for an economically rational market mechanism to deal with it.

At the same time it has fostered an intelligent debate, including reportage of changing climate observations and modelling, and rational analysis of various climate factors and proposed solutions.

Media Watch has shown something of an obsession for pursuing coverage of climate change issues and, in particular, reportage in The Australian.

Its executive producer, Tim Latham, declined to provide a tally of how often the program had criticised coverage of dissenting or sceptical climate views compared to reports showing alarmist overreach. He did, however, point out a segment from March last year, which appears to be the exception that proves the rule.

It highlighted media reports of a climate change study that found the Sydney Opera House would be swamped by rising sea levels.

Mocking the sensational nature of the reporting, Media Watch pointed out the study was looking at consequences 2000 years into the future.

“The Sydney Opera House will not be submerged in the next 100 or 200 years if indeed it ever is,” lectured Barry, “and to imply that it will be is alarmist nonsense of the sort that brings journalism and ­climate science into disrepute.”

Yet, of course, it was the study that was sensational. It claimed more than one per cent of the global land mass, 7 per cent of the world’s population and 136 UNESCO world cultural heritage sites would be swamped — in 2000 years.

If anyone was bringing climate science into disrepute surely it was these climate scientists themselves.

The study generated exactly the sort of media reporting intended.

Typically, Media Watch analyses, corrects, criticises, crosschecks and mocks journalists and commentators who give oxygen (pun intended) to scientists or activists making dissenting or sceptical arguments about global warming.

The alarmist scaremongering and frightening predictions of climate activists that are regurgitated daily by a wide variety of media organisations, especially Fairfax and the ABC, are seldom subjected to scrutiny.

When the national broadcaster publishes claims such as this — “That’s over 2 billion atomic bombs worth of heat built up on our planet since 1998” — Media Watch doesn’t spring into action to question the language.

Tim Flannery’s predictions about permanent drought and dams running dry sit stubbornly unfulfilled and inexplicably unexamined on ABC websites.

Instead of pointing out the jaundice, Media Watch replicates it and continues its crusade against sceptics.

Often that effort has been directed at this newspaper’s environment editor, Graham Lloyd, who is a committed environmentalist, accepts the physics of climate science and has opined in favour of an emissions trading scheme but dares to report a wide range of scientific analysis.

“The fundamental point,” says Lloyd, “is just because I don’t agree with something doesn’t mean it should not be put into the public domain where it can sharpen debate and understanding.

“The alternative is self-censorship and authoritarian control.”

In extensive and diverse coverage of data, developments and opinions on climate issues over countless stories and many years there is one story (sourced from overseas, misinterpreted in the production process and for which The Australian published a correction) that would have been better left unpublished.

But the rest of Media Watch’s numerous admonishments amount to little more than a misplaced decimal point here, a less than ideal headline there, or nitpicking about the emphasis given to particular points of view in ­various reports.

It is beyond contention The Australian and The Weekend Australian have covered a broader array of scientific and economic analysis and opinion on climate than the ABC.

Take the hiatus, or global warming pause, which has been debated in detail by scientists for more than six years, especially since scientific frustration at the pace of warming was revealed through the infamous “Climategate” emails. Renowned climate scientist ­Judith Curry blogged about the latest research this month saying the “hiatus clearly lives, both in upper ocean heat content and surface temperatures” and added it would be interesting to see how the media reacted to this news given they had declared it an “artefact” only weeks earlier.

This debate has been largely absent from the ABC except for belated attempts to debunk the pause claims.

The science program Catalyst tackled the issue last October in a story that included Professor Curry explaining that “globally ­average surface temperatures haven’t increased in any significant way since 1998.”

While Curry was identified as belonging to a “small minority” of scientists she was allowed to make the central points about a “growing divergence between the observations and climate model simulations.”

Yet the story’s clear aim was to relay that “all things considered, there’s been no global warming pause.” It gave most prominence to that argument and scientists promoting it.

“The whole of the climate system is really warming,” said Kevin Trenberth, “it’s just that the warming can be manifested in different ways.”

What we’re seeing in the models,” said Matthew England, “is that the warming out of the hiatus is gonna be rapid, regardless of when that hiatus ends.”

In other words the models that did not predict the hiatus are now predicting that when the hiatus ends warming will be even more rapid.

Does this mean they are really saying forget the observations, believe the modelling?

The ABC refuses to ask such obvious and sceptical questions.

The national broadcaster prefers to turn its sights on any media raising an eyebrow, testing an assertion or allowing experts to do the same.

Tellingly, the ABC never reported the significant revisions to global climate predictions that were snuck onto the UK Met Office website on Christmas Eve 2012.

Given the Met’s standing as a leading international climate centre, this was big news.

“If the forecast is accurate, the result would be that the global average temperature would have remained relatively static for about two decades,” reported the BBC.

“An apparent standstill in global temperatures is used by critics of efforts to tackle climate change as evidence that the threat has been exaggerated. Climate scientists at the Met Office and other centres are involved in intense research to try to understand what is happening over the most recent period.”

It appears the ABC never reported this issue and, all-in-all, ­ignored the pause until it was ready to run reports debunking it, or at the end of last year, saying it was over.

ABC radio breathlessly reported in December that 2014 was on track to be the warmest year ever and that “contrary to the position argued by climate change sceptics” global warming had neither paused nor slowed down. Rather than “contrary to the position argued” by sceptics it would have been more accurate to say “contrary to the recorded ­observations.”

The ABC gives us alarmist claims from those demanding urgent action and denies us information about observed evidence or dissent against the alarmist claims. Yet we are given rebuttals of the dissent.

It is Orwellian.

Media Watch took a keen interest in this newspaper’s coverage from 2012 of beach erosion issues at Lake Cathie, on the NSW ­Central Coast, where residents faced the threat of planning changes based on IPCC sea level projections.

“We don’t want to shift, no way,” said Russell Secombe who, along with his wife, Anne, and the owners of 16 other houses on the Illaroo Road beachfront, was ­concerned about a report before council recommending a “planned retreat” in the face of coastal ­erosion.

Media Watch forensically analysed these reports, demonstrating poor headline choice and contesting some interpretations.

But reporter Ean Higgins ­pursued this story over subsequent years, taking up the cause of ­people who had invested their life savings in their homes and seen their values fall because of the looming restrictions.

Eventually, thanks in no small part to Higgins’s reporting, the planning minister stepped in.

“The problem that property owners face is that some councils have been casting potential longer-term issues as a clear-and-present danger,” said the minister.

“We just needed to get councils to jump away from that doomsday scenario.”

This is the core work of journalists — identifying issues where citizens are being adversely affected by authorities, shedding light on their fears and concerns, seeking responses and sometimes, just sometimes, helping to build ­momentum for resolutions.

Ideally such reportage would never suffer from an error or inappropriate headline but the world is not perfect.

In a range of other areas — perhaps workers concerned about asbestos, or farmers concerned about climate change reducing their crops — we know the ABC would champion such journalism.

Perhaps for Media Watch the problem with Higgins and the homeowners at Lake Cathie was not so much that they stood between the council and the sea but that they stood between climate alarmism and a sensible, more cautious approach.

Another Media Watch attack centred on Lloyd’s January report about a groundbreaking study into the possibility of adverse health effects from wind turbines.

His story contained all the relevant details about the scope, funding and limitations of the study.

And it overtly referred to the need for more research into an open question: “It opens the way for a full-scale medical trial that may resolve the contentious ­debate about the health impact of wind farms.” Yet Media Watch insisted that Lloyd’s report had “got it so wrong” and it lined up a series of so-called experts to condemn the coverage.

Barry selectively quoted the study’s author to suggest he disagreed with Lloyd’s reporting when he did not (Barry had him rebutting a claim that was not made) and he quoted damning comments about the “atrocious” study and its coverage from an academic without disclosing the professor’s qualifications were not in science but sociology.

Media Watch was slapping down Lloyd for daring to air a study that merely raises the possibility of adverse health consequences from wind turbines.

Barry and his sizeable team used precisely the toolkit of selective reporting, omission and emotive posturing that they seek to expose in their targets.

They mock the suggestion of health concerns with jokes about “yolkless eggs” and snide ­comments about stories being “excitedly” relayed.

To put the program’s journalism and objectivity into perspective we need only pose this question; do we think they would be this dismissive of early reports about possible health risks with asbestos, coal dust or yellowcake?

We don’t need to believe wind turbines are harmful to make the point that if the industry were not renewable energy, the ABC might be all over the potential workplace health and safety implications of new technologies.

Good journalism is obliged to investigate and debate such ­matters.

For regular viewers there is a clear sense that Media Watch is campaigning on climate. Inquirer spoke to prominent advocates in the climate change debate and none seemed surprised to be asked about their engagement with the program.

Australian National University professor and former climate commissioner Will Steffen says he “interacts a lot” with the ABC but “not a whole lot” with Media Watch.

“I think I have been in contact with them once or twice to comment on issues but that has come at their instigation,” he said.

At the Clean Energy Council, spokesman Mark Bretherton also talked down their contact. “It is not that often that we talk to Media Watch,” he said, “the last time would have been a year or two ago and generally when we talk to them they contact us rather than the other way around.”

But the Climate Institute’s John Connor admits to being more proactive. “They come to us for fact-checking,” he said, “we’re happy to help and perhaps the same amount of times I have raised issues with them, perhaps once or twice.”

Mr Connor said when he made his suggestions they had been followed up with broadcasts but he can’t remember what the issues were. “I certainly wouldn’t characterise it as an ongoing relationship.”

Back in 2012 Media Watch was again defending the renewable energy sector and admonishing The Australian for daring to report that despite the addition of wind turbines, Victoria’s dirty brown coal generators were still running at full capacity.

“It was one of those stories that make The Australian’s readers wonder why we bother with all this renewable energy nonsense,” sneered Holmes, preferring not to review it as an important story explaining how the addition of wind farms tended not to diminish the need for baseload power.

Media Watch based their entire criticism on the reality of the National Electricity Market, suggesting that with wind energy inputs Victoria could export more coal power and reduce emissions in NSW and South Australia.

It was a heroic argument, ignoring the coal burned, not for export, but just to keep the baseload generators running.

The facts were disputed by experts including Hamish Cumming, the source of Lloyd’s story, who complained that Media Watch refused to consider his research.

Few issues could be more pertinent to the national policy debate than whether the additional costs to consumers of mandated renewables was actually reducing emissions. But Media Watch, it seems, would rather we didn’t inquire.

This month Media Watch again singled out a Lloyd report as it ­attacked many media organisations for the way they reported new research about the prospects of a “mini-ice age” or, more correctly, the onset of a Maunder Minimum because of reduced solar activity.

Barry admonished Lloyd, even though his report was detailed, ­accurate and played down the overall impact of this phenomenon.

“The dominant view among ­climate scientists is that it is too small to have a major impact,” ­reported Lloyd.

Tellingly, Barry was dismissive about the possibility of regionalised cooling of up to 0.8 degrees when warming projections generate great excitement.

Laughably, he criticised Lloyd’s report because the qualifying information was deeper in the story than the newsworthy claims in the first two paragraphs “which is what everyone reads”.

We can only imagine how busy Barry would be if he troubled himself with such journalistic parsing-in-full of stories predicting increased global warming or exacerbated environmental damage.

We see a familiar pattern here.

The Australian puts studies, concerns and information into the public arena to contribute to serious policy debates and Media Watch hits back, condemning those reports, suggesting information that questions the economics, environmental benefits or health effects of renewable energy should not be reported or that reports focusing on climate observations that are less than alarmist should be ignored.

This is jaundice, pure and ­simple.

And it raises the question of whether the personal prejudices of Holmes and Barry (and possibly others) have had a strong influence on the editorial direction of Media Watch over the past decade, helping to buttress a widespread lack of journalistic curiosity on ­climate change issues.

Media Watch could be the choirmaster of the ABC’s climate change groupthink and a broader journalistic chorus.



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

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This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: 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. Scientists are Warmists for the money it brings in, not because of the facts

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

Leftists have faith that warming will come back some day. And they mock Christians for believing in the second coming of Christ! They obviously need religion

Global warming has in fact been a religious doctrine for over a century. Even Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, believed in it

A rosary for the church of global warming (Formerly the Catholic church): "Hail warming, full of grace, blessed art thou among climates and blessed is the fruit of thy womb panic"

Pope Francis is to the Catholic church what Obama is to America -- a mistake, a fool and a wrecker

The plight of the bumblebee -- an egregious example of crooked "science"

This Blog by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

Inorganic Origin of Petroleum: "The theory of Inorganic Origin of Petroleum (synonyms: abiogenic, abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, juvenile, mineral, primordial) states that petroleum and natural gas was formed by non-biological processes deep in the Earth, crust and mantle. This contradicts the traditional view that the oil would be a "fossil fuel" produced by remnants of ancient organisms. Oil is a hydrocarbon mixture in which a major constituent is methane CH4 (a molecule composed of one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). Occurrence of methane is common in Earth's interior and in space. The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust. Some oil drilling now goes 7 miles down, miles below any fossil layers

As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms.

David Archibald: "The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better life on Earth will be for human beings and all other living things."


Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

After fighting a 70 year war to destroy red communism we face another life-or-death struggle in the 21st century against green communism.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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