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, 2016

The Arctic ice was lower than today 6,000 years ago

And they had no anthropogenic global warming then!  So could the present ice level be just another natural fluctuation? If not, why not?

Arctic Ocean perennial sea ice breakdown during the Early Holocene Insolation Maximum

Christian Strannea et al.


Arctic Ocean sea ice proxies generally suggest a reduction in sea ice during parts of the early and middle Holocene (?6000–10,000 years BP) compared to present day conditions. This sea ice minimum has been attributed to the northern hemisphere Early Holocene Insolation Maximum (EHIM) associated with Earth's orbital cycles. Here we investigate the transient effect of insolation variations during the final part of the last glaciation and the Holocene by means of continuous climate simulations with the coupled atmosphere–sea ice–ocean column model CCAM. We show that the increased insolation during EHIM has the potential to push the Arctic Ocean sea ice cover into a regime dominated by seasonal ice, i.e. ice free summers. The strong sea ice thickness response is caused by the positive sea ice albedo feedback. Studies of the GRIP ice cores and high latitude North Atlantic sediment cores show that the Bølling–Allerød period (c. 12,700–14,700 years BP) was a climatically unstable period in the northern high latitudes and we speculate that this instability may be linked to dual stability modes of the Arctic sea ice cover characterized by e.g. transitions between periods with and without perennial sea ice cover.


Ice scares aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

The sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is approaching its annual nadir. By early September each year about two-thirds of the ice cap has melted, then the sea begins to freeze again. This year looks unlikely to set a record for melting, with more than four million square kilometres of ice remaining, less than the average in the 1980s and 90s, but more than in the record low years of 2007 and 2012. (The amount of sea ice around Antarctica has been increasing in recent years, contrary to predictions.)

This will disappoint some. An expedition led by David Hempleman-Adams to circumnavigate the North Pole through the Northeast and Northwest passages, intending to demonstrate “that the Arctic sea ice coverage shrinks back so far now in the summer months that sea that was permanently locked up now can allow passage through”, was recently held up for weeks north of Siberia by, um, ice. They have only just reached halfway.

Meanwhile, the habit of some scientists of predicting when the ice will disappear completely keeps getting them into trouble. NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally told the Associated Press in 2007: “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012.” Two years later Al Gore quoted another scientist that “there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years” — that is, by now.

This year Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University has a new book out called Farewell to Ice, which gives a “greater than even chance” that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free next month. Not likely.

He added: “Next year or the year after that, I think it will be free of ice in summer … You will be able to cross over the North Pole by ship.” The temptation to predict a total melt of the Arctic ice cap, and thereby get a headline, has been counter-productive, according to other scientists. Crying wolf does not help the cause of global warming; it only gives amusement to sceptics.

Would it matter if it did all melt one year? Here’s the point everybody seems to be missing: the Arctic Ocean’s ice has indeed disappeared during summer in the past, routinely. The evidence comes from various sources, such as beach ridges in northern Greenland, never unfrozen today, which show evidence of wave action in the past. One Danish team concluded in 2012 that 8500 years ago the ice extent was “less than half of the record low 2007 level”. A Swedish team, in a paper published in 2014, went further: between 10,000 years ago and 6000 years ago, the Arctic experienced a “regime dominated by seasonal ice, ie, ice-free summers”.

This was a period known as the “early Holocene insolation maximum” (EHIM). Because the Earth’s axis was tilted away from the vertical more than today (known as obliquity), and because we were then closer to the Sun in July than in January (known as precession), the amount of the Sun’s energy hitting the far north in summer was much greater than today. This “great summer” effect was the chief reason the Earth had emerged from an ice age, because hot northern summers had melted the great ice caps of North America and Eurasia, exposing darker land and sea to absorb more sunlight and warm the whole planet.

The effect was huge: about an extra 50 watts per square metre 80 degrees north in June. By contrast, the total effect of man-made global warming will reach 3.5 watts per square metre (but globally) only by the end of this century.

To put it in context, the EHIM was the period during which agriculture was invented in about seven different parts of the globe at once. Copper smelting began; cattle and sheep were domesticated; wine and cheese were developed; the first towns appeared. The seas being warmer, the climate was generally wet so the Sahara had rivers and forests, hippos and people.

That the Arctic sea ice disappeared each August or September in those days does not seem to have done harm (remember that melting sea ice, as opposed to land ice, does not affect sea level), and nor did it lead to a tipping point towards ever-more rapid warming. Indeed, the reverse was the case: evidence from stalagmites in tropical caves, sea-floor sediments and ice cores on the Greenland ice cap shows that temperatures gradually but erratically cooled over the next few thousand years as the obliquity of the axis and the precession of the equinoxes changed. Sunlight is now weaker in July than January again (on global average).

Barring one especially cold snap 8200 years ago, the coldest spell of the past 10 millennia was the very recent “little ice age” of AD1300-1850, when glaciers advanced, tree lines descended and the Greenland Norse died out.

It seems that the quantity of Arctic sea ice varies more than we used to think. We don’t really know how much ice there was in the 1920s and 30s — satellites only started measuring it in 1979, a relatively cold time in the Arctic — but there is anecdotal evidence of considerable ice retreat in those decades, when temperatures were high in the Arctic.


Warmists (sort of) eat humble pie

A paper from 2013 below that has lost none of its relevance today.  They say that their models predicted twice as much warming as has actually occurred and they admit the C21 "hiatus".  And they can only guess why it all went so wrong

Recent observed global warming is significantly less than that simulated by climate models. This difference might be explained by some combination of errors in external forcing, model response and internal climate variability.

Global mean surface temperature over the past 20 years (1993–2012) rose at a rate of 0.14 ± 0.06 °C per decade (95% confidence interval). This rate of warming is significantly slower than that simulated by the climate models participating in Phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). To illustrate this, we considered trends in global mean surface temperature computed from 117 simulations of the climate by 37 CMIP5 models (see Supplementary Information).

These models generally simulate natural variability — including that associated with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and explosive volcanic eruptions — as well as estimate the combined response of climate to changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, aerosol abundance (of sulphate, black carbon and organic carbon, for example), ozone concentrations (tropospheric and stratospheric), land use (for example, deforestation) and solar variability. By averaging simulated temperatures only at locations where corresponding observations exist, we find an average simulated rise in global mean surface temperature of 0.30 ± 0.02 °C per decade (using 95% confidence intervals on the model average).

The observed rate of warming given above is less than half of this simulated rate, and only a few simulations provide warming trends within the range of observational uncertainty (Fig. 1a).

The inconsistency between observed and simulated global warming is even more striking for temperature trends computed over the past fifteen years (1998–2012). For this period, the observed trend of 0.05 ± 0.08 °C per decade is more than four times smaller than the average simulated trend of 0.21 ± 0.03 °C per decade (Fig. 1b). It is worth noting that the observed trend over this period — not significantly different from zero — suggests a temporary ‘hiatus’ in global warming. The divergence between observed and CMIP5- simulated global warming begins in the early 1990s, as can be seen when comparing observed and simulated running trends from 1970–2012 (Fig. 2a and 2b for 20-year and 15-year running trends, respectively the current generation of climate models (when run as a group, with the CMIP5 prescribed forcings) do not reproduce the observed global warming over the last 20 years, or the slowdown in global warming over the past fifteen years. This interpretation is supported by statistical tests of the null hypothesis that the observed and model mean trends are equal, exchangeable with each other (that is, the ‘truth plus error’ view); or (2) the models are exchangeable with each other and with the observations (see Supplementary Information).

Differences between observed and simulated 20-year trends have p values (Supplementary Information) that drop to close to zero by 1993–2012 under assumption (1) and to 0.04 under assumption (2) (Fig. 2c). Here we note that the smaller the p value is, the stronger the evidence against the null hypothesis. On this basis, the rarity of the 1993–2012 trend difference under assumption (1) is obvious. Under assumption (2), this implies that such an inconsistency is only expected to occur by chance once in 500 years, if 20-year periods are considered statistically independent. Similar results apply to trends for 1998–2012 (Fig. 2d). In conclusion, we reject the null hypothesis that the observed and model mean trends are equal at the 10% level.


H/T Paul Homewood

Warmest EVER?

We are bombarded with claims that some month or year (e.g., 2016) is the “warmest ever.” But what does that mean? We are living in a relatively cool era. Temperatures today are lower than they have been something like 90% of the time since the last Ice Age ended 12,000 or so years ago. In fact, “ever” means since approximately the 1880s, when thermometer records became widespread. As it happens, that was also around the time when the Little Ice Age ended, so–happily!–the Earth is a bit warmer now than it was then.

One of the many problems with global warming hysteria is that it is based on the surface temperature record since the 1880s, which is deeply flawed when it is not outright falsified by alarmists who control the historical records. This happens often, as we and others have documented. This week’s The Week That Was from the Science and Environmental Policy Project explains some (but by no means all) additional problems with the surface temperature record:

Unfortunately, the IPCC, and others, use surface temperatures to evaluate the global climate models. The failure of the models to track the surface temperatures is not surprising. Historic data is very sparse, largely from western Europe and the US. The data is contaminated by significant changes in land use, particularly urbanization. And, as shown in the 2008 NIPCC report, since about 1970, there has been a marked decline in the stations used to establish surface temperatures, and dramatic decline in the number of 5 degree by 5 degree grid boxes covered. Around the year 2000 about 100 of the total of 2,592 possible grid boxes ([180/5] x [360/5]) were covered – 4%. Complicating matters has been the trend, at least in the US, of using stations at airports. Both pavement and flying frequency create measurement problems.

When the Charney report was produced in 1979, there were no comprehensive, global temperature data. But starting in 1989, going back to December 1978, we have had comprehensive global satellite data of the atmosphere. As shown in the report by John Christy, the comprehensive satellite data show that, generally, the global climate models greatly overestimate warming of the atmosphere, where the greenhouse effect occurs. Both satellite and surface data are influenced by weather events such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). But, since the satellite data is “cleaner” it should be easier to separate natural and other human effects from CO2 caused warming.

If the purpose of the models is to estimate the effect of CO2, then surface data are poor proxy data at best. Atmospheric data is far superior. The kindest possible justification for the IPCC, and others, not to use satellite data is mental inertia.

Actually, the explanation is political. The IPCC was explicitly established by the U.N. for one purpose only, to “study” the impact of human-emitted CO2 on global temperatures. This was for the purpose of justifying government control over industry worldwide. Anyone who is interested in science rather than left-wing politics relies on the satellite data, which are transparent and have not been “adjusted” by political activists.


EPA spills again in Colorado

The Environmental Protection is admitting to a spill from a treatment plant it set up after it dumped 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater into a Colorado river last year.

The EPA said Thursday night that the spill happened on Tuesday, and officials are still attempting to determine how much and what metals were contained in the sludgy discharge, according to the Associated Press.

The spill occurred near the site of last year's spill at the abandoned Gold King Mine in Silverton, Colo., where agency contractors didn't adequately check the mine's pressure before attempting to open it up after several years of being idle. The result was a massive mine blowout that sent 3 million gallons of metal-tainted water into the waterways of three states.

The Navajo Nation sued the agency over the spill last week after the EPA inspector general and the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into the incident a few days before the Aug. 5 anniversary of the 2015 spill. The Navajo argue in their lawsuit that the spill significantly harmed the tribe's primary source of revenue from crops and other agricultural products.

Local officials said this week's release was not large enough to warrant a public advisory.

Last year's spill sent nearly 1 million pounds of metals into the waterways of the Animas and San Juan rivers, which traverse three states. The metals include arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc.

This week's spill came from the treatment plant that the EPA set up near the mine to filter water coming from the mine before releasing it into the creek and river systems. A large amount of rain in Colorado caused the treatment facility to overflow and some of the untreated water to spill into the waterways.

EPA said the water that spilled from he plant was partially treated, and the metals present in it should quickly settle to the bottom of waterways where they are less harmful.


Australian Report Predicts Global Coffee Shortage Will Get Worse

It's hard to know where to start in dismissing this nonsense.  All that global warming would do for ANY crop is to shift polewards the areas where it was grown.  There is no conceivable reason for an OVERALL shortage.  There are always new areas opening up for coffee growing anyway. 

Secondly, the current problem is described as drought.  Yet a warming world would mean a wetter world so warming could in fact SOLVE problems of coffee growing!

Thirdly, if they understood any economics they would know that any lasting reduction in supply would cause price increases and sustained price increases would then draw out more supply.  Australia's empty North, for instance, could undoubtedly be opened up to coffee growing in some parts.  There is already a small operation on the Atherton Tableland.  They even grow Arabica there

A new report from Australia's Climate Institute predicts that by 2050, global warming will make at least half of the land currently used for coffee production unable to produce quality beans.

By 2080, it cautions, hot temperatures could make wild coffee plants completely extinct. Although this report is projecting what will happen to supplies in decades to come, the coffee shortage isn't really off in the distant future.

It's already started to fall.  Brazil -- the source for over a third of the world's coffee -- has seen its coffee stores dip dramatically in the last two years as the result of a long drought.  So far, unusually large harvests in other world coffee markets helped to make up most of the difference.

But we can hardly expect these big harvests to continue. In fact, their trend may actually reverse.

Much of Brazil's latest shortfall was made up for by a record-breaking coffee harvest in Honduras -- which is a coffee-growing area that this new report says will probably be hit particularly hard in the coming decades.

Even the relatively smaller shift from Brazil's shortage in the last couple years resulted in a price surge and a jump in counterfeit coffee beans (which pretend to be fancier coffee varieties than they are).

With the spread of the shortage, we can only expect to see rising coffee prices and counterfeiting show up as even more of a problem in our daily cups.



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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30 August, 2016

Substituting prophecy for facts

It must be hard being a Warmist at times.  The article below admits that the Antarctic is not shrinking and notes that all the models say that it should. The scientific response to those facts would be to reject the models.  But you can't do that, of course.  So they simply do some more model runs with models that are already known to be wrong and predict that warming in the Antarctic will happen "real soon now".

So how do they account for what is not happening in the Antarctic so far?  They say that what is happening there is all a product of large "natural variability".  Maybe so but at that rate could the slight global warming during C20 also be a product of natural variability?  If not, why not?  They offer no test of when natural variability is at work or not other than whether it suits their preconceptions.  So we have yet another example of how Warmism destroys science

Anthropogenic impact on Antarctic surface mass balance, currently masked by natural variability, to emerge by mid-century

Michael Previdi and Lorenzo M Polvani


Global and regional climate models robustly simulate increases in Antarctic surface mass balance (SMB) during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in response to anthropogenic global warming. Despite these robust model projections, however, observations indicate that there has been no significant change in Antarctic SMB in recent decades. We show that this apparent discrepancy between models and observations can be explained by the fact that the anthropogenic climate change signal during the second half of the twentieth century is small compared to the noise associated with natural climate variability. Using an ensemble of 35 global coupled climate models to separate signal and noise, we find that the forced SMB increase due to global warming in recent decades is unlikely to be detectable as a result of large natural SMB variability. However, our analysis reveals that the anthropogenic impact on Antarctic SMB is very likely to emerge from natural variability by the middle of the current century, thus mitigating future increases in global sea level.

Environmental Research Letters, Volume 11, Number 9

So cosy at Youngstown State U

No hint below that the conservative side of politics mostly thinks global warming is a load of hooey.  No mention of debate, dissent or alternative viewpoints. More like a religious seminary than an institution of learning.  Youngstown State University is an  urban university located in Youngstown, Ohio.  As of fall 2010, there were 15,194 students

YSU lecture series to focus on global warming

The YSU Lecture Series on Energy and the Environment kicks off its third year Sept. 7 featuring lectures focusing on global warming.

“With all the extreme weather events we’ve been experiencing and with 2016 set to pass 2015 as the hottest year on record, these speakers are of the utmost relevance,” said Ray Beiersdorfer, Distinguished Professor of Geology and the founder/organizer of the lecture series.

The series goes international this year with a Skype talk from Denmark by Søren Hermansen, director of Samsoe Energy Academy and the head of the Samsoe renewable energy island project.

Also featured is the retired Chief Oceanographer of the Navy, Rear Admiral Jon White, who will be speaking about Ocean & Climate vs. National & Global Security. The lecture series also will include the local premier of a documentary about the community rights movement, “We the People 2.0,” which had its world premier in June at the Seattle International Film Festival.

The speaker series is sponsored in part by The James Dale Ethics Center and NextGen Climate Action.

All lectures are 7 p.m. Wednesdays in Room B100 of Cushwa Hall and run through Nov. 16.


Turning reality on its head

Any farmer knows that warm, moist weather improves crop growth and any Greenhouse owner can tell you how much lots of CO2 improves his crops but the crooks below are trying to tell you the opposite of that.  So how do they get from the reality that global warming would be a boon for food crops to an assertion that global warming would be a disaster for food crops?  Easy!  By combining models with simulations!  Reality not included.  How desperate the Warmists are!

Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) shared to Database has revealed that global warming could create substantial economic damage in agriculture.

“Agriculture is very sensitive to climate change—even a small increase of global mean temperatures can have significant effects on regional crop yields, affecting both the profitability of agricultural production and the share of income spent on food,” lead PIK author Miodrag Stevanovi? said.

“Our study quantifies economic impacts and analysis the role of international trade as an adaptation measure. We find that economic losses in agriculture could add up to the annual amount of roughly 0.8 percent of global GDP at the end of the century with a very restricted trade regime,” Stevanovic explained.

He said as small as this percentage sounds, it actually translates to losses of $2.5 trillion and is comparably higher for regions with limited agricultural resources, with respect to growing agricultural demand, for example the Middle East, Africa and India.

“In contrast, further trade liberalization in agricultural commodities could reduce financial damage globally by 65 percent, to 0.3 percent of global GDP,” he added.
Alexander Popp, PIK coauthor, further explained that: “Both global warming and free trade favor northern regions, like Europe and the United States, since producers’ gains increase as trade patterns shift northward. At the same time, southern regions, like Africa or India, could theoretically reduce climate-change-related damages by half, through more liberalized food markets.”

Arguing, Popp said: “Irrespective of our assumptions on global trade, climate change will result in reduced crop yields in many areas. At the same time, intensifying production or expanding cultivated land into previously untouched areas may come at a risk: It could lead to additional greenhouse-gas emissions through tropical deforestation or increased fertilizer use.”

According to him, this could then further enhance climate-change pressure on agriculture.

Researchers at PIK laboratories combined 19 different climate projections with simulations of crop growth to assess economic impacts of climate change in the agricultural sector.

Researchers said, while the magnitude of damage varies with different assumptions on crop-productivity response to climate change, carbon dioxide plant fertilization affects socioeconomic projection.

The new study highlights the important role of trade as a key measure to partly reduce climate-change impacts.

Hermann Lotze-Campen, PIK’s chairman of research domain Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities, said: “The best way to avoid these risks is to limit climate change. However, for impacts that cannot be avoided, an open and diversified trade system can be an important adaptation option.

“It can account for changes in global patterns of agricultural productivity and, thus, allow for reducing production costs and enhancing food security, as climate change will have an amplifying effect on the gap between developed and developing countries, and reductions in trade barriers will have to be accompanied by measures for poverty reduction and social safety nets.”

If food prices increase due to climate-change impacts, households will not only have to spend more on their food consumption, but could also face risks of insufficient access to food and malnutrition, the new study said.


The strangest libertarian yet

He hates guns and now wants a carbon tax.  He calls it a "fee" but how a fee differs from a tax is not at all clear.  Sounds like the Libertarian party has been hijacked by a liberal

Libertarian Party presidential nominee and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson said he’s no skeptic of man-made global warming and endorsed a “fee” on carbon dioxide emissions.

It’s all part of his “free market” approach to global warming, Johnson told the Juneau Empire in an article published Sunday.

“I do believe that climate change is occurring,” Johnson said. “I do believe that it is man-caused” and “that there can be and is a free-market approach to climate change.”

Johnson’s “free market” approach to global warming includes “a fee — not a tax, he said — placed on carbon” to make those who emit the greenhouse gas pay the supposed cost of their actions, according to the Juneau Empire.

“We as human beings want to see carbon emissions reduced significantly,” he said, adding the U.S. only emits “16 percent of the (global) load” CO2.

Johnson said: “I don’t want to do anything that harms jobs.”

It’s not exactly clear how a “fee” on CO2 would be different than a “tax,” but Johnson’s announcement was picked up by environmentalists

 Johnson’s carbon “fee” was touted by the group RepublicEN, a group of conservatives who endorse a carbon tax. RepublicEN has joined with environmentalists to promote a carbon tax as the best way to tackle global warming.

But they’re basically alone on the right, as most conservative groups see a carbon tax as a fool’s errand, and the Republican Party explicitly rejected a carbon tax in its 2016 platform.

“We oppose any carbon-tax,” reads the 2016 platform. “It would increase energy prices across the board, hitting hardest at the families who are already struggling to pay their bill in the Democrats’ no-growth economy.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told campaigners at the American Energy Alliance (AEA) in March he opposed a carbon tax.

“The Obama administration committed an overreach that punishes rather than helps Americans,” Trump answered in AEA’s survey. “Under my administration, all EPA rules will be reviewed. Any regulation that imposes undue costs on business enterprises will be eliminated.”

Republicans have been increasingly concerned about attempts to get a carbon tax through Congress. GOP lawmakers often argue taxing CO2 would amount to an energy tax that would raise the price of everything, hurting the poor.

Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse introduced a carbon tax bill last year to raise $2 trillion over 10 years and reduce CO2 emissions 40 percent. Whitehouse has also called on the Department of Justice to prosecute those who disagree with him on global warming.


Hurricane damages could grow faster than the U.S. economy

Just modelling -- and the models have never been right yet

When it comes to hurricanes in the U.S., large-scale trends are not in our favor. In fact, unless action is taken to curb both global warming and coastal development, the American economy may be set to take a perilous bashing from stronger storms, rising seas and too much high value, high-risk property lying in harms' way.

By the end of the century, a hurricane that strikes the eastern United States could cause up to three times more economic damage than a hurricane that strikes today, climate researchers warn in a new study.

If the world doesn’t drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and Americans don’t move to safer ground, the U.S. could suffer an eight-fold jump in average annual financial losses from hurricanes by 2100, the study found.

In the study, published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the scientists from Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research show that future hurricane-related losses for American families, companies and communities could grow faster than the overall U.S. economy — meaning the country won’t be able to counteract the damages from extreme weather events by creating more jobs and wealth.

“We find that hurricane losses have risen and will rise faster than the economy,” Tobias Geiger, the paper’s lead author and a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute, told Mashable.

“The impacts of climate change cannot be simply economically outgrown," he said.

In the U.S. alone, hurricanes caused $400 billion in estimated losses between 1980 and 2014, accounting for more than half of all weather-related economic losses, the German reinsurance giant Munich Re estimated last year.

Damages from other extreme weather events — including floods, wildfires, tornadoes and droughts — are also on the rise due to both human-caused global warming and unchecked development into floodplains, fire-prone forests and waterfronts.


How to Milk a Bull! Bad bee science and activist capture at the FT

Here we go again!  A second rate correlation study gets published;

* Because it has the words “bees” and “pesticides” in the headline, the newly privatised research institute’s PR machine generates good media pick-up;

* Main media organisations interview the researchers (who seem to find the right apocalyptic vocabulary), but they have not read the study;

* The NGO activists, who might have read some of the news articles, go into campaign overdrive: buzz, buzz, buzz, spin, spin, spin;

* An activist from Friends of the Earth plants an editorial in the Financial Times;

* Green MEPs print up a banner announcing a bee-pocalypse and pose for a picture in Brussels.

Hasn’t anyone in the media learnt the skew of this cynical game yet? Have journalists abandoned responsibility to side with the tawdristic tirades of the activists? Has everyone given up the “investigate, research and then report” practices that I used to teach journalism students (back when there used to be journalism students)? Are journalists now merely opting to take part in campaign activism? I am afraid in a world where a media article’s success is measured according to social media viral lift there is little incentive for journalistic responsibility.
And the activists know this! They march their bull onto their stage and attempt to milk it. In the drama of the thumping about, no one even notices the bloody thing’s got horns. Conclusion: It can’t produce milk anymore and someone is to blame. Print, publish, promote!

Bee-awful: Correlation studies are not scientific

If I go into a poor neighbourhood wanting to confirm my prejudice that immigrants push drugs, I’ll find immigrants and I’ll find drugs. Such a correlation would make me a racist … or, according to the media, a scientist with firm evidence! There is no question of other factors, societal variables or complicating circumstances – the correlation gives what the researcher wants: a simplistic “Yes!”, headlines and a guaranteed publication.

A correlation study starts with a person having a bias, and then defining data parameters to confirm it, moving the bias to a conclusion. It should be used by scientists as a first step in determining whether a study should be conducted (eg, “I’m noticing that a lot of long-term smokers are developing certain cancers; maybe we should look into this”); but now, with the advent of activist science and the media attention garnered by white-coat celebrities like Stephanie Seneff and Dave Goulson, correlation studies have become sufficient to draw apocalyptic conclusions (and glorious reputation-enhancing headlines).

A recent correlation study by researchers mostly from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)  has drawn such headlines. The CEH started with a prejudice that wild bees are dying in the UK (nobody really knows how many species of wild bees there are in the UK, so apparently you can make that claim), and they attempted to correlate it to the increase in UK production of oilseed rape (and the parallel use of neonicotinoids).
This correlation study had a long list of inherent weaknesses, namely:

The claim of a wild bee decline was based on data collected by a loose organisation of volunteer enthusiasts who would spot bees and record them during their walks. There was no focus to systematically gather data for a determined study and there was no new research conducted. It was simply random data (although the authors of the study would prefer the euphemism: “not structured”) pushed through some statistical analysis “tool”.

Wild bee data is quite thin and not robust enough to make any legitimate conclusions (the numbers and number of species in the UK is simply not known). Wild bees became the subject of save-the-bee activist concern after campaigners stopped making the claim that honeybees were affected by neonicotinoids, because, well, data seemed to prove that they weren’t and some activist scientists couldn’t keep ignoring the facts.

The study did not consider the shifts in agricultural practices over the 18-year survey period that might have had a detrimental effect on biodiversity levels. How farmers rotated their crops was also not brought into the parameters.

The researchers did not consider the variation from different types of neonicotinoids, the exposure levels of each, the type of dosage … they simply grouped a class of different chemicals as: “neonicotinoids” and did not get deeper into the science.

In fact, the researchers did not actually consider neonicotinoids, how or when they were applied. They looked at oilseed rape production, assumed it was treated, and then correlated it to the random data from their amateur bee counting enthusiasts. If the farmers had treated OSR fields with the older, less efficient pyrethroid insecticides, many more bees surely would have perished! This was not taken into consideration.

The researchers seemed, frankly, immature. At one point, the publication went off on a tangent and postulated that similar conclusions could be made for the influence on bees from treated sunflowers, even though they had not studied that and had no data. The key researcher, Dr Nick Isaac, acknowledged in a blog how he had designed the methodology to show how much of the wild bee decline was due to exposure to neonicotinoids. I believe the correct term is “if”. Building bias into the research methodology at the outset is, simply put, activist science.

A wide range of variables were simply ignored: weather, parasites, viruses, nutrition, other predators, regional urban development … the researchers included nothing that would complicate a clear correlation to prove their hypothesis.

There were no other hypotheses made to open further scientific debate or add to the body of knowledge. For example, organic farmers have introduced nematodes into their integrated pest management programme to protect against the increase of certain insects, without realising that these nematodes have a taste for wild bee nests and have been hoovering up wintering bumble bees at an alarming rate.

They did not recognise the limits of a correlation study in the paper. What they presented was assumed as clear, factual conclusions on the state of wild bee health due to neonicotinoids (even putting it down to causal percentages). I could easily perform a correlation study that shows that honeybee populations have increased globally since the introduction of neonicotinoids, or that these bees are thriving in OSR areas not affected by Varroa mites, but I don’t see the point of using a flawed approach for some vain need to prove I’m right!

Scientists should consider other elements and not be driven to drawing prejudiced conclusions on limited and compromised data.

In short, the conclusion drawn from the CEH correlation study is at best: mediocre; at worst: shameful. Let me go out on a limb and say this is the worst study on bee health and pesticides that I have ever read: based on random data, bias built into the methodology, no research into the chemical class it aims to condemn, total ignorance of all variables that most scientists acknowledge to be the source of bee decline and no responsibility for the consequences of its contrived conclusions (which were aimed to draw media attention).

What happened next was, well, regrettable. The scientists at the CEH started giving interviews and writing blogs where they showed their juvenile innocence. Rather than saying that their correlation findings were interesting and needed further study before any responsible conclusions could be drawn, they started making clear conclusions that indicted neonicotinoids. Perhaps the journalists set them up; perhaps the media jumped to conclusions and twisted their statements out of context; perhaps anti-pesticide bias is so built into our agricultural narrative that nobody noticed the claims had no factual bearing.

Call in the opportunists! Did they consider the study’s weaknesses?

The media, the NGO activists and the Green politicians have decided to ride this bull for wide range of opportunities:
it fills a slow August news cycle;

the CEH and its young researchers have yet to be tainted as an activist science organisation;

its scientists apparently haven’t received media training yet;
the EU will be reassessing the data from their neonic ban in January (expect a slew of activist-funded scare studies published in November and December);

the Brexit result implies the risk that the UK government might actually think about the plight of farmers and regulate rationally.

Bee-mused: How did Friends of the Earth capture the Financial Times?

While this CEH publication was pressed on most mainstream media, the Financial Times spin in the editorial “In defence of bees: a pesticide ban is justified” (FT View, 16 August 2016)  was more than simply alarming. It was captured activism we would normally expect from campaign-driven outlets like Le Monde or the Guardian, but not the FT!

The author, assumedly an FT editor as it is uncredited, begins the defence of bees by praising a small, random bee-counting stunt by Friends of the Earth that identified 370,000 bees in the UK. How is that an impressive or accurate count worth starting the article – about one bee for every citizen in the British town of Bradford?

The article then introduces the CEH study:

“Now new research concludes that neonicotinoids — a group of pesticides chemically similar to the nicotine in tobacco — might have cut the presence of wild bees in the British countryside by up to 30 per cent since they became widely used on oilseed rape crops.”

So the FT says neonics don’t work. Hmmm, … citation please?

The CEH study does not actually say neonics are responsible for 30% of the wild bee deaths, and this headline shock factor is not even backed up with a link to the study or reference to it by name. So I guess the FT could say anything they want then!

The editorial then assumes the campaign attack position, declaring how much the global food supply depends on bees, that farmers don’t understand that neonicotinoids don’t work (no reference) and that the big industry players are lobbying hard to silence the critics. My other shoe dropped when I read:

“Policymakers should certainly treat the arguments put forward by pesticide manufacturers — whose tactics are compared by NGOs to those used in the past by tobacco companies — with scepticism.”

The source the FT referenced to justify likening pesticide manufacturers to Big Tobacco was none other than that same friendly bunch that counted all of those bees: Friends of the Earth (who published a rabid report in 2014 of loose innuendo on industry lobbying that was largely ignored and quickly forgotten … except, obviously, by the editor of the Financial Times!!!). At this point, does anyone not get that this article was ghost-written by Friends of the Earth?

The article concludes that the EU ban against neonicotinoids not only must be renewed in 2017, but made stronger, because, after all: “There are other ways to manage pests that deserve attention.” And that is the FT’s ‘defence of bees’!

This has to be, in my living memory, the worst example of activist capture of a main news organisation, and of all places, at the Financial Times. How did Friends of the Earth worm their way onto the FT’s editorial desk? Was the editor on holiday after inadvertently leaving the access codes on the Tube? Shouldn’t the author of this article, if he or she had followed FT standards, at least have read the CEH report (or perhaps bothered to do a Google search to provide a direct link)!

There was no critical analysis like the basic points drawn above. Instead, the FT editor chose to use the publication to make policy demands that are simplistic, harmful for agriculture and likely more detrimental to bee health when alternatives are considered.

While the Friends of the Earth lobbyists must be proud of their ability to plant this story in the FT, I suspect that its readers must be questioning such poor journalism and activist bias. This is some seriously sour bull-milk!

Milking that bull will only get you a heap of bullshit

When will we learn that the more we yank on that bull’s “teat”, the more noise you will make, perhaps with a show of muscle … but after all that work, you won’t get any milk. The save-the-bee activists have this bull by the balls and they are pumping away.

 For those who see that this heifer is a hoofer, it is quite amusing to watch them trying so hard. For the rest who have been deceived, including some readers of the FT, they keep expecting milk and are getting impatient.

In the end, all we get from them is bullshit!

Apologies: Some may have got the crude pun in the title – note that this is what I feel activists are actually doing with their silly bee campaign.

Also I know that many farmers read my blog so let me assure them that I am fully aware that some dairy cows do have horns and some bulls do not – I was succumbing to artistic license!



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

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


29 August, 2016

All Natural… Four New Scientific Publications Show No Detectable Sea Level Rise Effect of CO2

It is widely assumed that sea levels have been rising in recent decades largely in response to anthropogenic global warming. However, due to the inherently large contribution of natural oscillatory influences on sea level fluctuations, this assumption lacks substantiation. Instead, natural factors or internal variability override the detection of an anthropogenic signal and may instead largely explain the patterns in sea level rise in large regions of the global oceans.

Scientists who have recently attempted to detect an anthropogenic signal in regional sea level rise trends have had to admit that there is “no observable sea-level effect of anthropogenic global warming,” or that the “sea level rise pattern does not correspond to externally forced anthropogenic sea level signal,” and that sea level “trends are still within the range of long-term internal decadal variability.”

Below are highlighted summaries from 4 peer-reviewed scientific papers published within the last few months.

1. Hansen et al., 2016

For the convenience of the readers, our basic results are shown in Figure 1. We identified five individual oscillations (upper panel), including a sea-level amplitude of 70 mm (top–bottom [t-b]) of the 18.6-year oscillation caused by the lunar nodal oscillation (LNO) … Together with a general sea-level rise of 1.18 mm/y, the sum of these five sea-level oscillations constitutes a reconstructed or theoretical sea-level curve of the eastern North Sea to the central Baltic Sea (Figure 1, lower panel), which correlates very well with the observed sea-level changes of the 160-year period (1849–2009), from which 26 long tide gauge time series are available from the eastern North Sea to the central Baltic Sea.  Such identification of oscillators and general trends over 160 years would be of great importance for distinguishing long-term, natural developments from possible, more recent anthropogenic sea-level changes. However, we found that a possible candidate for such anthropogenic development, i.e. the large sea-level rise after 1970, is completely contained by the found small residuals, long-term oscillators, and general trend. Thus, we found that there is (yet) no observable sea-level effect of anthropogenic global warming in the world’s best recorded region.

2. Palanisamy, 2016

Building up on the relationship between thermocline and sea level in the tropical region, we show that most of the observed sea level spatial trend pattern in the tropical Pacific can be explained by the wind driven vertical thermocline movement. By performing detection and attribution study on sea level spatial trend patterns in the tropical Pacific and attempting to eliminate signal corresponding to the main internal climate mode, we further show that the remaining residual sea level trend pattern does not correspond to externally forced anthropogenic sea level signal. In addition, we also suggest that satellite altimetry measurement may not still be accurate enough to detect the anthropogenic signal in the 20-year tropical Pacific sea level trends.

3. Hadi Bordbar et al., 2016

The tropical Pacific has featured some remarkable trends during the recent decades such as an unprecedented strengthening of the Trade Winds, a strong cooling of sea surface temperatures (SST) in the eastern and central part, thereby slowing global warming and strengthening the zonal SST gradient, and highly asymmetric sea level trends with an accelerated rise relative to the global average in the western and a drop in the eastern part. These trends have been linked to an anomalously strong Pacific Walker Circulation, the major zonal atmospheric overturning cell in the tropical Pacific sector, but the origin of the strengthening is controversial. Here we address the question as to whether the recent decadal trends in the tropical Pacific atmosphere-ocean system are within the range of internal variability, as simulated in long unforced integrations of global climate models. We show that the recent trends are still within the range of long-term internal decadal variability.

4. Dangendorf et al., 2016

The observed 20th century sea level rise represents one of the major consequences of anthropogenic climate change. However, superimposed on any anthropogenic trend there are also considerable decadal to centennial signals linked to intrinsic natural variability in the climate system. … Gravitational effects and ocean dynamics further lead to regionally varying imprints of low frequency variability. In the Arctic, for instance, the causal uncertainties are even up to 8 times larger than previously thought. This result is consistent with recent findings that beside the anthropogenic signature, a non-negligible fraction of the observed 20th century sea level rise still represents a response to pre-industrial natural climate variations such as the Little Ice Age.


Don’t bee-lieve the latest bee-pocalypse scare

Now wild bee junk science and scare stories drive demands for anti-pesticide regulations

Paul Driessen

As stubborn facts ruin their narrative that neonicotinoid pesticides are causing a honeybee-pocalypse, environmental pressure groups are shifting to new scares to justify their demands for “neonic” bans.

Honeybee populations and colony numbers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and elsewhere are growing. It is also becoming increasingly clear that the actual cause of bee die-offs and “colony collapse disorders” is not neonics, but a toxic mix of predatory mites, stomach fungi, other microscopic pests, and assorted chemicals employed by beekeepers trying to control the beehive infestations.

Naturally, anti-pesticide activists have seized on a recent study purporting to show that wild bee deaths in Britain have been correlated with neonic use in oil seed rape fields (canola is a type of OSR). In a saga that has become all too common in the environmental arena, their claims were amplified by news media outlets that share many activist beliefs and biases – and want to sell more subscriptions and advertising.

(Honeybees represent a small number of species that humans have domesticated and keep in hives, to produce honey and pollinate crops. Many are repeatedly trucked long distances, to pollinate almond and other crops as they flower. By contrast, thousands of species of native or wild bees also flourish across the continents, pollinating plants with no human assistance.)

The recent Center for Ecology and Hydrology study examined wild bee population trends over an 18-year period that ended in 2011. It concluded that there was a strong correlation between population and distribution numbers for multiple species of British wild bees and what study authors called their “measure of neonic dose” resulting from the pesticide, which is used as a seed coating for canola crops.

The study is deeply flawed, at every stage – making its analysis and conclusions meaningless. For example, bee data were collected by amateur volunteers, few of whom were likely able to distinguish among some 250 species of UK wild bees. But if even one bee of any species was identified in a 1-by-1 kilometer area during at least two of the study period’s 18 years, the area was included in the CEH study.

This patchy, inconsistent approach means the database that formed the very foundation for the entire study was neither systematic nor reliable, nor scientific. Some species may have dwindled or disappeared in certain areas due to natural causes, or volunteers may simply have missed them. We can never know.

There is no evidence that the CEH authors ever actually measured neonic levels on bees or in pollen collected from OSR fields that the British wild bees could theoretically have visited. Equally relevant, by the time neonics on seeds are absorbed into growing plant tissue, and finally expressed on flecks of pollen, the levels are extremely low: 1.3–3.0 parts per billion, the equivalent of 1–3 seconds in 33 years.

(Coating seeds ensures that pesticides are incorporated directly into plant tissue – and target only harmful pests that feed on the crops. It reduces or eliminates the need to spray crops, which can kill birds, bats and beneficial insects that are in the fields or impacted by accidental “over-sprays.” Indeed, numerous field studies on two continents have found no adverse effects from neonics on honeybees at the hive level.)

A preliminary U.S. Environmental Protection Agency risk assessment for one common neonic sets the safe level for residues on pollen at 25 ppb. Any observable effects on honeybee colonies are unlikely below that. Perhaps wild bees are more susceptible. However, at least two wild bee species (alfalfa leaf cutters and miner bees) are thriving in areas where OSR/canola fields are widespread, and the CEH study found reduced numbers of certain wild bees that do not collect pollen from oil seed rape.

Perhaps most important, the CEH authors appear to have assumed that any declines in wild bee numbers were due to neonicotinoid pesticides in OSR fields, even at very low doses. They discounted or ignored other factors, such as bee diseases, weather and land use changes.

For instance, scientists now know that parasitic Varroa destructor mites and phorid flies severely affect honeybees; so do the Nosema ceranae gut fungus, tobacco ringspot virus and deformed wing virus. Under certain circumstances, those diseases are known to spread to bumblebees and other wild bees.

Significant land development and habitat losses occurred in many parts of Britain from 1930 to 1990, causing wild bee populations to decline dramatically. Thankfully, they have since rebounded – during the same period that neonic use was rising rapidly, replacing older insecticides that clearly are toxic to bees! The CEH team also failed to address those facts.

To compensate for these shortcomings (or perhaps to mask them), the CEH researchers created a sophisticated computer model that supposedly describes and explains the 18 years of wild bee data.

However, as any statistician or modeler knows, models and output are only as good as the assumptions behind them and data fed into them. Garbage in/Garbage out (GIGO) remains the fundamental rule. Greater sophistication simply means more refined refuse, and faster computers simply generate faulty, misleading results more rapidly. They also enable emotional fear-mongering to trump real science.

The CEH models are essentially “black boxes.” Key components of their analytical methodologies and algorithms have not been made public and thus cannot be verified by independent reviewers.

However, the flawed data gathering, unjustified assumptions about neonic impacts, and failure to consider the likely effects of multiple bee diseases and parasites make it clear that the CEH model and conclusions are essentially worthless – and should not be used to drive or justify pesticide policies and regulations.

As Prime Minister Jim Hacker quipped in the theatrical version of the British comedy series Yes, Prime Minister: “Computer models are no different from fashion models. They’re seductive, unreliable, easily corrupted, and they lead sensible people to make fools of themselves.”

And yet studies like this constantly make headlines. That’s hardly surprising. Anti-pesticide campaigners have enormous funding and marvelous PR instincts. Researchers know their influence and next grant can depend on issuing studies that garner alarmist headlines and reflect prevailing news themes and imminent government actions. The news media want to sell ads and papers, and help drive public policy-making.

The bottom line is fundamental: correlation does not equal causation. Traffic lights are present at many intersections where accidents occur; but that does not mean the lights caused most or all of the accidents. The CEH authors simply do not demonstrate that a neonic-wild bee cause-effect relationship exists.

The price to society includes not just the countless dollars invested in useless research, but tens of billions in costs inflicted by laws and regulations based on or justified by that research. Above all, it can lead to “cures” that are worse than the alleged diseases: in this case, neonic bans would cause major crop losses and force growers to resort to older pesticides that clearly are harmful to bees.

There is yet another reason why anti-pesticide forces are focusing now on wild bees. In sharp contrast to the situation with honeybees, where we have extensive data and centuries of beekeeper experience, we know very little about the thousands of wild bee species: where they live and forage, what risks they face, even how many there really are. That makes them a perfect poster child for anti-neonic activists.

They can present all kinds of apocalyptic scenarios, knowing even far-fetched claims cannot be disproven easily, certainly not in time to address new public unease amid discussions about a regulatory proposal.

The Center for Ecology and Hydrology study involved seriously defective data gathering and analytical methodologies. More troubling, it appears to have been released in a time and manner calculated to influence a European Union decision on whether to continue or rescind a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides.

Sloppy or junk science is bad enough in and of itself. To use it deliberately, to pressure lawmakers or regulators to issue cures that may be worse than alleged diseases, is an intolerable travesty.

Via email

An update on Germany's "Energiewende"

Germany is still pursuing its goal of shutting down its nuclear plants but refuses to shut down its lignite plants. It is slashing renewable energy subsidies and replacing them with an auction/quota system. Public opposition is delaying the construction of the power lines that are needed to distribute Germany’s renewables generation efficiently. Renewables investment has fallen to levels insufficient to build enough new capacity to meet Germany’s 2020 emissions reduction target. There is  no evidence that renewables are having a detectable impact on Germany’s emissions, which have not decreased since 2009 despite a doubling of renewables penetration in the electricity sector. It now seems certain that Germany will miss its 2020 emissions reduction target, quite possibly by a wide margin. In short, the Energiewende is starting to unravel.

This post discusses the Energiewende’s main problems under five subheadings, starting with arguably the most problematic:

Germany’s emissions are not decreasing:

Electricity sector emissions decreased between 1990, the baseline year, and 1999 but have remained essentially flat since then. Emissions from other sectors decreased between 1990 and 2009 but have also flattened out since then. As a result Germany’s emissions are about the same now as they were in 2009. The increase in renewables generation over this period has clearly not had the desired effect.

The electricity sector presently contributes only about 45% of Germany’s total emissions. 100% decarbonization of the electricity sector, which is already about 45% decarbonized if we add nuclear, would therefore in theory reduce total emissions by only another 25% or so. Yet Germany’s efforts to cut emissions continue to concentrate on the electricity sector.

The chances that Germany will meet its 2020 and 2030 emissions reduction targets do not look good.

Renewables have not reduced emissions

Since 1990 renewable energy generation has grown by a factor of over ten to the point where it now supplies 30% of Germany’s electricity. One would think that this would have had a visible impact on Germany’s electricity sector emissions, but as shown in Figure 3 it’s difficult to detect any impact at all. Despite the 20% absolute increase in renewables penetration between 1999 and 2014 electricity sector emissions have barely changed over this period, and had it not been for the 2008/9 recession they would probably have increased:

The reason renewables have had no detectable impact is that the added generation has gone towards filling increased demand and replacing nuclear generation rather than generation from gas, coal and lignite, which remains about the same as it was in 1990

Finally, Germany will discontinue direct renewable subsidies for new projects at the beginning of 2017. It will be interesting to see what happens to retail electricity rates as a result.


Germany is a country of contradictions, at least as far as energy is concerned. Germans are in favor of more renewable energy yet oppose building the overhead power lines that are needed to distribute it. They are in favor of deep emissions cuts but also in favor of shutting down Germany’s nuclear plants, which will make the problem of meeting emissions targets far more difficult and costly. The government continues to pursue a nuclear shutdown but is unwilling to shut down Germany’s lignite plants. As a result of these conflicting and counterproductive viewpoints and policies the Energiewende has effectively gone nowhere. Despite the expenditure of many billions of dollars it has failed to achieve any visible reduction in Germany’s emissions or to make a meaningful difference to Germany’s energy mix (renewables still supply only 14% of Germany’s total energy). Its only demonstrable impact has been skyrocketing electricity bills.

And now Germany is discontinuing the direct renewables subsidies that have driven the Energiewende since its adoption in 2000. It might be premature to declare the Energiewende a failure, but things are certainly headed in that direction.

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

The Troubling Science

Michael Hart is a Canadian academic with an impressive list of credentials. He has just put out a book – Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change.

This article covers many of the topics that have been raised here at Blackjay over the last couple of years. It is must-read for anyone with lingering doubts about the supposed urgent need for action on climate change.

For example: Alarm over a changing climate leading to malign results is in many ways the product of the hunger for stability and direction in a post-Christian world. Humans have a deep, innate need for a transcendent authority. Having rejected the precepts of Christianity, people in the advanced economies of the West are turning to other forms of authority. Putting aside those who cynically exploit the issue for their own gain – from scientists and politicians to UN leaders and green businesses – most activists are deeply committed to a secular, statist, anti-human, earth-centric set of beliefs which drives their claims of a planet in imminent danger from human activity.

To them, a planet with fewer people is the ultimate goal, achievable only through centralized direction and control. As philosopher of science Jeffrey Foss points out, “Environmental science conceives and expresses humankind’s relationship to nature in a manner that is – as a matter of observable fact – religious.” It “prophesies an environmental apocalypse. It tells us that the reason we confront apocalypse is our own environmental sinfulness. Our sin is one of impurity. We have fouled a pure, ‘pristine’ nature with our dirty household and industrial wastes. The apocalypse will take the form of an environmental backlash, a payback for our sins. … environmental scientists tell people what they must do to be blameless before nature.”

The interview concludes: it will take a determined effort by people of faith and conscience to convince our political leaders that they have been gulled by a political movement exploiting fear of climate change to push a utopian, humanist agenda that most people would find abhorrent. As it now stands, politicians are throwing money that they do not have at a problem that does not exist in order to finance solutions that make no difference. The time has come to call a halt to this nonsense and focus on real issues that pose real dangers. In a world beset by war, terrorism, and continuing third-world poverty, there are far more important things on which political leaders need to focus.

It may be nitpicking but the one thing I disagree with is his use of the term “humanist” in the final paragraph. Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence over acceptance of dogma or superstition. The utopian agenda is certainly not humanist. Any philosophy in which wilderness has greater value than community, in which humans are seen as a “scourge on the planet” a la Attenborough and which supports the dogma and pseudo-science of climate change is certainly not humanist.

But I agree with him about the rest of it.


The Global Effects of Global Warming on Human Mortality

Paper Reviewed: Guo, Y., Gasparrini, A., Armstrong, B., Li, S., Tawatsupa, B., Tobias, A., Lavigne, E., Coelho, M. de S.Z.S.C., Leone, M., Pan, X., Tong, S., Tian, L., Kim, H., Hashizume, M., Honda, Y., Guo, Y.-L.L., Wu, C.-F., Punnasiri, K., Yi, S.-M., Michelozzi, P., Saldiva, P.H.N. and Williams, G. 2014. Global variation in the effects of ambient temperature on mortality. Epidemiology 25: 781-789.

In a study they designed to determine the effects of daily high and low temperatures on human mortality, Guo et al. (2014) obtained daily temperature and mortality data from 306 communities located in 12 different countries (Australia, Brazil, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada) that fell somewhere within the time span of 1972-2011. And what did they learn from this monumental endeavor?

The 22 researchers, hailing from numerous places throughout the world, report that "to obtain an easily interpretable estimate of the effects of cold and hot temperatures on mortality," they "calculated the overall cumulative relative risks of death associated with cold temperatures (1st percentile) and with hot temperatures (99th percentile), both relative to the minimum-mortality temperature [75th percentile]" (see figure below). And despite the "widely ranging climates" they encountered, they report that "the minimum-mortality temperatures were close to the 75th percentile of temperature in all 12 countries, suggesting that people have adapted to some extent to their local climates."

Once again, therefore, it is as clear as it can possibly be made, that essentially everywhere in the world, typical cold temperatures are far more likely to lead to premature human deaths than are typical warm temperatures. And because of this fact, we must be thankful for the post-Little Ice Age warming of the world, which has been predominantly experienced almost everywhere at the cold -- and deadly -- end of the planet's daily temperature spectrum.

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

Bats Save Billions In Pest Control

And wind turbines kill them by the millions

A secret war is waged above farmland every night.

Just after dusk, high-stakes aerial combat is fought in the darkness atop the crop canopy. Nature’s air force arrives in waves over crop fields, sometimes flying in from 30 miles away. Bat colonies blanket the air with echo location clicks and dive toward insect prey at up to 60 mph. In games of hide-and-seek between bats and crop pests, the bats always win, and the victories are worth billions of dollars to U.S. agriculture.

Bats are a precious, but unheralded friend of farmers, providing consistent crop protection. Take away the colonies of pest killers and insect control costs would explode across farmland. And just how much do bats save agriculture in pesticide use? Globally, the tally may reach a numbing $53 billion per year, according to estimates from the University of Pretoria, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), University of Tennessee, and Boston University.

A 2006 study proposed bats saved cotton growers $74 per acre in pesticide treatments across eight Texas counties. In 2013-2014, graduate student Josiah Maines and his advisor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Justin Boyles, went beyond penciled estimates and ran a concrete field trial to show the relation between bats and corn protection. Funded by Bat Conservation International, Maines’ unique test targeted density of corn earworm in southern Illinois bottomland in Alexander County.

Maines built a canopy system to prevent bats from accessing particular sections of corn at night. The controlled enclosure (65’ by 65’, and 23’ high) was braced by steel structural poles interconnected with steel cables draped by netting. Maines operated the netting like a gigantic shower curtain every day of crop season: Open in daylight and close at night. He kept the vigil over two years, sliding the big curtain at the given dusk hour from May to late September to cut off bat access to earworm moths. The results? Maines was astonished.

He found a 50% reduction in earworm presence in control areas and a similar reduction in damage to corn ears. Not only did bats suppress earworm larvae and direct damage to corn, they also hindered the presence of fungal species and toxic compounds. “Globally, we estimate bats save corn farmers over $1 billion annually in earworm control,” Maines says. “It’s an incredible amount when we’re only considering one pest and one crop. Bats are truly a vital economic species.”

Would producers see greater crop protection with more bat habitat? In general, researchers don’t know how many bats fly over a single acre of farmland at night. Bats are extremely difficult to count during the day. They hide incredibly well in trees, caves, holes in the ground, and buildings. “Future research should look at the tradeoff of forested bat habitat and crop protection. Safe to say, more bats could mean even greater consumption of crop pests,” Maines says.

Paul Cryan, a USGS research biologist at the Fort Collins Science Center, says of up to 45 bat species in the U.S., 41 to 42 eat nothing but insects. “Our U.S. bats are small -- 10 to 20 grams. They have voracious appetites and eat half or all their body weight each night. Pest control value to agriculture is certainly in the billions of dollars per year.”

However, pressing issues surround the future of U.S. bat populations. White nose syndrome (WNS) is a major threat to U.S. bat numbers. The fungal disease affects hibernating bats and has spread halfway across the U.S. since first appearing in New York in 2006. “WNS has killed up to 6 million bats and continues moving,” Cryan says. “I believe farmers would see an immediate impact in insect suppression if overall bat populations were seriously reduced.”

Cryan coauthored a seminal 2011 paper, Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture, suggesting the loss of bats would cost U.S. agriculture at least $3.7 billion per year. “We’re typically scared of the dark, but bats shouldn’t be a part of that association. They’re such a beneficial and important part of the environment and farmland protection.”

Hat tip to the misunderstood bats of agriculture: phenomenal creatures patrolling farmland skies every night in the greatest show never seen.



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, 2016

Solar activity has a direct impact on Earth's cloud cover

This new paper confirms that solar activity variation can account for a 2% variation in global cloud cover, sufficient to explain the warming of the 20th century and without any consideration of CO2 "radiative forcing."

 A team of scientists from the National Space Institute at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Space) and the Racah Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has linked large solar eruptions to changes in Earth's cloud cover in a study based on over 25 years of satellite observations.

The solar eruptions are known to shield Earth's atmosphere from cosmic rays. However the new study, published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, shows that the global cloud cover is simultaneously reduced, supporting the idea that cosmic rays are important for cloud formation. The eruptions cause a reduction in cloud fraction of about 2 percent corresponding to roughly a billion tonnes of liquid water disappearing from the atmosphere.

Since clouds are known to affect global temperatures on longer timescales, the present investigation represents an important step in the understanding of clouds and climate variability.

"Earth is under constant bombardment by particles from space called galactic cosmic rays. Violent eruptions at the Sun's surface can blow these cosmic rays away from Earth for about a week. Our study has shown that when the cosmic rays are reduced in this way there is a corresponding reduction in Earth's cloud cover. Since clouds are an important factor in controlling the temperature on Earth our results may have implications for climate change," explains lead author on the study Jacob Svensmark of DTU.

Very energetic particles

These particles generate electrically charged molecules -- ions -- in Earth's atmosphere. Ions have been shown in the laboratory to enhance the formation of aerosols, which can serve as seeds for the formation of the cloud drops that make up a cloud. Whether this actually happens in the atmosphere, or only in the laboratory is a topic that has been investigated and debated for years.

When the large solar eruptions blow away the galactic cosmic rays before they reach Earth they cause a reduction in atmospheric ions of up to about 20 to -30 percent over the course of a week. So if ions affect cloud formation it should be possible to observe a decrease in cloud cover during events when the Sun blows away cosmic rays, and this is precisely what is done in this study.

The so-called 'Forbush decreases' of the cosmic rays have previously been linked to week-long changes in Earth's cloud cover but the effect has been debated at length in the scientific literature. The new study concludes that "there is a real impact of Forbush decreases on cloud microphysics" and that the results support the suggestion that "ions play a significant role in the life-cycle of clouds."

Arriving at that conclusion was, however, a hard endeavor; Very few strong Forbush decreases occur and their effect on cloud formation is expected to be close to the limit of detection using global atmospheric observations measured by satellites and land based stations. Therefore it was of the greatest importance to select the strongest events for study since they had to have the most easily detected effect. Determining this strength required combining data from about 130 stations in combination with atmospheric modeling.

This new method resulted in a list of 26 events in the period of 1987-2007 ranked according to ionization. This ranked list was important for the detection of a signal, and may also shed some light on why previous studies have arrived at varied conclusions, since they have relied on events that were not necessarily ranked high on the list.

Possible long term effect

The effect from Forbush decreases on clouds is too brief to have any impact on long-term temperature changes.

However since clouds are affected by short term changes in galactic cosmic radiation, they may well also be affected by the slower change in Solar activity that happens on scales from tens to hundreds of years, and thus play a role in the radiation budget that determines the global temperature.

The Suns contribution to past and future climate change may thus be larger than merely the direct changes in radiation, concludes the scientists behind the new study.


Uncovered: Incoherent, Conflicting IPCC ‘Beliefs’ on Climate Sensitivity

This is a long and complex article but it needs to be that so it can set out fully what the detailed scientific claims of Warmists are.  It shows that to get their alleged "catastrophic" levels of warming they rely heavily on an assumption about water vapour in the air having a large magnifying effect on the warming due to CO2 alone.  So how do they work out exactly what the size of that magnifying effect will be?  They don't.  They just guess it.  And the actual  evidence for the size of such an effect is that it has no effect -- JR

For going on 3 decades now, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports have estimated that the climate’s sensitivity to the doubling of preindustrial levels of CO2 (from 280 ppm to 560 ppm) may range between 1.5°C to 4.5°C due significantly to the assumed “dangerous” warming amplification from positive water vapor feedback.  Despite years of analysis, the factor-of-three difference between the lower and higher surface temperature range thresholds has changed little.  There apparently have been no breakthroughs in understanding the “basic physics” of water vapor amplification to narrow this range further.

The theoretical conceptualization for the surface temperature change resulting from CO2 doubling alone — without the “dangerous” amplification from  water vapor feedback — has also been in use, and unchanged, for decades.  Since the 1960s it has been hypothesized that if preindustrial CO2 levels were to be doubled to 560 ppm, the surface temperature change would amount to a warming of a non-alarming 1.2°C in the absence of other feedbacks.

Below are brief summaries from scientific papers (and the Skeptical Science blog) confirming that the IPCC and models claim doubling CO2 only results in 1.2°C of warming.

IPCC (2001) :

“[T]he radiative forcing corresponding to a doubling of the CO2 concentration would be 4 Wm-2. To counteract this imbalance, the temperature of the surface-troposphere system would have to increase by 1.2°C (with an accuracy of ±10%), in the absence of other changes”

Skeptical Science :

“We know that if the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere doubles from the pre-industrial level of 280 parts per million  by volume (ppmv) to 560 ppmv, this will cause an energy imbalance by trapping more outgoing thermal radiation in the atmosphere, enough to directly warm the surface approximately 1.2°C.”

Gebhart, 1967 :

“The temperature change at the earth’s surface is ?T=+1.2°C when the present [CO2] concentration is doubled.”

Hansen et al., 1981 :

“The increase of equilibrium surface temperature for doubled atmospheric CO2 is ?1.2°C.  This case is of special interest because it is the purely radiative-convective result, with no feedback effects.”

Lorius et al., 1990 :

“The radiative forcing resulting from doubled atmospheric CO2 would increase the surface and tropospheric temperature by  1.2°C if there were no feedbacks in the climate system.”

Torn and Harte, 2006 :

“An increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration from 275 to 550 ppm is expected to increase radiative forcing by about 4 W m2, which would lead to a direct warming of 1.2°C in the absence of feedbacks or other responses of the climate system”

IPCC: Dangerous future warming levels (3°C and up) are caused mostly by water vapor, not CO2

As mentioned, the IPCC authors have claimed that it is primarily due to the conceptualization of positive feedback with water vapor that the surface temperature response is projected  to reach the dangerous warming levels of 3.0°C and up as CO2 doubles to 560 ppm.

IPCC (2001) :

“The so-called water vapour feedback, caused by an increase in atmospheric water vapour due to a temperature increase, is the most important feedback responsible for the amplification of the temperature increase [from CO2 alone].”

In their 4th report, the IPCC acknowledged that humans have little influence in determining water vapor levels:

IPCC (2007) :

“Water vapour is the most abundant and important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. However, human activities have only a small direct influence on the amount of atmospheric water vapour.”

The main reason why IPCC authors have asserted that water vapor will do most of the “dangerous” projected warming, while CO2 will contribute a much smaller fraction, is apparently because the greenhouse warming effect from water vapor forcing is “two to three times greater” than that of carbon dioxide:

IPCC (2013) :

“Water vapour is the primary greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere. The contribution of water vapour to the natural greenhouse effect relative to that of carbon dioxide (CO2) depends on the accounting method, but can be considered to be approximately two to three times greater.”

Even NASA agrees that water vapor and clouds together account for 75% of the greenhouse effect, while CO2 only accounts for 20%.


“Carbon dioxide causes about 20 percent of Earth’s greenhouse effect; water vapor accounts for about 50 percent; and clouds account for 25 percent. The rest is caused by small particles (aerosols) and minor greenhouse gases like methane.”

IPCC: Positive water vapor feedbacks are believed to cause dangerous warming

It is curious to note that the insufficiently understood positive water vapor feedback conceptualization is rooted in . . . belief.  Literally.   In the third report (TAR), the IPCC authors actually used the word “believed” to denote how they reached the conclusion that 1.2°C will somehow morph into 1.5°C to 4.5°C of warming due to amplification from feedbacks.

IPCC (2001) :

“If the amount of carbon dioxide were doubled instantaneously, with everything else remaining the same, the outgoing infrared radiation would be reduced by about 4 Wm-2. In other words, the radiative forcing corresponding to a doubling of the CO2 concentration would be 4 Wm-2. To counteract this imbalance, the temperature of the surface-troposphere system would have to increase by 1.2°C (with an accuracy of ±10%), in the absence of other changes. In reality, due to feedbacks, the response of the climate system is much more complex. It is believed that the overall effect of the feedbacks amplifies the temperature increase to 1.5 to 4.5°C. A significant part of this uncertainty range arises from our limited knowledge of clouds and their interactions with radiation.”

IPCC climate sensitivity estimates have been based on hypotheticals, or the belief that water vapor positive feedback will cause another 1.8°C to 3.3°C of “extra” or “dangerous” warming (to reach upwards of 3.0°C to 4.5°C).  CO2 alone only causes 1.2°C of warming as it is doubled from 280 ppm to 560 ppm.  Since when are modeled beliefs about what may possibly happen to global temperatures at some point in the next 100 years . . . science?

IPCC: Water vapor increased substantially since 1970 — but didn’t cause warming

If water vapor is the primary determinant of the “extra” and “dangerous” warming we are expected to get along with the modest 1.2°C temperature increase as the CO2 concentration reaches 560 ppm, then it is natural to ask: How much of the warming since 1950 has been caused by the additional CO2, and how much has been caused by the water vapor feedback that is believed to cause the extra, “dangerous” warming?

This last question arises because, according to the IPCC, there has been a substantial increase in the potent water vapor greenhouse gas concentration in the last few decades.  Specifically, in their 4th report, the IPCC authors claim there has been “an overall increase in water vapour of order 5% over the 20th century and about 4% since 1970“(IPCC [2007]).

Considering its abundance in the atmosphere (~40,000 ppm in the tropics), if water vapor increased by 4% since 1970, that means that water vapor concentrations could potentially have increased by more than 1,500 ppm in the last few decades.  The overall magnitude of this water vapor concentration increase is therefore more than 20 times greater than the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration (~70 ppm) since 1970.

But even though the IPCC claims that (a) water vapor will cause most of the “dangerous” warming in the future, (b) water vapor climate forcing is “two to three” times greater than CO2 forcing within the greenhouse effect, and (c) water vapor concentrations have increased substantially since 1970, the IPCC simultaneously claims that (d) CO2 has caused most — if not all — of the warming since the mid-20th century anyway.   In the 5th report, the IPCC’s “consensus” statement reads like this:

IPCC (2013, 2014) :

“It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.”

For advocates of dangerous anthropogenic global warming (DAGW) projections, the “more than half” CO2 attribution apparently isn’t quantitatively strong enough.  After all, “more than half” could be interpreted as only slightly more than 50%.   To rectify this, Gavin Schmidt  — a primary overseer of NASA temperature adjustments — has calculated that the anthropogenic impact on climate has not  just been “more than half,” but more than 100%.   In a recent RealClimate blog entry, Schmidt  claims that humans have caused 110% of the global warming since 1950 — and that IPCC analysis (found in Fig. 10.5 in IPCC AR5) also supports an anthropogenic CO2 attribution of  “near 100%”.

Real Climate :

“The best estimate of the warming due to anthropogenic forcings (ANT) is the orange bar [in Fig. 10.5] (noting the 1?? uncertainties). Reading off the graph, it is 0.7±0.2ºC (5-95%) with the observed warming 0.65±0.06 (5-95%). The attribution then follows as having a mean of ~110%, with a 5-95% range of 80–130%. This easily justifies the IPCC claims of having a mean near 100%, and a very low likelihood of the attribution being less than 50% (p < 0.0001!).”

Conflicting IPCC climate sensitivity feedback suppositions

The IPCC believes that the climate’s overall surface temperature sensitivity to the doubling of preindustrial CO2 ranges between 1.5°C to 4.5°C, with the projected higher warming levels due primarily to amplifying water vapor feedback.  This conceptualization appears to be in conflict with other IPCC suppositions.

On one hand, the IPCC reports have claimed that (a) water vapor is much more potent than CO2 within the greenhouse effect, that (b) the bulk of the 3.0°C and up “dangerous” warming that is believed to occur in the future will be forced by positive water vapor feedback, and that (c) water vapor  levels have significantly increased in recent decades (by 4% since 1970).

On the other hand, (d) water vapor is claimed to have caused right around 0% of the warming in the last several decades.

Summarily, these conflicting explanations or suppositions about what can happen, what will happen, and what has already happened to the climate due to water vapor feedback beg the questions:

Why hasn’t the “dangerous” water vapor warming found in models “kicked in” during the last several decades, when water vapor levels have increased (according to the IPCC)?

Since it reportedly hasn’t yet, at what point in the future will the “dangerous” water vapor warming projections found in modeling finally show up in the temperature record?

Considering how fundamental climate sensitivity estimates are to climate science, and ultimately to the direction of political policies and energy production and consumption, these questions deserve to be answered . . . with something more substantive than what the IPCC authors have long believed to be true.


What Obama Is Doing to Seal His Environmental Record

Before his last day in office, President Barack Obama wants to impose new fuel-efficiency standards and establish a green energy plan for North America to top off an environmental legacy including major international agreements and a massive expansion of regulations and subsidies.

“He will be leaving office with a very strongly negative legacy,” predicted Nick Loris, research fellow on energy and environment with The Heritage Foundation, in a phone interview. “After he failed to get a ‘cap and trade’ bill through Congress, he has used unelected bureaucrats to implement and pioneer regulatory onslaught.”

Early in his presidency, Obama and liberals in Congress unsuccessfully proposed financial incentives for companies to reduce carbon emissions, saying such a “cap and trade” approach would help curb global warming

During his weekend address Aug. 13, Obama spoke about “ambitious investments” that led to tripling the use of wind power, increasing the use of solar energy “thirtyfold,” and more energy-efficient vehicles.

“We’re not done yet. In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll release a second round of fuel-efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles,” Obama said of his Jan. 20 departure after eight years, adding:

We’ll take steps to meet the goal we set with Canada and Mexico to achieve 50 percent clean power across North America by 2025. And we’ll continue to protect our lands and waters so that our kids and grandkids can enjoy our most beautiful spaces for generations.

‘Little to Mitigate Global Warming’

Three days after that address, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration formally announced they are adopting new fuel-efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles such as tractor-trailers and buses.

This will mark the second time the Obama administration has put new fuel-efficiency standards in place. The White House, in a press release, asserts that 20 percent of carbon pollution comes from heavy-duty vehicles.

Separately, the Energy Department created a new program to spend $140 million on research and development for “fuel-efficient truck technologies.”

This will almost certainly mean higher costs with minimum impact on global warming, Loris said.

“Trucks, buses, and garbage trucks, these are all industries that measure their fuel to a tenth of a mile because energy efficiency is key to their bottom line,” Loris said. “There is little this would do to mitigate global warming. You could shut down the entire economy and the temperature would only move a few degrees Celsius.”

Obama’s other ambitious goal before leaving office was reached during the North American Leaders’ Summit in late June, where Obama met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa. The plan is to have the three countries operating on 50 percent clean energy by 2025.

Such a goal will be nearly impossible to reach in nine years, said Patrick Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the libertarian Cato Institute.

“Of course it’s not doable,” Michaels told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “Even if you substitute nuclear power for fossil fuels, that wouldn’t be enough time to build enough nuclear plants.”

‘Legacy of Unconscionable Costs’

Sticking to the deal will be a challenge, agreed David Kreutzer, a senior research fellow for energy economics and climate change at The Heritage Foundation.

“Whatever the cost, it won’t be incurred by the Obama administration,” Kreutzer said in a phone interview. “He can take on the role of an energy reformer and his successor will have to deal with the lost jobs and high energy prices. The current government of Canada might seem inclined to sign on, but Mexico needs investment and might not want to tie itself into poverty.”

The regulatory costs of environmental regulations artificially raise energy prices, which are typically shouldered by lower-income Americans, according to an analysis by The Heritage Foundation.

A 2011 poll by the National Energy Assistance Directors Association found that 37 percent of low-income families sacrificed medical and dental coverage to pay for higher energy bills. The poll found almost one in five identified a family member who became sick because their home was too cold.

“It’s a legacy of unconscionable costs imposed with no climate impact,” Kreutzer said.

“It’s a legacy of unconscionable costs imposed with no climate impact,” @dwkreutzer says.

The president could have made a larger investment in cutting-edge technologies such as those associated with nuclear power, including fusion research, contends Tony Sadar, a certified consulting meteorologist and author of “In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail.”

“Progressives are looking at sunbeams and windmills,” Sadar told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “You’re not really progressive if you’re looking at ancient technologies. Early on, the president supported research into nuclear power generation. But we’ve seen a return to the alternative energy that leaves much to be desired economically and even environmentally.”

‘He Is Doubling Down’

Michaels, of the Cato Institute, said much of the Obama legacy will be the “boondoggles” of solar and wind power along the countryside.

“His long-term legacy will be that he committed this country to sources of power that will never supply much dependable electric power,” Michaels said, adding:

The fact that solar and wind have been subsidized for years shows they are not successful. He makes no attempt to hide the fact that he believes Europe is doing so many wonderful things that we should. If he was consistent on that, he would observe that most of Europe is disengaging from these energy sources, while he is doubling down.

The Daily Signal sought comment from the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, both of which support much of Obama’s environmental agenda, but neither responded by publication time.

Courts have delivered a setback to some of Obama’s environmental agenda.

In February, the Supreme Court blocked EPA rules limiting carbon emissions from power plants. The high court ordered a stay, until more than two dozen lawsuits challenging the regulations can be sorted.

Lower federal courts halted the Interior Department from imposing stricter regulations on hydraulic fracturing, and separately stopped an EPA rule on small waterways and wetlands. The lawsuits and court rulings were based in part on executive overreach.

The United States entered an international climate agreement with 171 other countries negotiated in Paris that is intended to curb carbon emissions that government leaders say contribute to global warming. The governments hammered out the deal last year, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry signed the agreement in April.

Though treaties require Senate ratification, negotiators from the Obama administration and other countries worded much of the agreement to allow the measures to be handled by the executive branch.

Scaling Back Taxpayer Subsidies

The Obama administration has scaled back some taxpayer subsidies after spending hundreds of millions on loan guarantees for green energy companies that failed, Loris noted.

Solyndra, the politically connected solar panel company that went bankrupt despite a $500 million Energy Department loan, was the most publicized debacle. But dozens of other companies got taxpayer subsidies.

In congressional testimony, Loris noted the underlying themes of subsidies to green energy companies showed taxpayer money going to failed companies that couldn’t survive even with such help; projects backed by larger companies that should be able to operate without taxpayer help; and numerous other companies that benefit from taxpayer subsidies.

The government surprisingly seems to have learned something from the bad investments, Loris said.

“I haven’t seen new major loan guarantees, though there have been extended tax credits,” Loris told The Daily Signal. “There could be a recognition that government isn’t good at picking winners and losers. Folks will recognize that politicians shouldn’t invest in energy.”


UK: Health warning over plan to use hospital generators to avoid blackouts

In which universe might a plan to use hospital generators to avoid blackouts seem sane?

National Grid’s drive for hospitals to help keep the UK's lights on by using their back-up diesel generators is "highly questionable" because it will cause air pollution right in the vicinity of patients, a think-tank has warned.

The energy utility is encouraging NHS sites to sign up for schemes where they will be paid to use their back-up generators for electricity routinely, not just in the event of an emergency power cut.

National Grid argues that making greater use of these existing generators represents a cost-effective way of helping to meet peak UK power demand as the country builds more intermittent wind and solar, instead of building new power plants that would sit dormant much of the time.

But Policy Exchange has urged the Government to restrict the use of such diesel generators beyond genuine emergency back-up because of concerns about air quality, especially in urban areas that are already polluted.

Diesel generators emit significant amounts of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter which can be "extremely damaging to health", it warns.

"National Grid has been actively recruiting hospitals and other organisations to make back-up generators available at peak times and avoid blackouts.

"Whilst this is desirable from a security of supply point of view, it is highly questionable from an air quality point of view – particularly since hospitals are typically located in urban locations close to some of the most sensitive receptors," Richard Howard, Policy Exchange’s head of energy and environment wrote.

Mr Howard said he had even heard of "generator flues venting directly into car parks and communal areas in hospitals used by patients".

Ministers are currently considering how to curb the growth in diesel generators, dozens of which are being built around the country after becoming the unintended beneficiaries of the Government’s "capacity market" subsidy scheme, which procures power plant capacity.

The environment department is considering new emissions regulations to target diesel, which are also likely to affect existing generators.

"The regulations need to be designed so as to avoid placing undue restrictions on genuine back-up generators, but at the same time limit the extent to which these same generators can run purely for commercial reasons," Mr Howard said.

However, any such restrictions could be a setback for National Grid’s efforts to keep the lights on cost-effectively.

The company is trying to promote "demand side response" schemes where industrial or commercial users reduce their demand on the grid at times when national supplies are scarce.

To date, about 95pc of the capacity procured has come from users switching to alternative sources of power such as diesel engines, rather than actually reducing the total amount of electricity they are using.

A separate review by regulator Ofgem is currently considering removing some of the financial benefits that diesel generators currently enjoy as a result of connecting directly into local distribution networks.

A spokesman for National Grid said: "Demand side measures are good for bill payers as they provide flexibility at a lower cost and help the country shift to a more low-carbon energy system.

"National Grid is obliged to be agnostic about technology and to procure the most cost-effective solutions to help us balance supply and demand. However, the Government is currently examining the regulations surrounding diesel generation. "


Green Fiasco: Biofuels ‘Worse Than Petrol’ For The Environment, New Study Finds

“Green” biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel are in fact worse for the environment that petrol, a landmark new study has found.
The alternative energy source has long been praised for being carbon-neutral because the plants it is made from absorb carbon dioxide, which causes global warming, from the atmosphere while they are growing.

But new research in the US has found that the crops used for biofuel absorb only 37 per cent of the C02 that is later released into the atmosphere when the plants are burnt, meaning the process actually increases the amount of greenhouse gas in the air.

The scientists behind the study have called on governments to rethink their carbon policies in light of the findings.

The use of biofuels is controversial because it means crops and farm space that could otherwise be devoted to food production are in fact used for energy.

They currently make up just under 3 per cent of global energy consumption, and use in the US grew from 4.2 billion gallons a year in 2005 to 14.6 billion gallons a year in 2013.

In the UK the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation now means that 4.75 per cent of any suppliers’ fuel comes from a renewable source, which is usually ethanol derived from crops.

Professor John DeCicco, from the University of Michigan, said his research was the first to carefully examine the carbon on farmland where biofuels are grown.

“When you look at what’s actually happening on the land, you find that not enough carbon is being removed from the atmosphere to balance what’s coming out of the tailpipe,” he said.

“When it comes to the emissions that cause global warming, it turns out that biofuels are worse than gasoline.”

Professor DeCicco said the study, which is published in the journal Climatic Change, reset the assumptions, that biofuels, as renewable alternatives to fossil fuels, are inherently carbon neutral simply because the C02 released when burned was originally absorbed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.


How Britain will keep the lights on

Millions being spent to do what existing infrastructure could do if it was all brought back online

Eight new battery storage projects are to be built around the UK after winning contracts worth £66m to help National Grid keep power supplies stable as more wind and solar farm are built.

EDF Energy, E.On and Vattenfall were among the successful companies chosen to build new lithium ion batteries with a combined capacity of 200 megawatts (MW), under a new scheme to help Grid balance supply and demand within seconds.

Power generation and usage on the UK grid have to be matched as closely as possible in real-time to keep electricity supplies at a safe frequency so that household electrical appliances function properly.

National Grid says that maintaining the correct frequency is becoming more challenging as more renewable generation is built, because this makes the electricity system less stable and leads to more volatile fluctuations in frequency.

As a result, it has launched a new scheme to support technologies such as batteries that can respond within less than a second to either deliver or absorb power to or from the grid, bringing the system back into balance.

Projects with a capacity of more than 1.2 gigawatts entered a competition for contracts to provide this service to the grid.

EDF Energy’s was the biggest individual project to secure a contract, winning a £12m deal to build 49 megawatts (MW) of battery storage by its coal and gas plants at West Burton in Nottinghamshire.

Vattenfall won a contract to build 22MW of batteries next to its Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in Wales, while E.On is to build a 10MW battery by its biomass plant at Blackburn Meadows near Sheffield.

Low Carbon secured £15m of deals to build two projects, one in Kent and one in Cumbria, with a combined capacity of 50MW. The other winners were Element Power, RES and Belectric.


Feds Fund Scientists Who Protect The ‘Global Warming Paradigm,’ Says Report

The Obama administration has been pumping billions of taxpayer dollars into science that’s “heavily biased in favor of the paradigm of human-induced climate change,” according to a researchers.

Policy experts wanted to know if the lure of federal dollars was biasing climate science research.What they found is the group responsible for a significant portion of government climate science funding seems more concerned with promoting the “anthropogenic global warming” (AGW) paradigm, than studying natural variability in weather patterns.

“In short there appears to be virtually no discussion of the natural variability attribution idea. In contrast there appears to be extensive coverage of AGW issues,” David Wojick, a freelance reporter and policy analyst, wrote in a blog post, referring to research he did with climate scientist Patrick Michaels of the libertarian Cato Institute.

“This bias in favor of AGW has significant implications for US climate change policy,” Wojick wrote for the blog Climate Etc., which is run by climate scientist Judith Curry.

Wojick and Michaels published a working paper in 2015, asking the question: Does federal funding bias climate science?

They conducted a “semantic” analysis of three years of budget requests for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which usually gets around $2.5 billion. They found USGCRP overwhelmingly used language supporting the AGW paradigm.

“The ratio of occurrences is roughly 80 to one,” Wojick wrote. “This extreme lack of balance between considerations of the two competing paradigms certainly suggests that paradigm protection is occurring.”

Politicians have become more concerned with global warming in recent years, and have been willing to shell out more money for potential solutions to the problem. The Obama administration, for example, reported spending $22.2 billion on global warming efforts in 2013, including $2.5 billion to the USGCRP.

That’s a lot of money, and illustrates why Wojick and Michaels are so concerned about federal money’s influence on science.

“Present policy is based on the AGW paradigm, but if a significant fraction of global warming is natural then this policy may be wrong,” Wojick wrote. “Federal climate research should be trying to solve the attribution problem, not protecting the AGW paradigm.”

Wojick and Michaels have already weighed in on the bias in climate science towards using models, which they say “is a bad thing.”

“Climate science appears to be obsessively focused on modeling,” they wrote in May. “Modeling can be a useful tool, a way of playing with hypotheses to explore their implications or test them against observations. That is how modeling is used in most sciences.”

“But in climate change science modeling appears to have become an end in itself. In fact it seems to have become virtually the sole point of the research,” they wrote. “The modelers’ oft stated goal is to do climate forecasting, along the lines of weather forecasting, at local and regional scales.”



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27 August, 2016

EPA: The Ethanol Protection Agency

Maybe the initials “EPA” should stand for the Ethanol Protection Agency, as environmental protection seems just too costly and time consuming for the agency. The EPA recently admitted that it has not been in compliance with the 2007 law that requires the agency to study the environmental impact of the ethanol mandate and report its findings to Congress every three years. So far, envirofascist bureaucrats have only met the law’s requirements once in 2011. The EPA’s excuse is that it just doesn’t have enough funding or time and therefore has simply ignored the law.

According to the EPA’s inspector general, because the agency hasn’t been conducting the impact study, it hasn’t been able “to identify, consider, mitigate and make policymakers aware of any adverse impacts of renewable fuels.” The EPA now says it won’t have a fully completed study until at least 2024. Well, that’s good news if you’re a corn farmer, but not such good news for the environment or even other corn-dependent industries, as price of corn has increased.

Several recent independent environmental studies conclude that ethanol biofuels have had an overall negative effect on the environment from an increase of smog in cities to the amount of land, water and energy needed to produce ethanol when compared to that of gasoline. Combined with worse mileage and damage to small engines, ethanol has had the exact opposite effect of what it was touted to accomplish when it was initially mandated back in 2005. Yet there is no push by either Congress or the Obama administration to repeal or even question the ethanol mandate. And the agency tasked with protecting the environment seems too busy figuring out how to clean up its own environmental messes to care. Cronyism at its best.


The few, the loud, the anti-fossil fuel crowd

If you get your news from the mainstream media, you likely think the views expressed by the environmental activists represent the majority of Americans. After all, their highly visible protests against the Keystone pipeline — sit-ins in front of the White House, locking themselves to the White House fence and then being arrested for it, and parading down the National Mall carrying a huge inflated tube emblazoned with the words: “Just say no to Keystone” — were effective. Despite repeated polling that showed a majority of Americans supported the pipeline, with a small minority opposed, the loud theatrics of the anti-fossil fuel crowd eventually won out. After years of stall tactics, President Obama finally bowed to their demands and said no to the job-creating infrastructure project.

Earlier this year, the usual group of suspects, led by well-known anti-fracking activist Bill McKibben, planned a “global wave of resistance” called BreakFree2016 — scheduled to take place from May 3-15  — on six continents. The event’s website announced the various activities, including an appearance and speech by McKibben, a Vermont resident, at the Colorado rally that promised: the “largest mass mobilizations for climate action in the history of Colorado.” It confirmed that there would be “civil disobedience.”

Did you hear about it? Probably not.

A news report of the planned Colorado activities said: “And on May 14, 350 Colorado is planning a day of speeches, live music and activities protesting oil and gas developments close to neighborhoods and schools in Thornton. The goal is to draw 1,000 people to the upcoming events.” The website, post-event, states: “about 800 people joined the action throughout the day” with “about 30-40 people” still there at the end of the day for the dramatic “frack-site” invasion. Yet, as even their own Facebook page photos indicate, not even 100 were present for the big McKibben speech. Without vendors and media, he may have had no audience at all.

After flying in to Denver, and then being driven to the protest site in a limousine, McKibben jetted off to Los Angeles, California, where he was joined by the greens’ “Daddy Warbucks,” billionaire political campaign donor Tom Steyer — with much the same results: a few hundred protesting fossil fuels and, as Energy In Depth reported, “the very social and economic underpinnings of liberal democracy.” The typical anti-everything protestors were present — but only a few.

In Iowa, as I addressed last week, a meeting of the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition — which according to the organizer includes those with “concerns about the impact it could have on the environment, farmers who worry about their cropland and religious groups who view expanding use of fossil fuels as a moral issue because of climate change” — expected a crowd of 200. Instead, according to the Ottumwa Courier, “only 40 or so were seated when the meeting began. Others trickled in as the meeting progressed.”

Now, Colorado is ground zero for “one of the biggest environmental fights in the country this year,” as Lauren Petrie, Rocky Mountain region director for Food and Water Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based group advocating for safety in food production and oil and gas production, called it. Two ballot initiatives, 75 and 78, have the potential to, according to Colorado regulators, “effectively halt new oil and gas development in as much as 90 percent of the state.” In order to get the initiatives on the ballot, 98,492 valid signatures needed to be turned into the Colorado Secretary of State by August 8 — no later than 3:00 p.m.

In June, The Tribune reported that Tricia Olson, who has pumped in most of the funding for a group backing initiatives 75 and 78, hoped to “collect 160,000 signatures to account for the invalid signatures that inevitably pop up.” (Politico just announced: “recent campaign finance reports were filed with the Colorado secretary of state, the Sierra Club gave $150,000, making it the largest single reported contributor to the anti-fracking effort.”)

Because the Colorado Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision on May 2, declared local fracking limits “invalid and unenforceable,” as state law trumps local ordinances, Olson sees the ballot initiatives as their “last ditch effort.”

On Monday, August 8, exercising stagecraft, at 2:30 p.m., dozens of supporters emptied a U-Haul truck and delivered box after box of signatures to the Secretary of State’s office. They celebrated their “victory.” 350 Colorado, one of the groups behind the measures, proclaimed: “We did it! Over 100,000 signatures delivered on initiatives to limit fracking!” — not the 160,000 originally hoped for, and likely not enough to get on the ballot in November.

By CBS Denver’s accounting about 105,000 signatures were turned in — most in half empty boxes. Lynn Bartels, Colorado Secretary of State Communications Director, tweeted: “Proponents of fracking measures turned in lots of boxes with very few petitions in them.” Once the petitions were consolidated, there were roughly 50 empty boxes. Simon Lomax, an associate energy policy analyst with the conservative Independence Institute in Denver and a consultant who advises pro-business groups, said: “To make it look more impressive they added a bunch of empty boxes, or boxes with very few petitions. It just sort of shows, these groups don’t do substance, they just do deceptive publicity stunts.”

On CBS Denver, former Secretary of State Scott Gessler explained that you need about 98,000 signatures to get on the ballot because, for a variety of reasons, at least 30 percent are rejected, you need to submit at least 140,000. He says that for the 105,000 signatures turned in to qualify would be “unprecedented,” something that “has never occurred in Colorado for a ballot initiative.” According to Gessler, the effort is “doomed” — though we will not know for sure until next month when the final counts are released.

Noted election reporter and national affairs columnist for the National Review, John Fund, told me: “If there is enough public support for an issue to get the votes needed to pass, getting a surplus of signatures to get it on the ballot is an easy task.”

Many Democrats, including Governor John Hickenlooper, support hydraulic fracturing and have come out against the ballot initiatives. Politico posits that because mainstream environmentalists “fear that their movement will suffer a demoralizing defeat if the two proposals make it in front of the voters,” they “hope the ballot initiatives will die instead.”  Additionally, “A decisive referendum on oil and gas production would increase calls for [Hillary] Clinton to explicitly take a side.” She’s previously aligned with 75 and 78 — which could spoil her attempts to attract moderate Republicans she’ll need to win the state.

Despite their drama and declared “victory,” it doesn’t seem that the Colorado anti-fossil fuel crowd has enough signatures, or support, to make it onto the November ballot. They may be loud, but, alas, they are few.


Gov’t Is Moving In on Your Appliances – Expect Higher Prices, Fewer Choices

The Obama administration’s Department of Energy has churned through a list of energy efficiency regulations before the next administration. Just since June, the DOE has set or initiated standards for dehumidifiers, ceiling fans, battery chargers, and wine coolers.

At issue isn’t health or safety, or even unfair business practices. Through the DOE, the federal government is busying itself regulating how much energy the appliances Americans buy are allowed to use. Our recent backgrounder, “The Energy Efficiency Free Market Act: A Step Toward Real Energy Efficiency,” goes into more detail.

Take a look around your kitchen. Many of the appliances are also regulated by the federal government, from the oven and refrigerator, down to the standby light on the microwave. Step outside to other rooms and even outdoors. TVs, showers, air conditioners and heaters, washers and dryers, backyard swimming pools, toilets—these are just some of the other things regulated by the federal government.

Energy efficiency isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s an important factor in many Americans’ purchasing decisions. But there are a number of reasons why the federal government should not be mandating it:

Energy efficiency regulations reduce choices. Regulations prioritize efficiency over other preferences like safety, size, performance, durability, and cost. Americans weren’t without energy-efficient appliances before. The Department of Energy is essentially trying to make “better” decisions for people by limiting their options to “acceptable,” energy-efficient ones.

Regulations have very little impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Regardless of one’s opinion on global warming, these regulations have almost no impact. The DOE’s projected benefits from reducing greenhouse gas emissions total a paltry 1 percent.

Savings benefit the rich, often at the expense of the poor. According to Sofie Miller at the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center, DOE cost-benefit calculations best describe households making $160,844 or more. In reality, energy-efficiency costs and benefits vary widely depending on income, education, and race. Higher energy costs impact poor families the most.

Mandates hinder innovation. Announcing the Energy Efficiency Free Market Act, Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, explained that “when the government sets the efficiency standard for a product, that often becomes the ceiling … when the market drives the standard, there’s no limit to how fast and how aggressive manufacturers will be when consumers demand more efficient and better made products.”

Savings promised by standards are misleading. Considering the costs and benefits, Americans are essentially paying to have their choices restricted. There have also been problems with how the DOE estimates upfront costs, payback horizons, overstated energy savings, and future energy prices. For example, the DOE assumed in a washing machine proposed rule that households used washers 392 times per year—more than seven times per week—meaning most families would never reap the benefits of more efficient, but more expensive, washers.

Standards easily play into corporate welfare. Companies lobby for regulations and subsidies that most benefit them, in an attempt to squeeze out competition from smaller companies. If these products save customers as much as advertised, they should not be subsidized by the taxpayer.

But if the government didn’t set mandates, wouldn’t companies stop producing energy-efficient products? Refrigerators, which the DOE points to as a success story, are just one example of why there’s no reason to worry:

“The Standards Program has driven remarkable gains in the energy efficiency of household appliances and equipment, resulting in large energy bill savings. For example, today, the typical new refrigerator uses one-quarter the energy than in 1973—despite offering 20 percent more storage capacity and being available at half the retail cost.”

One problem: The first federal efficiency standards for refrigerators did not go into effect until 1990. Refrigerator manufacturers were improving energy use and design for nearly two decades before the government got involved.

As customers, Americans put importance on energy efficiency without the government nudging. And the free market is only too willing to supply.

Over the years, the DOE—empowered by Congress through the Energy Policy Conservation Act of 1975—has quietly expanded the list of products it regulates for energy efficiency. Congress should eliminate all mandatory efficiency regulations and leave these decisions to state governments and American consumers.


Supposed ‘Ground Breaking’ Study Only Proves Warming Proponents Have Jumped The Shark

They called it a “ground breaking study,” I call it rubbish. This new study claims that global warming began in 1830 just when the industrial revolution began to pick up steam (no pun intended). What they didn’t take into account was just around the same time the Earth was coming out of an unusually cold 40-year period caused by low sunspot activity called the Dalton Minimum (no relation to Timothy Dalton).

An international team of scientists, led by Associate Professor Nerilie Abram from the Australian National University, have analysed detailed reconstructions of climate going back 500 years. To their surprise, they’ve found that the current global warming trend began in the 1830s, further confirming that it is an anthropogenic, or human-induced, phenomenon. The study was published today in Nature.

Co-researcher Dr Helen McGregor, an earth sciences expert from the University of Wollongong, tells SBS Science the findings have a major impact on our understanding of how climate change works.  “If we know when global warming started, we know what the actual rates of warming are and we know when our climate is emerging above natural variability,” McGregor explains.

The scientists go on to explain they created a climate model (which have proven to be very flawed–for example none of these models have figured why the earth hasn’t warmed in over 18 years.).  So to create this model they took into account other account climate model simulations and experiments (that’s right a flawed climate model using data from a flawed climate model–almost like a double negative), major volcanic eruptions and, most importantly, natural markers of climate variation found in places like corals, tree rings, and ice cores obtained from glaciers.

Dr McGregor says the study provides new, independent proof that climate change is indeed caused by human activity. “One thing that our study provides is that it’s an alternative line of evidence,” she explains. “We’re not using thermometers and satellite records, we’re using natural archives of climate, so it’s a completely independent source of information that shows that climate change and warming is occurring.

“The central tenet of climate change, that the planet is warming, doesn’t change.”

Well not necessarily, because nowhere in their analysis do the scientists take into account sunspot activity.

Note: The sun goes through a natural cycle approximately every 11 years. The greatest number of sunspots in any given solar cycle is designated as the “solar maximum” and the lowest number is referred to as the “solar minimum” phase.

What scientists have observed is that when sun spot activity is low so is the earth’s temperatures. The time period of low sunspot activity below called the Maunder Minimum is also known as “The Little Ice Age.” not because glaciers covered the Earth, but because it was a long period of abnormally cold weather throughout the world. The period of low sunspot activity between 1790-1830 is known as the Dalton Minimum, again the weather was colder than normal.

In the late 1950s sun spot activity peaked at a much higher level than normal and was called the Modern Maxim, this was reflected in the global warming scare show global temperature growth accelerating.

It seems as if the scientists behind this”ground breaking study,” picked the result they wanted and selected the elements that would give them that result.

Now here’s the good news they might have ignored.  It seems that solar activity is slowing down. The in the chart above it seems that activity started to decrease toward the end of the 1990s. Similarly the satellite temperature data shows the Earth hasn’t warmed since 1998.

Vencore  a company that has worked closely with a number of government agencies on weather-related projects, including NASA, NOAA, Naval Meteorological and Oceanographic Command, Naval Postgraduate School and the Intelligence Community. It is now suggesting that the extreme lack of sunspot activity now may be an indication of a major cooling period for the Earth.

Not since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906 has there been a solar cycle with fewer sunspots. We are currently more than six years into Solar Cycle 24 and the current nearly blank sun may signal the end of the solar maximum phase. Solar cycle 24 began after an unusually deep solar minimum that lasted from 2007 to 2009 which included more spotless days on the sun compared to any minimum in almost a century.

It’s not just the fewer number of sunspots…its the pattern of their peaks:

The smoothed sunspot number for solar cycle 24 reached a peak of 81.9 in April 2014 and it is looking increasingly likely that this spike will be considered to be the solar maximum for this cycle. This second peak in the cycle surpassed the level of an earlier peak that reached 66.9 in February 2012. Many solar cycles are double peaked; however, this is the first one in which the second peak in sunspot number was larger than the first peak. Going back to 1755, there have been only a few solar cycles in the previous 23 that have had a lower number of sunspots during its maximum phase.

Now that doesn’t mean it’s definitely staying that way..but chances are it will. And here is where it gets interesting:

It is pretty well understood that solar activity has a direct impact on temperatures at very high altitudes in a part of the Earth’s atmosphere called the thermosphere. This is the biggest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere which lies directly above the mesosphere and below the exosphere. Thermospheric temperatures increase with altitude due to absorption of highly energetic solar radiation and are highly dependent on solar activity.

Finally, if history is a guide, it is safe to say that weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a cooling impact on global temperatures in the troposphere which is the bottom-most layer of Earth’s atmosphere – and where we all live.

Vencore’s prediction substantiates paper written by Russian scientists in 2013 who used sunspot activity to predict we are heading for a “Mini Ice Age.”

The German Herald reported on March 31, 2013 regarding Russian scientist Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov from the St. Petersburg Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory, “Talking to German media the scientist who first made his prediction in 2005 said that after studying sunspots and their relationship with climate change on Earth, we are now on an ‘unavoidable advance towards a deep temperature drop.’”

There is a simple reason that the scientists that created the “ground breaking study,” ignored solar activity, it would disprove their hypothesis.  Like many scientists trying to push the global warming/climate change hypothesis, these scientists have jumped the sunspots


Ross McKitrick: Wind Power Subsidies Triple Power Prices in Ontario

One of the favourite smoke-and-mirrors lines pulled by the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers is that wind power lowers power prices.

Among the ‘tiny’ little omissions in that pitch are that:

1) they’re only ever talking about spot prices when the wind is blowing; and

2) they skate over the massive subsidies that get tacked on top of the price paid by retailers for the power delivered; and

3) they run a mile from the unnecessary cost of base-load plants holding additional ‘spinning reserve’ and the insane and otherwise unnecessary cost of running highly inefficient Open Cycle Gas Turbines, that are critical to keep a grid up and running when wind power output collapses on a total and totally unpredictable basis.

That little trick lasts about as long as it takes Joe the Power Punter to open his power bill; because all of the above is helpfully collected in the staggering retail cost, as a bottom line that jumps off the page with a heart shuddering reality – crushing households and killing business, growth and employment.

The rocketing bills being dropped on power consumers in Ontario  pick up the price paid for the most bizarre energy policy on the Planet – a power tax called the GA or Global Adjustment levy, used to subsidise wind power. Here’s what it costs and why.

You may be surprised to learn that electricity is now cheaper to generate in Ontario than it has been for decades. The wholesale price, called the Hourly Ontario Electricity Price or HOEP, used to bounce around between five and eight cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), but over the last decade, thanks in large part to the shale gas revolution, it has trended down to below three cents, and on a typical day is now as low as two cents per kWh. Good news, right?

It would be, except that this is Ontario. A hidden tax on Ontario’s electricity has pushed the actual purchase price in the opposite direction, to the highest it’s ever been. The tax, called the Global Adjustment (GA), is levied on electricity purchases to cover a massive provincial slush fund for green energy, conservation programs, nuclear plant repairs and other central planning boondoggles. As these spending commitments soar, so does the GA.

In the latter part of the last decade when the HOEP was around five cents per kWh and the government had not yet begun tinkering, the GA was negligible, so it hardly affected the price. In 2009, when the Green Energy Act kicked in with massive revenue guarantees for wind and solar generators, the GA jumped to about 3.5 cents per kWh, and has been trending up since — now it is regularly above 9.5 cents. In April it even topped 11 cents, triple the average HOEP.

So while the marginal production cost for generation is the lowest in decades, electricity bills have never been higher. And the way the system is structured, costs will keep rising.

The province signed long-term contracts with a handful of lucky firms, guaranteeing them 13.5 cents per kWh for electricity produced from wind, and even more from solar. Obviously, if the wholesale price is around 2.5 cents, and the wind turbines are guaranteed 13.5 cents, someone has to kick in 11 cents to make up the difference. That’s where the GA comes in. The more the wind blows, and the more turbines get built, the bigger the losses and the higher the GA.

Just to make the story more exquisitely painful, if the HOEP goes down further, for instance through technological innovation, power rates won’t go down. A drop in the HOEP widens the gap between the market price and the wind farm’s guaranteed price, which means the GA has to go up to cover the losses.

Ontario’s policy disaster goes many layers further. If people conserve power and demand drops, the GA per kWh goes up, so if everyone tries to save money by cutting usage, the price will just increase, defeating the effort. Nor do Ontarians benefit through exports. Because the renewables sector is guaranteed the sale, Ontario often ends up exporting surplus power at a loss.

The story only gets worse if you try to find any benefits from all this spending. Ontario doesn’t get more electricity than before, it gets less.

Despite the hype, all this tinkering produced no special environmental benefits. The province said it needed to close its coal-fired power plants to reduce air pollution. But prior to 2005, these plants were responsible for less than two per cent of annual fine particulate emissions in Ontario, about the same as meat packing plants, and far less than construction or agriculture.

Moreover, engineering studies showed that improvements in air quality equivalent to shutting the plants down could be obtained by simply completing the pollution control retrofit then underway, and at a fraction of the cost. Greenhouse gas emissions could have been netted to zero by purchasing carbon credits on the open market, again at a fraction of the cost. The environmental benefits exist only in provincial propaganda.


Wind Power Obsession Sends South Australians Back to the Stone Age

Amidst the panic and chaos being experienced by the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers – due to the unfolding and inevitable wind power calamity in South Australia – one of the newly invented catchphrases is “transition”.

It’s a term now employed by wind spinners, dimwitted politicians and gullible journalists; and is often coupled up with lines such as “interconnectors”; “rapidly improving battery technology” and “gas”.  Gas, apparently, is now seen as a “transition” fuel to a … ahem … fossil fuel free future and the interconnectors proposed would connect to coal-fired plant currently chugging away in Victoria and New South Wales [note to Ed is this ‘pure irony’?]

Last time we took a peek at the climate-calamatists’ websites, gas was right up there with coal as the source of all peril and evil on earth, so we’re not sure that the Chicken Littles will buy the line about gas being anything other than a ‘spawn-of-the-Devil’ fossil fuel.

And adding ‘fuel’ to the fire, the gas destined for this “transition” isn’t going to be used in highly efficient Combined Cycle plants, but squandered in gas-thirsty and highly inefficient Open Cycle plants that emit 3-4 times the CO2 per MWh of a modern coal-fired plant.

Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) are literally jet engines, run on gas or fuel oil (diesel) or kerosene. The initial capital outlay is low, but their operating costs are exorbitant – depending on the fuel input costs (the gas dispatch price varies with demand, for example) operators need to recoup upwards of $300-400 per MWh before they will even contemplate firing them into action. For a wrap up on “fast-start-peakers” see this paper: Peaker-Case-Histories As to the insane cost of running them, see this article: OPEN GAS CYCLE TURBINES: Between a rock and a hard place

And the line about “transitioning” to a wind powered future with “rapidly improving battery technology” comes sprinkled with a fair dose of pixie dust: nowhere in the world is there an example of grid-scale electricity storage using batteries (of any description); not in Germany; not in Spain; not in Denmark; not in California; not in South Australia – or anywhere else stupid enough to attempt to run on sunshine and breezes.

Now that the mainstream press have caught up with the energy disaster that is South Australia, journos are, for the first time in their lives, starting to grapple with the tricky concept of electricity generation: terms such as “load following”; “frequency control”; and “grid balancing” are starting to find their way into the pages of the Australian Financial Review and The Australian.

These aren’t just fancy nouns and verbs of recent invention, they go right to the heart of whether customers at the thinnest end of an electricity grid get to enjoy electricity on demand, or at all.

What media hacks are starting to understand is that there is a world of difference between the quality of electricity produced by conventional generation sources; and that thrown occasionally into the grid by a wholly weather dependent source, abandoned centuries ago, for pretty obvious reasons – eg, SA’s wind farm’s efforts in April:

It’s not just a question of delivering power when and where it’s needed; frequency control is a matter that determines whether a grid functions at all (see our post here).

Where the chaos and intermittency of wind power destabilises the grid (see our post here), it’s down to conventional generation sources that can ramp up output at the press of a button to keep the grid alive: “reactive power” that allows for the 50Hz frequency of the grid to be controlled and maintained around close tolerances.

In a place like South Australia, where wind power capacity tops 40% of its entire generating capacity, every time a breeze turns to a zephyr, voltage and frequency drops, which requires an instantaneous response from coal or gas-fired generators (hydro is exceptionally good at responding in an instant) – with recent efforts to rely on the chaotic delivery of wind power, those selling power for frequency control and load following now recoup a very solid premium for their service.

Remove that class of generator from the system and the wind cultist and his fellow travelers are soon left tossing chaff about the wonders of wind, while sitting freezing in the dark.



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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26 August, 2016

Wonder of wonders!  A Greenie tries to debate a skeptic

Professional environmentalist Phil Williamson has responded to  an article by James Delingpole rubbishing the ocean acidification scare.  I reproduce below both the Delingpole article then the Greenie reply. 

I would however like to add my comments to the discussion first.

Straight out of the gate Williamson reveals himself as a subscriber to Greenie lies. He accepts recent claims that bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef has been drastic and sweeping and adds that "Population recovery, through re-colonisation and re-growth, typically takes 10-15 years".  Does it now?  Then how come a recent extensive survey of the reef by diving professionals found that less than five per cent of coral has died off — compared to the 50 to 60 per cent estimated by Greenie scientists.  Instead of 10-15 years, recovery happened in a matter of months.  No alarm there!

The article is very long-winded but consists mainly of appeals to authority and "ad hominem" attacks on skeptics.  Rather than addressing the scientific evidence quoted, Williamson disparages the academic qualifications of skeptics.  Such arguments are disreputable and of no logical force.

I can't imagine doing any kind of fisking of such a lot of wind so I will close my comments with what I think is the fatal flaw in Williamson's article.  Delingpole does mention it in passing but makes far too little of it in my opinion.

The point is that ocean acidification and global warming CANNOT occur at the same time.  One is incompatible with the other.  Why?  Because a warmer ocean would OUTGAS CO2, thus reducing the carbonic acid that it forms. A warmer world would have LESS acid oceans. 

And if you want to see warm water outgassing CO2 just open a can of Coke without refrigrerating it first.  You will get a gas-powered torrent.

Williamson and his friends carefully talk about CO2 levels but fail to mention their founding gospel -- that CO2 rises pump up the global temperature.  So if Williamson wants to raise concerns about ocean acidification, he has to DENY that a CO2 rise would cause global warming.  I somehow suspect that he is not ready to do that. 

So his whole scare is an act of gross hypocrisy and scientific dishonesty. And scientific dishonesty is no science at all.  Those who indulge in it should be totally disregarded -- along with any of the alleged "evidence" for their cause.

I reproduce only the first part of his very long and pointless paper below.  But Delingpole first.  As the third installment below I also add the recent report about the extent of reef bleaching

There was a breathtakingly beautiful BBC series on the Great Barrier Reef recently which my son pronounced himself almost too depressed to watch. ‘What’s the point?’ said Boy. ‘By the time I get to Australia to see it the whole bloody lot will have dissolved.’

The menace Boy was describing is ‘ocean acidification’. It’s no wonder he should find it worrying, for it has been assiduously promoted by environmentalists for more than a decade now as ‘global warming’s evil twin’. Last year, no fewer than 600 academic papers were published on the subject, so it must be serious, right?

First referenced in a peer-reviewed study in Nature in 2003, it has since been endorsed by scientists from numerous learned institutions including the Royal Society, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the IPCC. Even the great David Attenborough — presenter of the Great Barrier Reef series — has vouched for its authenticity: ‘If the temperature rises up by two degrees and the acidity by a measurable amount, lots of species of coral will die out. Quite what happens then is anybody’s guess. But it won’t be good.’

No indeed. Ocean acidification is the terrifying threat whereby all that man-made CO2 we’ve been pumping into the atmosphere may react with the sea to form a sort of giant acid bath. First it will kill off all the calcified marine life, such as shellfish, corals and plankton. Then it will destroy all the species that depend on it — causing an almighty mass extinction which will wipe out the fishing industry and turn our oceans into a barren zone of death.

Or so runs the scaremongering theory. The reality may be rather more prosaic. Ocean acidification — the evidence increasingly suggests — is a trivial, misleadingly named, and not remotely worrying phenomenon which has been hyped up beyond all measure for political, ideological and financial reasons.

Some of us have suspected this for some time. According to Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, long one of ocean acidification theory’s fiercest critics, the term is ‘just short of propaganda’. The pH of the world’s oceans ranges between 7.5 and 8.3 — well above the acid zone (which starts below ‘neutral’ pH7) — so more correctly it should be stated that the seas are becoming slightly less alkaline. ‘Acid’ was chosen, Moore believes, because it has ‘strong negative connotations for most people’.

Matt Ridley, too, has been scathing on the topic. In The Rational Optimist he wrote, ‘Ocean acidification looks suspiciously like a back-up plan by the environmental pressure groups in case the climate fails to warm.’ I agree. That’s why I like to call it the alarmists’ Siegfried Line — their last redoubt should it prove, as looks increasingly to be the case, that the man-made global warming theory is a busted flush.

To the alarmist camp, of course, this is yet further evidence that ‘deniers’ are heartless, anti-scientific conspiracy theorists who don’t read peer-reviewed papers and couldn’t give a toss if the world’s marine life is dissolved in a pool of acid due to man’s selfishness and greed. Unfortunately for the doom-mongers, we sceptics have just received some heavy fire-support from a neutral authority.

Howard Browman, a marine scientist for 35 years, has published a review in the ICES Journal of Marine Science of all the papers published on the subject. His verdict could hardly be more damning. The methodology used by the studies was often flawed; contrary studies suggesting that ocean acidification wasn’t a threat had sometimes had difficulty finding a publisher. There was, he said, an ‘inherent bias’ in scientific journals which predisposed them to publish ‘doom and gloom stories’.

Ocean acidification theory appears to have been fatally flawed almost from the start. In 2004, two NOAA scientists, Richard Feely and Christopher Sabine, produced a chart showing a strong correlation between rising atmospheric CO2 levels and falling oceanic pH levels. But then, just over a year ago, Mike Wallace, a hydrologist with 30 years’ experience, noticed while researching his PhD that they had omitted some key information. Their chart only started in 1988 but, as Wallace knew, there were records dating back to at least 100 years before. So why had they ignored the real-world evidence in favour of computer-modelled projections?

When Wallace plotted a chart of his own, incorporating all the available data, covering the period from 1910 to the present, his results were surprising: there has been no reduction in oceanic pH levels in the last -century.

Even if the oceans were ‘acidifying’, though, it wouldn’t be a disaster for a number of reasons — as recently outlined in a paper by Patrick Moore for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. First, marine species that calcify have survived through millions of years when CO2 was at much higher levels; second, they are more than capable of adapting — even in the short term — to environmental change; third, seawater has a large buffering capacity which prevents dramatic shifts in pH; fourth, if oceans do become warmer due to ‘climate change’, the effect will be for them to ‘outgas’ CO2, not absorb more of it.

Finally, and perhaps most damningly, Moore quotes a killer analysis conducted by Craig Idso of all the studies which have been done on the effects of reduced pH levels on marine life. The impact on calcification, metabolism, growth, fertility and survival of calcifying marine species when pH is lowered up to 0.3 units (beyond what is considered a plausible reduction this century) is beneficial, not damaging. Marine life has nothing whatsoever to fear from ocean acidification.

Given all this, you might well ask why our learned institutions, government departments and media outlets have put so much effort into pretending otherwise. Why, between 2009 and 2014, did Defra spend a whopping £12.5 million on an ocean acidification research programme when the issue could have been resolved, for next to nothing, after a few hours’ basic research?

To those of us who have been studying the global warming scare in some detail, the answer is depressingly obvious. It’s because in the last decade or so, the climate change industry has become so vast and all encompassing, employing so many people, it simply cannot be allowed to fail.

According to a report last year by Climate Change Business Journal, it’s now worth an astonishing $1.5 trillion — about the same as the online shopping industry. If the scare goes away, then all bets are off, because the entire global decarbonisation business relies on it. The wind parks, the carbon sequestration projects, the solar farms, the biomass plantations — none of these green schemes make any kind of commercial sense unless you buy into the theory that anthropogenic CO2 is catastrophically warming the planet and that radical green measures, enforced by governmental regulation, must be adopted to avert it.

It’s no coincidence that the ocean acidification narrative began in the early 2000s — just as it was beginning to dawn on the climate alarmists that global temperatures weren’t going to plan. While CO2 levels were continuing to rise, temperatures weren’t. Hence the need for a fallback position — an environmental theory which would justify the massively expensive and disruptive ongoing decarbonisation programme so assiduously championed by politicians, scientists, green campaigners and anyone making money out of the renewables business. Ocean acidification fitted the bill perfectly.

Does this prove that global warming is not a problem? No it doesn’t. What it does do is lend credence to something we much-maligned sceptics have long been saying: that in many environmental fields, the science is being abused and distorted to promote a political and financial agenda. Perhaps it’s about time our supposed ‘conspiracy theories’ were taken more seriously.


The Greenie reply to Delingpole


James Delingpole considers that ocean acidification is a scare story that is not only ‘fatally flawed’ but also grossly over-hyped by climate alarmists, for political reasons.  To give credibility to these views, information and quotes are given from four scientists (Patrick Moore, Mike Wallace, Matt Ridley and Craig Idso).  However, those sources are unreliable: none has relevant marine expertise, and the evidence they provide is either inaccurate or incorrect.  Three other scientists (Howard Browman, Richard Feely and Christopher Sabine) who do have direct research experience are either mis-quoted or their competence is dismissed.  The wider scientific literature is not considered.  Overall, Delingpole’s arguments are based on exaggeration, false dichotomy, deliberate selectivity and bravado assertion: almost everything that could be factually wrong, is wrong.  Specific errors, with other comments, are identified below for each paragraph of the original text.  Example references are also given, as links; many other supporting sources could also be cited.

Detailed comments

Delingpole’s article text given first, in italics, followed by Williamson’s comments.  Paragraph numbering added by Williamson.  Links within Delingpole text were not originally included, but have been added where the specific references are unambiguous.

1. [Article]  There was a breathtakingly beautiful BBC series on the Great Barrier Reef recently which my son pronounced himself almost too depressed to watch. ‘What’s the point?’ said Boy. ‘By the time I get to Australia to see it the whole bloody lot will have dissolved.’

[Comments]  Concern regarding the future of the Great Barrier Reef is fully justified – but not because the corals will soon dissolve.  Instead, bleaching (loss of algae from the coral) is the most important current threat, due to unusually high seawater temperatures.  Satellite surveys and field observations by the Australian government and independent researchers indicated that 20-50% (and locally up to 90%) of northern areas of the reef was affected by bleachingin late 2015/early 2016.  Individual corals may recover from bleaching if high temperature events are short-lived; however, if the bleaching is permanent, the corals die. Population recovery, through re-colonisation and re-growth, typically takes 10-15 years.

2.  The menace Boy was describing is ‘ocean acidification’. It’s no wonder he should find it worrying, for it has been assiduously promoted by environmentalists for more than a decade now as ‘global warming’s evil twin’. Last year, no fewer than 600 academic papers were published on the subject, so it must be serious, right?

Whilst the dead skeletons of coldwater corals (occurring in deep water, including around the UK) are at increasing risk of dissolving, a key effect of ocean acidification on warm-water corals is slower growth.  Current growth rates are around 10% lower than they were before human activities increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, and reef development ceases at pH below 7.7, the projected end of the century level for high emission scenarios.  Before then, it is near-certain there will be more frequent bleaching, due to further warming, together with even slower re-growth and population recovery due to ocean acidification.  The cumulative effects of temperature change, ocean acidification and other stressors jeopardises the longterm survival of coral reef structures.  The socio-economic consequences of reef loss are substantive, relating to coastal protection and fisheries, as well as tourism.

The scientific literature on ocean acidification covers much more than effects on corals.  Collectively it provides the factual evidence that enables the seriousness of ocean acidification to be dispassionately assessed; for example, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeand the Convention on Biological Diversity.

3.  First referenced in a peer-reviewed study in Nature in 2003, it has since been endorsed by scientists from numerous learned institutions including the Royal Society, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the IPCC. Even the great David Attenborough — presenter of the Great Barrier Reef series — has vouched for its authenticity: ‘If the temperature rises up by two degrees and the acidity by a measurable amount, lots of species of coral will die out. Quite what happens then is anybody’s guess. But it won’t be good.’

More than 150 scientific articles on ocean acidification were published before 2003.  Between 1989 and 2003, these averaged 9 per year, including geological, chemical and biological studies. The 2003 Nature study did, however, stimulate wider scientific and political interest in the topic area.

‘Endorsed’ implies approval (for ocean acidification).  It would seem more appropriate to say that many scientists and institutions have recognised that ocean acidification is occurring, is an issue of concern, and is worthy of detailed investigation.

4.  No indeed. Ocean acidification is the terrifying threat whereby all that man-made CO2 we’ve been pumping into the atmosphere may react with the sea to form a sort of giant acid bath. First it will kill off all the calcified marine life, such as shellfish, corals and plankton. Then it will destroy all the species that depend on it — causing an almighty mass extinction which will wipe out the fishing industry and turn our oceans into a barren zone of death.

What is the source of these statements?  They have not been made by scientists studying ocean acidification, nor (as far as I am aware) by environmental NGOs.  But maybe by sensation-seeking journalists? Or are they satirical exaggerations by Delingpole?  If – as it seems – they are deliberate mis-representations for polemic effect, the ‘climate alarmism’ of the title is spurious.  The rest of the article then has questionable credibility, whilst becoming logically fallacious.

5.  Or so runs the scaremongering theory. The reality may be rather more prosaic. Ocean acidification — the evidence increasingly suggests — is a trivial, misleadingly named, and not remotely worrying phenomenon which has been hyped up beyond all measure for political, ideological and financial reasons.

The alternative to ‘scaremongering theory’ is not to dismiss ocean acidification as nothing at all to worry about.  That assertion is equally incorrect, providing a false dichotomy ? that is not increasingly supported by factual evidence, as discussed below.

6.  Some of us have suspected this for some time. According to Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, long one of ocean acidification theory’s fiercest critics, the term is ‘just short of propaganda’. The pH of the world’s oceans ranges between 7.5 and 8.3 — well above the acid zone (which starts below ‘neutral’ pH7) — so more correctly it should be stated that the seas are becoming slightly less alkaline. ‘Acid’ was chosen, Moore believes, because it has ‘strong negative connotations for most people’.

Patrick Moore’s linkage with Greenpeace is controversial: the organisation does not recognise him as a co-founder although Moore continues to make that claim.  What is indisputable is that Moore has only very limited, if any, expertise in marine science.

The term ocean acidification is scientifically correct: it is used for technical reasons, not for any connotations it might or might not have for non-scientists.  Thus ‘acidification’ is the process of decreasing pH (increasing acidity), wherever on the pH scale that occurs.  In the same way, ‘warming’ is the process of increasing temperature, wherever that occurs – including rather cold parts of the world, e.g. polar regions.

The range of pH naturally occurring in the ocean is much wider than stated.  Values as low as pH 5.4 – undoubtedly acid – have been recorded at deep sea vents (that do support life, adapted to such conditions).

7.  Matt Ridley, too, has been scathing on the topic. In The Rational Optimist he wrote, ‘Ocean acidification looks suspiciously like a back-up plan by the environmental pressure groups in case the climate fails to warm.’ I agree. That’s why I like to call it the alarmists’ Siegfried Line — their last redoubt should it prove, as looks increasingly to be the case, that the man-made global warming theory is a busted flush.

Matt Ridley also has only limited, if any, expertise in marine science.  An opinion article he wrote in The Times in 2010 on ocean acidification contained many errors.  What he shares with Moore (and Delingpole) is climate scepticism, with an unscientific approach to evidence evaluation.

The sceptical view that man-made global warming is a ‘busted flush’ does not look increasingly to be the case; instead it is increasingly hard to challenge in a rational way the accumulating evidence of human influence on the climate.  In addition to the extremely thorough IPCC analyses of such issues, recent climate record-breaking is incontestable. For example: 2015 was the warmest year on record (mean surface temperature 1?C higher than in pre-industrial times), and that year included the lowest ever winter ice cover in the Arctic.  2016 is on course to beat those records – all months so far have been seasonally warmer than ever beforewith July 2016 being the hottest single month.  Whilst there has been a significant contribution from the 2015-16 El Niño, that ended earlier this year – and the increase in total ocean heat content has been inexorable since 1970.

8.  To the alarmist camp, of course, this is yet further evidence that ‘deniers’ are heartless, anti-scientific conspiracy theorists who don’t read peer-reviewed papers and couldn’t give a toss if the world’s marine life is dissolved in a pool of acid due to man’s selfishness and greed. Unfortunately for the doom-mongers, we sceptics have just received some heavy fire-support from a neutral authority.

Who exactly is the ‘alarmist camp’?  The failure to identify the source of these assertions is telling.  If, as seems likely, they are imaginary and provided for rhetorical purposes, Delingpole is a double extremist ? arguing against himself.

9.  Howard Browman, a marine scientist for 35 years, has published a review in the ICES Journal of Marine Science of all the papers published on the subject. His verdict could hardly be more damning. The methodology used by the studies was often flawed; contrary studies suggesting that ocean acidification wasn’t a threat had sometimes had difficulty finding a publisher. There was, he said, an ‘inherent bias’ in scientific journals which predisposed them to publish ‘doom and gloom stories’.

Browman’s article does not claim to be a ‘review of all the papers published on the subject’; it is an Introduction to a Special Issue.  Has Delingpole read it, or just the imbalanced and inaccurate accounts of it that were in the media (e.g. The Times, 1 March 2016), as challenged by Browman?

The words ‘flawed’, ‘inherent bias’ and ‘doom and gloom’ do not appear in Browman’s article.  Whilst its text does state “studies that report no effect of OA [ocean acidification] are typically more difficult to publish”, those words are preceded by a crucial qualifier: “As is true across all of science”.

Furthermore, Browman does consider ocean acidification to be a serious problem, warranting research attention: “Although I call for a more sceptical scrutiny and balanced interpretation of the body of research on OA, it must be emphasized that OA is happening and it will have effects on some marine organisms and ecosystem processes.”

10.  Ocean acidification theory appears to have been fatally flawed almost from the start. In 2004, two NOAA scientists, Richard Feely and Christopher Sabine, produced a chart showing a strong correlation between rising atmospheric CO2 levels and falling oceanic pH levels. But then, just over a year ago, Mike Wallace, a hydrologist with 30 years’ experience, noticed while researching his PhD that they had omitted some key information. Their chart only started in 1988 but, as Wallace knew, there were records dating back to at least 100 years before. So why had they ignored the real-world evidence in favour of computer-modelled projections?

The ‘Feeley and Sabine chart’ criticised by Wallace was not included in their seminal 2004 paper, but was first published in 2008 (authorship Richard Feely, Victoria Fabry and John Guinotte, giving data credit to Pieter Tans and David Karl).  Mike Wallace’s hydrological expertise is in groundwater pollution, particularly minewater management.  He has not published any peer-reviewed papers on ocean acidification, nor marine chemistry.  By contrast, Richard Feely and Christopher Sabine are both oceanographers; their combined total is around 70 years of relevant experience, with around 500 relevant publications.


Lying Greenie alarmists found out:  Reef tourism operators find less than five per cent of coral dead under ‘extreme’ bleaching

REEF tourism operators have found less than five per cent of coral has died off — compared to the 50 to 60 per cent estimated by scientists — under “extreme” mass coral bleaching on the northern Great Barrier Reef.

Latest findings exclusively obtained by The Courier-Mail show coral mortality in the outer shelf reefs north of Lizard Island was between one and five per cent with “spectacular” fish life and coral coverage.

Teams of divers in a joint two-week expedition sponsored by Mike Ball Dive and Spirit of Freedom surveyed 28 sites on 24 outer shelf reefs along a 300km section of the hardest-hit part of the reef from Bathurst Head to Raine Island.

Spirit of Freedom owner Chris Eade said reports of 93 per cent bleaching on the 2300km long Great Barrier Reef had made global headlines and damaged the reputation of the $5 billion reef tourism industry.

“Scientists had written off that entire northern section as a complete white-out,’’ Mr Eade said.  “We expected the worst. But it is tremendous condition, most of it is pristine, the rest is in full recovery.  “It shows the resilience of the reef.’’

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions operations manager Craig Stephen, who conducted a similar survey on the remote reefs 20 years ago, said there had been almost no change in two decades despite the latest coral bleaching event.

“It wasn’t until we got underwater that we could get a true picture of what percentage of reef was bleached,’’ Mr Stephen said. “The discrepancy is phenomenal. It is so wrong. Everywhere we have been we have found healthy reefs. “There has been a great disservice to the Great Barrier Reef and tourism and it has not been good for our industry.”

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority estimated a mass coral white-out of between 50 to 60 per cent, on average, for reefs off Cape York under the world’s biggest-ever mass coral bleaching event.

Scientists with the Townsville-based ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies reported about 35 per cent mortality but warned “the final death toll” on some reefs may exceed 90 per cent.

In April, aerial and underwater surveys of 522 reefs in the northern sector showed 81 per cent had been severely bleached and one per cent not bleached.

Professor Terry Hughes, convener of the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, at the time said “it’s like 10 cyclones have come ashore all at once.”

Professor Hughes yesterday welcomed the positive news but had not yet seen the latest survey findings. “We won’t know the true coral mortality until we can get back up there in October and compare before and after impacts from our March survey,’’ Prof Hughes said.

“Those coral will either survive or more will die.’’

A GBRMPA spokeswoman said they would closely examine the findings of the first independent expedition into the isolated region.  “Obviously if they’ve found reefs with a lower than expected mortality rate that is fabulous news,’’ she said.

“Our initial findings noted that the level of bleaching and mortality was expected to be very variable across the entire reef system.’’


Obama Energy Czar: Actually, Fracking Is Pretty Good For The Environment

Hydraulic fracturing, a process more commonly referred to as fracking, is actually good for the environment, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said at a field hearing in Seattle last week, according to the Washington Examiner.

“The increased production of oil and natural gas in the United States has, obviously, been a major story in terms of our economy, and also our environment,” said Moniz, who previously served as the head of the Physics department at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, earned a doctorate degree in physics from Stanford University.

“The natural gas boom, in particular, has led to the displacement of high-carbon coal with low-carbon natural gas producing fewer emissions,” Moniz reportedly said during the Seattle field hearing.

Since the Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory board published a study earlier this month debunking the widespread claim that fracking contaminates drinking water, environmentalists have attempted to double down — claiming that the study didn’t have enough scientific evidence in it to back up its findings. Moniz’s testimony at last week’s hearing was meant to dispel these criticisms and confirm to the public that fracking doesn’t just drastically reduce the cost of energy, it also helps the environment.

In the past five years, there have been at least 75 scientific studies that all reach the same conclusion: methane emissions are falling — despite a huge increase in the level of natural gas, The Daily Caller’s Andrew Follett reported.

A recent study found that fracking has reduced carbon emissions by 20 percent, whereas the costly and heavily subsidized development of solar and wind energy has only reduced these same emissions by roughly 1 percent.


Global Warming Alarmists Plead: Save the Children By Not Having Them

William M Briggs

Global warming will, of course, doom us all. That is, if the models created by scientists are any guide. Which they aren’t, since these models have for decades predicted temperatures far greater than what we actually see.

Too, our greatest natural disasters occurred long ago before global warming loomed, (as this site documents). In 1931, a flood killed perhaps two million Chinese. Forest fires in the USA are far, far below their destructive peak in the late 1920s. An awful flood happened in 1936, the same year a heat-wave killed some 12,000 Americans, which again was the same year of the highest maximum temperature.

Still, even though tornadoes, floods, fires and hurricanes are way down, the consensus is that global warming will kill us all. A hundredth of a degree increase in temperature is nothing to sneeze at, you know.

Who will fare worst in our coming climate apocalypse? That’s right! The children! The promised destruction of our littlest ones is why NPR and a group of academic philosophers say we should “protect our kids by not having them.”

Protect our kids by not having them? That’s like saying the way to protect your house from fire is by not building it, or that the way to protect against crop failure is to cease farming.

Barren wombs as cure for our climate “catastrophe” makes sense to philosophers Colin Hickey, Travis N. Rieder and Jake Earl, who defend the idea in “Population Engineering and the Fight against Climate Change,” which will appear in the journal Social Theory and Practice (PDF). They say that “threats posed by climate change justify population engineering, the intentional manipulation of the size and structure of human populations” (emphasis in original).

Now all philosophical arguments start with premises, the assumptions which must be accepted to get the argument going. Here are theirs:

Two uncontroversial ideas set the stage for this article. First, climate change is among the most significant moral problems contemporary societies face, in terms of its urgency, global expanse and the magnitude of its attending harms. Second, population plays an important role in determining just how bad climate change will be.
Balderdash: both ideas are controversial and, as shown above, both are far from the truth. This is not a good beginning to their argument. As Aristotle noted, “The least degree of deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.” Let’s see if that prophecy holds here.

From their premises, the authors derive this:

In procreating one makes a whole new person who will emit [greenhouse gases]. But in fact, it is more than that. By creating a new person, one makes it possible that he or she will go on to create more people, who are then able to go and create even more people.
Who knew?

This radical deduction led to this conclusion: “The question, it seems, is not whether we should implement some sort of fertility-reducing population engineering program, but rather which interventions such a program should include.”

From there it was a short hop to the heading “Population Engineering Policies: Coercion and Choice Enhancement.”

Did somebody say coercion?

Somebody did. “This includes policies that involve straightforward violations of citizens’ autonomy or bodily integrity.” Not to worry. “Straightforwardly coercive interventions to reduce human population growth are almost always wrong.”

Almost always.

The other end of the scale of “total coercion” is pestering the population with putrid propaganda: e.g., “Poster campaigns featuring images of small, happy families and national slogans have been used widely” in other countries. While finding it distasteful, they don’t outright reject “outright misinformation, deception or manipulation,” and assure us they “would not endorse just any token preference-adjusting intervention to reduce fertility.” Grand of them.

They also put forward “women’s education and improved access to reproductive health care.” Now these are philosophers and you’d think they’d know better than to employ cheap euphemism. Reproductive health care means abortion and contraception, where there is no reproduction and where the health of any child “accidentally” conceived is permanently removed, and the would-be mothers endangered into the bargain.

Stripped of euphemism, the authors recommend active killing to reduce the population.

And if you’re “rich,” look out:

Our outline for a global population engineering program suggests that the greater a would-be procreator’s wealth, the more appropriate it will be to target that person with interventions to the right on the coercion spectrum. This is justifiable not only pragmatically, but also morally: since wealth is a fairly reliable proxy for individuals’ GHG emissions, and so for their carbon legacy, it is morally justifiable to exert greater pressure on wealthy people’s procreative behaviors.
Some people would still be allowed to have babies. Who decides who should procreate future GHG generators? Well, folks like author Travis Rieder, who is bravely passing on his genes (he has a daughter).

There isn’t a scintilla of a hint of a whisper of a ghost of a figment of an idea from these men that they might be wrong. But Aristotle was right. Start with silliness, end in lunacy.


Have more kids; save the world

Jeff Jacoby

FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL, humankind has regarded it as a blessing to be fruitful and multiply.

Not Travis Rieder. A philosopher and bioethics instructor at Johns Hopkins University, Rieder was the focus of a recent NPR story, in which he argued that having children is immoral and should be discouraged with government penalties. It’s not that Rieder dislikes children — in fact, he has a 2-year-old daughter of whom he’s quite fond. But with “dangerous climate change” approaching a tipping point “very, very soon,” he says, bringing more children into the world is unethical. After all, every additional baby means additional carbon emissions, and more carbon emissions mean rising global temperatures. Without drastic change, the planet will soon be “largely uninhabitable for humans.” So the natural human urge to procreate, Rieder insists, must be suppressed.

“It’s not the childless who must justify their lifestyle,” he tells NPR. “It’s the rest of us.” And no, it’s not enough for would-be parents to adopt a rigorously “green” lifestyle. Rieder says that no amount of conservation — driving less, recycling faithfully, using energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances — comes remotely close to the level of CO2 reduction achieved by having one fewer child. (On its website, NPR helpfully supplies a sidebar with statistics confirming the point.)

Curiously, Rieder seems to believe he is saying something fresh and unusual. “Here’s a provocative thought,” he announces. “Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them.”

Provocative? The notion that too many people are having kids, and that “overpopulation” spells doom for life on Earth, has been an article of faith among environmental extremists since at least the 1960s.

David Brower, the longtime executive director of the Sierra Club, insisted decades ago that childbearing should be “a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license.” The current White House science adviser, physicist John Holdren, was writing in the 1970s about the catastrophe that would result if governments didn’t turn to forcible sterilization, compulsory abortion, or antifertility drugs in the water supply to shrink the population. “If the population control measures are not initiated immediately and effectively,” wrote Holdren in a book coauthored with ecologist/alarmist Paul Ehrlich, “all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come.”

Population misanthropes were freaking out about the disasters sure to come from making too many babies as far back as ancient Greece. But though babies keep being made — at present, some 130 million of them every year — the disaster never comes. The number of men, women, and children on the planet has exploded from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 7.4 billion today, yet humanity is better off than ever. People live longer, healthier, and more comfortable lives than at any time in human history. By and large, they have more wealth, more education, more food, more medical care, more energy, and more natural resources than their forbears could have dreamed of.

Never have there been so many people in the world. Never have the world’s people been so well off. Coincidence? Not at all. When people are fruitful and multiply, they tend to make the world better, not worse.

Population doomsayers get lots of attention, but the doom they predict invariably fails to materialize. That is because babies are more than carbon footprints. They grow up not merely to consume, but to produce. They think and create and explore and imagine — and they inspire others to do so as well. With more people a society gets more innovation, more acts of kindness, more social welfare, more enterprise, more caregiving, more discovery, more growth, more prosperity.

When parents bring a baby into the world, they do a wonderful thing — both for the baby and for the world. You really want to save the planet? Ignore the gloom-and-doomers, and have more children.



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‘Floods are not increasing’: Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. slams ‘global warming’ link to floods & extreme weather – How does media ‘get away with this?’

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., a Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), slammed the linkage of global warming to the recent Louisiana floods and other types of extreme weather.

Pielke authored the 2014 book “The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change.” 

“Flood disasters are sharply down. U.S. floods not increasing either,” Pielke Jr. declared on August 23. Pielke rebuked New York Times columnist Paul Krugman for linking floods to climate change.  Krugman blamed “climate change” for ‘a proliferation of disasters like the one in Louisiana.’

“How does Krugman get away with this?” Pielke asked while showcasing this scientific graph.

“Floods suck when they occur. The good news is U.S. flood damage is sharply down over 70 years,” Pielke explained.

In a message aimed at climate activists and many in the media, Pielke cautioned: “Remember, disasters can happen any time and they suck. But it is also good to understand long-term trends based on data, not hype.”

“In my career I’ve seen the arguments go from: 1- ‘Drought increasing globally’ — To — 2- ‘OK, not globally, but look at THIS one drought.’ I’ll stick with the UN IPCC and the USGCRP (U.S. Global Change Research Program) consensus rather than selected studies. Both of those agree there is no global or U.S. trend though literature is diverse,” Pielke wrote.

Extreme weather is NOT getting worse

Pielke also pointed to the hard scientific data that shows other types of extreme weather are not getting worse and may in fact be improving.

“Is U.S. drought getting worse? No,” Pielke wrote and revealed this EPA graph:


23 August, 2016

NOTE:  I am going into hospital later today for a rather complex procedure -- so I may not be blogging for a couple of days -- JR

I don’t need air conditioning, and neither do you

What the writer below says is perfectly correct.  I have lived almost all my life in the tropics and subtropics but it is only recently that I have got AC.  And to this day it is relatively unusual for Australian homes to have AC.

But it is not for others to tell us what we need. That is a personal decision.  In my case, my advancing years made me less able to cope happily with temperature extremes so I had an inverter installed in my bedroom/study.

Leftists always think that they can dictate what people need but that is just their usual Fascistic arrogance.  In the case below the subtext is is that we should not use AC because it consumes electricity, which in turn causes global warming.  The fact that there has been no anthropogenic global warming for nearly 20 years is not considered. 

The reality is that we live in an age of unprecedented abundance in all sorts of ways and the Greenies for their own misanthropic reasons have been trying to stop that.

Below is a picture of Bill McKibben, a prominent Warmist.  To me he looks batshit crazy, a man obsessed.  Would you want him telling you what you need?

It’s time to come out of the closet. Or, more precisely, the sweat lodge.

My family lives without air con­ditioning, except for one antique, ­semi-comatose window unit that “cools” the bedroom to approximately the same temperature as Dallas at dusk.

Our house in Philadelphia was built in the 1920s, when people were tough and resourceful. For most of the year, the house is cool and pleasant, as long as there isn’t a mash-up of continuously scorching days and epic humidity, when the air is putrid, stagnant and, if it were a color, would definitely be mustard.

Which would be this summer. Which, so far, is the fourth-hottest summer on record in the Washington area. Emphasis on so far. NASA reports that July was the Earth’s hottest in recorded history. Cheer up, people say to those of us without air conditioning, September’s coming. Except people forget that most of September is still summer.

There are people among you, friends even, who live without artificial cooling during what are affectionately known as the dog days of summer. One-third of American households don’t have air conditioning, according to the Energy Department. Many of those, of course, can’t afford it, but people don’t like AC for a variety of reasons beyond cost: environmental, aesthetic, nostalgic, social and cultural.

And, yes, to humble-brag, which I may be doing right now, about our greater tolerance, lower carbon footprint and puny electric bills, which are half the temperature outside.

Clinical social worker Olivia Snyder lives on the fifth floor of a Philadelphia apartment building with southern exposure and no air conditioning. It gets so hot, she says, “I don’t want to turn on the burners, let alone the oven.”

But window units offend her. “Air conditioners are ugly. I really like the view,” she says. Also, “I hate sleeping with the noise. I’m super-weird about noise.”

There are people who are living without air conditioning in places far hotter than the East Coast. In 2009, Chris George, now a Washington Post digital editor, voluntarily gave up air conditioning for a year while living in the inhumane heat of Tempe, Ariz., mostly out of environmental concern. “I’ve been called many variations of the word ‘insane,’?” George wrote in the Arizona Republic of the experiment, during which temperatures reached 103 degrees inside his home. But he also learned that “comfort is really just what you’re used to.”

There are a thousand reasons my family does without central air. Actually, several thousand.

Installing central air would be a profoundly expensive enterprise, involving a cavalcade of zeros and most likely new, less-beautiful windows. When our children ask why we’re still sweating it analog-style, and our house feels like a Tennessee Williams stage set but without the fetching undergarments and crippling dysfunction, we answer, “College tuition, vacations, cheese. You know, things like that.”

Also, I don’t like the hermetic feel of central air, the way it reduces everything to an artificial hum and makes you feel isolated from the environment, your body’s natural responses and, depending on your age, all the summers of your youth.

Air conditioning is not sultry or mysterious. It has no place in pulp fiction or film noir. The movie “Body Heat” is set in a small Florida town in 1981 yet is completely devoid of central air, which manages to make absolutely everything seem sexy — ice cubes, sweat, even wind chimes, which are generally just annoying.

There are positive aspects of going without. Fewer house guests. More dinner invitations. That humble-bragging business. Showers. I can’t tell you how rewarding showers feel. And ice cream tastes way better.


EPA lies by omission

Below is a screed about huricanes that the EPA puts out for students.  Most of it is fair enough but, as with all Green/Left writing, what is left out is the key to seeing how you are being misled.  It may be true that hurricanes have become more powerful in some recent period. What is not mentioned, however, is that hurricanes have become much RARER  -- which is actually in line with the absence of any recent global warming.  Taken as a whole, the hurricane data suggest temperature STASIS, not global warming

Hurricane in suburban neighborhoodHurricanes and other tropical storms get their energy from warm ocean water. As the top layer of the ocean gets warmer, hurricanes and other tropical storms grow stronger, with faster winds and heavier rain. Because of higher temperatures and increased evaporation, climate change causes other types of storms to get stronger, too.

What's happening now?

This graph shows two lines. One is an index that measures the strength of hurricanes, and the other shows the temperature of the ocean surface. The two lines show a similar pattern.

Hurricanes in the northern half of the Atlantic Ocean have become stronger over the last few decades. This graph shows the Power Dissipation Index, which measures total hurricane power each year based on the number of hurricanes and their wind speed. The graph also shows how hurricane strength is related to water temperature.

Over the past 20 years, hurricanes and other tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean have become stronger. Since the 1980s, the United States has also experienced more intense single-day storms that are dumping a lot more rain or snow than usual.

What will happen in the future?

As the climate gets warmer, heavier rainstorms and snowstorms (with more precipitation than normal) are expected to happen more often, and hurricanes around the world could keep getting stronger.

Why does it matter?

Hurricanes and other storms can cause flooding; damage buildings, roads, and other structures; harm crops; and put people's lives in danger.


If you don't believe in global warming, you're too 'mentally ill' to be allowed to buy a gun?

In recent days, President Obama announced new "executive actions" on guns, that included language to shore up current federal law aimed at keeping mentally ill Americans from buying guns. Some skeptics of the president's actions believe that, as is usually the case, there are ulterior motives behind his actions.

For example, some believe that the president's order may include guidance on declaring people who disagree with Obama's policies – like those regarding so-called "global warming" and "climate change" – as mentally unstable.

It's not too far out of the realm of possibility, given this president's narcissism, anti-gun demeanor and ideological, cult-like adherence to the concept of man-caused climate phenomena.

As noted by the Media Research Center, anyone designated as "mentally ill" by doctors – who now have been empowered to report patients they deem to be unfit to the FBI – can be denied the right to keep and bear arms.

The official White House fact sheet on Obama's new regulations states:

"Current law prohibits individuals from buying a gun if, because of a mental health issue, they are either a danger to themselves or others or are unable to manage their own affairs. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has indicated that it will begin the rulemaking process to ensure that appropriate information in its records is reported to NICS."

'Climate denial' is a 'mental disorder'

Obama has repeatedly claimed that the threat of climate change is a greater one than that of terrorism; so, aren't people who deny that climate change is real, a danger to themselves or others and, thus, unfit to own firearms?

The notion that climate skeptics are not mentally capable people is not a new concept employed by the radical Left. Consider:

-- Oregon-based "sociology and environmental studies" Prof. Kari Norgaard has publicly stated that skepticism of climate change is a mental problem that must be "treated." (To show what a fruit loop this woman is, she also compared acceptance of the reality that climate change is bogus, to the "struggle" against racism and slavery.)

-- The journal Psychology Today published an article that listed a trio of warning signs that you are living a life of "climate change denial:"

* You think climate change is bad, but not that bad.
* You don't have an emotional reaction to climate change.
* You aren't getting political.

So, if you're one of those people who have come to understand that the climate change agenda is really about control, not "saving the planet," or you're not mad enough about it, or you've opted out of the political fight over it, you're mental.

-- As noted by The Telegraph's Christopher Booker (one of those mentally ill deniers), in a piece entitled, Climate 'denial' is now a mental disorder, says so-called "eco-psychologists" convened recently at the University of the West of England in Bristol, to examine the notion of classifying climate change denial as a "mental disorder."

-- And who could forget that Obama's EPA chief, Gina McCarthy, said that deniers are not "normal" people?

Believe it – or else

Those crazy Leftists – they create their own narrative and then, when the majority of people catch onto them, they change the rules of the game back into their favor.

Can't convince people to believe in the man-caused global warming hoax on their own? Fine – we'll just label them crazy, and for extra measure, we'll see to it that they are denied their constitutional rights in the process.

Speaking of bat-stuffing crazy regarding this issue, how about Robert Kennedy, Jr., calling for a law that punishes people who don't buy the warming globaloney? That's no different than a dictator requiring his people to believe in his edicts, no matter how obviously flawed they are, or risk losing their freedom (or lives).

It's not clear that Obama's order will affect global warming – let's call them realists – but you can certainly see where this "you're crazy if you don't believe it" attitude could go.


More idiocy from John Vidal and Peter Wadhams

Warmist predicted 4 of the last 0 ice-free summers

John Vidal is probably the stupidest journalist reporting on climate change for the Guardian, which is quite an achievement given the stiff competition. It was Vidal, you may recall, who claimed that the sexual harassment allegations against Pachauri were part of a conspiracy cooked up by climate sceptics.

Today, Vidal says that it is Time to listen to the ice scientists about the Arctic death spiral. Who are the scientists Vidal says we should listen to? Well, it turns out there’s only one quoted (distinguishing between singular and plural doesn’t seem to be one of John’s areas of expertise), and guess what, it’s Peter Wadhams again.

Wadhams is of course notorious for his failed predictions of Arctic ice disappearance.

In the Telegraph in 2011 Wadhams declared that “It is really showing the fall-off in ice volume is so fast that it is going to bring us to zero very quickly. 2015 is a very serious prediction and I think I am pretty much persuaded that that’s when it will happen.” This was unchallenged by the journalist, showing that unquestioning promotion of climate hype crosses the political spectrum in the media.

The BBC told us that Arctic summers would be ice-free by 2013, quoting both Wadhams and Maslowski.

But most remarkable is this article by John Vidal himself, Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years, published in 2012.  I wonder whether John Vidal’s science skills extend as far as adding 2012 and four. If so, this might help him understand why he’s not taken seriously.

But Vidal isn’t just a gullible idiot, he’s misleading readers with falsehoods. In his article today he claims that “Wadhams says what other scientists will not”, implying that other climate scientists agree with him but don’t want to speak out. Nothing could be further from the truth. Other climate scientists have publicly ridiculed Wadhams for his extreme views, with comments such as “ridiculous projections with no basis in physics”,  “Entertaining break with Wadhams. Back to science now” and “Hasn’t Wadhams already predicted 4 of the last 0 ice-free summers?”  Yet Vidal describes Wadhams as an “experienced and rational scientist”.


Rising sea levels caused by global warming could be GOOD news for coral reefs

It all depends on your modelling

Global warming could do at least as much to protect the world’s coral reefs as it will to damage them, new research from Australia suggests.

Climate change has long been believed to be disastrous for the fragile marine environments, but fresh modelling has predicted that oceanic changes caused by the phenomenon will also work to the reefs’ advantage.

Rising sea levels, caused by melting polar ice caps, could help moderate the extreme and often damaging conditions found in many reef habitats, according to scientists at the University of Western Australia.

By studying reef systems off the coast of north-western Australia, they showed how rapid sea level rise could substantially reduce the volatile daily extremes of water temperatures in the shallow reef habitats over the next century.

The resulting changes, they say, may potentially ameliorate the other effects of global ocean warming.

Mounting levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are predicted to cause substantial changes to ocean temperature over the next 100 years, increasing the frequency and severity of mass bleaching, where corals expel the symbiotic algae living in their tissues, turning them completely white.

In April scientists announced that 93 per cent of the famous 1,500 mile Great Barrier Reef, on Australia’s East Coast, had now been bleached as a result of an underwater heatwave caused by global warming.

The situation caused some scientists to urge the Australian government to decide which parts of the reef it wanted to save.

Reefs in the Caribbean and in other regions such as the Maldives have also been badly affected by bleaching.

Warming seas are part of a “triple punch” said to be hitting coral reefs as a result of global warming, along with ocean acidification, which makes it more difficult for corals to build and maintain their skeletons, and more frequent and powerful reef-wrecking storms.

The new research by Professor Ryan Lowe and his team is the first to attempt to predict in detail the positive effects rising surface levels on reef environments.

Temperatures within shallow reefs often differ substantially from the surrounding ocean, so predicting future patterns of bleaching and other stresses is difficult.

However, recent science has focused on trying to improve predictions of regional ocean warming patterns driven by long-term climate change, as well as by the intensification of short-term climate patterns such as El Nino.

Using a collection of detailed field measurements, Prof Lowe and his team developed a modelling framework for predicting how local temperature extremes in shallow reefs will change in the future as a result of rising sea levels.

They found that even a modest sea level rise could substantially reduce local reef water temperatures in the future, meaning the change may partially contribute to limiting reef heat extremes in an overall warming ocean.

Despite the international carbon emissions caps agreed at the Paris climate talks last year, atmospheric warming is still expected to rise to between 2.7 and 3C above pre-industrial levels, breaching the 2C threshold beyond which many scientists say heatwaves and significant sea level rises are inevitable.

In 2015 the United Nations World Heritage Committee agreed not to list the Great Barrier Reef as an “in danger” site, providing Australia reports back to the committee in December this year with an adequate account of what is being done to preserve the reef.


Beyond The Spin: Alaska Village’s Demise Is More Complicated Than Yelling ‘Global Warming’

The Alaskan village of Shishmaref has voted to relocate because global warming puts its residents at risk of being washed away — or at least that’s the simplified narrative environmentalists and the media peddle.

Shishmaref, a small town of nearly 600 people just north of the Bering Strait, has become a poster child for global warming. It’s threatened by erosion and storm surge due to shrinking Arctic sea ice, and on Tuesday, its residents voted to relocate — they just don’t know where they’re going or how they’ll pay for it.

Shishmaref’s story, however, is much more complicated than news headlines suggest. A look back at the settlement’s history shows life there has always been precarious and always been at the mercy of nature.

“Within the next two decades, the whole island will erode away completely,” Esau Sinnok, a Shishmaref native and environmentalist, wrote to the U.S. Interior Department in 2015.

“To put this in perspective: I was born in 1997, and since then, Shishmaref has lost about 100 feet,” he wrote in his highly publicized essay. “In the past 15 years, we had to move 13 houses – including my dear grandma Edna’s house – from one end of the island to the other because of this loss of land.”

Sinnok’s essay is emblematic of how many understand the situation for Native American coastal villages across Alaska. The spectre of global warming is seen from Shishmaref to Newtok to Kivalina, and even the Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana.

Read the news and you’ll hear the story of a people being forced out of their homes by erosion after 400 years. But that’s not the whole truth.

Take Shishmaref. People have been there for about 400 years, but only on a seasonal basis. Native Alaskans would traverse the the region looking for the best places to find food, and for part of the year, Sarichef Island had what people needed.

Oregon State University anthropologist Elizabeth Marino is one of the few scholars to really dig into Shishmaref’s history and why the settlement is located where it is today. Marino notes how Shishmaref didn’t become a permanent settlement until the 20th century after the “U.S. government pursued a deliberate policy of ending all nomadic lifestyles among Native Americans,” according to a review of her book by Alaska Dispatch News (ADN).

“The people of Shishmaref weren’t forcibly collectivized in the way that Natives were elsewhere in the country in the 19th century, but the government’s opening of a school in Shishmaref, coupled with the onset of compulsory education, had the same effect,” ADN wrote of Marino’s book.

In fact, Shishmaref isn’t even a native Alaskan name. The settlement is named after a Russian explorer who traversed the Alaskan coast in 1821.

At first, settling on Shishmaref made sense, but it was “always tenuous ground to build on,” ADN reported. Natives cobbled together homes on Sarichef Island out of whatever they could, so their kids could go to school.

But they built on permafrost, and that’s a risky bet without modern techniques and equipment to keep the sensitive frost from melting. Human settlement and rising temperatures melted the permafrost Shishmaref’s homes were built on, meaning basically sand was exposed and was washed away by storm surge. Combine that with shrinking Arctic sea ice levels, and you’ve got a big problem.

“They didn’t think about infrastructure or any of that because there was no such thing,” Dan Kish, the senior vice president for policy of the free market Institute for Energy Research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“It wasn’t until the government came along and started handing out checks and delivering things that you needed to settle down so you could get it,” said Kish, who spent years traveling Alaska while working for the House committee overseeing U.S. natural resources.

But don’t think it’s just recent temperature rise that’s harmed Shismaref. Storm surge and erosion has been a problem for decades before scientists and activist began worrying about global warming.

Shishmaref is part of a chain of barrier islands — sand islands that are formed by storm surges and separated from the mainland by shallow bays. The Shishmaref barrier islands likely formed about 1,700 years ago, during a period of increased storminess, according to a 1999 study.

Storminess subsided after that until about 1,200 years ago, when they began to get fiercer again. The study suggests the Bering Strait region sea level has risen nearly five feet over the last 5,000 years.

“They built in a bad place,” said Kish. Even Marino noted Shishmaref residents had discussed relocating to mainland Alaska as early as the 1970s. Sea levels and erosion have been impacting the island for thousands of years.

An Uncertain Future

The U.S. government basically forced Shishmaref into existence and now the village is trying to get the feds to pay for their removal.

Shishmaref is at a breaking point. The town voted Tuesday to relocate, but the Army Corps of Engineers estimated in 2004 the removal could cost $180 million — that’s $320,000 per resident.

Federal officials have already given the town $27 million between 2005 and 2009 to stem erosion. Those measures only bought the town 15 years, according to The New York Times.

Some aren’t convinced the relocation will happen — two previous efforts to relocate were defeated over worries about leaving the town’s school behind. Opponents of moving don’t like the potential relocation sites on the mainland because they lack barge access.

It’s also unclear how they’ll pay for it all. Shishmaref is poor and would need millions from taxpayers.

Supporters of moving are somewhat optimistic since the Obama administration natives on the Isla de Jean Charles $48 million in January to relocate.

“I’m going to have to wait to see how all of this shakes down,” a Shishmaref resident told NYT over the phone. “There’s a number of questions to be answered before we can make a very serious attempt at moving.”



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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22 August, 2016

Fracturing common sense

Colorado extremists want to ban fracking, oil, gas, jobs, revenues, property rights

Paul Driessen

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has given the USA and world centuries of new petroleum supplies, lowered energy prices for manufacturers, motorists and consumers, and altered geopolitics for the Middle East, Russia and Venezuela. New natural gas supplies provide low-cost petrochemical feed stocks, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by fueling electrical generating plants – which you’d think would be good news for climate alarmists.

But naturally, those who inhabit environmentalism’s loonier fringes have gone into overdrive. They used to support natural gas. However, now that they’ve shut down many American coal mines and coal-burning power plants, they’re against it.

In shale-rich Colorado, they’re upset that the state supreme court overturned several local fracking bans. So Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development collected signatures on petitions to have several anti-fracking “citizen initiatives” put on the November election ballots. To them, anything promoting or allowing fossil fuels is “extreme.”

With great hoopla, CREED delivered hundreds of boxes to Colorado’s Secretary of State. Lots of boxes, in a clever PR stunt – but most of them almost empty, and holding only a few thousand more signatures than the 98,492 required to get on the ballot, with thousands likely to be invalidated.

One frack-hater sounded relieved, saying he’d rather see the initiatives kept off the ballot than be “crushed” in the elections. That indeed would be the likely result. Most Coloradans want the benefits fracking brings, know the alleged health and environmental impacts are exaggerated or fabricated, and realize the CREED petitions fracture common sense and truly ethical energy policies.

It’s the same at the national level: Hillary Clinton and her Big Green-Bigger Government allies want to eliminate the oil, gas, coal and fracking job-creating miracle. The only energy jobs they want is those that require perpetual billions in taxpayer and consumer subsidies paid to the Democrats’ campaign donors.

Fractured common sense and ethics also mean hypocrisy. Local control is vital, CREED insists – but only if communities oppose fracking. Never if they want fracking, ethanol-free gasoline or affordable coal-based electricity for poor, minority and blue collar families. Never if locals don’t want bird-butchering wind turbines in their neighborhoods. Never if they don’t want oil replaced by biofuels grown on millions of acres that used to be croplands, forests, grasslands and rainforests.

The anti-fracking petitions also violate private property rights, the bedrock of America’s wealth creating free enterprise system. They endow us with the freedom to work hard to obtain and retain a residence, car, farm, business, college fund or retirement nest egg. They are protected by our Constitution, which holds that no one can be deprived of property without “due process of law” and “just compensation.”

If anti-fracking fringe groups get their way, property rights could become just a fond memory. If their schemes catch on, these fundamental rights could become endangered far more widely.

One CREED initiative, which did not secure enough signatures, would have guaranteed “a healthy environment.” As a Colorado Legislative Council memo notes, that raises unanswered but basic questions. Is the environmental currently healthy? If not, when was it healthy? How will environmental health be assessed – and by whom?

Another failed idea would have banned land and mineral owners from employing fracking to produce oil and natural gas. Another still pending initiative would let localities pass ordinances, including bans on drilling and fracking, with primacy over state law.

#78 would prevent drilling and fracking within 2,500 feet of occupied buildings or “areas of special interest.” CREED defines “areas of special interest” as playgrounds, sports fields and virtually any body of water: lakes, rivers, intermittent creeks, irrigation canals and nearly anything except potholes.

My former home state already has strict setback standards and some of the toughest drilling rules in the nation. Wells cannot be drilled within 1,000 feet of schools and hospitals, and must be 500 feet from homes and commercial buildings. Additional setbacks cover recreational facilities and property lines.

Extending the setbacks to 2,500 feet (nearly one-half mile) would almost eliminate the state’s energy production. Many think is CREED’s real goal. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission maps reveal that Initiative 78 would prohibit 90% of new wells and fracking operations. In the most energy-productive counties, 95% of energy development would be stopped.

A University of Colorado Leeds School of Business study projects that even a 2,000-foot setback could cut Colorado’s GDP by as much as $11 billion per year and eliminate 62,000 jobs by 2030.

The initiatives severely impact property rights. If an amended state constitution imposes 2,500-foot setbacks, thousands of mineral-rights owners would be precluded from producing energy on their own land. Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper says that could be considered a “taking,” in which the state essentially confiscates private mineral rights. That means it could ultimately be required to pay billions of dollars in “just compensation.”

CREED and its allies couldn’t care less. They want all fossil fuels kept in the ground and claim fracking chemicals endanger groundwater – despite extensive evidence that refutes those claims. Even a landmark 2015 U.S. EPA study found almost no instances where fracking contaminated subsurface drinking water.

They also ignore two fundamental realities. First, government and other analysts point out, oil and natural gas will still supply 65-70% of total U.S. energy needs in 2040. Second, supposed petroleum “alternatives” also have major environmental impacts.

For example, industry and government data show that generating just 20% of US electricity with wind power would require some 18,000,000 acres of land, 186,000 turbines, 19,000 miles of new transmission lines, and 270,000,000 tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earths. Those materials have to be extracted somewhere, nowadays mostly in countries with regulations that generally fail to protect human health and environmental quality, with Baotou, China a poster child for abject failure.

Of course, these are minor details for zealots. They think they should be the ones deciding whose property rights, jobs, living standards, health, welfare, environmental quality and other basic rights should be protected, and whose should be sacrificed to advance activist agendas.

So CREED and its radical allies like the Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch and intend to stir up as much state and local mischief as possible, to impose their will on America. The high stakes have made the Colorado ballot initiatives vitriolic and expensive.

CREED’s antics are akin to a “toddler throwing itself on the floor, kicking and screaming in the hope it will get its way,” the Greeley Tribune editorialized. Unfortunately, “progressive” toddlers are used to getting their way, in legislatures, in courtrooms and on college campuses.

They remind me of Irish statesman Edmund Burke’s observation. “Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field … or that they are other than little, shriveled, meager, hopping, though loud and troublesome, insects of the hour.”

Will informed, responsible adults finally inject some sanity into state and federal energy policies?

Via email

Cruise ship looks to make clean journey through Northwest Passage

Amazing where you can go with an icebreaker going ahead of you

Crystal Cruises has spent three years planning the Serenity’s voyage to prevent Titanic-like scenarios (and is requiring $50,000 in evacuation insurance for passengers). The Canadian and American coast guards and federal bodies including Transport Canada are also overseeing the trip.

Such preparation is “unprecedented,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “We’ve seen a level of planning that suggests to us the company is taking seriously the conditions they’re going to face.”

The British RRS Ernest Shackleton icebreaker is escorting the ship, along with two helicopters to assess ice conditions. The Serenity is outfitted with a forward-looking sonar, searchlights and a navigation system that displays near real-time satellite ice imagery.

Two veteran Canadian ice pilots will also accompany the captain and his team, who have been trained to navigate far-northern regions. Under regulations, the Serenity is required to debrief daily with the Canadian Coast Guard.

The Serenity’s sprawling month-long itinerary includes three Canadian stops: Ulukhaktok, a community of 400 mostly Inuit people in Northwest Territories, as well as Cambridge Bay and Pond Inlet in Nunavut. Vicki Aitaok, cruise-ship co-ordinator for Cambridge Bay, will see the population of her 1,600-person hamlet double when the Serenity docks on Aug. 29.

“This one is huge,” said Ms. Aitaok, who oversees five cruise-ship visits over a tight two-week window in late August. The hamlet typically welcomes 100 passengers from small cruises for an afternoon visit. But the Serenity’s stop will require a 13-hour block scheduled to military precision, with 100 passengers passing through each half hour.


Feds permit wind mills to kill more bald eagles

This is outrageous.  There would be an almighty howl if anybody else did this

Back in May, ABC News published a revealing story that is symbolic about the nature, not just of this blog, but of environmentalism itself. At the time and as the article points out, the Fish and Wildlife Service published a rule increasing the amount of bald eagles allowed to be killed by an energy project from 1,160 to 4,200. This based on the agency’s claim that the bald eagle population is healthy enough to sustain such loses.

It isn’t just the demonstration of a once endangered species in danger of going back to extinction, but demonstrates environmentalists exist to destroy civilization. The windmills are (in theory) supposed to use a natural element of Earth to generate power for humans. They are supposed to lessen human usage of Earth’s resources and are a policy environmentalists have advocated for years. The bald eagle is the symbol of the United States of America, the greatest country that has ever existed. But the US and the people who make it up will be sacrificed to the needs of nature as symbolized by the bald eagles who will be killed resulting from windmill use.


Development banks spend $US billions on coal-fired power plants

Generating Greenie agony. See below.  Banks survive and grow by making rational decisions, not by catering to environmental activism

Some 338 gigawatts of new coal-fired electrical generation are under construction around the world, principally in Asia, according to a March study by CoalSwarm, a global network of researchers. That is comparable to the generating capacity of all the coal-fired plants in the United States.

Nearly 1,100 gigawatts of coal-fueled generating capacity are in the planning stages. If even half of the plants planned and under construction operate as intended, that would pour upwards of 122 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the next 40 years, said the researchers.

The consequences for the world’s ecosystems, and especially the planet’s freshwater reserves, are profound. Climate change already affects the stability of the world’s hydrological cycles, producing deeper droughts and more severe floods. Warming waters contaminated with nutrients have given rise to dangerous blooms of toxic algae. The 122 gigatons produced by half of the new and planned coal-fired power plants is a sizable share of the 141-gigaton to roughly 500-gigaton carbon dioxide budget that scientists say the world can produce in the next four decades and still keep the rise in global temperatures to under 2 degrees Celsius, the limit thought to secure human and ecological safety.


Rock star-scientist Brian Cox confused on more than global temperatures

By Jennifer Marohasy

Celebrity physicist Brian Cox misled the ABC TV Q&A audience on at least 3 points-of-fact on Monday night. This is typical of the direction that much of science is taking. Richard Horton, the current editor of the medical journal, The Lancet, recently stated that, "The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue."

Firstly, Cox displayed an out-of-date NASA chart of remodelled global temperatures as proof that we have catastrophic climate change caused by industrial pollution. Another panellist on the program, One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, tried to raise the issue of cause and effect: querying whether there really was a link between rising temperature and carbon dioxide. This is generally accepted without question. But interestingly – beyond experiments undertaken by a chemist over 100 years ago – there is no real proof beyond unreliable computer simulation models.

Indeed, in 2006, John Nicol (a former Dean of Science at James Cook University) wrote to Penny Whetton (then meteorologist-in-charge of the climate science stream at CSIRO) asking if she could provide him with copies notes, internal reports, references ("peer reviewed" of course) which would provide details of the physics behind the hypothesis of global warming. She wrote back immediately promising to find some – which he thought was odd since he had assumed her office was stacked-to-the-ceiling with such literature.

Whetton even went to the trouble of contacting other colleagues – one of whom sent Nicol an inconsequential article in a Polish journal. After eighteen months of their exchanging letters and all of her promises to be helpful, all she could finally offer was the "scientific" section of "Climate Change in Australia 2007". There, to Nicol's amazement he found nothing apart from the oft quoted: "We believe that most of the increase in global temperatures during the second half of the 20th century was very likely due to increases in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide".

"Believe", "most", and "very likely" are jargon, perhaps meaning "we don't have a clue".

The chart Cox held up on Monday night – now all-over-the-internet as proof of global warming – essentially represents a remodelling of observed temperature measurements to confirm a belief, that we most likely have catastrophic global warming.

The accurate UAH satellite record shows a spike in temperatures in 1997-1998 associated with the El Nino back then, followed by a long pause of about 17 years, before the recent spike at the end of 2015-beginning of 2016. The recent spike was also caused by an El Nino event. Global-temperatures have been plummeting since March, and are now almost back to pause-levels. Indeed, Roberts was more correct than Cox, when he claimed there had been no warming for about 21 years – despite the rise in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.

The second misleading statement from Cox on Monday night concerned the nature of the modern sceptic – often harshly labelled a denier. Cox suggested that sceptics were the type of people that would even deny the moon-landing. In making this claim he was no doubt alluding to research, since discredited, funded by the Australian Research Council, that attempted to draw a link between scepticism of anthropogenic global warming and believing in conspiracies.

In fact, astronaut Harrison Schmitt – who actually stood on the moon, drilled holes, collected moon rocks, and has since returned to Earth – is a well-known sceptic of anthropogenic global warming. In short, Astronaut Harrison knows the moon-landing was real, but does not believe carbon dioxide plays a significant role in causing weather and climate change. In fact, Schmitt has expressed the view – a very similar view to Roberts – that the risks posed by climate change are overrated. Harrison has even suggested that climate change is a tool for people who are trying to increase the size of government – though he does not deny that he has been to the moon and back.

Thirdly, Cox has qualifications in particle physics, yet he incorrectly stated that Albert Einstein devised the four-dimensional-space-time continuum. Those with a particular interest in the history of relativity theory know that while Einstein reproduced the Lorenz equations using a different philosophical interpretation, he was not the first to put these equations into the context of the 4-dimensional continuum – that was done by Hermann Minkowski. Minkowski reformulated in four dimensions the then-recent theory of special relativity concluding that time and space should be treated equally. This subsequently gave rise to the concept of events taking place in a unified four-dimensional space-time continuum.

Then again, Cox may not care too much for facts. He is not only a celebrity scientist, but also a rock star. Just the other day I was watching a YouTube video of him playing keyboard as the lead-singer of the band screamed, "We don't need a reason".

There was once a clear distinction between science – that was about reason and evidence – and art that could venture into the make-believe including through the re-interpretation of facts. This line is increasingly blurred in climate science where data is now routinely remodeled to make it more consistent with global warming theory.

For example, I'm currently working on a 61-page expose of the situation at Rutherglen. Since November 1912, air temperatures have been measured at an agricultural research station near Rutherglen in northern Victoria, Australia. The data is of high quality, therefore, there is no scientific reason to apply adjustments in order to calculate temperature trends and extremes. Mean annual temperatures oscillate between 15.8°C and 13.4°C. The hottest years are 1914 and 2007; there is no overall warming-trend. The hottest summer was in 1938–1939 when Victoria experienced the Black Friday bushfire disaster. This 1938-39 summer was 3°C hotter than the average-maximum summer temperature at Rutherglen for the entire period: December 1912 to February 2016. Minimum annual temperatures also show significant inter-annual variability.

In short, this temperature data, like most of the temperature series from the 112 sites used to concoct the historical temperature record by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology does not accord with global warming theory.

So, adjustments are made by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to these temperature series before they are incorporated into the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network – Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT); and also the UK Met Office's HadCRUT dataset, which informs IPCC deliberations.

The temperature spike in 1938-1939 is erroneously identified as a statistical error, and all temperatures before 1938 adjusted down by 0.62°C. The most significant change is to the temperature minima with all temperatures before 1974, and 1966, adjusted-down by 0.61°C and 0.72°C, respectively. For the year 1913, there is a 1.3°C difference between the annual raw minimum value as measured at Rutherglen and the remodelled value.

The net effect of the remodelling is to create statistically significant warming of 0.7 °C in the ACORN-SAT mean temperature series for Rutherglen, in general agreement with anthropogenic global warming theory.

NASA applies a very similar technique to the thousands of stations used to reproduce the chart that Cox held-up on Monday night during the Q&A program. I discussed these change back in 2014 with Gavin Schmidt, who oversees the production of these charts at NASA. I was specifically complaining about how they remodel the data for Amberley, a military base near where I live in Queensland.

Back in 2014, the un-adjusted mean annual maximum temperatures for Amberley – since recordings were first made in 1941 – show temperatures trending up from a low of about 25.5°Cin 1950 to a peak of almost 28.5°Cin 2002. The minimum temperature series for Amberley showed cooling from about 1970. Of course this does not accord with anthropogenic global warming theory. To quote Karl Braganza from the Bureau as published by online magazine The Conversation, "Patterns of temperature change that are uniquely associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect, and which have been observed in the real world include... Greater warming in winter compared with summer… Greater warming of night time temperatures than daytime temperatures".

The Bureau has "corrected" this inconvenient truth at Amberley by jumping-up the minimum temperatures twice through the homogenization process: once around 1980 and then around 1996 to achieve a combined temperature increase of over 1.5°C.

This is obviously a very large step-change, remembering that the entire temperature increase associated with global warming over the 20th century is generally considered to be in the order of 0.9°C.

According to various peer-reviewed papers, and technical reports, homogenization as practiced in climate science is a technique that enables non-climatic factors to be eliminated from temperature series – by making various adjustments.

It is often done when there is a site change (for example from a post office to an airport), or equipment change (from a Glaisher Stand to a Stevenson screen). But at Amberley neither of these criteria can be applied. The temperatures have been recorded at the same well-maintained site within the perimeter of the air force base since 1941. Through the homogenization process the Bureau have changed what was a cooling trend in the minimum temperature of 1.0°Cper century, into a warming trend of 2.5°C per century.

Homogenization – the temperature adjusting done by the Bureau – has not resulted in some small change to the temperatures as measured at Amberley, but rather a change in the temperature trend from one of cooling to dramatic warming as was done to the series for Rutherglen.

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) based in New York also applies a jump-up to the Amberley series in 1980, and makes other changes, so that the annual average temperature for Amberley increases from 1941 to 2012 by about 2°C.

The new Director of GISS, Gavin Schmidt, explained to me on Twitter back in 2014 that: "@jennmarohasy There is an inhomogenity detected (~1980) and based on continuity w/nearby stations it is corrected. #notrocketscience".

When I sought clarification regarding what was meant by "nearby" stations I was provided with a link to a list of 310 localities used by climate scientists at Berkeley when homogenizing the Amberley data.

The inclusion of Berkeley scientists was perhaps to make the point that all the key institutions working on temperature series (the Australian Bureau, NASA, and also scientists at Berkeley) appreciated the need to adjust-up the temperatures at Amberley. So, rock star scientists can claim an absolute consensus?

But these 310 "nearby" stations, they stretch to a radius of 974 kilometres and include Frederick Reef in the Coral Sea, Quilpie post office and even Bourke post office. Considering the un-adjusted data for the six nearest stations with long and continuous records (old Brisbane aero, Cape Moreton Lighthouse, Gayndah post office, Bundaberg post office, Miles post office and Yamba pilot station) the Bureau's jump-up for Amberley creates an increase for the official temperature trend of 0.75°C per century.

Temperatures at old Brisbane aero, the closest of these station, also shows a long-term cooling trend. Indeed perhaps the cooling at Amberley is real. Why not consider this, particularly in the absence of real physical evidence to the contrary? In the Twitter conversation with Schmidt I suggested it was nonsense to use temperature data from radically different climatic zones to homogenize Amberley, and repeated my original question asking why it was necessary to change the original temperature record in the first place. Schmidt replied, "@jennmarohasy Your question is ill-posed. No-one changed the trend directly. Instead procedures correct for a detected jump around ~1980."

If Twitter was around at the time George Orwell was writing the dystopian fiction Nineteen Eighty-Four, I wonder whether he might have borrowed some text from Schmidt's tweets, particularly when words like, "procedures correct" refer to mathematical algorithms reaching out to "nearby" locations that are across the Coral Sea and beyond the Great Dividing Range to change what was a mild cooling-trend, into dramatic warming, for an otherwise perfectly politically-incorrect temperature series.

Horton, the somewhat disillusioned editor of The Lancet, also stated recently that science is, "Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness." I would not go that far! I am not sure it has taken a turn for darkness – perhaps just a turn towards the make-believe. Much of climate science, in particular, is now underpinned with a postmodernist epistemology – it is simply suspicious of reason and has an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining particular power-structures including through the homogenisation of historical temperature data.


Scholar exposes lies behind 'global warming

A Canadian scholar and expert on foreign affairs is uncovering through a new book many of the deceptions used by radical environmentalists and other “climate change” activists to push their “global warming” agenda that is reportedly making government and corporate bank accounts very green.

In his recently published book titled Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change, Michael Hart — who serves as emeritus professor of international affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada — questions the global climate change campaign that has funneled billions of dollars into government hands in a so-called last-ditch effort to save the planet. He was asked what motivated him to take on such a challenge.

“I was initially motivated by questions from my students – and my wife – about the policy implications of climate change,” Hart told LifeSiteNews in an interview. “The more I looked into it, however, the more I learned the extent to which it fit with one of my research interests: the extent to which modern health, safety and environmental regulatory activity relies on poor science advanced by activists to push an agenda. I learned that both domestic and international actors had succeeded in using the poorly understood science of climate change to advance an ambitious environmental agenda focused on increasing centralized control over people’s daily lives.”

Uncovering a lie

The professor, who served as an official in Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, has been conducting research for his latest work for more than 10 years. He maintains that his challenging endeavor is critical to understanding a movement that is determined to use the climate issue to advance a utopian agenda that is misleading – at best.

Hart, whose research debunks the so-called climate change “science,” was asked how the teaching is being misused across the world.

“The global climate is one of the most complex, chaotic, non-linear natural systems we know,” the former visiting chair in Canada-United States relations at the Fulbright-Woodrow Wilson Center explained. “It is in a constant state of flux due to such factors as changes in the output of the sun, changes in Earth’s orbit around the sun, and oscillations in ocean heat uptake. The alarm[ist] movement has taken one such factor – growth in the minor atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide – to claim that human activity is changing the atmosphere to an alarming degree, leading inexorably to a much warmer climate.”

He argues that climate change activists misrepresent the figures to fit their agenda.

“While increased atmospheric carbon dioxide – from .03 to .04 percent of the atmosphere – should lead to some warming, the extent of that warming within the context of a complex system that is in a constant state of flux due to numerous forcings and feedbacks is highly exaggerated,” Hart continued. “The best evidence indicates that the mild warming at the end of the 20th century was well within historical and geologic experience. Over the first decade and a half of the 21st century, there has been no net warming. The alarmist movement relies extensively on flawed computer models to make its case.”

The climate expert then cited the works of acclaimed science journalist, Matt Ridley, of the United Kingdom, to stress his point.

“Environmental researchers are increasingly looking for evidence that fits their ideology rather than seeking the truth,” Ridley asserted.

Teaching myths as facts

Hart also addressed how global warming can be promoted as fact in virtually every academic institution when such a dearth of empirical data actually supports global warming – similar to the unconditional propagation of Darwinian evolution in academic circles.

“More than one motivation drives the abuse of science,”said the scholar-in-residence at the School of International Service. “Among scientists, the primary reasons are money, career advancement and prestige. In order to pursue their research programs, scientists need money from governments and foundations. They have learned that satisfying the agenda of both helps funds to flow. As a result, they have learned to adapt their research to the desired outcomes. Related to money and careers is the need to publish in so-called prestige journals on the basis of peer review of their work. As I explain in my book, over the years, much of peer review has degenerated into pal review that maintains the dominant perspective. Views that challenge that perspective are ruthlessly weeded out.”

He went on to explain further how the “science” of climate change has been able to advance in acadmia so quickly.

“Additionally, a significant amount of published research fails numerous tests of reliability due to sloppy methods, misuse and abuse of statistics, ignored negative findings and other failings in scientific integrity,” Hart impressed. “Climate change science has been particularly prone to these failings. Nobel Prize winners such as Robert Jastrow and Freeman Dyson have become increasingly critical of the course of modern science. Many indicate that the insights that led to their Nobel Prize would never have passed current peer review.”

As the founder and director emeritus of Carleton University’s Centre for Trade Policy and Law, Hart touched on the propaganda techniques being implemented to propagate the troubled theory to Americans.

“The leaders driving the climate change movement come from a variety of persuasions,” he added. “The environmental movement found in the alarm about global warming – now climate change – a potent new way in which to raise funds and increase awareness of its broader concerns about the state of the environment. UN officials learned that concern about climate change could be harnessed to bolster support for UN social and economic programs and to advance the UN’s goal of world governance by experts. Left-wing politicians discovered in climate change renewed ways to press their agenda of social and economic justice through coercive government programs.”

Hart also referred to the words of former New Hampshire governor, John Sununu on the topic.

“The alarmists have learned well from the past,” Sununu expressed. “They saw what motivates policy makers is not necessarily just hard science, but a well-orchestrated symphony of effort … announce a disaster; cherry pick some results; back it up with computer modeling; proclaim a consensus; stifle the opposition; take over the process and control the funding; and roll the policy makers.”

Also mentioned was a quote from former U.S. Senator and chief climate envoy during the Clinton administration, Timothy Wirth, which shows how Democrats unconditionally stick behind climate change to forward its progressive agenda..

“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue,” Wirth said. “Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing.”

Humans predisposed to beilieve in climate change?

When asked whether the current obsession with climate change was indicative of something deeper inside modern human consciousness, Hart had this to say.

“Alarm over a changing climate leading to malign results is in many ways the product of the hunger for stability and direction in a post-Christian world,” the author, editor/co-editor of more than a dozen books and several hundred articles asserted. “Humans have a deep, innate need for a transcendent authority. Having rejected the precepts of Christianity, people in the advanced economies of the West are turning to other forms of authority. Putting aside those who cynically exploit the issue for their own gain – from scientists and politicians to UN leaders and green businesses – most activists are deeply committed to a secular, statist, anti-human, earth-centric set of beliefs which drives their claims of a planet in imminent danger from human activity. To them, a planet with fewer people is the ultimate goal, achievable only through centralized direction and control.”

The words of philosopher of science, Jeffrey Foss, were then visited.

“Environmental science conceives and expresses humankind’s relationship to nature in a manner that is – as a matter of observable fact – religious,” Foss explained. “[It] prophesies an environmental apocalypse. It tells us that the reason we confront apocalypse is our own environmental sinfulness. Our sin is one of impurity. We have fouled a pure, ‘pristine’ nature with our dirty household and industrial wastes. The apocalypse will take the form of an environmental backlash, a payback for our sins. … environmental scientists tell people what they must do to be blameless before nature.”

The reasoning behind it …

It was then posed to Hart whether he believed global warming over-focuses on one aspect of life on Earth … to the detriment of other aspects – or if the theory is merely being used for political purposes.

“I think it is both … for some, such as movement leaders, UN officials, and many politicians, the issue is being cynically exploited to advance their agenda of greater control over human livess,” the acclaimed professor answered. “For others, particularly rank and file environmental activists, climate change serves to reinforce and validate their broader concerns to the exclusion of many other dimensions of human life.”

LifeSiteNews’ Michael O’Brien then asked if global warming should be considered as a type of passing urban legend phenomenon that based on questionable science, yet taught as being authentic … or if it is indicative of something more serious taking place within society.

“I believe [global warming] is a similar phenomenon, but one that has captured the imagination and concerns of more people and has more support among elites,” Hart responded. “In my view, it is potentially more troubling and damaging than these earlier alarms.”

Leading to disastrous societal ramifications?

He then addressed a topic in his book about society’s utopian dreams that seem to lead to freedom and a higher quality of life in the beginning, but end up degenerating into a “totalitarian democracy.”

“I am optimistic [that this won’t happen], Hart shared. “I do not think its long-term success is inevitable, but it will take a determined effort by people of faith and conscience to point to its darker motives and its sinister exploitation of populist fears. We know from history that such movements have a predictable life cycle: They emerge with much enthusiasm among intellectual elites, they gain a broad following by focusing on alarmist predictions before becoming part of the political mainstream, and then decline into a minor movement among fringe intellectuals as a new alarm movement takes its place. The problem is that such movements can do a lot of damage and remain embedded within the intellectual community with the ability to rise, phoenix-like, as a new alarm. Former adherents of the eugenics movement and its successor, population control, for example, are now an integral part of the climate change alarm movement.”

The Canadian scholar was hopeful that climate change and the policies needed to carry out its dictates would not ultimately lead to totalitarianism – a kind of a state that renouned atheist Aldous Huxley has warned the world about.

“I remain cautiously optimistic [that totalitarianism will not soon rule the day], Hart added. “Popular support for climate change action peaked a few years ago. In Europe, which has gone furthest in implementing climate change policies, politicians are beginning to look for ways to moderate earlier initiatives. In North America, rhetoric has far outstripped actions while the Obama administration has relied on stealth to implement its climate change agenda. At the same time, climate change has added to the momentum of the broader secularization of society and the pursuit of anti-human policies and programs. We are, sadly, farther down that road than we have ever been before.”



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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21 August, 2016

Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?

It's hard not to laugh but some galoot is trying below to convince women that they should not have babies because the babies are going to grow up into a world that is a few degrees warmer!

I myself  grew up into a world that was a LOT of degrees hotter -- in the tropics of Australia's Far North Queensland.  And guess what?  We had a life indistinguishable from Western civilization elsewhere!  We probably drank more beer but that was about it it.  No disaster at all!

The high rainfall did give us problems with farm machinery  rusting out on us at a great rate,  but with the assistance of  a Stillson wrench (I still  have one) anything that needed replaced, was replaced regardless.  Long live Mr Stillson!  A Stillson wrench moves ANYTHING.  And real people know that.

Rather good, though, if the Green/Left breeds itself out of existence.  You would have to be pretty Green or pretty credulous to believe the stuff below.  I note that anti-reproductive thinking has a long history on the Left, starting with Karl Marx's hatred of the family. 

Such thinking is a logical outcome of the Leftist hatred of the world around them.  "If the world is so flawed, it would be cruel to bring children into it" is the thinking.  Such thinking also affects feminists.  They dislike the whole sex-role system about them so see a refusal to  be a mother as a rejection of the system they hate. 

In the days of the Soviet confrontation, the fear was of imminent nuclear war -- and that possibility was seen as a reason not to bring children into a world in which they could suddenly die

And the old Leftist "zero population growth" movement was also  anti-natal. That movement was an outcome of Greenie scares about impending resource shortages (e.g. by Paul Ehrlich) and pre-dated the global warming craze

It is rather cheering that the Left keep finding reasons not to have babies.  May they succeed in their campaigns!

Standing before several dozen students in a college classroom, Travis Rieder tries to convince them not to have children. Or at least not too many.

He's at James Madison University in southwest Virginia to talk about a "small-family ethic" — to question the assumptions of a society that sees having children as good, throws parties for expecting parents, and in which parents then pressure their kids to "give them grandchildren."

Why question such assumptions? The prospect of climate catastrophe.

For years, people have lamented how bad things might get "for our grandchildren," but Rieder tells the students that future isn't so far off anymore.

He asks how old they will be in 2036, and, if they are thinking of having kids, how old their kids will be.

"Dangerous climate change is going to be happening by then," he says. "Very, very soon."

Rieder wears a tweedy jacket and tennis shoes, and he limps because of a motorcycle accident. He's a philosopher with the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and his arguments against having children are moral.

Americans and other rich nations produce the most carbon emissions per capita, he says. Yet people in the world's poorest nations are most likely to suffer severe climate impacts, "and that seems unfair," he says.

There's also a moral duty to future generations that will live amid the climate devastation being created now. "Here's a provocative thought: Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them," Rieder says.

His arguments sound pretty persuasive in the classroom. At home, it was a different matter.

"I have been one of those women who actually craved to have a baby," says Sadiye Rieder, smiling as she sits next to her husband in the sunroom of their Maryland home. "To go through pregnancy and everything, that mattered to me a lot."

Sadiye also wanted a big family. She grew up among extended relatives in the Turkish part of Cyprus and says she enjoyed having people around all the time.

This was not a problem early in their marriage, as each focused on their studies. But by the time Sadiye began feeling ready for motherhood, Travis' research had delved into the morality of adoption, which led to the ethics of procreation and to its impact on the climate.

They knew they had to talk.

"It's not easy to convince a philosopher!" Sadiye says with a laugh.

Scientists warn that a catastrophic tipping point is possible in the next few decades. By midcentury, possibly before, the average global temperature is projected to rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius, the point scientists and world leaders agree would trigger cataclysmic consequences. Last year's historic Paris climate agreement falls short of preventing that, so more drastic cuts in carbon emissions are needed.

Adding to that challenge, the world is expected to add several billion people in the next few decades, each one producing more emissions.

In fact, without dramatic action, climatologists say, the world is on track to hit 4 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century, and worse beyond that. A World Bank report says this must be avoided, and warns of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought and serious impacts on ecosystems and "human systems."

"It's gonna be post-apocalyptic movie time," he says.

The room is quiet. No one fidgets. Later, a few students say they had no idea the situation was so bad. One says he appreciated the talk but found it terrifying, and hadn't planned on being so shaken before heading off to start the weekend.

Still. Even given the apocalyptic scenarios: Can you actually expect people to forgo something as deeply personal as having children? To deny the biological imperative that's driven civilization?

Rieder and two colleagues, Colin Hickey and Jake Earl of Georgetown University, have a strategy for trying to do just that. Rieder is publishing a book on the subject later this year, and expects to take plenty of heat. But he's hardly alone in thinking the climate crisis has come to this.

"The climate crisis is a reproductive crisis"

Meghan Hoskins is among a dozen people gathered in the spare office of an environmental group in Keene, N.H., earlier this year. They sit on folding chairs in a circle, the room humming with multiple conversations.

"If I had told my boyfriend at the time, 'I'm not ready to have children because I don't know what the climate's gonna be like in 50 years,' he wouldn't have understood. There's no way," says Hoskins, a 23-year-old whose red hair is twisted in a long braid.

This is one of 16 meetings over the past year and a half organized by Conceivable Future, a nonprofit founded on the notion that "the climate crisis is a reproductive crisis."

Hoskins says she's always wanted "little redheaded babies" — as do her parents, the sooner the better.

But she's a grad student in environmental studies, and the more she learns, the more she questions what kind of life those babies would have.


Physicist who foresees global cooling says other scientists tried to ‘silence’ her

A physicist who foresees a 30-year period of global cooling says other climatologists have tried to “silence” her latest research on solar cycles.

Valentina Zharkova, a professor at Northumbria University at Newcastle in the United Kingdom, said the Royal Astronomical Society received requests to withdraw a press release on her team’s latest research pointing to a significant drop in solar activity by mid-century.

She presented her results July 9 at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales.

“Some of them [scientists] were welcoming and discussing. But some of them were quite, I would say, pushy,” saidMs. Zharkova in a video interview posted Tuesday by the Global Warming Policy Forum. “They were trying to actually silence us. Some of them contacted the Royal Astronomical Society demanding behind our back that they withdraw our press release.”

She said the society refused. “The Royal Astronomical Society replied to them and cc’d to us, and said, ‘Look, this is the work by scientists who we support, please discuss this with them,’ ” she said.

“We had about eight or 10 exchanges by email when I tried to prove my point, and I’m saying, ‘I’m willing to look at what you do,’ ” Ms. Zharkova said.

She offered to work with the scientists by adding their data to her results, but she said that “they didn’t want to.”

The press release on her research, “Irregular heartbeat of the Sun driven by double dynamo,” was posted July 9 on the society’s website.

Her sunspot modeling indicates a reduced solar magnetic field from 2020 to 2053, producing conditions similar to those during the Maunder Minimum, or “Little Ice Age,” a 65-year period of reduced solar activity and low global temperatures during the 17th century.

“We didn’t have many measurements in the Southern hemisphere, we don’t know what will happen with that, but in the Northern hemisphere, we know it’s very well protocoled,” Ms. Zharkova said. “The rivers are frozen. There are no winters and no summers, and so on.”

Her research has been controversial because it appears to challenge the prevailing climate-change consensus predicting rising global temperatures from increased carbon dioxide from human-caused emissions in the atmosphere.

“Of course, things are not the same as they were in the 17th century — we have a lot more greenhouse gas in the atmosphere,” the GWPF said in its post. “And it will be interesting to see how the terrestrial and the solar influences play out.”


Coal makes a comeback

Less than a year after the coal industry was declared to be in terminal decline, the fossil fuel has staged its steepest price rally in over half a decade, making it one of the hottest major commodities.

Cargo prices for Australian thermal coal from its Newcastle terminal, seen as the Asian benchmark, have soared over 35 per cent since mid-June to more than one-year highs of almost $US70 a tonne, pushed by surprise increases in Chinese imports.

"Coal markets, after five years of declining prices, appear to have found a bottom in the first quarter," Sydney-based Whitehaven Coal said on Thursday, as its shares hit a three-year high on the release of its annual results.

"Reasons for the increase in prices include mine closures in Indonesia, United States and Australia and policy change by Chinese authorities," Whitehaven said, adding it was confident that coal prices will rise.

China has limited its coal production to 276 days a year, which cut its output by 16 per cent, and provided funding to assist coal miners to exit the industry and shut down mines, Whitehaven explained.

Goldman Sachs, reversing a gloomy outlook it issued last September, said this week restrictions on domestic production by Chinese regulators had turned coal "into one of the best performing commodities so far this year."

Global mining companies like Glencore and Anglo American, but also more regional players like Whitehaven and Thailand's Banpu, are reaping the benefits. All four have seen their shares rise sharply.

Banpu, which operates several export mines across Asia-Pacific, said this week that it expects to sell its 2016 coal supplies at an average price of over $US50 a tonne, up from a previous target of $US47 to $US48 per tonne.

The price recovery is an unexpected boon for miners, who were hit hard by a years-long downturn, and stands in sharp contrast to previous calls by Goldman and the International Energy Agency (IEA), who said last year that coal was in terminal decline.

As a result of China's surprise move, Goldman said there was now "support (for) global prices for the foreseeable future."  The bank raised its three, six and 12 month price forecasts to $US65/$US62/$US60 per tonne for Newcastle coal, up as much as 38 per cent from its previous outlook.

Australian mines the big winners

Coal has also been getting support from Asian industrial powerhouses Japan and South Korea, while demand remains firm in India, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Japan and South Korea have both said they want to expand future coal imports while reducing more expensive imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

China's power consumption has also risen against expectations, jumping 8.2 per cent from a year ago in July to reach 552.3 billion kilowatt hours.

While almost all thermal coal miners were hit by the previous price decline, and most shut or sold assets, those left with the best assets now stand to benefit from the rebound.

And the biggest winners are those with mines in Australia, thanks to the high average quality of its coal.

Whitehaven said it was confident its high quality coal will continue to attract a premium price.

Shares of Anglo American, which is a major thermal coal producer with six mines in Queensland and NSW, have also recovered from record lows earlier this year.

Glencore, the world's biggest thermal coal exporter with huge local operations here, has seen its shares soar from around 70 pence early this year to nearly £2.


Obama Administration and Radical Environmentalists Seeking Massive Utah Land Grab

San Juan County, Utah is the poorest county in Utah and one of the poorest counties in the United States. The large majority of the land in the county is owned by the federal government, meaning that locals already face severe limits on economic activity, hardly what a struggling county needs. Now rich, out-of-state environmentalists in San Francisco want to inflict even more pain on the citizens of San Juan County. These environmentalists are urging the Obama administration to undertake a national monument land grab that would put much of the county off limits to productive use. Oppressing poor, rural Americans so that rich, city environmentalists can pat themselves on the back? Sounds like a project the federal government will be happy to help along.

The Antiquities Act, passed in 1906, gives the president of the United States unilateral power to designate so-called national monuments to protect historic landmarks, structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest on federal land. The act also specifically notes that these monuments should be confined to the smallest possible area. But the exact language of the legislation doesn’t matter to radical environmentalists and their ideological allies in the Obama administration. All they care about is power, and because national monument designations do not require input from Congress or locals, they have become a favorite tactic for federal overreach.

The proposed monument in San Juan County is known as Bears Ears. It covers nearly 2 million square miles, about the size of the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Does that sound like the “smallest area” needed? But this national monument designation is not about protecting antiquities, it just one part of the efforts of radical environmentalists to put as much land off limits to productive use as possible, a pattern that is repeated all across the western states.

These radicals do not care about the people who have to live with the consequences of national monument designations. They don’t see the poverty and hardships that incompetent and restrictive federal land management policies inflict on the people on the ground. And make no mistake, the locals of San Juan County, supported by their elected representatives, oppose this national monument. Such is local opposition that environmentalist lobbying organizations had to bus in supporters when Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visited the area.

With the Obama administration coming to a close, no longer answerable to voters, these radical leftist groups are hoping that it will aggressively pursue more national monument land grabs. Yet again we see the danger of granting open-ended power to the federal government, it will always be corrupted to serve special interests. Restraining federal executive power should be a priority for all Americans who want to be free.


Hinkley Point and the fear of nuclear

Delaying building a new British power station is a brake on progress

On 28 July, bottles of champagne stood ready to receive celebrating VIPs at the site for two planned European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. But dignitaries and investors were left with empty glasses, as that same day, prime minister Theresa May announced a delay on plans for Hinkley and a freeze on the £18 billion building of a much-needed 3.2 gigawatt of electrical capacity.

This delay has caused considerable upset for French company EDF (the main contractor) and has outraged Chinese investors. May’s decision has also delighted anti-nuclear Greens, who view Hinkley as a costly white elephant, emblematic of the sins of nuclear power.

But May’s reversal isn’t just the cautious approach to be expected from a new, cost-conscious government. Within this unelected, prevaricate-about-Brexit administration, there’s also a disgraceful mix of nuclearphobia, Sinophobia and cyberpanic. Coupled with a policy of protectionism, it’s no wonder plans for Hinkley have been delayed.

The charges against Hinkley Point C

What’s wrong with Hinkley? Firstly, the board of France’s indebted, state-owned, nuclear electricity specialist EDF has continuously argued about whether or not to go ahead with plans for Hinkley. EDF has already racked up enormous delays and cost overruns with its first two EPRs, in Flamanville, France, and Olkiluoto, Finland. Its indecision over Hinkley has had a similar effect, inflating costs from £6 billion to £18 billion.

Secondly, former prime minister David Cameron’s previous government agreed an exorbitant and fixed price at which to buy electricity from EDF for the next 35 years. The decided price of £92.50 per megawatt-hour in 2012 money has forced the government to find £30 billion or even £37 billion in extra taxes. Given the collapse of gas prices since 2014, that £92.50 compares very poorly with the current price of gas-fired electricity.

Thirdly, rather than loan Hinkley cheap government funds, the Treasury insisted that plans were carried out off its books. Instead, the Chinese energy corporation CGN (China’s largest reactor builder), and later the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), were each invited to take third of a stake in the project.

There was a bonus, too: the agreement with Britain signed by Chinese president Xi Jinping in October covered not just Hinkley, but also the erection of a Hualong One Pressurised Water Reactor, jointly developed by CGN and CNNC, in Bradwell, Essex. This gave the export of Chinese reactor technology a key foothold in Britain, as well as the world market.

So what’s the problem with that? May, and others, regard China’s presence at Hinkley and Bradwell not just as financially and physically intrusive, but a means of opening up a whole range of important industrial sectors in Britain to remote manipulation by Beijing.

An article in The Times outlined fears about threats from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, which, it suggested, could have as many as 100,000 hackers at its disposal: ‘China has a history of covert cyberintrusion against its commercial and military rivals. Of interest to the Chinese authorities appears to be infrastructure critical to society, including electricity grids, water purification plants, air traffic control, the rail network and telecommunications. By most estimates, these are strategically sensitive assets.’

Both Cameron and Osborne tried too hard to woo Chinese business during their time in government. But now, in the spirit of post-Brexit anxiety, Chinese business is abruptly feared by the new administration as a direct military threat.

However, Chinese inward investment in Britain remains more interested in Weetabix, Pizza Express and commercial property than manipulating an 8.68 per cent interest in Thames Water or bidding for contracts for UK high-speed rail. How serious can the charges made by Hinkley’s critics be?

A rational response

Much of the mud slung at Hinkley is the wrong kind. EPRs overrunning in France and Finland, for instance, are not necessarily failed technologies. Delays have largely stemmed from regulatory overkill in safety, as well as Europe’s shortages of nuclear skills. To sneer at EPR technology as untested is to ignore how every innovation begins – by being just that, untested. The suggested nuclear alternative, small modular reactors (SMRs), is one that, for all its potential merits, is also relatively untested. SMRs, like Hinkley Point C, are at least 10 years away from being made operational.

The real accusation being made against Hinkley is that, as the National Audit Office (NAO) reports, the cost competitiveness of nuclear power ‘is weakening as wind and solar become more established’. Yet the NAO’s bald statement is not a verdict on present prices, but a newly revised forecast for energy prices in 2025 – upward for nuclear and, guess what, downward for renewables.

Even though renewable energy has overtaken coal as a source of electricity in Britain (24.6 versus 22 per cent), it remains heavily subsidised and unavailable for at least 50 days a year. Handling renewable power also demands more back-up than a grid with conventional sources of electricity. Therefore, to spend £30-37 billion in exchange for meeting a full seven per cent of Britain’s power needs on an uninterrupted basis, for 35 or more likely 60 years, is not such a terrible bargain.

Having said all this, EPRs, EDF’s management and the British civil service’s contractual and forecasting competence, deserve interrogation. It might be better to run with the proven nuclear technologies of Toshiba (which, with a French partner, plans to build 3.4 gigawatt over three Westinghouse AP1000 Pressurised Water Reactors at Moorside, Cumbria) and Hitachi (which plans to build 2.7 gigawatt over two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors in Wylfa, Anglesey). But make no mistake. Were it not for Britain’s endless nuclear regulations, reactors could be built and made operational by 2021, not 2025, using those available on the world market.

Britain urgently needs that new nuclear capacity. The National Grid has a capacity margin of only 5.5 per cent, and, with the usual deftness, was forced last winter to stump up cash to persuade energy-intensive businesses to cut their electricity use. Nuclear power is a high-tech industry which, given the right economic, social and management regime, is entirely safe. Nuclear fuel is not especially labour-intensive to mine, it has a high-energy density, it’s relatively cheap to transport and, because it packs such a punch, it represents a small part of operating costs. It is thus ideal for the generation of baseload electrical power. Nuclear fuel is not bought continuously on rather volatile commodity markets, like coal and gas; rather, buying nuclear fuel for a reactor represents a one-off commitment to making energy for years.

Nuclear plants exemplify what economists call investment in fixed capital. You make the investment up-front, and, after taking that hit, most of the decades to come are about benefits, not running costs. But from High Speed 2 and Crossrail 2, through electrifying the TransPennine line between Manchester and Leeds, to building new runway capacity around London’s airports, the British state’s commitment to future investment in fixed capital is all for the future, if these projects ever happen at all.

A durable commitment to nuclear power is what is needed. Like gas-fired and renewable electricity, nuclear power needs to be bigger, better and cheaper, and it’s by no means a given that Hinkley Point C will provide this. But Hinkley is not just the product of ‘prestige, political vanity, diplomatic machismo and corporate lobbying’ that commentators would have us believe. In their fashionable opposition to megaprojects, Hinkley’s opponents ridicule, not just the usual capitalist stitch-ups, but all technological progress and all human ingenuity in the sub-atomic realm, too. Against that, the still-to-be-enacted crimes of Hinkley Point appear pretty modest.


Climate Alarmism: Probably the Greatest Hoax/Scam in World History

Climate change from the viewpoint of a skeptical former Sierra Club activist and USEPA senior analyst

Climate alarmism is probably the greatest hoax/scam in world history. The main evidence for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), the principal alleged adverse effect of human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), is climate models built by CAGW supporters in a field where models with real predictive power do not exist and cannot be built with any demonstrable accuracy beyond a week or two because climate and weather are coupled non-linear chaotic systems. Without the models, the whole hoax/scam collapses. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated (see Section of the 2001 IPCC Report):

"In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible"

Climate Modelers Knew or Should Have Known the Inherent Limitations of Climate Models

The hoax/scam appears to rest on the authors’ assumption that most people will not realize these inherent limitations of global climate models. Since the model authors all work in the field, they either knew this or should have known these limitations (unless they delude themselves, of course). The authors of the models have a self-interest in supporting CAGW since government grants almost always go only to supporters. This self-interest is what makes the hoax into a scam. If true climate believers understood that longer term projections cannot be made on the basis of these models, they would hopefully dismiss the whole hoax/scam for what it is.

Climate Alarmism Is Basically an Attempt to Scare People with Hypothetical Climate Outcomes Based on Models

Climate alarmism is nothing more than an attempt to scare people with unrealistic hypothetical climate outcomes based on computer models with no predictive power. The far left is trying to use this alleged threat to justify Federal Government intervention in the fuel and energy markets. Others, such as mainstream media, use it to sell their products.

The current proposition offered by climate alarmists is that if people who live in the more wealthy countries cut back their use of fossil fuels and therefore their human-caused CO2 emissions that the world can avoid the alleged catastrophic increases in temperatures based on the climate models. Even the proponents’ climate models do not show that the alleged effects could be avoided even if all the developed countries should somehow made substantial cuts in CO2 emissions. So the problems include the following:

Reductions by the developed nations will not have any measurable effect on either atmospheric CO2 or temperatures.

The less developed nations (where fossil fuel use is expanding much more rapidly) have not agreed to make such reductions.

Any nation that adopts such reductions will make its exports more expensive by raising the price of fossil fuels used to make the exports.

There is little or no evidence that decreasing CO2 emissions will do anything except raise prices for fossil fuels. Global temperatures appear to be the primary determinant of global CO2 levels, not vice versa.

CAGW Is a Failed Hypothesis since It Does Not Satisfy the Scientific Method

The CAGW hypothesis is a failed hypothesis since it does not satisfy the requirements of the scientific method, nothing more. Models showing that catastrophic temperature increases will or are even likely to occur as carbon dioxide levels may increase have no predictive value. Minor increases would be good anyway, not bad.

Various supporters of the hoax/scam have a variety of reasons for supporting it. Some left wing Democrats, for example, like it because if cap and trade should be used to implement the CO2 control program at the US level, the Federal Government would have increased income to use for increased public spending that they favor.



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

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


19 August, 2016

Scotland's rare mountain plants disappearing as climate warms, botanists find

Let us assume that the fieldwork described below is entirely accurate and adequate.  Let us also assume that there has been some warming in Scotland and that the warming is having an adverse effect.  That still tells us nothing about WHY the warming is happening.  Is it local warming or is it anthropogenic global warming?  It is NOT anthropogenic global warming.  Why?  Because there has been none of that this century.

So could it be due to the recent warming caused by El Nino?  As it happens, no.  Why?  Because they tell us below that there has been unusually heavy snow in recent winters. El Nino missed Scotland, apparently. So what we are left with is that plants WERE retreating during a period of NO anthropogenic global warming but are not retreating now.  It would take the wisdom of Solomon to make something out of that

UPDATE:  A reader comments as follows:

"Iceland purslane has a rather wide distribution, for such an endangered species.   Also, it is edible and somewhat nutritious, so may serve as a forage plant for the local fauna? Highland saxifrage also appears to have a wide distribution.  NOTE - that as with Iceland Purslane, none is shown in the British Isles, so it must indeed be very rare there.  Snow pearlwort is also not shown in the UK, but is quite common in cold regions elsewhere in the world"

There is clear evidence that some of Britain’s rarest mountain plants are disappearing due to a steadily warming climate, botanists working in the Scottish Highlands have found.

The tiny but fragile Arctic plants, such as Iceland purslaine, snow pearlwort and Highland saxifrage, are found only in a handful of locations in the Highlands and islands, clustered in north-facing gullies, coires and crevices, frequently protected by the last pockets of late-lying winter snow.

A series of studies by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), the historic building and landscape charity, has found these plants – relics from the last period of glaciation, are retreating higher up the mountainside or disappearing entirely. In some cases they are being replaced by grasses previously found at lower, warmer altitudes.

Iceland purslane, an Arctic species which is extremely rare in the UK and found only on the Hebridean islands of Skye and Mull, nestles in protected spots on areas of volcanic basalt at heights above 400m.

Surveying on the Burg peninsula of Mull had found the tiny annual plant was being severely hit by increasingly warm springs, which had also led to increased growth by other plants competing for space.

On Bidean nam Bian next to Glencoe in Argyll, the latest field surveys found a 50% decline in Highland saxifrage at lower altitudes compared to the numbers detected in 1995.

Their surveys on Ben Lawers, a 1,214m high peak on Loch Tay in Perthshire which is regarded as a mecca for botanists, had found “a very worrying decline” in the numbers of snow pearlwort. An inconspicuous cushion-forming flowering plant, it which only survives in the UK on Ben Lawers and several places in the surrounding Breadalbane mountains at heights above 900m.

Sarah Watts, a seasonal ecologist for NTS, said the plant was at the southern limit of its natural range on Ben Lawers. Half of the sites found in 1981 had now become extinct, although heavy snow in the recent winters had helped halt the effects of climate change.


Heavily adjusted temperature dataset shows a warming trend, but can we trust it?

NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt, who has come under fire for being more activist than scientist, sent out a tweet yesterday predicting that 2016 would be the hottest year on record and said he was 99 percent sure of that claim.

According to land-and-sea-based temperature stations, July 2016 was 0.1 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1950 to 1980 timeframe. But when compared to the 1930s, July still is not a record breaker. But only if you don’t rely on an adjusted temperature dataset.

Schmidt, a director for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA GISS), is disseminating a chart on Twitter from a dataset that has been heavily adjusted to show a much larger warming trend than is actually occurring.

The adjustments have also come under heavy criticism because it uses a temperature dataset that wiped away the strong 1998 El Niño

Most of the world’s top meteorological organizations rely on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA for data prior to 1982. According to Tony Heller at Real Climate #Science, the 1930s will still go down as the hottest decade in U.S. history, long before carbon dioxide (CO2) levels started to rise. Temperatures across the country were over 100 degrees F across the country the week of July 25, 1936. And July 9, 1936, is still one of the hottest days in U.S. history.

Fact vs. fiction

Specifically, Heller illustrates in a recent presentation he gave to Doctors for Disaster Preparedness that July 9, 1936, in New York City was baking at a 106°F. Long beach, NJ, was cooking at 106°F as well. For one week in South Dakota, temperatures reached 120 degrees F, and Seymour, Indiana, saw 113 degrees F. In fact, more than 20 percent of all temperature records in the U.S. were set in one year alone: 1936.

That means the U.S. had more hot days during the 1930s than any other decade during the entire temperature dataset. And these hot spells lasted longer and covered more area. But once NOAA and NASA started adjusting the temperature record and filling in temperatures for non-existent weather stations, a warming trend of a 1.5-degree per century appeared.

Closed for good

So where are the adjustments coming from? As more and more temperature recording stations are being dismantled, there are fewer places actually recording data. The missing rural stations (cooler temps) are now being mixed with city stations (hotter temps). Because of the adjustments and altered data, the temperature record has now magically correlated with rising atmospheric CO2. Heller calls this “confirmation bias.”

Now you see me

Current NASA graphs show a steady increase in temperatures since 1880 as seen in Schmidt’s tweet above. But in 1974, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) showed no net temperature increase between 1870 and 1970. Same for the National Academy of Sciences, which in 1975 showed no warming from 1900 to 1970. Every organization across the globe that collected and analyzed temperatures acknowledged the cooling period from 1940 to 1970.

It has now magically disappeared from NASA and NOAA's graphs. And the satellite record (and previous charts) also shows a distinctive pause in warming from 1998 (strong El Niño) to 2015 (another strong El Niño) but not in the chart posted by Schmidt.

Verify, then trust

Whether it’s sea level rise or temperatures, NASA and NOAA should realize that datasets don’t disappear simply because they don’t conform with warming dogma. Archives of these articles and journal reports still exist, and they should be a source of concern because they don’t fit the narrative of catastrophic #Climate Change.

As Heller adds, "climate data is being manipulated to increase climate alarm, using techniques that are unsupportable and would not be tolerated in the private sector."


CLIMATE CHANGE SHOCK: Global warming happened LONG before man started burning fossil fuels

THE debate over man-made climate change has been turned upside down following the discovery there was a catastrophic Antarctic sea ice shrinkage more than 100,000 years ago... when mankind was still in loin cloths.

The newly discovered naturally-caused warm spell 115,00 to 130,000 years ago has given support to the claim global warming can happen without man's interference, according to sceptics of human-caused climate change.

However, those campaigning for more to be done to limit carbon emissions to prevent future global warming are also using the new research in support of their case.

Winter sea ice around Antarctica shrank 65 per cent in a natural warm period between Ice Ages about 128,000 years ago, when temperatures were slightly warmer than now, according to the new report in the journal Nature Communications.

At the time, it is believed the first Eurasians were migrating from Africa to Europe and Asia as primitive men.

The conclusions were based on ancient ice cores drilled from deep in the Antarctic ice sheet.

The chemistry of snow indicates how far it blew from the ocean before it landed and got compressed into ice.

Climate change deniers argue the impact of human carbon emissions on the Earth's overall climate is not as significant as those campaigning to tackle global warming suggest.

But, they are often accused of being linked to the fossil fuel industry and therefore having a vested interest in carbon emissions continuing at their current rates.

Climate change sceptics counter claim many people campaigning for more action against man-made global warming have an interest in the renewable energy and green industries.

And climate change sceptics claim the new study backs their theory that it is more natural events and changes that affect the globe's climate, than the level of human emissions.

The argument being that something natural caused this newly discovered warm spell 128,000 years ago, but the planet was able to cool and recover and the extent of polar ice increase again.

Yet, the British scientists behind the report have warned their study highlights that human emissions only worsen natural events and their study confirming the ancient shrinking of the ice helps underpin forecasts by a panel of UN climate experts that global warming will mean a 58 per cent retreat in Antarctica's sea ice by around the year 2200.

Climate change sceptics have always pointed to the fact that there has been a paradoxical expansion of the extent of floating ice on the ocean around Antarctica in recent decades - apparently defying the trend of global warming blamed on greenhouse gases.

At the same time sea ice in the Arctic at the other end of the planet has been shrinking in recent decades.

But the scientists concluded that the fact sea ice around Antarctica shrank in a warm period more than 100,000 years ago, is an indication that man-made climate change could also trigger an abrupt retreat in the near future.

The thaw would reverse the paradoxical expansion of floating ice on the ocean around the frozen continent.

The study said: "A major reduction at 128,000 years ago could indicate a tipping point in the sea ice system."

Lead author Max Holloway, of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), said the ancient shrinking of sea ice may have preceded a collapse of an ice sheet in West Antarctica that spilled into the sea and pushed up sea levels.

He said: "With a major reduction in sea ice, you'd expect the ice sheets to be more sensitive."

Separately, in 2014 another study suggested that some glaciers in West Antarctica have already begun an irreversible thaw.

Scientists say the contradictory trends between the two poles may partly be because Antarctica is a continent surrounded by an open ocean, while the Arctic is an ocean surrounded by land - mainly Russia, Canada, Greenland and Alaska.

Louise Sime, of BAS and the report co-author, said: "By uncovering, for the first time, a huge retreat around Antarctica, we have established that sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere is also susceptible to major climate changes."


Obama imposes new fuel regs on trucks

Big rigs and other heavy vehicles will have to cut their carbon emissions and fuel consumption 25 percent from current models under new rules announced Tuesday by the Obama administration.

The rules are the last in a suite of regulations that have been issued under President Obama's climate change agenda.

The tractors used in tractor-trailer vehicles, delivery trucks, school buses and other vocational vehicles by 2027 are expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions emissions by 1.1 billion tons and reduce oil consumption by 84 billion gallons, compared to the first round of standards that expire in 2018. The Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the California Air Resource Board jointly announced the regulations.

In addition, heavy-duty pick up trucks and vans must become 2.5 percent more efficient annually between model years 2021 and 2027.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy called the new standards "ambitious and achievable," and said it's up to the automobile sector to develop new technologies to meet the standards.

"We expect these will drive innovation as well as protect the air we breathe," she said.

The government did not immediately release the expected costs of the standards, but said the expected $170 billion in fuel cost savings would more than outstrip the costs.

According to a White House fact sheet, the new standards will have the pollution reducing effect of removing all the cars in the United States off the road for one year. The vehicles covered by the new regulation account for about 20 percent of carbon emissions from the U.S. transportation sector, which is the second-largest carbon pollution producing sector in the country next to power generation. Many scientists blame greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels for driving manmade climate change.

The new rules also come with more spending plans from the federal government.

As a part of the package, the Department of Energy will spend $137 million to improve vehicle and truck efficiency — $80 million to develop technology to make trucks more fuel efficient and $57 million on developing new light-duty vehicle technologies.

Department of Transportation Director Anthony Foxx added that the agency will help local transportation authorities upgrade their buses to include more hybrid vehicles.

"We are at a pivotal point in our fight against climate change and its catastrophic consequences," he said.

The new standards will affect a huge amount of trucks bringing consumer goods to market. About 70 percent of the freight in the country is moved by truck, McCarthy said.

While there would be costs associated with the new regulations initially, McCarthy sought to reassure truckers and consumers alike that over time the new standards will result in a cost savings to vehicle owners and the public alike.

"These standards are ambitious and achievable and they'll help ensure the American trucking industry continues to drive our economy and also protect our planet," she said.

The rule was immediately slammed as anti-business by the Institute for Energy Research, a conservative think tank.

Thomas Pyle, president of the group, said the rule was an example of regulators thinking they know what's good for business instead of listening to the industry. He added that the new rules are unlikely to have a major impact on greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change.

"These sorts of heavy-duty trucks are owned and operated by companies that have every incentive to save money on fuel," Pyle said. "This regulation only serves to increase the cost of owning and operating these truck fleets — making it more expensive to do business in the U.S."


Dem Attorney General Global Warming Investigation Likely Illegal, Says Law Expert

A legal expert in financial law said the Democrat-lead probe targeting ExxonMobil is likely illegal and a ruse to paint those investigating the company as champions "in the fight against global warming."

The Exxon subpoena into the company's knowledge about internal climate change reports is an abuse of extraordinary powers. It allowed attorneys general (AGs) to subpoena private documents without either obtaining a court order or filing a complaint, Merritt Fox, a professor of law at Columbia Law School, wrote Monday at National Law Journal.

Fox was referencing New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's investigation into Exxon, which, according to a New York Times report, demanded "extensive financial records, emails and other documents" from the oil producer dating all the way back to the 1970s. The New York attorney general also demanded information on global warming skeptic groups Exxon had once helped fund.

Schneiderman argued the oil company hid internal knowledge about the effects climate change has on oil production from investors to justify his investigation. He used a little-known financial and securities law to justify his investigation.

Fox argued that the Martin Act, which allows the AG to investigate and eventually prosecute companies for committing fraud, requires the likelihood that a reasonable investor would consider the omitted important information and decided "not to vote or buy, sell, or hold, and that it has to significantly alter a total mix of information available to this reasonable man or reasonable investor."

Exxon had only a smattering of scientists working on climate change, most of which shared similar views as climate scientists already in the public realm. Exxon's climate scientists published their findings in peer-reviewed journals.

"Consequently, even if all the internal statements of the Exxon scientists had been added to the public mix, it is extremely unlikely that a reasonable investor would have changed her mind about whether to buy or sell Exxon shares," Fox added.

Fox noted similar concerns in May, telling a Columbia Law School panel he believes Schneiderman's investigation into Exxon is unlikely to bear fruit, as the oil company does not appear to have broken the law.

But since, "the market was well supplied with information about climate change," he said. "It's not, I don't know what the documents would discover, but I'd be kind of amazed if what the Exxon scientists knew was so different from what other scientists outside Exxon knew and were publicly available that it would change that total mix in a significant way."

He doubled down on those criticisms in Monday's National Law Journal piece.

Fox, who is also the NASDAQ professor for the Law and Economics of Capital Markets at Columbia University, suggested that from his vantage point, the inquisition looks more like an AG attempting to convince people he is a warrior in the battle against global warming.

"It is really about the attorney general acting as a champion in the fight against global warming," Fox said, referencing a press release announcing the probe by Schneiderman in which the AG describes storm damage to his state as one of the reasons for the investigation.

"That's why I am committed to the fight to combat climate change," Schneiderman said at the time.

"At the extreme," Fox warned. "The Martin Act subpoena power could be used to bully corporations into any kind of desired reform under the guise of a securities investigation."


With New Navajo Nation Lawsuit, EPA Faces More Pressure Over Gold King Mine Spill

One year has passed since the Environmental Protection Agency caused a discharge of 3 million gallons of toxic water into the Animas River, and no one has been held accountable, although private parties have been criminally prosecuted under similar circumstances in the past.

Now, three entities’ actions might change the resulting narrative that there are two sets of rules, one for people in the private sector, and another for employees of the federal government.

In May, the state of New Mexico sued the agency in federal court, along with an EPA contractor and several mining companies, seeking “full and just compensation” for environmental and economic damages in the wake of the EPA’s spill.

In July, the Office of the Inspector General for the EPA confirmed that it is conducting a criminal investigation into the Gold King Mine spill due to high “public interest” and inquiry from Congress.

On Tuesday, the Navajo Nation filed a lawsuit against the EPA, which states, “After one of the most significant environmental catastrophes in history, the Nation and the Navajo people have yet to have their waterways cleaned, their losses compensated, their health protected or their way of life restored.”

The EPA’s spill has been disastrous for millions of people in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Southern California, who rely on affected waters—contaminated with arsenic, lead mercury, and other toxic metals—for drinking, irrigation, recreation, and employment.  It was reported that at a public comment session shortly after the spill, David Moler, owner of a river-rafting company, asked EPA Regional Director Shaun McGrath, “When can my business be open again?” and “What should I tell my employees?”

The attorney general of the Navajo Nation, Ethel Branch, told CNN that the affected San Juan River “has always been a source of life, of purification, and of healing” for the Navajo, but “now it’s been transformed into something that’s a threat. It’s been pretty traumatic in changing the role of the river in the lives of the people who rely on it.”

Branch says that the full extent of the health concerns caused by the spill may be unclear “for five to 10 years—maybe more,” but people are concerned today about the potential harms from direct exposure, “eating food that’s been watered with contaminated water, or eating livestock that has consumed the water.” As a result, some irrigation ditches were closed, “leaving farmers with bone-dry land and dead crops,” according to The Denver Post

A year ago, Jonathan Nez, vice president of the Navajo Nation, asked, per The Denver Post, “What’s going to happen when people find out that the cattle they’re being sold is from this region? It could really devastate ranchers here.” Timothy Coleman, whose family has farmed land along the river for years, said, also according to the Post, “I guess I’ll do something else.”

The Navajo Nation’s lawsuit claims that the EPA “failed to prepare for known risks of a mine blowout;” that workers for the EPA “‘recklessly’ burrowed into the Gold King Mine;” and that the agency has responded to the nation’s requests to provide compensation for the economic and environmental harms of the spill “with resistance, delays, and second-guessing.”

The EPA commissioned a report on the spill from the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, which was released last October. That report stated that an EPA backhoe operator hit a spring, causing the spill, but the report did not say who was responsible or why that happened.

The EPA later issued a second report, which claims that after some “careful scraping and excavation” with a backhoe, workers “noticed a water spout a couple of feet high in the air near where they had been excavating.”

Whether EPA employees “noticed” a “water spout” or they violated federal law by causing a 3,000,000 gallon discharge into surrounding waters is now the subject of three separate legal actions. Hopefully, we will soon learn whether the EPA violated the law in its handling of the Gold King Mine.



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, 2016

Meteorologist: ‘This Heat Wave Is Child’s Play Compared to 1930s'

The comments below concern the US but individual temperature records worldwide show the 1930s as very hot, and official global temperature records used to show that too.  Having the '30s hotter than the present was very embarrassing to the foxes in charge of the henhouse, however, so official global temperature figures for the '30s have now been systematically deflated.  Without that deflation, 2015 and 2016 would not look exceptional

Meteorologist Joe Bastardi says the current heat wave in most parts of the U.S. – which tied the 135-year-old record temperature in Washington, D.C. on Saturday – is “child’s play compared to the 1930s.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued an "excessive heat warning" for "a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures" for much of the East coast, which remains in effect until 8 pm on Tuesday.

According to the NWS, the temperature at Ronald Reagan International Airport hit 101 degrees on Saturday, tying the old record of 101 degrees set on Aug. 13, 1881.

But if global temperatures are getting warmer because of manmade activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, why was it so hot 135 years ago? asked Bastardi, who is currently the chief forecaster at Weather Bell Analytics and the former chief long-range forecaster at Accuweather.

“There is no question this weekend was hot, with temperatures challenging and breaking records across the northeast,” Bastardi replied. “But to offer some perspective, many of these records went back to the 1800s, which meant [that] even without urban buildup, it was just as hot then.”

Bastardi added that 101 degrees is nothing compared to the heat wave that struck the Washington region back in the 1930s.

Long before SUVs and the term “carbon footprint” were invented, Americans endured sweltering heat waves, such as the summer of 1930, he said.

 “Washington area farmers were certainly not spared in 1930, as intense, prolonged hot spells gripped the region during late July and early August,” according to a 2010 article in the Washington Post. “The official temperature recorded on July 20 was 106°F, which holds the record as the highest temperature ever recorded in Washington.

“Unofficially, 110°F was recorded that same day on Pennsylvania Avenue and 108°F at the National Cathedral,” the article continued. The summer of 1930 also set the record at 11 for number of days where temperatures reached or exceeded 100°F.

“By the end of the summer of 1930, approximately 30 deaths in Washington were blamed on the heat and thousands more had died nationwide,” the Post article said. “In Washington, there has never been another summer with a heat wave that has equaled the summer of 1930.”

“This shows you this heat wave is child’s play compared to the 1930s in D.C.,” Bastardi told

Another deadly heat wave happened in 1896, killing more than 1,500 people.

“One of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history was the 10-day heat wave of 1896, but it is largely forgotten to history,” according to an article archived by the New England Historical Society. “For 10 days starting on August 1, the temperature soared to 90 degrees and higher, while staying above 70 degrees at night.

“Humidity hovered at 90 percent, and here wasn’t a breath of wind,” the article continued. “From Boston to New York to Chicago, more than 1,500 people died from heat prostration or related illnesses.

“More people died in the stifling heat than in the Great Chicago Fire or the New York draft riots,” it said.

Bastardi told CNSNews that the cyclical El Nino ocean pattern, which is linked to a periodic warming of sea surface temperatures, is what's really noteworthy this year.

“What is spectacular this year is the warmth of the ocean off the mid-Atlantic coast and the Chesapeake Bay, which helps out with the overall hot pattern,” Bastardi explained. “The warmer the source regions for what would be some cooling, such as the ocean and the bay, the less influence it has on knocking down high temps.”

In fact, Bastardi pointed out that Weather Bell Analytics predicted back in February that this summer would be a hot one.

“The hottest June-August period nationwide since 2012 is on the way,” the Weather Bell team predicted.


World will start COOLING DOWN in 2017, claims Australian climate change expert

ONE of the world's leading climate change experts claims to have discovered mathematical anomalies which effectively 'disprove' global warming

Dr David Evans, a former climate modeller for the Australian  Government’s  Greenhouse Office, says global warming predictions have been vastly exaggerated in error.

The academic, from Perth, Australia, who has passed six degrees in applied mathematics, has analysed complex mathematical assumptions widely used to predict climate change and is predicting world temperature will stagnate until 2017 before cooling, with a 'mini ice age' by 2030.

He says fundamental flaws in how future temperatures may rise have been included in the 'standard models' and this has led to inflated mathematical - and therefore temperature - predictions. 

He said: "There is an intellectual stand-off in climate change. Skeptics point to empirical evidence that disagrees with the climate models.

"Yet the climate scientists insist that their calculations showing a high sensitivity to carbon dioxide are correct — because they use well-established physics, such as spectroscopy, radiation physics, and adiabatic lapse rates.

He said he "mapped out" the architecture of the climate models used and found, that while the physics was correct, it had been "applied wrongly".

He claims to have found two reasons for it being wrongly applied, the first being a vastly over estimated impact on our temperature from CO2.

He said: "There is no empirical evidence that rising levels of carbon dioxide will raise the temperature of the Earth’s surface as fast as the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts. "Yes, CO2 has an effect, but it’s about a fifth or tenth of what the IPCC says it is.  "CO2 is not driving the climate; it caused less than 20% of the global warming in the last few decades”.

He said the other problem was the predictions had no reflection on changes that have actually been recorded and never saw the current 18-year temperature stagnation we are now in.

“The model architecture was wrong,” he said. “Carbon dioxide causes only minor warming. The climate is largely driven by factors outside our control.

"As such, the wind farms and solar panels are not just bad at reducing carbon dioxide — even if they did succeed in reducing carbon dioxide they’d be useless at cooling the planet. It is only four billion dollars a day worldwide, wasted."

Although he is convinced he is right, he fears it will not be taken on board by world governments. “These findings here are unlikely to be popular with the establishment. The political obstacles are massive,” he said.

Dr Evans says historic global warming has been down to solar activity - a process called  “albedo modulation” - the waxing and waning of reflected radiation from the Sun.

Between 2017 and 2021 he estimates a cooling of about 0.3C before the mini ice age in the 2030s.


Consumers Pay Because Regulators Allow Natural Gas Use at This Solar Plant

Ivanpah is just an expensive toy for a few rich people

An immensely wealthy consortium owns the plant. Government regulators approved a contract forcing consumers to pay four to five times the going rate for electricity produced by the plant.

And the energy, because of an inordinate use of gas, turns out to be nowhere as "green" as folks thought they'd get.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is one of the largest solar projects in the country.

Ivanpah has an impressive pedigree: It is owned by NRG Energy, BrightSource Energy, and Google Inc. BrightSource itself is owned by a consortium including Google, General Electric Corp., Chevron Corp., BP Alternative Energy, and Morgan Stanley.

Together, these companies command market capitalization in excess of $1 trillion. One would think that with such enormous capital and financial sophistication, Ivanpah's owners could have undertaken this project without government support.

Unfortunately, that's not how today's green energy market works.

The owners of the Ivanpah solar power facility received a federal loan guarantee of $1.6 billion, a tax credit in excess of $500 million, and contracts to sell power at four to five times the market rate of electricity. All predicated on the production of solar power.

But Ivanpah is not just a solar power plant. Many solar plants use solar cells to convert the sunlight directly into electricity.

Ivanpah is different. It uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight for generating steam that then drives turbines. These turbines produce energy in a similar fashion to that of traditional coal, natural gas, or nuclear power plants.

However, Ivanpah has a problem those technologies don't: intermittency. Meaning the sun doesn't always shine.

For Ivanpah, this is an even bigger problem than it is for plants that use solar cells, because at night the temperature in the desert falls dramatically and the water cools down.

So, the water must be reheated the next morning before power production can resume. Instead of relying on the sun to reheat the water, the Ivanpah plant burns natural gas.

A true description of Ivanpah, then, is that it is a hybrid solar-natural gas power plant. The electricity is not entirely solar produced, yet it is sold at the higher prices regulators allow for solar power, a benefit worth millions of dollars per year to Ivanpah's owners.

Ivanpah is abetted in this mischaracterization by the California Energy Commission, whose strained interpretation of the rules allows Ivanpah to ignore gas used to heat the water, unless the "generator breaker is closed." This means that none of the gas burned at night to reheat the water is counted toward the caps placed by government on natural gas use in generating power.

Those caps require natural gas to be responsible for less than 5 percent of the overall generation of power, with 95 percent coming from solar. In reality, the California Energy Commission's own data show Ivanpah's gas use is responsible for closer to 30 percent of its output than it is to 5 percent.

That's how Ivanpah hits the "bad policy" trifecta that is all too common in today's heavily subsidized renewable energy markets:

Rich consortium gets huge subsidies from taxpayers to build a plant. Check.  Regulators OK a contract that forces consumers to pay four to five times the going rate for its product. Check. And the product actually is nowhere near as "green" as people thought it'd be. Check.

The inconvenient truth is that Ivanpah uses a lot of natural gas to generate "solar" electricity, and neither the California Energy Commission nor the U.S. Department of Energy seems to care enough to come clean about it.


Abundant Scientific Evidence That `Global Warming' Is A Made-Up Concept

There's NOTHING global happening to temperature

The conceptualization of "global warming" has become so entrenched in the lexicon that few give much thought to its dubious derivation.

Many assume that "global warming" actually means that all or nearly all of the globe is warming as a consequence of the "well-mixed" greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (i.e., CO2 concentrations have indeed reached right about 400 parts per million from the Arctic to Antarctica, or all across the globe).  In reality, however, only parts of the globe have been warming.  Large regions of the Earth have seen stable or falling temperatures in recent decades, or even dating back to the mid-20th century, when anthropogenic emissions have been claimed to have caused most climate changes.

The only means by which it could be said that we have had global-scale warming is to presume that only the overall net temperature difference counts - for all the regions of the world added together.   The regions of the world where it has not been warming necessarily do not count in the "global warming" conceptualization.

Let's say that Greenland has warmed by 1.2ø C since 1979, but Antarctica has cooled by -0.9ø C since 1979. Would it be misleading to add these two regions together and claim that the poles have warmed by tenths of a degree in the last 37 years?   Yes, because one pole has not been warming, but cooling - even though both poles are subjected to the same atmospheric CO2 concentrations.   But this mischaracterization of temperature trends (effectively claiming that both poles have been warming when only one has) is precisely what is done in framing the "global warming" conceptualization.

As a prototypical example of "global warming" manufacture, consider  the recently published Riser et al. (2016) paper entitled, "Fifteen years of ocean observations with the global ARGO array" (below).  The 25 authors summarize the temperature changes in the 0-700 m near-surface layer for all the ocean regions combined since 1950.  They point out that the Pacific Ocean all the way "from Chile to Alaska" has cooled by -1ø C during the last 65 years. Other parts of the oceans have warmed by 1ø C to compensate.  And when all the cooling and warming regions of the oceans are added together, the warming regions barely win out, scoring a net gain of "nearly 0.2øC" since the mid-20th century.  So because the net temperature change has been slightly positive, it can technically (albeit misleadingly) be said that the global oceans have been warming.  This way, the large regions of the oceans that have been cooling can be buried and ignored, and the "global warming" conceptualization remains intact.

Riser et al., 2016

"Most regions of the world ocean are warmer in the near-surface [0-700 m] layer than in previous decades, by over 1ø C in some places.  A few areas, such as the eastern Pacific from Chile to Alaska, have cooled by as much as 1ø C, yet overall the upper ocean has warmed by nearly 0.2ø C globally since the mid-twentieth century."

Of course, when addressing periods of climate history, such as the Medieval Warm Period, the same advocates who now say modern warming has been global and synchronous insist that the evidence shows the Medieval Warm Period was only warmer than now in Europe, or in Greenland, but the rest of the world didn't warm. This is false - hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers have documented evidence of warmer temperatures during Medieval times throughout vast regions of the Earth, including in Antarctica.   But if the standard is that the warming must be ubiquitous to "count" as global warming, then the modern era fails that standard miserably.    Because the globe is not warming.  Only some regions are.  Other regions haven't warmed in decades, or have been, in fact, cooling.

Below is of highlighted summary of the scientific literature (over 30 peer-reviewed papers) documenting some of the regions of the world where there has been no detectable warming trend during the period of time that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have been claimed to have dominated climate changes (generally since the mid-20th century).  As the scientists indicate, large portions of the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Southern Oceans have been cooling in recent decades.   There is also scientific documentation of recent (20th/21st century) cooling (or no long-term warming trend) in the southeastern U.S., Northern Europe, Antarctica, China, Canada/Canadian Arctic, Western South America (Chile), South Africa, Greenland, Iceland, Antarctica, and the Arctic.   One has to wonder how and from where a large net "global warming" signal could have been obtained when there has been so much regional cooling.

Perhaps it can be explained why temperature changes since the 20th century have been called "global warming" caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions when large regions of the globe have not been warming, but cooling, for the last several decades.  Do uniformly rising CO2 concentrations cause cooling in some places, and warming in others - or warming in some decades, and cooling in others?  If so, what is the scientific basis for this selectivity?

Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern Ocean Cooling

The "entirety" of the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean, as well as the eastern Atlantic, have been cooling below depths of 2000 m ("about 52% of the ocean lies below 2000 m") since 1992.

Wunsch and Heimbach, 2014

Discussion: "Over the 20 yr of the present ECCO state estimate, changes in the deep ocean on multiyear time scales are dominated by the western Atlantic basin and Southern Oceans. . In those same regions, a longer-term general warming pattern occurs below 2000 m. A very weak long-term cooling is seen over the bulk of the rest of the ocean below that depth, including the entirety of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, along with the eastern Atlantic basin."


The eastern tropical Pacific Ocean has cooled since 1979.

Dong and Zhou, 2014

"[C]ooling trend in the eastern tropical Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) during 1979-2008"


The North Atlantic Ocean has cooled by -0.45ø C since 2005.

Robson et al., 2016

"Here we show that since 2005 a large volume of the upper North Atlantic Ocean has cooled significantly by approximately 0.45?øC or 1.5 x 1022?J, reversing the previous warming trend. . The observed upper ocean cooling since 2005 is not consistent with the hypothesis that anthropogenic aerosols directly drive Atlantic temperatures."


The Southern Ocean has been cooling overall since 1979 (by about -1.0øC), which has led to an increasing sea ice coverage not simulated by models.


UK WINDFARM operators have been paid a record-breaking £3.1million - simply for switching off their turbines for a single day

Windfarm operators have been paid a record-breaking £3.1million
Energy giants received the "constraint" payment because strong winds meant they produced more electricity than Scotland needed over a 24-hour period.

The controversial UK Government scheme sees the National Grid pay companies when surplus power is generated or when the network is overloaded.

Anti-windfarm campaigners last night said it was "disgusting" consumers would foot such a huge bill for the devices lying idle.

The record payment was made after windfarms produced the equivalent of 106 per cent of the nation's power on Sunday, August 7.

With winds of up to 115mph at the top of the Cairngorms, Scotland's turbines provided 39,545MWh of electricity, while just 37,202MWh was consumed.

The total payout for that one day will cost electricity customers £3,137,704 - up on the previous record of £3,030,977 on Sunday, October 26, 2014..

In a further insult to consumers, firms will also get an additional £1million for electricity they were prevented from generating because it was not needed.

The compensation scheme has operated since April 2011 and since then more than £235.3million has been paid out.

Industry expert Stuart Young said: "I was disgusted how people were crowing about how much electricity had been generated by wind when customers are going to be hit so hard in their pockets.

"The number of megawatt hours wasted - constrained off - was 46,150. That's equivalent to what the whole of the UK consumes in an hour in winter.


Australia: Brian Cox believes

The TV debate between climate skeptic Roberts and the credulous Prof. Cox

The key moment making headlines from the Q&A “Science Weak” episode — Brian Cox shows a temperature graph. Malcolm Roberts said the GISS temperature data has been “manipulated”. The Particle Physics Genius’ reply was argument from incredulity:  gushing, gratuitous astonishment spread over six attempts to form a complete sentence:

By who?    NASA?   The people the…  Hang on a minute.   No, no, see this is quite serious.    But can I just – just one thing. NASA, NASA…     The people that landed men on the moon?

In a blink of reductio ad absurbum, Cox sweeps aside a potentially useful discussion about thermometers near car-parks, airports, skyscrapers, and mysterious 1,200 km homogenized smoothing. In its place he gives cheap theatrical tricks. Follow his thought to its logical conclusion — everything that NASA does (or presumably will ever do) must be 100% correct. NASA becomes an apostle of the holy order. He treats the brand name as untouchable, but NASA is not just Neil Armstrong and a Big Step, it’s an agency with 17,000 employees. But hey, none of them have ever produced a manipulated graph.

Since experts matter (so Cox tells us) let’s ask the experts — like say, Buzz Aldrin, Charles Duke and Harrison Schmitt — three guys who actually walked on the moon, or another 47 scientists and astronauts that helped them get there.  They’re all skeptical. They wrote to NASA to protest at the lax standards of GISS:

“We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.”

Walter Cunningham circled the moon on Apollo 7,  and as one of the men who helped earn NASA it’s brand name, he now says trust in NASA and science has been abused.

Then there are a guys like Roy Spencer and John Christie who didn’t just work at NASA, they won prizes there — and in climate research. To this day, in an enduring mystery GISS (the Goddard Institute of Space Studies) doesn’t use satellites to measure temperatures, but Spencer and Christie do. Using Cox logic, these guys outrank him, he ought be rushing to copy their views… but they are skeptics. In the last 20 years the UAH graph looks quite different to the GISS graph — though it’s more true to say that even the GISS graphs look different to the GISS graphs, as they transform year after year. Amazing how the thermometer readings are still changing 30 years later. (BTW, even the pause is there in the UAH graph. Thanks Ken. Not that it matters whether it still is — the models were already proven wrong).

Things got so far from a science discussion Cox even asked Malcolm Roberts if he believed that “men landed on the moon”. Cox was either fishing for irrelevant ad hominem attack points or it suggests that Cox has read  more on climate psychology than on the climate. Being a particle physics guy perhaps he was fooled by studies with only ten anonymous internet responses. Psychology is a bit outside his expertise.

Cox takes on the role of conversation vandal (with Lily-the-future-PhD-in-eco-something as the backup “the debate is over”). He dumps logical fallacies in, trades on his own media gloss and does his best to stop an open-minded, rational discussion. The ABC fosters this sort of interaction, like a twitter conversation with cameras. Linda Burnley’s “proof” was that people shouldn’t go swimming at Maroubra in August. Like that’s meaningful. (Poms have been coming to Perth and swimming here in July since forever…) Neither Cox, Jones, Hunt or Lily scoff or laugh at that comment. They could’ve done the full Scoff-Scorn and Riotous-Laughs, but …meh… wrong target.

One day Cox will understand cause and effect:

Here’s the most important point in the whole last twenty years of debate — credit to Malcolm Roberts for hammering it home. We need empirical evidence, and we need “cause and effect” links.  So here is Cox finally pressed to give his Big Empirical Evidence declaring that climate models are useful:

“Let me just – all right, I’ll just give you one snapshot. So, I took a snapshot of the different bits of evidence for 2015. So global ocean heat content highest on record in 2015; global sea level highest on record in 2015, 70 millimetres higher than that observed in 1993; global surface temperature highest on record, El Nino something like 10 to 40% contribution to that; tropical cyclones well above average overall, as you said and even the anecdotal data. …

…. So the point is you go evidence, evidence, evidence, arctic continue warm, sea ice extent low, artic land surface temperature in 2015, 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit above 1981’s 210 average.

 All of that would happen no matter what caused the warming. Cox hasn’t even thought this one through at a baby basic level. If the solar wind changed clouds and warmed the world, the seas also rise, the ice also melts, blah blah blah. Same for magnetic fields changing cloud nucleation. Same for UV solar cycle changes shifting jet streams and altering cloud formation.

O’but it’s hot says Cox. It’s hot!  Yet correlation is not causation. It’s fallacy after fallacy.

And some people call this man a “renown” scientist. Embarrassing.



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, 2016

Earth's hottest month on record was July -- but what was the trend?

The lies start with the second half of the first sentence below.  Far from "record-shattering warmth shows no signs of stopping", the record shows that July was the SECOND COOLEST month of 2016.  And that is despite what they correctly say below -- that July is normally the hottest month.  Here are the GISS figures for this year:

Jan    Feb   Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul

116  132  128  108    94    79   84

Clearly, the trend is downwards, interrupted only by the usual July effect.  The Earth is COOLING from its El Nino high!  How come no Warmist mentioned that?  It's there in their own figures.

For three months now, the temp has been less than one degree above the 1951-1980 reference period, and we already knew that 1980--1999  was a period of (slight) warming

But in any case, no skeptic has ever claimed that there is NO global warming.  What they dispute is the cause of it.  They don't think mankind had much to do with it.  So they  point out  the lack of correlation between the claimed "cause" of the warming -- CO2 levels -- and the actual temperature changes. 

So if the 21st century hiatus HAS come to an end it is no more disturbing to skeptics than was the cessation of the grand hiatus of 1945-1975.  In both cases large temperature plateaus occurred even though CO2 levels were rising steadily.  The CO2 level in December 2000 was, for instance, 369.67 ppm, which rose to 398.95 in December 2014, a period in which there was no statistically significant global temperature rise.  Whether the earth warms or cools, the one thing we can be certain of is that no-one knows why.  The Warmists certainly don't

Earth just had its hottest month yet, and the record-shattering warmth shows no signs of stopping.

According to NASA, global average surface temperatures during July were 0.84 degrees Celsius, or 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit, above average. This beats all previous Julys, with July 2011 coming in second at 0.74 degrees Celsius above average.

The large anomaly seen during July 2016 means that the month was the hottest on Earth since instrumental records began in 1880.

July is typically the planet's hottest month of the year due to the fact that the Northern Hemisphere has more land area than the Southern Hemisphere, making Northern Hemisphere summer the warmest month.

July is now the tenth month in a row to be the warmest such month on record in NASA's database.


You Ought to Have a Look: Natural Climate Variability

We want to highlight two new papers that both suggest that attributing heavy precipitation events in the United States to human-caused climate change is a fool's errand (not that there aren't plenty of fools running around out there). This is a timely topic to explore with the big rains in Louisiana over the weekend leading the news coverage.

One paper by a research team from the University of Iowa found that "the stronger storms are not getting stronger" and that there has not been any change in the seasonality of heavy rainfall events by examining trends in the magnitude, frequency, and seasonality of heavy rainfall events in the United States. They did report that the frequency of heavy rain events was increasing across much of the United States, with the exception of the Northwest. As to the reason behind the observed patterns, the authors write "[o]ur findings indicate that the climate variability of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans can exert a large control on the precipitation frequency and magnitude over the contiguous USA."

The other paper, from a research team led by NOAA/GFDL's Karin van der Wiel, examined climate model projections and observed trends in heavy precipitation events across the United States and concludes:

"Finally, the observed record and historical model experiments were used to investigate changes in the recent past. In part because of large intrinsic variability, no evidence was found for changes in extreme precipitation attributable to climate change in the available observed record"

Pretty emphatic and straightforward summary. So, the next time you read that such and such extreme precipitation event was made worse by global warming, you'll know that there is precious little actual science to back that up.

We'll note that the more astute science writers are actually familiar with findings like these but rather than fess-up about them, they prefer to further the climate change narrative through the use of weasel words like "is consistent with" expectations from climate change. This particularly useful phrase encompasses virtually all possibilities and allows every weather event to be linked to the nefarious burning of fossil fuels. And we do mean every-bad or good. But in practice, it is reserved by the media to be applied only to bad events or trends. For good-seeming goings-on, "dumb luck" is the preferred descriptor, despite plenty of science that could be used to show that good things, too, "are consistent with climate change expectations." Go figure.


Chemtrails are just contrails

They are believed by many to be a sign of a secret, large-scale atmospheric spraying program used to change everything from the environment to human health.

However, scientists have finally poured cold water on the conspiracy theorists - and claim chemtrails are just normal condensation.

'Well-understood physical and chemical processes can easily explain the alleged evidence of a secret, large-scale atmospheric spraying program, commonly referred to as 'chemtrails' or 'covert geoengineering,'' concludes a new study from Carnegie Science, University of California Irvine, and the nonprofit organization Near Zero.

Conspiracy theorists have claimed the long-lasting condensation trails, or contrails, left behind aircraft are evidence of a secret large-scale spraying program. They call these imagined features 'chemtrails.'

The authors of this study, including Carnegie's Ken Caldeira, conducted a survey of the world's leading atmospheric scientists, who categorically rejected the existence of a secret spraying program.

The team's findings, published by Environmental Research Letters, are based on a survey of two groups of experts: atmospheric chemists who specialize in condensation trails and geochemists working on atmospheric deposition of dust and pollution.

The survey results show that 76 of the 77 participating scientists said they had not encountered evidence of a secret spraying program, and agree that the alleged evidence cited by the individuals who believe that atmospheric spraying is occurring could be explained through other factors, such as typical airplane contrail formation and poor data sampling.

The research team undertook their study in response to the large number of people who claim to believe in a secret spraying program.

In a 2011 international survey, nearly 17 percent of respondents said they believed the existence of a secret large-scale atmospheric spraying program to be true or partly true.

And in recent years a number of websites have arisen claiming to show evidence of widespread secret chemical spraying, which they say is linked to negative impacts on human health and the environment.

'We wanted to establish a scientific record on the topic of secret atmospheric spraying programs for the benefit of those in the public who haven't made up their minds,' said Davis.

'The experts we surveyed resoundingly rejected contrail photographs and test results as evidence of a large-scale atmospheric conspiracy.'

The research team says they do not hope to sway those already convinced that there is a secret spraying program - as these individuals usually only reject counter-evidence as further proof of their theories - but rather to establish a source of objective science that can inform public discourse.

'Despite the persistence of erroneous theories about atmospheric chemical spraying programs, until now there were no peer-reviewed academic studies showing that what some people think are 'chemtrails' are just ordinary contrails, which are becoming more abundant as air travel expands.

'Also, it is possible that climate change is causing contrails to persist for longer periods than they used to,' Caldeira said.

'I felt it was important to definitively show what real experts in contrails and aerosols think.

'We might not convince die-hard believers that their beloved secret spraying program is just a paranoid fantasy, but hopefully their friends will accept the facts.'


Green Energy Harms the Poor

Wind and solar power have soaked up billions of dollars in public subsidies, but this hasn't made much of a dent in most households' energy budgets. In fact, the push for renewable energy has made electricity less affordable, not more. That's because it comes with more regulatory "sticks" as well as taxpayer-funded "carrots."

Government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency have increasingly piled on regulation upon regulation to hinder coal power, which generates one-third of U.S. energy, but also to hobble cleaner natural gas. One result is to make energy more expensive than it would be otherwise. This problem, according to Independent Senior Fellow William F. Shughart II, is especially costly for low-income Americans, who now spend about 20 percent of their household budget on energy costs, instead of the affordability threshold of 6 percent. That 14 percent gap costs an estimated $40 billion per year.

"The clean energy mantra is so loud that it often drowns out the feeble cry of energy poverty," Shughart and co-author Michael Jensen, a researcher at Utah State University's Institute for Political Economy, write in a recent op-ed. "Maintaining, or even lowering, energy costs must be as important a consideration in U.S. energy policy as any efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." Unfortunately, federal bureaucrats and many politicians seem more eager to fight against cheap energy than for it.


Obama to roll out new climate change measures

President Obama's administration has unfinished business fighting climate change, which the president called "one of the most urgent challenges for our time."

"We know that 2015 surpassed the hottest year on record - and 2016 is on pace to be even hotter," Obama said in his weekly address. "There's still so much more to do.

"And if we keep pushing, and leading the world in the right direction, there's no doubt that, together, we can leave a better, cleaner, safer future for our children."

Obama said he plans on debuting new tools for combating climate change before he leaves office.

"In the weeks and months ahead, we'll release a second round of fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles. We'll take steps to meet the goal we set with Canada and Mexico to achieve 50 percent clean power across North America by 2025," Obama said.
"And we'll continue to protect our lands and waters so that our kids and grandkids can enjoy our most beautiful spaces for generations."

Obama added he remains proud of his achievements battling climate change, namely the international Paris agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"We've multiplied wind power threefold. We've multiplied solar power more than thirtyfold," Obama said.

"And carbon pollution from our energy sector is at its lowest level in 25 years, even as we're continuing to grow our economy. We've invested in energy efficiency, and we're slashing carbon emissions from appliances, homes and businesses - saving families money on their energy bills."

Obama's potential successors diverge wildly on the threat climate change poses worldwide.

GOP nominee Donald Trump on Thursday downplayed the influence climate change has on mankind. He has previously called climate change a "hoax" pushed by China.

"I don't believe it's a devastating impact," he told The Miami Herald. "[I'm] not a big believer in manmade climate change."

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, in contrast, said late last month she wholly believes scientists urging for immediate action.

"I believe climate change is real and that we could save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs," she said at the Democratic convention in July.


Australia: The Warmist answer to climate skeptic Senator Roberts

The Warmist just misrepresented what was at issue.  Showing that there was a slight temperature rise in the last century is not in dispute.  Nor is it in dispute that CO2 levels rose in the last century. What is in dispute is that the two are correlated.  They are not.  During a major period of CO2 rise - 1945-1975, the temperatures were static. So one did not cause the other.  There has been a similar disjunction in the 21st century.

And the graphs were presented as great leaping lines -- but that is pure chartmansip:  Exaggerating tiny differences.

The report below is presented as a defeat for Senator Roberts but that is just the usual media bias.  Fortunately, people can listen for themselves and may conclude that the Warmist failed.  See here

The celebrity physicist Brian Cox came prepared to the ABC's Q&A on Monday night with graphs, ready to counter claims by his co-panellist, the climate denier and Australian senator-elect Malcolm Roberts.

Roberts, one of four senators elected from Pauline Hanson's One Nation party, took the first opportunity to espouse long-refuted climate-denialist claims, including that warming stopped more than 20 years ago, starting the so-called "hiatus" or "pause".

But Cox produced a graph of global surface temperatures of the past century and immediately debunked the myth, pointing out it is a misunderstanding caused by looking at a small sample, starting from an unusually warm year two decades ago.

Cox didn't stop there. "Also, secondly, I've brought another graph. It is correlated with that, which is the graph that shows the CO2 emissions parts per million in."

Viewers on Twitter joined in. When Roberts argued that sea level rises had been "entirely natural and normal", a number of people posted graphs showing the steep rises.

Roberts repeatedly said he wanted to see "the empirical data". But when the data appeared to refute what he said, he argued that scientists had conspired to manipulate it.

"The data has been corrupted," he said at one point, arguing that Nasa and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology had manipulated data to make warming look unusual. That led to questioning about whether he was sceptical that Nasa landed people on the moon, which Roberts denied.

Greg Hunt, the former environment minister and current minister for industry, innovation and science was also on the panel and was asked about the CSIRO's move to climate research cutbacks.

Hunt said the CSIRO had made that decision but that he had reversed it: "I made the decision that under our watch it would be given priority."

But the host, Tony Jones, pushed Hunt on how many climate scientists would be lost from the CSIRO after the changes were complete: "Very briefly, give us some numbers. How many were sacked, climate scientists and how much did you re-employ?"

Hunt refused to answer, saying: "I'll let others go over the history of that."

As the Guardian has previously reported, the CSIRO will sack 35 climate scientists but there will be 15 new hires. The organisation will therefore lose 20 of its roughly 110 climate scientists.



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, 2016

Greenie food faddism kills Orang Utans

Food processors used to use a lot of animal fat in making their products.  Then Greenies discovered that such fats were "saturated", which was a very bad thing -- even though the human race has been consuming animal fats as far back as we can go.  Anyhow, with their constant attention-seeking activism, the faddidsts managed to get saturated fats banned and looked with favour on the alternative: hydrogenated vegetable oils.  But wait a minute!  Hydrogenated vegetable oils contain trans-fats, which are VERY bad.  So after a while  everybody had to dance to that insane tune. 

But there was a substitute to trans-fats which the manufacturers wearily adopted:  Palm oil.  So a huge new demand for palm oil arose.  It was a new goldrush.  If you had palm oil you were in the money.  So businessmen in S.E. ASia started huge palm oil plantations.  OK?  No problem? 

BIG problem.  To create those big new plantations,  lots of natural jungle had to be cut down.  Greenies might have objected to that but did not.  So lots of jungle was lost.  But the jungle was where the Orang Utans lived.  They were thrown out of their homes and often died along the way. So that is how food faddism kills the Orangs.  People who care for them are doing what they can but they are up against a juggernaut

Major zoos in New Zealand are joining their Australian counterparts in calling for the clear labelling of palm oil in food products.

Auckland Zoo, Hamilton Zoo, Wellington Zoo and Orana Wildlife Park have joined the initiative, spearheaded by activist group Unmask Palm Oil, asking patrons to send postcards to NZ Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew to show their support.

Unmask Palm Oil founder Ben Dowdle said palm oil was estimated to be in about half of products available in supermarkets, and was only currently required to be labelled as "vegetable oil" in Australia and New Zealand.

"Every New Zealander should be able to choose what's in their food," he said.

"Clear labelling is the best step forward."

Palm oil is controversial due to its environmental impact — its production is linked to deforestation, which Unmask Palm Oil says results in the deaths of up to 1,000 orangutans in South-East Asia each year.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand has previously rejected an application for its mandatory labelling.

The New Zealand campaign follows on from a long-running initiative of Zoos Victoria to have palm oil clearly labelled in Australian products.

What's the deal with palm oil?

What you need to know about the environmental impacts of palm oil and the worldwide movement to make it sustainable.

"We have worked on the palm oil issue for the last seven years," Zoos Victoria general manager of communications Jacquie O'Brien told the ABC, adding that she was thrilled to see New Zealand's zoos on board.   "It's really important because this is really about the consumer's right to know what is in their food.   'How they use that information is up to them.

"[Whether they have] environmental values or health values ... what we're asking is to give people that right."

She said polling conducted this year by Zoos Victoria in Australia and New Zealand showed 84 per cent of Australians supported palm oil labelling, along with 92 per cent of New Zealanders. The research included 1,125 New Zealanders and 1,003 Australians.

So far, 50,000 people have signed Zoos Victoria's petition for more transparent food labelling.


Water purity panic in NC involves known liar

RALEIGH – Environmental groups opposing Gov. Pat McCrory have seized on the under-oath deposition statements of Ken Rudo, a toxicologist for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, to accuse the governor of interfering in ‘do-not-drink’ recommendations for private wells around coal ash ponds.

This isn’t the first time that Rudo has created a public controversy. His current accusations against other scientists and the governor mirror a similar controversy that boiled over in 1997 between Rudo and an N.C. State University scientist named JoAnn Burkholder. A June 5, 1997, Associated Press article highlighted a confidential memo from Rudo that was leaked to the press. The memo attacked Burkholder, calling her “not normal by any standard.” The memo claimed that on a telephone call with Rudo she told him that certain top health officials “deserved to die.” In the memo, Rudo also wrote that Burkholder “really didn’t give me a chance to talk” when they spoke by phone.

Burkholder’s audio recording of the same conversation characterized by Rudo proved his accusations to be either exaggerated or false. The AP article stated that “the 35-minute tape shows that he [Rudo] carries the conversation” rather than Burkholder dominating the discussion and the AP writer, Scott Mooneyham, also challenged Rudo’s “not normal” characterization by saying that Burkholder “doesn’t sound irrational.” The tapes also reveal that Burkholder did not say state health officials “deserved to die.”

When confronted with the direct evidence against his characterizations of Burkholder and the memo, Rudo attacked the recording as “profoundly dishonest” and said that he felt “violated” while making no comment as to the discrepancies between the memo and the audio tape.

The controversy and public support of Burkholder caused some public relations problems for Gov. Jim Hunt, a Democrat. Environment and health secretary Jonathan Howes had to make a public apology to Burkholder. Now, almost 20 years later, Rudo is back in the headlines.

According to an Aug. 2 article in the Winston-Salem Journal, McCrory, a Republican, summoned Rudo to his office in early 2015 for a meeting about drinking water notifications to homeowners around coal ash ponds. The Journal report was based on leaked deposition statements where Rudo said he was called, after hours, to the governor’s office because “the Governor wanted to discuss [health risk evaluations that were being drafted by DHHS].”

Rudo claimed in his sworn testimony that “he [the Governor] participated for a couple of minutes by phone” in a meeting held at the Capitol attended by McCrory’s communications director Josh Ellis, Ellis’s assistant, DHHS communications staffer Kendra Gerlach, and Rudo.

When asked in the deposition to “tell us [lawyers in the deposition] what the Governor said about his concern or why he had called you over there” Rudo was general in his comments about the governor’s concerns. Later in his deposition, Rudo was asked by the lawyers to read some of his notes into the minutes. In those notes, Rudo characterized the meeting as a request to “meet with the Governor’s Press Secretary and Kendra Gerlach about coal ash form” and he noted that during the meeting, Josh Ellis “took a call from the Governor about something else, but told him we were there for the coal ash well issue.”

Shortly after the Winston-Salem Journal article was published, McCrory’s chief of staff, Thomas Stith, released a statement accusing Rudo of lying under oath and said that “the governor absolutely did not take part in or request this call or meeting as he suggests.” Kendra Gerlach also refuted Rudo’s testimony saying, “The governor did not participate in that meeting, nor did he summon Ken Rudo. I was the one calling our public health officials, including Rudo. During my call with Rudo, he volunteered to come by, and I said yes.”

The current controversy revolves around an apparent debate between DHHS health officials and then-DENR water officials over water contamination thresholds under the federal Clean Water Act. Rudo advocated for permissible levels that DENR Assistant Secretary Tom Reeder called so stringent that users of 70 percent of public water systems in the country would be told not to drink their water if DHHS’s standard were used. In testimony before the North Carolina General Assembly’s Environmental Review Commission on Jan. 13, Reeder said that the level DHHS used for chromium is more than 1,400 times more stringent than the federal standard.

“Most of the major cities in the United States, including all major metropolitan areas in North Carolina, provide water every day to their customers that would technically receive a “do not drink” notification from the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Reeder. The state's environmental department, previously known as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, is now known as the Department of Environmental Quality.

At that same January meeting, Dr. Megan Davies, chief epidemiologist for DHHS’s Division of Public Health, said that the DHHS letters to residents were “recommendations, not regulatory requirements.”

North Carolina's public water officials have expressed concern over the limit Rudo chose for chromium. According to Raleigh’s public utilities website, hexavalent chromium is not a concern in levels that test under the federal limit of 100 ppb. Other municipal water systems use similar language in communications to their users.

“Something just doesn’t seem right at all about that,” said Robert Massengill, the director of Raleigh's water system following the January hearing. “We are trying to get clarification to find out where they came up with those numbers, what assumptions they’ve made, and what the implications are for public drinking water standards because right now we don’t have a standard for that and we are at a non-detect level anyway.”

While the scientific debates may continue over the appropriate levels of chromium in wells and water systems, the impact of Rudo’s accusations are also being seen in the political debates. Shortly after Rudo’s testimony was leaked, the Southern Environmental Law Center reserved $650,000 in 60-second advertisements in the Charlotte, Raleigh, Greenville and Wilmington markets for August 8 through August 29. Whether the advertisements will highlight the Rudo accusations remains to be seen, but environmental issues will most certainly be front and center as the 2016 election for Governor heads into the fall.


Olympic-sized climate propaganda

It was wrong to interrupt Rio’s delightful opening ceremonies with deceitful agitprop

Paul Driessen

XXXI Olympiad competitors are joyfully showcasing their skills and sportsmanship, while delighted fans revel in their amazing efforts. But opening ceremonies featuring colorful history, dance, song and athletes were rudely interrupted by an unprecedented propaganda film.

As audiences around the world were getting pumped up in eager anticipation for the upcoming events, a slick but deceitful video soured the mood by inserting partisan climate change politics.

Fossil fuels are warming our planet, and the manmade heat is melting its ice caps, narrators intoned. Animated maps showed Greenland “disappearing very quickly” and Amsterdam, Dubai, Miami, Shanghai, Lagos and Rio being swallowed up by rising seas.

Well, yes, if average global temperatures really did soar 4 degrees Celsius (7.5 Fahrenheit), and if all of Greenland’s ice melts, oceans certainly could rise 20 feet and other terrible things certainly could happen.

But wild assumptions, computer models and animations are not reality. Few of us are really worried about being eaten by raptors and Tyrannosaurs cloned from DNA in fossilized amber, even though Jurassic Park sure made them look real. Ditto for Hollywood sharks, werewolves, cave monsters – and global warming.

In the Real World outside the animators’ windows, average planetary temperatures barely budged for 18 years. After climbing a headline-grabbing 0.55 degrees C (1 deg F) in 2015, a strong El Niño year, they plummeted a media-ignored 0.5 degrees C the first seven months of 2016, as La Niña approached. That’s a far cry from the 4/7.5 temperature spike that animated the animators’ fear-mongering. The sun has entered a low-sun-spot phase, possibly heralding a new colder period for Planet Earth.

As to temperatures increasing “since the industrial era began,” that primarily reflects Earth’s emergence from the 500-year Little Ice Age. Of course, climate alarmists happily claim this natural warming is due to mankind’s growing fossil fuel use during the same period of time, though scientists still cannot distinguish human and natural factors. With temperatures rising 1850-1940, cooling 1940-1975, warming 1975-1998, and mostly flat-lining since then, it’s hard to blame oil, gas and coal for any warming.

So the likelihood of Greenland’s ice all melting is about zero. In fact, its ice mass has been growing since the time period the Olympics propaganda squad selected to show the ice sheets “disappearing.”

News stories about the Rio video also featured claims that climate change has “already had real effects in Brazil,” where 60% of the Amazon rainforest is located. Some 240,000 acres were clear-cut just in June 2016, “as a result of deforestation” – related to global warming, it was slyly suggested.

If they’re talking about replacing rainforests with biofuel plantations, to replace fossil fuels that could be produced from a fraction of that acreage, then yes, there’s a climate (policy) connection. But there would be little need to chop down all those trees if climate chaos campaigners weren’t obsessively opposed to the fossil fuels that power 80% of the world’s economy and provide other vital human needs.

The indispensable benefits of hydrocarbons and petrochemicals for Olympic Games alone are impressive.

They are the raw materials for uniforms of every description; swim suits, goggles and caps; kayaks and kayaker helmets and paddles; bicycle helmets, shoes and carbon-fiber frames; basketballs, vaulting poles, tennis balls and racquets, soccer balls and shin guards; bows and arrows; volleyball and field hockey nets; basketballs; seats and clothing for fans; prosthetics and wheelchairs for Paralympians; and much more.

No one could watch the games without plastics for computers, cameras, monitors, cell phones, dish antennas, banners and other equipment that promote, record and transmit the events. Neither athletes nor fans could get to the games without airlines, vehicles and fossil fuels.

In short, virtually nothing we make, grow, eat, use or do is possible without fuels and materials that come out of holes in the ground somewhere on our planet. But radical greens want it all put off limits. They would rather see billions of acres of croplands, rainforests and wildlife habitats cleared and plowed – and trillions of gallons of water and fertilizer expended – to grow biofuel crops to replace fossil fuels. “Keep it in the ground,” they demand.

African, Asian and European countries cannot afford to stop using oil, natural gas or coal. Nor can the United States or any other modern or developing country.

Naturally, the video and news reports mentioned none of this. So why did the Rio organizers agree to present this manmade climate cataclysm video?

One possible reason is a desire to distract people from its real problems. Mosquitoes are spreading Zika. Shoddy athletic housing has bare wires and sinks falling off walls. The open-water swimming venue is a bacteria-infested open sewer. Swallowing just a few teaspoons of Rio’s tap water will make visiting athletes and fans horribly sick. Eleven construction workers died while preparing Rio for the games.

Brazil’s economy is on the rocks and #174 out of 189 nations for starting a new business. Its current and previous presidents are under investigation for corruption.

But once the games got underway, they were fantastic, fun, exciting and dramatic; their own distraction.

So the video could be simple “greenwashing” – making the 2016 games the “greenest ever.” Or it might be to reinforce Brazil’s claim to billions of dollars that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have promised for mitigation, adaptation and compensation for the climate chaos we supposedly caused.

Just as strange, even ExxonMobil played the politically correct climate game. Its Olympics TV ad says the company is doing all it can to reduce “carbon pollution.” Surely Exxon knows it’s not carbon (soot); it’s carbon dioxide. And it’s not pollution; the plant-fertilizing CO2 is enriching the atmosphere and making forests, grasslands and food crops grow faster and better. So why use Obama/EPA terminology?

Maybe the company just wants to buy some feel-good PR and “peace in our time.” Maybe it and its corporate and political colleagues are forgetting 1960s radical activist Jerry Rubin’s comment: “The more demands you satisfy, the more we’ve got.” And Winston Churchill’s blunt truth: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

All of it reminds me of the way several Egyptian journalists responded to President Obama’s 2015 commencement speech at the Coast Guard Academy. “Climate change is a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security,” he asserted. “It will impact how our military defends our country.” Anyone who fails to recognize this is guilty of “dereliction of duty.”

The journalists reacted in disbelief. “Is he insane? Is he on drugs?” asked one. “What did you expect from a president who never served in the military and never worked a day in his life?” said the second. “I’m sure he’s not deliberately trying to destroy his country,” the first suggested. “Of course he is,” the third said.

Now millions of Americans appear perfectly willing to sacrifice their livelihoods, living standards, liberties and country on the altar of manmade climate Armageddon. Are they insane? Are they on drugs?

Via email

Black gold rush in the USA by fracking has slashed the country's energy bills and created one million jobs

Exploitation of new oil and gas reserves by fracking shale rock has transformed the US economy since it started just 11 years ago – creating at least a million jobs and slashing electricity bills and greenhouse gas emissions.

The scale of this energy revolution is almost unimaginable.

The Marcellus shale bed in Pennsylvania is thought by geologists to contain enough gas to power and heat every home in America for 50 to 100 years. Yet a few hundred feet beneath it lies another giant formation, the Utica, that contains enough gas for a further century.

In 2013, the ‘black gold rush’ caused by shale oil from states such as North Dakota meant America produced more oil than it imported for the first time since 1995. There are also huge reserves in Texas, Colorado, Louisiana and other states.

Last year a study found fracking had added 725,000 jobs to the US economy between 2005 and 2012. The US National Bureau of Economic Research calculates there are $243,000 (£186,000) in wages generated for every $1million of oil and gas extracted.

In America, unlike in Britain, landowners own the rights to minerals and hydrocarbons from the surface to the centre of the Earth. This means that when firms want to drill, they have to pay large bounties and royalties, if they start to produce – thus transforming fracking areas’ economies.

Speaking at his home in Dimock, Pennsylvania, in the heart of the Marcellus region, former Democrat Congressman Chris Carney, a current member of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, said fracking had brought his community ‘immense benefits’.

It meant farmers who could ‘barely scratch a living’ had transformed their lives, while the town had built superb new facilities such as a handsomely equipped high school.

Mr Carney added: ‘Fracking means this country is awash with energy – which is a place we’ve never been before.’

He said recent falls in oil and gas prices, caused by competitors flooding the energy market and declining Chinese demand, had reduced landowners’ royalties, which average 12.5 per cent of the proceeds from a well.

‘But cheap energy is also a benefit. Overall, fracking isn’t a double-edged sword. It’s just a good thing.’

Elsewhere, fracking created overnight millionaires, and whole new towns to support the armies of oil workers who arrived to cash in.

With the fall in prices, the early boom days are over: of the 80,000 workers who went to North Dakota in 2014, most have now left.

In Williston, once dubbed the boom’s ‘ground zero’, oil tax revenue is down 70 per cent on last year. Blocks of flats which sprang up to accommodate the workers now sit empty.

But industry sources say the downturn will not be permanent.

At the same time, the shift from coal to gas means America has cut carbon dioxide emissions by almost a billion tons a year – more than any other advanced nation.


Pronouncements of its death were premature – the pause has never gone away!

Despite temperatures peaking in February, just above the 1998 peak, satellite measurements show that temperature trends have only risen by a statistically insignificant 0.002C/year since 1998.

Pause deniers always object to comparisons with 1998. However, as we are now comparing two massive El Nino years, that objection no longer carries any weight.

That is not all. The strong La Nina event in 1999/2000 effectively cancelled out the 1998 El Nino, as far as trends go, as the Met Office explained in their 2013 paper, “The recent pause in global warming: What are the potential causes”:

The start of the current pause is difficult to determine precisely. Although 1998 is often quoted as the start of the current pause, this was an exceptionally warm year because of the largest El Niño in the instrumental record. This was followed by a strong La Niña event and a fall in global surface temperature of around 0.2oC (Figure 1), equivalent in magnitude to the average decadal warming trend in recent decades. It is only really since 2000 that the rise in global surface temperatures has paused.

 It remains to be seen whether we get a similar La Nina in the next 12 months, but even a return to average temperatures will see the above trend drop close to zero.


UK: The climate change brigade are wrong again

A few weeks of not abnormally warm summer weather have prompted light-headed journalists to report not only that this could be the “hottest August for years” and “the hottest year on record” but that, thanks to climate change, we can, within 30 years, expect “killer heatwaves” to become “the norm”. This claim was taken from the latest report by that curious body the Committee on Climate Change, which, under the Climate Change Act, has more influence than anyone else on Britain’s energy policy.

This report on the risks posed to the UK by climate change was produced by a special sub-committee chaired by the zoologist Lord Krebs, and made up of a solicitor, a doctor, an engineer, an economist and the former chief executive of the RSPB. None has any expertise in climate science. So their familiar predictions about Britain’s future climate – more floods, extreme weather events, rising sea levels, etc – were simply parroted from elsewhere.

Particularly interesting was their claim that “the number of hot days per year has been increasing since the 1960s” and that “heatwaves like that experienced in 2003 will become the norm by the 2040s”. This was taken directly from a particularly excitable report published by the Met Office back in 2004, which described that exceptional European heatwave in 2003 as having probably been the hottest since at least 1500, with a claim that by the 2040s, “half of Europe’s summers are likely to be warmer” while “by the 2060s a 2003-type summer would be unusually cool”.

We have not since then seen anything remotely to equal that 2003 heatwave, which meteorologists at the time explained was entirely natural, resulting from a freakish mass of hot air blown up from the Sahara. But the claim that hot days in Britain have been increasing since the Sixties has been subjected to expert analysis by Paul Homewood on his website, Not A Lot Of People Know That.

Using the Met Office’s own records, he meticulously plotted the days, months and years of greatest heat since the relevant data sets began in 1910. By far the hottest summer was the drought year of 1976, followed by 1911, with 1933 and 1947 not far behind. It is true that the hottest day on record was in August 2003, and that two of the 10 hottest summers were in 2003 and 2006. But what most strongly emerges from these graphs is how remarkably stable the overall trend of our summer heat has been, right back to before the First World War. Easily the summer with the greatest number of days above 29C was 1976. So when the Krebs committee claims that “the number of hot days has been increasing since the 1960s”, as Homewood points out, this may be true.

But it would be equally true to say that since the Seventies, their number has declined. And when Krebs tells us that future temperatures could reach 48C, such nonsense belongs in a comic strip, not in a supposedly serious study. To claim that temperatures like those of 2003 “are expected to become the norm” by the 2040s, is simply selling us snake oil. The only thing which should really concern us about such nonsense is that the Government is legally bound to treat these solemn pronouncements by a bunch of non-climate experts as a guide to Britain’s future energy policy. Only when the Climate Change Act is repealed will we get an end to such childish absurdities.



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

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


15 August, 2016

Olympic Athletes Challenged by New Opponent: Global Warming

It is hard to know where to start with the nonsense below:  Yes. It does get hot in Rio:  Rio is in the tropics.  No. Past Olympic records have not been adjusted for the climate of the host city.  It was pretty cold in Helsinki but that did not make anyone run faster.   There is far greater variation in host city temperatures due to latitude than any fancied rise in temperature due to global warming

And the prediction that Britain would fade out is looking silly, seeing that Britain is third in the gold medal tally, behind only the USA and China

And if warming is slowing down the athletes generally at Rio, how come world records are being broken there daily?  The scare below is totally made-up with no factual basis

Climate change warnings poignantly made during the Olympic Games opening ceremony on Friday are likely to resonate with athletes as they struggle to train and compete in Brazil’s tropical heat.

Marathon runners, swimmers, volleyball players and even soccer referees will succumb to extreme temperatures and lose concentration during the games, in some cases risking their lives to heatstroke, according to a report released Monday by Observatorio do Clima, a Brazilian civil society group.

“Because of warming, sport will never be the same again,” and fewer records than in previous games are likely to fall as a result, the report said.

Global warming was a key theme of the opening ceremony, featuring maps, charts and graphics of rising global temperatures, melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels encroaching on cities from Amsterdam to Shanghai.

Brazil heated up faster than the global average, warming 1 degrees Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in the last 54 years, and four cities smashed new heat records in 2015, according to the report. If countries don’t deliver on goals to limit global temperature rises to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, 12 Brazilian cities may have to limit play in similar games by the end of the decade, it said.

Rising Heat

Sharply higher temperatures so far haven’t impacted this year’s Olympiad, according to Jose Marengo, a climate scientist at the Brazilian government’s National Center for Monitoring Warning of Natural Disasters. Temperatures in Rio could climb to about 30 degrees Celsius on Aug. 15 from about about 24 degrees Celsius on Monday, according to

Even though the games are taking place during Brazil’s winter, the heat may still impede performance, particularly in the marathon where Olympic records have only been broken in temperatures below 12 degrees Celsius. Runners perform best between 8 degrees and 11 degrees, well below the level expected this month in Brazil, the report said.

Over the coming years, athletes are likely to “give into fatigue earlier on, even if they remain in the competition until the end,” according to the report.

‘Fade Out’

The next Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 could more heatwaves because climate change tends to create hotter summers and colder winters, Marengo said. Temperatures in the Japanese capital may top 36 degrees Celsius this week, according to AccuWeather.

“Temperatures are getting higher and heatwaves are getting more frequent,” Marengo said. “We don’t see many studies showing how this heat stress will impact people working outdoors.”

The heat is likely to be painful for athletes from colder climates, says Brazilian tennis player Fernando Meligeni. He reckons European players won’t be used to the humidity, which will make them sweat more than usual.  “I believe that the English and the Swedish, for example, will fade out,” Meligeni said, according to the report.

Warm temperatures have already caught out athletes. Two soccer matches in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil required technical time when so-called “wet bulb” temperatures -- a measurement used in occupational health -- reached 32 degrees Celsius, which is the “stop play” threshold for FIFA. Several athletes in the test events for the Rio Olympics had heat-related injuries. Eleven of the 18 race walkers succumbed to the heat and one fainted, according to the report.


The Middle East is in the middle of a hellish heatwave right now

Yes. The Middle East has always gotten very hot at times but the current heat cannot be attributed to anthropogenic global warming, seeing there has been none of that this century

The Middle East is currently facing one of its most extreme heatwaves ever, with experts warning temperatures are getting almost too hot for human survival.

Climate scientists say it’s evidence that the planet needs to cut down on its greenhouse gas emissions, especially given heatwaves can be fatal.


Over the past month, temperatures in Kuwait and Iraq have soared to 54 degrees, while Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, has seen temperatures of 43C and higher nearly every day for almost two straight months.

Meanwhile, parts of the United Arab Emirates and Iran were dealt a historic heat index of 60C.

Zainab Guman, a 26-year-old university student from Basra, told The Washington Post it felt like “walking into a fire” when she left the house. “It’s like everything on your body — your skin, your eyes, your nose — starts to burn,” she said. For the past couple of months, she’s barely left home.

A study by climate scientists released last year predicted that extreme heatwaves could push the Gulf in the Middle East beyond human endurance if nothing was done about climate change.

It predicted that extreme heatwaves — more intense than anything the planet has ever felt — will kick in just after 2070, and our most scorching days of today would be near-daily by that stage.

Professor Elfatih Eltahir, one of the study’s co-authors, said this was evidence that the planet needs to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

“We would hope that information like this would be helpful in making sure there is interest (in reducing emissions) for the countries in the region,” he said.

“They have a vital interest in supporting measures that would help reduce the concentration of CO2 in the future.”


The pipeline’s approved. Environmentalists are angry

Final federal approval for what is being called the “new Keystone” came from the Army Corps of Engineers on July 26 — allowing the pipeline to move forward. The 1,168-mile long Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), also called the Bakken Pipeline, is comparable in length to the Keystone XL. It will cross four states and carry 450,000 barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to a transfer terminal in Illinois where it will connect with other pipelines and be taken to refineries.

The $3.8 billion dollar project has pitted environmentalists against economic interests.

During the Keystone fight, outspoken opponent Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Nebraska, said: “In America we should be focused on making sure that the oil in North Dakota, Oklahoma, and others, in Montana, that that oil is getting to market.” Now, thanks to DAPL, America’s oil will have a safer way to get “to market” — freeing up as many as 750 train cars a day to transport corn, soybeans, and grain. However, as soon as DAPL came on the scene, they moved the marker, and environmental opposition was mounted. Bold Iowa, a group that shares a website with Kleeb’s Bold Nebraska, says it has members willing to risk arrest in “nonviolent protests.” They are also training monitors to report any environmental violations or hazards.

On August 1, nine pieces of heavy equipment — excavators and bulldozers — were set on fire at three different DAPL construction sites, causing $3 million in damage. At the time of this writing, no arrests have been made. Additionally, protestors have gathered on the grounds of the North Dakota Capitol, calling for Governor Jack Dalrymple and legislators to put a halt to construction of the pipeline until their lawsuits are addressed.

On its “Stop the Bakken Pipeline” page, the Iowa Sierra Club posted: “A new pipeline will delay the US transition to clean and renewable energy and more fuel-efficient vehicles. The United States needs to move away from fossil fuel extractions and to energy sources that have less impact on climate change.”

The Club’s position sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton’s. When she finally came out against Keystone, she said: “We need to be transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy.” She called the pipeline “a distraction from important work we have to do on climate change.”

Opposition, however, is not as broad-based as the environmental groups had hoped for. At an April meeting of the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition in Iowa, organizers were disappointed. Chairs were set up for 200, but only about 40 “trickled in.” In the four states the pipeline will cross, more than 90 percent, on average, of the landowners signed the voluntary easement agreements.

At its peak, the DAPL’s construction is expected to involve as many as 4000 workers in each state and will require the purchase of $200 million in American-made heavy construction and related equipment from Caterpillar, Deere, and Vermeer.

Cory Bryson, Business Agent for Laborers Local 563 reports: “We’ve been inundated with calls from all over the country from people wanting to work on this pipeline project. Mainline pipeline projects like Dakota Access provide excellent working opportunities for our members and tremendous wages. The Laborers excel at this work.” No wonder men and women want to travel to the pipeline’s locale, some workers, most without college degrees, brag about banking $2-5000 a week.

In Illinois, the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce has assembled hundreds of packets with information including restaurants, health-care facilities, RV sites, and Laundromats. Executive Director Lisa Musch reports that her office has been receiving calls for months from people looking for rental properties. Teriann Gutierrez, owner of Buena Vista Farms, a resort-campground, and a retired plastics engineer, says: “I’ve been full since the beginning of April.” She told me the boost in population is bringing a lot of money into the community that has been hit hard with the loss of manufacturing jobs. DAPL is putting a lot of local people to work. Gutierrez is very thankful as the boom means she’ll be able to pay down debt.

“Like any major construction project, the DAPL will create, and more importantly maintain, high paying American jobs throughout the supply chain and throughout the nation,” North Dakota’s at-large Congressman Kevin Cramer said. “I’ve seen the crews that work on building the line and they take great pride in their craft. They spend money in local, usually rural, communities throughout the route. The steel suppliers and equipment manufacturers and distributors are just a few of the links in the chain. Everybody from fry cooks to hotel owners to financers are affected. Perhaps, most importantly, in a low price crude market, the economics of moving oil by the most efficient and safe manner possible preserves jobs on the production side of the equation as well.”

While DAPL is already creating lots of jobs, it is just one of many pipeline projects in the works that could be bringing much needed economic development to other communities and high-paying jobs for American workers. Gutierrez explained that, according to the workers staying at Buena Vista Farms: “The hardest thing is getting the permits. The long process holds up jobs.” Apparently, many of them made reservations but, then, had to delay them—and delay starting to work on the pipeline—because the permits hadn’t been approved as expected. It doesn’t have to be that way. Under President Obama, permitting for oil-and-gas activity has been slow-walked. Jobs have been held up.

Donald Trump has made clear that he’ll support pipelines and said he’ll invite TransCanada to reapply for the Keystone permit. On the other side, Clinton opposed Keystone and supports moving away from fossil fuels. Secretary of State John Kerry, Clinton’s successor, has implied that with “some 300 pipelines” we really don’t need any more. He said: “it’s not as if we’re pipeline-less.” A Clinton administration would likely extend the Obama delay tactic.

Whichever candidate wins in November will appoint agency heads who support his or her views — thus driving the policy direction.

Like Gutierrez, union members are grateful for the jobs. Last week, Dave Barnett, Pipeline Representative for the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry, told me: “We are pleased that the thousands of job opportunities associated with these projects are being decided on their need and merits, not on political pressures by extremists as the Keystone XL was.”

Whether the thousands of additional job opportunities materialize depends on American voters. Will we vote for pipelines that fuel the American economy and transport our natural resources safely and cheaply? Or, will we block job creation and economic development by voting with the environmentalists who want to “keep it in the ground?” In less than 100 days, we’ll have the answer to these important questions.


Illegal Federal Endangered Species Regulation Actually Harms Endangered Species

Last week, the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, with the support of the Pacific Legal Foundation, submitted a petition to the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) challenging a regulation from that agency which rewrote the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Instead of reserving the most stringent restrictions for species most at risk of extinction like Congress intended when they passed the law, this FWS regulation imposes the most stringent restrictions on lesser threatened species. Besides being illegal, this regulation is counterproductive. By imposing draconian restrictions on all ESA species, the FWS actually removes any incentive for landowners to conserve species. A regulation that is not authorized by law and actually contradicts the goals of the law authorizing it? That’s logic only a regulator can understand.

The ESA, passed in 1973, established two categories for species considered at risk of extinction. “Endangered” means the species is at imminent risk of extinction. The lesser designation of “threatened” means a species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. Congress prescribed drastic restrictions in the case of species listed as endangered, banning any “taking” of an endangered species. “Take” is defined extremely broadly, including not just harming or killing a member of the species, but also including any harm to its habitat. For species that are merely threatened, however, this severe restriction was not supposed to apply.

Logically, the differing treatment of endangered versus threatened species in the ESA makes sense. A species in danger of extinction warrants the strongest protection. The entire purpose of listing a species as “threatened,” however, is to try to make sure it never becomes endangered. The best way to ensure this is to give landowners in the area every incentive to help conserve the species. Because the restrictions of an endangered listing are so severe, under the ESA as written landowners are incentivized to make sure that a threatened species does not deteriorate further. And for landowners impacted by an endangered listing, they are incentivized to help a species recover to threatened status because this adjustment would restore their property rights.

The regulation from the FWS completely ignores this logic. By imposing severe takings restrictions on threatened as well as endangered species, the FWS removes any conservation incentive for landowners. In either case, a landowner’s property rights are severely restricted, so why bother doing anything to help? Indeed “taking” is so broadly interpreted that it actually makes some conservation efforts illegal. For example, trapping a listed species with the intent to move it to a safer or more habitable area is considered a taking, subjecting such a do-gooder to criminal penalties. Ultimately, this FWS regulation actually makes conservation and protection of a species less likely.

Here we have a regulation that (1) imposes severe property rights restrictions on landowners, (2) is not authorized by law, and (3) actually contradicts the purpose of the ESA by doing nothing to help protect species and more likely do harm. What is the purpose of this regulation, other than empowering the federal government to tell landowners what to do? Could it be that this regulation is about just that: power, not conservation?


Where the Wild Things Aren’t: The Federal Government Claims Land Is “Critical Habitat” for a Species That Does Not Live There

In 2012, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) designated 6,477 acres of private land in Mississippi and Louisiana as “critical habitat” for the dusky gopher frog, an endangered species. A critical habitat designation imposes a whole host of permitting restrictions on a selected property, significantly impairing the property rights of the owner. There was something that should seem odd about the decision, though: the frog only exists in Mississippi. The 1,544 acres in Louisiana included in the designation are not inhabited by the frog, and indeed the FWS’s own report describes the land as “poor quality terrestrial habitat for dusky gopher frogs.” But little things like facts and logic can’t be expected to halt the march of the regulators.

The dusky gopher frog’s historic range included parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. However, for many decades the frog has only been observed in Mississippi. In the vicinity of the Louisiana land in dispute, the frog has not been observed since the 1960’s. The Endangered Species Act (ESA), which the regulators used to justify this infringement of property rights, was signed into law in 1973.

The ESA is a statute with vague language which grants the FWS power to impose federal controls on any land it deems “essential” to the conservation of an endangered species. What constitutes essential is left entirely to the discretion of the FWS. So sweeping is this power, the FWS decided that in this case it was appropriate to identify some land that in theory could in the future, with substantial changes, support the frog and designate it essential. The Louisiana landowners affected by this outrage have challenged this decision in court, but so far federal courts have agreed with the FWS, though not unanimously. In a blistering dissent in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Pricilla Owen notes:

“The majority opinion interprets the Endangered Species Act to allow the Government to impose restrictions on private land use even though the land: is not occupied by the endangered species and has not been for more than fifty years; is not near areas inhabited by the species; cannot sustain the species without substantial alterations and future annual maintenance, neither of which the Government has the authority to effectuate, as it concedes; and does not play any supporting role in the existence of current habitat for the species.”

This is a succinct summary of the how far off the rails the regulators have gone in this case. Not only does the frog not currently inhabit the designated land, in order for the designated land to ever serve as appropriate habitat for the frog, it would have to be substantially changed. Yet the regulators claim such enormous, unaccountable power, that this land can be designated as “essential” to the conservation of a species which does not live there and cannot survive there as the land currently exists.

This assertion of power under the ESA, and courts’ refusal thus far to push back, is extraordinarily ominous. If the FWS has the power to designate land as critical habitat in this case, there is no limit to its power. Vast swaths of the United States can, in theory, be modified in such a way to support endangered species. If you knocked down every building in New York City, tore up the pavement, and erased every sign of human development, the island of Manhattan would be an ideal preserve for any number of species. Should the federal government be able to decide that your backyard would make a good habitat for an endangered species if enough changes are made? According to the FWS they already can.

Yet again, we see the danger of broad grants of authority to federal agencies. Perhaps when the ESA was first passed, Congress assumed that the executive branch would use its powers with restraint. That was folly then, and it is folly now. The regulators do not know the meaning of restraint. Unless they are affirmatively limited, federal regulators will seize the absolute maximum power they can get away with, quaint ideas of private property rights notwithstanding.


Climate accord 'irrelevant,' and CO2 cuts could impoverish the world

The world's historic effort to reduce carbon emissions is likely to be a costly if not quixotic endeavor, according to one expert, whose recently published research warns that decarbonizing the globe could have devastating consequences on the world's way of life.

In a report published this week, the International Energy Agency issued a call for "concrete action" to match the ambitions of last year's landmark climate change agreement, which was recently ratified by nearly 200 countries. The energy watchdog said the transition to a low-carbon future would require "massive changes in the energy system" to prevent the globe's temperature from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius.

Yet the agency also put a steep price tag on efforts to combat climate change. In order to decarbonize the power sector within the next 40 years, the world would have to invest at least $9 trillion — and an additional $6.4 trillion to make other industries more environmentally friendly.

Those vast sums are why M.J. Kelly, a University of Cambridge engineering professor, recently wrote that the push to restrict carbon "is set to fail comprehensively in meeting its avowed target, and a new debate is needed." For that reason, Kelly is skeptical that initiatives like the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris will achieve its lofty goals.

In peer-reviewed research, Kelly argued carbon dioxide should be considered the byproduct of the "immense benefits" of a technologically advanced society. Cutting carbon, he added, could result in a dramatic reduction in the world's quality of life that would usher in mass starvation, poverty and civil strife. Massive decarbonization is "only possible if we wish to see large parts of the population die from starvation, destitution or violence in the absence of enough low-carbon energy to sustain society."

Removal of all excessive carbon from the atmosphere "is simply impossible over the next 20 years unless the trend of a growing number who succeed to improve their lot is stalled by rich and middle-class people downgrading their own standard of living," Kelly said. He added that "humanity is owed a serious investigation of how we have gone so far with the decarbonization project without a serious challenge in terms of engineering reality."

Unlike those frequently called climate skeptics, Kelly in fact accepts the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, in 2014 that human-generated CO2 has been responsible for more than half the globe's warming since 1950. The scientist's primary points are rooted in arguments that are equal parts economic and scientific.

"There needs to be a renewed debate on the impacts" of higher carbon levels, Kelly told CNBC.

"Everyone assumes that every change is for the worse, but we are starting to find upsides" in carbon dioxide, he said. "The recent science is casting doubt on whether more CO2 is necessarily a bad thing."

Kelly's findings give added ammunition to a camp of scientific skeptics who contend CO2 has a beneficial impact on the environment. Last November, Indur Goklany, a U.S. Department of the Interior official and a former delegate to the IPCC, said policymakers need to reassess their aversion to carbon dioxide, which he said is a major factor in plant fertilization and boosting crop yields, among other benefits.

High levels of CO2 concentration have actually helped improve biosphere productivity by 14 percent over the last three decades, Goklany's research found.

'Glib' effort

In its report, the IEA singled out cities as integral to curbing energy use and carbon emissions. If current urban power trends continue, the agency said energy demand in cities would surge by 70 percent from current levels, undercutting carbon restriction policies. "Hence, efforts aimed at fostering sustainable urban energy paths are crucial to meet national and global low-carbon ambitions," it said.

However, Cambridge's Kelly linked middle-class economic growth to soaring energy demand — the lion's share of which will continue to be met by fossil fuels. Recently, Exxon Mobil projected that those fuels will still provide 80 percent of energy for at least the next two decades.

What that effectively means, Kelly argued, is that rapid decarbonization is a "glib" effort that would result in "large parts of the population [dying] from starvation, destitution or violence in the absence of enough low-carbon energy to sustain society."

The IEA supports technology like carbon capture and storage — which it contends can cut the cost of fighting CO2 emissions by 70 percent — as well as alternative energy such as solar, wind and nuclear.

"The two largest contributions to cumulative emissions reductions ... over the period 2013-50 would come from end-use fuel and electricity efficiency (38 percent) and renewables (32 percent)," the energy watchdog said this week. "Carbon capture and storage (CCS) would come in third place with 12 percent, followed by nuclear with 7 percent."

Kelly, however, has his doubts. Renewable energy is not yet plentiful or potent enough to completely supplant fossil fuels, while atomic energy is fraught with risks and hamstrung by political resistance.

"Only [CCS] and nuclear have any scope to reduce CO2 emissions," the engineer told CNBC.



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14 August, 2016

Big volcano stopped sea levels from rising (?)

Just modelling nonsense.  When Warmist models show predictive skill will be the time to take notice of them.  Hasn't happened yet

In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted in what was the second biggest volcanic eruption this century.

The cataclysmic effect caused worldwide cooling, which triggered sea levels to drop.

But scientists say that the eruption has masked the accelerating effect of greenhouse gases on rising sea levels.

An increase in greenhouse gases affects sea levels in a number of ways, including warming the ocean which causes the water to expand, and melting glaciers and ice sheets.

Although the pace of warming and melting has increased in recent decades, [Says who?] scientists have been surprised not to see a corresponding increase in the rate of sea level rise.

Researchers from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado say that greenhouse gases are already having an accelerating effect on sea level rise, but the impact has been masked by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

Satellite observations only began in 1993, two years after the devastating eruption.

These indicate that the rate of sea level rise has been fairly steady, at about three millimetres per year.

However, the accelerated effect on sea level rise is probably masked due to the timing of the eruption, which temporarily cooled the planet.

Dr John Fasullo, who led the study, said: ‘When we used climate model runs designed to remove the effect of the Pinatubo eruption, we saw the rate of sea level rise accelerating in our simulations.

‘Now that the impacts of Pinatubo have faded, this acceleration should become evident in the satellite measurements in the coming decade, barring another major volcanic eruption.’

An increase in greenhouse gases affects sea levels in a number of ways, including warming the ocean, and melting glaciers and ice sheets.

Although the pace of warming and melting has increased in recent decades, scientists have been surprised not to see a corresponding increase in the rate of sea level rise.

Using computer simulations, the researchers found that Mount Pinatubo's eruption caused the oceans to cool and sea levels to drop by about six millimetres before satellite observations began in 1993.

However, as the aerosols emitted by the volcano slowly dissipated, sea levels began to slowly rise to pre-eruption levels, delaying the recorded sea-level rise to the late 1990s.

These results suggest that acceleration of sea level rising should become evident in the coming decade.

Dr Fasullo said: 'Sea level rise is potentially one of the most damaging impacts of climate change, so it's critical that we understand how quickly it will rise in the future.'

The researchers hope that their findings could be used to help coastal communities to plan for the future.

Over the course of the 20th century, sea levels across the globe rose faster than in any of the previous 29 centuries.

In a separate study earlier this year, scientists at University of York  discovered that the 5.5-inch (14cm) global rise is at least twice as much as would have been seen without global warming.

In fact, they believe levels might have actually fallen if it hadn't been for soaring global temperatures.


FRACKING RIDICULOUS: UK will start importing shale gas from US while it sits on enough gas to last 500 years

BRITAIN is to start importing shale gas in weeks as we sit on vast untapped reserves of our own.  The revelation yesterday sparked pleas for Theresa May to end the stalemate over fracking for the fuel here.

Energy firm boss Francis Egan led the calls — which came as the PM hinted locals could get £10,000 each under a scheme for them to share in profits from the industry.

Mr Egan’s company Cuadrilla has been waiting for the green light to frack at two sites in Lancashire.

The first consignment of shipped-in US shale gas is poised to arrive in Grangemouth, Scotland, at the huge Ineos chemical plant.

Mr Egan blasted the imports as ridiculous. He said: “They are taking ethane, turning it into a liquid, transporting it across the sea in a container, turning it back into a gas and then pumping it into Grangemouth.

“Just beneath Grangemouth are deposits of shale gas the Scottish Government is saying you can’t touch.”

But Eco groups in the UK have led a vocal campaign against it after it was blamed for causing mini-earthquakes.

Mr Egan said: “We are in the ridiculous situation where this month or next month Ineos is going to have their first shipment.”

He hit back at activists who say fracking here would cause pollution. Mr Egan said: “These will be the most monitored sites in the history of oil and gas.”

He also welcomed the Shale Wealth Fund — which Mrs May said would allow profits to be ploughed back into communities


Carbon emissions from fossil fuels are projected to be less than 5.2 billion metric tons this year, the lowest since 1992

The boom in natural gas from fracking is reducing carbon dioxide emissions blamed for driving man-made climate change, the federal government said Tuesday.

Carbon emissions from fossil fuels are projected to be less than 5.2 billion metric tons this year, the lowest since 1992, said Adam Sieminski, the head of the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department's statistical and analysis arm.

"The drop in CO2 emissions is largely the result of low natural gas prices, which have contributed to natural gas displacing a large amount of coal used for electricity generation," he said, commenting on the agency's latest monthly energy forecast released Tuesday.

The U.S. natural gas supply has surged over the past few years as a result of the shale oil and gas boom and the use of the drilling method known as fracking. The process, formally known as hydraulic fracturing, involves the use of horizontal drilling to extract fossil fuels from large rock formations deep underground. Drillers use a mix of water and sand to crack the shale rock to release oil and gas.

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The nation is actually oversupplied, which has kept natural gas prices low and has driven power companies to use more of the fuel to produce electricity.

Sieminski also said that wind power is increasing, which also will reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Wind power is projected to account for 6 percent of power generation next year, with solar providing about 1 percent, Sieminski said.


Anti-Fracking Ballot Petitions Submitted to Colorado Secretary of State

Citizen petitions to restrict hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas ("fracking") were submitted to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office by the deadline on Monday.

The anti-fracking measures will be placed on the November 8 ballot after the state verifies that the requisite number of valid signatures (98,492 needed for each initiative) have been obtained.

Initiative 75 would amend the Colorado Constitution by “authorizing local governments to prohibit, limit, or impose moratoriums on oil and gas development” and allow them to pass local laws “that are more restrictive of oil and gas development” than current state law.

The initiative would also prohibit the state from “preempting any local laws or regulations that prevent or mitigate local impacts from oil and gas development.”

In May, the Colorado Supreme Court struck down two voter-approved fracking bans in Fort Collins and Longmont, reiterating a 2014 ruling that only the state government has the authority to ban fracking.

Initiative 78 would also amend the state constitution by “changing setback requirements to require any new oil and gas development facility in the state to be located at least 2,500 feet from the nearest occupied structure.”

The current setback is 500 feet from an occupied building and 1,000 feet from a high-occupancy building, such as a hospital or school.

According to a May 27 report by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, “90% of surface acreage in Colorado would be unavailable for future oil and gas development or hydraulic fracturing under the proposed mandatory setback requirement.”

Signatures on the petitions for the statewide referenda were collected by a number of environmental groups.

“These are common-sense, down-to-earth proposals to keep our communities from being overwhelmed and harmed by heavy industrial oil and gas operations right next to neighborhoods and schools,” said Tricia Olson, executive director of Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development, which helped spearhead the effort. 

However, Dan Haley, president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, which opposes the initiatives, said in a statement that “if these measures somehow make the ballot, Colorado voters will know exactly what’s at stake: private property rights, more than $1 billion in state and local taxes that help pay for schools, parks, libraries and roads, energy security for our nation, and the good-paying jobs of more than 100,000 working families across our state.”

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a method of extracting oil and gas from underground shale deposits by injecting pressurized water, chemicals and sand into the deposits to fracture them.

Colorado is one of the nation’s top producers of oil and gas, with more than 50,000 active wells.


Ecological double standards

Why can locals block fracking, but not support it … get wind turbines, but not block them?

Paul Driessen

Donald Trump recently said he supports giving local communities control over hydraulic fracturing. “If some areas don’t want” fracking, the decision should be “up to them,” he commented.

Trump supports this proven and safe technology to develop America’s enormous oil and natural gas deposits, create millions of jobs and generate billions in revenues. However, his stance on local veto power is the same as Hillary Clinton’s, though she would also try to regulate fracking into oblivion.

Their willingness to cede control over this single energy technology to thousands of communities across shale country appears to reflect common misperceptions that fracking causes earthquakes, water contamination and air pollution. As explained in articles, commentaries, reports and documentary films, there is no evidence to support these claims.

Fracking-induced earth tremors are akin to vibrations from a dump truck on your street. No groundwater contamination has ever been traced to hydraulic fracturing. Methane in tap water results from water wells improperly drilled through gas-prone rock formations and was an issue long before fracking. Air emissions are below what we find in residential neighborhoods during non-rush hours.

But anti-fossil fuel activists assiduously promote disinformation about this revolutionary technology, as part of their agenda to fundamentally transform the way we produce energy to support our livelihoods and living standards. They want to replace affordable, reliable hydrocarbons with expensive, unreliable, subsidized, crony-corporatist, environmentally damaging wind, solar and biofuel sources.

Equally important, the two candidates’ stance on local fracking vetoes represents a double standard that raises fascinating public policy questions.

What if poor communities WANT fracking? What if a state restricts or bans fracking – but some towns (like those in New York’s Southern Tier, where Marcellus Shale deposits are located) don’t believe the anti-fracking disinformation and desperately need the jobs, revenues and improved living standards they see across the border in Pennsylvania, where fracking is permitted? Shouldn’t those communities be able to permit it, in defiance of the state ban? Will Trump and Clinton support THEIR self-determination?

Suppose those same communities don’t want any more 600-foot-tall wind turbines, but the state decrees they have no choice. The locals underscore the human health impacts, bird and bat slaughter, lost tourism and high electricity prices associated with wind power. They note that a few landowners will profit, while the rest receive no benefits, and many monstrous towers will not be removed when they stop working.

They point out that people could go to jail for possessing an eagle feather, but wind energy companies can kill thousands of eagles annually with no penalty. They note that politicians support turbines because they get hefty campaign contributions from Big Wind, in exchange for mandates, subsidies and big profits.

If those NY communities don’t want more (or any) wind turbines, shouldn’t the decision be up to them?

If West Virginians want coal mining, low-cost coal-based electricity and the good jobs that these industries provide – and reject Climate Hustle assertions that carbon-based energy causes weather and climate chaos – shouldn’t the decision to continue mining and burning coal be “up to them,” too?

If they are tired of thousands of lost jobs, local families and businesses driven into bankruptcy, housing markets devastated, people forced to go on welfare, churches and charities overwhelmed by pleas for food and counseling, schools and hospitals unable to remain open – because of EPA’s War on Coal – shouldn’t their state and local communities be “given control” over their lives and destinies?

Yet another conflagration is incinerating forests, wildlife and homes, and threatening the lives of residents and firefighters west of Hamilton, Montana. Like the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs a few years ago, and countless others in between, the Roaring Lion wildfire is largely due to radical environmentalists, politicians, bureaucrats and judges refusing to allow tree thinning in national forests. They know dry summers, high winds and beetle kills make disasters in and around these forests highly likely, but they refuse to revise their policies, and don’t seem to give one spotted owl hoot.

Shouldn’t those communities have the right to thin out trees and brush, create fire breaks and take other preventive measures, before additional homes, dreams and lives are lost to more uncontrollable infernos?

Hundreds of millions of acres have already been set aside as national parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas – made off-limits to any development. Other federal lands (in states where the federal government controls 30-89% of all the acreage) contain vast amounts of oil, gas, coal, metals, timber, water, grazing and other valuable resources. The Institute for Energy Research has calculated that US federal, state and private lands contain five times more oil than Saudi Arabia, 575 years worth of natural gas and 4,000 years of coal, at current consumption rates.

Developing just the fossil fuels on federal lands – in an environmentally sound fashion – could create millions of new jobs, increase US economic activity by $21 trillion, and generate $5.8 trillion in federal, state and local tax revenues over the next 37 years, the IER estimates.

If the majority of Americans want to develop these resources and create jobs and better futures for their children, shouldn’t that decision be up to them? Shouldn’t they be freed from the shackles of unelected, unaccountable Big Green and Big Government? Shouldn’t decisions about responsibly developing oil, gas, coal, gold and rare earth metals be primarily up to voters at large and individual states – with guidance and assistance (but not veto power) from federal authorities – especially when the bureaucrats are in improper and illegal collusion with radical environmentalist groups?

Why should California farm families and communities be sacrificed on the altar of a fishy evolutionary failure that barely escaped extinction – while bald and golden eagles are wiped out by wind turbines?

If the majority of Americans don’t want climate change agendas jammed down their throats – including carbon taxes and restrictions, habitat-eating biofuels, wind turbines, bird-roasting solar thermal plants, and huge solar farms that smother cropland and wildlife habitats under solar panels – shouldn’t the decisions be up to them, and not just to a few greenies, politicians, bureaucrats and judges?

Why must these decisions always amount to a one-way street, a ratchet that cranks ever tighter and more restrictive – always in favor of eco-purists and fanatics?

Indeed, on a host of issues, why should small numbers of activist politicians, campaigners and judges be able to dictate our lives, livelihoods, living standards, liberties, life spans and societal norms – and asset the “right” to bend or break our laws, constitution and science to impose their will?

With our economy growing at its worst rate out of a recession since 1949, and expanding at barely 1% a year in Obama’s last year, why should every state, community, business and family have to accept the lies and edicts handed down by intolerant, dictatorial Washington, Albany or Sacramento elites?

If local control is a good thing, and it generally is, why not have it across the board, or at least on most issues? On abortion, health insurance for nuns and transgender access to bathrooms, for instance?

Why, instead, is local control almost always ignored in favor of policies that serve progressive-leftist-environmentalist-Democrat ideologies and agendas? And why isn’t our national will implemented on immigration and sanctuary cities for illegal, criminal and terrorist immigrants?

These issues dominate this year’s election. Let’s remember that when we head to the polls.

Via email

Study: Electric Vehicles Don’t Have A Chance Unless Oil Prices Increase 1,000 Percent

Oil prices would have to skyrocket above $350 per barrel for electric vehicle makers to make a dent in the auto market, according to a study done by researchers at the University of Chicago.

The batteries for electric vehicles cost, on average, about $325 per kWh, which means the price of oil would need to pitch upward by nearly 1,000 percent before Tesla’s auto fleet and the Nissan Leaf would be cheaper than gas-powered vehicles, researchers at the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute noted in February.

The number are not likely to change much over the next few years, as oil traded at an average of $49 per barrel during 2015 and is currently trading at a paltry $39.51 a barrel.

“While alternative sources of energy and energy storage technologies have vastly improved, lowering costs, they still have a long way to go before they are cost competitive with fossil fuels,” Chris Knittel, co-author of the study and director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, said in a press statement announcing the study’s findings in February.

 The problems will no doubt be compounded by the fact that consumers are buying fewer electric vehicles and hybrids.

Registrations in California for Land Rover, for instance, were up nearly 40 percent last year compared to 2014, and Jeep saw a 29.8 percent surge in the Golden State, according to IHS Automotive.

Meanwhile, deliveries for hybrids, electric vehicles, and clean energy cars in the U.S. dropped 13.2 percent in figures released by Kelley Blue Book looking at numbers in 2015 compared to 2014.

Knittel’s research also shows troubling signs for the solar power industry.

The cost of solar power, according to the study, tumbled from nearly $450/MWh in 2009 to $150/MWh in 2014. Unfortunately for the likes of solar power companies SolarCity and Sunrun, these levels are still not low enough to compete with natural gas prices. The technological developments helping to produce massive currents of natural gas-fired power, Knittel and his co-authors note, are essentially keeping solar power at a disadvantage on energy.

“It seems unlikely that our technological abilities to recover fossil fuels should stop improving any time soon, Thomas Covert, an assistant professor of microeconomics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, said in the statement.  “With continually improving technology, the world will likely be awash in fossil fuels for decades and perhaps even centuries to come.”

Knittel, for his part, advanced the idea that perhaps the best way to even the odds is to make fossil fuels much more expensive through legislative or executive actions.

“To change this, governments should put a price on carbon emissions and start injecting more money towards the basic R&D that is critical to making these technologies more cost competitive,” he said in the statement.

Democrats and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continue to work to push through regulations that do the things Knittel suggested in the study.

The Democratic Party, for instance, added a carbon tax to a plank on its party platform in July, addressing so-called man-made global warming, despite warnings from one of the party’s wealthiest benefactors.

“Democrats believe that carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean economy and help meet out climate goals,” the Democratic Party platform now reads.



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


No posts August 9-12 because of illness

8 August, 2016

Environmentalists Admit They Were Wrong

John Droz, jr., physicist

In an amazing admission, environmentalists are now acknowledging that they were wrong to have promoted biofuels! This came about due to the overwhelming evidence that biofuels are a NET environmental liability.

Of course biofuels were a bad choice all along, so why did we waste enormous amounts of time and money going down this dead-end road?

The answer is obvious: this was a self-serving lobbyist idea. Essentially every time we have lobbyist-written energy and environmental policies the results have been:

1 - objectives that are not met,
2 - costs that are much higher than projected, and
3 - numerous unintended adverse consequences.

The solution is simple: we should have Science-based energy and environmental policies.

When will we learn?

I fully expect that in the not-too-distant future that environmentalists will make a similar begrudging concession about industrial wind energy.

The indisputable fact is that no scientific assessment has concluded that wind energy is a Net Societal Benefit — because it’s not.

Lobbyists (e.g. AWEA) have become skilled at deceiving the public about Science — because they know that a scientific endorsement of their product is effectively an imprimatur.

In their aggressive campaign to undermine genuine Science, they have successfully recruited some sympathetic, susceptible scientists to be their allies in presenting fake science. It’s a sad story.

Once we’re clear about what genuine Science is (a process), it will be much harder for the con artists to fool us into thinking that biofuels, wind energy, etc. are sensible energy options.

Via email

Polar bears going great guns this year.  Whales too!

Report from Northern Canada

This has without a doubt been Churchill Wild’s most spectacular start to the summer polar bear watching season. The mom and COYs (Cubs of the Year) shown above strolled past Seal River Heritage Lodge for a little pre-breakfast show this morning.

Bear numbers are up spectacularly this year and all are looking very fat and healthy, perhaps much to the chagrin of climate change “experts.” Our best day for the seductive white carnivores over the past week featured 21 polar bears sighted between the Lodge and our whale swim spot!

At any time you can glass in almost all directions from the new lounge windows and spot a polar bear lounging on the tundra or moving through the tidal flats. The ice pack, which was still visible a week ago, has finally dissipated and pushed a large number of bears on to our coastline here at Seal River, with the end result being many very happy cameras!

Beluga whales are back in great numbers and doing their best to adopt the humans we keep launching off the back of the Zodiacs, but to date all guests have elected to return to their own kind.

This fantastic inter-species interaction is a real highlight once again and there have been many song interchanges between snorkelers and belugas, though some folks might want to hang on to their day jobs if considering a career in music. The whales however, don’t seem to mind what key or half-key the voices come in, and joyfully chatter back and forth with the singing humans.

All in all, a great start, and much more to come!


Obama Announces New Executive Action to Prevent Economic Growth

If you thought the Keystone Pipeline permitting farce was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced new regulatory guidance which will inject the same ignorant obsessions of so-called climate change activists into the permitting process of the entire federal government. This action means that bureaucrats and their radical environmentalist allies will now be able to take the same tactics of death-by-permitting-delay seen in the case of Keystone and apply them to every other project affected by the federal National Environmental Policy Act. This means roads, bridges, mines, housing developments, pipelines, and more will now be held hostage to that tiny minority of Americans who would like nothing more than to return this country to the Stone Age.

Anyone who has ever been involved with a project which involved the federal government in any way will already be familiar with the often tortuously long permitting process required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA requires that federal agencies consider the environmental impact of any major project—federal, state, or local—that involves federal funding, work performed by the federal government, or permits issued by a federal agency. While certainly well-intentioned when passed in 1969, in recent decades NEPA has become notorious for being abused by anti-development NIMBYs (not-in-my-backyard) and radical environmentalists in their efforts to delay or stop projects of all sorts.

Given the pervasive size of the modern federal government the reach of NEPA is incredibly broad, which allows pressure groups to target almost any project they disapprove of. These tactics mean increased costs and long delays, sometimes to the point of forcing the abandonment of projects. If you have ever wondered why it takes so long for that new highway to be built or upgraded, then NEPA is probably your culprit.

Besides the time delays and cost increases, NEPA delays or denials have a huge economic cost. For example, in 2011 the Chamber of Commerce performed a study just covering energy projects that were held up by NEPA and found trillions of dollars in forgone economic growth and millions of jobs left on the table. And that is just energy; it does not include all the other projects subject to NEPA such as roads, bridges, dams, mines, or buildings.

In short, the broken NEPA process is already a massive brake on economic growth in the United States. And the Obama administration just made it worse. The new guidance will require that the NEPA process now includes considerations of “climate change” impacts. As a coalition including FreedomWorks commented earlier this year on the draft of this guidance: including climate change will only serve to politicize NEPA decisions, not improve agency decisions. Indeed, the impact on global greenhouse gases of individual projects is frankly not quantifiable. Any one project, no matter how large, is infinitesimally small in the context of global climate even if you accept the most apocalyptic logic of climate change alarmists.

And just as if this irrational and economically destructive action was not bad enough, this guidance, issued by the president’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), is likely not even legally enforceable. As Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) noted this week, the CEQ does not have a chairman. Sen. Inhofe thus notes that under the Vacancies Reform Act, “with no Senate-confirmed chairman, or even a nominee, today’s guidance can have no force or effect as CEQ staff has no authority to take any official action. Further, even if there were a Senate-confirmed Chairman of CEQ, global climate change falls outside of the scope of NEPA so the guidance has no legal basis.”

This guidance document hits all the high points of an out of control regulatory state: action taken without consent of Congress; action which is at best legally dubious; imposing a regulatory burden that has no quantifiable benefit, but enormous quantifiable cost; and empowering fringe extremists both within and outside the federal government to dictate the economic decisions of their fellow citizens.

The definition of conflagration is “an extensive fire which destroys a great deal of land and property.” This guidance is the spark for a regulatory conflagration that will ravage the American economy. This destructive regulatory action just highlights why this president is set to be the first president since Herbert Hoover in the Great Depression to not see so much as one year of economic growth above 3% during his presidency. The regulatory state does not build, it only destroys.


The oil industry is finally suing the EPA over their methane regulations

Regular readers are already familiar with our ongoing coverage of the EPA’s preposterous new methane regulations which fly in the face of their own findings regarding the science of atmospheric emissions. While challenges to these rules are still making their way through the courts, the energy industry has now apparently had enough of the nonsense. This week the American Petroleum Institute (API) brought suit against Gina McCarthy and the EPA for essentially abusing their authority and violating their own rules regarding industry regulation. (Daily Caller)

The American Petroleum Institute (API) sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tuesday evening, claiming the agency violated its own rules to regulate methane emissions.

API, a trade association that represents America’s oil and natural gas industry, filed a lawsuit stating the EPA violated federal regulations to reinterpret parts of the Clean Air Act, so that it could regulate methane. The association has called on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the agency’s actions.

“The Clean Air Act provides specific limitations on the way the EPA can develop regulations,” Reid T. Porter, a spokesperson for API, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “In this instance, EPA did not adhere to the statutory requirements when it expanded the rule to include methane.”

In a more sane and less politically toxic world this suit would be a no brainer. The entire premise of the EPA’s authority to regulate lawful commerce in the free market is predicated on the assumption that their actions would force corporations to adhere to rules which would limit or prevent harm to the environment. As we’ve discussed here before and the Daily Caller report reminds us, methane emissions from energy development in the United States have been plunging for some time now, and it’s not due to increased solar or wind energy production. It’s because of fracking. The EPA’s own studies have concluded the same thing.

Methane emissions into the atmosphere have been studied closely and the majority of increases have come in the form of biogenic methane. As a quick refresher course for those who may have missed it, thermogenic methane is released from industrial, energy extraction activity. Biogenic methane occurs naturally, primarly from agricultural activity and the melting of typically frozen ground. Thermogenic methane emissions (from energy exploration) stopped going up in the 90s and have since been going down while biogenic methane has been on the rise.

Fracking technology accounts for the difference. In fact, these benefits carry over to carbon dioxide emissions as well. The cuts in CO2 emissions we’ve achieved have been thanks to fracking at a rate twenty times greater than any benefit seen from renewable energy sources. (Emphasis added)

Absolute methane emissions from natural gas fell by 15 percent between 1990 and 2014, and emissions per unit of natural gas produced dropped by 43 percent over the same period.

The biggest cause of declining carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is America’s fracking boom, not solar or wind power, according to a study published last November by the Manhattan Institute.

The study shows that solar power is responsible for a mere 1 percent of the decline in American CO2 emissions, while natural gas is responsible for nearly 20 percent.

This is the wake-up call which the courts need to drive home with the EPA. For every ton of carbon dioxide cut by solar power, fracking has cut 13 tons. Given the EPA’s stated mission and the science which they themselves admit is valid, there is no basis for the agency to expand the bounds of the Clean Air Act to include methane and their persecution of the fracking industry over CO2 emissions is similarly misguided. There is no lawful rationale for the EPA to impose hugely expensive regulations on the oil and gas industry for a problem which has already been addressed. These regulations need to be scrapped and the EPA needs an expensive lesson in sticking to their own primary function rather than fulfilling the political agenda of the Obama administration and their green energy political donor class.


The renewable fuel standard ‘set up for fraud’

America’s rush to renewables has invited corruption and fraud

Researcher Christine Lakatos and I, together, have produced the single largest body of work on green-energy crony-corruption. Our years of collaboration have revealed that those with special access and influence have cashed in on the various green-energy programs and benefitted from the mandates, rules, and regulations that accompany the huge scheme. Dozens of the projects, including biofuel, which required the unwitting investment of taxpayer dollars have failed—leaving employees without jobs, buildings without tenants, taxpayers without repayment, and cronies without pain (even snatching hefty bonuses on the way down). Most people know about Solyndra, the first bankruptcy, and some may know about Abengoa, the biggest bankruptcy, but there are many more.

These big projects allowed the politically connected to bilk taxpayers of billions and is the definition of corruption. But, there’s fraud in renewable energy, too—and, while it doesn’t hit us as hard as taxpayers, it does cost us as consumers.

Wednesday, July 20, representing the latest fraudster to be convicted—but not the first and surely not the last—“a jury found an Indiana man guilty of securities fraud and other crimes connected to a massive biodiesel fraud scheme,” reported Greenwire. It turns out, Jeffrey Wilson and his multistate cohorts pretended to manufacture biodiesel, which allowed them to claim renewable fuel credits—known as Renewable Identification Numbers or RINs. The Department of Justice said Wilson’s actions resulted in a $20 million loss to investors, $140 million in revenue, and $56 million in criminal profit.

I know more than most about the corruption surrounding green energy, but I hadn’t followed this. I dug further.

Just two weeks earlier, two men in Florida pled guilty to a “multistate biodiesel fraud scheme.” Biodiesel Magazine says Thomas Davanzo and Robert Fedyna operated several shell companies that were used to facilitate the “multistate scheme to defraud biodiesel buyers and U.S. taxpayers by fraudulently selling biodiesel credits and fraudulently claiming tax credits.”

Six months before, on December 21, 2015, two men were indicted on “101 charges alleging they abused incentives offered to companies that produced biodiesel fuels.” According to The Morning Call: “A federal prosecutor says they took subsidies for fuel they did not produce and sold renewable energy credits to unsuspecting buyers.” The charges include conspiracy, wire fraud, filing false tax documents, obstruction of the Internal Revenue Service, and obstructing a federal investigation. The indictment claims Dave Dunham and Ralph Tommaso used a complex scheme that reached from Lehigh Valley, PA, to Washington state and into Canada and allowed them to apply for and receive government subsidies for producing clean diesel.

Also in 2015, two Las Vegas men and an Australian man were sentenced to federal prison for schemes to generate and sell fraudulent biodiesel credits. In another case, Rodney Hailey, owner of Clean Green Fuels in Maryland, was convicted of selling $9 million in counterfeit RINs from his garage without even trying to make biodiesel. Hailey’s neighbors called authorities because they were alarmed by the “profusion of luxury cars” that showed up in his “suburban Baltimore neighborhood”—22 in all, claims a report in Bioenergy Connection. Then there is Jeffrey David Gunselman, owner of Absolute Fuels in Lubbock, TX, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in Texas for lying about producing biodiesel fuel and selling the resulting renewable fuel credits. Reports indicate that he generated some 48 million RINs without actually producing any biodiesel fuel. He’s remembered for using his ill-gotten gain to purchase, among numerous luxury items, a demilitarized Patton tank.

The most interesting biodiesel fraud case may be that of Philip Rivkin, founder and chief executive of Houston-based Green Diesel who is now serving a 10-year sentence for selling fraudulent RINs. Over a seven-year period he concocted an elaborate scheme that included, according to Bloomberg: “a three-story steel skeleton crammed with pipes and valves”—some of which were not connected to anything. In late 2008, Green Diesel did reportedly produce a batch of about 130,000 gallons of biodiesel, but the quality was “too poor for commercial sale.”

Biodiesel RINs have become a valuable commodity because, as a result of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), refiners are required to blend biofuels into the nation’s fuel supply and the RINs supposedly prove they’ve complied. Rivkin sold more than $78 million in sham RINs. He bragged about building a $500 million company without any debt. When he fled the U.S. in 2011, prior to his 2014 capture, he did so in his $3.4 million Canadair Challenger jet.

These cases of RIN fraud are just those who’ve been caught—but they all have a common thread. They aren’t the names we are used to in the green-energy corruption story like billionaires Warren Buffet and Tom Steyer or former politicos like Al Gore and Bill Richardson. They aren’t cronies who’ve used political connections to work the system. They are fraudsters who found a way to fortune through the flawed RFS—first enacted by Congress in 2005 and expanded in 2007—which contains a credit-trading program.

In a July 25 report on the RFS, Marlo Lewis, Jr., a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, explains: “Each gallon of biofuel produced is assigned a unique 38-digit Renewable Identification Number (RIN). When a refiner sells a gallon of biofuel in the motor fuel market, it earns a RIN credit. A refiner that does not meet its annual obligation by actually blending and selling biofuel can comply by purchasing surplus RIN credits from another refiner that exceeded its obligation. A refiner can also bank surplus RIN credits to meet up to 20 percent of the following year’s obligation.”

Because the law requires ever-increasing quantities of biofuel be produced—even beyond what consumers want or most vehicles can handle—RINs offer refiners a way to presumably meet the mandates while providing the market with what it wants. But, according to Brendan E. Williams, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers executive vice president, biodiesel RINs are especially lucrative: “Ethanol RINs stay attached to physical gallons of ethanol until the ethanol gallon is blended with petroleum.  This separation usually occurs at terminals, which are rarely owned by ethanol producers. Once ethanol is blended, the RIN is detached and becomes a tradable commodity.  Therefore, rather than a refiner or ethanol producer, it is often the terminal operator who does the blending that controls ethanol RINs.  A refiner that has a terminal rack at the refinery for local gasoline distribution can also do this blending, but this is not the usual situation because refineries are not located everywhere. 

Biodiesel RINs work differently. EPA allows biodiesel producers to detach the RIN as soon as the biodiesel is produced. There is no requirement for biodiesel to be blended to petroleum diesel before the RIN is detached. This difference highlights why there is more fraud in biodiesel. The biodiesel fraudsters lie about producing physical biodiesel just so they can generate RINs on paper to sell. This is made possible based on the previously mentioned fact that there is no requirement for biodiesel to be blended with petroleum diesel.” A graphic in the Bloomberg report adds: “Biodiesel RINs tend to cost more than ethanol RINs or other types because they are scarcer and can be used to satisfy multiple requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

“RIN swaps,” according to Bloomberg, “are usually agreed upon between companies, traders, and brokers via email, phone, texts, and chatroom messages.” The onus is on the buyers, “if the RINS are found to be fraudulent, the holder has to purchase new credits to replace the phony ones”—and the new credits must be purchased at the current price that may be higher than the original purchase.

Of course, the refiners’ purchase of RINs—and in the case of fraudulent RINs, the double purchase—is passed on to the consumer. We are stuck holding the bag for the fraudsters’ get-rich-quick scheme that is enabled by the RFS.

“Because refiners can buy them to satisfy their obligations to introduce renewable fuels into the national market,” Scott Irwin, an agriculture economic professor at the University of Illinois, according to The Morning Call, calls the RINs: “valuable.” He explains: “A combination of little regulation, the small-business nature of biodiesel producers and higher-than-expected prices for credits produced a rash of fraud. … It was kind of set up for fraud.”

Because the EPA, whose expertise is in things like oil spills and air pollution, isn’t equipped to handle these cases of sophisticated financial fraud, Bloomberg reports, it has reached out to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission—“which is itself stretched thin because of its responsibilities under Dodd-Frank.” The lack of oversight made the RFS biodiesel program a “government playground for con artists.”

The biofuel fraud is just one prong in the growing push for RFS reform. The economic and technical realities of the “blend wall,” as detailed in Lewis’ report, is another. On July 27, Bloomberg chronicled the history of the unlikely third prong: big green groups’ biofuel blunder. They’ve now turned against ethanol due to the agricultural runoff in waterways and conversion of prairies to cropland. Environmentalists, who once championed biofuels, are now seen as a factor in “improving the odds that lawmakers might seek changes to the program next year.”

Reforming the RFS is not a partisan issue. Free market advocates don’t like the mandates. Consumers resist been forced to purchase something they don’t want. Environmentalists don’t like the loss of prairie land and damage to the water supply. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) says the RFS has “truly been a flop. The environmental promise has been transformed into an environmental detriment.”

The only resistance to calls for RFS repeal or reform comes from the biofuel producers lobby—though as I’ve previously addressed, corn ethanol would likely still be blended into our fuel supply at about the current levels as it is a valuable oxygenate that increases octane.

Lewis concludes his report with this admonition: “Congress should repeal the RFS so that consumer preference and competition, rather than central planning policies, determine which fuels succeed or fail in the U.S. marketplace. Failing that, Congress should sunset the RFS so it ends after 2022. In the meantime, the EPA should cap mandatory biofuel sales at the E10 blend wall, while allowing biofuel producers to sell as much additional renewable fuel as consumers actually want to buy.”

Every politician in Washington talks about getting rid of waste, fraud, and abuse. Getting rid of the RFS would go a long way to achieving that goal.



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, 2016

‘Climate change’ front and center at Olympics opening ceremony

I've always thought that Olympic opening ceremonies were a lot of BS and this does tend to confirm it

THE 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro commenced Friday night with an opening ceremony that made a global plea to reverse climate change and conserve the Earth’s resources.

It’s Brazil’s first time hosting the Olympics. In fact, it’s the first time any South American country has welcomed more than 200 nations’ athletes for the historic games.

The opening ceremonies’ planning committee put on a more earthy, funky and down-to-Earth experience than previous summertime host countries like London and Beijing. Part of that focus was calling on all nations to save the environment, an almost ironic plug considering the neglected state that parts of Rio are in despite the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.


How Lowering Crime Could Contribute to Global Warming

This report is a bit of a laugh but it is vaguely encouraging to see Warmists taking ALL the costs of a given policy into account for once

It sounds simple: If something has a big carbon footprint and you get rid of it, you eliminate those carbon dioxide emissions. Right?

But it’s not always that easy. In a recent study published in The Journal of Industrial Ecology, researchers at the Center for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey in England estimated the annual carbon footprint of crime in England and Wales, and found that reducing crime could actually cause society’s overall carbon footprint of society to increase.

The findings illustrated the rebound effect, which describes how reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases in one area can lead to more emissions in the aggregate, because of direct or indirect effects. It’s something that policy makers have often been encouraged to consider when they set out to reduce emissions.

Crime is one example where a rebound in carbon emissions could be an issue, according to this study. While there is an energy cost to operating prisons, the study notes, inmates generally consume less than an average citizen in the country, so fewer prisoners might mean higher overall energy consumption.

Additionally, the money saved from reducing crime would go into the government’s budget and people’s pockets. All that money could be spent in other ways — infrastructure, buildings or goods — that may require more energy to produce or operate, possibly adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Although there is a lot of uncertainty in calculating the rebound effect, the researchers tried to quantify the consequences of reducing domestic burglary by about 5 percent, and determined a rebound effect of 2 percent. That may sound small, but it would mean a growth in society’s overall carbon footprint equivalent to about 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide, which is similar to the annual emissions of about 2,250 households in the Britain

It’s more common to hear about rebound effects when it comes to certain areas of energy policy, like cars: If a car is more energy efficient, some scientists say, people may drive more, possibly leading to more fuel consumption overall.

Alan Meier, a senior scientist at the Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab who studies behavior and energy consumption, notes that even as electronic appliances become more efficient, people often have more of them, which may also drive up energy use.

“But numerous studies have demonstrated that rebound effects are small and the energy savings dominate,” Dr. Meier said.

Other scientists agree, saying that fears of rebound effects are often overblown, and are a distraction from sensible energy policy.

In a 2013 study published in Nature, environmental economists argued that consumer behavior may prune between 5 percent and 30 percent off intended energy savings —- possibly reaching as high as 60 percent in some cases when larger economic forces are taken into account — but doesn’t negate the savings altogether.

Kenneth Gillingham, one of the authors of that study and a professor of economics at the Yale School of Forestry, said that studying the carbon footprint and rebound effects of crime was “unusual,” but it may help us to better understand the society we live in.

However, “there are probably also productivity effects of reducing crime that lead to more economic growth and more welfare, which may lead to greater energy use and emissions,” Dr. Gillingham said.

In the new study, the scientists compared the rebound effect with the one associated with the backup energy sources required for offshore wind energy, or other renewable sources. Since the amount of wind fluctuates, it doesn’t generate the same amount of energy all the time, so a backup system, often powered by fossil fuels, is needed.

And while the researchers expressed concern about the rebound effects of reducing crime — and where the money saved from reducing crime would be spent — they conclude that it’s important to raise awareness of the environmental costs of crime, and incorporate this in overall policy, though it may be “unrealistic to expect police and criminals to consider their carbon footprint.”



Criminal Charges Forthcoming in EPA Mine Spill?

An EPA internal review of the Gold King Mine breach commissioned last August claimed “the Adit blowout was likely inevitable” even though it admitted some red flags and safeguards were ignored. The agency, in typical bureaucratic fashion, was desperately trying to exonerate itself of wrongdoing. But the Department of the Interior came to a somewhat different conclusion when it released an independent assessment in October.

As explained in a Government Executive piece at the time, “Spe­cific­ally, the re­port says that EPA did not ad­equately eval­u­ate the buildup of flu­id in the mine and the ground­wa­ter con­di­tions around it.” Significantly, the study notes, “Had it been done, the plan to open the mine would have been re­vised and the blo­wout would not have oc­curred.” If that’s mere negligence, it comes at much too high a cost.

Any rationally minded person would demand someone be held liable. Well, this week we can finally report some good news. The levying of criminal charges was put back on the table after the Justice Department, together with EPA’s Office of Inspector General, began an investigation into the Gold King Mine debacle. We shouldn’t get our hopes too high, of course — remember, AG Loretta Lynch is at the helm, which means the chances of an EPA official serving time in jail aren’t much better than Hillary Clinton facing consequences for her unscrupulous behavior.

Still, the fact Justice feels obligated to intervene is more evidence that the EPA still hasn’t come clean about what really set the August 5, 2015, mine spill into motion. And depending on which administration replaces Obama’s, next year’s DOJ may actually do something about it.


Senate Liberals, Targeting Climate Change ‘Deniers,’ Demand to Know Donors to 22 Think Tanks

Some of the Senate’s most liberal Democrats, demanding that 22 national and state-based think tanks disclose their donors, disparaged them as being part of a network of free-market policy organizations the senators accuse of “laundering” identities while denying climate change exists.

The existence of the conservative and libertarian policy research and education organizations, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and eight fellow senators wrote in a letter to some of the organizations’ leaders, suggests the extent of a “web of denial” about man’s contribution to global warming, or climate change.

“Because your organizations do not regularly disclose where your donations come from, we cannot know for sure how deep and wide the web of denial truly is,” the nine senators write.

Reid and the other senators also assailed the Virginia-based State Policy Network as “a network of organizations bound together by common funding, shared staff, and false messages.”

The network’s members include private, nonprofit Washington institutions such as The Heritage Foundation, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Americans for Tax Reform, but also private, free-market think tanks in Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and other states.

“Freedom of speech does not prevent us from speaking out when your organizations, as well-funded agents of hidden principals with massive conflict of interest, subject our constituents to an organized campaign to deceive and mislead them about the scientific consensus surrounding climate change,” the senators say in their letter to representatives of Heritage and the 21 other think tanks and policy organizations.

Ashley Varner, senior director of strategic communications for the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, which is not a formal member of the State Policy Network, called the senators’ letter alarming.

“It should alarm everyone, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, that federal officials would abuse their office to intimidate groups of people from exercising their rights to speech and assembly,” Varner said in an email to The Daily Signal.

“If the debate on climate change in the public arena represents the future of open discussion, then the notion of free speech as embodied by the First Amendment is in serious peril,” Fred Birnbaum, vice president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

The Democrats challenge the organizations for questioning them, saying “there is a simple thing you can do to prove us wrong: disclose all of your donors.”

The Senate’s No. 2 and No. 3 Democrats, Minority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois and Charles Schumer of New York, signed the letter along with Reid.

The five other Democrats who signed are Barbara Boxer of California, Al Franken of Minnesota, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also signed.

The letter, dated July 22, responds to a critical letter sent to 19 Senate Democrats 10 days earlier by the coalition of leaders. The leaders did not write Sanders, although the former Democratic presidential candidate signed the reply along with eight of the 19 Democrats.

The nine senators particularly criticize the State Policy Network, an umbrella organization devoted to advancing the cause of state-based, free-market, nonprofit groups. Inspired by former President Ronald Reagan, conservative leaders founded the network in 1992.

The senators write:

SPN has received nearly $20 million from identity-scrubbing, Koch-funded Donors Trust and Donors Capital as well as money directly  from Koch family foundations. SPN serves as an identity launderer as well, passing along large sums of money to several of the groups on your letter…

The State Policy Network describes itself as dedicated to “improving the practical effectiveness of independent, nonprofit, market-oriented, state-focused think tanks.”

The Democrats and Sanders single out three state-based organizations that belong to the network, questioning hundreds of thousands in donations to the Idaho Freedom Foundation, the Florida-based James Madison Institute, and the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

The Daily Signal, the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation, obtained copies of the original letter and the reply from Bridgett Wagner, Heritage’s vice president for external relations, who was among those who wrote the senators. 

Wagner and the other signers said they used their employers’ names for identification purposes, and were not speaking for them.

In their July 12 letter, Wagner and officials with the 21 other organizations express concern that the Democrats who that day staged criticism of climate change skeptics on the Senate floor had put together an “enemies list” of “intellectual foes.”

The conservative free-market advocates tell the senators that their “enemies list” could quell free speech:

Your enemies list groups together organizations that themselves maintain differing perspectives. While you have singled us out, labeling us as the enemy, we don’t even always agree with one another. And that’s the point: Disagreement breeds solutions. We hear you. Your threat is clear: There is a heavy and inconvenient cost to disagreeing with you. Calls for debate will be met with political retribution. That’s called tyranny. And, we reject it.

In their reply, nine senators argue that because Heritage and the other private organizations don’t typically disclose donor information, it is difficult to determine how “deep and wide” the “web of denial” about climate change is.

The senators, dismissing “perceived grievances,” cite the Climate Investigations Center as determining that the groups whose officials signed the letter of complaint had received more than $92 million from “the Koch family, Donors Trust, Donors Capital, and Exxon Mobil.”

The senators describe a web of “climate change denial” that is “so big and sophisticated” that it dupes the public into believing “it is not a single special interest-funded front.”

The 19 Democrats took to the Senate floor July 12 to accuse free-market groups and others of spinning that “web of denial” on global warming.

“It is no surprise these progressive senators would conflate the debate on climate change with a discussion of those who donate to our organizations,” Birnbaum of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

In a written response to the senators’ criticism of his organization, Birnbaum added:

The reality is that those who have publicly called into question elements of the climate change story have faced personal and professional threats. So when these progressives say, ‘we would just like to know whom it is we are debating’ what they are really stating is that they would just like to know who they can intimidate with the full police power of the federal government.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational research institute that promotes free-market solutions and acts as a watchdog on government.

“The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has been publicly disparaged by U.S. senators simply because we oppose politicians using the federal courts to criminalize debate and intimidate their political opponents,” John Mozena, the center’s vice president for marketing and communications, said.

Mozena was referring to efforts by state attorneys general, environmental organizations, and others to punish climate change skeptics. In his formal statement provided to The Daily Signal in response to the senators, he added:

The Senate—and the nation—look back with shame on the era when Sen. Joseph McCarthy led his fellow senators down a path of guilt by association and conviction by allegation. McCarthy’s actions stained our nation and we couldn’t stand by and silently watch history repeat itself, even though we knew we would expose ourselves to a modern reinterpretation of his methods.

Also nonprofit and nonpartisan, Mackinac Center works to highlight the role voluntary associations, businesses, and families play outside government.

Mozena said the center has fought for its principles for 28 years, “regardless of politics,” including working in Michigan for government transparency. Allies there, he said, included the ACLU of Michigan and the Sierra Club’s Michigan chapter.

Last month, he noted, Mackinac Center sued Michigan’s Republican governor over his administration’s delay in responding to its request for records on the Flint water crisis under freedom of information laws.

Mozena added:

Given our demonstrated, decades-long commitment to these principles, we don’t need lectures from senators in which they try to analogize their campaign finance restrictions with our supporters’ right to privacy. They are public officials with responsibilities, we are private individuals with rights. No matter how much they’re willing to ignore their ‘sense of decency’ and abuse their offices for political gain, we will not be intimidated into sacrificing those rights and we will continue to support any organization that finds itself on their enemies list.

The 10 Senate Democrats who received the leaders’ letter but didn’t join Reid and the others in the response are Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Christopher Coons of Delaware, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Gary Peters of Michigan, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Tom Udall of New Mexico.

Also among the 22 organizations listed on the letter, and criticized by the senators, are Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon; Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, Washington, D.C.; Franklin Center for Government and Policy Integrity, Virginia; Georgia Public Policy Foundation; Heartland Institute, Illinois; John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, Wisconsin; John Locke Foundation, North Carolina; Kansas Policy Institute; Montana Policy Institute; Nevada Policy Research Institute; Pacific Research Institute, California; Pelican Institute for Public Policy, Louisiana; Rio Grande Foundation, New Mexico; Virginia Institute for Public Policy; and Yankee Institute for Public Policy, Connecticut.


Why Does the Left Ignore Nuclear Power?

They focus on wind and solar, but those sources are miles behind

Predictably absent from the Democrats' party platform for 2016, as it was in 2012 and in 2008, is a coherent energy strategy that matches their rhetoric on climate change. Once again, they have had the opportunity to face the facts on the benefits of nuclear power, and once again, they have chosen to demonize the one non-fossil fuel energy source that can come close to meeting their lofty goals of reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

It’s not that the Dems are ignoring nuclear power. As Robert Bryce, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, points out, they bring up “nuclear” plenty of times. It’s just that each mention links the word to other catchy terms like “annihilation” and “weapon.” Nuclear as a source of clean energy that the Left craves is never brought up. It just doesn’t fit the narrative.

Throughout the Obama administration, the Left, which has always run the EPA, spoke the gospel of clean energy. They overhyped the global threat of climate change, declared it primarily attributable to human behavior, calculated that only lower greenhouse gas emissions could save us, then set about reducing those gases by any means available.

The administration established the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 730 million tons by 2030, and called for the energy sector to fall into line. They were so adamant to make this happen that they set out, and have nearly succeeded, in destroying the coal industry. And they have raised automobile fuel efficiency standards beyond a level with which the automotive industry can comply or consumers can afford.

In 2008, Obama told the American people straight up that his policies would ensure their electricity bills would skyrocket, and we are seeing the effects of this damn-the-torpedoes strategy ripple throughout the economy. The energy industry affects virtually every other industry in this country, from manufacturing to transportation to retail and beyond. There’s no mistaking that the Democrats' cockeyed energy strategy is a least partly responsible for sluggish employment, stagnant wages and a generally moribund economy.

Regardless of your politics, it can be reasoned that cleaner sources of energy are better for everyone. Unfortunately, when the Left speaks of clean energy, they only mention wind and solar. Nuclear never comes into the equation. Ignoring the benefits of nuclear as a clean energy source is an epic mistake.

As Bryce notes, America’s nuclear reactors save the U.S. an additional 600 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. These reactors are also producing four times as much energy as wind and 21 times more than solar. Nuclear accounts for nearly 20% of America’s electricity.

Nuclear is also still a cheaper energy option than wind and solar. It can be argued that nuclear had a bit of a head start and that the infrastructure for wind and solar has some catching up to do. But it will take wind close to half a century to catch up to nuclear in terms of cost per unit, and it will take solar a whole century to do likewise.

There’s also the sticky problem that we have yet to develop an effective means of storing energy from wind and solar. The energy produced by these means is not easily transportable, and it pretty much must be used as it is produced, preventing mass production and consumption on power-plant-like scale.

There is a place for wind and solar in any energy strategy that America choses to embrace. However, we cannot cling to the platitudes of the Left that insist these are the only keys to a low-emissions energy future. Nuclear has been with us for decades, and that is because it is clean, it is largely safe, and over the long haul, it is cheap. Ignoring these facts will keep us from meeting our energy goals, and it will ultimately keep us from being the strong economic power that we need to be again.



Michael Darby

More than a month after the Double Dissolution Election, the Senate Count has been finalised. For the growing number of Australians worried about the harm being done to our economy and our future by the Global Warming Cult, the result has been worth the wait.

On the Senate cross-benches there are now seven Senators who simply will not accept the official line that our liberties and our economic future should be seriously constrained for the sake of meeting arbitrary emissions reduction targets. There are seven senators who will not be bullied by the Global Warming Cult. As time goes on, more and more Australians will acknowledge these Senators as “The Magnificent Seven”.

I’ll mention firstly the re-elected senators.

Senator Bob Day AO of Family First has been re-elected in South Australia. On 30 November 2015 Senator Day told the Senate: “As for calling CO2 pollution, that is the most ludicrous, unscientific statement one could possibly make.”

Senator Jacqui Lambie is back in Tasmania for the Jacqui Lambie Network. Here is an extract from her speech to the Senate on 17 March 2016: “It is clear that a government making Australian pensioners, businesses and families pay more for their energy will never stop world climate change. It will only increase the cost of living for our families and kill off Australian jobs and businesses, and for no return.”

New South Wales has re-elected the veterinarian Senator David Leyonhjelm. In his Maiden Speech on 9 July 2014, Senator Leyonhjelm said: “Environmental fanatics are not omniscient geniuses: they do not know enough to tell other people how to live their lives any more than I do.”

In the biggest and most welcome surprise of the election, to those three stalwart senators have been added four new Senators, all representing Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. Senator-elect Pauline Hanson will be supported by her fellow Queenslander Malcolm Roberts, Senator-elect Brian Burston of NSW and Senator-elect Rod Culleton of Western Australia. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation missed getting a fifth Senate place in Tasmania, by only 141 votes.

Unlike the leaders of larger political parties, Pauline Hanson respects scientists and upholds science, as evidenced by her inspired choice of Malcolm Roberts as her running mate in Queensland. Malcolm Roberts as the leader of the Galileo Movement made a great contribution to the defeat of the Carbon Tax.

Yesterday at his Press conference with Party spokesman James Ashby, Malcolm Roberts wasted no time in stating that there is not one piece of empirical evidence anywhere to support the theory of man-made climate change. Malcolm Roberts is in no doubt that the United Nations is attempting to impose global government through climate policy.

The Turnbull Government cannot afford to ignore Pauline Hanson and the other Senators who comprise the Magnificent Seven. Australian politics has been dramatically changed, and changed for the better.

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5 August, 2016

With Zika in Miami, can we start spraying DDT on mosquitoes yet?

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has admitted that their strategy to combat Zika in Miami where infected mosquitoes have been found is not working. CDC Director Tom Drieden explained, “they’ve been applying both chemicals that kill larval mosquitoes and adult mosquitoes every day. It isn’t working as well as we had hoped.”

The CDC needs a new pesticide plan, and it already exists — with dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane (DDT), a gas banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1972.

As a result of the CDC and the EPA’s shuffling to find a solution, Zika has infected over 5,000 Puerto Ricans living on the island and has moved into Florida. If Florida follows Puerto Rico’s trend, as many as 50 pregnant women could be infected each day — with the risk of devastating birth defects.

The CDC has now advised travel restriction on pregnant women, mosquito bite prevention, testing for pregnant women, waiting periods to attempt pregnancy, and dozens of other warnings in an area of Miami in an attempt to contain the spread. What was once a foreign problem is now a domestic health crisis.

However, with no actual working method to counter the mosquitoes the CDC has little hope for reviving the Florida community and preventing the disease from spreading through the mainland United States.

That is, without DDT.

DDT has already proven its effectiveness and cost efficiency. In 1947 application of DDT began, by the end of 1949 more than 4 million homes were sprayed and total eradication of malaria in the U.S. was declared. In the U.S., DDT had successfully stopped the mosquitoes before the EPA ever had the opportunity to ban it.

This has not just been an effective strategy in the United States. In 2006 the World Health Organization (WHO) studied the use of DDT in homes to end the spread of malaria and recommended struggling countries across the world use targeted indoor residual spraying of DDT to contain disease spread.

WHO found the only cases of resurgence of the disease after spraying resulted from resistance gained from previous excessive, unregulated use of DDT as a pesticide, however thus far “DDT is the only insecticide which is used exclusively for public health, and, therefore, unlike with other insecticides, resistance development to it is no longer influenced by other uses such as in agriculture.”

The fact is, DDT is probably the most effective answer to the spreading health devastation here and now with Zika. This action is not a choice of the CDC though. It is the EPA that maintains an absolute ban on domestic use of the spray, stifling the chances of disease control. What are we waiting for?

In 1972, Congress enacted the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act, a far-reaching amendment that gave the EPA vast discretion to ban certain pesticides. The executive ban by the EPA on DDT from use completely was instituted that very year because the gas, primarily sprayed over livestock as a pesticide, was found to cause defects in the developments of animals exposed to the spray.

This unelected agency consistently prioritizes animal life over the welfare of American citizens, despite the findings from the WHO and clear need for a more effective mosquito spray from the CDC on the ground in Miami. The mosquitoes are not going to stop biting Americans and causing substantial birth defects in their children, but still the EPA cares more about the animals potentially being hurt by DDT.

Researchers admit use of the pesticide can be done carefully and controlled, but environmentalists maintain that the negative effects of DDT on the environment and possible effects on humans make it an unrealistic option. But as the WHO organization accounted for “Concerns over the safety of DDT have been comprehensively addressed in the framework of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)…. therefore, DDT can be used for [inside residual spraying] where it is indicated, provided that stringent measures are taken to avoid its misuse and leakage outside public health.”

For now, the EPA ban on DDT is being adhered to, but what will it take to be lifted? Perhaps when Zika reaches Washington, D.C. they’ll do something —like use  the gas that has the absolute best chance of ending the spread of the virus. If this does not occur the EPA will not only be responsible for the nearly 600 mainland Americans and over 900 Americans in US territories already infected, but the many more that this epidemic will eventually engulf.


New paper finds increasing trend in winter snow cover extent in Northern Hemisphere 1982-2013

Satellite observed changes in the Northern Hemisphere snow cover phenology and the associated radiative forcing and feedback between 1982 and 2013

Xiaona Chen et al.


Quantifying continental-scale changes in snow cover phenology (SCP) and evaluating their associated radiative forcing and feedback is essential for meteorological, hydrological, ecological, and societal purposes. However, the current SCP research is inadequate because few published studies have explored the long-term changes in SCP, as well as their associated radiative forcing and feedback in the context of global warming. Based on satellite-observed snow cover extent (SCE) and land surface albedo datasets, and using a radiative kernel modeling method, this study quantified changes in SCP and the associated radiative forcing and feedback over the Northern Hemisphere (NH) snow-covered landmass from 1982 to 2013. The monthly SCE anomaly over the NH displayed a significant decreasing trend from May to August (?0.89 × 106 km2 decade?1), while an increasing trend from November to February (0.65 × 106 km2 decade?1) over that period. The changes in SCE resulted in corresponding anomalies in SCP. The snow onset date (D o) moved forward slightly, but the snow end date (D e) advanced significantly at the rate of 1.91 days decade?1, with a 73% contribution from decreased SCE in Eurasia (EU). The anomalies in D e resulted in a weakened snow radiative forcing of 0.12 (±0.003) W m?2 and feedback of 0.21 (±0.005) W m?2 K?1, in melting season, over the NH, from 1982 to 2013. Compared with the SCP changes in EU, the SCP anomalies in North America were relatively stable because of the clearly contrasting D e anomalies between the mid- and high latitudes in this region.

Environmental Research Letters, Volume 11, Number 8

Democrat AGs, Green Groups Defy Subpoena on ‘Coordinated’ Climate Efforts

Environmental activists and state government officials, declining to comply with subpoenas by House Republicans probing their “coordinated efforts” to punish climate change skeptics, face additional scrutiny as part of the congressional investigation.

The deadline for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and eight environmental organizations to comply with subpoenas from the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology came and went July 27 without their producing requested documents.

So what now?

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House committee, said “noncompliance only raises additional questions.”

In an email to The Daily Signal, a committee aide wrote that “we’re talking with the recipients [of the subpoenas], and we’ll consider all of our options.”

As The Daily Signal previously reported, the House committee has the option to send a “contempt of Congress” finding to the full House.

In a statement last week, Smith said:

The committee is disappointed that the New York and Massachusetts attorneys general and the environmental activist organizations behind the AGs’ efforts have refused to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas. Their noncompliance only raises additional questions. As discussions with the individual subpoena recipients move forward, the committee will consider using all tools at its disposal to further its investigation.

‘Ongoing and Potential Investigations’

New York’s Schneiderman and Massachusetts’ Healey are part of a coalition of 17 state attorneys general who joined forces to coordinate investigations of individuals who express skepticism toward the idea of man-made global warming, or climate change.

Schneiderman’s office has said the public officials are looking at conventional energy companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp.

“The participating states are exploring working together on key climate change-related initiatives, such as ongoing and potential investigations into whether fossil fuel companies misled investors and the public on the impact of climate change on their businesses,” the New York attorney general’s office said in a release.

Some political figures and academics have suggested pursuing charges against scientific skeptics of climate change under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, widely known as RICO.

The eight green groups subject to the committee’s inquiries include the Union of Concerned Scientists, Greenpeace,, the Climate Accountability Institute, the Climate Reality Project, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Pawa Law Group.

‘Talk About a Chilling Effect’

The state attorneys general, calling themselves AGs United for Clean Power, held a press conference March 29 in New York with former Vice President Al Gore to announce formation of “an unprecedented coalition of top law enforcement” that would “defend climate change progress made under President Obama.”

All but one of the 17 participating attorneys general are Democrats; the attorney general of the Virgin Islands is an independent.

Some of the attorneys general, who are elected, have subpoenaed documents, communications, and research in an effort to acquire the work material of more than 100 academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and individual scientists, the House committee notes.

Republican members of the committee who stand behind its subpoenas see the state attorneys general as colluding with green pressure groups to undermine free speech.

“Since when did it become a crime to express or hold an opinion?” Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, and chairman of the committee’s energy subcommittee, asked in a July 13 press statement, adding:

The difference of opinions is what makes our country so strong and unique. It’s this freedom without censorship or restraint that helped build our country.  However, this posse of attorneys general believe that those whose opinion, or scientific research, conflicts with the alleged consensus view on climate change should be the subject of investigation and prosecution by government officials—talk about a chilling effect on free speech.

The Daily Signal invited Schneiderman’s office in New York and Healey’s office in Massachusetts to respond to Smith’s latest public comment, but did receive a response from either office by deadline.

However, The Daily Signal reported previous statements from each office indicating they did not intend to comply. Eric Soufer, a press spokesman for Schneiderman, said in part:

Chairman Smith and his allies have zero credibility on this issue, and are either unwilling or unable to grasp that the singular purpose of these investigations is to determine whether Exxon committed serious violations of state securities fraud, business fraud, and consumer fraud laws. This committee has no authority to interfere with these state law enforcement investigations, and whether they issue a subpoena or not, this attorney general [Schneiderman] will not be intimidated or deterred from ensuring that every New Yorker receives the full protection of state laws.

Republican lawmakers, however, insist that AGs United for Clean Power are playing politics at the expense of free speech.

Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, a committee member, said in the July 13 statement:

Instead of upholding the Constitution, protecting citizens, and putting real criminal behind bars, these attorneys general are using taxpayer dollars to manufacture charges to send a political message. This demonstrates a clear deviation from the legal duties of an attorney general and the possible abuse of discretionary judgement. It is not the job of the attorneys general to decide what science should be conducted, and their actions indicate their intent is to silence certain voices.

In an email previously reported by The Daily Signal, Healey spokeswoman Cyndi Roy Gonzalez said Smith and his fellow Republicans jeopardize states’ rights:

The extent to which Chairman Smith and Republican committee leadership, at the behest of Big Oil, [are] attacking the legal authority of state attorneys general to investigate whether major corporations misled investors and consumers is very troubling, and an affront to states’ rights.

In a 20-page letter to Smith dated July 26, Richard Johnston, chief legal counsel to Healey, reiterated that argument:

Attorney General Healey hereby objects to the subpoena as an unconstitutional and unwarranted interference with a legitimate ongoing state investigation. The subpoena is a dangerous overreach by the committee and an affront to states’ rights.

Committee Republicans, Johnston argued, arranged for the subpoena while disregarding letters from Healey and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, detailing why the committee doesn’t have legal authority to “tamper with a state attorney general’s investigation into possible violations of state law by Exxon Mobil Corp.”

Republicans, he said, also disregarded the Massachusetts attorney general’s objection that most of the requested documents “are either attorney-client privileged documents or protected from disclosure as attorney work product.”

Johnston said Smith and other committee Republicans delivered the subpoena “without acknowledging” Healey’s offers to discuss her objections in a conference call with Smith or committee staff.

“This sequence of events suggests that the majority had no intention of considering the substance of Attorney General Healey’s objections,” he wrote.

The green groups on the receiving end of the subpoenas also indicated that they did not intend to cooperate with Smith and his committee.

The Climate Accountability Institute, for instance, posted a statement on its website that it responded July 13 “by declining to provide the requested documents on the basis of the committee’s lack of jurisdictional and legislative authority over our First Amendment rights to protect private communications and freedom of assembly with scientists and thinkers.”

The climate change group added:

CAI will not be intimidated, and we stand with other colleagues at UCS [Union of Concerned Scientists], Greenpeace, 350, and other groups and funders to denounce the unconstitutional and abusive tactics of Chairman Smith.


Philippines Wisely Rejects Western Imperialism on Climate Policy

Todd Gaziano   

My family members in northern Virginia, who disdain cold weather, have an aphorism that captures our thoughts about climate change: “Global warming, every little bit helps!”

The new Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, may not be rooting for warming like we are, but his repudiation last month of the Paris climate treaty is particularly inconvenient for those pushing an activist policy agenda.

The fundamental truth is that every nation should reject economically unsound policy initiatives that harm their citizens and are devoid of any meaningful climate benefit, regardless of mainstream climate change projections.

Geologic climate change is undeniable; that modern man can have an impact on the climate is certainly plausible and merits careful study. The seemingly large, scientific agreement that man has had a material impact on the climate in the past 150 years and is likely to have a greater impact in the future, though not a true consensus, becomes less unified when the focus turns to how significant and how likely each of those effects may be over the next century.

It is the nature of science that some predictions and models will be revised over time. But overall, our scientific understanding of the climate and man’s impact on it will continue to improve in the next few decades. I’m eager for those developments for several reasons, including that the scientific studies genuinely interest me.

But even assuming the current projections of those who claim to speak for the climate change consensus prove to be accurate, the temperature increase in the next 20 years will be exceedingly tiny by the standard of world history.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the temperature increase for 2016-2035 relative to 1986-2005 without significant global climate initiatives may be 0.3 to 0.7 degree Celsius. Over the longer term, the panel’s mid-range scenarios predict average temperatures to increase by about 1.5 to 3 degrees by the end of the 21st century.

Given my wife’s and my disdain for winter, a 0.3 to 0.7 degree increase over the next 20 years is not remotely enough to suit our tastes. And if we are lucky enough to live 40 more years, we think an additional half-degree warming in our last two decades will be equally inadequate.

Putting our personal preferences aside, there would be more important net winners and losers with increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. For example, there could be improved crop yields in some regions while other areas may be harmed by various impacts. Climate change activists argue that the global net harms easily swamp any benefits. Yet even assuming that is the case doesn’t end the policy debate.

The critical policy debate is what costs are reasonable or necessary to impose now, especially since the possible scenarios (outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other scientists) still include a fair degree of uncertainty as to their relative likelihood and range of impacts.

The supposedly debate-ending claim that is often made is that even a modest sea level rise will devastate poor people who live near the coast, especially those who live in the tropics, where warming and other impacts may be greater.

The climate change panel’s mid-range projection is that sea levels may rise by a little less than a foot in the next 50 years. That doesn’t end the policy debate for many reasons, including the following considerations:

Will a given policy initiative, such as the misnamed “Clean Power Plan” in the United States, actually help in negotiating world-wide reductions in carbon emissions or will such unilateral Environmental Protection Agency dictates actually decrease American negotiating leverage to secure enforceable reductions from China, India, and other rapidly industrializing nations?

Relatedly, will reductions in Western nations’ industrial output caused by mandated carbon reductions, carbon taxes, and other regulatory measures shift more industrial production to countries with dirtier plants—but still decrease employment and growth in the West?

Will people be harmed more by the enormous costs (economic and noneconomic) of a given policy initiative than by the negligible impact on warming the initiative is supposed to effect? For example, unemployment and increased poverty from reduced economic growth increase certain serious diseases, infant mortality, and other measurable harms.

Will further scientific study and technological advances in the next two decades produce significantly more cost-effective solutions to reduce carbon emissions and climate change?

Will such further study and technological advances in the next two decades produce substantially more cost-effective means to ameliorate the impacts of the climate change, such as modest sea level changes, that actually result over that period and beyond?

Returning to Duterte’s repudiation of the Paris treaty, what makes it particularly inconvenient for the climate policy activists is that the Philippines fits the profile of a nation most at risk from climate change. The nation is composed of over 7,500 tropical islands, with a rapidly growing population, currently over 100 million. Many of those millions live near the coast, which is regularly battered by typhoons.

Yet Duterte did not even pay lip service to the Paris treaty his predecessor signed. Instead, he said he wanted to kick an unnamed ambassador from an industrialized nation who was pressuring him to follow it.

The Philippines is still industrializing, and Duterte made it perfectly clear it is not going to curb its economic development in the near term out of concern for climate change. Indeed, he said it would be “stupid” and “absurd” to try to meet the targets urged on the Philippines since that would stymie its growth—for little to no meaningful impact on global temperatures.

The Paris treaty, assuming it goes into force when the requisite number of nations causing 55 percent of global emissions join it, would still be largely symbolic because the signatories set their own targets for reducing greenhouse gases and there is no effective enforcement mechanism.

Thus, it would have been easy for Duterte to pretend to stay onboard with the agreement and even demand payments that are planned for developing nations to meet their targets. (The U.S. has already contributed $500 million to the Green Climate Fund.) Other nations will surely play that game.

Producers in emerging nations may benefit when the others become less competitive, even ignoring the potential bribes. But in contrast to merely signing up for an international kabuki dance, it would be the height of folly for developing nations to actually implement most of the policies Western climate imperialists urge.

Duterte has seemingly concluded that no conceivable climate change goal is worth even the tiniest compromise on his country’s future growth curve. Given that growth in any period is compounded many times over in the next century, who can blame him? (Although there’s no need to threaten to attack foreign ambassadors, except rhetorically, which is probably what he was clumsily attempting.)

Duterte deserves praise for his honesty—as well as his wisdom in focusing on economic growth that will be much more important to the Philippine people in the long run.

Unless America also changes course, only “stupid” nations like ours and others in Europe will attempt “absurd” initiatives like the Clean Power Plan that will put a drag on our already sluggish economies and cause additional industrial production and jobs to move elsewhere.

At least my family will know that such costly and counterproductive policies won’t materially affect climate change one way or the other. And we’ll keep hoping that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections of mild warming will prove accurate in our lifetimes. To us, every little bit helps.


Germany: "People Rebelling Against Wind Power” …Viewed As “A Destructive Force”

The July 24, 2016 print edition of national flagship daily Die Welt wrote a feature story on how German citizens are becoming fed up with the widespread crony capitalism of the wind energy business and are thus now mobilizing a fierce rebellion. The German daily writes of health issues for people living in their vicinity.

The article starts by featuring technology fan Volker Tschischke, who was once an ardent proponent of renewable energy – until wind turbines were built close to his residence and encircled his home village of Etteln. Now he leads a citizens initiative against the construction of wind parkc. The turbines “have driven him to resistance“, Die Welt writes.

Local politicians are no longer serving the interests of the local people, but rather “are rolling out the red carpet for wind power companies” and appear to be “no longer listening to the people and about the concerns of their everyday lives,” the national German daily writes.

A “destructive force”

Die Welt describes an Energiewende (transition to renewable energies) that is “dividing the people“, where those who live in big cities and thus not effected by the blight are open to wind parks, while those living in the countryside are fed up and fiercely resisting them. Die Welt reports that people across rural Germany “no longer view the Energiewende as a necessary national project, but as a destructive force.”

Now, ever so gradually, it even appears that Berlin is getting the message as leading parties see their poll numbers dropping. Die Welt writes that Berlin is now throttling the expansion of wind parks and working to “deescalate the conflict“.

“Ruined and destroyed for generations”

As an example of blight and destruction, Die Welt cites the area surrounding the central city of Paderborn, quoting a local resident who is thinking about packing up and leaving: “Here the living area is being ruined and destroyed for generations.”

Even though Berlin is scrambling to put the brakes on the uncontrolled spread of wind turbine littering across the rural landscape, local residents often remain powerless against the mighty wind industrialists and projects that have already been proposed. And even when local political leaders side up with their residents against the parks, Die Welt describes a David versus Goliath fight:

On one side there’s the mayor of the town and some of his staff, and on the other side there are corporation-like companies that hire staffs of lawyers.”

In such cases the big wind companies have an easy time pile-driving their projects through, Die Welt writes.

Opponents resort to sabotage

Also wind park developers often promise towns and villages cash-flow from wind projects, But as Die Welt reports, most never end up seeing any money. “The promise of business tax revenue is a ‘large fairy tale’.”

Die Welt also adds that wind park opponents are often labeled “grumblers“, “troublemakers” or “Energiewende blockers who use ludicrous ways to try to stop the success of the Energiewende.”

The conflict has even escalated to the point where opponents have even sabotaged a wind measurement instrument used to check the feasibility of a possible future project. Farmers are even blocking deforestation equipment with their tractors, Die Welt reports.

Lawless, Wild West conditions

In other locations it seems that wind energy development resembles the Wild West where there is a complete lack of law and order. Town have corrupted the planning, permitting and building process. Die Welt writes sometimes sleazy towns act as planner, permitting authority, builder and operator all in one. Nothing stands in the way. There are no checks and balances. Only a few profiteers. The German daily writes:

"The county of Aurich is a stakeholder in wind park projects. For the investor that is totally practical. He is thus practically the funder, impact study conductor and project approver all in one.”

Whether its solar power or wind energy, there’s a common thread: A very select few are profiting hugely while the rest of society are left to clean up a huge industrial, financial and environmental mess.


Australia:  New conservative senator vows to halt 'ridiculous lies' on climate change

Malcolm  Roberts wins second seat in Queensland for Pauline Hanson’s anti-immigration party and calls for government to abandon all policies that aim to reduce greenhouse gases.  A big moan about it from the Guardian below

On the day the government moved to save 15 of 35 climate science positions planned to be cut at the CSIRO, the Senate election results in Queensland showed One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts had won a second seat for the party in that state.

He stood in front of the media and denounced the government for taking part in an international climate change conspiracy and called for all policies that aim to reduce greenhouse gases to be abandoned.

Roberts is the “project leader” of a group called the Galileo Movement. It launched in 2011, with the aim of exposing what its leaders described as the “political fabrication of global warming alarm”.

He claimed in 2012 in an interview with Fairfax Media that climate science is controlled “by some of the major banking families in the world” who collude “in a tight-knit cabal with the United Nations”.

Those comments were one step too far even for News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt, who himself has argued that climate change is all a big conspiracy.

But now, elected to federal parliament, Roberts did not shy away from this statement.

“I’ve done a lot of research into climate,” he said at a media conference on Thursday. “I went looking into the agencies that have been spreading the climate science. I started finding out things about the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology. That led me then to the UN, which has been driving this. Then I started following the money trails.”

He went on to explain that they could be traced back to a few families who are making “trillions” of dollars.

When One Nation announced its policies for this year’s election, an attack on climate science was strangely prominent.

Alongside a “royal commission to determine if Islam is a religion or political ideology” the party has also called for “a royal commission (or similar) into the corruption of climate science”.

“Climate change should not be about making money for a lot of people and giving scientists money,” the party’s website says.

This renewed focus on climate change had the fingerprints of Malcolm Roberts all over it.

Roberts says he is a scientist (he has a mining engineering degree) and that the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology are no longer involved in science, since he says there is nothing to support the climate science they do. “All we need to do is stop these ridiculous lies based on climate,” he said.

Whether Roberts will have any impact on the functioning of the new parliament is not yet clear. But he said he has been called by both Malcolm Turnbull and attorney general, George Brandis.

“They offered their congratulations and then said they would make sure they would get the resources to us so we could do our jobs,” 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


4 August, 2016

More of the usual dishonesty from the Green/Left

They are milking the temperature rise due to El Nino for all it is worth.  The last residue of it will be gone soon so they are getting shriller.  If they had any shred of honesty in them, they would at least attempt to quantify the percentage of the warming that was due to El Nino.  They make no such attempt and pretend it is an anthropogenic effect.  The flat levels of CO2 in 2015 make it clear, however, that the warming was ENTIRELY an El Nino effect

Earth's fever got worse last year, breaking dozens of climate records, scientists said in a massive report nicknamed the annual physical for the planet.

Soon after 2015 ended, it was proclaimed the hottest on record . The new report shows the broad extent of other records and near-records on the planet's climatic health. Those include record heat energy absorbed by the oceans and lowest groundwater storage levels globally, according to Tuesday's report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"I think the time to call the doctor was years ago," NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt, co-editor of the report, said in an email. "We are awash in multiple symptoms."

The 2015 State of the Climate report examined 50 different aspects of climate , including dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice and glaciers worldwide. A dozen different nations set hottest year records, including Russia and China. South Africa had the hottest temperature ever recorded in the month of October: 119.1 degrees Fahrenheit (48.4 degrees Celsius).

Even though it was a relatively quiet hurricane year in the Atlantic, there were 36 major tropical cyclones worldwide - 15 more than average, said NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden, co-editor of the report published Tuesday in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

And at the heart of the records is that all three major heat-trapping greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide - hit record highs in 2015, Blunden said.

"There is really only one word for this parade of shattered climate records: grim," said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb, who wasn't part of the report, but called it "exhaustive and thorough."

But it's more than just numbers on a graph. Scientists said the turbo-charged climate affected walrus and penguin populations and played a role in dangerous algae blooms, such as one off the Pacific Northwest coast. And there were brutal heat waves all over the world, with ones in Indian and Pakistan killing thousands of people. One-third of Earth's land mass had some kind of drought last year.

Much of the intense record-breaking and record-flirting weather was because of a combination of a natural El Nino - the periodic warming of parts of the Pacific that changes weather globally - and ever increasing man-made global warming.

"This impacts people. This is real life," Blunden said.

Oklahoma University meteorology professor Jason Furtado said in an email that the report, which he wasn't part of, illustrates the combined power of nature and humans on Earth's climate: "It was like injecting an already amped-up climate system with a dose of (natural) steroids."


No place for scare tactics

By Chris de Freitas, an associate professor in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland

The column by University of Canterbury sociologist Jarrod Gilbert describing climate change "denial" as a crime, is alarming because he suggests those with opinions different to his should be silenced. What is happening to our education system when university lecturers attack, rather than defend, free speech?

The most worrying aspect of this is the apparent desire to close down debate on a theme that is associated with costly energy policies and other grave economic consequences.

Calling climate sceptics "deniers" is done with the intention of putting them in the same class as "Holocaust deniers". In this context, "denier" has much the same connotation as the N word to refer to people of a certain skin colour. Such insinuations are an insult to those who suffered and died in the Holocaust or those with dark skin. It is both inappropriate and offensive.

In the words of colleague Benny J. Peiser: "As long as we are unable to explain the evident inconsistencies that fly in the face of climate alarmism, attempts to associate scientific scepticism with Holocaust denial can only be regarded as political incitement."

The level of hysteria now being stirred up against climate scientists who are raising very serious questions is reminiscent of attacks made on scientists in Stalin's Soviet Union and pre-war Germany. Those who resort to shooting at the messenger are presumably those without solid arguments on the science.

Just as sceptics have no right to ridicule what is a potentially serious topic, climate catastrophists have a social responsibility not to unjustifiably spook the public.

Climate change scepticism comes in many forms, some which are no less absurd than climate catastrophism. No sceptic denies that climate changes. There is no such thing as a constant climate. For 4.2 billion years, climate has always been getting warmer or colder, wetter or drier, and there has never been runaway warming or cooling.

Recent research findings show there is no evidence -- none at all -- to support the global warmers' scaremongering.

Most climate scientists would agree rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to fossil fuel use could affect global climate. Basic physics supports this view. But there is no evidence that the putative change would be large or damaging. Output from computer models is not evidence unless model performance has been validated. So far, it has not.

For significant global warming to occur, increased concentrations must set in motion positive (or destabilising) feedback processes. Such processes would cause temperatures to rise by some other mechanism. One such mechanism is increased evaporation caused by higher temperatures leading to rising water vapour concentration, which is by far the most important greenhouse gas. This would increase retention of energy from the Sun and lead to further warming.

To date, scientific evidence suggests that negative (stabilising) feedback processes prevail, possibly due to the cooling effect of increased cloudiness from water vapour increase. If true, this means it is unlikely higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will greatly influence global climate.

Negative feedback processes are played down by climate alarmists who assume climate is governed by positive feedback processes which they claim will lead to runaway global warming. Four billion years of global climate history shows that negative feedbacks prevail.

"Climate change" does not confirm that carbon dioxide is causing it. The evidence would have to distinguish between human-caused and natural change. This has not been done.

From the research to date, it appears the influence of increasing carbon dioxide on global warming is almost indiscernible. Warming could occur, but no evidence suggests it will amount to much.


Note:  A couple of days after the above appeared, James Renwick, Professor of Physical Geography in the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at the Victoria University of Wellington replied.  So how did he respond to the claim of no evidence from de Freitas above?  Did he present some evidence?  No.  He simply said there was ample evidence in the IPCC reports.  But he quoted none of it. 

The IPCC is a political body so what it claims has to be examined.  Very often the papers it assembles do NOT support the conclusions in its Summary.  On some occasions, I have traced back an IPCC claim to the papers that allegedly supported it and discovered that none actually did.  At best the support consisted of speculation only.  It would have been great fun if he HAD quoted any of it.  I would have enjoyed ripping it.

Renwick is just being a dupe.  But global warming is his bread and butter so I suppose he has to be.  It's a brave man who would stand between a scientist and his research grants -- JR 

Nuclear power and renewables don’t have to be enemies. New York just showed how

Ponder, if you will, two basic facts about clean energy in the United States.

Nuclear power is the country’s largest source of carbon-free energy, supplying about 19 percent of our electricity, but it’s barely growing. Wind and solar are smaller, at about 8 percent, but they’re growing much more rapidly.

Put those together, and you get an intuitive blueprint for reducing US carbon dioxide emissions: Protect the nuclear base, and then scale up wind and solar on top, displacing fossil fuels as you go. Seems reasonable, no?

Yet, strangely enough, many states have struggled with this concept. Even as policymakers have stepped up subsidies for renewable energy, they’ve been letting their nuclear plants shut down prematurely — to be replaced by dirtier natural gas. We’ve already seen this in California, Vermont, Wisconsin. And it’s going to keep happening in the years ahead without serious policy changes. These early nuclear retirements are poised to wipe out many of the impressive gains made by renewables.

So it’s significant news that, this week, New York state offered a fresh approach to this problem. On Monday, the state’s public service commission approved an extremely aggressive clean energy standard that will require utilities to get 50 percent of their electricity from wind, solar, hydro, and other renewable sources by 2030.

But — importantly — New York will also offer subsidies to keep open three large existing nuclear power plants that are suffering economically in this shifting energy landscape and were in danger of shutting down prematurely. This way, the state isn’t just taking one step forward, two steps back, on climate change.

It’s a potential template for other states with reactors in danger of closing before the end of their useful life span. New York’s move contrasts sharply with California, where regulators are considering a proposal to shutter the state’s last nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, and replace it entirely with renewables and efficiency. It will be very interesting to compare the two states in the years ahead and see which approach yields better results.

More broadly, New York’s plan offers a model of how renewables and nuclear might work together to fight global warming. This notion has been surprisingly controversial of late, particularly after the Diablo Canyon fight. Eduardo Porter of The New York Times recently wrote a column arguing that the growth of subsidized renewables is hurting nuclear in energy markets — a perverse outcome.

Yet as Jesse Jenkins, an energy researcher studying low-carbon electricity systems at MIT, put it to me: “It’s important to unpack this. It’s not renewables killing nuclear. It’s policies that fail to recognize the contributions of both renewables and nuclear. But those policies can change — as they did this week in New York.”

Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state is trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and become a leader on climate change. With the cost of solar and wind falling dramatically, renewables were a natural focus. The state is embarking on a radical plan to revamp utility models to accommodate renewables. Hence the proposal to grow hydro, wind, solar, and biomass from 27 percent today to 50 percent by 2030

At the same time, New York’s other big source of clean energy — nuclear — was in danger. A combination of cheap natural gas from the US fracking boom and stagnating electricity demand from new efficiency initiatives has caused nuclear revenues to plummet. As a result, reactors at three upstate plants — Fitzpatrick, Ginna, and Nine Mile — were in danger of shutting down prematurely, squeezed between high fixed costs and declining revenues:

One reaction here might be: “Fine, let the dinosaur reactors die. If they can’t compete in the market, who needs ’em?” But as it turns out, the state does need them if it wants to scale up renewables and still cut emissions.

Among other things, New York’s Public Service Commission concluded that wind and solar wouldn’t be able to scale up fast enough to replace the lost reactors. So in the interim, the state would end up burning more natural gas and greenhouse gas emissions would rise. What’s more, replacing the steady baseload power from reactors with intermittent renewables could create reliability problems in upstate regions.

The clock was ticking: Entergy warned that it would shut down Fitzpatrick by the end of 2016. Exelon, which already owns Ginna and Nine Mile Point, has offered to buy Fitzpatrick and keep all three open — but only if New York provided financial support for the reactors. Pro-nuclear environmentalists, including NASA climate scientist James Hansen and Michael Shellenberger of Environmental Progress, urged the state to do just that.

In the end, New York’s regulators decided to think about the problem this way: We know that these existing nuclear reactors help New York avoid a certain amount of planet-warming CO2 each year. Based on the federal government’s best estimates of the “social cost of carbon,” we ought to value this benefit at around $50 a ton.

Right now these reactors aren’t fully compensated for this climate benefit. So, the commission decided, let’s start with that $50 a ton and then subtract out what these reactors already receive from power markets, capacity markets, and RGGI, the Northeast’s cap-and-trade system. Then we’ll pay the reactors for the difference — call it a “zero-emission credit” (ZEC):

This zero-emission credit is a hefty subsidy. New York’s ratepayers will pay up to $965 million to Fitzpatrick, Ginna, and Nine Mile for the first two years of the program, with adjustments made thereafter through 2029. (The subsidy will shrink if electricity prices rise, per the formula above — or vice versa.) It’s a bailout, it’s not cheap, and there’s a reason various environmental groups are displeased.

That said, Jenkins offers a way to put this in context. The nuclear subsidy comes to $17.48 per megawatt-hour of electricity for the first two years. By contrast, in recent years, procuring renewable power has cost New York about $22 to $35/MWh under state mandates. So keeping these reactors open seems like a cost-competitive way of adding zero-carbon power, at least in the short term.

To be clear, this is not necessarily the optimal way of saving New York’s nuclear power plants. As energy researcher Alex Gilbert explains in wonky detail here, these subsidies are vulnerable to legal challenge and could prove economically dubious if electricity prices shift unexpectedly. Zero-emissions credits are a hasty workaround to a looming reactor shutdown and are considerably less elegant than, say, a simple carbon tax would be.

It’s also unclear what will happen to New York’s reactors after 2029. Technically they may still be capable of operating, but will policymakers keep supporting them? (As Shellenberger points out, phasing out nuclear in 2030 could prove nearly as problematic as phasing it out today.) The commission still has to work out a long-term plan here.

Finally, this week’s order leaves unclear the fate of New York’s fourth reactor: Indian Point, which sits 40 miles north of New York City and is operated by Entergy. Cuomo has long pushed to close this reactor due to concerns that it could be a target for attacks and is so close to the city. Yet New York’s Independent System Operator, which manages the grid, has argued that doing so could endanger the state’s climate goals.

That all aside, what’s notable about this plan is that New York is at least thinking about how to value all low-carbon sources equally, rather than just favoring renewables and letting nuclear power die. In this, New York is way ahead of other states.

When reactors do shut down early, it’s usually awful news for climate change. After Southern California Edison retired two reactors at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in 2013, they were largely replaced by natural gas generation, leading to higher CO2 emissions. The same thing happened when Vermont Yankee closed in Vermont in 2014.

All told, a recent analysis by Bloomberg found that closing those seven endangered plants could cause overall US emissions to rise as much as 2 percent — like putting another 7 to 10 million cars on the road.


Hurricane Drought Hits a New Record

A hurricane has not appeared in the Gulf of Mexico in almost three years

Saturday was a quiet day across the Gulf of Mexico, but not one without note, because a strange record was set: It has been 1,048 days since a hurricane developed in or entered the Gulf. That is the longest streak in the past 130 years, since formal record-keeping began in 1886.

The Atlantic hurricane season starts in June and lasts through the end of November. But the last storm in the Gulf was Hurricane Ingrid, which made landfall in northeastern Mexico in September 2013. "You have to have conditions just right for a hurricane to form, and the conditions haven't been ideal in the Gulf of Mexico in the last two years," says Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center. The last long Gulf hurricane drought was from October 1, 1929, to August 13, 1932. It was broken by Hurricane 2, which came ashore in Freeport, Texas, as a category 4 storm.

Hurricanes usually form when ocean water has been warmed over the summer months to around 25 degrees Celsius or higher. As humid air and clouds accumulate, light, sweeping winds moving westward from Africa can steer the clouds across the mid-Atlantic toward the Gulf. In some cases, the mass of moisture can begin rotating as it advances. This early stage is known as a tropical depression, which can strengthen to become a tropical storm if the wind direction and speed throughout all levels of the atmosphere remain relatively constant. To be considered a category 1 hurricane or higher, the wind speed inside the rotating storm needs to be at least 119 kilometers per hour (74 miles per hour).

Several tropical depressions and tropical storms have arisen in the Gulf of Mexico in the past couple years, but none intensified to achieve hurricane status. Winds across the upper levels of the atmosphere have been strong, which can tear clouds apart, keeping storms from strengthening, Berg says.

Weaker hurricane seasons are not unusual, especially in the Gulf of Mexico, according to hurricane forecaster Gerry Bell at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Hurricanes are more likely to form in the Atlantic Ocean because there's more room to develop there than in the Gulf. And wind currents often direct Atlantic storms north and west toward the U.S east coast or out into the North Atlantic instead of crossing into the Gulf. The drought can end anytime, however, because the most active part of the season—from August to October—is yet to come.

Despite the long hiatus, NOAA still anticipates a normal Atlantic season with a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms. “Not having hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t mean that people should become complacent or forget how to prepare for one,” Berg says.


These Climate Change Regulations Will Increase Your Electric Bill 

Amid the summer heat, American households are thankful for affordable, reliable air conditioning. But the Obama administration’s war on coal is going to drive up energy prices for families who want to keep cool in the summer and stay warm in the winter.

A recent study by Heritage Foundation economists estimates that the administration’s regulations to counter global warming, or climate change, will increase household spending on electricity between 13 and 20 percent over the next 20 years.

Americans have plenty of reasons to be concerned with the administration’s regulations on new power plants, and states have good reasons to challenge these regulations in court.  Here are three:

Regulations drive up energy costs.

Higher energy costs hurt the poor the most. If the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations on new power plants stand, they will take a reliable power source off the market.

For instance, Maryland coal production fell 62 percent between 2005 and 2013, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment. Though this decline is partially a result of cheap natural gas prices, many also point to EPA regulations for the industry’s decline.

The decline in coal production is problematic because coal and carbon-based conventional fuels made up 87 percent of America’s primary energy between 2003 and 2013.

In fact, electricity prices are 15 percent lower in those states that rely most on coal.  Unnecessarily driving out coal production will cause electricity prices to increase, disproportionately hurting low-income Americans who spend a greater portion of their budget on energy bills.

Mining towns suffer from overregulation.

The EPA’s regulations of future power plants will have detrimental impacts on coal mining towns.

Alabama coal worker Renea Aldridge said: “Think about the families you’re affecting. Think about all the jobs you’re closing down. I keep thinking the coal industry will never be the same again.”

What’s more, because a small coal mining town’s livelihood often is tied to the power plant, regulation of coal power plants also harms investments, hurts small businesses, and decreases the town’s overall economic activity.

The EPA’s latest regulations of newly built coal power plants will seriously harm these coal towns. And because of the stringent requirements for new plants, many towns that might otherwise have had a coal plant built will be deprived of the economic benefits.

The regulations barely make a dent in climate change.

A few hot days does not mean the planet is experiencing more heat waves because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Even if it did, however, the administration’s climate change policy would make no noticeable impact.

According to Cato Institute’s “carbon tax temperature-savings” calculator, developed by climatologists, the U.S. could shut down its entire economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero and it would mitigate global temperatures only a few tenths of a degree Celsius over the next 85 years.

In fact, if all industrialized nations cut 100 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, temperatures would be only 0.352 degree cooler than if the emission levels remained the same.

States are fighting back, but Congress should assert its authority.

Last year, much of the Environmental Protection Agency’s onslaught of overregulation came under the pretense of addressing man-made global warming, or climate change. The regulations threaten the livelihood of miners and coal towns, and the availability of coal as a dependable energy source.

The Supreme Court temporarily halted regulations on existing power plants (the administration’s “Clean Power Plan”) after states and industries challenged them.

But another important legal front is the states’ challenge to global warming regulations on new electricity generating units. After the EPA issued a regulation under Section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act to control how much carbon dioxide may be emitted by new power plants, 23 states filed a lawsuit challenging the proposal.

The regulation restricts carbon dioxide emissions of coal-fired power plants to 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour and the emissions of natural gas power plants to 1,000 pounds per megawatt hour.

According to the federal government’s Energy Information Administration, the average emission for a coal-fired power plant in 2014 was between 2,070 and 2,170 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour, depending on the type of coal used.

States certainly are justified in taking legal action, but it’s also time for Congress to rein in unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats at the EPA. Congress should pass legislation that prevents all agencies from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.


Greenies Upset Trump Disagrees With Dictators, Commies On Global Warming

The Sierra Club has released a report claiming if real estate mogul Donald Trump were elected president he would be “the the only world leader today to deny the science of climate change.”

The environmental group’s report includes quotes about global warming from the leaders of 195 countries recognized by the U.S. Department of State. The Sierra Club uses this as evidence a future President Trump would be at odds with America’s closest allies on global warming.

“In fact, a review of the data indicates that Trump might very well be the only world leader not calling for urgent climate action,” according to the Sierra Club, America’s oldest environmental group.

Interestingly enough, it also means Trump disagrees with some of America’s rivals as well, including third world dictators and communist regimes.



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, 2016

Beware PFOS! A big, loud, extraverted, blonde publicity hound comes to Australia to warn about it

Have you ever had your carpet or your uphostered chairs Scotchguarded?  If so, you are probably pleased with the results.  The stuff tended to make dirt and stains just slide off.  What you did not know is that you probably were a user of the deadly PFOS!

And Erin Brockovich is here to alarm you about it.  The big scare by which she first made her name eventually proved to be without foundation so we must be suspicious of her latest pronouncements.  She cost the company she targeted $600 million or so but that's fine because companies are evil

That the chemical underlying Scotchguard gets into people and animals one way or another has been known for decades.  But the concentrations are extremely minute -- measured in a few parts per billion. -- and, as always, the toxicity is in the dose.  So how toxic is it?  It certainly seems to be seriously toxic to a range of animals but evidence of toxicity to people is slight.  And don't forget that this has been under investigation for a long time.

Additionally, it has been estimated that there is by now some PFOS in every American, so bad effects should be pretty evident by now.  But they are not.

But the scare has been sufficient for American manufacturers to stop production of the stuff and the levels in people have gone into steady decline.  So if it is a problem, it has been dealt  with.  But publicity-seeker Brockovich is telling you none of that.  She has done very well out of her scares, so why would she?

You can still get Scotchguard but they have taken the zing out of it

ENVIRONMENTAL activist Erin Brockovich has described Oakey’s groundwater contamination crisis as worse than what she witnessed in the United States, as she called on the community to speak up for change.

Ms Brockovich, 56, flew into Brisbane this week to speak with Oakey locals about the spread of toxic PFOS and PFOA from firefighting foam used by the ­Defence Force for decades.

The activist consults on environmental pollution cases in the US and Australia, and has most recently worked as an advocate for communities, such as Oakey, poisoned by PFOS and PFOA.

Speaking exclusively to The Courier-Mail, Ms Brockovich said the same contamination crisis was unfolding in several US states but that Oakey’s critical plight had not received the urgent government attention it deserved.

“These are toxic compounds that can wreak havoc with your health, and once they’re in you, they won’t leave,” she said.

“People (in Oakey) are sick, they have been harmed, and their property values have been degraded.”

According to Ms Brockovich — who is also an ambassador for Shine Lawyers, who is working with locals — the people of Oakey deserve to be heard by authorities.

“People need to get blood tests and arm themselves with information to make choices for their families,” she said.

“The Government’s job is to listen to these people and to let them know they’re not going to be ignored.

“This is going to blow up pretty quickly, but before we see a potential health crisis, we need to wrap our arms around this.”

Ms Brockovich visited Oakey last year to hear locals’ concerns and said today’s public meeting would educate them about the problem and the best way forward.

“There are innocent children in Oakey who are four years old with blood levels 10 times higher than the national median average … what will their futures look like?” she said.

“Australia has higher blood levels than I’ve seen in the US.”


'Climate Change: What's So Alarming?'

The latest from Prager University:

“Are droughts, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters getting stronger and more frequent? Are carbon dioxide emissions, global temperatures and sea levels putting us on a path for climate catastrophe? Bjorn Lomborg, Director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, breaks down the facts about the environment and shows why the reality of climate change may be very different from what you hear in the media.”


Obama’s Wasteful Climate Conference Trip Cost Taxpayers $4,165,068.40

It takes a lot of taxpayer cash and jet exhaust to fly a president to a “climate change” meeting in Paris.

We have obtained records from the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of the Air Force detailing the costs of Obama’s trip to attend the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. Secret Service charges for Obama and his staff to attend the Conference cost taxpayers $1,324,171.60. Flight expenses cost $2,840,896.80, bringing the total expenditure for the conference to at least $4,165,068.40. To date, Obama’s known travel expenses total $83,795,502.33.

Barack Obama’s appointees didn’t volunteer this information. We filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for these documents on January 6, 2016.  Our request wasn’t answered, so we had to sue this past May (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:16-cv-00863)).  Only then did we get the documents.

Here are the Secret Service expenses for Obama’s ideological Paris junket:

$82,991.60 for air and rail travel.
$706,065 for Parisian hotels.
$531,598 for rental vehicles.
$10,820 in overtime pay.
Cell phone rentals were $2,562.
Cell phone usage cost of $679.
A copier rental for $652.
$624 in “miscellaneous” expenses.

The Secret Service detail stayed in a number of Parisian hotels. The most money was spent at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand, a historic hotel built in 1862 that is called a “luxury” hotel that “defines historic grandeur,” according to its website. Accommodations were also booked at the Hilton Astor, Marriott Ambassador, Marriott Rive Gauche, and Mercure Tour Eiffel.

According to Air Force documents, at least two planes were used for the trip to Paris, Air Force One and a C-32A (which is generally used by either the secretary of state or the first lady):

Air Force One travelled a total of 14.4 hours @ $180,118 per hour for a total of $2,593,699.20.

The C-32A travelled 15.6 hours @ $15,846 per hour for a total of $247,197.60.

Other expenses for additional cabinet members’ travel and catering, Secret Service meals, meeting rooms, etc. are not included in these totals.

The controversial Paris Climate Conference, also known as COP21, lasted from November 30, 2015, to December 12, 2015. Travel to the conference reportedly burned 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide, seemingly defeating the purpose of the meeting of world leaders. Critics also contend President Obama’s executive action implementing the Paris Climate Agreement circumvents the constitutional requirement that treaties become law only after ratification by the U.S. Senate.

This junket is another example of wasteful and unnecessary presidential travel that abuses the taxpayers, the military, and the U.S. Secret Service. It’s pure folly and we should demand that the next president (and Congress) put an end to it.


Global Warming: One More Official Exposes Real Goal Of Climate Scare

In recent years we've documented the true motivations that are driving the global warming scare.

Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change, who aspires to be U.N. secretary general, has admitted that the goal of environmental activists is to destroy capitalism.

One-time U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chairman Rajendra Pachauri acknowledged that his "fight" against global warming is his "religion" and "dharma."

Ottmar Edenhofer, who co-chaired the IPCC working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015, has conceded that the climate crusade is an effort to shackle capitalism and establish a global welfare state.

Now we have Bank of England Governor Mark Carney revealing a deeper objective when he talked about how stopping climate change will provide capital markets with as much as a $7 trillion investment opportunity.

Of course his pitch is supposed to sound appealing to capitalists and defenders of the free market. But what good is sinking trillions into investments that are both unnecessary and are unlikely to produce a return?

The carbon trading scheme that was supposed to fuel economic growth while cutting man's carbon dioxide emissions has turned out to be virtually worthless in Europe. There's no reason to think Carney's plot would produce better results.

But it would likely be a lucrative venture for Carney. He "and his banker mates," Eric Worral writes on the Watts Up With That? blog, "would stand to make a lot of money, out of a vast surge in climate 'compliance' activity which would be associated with the new regulations."

Some might call that "greed." But to Carney, maybe it's simply a matter of ensuring domestic tranquility. If his "investment" ideas become reality, then he pleases his wife Diana Fox Carney, who is such an environmentalist zealot that she is almost too easy to make fun of, and he also makes a few extra pounds on the side to add to his central banker's salary, which is about $1.2 million a year.

Whatever his motives, though, they're not in line with the narrative that this is all about saving the planet. It's about hidden agendas, and the more these under-the-table intentions are exposed, the more we are convinced that the whole thing is a top-to-bottom fraud.


Blinded By The Sun

The solar-powered plane that recently concluded its much delayed and long overdue round-the-world flight was predictably touted as further 'proof' that green energy has come of age. The real-world appraisal is dour: a PR stunt to obscure the fact that 'alternative technologies' are going nowhere

Just the other day, we were told history was made when the aircraft Solar Impulse 2 landed in Abu Dhabi after what was described as the first round-the-world flight by a solar powered plane.  The epic journey commenced in March, 2015, and since that time the plane had spent a total of 23 days in the air. This was an achievement for which the aviation world waited a long time, quite literally, to applaud — both in the short and much longer-term.

On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright conducted what is generally credited as  the first sustained powered flight of a heavier-than-air aircraft, covering 39 metres. By 1905, the Wrights were able to cover  24 miles in 39 minutes 23 seconds. By 1916 the aeroplane had been matched the synchronised machine gun and become a potent instrument of war.  A bare 65 years after the short hop at kitty Hawk, NASA put a man on the moon. The rapid progress was fuelled primarily by human imagination, wonderful new commercial opportunities and, of course, by two world wars.  It was an extraordinarily rapid pace of development.

In 1925, John Logie Baird demonstrated his first prototype of a modern television set.  His breakthrough, of course, relied on earlier technologies, the most important of which was the cathode ray tube first demonstrated in 1907.  In 1928, the world’s first television station WGY commenced operation in Schenectady in upstate New York.

In 1932 the BBC commenced regular programming.  TV broadcasts in London were on the air an average of four hours daily from 1936 to 1939. There were 12,000 to 15,000 receivers. Some sets in restaurants or bars might have 100 viewers for sport events.  Broadcasts were suspended during the war and resumed in 1946.  By the 1960s TV had become a ubiquitous part of modern life and by now its quality has improved exponentially.

A third example of technological advancement and commerce began in 1946, when ENIAC, the world’s first electronic general purpose computer was unveiled.  It weighed 27 tons, occupied 167 square metres of space, used 150kw of electricity.  Its construction cost almost US$7 million in today’s money, not least for its five million hand-soldered joints!  It could multiply two 10 digit numbers in .0028 seconds.  ENIAC was, of course, based on vacuum tubes and crystal diodes, which imposed a serious physical limitation on future progress.  This impediment was overcome in 1955 with the development of the first fully transistorized computer, the Harwell Cadet, at the UK Atomic Energy Research Establishment.  The development if the integrated circuit in 1958 then opened the way to the rapid development of the microcomputer.  The world went from ENIAC to Apple Mac in just 38 years!  And the pace of technological advance in computing since then has been astronomical.

See where I’m going with this? Now consider other technologies, ones we are constantly told are on the very edge of becoming commercially viable.

As early as 1887, Professor James Blyth of Glasgow built a ten-metre wind-power generator which he used to provide electricity to his holiday cottage.  At about the same time, James Brush in Cleveland, Ohio, built a larger wind generator which he used to power his laboratory.  It consisted of a 17-metre rotor mounted on an 18-metre tower.  It was rated at 12kw. Photovoltaic power generation was first demonstrated in 1839 but was quickly abandoned as a practical method for generating electricity. It did not really rear its head again until 1941, when Russell Ohl invented the solar cell. Still, it remained a niche technology until the mid 1970s, when governments started to worry about peak oil.

Let’s be generous and say that serious development of the two main renewable-energy technologies commenced in the 1980s.  So how far have they advanced in 35 years? A green website called Conserve Energy Future tells us that in 2012, $25 billion was invested worldwide in wind power. Bloomberg News tells us that in the ten years between 2004 and 2014, a total of US$2.3 trillion was invested in renewables, and that, as of 2016, they still produce a meret 4% or thereabouts of the world’s energy consumption.

We are constantly being bombarded with feel-good stories about wind and solar power generation and, indeed, billions of dollars have been expended worldwide on these boondoggles. This has produced little in the way of practical, base-load power, it has certainly spawned an endless supply of studies telling us how good renewables will be for the economy. This alleged benefit is said to be over and above those technologies’ CO2-curbing potential.

Trouble is, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) tells us that, in 2010, renewables made up only 20% of global electricity production, of which 16% was from hydroelectricity.  Wind power contributed 1.4% and solar less than 1%. The EIA predicts that the share of non-hydro renewables will increase to 9% by 2040.  They also tell us that coal will still be the largest contributor (30%) along with natural gas (25%) contributing 55% and nuclear 20%. The total share of renewables will have increased to only 25%.

Let me re-iterate.  By 2040, wind and solar will still only be contributing 9% of global electricity production.  If renewables are such a great economic opportunity, why such modest growth over a period of 25 years?

Oh, and by the way, that 30% share for coal in 2040 represents, in absolute terms, an increase in usage of 50%. Based on our experience with the successful technologies described above, if wind and solar are ever going to be a viable alternative to fossil fuels, don’t you think we should have seen some evidence of it by now? Wind power, in particular, has been around for 130 years and its fundamental design has hardly changed at all in that time.

Aviation, television and computing all have a couple of things in common.

First, their technological development was a logarithmic curve — that is, the giant leaps were made early in the maturation lifecycle and their further development predicated upon some new, breakthrough technology, such as the transistor, the jet engine etc. We have not seen that pace of improvement in either wind or solar.

Second, they were financed by redirecting a percentage of profits into R&D, private venture capital and, yes, government investment.  But in relation to government investment, it is important to make the distinction that this was government as consumer – particularly in the defence realm – not government as venture capitalist. Where are the venture capitalists for wind and solar?  The canny investors just clamouring to get on board the new renewables revolution?

History, physics and common sense all tell us wind and solar will never be competitive with fossil fuels.  The undeniable limiting factor is that fossil fuel energy is concentrated and available whenever required, while wind and solar are spread across the globe and are unvaryingly intermittent.

But getting back to the Solar Impulse 2,  Pilot Bertrand Piccard is reported in the Guardian to have said, “I hope people will understand that it is not just a first in the history of aviation, but also a first in the history of energy.” As The Guardian further explains, “The aim of the Solar Impulse adventure was not to develop solar-powered planes for widespread use, but to show the capabilities of renewable energy.”

So, not really about aviation at all, just a PR exercise. The project cost an estimated 170 million Euros to achieve something that has been commonplace for many decades – and, by the way, to achieve it very messily, as the plane required conventionally powered aircraft to shuttle its handlers and tech meisters about the globe, as Quadrant contributor Tony Thomas explained in a recent Spectator essay.

I wonder how much sponsorship I could get for my idea.  My plan is to demonstrate the effectiveness of wind power by building some wind generators powered by huge rubber bands to provide reliable wind to an opposing bank of wind turbines.  Of course, I’ll need someone to periodically rewind the rubber bands – some useful idiot with nothing better to do for the next 18 months.

“Hello,  Bertrand?  Is that you?”


NY's renewable-energy push gets dirty

New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s renewable-energy ambitions are running headlong into the hard realities of maintaining a reliable electric grid. On July 8, the New York Independent System Operator, the agency charged with managing the state’s grid, provided comments on the governor’s plan to require utilities to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2030. The NYISO maintains that to keep the lights on, the state will have to spend heavily on new transmission infrastructure to accommodate more renewables, preserve all of its nuclear capacity (including the controversial Indian Point Energy Center), and build even more onshore wind-energy capacity in upstate communities. Five days after the NYISO filed its comments, Cuomo’s energy czar, Richard Kauffman, fired off an angry—and rather bizarre—letter to Brad Jones, the NYISO president and CEO. Calling the grid operator’s comments “misleading, incomplete, and grossly inaccurate,” Kauffman claimed that the NYISO showed “an alarming lack” of understanding of “how a modern grid can be developed and operated.”  

Kauffman apparently wanted a political response from the NYISO. Instead, he got a technical one. Indeed, the NYISO’s comments are straightforward. The grid operator pointed out that about 90 percent of the new renewable-energy generation needed to meet Cuomo’s targets will be located in upstate New York. Given the distance between those upstate generation sources and the main population centers located in the southern and eastern parts of the state, the NYISO concluded that “nearly 1,000 miles of new bulk power transmission” will have to be built over the next decade and a half. This likely upset Kauffman because high-voltage transmission lines are costly and difficult to site. Indeed, rural residents across the country have waged lengthy battles to stop construction of transmission lines through their neighborhoods. It’s readily apparent that rural New Yorkers will resist such plans as well.

The NYISO also made it clear that Cuomo will have to change his tune on nuclear energy. “Retaining all existing nuclear generators is critical to the State’s carbon emission reduction requirements as well as maintaining electric system reliability,” the agency wrote. For years, Cuomo has pushed for the closure of Indian Point, though the twin-reactor, 2,069-megawatt facility provides up to one quarter of New York City’s electricity. Now the governor appears to have gotten the message. About ten days after the NYISO published its comments, the Cuomo administration said that it would be willing to include nuclear energy as part of the state’s Clean Energy Standard. That’s important, because late last year, Entergy Corporation announced that it planned to close its 838-megawatt FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego by early 2017.

On Monday, the New York Public Service Commission will vote on a proposal that will provide about $1 billion per year in subsidies to the state’s nuclear plants to keep them operating. While giving subsidies to big utilities is hardly an ideal outcome, the move recognizes the difficulty that utilities are having in keeping their reactors in operation—especially when they have to compete against highly subsidized sources like wind and solar.

The NYISO also provided some remarkable numbers on the amount of renewable-energy capacity that will be needed to meet Cuomo’s 50 percent goal. It projected that the state will need nearly to triple its installed wind-energy capacity. That means that New York, which now has  about 1,750 megawatts of wind-generation capacity, will have to add another 3,500 megawatts of onshore wind. That will require covering roughly 450 square miles of land with wind turbines—a territory nearly as large as Albany County, which covers 523 square miles. Where will New York put those thousands of new wind turbines? Upstate, of course.

But an increasing number of upstate communities are already battling against the encroachment of Big Wind. Earlier this month, lawmakers in Jefferson County voted against giving tax breaks for wind and solar projects because the projects don’t create enough benefits for local communities. In April, the town of Clayton imposed a six-month moratorium (later upheld by the state supreme court) on applications for new wind-energy projects. Last July, the Town Board of Catlin passed a law prohibiting wind projects after Florida-based NextEra Energy proposed a $200 million project in the town. In 2014, after a decade-long fight, oil-and-gas giant BP announced that it was abandoning plans to build a 200-megawatt wind project near Cape Vincent amid fierce opposition from local residents. In 2007, the western Catskills town of Bovina also banned wind projects.

Three upstate counties—Erie, Orleans, and Niagara—as well as the towns of Yates and Somerset are all fighting a proposed 200-megawatt project called Lighthouse Wind. A few months ago, I interviewed Yates supervisor James J. Simon, who told me that the fight against Lighthouse Wind is “about trying to preserve our rural agricultural landscape.” An associate dean at Genesee Community College, Simon wasn’t active in politics until now. The attitude of the pro-wind forces, he says, is “you all are small potatoes and we are going to cram this down your throat.”

According to the NYISO, along with pushing thousands of new wind turbines on upstate residents, the state will also need to add nearly 10 gigawatts of new solar capacity over the next 14 years. That’s roughly equal to all the combined solar capacity of Spain and Australia. And the NYISO expects that the majority of that new solar capacity (6.8 gigawatts) will have to be utility-scale solar—meaning huge swaths of land covered in nothing but PV panels. Where will these massive solar arrays be located? Yep—upstate.

Maybe it was the publication of these eye-popping numbers that angered Cuomo’s energy czar. In his letter to Jones, Kauffman claimed that the NYISO is “held captive” by the state’s electric utilities and that it lacks “understanding into the imperative to address climate change.” To hear the Cuomo administration tell it, the NYISO—an independent nonprofit whose principal job is assuring electrical reliability for 19 million New Yorkers—is both incompetent and corrupt. Kauffman’s letter—combined with the looming fight over hundreds of miles of high-voltage transmission lines and thousands of new wind turbines—shows that Cuomo’s renewable-energy plans are headed for some nasty political fights.



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2 August, 2016

Clinton walks fine line on carbon tax

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is leaving the door open to supporting a carbon tax, hinting that the Democratic nominee could eventually back the controversial idea.

Statements from top campaign officials made during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia could endear her to environmental activists who are pressing her to adopt more of the progressive positions of primary rival Bernie Sanders — a vocal carbon tax supporter.

But it could be a difficult decision for Clinton with clear political costs.

Putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions — which would raise the costs of fossil fuels — has rarely gone over well politically, and could open Clinton up to attacks from Donald Trump and conservatives.

At a League of Conservation Voters event in Philadelphia, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta toldPolitico that “if Congress wants to come forward with [a carbon tax proposal], we’ll take a look at it.”

Trevor Houser, Clinton’s top energy adviser, had a similar take at a separate event, saying that “if Congress wants to have a conversation about addressing climate change, Secretary Clinton would be delighted to have that conversation.”

Both men were careful to add caveats to their answers, making it clear that Clinton is not proposing a carbon tax, and her chief climate plan is to build upon President Obama’s agenda through regulation.

“Democrats believe that climate change is too important to wait for climate deniers in Congress to start listening to science,” Houser said.

The statements, though, nonetheless move Clinton past her previous refusal to even talk about the issue.

During the primary fight with Sanders, she tiptoed around the issue.  Sanders repeatedly pushed Clinton to take a position on carbon taxes and said that her silence meant she did not take the climate issue seriously enough.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who’s on track to lead the Senate Democratic caucus in 2017, said last year that a carbon tax is likely to pass the Senate if Clinton wins and Democrats retake control of the upper chamber.

Clinton supported cap-and-trade, another mechanism for putting a price on carbon emissions, in the 2008 campaign, before legislation for such a plan died in the Senate in 2010.

Now she's walking a fine line on carbon pricing, keeping the door open, but not too enthusiastically.

Barry Rabe, a public policy professor at the University of Michigan, said her refusal to rule out a carbon tax is telling.  "What this does is further suggest that it’s possible, post-election, that some form of carbon price could be on the table. We’re not hearing the campaign saying ‘absolutely not,’” Rabe said.

He added that a few factors could push Clinton more toward a carbon tax, either during the campaign or if she wins the election. Chief among them would be the need to win over progressive Sanders supporters. “I can’t help but think she’ll be looking for ways to do that, not just on climate,” he said.

But she also might believe that regulation isn’t enough to tackle the scope of the climate challenge.

Carbon pricing has wide support among liberals and among some conservative economists, as a relatively straightforward way to reduce carbon emissions, depending on how it is structured. The Democratic Party platform this year also endorses a price on carbon.

But Republican lawmakers and Trump are steadfastly against it. Most of the party’s leaders, including Trump, doubt the impact of greenhouse gases on climate change, and see a carbon tax as little more than an increase in energy costs.

Republicans passed a symbolic resolution in June denouncing a carbon tax, hoping to close the door completely on the question.

Clinton’s delicate handling of the issue is probably informed in part by the political history of energy taxes.

The Democratic-led House passed a “BTU tax” — for British thermal unit, a measure of energy — in 1993, costing the party its majority the next year. After Democrats retook the House, they passed a cap-and-trade bill in 2009, and again lost the majority in 2010.

“Clinton has no intention of being suckered into a political disaster by advocating a carbon tax,” said Paul Bledsoe, a political consultant who worked for the Senate Finance Committee’s Democrats when the House passed its tax in 1993. He later served as the spokesman for the White House’s Climate Change Task Force under President Bill Clinton.

“If Republicans will come out for it and vote for it, that’s a different matter. But until that happens, the Democrats should have nothing to do with it, because it’s political poison,” Bledsoe said.

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), an adviser to the Trump campaign, said any change from Clinton is likely to be a liability for her. Trump has already criticized her for endorsing an expansion of Obama’s environmental policies, and a carbon tax would make that attack easier.

“Any time a candidate for any office — especially president — leaves the door open for any type of a new tax, you’re making yourself somewhat vulnerable, politically,” Cramer said.

The Trump campaign didn’t respond to the statements from Podesta or Houser.

Conservative anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist, who leads Americans for Tax Reform, said the Democrats probably lost the 2016 election already by including a carbon tax in their platform. “When counting to 270 — the number of electoral votes needed to win the presidency — the Republicans may have already won the election in five short words: ‘We oppose any carbon tax,’” he said in a statement.

Norquist pointed particularly to Pennsylvania, Ohio and Colorado as swing states, crucial to the election, but also home to large increases in oil and natural gas drilling in recent years that could be slowed down by restrictions on carbon.

Cramer too said Republicans would benefit from even having Clinton openly consider a carbon tax.

“It all adds up to an almost unarguable pattern that she wants to continue Obama’s policies,” he said. “It makes it easier than ever to tie her to his agenda. And I think that’s a sweet spot for our team.”


Phil Plait is on the stump again

He wants to link America's hot summer to global warming.  He knows he can't prove any link and that the IPCC says so as well but he is very big on "likely" and other weasel words

You want to know the very definition of irony? While the Republican National Convention is going on in Ohio—loaded to the hilt with people who deny the reality of global warming—the country itself is baking under a heat wave that is likely amplified by global warming.

That is a model of the air temperatures in the U.S. at 5 p.m. ET on July 18, showing what’s colloquially called a “heat dome” over about two-thirds of the country. It’s a high-pressure system that squats over an area and can lead to high temperatures. High-pressure systems have sinking air, and when the air drops down, it compresses and heats up. This is causing elevated temperatures from the Southwest to the East Coast, and elevated humidity in much of that area as well.

Worse, the system is moving only slowly … which is very likely to be due to global warming. Usually, such weather patterns don’t hang out very long. But the planet is warming, and this has consequences. Warming affects the Arctic more than lower latitudes, and the strength of the jet stream depends in part on the difference in temperatures at lower latitudes to those in the Arctic. With the North Pole warming, the jet stream weakens, and “blocking patterns” can result, where weather systems move more slowly or not at all for some length of time.

While it’s difficult to pin down any specific event to global warming, overall the effects of warming will make patterns like this more common, and we are seeing more of them.


The perils of scientific prophecy

“IT ALWAYS seems impossible until it’s done.”

It’s a quote often attributed to Nelson Mandela, but regardless of who uttered the famous words the sentiment rings true when it comes to humankind’s tendency to triumph.

The rate of technological innovation has exploded in the past century but life-changing inventions are seldom welcomed with open arms at first. The rate of technological adoption is greater than any other time in human history but it seems there will always be those who don’t believe.

From Lord Kelvin’s boast that “X-rays will prove to be a hoax” to Astronomer Forest Moulton’s assertion that “there is no hope for the fanciful idea of reaching the moon because of insurmountable barriers to escaping the Earth’s gravity,” there has been plenty of incidents in the past that illustrate the hazards of scientific prophecy — especially when it comes to the doubters.

Here is just some of the most embarrassing denouncements of new technologies that went on to change the world.


Less than 150 years ago the idea of the light bulb was pooh-poohed by many so called experts at the time.

Thomas Edison was already a formidable personality in the world of science after inventing the phonograph, but it wasn’t enough to earn him the benefit of the doubt when it came to his latest big idea.

When gas securities plummeted in 1878 because Thomas Edison announced he was working on an incandescent lamp, the British parliament set up a committee to look into the matter — and their conclusion was an unflattering one for Edison.

“Good enough for our transatlantic friends ... but unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men,” the parliamentary committee said.

A few years later in 1880 Henry Morton, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology, said when referring to Edison’s light bulb: “Everyone acquainted with the subject will recognise it as a conspicuous failure.”

It was not entirely uncommon for the Brits to get their knickers in a twist about American inventions at the time. But in this case it meant they underestimated what was later considered the invention of the century.

Thomas Alva Edison, holds his ‘Edison Effect’ light bulb in his West Orange, NJ laboratory, the first long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Picture: J. Walter Thompson

Thomas Alva Edison, holds his ‘Edison Effect’ light bulb in his West Orange, NJ laboratory, the first long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Picture: J. Walter ThompsonSource:AP


The history of the automobile is a long a winding road, but one that can be traced back to Karl Benz who patented the three-wheeled motor car in 1886.

While there were plenty of men who contributed to the idea one way or the other, it is Benz who gets the credit. His car was practical, used a gasoline-powered internal-combustion engine and worked much like modern cars do today.

Despite the seeming inevitability of the automobile, the naysayers were abound.

“The ordinary ‘horseless carriage’ is at present a luxury for the wealthy; and although its price will probably fall in the future, it will never, of course, come into as common use as the bicycle,” claimed the Literary Digest in 1899.

A few years later some people still weren’t convinced the car would catch on. In 1902 Harper’s Weekly wrote: “The actual building of roads devoted to motor cars is not for the near future, in spite of many rumours to that effect.”

Industrialist Henry Ford who brought the invention to the masses put it best when describing the difficulty of selling the public on a groundbreaking invention.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses,” he is famously reported to have said.
The inventor and his creation: Karl Benz (in front) at the wheel of his patent motor car model III, together with Friedrich von Fischer.

The inventor and his creation: Karl Benz (in front) at the wheel of his patent motor car model III, together with Friedrich von Fischer.Source:Supplied


Most people know the story of the Wright brothers, the American duo and aviation pioneers who are generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world’s first successful aeroplane.

But what most people don’t remember is just how many highly credited people they proved wrong.

“Flight by machines heavier than air is impractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible,” physicist and Director of the US Naval Observatory, Simon Newcomb, said in 1902, just one of many who pooh-poohed the idea.

The following year the Wright brothers proved him wrong.

William H. Pickering, the director of the Harvard College Observatory, joined the chorus of scepticism in 1910 after a fixed wing aeroplane had proved successful.

“It is clear that with our present devices there is no hope of aircraft competing for racing speed with either our locomotives or automobiles,” he said.
The Wright brothers took on the “impossible”.

The Wright brothers took on the “impossible”.Source:Supplied


Televisions are so ubiquitous these days that you can find them in cars and on the doors of fridges. But less than a century ago, they had yet to be introduced to the world.

Electronic television was first successfully demonstrated in San Francisco in September 1927, unveiled by its 21-year-old inventor Philo Farnsworth.

The young man had devised a system capable of capturing moving images in a form that could be coded onto radio waves and then transformed back into a picture on a screen.

It was primed to become a commercial juggernaut but not everyone was impressed.

Inventor of gems like the vacuum tube and self described “father of radio” Lee De Forest slammed the prospect of television.

“While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially, I consider it an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming,” he said in 1926.

How wrong he was.


We live in a computerised world but the idea of a personal home computer was once a far-fetched notion.

In 1949 inventor, mathematician, physicist and computer scientist John von Neumann thought we’d come to the end of the road when it came to computers.

“It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology,” he said. However he was smart enough to add a caveat saying; “although one should be careful with such statements, as they tend to sound pretty silly in five years.”

He was both wrong, and then right.

The first personal computers, introduced in 1975, came as kits (the MITS Altair 8800, followed by the IMSAI 8080) but were products that catered to a very esoteric market.

However the personal computer went on to find its first true commercial success when Apple introduced the Apple II.

Other computers released around the same time also ... and a major industry was born.


There are no experts on the future

The track record of forecasters, except through extrapolation, is poor

Michael Gove was mocked during the referendum campaign for saying that “I think people in this country have had enough of experts.” Critics asked pointedly if he dismissed the expertise of doctors when ill. But subsequent weeks have left economic experts, at least, looking a bit less than the full Nostradamus.

The expert pollsters told the hedge funds Remain would win right up till when it lost, so the pound and the FTSE 100 rose, then crashed. The expert financial forecasters then told investors the FTSE 100 would fall further, but it quickly recovered all its lost ground and more. The expert analysts told us we should watch the FTSE 250 plunge instead, but that has now returned to the level it was at a week before the referendum.

Meanwhile, the IMF experts have abandoned their prediction of a recession, and all talk of a punishment budget from the Treasury experts has been forgotten. By contrast, Friday’s bad snapshot from the purchasing managers index was all the more credible for being a non-expert survey.

Yet of course it is still true that we turn to doctors, accountants, plumbers, motor mechanics and weather forecasters for their expertise, and rightly so. Why are some experts indispensable some of the time and others not? I suspect the answer is simple: there are no experts on the future. Explaining the present and the past requires expertise: “it’s your carburettor/prostate”. In forecasting the future, experts are generally no better than everybody else. They might be worse.

Even weather forecasters, who are very good these days, have a short time horizon. More than five days out and they struggle. The Met Office, badly burned by the failure of its long-range forecasts a few years ago, now adopts a more humble tone. Half way through May it said this about the coming summer: “the outlook suggests the chances of above – or below – average rainfall are approximately similar.” Which covers all possibilities, like an astrologer. Even then, it added a disclaimer: “this is not a normal weather forecast. It’s an experimental and complex outlook based on probabilities”. Whatever that means.

No wonder it is cautious. In 2007 the Met Office said “there are no indications of a particularly wet summer." Floods followed. In 2009 it forecast a “barbecue summer” with “rainfall average or below average” before one of the dullest and wettest Julys. In September 2009 it forecast that the winter “is likely to be milder than last year” before the coldest winter in 30 years. In October 2010, it forecast a 60-80 per cent chance of “warmer-than-average temperatures this winter” before the coldest December in 100 years. A blindfolded person throwing darts at a chart would have done better than this. A little expertise is clearly a dangerous thing

Beginning in the 1980s, Philip Tetlock, now of the University of Pennsylvania, ran a tournament testing 28,000 specific predictions from 284 experts over 20 years. He found that on average expert forecasters were only slightly more reliable than chance, and that simple extrapolation was usually more accurate.

The more famous the forecaster, the worse his or her performance. (He has since found there are a very few “superforecasters”, generally rather self-effacing types, who do more consistently get things right

The reason for this lack of expertise about the future among experts is partly that their forecasts rely too heavily on pet arguments or assumptions. The Met Office’s computer had been programmed to expect faster global warming than was happening. Economists get certain bees in the bonnet. Famous people succumb to their own fame.

There is also the temptation to get media attention for a forecast by indulging in excessive pessimism. Paul Samuelson famously joked that stockmarkets forecast nine of the last five recessions. Doom has been selling newspapers for decades, in the form of impending war, famine, pollution, disease or economic collapse. Cassandras generally get more coverage than Pollyannas.

Here’s Robert Heilbroner, a famous economist, in 1973: “The outlook for man, I believe, is painful, difficult, perhaps desperate and the hope that can be held out for his future prospects seems to be very slim indeed.” Here’s a famous ecologist, Paul Ehrlich, speaking at the Institute of Biology in London in 1971: “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

Simple extrapolation is more reliable. If you had defied the gloomsters and said in 1960 that the world economy would grow by 2-6% a year every year with few exceptions for more than 50 years, you would have been laughed at, but you would have been right. There was only one year in that period when the world economy shrank – 2009 – and even that merely brought it back to its long-term trajectory. This is much steadier than any one country. I find that rather strange and don’t fully understand it.

After all, the economy shares an essentially unpredictable feature with the climate: they are both chaotic. That is to say, they have many small causes, which affect each other and result in complex feedback loops. Small perturbations in initial conditions can create big later changes: in the cliché, a butterfly’s wing flap can lead to a hurricane.

And unlike in climate forecasting, prediction of human trends is difficult because discovery and innovation keep throwing spanners in the works. “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts,” said the physicist Richard Feynman, reflecting on the tendency of research to explode complacency and embarrass experts who tell you what’s impossible.

Experts are notoriously bad at seeing technological change coming. When they do, they often expect it in the wrong area. Fifty years ago, after dramatic changes in transport but not much change in communication, futurologists were all babbling about personal gyrocopters, regular supersonic flights and routine space travel – none of which have yet materialized. Very few of them saw mobile phones coming, let alone the internet, search engines or social media.

So trust experts, yes, but never about the future. The inventor, James Lovelock, aged 96, put it rather well in an interview with the Bournemouth Echo at the weekend: “I think anyone that tries to predict more than five to ten years ahead is a bit of an idiot, so many things can change unexpectedly.”


Philippines President, U.S. House Reject UN Climate Initiatives

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced on July 18 his  administration would not honor the December 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, calling agreement “stupid” and “absurd.” The Philippines signed the Paris agreement but has yet to ratify it, which now seems unlikely based on Duterte’s statements. Duterte says the international treaty would stymie the country’s industrial growth.

The issue arose when a foreign ambassador reminded Duterte of the country’s commitment to limit its carbon emissions. Duterte told the ambassador the climate change agreement was forged just when the Philippines was on its way to develop its own industries, stating, “Now that we’re developing, you will impose a limit? That’s absurd. … They [industrialized countries] think that they can dictate the destiny of the rest of the [world].”

Going further Duterte said, “We have not reached the age of industrialization. We’re now going into it. But you are trying to stymie [our growth] with an agreement that says you can only go up to here. That’s stupid…. That was not my signature. I will not honor that.”

While the Philippines is rejecting the UN’s Paris Climate Deal, the U.S. Congress seems intent on halting all funding to the UN’s Green Climate Fund.

On July 12, the House Appropriations Committee rejected an amendment by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) to the House State Department and foreign operations spending bill to let the federal government contribute to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund (GCF). Texas Rep. Kay Granger (R) objected to the amendment, noting it would “strike language preventing the administration from carrying out its harmful climate change policies.” Lowey’s proposal failed on a 20–29 vote.

Although the Obama administration has pledged $3 billion for the GCF, Congress, which constitutionally controls the purse, has rejected such spending. The 2015 year-end spending deal didn’t include the $500 million Obama wanted for the GCF, but the State Department provided the funding anyway, arguing, because the deal didn’t explicitly prohibit GCF spending, it could shift the $500 million from other accounts to contribute to the GCF.

To prevent such fund- shifting in the future, Appropriations Committee Republicans in both the House and Senate included GCF funding prohibitions in their 2017 State Department spending bills.

Granger, chairwoman of the State Department appropriations subcommittee, said she received more member requests to block GCF spending than for any other program.

At least some political leaders are not being buffaloed into funding flawed, costly, ineffective climate change boondoggles. Hallelujah!


A moderate weather event

It is midwinter in Brisbane where I live.  The temperature at my place with doors open and no heating in operation was 28 degrees C at 3pm yesterday.  Britons would call that a heatwave.  So how come such heat in midwinter?  Brisbane is, after all, in a sub-tropical latitude, not the tropics.  Could it be that global warming is catching up with me?

Not quite.  You see, we also had a very cool summer at the beginning of this year.  So instead of extreme weather events, we are having a moderate weather event -- where summer and winter temperatures converge to an unusual degree. 

I am sure the Warmists could explain it.  They can explain everything "post hoc". But it's certainly pretty weird in an opposite direction to what the panic merchants have predicted.  If this is global warming, I love it!


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

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


1 August, 2016

Destructive forest fires are due to – WHAT?

Climate change is all-purpose excuse for Big Green and federal misfeasance and malfeasance

Paul Driessen

First the Obama EPA came for coal mines, coal-fired power plants, miners, workers, investors, and all who depend on reliable, affordable electricity. Then the EPA, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and other agencies came after oil and gas drilling and fracking, and the workers, industries and families that need petroleum. They’re also targeting farming, ranching, airlines and manufacturing.

It’s all to stop “dangerous manmade climate change,” rising seas, warmer and colder weather, wetter and drier seasons, and other “unprecedented” calamities. Now the Feds want us to believe worsening forest fires threaten communities, wildlife and wildlife habitats because we burn fossil-fuels.

Thousands of fires have already torched millions of acres, amid yet another dangerous and costly fire season. It happens every year, and has for centuries. But now, the Department of the Interior misinforms us, “climate change is making it worse. Wildfire seasons are now hotter, drier and longer than in the past.” Sure they are. Wanna buy a bridge?

I lived out West for a decade, back in the 1970s, and saw wildfires and dozens of burned-over forests. I hiked, camped and skied during extra wet and ultra dry years. During a flight from Denver to Seattle, I watched multiple fires rage across tens of thousands of acres in four states.

I’m in Whitefish, Montana this week, where hundreds of trees are just a few inches in diameter, packed in clusters of a half dozen or more, inches from one another – perfect kindling for vicious wildfires. Over time, most will get crowded out and die, leaving just a few hardy specimens to grow into hefty 50-100 foot beauties – assuming they are not engulfed in a super-heated inferno first.

Vast stands of densely packed, water- and nutrient-starved trees – skinny matchsticks waiting for a spark – are far too common in our western states, because land mis-managers refuse to thin the trees.

The resulting fires are not the “forest-rejuvenating” blazes of environmentalist lore. They are cauldron-hot conflagrations that exterminate wildlife habitats, roast bald eagle and spotted owl fledglings alive in their nests, boil away trout and trout streams, leave surviving animals to starve, and incinerate every living organism in already thin soils … that then get washed away during future downpours and snowmelts. Areas incinerated by such fires don’t recover their arboreal biodiversity for decades.

Homes in and near the forests become ashes, chimneys and memories. Residents die in their homes or trying to flee the infernos. Firefighters perish trying to extinguish them.

The fires can certainly be far worse in drought years. But droughts are nothing new, either. We all recall the seven-year drought that brought Joseph to prominence in pharaoh’s Egypt, and the eight-year-long Dust Bowl during the 1930s. Historians describe a 50-year “water famine” that drove Anasazis out of the American Southwest, the 200-year drought that ended Mayan civilization, and other parched periods in China, Africa, Mesopotamia and other regions.

In short, whatever “hotter, drier, longer” forest fires we are witnessing today have nothing to do with fossil fuels, plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide or “dangerous manmade climate change.” They have a lot to do with incompetent forest mismanagement policies and practices.

Far too many environmentalists, bureaucrats, politicians and judges would rather let forests burn, than let anyone selectively cut timber, thin out overgrown trees – or even let loggers harvest usable timber left from beetle kills, devastating fires or volcanic explosions like Mount St. Helens. (Do you suppose they’d alter their policies if loggers promised to use chain saws powered by little wind turbines or solar panels?)

Eco-purists want no cutting, no thinning – no using fire retardants in “sensitive” areas because the chemicals might get into streams that will be boiled away by conflagrations. They prevent homeowners from clearing brush around their homes, because it might provide cover or habitat for endangered species and other critters that will get incinerated or lose their forage, prey and habitats in the next blaze. They rarely alter their policies during drought years.

The Obama Administration spends billions of dollars annually on manmade global warming “research,” billions more on renewable energy boondoggles for crony corporatist campaign contributors, billions more to convert more private land to federal control. But it never seems to have enough money for expanded or modernized fire control.

Meanwhile, the Administration is gearing up to plant thousands of wind turbines across these areas, to slice and dice whatever raptors and other birds aren’t obliterated by fires.

In line with environmentalist ideology and Democratic Party ideals, it’s also expanding efforts to eliminate the last vestiges of drilling, mining, timber harvesting, ranching, farming and property inholdings (private lands allowed to remain within subsequently designated parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas) on government-controlled lands in America’s western states and Alaska. Many call it cultural cleansing, to create private recreational domains for the rich and famous.

The Feds have guidelines that say fires in certain areas can be extinguished if they are of human origin (arson or untended campfires, eg) – but must be allowed to burn if they are “natural” (caused by lightning, for example). One must take it on faith that “experts” can make that distinction in the midst of an inferno, and pray that small fires won’t become raging infernos. The Federales even have jurisdictional policies that can prevent aircraft from dropping water on a fire, if the crew cannot tell whether the blaze is on Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service land.

A relatively new product called FireIce smothers fires, by taking heat and oxygen away from combustible materials. Dropped directly onto a fire from airplanes, it penetrates through smoke, fire and treetops down to burning timber and trees and brush in a fire’s path. It can also be carried to blazes in standard fire and tanker trucks, or blended on location using dry FireIce powder and on-site water. Homeowners can brew up their own batches, adding water to the dry chemical, and use the concoction to coat their houses, shrubs and other property – protecting them against onrushing flames.

Unfortunately, state and federal officials have employed this highly effective fire killer only sporadically. The results are predictable, as recounted above.

The Justice Department has prosecuted farmers and ranchers for trying to protect their property from current or potential fires, by starting “controlled burns” or “backfires” that got out of control and burned a few hundred acres of US forest. But when intentional Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service fires in Oregon or South Dakota got out of control and burned thousands of acres of US and private forestland, forage and livestock, no repercussions, prosecutions or compensation were forthcoming.

As to the Interior Department’s convenient claim that today’s forest fires are due to US greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, let’s not forget that rapidly developing countries are emitting increasing amounts of carbon dioxide every year – numerous times what the USA can possibly eliminate – and there is still no Real World evidence that humans have replaced powerful natural forces in climate change.

It’s time to give America’s forest management and fire control policies a thorough review and revision, before we lose more habitats, wildlife, homes and human lives. And while we’re at it, let’s end this insane obsession with manmade climate Armageddon.

Via email

Allow capitalism to save the tiger

Tomorrow is International Tiger Day, but it’s been a rough year for the big cat. Only an estimated 3,000 of them remain in the wild, and Cambodia declared the tiger extinct within its borders earlier in 2016.

To make matters even worse, some groups who claim to be protecting the endangered tiger have been revealed as frauds. Thailand’s famous Tiger Temple, a monastery that allowed tourists to pay a fee and interact with tigers, was recently charged with illegal possession of endangered wildlife and wildlife trafficking. When the wildlife department officers went to seize the monastery’s 137 tigers, they discovered 60 frozen and bottled tiger cub carcasses, pelts, and other endangered-species parts. It is thought that the monks were mistreating the tigers and illegally selling tiger products for huge profits on the black market.

So this International Tiger Day, how do we protect this iconic animal? Unfortunately, trade bans, efforts against poaching, and days of awareness have clearly not been enough to save the wild tiger. Though these approaches could work if everyone agreed that every last tiger is worth protecting, the harsh reality is that there are people who will pay big money for tiger parts, poachers who have no qualms about killing tigers, and plenty of people who live with tigers and see them as threats. To address these realities, Barun Mitra suggested another approach to tiger conservation in his 2006 Perc Reports article “Saving the Tiger”: allowing tigers and their parts to be legally raised and traded.

If we truly value the tiger, we need to explore the tiger’s commercial potential. By harnessing the real economic value of tigers and other forest produce, we may make the tiger earn its keep, and avoid the specter of extinction of this magnificent species in the wild.

The tiger, which is at the top of the food chain in its ecosystem, would be at the top of the economic ladder because of its market value. Among the results we can expect from breeding tigers to reduce poaching in the wild:

The scale of farmed tigers will reduce the incentive for smugglers to kill wild tigers

Scientists and wildlife managers will improve their breeding, management, and rehabilitation methods for tiger reintroduction; forest dwellers, who have detailed knowledge of their natural surroundings, will facilitate wildlife management.

Rural populations will change their incentives. Villagers who are often lured by smugglers into killing a wild tiger for a few dollars will now defend their new environmental assets, because a live tiger will be more profitable to them than a dead one.

As trade and marketing channels develop for both consumptive and non-consumptive use of tigers, investment in better technologies and management practices will take place. National and international brands will appear. Tourism will increase.

A successful wildlife economy will help build awareness of the value of environmental resources. The price of the tiger in the black market will collapse, and legal trade will thrive.

Investment will improve the productivity of wildlife farms, and assured supply and low prices will take the pressure off the wild tigers, allowing their numbers to revive.

A legal framework for tiger breeding would help resolve the conflict between the people and animals that has contributed to the tiger’s drastic decline. Once people can profit from these resources, they will have the incentive to optimize the use of the resources. It is mostly forgotten that forest and wildlife, including tigers, are renewable.

Under such a framework, rather than being in conflict, humans and animals would both prosper. Commerce could be the most powerful ally of conservation.

Legal, monitored ranching and trade of endangered species has been shown to preserve their populations. Take the Nile crocodile, for instance, which was previously endangered and whose trade was banned under CITES. Kenya, however, made an arrangement to allow for the private ranching of these crocodiles under a strict permitting and management system.

Part of the program involved ranchers training community members on methods of wild crocodile egg collection and handling, and it then paid them for collecting the eggs. In 2006, CITES noted the success of crocodile ranching on local populations, saying, “overall, community crocodile egg collection programme has helped turn the human crocodile conflict problem into a sustainable socio-ecological and economic opportunity, which supports conservation of the resource.”

A similar story can be told with respect to southern white rhinos in South Africa. South Africa used to allow rhino trophy hunting, but rhinos were un-owned property. Landowners had incentive to sell off rhino hunts as quickly as possible before a rhino wandered off the property or was poached, and the animals’ numbers dwindled.

But the Theft of Game Act of 1991 decreed that white rhinos that could be identified according to certain criteria such as a brand or ear tag could be privately owned. It then made sense for private ranchers to breed rhinos and also limit rhino trophy hunting to sustainable levels. As a result, southern white rhino populations flourished, and it is the only rhino species with a large enough population to avoid the endangered species list.

As we celebrate International Tiger Day and consider the plight of the big cat, we must change our approach to conservation if we want to keep the species around for generations to come. As uncomfortable as some may be with the idea of harvesting tigers for market use, tigers continue to be slaughtered to near-extinction by black-market poachers even given existing prohibitions.

Many of these regulations misalign incentives and promote illegal, unsustainable black-market trade. The successes of the Nile crocodile and southern white rhino demonstrated how property rights and markets can help preserve animals when rhetoric and bans fail. Mitra had a point – it’s time for tigers to be a local asset and allow commerce to be a powerful ally of their conservation.


Looks like even the Donks don't really believe in global warming

A Leftist moan from the New Yorker below

If you watched the political conventions during the past two weeks, you heard a lot about isis and national security and police and race and jobs. You didn’t hear much, though, about climate change, despite the fact that it’s arguably the most consequential long-term problem the U.S. faces, and one that requires government action. Yet it’s simply not an issue that most American politicians want to talk much about. The Republicans, of course, are actively hostile to discussions of the problem, dismissing it as relatively trivial when they’re not denying its existence. At the G.O.P. Convention, the phrase “climate change” was mentioned only a few times, and the subject was raised only to reject the idea that it’s a problem at all. The Party’s platform, meanwhile, explicitly rejects the recently signed Paris Agreement.

The Democrats are, at least in theory, committed to slowing the growth of greenhouse-gas emissions, and, eventually, to shrinking them. But watching the Democratic Convention, climate change didn’t seem to be a high priority. There was no prime-time segment devoted to the subject—certainly nothing like the ones devoted to national security, police-citizen relations, and other issues. James Cameron did present a short film on climate change, on Wednesday evening, but it didn’t air in prime time. As for the marquee speakers, they made only glancing reference to the threat of climate change, when they mentioned it at all. Barack Obama made one reference to the Paris Agreement, and had one line about climate change. Hillary Clinton said, “I believe in science” (a sadly necessary counter to the G.O.P.’s denials of climate science), and, “We can save the planet.” But she had far more to say about other issues, and said nothing about specific measures we might take to deal with the problem.

The exception to this relative indifference was Bernie Sanders’s speech, on Monday night. Sanders explicitly articulated the nature of the threat, calling it “the great environmental crisis facing our planet,” and talked about the consequences of failing to act. He also conveyed a real sense of urgency, saying that action was necessary “in the very near future.” Although Sanders has a reputation for caring only about wealth inequality and campaign-finance reform, he spoke consistently about climate change throughout the primaries, and has highlighted Donald Trump’s refusal to take it seriously.

The Democratic establishment’s comparable reticence on climate change speaks to the fact that it isn’t seen as an issue that galvanizes voters (even though two-thirds of Americans wanted the U.S. to strike a climate agreement in Paris last year). This helps to explain why, when you compare the U.S. to European nations such as Denmark or Germany, or even to China, we’ve made relatively little progress in transitioning away from fossil fuels. The opponents of meaningful action on climate change are, for ideological and financial reasons, heavily invested in stopping or slowing action. That, combined with our political system’s tendency toward inertia, has made action difficult—the only reason the U.S. could sign the Paris agreement, after all, was because Obama did an end-run around Congress.

The many barriers to action mean that if Democrats are serious about addressing climate change, they’ll need to do more to marshal popular support. In that sense, the Convention was a missed opportunity. The planet can’t afford too many more of those.


Water Madness

The federal government is draining Folsom Lake, one of California's larger reservoirs-in the midst of a historic drought. We had a good Sierra snowpack this year, so the lake was almost full at the end of May. In the past when the lake was full, we could leave our boat in its berth at the marina until December, when the Bureau of Reclamation drains the lake to make room for the winter rains. But this year the Bureau is already draining the lake-to benefit the salmon in the Sacramento River, so we must pull our boat out in July.

One good snowpack is not enough to make up for four years of bad ones. Last summer faucets ran dry in some communities in the Central Valley, irrigation water to farmers was cut off, and thousands of farm workers were put out of work. You can see dead or dying orchards up and down Interstate 5. This summer the State-imposed restrictions on water use remain in place. Dead lawns and dying trees abound in our neighborhood. But still the feds are draining the lake. And they expect the rest of us dutifully to abide by the restrictions they have imposed on us.

The standard response to this sort of madness, among those able to recognize it as madness, is to blame it on radical environmentalists. But this is not the work of ideologues operating on the fringes of the environmental movement. This is standard-issue, mainstream environmentalism as practiced by the green establishment in Washington and Sacramento. This is not to deny that draining a major reservoir in the midst of a drought is a radical act. The point, rather, is that mainstream environmentalism is itself a radical ideology, and the current water shortage in California is Exhibit A.

From its beginnings in the 1960s, as I argue in my book Radical by Nature, environmentalism has been about preserving natural landscape where it exists, and restoring it where it does not. In California, this has meant, among other things, halting economic growth and development as much as possible. And what better way to halt growth than to restrict the supply of new water?

Since 1970 the population of California has increased 100 percent. But the volume of water stored in her reservoirs has increased only 26%. The last major dam in California, the New Melones, was built in 1980. Environmentalists tend to oppose new dams. In recent years, it has been all we can do to prevent them from tearing down existing ones.

California voters recently approved a $2.7 billion bond for water improvements, among which are two proposed dams. But Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute thinks dams are a bad idea. "Storage is the old way to think of water problems. The biggest thing we are missing is that we're really underinvesting in conservation and efficiency, which is the most effective solution. It's the cheapest, fastest, and most environmentally sound solution." In other words, we should all accept fewer toilet flushings, shorter showers, and plastic lawns as the new norm. Make do with less; that is the environmentalist way.

But reservoirs behind dams aren't the only source of water. Consider the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project. Cadiz is a private company on private land in the eastern Mojave Desert. They sit above a natural aquifer that is replenished by rain that falls in the nearby mountains. Eventually, the water in the aquifer works its way to several dry lakebeds, where it percolates to the surface and evaporates. Cadiz developed a plan to tap into the aquifer and use the water to supplement municipal water supplies in dry years. In wet years, those municipalities would be able to pipe water surpluses to Cadiz to be stored underground in the aquifer for future use.

A key element of the plan was to be a 43-mile long pipeline connecting Cadiz to the Colorado River Aqueduct, a pipeline that would run within an active railroad right-of-way across federal land. But at the behest of Senator Diane Feinstein, the Bureau of Land Management disallowed the pipeline. The senator argued that the project would drain the aquifer faster than it can replenish itself, thereby harming the "fragile desert ecosystem." She said the use of the railroad right-of-way, which would have enabled Cadiz to avoid certain environmental reviews, represented "an egregious misuse of federal policy."

Feinstein's claim about draining the aquifer echoes the complaints of Gifford Pinchot and other early advocates of "conservation" a hundred years ago that private owners of natural resources could not be trusted to use them responsibly. Pinchot was a father of the movement that eventually made the federal government permanent custodian of a third of the nation's land.

As for Feinstein and her environmentalist patrons, increases in the water supply are a problem to be avoided. As a spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity said of the Cadiz project, by making more water available to southern California municipalities, it would "increase urban sprawl" along the coast. Stop the water, and we stop the growth. Problem solved.

Another new source of water is the millions of gallons of waste water from California's oil fields at the south end of the great Central Valley. During the current drought, oil companies have been selling this water to farmers for irrigation. Now environmentalists want to halt the practice until it can be proven "safe."

Still another possible source of water, and perhaps the most promising of all, is the Pacific Ocean. Desalination now provides one fourth of the fresh water used in Israel. There is no technological reason why desalinated water could not be used to turn all of California's deserts into verdant gardens. But environmentalists will never allow this to happen.

There are seven desalination plants now operating in California, and three more sitting idle. In December of 2015, the largest desal plant in the western hemisphere opened at Carlsbad, north of San Diego. It is now supplying about seven percent of the potable water used in the San Diego region.

But the Carlsbad plant was not unopposed. It took twelve years to win all the necessary approvals (from 13 different state and federal agencies), resolve a half dozen lawsuits, and complete construction of the plant. This is the standard environmentalist strategy: make it so time-consuming and expensive to build anything that, even if a given project manages to get built, similar, future projects begin to look less and less economically feasible. The Pacific Institute reports that as recently as 2012 there were 19 desalination plants proposed for California. But now, despite four years of punishing drought, there are only 9 proposed, plus 2 in Mexico that would be joint U.S.-Mexican ventures. The pro-desalination forces may have won the battle at Carlsbad, but, if things go true to form, they eventually will lose the war to make desalination a major source of new water in California.

Environmentalists believe that a natural landscape is preferable to a man-made one. In California, whenever they have to allow a man-made project to go forward, they routinely impose all sorts of conditions on the builder to minimize the environmental "impact" of the project, conditions such as requiring homebuilders to devote a significant portion of the land in their project to "greenbelts," or to leave a percentage of the native trees in place, or to provide pathways for wildlife to move through the project.

The developers of the Carlsbad desalination plant, for example, had to construct 66 acres of wetlands in San Diego Bay "to offset the plant's environmental harm," as the San Jose Mercury News put it. That "harm" consisted of building a desalination plant on what had been vacant land. The plant is treated, in effect, as a necessary evil; if a plant must be built on natural land, then a new tract of natural land must be extorted from the developers to make up for the "harm." This is the environmentalist view, and developers are forced to sanction it, at least implicitly, in order to see their projects through to completion.

But every single thing that gets built on this planet must cause some degree of change to the environment. The more the environmentalists succeed in persuading the rest of us that such change constitutes "harm," the easier it will become for them eventually to halt all further development. In my own county during the last election, even some members of the local Tea Party were seduced into supporting the "Keep Our County Green" movement, this in an effort to stop some proposed developments in our largely rural county.

One of the common complaints environmentalists have about desalinated water is the cost. Having to satisfy 13 regulatory agencies and defend against a half dozen lawsuits will tend to drive up the cost of a just about any kind of project. But desalination also requires large quantities of electricity, and, thanks to environmentalist efforts to restrict the supply of electricity in the state, California's rates are among the highest in the U.S. (California's rates are 28 percent higher than neighboring Arizona's, 46 percent higher than Oregon's, and 66 percent higher than Nevada's.)

But the cost argument exposes an important environmentalist premise. In the old days, before environmentalism, the cost of a project was the developer's problem. If he underestimated the cost, he lost money, and it was no one's business but his and his investors'. But environmentalists treat all land and water as, in the final analysis, "our" resources. How those resources ought to be used thus becomes a public matter, to be settled politically (or, increasingly, administratively).

Imagine, instead, that America still worked the way it did in Grover Cleveland's day. An entrepreneur buys several thousand acres of desert land. He then builds a desalination plant on the coast, purchases a right-of-way to his land in the desert, and builds a water pipeline from the plant to the land. Now his low-value desert land has become high-value real estate, and his desalination plant pays for itself many times over. This is how capitalism works. It is how a free country works. California's water problems could be solved overnight with a good dose of old-fashioned American freedom. It ain't too late.


Leftist Support for Natural Gas Sits on Empty

Earlier this week at the DNC convention, Bernie Sanders declared: “This election is about climate change, the greatest environmental crisis facing our planet, and the need to leave this world in a way that is healthy and habitable for our kids and future generations.” Not jihad, mind you, as evidenced by the fact the DNC has skirted the topic thus far. But we digress. Even if the premise was true, the environmental lobby once lauded natural gas as an effective carbon footprint mitigator. And considering this alternative form of energy has defied expectations and saved Americans billions at the pump, that’s great news, right? Just one problem: Ecofascists have decided to end their friendly relationship with natural gas.

As Karen Alderman Harbert, who heads the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, writes in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, this year’s Democratic Party Platform is a radical departure from just four years ago, when natural gas played a crucial role in the energy portion of the 2012 manifesto. Today, Democrats basically consider it irrelevant.

“Supported by both campaigns and enthusiastically cheered by environmentalists, the final language stops short of calling for a nationwide fracking ban but incorporates a raft of anti-energy provisions, such as promising new Environmental Protection Agency rules on fracking, instituting a Keystone XL-like ‘climate test’ for future federal permitting, and generally discouraging the use of natural gas,” Harbert writes. The departure is quite remarkably. In 2012, the platform committee promoted “an all-of-the-above approach to developing America’s many energy resources, including wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal, hydropower, nuclear, oil, clean coal, and natural gas.” After all, the committee explained, “a new era of cheap, abundant natural gas is helping to bring jobs and industry back to the United States,” so Democrats “will continue to advocate for use of this clean fossil fuel.” What happened?

“[T]his year each plank was exiled from the platform with nary a word of discussion,” says Harbert. “Blanket praise for the importance of natural gas as a job creator was replaced by blanket promises to restrict its production and use. This is a dramatic and troubling about-face. The shale revolution has lowered energy prices and fueled a renaissance in American manufacturing while improving our security by lowering dependence on foreign oil.” What this tells us is that leftists aren’t interested in finding solutions to so-called “climate change.” Instead, they’d rather keep moving the goal posts so that the climate issue can remain a priority for eternity. It’s politics at its worst.


Sad DNC climate movie

I was amused to learn the Democratic National Convention was going to screen a climate movie this evening. I didn't watch but was intrigued when Twitter lit up about "over the top" and how poorly the movie went over.

So, I went to the DNC web site but couldn't find the movie. However, I did find it here. And, much to my surprise, most of the early part of tonight's movie is recycled footage from two years ago! The original program ran on Showtime and it was called Years of Living Dangerously. I wrote about it here. The title of my piece was an allusion to Showtime's "Californication."

The entire Dangerously video had an intentional sepia tint to make it look "drier" and conditions worse than they were.

Tonight's movie repeated the same sepia-tinted west Texas footage about the supposed terrible drought in that region (see below), presented as current climate conditions. A farmer is on camera talking about "last year" as if it were 2015 when, in reality, it was 2013.

The only problem with that segment is the drought in west Texas broke long ago. Currently, no part of Texas is experiencing drought conditions.

Apparently, the climate has been so benign that they couldn't find new more disasters to film since tornadoes are way down,  there have been zero major hurricanes in the U.S. and the drought in West Texas ended. The same old footage of Hurricane Sandy has gotten tiresome.

The DNC movie repeated the same old lie that the rise in sea level the last 100 years is "largely due to climate change" when the rate of sea level rise hasn't changed since the end of the Little Ice Age.

I had to laugh at noted climate scientist Jack Black making a prediction about when Miami would be under water.

So, the DMC got to see old footage, inaccurately presented. Typical of Big Climate.

I hope the DNC knows what they were being billed for.



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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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

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

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

And when it comes to "climate change", I know where the skeletons are buried

Antarctica is GAINING mass

Warmists depend heavily on ice cores for their figures about the atmosphere of the past. But measuring the deep past through ice cores is a very shaky enterprise, which almost certainly takes insufficient account of compression effects. The apparently stable CO2 level of 280ppm during the Holocene could in fact be entirely an artifact of compression at the deeper levels of the ice cores. . Perhaps the gas content of an ice layer approaches a low asymptote under pressure. Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements are of course well known. And he studied them for over 30 years.

The world's first "Green" party was the Nazi party -- and Greenies are just as Fascist today in their endeavours to dictate to us all and in their attempts to suppress dissent from their claims.

Was Pope Urban VIII the first Warmist? Below we see him refusing to look through Galileo's telescope. People tend to refuse to consider evidence— if what they might discover contradicts what they believe.

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

Believing in global warming has become a sign of virtue. Strange in a skeptical era. There is clearly a need for faith

Some advice from the Buddha that the Green/Left would do well to think about: "Three things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, The Moon and The Truth"

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

Global warming is the predominant Leftist lie of the 21st century. No other lie is so influential. The runner up lie is: "Islam is a religion of peace". Both are rankly absurd.

"When it comes to alarmism, we’re all deniers; when it comes to climate change, none of us are" -- Dick Lindzen

The EPA does everything it can get away with to shaft America and Americans

Cromwell's famous plea: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" was ignored by those to whom it was addressed -- to their great woe. Warmists too will not consider that they may be wrong ..... "Bowels" was a metaphor for compassion in those days

The plight of the bumblebee -- an egregious example of crooked "science"

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."


"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." --- Richard P. Feynman. 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

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.“ – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Leftists generally and Warmists in particular very commonly ascribe disagreement with their ideas to their opponent being "in the pay" of someone else, usually "Big Oil", without troubling themselves to provide any proof of that assertion. They are so certain that they are right that that seems to be the only reasonable explanation for opposition to them. They thus reveal themselves as the ultimate bigots -- people with fixed and rigid ideas.


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.


Today’s environmental movement is the current manifestation of the totalitarian impulse. It is ironic that the same people who condemn the black or brown shirts of the pre WW2 period are blind to the current manifestation simply because the shirts are green.

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

David Brower, founder Sierra Club: “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license"

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"

Medieval Warm Period: Recent climatological data assembled from around the world using different proxies attest to the presence of both the MWP and the LIA in the following locations: the Sargasso Sea, West Africa, Kenya, Peru, Japan, Tasmania, South Africa, Idaho, Argentina, and California. These events were clearly world-wide and in most locations the peak temperatures during the MWP were higher than current temperatures.

Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%.

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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