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, 2017

World’s soils have lost 133 billion tonnes of carbon since the dawn of agriculture, study estimates

How awful!  And how awful it is that world food production has never been higher!  Even China is now a net food exporter.  How awful that we are drowning in agricultural surpluses and food has never been cheaper.  Do these galoots even think??  Getting CO2 into the air HELPS plants, including food crops

The degradation of the Earth’s soil by humans has been an environmental catastrophe on a similar scale to the deforestation of much of the planet, a new study suggests.

Experts estimated that 133 billion tonnes of carbon has been removed from the top two metres of soil since farming began some 12,000 years ago, about the same as the total amount lost from vegetation.

However the figure is still dwarfed by the 450 billion tonnes of carbon emitted since the Industrial Revolution began and humans started burning fossil fuels on an unprecedented scale.

Soil is obviously vitally important for the growth of crops that feed humans and livestock. Concern has been growing what some refer to as the “soil fertility crisis”, a problem that can be masked by the use of artificial fertilisers.

Carbon released from the soil also contributes to global warming.

But the researchers suggested the figures showed the potential for soil to absorb carbon, something that could be used to reduce the level of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere by using different agricultural techniques.

Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they said: “The incredible rise of human civilizations and the continuing sustainability of current and future human societies are inextricably linked to soils and the wide array of services soils provide.

“The consequences of human domination of soil resources are far ranging: accelerated erosion, desertification, salinization, acidification, compaction, biodiversity loss, nutrient depletion, and loss of soil organic matter.

“Of these soil threats, loss of soil organic matter has received the most attention, due to the critical role [it] plays in the contemporary carbon cycle and as a key component of sustaining food production.”

The total figure for the lost carbon was estimated at 133 billion tonnes, saying: “These soil-organic-carbon losses are on par with estimates of carbon lost from living vegetation primarily due to deforestation.”

The researchers found the UK, northern and central Europe, parts of China and the US corn belt were particular hotspots.

This is partly because of the high levels of carbon that would have originally been in the soil in these areas, but also the type of farming typically practised there.

Unsurprisingly, losses from cropland were significantly higher than from land used for grazing animals. But arid grasslands were also vulnerable if they were over-grazed, leading to significant erosion.

One of the researchers, Dr Jonathan Sanderman, of the Woods Hole Research Centre in Massachusetts, told the website Carbon Brief: “Considering humans have emitted about 450 billion tonnes of carbon since the industrial revolution, soil carbon losses to the atmosphere may represent 10 to 20 per cent of this number.

“But it has hard to calculate exactly how much of this has ended up in the atmosphere versus how much has been transported due to erosion.”

He said they had defined 10,000BC as “a world without a human footprint”.

“What we did was develop a model that could explain the current distribution of soil carbon across the globe as a function of climate, topography, geology and land use,” Dr Sanderman said.

“Then we replaced current land use with historic reconstructions including the ‘no land use’ case to get predictions of soil carbon levels back in time.”


Changes in flooding show no trend over time

Warmists think floods are going to become more frequent but it hasn't happened yet

Climate-driven variability in the occurrence of major floods across North America and Europe

Glenn A.Hodgkins et al.


Concern over the potential impact of anthropogenic climate change on flooding has led to a proliferation of studies examining past flood trends. Many studies have analysed annual-maximum flow trends but few have quantified changes in major (25–100 year return period) floods, i.e. those that have the greatest societal impacts. Existing major-flood studies used a limited number of very large catchments affected to varying degrees by alterations such as reservoirs and urbanisation. In the current study, trends in major-flood occurrence from 1961 to 2010 and from 1931 to 2010 were assessed using a very large dataset (>1200 gauges) of diverse catchments from North America and Europe; only minimally altered catchments were used, to focus on climate-driven changes rather than changes due to catchment alterations. Trend testing of major floods was based on counting the number of exceedances of a given flood threshold within a group of gauges. Evidence for significant trends varied between groups of gauges that were defined by catchment size, location, climate, flood threshold and period of record, indicating that generalizations about flood trends across large domains or a diversity of catchment types are ungrounded. Overall, the number of significant trends in major-flood occurrence across North America and Europe was approximately the number expected due to chance alone. Changes over time in the occurrence of major floods were dominated by multidecadal variability rather than by long-term trends. There were more than three times as many significant relationships between major-flood occurrence and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation than significant long-term trends.

Journal of Hydrology, Volume 552, September 2017, Pages 704-717

Are Electric Cars Doomed To Fail … Again?

 After years of heavy promotion and billions in taxpayer subsidies, plug-in electric cars remain a tiny niche market. And now it looks as if they could lose out to an energy source nobody talks about — hydrogen.

In mid-August, Hyundai unveiled a hydrogen fuel-cell powered SUV that has a range of 360 miles. When it hits the showrooms next year, it will join the Honda Clarity FC and the Toyota Mirai in the fuel-cell car market.

Unlike electric cars — which still can only go a little more than 200 miles on a charge — fuel-cell cars can go more than 300 miles. And refueling takes minutes, not hours.

Fuel cells aren't new technology. They powered the Apollo spacecraft in the 1960s. President Bush tried to give fuel-cell cars a push with $1.2 billion to develop the technology. But environmentalists like plug-in cars better, so one of the first things President Obama did as president was kill Bush's fuel-cell project and pour money into electric cars, promising to have a million on the road by 2015.

Prodded by government, the auto industry has been racing to introduce plug-in electrics. But almost nobody wants to buy them. Just over 100,000 plug-in electrics sold in the first half of this year — accounting for 1% of auto sales. And despite continued attempts to force feed the market, it's not clear that electric cars will ever be more than a niche product, given their drawbacks.

Fuel-cell cars, in contrast, could catch on quickly. Toyota expects to sell 3,000 Mirais this year, despite the fact that it's just available in California, where there are only 30 hydrogen filling stations.

That is supposed to be hydrogen's big handicap — the lack of infrastructure. But that can be quickly resolved. California expects to have 100 refueling stations within a few years, and Toyota is working to set up a chain of them in the Northeast. If fuel-cell cars catch on, it won't take long for hydrogen stations to start popping up all over.

Tesla's Elon Musk, who has put everything into battery-powered cars, dismisses hydrogen as "incredibly dumb," saying it's "just very difficult to make hydrogen and store it and use it in a car."

That sounds a lot like what electric carmakers were saying in the early 1900s (when electric cars were all the rage) about the gasoline-powered cars. We all know how that turned out.

In our view, the government shouldn't be trying to force the car market in any direction. Let consumers be the judge of what's the best, most reliable, most convenient, most affordable way for them to get around.

Today, it's gasoline. Tomorrow, it might very well be hydrogen.


Why Trump’s Upcoming Decision on Federal Lands Matters

The ongoing controversy about the federal government’s role in managing land may soon come to a head.

Earlier this month, in accord with a presidential executive order issued in April, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke delivered recommendations to the president on national monument lands that are being reviewed by his department.

Details about the report—whether lands should be reduced, and if so, which ones—are expected from the White House in the coming days.

The highly anticipated report has stirred a great deal of angst this summer, particularly among environmental activists who are convinced the Interior’s review is an unprecedented ploy to sell off or sully federal lands.

For example, luxury outdoor retailer Patagonia argued the following in its first ever television ad: “Public lands have never been more threatened than right now because you have a few self-serving politicians who want to sell them off and make money.”

Beautiful scenes of the Grand Tetons, Yosemite, and Zion pan across the screen as the company urges viewers to defend these lands and hold Zinke accountable.

The Patagonia commercial and much of the conversation this summer have been muddled with hyperbole and misinformation. It’s worth taking a step back to understand the issue.

Who’s Involved

In April, President Donald Trump requested that Zinke review all presidential national monument designations or expansions since 1996. In particular, Trump requested review of designations of areas over 100,000 acres and/or those that were “made without adequate public outreach and coordination” to determine if revisions were necessary.

Other presidents have reviewed and altered national monuments—among them Presidents William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, and Ike Eisenhower.

What’s at Issue

The subject of Interior’s report is presidential use of the Antiquities Act of 1906. The law allows presidents to unilaterally designate federal lands as “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest.” These designations change how land is managed and who has access to it.

Trump is considering the need to reduce the size of, or altogether eliminate, some of these monuments.

Contrary to what the Patagonia commercial and many others would imply, reducing the size of a national monument or even rescinding its status does not open up the federal land to be overrun by oil interests or clear cut by the foresting industry.

Federal lands are managed by a web of laws determining who can do what and when. For example, at least nine other laws also address artifact preservation on federal lands.

The Lands in Question

Perhaps where environmental groups most mislead the public is in explaining which lands are being reviewed. National monuments are distinct from other land designations like national parks, which are created by Congress.

Zinke’s review covered 27 national monuments, mostly in the western United States, though some are located in New England and in offshore federal waters. In other words, this debate has nothing to do with the Grand Tetons, Yosemite, or Zion—all of which are national parks.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that the federal government owns hundreds of millions of acres in America. To put that in perspective, that’s about the same size as all of Western Europe.

Why Trump’s Upcoming Decision Matters

The reason this 110-year-old law has become so contentious is complicated.

In part, it has to do with past presidents abusing the purpose of the law. The Antiquities Act directs the president to protect artifacts on federal lands according to the “smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

However, in recent history the Antiquities Act has instead been used to pull vast swathes of land out of use.

President Barack Obama in particular used this power aggressively. The Sutherland Institute reports that 66 percent of all national monument acreage was designated so under the Obama administration, and 25 percent under President George W. Bush.

It also has to do with ensuring quality management of lands. It is no secret that the Department of Interior is facing $15.4 billion in maintenance backlogs, and $11.9 billion of that is in the National Park Service alone.

Holly Fretwell of the Property and Environment Research Center reports that “[o]nly 40 percent of park historic structures are considered to be in “good” or better condition and they need continual maintenance to remain that way.”

The “why” also has to do with who should get the most say in decision-making.

The Patagonia ad encourages people to oppose changes to national monuments because “this [land] belongs to all the people in America—it’s our heritage.” But this glosses over decades and generations’ worth of contentious debate about who “our” refers to.

Does it refer to fly fishermen, hunters, hikers, and bikers as Patagonia would have its customers believe? Does it refer to the Native Americans and locals who are directly impacted by federal land management decisions, but who have little say in the matter?

Are American natural resource industries to be excluded from the collective “our”?

If Congress doesn’t like what the Trump administration is doing, it ought to act to clarify the law. Zinke rightly noted that “the executive power under the Act is not a substitute for a lack of congressional action on protective land designations.”

At the very least, Congress ought to amend the law to give states more say in the matter.

Land management decision-making has been contentious for decades. Shifting more control from Washington to those with direct knowledge of the land in question and a clear stake in the outcome of decisions would be a step in the right direction.


Australia: Winter rain fills Perth dams to highest levels in decade

Greenie guru Tim Flannery once prophesied that Perth would become a ghost city through lack of water

LATE winter rains have spared the cash-strapped State Government from a potential billion-dollar upgrade to the water network after boosting the city’s dams to their highest levels in almost a decade.

Just weeks after the Water Corporation warned it may have to fast-track a major new source of drinking water amid plunging dam levels, heavy rainfall in July and this month has helped avoid the need for an expansion.

Figures from the Water Corp show there has been 62.8 billion litres of “stream flow” into the city’s reservoirs so far this year after a surge of more than 50 billion litres in the past month.

The run-off has left the dams at 41.6 per cent capacity — or holding 262 billion litres. This is 73 billion litres (or almost 40 per cent) more than at the same time last year.

While the run-off into Perth’s dams is still only broadly in line with the city’s post-1975 average, it is the highest level recorded by the Water Corp since 2009.

The dam boost has prevented the need to bring forward a major new drinking water source such as a desalination plant to prop up supplies.

Under the Water Corp’s planning, the State-owned group still assumes it will receive at least 25 billion litres into the dams every year to ensure it can meet demand from customers.

The corporation said that despite the relatively wet end to winter, Perth’s rainfall levels for the season were still below their long-term average.

Spokeswoman Clare Lugar said the long-term decline in Perth’s rainfall meant its dams were still only at a fraction of their capacity.

In a bid to further bolster supplies, the Water Corp will launch its latest efficiency campaign this weekend, when the winter sprinkler ban ends. “While it may feel like we’ve had a lot of rain this winter, we are still only just above the year-to-date average,” Ms Lugar said.

“As our catchments are so dry following nearly 20 years of abnormally dry weather, we’d need to get double the average rainfall for years on end to fill our dams again.”

‘We are still only just above the year-to-date average.’




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


30 August, 2017

A theory of global cooling

The article below draws attention to the unfalsifiable nature of current climate science.  Instead of following normal philosophy of science procedures and putting up falsifiable theories, the entire Warmist concentration is on modelling.  The author then goes on to propose a new theory that the globe will COOL and invites other scientists to gather data that would confirm or upset his theory. This seems to be the first bit of real science in the field

The Power of Falsification, Developing a Greenhouse Gas Theory

Anthonie Bastiaan Ruighaver


The current culture of  Climate Science, in particular the Basis of  Truth and Rationality, is the main topic of  this paper. The author discusses how the advent of  computer modelling has turned Climate Science into what Sir Karl Popper would have called a pseudoscience. But as Sir Karl Popper also mentioned, even a pseudoscience can stumble on the truth. To illustrate how a return to falsification of  knowledge changes the way we approach science, the author develops a simple theory on how CO2 impacts our climate as a greenhouse gas and suggests how to falsify this theory. If  the falsification of  this theory is not successful, we have found new empirical evidence increased CO2 may actually cool our earth.


Scientists often forget that their role is to advance science through developing falsifiable theories. Theories help simplify science and focus it on new avenues of  research. More importantly, theories progress science by encouraging the falsification of  their hypotheses [Helfenbein, 2005]. In an earlier paper, on information security culture in organisations, the author discussed the concept of  “Basis of  Truth and Rationality” [Ruighaver, 2007]. In this paper the author will explore this concept in the current culture of  Climate Science, where theory development seems to have been replaced by model development and validation. In particular, the author will look at the value and truth of  the common belief  among climate scientists, and many other scientists, that “CO2 causes Global Warming”...............


In this paper we have examined the culture of  Climate Science in relation to its Basis of  Truth and Rationale. We have argued that the reluctance to falsify knowledge by developing theories instead of  computer models has had a negative impact. To illustrate that trying to falsify a theory will enrich science, we have developed a simple theory on how CO2 influences  heat transfer and the radiative balance both in the lower layer and the top layer of  our atmosphere. The experiments needed to falsify the hypotheses suggested by this simple theory will provide new empirical evidence that without the formulation of  this theory would likely not have been collected. Hence, the author argues that it is time to change the culture of  Climate Science back to Sir Karl Popper’s vision of  how science should function. Let's start developing theories again and encourage the falsification of  their hypotheses. Let’s try to provide a basis of  truth and rationale by trying to falsify this new theory predicting more CO2 will cool our earth!

Much more HERE 

Shrinking fish!

This is a bit of an old chestnut.  Different "experts" give us reasons why animals will shrink in a warmer world while others say they will get bigger.  If we just look to reality, however, we note that there were some HUGE animals, both marine and terrestrial in the (hot) age of the dinosaurs so the prophets of shrinking seem very implausible

Fish could shrink in size dramatically as ocean temperatures rise because of climate change, according to a new study.

When the water gets warmer, cold-blooded fish need more oxygen. However, one of the consequences of climate change is less oxygen in the sea.

These twin effects could combine to stunt the growth of fish, the researchers concluded.

Professor William Cheung, of the University of British Columbia in Canada, who co-wrote a paper about the study in the journal Global Change Biology, said: “Fish, as cold-blooded animals, cannot regulate their own body temperatures.

“When their waters get warmer, their metabolism accelerates and they need more oxygen to sustain their body functions.

“There is a point where the gills cannot supply enough oxygen for a larger body, so the fish just stops growing larger.”

The gills of fish also usually grow at a slower pace than the rest of their body.

For example, as a cod increases its weight by 100 per cent, their gills only grow by 80 per cent.

Such fish compensate for this by breathing faster as they get bigger.

But the fish's need for more oxygen because of the warmer water and the presence of less oxygen in the water – the twin effects of climate change – puts a gradually lowering limit on the effectiveness of this process.

The researchers estimated fish could reduce in size by as much as 25 per cent for each degree Celsius of warming.


Why Houston Flooding Isn’t a Sign of Climate Change

 Roy Spencer

There is no aspect of global warming theory that says rain systems are going to be moving slower, as we are seeing in Texas. This is just the luck of the draw.

In the context of climate change, is what we are seeing in Houston a new level of disaster which is becoming more common?

The flood disaster unfolding in Houston is certainly very unusual. But so are other natural weather disasters, which have always occurred and always will occur.

(By the way, making naturally-occurring severe weather seem unnatural is a favorite tactic of Al Gore, whose new movie & book An Inconvenient Sequel [ currently #21,168 in Kindle] is dismantled in my new e-book, An Inconvenient Deception [currently #399]).

Floods aren’t just due to weather

Major floods are difficult to compare throughout history because the ways in which we alter the landscape. For example, as cities like Houston expand over the years, soil is covered up by roads, parking lots, and buildings, with water rapidly draining off rather than soaking into the soil. The population of Houston is now ten times what it was in the 1920s. The Houston metroplex area has expanded greatly and the water drainage is basically in the direction of downtown Houston.

There have been many flood disasters in the Houston area, even dating to the mid-1800s when the population was very low. In December of 1935 a massive flood occurred in the downtown area as the water level height measured at Buffalo Bayou in Houston topped out at 54.4 feet.

Downtown Houston flood of 1935.

By way of comparison, as of 6:30 a.m. this (Monday) morning, the water level in the same location is at 38 feet, which is still 16 feet lower than in 1935. I’m sure that will continue to rise.

Are the rainfall totals unprecedented?

Even that question is difficult to answer. The exact same tropical system moving at, say, 15 mph might have produced the same total amount of rain, but it would have been spread over a wide area, maybe many states, with no flooding disaster. This is usually what happens with landfalling hurricanes.

Instead, Harvey stalled after it came ashore and so all of the rain has been concentrated in a relatively small portion of Texas around the Houston area. In both cases, the atmosphere produced the same amount of rain, but where the rain lands is very different. People like those in the Houston area don’t want all of the rain to land on them.

There is no aspect of global warming theory that says rain systems are going to be moving slower, as we are seeing in Texas. This is just the luck of the draw. Sometimes weather systems stall, and that sucks if you are caught under one. The same is true of high pressure areas; when they stall, a drought results.

Even with the system stalling, the greatest multi-day rainfall total as of 3 9 a.m. this Monday morning is just over 30 39.7 inches, with many locations recording over 20 inches. We should recall that Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979 (a much smaller and weaker system than Harvey) produced a 43 inch rainfall total in only 24 hours in Houston.

Was Harvey unprecedented in intensity?

In this case, we didn’t have just a tropical storm like Claudette, but a major hurricane, which covered a much larger area with heavy rain. Roger Pielke Jr. has pointed out that the U.S. has had only four Category 4 (or stronger) hurricane strikes since 1970, but in about the same number of years preceding 1970 there were 14 strikes. So we can’t say that we are experiencing more intense hurricanes in recent decades.

Going back even earlier, a Category 4 hurricane struck Galveston in 1900, killing between 6,000 and 12,000 people. That was the greatest natural disaster in U.S. history.

And don’t forget, we just went through an unprecedented length of time – almost 12 years – without a major hurricane (Cat 3 or stronger) making landfall in the U.S.


Big floods nothing new

The recent hurricane in Texas has revived the Greenie claim that global warming has increased the incidence of floods.  But if that's a global effect then it should have recently been seen in Australia too.  But it has not been.  The following academic journal article says of floods affecting the East coast of Australia: "Some of the most extreme events identified occurred in the 19th century and early-to-mid 20th century."

Major coastal flooding in southeastern Australia 1860–2012, associated deaths and weather systems

Jeff Callaghan and Scott B. Power

A new historical database describing major floods and associated weather systems that occurred in coastal catchments, from Brisbane in southeastern Australia to Eden approximately 1500 km further south, is described. In order to produce a homogeneous record of major flood and weather-type frequency we restrict attention to the period 1860–2012, when the region (i) is extensively populated, (ii) has an extensive coverage of meteorological stations, (iii) is extensively connected by telecommunication, and (iv) when there is busy coastal shipping offshore. A total of 253 major floods over this period are identified. A flood is considered here to be ‘major’ if it causes inundation of a river within approximately 50 km of the coast or if there is non-riverine flooding over land near the coast, extending 20 km or more along the coast. All major floods are associated with either (a) East Coast Lows (ECLs) or (b) Tropical Interactions (TIs). Three types of TIs are identified and described. ECLs triggered more major floods than TIs (57 per cent versus 43 per cent), but TIs caused more deaths from freshwater flooding (62 per cent versus 38 per cent) and they tended to cause over twice as many deaths per event (3.6 versus 1.7 deaths/event on average). Some of the most extreme events identified occurred in the 19th century and early-to-mid 20th century. If such events were to occur today they would have catastrophic impacts due to the massive increase in urban development in the study region since that time.


Methane hydrate scare is just a popgun

If there was any life left in this climate change scare story, this latest research should finally see it off.

Clathrate (hydrate) gun hypothesis stirred quite the controversy when it was posed in 2003, as ScienceDaily reports. It stated that methane hydrates — frozen water cages containing methane gas found below the ocean floor — can melt due to increasing ocean temperatures.

According to the hypothesis this melt can happen in a time span of a human life, dissociating vast amounts of hydrate and releasing methane into the atmosphere.

Consequently, this would lead to a runaway process, where the methane released would add to the global budget of greenhouse gases, and further accelerate the warming of the planet.

Limited impact at an Arctic site

This dramatic hypothesis inspired science fiction and scientists alike, spurring the latter to further investigate the sensitivity of hydrates. A new study in Nature Communications has thus found that the hydrate gun hypothesis seems increasingly unlikely, at least for a specific site in the Arctic Ocean that is highly susceptible to warming.

“Short term temperature warming has limited impact on the gas hydrate stability. We show that warming can significantly affect gas hydrates in the seabed only when ocean temperature is constantly rising for several centuries,” says the lead author of the study Dr. Wei-Li Hong of CAGE and currently Geological Survey of Norway.

Hydrate mounds seeping methane for thousands of years

Hong and colleagues reported on an increase of methane flux beneath large mounds of hydrates in an area called Storfjordrenna, in the Barents Sea close to Svalbard.

These gas hydrate pingos are all profusely seeping methane.But according to Hong, even though the area is shallow, and potentially susceptible to temperature change, these seeps are not intensifying because of the momentary warming. “The increase of methane flux started several hundreds to thousands of years ago, which is well before any onset of warming in the Arctic Ocean that others have speculated,” says Hong.

The study was based on measurements of pore water chemistry in the sediments from the area. Pore water is water trapped in pores in soil, and can be analysed to reveal environmental changes in a given area through time.




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, 2017

Texas hurricanes

Harvey came ashore as a major hurricane overnight but was down to 75mph in the last advisory. It was the first hurricane this decade in Texas and the first major hurricane since Alicia for Texas in 1983. Already over a foot of rain has fallen (SRH rain through 17Z) in a few spots and with the storm not forecast to leave the state until perhaps next weekend, it seems likely to eclipse Amelia's record of 48 inches in the week long rains in Medina, TX in July 30-August 5, 1978.


Harvey in context

Judith Curry writes:

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear people blaming Harvey on global warming.  How unusual was Harvey?  Well, it will definitely be in the record books for ending the 12 year drought of major hurricanes striking the U.S.

Phil Klotzbach has prepared this list off Cat 4-5 U.S. landfalling hurricanes:

This list reminds us how awful things were.  Apart from the horrendous 2004/2005 years, we have been pretty lucky in recent decades.

Anyone blaming  Harvey on global warming doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

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

Callous CALAS activists against the poor

Anti-mining groups “protect” local tribe against phony risks by trampling on Guatemalan workers

Paul Driessen

Not long ago, supposed “environmental justice” concerns at least involved risks to mine workers and their families. The risks may have been inflated, or ignored for decades, but they were a major focus.

In one case, a state-run mine and smelter had fouled the air, land and water with toxic contaminants in a Peruvian town for 75 years. Environmental groups raised few objections – until a U.S. company bought the properties and began installing modern pollution controls, implementing worker health and safety practices, cleaning up widespread lead dust, and initiating numerous community improvement projects.

Suddenly, anti-mine activists descended on the town. They blamed the company for decades of pollution, claimed corporate officials weren’t acting quickly enough, ignored government foot-dragging on its commitments, pressured banks into cutting off loans to the company, and eventually shut everything down. Thousands of workers were left jobless. The activists and news media celebrated their victory.

Today, mining operations in Guatemala have become ground zero for campaigns in which pollution and human health are largely irrelevant, “indigenous people” are the new politically favored “victims” of multinational mining companies, rigged “consultation processes” have become the tactic du jour, and mine workers are among the new “oppressors,” whose health and living standards are now irrelevant.

Not only do radical “keep it in the ground” protesters pay little attention to where essential raw materials come from, so long as their favorite tech toys magically appear in retail outlets. They almost flaunt their callous disregard for families that had been dirt poor before a modern mine brought jobs and comparative prosperity – and will be destitute again after the outside agitators have shut the mine down and moved on to their next target. A case in point is the Escobal silver mine near San Rafael las Flores, Guatemala.

Since buying the mine in 2010, owner and operator Canada-based Tahoe Resources has invested more than $1 billion into the mine’s operation and related infrastructures– plus another $10 million upgrading hospitals and schools, planting 32,000 trees, and launching vocational, entrepreneurship, health, nutrition and other programs. More than 1,600 mining jobs and 6,000 indirect jobs brought many millions of dollars in salaries to the region. Locals launched over 100 new businesses. Life was getting better.

Company officials say the mine is designed and operated to meet the highest Guatemalan and Canadian health and environmental standards, and there has been no evidence of air or water pollution during Tahoe’s tenure. Anti-mining activists nonetheless launched campaigns against it as soon as it was licensed.

Incessant protests and confrontations, arson incidents, forcible detention of miners and police by activists, and assorted legal actions fueled tensions. The agitators are determined to prosecute Tahoe in multiple courts, persuade banks not to extend further credit to the company, send its stock values plummeting, and block Escobal mining operations permanently.

What will we do if they shut the mine down? locals ask. Without these jobs, we will be poor again. Our businesses will close, our children will have no future, and people will have to go to the United States for work – just like before the mine created jobs that brought workers back to the area.

The agitators’ newest tactic is to enlist indigenous tribes, claim companies failed to consult adequately with the tribes under Guatemala’s community consultation and plebiscite “consultas” process, use ballot initiatives to claim people around the area overwhelmingly oppose the mine – and rage that the local people’s and indigenous groups’ human rights have been violated, in gross miscarriages of justice.

The blatant dishonesty of this process is underscored by the fact that every consultas held between 2011 and 2016 resulted in 93to 100 percent opposition to mining. Indeed, the process was cleverly designed and then hijacked, manipulated and rigged by outside activists and their local allies to foment opposition to mining activity and eliminate mine-dependent jobs, rather than assess true community sentiment.

Banners depicted a sample ballot marked “NO” and proclaim that shutting down mining is “necessary for life.” Ballots were explicitly worded to solicit negative responses. Even worse, many ballots highlighted the “No” vote in yellow, suggesting to voters it was the “correct” answer. The dishonesty is even deeper.

Community meetings held before the vote were little more than disinformation and agitprop sessions, designed to advance the anti-mining sentiments of activists from wealthy nations. Mine owners, foremen, environmental directors, community development coordinators, even workers and their families were not invited or permitted to participate. They could not correct misinformation; ask or respond to questions; explain health, safety and environmental safeguards; discuss economic, employment, living standards and other benefits to the community; or otherwise ensure fair, balanced, complete and open discussions.

Workers and others who wanted to speak out at other times were greeted with threats and intimidation.

The deck was stacked. The well-funded and coordinated agitators behind the consultas had no interest in ensuring that local people were actually consulted and given opportunities to learn the facts. Their goal was and is to block mining projects, regardless of how many jobs would be created, living standards improved, and health, safety and environmental safeguards implemented by mining operators.

Can anyone recall a case where activists ultimately supported a mining project, following consultations or improved mining practices? I did not see it happen in Peru, and it is not happening in Guatemala. The agitators simply change the issues, ramp up their demands and move the goal posts.

The anti-mining agitators do not care whether a consultation process is fair, open and complete; that a mine would be safe and non-polluting; or that it would ensure good jobs and improved schools, hospitals, homes, living standards and opportunities for thousands. They simply do not want mines in any targeted area, anytime or under any conditions.

Their current ploy is to say that Guatemala’s Ministry of Mines did not consult adequately with Xinca tribal groups that live miles from the mine, before it issued the mining license. The Guatemalan courts agreed with the activists – and shut down operations.

If the closure becomes permanent, 7,600 workers would be left jobless and their families destitute. Their growing anger, frustration, hopelessness and sense of betrayal are reaching a boiling point. Several miners recently went on a hunger strike, to protest what the activists and courts have done. Will Guatemalan, Canadian, U.S. and international jurists, legislators, journalists and real human rights advocates pay any attention? Call for social and environmental justice? Time will tell. But don’t hold your breath.

The entire operation was orchestrated by several local pressure groups, led by CALAS – the Centro de Acción Legal Ambiental y Social de Guatemala: Guatemalan Center for Environmental and Social Legal Action. However, the real organizing, money and strategizing came from far outside the country.

The real power behind the throne has been Oxfam America, joined by a cabal of likeminded American, Canadian and European pressure groups, all of which masquerade as “civil society” and “environmental justice” organizations – and their financial backers. Together, they have poured millions of dollars into the anti-mining, anti-worker, Keep the Poor Impoverished campaigns.

From 2009 to 2015, Oxfam pumped over $9 million annually into its Central America/Caribbean programs. The New-York based Moriah Fund contributed nearly $15 million over a ten-year period to these and other international NGOs, while the Fund for Global Human Rights added over $3 million.

Unbelievably, the European Union contributed more than $17 million to Guatemalan pressure groups between 2007 and 2011! And to top it off, the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture is another major sponsor – using U.S. tax-dollar donations to the UN. How the heck did “failure to consult” become “torture” – akin to what the SS, KGB, ISIS and other criminal outfits routinely engage in?

For callous CALAS and its allied pressure groups and despicable benefactors to violate the human rights of so many Guatemalan working class families is bad enough. Do the courts really have to pile on?

Via email

Sun Activity Has Collapsed to the Lowest in 9,300 years

THE sun is the source of all our warmth. Without it, we would not exist.  Like everything else, it is cyclical in nature. The term “lunatic” referred to people who seemed to go a bit strange when there was a full moon. Some people are perhaps susceptible to its gravitational forces. After all, it is the moon that lifts the entire oceans creating high and low tide. There are people who have varying mood swings and others who are a tad more steady. Yet we all have our ups and downs.

There is the Human Excitability Study where war was correlated to sunspot activity. The sunspot cycle is roughly every eleven years. However, this time it’s different. The sun is headed for a very rare, super-cooling period that threatens to topple civilization itself as it has throughout history roughly following a 300 year cycle.

For most of its history, science believed the sun’s output was constant. They finally realized that a thermal dynamic cycle beats like your heart so the sun could not exist if it was a steady outflow of energy. One degree less and it would blow itself out. Hence, it is cyclical rising and falling in intensity.

The eleven-year cycle in sunspots itself builds in intensity like the Economic Confidence Model (ECM) reaching “grand maxima” and “grand minima” over the course of 300 years. The last grand maximum peaked circa 1958, after which the sun has been steadily quieting down. Today, the drop in activity is at its steepest in 9,300 years, which is being ignored by the Global Warming propaganda.

The last Maunder Minimum, during which the sun languished for seventy years, took place from 1645 to 1715 when the sun’s brightness declined and the number of sunspots collapsed to almost zero.

[The Maunder Minimum coincided with more severe winters in the UK and continental Europe]


Theaters Self-Sacrifice To Boost Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel

On Tuesday (8/22), sales for Al Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel hit an hilarious new low of $117/theater. The financial self-sacrifice that theaters are now making to support it must go down as one of the greatest acts of generosity in cinematic history.

Per Box Office Mojo, Inconvenient Sequel had a couple of good opening days, when true believers and Gore’s extended family showed up, but by the second week sales plummeted and continued to decline thereafter. Again per Box Office mojo, $117/theater isn’t very good, a level ranking among the worst per theater averages on record, and given that theaters are expensive to operate almost assuredly indicates a running bottom line loss.

Nonetheless, the film expanded to over 500 theaters in its second week and has remained at that level since. What an act of extraordinary kindness! By contrast, the courageous and Academy-Award winning Citizenfour was released in just 105 theaters at its very peak. A pity director Laura Poitras wasn’t better politically connected and funded.

According to Variety, experts say total sales are expected to reach $10 million. But what terrible financial losses will have to be suffered to reach that level. Sales to date are just $3.1 million, and that despite strong support from forgiving critics and this heroic self-sacrifice by theaters. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 48% audience score, as represented by an abandoned popcorn container.




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, 2017

An amusing bit of Warmist "research"

Warmists regularly attribute any flood or any drought to global warming.  But you can't have it both ways.  Does global warming produce more or less precipitation? The scientific answer, of course, is that it would produce more rain, as warmer oceans evaporated off more.  So are we having more rain these days?  No. A recent paper which seems to have all the world's hydrologists as co-authors tells us that.  We did NOT have any increase in floods across the last 50 years.  Here is the abstract below.  I will resume my comments once you have had a look at it. The first sentence is all you need to know.  Another prophecy has failed!

Changing climate shifts timing of European floods

Günter Blöschl et al.


A warming climate is expected to have an impact on the magnitude and timing of river floods; however, no consistent large-scale climate change signal in observed flood magnitudes has been identified so far. We analyzed the timing of river floods in Europe over the past five decades, using a pan-European database from 4262 observational hydrometric stations, and found clear patterns of change in flood timing. Warmer temperatures have led to earlier spring snowmelt floods throughout northeastern Europe; delayed winter storms associated with polar warming have led to later winter floods around the North Sea and some sectors of the Mediterranean coast; and earlier soil moisture maxima have led to earlier winter floods in western Europe. Our results highlight the existence of a clear climate signal in flood observations at the continental scale.

Science,  11 Aug 2017: Vol. 357, Issue 6351, pp. 588-590

As we know, however, Warmism cannot be allowed to die.  So the authors have made a last desperate attempt to save something from the wreckage of their theory.  They now say that global warming is making floods come SOONER.  Not a big comfort, one would think but beggars can't be choosers.  But is the claim right?  It is the product of some torturous statistics and there's many a slip between cup and lip in that sort of thing.  And it does not look good.  Climate bulldog Paul Homewood has pulled out the official British flood statistics and shows that there is no trend anywhere in Britain.  There are changes from year to year but they are random, not pointing in any particular direction.  If I believed in God I would think he had a sense of humor.  He certainly seems to enjoy upsetting Warmist applecarts.

You've got to read the small print

Did anybody doubt that the usual suspects would tie Hurricane Harvey to global warming?  They did.  At length.  Below is an excerpt from one such article.  The last 4 paragraphs are from the end of the article. They are an admission that Harvey CANNOT be tied to global warming.  Putting something at the very end of an article is the journalistic version of small print

As the Earth’s climate warms because of human burning of fossil fuels, scientists have seen tropical cyclones become more intense and predict they will continue doing so.

Since the 1980s when high-quality satellite observations became available, scientists have seen an increase in the “intensity, frequency, and duration” of Atlantic hurricanes, along with the number of Category 4 and 5 storms, according to the 2014 National Climate Assessment..........

What scientists can’t say for sure is whether hurricanes and tropical storms are happening more frequently.

Unlike some other extreme weather events like heat waves, blizzards and rainstorms, hurricanes are relatively rare. In Texas, two named storms make landfall every three years, on average, Nielsen-Gammon said. For Category 3 storms and above, the average rate is one per decade, he said.

That means there’s not enough data to say with certainty that the frequency of these storms is going up, Cook said.

“When you try to look at observations, it takes a long time to build up enough numbers of hurricanes so that you can say with statistical significance that you have observed an (increase),” she said, adding it might take another 20 years for a pattern to emerge.


Nothing like a bit of "building awareness"

Apparently it's the latest tricky way of saying "maybe". An interview below with Berkeley Obamabot Dan Kammen

AMY GOODMAN: So, if we can talk to you, you are the now resigned science envoy of the State Department, but if we can talk to you about what is happening right now in Texas. Tens of thousands of residents began evacuating coastal communities as forecasters predict that Hurricane Harvey could make landfall late Friday as a major category 3 storm, delivering a life-threatening 35 inches of rain to some parts of the Gulf Coast. Can you talk about this hurricane, what we are seeing, and whether you think it is related to climate change and global warming?

DAN KAMMEN: This is an area where the science is still building. We certainly have seen a number of climatologists — I’m a physicist who works on clean energy solutions. But, on the detection of climate change side, there is a building awareness of the degree to which climate change makes these types of tropical storms more severe, whether that’s more frequent or whether that’s stronger as an area that’s still under research, but it’s clear that events like this increased wildfires, droughts, these are all what we expect to see in a globally warmed climate changed world.

And from my perspective, these are all economic and human, agricultural, and environmental costs. And when we talk about not stepping up to the plate and acting based on a scientific knowledge to reduce our global warming footprint, to reduce the amount of pollution so that we can limit the effects of climate change, these are all huge economic cost for us, the rest of the planet, that we are paying, and we are paying them already. And that’s really the sad part of the story, to me.


EPA will no longer sponsor the annual climate leadership awards

The agency spokesperson said that it really shouldn't come as a surprise

It's no secret that Scott Pruitt is a climate change skeptic, and the Environmental Protection Agency has been undoing Obama-era policies ever since he took office. The agency's latest move follows that trend: the EPA has announced that it's no longer sponsoring the 2018 Climate Leadership Awards program, which recognizes companies that take steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and publicly report their progress. As a result, the awards program itself and the Climate Leadership Conference that usually goes with it have both been canceled for next year.

EPA spokesperson Jahan Wilcox apologized but didn't explain why the EPA withdrew its support. As he told Reuters in an email "It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that [the EPA doesn't] plan to fund an awards ceremony on climate change." To start with, the administration's proposed budget for 2018 will see its funding cut by 31 percent, which will specifically affect its climate change and pollution initiatives. Even without the budget cut, though, it's hard to imagine the EPA supporting a climate change award in its current state.

Earlier this year, the agency pulled down its climate science pages to reflect the views of the White House. The president also signed an executive order rolling back climate policies approved by the previous administration. And let's not forget that the United States withdrew from the Paris Accord, an agreement between 142 countries to make an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While the awards program for 2018 was canceled, the EPA's former co-sponsors, non-government organizations C2ES and the Climate Registry, intend to continue the tradition. They're now looking for a new co-sponsor willing to fund and host the program in the future.


Obama EPA caught faking data to promote globalist scheme

Judicial Watch announced Wednesday it received documents from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that show the agency’s claim that the Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Power Plan would prevent thousands of premature deaths by 2030 was, at best, misleading.

The documents were produced in accordance with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed in June 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the EPA failed to respond to a May 3, 2017 FOIA request (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (No. 1:17-cv-01217)). Judicial Watch requested:

"All internal emails or other records explaining, or requesting an explanation of, the EPA’s decision to claim that the Clean Power Plan would prevent between 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths by 2030"

The documents forced out by Judicial Watch reveal that carbon dioxide reduction itself would not prevent any deaths. In a June 2, 2014, email from Bloomberg news reporter Mike Dorning to EPA officials Matt Lehrich and Thomas Reynolds, Dorning asks if particulate matter and ozone are the real concern:

"So far, what I have found on my own is Table 4-18 on page 4-36 of the Regulatory Impact Analysis report. And, am I reading the table correctly in concluding that all of those reductions come not from the impact on global warming or carbon emissions but entirely from anticipated reductions in emissions of fine particulate matter and ozone that you forecast will come from changes made to reach the carbon reduction goals?"

Neither Lehrich nor Reynolds answered Dorning’s question directly, however, Liz Purchia, an Obama-era communications staffer at the agency, characterized the premature-deaths figure as “co-benefits” of carbon reductions and revealed that none of the premature deaths would be prevented by CO2 emission reductions:

"This [premature-deaths figure] is a calculation based on the NOX, S02 and PM co-benefits."

It is the soot and ozone that the EPA estimates to cause the deaths, not the carbon dioxide. The Obama EPA sought to force industry to reduce carbon output, therefore, electricity producers would have no choice but to redesign factories in a way that also produces less fine particulate matter (soot) and ozone emissions into the atmosphere.

The EPA did not explain its theory of indirect, “co-benefits” in its press statement, nor did the EPA explain that it is possible to save just as many lives by passing a law requiring less soot and ozone emissions without also requiring a reduction in carbon output.

“Judicial Watch has caught the Obama EPA red handed issuing a series of half-truths and deliberately misleading information – pure propaganda – designed to deceive the American public into accepting its radical environmental agenda,” said Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton. “The documents show the Obama EPA could not demonstrate that carbon dioxide reductions would in fact reduce the number of premature deaths. It is no surprise it took a federal lawsuit to uncover this Obama deceit. We appreciate that the Trump EPA did not drag this litigation out – we hope other Trump officials start finally paying attention to the FOIA law.”

The controversial Clean Power Plan was promoted as combating “anthropogenic climate change” and was designed to mandate the shifting of electricity generation away from coal-powered plants. On March 28, President Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA to begin the legal process of withdrawing and rewriting the Clean Power Plan, which would have closed hundreds of coal-fired power plants, halted construction of new plants, increased reliance on natural-gas-fired plants and shifted power generation to huge new wind and solar farms. On June 1, President Trump also announced the United States would cease participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation.

The EPA omitted the claim that the plan would reduce “2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths” in its final rule.




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


27 August, 2017

The sun or not the sun?

I reproduce below part of a curious article from Germany's generally scholarly Max Planck Society. The author, Helmut Hornung, admits that fluctuations in solar output can impact the earth's climate but says:  "Not this time".  Recent warming is not caused by solar change.  He is right. It was caused by El Nino.

But he is not talking about the 2015/2016 El Nino period.  For an unexplained reason he cherrypicks the 2001 to 2010 period. And he says that the temperature of that period was 0.2 degrees warmer than the previous decade.  And since the sun did not change during 2001-2010, the sun could not have caused that inter-decadal warming.

That sounds logical at first but the devil is in the detail. He pays no attention to the temperature fluctuations during those two periods.  There was something of a temperature step-change around 1998, when the temperature rose by about 0.2 degrees but there was no change thereafter.  The temperature just moved to a slightly higher plateau at that time. It reached a new level and stayed there.  It was NOT continuously warming during that decade.  So temperature and the sun actually mirrored one-another.  The sun did not change during 2000-2010 and nor did the temperature.  So if we look at the temperature details, they would seem to prove exactly what he wanted them to disprove.

That was the only attempt by him to prove his case. For the rest he just asserts that temperatures have gone up long term and CO2 has gone up long term.  But that proves nothing.  It is an asserted causal relationship, not a proven relationship. And it ignores the lack of a smooth relationship that you would expect of a causal relationship.  Both temperatures and CO2 went up in  fits and starts but they were not the same fits and starts. The precise effects on temperature that CO2 levels are supposed to produce were not produced. 

CO2 molecules don't have a little brain in them that says "I will stop reflecting heat down for a few years and then start up again". Their action (if any) is entirely passive.  Yet temperature can stay plateaued for many years (e.g. 1945 to 1975) while CO2 levels climb.  So there is clearly no causal link between the two. One could argue that there are one or two things -- mainly volcanoes and the Ninos -- that upset the relationship but there are not exceptions ALL the time.  Most of the time a precise 1 to 1 connection should be visible.  It isn't, far from it.  You should be able to read one from the other.  You can't.

Another oddity:  He puts the increase in CO2 back to 1750:  "the carbon dioxide concentration has increased by 30 percent since industrialization began in the mid-18th century."  He may be right but most Warmists say 1950 or thereabouts

Interesting that he admits that the sun CAN have an influence though.  Warmists normally pooh pooh that altogether

It’s becoming warmer on Earth. Temperatures during the period spanning 2001 to 2010, for example, were around 0.2 degrees Celsius higher than the previous decade. No serious scientist doubts that humans play a decisive role here. Nevertheless, other factors also influence the global climate, for example the geometry of Earth's orbit and volcanic eruptions. But what role does the Sun play?

By way of its energy input, the Sun can directly influence the climate of our planet. However, the atmosphere only allows radiation to pass through in specific wavelengths, predominantly in visible light; the remainder is, in a manner of speaking, absorbed by molecules. Only part of the radiation therefore reaches Earth's surface and can heat it up. The irradiated surface, in turn, emits infra-red light, which is then held back by clouds or aerosols. This effect, without which the Earth would be around 32 degrees Celsius colder, warms the atmosphere. These processes resemble the conditions in a greenhouse.

To investigate the influence of the Sun on the climate, researchers look to the past. Here, they focus on the star's magnetic activity, from which the radiation intensity can be reconstructed. It is then apparent that the Sun produces more intense radiation during active periods – apparent thanks to numerous spots and flares – than during its quiescent phases.

The Sun had just such a break in activity during the second half of the 17th century, for example: between 1645 and 1715 its engine began to falter. During this period, referred to as the Maunder Minimum, Europe, North America and China recorded much colder winters. And even the summer was substantially cooler in some regions during this “Little Ice Age”. Paintings were made at the time, showing ice skaters on the frozen Thames, for example.

When looking back at the past the scientists work with both old records of observational sunspot data (beginning in 1610) and using the C14 method, which can be particularly well applied to wood, as Carbon-14 input at the ground (trees) is not constant, but also changes with solar activity. This radioactive isotope is created when what are known as cosmic rays meet an air molecule in the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere.

The solar magnetic field extends throughout the entire solar system and partially screens off cosmic rays. If the magnetic field fluctuates, so does C14 production. In this manner, the deviation between tree ring age and C14 age represents a measure of magnetic activity and consequently for the radiant power of the Sun.

So, how strongly does the Sun currently influence the climate? What is known is that Earth has become warmer by around one degree Celsius over the past 100 years. In the last 30 years alone, temperatures have increased at a rate not seen during the last 1000 years. It is another fact that the carbon dioxide concentration has increased by 30 percent since industrialization began in the mid-18th century.

During this entire period, the Sun has been subject to periodic fluctuations in activity. And there has certainly been no increase in the brightness of the Sun over the past 30 or 40 years, rather a slight decrease. This means that the Sun cannot have contributed to global warming. In fact, the temperature increase noted in recent decades cannot be reproduced in models if only the influence of the Sun or other natural sources are taken into account (for example volcanic eruptions). Only when anthropogenic, that is human-driven, factors are incorporated in the climate data, do they agree with the observational and measured data.

The researchers thus arrive at the conclusion that the increase in global temperatures since the 1970s cannot be explained by the Sun. The observed temperature trend over the past three decades is linear – if it is a result of the increasing greenhouse gas concentration. In brief: the human influence on the climate is orders of magnitude greater than that of the Sun.

On the other hand, the opinion of some scientists that the current decrease in solar activity will counteract global warming, does not stand up to a close examination, as global warming is a fact - and continues to advance. In contrast, it does appear possible that the Sun influences the climate in the long term. The exact extent and precise mechanisms remain unclear, however.


A new Russian tanker has cruised through the Northeast passage without an icebreaker escort for the first time

They do get to the point below after the routine bow to global warming.  The point being that the ship IS an icebreaker.  So comparing it with other ships not so equipped is totally invalid.

The Korean-built tanker features an ice-strengthened hull structure, which was fabricated using E-grade high-tensile special steel. Covered with 7cm of steel plates, the bow offers high manoeuvrability in open water and up to 1.5m-thick ice. The stern section is designed to enable navigation in severe ice conditions.

It may be worth noting that the time saved by using the Northern route may not always be great -- as the ship can make only a very slow 5kmh through ice, compared with 19kmh through open water

Experts claim that climate change is to blame as warming temperatures thaw the region's frozen waters.

The £234 million ($300 million) Christophe de Margerie completed the journey from Hammerfest in Norway to Boryeong in South Korea in just 19 days.

Using just its integral icebreaker, the tanker took just six and a half days to travel the northern sea section of the Russian Arctic, a new record.

The 300-metre-long (984 ft) ship, which was specially designed to take advantage of the Arctic's diminishing sea ice, crossed ice fields up to 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) thick.

While the rapid crossing time was thanks in part to the tanker's technology, the record journey highlights the effects of climate change on Arctic ice.

The ship completed its Arctic journey 30 per cent quicker than it would have along the alternative route, via the Suez canal.

Despite the ship having its own icebreaker, it has previously been impossible to traverse the icy route without a separate icebreaker escort.

But using only its integral icebreaker, the tanker took just six and a half days to travel the northern sea section of the Russian Arctic, a new record.

'It's very quick, particularly as there was no icebreaker escort which previously there had been in journeys,' Bill Spears, spokesman for the shipping company which owns the tanker, Sovcomflot, told the Guardian.

'It's very exciting that a ship can go along this route all year round.'

The 300-metre-long (984 ft) ship, which was specially designed to take advantage of the Arctic's diminishing sea ice, crossed ice fields up to 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) thick.

It was carrying a cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which the ship can be powered by alongside conventional fuel to reduce sulphur oxide and nitrous oxide emissions.

'This is a significant factor in a fragile ecosystem,' Mr Spears said.

While the rapid crossing time was thanks in part to the tanker's technology, the record journey highlights the effects of climate change on Arctic ice.

Research published earlier this year suggested that 'polar heatwaves' had shrunk the icecaps down to an all-time low.


How alarmist rhetoric warps climate policy

Climate change is not the biggest challenge in our future

Promoting his climate change film An Inconvenient Sequel, former US vice-president Al Gore likes to say that the nightly news has become “a nature hike through the Book of Revelations”.

He’s not the only one touting an apocalypse. In a much-shared story, New York magazine warned that famine, economic collapse and “a sun that cooks us” will happen as soon as the end of this century, as “parts of the Earth will likely become uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable”.

Even astrophysicist Stephen Hawking recently declared that US withdrawal from the Paris climate treaty “could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees (Celsius), and raining sulfuric acid”.

This is silly. Even the worst case scenarios from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show 5C-6C temperature increases, about 50 times less than Hawking fears.

The cost of weather damage is rising, but it’s because we’re richer. Since 1990, global weather damage adjusted for gross domestic product has declined. And because we’re richer and can afford better infrastructure, fewer people are dying. In the 1930s, droughts, floods, storms, wildfires and extreme temperatures globally killed almost 500,000 people every year. Today they kill fewer than 25,000 people. Despite the population trebling, we have seen a 95 per cent reduction in climate deaths.

The IPCC estimates that, by the 2070s, climate change may cost the world somewhere between 0.2 per cent to 2 per cent of GDP. That’s a problem, but by no means the end of the world. The IPCC finds that for most economic sectors, “the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers” such as changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation and governance.

Just pause and reflect on that. The UN organisation tasked with preparing for the risks of global warming warns that demographic changes and most other challenges are going to have a much bigger impact than climate change.

Global warming is an issue and one that we need to tackle, but the unglamorous truth is that it is by no means the biggest factor in our future wellbeing.

The reason for the over-the-top rhetoric is that climate policies are much more expensive than almost anyone is willing to go along with.

The Paris Agreement, supported by Gore and others, states that we should try to limit temperature increases to 1.5C. The evidence shows us this would require stopping all fossil fuel use in just four years. Humanity, which meets about 81 per cent of its energy needs with fossil fuels, would come to a standstill. People would starve: half the world’s population relies on food produced with nitrogen fertiliser, almost entirely processed with fossil fuels.

This extreme scenario is not going to happen. Study after study shows that most people are somewhat concerned about climate but only moderately interested in paying for a solution. In the US, the average annual willingness to pay is $US180 ($228) a household or $US70 a person. In China, it is $US30 a person a year. These are likely exaggerations, since people give a much bigger number when the question is hypothetical. Compared with the figure people say they would be willing to spend to offset CO2 emissions from flights each year, real-life travellers spend much less than 1 per cent.

The Paris Agreement will cost each American $US500 a year, each European $US600 and each Chinese person $US170. Despite rhetoric about keeping temperatures below 1.5C, these promises together will achieve almost nothing. By the UN’s own estimate, the Paris Agreement will reduce emissions by less than 1 per cent of what would be needed to keep temperature rises under 2C (a less ambitious target than 1.5C) yet will cost $US1 trillion to $2 trillion a year by 2030, mostly in reduced GDP growth. The treaty will deliver far less than most people expect, yet will cost much more than most people are willing to pay.

Achieving significant cuts would be much more expensive. For the EU to fulfil its promise of cutting emissions by 80 per cent in 2050 (the most ambitious climate policy in the world), the average of the best peer-reviewed models show that the cost would run to at least $US3 trillion a year, and more likely double that — meaning $US6000 for each EU citizen a year.

This helps explain why campaigners resort to painting ever-more catastrophic scenarios. Alarming predictions push us to devote more attention to climate policies — and, in the process, to spend more tax dollars on solar subsidies instead of healthcare, pension reform, libraries or education. People in the rich world — especially the poor, unemployed and elderly — are left paying for climate policies that will do little to fix the problem while leaving fewer resources for other issues.

The world’s poor are given an even worse deal. They are most vulnerable to climate change, but they are also the most vulnerable to a long list of health and development challenges that often go overlooked. Focusing just on climate means international concern and development spending is directed towards this rather than more pedestrian concerns such as tuberculosis, one of the leading causes of death in the world, where we could save 1.4 million lives every year for just $US8 billion. One-quarter of development now goes to “climate aid” — things such as ineffective off-grid solar panels. This is incredibly ineffective and not what the world’s poorest want: a UN global poll of nearly 10 million people finds climate to be the lowest policy priority, far behind education, food security and health.

Fostering a sense of panic doesn’t just distract us from other issues; it also means we don’t tackle climate change well. Economic studies show the right way forward is not subsidising inefficient solar panels, the mainstay of today’s climate spending, but to increase investment in green energy research and development to push down the cost below fossil fuels.

Over-the-top, alarmist rhetoric has a real cost. It encourages us to engage in phenomenally expensive and unhelpful climate policies while ignoring the smaller, cheaper and more realistic ways to respond to this and the challenges that will be much more pressing.


Al Gore’s Hype


I was surprised to discover that Al Gore’s new movie begins with words from me!

While icebergs melt dramatically, Gore plays a clip of me saying, “‘An Inconvenient Truth’ won him an Oscar, yet much of the movie is nonsense. ‘Sea levels may rise 20 feet’ — absurd.” He used this comment from one of my TV shows.

The “20 feet” claim is absurd — one of many hyped claims in his movie.

His second film, “An Inconvenient Sequel,” shows lower Manhattan underwater while Gore intones: “ This is global warming!”

My goodness! Stossel doubts Al Gore’s claim, but pictures don’t lie: The 9/11 Memorial is underwater! Gore is right! Stossel is an ignorant fool!

But wait. The pictures were from Superstorm Sandy. Water is pushed ashore during storms, especially “super” storms. But average sea levels haven’t risen much.

Over the past decade, they have risen about 1 inch. But this is not because we burn fossil fuels. Sea levels were rising long before we burned anything. They’ve been rising about an inch per decade for a thousand years.

In his new movie, Gore visits Miami Beach. No storm, but streets are flooded! Proof of catastrophe!

But in a new e-book responding to Gore’s film, climate scientist Roy Spencer points out that flooding in “Miami Beach occurs during high tides called ‘king tides,’ due to the alignment of the Earth, sun and moon. For decades they have been getting worse in low-lying areas of Miami Beach where buildings were being built on reclaimed swampland.”

It’s typical Al Gore scaremongering: Pick a place that floods every year and portray it as evidence of calamity.

Spencer, a former NASA scientist who co-developed the first ways of monitoring global temperatures with satellites, is no climate change “denier.” Neither am I. Climate changes .

Man probably plays a part. But today’s warming is almost certainly not a “crisis.” It’s less of a threat than real crises like malaria, terrorism, America’s coming bankruptcy, etc. Even if increasing carbon dioxide warming the atmosphere were a serious threat, nothing Al Gore and his followers now advocate would make a difference.

“What I am opposed to is misleading people with false climate science claims and alarming them into diverting vast sums of the public’s wealth into expensive energy schemes,” writes Spencer.

Gore does exactly that. He portrays just about every dramatic weather event as proof that humans have changed weather. Watching his films, you’d think that big storms and odd weather never occurred before and that glaciers never melted.

In his first movie, Gore predicted that tornadoes and hurricanes would get worse. They haven’t. Tornado activity is down.

What about those dramatic pictures of collapsing ice shelves?

“As long as snow continues to fall on Antarctica,” writes Spencer, “glaciers and ice shelves will continue to slowly flow downhill to the sea and dramatically break off into the ocean. That is what happens naturally, just as rivers flow naturally to the ocean. It has nothing to do with human activities.”

Gore said summer sea ice in the Arctic would disappear as early as 2014. Nothing like that is close to happening.

Gore’s movie hypes solar power and electric cars but doesn’t mention that taxpayers are forced to subsidize them. Despite the subsidies, electric cars still make up less than 1 percent of the market.

If electric cars do become more popular, Spencer asks, “Where will all of the extra electricity come from? The Brits are already rebelling against existing wind farms.”

I bet most Gore fans have no idea that most American electricity comes from natural gas (33 percent), coal (30 percent) and nuclear reactors (20 percent).

Gore probably doesn’t know that.

I’d like to ask him, but he won’t talk to me. He won’t debate anyone.

Critics liked “An Inconvenient Sequel.” An NPR reviewer called it “a hugely effective lecture.” But viewers were less enthusiastic. On Rotten Tomatoes, my favorite movie guide, they give “Sequel” a “tipped over popcorn bucket” score of 48 percent. Sample reviews: “Dull as can be.” “Faulty info, conflated and exaggerated.”

Clearly, Nobel Prize judges and media critics are bigger fans of big government and scaremongering than the rest of us.


Berkeley Obamabot resigns

He is clearly very confident of his own cleverness, a common Leftist ailment

Daniel Kammen, a renewable energy expert appointed last year as a science envoy to the State Department, resigned Wednesday, citing President Donald Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, as the final straw that led to his departure.

In a resignation letter posted to Twitter, Kammen wrote that Trump’s remarks about the racial violence in Virginia had attacked "core values of the United States" and that it would have "domestic and international ramifications."

Kammen, who was appointed during Barack Obama’s presidency, said it would be unconscionable for him to continue serving the administration after those remarks. He said he stood with "the unequivocal and authoritative statements" of a slew of other public officials, both Democratic and Republican.

"Acts and words matter," Kammen wrote. "To continue in my role under your administration would be inconsistent with the principles of the United States Oath of Allegiance to which I adhere."

However, his most biting message may have come in the form of a hidden acrostic; the first letter of each paragraph spelled out "I-M-P-E-A-C-H."

The State Department appointed Kammen, an energy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, as one of five U.S. science envoys in March 2016. At the time, Kammen said he would be working on various global energy initiatives, as well as "the wider Paris Accord."

In his resignation letter, Kammen also cited other concerns that predated Trump’s Charlottesville comments, including the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord in June.

Kammen did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Kammen wrapped up his resignation letter with something of a warning for Trump, borrowing the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower: "A people [or person] that values its privileges above principles soon loses both."




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


25 August, 2017

The vanishing underwater forests: Researchers say climate change is killing off huge amounts of kelp across the globe

There may have been some kelp die-off in the last 30-50 years but it is only assertion that links it to global warming.  Global warming causes everything adverse according to Greenies. Sea surface temperatures have changed little globally so the cause of any dieoff is most likely some disease or predator.  Several such are mentioned below

The report below seems to be a synthesis of two studies so it is amusing to read those two studies.  From Global patterns of kelp forest change over the past half-century we read:

"Our analysis identified declines in 38% of ecoregions for which there are data, increases in 27% of ecoregions, and no detectable change in 35% of ecoregions".

So there has been no overall die-off at all, just local variations.  There was nothing like the global effect we would expect from global warming

And from Invasive seaweeds transform habitat structure and increase biodiversity of associated species we read:

"These introduced seaweeds harbour greater biodiversity of species found at the base of the food web than seaweeds with simpler forms such as the native kelp species."

Which is the exact opposite of what they would have you believe  below. Far from kelp providing "critical food and shelter to myriad fish and other creatures", kelp is not critical at all. The invasive seaweeds do it better.  The new species are providing MORE food for marine life, not less.  The article below is solid deception.  I noted similar dishonesty about kelp in Australian waters just over a year ago

I feel quite safe in saying that there is NO truth in anything Warmists say about kelp or anything else

When diving in the Gulf of Maine a few years back, Jennifer Dijkstra expected to be swimming through a flowing kelp forest that had long served as a nursery and food for juvenile fish and lobster.

But Dijkstra, a University of New Hampshire marine biologist, saw only a patchy seafloor before her.

The sugar kelp had declined dramatically and been replaced by invasive, shrub-like seaweed that looked like a giant shag rug.

Kelp is critical to coastal economies, providing billions of dollars in tourism and fishing.

Kelp losses on Australia's Great Southern Reef threaten tourism and fishing industries worth $10 billion.

Die-offs contributed to a 60 percent drop in species richness in the Mediterranean and were blamed for the collapse of the abalone fishery in Japan.

'I remember going to some dive sites and honestly being shocked at how few kelp blades we saw,' she said.

The Gulf of Maine, stretching from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia, is the latest in a growing list of global hotspots losing their kelp, including hundreds of miles in the Mediterranean Sea, off southern Japan and Australia, and parts of the California coast.

Among the world's most diverse marine ecosystems, kelp forests are found on all continental coastlines except for Antarctica and provide critical food and shelter to myriad fish and other creatures.

Kelp also is critical to coastal economies, providing billions of dollars in tourism and fishing.

The likely culprit, according to several scientific studies, is warming oceans from climate change, coupled with the arrival of invasive species.

In Maine, the invaders are other seaweeds.

In Australia, the Mediterranean and Japan, tropical fish are feasting on the kelp.

Most kelp are replaced by small, tightly packed, bushy seaweeds that collect sediment and prevent kelp from growing back, said the University of Western Australia's Thomas Wernberg.

'Collectively these changes are part of a recent and increasing global trend of flattening of the world's kelp forests,' said Wernberg, co-author of a 2016 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which found that 38 percent of kelp forest declined over the past 50 years in regions that had data.

'You are losing habitat. You are losing food. You are losing shoreline protection,' said University of Massachusetts Boston's Jarrett Byrnes, who leads a working group on kelp and climate change. 'They provide real value to humans.'

The Pacific Coast from northern California to the Oregon border is one place that suffered dramatic kelp loss, according to Cynthia Catton, a research associate at the Bodega Marine Laboratory at the University of California, Davis.

Since 2014, aerial surveys have shown that bull kelp declined by over 90 percent, something Catton blamed on a marine heat wave along with a rapid increase in kelp-eating sea urchins.

Without the kelp to eat, Northern California's abalone fishery has been harmed. 'It's pretty devastating to the ecosystem as a whole,' Catton said. 'It's like a redwood forest that has been completely clear-cut. If you lose the trees, you don't have a forest.'

Kelp is incredibly resilient and has been known to bounce back from storms and heat waves.

But in Maine, it has struggled to recover following an explosion of voracious sea urchins in the 1980s that wiped out many kelp beds. Now, it must survive in waters that are warming faster than the vast majority of the world's oceans - most likely forcing kelp to migrate northward or into deeper waters.

'What the future holds is more complicated,' Byrnes said. 'If the Gulf of Maine warms sufficiently, we know kelp will have a hard time holding on.'

On their dives around Maine's Appledore Island, a craggy island off New Hampshire that's home to nesting seagulls, Dijkstra and colleague Larry Harris have witnessed dramatic changes.

Their study, published by the Journal of Ecology in April, examined photos of seaweed populations and dive logs going back 30 years in the Gulf of Maine.

They found introduced species from as far away as Asia, such as the filamentous red seaweed, had increased by as much 90 percent and were covering 50 to 90 percent of the gulf's seafloor.

They are seeing far fewer ocean pout, wolf eel and pollock that once were commonplace in these kelp beds.

But they also are finding that the half-dozen invasive seaweeds replacing kelp are harboring up to three times more tiny shrimp, snails and other invertebrates.

'We're not really sure how this new seascape will affect higher species in the food web, especially commercially important ones like fish, crabs and lobster,' said Dijkstra, following a dive in which bags of invasive seaweed were collected and the invertebrates painstakingly counted.

'What we do think is that fish are using these seascapes differently.'


ExxonMobil intentionally misled the public on climate change for decades, Harvard study finds

Exxon had zero obligation to publish its private research and was prudent not to

US OIL giant ExxonMobil knowingly misled the public for decades about the danger climate change poses to a warming world and the company’s long-term viability, according to a peer-reviewed Harvard study.

An analysis of nearly 200 documents spanning decades found that four-fifths of scientific studies and internal memos acknowledged global warming is real and caused by humans.

At the same time a similar proportion of hundreds of paid editorials in major US newspapers over the same period cast deep doubt on these widely accepted facts.

The study also cites ExxonMobil calculations that capping global warming at under two degrees Celsius — the goal enshrined in the landmark Paris climate accord — would impose sharp limits on the amount of fossil fuels that could be burned, and thus potentially affect the firm’s growth.

Both findings are relevant to ongoing investigations by US state and federal Attorneys-General, along with the Securities and Exchange Commission, on whether the company deceived investors on how it accounts for climate change risk.

The new study was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Earlier reporting by InsideClimate News, nominated last year for a Pulitzer, unearthed the internal documents and came to much the same conclusion.

In response, the company — the largest oil producer in the United States, with revenue of $US218 billion dollars last year — denied having led a four-decade disinformation campaign.

“We unequivocally reject allegations that ExxonMobil suppressed climate change research,” it said at the time. “We understand that climate risks are real.”

The company slammed journalists for having allegedly “cherrypicked” data in a way that unfairly put the company in a bad light.

The new study pushes back on that characterisation. “We looked at the whole cherry tree,” Geoffrey Supran, a researcher at Harvard University and co-author of the study, told AFP.

“Using social science methods, we found a gaping, systematic discrepancy between what Exxon said about climate change in private and academic circles, and what is said to the public.”

As early as 1979, when climate change barely registered as an issue for the public, Exxon was sounding internal alarms.

“The most widely held theory is that ... the increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to fossil fuel combustion,” an internal memo from that year read.

A peer-reviewed study by Exxon scientists 17 years later concluded that “the body of evidence ... now points towards a discernible human influence on global climate.”

At the same time, however, the company was spending tens of millions of dollars to place editorials in The New York Times and other influential newspapers that delivered a very different message.

“Let’s face it: The science of climate change is too uncertain to mandate a plan of action that could plunge economies into turmoil,” Exxon opined in 1997, as the Bill Clinton administration faced overwhelming opposition in Congress to US ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

Natasha Lamb, managing partner of investment management firm Arjuna Capital, said the new analysis could bolster the lawsuits accusing ExxonMobil of deliberately downplaying climate change risks.

“The Harvard research shows systemic bias in sowing public doubt, while acknowledging the risks privately,” she said after reviewing the study’s main findings. “That is at the heart of the investigations.”

Lamb’s firm filed the first shareholder proposal in 2013 asking ExxonMobil to assess whether imposing a 2C limit on warming would result in the company not being able to exploit its reserves.

Those efforts were swatted down, but four years later a decisive 62 per cent of shareholders called on ExxonMobil, in a non-binding vote last May, to detail how climate change will affect its future.

In three other lawsuits, coastal communities in California are suing 37 oil, gas and coal companies, including ExxonMobil.

Marin and San Mateo counties, along with the city of Imperial Beach, assert that these fossil fuel purveyors knew their product would cause sea level rise and coastal flooding but took no action to inform the public or curtail their carbon emissions.

The new study “confirms some of the central tenets of our cases,” said Vic Sher, a senior partner at Sher Edling and a lawyer in the case.

“We will prove that Exxon and the fossil fuel industry knew for decades that greenhouse gas pollution would case warming of the air and oceans, sea level rise, and other consequences,” he said.

“The industry engaged in deception and denial while aggressively marketing and making enormous profits.”

From 2006 to 2016, ExxonMobil was led by Rex Tillerson, currently Secretary of State under US President Donald Trump.


Global Warming Is Almost Entirely Natural, Study Confirms

Most global warming is natural and even if there had been no Industrial Revolution current global temperatures would be almost exactly the same as they are now, a study has found.
The paper, by Australian scientists John Abbot and Jennifer Marohasy, published in GeoResJ uses the latest big data technique to analyse six 2,000 year-long proxy temperature series from different geographic regions. “Proxies” are the markers scientists use – tree rings, sediments, pollen, etc – to try assess global temperature trends in the days before the existence of thermometers. All the evidence suggests that the planet was about a degree warmer during the Medieval Warming Period than it is now; and that there is nothing unnatural or unprecedented about late 20th century and early 21st century “climate change”.

This contradicts the claims of alarmist scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that “man made” global warming is a worrying and dangerous phenomenon.

Time-series profiles derived from temperature proxies such as tree rings can provide information about past climate. Signal analysis was undertaken of six such datasets, and the resulting component sine waves used as input to an artificial neural network (ANN), a form of machine learning. By optimizing spectral features of the component sine waves, such as periodicity, amplitude and phase, the original temperature profiles were approximately simulated for the late Holocene period to 1830 CE. The ANN models were then used to generate projections of temperatures through the 20th century. The largest deviation between the ANN projections and measured temperatures for six geographically distinct regions was approximately 0.2?°C, and from this an Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) of approximately 0.6?°C was estimated. This is considerably less than estimates from the General Circulation Models (GCMs) used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and similar to estimates from spectroscopic methods.

In fact as the chart shows, recent warming is well within the planet’s natural historic climate boundaries:

According to co-author Jennifer Mahorasy – who was behind the recent exposure of the scandal in which Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology was found to be erasing record-breaking low temperatures from its records – global temperature has moved up and down quite naturally for the last 2000 years.

We began by deconstructing the six-proxy series from different geographic regions – series already published in the mainstream climate science literature.  One of these, the Northern Hemisphere composite series begins in 50 AD, ends in the year 2000, and is derived from studies of pollen, lake sediments, stalagmites and boreholes.

Typical of most such temperature series, it zigzags up and down while showing two rising trends: the first peaks about 1200 AD and corresponds with a period known as the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), while the second peaks in 1980 and then shows decline. In between, is the Little Ice Age (LIA), which according to the Northern Hemisphere composite bottomed-out in 1650 AD.  (Of course, the MWP corresponded with a period of generally good harvests in England – when men dressed in tunics and built grand cathedrals with tall spires.  It preceded the LIA when there was famine and the Great Plague of London.)

Up until the 1990s, this was widely accepted by the climate science community. But then came a concerted effort led by alarmists including Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann to erase the Medieval Warming Period from the records. Scientists who argued otherwise – among them Willie Soon and Sallie Balliunas – were harassed for their “incorrect” thinking.

However, the new study would appear to confirm that the skeptics were right all along – and that it’s the alarmists who have some apologizing to do.

To be clear, while mainstream climate science is replete with published proxy temperature studies showing that temperatures have cycled up and down over the last 2,000 years – spiking during the Medieval Warm Period and then again recently to about 1980 as shown in Figure 12 – the official IPCC reconstructions (which underpin the Paris Accord) deny such cycles.  Through this denial, leaders from within this much-revered community can claim that there is something unusual about current temperatures: that we have catastrophic global warming from industrialisation.

In our new paper in GeoResJ, we not only use the latest techniques in big data to show that there would very likely have been significant warming to at least 1980 in the absence of industrialisation, we also calculate an Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) of 0.6°C. This is the temperature increase expected from a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. This is an order of magnitude less than estimates from General Circulation Models, but in accordance from values generated from experimental spectroscopic studies, and other approaches reported in the scientific literature [9,10,11,12,13,14].

The science is far from settled. In reality, some of the data is ‘problematic’, the underlying physical mechanisms are complex and poorly understood, the literature voluminous, and new alternative techniques (such as our method using ANNs) can give very different answers to those derived from General Circulation Models and remodelled proxy-temperature series.


Dakota Access Pipeline Owner Sues Greenpeace For $300 Million In Damages

The company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline launched an unusual legal attack Tuesday against Greenpeace International and other environmental groups, alleging that the organizations effectively ran a criminal enterprise through their protests of the project.

The suit by  Energy Transfer Partners LP, filed in federal court in North Dakota under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act—a law created to prosecute the mafia—represents an aggressive new front in the continuing battle over the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline. It became operational in June but remains the subject of legal challenges.

The company alleged that Greenpeace ran a “relentless campaign of lies and outright mob thuggery.” Among other things, it alleged Greenpeace and other groups solicited donations under false claims about the pipeline, threatened the company’s investors and lenders, launched cyberattacks against the company, and sought to sabotage the pipeline with serious “terrorist threats.”

Greenpeace USA General Counsel Tom Wetterer said in a statement that the suit was “not designed to seek justice, but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation. This has now become a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies.”

The Trump administration gave a green light to the pipeline in February following months of intense opposition from Native American tribes and environmental groups. President Donald Trump made his support of the pipeline and other energy infrastructure projects a prominent part of his campaign. The line can carry as many as 570,000 barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe filed a lawsuit to stop the project, arguing that a reservoir crossing could contaminate their water supply, which is 70 miles downstream from the project. The lawsuit failed, but the tribe has since asked a federal court to shut down the line while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts another environmental assessment of the project.

Energy Transfer’s lawsuit seeks at least $300 million in damages, which can be tripled under the RICO statute. The company alleged it lost revenue and investors as the project was delayed and incurred unnecessary expenses on construction.


Australia is still mining -- with State and Federal support

Copper and gold

THE $916 million Carrapateena mine given the green light by Oz Minerals is set to create 1000 jobs during the construction phase and will support around 400-500 positions over the mine’s 20-year lifespan.

The company on Thursday morning announced the board had approved development of the mine located 160km north of Port Augusta, as it recorded a 51 per cent jump in its first half profit to $81 million.

The Carrapateena project, which is targeting first ore production in the second half of 2019, will become South Australia’s second biggest copper mine after Olympic Dam.

The mine life is 20 years with an estimated average annual production of 65,000 tonnes of copper and 67,000 ounces of gold.

It is expected the project will create about 1000 jobs during construction and 400-500 over the mine’s 20-year minimum mine life.

Premier Jay Weatherill says the project will also provide opportunities for Aboriginal employment and supply contracts in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

“This announcement is yet another vote of confidence in South Australia’s economy,’ Mr Weatherill said.

“This copper project showcases the importance of the resources sector to the South Australian economy with investment in Carrapateena creating local jobs, infrastructure and opportunities for Aboriginal participation.”

OZ Minerals, which is self-funding the project, started construction work on a decline (mine shaft) 1450m-deep to the underground mine last year.

The company has a cash balance of $624 million and no debt. Most of the funding for the project will come from the cashflow generated at its existing Prominent Hill copper mining operations, 130kms southeast of Coober Pedy.

OZ Minerals chairman Rebecca McGrath said it was an exciting time for the company. “Carrapateena will be a robust, cash-generating asset with expansion potential that sets OZ Minerals up for further growth,” she said.

“Our confidence in the economics, constructability and operability of the Carrapateena project as a long-life low cost mine has been further reinforced through the feasibility study phase,” OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole said.

“Strong operating cash flow of $93.5 million in the first half of 2017 continues to support a significant cash balance of $624 .5 million with no debt, allowing for shareholder returns, continued investment in the Carrapateena and West Musgrave projects, and advancement of our growth pipeline,” he said.

The company will begin building an accommodation village, a 550 person camp, called the Tjungu Village and an airstrip in the third quarter of this year.

The mine will be developed in two phases — the first phase starts next month followed by a more intensive second phase in the second quarter of 2018, subject to mining lease approvals.

The group also announced the $150 million concentrate treatment plant — expected to create more than 100 construction and around 100 ongoing jobs — has been removed from Carrapateena’s project financials due to “increased confidence” that the existing copper concentrate will be sought after in international markets.

The company has bought a site near Port Augusta for the plant, which was originally tipped for Whyalla.




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


24 August, 2017

Grassyhead Tyson tries to tie eclipse to global warming

Neil deGrasse Tyson used to be an astrophysicist.  Now he’s a TV celebrity, trying to appease the Hollywood left to keep the offers and money rolling in.

That’s why he’s doing utterly unscientific things, like trying to tie “climate science” theories to the 2,500-year-old practice of using math to predict solar eclipses.

“Odd. No one is in denial of America’s Aug 21 total solar eclipse. Like Climate Change, methods & tools of science predict it,” he claimed on Twitter.

That is false. Eclipses are predicted by mathematics, not science.

The Earth and moon travel on fixed orbits, at fixed speeds. That is why people with no background in science have been able to predict eclipses with 100 percent accuracy for 2,500 years.

If Tyson’s comment were true, weather and climate forecasts would be accurate and predictable to an infinite point, because predicting temperatures, precipitation, etc. would simply be a matter of arithmetic.

We’ve asked him to provide us with the mathematical formula that has allowed to use accurately predict weather and climate for 2,500 years, as is done with eclipses.

He has not responded.


Motor Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Standards Are Inefficient: Study

A new study by the Reason Foundation’s Julian Morris and Arthur Wardle finds that the federal government’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program, administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is a highly inefficient method for reducing either motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions or U.S. oil consumption.

Regarding emissions, Morris and Wardle write:

Using NHTSA’s lowest estimate for the annual cost of implementing the 2017–2025 standards, $5.4 billion, and NHTSA’s maximum estimate for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions over the period 2016–2028, 62 million metric tons/year, CAFE represents an implicit cost of $87 per ton of carbon reduced. That is higher than most estimates of the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) and more than twice the SCC developed by the EPA for the federal government (but since rescinded by President Trump). It is also more than 100 times the average price of a ton of carbon dioxide traded on the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). Using a higher—and more realistic—estimate of annual cost of $50 billion/year, and lower—but more realistic—estimate of emissions reduction of 50 million metric tons/year, CAFE represents an implicit cost of $1,000/ton. At the highest cost (186.1 billion/year) and lowest reduction (31.2 million metric tons/year), the implicit cost is about $6,000/ton.

Regarding oil consumption, the authors write:

Likewise, if we take the EPA’s estimates, CAFE would reduce oil consumption by an annual average of 133 million barrels at a cost of $5.4 billion—equivalent to $40.5/barrel. But if we take the more realistic estimate of oil savings of 100 million barrels/year and a more realistic cost of even $50 billion/year, the cost per barrel of oil saved rises to $500/barrel. That’s more than ten times the current price, five times the prevailing price in 2012, and more than three times the highest price oil has ever reached ($156.34 in June 2008).

The authors contend that new taxes on fuel consumption or vehicle miles traveled would be a more cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and oil usage. Regrettably, the otherwise excellent report does not consider whether repeal without replacement is the best option


Eclipsing Solar Dependency

Palo Alto California gets thirty percent of its’ electricity from solar sources. Because of that City Manager James Keene is calling on residents to disconnect all-electric gadgets during the eclipse to prevent an electricity shortage. Is this the future for all of us in a green future? If so it is not very bright.

The most important job in the world is motherhood. Without it there is no future, if done badly there is a bad future.

Note to affirmative action supporters: The way to stop racial discrimination is to stop discriminating based on race.

Note to managers: If you don’t tell your employees exactly what you want them to do then you cannot blame them when they do not do it.

Trump needs to appoint a National Commission to Leave Well Enough Alone. An appropriate subcommittee of that commission would be The National Committee to Mind Your Own Business.

When two hate groups engage in violence and the media refuses to identify one of the groups as a hate group, it is because they are ideologically members of that hate group.  Entrant in the how many times can you use the word group in a single sentence contest.

What we now call a state lottery used to be called the numbers racket and was run by organized crime. The major difference is that the mafia gave better odds. In legislative circles, the lotteries are known as a tax on people who are bad at math. Maybe this explains the state-run education system?

America used to be a place people wanted to come to because there was a chance you could become rich. Now people want to come to America because it is a place where it is comfortable to be poor.

We are headed for a Maoist cultural revolution. First, they physically attack symbols, then censor articles and books, and finally physically attack people. All three are happening and escalating.

I guess it makes political sense when you are wrong on all the issues you change the subject to statues. All-out war on inanimate objects. They cannot fight back.

All of the statues coming down are of Democrats. Is this a case of Democrats trying to erase their own history?

With Democrats in full control of Oregon, they have passed a law granting free abortions to all at any stage of pregnancy. Subsidies for live births are not available. What is it with the left’s love affair with death?

The only President to put Americans in concentration camps was a leftist icon, Franklyn D. Roosevelt. Real rather than imaginary racism. He also confiscated their property.  A disgraceful Supreme Court upheld the action.

If it is not Halloween and you see someone with a mask on it is safe to assume they are up to no good.

The leftist media never defines its terms. White Nationalist has become a deprecating term. What does it mean? A person who is white who is also a patriot. Is there something wrong with that?

The mascot of the University of Southern California’s football team is a horse named Traveler. That is now under attack because that was the name Robert E. Lee’s horse.  What is next? Travelers Insurance?

First, we heard Russia, Russia, Russia now we hear Racist, Racist, Racist. What is next?

Don Todd is the President of Americans for Limited Government Foundation


Total eclipse of reason on green energy child labor, toxic waste, and animal protection

By Printus LeBlanc

If you are in favor of child slave labor, increased pesticide use, and toxic waste then green energy is for you. Smug liberal progressives turn their noses up at people, not as enlightened as they are while driving a green energy car, not realizing the damage they are doing. Green technology and green energy are far from environmental.

The electric cars being driven on today’s roads have a deep dark secret. Because they do not have combustion engines, they need batteries. Whether the batteries be lithium ion or nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) based battery cells, they have one thing in common. The batteries need cobalt. Most electric cars have at least 33 pounds of cobalt in them.

Cobalt is primarily mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The DRC has over 60 percent of the known reserves of cobalt and houses many international mining firms. The mining industry in the DRC is not known for its safety and environmental standards.

Children as young as 5 use hand tools to dig for the toxic metal. The metal is so toxic it has a disease named after it. Cobalt lung is a pneumonia-like disease that can lead to death. The children are threatened with beatings if they misidentify or drop the mineral.

From the DRC, the cobalt is shipped to China, using a ship with an internal combustion engine, to be manufactured into batteries for everything from iPhones to electric vehicles. So, remember the next time someone brags about their electric vehicle helping the earth, remind them child slavery helped make that.

Another darling of the green energy cult is solar panels. Just think about it, the Sun is the ultimate renewable energy source. But the problem lies with production and disposal of the panels, along with storing the electricity generated.

The electricity generated from solar panels must be used immediately or stored. The electricity is stored using the same types of batteries as mentioned earlier.

The manufacture and disposal of solar panels is a toxic process. Manufacturing the panels involves hazardous chemicals and materials such as sulfuric acid and phosphine gas. Breaking down the panels is equally as hazardous. Because of the toxic makeup of the panels, they cannot be simply thrown into landfills.

Currently, the only copper parts of the panels can be reused after the panels have been discarded. However, to get to the copper the panels are being burned, releasing the toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. Finally, because more solar panels are needed to generate the same amount of electricity as more traditional means of electricity, it means solar is generating more waste than traditional means of power generation per unit of electricity.

Windmills are another darling of the green energy cult. The turbines have had a side effect that would make any environmentalist recoil with disgust. The windmills are killing millions of animals every year.

Not only are they killing birds, the turbines are killing endangered species. The Hoary bats are indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands, and currently, maintain a spot on the endangered species list. Since the installation of five windmill farms on the islands over 100 of the bats have been killed. The farms were only supposed to kill 187 over a time frame stretching to 2030. If nothing is done, the bats are expected to be extinct by 2050.

The windmill farms are having the same problem on the mainland. Bats are being killed by thousands by windmill farms. Bats are natures insect hunters. The continued decimation of the bat population by green energy is only going to lead to more pesticides being used against disease transmitting insects. Green energy is going to lead to the deployment of more pesticides.

President of Americans for Limited Government Rick Manning stated, “Green energy is perhaps the most immoral government expenditure our country has ever dedicated itself to.”

Taxpayers are subsidizing child slavery in Africa, toxic solar waste, and the windfarms that kill millions of flying animals. It is time for the government to get out of the green energy business, and let the free market decide the best energy solutions for the U.S. economy.


India’s 50-Year Dry Spell Ends As Monsoon Rains Strengthen

Where's that famine Greens are always predicting?

An MIT study published in Nature Climate Change finds that the Indian summer monsoons, which bring rainfall to the country each year between June and September, have strengthened in the last 15 years over north central India.

This heightened monsoon activity has reversed a 50-year drying period during which the monsoon season brought relatively little rain to northern and central India. Since 2002, the researchers have found, this drying trend has given way to a much wetter pattern, with stronger monsoons supplying much-needed rain, along with powerful, damaging floods, to the populous north central region of India.

A shift in India’s land and sea temperatures may partially explain this increase in monsoon rainfall. The researchers note that starting in 2002, nearly the entire Indian subcontinent has experienced very strong warming, reaching between 0.1 and 1 degree Celsius per year. Meanwhile, a rise in temperatures over the Indian Ocean has slowed significantly.

Chien Wang, a senior research scientist in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, the Center for Global Change Science, and the Joint Program for the Science and Policy of Global Change, says this sharp gradient in temperatures — high over land, and low over surrounding waters — is a perfect recipe for whipping up stronger monsoons.

“Climatologically, India went through a sudden, drastic warming, while the Indian Ocean, which used to be warm, all of a sudden slowed its warming,” Wang says. “This may have been from a combination of natural variability and anthropogenic influences, and we’re still trying to get to the bottom of the physical processes that caused this reversal.”

Wang’s co-author is Qinjian Jin, a postdoc in the Joint Program for the Science and Policy of Global Change.

A theory drying up

The Indian monsoon phenomenon is the longest recorded monsoon system in meteorology. Measurements of its rainfall date back to the late 18th century, when British colonists established the country’s first weather observatories to record the seasonal phenomenon. Since then, the Indian government has set up several thousand rain gauges across the country to record precipitation levels during the monsoon season, which can bring little or no rain to some areas while deluging other parts of the country.

From these yearly measurements, scientists had observed that, since the 1950s, the Indian monsoons were bringing less rain to north central India — a drying period that didn’t seem to let up, compared to a similar monsoon system over Africa and East Asia, which appeared to reverse its drying trend in the 1980s.

“There’s this idea in people’s minds that India is going to dry up,” Wang says. “The Indian monsoon season is undergoing a longer drying than all other systems, and this created a hypothesis that, since India is heavily polluted by manmade aerosols and is also heavily deforested, these may be factors that cause this drying. Modeling studies also projected that this drying would continue to this century.”

A persistent revival

However, Wang and Jin found that India has already begun to reverse its dry spell. The team tracked India’s average daily monsoon rainfall from 1950 to the present day, using six global precipitation datasets, each of which aggregate measurements from the thousands of rain gauges in India, as well as measurements of rainfall and temperature from satellites monitoring land and sea surfaces.

Between 1950 and 2002, they found that north central India experienced a decrease in daily rainfall average, of 0.18 millimeters per decade, during the monsoon season. To their surprise, they discovered that since 2002, precipitation in the region has revived, increasing daily rainfall average by 1.34 millimeters per decade.

“The Indian monsoon is considered a textbook, clearly defined phenomenon, and we think we know a lot about it, but we don’t,” Wang says. “Here, we identify a phenomenon that was mostly overlooked.”

The researchers did note a brief drying period during the 2015 monsoon season that caused widespread droughts throughout the subcontinent. They attribute this blip in the trend to a severe El Niño season, where ocean temperatures temporarily rise, causing a shift in atmospheric circulation, leading to decreased rainfall in India and elsewhere.

“But even counting that dry year, the long-term [wetting] trend is still pretty steady,” Wang says.
More questions ahead

The team believes the current strong monsoon trend is a result of higher land temperatures in combination with lower ocean temperatures. While it’s unclear what is causing India to heat up while its oceans cool down, the researchers have some guesses.


All-Time Record: Russian Harvest To Beat Soviet-Era Grain Record

A quarter century after the collapse of the USSR, Russian farmers are finally poised to beat the record for grain production that the country set during the Soviet era.
The harvest will total at least 130.7 million metric tons this year on bumper wheat and corn crops, said Vladimir Petrichenko, director general of Moscow-based consultant ProZerno. That would push production 2.6 percent above the previous all-time high in 1978, a year before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan under leader Leonid Brezhnev.

Farmers will gather more wheat and corn than ever before, while the barley crop will be the largest since 2008, ProZerno figures show. Those estimates may go higher still as Siberia collects more grain, Petrichenko said by phone.

Estimates for the crop have been rising as ample rains spurred growth in European parts of the country, contrasting with dry conditions that have hurt crops in the U.S. and Canada. The gains cement Russia’s position as a top producer this year. It’s expected to be the biggest wheat exporter in the 2017-18 season, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.




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


23 August, 2017


Twenty-eight percent (28%) of Americans think that climate scientists understand the causes of global climate change “very well.” A Pew Research study found that only 19% believe that the climate scientists have a very good understanding of the best ways to address the issue.[1]

In general, the study found that Americans trust climate scientists more than politicians on the topic. Two-thirds (67%) believe scientists should play a major role in addressing policy issues on the matter. Most (56%) also believe that energy industry leaders (56%) and the general public (56%) should have a major say in such policy topics.

The Pew study, however, also found that people believe there are differences of opinion among the climate scientists. Only 27% believe that there is a consensus on the issue and that just about all climate scientists believe human behavior is mostly responsible for global climate change. Another 35% think more than half hold this view.

The survey also explored the degree of trust and confidence in those researching climate science. Thirty-six percent (36%) believe that, most of the time, scientists’ research findings are motivated by a desire to advance their own careers. Only 32% say that they mostly rely on the best scientific evidence. Twenty-seven percent (27%) believe that political views of the scientists generally influence their work.

Liberal Democrats tend to express high levels of confidence in the climate scientists and their motives. Conservative Republicans are often quite skeptical. Most other Americans have mixed views.


NASA Climate Modeler Admits Predictions are ‘Mathematically Impossible’

Top American Climatologist, an expert in climate modeling, exposes the fallacy that current climate models provide a realistic or reliable prediction of future climate change. In a 1-2-3 step guide to disposing of the global warming debate Dr. Duane Thresher says successful modeling with modern computers is “mathematically impossible.”

Dr Thresher is among the elite of computer climate modelers. He has performed extensive work in climate proxy modeling at the University of Alaska and the Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany. He earned his PhD in Earth & Environmental Sciences (climate modeling/proxies) from Columbia University and at NASA he worked for Dr. James Hansen, the father of global warming, and Dr. Gavin Schmidt.

Dr Thresher offers his step-by-step guide below:

1. It is fundamentally mathematically impossible for climate models to predict climate.

Chaos Theory’s Butterfly Effect is usually described as the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Japan resulting in a hurricane in the Atlantic. This is not artistic hyperbole, this is mathematical reality.

Climate is a quintessential example of this phenomenon.

Unless climate models do the absolutely impossible and account for even a butterfly’s wings flapping, particularly when they are initialized, and then calculate with infinite precision, they can not predict climate.

Climate models are just more complex/chaotic weather models, which have a theoretical maximum predictive ability of just 10 days into the future. Predicting climate decades or even just years into the future is a lie, albeit a useful one for publication and funding.

Qualified climate modelers know all this but almost all won’t publicly admit it out of fear for their careers.

2. Climate proxies are far too inaccurate, unreliable, and sparse to prove anything about past global climate, e.g. that it was colder.

Climate proxies are things like tree rings and ice cores. Given old methods and instruments, even historical climate measurements have to be considered climate proxies.

They are called climate “proxies” because they are substitutes for real climate measurements. Obviously, there are no instruments in these climate proxies so how is it done? The climate measurements have to be inferred from loosely-related characteristics of the proxy, e.g. temperature from tree ring widths. This usually involves primitive modeling or misuse of statistics. It is thus inaccurate and unreliable well beyond what is required for the conclusions drawn.

Climate proxies are very sparse. A single measurement often has to represent thousands of square miles or more, particularly in remote ocean regions, and is usually not representative of that area (e.g. sampled trees are not chosen randomly) or doesn’t even have a knowable bias. A single temperature for the Earth averaged from these measurements is meaningless and absurd.

The reason for using climate proxies is that there is nothing else, which is not a good reason … unless you have to get published or funded.

3. Scientific consensus is not proof of global warming, just publication and funding bias.

Scientific consensus = all published research shows global warming.

Climate model/proxy research that does not show global warming will not get published or funded because of:

Non-publication of negative results (no global warming found)
Fearful self-censorship

Conflict of interest (a need to get results, regardless of validity, that further careers)

Corrupt fanatical unqualified “working” scientists

Censorship by established scientists in a fundamentally-flawed peer review process (peers are all-too-human competitors)

Corruption of climate science overall


Can someone show us a climate prediction that has ever come true?

It's another day, and we get a new story about how dire the climate threat is and that it is unambiguous that humans are a significant cause.

What is rarely noted in these articles is actual facts that support the theory.  I would love to see actual temperature data for each decade for the last 150 years, including where the measuring stations are located.  It would be especially interesting to see rural data where cement and asphalt don't inflate the temperature.  It should also always be noted that a "Little Ice Age" ended in 1715 and that some warming would be normal.

Why don't we see a list of storms, droughts, and floods from each decade to show the trend?  Even if there is some sort of a trend, how would it be attributed to humans, since the climate has always changed through billions of years when humans and fossil fuels could have had no effect?

It would be good to see a sample of sea levels throughout the world for each year for the last 150 years.  A sample of 100 spots throughout the world may give us a reasonable average for comparison.  My guess is that they don't take actual measurements.

Instead of facts, these articles always give us theoretical predictions.  I would ask the reporters how many previous predictions of the last 30 or 100 years have been accurate.  I can't think of any.  Why should we believe the new predictions?

We were told after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that hurricanes would be more frequent and stronger than ever.  Instead, we have had more than eleven years where hurricanes have been mild to nonexistent.  Tornado activity has also been lower than normal, so why are we told that storms are getting more extreme?

We were told that the three-year drought in California was caused by humans, fossil fuels, and CO2, yet it ended with record snowfall and precipitation.  Few reporters seem curious as to how it ended.  The correct answer is that droughts always come and go.  Humans do not cause them or cause them to stop.

A couple of recent stories that got little if any coverage by the Associated Press and media in general were that people in Australia manipulated temperature data because actual data didn't support the warming predicted by computer models.  We have seen repeated manipulations in this vein, yet somehow Democrats, including those in the media, have little interest in the obvious fraud.

In Greenland, ice is thickening.  Has CO2 decided to stop warming Greenland?

Stories that don't support the theory are essentially buried.

I am amazed at how little curiosity reporters have with actual climate facts while instead they just repeat what they are told and chastise anyone who dares question the supposed settled science.

Maybe reporters could list out all the previous climate predictions that have been true.  The oceans were supposed to have died a while back, the ice has been gone in the Arctic since the 1920s, and the coastal cities have disappeared a couple times at least.  Did I miss all that when it happened?

It is tremendously hard to take politicians who can't spend within their budget, can't fix a health bill, can't handle Veteran Administration lines, can't pass tax reform, who have run up $20 trillion in debt, who have the arrogance to say that if the public just hands them trillions of dollars, they can control temperatures, storms, and sea levels forever.  There are a lot of suckers out there.


Phony scare tactics by NASA

NASA’s photo makes it look as if West Antarctica is burning up. But when you read the actual words, you find that temperature in the area has (supposedly) risen just over a tenth of one degree per decade. Not per year, but per decade.Note also how this area correlates with the new volcanic discoveries.

This in an area where temperatures can plummet to minus 80°C (-112°F).Is this something that needs to be colored bright red on the map?Or is this propaganda?

According to NASA, an analysis of satellite and weather station data (supposedly) determined that “Antarctica had warmed at a rate of about 0.12 degrees Celsius (0.22 degrees F) per decade since 1957, for a total average temperature rise of 0.5 degrees Celsius (1 degree F).”

In NASA’s image, dark red reflects the region that warmed the most. Most of the rest of the continent is orange, indicating a smaller warming trend, or white, where no change was observed. It has been difficult to get a clear picture of temperature trends throughout Antarctica because measurements are so scarce, says NASA. Few weather stations exist, and most of these are near the coast. Temperature has never been monitored routinely across vast parts of the interior.

Scientists therefore used the relationship between ground measurements and satellite measurements to extrapolate temperatures over the entire continent, thus generating a 50-year record of temperature. This even though no satellite was in orbit during many of those years.So … that’s how they did it.Based on scarce measurements and almost no weather stations in the continent’s vast interior (Antarctica is more than twice as big as the continental United States), and no satellite measurements for many of the years involved, they extrapolated that temperatures had risen at the horrendous rate of just over a tenth of one degree per decade.

Areas in red correlate with the densest volcanic chain on earth

But what is probably the most interesting is how the areas shown in red correlate with the location of almost one hundred newly discovered volcanoes.

The newly-found volcanoes are concentrated in a region known as the west Antarctic rift, and are “the densest region of volcanoes in the world, greater even than east Africa, where mounts Nyiragongo, Kilimanjaro, Longonot and all the other active volcanoes are concentrated.”

With this new knowledge, how can we possibly blame humans for any (if any) warming in Antarctica?I think the answer is clear. We can’t.


AGU honours a climate Brownshirt

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has lots of prizes; they are very fond of congratulating themselves.

One of these is the Climate Communication Prize, which is in recognition for the “communication of climate science”, including “clarity of message and efforts to foster respect and understanding of science-based values”. This was initially funded by Nature’s Own, a company which wrenches fossils and minerals from the earth to sell to tourists.

Gavin Schmidt, current head of NASA GISS and leading climate change warrior scientist/spokesperson, won the debut prize in 2011. Interestingly, this was just after Schmidt was involved in Climategate, which showed that he wasn’t so interested in communicating ALL of climate science, just those parts that were ideologically acceptable. Discussions between government-funded climate scientists were — despite laws to the contrary — not to be communicated to the public because the public was too stupid to understand them. Schmidt continues to scheme to keep this secrecy, again, despite laws to the contrary.

[Full disclosure: I (Dr. Duane Thresher) worked with Schmidt for 7 years while I was at NASA GISS. He was on my PhD committee. I am co-author on several papers with him. I’d even say we were friends.]

This year’s winner, the first non-American, of the AGU Climate Communication Prize is — drum roll — none other thanKlimaFuehrer Stefan Rahmstorf! Let’s review some of his accomplishments in communicating climate science.

Markus Lehmkuhl is a German science journalist and works for the German Science Journalists Association. He wrote an article about Stefan Rahmstorf Ideology and climate change: How to silence journalists describing how Rahmstorf brutalized a freelance journalist, Irene Meichsner, who dared question climate change even a little.

The article begins:

“A freelance journalist becomes the target of the renowned climate researcher Stefan Rahmstorf, who in the struggle for the supposed truth does not stop short of personal defamation.”

Meichsner actually sued Rahmstorf … and won. Unfortunately, it was a hard fight and the article ends:

“Irene Meichsner – who had to fight her legal battle for her reputation on her own – has had enough of climate issues for the time being. She no longer writes about this subject.”

Even the most famous German liberal news magazine, Der Spiegel, generally among the climate change alarmists, published an article The Rough Methods of Climate Researcher Rahmstorf (in German and read by native-German Dr. Claudia Kubatzki) by Jan-Philipp Hein and Markus Becker.

The first paragraph makes it clear why the authors chose that title: “Journalists complain about attempts at intimidation, researchers distance themselves from the Potsdam professor.” And a little further on: “If a journalist addresses climate change and brings forth arguments that Rahmstorf finds bad, there can be trouble. The professor of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) then writes letters. But not to the authors, but immediately to the responsible chief editors or department heads.” Or, the authors add, he publishes his letter right on his homepage instead. Several examples of people disagreeing with Rahmstorf’s Gestapo tactics then follow in the article.

After I posted the Heil KlimaFuehrer Rahmstorf! article I got an email from a Dr. Klaus Kaiser recalling his run-in with Rahmstorf. Kaiser had posted some climate articles on websites that had nothing to do with Rahmstorf (not even in the same country). Rahmstorf disagreed with the articles and “threatened to sue me [Kaiser] into financial ruin”.

Rahmstorf wrote Kaiser: “I therefore have to ask you again to remove these false statements by Monday 6 p.m. local time. After that I will hand the matter to our lawyers.” He made the same threat, simultaneously, to the publishers of Kaiser’s posts.

Rahmstorf was using a trick German climate scientists use on Americans. In Germany, lawsuits are uncommon but Germans know they are common, and feared, in the US. For example, when I was in Germany looking for a climate position after being screwed out of one, I saw advertisements for many climate positions. I naively believed they were open to anyone qualified, as I certainly was, but later discovered all the jobs were already promised to locals and the advertising was just to pretend to satisfy fairness rules. I protested this once to Martin Visbeck of the University of Kiel. Visbeck had spent several years in America (taking a position at Columbia University away from American climate scientists) and his response was that if I went public with this and hurt the reputation of the University of Kiel they would sue me. (By the way, the University of Kiel really does suck.)

Anyway, Kaiser just ridiculed Rahmstorf and left his posts up. I doubt PIK, where Rahmstorf holes up, even has lawyers and if they do, they and Rahmstorf should read Real Climatologists’ Legal page.

Rahmstorf, with his Gestapo tactics, is using the Nazi-like fear that climate change warriorism has produced. Global warming skeptics are labeled “climate change deniers” by analogy to “Holocaust deniers”. In Germany, Holocaust denial is a crime so you can imagine the power of this analogy there.

For the AGU to give a Climate Communication Prize to Rahmstorf is obscenely absurd. If AGU had any shame, they would be ashamed.

The AGU has a history of such ironic choices. In 2011 (not a good year for them) they created a “Task Force on Scientific Ethics” and made so-called climate scientist Peter Gleick its chairman. Gleick later admitted to lying to obtain internal documents from what he claimed was a climate change denier organization. Lying is OK though if you are a climate change warrior. Interestingly, this task force also worked on a policy to respond to “harassment, intimidation, and bullying”. I wonder if Rahmstorf was on the task force.

AGU has no idea about climate science in Germany and Rahmstorf is not well-known in America. Rahmstorf was almost certainly chosen by Rahmstorf’s crony at and previous Climate Communication Prize winner, Schmidt. This was probably also the case for AGU making Rahmstorf an AGU Fellow.




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


22 August, 2017

Asia’s rivers send more plastic into the ocean than all other continents combined

I have been making this point for a long time.  Plastic waste pollution in the ocean is huge in some places and it is invariably blamed by Greenies on the West.  But Western waste disposal is normally strict. Stupid individuals can and do throw empty drink bottles into rivers and the ocean but almost everything else goes into landfills  -- INCLUDING PLASTIC BAGS. 

It is the third World where waste disposal is often slap-dash and it is they who originate most flotsam.  Cracking down in various ways on Western use of plastics is aiming at the wrong target and will therefore fail to achieve anything positive.  It satisfies Greenie hatred of their neighbours to claim that it is they who are behind the pollution but it does virtually no real good.  Bans on plastic bags, in particular, are mindless

Every year, millions of tonnes of plastics are produced and trashed, with some ending up in the sea, and gobbled up by tiny fish. Even though countries don’t report on how much plastic they are flushing, a recent study suggests that around 86% of the plastic running through rivers was coming from a single continent—Asia.

An estimated 1.15 to 2.41 million tonnes (1.27 to 2.66 million metric tons) of plastic waste enters rivers every year, around one-fifth of the total plastic in the sea from coastal populations worldwide, according to a study published in Nature on June 7. (Other plastic ends up in landfills which can also “leak” into the oceans.) The researchers from Ocean Cleanup, a Netherland-based foundation working to extract plastic from the sea, found that a majority of the inputs are from Asian countries like China, Indonesia, and Myanmar.

Seven of the top 20 rivers from all continents, which originate or pass through China’s major cities, are contributing around two thirds (67%) of plastic released through rivers into the oceans. The Yangtze River that runs through Shanghai, one of China’s most populous areas, tops the list, followed by Ganges, a trans-boundary river that runs through northern India and Bangladesh. Next is Xi River, the western tributary of the Pearl River, a major water source for the 100 million people residing in Guangdong Province, China’s most populous province.

The Dutch researchers found that the Yangtze river’s mouth, where the conduit meets the sea, had a plastic concentration of 4,137 particles per cubic meter—and contributed 20,000 tonnes (22,046 metric tons) of plastic every year to the oceans. In December, two ships dumped more than 100 tonnes (110 metric tons) of waste such as needles and plastic tubes into the Yangtze river.
Asia has contributed the most plastic pollution into the marine environment every year.

The study echoes earlier research on how plastic enters the ocean, says professor Daniel Hoornweg, an energy systems professor at University of Ontario Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the study. Ocean plastic levels depend on the amount of waste production, wind or rivers carrying plastic into the oceans, and the quality of urban waste collections.
Although Asia generates relatively little waste per person, especially compared to the consumer-oriented West, the total waste generated by the continent adds up.

China, for example, manufactured the most plastic products—around 74.7 metric tons—in 2015, according to the 2016 report by Plastics Europe, a trade association that tracks the plastics industry. It’s followed by 49.8 metric tons from Canada, Mexico, and the US combined. China began charging consumers (link in Chinese) for plastic usage in 2008 to fight against pollution. The country’s booming delivery industry, fueled by e-commerce, is often not recyclable. For example, last year delivery companies used 12 billion plastic bags (link in Chinese).



In a region rich with oil, gas and solar power, but very few coal resources, the surge in coal is surprising. Despite gas prices being low at the moment, coal is cheaper still.
The proposed 2.4 gigawatt coal fired power station in Hassyan is close to Dubai’s border with Abu Dhabi and around 60 kilometres south-west of central Dubai. Courtesy ACWA Power

The proposed 2.4 gigawatt coal fired power station in Hassyan is close to Dubai’s border with Abu Dhabi and around 60 kilometres south-west of central Dubai. Courtesy ACWA Power

Coal is so unpopular in the US that they can’t even give it away. The governor of mining heartland West Virginia is petitioning President Donald Trump for a $15 per tonne subsidy for burning his coal. But remarkably in the Middle East, a region with almost no coal of its own, the demand for the black fuel is on the up.

Dubai’s solar successes have made the headlines, but a different kind of electricity generation is rising at Hassyan, on the coast beyond the site for Expo 2020. In November, a consortium of Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power and China’s Harbin Electric began building a 2.4 gigawatt coal power plant on the site.

The UAE’s energy strategy states coal will account for 12 per cent of the total national electricity generation by 2050, which translates into about 11.2GW. Beyond Dubai, Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa) has planned a 1.8GW plant in the northern emirates, but it is not clear where the additional 7GW is expected to come from.

Egypt has imported coal since 2014 for industrial use, and North Africa’s most populous nation is planning to build a number of large-scale coal-fired power plants with Chinese investors. Abu Dhabi-based Al Nowais Investments Group, in 2014, also signed a deal for a 1.32 GW coal-fired plant on the Gulf of Suez.

Iran, which witnessed a coal mine blast in Golestan province in May in which more than 20 miners died, is pushing ahead with planned coal power plants, mostly in the coal-rich area of Tabas in the east, with Chinese involvement. Turkey, which already generates more than 16GW of power through coal, plans to build additional plants.

Jordan, whose energy strategy targets 5 per cent of power generation through coal by 2025, last June signed a deal for a small coal-fired plant, while Oman is looking to build coal-fired plant at its new port development of Duqm.

In a region rich with oil, gas and solar power, but very few coal resources, this surge is surprising. Most coal-dependent regions are moving away from it: China burns more than half of the world’s coal but consumption has been falling since 2013 as the country tries to clean up its skies. Cheap gas, solar and wind power are crushing coal in the US, while environmental regulations and low-priced gas imports are pushing it out of Europe as well. Even India is cancelling plans for giant new coal plants in favour of renewable energy.

The Middle Eastern countries that are looking at coal are trying to diversify their fuel mix, and to reduce vulnerability to economic or supply shocks. Gas is cheap at the moment but its price is volatile, and states such as Dubai, Egypt and Turkey do not want to be too import-dependent. For Dubai, which attracted a very competitive bid from Acwa and Harbin, coal is a key part of strengthening its negotiating position with other suppliers. Iran and Turkey are trying to maximise the use of their domestic coal, and for Turkey, reliance on rivals Iran and Russia for two-thirds of its gas is dangerous.

Despite gas prices being low at the moment, coal is cheaper still — at least once the required import facilities are constructed. Chinese power and engineering companies, looking for other markets, are offering their expertise and low-cost financing.

Most of these plants will be built with modern pollution controls, that trap sulphur dioxide, particulates, mercury and other toxic and acidic emissions. But they will still produce large quantities of carbon dioxide, the main factor responsible for global warming, working against the region’s efforts to cut emissions with solar and nuclear power and more efficient energy use. Some of the plants are intended to be “capture-ready”, that is to be able to trap carbon dioxide and dispose of it safely underground, but none plans to use carbon capture from the outset.


Harvard Physicist: “Climate Science In Serious Trouble”…”Really Dirty People Doing Bad Stuff”

In a presentation (see below) Harvard astrophysicist Willie Soon came out blasting with both barrels at the corruption in climate science.

He started by saying that any respectable scientist would say that the American National Academy of Science (NAS) is “100 percent corrupt” and the climate scientists who put up the content at the NAS  are “really dangerous”, likening their solution for global warming to amputating a patient’s arms and legs in order to cure his headache.

Soon says that there’s too much political activism in science and blasts global warming scientists’ refusal to debate the subject in public and compared global warming science to a religion, dubbing it “Scientism”. The public he says, is being confused by “political interference” in the science.

The distinguished Harvard professor criticizes the hostile language used by global warming activists, which he feels played a role in the offices of 2 distinguished climate science skeptic professors being fired at with live munition. He presents a series of slides dibbed: “Science is in serious trouble.”

Soon believes that alarmist climate scientist Michael Mann is delusional as he seems to fancy himself to be someone who is rescuing the planet. Overall Soon paints a picture of scientists who have gone completely amok and are totally disconnected from reality, citing an IPCC request that the world pay 535 TRILLION DOLLARS for the carbon sin and NASA’s Gavin Schmidt claim that man is now driving the climate more than 100%.

The list of things that are alleged to be caused by global warming and CO2 is reaching absurd dimensions, Soon shows, e.g. more muddy pet paws, birds singing differently.

One problem that Soon elaborates is that of scientific “censorship and bullying”, and that it is rampant. Inside climate alarmists constantly collude to shut out other opinions and to smear the reputations of scientists who do not agree. Soon openly says that they are “really dirty people, doing bad stuff”.

At the 33-minute mark, Soon presents a chart showing how global warming scientists, having been frustrated by the skeptic scientists, discussed revamping the peer-review process in order to keep skeptic papers from being published. He mentions how Prof. Phil Jones became so desperate with the fear of being exposed that he “contemplated suicide”.

Soon shows how the American Geophysical Union Conference blocked out scientists who had different viewpoints. The censorship was so blatant that Soon dropped his membership. The Harvard astrophysicist is so feared and hated by the global warming alarmism community that he is forced to seek out private funding. One journal, he says, even employed the “yellow star” to designate Soon as a scientist to be wary of, a tactic Soon says is “really Nazi territory”.

On his nemesis Michael Mann, the author of the now debunked and disgraced hockey stick chart paper, Soon calls him a “sad guy”, who even equates himself to a Holocaust survivor, and a scientist who avoids the science and focusses more on personal attacks.


The hidden costs of renewable power

One of the less well-kept secrets in the renewables industry is the reason why funds that invest in these energy technologies can get away with offering such slender returns to their investors.

Take Greencoat or The Renewable Infrastructure Fund, which between them own more than £2bn of renewable assets in the UK. These entities aim to offer returns of some 6 to 8 per cent to their backers. Compare that to conventional thermal-powered generators such as US-based Calpine, a listed group that achieved long-term average annual returns of 15 per cent.

The answer is to be found in the government-backed contracts that assure renewable generators a market for any power they can produce at a guaranteed price.

By taking away the market risk that any megawatt hours (MWh) produced by a wind turbine or solar panel cannot find a buyer, or might be unloaded at uncertain prices, the state enables owners to raise capital on enviably fine terms. Far from selling to flinty-eyed power investors, they can flog their wares to herbivorous pension funds, which view their shares as something close to high-yielding gilt-edged securities.

And why not, you might say? Having set targets for decarbonisation, why not use government guarantees as a “costless” way to help meet them? As a renewables boss of my acquaintance put it to me when I asked him this question: “Isn’t it in everyone’s interest that these assets get built as cheaply as we can?”

Well, up to a point. Of course, no one might mind if this were simply some sort of state-backed confidence trick, inducing investors to fund technologies that, while novel, would fit seamlessly into the system, getting cheaper and more efficient, and ultimately providing a similar service to the assets they displaced.

But what if these state-backed transactions involved hidden extra transfers of wealth from the consumer to renewable generation technologies, and, worse, led to an underlying build-up of costs in the system as a whole?

It is not in dispute that wind and solar impose additional expenses on the network. These range from the need to constrain excess production when the wind is blowing harder than expected (£82m paid to wind farms in 2016), or the sun suddenly appears (and vice versa when the opposite is the case), to having excess generation in the wrong part of the country, far from the sources of demand. They may require the system operator to pay certain wind farms not to produce, or gas-powered stations either to shut down or power up for a time, to balance the system. Either way, they place costs on the consumer which are socialised, meaning there is no incentive for the renewables participants to suppress the additional expenses their activities entail.

A key question then is how big this cost is. A recent report by the UK Energy Research Centre, which tends to take a favourable view of renewables, suggested that it would amount to £10/MWh even if solar and wind production doubled from today. That’s not trivial when you consider that in 2016, the average wholesale market value of wind output was £38.50/MWh.

But research by Gordon Hughes, a former professor of economics at Edinburgh university who is more sceptical, paints a much gloomier picture. He estimates the actual costs now amount to £22/MWh on average, which implies that the power for which the wholesale energy market paid £38.50/MWh was actually worth only £16.50 to it. Worse, he thinks the balancing costs will magnify as renewables become a bigger chunk of the system, rising perhaps to £80/MWh for “substantial periods of each year within 10 years”. In effect, that is a very substantial hidden subsidy for those technologies, on top of the overt ones they already receive.

Of course, this may be too pessimistic. Some think balancing costs are tumbling fast as we get better at predicting the weather, and the industry is already siting renewables facilities more cleverly so that the wind or sun in location A naturally balances its absence in location B.

That may be so. But a sensible mechanism would in any event put more of the balancing costs directly on those who cause them. Rather than giving renewables operators a free option to sell whatever they produce, it would oblige them to bid to deliver specific quantities of power at certain times of day, with penalties either way if they over- or under-delivered. That, after all, is what thermal generators do.

Such reform might reveal something closer to the true cost of delivering renewable megawatt hours, while giving wind and solar farms incentives not to generate additional system expenses. It would also force renewables operators to justify more fully the low capital costs they enjoy.


The Trump administration just disbanded a federal advisory committee on climate change

By Juliet Eilperin, a Green/Left stalwart

President Trump speaks about the U.S. role in the Paris climate change accord in the Rose Garden of the White House in June. (AP)
The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government’s climate analysis into long-term planning.

The charter for the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment — which includes academics as well as local officials and corporate representatives — expires Sunday. On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting administrator, Ben Friedman, informed the committee’s chair that the agency would not renew the panel.

The National Climate Assessment is supposed to be issued every four years but has come out only three times since passage of the 1990 law calling for such analysis. The next one, due for release in 2018, already has become a contentious issue for the Trump administration.

Administration officials are currently reviewing a scientific report that is key to the final document. Known as the Climate Science Special Report, it was produced by scientists from 13 different federal agencies and estimates that human activities were responsible for an increase in global temperatures of 1.1 to 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit from 1951 to 2010.

The committee was established to help translate findings from the National Climate Assessment into concrete guidance for both public and private-sector officials. Its members have been writing a report to inform federal officials on the data sets and approaches that would best be included, and chair Richard Moss said in an interview Saturday that ending the group’s work was shortsighted.

“It doesn’t seem to be the best course of action,” said Moss, an adjunct professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Geographical Sciences, and he warned of consequences for the decisions that state and local authorities must make on a range of issues from building road projects to maintaining adequate hydropower supplies. “We’re going to be running huge risks here and possibly end up hurting the next generation’s economic prospects.”

But NOAA communications director Julie Roberts said in an email Saturday that “this action does not impact the completion of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which remains a key priority.”

While many state and local officials have pressed the federal government for more concrete guidance on how to factor climate change into future infrastructure, President Trump has moved in the opposite direction.

Last week, the president signed an executive order on infrastructure that included language overturning a federal requirement that projects built in coastal floodplains and receiving federal aid take projected sea-level rise into account. Some groups, such as the National Association of Home Builders, hailed the reversal of that standard from the Obama administration on the grounds that stricter flood requirements would raise the cost of development and “could make many projects infeasible.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (D) said in an interview Saturday that the move to dissolve the climate advisory committee represents “an example of the president not leading, and the president stepping away from reality.” An official from Seattle Public Utilities has been serving on the panel; with its disbanding, Murray said it would now be “more difficult” for cities to participate in the climate assessment. On climate change, Trump “has left us all individually to figure it out.”

Richard Wright, the past chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate, has been working with the federal advisory panel to convey the importance of detailed climate projections in next year’s assessment. The society establishes guidelines that form the basis of building codes across the country, and these are based on a historical record that may no longer be an accurate predictor of future weather extremes.

“We need to work on updating our standards with good estimates on what future weather and climate extremes will be,” Wright said Saturday. “I think it’s going to be a serious handicap for us that the advisory committee is not functional.”

The committee was established in 2015, but its members were not appointed until last summer. They convened their first meeting in the fall. Moss said members of the group intend to keep working on their report, which is due out next spring, even though it now will lack the official imprimatur of the federal government. “It won’t have the same weight as if we were issuing it as a federal advisory committee,” he said.

Other Trump Cabinet officials have either altered the makeup of outside advisory boards or suspended these panels in recent months, though they have not abolished the groups outright. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt decided to replace dozens of members on one of the agency’s key scientific review boards, while Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is “reviewing the charter and charge” of more than 200 advisory boards for his department.




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


21 August, 2017

Would global warming reduce sorghum yields?

While not terribly well-known around Western dinner tables, sorghum is actually an important crop that feeds about half a billion people worldwide. It can be used for almost anything that other grain crops can be used for.  It can be used to make syrup, to make bread and as livestock feed.

So it is mildly disappointing and quite surprising to hear that higher temperatures would be harmful to it.  It is normally known as a highly heat-resistant crop.  So what is going on in the report below? 

There are several things that could be noted.  The simplest is that cultivars suitable for one area may not be suitable for others.  The authors take cultivars currently used in Kansas and show that they are not suitable for localities where the temperatures are higher than in Kansas.

That should surprise no-one.  Farmers optimize the cultivars they use to produce maximum output for their particular area.  And there are cultivars suitable for higher tempertures than are usual in Kansas.  All that the authors have shown is that if temperatures change your cultivars would have to change too.  And sorghum is particularly suitable for that.  It is already grown im many hot areas of Africa and India. 

I could go on but I think it is already clear enough that the report below is a false alarm

Disaggregating sorghum yield reductions under warming scenarios exposes narrow genetic diversity in US breeding programs

Jesse Tacka et al.


Sorghum’s ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions has placed it in the forefront of discussions regarding potential adaptation paths under climate change. While sorghum may indeed be a good candidate to substitute for other major row crops as warming materializes in areas where it has not traditionally been grown, an equally important consideration is whether its production can be sustained in the warmer areas where it has traditionally been grown. Our findings suggest limited potential for climate change adaption using currently available cultivars but do not preclude the overall role of genetic innovation and enhanced decision making in adapting to climate change. Successful adaptation could perhaps best be facilitated by expanding the scope of genetic stock within sorghum breeding programs.


Historical adaptation of sorghum production to arid and semiarid conditions has provided promise regarding its sustained productivity under future warming scenarios. Using Kansas field-trial sorghum data collected from 1985 to 2014 and spanning 408 hybrid cultivars, we show that sorghum productivity under increasing warming scenarios breaks down. Through extensive regression modeling, we identify a temperature threshold of 33 °C, beyond which yields start to decline. We show that this decline is robust across both field-trial and on-farm data. Moderate and higher warming scenarios of 2 °C and 4 °C resulted in roughly 17% and 44% yield reductions, respectively. The average reduction across warming scenarios from 1 to 5 °C is 10% per degree Celsius. Breeding efforts over the last few decades have developed high-yielding cultivars with considerable variability in heat resilience, but even the most tolerant cultivars did not offer much resilience to warming temperatures. This outcome points to two concerns regarding adaption to global warming, the first being that adaptation will not be as simple as producers’ switching among currently available cultivars and the second being that there is currently narrow genetic diversity for heat resilience in US breeding programs. Using observed flowering dates and disaggregating heat-stress impacts, both pre- and postflowering stages were identified to be equally important for overall yields. These findings suggest the adaptation potential for sorghum under climate change would be greatly facilitated by introducing wider genetic diversity for heat resilience into ongoing breeding programs, and that there should be additional efforts to improve resilience during the preflowering phase.


Sea ice a ‘handbrake on global warming’

Something else left out of the global warming "models"

Melting sea ice could help cool the planet by flooding the atmosphere with particles that deflect sunlight.

Australian research suggests climate modellers have under­estimated a natural “thermostat” that helps alleviate the rise in temperatures: immense quantities of reflective compounds, emitted by marine microbes, that act like a handbrake on global warming.

The study, published by the American Meteorological Society, suggests an overlooked source of these so-called aerosols — algae living in ice — could jam the handbrake on even harder. Lead author Albert Gabric said with the Arctic expected to see ice-free summers within a decade, far more of the aerosols would be emitted.

“Whether that can slow the rate of warming of the Arctic is the trillion-dollar question,” said Dr Gabric, a marine biogeo­chemist with Griffith University in Brisbane.

Climate scientists have long known that aerosols help mitigate global warming by bouncing sunrays back into space, and by altering clouds to make them more reflective. Experts believe half of the ­potential warming from greenhouse gases may be offset in this way.

Much research has focused on aerosols produced artificially, through the burning of fossil fuels and vegetation. Scientists worry that if China switched to renewable sources of energy overnight, it could trigger a massive surge in warming.

Aerosols are also produced naturally by volcanoes — such as the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in The Philippines, which is credited with cutting global temperatures by about 0.5C for two years — and by marine ecosystems.

Algae known as “phytoplankton” are a major contributor, with increasingly massive blooms of these marine creatures emerging in the warming Arctic waters.

The new study analysed terabytes of satellite data to track atmos­pheric aerosol concen­trations. For the first time, it identified sea ice as a “very strong source” of the airborne particles.

Dr Gabric said “ice algae” had evolved to tolerate the subzero temperatures of sea ice and the water that formed it. They used a compound called dimethyl sulfide as an “antifreeze” to survive the chill. “When the sea ice melts during spring, these algae don’t need that protection any more. They expel these compounds, which are degassed to the atmosphere and converted into sulfate aerosols very similar to what you get from burning sulphur-containing coal.

“This happens every year as the sea ice melts. The difference in recent decades is that the ice is melting a lot earlier. We now think that within 10 years there won’t be any ice in the Arctic during summer.”

He said the process had “absolutely not” been factored into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models of global warming. “The whole aerosol question and its relationship to warming is the biggest uncertainty to projecting what’s going to happen this century.

“This is a new area of ­research, primarily because people can’t get up there and measure it very easily. You need an ice­breaker and a big gun to shoot any polar bears that might want to eat you,” he said.


Fair trade for thee, but not for me

Imagine what a Tesla or wind turbine would cost if the Left followed its own “principles”

Paul Driessen

“Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting someone else,” Ben & Jerry’s and Fair Trade co-founder Jerry Greenfield likes to tell us. Let’s hope he doesn’t drive an electric vehicle, doesn’t use a laptop or cell phone, and doesn’t rely on wind or solar power.

We’re constantly confronted with slogans and lectures about fair trade, human rights, sustainability, environmental and social justice, little people versus Big Corporations. Most of these subjective terms reflect perspectives and agendas of the political left, and are intended to advance those worldviews and stifle any discussion about them. But most of their self-avowed adherents never look beneath the surface of their own purchases. Indeed, they would have no standards at all if they didn’t have double standards.

Just imagine what a $35,000 to $150,000 electric vehicle would cost if it were built using “fair trade” metals. How expensive already pricey wind and solar electricity would be if manufacturers had to follow fair trade standards, pay the full human and environmental costs associated with components, and pay workers the source-country equivalents of “Fight For $15” wages. Even more challenging:

What if wind, solar and EV systems had to adhere to the “precautionary principle” – which says products must be banned until promoters can prove their technologies will never harm people or the environment?

The fair trade, et cetera rules are already enforced with an iron fist against non-renewable products by regulators, politicians, the news media and angry college students. It’s mostly the Progressive Left’s favored, supposedly renewable and eco-friendly energy “alternatives” and toys that get exempted.

ExxonMobil was fined $600,000 in 2009 for the deaths of 85 migratory birds that landed in uncovered oilfield waste pits. Compare that $7,000 per bird assessment to the zero to minuscule fines imposed once or twice on Big Wind companies for 85,000 dead eagles and hawks, and 8.5 million sliced and diced other birds and bats, over recent years. (These are artistic license numbers, but very close to the mark.)

The Keep It In The Ground campaigns against oil, gas and coal, the fossil fuel divestment movement on campuses, the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) rabble, the incessant EarthJustice, Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund lawsuits and campaigns against mining ignore all this, and more.

Just beneath the surface of cell phone, EV, computer, wind, solar and other technologies are some shocking and inconvenient truths. These products are not made from pixie dust or raw materials beamed in from the Starship Enterprise. All require lithium, rare earth metals, iron, copper, silica, petroleum and many other materials that must be dug out of the Earth, using human labor or fossil fuels.

Petroleum alone is the foundation for some 6,000 products besides fuels: paints, plastics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and much more. Lithium is essential in computer and EV batteries, neodymium in NdFeB wind turbine generator magnets, cadmium in PV solar panels, petroleum-based resins in turbine blades.

The vast majority of these minerals and metals could probably be found in economically recoverable or even world-class deposits in the United States. However, known deposits have been taxed, regulated and litigated into oblivion, while excellent prospects are mostly in western and Alaskan lands made inaccessible by Congress, courts, activists and Antiquities Act decrees. We’re not even allowed to look.

That has forced mining companies to go overseas. With few exceptions, American, Canadian, European and Australian companies pay good wages, abide by health and environmental rules, and invest heavily in local schools, libraries, hospitals, and water, sewage and electrical systems. But they are still pilloried, harassed and sued on a regular basis by radical groups in Peru, Guatemala and elsewhere.

The late Roy Innis, chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, nailed it perfectly when he blasted the WWF for its callous campaign against a proposed mine in Madagascar.

“These enemies of the poor say they are ‘stakeholders,’ who want to ‘preserve’ indigenous people and villages,” Mr. Innis observed. “They never consider what the real stakeholders want – the people who actually live in these impoverished communities and must live with the consequences of harmful campaigns that are being waged all over the world,” blocking their opportunities, hopes and dreams.

These well-financed, self-righteous anti-mining assaults too often leave villagers jobless and the world dependent on shoddy state-run operations like the rare earth mines and processing facilities in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, and locally operated, often illegal “artisanal” mines in Africa and Asia. The environmental degradation and human health effects associated with these operations are horrendous.

Areas north of Baotou hold 70% of global proven reserves of rare earth minerals (REMs). The region was once productive farmland. But as Australia news, Business Insider, ABC News, Britain’s Guardian, BBC and Daily Mail, and others have documented, it is now a vast wasteland, where nothing grows.

Ores are extracted by pumping acid into the ground, then processed using more acids and chemicals. One ton of REMs releases up to 420,000 cubic feet of gases, 2,600 cubic feet of wastewater and 1 ton of other wastes – all of them acidic, toxic and radioactive. The resulting black sludge – laden with acids, heavy metals, carcinogens and other materials – is pipelined to what has become a foul, stinking, lifeless, six-mile-diameter “lake.” Its toxic contents are seeping into groundwater and creeping toward the Yellow (Huang He) River, an important source of drinking and irrigation water for much of northern China.

Miners and other workers labor up to 16 hours a day for a few yuan or dollars, under health, safety and environmental conditions that would likely have been intolerable in the US, UK and Europe a century ago. Dirty processing plants have few or no maintenance crews, little or no regular cleaning or repairs. Workers and local residents suffer from lung, heart and intestinal diseases, osteoporosis and cancer, at rates much higher than pre-mining days and well above those in other parts of the Middle Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Africa’s Congo region produces 60% of the world’s cobalt-lithium ore. Over 70,000 tons a year pass through the Congo DongFang International Mining Company to manufacturers in China. Entire families – including children as young as five – toil from dawn to dusk, for a dollar or two a day, so that cell phone, computer, EV and other buyers can enjoy cheap high-tech gadgets. 

Generally without permits, health and safety standards or environmental rules, the parents and kids use picks, shovels, pails and bags to excavate deep holes and vast pits, in search of valuable ores. Cave-ins and mud slides are an ever-present risk. Depending on the weather, they work in dust or muck, getting dangerous levels of cobalt, lead, uranium and other heavy metals in their tissues, blood and organs.

Gloves, face masks, protective clothing and showers to wash the toxic dirt off bodies at the end of the day are also nonexistent. Broken bones, suffocation, blood and respiratory diseases, birth defects, cancer and paralysis are commonplace, the Guardian, Washington Post, NPR and human rights groups report.

Maybe those evils are better than prostitution for mothers and daughters, drug dealing and criminal gangs for fathers and sons, or starvation and death for entire families. But it certainly smells like exploitation.

Where are the Ben & Jerry’s and Fair Trade demands for justice? The Berkeley and Brown student protests, sit-ins and boycotts against Nokia, Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, Tesla, Vestas and Trina Solar? The demands that college endowment and teacher pension funds divest from these companies? The outraged US and EU student marchers in Baotou and Beijing, to support workers, Joshua Wong and Liu Xiaobo?

Where are the calls to replace state-run and artisanal mining operations with socially and environmentally responsible Western mining companies? Where is the WWF compensation to poor villagers for the wages, electricity, clean water and improved living standards they could have had?

Environmentalist policies don’t merely represent double standards. No matter how Greenpeace or the Sierra Club might disguise or sugarcoat them, radical green policies and campaigns are unjust, unethical, inhuman, imperialistic and racist.

It’s time to apply fair trade, living wage and environmental justice principles to the anti-mining, anti-people campaigners. Their real goal is keeping the Third World impoverished, and that is intolerable.

Via email

Bangladesh has drunk the Kool-aid

Bangladesh is set to impose its own carbon tax on fuel next month – despite the hugely climate-vulnerable country producing relatively tiny per capita emissions.

The tax is expected to be put in place on June 1 as part of the country's annual budget and will be part of a larger bundle of "green" measures, Nojibur Rahman, chair of the National Board of Revenue, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview.

Many businesses and environmental groups have welcomed the plan, saying that Bangladesh – one of the countries considered most threatened by climate change impacts – needs to make a strong statement as governments like that in the United States pull back from action on climate change.

The new tax may not make any significant contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement's goal of keeping average global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, they said.

But "when a country pollutes, the other countries are also affected. So, we need to reduce carbon emission as much as possible and imposing a tax is only way to do it," said Abdul Matlub Ahmad, outgoing president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

He said the tax would not only raise the price of using fossil fuels but the added income could help push more use of renewable energy.

"If the government wants to cut the import duty on environment-friendly renewable energy products, it needs to charge taxes on polluters," he said in a telephone interview.

Bangladesh produces about 0.44 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person, much lower than the United States' 16.4 tonnes, Australia's 16.3 tonnes and Qatar's whopping 40.5 tonnes, according to World Bank figures.

Carbon taxes – which raise the cost of using fossil fuels by creating a charge for the climate damage they do – are one of the simplest, most market-friendly ways of driving climate action, experts say.

But they have proved politically tricky to put in place, and not just in poorer parts of the world where incomes are low and making fuel more expensive can be politically risky.

But low-lying Bangladesh, which faces huge risks from sea level rise, worsening storms, floods, droughts and other climate change impacts, has made a name for itself as an international leader in climate action, particularly in terms of innovative adaptation to climate change.

"Although our contribution to climate change is very nominal, we are one of the worst victims of climate change. Aware of the problem, we have the most successful and best climate change programmes the world has so far witnessed in any country," Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith, said earlier this month at a Dhaka summit on climate change and disaster risk reduction.

While it seeks international finance to help with programmes to address climate change, Bangladesh also has paid for projects out of its own nationally funded climate change fund.

M.A. Matin, general secretary of the Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bangladesh Environment Movement), said in a telephone interview that any carbon tax would need to be accompanied a "long-term carbon reduction plan" from the government.

In the short term, higher taxes on industry can drive up production costs, with those costs passed on to consumers. That might mean "it's not a right method for reducing emissions," he said.


John Coleman’s Crusade: Battling 97% on ‘Global Warming Silliness’

They throw a lot at Colemen below but also give him reasonable opportunity to reply

John Coleman says Al Gore started it — the “global warming silliness.” But now the retired KUSI weatherman is “horrified” to see San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer channeling the ex-veep with a Climate Action Plan. It “just turns my stomach.”

“I think he saw money and power, and I don’t know what else he thought of it,” Coleman says of the Republican mayor. “I can’t believe he really [felt he] was going to save the city from some terrible fate.”

Coleman, 82, laughs during a lively phone chat from his home near Las Vegas.

“San Diego’s not going to go underwater. Period,” he says. “Not in my lifetime or yours or our kids’ lifetime. When the Earth ends in 4 1/2 billion years, it probably still won’t have flooded.”

He also mocks “the damn tsunami warning route signs that they put up all over the city,” which he calls “about as silly as anything I’ve ever saw in my life. The chance of a significant tsunami hitting Southern California is about as great as a flying saucer landing tonight at Lindbergh Field. It’s just sheer nonsense.”

Coleman also knows how many people regard his decade-old public arguments. As sheer nonsense.

He’s unapologetic. “I’m just a dumb old skeptic — a denier as they call me — who ought to be jailed or put to death,” he says. “I understand how they feel. But you know something? I know I’m right. So I don’t care.”

That’s clear from his Twitter feed, “climate frenzy” blog and occasional political activism — he made hundreds of phone calls (reading a script) urging votes for Donald Trump during the primaries.

“I went to the opening of the Trump campaign headquarters in Nevada, and that sort of thing,” he says of the man who labels climate change a hoax. “I went to one of his rallies.”
Coleman aims to expose what he calls “Algorian” scientists fudging data and taking billions in government research grants for the sake of career advancement and economic comfort.

At KUSI, with financial backing from the Republican McKinnon family, Coleman hosted two hour-long documentaries critical of the notion of manmade climate change. He did many news pieces.

Coleman calls global warming a scientific issue, not a political one. “But since it had become a political issue, [Michael D. McKinnon] strongly supported my skeptical position on global warming,” he says. “If it hadn’t been for that, I probably would have retired much sooner. [KUSI] gave me a great platform from which to work.”

How did Coleman go from the clowning meteorologist of ABC’s “Eyewitness News” in Chicago to the Kay-YOOOOOUUUU-Es-Eye crusader against “the greatest scam in history”?

Several stories are told.

Charles Homan of Columbia Journalism Review said Coleman “snapped” while watching an Eagles-Cowboys football game one Sunday night when TV studio lights were cut as a “green” gesture.

“I couldn’t take it anymore,” Coleman told Homan in that 2010 piece. “I did a Howard Beale.”

Coleman also points to Gore’s Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth” of 2006. “I think the Al Gore movie probably stimulated me more than anything,” he now says. “I’m happy to see that his new movie seems to be less than spectacular success.”

But the seeds were planted decades before Coleman’s 2007 manifestos.

Coleman credits Joseph D’Aleo, his meteorological director at The Weather Channel and forecast assistant at “Good Morning America.”

“We started together in 1977, I guess,” he says. “He’s the one who has taught me about climate skepticism, about Algorian skepticism, and I learned it through him. And then I learned it through Willie Soon. It goes way, way back before 2007.”

In January 2010, responding to an “Other Side” broadcast on KUSI but not using Coleman’s name, research professor emeritus Richard Somerville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography issued a 550-word, six-point “Response to Climate Change Denialism.”

In July 2014, John P. Reisman offered a line-by-line rebuttal to Coleman’s arguments in “The Amazing Story Behind the Global Warming Scam.”

On July 1, 2017, fact-checking site labeled as “False” the assertion — circulating after Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accords — that “Weather Channel co-founder John Coleman provided evidence that convincingly refutes the concept of anthropogenic global warming.”

Coleman went on several national shows after his April 2014 exit from KUSI, including Fox News (with Megyn Kelly) and CNN (with Brian Stelter), to make his case.

But Coleman confessed to Times of San Diego that his TV turns are drying up.

He says a CBS production company contacted him about an interview for an hourlong TV show. “And we talked and talked and everything was scheduled,” Coleman says. “And then two days before the shoot was to occur, they called and said, ‘Sorry, we have to cancel that. Thank you very much anyway.’

“Because?” Coleman asked. “Well, you know,” came the reply. Said Coleman: “That happens all the time.”

Coleman doubles down: “I understand that there are plenty of people who rip me to shreds, and you can find strong and powerful put-downs on every topic I’m talking about. … But the truth is that I know all about all that stuff, and I don’t give a rat’s ass, because I know I’m right.”

In the phone chat, Coleman was asked about “97 percent of climate scientists” citing manmade change.

Coleman shot back: “Do you believe that? That’s sheer nonsense.”  He called it a “totally contrived figure” that gained ultimate currency when it was “uttered by President Obama. … But it’s totally fabricated. The so-called research that came up with that 97 percent was done by people who were looking to produce that figure and had to manipulate everything they got.”

He directed me to to view “eight or nine well-done articles that debunk the 97 percent.”

So where did the 97 percent come from?

Coleman’s says it’s just the share of scientists who agree the earth is warming, which even Coleman concedes.

“You’ve had Ice Ages and glacial periods, warm spells, one after another, cycling back and forth,” he says. “And certainly man didn’t cause any of them. They’re all natural events.”

He says the American Meteorological Society, in its most recent survey, “came up with about 47 percent skeptical, so 53 percent support (manmade climate change). And that’s after the society did everything they can to promote it. The society has been totally politicized. And still they can’t get all their members aboard.”

But contacted this week, AMS spokesman Tom Champoux provided links to several reports and blogs, including its 2016 survey of members which found “only 5 percent [of survey respondents] said that climate change was ‘largely or entirely’ due to natural events.”

“Mr. Coleman’s assertion that the 97 percent figure is ‘totally contrived’ and was ‘uttered by President Obama’ is in no way accurate,” said Champoux, who pointed to a British science nonprofit’s conclusion that “amongst 1,381 papers self-rated by their authors as stating a position on human-caused global warming, 97.2 percent endorsed the consensus.”

The AMS survey did find a 53 percent figure, however: “A total of 4,092 AMS members participated, with participants coming from the United States and internationally. The participation rate in the survey was 53.3 percent.”

Another evergreen Coleman critique is that billions of dollars of research grants go only to scientists who support the global warming theory: “You MUST take the Algorian side or you’re dead meat.”

He cites “the great Judith Curry,” an accomplished climate scientist who left her job at Georgia Tech “because she couldn’t handle it anymore” — reaction to her skeptical positions. He noted “my great friend Willie Soon at the Smithsonian Institute, whose life has been turned to hell because of his position.”

He says the power of money — $20 billion a year — buys opinion. “But even THAT has not produced a 97 percent consensus, so that consensus figure is a dead-in-the-ringer lie.”

But what about that fact Republicans control the pursestrings?

Coleman is ready. “Have you heard the chant ‘Drain the swamp’? I don’t think the swamp is only Democrats and bureaucrats. … Lord help me, the Republican Congress is very unlikely to cut off funding projects of the Scripps Oceanographic Institute or Woods Hole or any of the others. The Republican Party, they’re a slimy fish swimming through the swamp.”

Coleman agrees that Trump would like to shut the spigot. But not because he has a strong position on climate science. It’s just for budget savings.

“But I’m also confident that his family … they’re going to have dinner with him at night: ‘Hey, Dad, we got to keep this money flowing.’ So I don’t know how successful it will be. But I know the two most powerful forces on earth are sex and money. And by God it’s really hard to shut off the money. And it’s really hard to not go for the sex.”

What about Sacramento’s cap-and-trade measure — passed with GOP help?

“Just pure and total embarrassing nonsense,” Coleman says, “And another darn good reason not to live in California. If I have to get a passport to come see my son in Palm Springs in the future, so be it. That state has gotten so silly. Oh my God, I’m so glad I don’t live there.”

He calls efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions “an insult to the average American family,” whose energy costs already rise $2,500 a year “because of the threat of so-called global warming. And that cap-and-trade will take it up to probably $4,800 a year.”

“That takes phones away from the kids, or they don’t get new tablets so they can do their homework right. Or the college fund is down. Or clothes or vacations. It hurts that family very deeply. And these politicians who live on the top edge don’t have any understanding or feeling for the average people. And it drives … me … nuts,” he says, pausing between words for emphasis.

Does Coleman regard La Jolla’s prestigious Scripps Institution of Oceanography — a groundbreaker in climate studies — as doing fake science?

“I think that they are dead wrong,” Coleman says. “I think the Keeling Curve is excellent science — the measurement of carbon [dioxide] in the atmosphere through the years and the development of that good steady flow of data. That’s a very good scientific piece of work.”

But the rest of Scripps’ studies?

“Just pathetic,” he says. “And it drives me nuts. A fine institution just went … where the money is. Without that money, hundreds of people would have to be let go.”

He asks: “Have you looked at my video where I tell about that dispute between [Scripps and UCSD legend] Roger Revelle and [his Harvard student] Al Gore? I gather it didn’t impress you. I’m convinced that it’s correct [that climate scientist Revelle didn’t urge action on human-caused global warming]. By the way, that has over a million views on YouTube.”

(Revelle’s daughter Carolyn said Coleman and others took his remarks out of context.)

A spokeswoman for Scripps — once ranked No. 1 in the nation for earth and environmental sciences by the journal Nature — said Somerville’s post still holds up seven years later, and she also noted that “while Mr. Coleman was at KUSI he was invited here many times to see the research in action and talk to scientists. He never came.”

Mayor Faulconer’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

But Masada Disenhouse did. The founder of climate action group SanDiego350 — who helped organize the downtown Climate March in April — defended the mayor and countered Coleman on other issues.

“I think that the mayor of San Diego took climate change seriously and has moved to address it is because it’s been clear from polling, elections, growing climate marches and activism, and other indicators, that the people of San Diego increasingly support moving to clean energy and addressing the climate crisis,” she said Wednesday via email. “And when the people lead, the elected officials who represent them follow.”

On Coleman’s rejection of a waterlogged San Diego: “While Mr. Coleman may be in denial about it, coastal flooding due to sea level rise is already a problem in our coastal areas like Imperial Beach, Mission Beach and Carlsbad, with some areas expected to flood regularly at high tide in the next few decades.”

Disenhouse says Miami and New Orleans are a preview — “facing flooding from high tides even on sunny days on a regular basis right now.”

In 2015, she noted, SanDiego350 drew a chalk line in Mission Beach’s retail area to show where high tide would reach if trends continue until 2050.

Disenhouse defended efforts to wean the economy from fossil fuels.

“California’s economy has been growing as it has reduced its energy use per person and begun to bring down greenhouse gas emissions,” she says. “In fact, the renewable energy sector has been hugely successful in California, one of the fastest growing job sectors.”

But here Coleman concurs. “I love solar power,” he says. “But what does that have to do with climate change? Not a dibble-dee-do-dot.”

He says people assume that that if he’s a climate skeptic or opposed to cap-and-trade that he’s against solar or wind power or environmentalism, “or I want to fill the oceans with plastic or something.”

Coleman insists: “I am an environmentalist through and through. So don’t give me any of that. My son has solar on his house. And pays $16 a month for power in Palm Springs, and I’m excited about the future of graphene.”

He says a day will come when homes are coated with graphene paint and homeowners “disconnect the power line.” Same with the car.

“The age of fossil fuels and the electric grid will come to an end,” Coleman says. “Not in my lifetime, but possibly in yours. Time will tell and it’s all wonderful. Our life is good today not because a bunch of politicians have made laws and regulations and try to tell us how to live. Our lives are good today because of science.”




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


20 August, 2017

A Warmist resorts to blatant lies

Below is the start of a recent article headed "How To Explain Climate Science To That Person Who Just Won't Listen" in the Puffington Host.  One expects unadulterated Leftism from HuffPo but their usual modus operandi is selective attention to the facts -- not outright and blatant lies.

There are many problems with the article but this is the key lie: "97 percent of climate scientists agree". And he explicitly claims that John Cook, an Australian psychologist, said that.  But John Cook said no such thing.  Cook found that only ONE THIRD (32.6%) of the climate papers he examined took a position on global warming.  That is a long way from 97%.  The 97% figure refers only to that one third:  97% of one third supported global warming

Even Cook saw that one third was less than a ringing endorsement and hypothesized that the pesky two thirds might have been secret supporters of global warming but were just too shy to say so.  He therefore sent them a questionnaire which gave them an opportunity to state their position.  But only 14% replied.  So that was an actual REFUSAL by the vast majority to state a position on global warming.  Again a long way from 97% endorsement.  It was in fact 98% of 14% who endorsed global warming the second time around.  Pathetic!

So the whole foundation of the article below is missing. The writer has a relaxed relationship with the truth and cannot be relied upon.  He misrepresents a scientific paper.  If you doubt that, read Cook's paper here.  It's not difficult. You only need to read the abstract to see what it says. Cook himself is normally cautious in stating exactly what he found but some people hear and report only what they want to hear.

We all know someone who is dismissive of climate science. We all have friends or family members who think they know more about global warming than trained climate scientists. So how to talk about climate change with those people?

John Cook can help. Cook is the person behind the famous 2013 paper which found that 97 percent of climate scientists agree with the theory of human-caused climate change.

That paper has been peer-reviewed, and reviewed again, in numerous studies since it was published. Always the results hold true. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists still agree that humans are causing global warming.

That's despite the fact that there's very little money in researching warming. You should also know that scientists tend to advance their careers by discovering new stuff no one else has discovered -- and human-caused climate change hardly fits that category.

The science is real, the science is not conspiratorial, and the science is almost universally accepted (97 percent of scientists rarely agree on ANYTHING!). Yet some people still won't have a word of it. So then. What to do next?


EPA needs budget reform, less spending and better science

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has made a good start fulfilling President Trump's campaign promises to undo the Obama administration's regulatory onslaught. But preventing future outbreaks of regulatory overreach is going to require more fundamental reforms of the way the agency operates.

These reforms should include: requiring budget transparency; cutting spending by eliminating programs and offices; and radically improving the use of science in the regulatory process. Administrator Pruitt can make some of these changes administratively, but others are going to require action by Congress.

The EPA's budget, as our colleague William Yeatman has shown, is the most opaque and incomprehensible of any federal department. The agency spends huge sums of money without adequate congressional oversight. 
EPA's opaque budget has allowed it to spend large sums on a wide variety of discretionary programs not mandated by Congress. To take only one example, Obama's EPA diverted $160 million from Clean Air Act programs to climate programs. This funding apparently wasn't necessary to carry out the agency's legal responsibilities for clean air, so can be eliminated. Forcing the agency to open its books to public scrutiny will make it more responsive to real environmental problems rather than green activist agendas.

The EPA budget requests for the next fiscal year submitted by the Trump administration are more transparent than previous budgets, but there is still a long way to go. In terms of spending, the Trump administration requested a 31 percent budget cut for EPA, but so far Congress is resisting to that high call for drastic cuts. The House appropriations bill makes just a six percent cut. Much deeper cuts need to be made.

Another way to make cuts is by evaluating the actual work the agency does to see where there may be redundancies. State environmental agencies have taken over many of the EPA's responsibilities for monitoring and enforcement. This means that the EPA's 10 regional offices, which employ six thousand people, have outlived their usefulness and can be shut down. Emergency response functions can be moved to the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

Administrator Pruitt can make significant improvements administratively. For example, he can ban the use of secret science, which is illegal but has been tolerated by Congress. The EPA is supposed to base its regulatory decisions on sound science. Over the decades, EPA has moved more and more from sound science to manipulated and secret science.

Steve Milloy in his recent book, "Scare Pollution," has provided a comprehensive and shocking expose of the EPA's worst misuse of science. He shows how secret and shoddy air pollutions studies have been used to justify regulations that cost workers and consumers tens of billions of dollars. But there are similar, if less outrageous and expensive, misuses of science throughout the agency.

In 1999, Congress did try to improve the use of science when it passed the Information Quality Act, but then allowed the Obama Administration to ignore it. Administrator Pruitt should require that the act be enforced rigorously. That will be a good start, but legislation is required to ensure that these reforms last beyond the Trump administration. The House has already passed legislation to ban secret science. The Senate needs to act on this and other important reforms passed by the House.

In sum, the EPA is a major part of the swamp that President Trump promised during the 2016 campaign that he was going to drain. Let's not miss this rare opportunity to make fundamental, long-lasting reforms at the EPA. The administration and Congress should work together to require budget transparency, cut spending by eliminating and offices, and end the use of secret and junk science. 


Farmer Faces Multimillion-Dollar Fine for Plowing Fields Without Government’s Permission

This week, a federal judge will determine whether to levy a multimillion-dollar fine against John Duarte, as requested by the Department of Justice.

Duarte’s wrongdoing? Plowing fields without first asking the permission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In 2012, Duarte—a fourth-generation California farmer and owner of a large agricultural nursery—began plowing 450 acres of property in order to plant winter wheat.

This typical farming practice soon caught the attention of a local Corps project manager, who was horrified to see that the plowed land contained a smattering of vernal pools.

These generally dry, shallow land depressions temporarily collect excess rainwater, which quickly evaporates. Depending on weather variations, they may not fill with water at all.

The Corps claimed the authority to regulate these pools as “wetlands” under the Clean Water Act.

The Clean Water Act grants both it and the Environmental Protection Agency enforcement mechanisms to “restore and maintain the physical, biological, and chemical integrity of the nation’s waters.” It authorizes the Corps to issue permits for the discharge of dredged or fill material into “navigable waters.”

However, it also exempts from permit requirements “normal farming … activities such as plowing, seeding, [or] cultivating.”

Unfortunately for Duarte, the project manager determined the plowing did not fall under exempted farming practices. The Corps deemed his furrows “small mountain ranges” that discharged pollutants into the vernal pools without a permit.

The protection of America’s waterways is a legitimate government concern, and both the EPA and the Corps play a critical role in regulating, deterring, or punishing the intentional pollution of important waterways.

However, in a disturbing trend of regulatory overreach, these agencies have in recent years utilized irrationally broad interpretations of the Clean Water Act.

Most alarmingly, the EPA and the Corps determined in the 2015 Waters of the United States rule that the term “navigable waters” includes a whole host of places the average person would not reasonably consider to fall under the Clean Water Act’s purview, including vernal pools on grassland.

On Oct. 9, 2015, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed official implementation of the rule, pending further review of the court. The court “conclude[d] that petitioners have demonstrated a substantial possibility of success on the merits of their claims” that the rule lacks legal validity.

Federal administrative officials have also determined that the Clean Water Act applies to activities far removed from simply dumping pollutants into streams—activities such as Duarte’s plowing wheat fields a few inches deeper than usually necessary.

These broad interpretations resulted in Duarte receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the Corps. The agency alleged he “discharged dredged or fill material … into waters of the United States, without a [required] Department of the Army (DA) permit,” in violation of the Clean Water Act.

In short, the Corps determined Duarte destroyed a wetland without its permission, and that his plowing did not constitute exempted “normal farming practices.”

It did not offer him any opportunity to rebut these claims before demanding he cease all farming activities. Duarte would not be allowed to harvest his $50,000 worth of planted wheat.

More than four years later, he is facing $2.8 million in fines and an estimated minimum of $13 million in “mitigation credits” for his actions. Shockingly, although these fines could destroy his business and put more than 500 employees out of work, they are considered mere “civil penalties.”

Now, Duarte and his lawyers hope the Trump administration will step in to help.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump directed relevant federal agencies to reconsider their broad interpretations of the Clean Water Act. He deemed the Waters of the United States rule a “massive power grab” and urged a much narrower understanding of “navigable waters” as those larger bodies directly affecting interstate commerce.

Although the sentencing phase of Duarte’s trial is still scheduled to begin Aug. 15, the discrepancy between the president’s directive and the continued pursuit of Duarte’s case by the Department of Justice has not gone unnoticed in Washington, D.C.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to review the Justice Department’s position on the matter.

Their May 26 letter conveyed their concern that “the congressional intent behind the farming exemptions in the statute is misunderstood,” and noted the Agriculture Committee’s view that Duarte’s actions were traditional farming activity exempted from permit requirements.

Recently, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue expressed his hopes the Justice Department would postpone any further action against Duarte until after the EPA completes its reassessment of the scope of the agency’s jurisdiction.

He further announced his intention to meet with Sessions and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt about the situation.

Duarte’s case is an unfortunate reminder of just how serious the consequences of regulatory overreach can be to unsuspecting citizens. A prominent fixture of American jurisprudence is the idea that laws should be adequately clear so as to give fair warning about which behaviors are prohibited.

James Madison eloquently summed up the notion in Federalist 62: “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

As Paul Larkin of The Heritage Foundation recently observed, the current Waters of the United States rule is a complicated mess of over 2,300 words. It utilizes language without settled common-law or contemporary meaning, and requires a person of ordinary intelligence to decipher complex geographical terms.

Perhaps worst of all, it demands the average person do this with the unforeseeable risk of a multimillion-dollar fine looming over his or her head.

The Trump administration is admirably attempting to scale back the power of these federal agencies. But it still appears—for now, at least—Duarte will become the latest victim of an ever-growing list of federal regulations allowing for the imposition of devastating penalties with little notice.


Don’t Believe the Hysteria Over Carbon Dioxide

Rep. Lamar Smith

The way Americans perceive climate change is too often determined by their hearing just one side of the story.

The American people should be made aware of both the negative and positive impacts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Without the whole story, how can we expect an objective evaluation of the issues involving climate change?

While it is indisputable that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is gradually increasing, this does not automatically justify all of the alarmists’ claims.

The benefits of a changing climate are often ignored and under-researched. Our climate is too complex and the consequences of misguided policies too harsh to discount the positive effects of carbon enrichment.

A higher concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would aid photosynthesis, which in turn contributes to increased plant growth. This correlates to a greater volume of food production and better quality food. Studies indicate that crops would utilize water more efficiently, requiring less water. And colder areas along the farm belt will experience longer growing seasons.

While crops typically suffer from high heat and lack of rainfall, carbon enrichment helps produce more resilient food crops, such as maize, soybeans, wheat, and rice. In fact, atmospheric carbon dioxide is so important for plant health that greenhouses often use a carbon dioxide generator to increase production.

Besides food production, another benefit of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the lush vegetation that results. The world’s vegetated areas are becoming 25-50 percent greener, according to satellite images. Seventy percent of this greening is due to a rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Greater vegetation assists in controlling water runoff, provides more habitats for many animal species, and even aids in climate stabilization, as more vegetation absorbs more carbon dioxide. When plant diversity increases, these vegetated areas can better eliminate carbon from the atmosphere.

Also, as the Earth warms, we are seeing beneficial changes to the earth’s geography. For instance, Arctic sea ice is decreasing. This development will create new commercial shipping lanes that provide faster, more convenient, and less costly routes between ports in Asia, Europe, and eastern North America. This will increase international trade and strengthen the world economy.

Fossil fuels have helped raise the standard of living for billions of people. Furthermore, research has shown that regions that have enjoyed a major reduction in poverty achieved these gains by expanding the use of fossil fuels for energy sources.

For nations to progress, they need access to affordable energy. Fossil fuels provide the energy necessary to develop affordable food, safe drinking water, and reliable housing for those who have never had it before.

Studies indicate that in the U.S. alone, the natural gas industry is responsible for millions of jobs and has increased the wealth of Americans by an average of $1,337. Economic growth as well as greater food production and increased vegetation are just some of the benefits that can result from our changing climate.

The Obama administration planned to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on policies that would have a negligible impact on the environment. The Clean Power Plan would have reduced global temperatures by only three one-hundredths of 1 degree Celsius. If we stop over-reacting to climate change hysteria, we can allocate those funds to benefit Americans in such areas as educational opportunities, health care, and technological innovation.

The use of fossil fuels and the byproducts of carbon enrichment play a large role in advancing the quality of human life by increasing food production to feed our growing population, stimulating the economy, and alleviating poverty.

Bad deals like the Paris Agreement would cost the U.S. billions of dollars, a loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and have no discernible impact on global temperatures. Instead of succumbing to fear tactics and exaggerated predictions, we should instead invest in research and technology that can help us better understand the effects of climate change.


Australia: Fresh doubts over BoM records after thermometer read at wrong end

Fresh doubts over Bureau of Meteorology temperature records had arisen because a post office worker read the thermometer at the wrong end when the mercury plunged below freezing.

In a new twist, missing records of low temperatures have spread past automatic weather stations to those collected by hand in ­regional areas.

Taralga Post Office, north of Goulburn in NSW, is the latest unseasonal hotspot in an investi­gation in which several automatic weather stations have been declared “unfit for purpose”.

Human error is being blamed by postal staff at Taralga with a trainee “reading the thermometer on the wrong end”. Every day, a post office employee checks the visibility, wind speed, wind direction, cloud formation, rain gauge and minimum and maximum temperatures at the remote weather station. Staff have been going through a similar routine for 98 years — their oldest recorded measurements go back to 1919.

Julie Corby has been working at the post office for 12 years, and is one of three staff. They sort the mail, record the weather, and act as a community centre for the area. “It was an honest mistake. Everyone makes it once,” she said yesterday, adding that the young person had since been recording the temperatures accurately.

“She was reading the wrong end of the thermometer.” Ms Corby said BoM had alerted them to the problem and that “correct procedure had been put in place.”

But the list of missing temperatures is growing. “Quality assurance processes that apply to all temperature observations are being examined as part of the review currently under way,” a BoM spokesman said.

Hobby farmer Ken Seton provided evidence that temperature recordings of -10C on May 10 and -8C on May 16 had not been carried past the daily temperature recordings on to the official monthly record. As a result, the lowest monthly temperature reading for May at Taralga stands at -4.8C. Minus 10C would have been a ­record low for Taralga.

The minimum temperatures from Taralga are used to homogenise the ACORN-SAT national temperature records for Sydney, Richmond, Nowra and Canberra.

Mr Seton’s screen shots and meteorological interest predates the scandal that has engulfed weather records at Goulburn and Thredbo Top where temperature readings of below -10C went missing. BoM first claimed the low temperatures had been deleted and in one case at least reinstalled due to “quality control” procedures.

The bureau subsequently said equipment at some AWS network stations was “not fit for purpose”. A review is under way, led by senior BoM staff with outside experts.

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said when the review was complete “in coming weeks”, he would make its findings public.

Mr Seton’s screen-shot evidence from Taralga shifts the goalposts beyond the AWS network in terms of how complete is the BoM record. Mr Seton said he had spent 10 years with the CSIRO in a range of areas, including as an atmospheric physicist.

He said he had owned a property near Taralga for the past 40 years, about 16km from the Post Office where the temperature is still collected by hand.

Mr Seton monitors the BoM website for rainfall and major weather events and in May “happened to notice a -10 and a -8 temperature recording”. “When I looked again a week later they were gone,” he said.

Local farmer Daniel Walsh, who runs sheep and cattle on a property in Taralga, said it had been a cold winter.

“It should go down as a cold winter, and there have been consistently deep frosts overnight,” he said. “No cloud cover, that’s what does it. It’s been a good year though, overall.”




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, 2017

It seems that the short summer melting season has already ended in Greenland

Top: The total daily contribution to the surface mass balance from the entire ice sheet (blue line, Gt/day). Bottom: The accumulated surface mass balance from September 1st to now (blue line, Gt) and the season 2011-12 (red) which had very high summer melt in Greenland. For comparison, the mean curve from the period 1981-2010 is shown (dark grey). The same calendar day in each of the 30 years (in the period 1981-2010) will have its own value. These differences from year to year are illustrated by the light grey band. For each calendar day, however, the lowest and highest values of the 30 years have been left out.


Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations At 400 PPM Are Still Dangerously Low For Life On Earth

With atmospheric CO2 concentrations reaching the 400 ppm level, the media and a number of alarmist scientists have set off the mega-alarm bells, claiming “record high levels” of CO2 had been reached, and that the planet is on the verge of an overdose. This is based purely on ignorance of the Earth’s history.

Worrying that 400 ppm is too high is like worrying about your fuel tank overflowing when it reaches the 1/8 mark during filling.

From a historical perspective, an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 400 ppm is actually almost scraping the bottom of the barrel. Over the Earth’s history, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have ranged from 180 ppm to 7000 ppm, see Figure 1 below. On that scale we are in fact today barely above the Earth’s record lows.

That 400 ppm is actually dangerously low is a fact the alarmists keep avoiding and suppressing. Below 150 ppm, plant-life dies off on a massive scale. The Earth actually came very close to that point many times over the last 2 million years during the ice ages. At the bottom of the last ice age just 20,000 years ago, life on the planet literally teetered on the brink when CO2 fell to a level of just 180 ppm. Do we really want to live on the brink of extinction?

It’s a fact that biologists have shown that once the atmospheric CO2 level falls below the 500 ppm level, plants really begin to suffer. Many of us have seen the video showing how plants grow faster under higher CO2 concentrations.

Note that at high CO2 concentrations, such as 800 ppm, plants thrive. But as CO2 levels fall off, growth rates really start to plummet once they fall below 500 ppm. History shows that the Earth sustains much more life, i.e. is much greener and fruitful, when CO2 levels are higher, i.e. in the vicinity of 1000 ppm.

No one disputes that man’s activities have helped to increase atmospheric CO2 concentration, and it should not be in dispute that plants and life on the planet are thankful that man has done so. At 400 ppm, the planet is a safer place to be and will be even safer at 1000 ppm.


Government’s Endless Energy Subsidies Must Stop

It’s no secret President Trump is working to create thousands more American energy jobs, reduce regulations on energy producers and restore parity to the tax code. Given these goals, it’s time for Congress to work with the president to end the unfair practice of granting tax incentives favoring one energy sector over another and give more promising American energy technologies a chance to flourish. 

In addition, the U.S. solar power industry has fallen victim to government sponsored cyber-thieves operating in China. It has been well documented how an army of cyber-hackers in China raided hundreds of U.S. companies and hacked into intellectual property worth billions. Solar companies were particularly hard hit along with many tech firms, U.S. Steel and other businesses. Subsequently China is now overproducing solar power cells and flooding international markets with cut-rate solar panels.  

American solar power companies Suniva and the U.S. division of SolarWorld have filed for bankruptcy due primarily to overproduction of solar cells from China and other foreign competitors. SunEdison and Sungevity have also declared bankruptcy. These failings follow Abengoa’s bankruptcy announcement in 2016, Abound Solar’s collapse in 2012 and Solyndra’s much publicized demise in 2011.

Despite significant problems for the solar industry and the unreliability of wind power, America is leading the way in the development of promising fuel cell technology. Fuel cells are powered by natural gas – something we have plenty of in the U.S. Even more noteworthy is how the fuel cell industry shows strong growth potential. Walmart and the huge mail-order fulfillment operation Amazon are already replacing their antiquated battery powered fork lifts and industrial vehicles with vehicles powered by natural gas fuel cells.

At the Toyota proving grounds in Arizona, hydrogen fuel fuel cells are being tested in 18 wheel trucks. These vehicles have no exhaust emissions. And companies like eBay, AT&T and Home Depot are installing stationary fuel cells to provide secure, onsite electricity for their facilities to ensure that they can remain operational in the event of an electric grid outage.

Natural gas fuel cells are clean, recharge more quickly than outdated electric batteries and are much less expensive to maintain. And because fuel cells are powered by our own abundant natural gas supplies, they don’t rely on environmentally disastrous cobalt and lithium mining operations around the world. Cobalt and lithium are needed to make battery powered vehicles for the U.S. Most of these mines in Africa, Russia and Asia are strip mines and are environmental tragedies. The mining operations have also become horrific examples of human rights abuses for the workers who labor in them – some mine workers are as young as four years old. 

The United States is the undisputed leader in fuel cell technology which, if properly developed, would give America a global competitive advantage and would enhance our national energy security. But as with solar power, China hopes to gobble up this technology. So far, China isn’t producing fuel cells, but the question remains, will Congress allow this vital energy resource to be co-opted by China or other foreign competitors?      

Congress must change the arbitrary way it offers businesses tax credits. Such incentives should not be awarded in ways that allow lawmakers or bureaucrats to pick winners and losers. If we wish to continue developing and supporting our energy and manufacturing sectors, we must do so in ways that allow promising technologies a chance to flourish but also with established end-dates for such tax breaks. The days of endless government subsidies must stop.

The U.S. fuel cell industry is growing, it has an established business model and presents an opportunity for our country to create tens of thousands of new energy jobs. Temporary tax incentives can encourage innovation but must include mandates requiring businesses to stand on their own. American fuel cell technology has to be part of our nation’s energy mix, and Congress should work to find commonsense ways of embracing this promising energy resource.


REPORT: ‘Many Of The EPA’s Functions Could Be Abolished’

Many Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) programs are redundant and could be eliminated without hurting environmental quality, according to a new report on reforming the federal bureaucracy.

“The EPA needs to be made more transparent and efficient, a goal that can be achieved while continuing to protect the nation’s environment,” reads the report published by the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) on Wednesday.

CEI gave a series of recommendations on how to make EPA more transparent and accountable, including eliminating regional offices and changing science programs.

“Many of the EPA’s regional offices and grant programs are redundant and should be abolished,” reads the short report written by Myron Ebell, who headed President Donald Trump’s EPA transition team.

“Other reform priorities include improving data quality standards for new research and transferring emergency response duties to the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” Ebell wrote.

The group says EPA’s budget “is the most impenetrable of all federal department and agency budgets,” which makes it hard for Congress to know how taxpayer dollars are being spent. CEI wants EPA to do what other agencies do and put forward a budget that “clearly identifies the spender, how much they spend, and the legal basis for the spending.”

No doubt, CEI’s suggestions will be opposed by environmental groups. Activists opposed President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to EPA’s budget and elimination of dozens of agency programs.

“There is no way to sugarcoat this, President Trump has taken a wrecking ball to environmental protection in the US,” Ken Kimmell, president of the Union for Concerned Scientists, told CNN in May. “Frankly I didn’t think this would happen with the severity with this is happening. We have had changes in powers before. Different presidents strike a different balance. But this is a severe attack that we didn’t expect.”

Environmentalists have filed dozens of lawsuits to stop Trump’s policy agenda from going through. Environmental activists even filed suit against the U.S.-Mexico border wall being planned by the Department of Homeland Security, arguing it would hurt endangered species.

Targeting EPA science programs has been on the Republican to-do list for years. Conservative groups and lawmakers worry EPA uses science to back pre-determined policy conclusions.

Republicans have also voiced concerns about the impartiality of outside EPA science advisers, most of whom take agency money to conduct research, creating a potential conflict of interest.

The House passed legislation in March to reform how EPA uses scientific research, but the bill hasn’t gotten much attention in the Senate.


Hot Air from Al Gore Is the Only Global Warming

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.” Two recent recipients were U.S. presidents, Democrats of course, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. A U.S. vice-president also won the prize, Al Gore, another Democrat.

Jimmy Carter won his prize in 2002, long after his presidency, "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development." Again, after his presidency and post presidential humanitarian efforts.

Barack Obama won his prize in 2009, just months into his presidency, "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." Other than a few speeches, he had not done anything of substance. Surprisingly, his prize was not rescinded after Benghazi, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and ISIS, all highly successful efforts in international diplomacy.

Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

As a quick aside, of 130 Peace Prize Laureates, only 16 were women. Eight percent. Forget chasing Google. Social justice warriors have a much better target with the Nobel committee. Start the protests and boycotts.

Obama’s prize was awarded “on the come,” a gambling term for betting on cards that may come in the future. Or in business, compensation based on future success. The Nobel prize committee was betting that the “hope and change” media creation would actually pan out in the future.

Similarly, Gore’s prize was a bet “on the come” that lower temperatures would be coming based on Al’s movies, speeches, and carbon credits. The Nobel prize didn’t bring peace but instead brought fabulous wealth to Gore, paving the way for him to potentially become the “world’s first carbon billionaire.”

I never thought I would be giving kudos to the Nobel prize committee for their wise and prescient award to Al Gore. Few American Thinker readers would expect such an acknowledgement either. But credit where credit’s due.

Meteorologist Joe Bastardi, looking at global temperatures over the past twelve years noted something interesting. Temperatures were warmer when Gore won his peace prize in 2007 than they are today. As you can see in the chart below:

Shazam! Al Gore is actually lowering global temperatures. The Nobel prize committee got it right, giving Gore the prize is responsible for lower temps now than the day he won the prize. Or not.

Instead the Nobel prize committee could have awarded the 2007 prize to Mother Nature, who is managing to lower temperatures without the need for books, movies, speeches, or carbon credits. A recently published German study concludes, “We can expect climate cooling for next 50 years!”

Al should be taking credit for lowering global temperatures rather than predicting doomsday. In 2006, a year before he received the famous prize, he predicted that unless we took “drastic measures” the world would reach “a point of no return” within ten years. Now eleven years later his predicted “true planetary emergency” has as much validity as predictions of Hillary Clinton winning the presidential election in a landslide.

If he had just kept quiet, he could now claim success given that global temperatures have dropped since the time he won the peace prize. But no. Instead he has a second movie, doubling down on the failed predictions of his first movie. The new one is called, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. The only thing inconvenient will be more failed predictions:

“Stronger storms, worsening floods, deeper droughts, mega-fires, tropical diseases spreading through vulnerable populations in all parts of the earth, melting ice caps flooding coastal cities, unsurvivable [sic] heat extremes, and hundreds of millions of climate refugees.”

The left is missing a golden opportunity to bask in the success of Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize, taking full credit for lower temperatures today compared to when he won the prize. They could claim that their “green measures,” whatever they may be, are working.

Instead, they are snatching political defeat from the jaws a victory, in apparent imitation of the Republicans, beclowning themselves with silly headlines as recently in the New York Times, “North Korea aside, Guam faces another threat: Climate change.” If I lived on Guam, I would be far more worried about one of Kim Jung-un’s missiles landing on my head than being swallowed up by a rising ocean.

With all the hot air coming from Al Gore and the liberal media, it’s a wonder that all of the polar ice hasn’t yet melted with fish swimming in the streets of New York and Miami. The Nobel committee should give Gore another Nobel Peace Prize, secure in the belief that in ten years, global temperatures will again drop by a fraction of a degree, all due to his winning the prize.




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, 2017

Dangerous air pollution from coal-fired power stations  in Australia?

I am interested in the following claim made below:  "People who live within 50km of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away."

I have read the large and glossy report from which that statistic is allegedly taken but can find no mention of it there.  It must be a very fleeting mention if it is there at all. There was certainly nothing like the formal research report that one would expect to underlie such a claim:  No details of sampling or control for demographic statistics, no table of results etc.

With all Green/Left writing the thing to identify is what they do NOT say.  They regularly just leave out information that would damage their case.  As it happens I have some research background in this field so I know what they have left out.  They did not do an attitude study.  They did not try to find out how bothered people were by the alleged pollution.  They put up a few anecdotes about that but anecdotes prove nothing. You can always find people dissatisfied with anything if you look hard for them.

My survey of the effect of living near a coal mine showed that people did NOT have elevated environmental concerns as a result of that proximity.  And my study was an orthodox and fully described one.  So there is no doubt in existence a degree of pollution associated with Australia's coal mines but it is at a level that is only a minor irritant to those affected by it.  My study was of coal mines in 1980 but, as the report below mentions, the power stations at the time were generally located just about on top of the mines

The report is a beat up. Just more Greenie deception. It was put out by Environmental Justice Australia so I had no real expectation that it would be a work of objective science.  It is just propaganda

AUSTRALIA is trailing behind places like China when it comes to pollution standards and those living near coal-fired power stations are three times more likely to die a premature death, according to a new report.

Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) found Australian power stations are allowed to emit far more pollution than those in the US, China and parts of the European Union, and they are not being regulated well enough to protect human health or the environment.

The toxins produced by coal-fired power stations can have a deadly impact on those living nearby. People who live within 50km are about three to four times more likely to die a premature death as those living further away.

The report looked at four pollutants that are extremely harmful to health and have been linked to asthma, respiratory problems, stroke, angina, heart attack and cancer.

It found coal-fired power stations emitted more than 30 toxic substances and are the biggest sources of fine particles PM2.5, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.

“The mercury limits for some NSW power stations are 666 times higher than the US limits. This is unacceptable,” the report said.

“In almost all cases the emissions limits applied to Australian power stations are significantly less stringent than the standards in the European Union, United States and China.”

What controls that are in place are also not well monitored and rarely enforced.

The EJA has made eight recommendations including that the Federal Government commission an independent assessment of health impacts, develop national emission standards, ask for better monitoring and commit to not building, financing or approving any new coal-fired power stations.

When it comes to air pollution, the report suggested “ultra-supercritical” or “high efficiency low emission” (HELE) power stations were not very effective at reducing pollution.

“The best improvement ultra-supercritical technology can offer over subcritical is about a 14 per cent reduction in pollution emissions,” the report said.

NSW Central Coast resident Gary Blaschke OAM said a lot of the downside of living close to coal-fired power stations had been swept under the carpet.

“If pollution was purple, people would be up in arms. Because we often can’t see it — whether it’s in the air on in the ground — many people don’t even think about it.”


The report Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities mainly looks at four pollutants. They are coarse particles called PM10, fine particles known as PM2.5, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.

In particular PM2.5 has been linked directly to health risks including asthma, bronchitis, acute and chronic respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and painful breathing, and premature deaths.

It’s been estimated that PM2.5 exposure has led to 1590 premature deaths each year in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

These particles can travel long distances so Sydney residents may feel the impacts of pollution produced by Hunter Valley power stations, but local communities are the most at risk.

People who live within 50km of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away.

It’s been estimated that 18 people living near the now-closed Hazelwood power station in Victoria died premature death due to air pollution in one year.

“The annual health costs of coal-fired power stations across Australia has been estimated at about $2.6 billion a year,” the report said.

“These costs are not factored into wholesale electricity prices or licence fees, and are therefore borne by the community rather than affecting the profits of the power station owners.”


Crookedness at the EPA -- and how to hit it

Washington D.C., the hub of the federal government, is notorious for extravagant spending and overpriced salaries. For this reason, President Trump ran on a campaign of “draining the swamp”, the swamp being Washington D.C. seemingly endless federal bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the swamp is much bigger than just D.C. A recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Inspector General highlights the need for a nationwide swamp draining.

According to the EPA website, the mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment. For the mission, the EPA has deployed employees and offices across the nation. The EPA has divided the nation into ten regions, each with its own regional director. Region 10 is known as the Seattle region, and serves Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and the 271 Native tribes therein. A recent inspector general’s report highlighted several disturbing pay related matters in the region.

Government employees are paid on a bi-weekly basis. The rate of pay depends on their General Service (GS) level. The levels go from GS-1 through GS-15, then on to Senior Executive Service (SES) levels. With each pay rate, there is a pay cap. However, the pay cap may be waived for GS employees while conducting work designated as emergency or mission-critical.

The EPA has given the authority to declare disasters or emergencies to management officials in the regions. If an emergency is located in one spot and not spread across two regions, the Regional Administrator will if the event is worthy of lifting the cap. The Regional Administrator may redelegate the authority to declare an emergency to the Assistant Regional Administrator or Deputy Regional Administrator. After the waiver is requested, it then goes to Human Resources Officer (HRO).

The OIG report showed 79 instances of employees exceeding the pay cap in FY15, FY16, and up to January 7, 2017. However, only one of the instances had a waiver request from the regional administrator or another designee, and the approval of the HRO.

There is also one more problem, what is the emergency? What is the emergency that has been going on for two years that no one has heard about? Have these federal employees been bilking taxpayers for two years? Clearly the system broke down, and taxpayers literally paid the price.

Clearly over payments were made, and several people within the chain of command failed to correct the mistake. Congress should immediately investigate the over payments. The funds do not belong to the federal employees, it belongs to the taxpayer’s and should be treated as such.

Firing a government employee is extremely difficult, but Congress does have two options. The first is impeachment. Congress could impeach the Human Resources Officer or the acting Region 10 Administrator for improper disbursement of funds. This would be a long drawn out process, and highly unlikely. The second option is the best.

This is a chance for Congress to implement the Holman rule. The rule allows Congress to reduce the pay of a specific federal employee, fire specific federal employee, and cut a specific program. This can happen because the rule allows amendments to appropriations legislation. It was reinstated earlier this year after being rescinded in 1983.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning stated, “This is a perfect opportunity for the Congress to use the Holman rule to defund the salaries of whichever human resources officers failed to follow the rules in administering additional pay. Additionally, then-Deputy Regional Administrator of EPA region 10 Michelle Pirzadeh, now acting administrator, should be replaced and have her salary defunded if she was aware of the overpaying scheme and failed to take action. Federal rules governing pay to federal employees were not followed, resulting in the overpaying of EPA employees in region 10, and those responsible are not entitled to keep their jobs.”

Using the Holman rule would send a clear message to government employees bilking the system. Congress has often complained about improper disbursement of funds in committee hearings, and now they have a chance to act. If Congress truly wants to restore the first branch of government to its’ rightful place.


Global Ocean Cooling Continues

July Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are now available, and we can see further ocean cooling led by plummeting temps in the  Tropics and the Southern Hemisphere, continuing the downward trajectory from the previous 12 months.

HadSST is generally regarded as the best of the global SST data sets, and so the temperature story here comes from that source, the latest version being HadSST3.

The chart below shows the last two years of SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3 including July 2017.

In May despite a slight rise in the Tropics, declines in both hemispheres and globally caused SST cooling to resume after an upward bump in April.  Now in July a large drop is showing both in the Tropics and in SH, declining the last 4 months.  Meanwhile the NH is peaking in July as usual, but well down from the previous July.  The net of all this is a slightly lower Global anomaly but with likely additional future cooling led by the Tropics and also SH hitting new lows for this period.

Note that higher temps in 2015 and 2016 were first of all due to a sharp rise in Tropical SST, beginning in March 2015, peaking in January 2016, and steadily declining back to its beginning level. Secondly, the Northern Hemisphere added two bumps on the shoulders of Tropical warming, with peaks in August of each year. Also, note that the global release of heat was not dramatic, due to the Southern Hemisphere offsetting the Northern one. Note that Global anomaly for July 2017 matches closely to April 2015.  However,  SH and the Tropics are lower now and trending down compared to an upward trend in 2015.

We have seen lots of claims about the temperature records for 2016 and 2015 proving dangerous man made warming.  At least one senator stated that in a confirmation hearing.  Yet HadSST3 data for the last two years show how obvious is the ocean’s governing of global average temperatures.


Britain Suffers Coldest Summer Holidays In 35 YEARS

BRITAIN is in the grip of its coldest summer holidays for 35 years. Temperatures in London have failed to get any higher than 73F (23C) since schools broke up on July 19. It has been a similar story in Birmingham, while in Newcastle the thermometer has been stuck below a modest 68F (20C).

The depressing figures for July 19 to August 11 show it is the coolest start to the holidays since 1982. Met Office forecaster Charlie Powell said: “As soon as they started it took a bit of a turn for the worse.”

In 20 of the past 35 years, London has seen a temperature of 86F (30C) or more at least once in the first three weeks of the holidays.

Even last year, the top temperature recorded in the capital for the period was 84F (29C). But this year, the country has seen 43 per cent of its usual August rainfall inside the first ten days of the month. It follows the wettest July since 2012. Forecasters say rain will return today with storms later in the week.


Trump To Repeal Obama Executive Order On Sea Level Rise

President Donald Trump will rescind an Obama administration policy requiring government agencies to take into account global warming-induced flooding and sea level rise for federally-funded projects.

Trump will repeat the climate order that President Barack Obama signed in 2015 as part of a broader effort to streamline infrastructure permitting. Administration officials said the current process is long and cumbersome.

“For far too long, critical projects have been delayed by duplicative permitting and environmental requirements which added time and unnecessary expenses to much needed projects,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg.

Trump wants to push a $200 billion infrastructure spending bill through Congress this fall, which he hopes will mobilize $800 billion in state and private funding. A cumbersome permitting process could hold up infrastructure projects.

Furthermore, Obama’s executive order to “improve the resilience of communities and federal assets against the impacts of flooding” could increase the upfront costs or even eliminate projects in the pipeline.

Obama wrote sea level rise and flooding are “anticipated to increase over time due to the effects of climate change and other threats.”

Obama’s order required federally-funded projects to be two feet above the 100-year floodplain. Hospitals and other critical buildings must be three feet above the historic floodplain.

The Obama administration also issued a rule requiring federally-financed single family homes must be built two feet above the 100-year floodplain. The National Association of Home Builders worried this rule could increase construction costs and make it harder to build low-income affordable housing.

Environmentalists were critical of Trump’s plan to rollback the 2015 order, as was the right-leaning R Street Institute.

“Taxpayers have been made to shell out hundreds of billions of dollars in disaster-related spending over the past decade, including more than $136 billion for just the two years from 2011 to 2013,” senior fellow R.J. Lehmann said in a statement.

“By contrast, evidence shows that every $1 spent on disaster mitigation can save $4 in post-disaster recovery and rebuilding costs,” Lehmann said.




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, 2017

Trump: Nukes Are the Greatest Threat to the World, Not Climate Change

Crazy that this had to be said

President Donald Trump said Thursday that contrary to what former President Barack Obama has said, “nuclear” is the greatest threat to the world, not global warming.

When asked what his priorities are as it applies to the nuclear posture, the president said he would like to “de-nuke the world.”

“I would like to de-nuke the world. I know that President Obama said global warming is the biggest threat. I totally disagree. I say that it's a simple one: Nuclear is our greatest threat worldwide. Not even a question, not even close,” Trump told reporters in Bedminster, N.J.

As previously reported, in 2015, Obama said “there’s no greater threat” than climate change and that it “poses immediate risks to our national security.”

Trump said he wants countries that have nuclear weapons to “get rid of them,” but until then, he wants the U.S. to be “the most powerful nuclear nation on Earth.” He said that’s the first order he gave to his generals.

“So I'd like to de-nuke the world. I would like Russia and the United States and China and Pakistan, and many other countries that have nuclear weapons, get rid of them, but until such time as they do, we will be the most powerful nuclear nation on Earth by far,” he said.

“The first order I gave to my generals, as you know -- you know, Mike -- my first order was:  I want this, our nuclear arsenal, to be the biggest and the finest in the world, and we spent a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of effort, and it's in tip-top shape, and getting better and getting stronger,” Trump said. 

“And until such time as this scourge disappears, we will be so much better and so much stronger than anybody else, and nobody, including North Korea, is going to be threatening us with anything,” the president said.

When asked what he has changed in the nuclear arsenal, the president said, “We've done a lot of modernization, but we've done a lot of renovation, and we have it now in very, very good shape, and it will be in much better shape over the next six months to a year.”

Trump added, “My first order was, we have to do the military, but before we do the military per se, we're going to do the nuclear, and we are in very strong shape. We are going to be increasing our budget by many billions of dollars because of North Korea and other reasons having to do with the anti-missile. 

“So we are going to be increasing our budget by many billions of dollars. We'll probably be able to report that over the next week. As you know, we reduced it by 5 percent, but I've decided I don’t want that. We're going to be increasing the anti-missiles by a substantial amount of billions of dollars,” he said.


N.C. State researchers say solar lobby silencing them

Ron Heiniger just wanted to be a farmer. He encouraged research to avoid solar industry encroachment on North Carolina’s prime farmlands.

But because of his academic study, the respected crop and soil scientist has become an unwilling poster child for anti-solar activists, vilified by the solar lobby, and chastened by his employer, N.C. State University.

“I’ve been called crazy. I’ve been threatened. My job’s been threatened. I really don’t want to advertise my issue very much anymore,” said Heiniger, who works at the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center in Plymouth.

Left unchecked, Heiniger says, replacing prime farmland with utility-scale solar projects could destabilize a fragile agricultural ecosystem. He warns about soil erosion, leaching contaminants, and ruining soil for future crop growth.

Heiniger and Herb Eckerlin, an N.C. State professor emeritus of the College of Engineering, said they were silenced by the university. Cooperative Extension agents across the state were ordered to cancel popular public forums they had arranged independently to discuss pros and cons of the state’s rapid solar growth.

State lawmakers have jumped in, asking university officials if they have stifled viewpoints that don’t align with those of the solar lobby.

Local officials, higher education watchdogs, and grass-roots observers question whether N.C. State’s North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center is a tax-supported lobbying arm of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association disguised as an academic pursuit.

Heiniger and Eckerlin had been working with county and municipal governments to understand the complexities of proposed large commercial solar projects. They were encouraged to launch a speaking tour for farmers and other interested parties at county Cooperative Extension offices.

“I vetted my materials through people in my department, and I’ve shared my slides to everybody who’s asked for them,” Heiniger said. “In the university I’ve had nobody argue against what my concerns are. In fact, I’ve had very many people in academics agree 100 percent.”

Neither Heiniger nor Eckerlin, who designed the Solar House at N.C. State, founded its Solar Center, and was instrumental in creating the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, oppose solar energy. They said they were interested in full disclosure about pros and cons so that government officials and North Carolina residents could make informed decisions about the renewable industry.

They were joined by Tommy Cleveland, renewable energy project coordinator at the Clean Energy Technology Center, on a panel at Fayetteville.

While Heiniger was driving to the event, Tom Melton, Cooperative Extension deputy director, called him and directed him to discontinue the series of scheduled forums. It was too late to cancel the Fayetteville session, but Melton eventually kept Cleveland on the panel, while replacing Heiniger and Eckerlin at future events.

The university and College of Engineering said Eckerlin was putting them in a bad light, according to Melton. To protect the university’s reputation and educational mission, Melton told county Cooperative Extension offices not to allow Eckerlin or Heiniger on their programs.

“It’s been a bit of a painful process for me,” Melton said. “I’ve been doing this job for over 30 years, and I’ve never asked for anyone not to be on a program.”

State Reps. Billy Richardson, D-Cumberland, and Jimmy Dixon, R-Duplin, asked university officials to account for the removal of Heiniger and Eckerlin. “I’ve only heard one side, and even Solomon listened to both women. But I would be concerned if there was anything untoward about asking them to stand down,” Dixon said.

Richardson attended the Fayetteville event. He called it “without a doubt one of the most enlightening, refreshing, and important seminars I ever went to. I would encourage them, if there’s some reason they politically pulled that back, to not do that. … The university’s mission should never be to present one side.”

Melton said forbidding Heiniger and Eckerlin from taking part in the panel forums resulted largely from complaints by Cooperative Extension agents. Eckerlin said agents were eager to work with them to arrange the meetings.

Other complaints were registered by representatives of the solar industry, and the Clean Energy Technology Center, Melton said.

“The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association contacted the deans of the College of Agriculture, and told them to shut me down, to stop me from talking to anybody,” Heiniger said. “I’m upset that they’re using what should be the freedom of academics to push back against me.”

“I don’t want to embarrass Melton, and I don’t want to embarrass the university. But Melton [is] not representing the people of the state. He’s representing the solar industry,” Eckerlin said.


Green Delusions and the Wind Bully

Green ideology is a collection of beliefs and superstitions that have been elevated into a religious cult.  The green cult is rife with contradictions and dogma.  For example, people in Wisconsin must eat fresh natural food, grown locally...and Wisconsin farmers are still working on the problem of growing lettuce in the snow.

The electric power grid is an essential of modern life.  Take it away, and the consequence would be mass extinction.  The greens are eager to tamper with the grid.  They want to substitute "clean" wind and solar electricity for the "dirty" nuclear, coal, and natural gas electricity.

The word "clean," like the word "green," has a new meaning.  Now "clean" means politically correct.  Something is clean if it conforms to green dogma.

The Panera Bread fast food chain tells us that its food is now "clean."  It means that its food is politically correct, not containing a long list of taboo ingredients.  The greens have their own dietary laws.  Read the magazine Clean Eating for details.

Renewable is another word that has been twisted to conform to green dogma.  Renewable electricity, according to the dictionary, is a source of electricity that is naturally replenished.  The state of California has a definition of renewable electricity that is more complicated.  California collects a variety of green dogmas under the umbrella "renewable." 

Fossil fuels are taboo.  Hydro electricity is naturally replenished by the rain, but to California, it is renewable only if it does not interfere with kayaking and fish.  California loves wind and sunlight for generating electricity.  Among greens, anti-nuke hysteria trumps global warming hysteria, so carbon-free nuclear electricity is not renewable.  A 112-page RPS Eligibility Guidebook, Ninth Edition Revised, details the California definition of renewable electricity.

As George Orwell often pointed out, changing the meaning of words is a method of controlling and limiting the ability to think.

California has passed a law that 50% of its electricity is to be renewable by 2030.  Taken seriously, that would be technically impossible.  But California has a method of turning non-renewable electricity into renewable electricity by legal fiat.  Instead of importing electricity, "Renewable Energy Certificates" can be imported from someone generating and selling renewable electricity outside California.  The abstract "renewable attribute" comes with the certificate and can be used to legally turn non-renewable electricity into renewable electricity.  It's modern alchemy. 

The wind farmers selling these certificates to California utilities are supposed to sell the renewable attribute only one time.  But there is an incentive to counterfeit certificates.  Renewable electricity auditors police that.  Both the seller and the buyer of the certificate have an incentive to cheat.  The seller is selling a piece of paper that costs him nothing.  The buyer needs the paper just to satisfy a government agency.

The owner of a wind farm in Colorado can sell the electricity to consumers in Colorado and separately sell Renewable Energy Certificates to utilities in California.  The wind farm owner also collects a federal subsidy of 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity sold.

The claim is often made that wind electricity is cheaper than fossil fuel electricity, a claim that can be easily disproven.  Wind electricity is about three times as expensive as electricity produced by the best fossil fuel plants.  A combined cycle natural gas plant can generate power at a cost of 3 cents per kilowatt-hour.  From real U.S. wind farms, wind electricity costs about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Wind electricity is the most important form of renewable electricity.  Other forms of renewable electricity, such as solar, are even more impractical than wind.  Adding wind power to the U.S. grids makes no economic sense.  It just increases the cost of electricity and gains nothing unless you believe that limiting CO2 added to the atmosphere will prevent catastrophic global warming.

Increasing the CO2 in the atmosphere is highly beneficial for plants and agriculture.  Plants grow better with less water if there is more CO2.  Even if you believe in global warming, cutting back on U.S. emissions of CO2 is a waste of time because the heart of increasing CO2 emissions is in China.

In the conventional electric grid, the manager of the grid instructs the generating plants when to generate electricity and how much to generate.  Wind works the opposite way.  When the wind is blowing, the grid is expected to accept whatever wind power is available and adjust the other generators to balance supply and demand.  Wind is a bully that pushes the other generators around to suit its needs.  Wind generators have this power because many states have requirements, like California, that a certain percentage of the power be renewable by certain dates.  The politicians enable the wind bully.  Green propaganda and the wind turbine manufacturers drive the politicians.

According to Disraeli and Mark Twain, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.  A forth type of lie, green lies, should be added.  The best liar is someone who believes his own lies, and that makes green lies particularly believable.  Goebbels noted that if you keep repeating a big lie enough, people will come to believe it.

An important green big lie is the claim that global warming is affecting the current climate and is responsible for extreme weather events.  According to the best measurements, global warming has been absent for 18 years.  The scientific link between global warming and extreme weather is not just weak, but negative.  Logically, one would expect global warming to make the weather less extreme, because global warming decreases the temperature difference between the poles and the equator that drives weather.

Do not think that the green cult is populated only by hippies with ponytails, driving Volvos and composting garbage in their backyards.  Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York and the 10th richest man in the world is a card-carrying member.  The card is a Sierra Club membership card.  Bloomberg and the former president of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope, wrote a recent book, Climate of Hope.  The book is a demonstration that you can write any ignorant drivel and be taken seriously if you are important and pretend that the drivel is science.

The green cult, especially the global warming branch, is like Lysenkoism in the former Soviet Union.  It is an official scientific ideology that scientists are expected to support.  The scientists who refuse to support it – there are many – suffer the consequences.  Most scientific dissenters keep quiet.  They have families to support.  Thankfully, there are signs that the official support is starting to crumble.


The totalitarianism of the environmentalists

Late last year, I gave a talk about human progress to an audience of college students in Ottawa, Canada. I went through the usual multitude of indicators – rising life expectancy, literacy and per capita incomes; declining infant mortality, malnutrition and cancer death rates – to show that the world was becoming a much better place for an ever growing share of its population.

It seemed to me that the audience was genuinely delighted to hear some good news for a change. I had won them over to the cause of rational optimism. And then someone in the audience asked about climate change and I blew it.

While acknowledging that the available data suggests a “lukewarming” trend in global temperatures, I cautioned against excessive alarmism. Available resources, I said, should be spent on adaptation to climate change, not on preventing changes in global temperature – a task that I, along with many others, consider to be both ruinously expensive and, largely, futile. The audience was at first shocked – I reckon they considered me a rational and data-savvy academic up to that point – and then became angry and, during a breakout session, hostile. I even noticed one of the students scratching out five, the highest mark a speaker could get on an evaluation form, and replacing it with one. I suppose I should be glad he did not mark me down to zero.

My Ottawa audience was in no way exceptional. Very often, when speaking to audiences in Europe and North America about the improving state of the world, people acknowledge the positive trends, but worry that, as Matt Ridley puts it, “this happy interlude [in human history will come] to a terrible end.” Of course, apocalyptic writings are as old as humanity itself. The Bible, for example, contains the story of the Great Flood, in which God “destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air”.

The Akkadian poem of Gilgamesh similarly contains a myth of angry gods flooding the Earth, while an apocalyptic deluge plays a prominent part in the Hindu Dharmasastra. And then there is Al Gore. In his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth, Gore warns that “if Greenland broke up and melted, or if half of Greenland and half of West Antarctica broke up and melted, this is what would happen to the sea level in Florida”, before an animation shows much of the state underwater. Gore also shows animations of San Francisco, Holland, Beijing, Shanghai, Calcutta and Manhattan drowning. “But this is what would happen to Manhattan, they can measure this precisely,” Gore says as he shows much of the city underwater.

It is possible, I suppose, that our eschatological obsessions are innate. The latest research suggests that our species, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, is 300,000 years old. For most of our existence, life was, to quote Thomas Hobbes, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Our life expectancy was between 25 years and 30 years, and our incomes were stuck at a subsistence level for millennia. Conversely, our experience with relative abundance is, at most, two centuries old. That amounts to 0.07 per cent of our time on Earth. Is there any wonder that we are prone to be pessimistic?

That said, I wonder how many global warming enthusiasts have thought through the full implications of their (in my view overblown) fears of a looming apocalypse. If it is true that global warming threatens the very survival of life on Earth, then all other considerations must, by necessity, be secondary to preventing global warming from happening.

That includes, first and foremost, the reproductive rights of women. Some global warming fearmongers have been good enough to acknowledge as much. Bill Nye, a progressive TV personality, wondered if we should “have policies that penalise people for having extra kids.”

Then there is travel and nutrition. Is it really so difficult to imagine a future in which each of us is issued with a carbon credit at the start of each year, limiting what kind of food we eat (locally grown potatoes will be fine, but Alaskan salmon will be verboten) and how far we can travel (visiting our in-laws in Ohio once a year will be permitted, but not Paris). In fact, it is almost impossible to imagine a single aspect of human existence that would be free from government interference – all in the name of saving the environment.

These ideas might sound nutty, but they are slowly gaining ground. Just last week, a study came out estimating the environmental benefits of “having one fewer child (an average for developed countries of 58.6?tonnes CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) emission reductions per year), living car-free (2.4 tCO2e saved per year), avoiding air travel (1.6 tCO2e saved per roundtrip transatlantic flight) and eating a plant-based diet (0.8 tCO2e saved per year).”

And then there is Travis N. Rieder, a research scholar at Johns Hopkins’ Berman Institute of Bioethics, who says that “maybe we should protect our kids by not having them.” He wants tax penalties to punish new parents in rich countries. The proposed tax penalty would become harsher with each additional child.

And that brings me to my final point. Since the fall of communism, global warming has been, without question, the most potent weapon in the hands of those who wish to control the behaviour of their fellow human beings. Lukewarmists like me do not caution against visions of an environmental apocalypse out of some perverse hatred of nature. On the contrary, concern for the environment is laudable and, I happen to believe, nearly universal. But, environmentalism, like all –isms, can become totalitarian. It is for that reason that, when it comes to our environmental policies, we ought to tread very carefully.


Rising British energy bills: the price of green obsessions

It’s government policy, not big business, that’s hiking up energy prices.

Last week, British Gas announced that it was bumping up its electricity prices by 12.5 per cent. Cue outrage from all quarters about the energy industry’s profiteering. At the weekend, the government announced an independent review of energy prices, led by Professor Dieter Helm. But in truth, the best thing the government could do to lower energy prices would be to scrap some of its own wrongheaded policies.

The complaints that energy suppliers are ripping off customers are actually out of kilter with the actual scale of the price rise and the available options to avoid it. British Gas has left its gas prices on hold, so the overall effect of the rise on the average dual-fuel bill will be about 7.3 per cent. To put that into perspective, the rise amounts to about £1.50 per week – another minor source of stress for cash-strapped households, but hardly devastating for most people. Moreover, there are plenty of other suppliers out there in the market. With a bit of initiative, British Gas customers on the standard tariff could save themselves far more than the price rise by switching suppliers. In fact, even just switching to a different British Gas tariff could allow customers to save money.

Nonetheless, the Conservative manifesto for June’s General Election promised ‘a safeguard tariff cap’ for customers on the ‘poorest-value tariffs’. Now, given that the Tories’ effective majority, thanks only to a deal with the DUP, is tiny, tricksy policies like price caps have been quietly dropped, for now. But Helm has previously argued for intervention on energy prices, so some form of government action seems likely to be his recommendation, even if it’s not a price cap.

And yet, profiteering really isn’t the problem here. The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) website provides breakdowns of suppliers’ costs and overall pre-tax profit. According to the latest figures, for supplying gas, the big energy suppliers have done well of late, making a return of 10 per cent before tax. On electricity, however, the companies have actually been losing money – 1.72 per cent before tax. Looking at dual-fuel bills, combining both gas and electricity, the companies have a pre-tax profit margin of 4.26 per cent. That’s higher than in some industries, like supermarkets, where profit margins have fallen to close to three per cent, but it’s peanuts compared with the profit margins of tech companies like Apple, Microsoft or Google, which are more like 26 per cent.

Another figure in those Ofgem tables is more instructive: on dual-fuel bills the cost of ‘environmental and social obligation costs’ is 8.18 per cent – basically double the profit margin. There is also value-added tax (VAT), which comes out at 4.76 per cent in these figures. These costs are imposed by the government – they’re not due to the world price of energy, distribution costs or general company costs. And these are costs the government has it within its power to do something about.

For now, EU rules mean that VAT must be charged, and that could change after Brexit. But those environmental costs could be slashed. It’s one thing to give low-carbon energy sources a helping hand to establish themselves. But why are we continuing to subsidise wind and solar power? Why are we penalising fossil-fuel energy sources? If renewables are rapidly becoming cheaper and more efficient, as green-energy proponents claim, surely they can now compete? Apparently not.

If we don’t do something quickly, things are going to get even worse. As I noted back in March, the Committee on Climate Change – the government’s climate-policy watchdog – says green policies already add an average of £105 to dual-fuel bills. Meeting future targets will pretty much double that cost by 2030. Moreover, rising energy prices affect the cost of everything else we buy. So we’re paying more across the board for those green policies.

Ah, but we have to pay the price to save the planet, right? Well, firstly, the reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions achieved will be trivial on a global scale. The UK currently produces just 1.1 per cent of global emissions. Even assuming that the estimates of temperature rises due to greenhouse gases are correct (and that’s a big ‘if’), at best the effect of UK green-energy policies would be tiny. And secondly, there are more cost-effective ways of achieving those reductions. Switching from coal to gas is pretty cheap, for example, and it’s worth noting that the Conservative manifesto was upbeat about the potential for exploiting shale-gas resources in the UK. Dropping huge subsidies on wind, solar and – in the case of the enormous white elephant that is Hinkley Point C – nuclear, is not remotely sensible.

Apparently, the government would rather scapegoat big energy companies than actually bring prices down.




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, 2017

Scientists uncover Earth's largest volcanic region two kilometres below Antarctic ice sheet

Well, well, well!  For some years now Warmists have been agonizing about bits of melting in West Antarctica.  And equally routinely, I have pointed out that there is evidence of vulcanism in West Antarctica so the melting was most probably the work of volcanoes rather than of Anthropogenic global warming.  So I now stand amply vindicated.  There are not only some volcanoes underneath the ice there, there are BIG ones there.  It is actually Earth's largest volcanic region

Their explanation for the vulcanism is rather pathetic, though.  They appear not to know that the earth is not spherical.  It is flattened at the poles.  So the earth's molten core is closest to the surface at the  poles.  So magma is more apt to break through there.  Which is why there is also huge subsurface volcanic activity in the region of the North pole -- particularly along the Gakkel ridge

A team of scientists unearthed a volcanic region previously hidden under ice sheets, with the geologist who led the team warning of destabilising consequences.

Edinburgh University researchers uncovered almost 100 volcanoes – with the highest almost as tall as Switzerland's 3,970-metre Eiger.

Geologists think the region, which sits two kilometres below ice in west Antarctica, will dwarf east Africa’s volcanic ridge, which is rated as the world's densest concentration of volcanoes.

Glacier expert Robert Bingham, who helped author the paper, warned The Guardian the range could have worrying consequences. 'If one of these volcanoes were to erupt it could further destabilise west Antarctica’s ice sheets. 'Anything that causes the melting of ice – which an eruption certainly would – is likely to speed up the flow of ice into the sea.

'The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible.'

The Edinburgh volcano survey, featured in the Geological Society’s special publications series, examined the underside of the ice sheet for hidden peaks of basalt rock similar to those produced by the region’s other volcanoes.

Over the past century, explorers have reported sightings of their tips, which reach above the ice.

The survey team's youngest member, Max Van Wyk de Vries, is a volcano fanatic who wouldn't stop wondering how many tips lie below the ice.

An undergraduate at the university's school of geosciences, he set up the project with Dr Bingham.

They used ice-penetrating radar carried by planes and land vehicles to analyse measurements made by previous surveys and survey strips of west Antarctic ice.

Dr Bingham explained the results were compared with satellite and database records and geological information from aerial surveys.

'Essentially, we were looking for evidence of volcanic cones sticking up into the ice.'

After collating the results, the team reported 91 previously unknown volcanoes, adding to 47 others discovered over the previous century by explorers.

These newly discovered volcanoes range from 100 to 3,850 metres high. All are covered in ice, sometimes in layers that are more than 4km thick.

Dr Bingham was shocked to find the active peaks concentrated in the west Antarctic rift system, which stretches 3,500km from Antarctica’s Ross ice shelf to the Antarctic peninsula.

'We were amazed. We had not expected to find anything like that number. 'We have almost trebled the number of volcanoes known to exist in west Antarctica.

'We also suspect there are even more on the bed of the sea that lies under the Ross ice shelf, so that I think it is very likely this region will turn out to be the densest region of volcanoes in the world, greater even than east Africa, where mounts Nyiragongo, Kilimanjaro, Longonot and all the other active volcanoes are concentrated.'

The volcanic activity could have crucial implications for Earth. If one erupts, it could further destabilise ice sheets in the region, where global warming has already had an impact.

Dr Bingham's fear is that the Antarctic ocean's meltwater outflows will cause sea levels to rise.

'We just don’t know about how active these volcanoes have been in the past.

'The most volcanism that is going in the world at present is in regions that have only recently lost their glacier covering – after the end of the last ice age. These places include Iceland and Alaska.

'Theory suggests that this is occurring because, without ice sheets on top of them, there is a release of pressure on the regions’ volcanoes and they become more active.'

Significant warming caused by climate change in west Antarctica has already affected its ice sheets.

If they reduce significantly, this could release pressure on volcanoes lying below.

This would lead to eruptions that could further destabilise ice sheets and enhance sea level rises, something Dr Bingham is keen to monitor. 'It is something we will have to watch closely.'


Life in fossil-fuel-free utopia

Life without oil, natural gas and coal would most likely be nasty, brutish and short

Paul Driessen

Al Gore’s new movie, a New York Times article on the final Obama Era “manmade climate disaster” report, and a piece saying wrathful people twelve years from now will hang hundreds of “climate deniers” are a tiny sample of Climate Hysteria and Anti-Trump Resistance rising to a crescendo. If we don’t end our evil fossil-fuel-burning lifestyles and go 100% renewable Right Now, we are doomed, they rail.

Maybe it’s our educational system, our cargo cult’s easy access to food and technology far from farms, mines and factories, or the end-of-days propaganda constantly pounded into our heads. Whatever the reason, far too many people have a pitiful grasp of reality: natural climate fluctuations throughout Earth history; the intricate, often fragile sources of things we take for granted; and what life would really be like in the utopian fossil-fuel-free future they dream of. Let’s take a short journey into that idyllic realm.

Suppose we generate just the 25 billion megawatt-hours of today’s total global electricity consumption using wind turbines. (That’s not total energy consumption, and it doesn’t include what we’d need to charge a billion electric vehicles.) We’d need more than 830 million gigantic 3-megawatt turbines!

Spacing them at just 15 acres per turbine would require 12.5 billion acres! That’s twice the land area of North America! All those whirling blades would virtually exterminate raptors, other birds and bats. Rodent and insect populations would soar. Add in transmission lines, solar panels and biofuel plantations to meet the rest of the world’s energy demands – and the mostly illegal tree cutting for firewood to heat poor families’ homes – and huge swaths of our remaining forest and grassland habitats would disappear.

The renewable future assumes these “eco-friendly alternatives” would provide reliable, affordable energy 24/7/365, even during windless, sunless weeks and cold, dry growing seasons. They never will, of course. That means we will have electricity and fuels when nature cooperates, instead of when we need it.

With backup power plants gone, constantly on-and-off electricity will make it impossible to operate assembly lines, use the internet, do an MRI or surgery, enjoy favorite TV shows or even cook dinner. Refrigerators and freezers would conk out for hours or days at a time. Medicines and foods would spoil.

Petrochemical feed stocks would be gone – so we wouldn’t have paints, plastics, synthetic fibers or pharmaceuticals, except what can be obtained at great expense from weather-dependent biodiesel. Kiss your cotton-polyester-lycra leggings and yoga pants good-bye.

But of course all that is really not likely to happen. It would actually be far worse.

First of all, there wouldn’t even be any wind turbines or solar panels. Without fossil fuels – or far more nuclear and hydroelectric plants, which rabid environmentalists also despise – we couldn’t mine the needed ores, process and smelt them, build and operate foundries, factories, refineries or cement kilns, manufacture and assemble turbines and panels. We couldn’t even make machinery to put in factories.

Wind turbines, solar panels and solar thermal installations cannot produce consistently high enough heat to smelt ores and forge metals. They cannot generate power on a reliable enough basis to operate facilities that make modern technologies possible. They cannot provide the power required to manufacture turbines, panels, batteries or transmission lines – much less power civilization.

My grandmother used to tell me, “The only good thing about the good old days is that they’re gone.” Well, they’d be back, as the USA is de-carbonized, de-industrialized and de-developed.

Ponder America and Europe before coal fueled the modern industrial age. Recall what were we able to do back then, what lives were like, how long people lived. Visit Colonial Williamsburg and Claude Moore Colonial Farm in Virginia, or similar places in your state. Explore rural Africa and India.

Imagine living that way, every day: pulling water from wells, working the fields with your hoe and ox-pulled plow, spinning cotton thread and weaving on looms, relying on whatever metal tools your local blacksmith shop can produce. When the sun goes down, your lives will largely shut down.

Think back to amazing construction projects of ancient Egypt, Greece or Rome – or even 18th Century London, Paris, New York. Ponder how they were built, how many people it took, how they obtained and moved the raw materials. Imagine being part of those wondrous enterprises, from sunup to sundown.

The good news is that there will be millions of new jobs. The bad news is that they’d involve mostly backbreaking labor with picks and shovels, for a buck an hour. Low-skill, low-productivity jobs just don’t pay all that well. Maybe to create even more jobs, the government will issue spoons, instead of shovels.

That will be your life, not reading, watching TV and YouTube or playing video games. Heck, there won’t even be any televisions or cell phones. Drugs and alcohol will be much harder to come by, too. (No more opioids crisis.) Water wheels and wind mills will be back in fashion. All-natural power, not all the time.

More good news: Polluting, gas-guzzling, climate-changing cars and light trucks will be a thing of the past. Instead, you’ll have horses, oxen, donkeys, buggies and wagons again … grow millions of acres of hay to feed them – and have to dispose of millions or billions of tons of manure and urine every year.

There’ll be no paved streets – unless armies of low-skill workers pound rocks into gravel, mine and grind limestone, shale, bauxite and sand for cement, and make charcoal for lime kilns. Homes will revert to what can be built with pre-industrial technologies, with no central heat and definitely no AC.

Ah, but you folks promoting the idyllic renewable energy future will still be the ruling elites. You’ll get to live better than the rest of us, enjoy lives of reading and leisure, telling us commoners how we must live. Don’t bet on it. Don’t even bet on having the stamina to read after a long day with your shovel or spoon.

As society and especially big urban areas collapse into chaos, it will be survival of the fittest. And that group likely won’t include too many Handgun Control and Gun Free Zone devotees.

But at least your climate will be stable and serene – or so you suppose. You won’t have any more extreme weather events. Sea levels will stay right where they are today: 400 feet higher than when a warming planet melted the last mile-thick glaciers that covered half the Northern Hemisphere 12,000 years ago.

At least it will be stable and serene until those solar, cosmic ray, ocean currents and other pesky, powerful natural forces decide to mess around with Planet Earth again.

Of course, many countries won’t be as stupid as the self-righteous utopian nations. They will still use fossil fuels, plus nuclear and hydroelectric, and watch while you roll backward toward the “good old days.” Those that don’t swoop in to conquer and plunder may even send us food, clothing and monetary aid (most of which will end up with ruling elites and their families, friends, cronies and private armies).

So how about this as a better option?

Stop obsessing over “dangerous manmade climate change.” Focus on what really threatens our planet and its people: North Korea, Iran, Islamist terrorism – and rampant poverty, disease, malnutrition and early death among the billions who still do not have access to electricity and the living standards it brings.

Worry less about manmade climate cataclysms – and more about cataclysms caused by policies promoted in the name of controlling Earth’s climate.

Don’t force-feed us with today’s substandard, subsidized, pseudo-sustainable, pseudo-renewable energy systems. When better, more efficient, more practical energy technologies are developed, they will replace fossil fuels. Until then, we would be crazy to go down the primrose path to renewable energy utopia.

Via email

An Inconvenient Split?

In many ways, the climate debate has hardly changed since I got interested in it about ten years ago. Public opinion wobbles up and down with hardly any real change. The same tired arguments and claims come round again: every climate conference is the last chance to save the planet; the Arctic ice is always about to vanish in one or two years, or ten years; climate scientists continue to be accused of selecting data sets to create hockeysticks and manipulating data; and teams of climate scientists keep producing reports saying almost exactly the same thing as the previous reports, which then get misrepresented and hyped by the media.

So when something does appear to change it’s worth taking note of. I have a feeling that a split may be developing on the ‘warmist’ side, between what we might call the ‘extremists’ and the ‘moderates’. Here are three recent examples of this.


Some social scientists believe that telling people that there’s a consensus on climate change acts as a ‘gateway belief‘ leading to public action, even though their own data does not really support this claim.  Others have questioned this, saying that consensus messaging is an unhelpful distraction, see Geoff’s recent post and also this paper that says that other factors such as scientific integrity are more important.

Uninhabitable Earth?

One of the most ridiculous recent alarmist articles was The Uninhabitable Earth, by a journalist for New Yorker magazine, full of doom, terror, alarm, starvation and plagues. Because of this, it got a lot of attention, which presumably was the intention, and it even has its own wikipedia page. While David Roberts at Vox said that trying to scare people in this way was fine, many mainstream climate scientists criticised the article. A team at Climate Feedback (usually used to attack sceptical articles in the media) said that its scientific credibility was low and it exaggerated the risks. New Scientist said that such doomsday scenarios were unlikely to happen, and even Michael Mann thought that the article overstated the evidence.

New Gory film

Al Gore has a new film out, called “An Inconvenient Sequel”. He’s currently in the UK promoting it, which started the recent Lawson kerfuffle.  Apparently his film has been an inconvenient flop at the box office.  It’s no surprise that Bjorn Lomborg in the Wall Street Journal says that the film misses a few inconvenient facts. But what is more inconvenient for Mr Gore is that the Guardian doesn’t like it either, describing it as “desultory and surprisingly vainglorious” and awarding it only two stars. Apparently it is “more a portrait of Gore than a call to arms”.

The left-leaning New Republic writes of The Troubling Return of Al Gore, saying “But not everyone on the left is celebrating Gore’s reemergence—and for reasons that sometimes contradict each other. Some worry he’s too polarizing a figure, and therefore could paralyze progress on climate change.” They also have a paragraph supporting the main hypothesis of this post: “This skepticism about Gore reveals a lot about the climate movement, which has fractured significantly since An Inconvenient Truth. Whereas a decade ago there was a relatively united focus on spreading awareness about climate change, today there is no clear consensus on how to fight it.”

Psychologist and climate activist Adam Corner isn’t impressed either, saying that Al Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel could just make climate rift worse. He says the film preaches to the converted and focuses too much on Gore himself, asking “wouldn’t a smarter choice, in terms of reaching beyond the usual suspects, have been for Gore to remove himself from the picture, dial down the Republican-baiting, and instead provide a platform for new, less politically divisive voices?” And here’s another review from a believer, describing the film as “just middling”.

It’s quite hard to find a positive review of the film. The Boston Globe is reasonably positive, saying that it has a number of memorable moments, but only gives it three stars.


Exactly how much warming can be attributed to human emissions? And exactly how much to known natural causes such as solar activity, ocean currents, etc.?

And how much warming is there, anyway, really?

Gernot Patzel, an Austrian scientist of considerable standing, answers that last question in these words: “Over the past 10,000 years it has been warmer than it is today 65 percent of the time.”

There are other scientists who quibble with the statement. But that just goes to show that the issue of climate change is far from being the “settled science” proclaimed ex cathedra from the presidential podium of Barack Obama, the pages of the New York Times and other thrones of progressivism.

Despite fire ‘n’ brimstone hectoring from liberal pulpits, even the most basic tenets of the climate-change issue continue to be topics of contention. Even the simple question: What’s the temperature, globally speaking?

A recent paper by three scientists — James P. Wallace 3d, Joseph S. D’Aleo and Craig D. Idso — cast doubt on the official temperature assessments of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies.

The paper concluded that “historical data adjustments” removing “cyclical temperature patterns” have produced readings “totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data.” (Seven other scientists associated with leading research universities endorsed the paper’s conclusion.)

Yes, other scientists vocally contest the paper’s thesis. But this, again, only supports the point that climate change is not the “settled science” that liberal choirs keep singing hosannas to.

Here’s another basic question climate alarmism hopes to avoid by creating noisy distractions: What about China and India? China’s now No.1 in global-warming emissions. And India’s fast moving up the ranks.

What are the chances they’ll be willing to rein in their carbon emissions — which is to say rein in their economies — in a King Canute-like gesture of commanding the planet to cool off?

Another dead giveaway that you’re in the realm of politics here, not science, is the use of lawyer-like verbal contortions, small-print qualifiers to hedge the sweeping claims of alarm.

The headlines herald disaster. But in the footnotes of its scary reports, the U.N.’s IPCC — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — adds weasel-words walking back its frightening claims.

The panel hedges its cataclysmic scenarios by couching them in terms of “confidence” levels, not actual knowledge. This is the IPCC’ s sneaky way of saying — and hoping you’ll not notice — “We actually don’t know for sure.”

After raising the spectre of soaring temperatures, melting polar caps and rising sea levels, the IPCC goes on to say — tucked away in reams of its own verbiage — that it can’t really quantify with any specificity how much of warming is attributable to nature verses how much to man.

Down below the scary, disaster-movie rhetoric, the IPCC goes on to observe — and the media to largely ignore — that even the most basic parameters of the issue are in some doubt. The IPCC’s scientists state, almost sotto voce, that “confidence in future climate projections remains low,” and the extent to which “regional climate variability will change also remains uncertain.”

Yes, it’s likely that human existence does indeed have some, maybe even significant, effect on climate. After all, even exhalation and flatulence are known to be greenhouse emissions.

Might it not be more sensible, then, to direct government grants away from hysteria-promoting, Chicken Little/Sky Is Falling “research”?

Might it not be smarter to redirect that money into potentially more useful areas? To add it to the ongoing research efforts seeking to improve the efficiency of existing energy? Or to the ongoing research efforts to develop new sources of clean energy?

Is there really a need for the government to go on pouring big sums into “studies” — actually, political manifestos mislabelled “Science” — that use their “findings” as propaganda to expand regulatory bureaucracy and revenue shakedowns?

What purpose do more and more tendentious academic treatises serve in warning us, over and over, that climate apocalypse looms just around the corner?

What purpose other than furnishing university sinecures for prophets of doom who parade around in sandwich boards proclaiming, “The end is nigh!”? What purpose besides affording other activists the opportunity to indulge themselves in self-righteous preening, in virtue-signaling?

A leading article of faith among the climate-change apocalyptics is that “renewable energy” — solar and wind — will be our savior against the Beelzebubs of oil, gas and coal.

You can get an idea how big a leap of faith this is from an Energy Information Agency statistic: Solar and wind now provide a piddling 1.6 percent of the planet’s total energy demands. (And this thanks largely to government fiat artificially driving up the price of gasoline and carbon-fueled electricity to make renewables marginally more competitive.)

Nonetheless, the federal government, and state governments, are rushing out monarch-style edicts decreeing that renewables in short order shall be major sources of energy.

King Canute at least recognized his own limitations.

He commanded the tides to recede not to show off his fanatastic powers but just the opposite — to show his subjects there are things even a king can’t accomplish. Little such humility is evident in high places these days.


The gods must be laughing—at Al Gore

By Tom Harris

Overlooked in the controversies about former Vice-President Al Gore’s global warming films, An Inconvenient Truth (2006) and An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017), is that truth is not possible in science. Scientific hypotheses, and even scientific theories, are not truth; they can be, and often are, wrong.

Truth applies to mathematics, chess, and other endeavors in which we write the rules. It never applies to our findings about nature, which are educated opinions based on scientists’ interpretations of observations. Philosophers since ancient times have recognized that observations always have some degree of uncertainty and so they cannot prove anything to be true. Not only are our methods of observing imperfect but, as human beings subject to many influences, we all have biases that affect how we interpret what we think we see.

At first, it was mostly activists and politicians who made claims to certainty about climate change. But increasingly, more scientists now use such language as well. A prime example is scientists who work with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has repeatedly claimed that some of their major conclusions are “unequivocal,” in other words, ideas that cannot be wrong.

For instance, the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report Synthesis Report starts, “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of…”

Although a supporter of the dangerous human-caused global warming hypothesis, Lehigh University philosophy professor Steven Goldman explained in a personal communication that the IPCC statement is faulty. It is “an attempt to persuade extra-logically,” said Goldman. “Strictly logically, no observations can lead to an ‘unequivocal’ interpretation.”

David Wojick, a Virginia-based Ph.D. in the logic and philosophy of science, disagrees with Goldman about climate change but agrees that the IPCC made a serious mistake in the Synthesis Report. “Reasoning from evidence is inductive logic,” said Wojick. “As for unequivocal, that is never the case in inductive logic.”

Yet, in speaking about the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Working Group I co-chair Dr. Thomas Stocker asserted that “warming in the climate system is unequivocal.” Canadian historical climatologist Dr. Tim Ball calls Stocker’s statement “nonsense.”

The promotion of absolute truths in science has impeded human progress for centuries. For example, when the Greco-Egyptian writer Claudius Ptolemy proposed his Earth-centered system, he did not say it was physical astronomy, a true description of how the universe actually worked. He promoted it as mathematical astronomy, a model that worked well for astrology, astronomical observations, and creating calendars.

It was the Catholic Church that, relying on a literal interpretation of the Bible, promoted the Ptolemaic system as truth to be questioned at one’s peril. This was why Nicolaus Copernicus, a Canon in the Church, waited until he was on his death bed before he allowed his revolutionary book showing the Sun to be the center of the universe to be published, even though the text was completed three decades previous. This is also why Galileo had so much trouble when he claimed that the Church was wrong and that Copernicanism was the truth, a position that Galileo could not really know either.

Later, the assumed, unquestionable truths of Isaac Newton’s laws eventually acted to slow the advancement of science until Albert Einstein showed that there were important exceptions to the laws. When authorities preach truth about science, progress stops.

Einstein once said, “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” It might be humorous to the gods, but when eco-activists like Gore succeed in suppressing debate about climate change, one of the most important issues of our age, we all lose.




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


14 August, 2017

Environmental Aspects of Oil and Gas Production

This is big news: A textbook that’s quite in line with the material presented in "Slaying the Sky Dragon", notably by co-authors professor Claes Johnson and Charles Anderson, PhD. Yet it will be ignored by most AGW “skeptics.” I wonder why that is?


Environmental Aspects of Oil and Gas Production

John O. Robertson, George V. Chilingar

Oil and gas still power the bulk of our world, from automobiles and the power plants that supply electricity to our homes and businesses, to jet fuel, plastics, and many other products that enrich our lives.  With the relatively recent development of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), multilateral, directional, and underbalanced drilling, and enhanced oil recovery, oil and gas production is more important and efficient than ever before.  Along with these advancements, as with any new engineering process or technology, come challenges, many of them environmental.


More than just a text that outlines the environmental challenges of oil and gas production that have always been there, such as gas migration and corrosion, this groundbreaking new volume takes on the most up-to-date processes and technologies involved in this field.  Filled with dozens of case studies and examples, the authors, two of the most well-known and respected petroleum engineers in the world, have outlined all of the major environmental aspects of oil and gas production and how to navigate them, achieving a more efficient, effective, and profitable operation.

This groundbreaking volume is a must-have for any petroleum engineer working in the field, and for students and faculty in petroleum engineering departments worldwide.


The increasingly corroborated atmospheric mass pressure (gravity) explanation for variances in planetary temperatures – which precludes a significant role for CO2 concentration changes – has now advanced from peer-reviewed scientific journals to university-level textbooks.

The “adiabatic theory” of the greenhouse effect (adiabatic: “the constant decline in temperature of an air parcel as it rises in the atmosphere due to pressure drop and gas expansion”) is capable of explaining the variances in temperatures on planets like Earth, Mars, and Venus using each planet’s atmospheric pressure gradient – and without reliance on the traditional greenhouse effect theory that assigns a governing role to CO2.

As a simplified example, Mars has an atmosphere made up of about 950,000 ppm (95%) CO2 compared to the Earth’s 400 ppm (0.04%), and yet Mars’ average surface temperature is about -75°C colder than Earth’s.  Venus also has an atmosphere with about 950,000 ppm (95%) CO2, but its surface is +447°C warmer than Earth’s.   In addition to each planet’s variable distance from the Sun, the difference in temperature for Mars, Venus, and Earth can be calculated by considering its atmospheric mass (pressure) gradient.  Mars’ atmosphere is 100 times thinner than Earth’s.  Venus’ atmosphere is 92 times heavier (pressurized) than Earth’s.  The CO2 concentration of each planet may therefore be insignificant in determining surface temperature relative to factors (a) distance from the Sun and (b) atmospheric density.

The determinative role of atmospheric pressure in planetary temperatures has previously been asserted by Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin (Russian Academy of Sciences) and other scientists introducing the “adiabatic theory of greenhouse effect”.


Rare insight from a distinguished Warmist:

 MacDonald's opinion about an inhibiting impact of funding, policy and politics on scientific innovation is reflected in this 2003 quote, ”In all science there is a strong 'herd instinct', and interactions occur largely within these herds. They may argue vigorously about details, but they maintain solidarity, or close ranks, when challenged by other herds or individuals. The herd instinct is strengthened greatly if those making funding decisions are members of that herd. Strays do not get funded, and their work, no matter how innovative, is neglected as the herd rumbles on. Herd members will change their views rapidly, however, if the herd leaders change direction. By contrast, if the innovators are not part of the herd it becomes very difficult, or impossible, for them to change the herd's direction.”



An inconvenient truth: Global temps were warmer when Al Gore won the 2007 Nobel Prize than today, even after the 2015/16 super El Nino.

Follow the Xs

Are you making it up? Al Gore skewered by BBC host for DOOMSDAY climate change claims

AL GORE was skewered by a BBC radio host for his doomsday rhetoric on climate change and the state of the planet.
Justin Webb put it to the environmentalist and former US vice president that he was “joining the dots” and making claims that were “going further” than scientists would.

Mr Gore has hit out at Donald Trump claiming the president has isolated himself over his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris agreement, a pact by 159 nations to deal with greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Mr Gore said looking at current weather conditions was enough to convince work needed to be done. The Nobel Peace Prize winner said: “Mother nature is the chief advocate for fighting the climate crisis right now.”

But Webb hit back and suggested the former vice president’s second film on tackling climate change, An Inconvenient Sequel, exaggerated facts.

He said: “But that’s the problem isn’t it, you make the case that they’re climate related. “If I said to you, it’s a cold day in London right now, so there’s no such thing as climate change, you’d say you’re a moron, it’s an idiotic thing to say.

“Yet in your film, you have repeated shots of storms and you, as you put it, join the dots and suggest that they have to be because of man-made climate change.

“You’re going a little bit further than all the scientists would.”

But Al Gore tried to defend his position and said there was "clear evidence". He said: “Oh no. Of course the Royal Academy of Science here in the United Kingdom and all of the academies of science throughout the world are virtually unanimous on this and have been for decades.

“You’ve had clear evidence here in the UK, just in the last couple of years, the all-time record downpours and the high temperatures and just this past week in southern Europe, the record high temperatures and fires.

“All of these things are consistent with what the scientific community has been saying for decades. “But again, mother nature is a more persuasive advocate.”

Mr Gore, who served under Bill Clinton, lashed out at Mr Trump claiming the US would continue to meet its obligations under the landmark Paris agreement despite the US President pulling out of the deal.

The 2000 presidential candidate, awarded for his work on climate change, said the only option was to “work around” Donald Trump.

Mr Trump controversially pulled the US out of the Paris climate change deal, signed in 2015 by 195 countries, in June.

Formally announcing the decision, he said: “We don't want other countries and other leaders laughing at us anymore. “This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States."


That good ol' "sustainable" power in South Australia

Their Greenie strategy goes from disaster to farce.  They now  plan to burn RIVERS of diesel fuel, which -- dare I mention it? -- is a FOSSIL fuel.  Pity they blew up those coal-fired generators, isn't it?

Generators the Weatherill government is buying to prevent blackouts this summer ahead of the March state election will use 80,000 litres of diesel an hour.

The fleet of generators, currently being shipped from Europe to South Australia, have been used for temporary generation around the world. But those behind the South Australian energy security project, costing taxpayers more than $300 million, yesterday could not say if the generators had ever been used as part of a permanent solution.

In a major revision to his $550m go-it-alone energy plan, Premier Jay Weatherill last week announced nine “state-of-the-art” gen­erators providing up to 276 megawatts would be purchased to provide back-up power for the next two summers.

Rather than build a state-owned gas-fired power station, the generators would be moved to one permanent site in 2019 to become a power plant and be switched to gas.

Yesterday, executives from the Premier’s Department and privately owned electricity distribution company SA Power Networks appeared before parlia­ment’s public works committee. The committee was told the nine hybrid turbines, to be installed at the Adelaide desalination plant in Lonsdale and the Holden site in Elizabeth, would involve “fuel costs in the vicinity of about 80,000 litres an hour for all nine turbines”.

Energy Plan Implementation executive director Sam Crafter said the protocols of when and how to turn the generators on were still being discussed by the Australian Energy Market Operator and SA Power Networks.

Mr Crafter said the objective of the generators was to prevent load shedding, rather than reducing the cost of power, over the next two summers. “This was not part of the plan targeted at affordability; it was around security and reliability ­elements of the plan,” he said.

“However, having a more reliable back-up plan does help with the ability for people to have confidence and contracting, and minimising the risk elements that they put into their contracts.”

Mr Crafter said while a permanent site was yet to be chosen, it would require a gas connection. “We weren’t able to get to a site with a gas connection and also connect to the transmission network by December 1, so that’s why we have landed on the two sites here,” he said.

Project sponsor Nick Smith said the ambitious project was a on a “tight timeline”. “It is a tight schedule ... there are a lot of things that need to be pulled together to make it happen by December 1,” he said.

Technical support manager Paul Godden said the generators were “intended for both temporary and permanent solutions”.

Liberal MP David Pisoni said it was “extraordinary that you are not able to tell this committee where this is being used permanently”. Mr Crafter said while the generators operated in 2000 sites around the world, “I do not have the specifics of how they operate in each of those sites”.




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


13 August, 2017

2016 weather report: Extreme and anything but normal (?)

Dedicated Warmist, Seth Borenstein, has put up an extensive farrago of claims below, which are all designed to advance the global warming theory.  Most of them are easily debunked but there are so many of them that I would have to spend half a day doing that.  Instead I will concentrate on the central issue:  Temperature.  Unless there was a substantial temperature rise all the rest falls flat.

And there was indeed a temperature rise.  Both 2015 and 2016 were unusually warm years. According to NASA the J-D temperature anomalies for 2015 and 2016 were respectively .87 and .99 of a degree Celsius.  Most years before that during this century were around .65. So those two years were hotter than usual by about a quarter or a third of one degree: Extremely trivial is the only extreme thing about that.  Certainly the 2016 temperature was a lot more trivial than you would gather from the shriek below. 

But if that was a continuing effect it could be important.  So was the rise a lasting effect or just an example of El Nino at work?  Does it indicate a lasting trend or not?  We don't of course have a figure for 2017 yet.  The most recent figure is for June -- and it is back in the .60s -- .69 in fact. It was .68 in June, 2005.

So it's true that 2016 was a slightly exceptional year but that has now run its course and we are back to a temperature stasis.  Goodbye 2016 and welcome to a routine 2017.

But a 1922 version of Seth Borenstein might also be of interest:

That was 95 years ago. The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Putting together a collection of adverse weather events proves nothing.

Last year's global weather was far more extreme or record breaking than anything approaching normal, according to a new report.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday released its annual checkup of the Earth, highlighting numerous records including hottest year, highest sea level, and lowest sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica.

The 299-page report, written by scientists around the world and published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, shows that 2016 was "very extreme and it is a cause for concern," said co-editor Jessica Blunden, a NOAA climate scientist.

Researchers called it a clear signal of human-caused climate change. A record large El Nino, the warming of the central Pacific that changes weather worldwide, was also a big factor in last year's wild weather.

"2016 will be forever etched in my brain as the year we crossed a new threshold of climate change — one that gave us a grim glimpse into our future," said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb, who had no role in the report.

Here's what you need to know about the government report on climate change. For starters, it's real.
Scientists examined dozens of key climate measures and found:

— At any given time, nearly one-eighth of the world's land mass was in severe drought. That's far higher than normal and "one of the worst years for drought," said report co-author Robert Dunn of the United Kingdom Met Office.

— Extreme weather was everywhere. Giant downpours were up. Heat waves struck all over the globe, including a nasty one in India. Extreme weather contributed to a gigantic wildfire in Canada.

— Global sea level rose another quarter of an inch (3.4 millimeters) for the sixth straight year of record high sea levels.

— There were 93 tropical cyclones across the globe, 13 percent more than normal. That included Hurricane Matthew that killed about 1,000 people in Haiti.

— The world's glaciers shrank — for the 37th year in a row — by an average of about 3 feet (1 meter).

— Greenland's ice sheet in 2016 lost 341 billion tons of ice (310 billion metric tons). It has lost 4400 billion tons (4000 billion metric tons of ice since 2002.

"2016 was a year in the Arctic like we've never seen before," said NOAA Arctic research chief Jeremy Mathis, who called it "a clear and more pronounced signal of warming than in any other year on record."

Many of the findings have been previously released, including that 2016 was the hottest year on record for the third consecutive year. A separate study based on modeling and weather patterns shows three hot years in a row is close to impossible to be a natural coincidence.

The odds of three years in a row setting heat records without man-made global warming is only 0.7 percent, compared to 30 to 50 percent with greenhouse gases according to a separate study published Thursday in the Geophysical Research Letters.

NOAA report co-editor Deke Arndt said the only notable normal global measure in 2016 was snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere.


Massachusetts approves major new rules to cut carbon emissions

Issuing regulations will do little.   Where are the methods to implement the regulations? No mentions below except for a dream of a vast fleet of electric cars.  And who is going to buy  them?  That power plants will be required to cut emissions from nearly 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018 to 1.8 million metric tons in 2050 is amusing.  How are they going to do that?

A little more than a year after the state’s highest court ruled Massachusetts had to do more to cut carbon emissions, state officials Friday will issue sweeping new regulations that set specific limits on sources of greenhouse gases, the emissions linked to climate change.

The new rules, swiftly criticized as insufficient by environmental advocates and unfair by the power industry, aim to reduce the state’s carbon emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, as required by state law.

The tougher standards, which will focus on the transportation and energy sectors, could cause utility costs for ratepayers to climb as much as 2 percent a year, state officials said.

“Combatting and preparing for the impact of climate change remains a top priority of our administration,” Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement. “These regulations will help ensure the Commonwealth meets the rigorous emission reductions limits.”

The new regulations, which take effect in January, seek to reduce emissions from natural gas leaks, power plants, the state fleet of passenger vehicles, other parts of the transportation sector, and electrical system components.

In a meeting with reporters on Thursday, Matthew Beaton, the state’s secretary of the energy and environmental affairs, said he was “very confident” the stricter emissions limits will allow the state to comply with the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act, which mandated the 25 percent decline.

“We feel we’re in a good position to meet the immediate goals,” he said.

Energy and environmental officials said that, as of 2014, the state had already reduced emissions by 21 percent, a figure that environmental advocates dispute.

For that reason, some environmental advocates contend that the new rules don’t go nearly far enough and belie Baker’s pledge to intensify efforts to reduce emissions since President Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord in June.

Craig Altemose, executive director of 350 Mass, an environmental advocacy group in Cambridge, called them “weak regulations.’’ “This move shows Baker’s stance on climate is more posturing than policy,” he said.

But Dan Dolan, president of the New England Power Generators Association, said the rules “violate the intention and plain reading” of the 2008 law, which also required the state to reduce carbon emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

“In doing so, these regulations are expected to increase regional emissions and costs for consumers,” Dolan said. “That simply cannot be what was intended.”

Under the state’s plan, nearly 90 percent of emissions reductions will come from the electricity sector, although the state’s power plants have already reduced emissions by 60 percent since 1990, far more than any other sector, he said.

While the regulations might reduce emissions in Massachusetts, they could backfire by causing electricity production to be diverted to less efficient power plants outside the state that might use more polluting energy sources, such as coal or oil, Dolan has said.

“These regulations make the problem worse, not better,” he said.

Beaton noted the regulations mainly aim to comply with the 2020 requirements, and aggressive action is necessary to meet 2050’s targets.

He also said Massachusetts needs to do more to reduce transportation emissions, which now account for more greenhouse gases than any other sector of the state’s economy.

“The whole world is wrestling with the transportation sector,” Beaton said. “We are cognizant that we won’t hit our 2050 goals without transportation.”

State officials said they’ve been working with other states, as well as provinces in Canada, on regional solutions to reducing transportation emissions.

The state has already joined others in the region in a pledge to register 300,000 electric vehicles by 2050; the state has 11,000 electric vehicles, or less than 1 percent of all registered vehicles in Massachusetts.

The rules also require utility companies and other power providers to obtain 16 percent of their energy from clean sources, such as wind and solar, in 2018. That requirement will increase by 2 percentage points a year until 2050, when 80 percent of their power must come from emissions-free sources.

The state’s remaining 21 fossil fuel power plants will be required to cut emissions from nearly 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018 to 1.8 million metric tons in 2050.

The regulations also require the state Department of Transportation to set specific, declining annual limits on emissions from their vehicles. Utilities will be required to set similar, declining limits on methane leaks from natural gas mains.

Advocates from the Conservation Law Foundation, whose 2014 lawsuit led to last year’s ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court, had mixed feelings about the state’s regulations.

He noted that the regulations exempt 44 town-owned utilities — which are responsible for about 15 percent of the state’s electricity supply — from the requirement to buy an increasing amount of renewable energy every year.

“While we’re disappointed that these regulations exempt these towns from having to purchase clean energy, they do put the commonwealth as a whole back on track to meet our near-term carbon pollution limits and establish a clean, renewable energy future,” said David Ismay, a senior attorney at the foundation, which is in Boston.

Other advocates said they were concerned about the lack of emissions caps between 2020 and 2050, and urged the Legislature to set interim requirements for reducing carbon emissions in 2030 and 2040.

“This will ensure that this and future administrations constantly focus on emission reductions as statutory requirements and not as aspirations,” said Jack Clarke, director of public policy at Mass Audubon.

Beaton noted that the administration has already set targets for 2020 and 2030, but he declined to say whether the administration would support the bill that would make the targets legal obligations.


No self-insight at all

Albert Gore is shocked that Lord Lawson was interviewed about global warming "despite having no scientific qualifications or training".  Since Gore's only qualifications are in theology and political science, that is a bit rich. As a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Lawson is more erudite than Gore will ever be

Al Gore said he was shocked after the BBC "engaged in climate change denial" this morning.

The former Vice-President was speaking to James O'Brien this morning to discuss his new film An Inconvenient Sequel.

Earlier in the day, he appeared in an interview on the BBC where Mr Gore was stunned to hear Lord Lawson, who was invited on to dispute scientific claims on climate change, despite having no scientific qualifications or training.

Mr Gore told LBC: "It's shocking how the BBC is engaged in climate denial, isn't it?

"I had a personal experience with it this morning. It's really shocking."

Mr Gore insists that the scientific proof is absolutely clear - and compared climate change deniers with the doctors that claimed tobacco did not cause lung cancer last century.


Lamar Smith Slams NYT ‘False Allegations,’ ‘Fake News’ of ‘Leaked’ Climate Report

“The alarmist climate media is at it again,” U.S. House Science Committee Chair Rep. Lamar Smith declared Tuesday after liberal media pounced on a debunked New York Times report claiming it exclusively obtained a “leaked” report the Trump Administration may be trying to cover up.

The supposedly-leaked and suppressed report had, in fact, been publicly available for months before the New York Times reported its “scoop” - forcing the Times to publish a correction to its story. But, as Newsbusters analysis shows, that didn’t stop liberal news networks from sensationalizing and repeating the discredited story:

“On Monday, all three networks pounced on the story, speculating about the Trump administration’s nefarious plans. Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos warned, “No word yet on whether they will suppress, dismiss, or endorse the report.” (Isn't it hard to suppress something that’s already public?)

“On CBS This Morning, Major Garrett offered a lecture on what the document means: “The lack of comment from officials here and from those at some of the relevant federal agencies about this report's startling conclusions suggest not just skepticism but, at least initially, a lack of curiosity.”

“The three networks did not inform their audiences on Tuesday that the secret report was not, in fact, secret.”
The false reports prompted U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to lash out at liberal media for their agenda-driven “fake news” on the draft climate assessment reported on by the New York Times.

Rep. Smith blasts the New York Times for its “exaggerated statements and false allegations”:

“The alarmist climate media is at it again.  In its latest reporting of a so-called leaked climate assessment the New York Times relies on exaggerated statements and false allegations of cover-ups in order to push an agenda.

“To treat a climate report that has been public for months and is currently undergoing official comment by numerous federal agencies as a final document does a disservice to the American people.  In numerous instances, the report fails to examine some of the most current data.  For example, the impact of El Nino on the climate is completely downplayed and misconstrued to conflict with historical reports.”
By their “attempts to falsely link” climate change to weather events, media are violating the principles of scientific integrity – and merely reporting “fake news,” Smith concludes:

“Moreover, this alarmist reporting attempts to falsely link extreme weather events to climate change, when the data has never suggested this.  Making temperature predictions far into the future has proven to be nothing more than speculation, and goes against the principles of scientific integrity.  We should treat this document for what it is, an unfinished draft that requires serious revision.  To report it in any other way is just fake news.”


Ending the EPA’s Billion-Dollar Green Energy Rip-Off

How Agency Regulators Leverage the Courts to Create their own “Power of the Purse”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in recent years has established a pattern of making industrial policy through legal settlements. In effect, the agency has abused its regulatory enforcement authority to create its own de facto power of the purse by leveraging enforcement actions to drive spending in support of policies that have not been enacted by Congress. Guidelines to safeguard against obvious separation of powers concerns raised by the EPA’s extra-statutory “mitigation” projects have been ineffective. Hopefully, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s recently announced policy against federal abuse of legal settlements will end what to date has been a $1.55 billion EPA program to fund bureaucratic priorities never approved by Congress.[1]

Congress has subsidized renewable energy and electric vehicles to some extent.[2] However, since 2005, the EPA—assisted by the Justice Department—has used settlements in 18 Clean Air Act enforcement actions to move $1.55 billion in private-sector funds to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle infrastructure projects without congressional authorization.[3] The EPA calls these green energy projects “mitigation,” which are defined as “injunctive relief sought by the government to remedy, reduce or offset past—and in some cases ongoing—harm caused by the alleged violations in a particular case.”[4]

The EPA’s promotion of green energy projects through “mitigation” is inappropriate policy making by an administrative agency. A data set of green energy mitigation projects shows that the agency has diverted $1.55 billion toward its own priorities, funds that would otherwise have remained in private hands or gone to the Treasury as penalties subject to congressional appropriation. A new Justice Department policy barring settlement payments to third parties may prevent the EPA from pursuing such settlements. However, lawmakers should ensure that freelance policymaking through “mitigation” has ended once and for all.

EPA’s Negotiation of Green Energy Projects into Settlements. The EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) enforces the nation’s environmental laws.[5] Over the last decade, OECA’s enforcement activities have sought to implement industrial policy through the inclusion of so-called “mitigation” actions in settlements negotiated with alleged violators of environmental statutes. In a 2012 guidance document, OECA described the agency’s pursuit of mitigation actions as being a function of injunctive relief:

In settlement of certain civil environmental enforcement cases, consent decrees negotiated by EPA and Department of Justice typically include injunctive relief obligations to ensure that defendants’ future operations are in compliance with the law. … However, at least one other form of injunctive relief is available to the government under appropriate circumstances: relief requiring a defendant to remedy, reduce, or offset harm caused by past or ongoing violations. This relief is often referred to as “mitigation” or “mitigation actions.”[6]

Mitigation actions can take the form of physical improvements or operational changes at the facility liable for pollution.[7] However, the EPA also negotiates mitigation actions that go “beyond the fence-line” of the defendant’s manufacturing facility. Since 2005, the EPA and the Justice Department have reached 18 judicial settlements pursuant to Clean Air Act enforcement actions, including:

$74.4 million spent on renewable energy projects;
$257 million spent on energy efficiency projects; and,
$1.2 billion spent on electric vehicle infrastructure.
All but two settlements allocating a combined total of $7 million were negotiated during the Obama administration.

Congress has never delegated authority or appropriated money for the EPA to fund and oversee projects for renewable electricity generation, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles. Instead of congressional intent, OECA roots the legal foundation for mitigation in the power of the judiciary:

Mitigation derives from courts’ authority to employ all equitable remedies necessary to achieve complete justice. This fundamental principle derives from the English common law tradition and is a long-standing element of American legal doctrine. Where the public interest is involved, a court’s equitable authority is curtailed only by a clear signal from Congress.[8]

As a statutory basis for mitigation actions, OECA cites provisions of environmental laws that recognize the courts’ equitable powers as a means of providing remedy for violations.[9] On the basis of these theories, OECA reasons that “EPA’s ability to obtain mitigation in settlement is based on the likelihood that, in litigation, the United States could establish mitigation was needed to redress past or ongoing harm to the environment and public health.”[10]

The EPA proposes mitigation projects under threat of civil penalties for the regulated entity.[11] OECA guidance states: “A defendant’s willingness, especially if demonstrated early in negotiations, to perform certain mitigation actions as part of a settlement might provide a rational for some reduction in the gravity-based penalty.”[12]

While the agency stresses that civil penalty reductions are not guaranteed when a defendant agrees to undertake a mitigation project,[13] an industry counsel who has been on the other side of the negotiating table confirms that regulated entities are motivated by the prospect that every dollar spent on a mitigation project results in more than a dollar’s decrease in civil penalties.[14]

EPA Safeguards Do Not Protect Against Constitutional Aggrandizement by the Executive Branch. OECA’s use of judicial settlements to advance green energy projects raises the troubling prospect that the EPA is performing an end-run around congressional appropriations. While the EPA has established a number of safeguards to ensure against impermissible usurpation of Congress’ appropriations power, these safeguards have failed to effectively limit OECA’s discretion. It has created a “power of the purse” independent of Congress.

More HERE 



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


11 August, 2017

What does Richard Muller think of the US withdrawing from the Paris Agreement?

Muller is an unusual character.  He was initially a critic of global warming and set up his own climate record to check whether there had in fact been any warming over the last century or so.  He found that there had been both some long term warming and some long term CO2 rise and concluded that that was enough for him to endorse the anthropogenic global warming theory. As he says below: "That is a scientific judgement that I will stand behind"

It is also an illogical judgment.  There are plenty of instances of correlations that do not indicate causation.  It is in fact a first principle of statistics that correlation is not causation.

 Furthermore the observed correlation is not as it should be if the theory were correct.  Theoretically, the effect of added CO2 in the atmosphere should be instant.  It allegedly works by bouncing electromagnetic radiation around and electromagnetic radiation moves at the speed of light.  But there has been no instant effect.  There have been long periods (e.g. 1945 to 1975, referred to by some as "the long hiatus") when the temperature did not rise at all, even though CO2 rose markedly over that period. 

So there is only a broad long-term sense in which you can say that both CO2 and temperature rose. And that rough similarity is a long way away from what the theory demands.

So it is clearly to keep his peace with the orthodoxy that he has gone over to the dark side.  He seems to be a good and kindly man so he probably just did not have the stomach for a fight.  You can't blame him for wanting a quiet life.

Anyway, there is still a bit of the skeptic in him, as you will read below

When Trump announced our withdrawal from the Paris Accords, I felt that he had done the right thing.

Global warming is real, about 1.5 C in the last 250 years, and it is caused by human emission of greenhouse gases. That is a scientific judgement that I will stand behind, based on my own work and on that of my colleagues in the non-profit

But the Paris accords did almost nothing to stop the increase. Alas, most of that increase will come from China, India, and the developing world, not from the US or Western Europe. To be effective, anything we rich nations do must set an example that the developing world can follow. That means it must not be expensive; if it isn’t profitable, it isn’t sustainable.

There are three things we need to do to slow and stop global warming:

More extensive energy conservation.

Encourage nuclear power. (For the last decade we are effectively telling the world that nuclear power is unsafe and has no reasonable way to dispose of waste.)

Shale gas as an alternative to coal. A gas plant emits ½ to ? the CO2 of coal.

Everything else is just frosting. We tend to do fashionable things without caring if it makes sense for the developing world. For example, electric cars, if used in China, would increase their CO2 pollution (since 70% of their electricity derives from coal). And they can’t afford lithium ion autos; the $7500 subsidy for electric cars is for show only; it does not address global warming.

The problem with the Paris treaty is that it was a political show with no teeth. Countries set their own limits; there is no outside verification. The developing world was enthusiastic in large part because the US had pledged to put $3 billion dollars per year in the sustainable development fund. (China had already indicated that it wanted some of this money to build coal power plants. Their argument was that with the funds they would build more efficient coal plants than they would otherwise build.)

My fundamental argument against the Paris treaty is that it gave the illusion of progress, and such an illusion can be detrimental to real progress. Others say it was a small step in the right direction, but it was generally not portrayed that way. And the step was (in my opinion) exceedingly small, too small.

The US needs to have truly workable programs to help the developing world take advantage of concepts in energy efficiency, and to make progress on shale gas and nuclear. On shale gas, at least we are setting a good example, but we need to help China develop its own resources (which are greater than those in the US). We need to set the right example in nuclear by showing that we consider it to be a clean and safe technology. Among other things, we need to make it possible to license 4th generation nuclear plants in the US; they cannot be currently licensed! And we need to make it known to the outside world that disposal of nuclear waste is not a challenge, but is a solved problem.


The Return of the Bees: How The Free Market is The Greatest Force for Conservation

The declining bee population—the phenomenon that threw the Left into a panic less than a decade ago—has largely corrected itself through the free market.

Beginning in 2006, beekeepers reported significant declines in their honeybee hives over winter—a situation called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). When news spread of honeybees abandoning their hives, the media and liberal outfits quickly took advantage of the liberal fear and pity. Time called it a “bee-pocalypse” and ran a cover story in 2013 entitled “A World Without Bees.” Quartz called it “beemageddon,” while The Washington Post lamented “the uncertain future of honey.”

The doomsday alarmists were not limited to the United States. CRC reported in its September 2015 edition of Green Watch how a concerted effort on the part of European, activist journalists led to popular support for a ban on neonicotinoids which outlawed the three most widely-used pesticides. This resulted in massive crop diseases and billions of dollars lost to farmers in the European Union, with the real possibility of a decline in food production. Critics of the EU law pointed to western Canada and Australia where wide use of neonicotinoids have not led to a drop in the bee population.

The New York Times notes that roughly a third of worldwide agricultural production does depend on pollinators, but, only about six percent relies entirely on it. Humans’ primary staples do not require honeybee pollination. So, even if honeybees were to go extinct, it would be more like putting humans on a snack diet instead of starving them. Some staples such as tomatoes and beans self-fertilize, while many crops like wheat, corn, rye, nuts, and corn rely on wind for pollination. The foodstuffs that rely most heavily on pollinators can aptly be considered luxury foods, or items one might pick up at the supermarket for snack time later: raspberries, cashews, cranberries, apples, almonds and mangoes. But, even if honeybee extinction were plausible, those luxury foods would not disappear because honeybees are not the only pollinators in the wild.

Furthermore, the European Academies Science Advisory Council points out that there is a significant difference between a decline in hives and a decline in bees. The decline in hives is a result of a decline in beekeepers who leave the profession for socioeconomic reasons, not because of massive bee deaths.

In fact, when one looks at the statistics, it turns out the honeybee population has steadily risen since the initial reported decline in 2006. According to USDA statistics, the number of honey-producing colonies has remained stable for about two decades. From 2008–2015, the bee population rose nearly 13 percent after the initial CCD findings.

The reason for this uptick in honeybees is that they are an essential element to agriculture. When beekeepers release them by the thousands, they significantly increase farmers’ crop production, and, without them, farmers would have to rely on birds, butterflies, wind, and other natural elements to pollinate their crops. Farmers therefore, have a vested interest in preserving the bee population just as they have in preserving effective pesticides. Therefore, farmers do not need government coercion to avoid pesticides that would kill off honeybees—it’s already in their interest to protect them.

The demand for honeybees translates into a lucrative and conservationist business model for both farmers and beekeepers as the monetary exchange goes both ways. If the beekeeper can turn a profit through the honey his bees produce, he pays the farmer. In other instances, such as apple orchards that do not produce much honey, the beekeeper charges the farmer for his bees’ pollination services.

The ethic of economic self-interest spurs both farmers and beekeepers to replenish the bee population and keep pollination and honey levels at market demand. The hype over honeybee extinction may have sold media subscriptions and certainly created wealth and fame for many people. But, in the end, these type of doomsday scares cause more harm than good. They draw resources away from preserving pollinators such as bumblebees that really are in decline, and they produce dangerous legislation that wastes taxpayers’ dollars and often hurts vital portions of the economy as the EU ban on neonicotinoids proved.


The Scottish wind-power racket

Imagine a sausage factory – the luckiest, most profitable sausage factory in the world. Its machines crank out their sausages, and lorries carry them to supermarkets. So far, so normal.

But this particular factory makes as many sausages as the management and staff choose. If they feel like taking the day off, the lorries and shelves stay empty. If they want to go a bit wild, they sometimes make so many sausages that there aren’t enough lorries to take them away. Or they carry on cranking out sausages even if the shelves are already full.

And here’s the really amazing thing: even when the lorries can’t cope or there is no demand for sausages, the factory gets paid. Indeed, they get paid more for not sending the sausages to the shops than for sending them. This is such great business that the factory is actually building an extension, so it can threaten to make even more unwanted sausages.

Does all that sound completely mad? Of course it does. But it’s what happens in the British electricity industry – where the blackmailing, money-printing sausage factory is a wind farm in Scotland.

There are currently about 750 wind farms north of the border, with roughly 3,000 wind turbines. Their total generating capacity amounts to 5,700 MW. The actual amount produced varies according to the weather. But at its maximum, that wind capacity is more than the 5.5 GW peak demand on the Scottish grid.

What this means, of course, is that the output from Scottish wind turbines is often more than the Scottish system can absorb. That requires the surplus energy to be exported to England and Wales. But that isn’t as easy as it sounds.

The wind farms are distributed across Scotland, sometimes in very remote regions, so there is a real problem in getting their energy down to the English border – let alone getting it across. For some years now, Scotland’s total export capacity has been only 3.5 GW, well under the peak output of the wind farm fleet.

So, reinforcements and new links are being introduced. These range from the hugely controversial, and to many environmentally unacceptable, £820 million Beauly-Denny upgrade, to the massive Western Link, a subsea connector from Hunterston to Deeside that is set to come online this year at a cost of more than £1 billion – and will entail a standing charge on energy bills across Britain of about £100 million a year for 35 years.

Yet in spite of the cost, these upgrades cannot completely address the problem: there is still more wind power in Scotland than can be reasonably and affordably absorbed into the system, or exported to its neighbours, partly because the wind fleet keeps growing.

Why has so much been built? Partly, it is because of income-support subsidies. This top-up of nearly 100 per cent over the wholesale price – funded, of course, from consumer bills – makes wind farms very attractive, at least until they wear out (by which time developers hope to have sold them on to naive pension funds and investment trusts).

There is also the political situation. In England and Wales, onshore wind is effectively dead, due primarily to the strong local resistance the turbines tend to attract, to which government eventually responded.

In Scotland, the story is different. The country is intensely urbanised, with most voters located in the cities. Rural objectors were simply too few in number to have much influence, no matter how strong their environmental or economic arguments.

Subsidies to onshore wind in the UK now cost a little under £600 million a year, with Scottish wind taking about half, yet the Scottish government continues to ignore the protests and consent to new wind farms as if they cost almost nothing at all.

Which as far as Holyrood is concerned, is in fact true. Part of the attraction for Scottish politicians is that the subsidies that pay for Scottish wind farms come from consumers all over Great Britain. Scottish consumption is about 10 per cent of the British total – so when the Scottish government grants planning permission to the wind industry, it is simply writing a cheque drawn overwhelmingly on English and Welsh accounts. Taxation without representation, in fact.

But a careless government and a lucrative subsidy system doesn’t explain the full flourishing of Scotland’s wind industry. Bizarre as it may seem, the fact that the Scottish grid cannot physically absorb all this wind power is also an attraction – because subsidised wind farms can actually earn more per unit generated when that unit is thrown away than when it is sold to consumers. In other words, they really do get paid more for not making sausages than they do when selling normally.

The explanation is simple. A wind farm receives roughly half of its income from the wholesale price and half from subsidy, the infamous Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC). When the grid is either at or close to capacity, National Grid stops the wind farm from generating, in order to prevent damage to the overhead wires and, at worst, a major system disruption.

When this happens, the wind farm will keep its wholesale income – which is fair enough, since it was contracted in to the system. But it loses its ROCs, because those are only issued for electricity actually sold to consumers.

What happens then, however, is that the wind farm will ask for compensation for the lost ROCs.  The euphemism for “being paid for not producing sausages” is “constraint payment”. And often – and this is the crucial point – they will ask for more compensation than they are losing in income.

When one of us, John Constable, first exposed this problem back in 2011, the average compensation being paid was nearly four times the lost income. One wind farm, Crystal Rig, was asking for (and receiving) £991/MWh in compensation when it was losing about £50/MWh.

Naming and shaming worked, and prices fell. But they are still well above the income lost, with onshore wind farms regularly asking for between £60 and £90/MWh in compensation when they are only losing about £45/MWh.

The result is that wind farms in Scotland have a higher average income per unit of power generated, because local demand is low and the grid system is hopelessly congested – leaving National Grid no option but to buy them off at any price.

For National Grid, this is just a pass-through cost, so they don’t care much about it – they simply increase the amount they’re charging consumers. But for consumers, it’s a truly terrible deal. Since 2010, we’ve paid £328m to wind farms not to generate – mostly to onshore Scottish wind farms, though England’s offshore farms have also started to get into the act. Last year, the total was £82m. This year, it’s already reached £50m.

The result is that there is a perverse incentive to locate wind farms in Scotland, even though they aren’t welcome and the grid can’t take their output. In fact, some wind farms that are already being “constrained off” on a regular basis are considering major extensions to their capacity.

Take Fallago Rig in the Borders. This 48-turbine wind farm, with a capacity of 144 MW, was built in the teeth of fierce local resistance in 2013. Since then, it has received £21,713,858 in payments to stop generating, at an average price of £82/MWh – roughly double the lost income. That lost generation, about 264,954 MWh, is equivalent to 16 per cent of its output during that period.

In spite of this, its owners EdF, the economic wizards behind Hinkley Point C, are proposing to add a further 12 turbines, each over 126.5m in height. Is this about saving the planet? Or because the farm’s owners know they are on to a very good thing and are determined to make out like bandits?

Yet remarkably, this isn’t the end of the counter-economic insanity. When a Scottish wind farm is stopped from generating because of a bottleneck in the system, it throws the whole British market out of balance: supply no longer matches demand. A generator that was contracted-in to the market has been told to stop. That means that the market on the other side of the bottleneck is now short. National Grid, which is responsible for fixing these problems, has to buy last-minute supplies to make up for it. And that is very expensive indeed.

It’s quite difficult to determine which payments to these emergency generators – who are said to be “constrained on” to the system – are caused by Scotland’s capacity and export problems, and which by power station failures or errors in demand forecasts (among other factors). But either way, it’s big money.

And in a supreme irony, it is more than likely that the same large companies getting constraint payments on one side of the bottleneck (because the Scottish grid can’t cope) also get paid to start up their gas turbines in England to make up for the shortfall. Laugh? It’s enough to make a grown bill-payer cry.

The remedies are obvious. First, existing wind farms should not be allowed to demand compensation in excess of income lost. Second, we should carefully weigh up the costs and benefits of building new grid and reinforcing existing lines. It may well be much cheaper to shut wind farms down and compensate their owners, at the correct rate of course, rather than build another subsea interconnector on the east coast – or reinforce the landlines over the border to the main centres of load.

Third, and most importantly, the Government in Westminster should put its foot down, in the interests of us all, and stop Holyrood consenting new wind farms and extensions in Scotland. Or at least ensure that if MSPs want to play fast and loose with consumer bills, those should be Scottish bills. That might focus minds.


Horror! EPA head casts doubt on ‘supposed’ threat from climate change

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt on Wednesday cast doubt on the idea that climate change poses a threat to the United States.

Pruitt told conservative North Dakota talk radio host Scott Hennen on WHO-AM that that’s one of the reasons why he is organizing a “red team/blue team” exercise to try to challenge what the EPA chief called “so-called settled science” on climate change.

“We’ve talked about, Scott, having a red team/blue team exercise, where we bring red team scientists in, blue team in, ask the question: What do we know, what don’t we know about this issue,” Pruitt said on the show, where he appeared with North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R).

“The American people deserve an honest, open, transparent discussion about this supposed threat to this country. And we need to advance that,” he continued. “Hopefully, sometime this fall, we’ll be able to actually get that going.”

A draft federal report publicized Monday detailed numerous effects of climate change that the United States and the world are currently experiencing, like higher temperatures and strong precipitation events.

It linked the changing climate directly to greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity.

Pruitt, however, is skeptical of the scientific consensus that human activity is far and away the primary cause of climate change.

The EPA chief believes that the climate is changing and humans have some part in that, but maintains that scientists do not know how much that contributes to climate change.

Pruitt said Wednesday that the Clean Air Act cannot be used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Clean Air Act was set up to address regional and local air pollutants,” he said on the radio program. “Congress has not spoken on this issue at all.”

The Supreme Court ruled in the 2007 case Massachusetts v. EPA that greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act, and can be regulated if the EPA determines that the gases harm human health or the environment. The EPA made such a determination in 2009.


No wind or solar powered aluminium smelter anywhere in the world? Could be a message in that

Matt Howell, the CEO of Tomago Aluminium Smelter, told a few home truths on ABC radio Monday. To paraphrase in my own words:

1. Aluminium Smelters gobble electrons for breakfast. His smelter uses 10% of  the entire electricity supply of the most populous state in Australia (NSW).

2. If power goes out without warning for more than three hours, the smelter pot lines freeze, permanently. The company goes to the wall.

3. The largest battery in the world would keep their smelter going for all of 8 minutes. There is a good reason there are no solar or wind powered aluminium smelters anywhere in the world.

4. The government can ‘t let the market solve anything whilst it is simultaneously destroying the free market by propping up the market failures at the same time.

5. Electricity pricing has suddenly got very ugly. Their electricity bill may now be subject to price spikes where it could cost them $4 million just to keep one pot line running during that spike. It is as if suddenly gas stations only sold $400 per Litre petrol. (Which would be $1800/per gallon).  What he doesn’t say, but which logically follows from that, is that heavy industry in most of Australia can no longer get reliable electricity at an affordable price, even with forward contracts. Cry, scream, run with your factory.

6. In Australia, if we achieve “zero coal” we will also achieve “zero heavy manufacturing”.

7. If we want heavy industry, we need a HELE Coal plant. There are hundreds being built around the world, and we are selling our coal to them. How crazy are we?

Howell makes some great points. It’s good to see an ABC presenter willing to let the evil capitalists speak. Well done Matt Wordsworth. I found something worth listening to on the ABC this year.




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


10 August, 2017

Climate change is dramatic, and we’re feeling it now, report says

The same old blah.  What is "dramatic"?  The warming over the period nominated is in fact only about half a degree.  Note that they don't give a number themselves. Whatever the warming is, however, they still have no proof that CO2 causes it. We know it doesn't in fact -- since temperature and CO2 levels don't track one-another.  Often one is  rising while the other is static.  See the video below for more

The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.

The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now.

It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his Cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain and that the ability to predict the effects is limited.

“How much more the climate will change depends on future emissions and the sensitivity of the climate system to those emissions,” a draft of the report states.

The report was completed this year and is part of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years.

The National Academy of Sciences has signed off on the draft and is awaiting permission from the Trump administration to release it.

One government scientist who worked on the report, and who spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity, said he and others were concerned that it would be suppressed.

The report concludes that even if humans immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the world would still feel at least an additional 0.50 degrees Fahrenheit (0.30 degrees Celsius) of warming over this century compared with today.

A small difference in global temperatures can make a big difference in the climate: The difference between a rise in global temperatures of 1.5 degrees Celsius and one of 2 degrees Celsius, for example, could mean longer heat waves, more intense rainstorms and the faster disintegration of coral reefs.

Among the more significant of the study’s findings is that it is possible to attribute some extreme weather to climate change.

The field known as “attribution science” has advanced rapidly in response to increasing risks from climate change.

The report finds it “extremely likely” that more than half of the global mean temperature increase since 1951 can be linked to human influence.

In the United States, the report finds with “very high” confidence that the number and severity of cool nights has decreased, while the frequency and severity of warm days has increased since the 1960s.

Extreme cold waves, it says, are less common since the 1980s, while extreme heat waves are more common.

The study examines every corner of the United States and finds that all of it was touched by climate change.

It said the average annual rainfall across the country has increased by about 4 percent since the beginning of the 20th century. Parts of the West, Southwest and Southeast are drying up, while the Southern Plains and Midwest are getting wetter.

With a medium degree of confidence, the authors linked the contribution of human-caused warming to rising temperatures over the Western and Northern United States. It found no direct link in the Southeast.

The Environmental Protection Agency is one of 13 agencies that must approve the report by Aug. 13. The agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, has said he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming.

“It’s a fraught situation,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geoscience and international affairs at Princeton University who was not involved in the study. “This is the first case in which an analysis of climate change of this scope has come up in the Trump administration, and scientists will be watching very carefully to see how they handle it.”

Scientists say they fear the Trump administration could change or suppress the report. But those who challenge scientific data on human-caused climate change say they are equally worried that the draft report, as well as the larger National Climate Assessment, will be publicly released.

“The National Climate Assessment seems to be on autopilot because there’s no political that has taken control of it,” said Myron Ebell, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He was referring to a lack of political direction from the Trump administration.

The government scientists wrote that surface, air, and ground temperatures in Alaska and the Arctic are warming at a frighteningly fast rate — twice as fast as the global average.

“It is very likely that the accelerated rate of Arctic warming will have a significant consequence for the United States due to accelerating land and sea ice melting that is driving changes in the ocean including sea level rise threatening our coastal communities,” the report says.

Human activity, it goes on to say, is a primary culprit.


NYT’s ‘Leaked’ Bombshell Climate Report Was Actually Public For Months

A draft government climate assessment The New York Times “obtained” and claims is not yet public has actually been available online since January, according to scientists who worked on the report.

The NYT reportedly obtained a draft copy of the upcoming National Climate Assessment (NCA), quoting unnamed scientists who feared “the Trump administration could change or suppress the report.” TheNYT also reported that global warming skeptics were “equally worried that the draft report, as well as the larger NCA, will be publicly released.”

However, the draft NCA has been online since January. A couple of the scientists who worked on the NCA took to Twitter to let people know the draft has been online for months, despite TheNYT’s reporting.

This begs the question: how would President Donald Trump be able to suppress a publicly-available draft report? Atmospheric scientist Ryan Maue pointed out the study has not been delayed, and the government only recently began looking for scientists to review the draft report.

The NYT has not yet issued a correction on the story.


Water, Rights, and Environmental Bureaucracy

The human environment includes more than “nature”: it also includes the rich network of individuals and institutions that ordinary people interact with daily. Hence, it’s fitting that Independent Institute Policy Fellow K. Lloyd Billingsley examines the endangerment of private-property rights—a core institution in a thriving human ecosystem—in a recent piece at MyGovCost News & Blog that he’s written for National Water Quality Month.

Private-property rights, Billingsley explains, are center to a new battle that pits the California State Water Resources Control Board against the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Whereas the feds, under the leadership of Trump appointee Scott Pruitt, seek to roll back Obama-era regulations that expand the definition of protected wetlands, state officials are fighting for even tighter government controls.

Several lessons about predatory politics and environmental bureaucracy are relevant here, many of which are examined in the Independent Institute books Aquanomics ,Re-Thinking Green, and most recently Nature Unbound. But one of the most fundamental lessons involves bureaucratic mission creep. As Billingsley notes, California’s Water Board is supposed to, according to its website, “ensure the highest reasonable quality for waters of the state, while allocating those waters to achieve the optimum balance of beneficial uses.” Had the enabling legislation that created the state agency defined what is meant by “highest reasonable quality,” “optimal balance,” and “beneficial uses,” the entire conflict, which will likely end up lasting several years, would have been avoided.


The Case of the Phantom Frog

Imagine if land that had been held in your family for decades were suddenly subject to new environmental regulations that would severely limit what you could do on that land, where you would not be able to do things like build a new house on it, cut down trees on it, or even to farm it the way your family had for generations.

As you might imagine, the value of your family’s land would plunge, because it would no longer be attractive to people who might consider buying it, because those same restrictions would apply to them.

Now imagine that those new environmental regulations were imposed by the federal government, egged on by environmental activists, that are intended to preserve the natural habitat of an endangered species of frog that had not been seen anywhere on or near your land for nearly half a century. And in a particularly cruel twist, you discover that your family’s land would not even provide a suitable habitat for the endangered species in question unless the government compelled your family to spend thousands of dollars to transform it into a suitable habitat for the endangered frog.

If that sounds like a bizarre nightmare scenario of government bureaucracy, you’re right. RealClearInvestigations James Varney describes a very peculiar case of government regulations run amuck in the name of protecting the dusky gopher frog.

The phone call came out of the blue in 2011.

A federal biologist on the other end of the line told Edward B. Poitevent II that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service intended to designate a large swath of Louisiana woods that had been in his family for generations a “critical habitat” for the endangered dusky gopher frog.

Poitevent was confused because the frog had been neither seen nor its croak heard on the land since the 1960s. Later he would learn that his land is not, in fact, a suitable habitat for the frog anyway.

“No matter how you slice it or dice it, it’s a taking of my land in that I can’t use it or sell it now,” said Poitevent, a New Orleans lawyer.

A half century after disappearing from the 1,500-acre parcel in Louisiana, the dusky gopher frog will likely appear this month in filings urging the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the matter after years of costly litigation.

In one sense, the case illustrates the conflicts that arise as conservationists and the government use the Endangered Species Act to protect privately held lands. But legal scholars say the absent amphibian could provide a broader test of just how far the government’s regulatory reach can extend under the Constitution.

The legal case in favor of the homeowner will come down to a court’s determination of what constitutes an “unreasonable” restriction imposed by an ambiguously-worded federal regulation, where common sense has not been allowed to enter the argument as lower level judges have found against the landowners, claiming that their legal hands were tied by a 1982 Supreme Court precedent that awarded a profound amount of legal deference to federal regulators regardless of the specific facts that apply to the case.

With that being the situation, the Case of the Phantom Frog will be an interesting one to follow as it moves through the nation’s appellate courts, particularly if it ultimately reaches the Supreme Court where it could prompt the court to overturn all or part of its previous decision that benefited the interests of federal regulators over those of regular Americans.

On a final note, this kind of environmental-activist directed policy affects far more than a family-owned farm in Louisiana. On July 31, 2017, some 1.8 million acres (2,812 square miles) of farm, ranch and timber lands in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California had similar restrictions imposed upon them by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which were defined as “critical habitat” for three species of frogs and toads.

Would the government be so set on imposing such environmental regulations if it were required to fully compensate regular Americans for diminishing the value of their property?


Coal, coal, glorious coal! Mining giant Glencore granted big new coal mining permits in Australia

The Queensland government has granted mining giant Glencore leases for a multi-billion dollar coal mine in the state's south west.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham has granted Glencore three 27-year leases covering 30,000 hectares for the first stage of its $7 billion Wandoan mine near Roma.

The open cut mine is proposed to operate for 35 years in the Surat Basin, and will require a railway to the Gladstone Port.

Glencore has previously acknowledged the disproportionate risk surrounding new projects.

Doubts about the future of the Wandoan mine have lingered since 2012, amid falling thermal coal prices and a poor market outlook.

The Palaszczuk government's decision to grant the leases has sparked anger among environmental groups, who say it has displaced farmers and poses a threat to the state's agricultural industry.




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


9 August, 2017

When glaciers are growing, it is due to special factors.  When they are shrinking it is due to global warming

The fact of the matter is that they grow and shrink randomly

A summer 'vortex' of cold air over the Karakoram, a large mountain range spanning the borders of India, Pakistan, and China, is causing the glaciers in the region to grow in spite of global warming, scientists have shown.

"While most glaciers are retreating as a result of global warming, the glaciers of the Karakoram range in South Asia are stable or even growing," said study co-author Hayley Fowler, Professor at Newcastle University in Britain.

In their study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the team reported the identification of a large scale circulation system -- or vortex -- centred over the Karakoram.

In winter, the vortex affects the temperature over the whole 2,000-kilometre mountain range, but in the summer the vortex contracts and has an effect only over the Karakoram and western Pamir, said the study.

This induces an anomalous cooling in summer which is different to the warming seen over the rest of the Himalayas.

This Karakoram vortex goes some way to explaining why the glaciers in this region are behaving differently to those in most other parts of the world, Fowler said.

The Karakoram anomaly was first described in 2005 and since then, scientists have been trying to determine what might be causing the expansion of glaciers in the region -- which includes the world's second tallest K2 mountain peak.

Acting like a counter-weighted temperature control, the unique summer interaction of the Karakoram vortex and the South Asian Monsoon causes temperatures in the Karakoram and Pamir to cool while those in the Central and Eastern Himalayas are warming, and vice versa, according to the study.

"This vortex provides an important temperature control," lead author of the study Nathan Forsythe of Newcastle University said.

"It is, therefore, important to look at how it has changed and influenced temperature over the last century so we can better understand how a change in the system might affect future climate," Forsythe said.

"This is of huge importance in terms of food security because of the large populations that rely on water resources from snow and ice melt from the mountainous catchments to grow their irrigated crops in the Indus Plains of the Sindh and Punjab states and provinces of Pakistan and India," Forsythe added


UK: Peter Hitchens: The REAL villain behind your surging electricity bill

I feel sorry for British Gas, attacked for raising the price of electricity. I still find it confusing a gas company sells electricity, but the facts are quite simple.

British Gas and the other power companies are raising charges because we have a mad Government. Under New Labour’s unhinged Climate Change Act, backed by the Tories and virtually unopposed in Parliament, we are steering straight into an iceberg.

Perfectly good coal-fired power stations all over the country are being shut down and blown up so they can’t be reopened, because of crazed Green regulations.

In some cases, they are being converted to burning wood chips imported from the USA. If this did any good (which is, er, unproven) it would be immediately cancelled out by the huge number of new coal-fired power stations recently built in India and China.

Our nuclear generators are slowly dying. Plans to replace them are hopelessly behind. The Government assumed that the growing gap between what we use and what we generate would be met by new gas-fired stations, but nobody has built them.

So instead, it hopes to meet the need with French nuclear electricity brought under the Channel, which we can’t rely on if the French need it more; and on power generated by wind, which doesn’t blow all the time, and sun which doesn’t shine all the time.

And it is the cost of subsidising the sun and wind power which is forcing up electricity prices. So is the need to link remote windmills expensively to the grid. There’s also the cost of setting up special parks of diesel generators to prevent power cuts if all else fails.

Diesel? Yes, the devilish fuel we’re trying to drive off the roads could be what saves you from a Christmas blackout.

Currently, the Green levy, the main reason for the latest price rise, makes up at least £73 of an average £562 annual electricity bill. It’s going to go up a lot more. I think the power companies should put this on their bills in big letters. Then Parliament might be forced to rethink its mad warmist dogma, and follow a sane power policy.



Not "endangered" then?

Our first record bear day on Birds, Bears and Belugas started after having lunch down by the Seal River.

The mud was flying as we traversed the shoreline on our ATV tour to the mouth of the river. Once there, we enjoyed a spectacular lunch of tomato bisque and egg salad filling in a sundried tomato wrap, followed by espresso with lemon raspberry cupcakes.

Following lunch, we took a short walk to the shore of the river and soon saw a mother and COY (cub of the year). We realized as she walked by us that our coolers, containing the remains of our lunch, were being threatened by her interests. We discouraged that, so instead she decided to lie down in front of us to nurse her cub!

We backed off to see if we could find another bear and lo and behold, around the corner, a mother and two COYS had followed the tracks of the first bears! Mother was a big bear and her cubs looked healthy, but she soon wandered into the bushes and we lost sight of her.

We were again focused on the nursing Mom when another single bear surprised us from the bushes. We were surrounded, but the single bear backed off to the sound of Andy clapping his hands, entered the water and swam off to the north. Then the Mom and two cubs reappeared, looking off to the west, and we soon noticed that she had her eye on another big male bear that was moving with a calorie conserving gait.

As we were watching the big male, another smaller male passed by the bigger male and disappeared into the bushes. Now the second Mom with the two cubs settled down to nurse in front of us. She finished nursing and decided to lie down, but was looking behind her, scenting.

Soon the young male came out from behind the cabin and spooked her. He circled around past her and pushed her towards our group. We stood up and told her she couldn’t come any closer, and she trotted by us, looking over her shoulder and hissing at the male bear, who was by now chasing her, very excited and interested.

She would have none of that. She ran off into the water with her cubs and swam straight out, heading south. Andy admonished the other bear to leave her alone. The bear skidded to a stop and scented around her trail. He was wound up and decided our group looked more interesting. The guides discouraged him with their superior intellect and he eventually thought better of it and wandered off.

The big male who had witnessed all of this lifted his head at all the excitement and wandered in for a look of his own. While at a slow, purposeful gait, he checked us out and then settled down into a picturesque bed of yellow mastodon flowers alongside some seaside chamomile. At the same time, three other bears appeared, two of them running from a huge male across the river.

This brought our total bear count for the day to 11, and set a new record for polar bear sightings on a single day at Seal River Heritage Lodge this season!


Gore’s sequel comes in dismal 15th at box office

Former Vice President Al Gore’s new film, “An Inconvenient Sequel”, came in a dismal 15th this weekend at U.S. theaters, according to Box Office Mojo.

Gore’s defenders have been quick to blame Paramount Pictures for the dismal performance of Gore’s sequel. “Al Gore Gets Ripped Off Again,” screamed the headline of D.R. Tucker in Washington Monthly.  “This was not supposed to happen,” Tucker wrote, adding, “he should have demanded a recount.”

“Sadly, the box-office under-performance of An Inconvenient Sequel will be seized upon by climate-change deniers as ‘proof’ that Americans don’t really care about this issue,” Tucker wrote.

According to Deadline Hollywood, Gore’s sequel “grossed $900K, averaging $5,000 (per screen). That brought its cume (cumulative) over seven figures, landing at $1,052,000. Its weekend gross placed it 15th in the overall box office as of Sunday morning.

 Paramount said it will expand the title to over 500 locations next weekend. Update: UK Daily Mail reports that Gore’s sequel made “less than original – despite appearing on more than TWICE as many screens.”

The box office performance will disappoint Gore, who had urged his followers to pack movie theaters to send a message to “Trump and the other climate deniers.” “By filling theaters, we can show Donald Trump and the other climate deniers in the White House that the American people are committed to climate action –– no matter what they do, say, or tweet!” Gore wrote in an email alert sent to his supporters on Friday August 4th, the day of his nationwide opening.

Many of the political left no longer want to see Gore as the face of the global warming movement.

Gore’s climate claims are failing to materialize as many of his assertions are exactly the opposite of the current climate data.


Amazing! A Solid Journalism Academic

The adage that 'those who can't do teach' might have been uttered with our universities' media faculties in mind. There is at least one exception, however, a Wollongong lecturer who gets students to check facts, especially about climate-change claims. Sadly, he is retiring

blackall smallCan you even imagine it! A  journalism lecturer  shows students how to fact-check the climate alarmists’ wild claims and doom-laden forecasts. And he publishes a peer-reviewed commentary, Environmental  Reporting in a Post Truth World, analysing how the media ignores research that runs contrary to the alarmist narrative.

Lordy! How can this fellow get away with it in our all-pervading Left-alarmist academic establishment?

Meet Dr David Blackall (above), senior lecturer in journalism at Wollongong University. His paper is in the journal Asia Pacific  Media Educator. But since he’s in the process of retiring after 25 years with the university, he can rock the boat without fearing for his career prospects.[1]

“I’m packing up my office right now,” he tells Quadrant Online. “I haven’t had any backlash, even though the climate debate seems to be getting increasingly toxic and nasty. Younger academics can’t call out the fake news on climate like I can, because they’d risk their jobs and mortgages.”

The Wollongong Bachelor of Journalism course takes in about 80 entrants a year, plus others from an allied course, Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies. Blackall’s first degree is a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture), and he taught senior HSC agriculture, biology, physics and chemistry for ten years into the 1980s. This broad science background advantages him over non-science journalism academics, and over scientists so over-specialised that they miss the big picture.

Blackall is an ardent conservationist of biodiversity. He has his own 16ha wildlife  refuge reserve ‘Nadjunuga’ at Cambewarra  Mountain, previously a university field station, which he has managed for nearly 40 years. He has also taught and practiced investigative journalism, and last year co-authored an FOI-based study in the Lawyers Alliance journal Precedent on the Ponzi-style fraud and collapse of the Trio Capital Group during 2003-10.

The Blackall Post Truth paper has been re-blogged by leading European sceptic Pierre Gosselin, who asks, “Would it be so difficult for journalists to actually seek scientific verification of their claims before publishing? Or is the pursuit of real-world scientific confirmation too much to expect from journalists and media sources bent on advancing an agenda in this ‘Post Truth World’?”

Blackall writes that journalism students can be defensive about climate because they want careers in corporate media where the “greenhouse warming” narrative holds sway. “Contrary but accurate science journalism  must be generated for balancing societal discourse and demonstrating the Earth’s natural variability,” he writes. Journalists fail to verify facts, including that polar bear populations are increasing, contrary to what he calls the ‘emotional propaganda’ and ‘fake news’ of alarmists.

To deflect being labelled a ‘climate denier’, he gives students assignments on hypotheticals such as the impact of deforestation on clouds and climate. “In previous epochs, CO2 levels were around 400ppm, as they are now, but never in human history has the Earth’s surface been as denuded,” he writes. He cites a study this year that CO2 emissions from land-use changes –  such as tree harvesting and clearing for shifting  agriculture – have been substantially under-estimated.

“However, as a journalism educator, I also recognise that my view, along with others, must be open to challenge both within the scientific community and in the court of public opinion,” he continues.

“It is my responsibility to provide my students with the research skills they need to question – and test – the arguments put forward by key players in any debate.  Given the complexity of the climate warming debate, and the contested nature of the science that underpins both sides, this will provide challenges well into the future.  It is a challenge our students should relish, particularly in an era when they are constantly being bombarded with ‘fake news’ and so-called ‘alternative facts’.

“To do so, they need to understand the science. If they don’t, they need to at least understand  the key players in the debate and what is motivating them. They need to be prepared to question these people and to look beyond their arguments to the agendas that may be driving them. If they don’t, we must be reconciled to a future in which ‘fake news’ becomes the norm.”

He alerts his students to fake climate pictures, such as the use by Reuters of a 2010 photo-shopped image of two Adelie penguins on a block of melting Antarctic ice. The same faked picture (below) had also been used in 2013 to illustrate arctic warming (notwithstanding that penguins aren’t found in the Arctic). He also directs students to look into the  dubious ‘pause-busting” paper by Tom Karl of NOAA, timed to influence the 2015 Paris climate summit. “There are many agendas at play, with careers at stake,” he says.

Blackall’s paper queries why journalists fail to report the widening gap between climate models’ temperature forecasts and actual temperatures. Similarly, they don’t report the non-acceleration of sea-level rise, a big problem for the alarmist narrative.

His main argument is that human-caused greenhouse gases are not the main source of climate change, as claimed by the climate establishment.  The flat-lining of global temperatures in the past two decades despite massive CO2 increases is an obvious problem for the orthodox narrative, he says. There are multiple interacting and little-understood natural causes, but computer modelling is privileged over other relevant disciplines, such as geology. Alarmists play down the major uncertainties and use ‘consensus’ as a culture of gatekeeping  against contrary views. “Then, and dangerously, dissenters are silenced so that chosen and ‘necessary’ discourses arrive in journals, conferences and boardrooms,” he writes.

Blackall outed himself as a climate sceptic nearly a decade ago. In a 2010 paper also published in Asia Pacific Media Educator   (“Anti-terrorism, climate change and ‘dog whistle’ journalism”) he wrote of the compliant mainstream news media fanning fears on behalf of governments about imaginary climate catastrophes.[2]

Educators of journalists need to give students double skills – of integrity and fearlessness, plus the ability to maintain employability in the mainstream media, he wrote. The students need to become ‘highly adept chameleons’ to further their careers. They are given ‘hypotheticals’ requiring checking narratives against science literature. But the drafts must also be written conservatively. “No newspaper would run anything too removed from the dominant view on climate variability,” Blackall continued.

The media seemed unable to do routine internet searching to act as a ‘watchdog’ on government. This was reflected in its ‘advocacy journalism’ about the 2009 Copenhagen summit and downplaying of the Climategate email leaks, he wrote. [3]

In this paper he was prescient in highlighting the corrupted temperature  data relied on for the alarmist narrative and modelling –  including data from non-existent weather stations and stations affected by the non-CO2 urban heat island effects. In contrast, rural stations typically showed decades of consistent temperatures, he said. “News media have failed to explain or examine  these simple anomalies,” he complained. He also instanced floods being blamed by media on climate change when  the immediate cause was irresponsible local activities upstream, including tree-felling and mismanagement of dams.

He argued that without acutely educated scepticism, journalism graduates fall prey to the seductive and political tune of the dog whistle, such as believing the myth of a ‘climate consensus’.

Blackall’s arguments can be verified by  journalists’ climate ignorance in their use of the nonsense propaganda phrase “carbon pollution” when they actually mean “CO2 emissions”. Not one in a hundred journalists who quote the so-called “97% consensus” on climate alarm would be aware that the John Cook (UQ) study actually found that only 0.3% of 12,000 studies supported the IPCC line that more than half the past 60 years’ warming is human-caused.

Blackall’s critique of journalists can be tested against The Age (Garry Maddox) and The Australian (Rosemary Neill) stories last weekend about Al Gore marketing his climate-alarm film An Inconvenient Sequel in Melbourne.  Neither thought it worth mentioning that anti-emissions campaigner Gore inhabits a 20-room house (one of his three homes) whose pool heating alone uses as much electricity as six average US homes, and whose total electricity consumption is that of 21 normal residences.[4] The Age’s Maddox did not mention that Gore and his business partner from Goldman Sachs, according to Forbes, made nearly $US220m in carbon trading profits from 2008-2011.

The Australian’s Neill commendably reported the accusations of Gore’s enrichment via green schemes, and unlike Maddox, she drew attention to the UK High Court’s 2007 finding of nine scientific and other errors in Gore’s first film. The court also ruled that the film’s partisan stance made it inappropriate for UK school children unless accompanied by balancing  material. Neill should have queried why Gore had not corrected the nine errors or issued an errata, instead permitting the flawed film to mislead further millions of students. The film even asserts in its ignorance that some Pacific nations “have all had to evacuate to New Zealand.”

The Australian, via ex-ABC chair Maurice Newman, reported that Gore’s opposite number, top US sceptic blogger Marc Morano, was in Melbourne concurrently with Gore and promoting his own film Climate Hustle. The Age and the ABC ignored Morano (while the ABC gave Gore blanket coverage) but Andrew Bolt (Herald Sun) gave Morano a prominent interview.

Dr Blackall’s retirement is a loss to journalist education. Let’s hope there are others like him out there, with the guts, smarts and integrity to take on the “kindergarten science” of climate alarm.




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


8 August, 2017

Shameless fear-mongering – versus reality

Al Gore peddles climate and weather scam. CFACT film and Aussie book present Climate Facts

Paul Driessen

Before I could enjoy a movie last week, I was forced to endure five minutes of climate and weather fear-mongering, when the theater previewed Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Sequel.” His attempt to pin every weather disaster of the past decade on humanity’s fossil fuel use felt like fifty minutes of water boarding.

Mr. Gore has made tens of millions of dollars pedaling this nonsense and his demand that modern society undergo a “wrenching transformation” from oil, natural gas and coal to a utopian make-believe world powered by biofuels, wind and solar power, electric vehicles and batteries.

Every alarmist prediction has been falsified by actual events: from soaring temperatures to an ice-free Arctic to monstrous hurricanes that have not hit the USA since 2005. His attempt to blame New York City floods during Superstorm Sandy ignored inconvenient truths like construction that narrowed the Hudson River by hundreds of feet, forcing any incoming water to rise higher … and flood Manhattan. Mr. Gore conveniently ignores even well known climate change and weather events of past centuries. No wonder this devotee of SUVs, private jets and multiple homes doesn’t have the spine to debate anyone over these issues. When he lectures us, he won’t even take questions that he has not preapproved.

Thankfully, those seeking an antidote or healthy dose of reality have alternatives. The Climate Hustle documentary film debunks scores of whacky predictions that never came true and presents solid evidence-based science from dozens of scientists who don’t accept “manmade climate crisis” claims. A new Australian book presents detailed and expert but fast-paced, readable material on key climate issues.

Climate Change: The Facts 2017 is the third in a series. Dedicated to the memory of the late, eminent Aussie geologist and climate scientist Bob Carter, its 22 chapters cover climate changes through the ages, the multiple natural forces that primarily drive climate and weather fluctuations, devious tricks that alarmist researchers have used to modify and “homogenize” actual temperature data, attempts to silence experts who focus on natural causes of climate change or on adaptation rather than costly “prevention,’ the historic context behind climate debates, and coral reef resilience amid alleged ocean “acidification.”

Assumed coral, shellfish and other asserted disasters from even slight changes in ocean pH are based on computer simulations that often extrapolate from laboratory experiments. John Abbott, Peter Ridd and Jennifer Marohasy point out that some of those experiments actually added hydrochloric acid to fish tanks to simulate acidification presumed to result from slight increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide!

Carbon dioxide has been demonized because it is a byproduct of fossil fuel use, and many activists want to eliminate the oil, natural gas and coal that provide over 80% of US and global energy. Moreover, while it helps trap solar heat and keep Earth inhabitable, CO2 is the polar opposite of a “dangerous pollutant.”

CO2 is vital plant food and fertilizer, essential for photosynthesis. Without it, life on Earth would cease to exist. In conjunction with slightly warmer global temperatures since the Little Ice Age ended (and modern industrial era began), rising atmospheric CO2 levels are helping to “green” the planet, by spurring crop, forest and grassland plants to grow faster and better, Craig Idso and Matt Ridley explain. 25-50% of vegetated parts of our planet have gotten greener over the past 33 years, from the tropics to the Arctic, and 70% of that greening is due to higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Only 4% has gotten browner.

Ian Plimer, Ken Ring and Nicola Scafetta discuss natural climate cycles and the long planetary and human experience with major climate changes and weather events. Nothing seen today is unprecedented, and most is far more benign than in the past, they note. Bjorn Lomborg and other authors explain why we must end our obsession with the “climate crisis” and other exaggerated threats, and with false solutions to fabricated climate disasters. We need to spend our limited time, money and resources on the many real, pressing problems that confront mankind in developed and developing nations alike.

My chapter in The Facts addresses those pressing humanity problems, largely in the context of Pope Francis’s Laudato Si encyclical. For countless millennia, I note, humans endured brutal, backbreaking lives cut short by malnutrition and starvation, wretched cold and poverty, foul air, filthy water, myriad diseases, absent sanitary practices, and simple wounds that brought gangrene, amputation and death.

Then, in just two centuries, via discovery and progress powered by fossil fuels, billions of people doubled their life spans and became healthy, well fed, prosperous, increasingly mobile, and able to afford wondrous medical and other technologies, foods, services, luxuries and leisure-time activities that previous generations could not even imagine.

Mechanized agriculture – coupled with modern fertilizers, hybrid and GMO seeds, irrigation and other advances – enable smaller numbers of farmers to produce bumper crops that feed billions, using less land, water and insecticides. Improved buildings keep out cold, heat, and disease-carrying rodents and insects, and better survive earthquakes and extreme weather. Electricity transformed every aspect of our lives.

“How can we not feel gratitude and appreciation for this progress, especially in the fields of medicine, engineering and communications?” His Holiness asks. Unfortunately, he then presents romanticized references to consistently mild climates, benevolent natural worlds and idyllic pastoral lives that never existed. He insists that Earth’s poorest people will soon face “grave existential risks” from planetary warming, if we do not quickly and significantly reduce fossil fuel use.

He ignores the absence of Real World evidence that greenhouse gases are causing climate chaos – and the compelling evidence that fossil fuels continue to bring enormous benefits.

Over the past three decades, oil, gas and especially coal have helped 1.3 billion more people get electricity and escape energy and economic destitution. China connected 99% of its population to the grid, mostly with coal. Average Chinese are now ten times richer and live 32 years longer than their predecessors did barely five decades previously. India is building numerous coal power plants to electrify its vast regions.

But more than 1.2 billion people (more than the USA, Canada, Mexico and Europe combined) still do not have electricity; another 2 billion have electrical power only sporadically and unpredictably. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 700 million still cook and heat with “renewable” wood, charcoal and animal dung.

Hundreds of millions get horribly sick – and five million die – every year from lung and intestinal diseases, due to breathing smoke from open fires and not having refrigeration, clean water and safe food. Hundreds of millions are starving or malnourished. Nearly 3 billion survive on a few dollars per day.

These destitute masses simply want to take their rightful, God-given places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people. Instead, they are being told that “wouldn’t be sustainable.” They’re being told that improving their health, living standards and life spans is less important than avoiding the “looming climate cataclysm” that “threatens the very survival” of our wildlife, civilization and planet.

These claims – and the false solutions being offered to dire problems that exist only in alarmist movies, press releases and computer models – examine only far-fetched risks that fossil fuels supposedly might cause. They never consider the numerous dangers and damages those fuels reduce, prevent or eliminate. These attitudes are anti-science, anti-human, unjust, unethical – and genocidal.

Noted observer of popular culture Clive James wraps up this fascinating book. Proponents of man-made climate catastrophe asked us for so many leaps of faith that they were bound to run out of credibility in the end, he says. And yet it would be unwise to think mankind’s capacity to believe in fashionable nonsense can be cured anytime soon. When this “threat” collapses, it will be replaced with another.

Al Gore, the IPCC, alarmist modelers and researchers, and EPA’s “social cost of carbon” scheme and carbon dioxide “endangerment” decision have all depended on the climate bogeyman. Eternal vigilance, education and pushback by the rest of us will be needed for years to come.

Via email

UK Energy Cost Review Turns Into Farce Before It Has Even Started

Green taxes which are blamed for adding up to £150 to every power bill will not be cut as the result of a government review of rising energy bills announced today.

Dieter Helm, an Oxford academic and critic of wind and solar power, has been hired to lead the official review of energy bills – but has been told he cannot suggest any “detailed” changes to green taxes.

Last week British Gas blamed the taxes for a huge rise in electricity bills for three million of its customers.
Electricity prices will increase by 12.5 per cent, adding £76 to the typical annual bill, from next month for British Gas’s customers.

The company said the cost of green subsidies levied on bills has created “significant pressures” and suggested that it had no choice but to respond by raising prices.

The UK is legally obliged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050.

Green levies on bills are used to pay for loft insulation schemes and subsidies for renewable energy projects.

The Tories have repeatedly threatened to take action to curb the costs of these environmental taxes, which were  reportedly branded “green cr*p” by former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2013.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, pledged to cap energy price rises for 17 million households during the election.

The Government said the review “will deliver on Government’s commitment to consider how to keep energy costs as low as possible”.

The terms of reference of the review “will consider the key factors affecting energy bills, including but not limited to energy and carbon pricing, energy efficiency, distributed generation, regulation of the networks, innovation and R&D”.

But it added: “The review will not propose tax changes.”

The review also said that the Government’s “carbon targets need to be met, while concurrently ensuring security of supplies of energy, in the most cost effective way”.

But it said its recommendations had to be on “how these objectives can be met in the power sector at minimum cost and without imposing further costs on the Exchequer”.

Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services for Which?, said: “It is right to look at how to keep costs down, but yet another review is going to be cold comfort to the millions overpaying on their energy bills right now.

“Consumers need to see urgent action from the Government and regulator to tackle the lack of competition in the market and to ensure they are getting a good deal.”

Will Hodson, co-founder of consumer collective The Big Deal which focuses on bringing down energy bills, added: “Energy prices are an urgent problem for British households right now. “With this review, the Government is simply kicking the can down the road.”


Child miners aged four living a hell on Earth so YOU can drive an electric car

Picking through a mountain of huge rocks with his tiny bare hands, the exhausted little boy makes a pitiful sight.

His name is Dorsen and he is one of an army of children, some just four years old, working in the vast polluted mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where toxic red dust burns their eyes, and they run the risk of skin disease and a deadly lung condition. Here, for a wage of just 8p a day, the children are made to check the rocks for the tell-tale chocolate-brown streaks of cobalt – the prized ingredient essential for the batteries that power electric cars.

And it’s feared that thousands more children could be about to be dragged into this hellish daily existence – after the historic pledge made by Britain to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040 and switch to electric vehicles.

It heralds a future of clean energy, free from pollution but – though there can be no doubting the good intentions behind Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s announcement last month – such ideals mean nothing for the children condemned to a life of hellish misery in the race to achieve his target.

Dorsen, just eight, is one of 40,000 children working daily in the mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The terrible price they will pay for our clean air is ruined health and a likely early death.

Almost every big motor manufacturer striving to produce millions of electric vehicles buys its cobalt from the impoverished central African state. It is the world’s biggest producer, with 60 per cent of the planet’s reserves.

The cobalt is mined by unregulated labour and transported to Asia where battery manufacturers use it to make their products lighter, longer-lasting and rechargeable.

The planned switch to clean energy vehicles has led to an extraordinary surge in demand. While a smartphone battery uses no more than 10 grams of refined cobalt, an electric car needs 15kg (33lb).

Goldman Sachs, the merchant bank, calls cobalt ‘the new gasoline’ but there are no signs of new wealth in the DRC, where the children haul the rocks brought up from tunnels dug by hand.

Adult miners dig up to 600ft below the surface using basic tools, without protective clothing or modern machinery. Sometimes the children are sent down into the narrow makeshift chambers where there is constant danger of collapse.

Cobalt is such a health hazard that it has a respiratory disease named after it – cobalt lung, a form of pneumonia which causes coughing and leads to permanent incapacity and even death.

Even simply eating vegetables grown in local soil can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, thyroid damage and fatal lung diseases, while birds and fish cannot survive in the area.

No one knows quite how many children have died mining cobalt in the Katanga region in the south-east of the country. The UN estimates 80 a year, but many more deaths go unregistered, with the bodies buried in the rubble of collapsed tunnels. Others survive but with chronic diseases which destroy their young lives. Girls as young as ten in the mines are subjected to sexual attacks and many become pregnant.

When Sky News investigated the Katanga mines it found Dorsen, working near a little girl called Monica, who was four, on a day of relentless rainfall.

Dorsen was hauling heavy sacks of rocks from the mine surface to a growing stack 60ft away. A full sack was lifted on to Dorsen’s head and he staggered across to the stack. A brutish overseer stood over him, shouting and raising his hand to threaten a beating if he spilt any.

With his mother dead, Dorsen lives with his father in the bush and the two have to work daily in the cobalt mine to earn money for food.

Dorsen’s friend Richard, 11, said that at the end of a working day ‘everything hurts’.

In a country devastated by civil wars in which millions have died, there is no other way for families to survive. Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) is donating £10.5million between June 2007 and June 2018 towards strengthening revenue transparency and encouraging responsible activity in large and small scale artisanal mining, ‘to benefit the poor of DRC’.

There is little to show for these efforts so far. There is a DRC law forbidding the enslavement of under-age children, but nobody enforces it.

The UN’s International Labour Organisation has described cobalt mining in DRC as ‘one of the worst forms of child labour’ due to the health risks.

Soil samples taken from the mining area by doctors at the University of Lubumbashi, the nearest city, show the region to be among the ten most polluted in the world. Residents near mines in southern DRC had urinary concentrates of cobalt 43 higher than normal. Lead levels were five times higher, cadmium and uranium four times higher.

The worldwide rush to bring millions of electric vehicles on to our roads has handed a big advantage to those giant car-makers which saw this bonanza coming and invested in developing battery-powered vehicles, among them General Motors, Renault-Nissan, Tesla, BMW and Fiat-Chrysler.

Chinese middle-men working for the Congo Dongfang Mining Company have the stranglehold in DRC, buying the raw cobalt brought to them in sacks carried on bicycles and dilapidated old cars daily from the Katanga mines. They sit in shacks on a dusty road near the Zambian border, offering measly sums scrawled on blackboards outside – £40 for a ton of cobalt-rich rocks – that will be sent by cargo ship to minerals giant Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt in China and sold on to a complex supply chain feeding giant multinationals.

Challenged by the Washington Post about the appalling conditions in the mines, Huayou Cobalt said ‘it would be irresponsible’ to stop using child labour, claiming: ‘It could aggravate poverty in the cobalt mining regions and worsen the livelihood of local miners.’

Human rights charity Amnesty International also investigated cobalt mining in the DRC and says that none of the 16 electric vehicle manufacturers they identified have conducted due diligence to the standard defined by the Responsible Cobalt Initiative.

Encouragingly, Apple, which uses the mineral in its devices, has committed itself to treat cobalt like conflict minerals – those which have in the past funded child soldiers in the country’s civil war – and the company claims it is going to require all refiners to have supply chain audits and risk assessments. But Amnesty International is not satisfied. ‘This promise is not worth the paper it is written on when the companies are not investigating their suppliers,’ said Amnesty’s Mark Dummett. ‘Big brands have the power to change this.’

After DRC, Australia is the next biggest source of cobalt, with reserves of 1million tons, followed by Cuba, China, Russia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Car maker Tesla – the market leader in electric vehicles – plans to produce 500,000 cars per year starting in 2018, and will need 7,800 tons of cobalt to achieve this. Sales are expected to hit 4.4 million by 2021. It means the price of cobalt will soar as the world gears itself up for the electric car revolution, and there is evidence some corporations are cancelling their contracts with regulated mines using industrial technology, and turning increasingly to the cheaper mines using human labour.

After the terrible plight of Dorsen and Richard was broadcast in a report on Sky News, an emotive response from viewers funded a rescue by children’s charity Kimbilio. They are now living in a church-supported children’s home, sleeping on mattresses for the first time in their lives and going to school.

But there is no such happy ending for the tens of thousands of children left in the hell on earth that is the cobalt mines of the Congo.


Why the Left Can't Solve Global Warming

Greens are more interested on assigning blame than looking for fixes

Environmentalists have been waxing apocalyptic about global warming for several decades now. But what do they have to show for it? America's president just pulled out of the Paris climate accord, leaving a rudderless and bereft global movement. And even if he hadn't, the nation has little appetite for meaningful political action on climate change. Why have environmentalists failed so utterly to push their cause forward after all this time?

Because they've gone about it all wrong. Instead of treating global warming like a problem that needs to be addressed regardless of what caused it, the green left has been more obsessed with establishing humanity's culpability and embracing ever more extreme and painful mitigation steps, as if they were more concerned with punishing the perpetrators than solving the problem.

Global warming guru Al Gore in 1992 called for the elimination of the internal combustion engine from the planet in 25 years. But the accursed engine is nowhere close to going away given that auto sales (and not hybrids and electrics) are projected to grow for decades to come. Many environmentalists want to eradicate fossil fuels. This will never happen—or at least won't happen for a long, long time—especially in emerging economies that need cheap fuel to spur development and deliver decent living standards.

Undeterred, liberals are now saying that we should save the planet by having fewer kids, each of whom creates 58 tons of carbon dioxide each year (more for American parents). This is a ludicrous suggestion that will further drive a wedge between middle-class Americans who live for their families and yuppie, green Americans who live for the enviroment.

But the further problem with all these remedies is that they suffer from what's called the collective action problem. Take, for example, forgoing children: If some people forgo but others don't, the former will suffer a deep personal loss and the planet will be no better off. Hence everyone waits for someone else to go first and the "solution" doesn't even get off the ground.

If environmentalists want to succeed, they'll have to begin by transforming their own attitudes, focusing less on asking people to sacrifice to save the planet, and focusing much more on smart technological solutions that solve our climate problem without asking so much from us.

Morally shaming people into voluntary action doesn't work. And the more attached people are to the things that they are being shamed into giving up, the less effective this strategy.

Environmentalists' other strategy to overcome the collective action problem is government coercion to force polluters to cease and desist. But governments, especially democratic ones, don't have carte blanche to inflict endless pain on their citizens without being booted out. That's why Europe's cap-and-trade scheme—under which each industry got a free carbon quota beyond which it had to buy offsets from less polluting companies with permits to spare—has shown pathetic results. Countries simply gamed the program to give their industries a reprieve. A global carbon tax, though in theory a less messy solution, has even less chance of ever being embraced for all kinds of reasons, including that poor countries will expect rich countries to impose a higher tax because they caused the problem in the first place, while rich countries will expect poor countries to shoulder more of the burden as they are currently the bigger polluters. (Given that many global warming warriors fancy themselves to be progressives fighting for the underdog, they should bear in mind that in this battle, might will prevail over right and poor countries will have to face the brunt.)

If the environmental movement is serious about addressing climate change, it will have to forget about the fact that humans caused (and are causing) the warming and think of our problem like a meteor strike—a catastrophic event that humanity did not cause but from which it has to be saved. In other words, enviros will have to look for technological fixes that don't depend on the environmental equivalent of Mao's cultural revolution to get people to embrace carbon-free lifestyles.


A curious blend of doom and optimism

Rob Lyons

Veteran green Stewart Brand’s new book proves a surprisingly useful source of arguments and facts against green dogmas. But critics of environmentalism should still be wary of him

Every day, I wonder how many things I am dead wrong about.’

Stewart Brand approvingly takes this line from a novel, True North, and it sums up his own mindset - at least, to some extent. Brand was one of the early, high-profile environmentalists. He graduated from Stanford University in 1960 with a degree in biology, his specialty being evolution and ecology. (One of his tutors there was Paul Ehrlich, later author of The Population Bomb.) From 1966, Brand campaigned for NASA to release a rumoured photo of the whole Earth, a photograph finally taken in 1968, and an image that helped to inspire the first Earth Day in 1970. His Whole Earth Catalog, first published in 1968, provided details of suppliers for all the essentials of life -  if one wanted to be a treehugging hippy, that is.

Unlike many greens, however, Brand appears always to have been something of a technophile, and he mixed with many of the people who helped to create the World Wide Web. The journal he founded in 1974, CoEvolution Quarterly, included many technological pioneers, and promoted a positive attitude towards technology. If our thinking about technology could be radically altered, the journal argued, it could resolve many environmental problems.

In Whole Earth Discipline, this idea is expressed as a kind of Jekyll-and-Hyde attitude towards the future. Brand manages to be both profoundly reactionary and thrillingly optimistic. His mix of science and misanthropy is reminiscent of James Lovelock (whom Brand refers to frequently in the book as ‘Jim’).

The book’s introduction is profoundly downbeat. Brand cites the Harvard archaeologist Steven LeBlanc’s argument that warfare is pretty much a natural state for humanity: ‘In all societies from hunter-gatherers on up through agricultural tribes, then chiefdoms, to early complex civilisations, 25 per cent of adult males routinely died from warfare. No one wanted to fight, but they were constantly forced to choose between starvation and robbing the neighbours. Their preferred solution was the total annihilation of the neighbors.’ LeBlanc’s thesis is that such wars were necessary because humans ‘always outstrip the carrying capacity of their natural environment and then have to fight over resources’.

Peace breaks out when the pressure on resources is reduced, suggests LeBlanc, either through a technological breakthrough or a major plague. In that respect, the Black Death was good news for Europe. In turn, after a period of relative peace in historical terms - over the past three centuries, just three per cent of the world’s people have died in wars - Brand argues that the future could bring a shift back to conflict if climate change sharply reduces the Earth’s carrying capacity. ‘If we do nothing or not enough’, writes Brand, ‘we face a carrying-capacity crisis leading to a war of all against all, this time with massively lethal weapons and a dieback measured in billions’. No wonder Brand now lives on a tugboat in San Francisco Bay, a perfect vantage point to watch from as the proverbial excrement hits the fan.

Brand clearly sees the monster of climate change at every turn. There are lots of ways, he believes, in which the climate could suddenly ‘tip’ from our currently benign conditions into something much more difficult to cope with. ‘Climate is so full of surprises, it might even surprise us with a hidden stability. Counting on that, though, would be like playing Russian roulette with all the chambers loaded but one.’ Chatting to ‘Jim’ Lovelock on the phone, the Gaia theorist warns Brand that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been too optimistic. Lovelock tells him: ‘I don’t think there’s much doubt at all now, amongst those few of us that have worked on the problem, that the system is in the course of moving to its stable hot state, which is about five degrees Celsius globally higher than now.’ Lovelock suggests that would leave the Earth with a carrying capacity for human life of less than a billion people.

How can we stop this disaster occurring? Brand turns to materials scientist Saul Griffith, who explains how we need to replace all our methods of producing energy at present with very low-carbon alternatives. Unfortunately, that task sounds close to impossible, requiring that an area the size of America is covered in wind farms, solar cells and sunlight-concentrating mirrors, biofuel tanks and nuclear reactors. Griffith tells Brand: ‘Industrially, humanity has the collective capacity. But politically, I don’t see how… But we have to try. Why else bother to be human and be in this game?’

Brand argues that the task is not impossible, but requires absolute urgency. ‘Forty years ago, I started the Whole Earth Catalog with the words, “We are as gods, and might as well get good at it.” Those were innocent times. New situation, new motto: “We are as gods and have to get good at it.” The Whole Earth Catalog encouraged individual power; Whole Earth Discipline is more about aggregate power.’

This mix of climate change panic and politics, based on the demand that ‘we must do this, because the science says so’, has become the mainstay of environmentalism for the past couple of decades. But just when I was tempted to toss the book away - the recycling bag seemed an apt receptacle - Brand then spent the bulk of it laying into some of the totems of the environmental movement. If you took a scalpel to the introduction and the last part of the book, what you would be left with is a source book of facts and arguments on the failings of environmentalist ideas that could easily be renamed The Debater’s Guide to Why Greens Talk Rubbish.

Brand opens this section with a defence of cities. A familiar theme of recent years has been the realisation amongst many greens that cramming people into cities reduces their ‘ecological footprint’ considerably. Brand talks about this as if the aim should be to quarantine as many polluting humans as possible in urban areas. Nonetheless, he does recognise that there are human advantages of cities, too, and does a pretty good job of updating Marx and Engels’ dictum from The Communist Manifesto that capitalism had rescued people from the ‘idiocy of rural life’. To that end, Brand quotes the words of BR Ambedkar, the leader of the ‘untouchables’ who helped to write India’s constitution in the Forties. Ambedkar described villages as a cesspool, ‘a den of ignorance, narrow-mindedness and communalism’.

Brand recounts how his own ‘Gandhiesque romanticism about villages’ was turned upside down by the head of the Global Fund for Women in 2001, who remarked at a conference: ‘In the village, all there is for a woman is to obey her husband and relatives, pound millet, and sing. If she moves to town, she can get a job, start a business, and get education for her children.’ Rural and small-town life sucks, it seems, and people are voting with their feet. Brand notes how he asks travellers returning from remote places for their impressions, and gets the same universal report: ‘The villages of the world are emptying out, everywhere.’ In the past few years, the world has passed an important milestone: today, more people live in cities than in the countryside.

The upshot of this is that not only do people have a lower eco-footprint, but there are simply fewer of them, too. Brand notes that fertility rates plummet when people move to towns. In the impoverished countryside, women must have lots of children to provide a family workforce, give parents security in old age and, more brutally, because so many children die in their first few years of life. In the city, where space is at a premium, but where there are also many different means of support, the opposite is true: small families are better. Already, the assumption that world population will peak at nine billion is being questioned. Indeed, for a host of developed countries, declining population is a serious possibility as birth rates fall well below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. Even in the developing world, the rise of the city has meant that birth rates are dropping much faster than expected. You might decide to live in a remote village and pretend that this is a greener way of life, but Brand argues well that this impression is the exact opposite of the truth.

Brand is similarly scathing of the rejection of nuclear power. This section is, to some extent, a mea culpa: Brand was as vigorous in opposing nuclear as any other environmentalist in the Seventies. Yet a cool look at nuclear’s safety record shows that those green fears were totally misplaced. Nuclear is in fact far safer than other forms of power production. The stumbling block for many environmentalists, as Brand notes, has always been the issue of nuclear waste. Yet a trip with the board of his Long Now Foundation to Yucca Mountain Repository, 100 miles north-west of Las Vegas, changed Brand’s view completely. There is simply no need to bury waste in a vault that will last for 10,000 years when the waste can be stored at or near the surface safely. Moreover, there’s every chance that in the not-too-distant future, that waste could be reused as fuel. Why make assumptions about the needs or capabilities of future generations now?

With waste disposal reinterpreted as a manageable problem, and nuclear looking like a safe, reliable, low-carbon energy source, Brand notes: ‘My opinion on nuclear had flipped from anti to pro. The question I ask myself now is, What took me so long? I could have looked into the realities of nuclear power many years earlier, if I weren’t so lazy.’ Now Brand sides with the daddy of climate change alarmism, James Hansen, who wrote to President Obama as he took office in 2009: ‘The danger is that the minority of vehement anti-nuclear “environmentalists” could cause development of advanced safe nuclear power to be slowed such that utilities are forced to continue coal-burning in order to keep the lights on. That is a prescription for disaster.’ While Hansen is a fine one to be talking about irrational panic mongering, it is no surprise to find that more and more greens are changing their positions on nuclear.

Brand reserves his greatest scorn for those who oppose genetic engineering of crops. He provides chapter and verse on the advantages of developing new foods in this way, noting at the start of this section: ‘I dare say the environmental movement has done more harm with its opposition to genetic engineering than with any other thing we’ve been wrong about. We’ve starved people, hindered science, hurt the natural environment, and denied our own practitioners a crucial tool. In defence of a bizarre idea of what is “natural”, we reject the very thing Rachel Carson encouraged us to pursue - the new science of biotic controls. We make ourselves look as conspicuously irrational as those who espouse “intelligent design” or ban stem-cell research, and we teach that irrationality to the public and to decision makers.’ In the chapters on genetics, Brand provides as good a popular defence of GM crops as you’re likely to find, and it is particularly striking to find it coming from a green viewpoint.

Given his technophilic outlook, Brand worries about the dominant romantic philosophy of the green movement. ‘The romantics identify with natural systems; the scientists study natural systems. The romantics are moralistic, rebellious against the perceived dominant power, and dismissive of any who appear to stray from the true path. They hate to admit mistakes or change direction… [scientists] are easily ignored, suppressed or demonised when their views don’t fit the consensus story line.’ He notes the relentless paradigm of decline that began long before there were environmentalists - in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Spengler and Heidegger amongst others - that finds its strongest contemporary expression with environmentalists.
Brand even frets about the comfortable fit between green ideas and Nazism. Brand notes that the biologist Ernst Haeckel, who coined the term oekologie back in 1866, ‘championed eugenics and selective euthanasia to purge an imperilled Europe of “degenerates such as Jews and Negroes”’. There is no necessary connection between environmentalism and Nazism by any means, but as one of Brand’s colleagues notes, ‘there are lots of ways in which the two movements can and have connected historically’.

Given the almighty kicking that Brand gives to some green shibboleths and to some of his past fellow travellers, you might think that he should start to question some of his other ideas, too. Is climate change, for example, really the global disaster waiting to happen that Brand suggests? His point that scientists - even within the green movement - who question the ‘consensus’ are ‘ignored, suppressed or demonised’ might have some consequences for the state of climate science, too. Perhaps he should have more sympathy for those scientists who (often tentatively) suggest that there are problems with the mainstream outlook on global warming.

But I suspect there is an element of ditching the past going on here, too. Environmentalism is now keen to be seen to be pro-science, a technocratic and pragmatic paradigm for running future societies; it is a ‘big idea’ that the political establishment can get behind, but one that is potentially very flexible in policy terms. It’s betrayed in Lovelock’s rather pompous phrase about the ‘few of us that have worked on the problem’ and Hansen’s dismissive quote marks around ‘environmentalists’ in his letter to Obama. This is really about the formation of a new elite that thinks it knows what is good for us. (Clearly, though, Brand has a self-confessed track record for not knowing what’s best for us.)

The last thing this new elite needs is a bunch of unwashed treehuggers running around and embarrassing them. Another Nazi parallel springs to mind: once its job was done, and the Nazis had wormed their way into government, Hitler was pretty quick to dispose of Ernst Rohm’s uppity Sturmabteilung or ‘brownshirts’. In other words: thanks very much for beating up the communists, now fuck off and die (literally). Brand’s assault on his erstwhile colleagues is in its own small way a reflection of a ‘Night of the Long Knives’ within the green movement.

Critics of the green movement would be wise to be cautious about Brand. At heart, he is still a green who wants to prostrate human society to the problem of climate change and thinks the real problem we face is too many people chasing too few resources. But the middle sections of Whole Earth Discipline are still a great read for anyone who believes in the capacity of humanity to understand and control nature in order to improve our lot. Just don’t forget the scalpel.




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, 2017

Electric cars won’t get us very far. Because they can’t

When I heard the government’s announcement that petrol and diesel cars are to be banned from 2040, I resorted, as I often do for entertainment, to the British Pathé news archive. I found a 1967 film showing trials of a prototype electric Mini, as well as a similar experiment from Ford. Then came this rather delicious prediction, delivered in clipped tones: ‘In the next few years there is the prospect of seeing millions of them on the road.’

The hype over electric cars has been going on a long time. Had Harold Wilson been moved by it and done what Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, has just done, he would have passed a law banning petrol and diesel cars from 1990 — and the country would have been virtually immobilised when that year arrived. Why create a hostage to fortune now? The Conservative manifesto, published in May, suggested merely: ‘We want almost every car and van to be zero emission by 2050, and will invest £600 million by 2020 to help achieve it.’ Yet with the introduction of the government’s plan for tackling nitrogen oxide emissions, published last week, that position has rapidly evolved into a pre-announced outright ban, which echoed a declaration by the French government early last month.

I don’t have any repressed emotional need for the throaty roar of a V8 exhaust pipe. In common with millions of motorists I would happily swap my antisocial diesel Citroën estate for an electric model tomorrow were it not for two problems. First is the cost of batteries. Take the Nissan Leaf, the world’s best-selling electric car. Nissan’s website quotes a list price for the base model of £16,680. This, it turns out, excludes the batteries. You can either rent these from Nissan at a cost of £80 to £90 a month, depending on what mileage you cover, or you can buy the batteries at a further cost of £5,000. Nissan can only sell its electric cars at this price, however, thanks to a government subsidy of £4,500 per car. Without this subsidy, and including the cost of the batteries, your Nissan Leaf would cost £26,180.

Nissan doesn’t make a petrol version of the Leaf — perhaps to avoid a direct comparison — but the nearest equivalent, the Micra, retails at less than half this: £11,995 for the base, petrol model. No doubt there is scope to reduce the manufacturing costs of electric cars and batteries, but it is difficult to see them attracting willing consumers unless the industry can first overcome the other fundamental problem with electric cars: their range, or rather, lack of it.

According to the Nissan website, a Leaf will do 124 miles between recharges, after which it will have to be plugged in for a minimum of four hours (if you install a special recharging point in your garage, assuming you have a garage) or 12 hours from an ordinary electric socket. If you are able to find a rapid recharging point, a device which has been installed at a motorway service station, for example, it is possible to achieve an 80 per cent recharge in 30 minutes. It gets worse. The 124-mile range is only in test conditions. When the magazine What Car? tested the Leaf it found the car’s range in real road conditions to be between 70 and 80 miles. Top Gear tested a more upmarket model which claimed to have a range of 155 miles and found that it managed 90 miles. This was when the batteries were new. Over time, the charge they can hold tends to decline. Longer-term owners on various green websites have found their Leafs to cover only 45 miles (a vehicle which had covered 52,000 miles, tested at 70 mph) and 30 to 35 miles (in a car which had covered 90,000 miles).

Battery technology will improve, but you can’t assume that will happen fast enough to meet the 23-year deadline. After all, engineers have been grappling with the problem for 50 years. They managed to improve the range compared with the 1960s prototypes, which could only manage 35 miles between charges, but progress has stalled since 1996 when General Motors produced an electric car called the EV1, with a 100- to 140-mile range. The EV1 won devotees among celebrities and environmentalists — yet GM, which leased the cars rather than sold them, recalled the lot and crushed them.

The same devotees now flock around Tesla, the Silicon Valley company set up by the PayPal billionaire Elon Musk. The company has never made a profit, yet in April it overtook the $50 billion market valuation of General Motors. Tesla claims to have 400,000 pre-orders for what would be its first mass-market car, the Model 3 — its waiting list stretching into next year. Again, though, the problem is range. Tesla claims it will be able to travel 215 miles between recharges. As with Nissans, however, that is a little hopeful — one owner of a four-year-old earlier Tesla model, claimed to have a range of 245 miles, says he can’t get beyond 150 miles.

If the problems of range and battery cost can be solved, the government’s ban on petrol and diesel cars would not be a problem. But then neither would it be necessary, because motorists would go electric anyway. Mile for mile, running an electric car is already far cheaper than running a petrol car — Nissan suggests less than 2p a mile if the electricity is bought off-peak, compared with over 10p for petrol or diesel. Servicing costs are also markedly lower.

A lot of this disparity, however, is down to tax on road fuel — which accounts for 67 per cent of the price of a litre of unleaded.   If this revenue stream dries up, the government will have to find other taxes to impose on us. The low cost of electricity is thanks to the fact that most of it is still generated from cheap fossil fuels. From an environmental point of view, a switch to electric cars only makes sense if the electricity used to power them is produced by renewable means. National Grid, which has responsibility for the electricity distribution system, estimates that electric cars, should they become ubiquitous, will require a peak demand of between 6GW and 18GW — this on top of the 60GW peak demand which can currently be satisfied.

The lower figure assumes that owners of electric cars recharge their machines mostly with off-peak electricity. That seems unlikely, unless the range of the cars can be significantly extended. Extra power capacity can be built, but how much of it could be renewable? In 2016, only 9 per cent of electricity was generated by renewable means — and that includes waste burning, and the burning of wood pellets imported from the US, which cause about as much particulate pollution as diesel engines. Moreover, the more intermittent wind and solar generation that comes on stream, the more reliant we become on back-up sources of power — or vast banks of batteries. We now have 3.9GW back-up generating capacity provided by gas and, er, ‘diesel farms’ — ranks of diesel-powered generators. It would be somewhat ironic if the government managed to phase out diesel cars only to find that much of the electricity required to power them comes from diesel engines anyway.

Technology could change dramatically in 23 years. By then we might be able to drive 700 miles and then recharge in minutes. Or, like nuclear fusion, which has spent the past 50 years being just around the corner, electric vehicles may turn out to be the great hope which never quite materialises. We just don’t know. Given that, wouldn’t it have been a better idea to keep the abolition of petrol and diesel cars as an aspiration rather than to pre-announce a ban? The ban is an example of a novel form of policy-making which began with the Climate Change Act in 2008 — where government makes laws to take effect at some point in the future on the assumption that some uninvented technology becomes invented.

Nine years on from the Climate Change Act and with the 2050 target of reducing carbon emissions by 80 per cent now just 33 years away, we still have no idea whether it will be achievable. Defra wouldn’t quite answer my question asking when the 2040 ban was added to its plan for tackling pollution. Since it only appears in the introduction to the plan for reducing pollution, not in the body of the text, it has the air of a last-minute addition. Was it a pitch to appear virtuous on the international stage, or to emulate the French? Or was it a sop to car companies in order to secure post–Brexit investment? Remarkably, the announcement of a future ban on petrol and diesel cars came in the same week that, to the surprise of many, BMW said that the electric version of the Mini will be built in Britain.

Remember how Nissan announced last October that it would commit to building new cars in Britain, without anyone being sure what the government had promised in discussions with the company? That’s the same Nissan which staked $5.6 billion on developing the Leaf — many of which are built in Sunderland. How convenient that instead of Nissan having to compete for custom, motorists are suddenly going to be forced to buy the product in which the company has a market lead.

We will just have to hope that the electric car hype finally comes good. If not, don’t bother planning a long road trip after 2040.


Billions down the drain as new nuclear plants scrapped

Billions of dollars spent on two new nuclear reactors in South Carolina went up in smoke Monday when the owners nixed plans to finish them after years of delays and cost overruns, dealing a severe blow to the industry's future.

The reactors were set to be among the first built in the U.S. in decades. While the decision will save customers billions in additional costs, customers of the two utilities — Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas — may get little to nothing refunded of the billions they've already paid for the now-abandoned project.

"I'm disappointed today not just for Santee Cooper and its customers but for our country and the industry as a whole," said Santee Cooper CEO Lonnie Carter. "If you really believe we need to reduce carbon, this was the way to do it."

Energy demands are far less than the utility's pre-Great Recession projections that factored into the initial decision to build.

But Monday's decision may eventually result in the utility putting a coal-fired unit idled earlier this year back in operation. Another option for supplying power needs in the decades to come include building a natural gas unit.

"Absolutely, this pushes us back to more carbon, whether it's natural gas or coal," Carter said.

Santee Cooper's board said the decision to end construction will save customers an estimated $7 billion. The utility had already spent about $5 billion for its 45 percent share of the project, and completing it would have cost an additional $8 billion, plus $3.4 billion in interest.

"I'm not celebrating," said Tom Clements of Friends of the Earth, which has questioned the project from the outset. "This is a sad day for South Carolina. So much money has been wasted. Ratepayers are losers any way you take it."

He said the group will work to "get to the bottom line of how this happened, who's responsible" and what that means for customers.

Gov. Henry McMaster called for legislators to hold hearings to get customers' questions answered.

The project has been shrouded in doubt since earlier this year, when primary contractor Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy protection.

The utilities have since determined the project likely wouldn't have been finished until 2024. Under a timeline adopted in 2012, the first reactor was supposed to be operational earlier this year. Westinghouse hasn't been forthright since, according to Santee Cooper.

South Carolina Electric & Gas, which owns 55 percent, announced its plans shortly after Santee Cooper's unanimous vote. SCANA, SCE&G's parent company, will seek approval from regulators Tuesday about their abandonment plans.

Under the approved Santee Cooper resolution, all work will end within six months. How quickly within that timeframe workers at the site will lose their jobs is uncertain.

About 5,000 people are employed at the site by contractors and subcontractors. SCE&G employs an additional 600 workers for the project, according to the utility.

The utilities announced last week that Westinghouse's parent company, Toshiba Corp., agreed to jointly pay them $2.2 billion regardless of whether the reactors are ever completed.

Santee Cooper will use its $1 billion share from Toshiba — to be collected between October and 2022 — to lower customers' future costs, Carter said. But it's unclear if that will translate to lower bills. Rates are rising due to environmental projects, and the money could offset either those costs or debt, Carter said.

SCE&G will use the money to ensure customers see no increase in their bills for at least the next several years, SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh told investors Monday afternoon.

But another unknown is whether Toshiba will actually pay. In May, the Tokyo-based company projected a 1.01 trillion yen ($9.2 billion) loss for the fiscal year that ended in March.

The reactors were planned for the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station north of Columbia. Construction contracts with Westinghouse were signed in 2008, and the project was so far about one-third completed.

Environmental groups have called on state regulators to order SCE&G to abandon the projects. They also want customers to be refunded at least some of the billions they'd paid upfront through rates that have increased yearly since 2009. A hearing on that request is set for October.

A 2007 state law allows electric utilities to collect money from customers to finance a project before it generates power. Construction now accounts for 18 percent of the electric bills of SCE&G's residential customers.

Santee Cooper has increased rates five times to pay for the escalating costs. But the Public Service Commission has no authority over the state-owned utility.

Whether the commission can order the utility to refund customers and how much are matters of debate. That could require proof the utility gave regulators faulty information.

Last month, Toshiba agreed to pay $3.7 billion toward two nuclear reactors in Georgia that also were being built by Westinghouse.


State agrees with Trump administration to delay long-awaited water pollution rules

Shock!  Costs matter

A landmark plan to curb pollution in lakes, rivers, and streams throughout Massachusetts that was to take effect last month after nearly a decade of negotiations among local, state, and federal authorities has been delayed for at least another year. And it could be at risk of being weakened or eliminated by the Trump administration.

This week, state officials said they would follow the lead of the US Environmental Protection Agency, which announced earlier this summer that it would not implement the plan until at least next July.

State officials had the option of pressing ahead, which would have required 260 Massachusetts municipalities to reduce storm water runoff into their storm drains, steps that some cities and towns said could cost them millions of dollars a year and thousands of hours of their employees’ time.

The plan, which seeks to ensure that municipalities comply with the federal Clean Water Act, would require towns and cities to remove illegal sewer connections to storm drains, improve street sweeping, increase public education, and take other steps to cut the volume of storm water entering sewer systems.

“When the federal government abdicates its responsibility to protect the environment, it’s time for the state to step up,” said Julia Blatt, executive director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, an advocacy group in Boston.

“But instead, the state has stepped back by refusing to stand up for clean water in Massachusetts. Storm water is the biggest pollution problem we have, and it’s the reason why more than half of our rivers and streams don’t meet water quality standards. It’s awful that the state is not leading on this.”

In 2014, the EPA estimated that urban municipalities would be required to spend between $1.1 million and $2.5 million to comply with regulations under the so-called National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. Suburban and rural towns would pay less.

Geoffrey Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, has worried that some local governments would struggle to pay for it without slashing services or increasing local taxes.

He called the rules “an unfunded mandate” and said the Baker administration made the right decision in delaying the plan. He said municipalities may have sued the state had officials implemented the regulations.

“The communities are going to need the resources to be able to do this, and our most significant concern has been a lack of any federal resources to back up the requirements,” Beckwith said.

At the end of June, EPA officials announced they were delaying the rules, issued by what they call an MS4 permit, saying they were complying with requests from municipalities such as Lowell and Franklin that have opposed the plan.

“EPA finds justice requires postponing . . . the Massachusetts permit for one year pending judicial review,” wrote Deborah Szaro, the agency’s acting regional administrator in New England. “Postponing the effective date . . . should give EPA ample time to determine what, if any, changes are appropriate in the permit and to determine next steps.”

The delay follows sweeping changes at the EPA since President Trump was inaugurated that have included a raft of decisions to roll back or block environmental policies issued during the Obama administration.

In June, for example, the EPA suggested it would reverse a decision that would have required General Electric Co. to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up the Housatonic River, which the company polluted for decades from its plant in the Berkshires. As with its plan to reduce water pollution, the agency has called for reopening negotiations that might reduce the scope of the regulations and their costs.

It was unclear until Tuesday whether the state would implement the storm water rules on its own. That was when Martin Suuberg, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, announced the delay at a meeting of the Massachusetts Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition in Worcester.

In an e-mail to the Globe, DEP officials said the agency’s decision to “conform its implementation schedule to the federal schedule” was “consistent with longstanding administrative practice.”

They said they felt free to do that because “no legal challenges to the change in the federal schedule have been brought.”

Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the department, said more than 50 of the state’s municipalities have supported DEP’s decision.

“In an effort to avoid duplicative or contradictory requirements with federal permit requirements, MassDEP has historically acted in concert with federal permit requirements,” he wrote. “As EPA has already stated that it won’t act for a year, requiring cities and towns to file [notice of plans] now with the state would be arbitrary.”

Massachusetts, one of just four states that do not directly oversee how much pollution enters its waters, is now seeking such authority from the EPA. State officials say that would give Massachusetts more independence in regulating water quality.

The overall goal of the plan is to reduce elevated levels of phosphorus, nitrogen, metals, sediment, disease-causing bacteria, and other pollutants carried by storm water into rivers, including the Charles, Mystic, Neponset, Shawsheen, and other state waters.

Ultimately, environmental advocates say, it will mean fewer days that beaches and shellfish beds are closed due to high bacteria levels.

The plan would require municipalities to monitor what flows from their pipes into local water sources during dry and wet weather; inspect key manholes within 10 years to ensure they’re not spreading pollutants; and draft plans to detect and deal with illicit pollution within one year.

It also would require some communities and encourage others to improve the designs of their buildings and drainage systems. Environmental advocates lamented that it will now take at least another year for municipalities to take action to curb the pollution.

Ian Cooke, executive director of the Neponset River Watershed Association in Canton, said he worries the Trump administration might water down the rules or eliminate them.

Instead of allowing municipalities 10 years to comply with the rules, the EPA could give them 20 years. The agency could also relax the requirements for how cities and towns search for leaks.


The Humanitarian Hoax of Climate Change

The Humanitarian Hoax is a deliberate and deceitful tactic of presenting a destructive policy as altruistic. The humanitarian huckster presents himself as a compassionate advocate when in fact he is the disguised enemy.

Obama, the humanitarian huckster-in-chief, weakened and politicized the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for eight years by presenting his crippling policies as altruistic when in fact they were designed for destruction. His legacy, the Leftist Democratic Party with its "resistance" movement, is the party of the Humanitarian Hoax attempting to destroy American democracy and replace it with socialism.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established by executive order under President Richard Nixon in 1970 and then ratified in the House and Senate. The primary mission of the EPA was the protection of human health and the environment through writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by the US Congress. At that time in history the growing public awareness of environmental issues stimulated the creation of non-governmental environmental protection agencies as well. The most famous was Greenpeace which was created by environmental activists from Canada and the US.

To understand why huckster-in-chief Obama insisted and continues to insist that climate change is man-made and the greatest threat to America it is necessary to understand the huckster and the hoax.

The huckster:

Obama was groomed by the globalist elite to bring "hope and change" to America but it was not the hope or change that most Americans understood those words to mean. Barack Obama is a globalist and ideologically a radical socialist tutored in Saul Alinsky's 1971 "Rules for Radicals." Alinsky's "Rules" is the guidebook for social revolution and transforming a democratic America into a socialist state. Socialism with its cradle-to-grave government control is the necessary political structure before imposition of the globalist elite's end-game of one-world government. Barack Obama is a malignant narcissist whose self-aggrandizing personality made him the perfect puppet and most lawless president in US history. His stunning executive overreach was rivaled only by his greater crime of corrupting the impartiality of the US government by politicizing its agencies and using them to advance his personal political goals to weaken and destroy America. Barack Obama is a pawn of the globalist elites - the perfect con man.

The hoax: 

The Humanitarian Hoax of climate change is the whopper of the 21st century. It is a deliberate political scheme to transfer the wealth of industrialized nations (particularly the US) to non-industrialized nations. It is globalized socialism where the assets of productive nations are transferred to non-productive nations. WHY?

The answer is found in understanding the nature of the hoax which has two parts. First, it is necessary to focus attention on the fabricated specter of catastrophic climate occurrences that will devastate the planet to deflect attention away from the actual threats to America from a nuclear Iran, the spread of Islamic terrorism, and the economic instability of a an unsustainable trade deficit.

Second, Obama's long term plan of an internationalized globalized world requires the de-industrialization of America. His crippling energy restrictions were designed to weaken America's defenses by destroying America's energy industry, making us more dependent on foreign energy, and increasing our trade deficit to unsustainable levels. Obama actively supported the punitive anti-American Paris Climate Agreement deceitfully presented as the premier humanitarian effort to save the planet from catastrophic climate change. Obama disguised his crippling rules and regulations to destroy US energy as altruism and a humanitarian concern for the planet.  

In a laughable outburst Big Footprint former Vice President Al Gore attacked President Donald Trump accusing him of "tearing down America's standing in the world" by withdrawing from the Paris climate accord. Only in the eyes of a deceitful globalist can withdrawing from an anti-American agreement be considered destructive. Gore actually said with a straight face on NBC's Today Show, "The climate crisis is by far the most serious challenge we face." Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" is in fact a very "Convenient Lie."

Socialism with its complete government control is the prerequisite social structure for the globalist elite to internationalize the socialist countries, internationalize the police force, and impose enforced one-world government. One-world government is the new world order that the globalist elite intend to rule themselves. It is unapologetically described in chilling detail in Lord Bertrand Russell's 1952 book "The Impact of Science on Society." One-world government is a binary socio-political system of masters and slaves. There is no social justice in one-world government, there is no income equality in one-world government, there are no Leftists, environmentalists, humanitarian hucksters, or political agitators of any kind in one-world government - only a docile, compliant population of slaves ruled by the globalist elite.

One-world government is the goal and the underlying motive of the campaign to destroy America from within. American democracy is the single greatest existential threat to one-world government and President Donald Trump is America's leader. The globalist elite are desperate to stop Trump because if Obama is exposed as a con man it leaves them without their primetime huckster to continue marching America toward anarchy and social chaos with his "resistance" movement. The globalist elites who fund the leftist humanitarian hucksters are using them as useful idiots to facilitate the great Humanitarian Hoax of climate change worldwide that will create the overwhelming social chaos necessary to internationalize the police force and impose their own special brand of a new world order.  

Obama and his left-wing liberal lemmings are too arrogant to understand that they are being used as puppets by the globalist elite who have an end game of their own. If the globalist elite are successful in their efforts to weaken America and collapse the economy through an unsustainable trade deficit, overthrow the US government of President Donald Trump, and transform America into socialism the next step is globalist conquest and the imposition of one-world government.

After 241 years of American freedom the world will be returned to the dystopian existence of masters and slaves because a willfully blind American public was seduced by the Humanitarian Hoax of climate change - the "Inconvenient Truth" told by leftist humanitarian hucksters promising to save the planet. The Humanitarian Hoax will have succeeded in killing America with kindness and a "Convenient Lie."


Hypocrisy Alert: Gore's Astounding Carbon Footprint

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose — that’s the French phrase for “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Such is the case for Al Gore. In 2007, Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize for his first propaganda documentary effort, “An Inconvenient Truth.” He then pontificated, “The only way to solve this [environmental] crisis is for individuals to make changes in their own lives.”

Well, at the time we discovered that Gore’s massive 10,070-square-foot Colonial-style Nashville mansion consumes 20 times more electricity than the average American home. (He owns two other homes, too.) After getting blasted for such hypocrisy, Gore at least feigned efforts to mitigate his energy-hogging ways, installing solar panels and geothermal heating and making other costly “green” renovations that only elitists like Gore can afford. His 33 solar panels cost an estimated $60,000, for example, and yet they provide less than 6% of his monthly energy use. The geothermal heating system was even pricier at an estimated $90,000.

Just in time for the release of “An Inconvenient Sequel,” we learn that Gore’s efforts didn’t change much since 2007. In fact, the Gore Palace consumes more energy than it did a decade ago. According to the National Center for Public Policy Research, “Gore guzzles more electricity in one year than the average American family uses in 21 years.” Some months it’s far higher. “In September of 2016, Gore’s home consumed 30,993 kWh in just one month — as much energy as a typical American family burns in 34 months.” In fact, Gore uses enough electricity just heating his pool to “power six average U.S. households for a year.”

Drew Johnson, the author of the report, highlighted the rank hypocrisy: “It makes you wonder if he believes what he’s actually saying. Here’s a guy who’s basically exploited concerns about the environment to make $300 million dollars and win the Nobel Prize. It makes you wonder what his real agenda is.”

Johnson is deliberately understating the point. We don’t wonder what Gore’s real agenda is, because it’s obvious: vastly increase the power of government all while cashing in on a “crisis.”




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


6 August, 2017

Big money is behind decarbonization. We don’t need politicians (?)

An amusing article below from a Warmist intellectual in a desperate attempt to defend his patch. Jeffrey D. Sachs is University Professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.  His argument is that since some companies are ass-covering in case "renewables" take off, that means that a new age is dawning and the old one will wither away. 

He is taking comfort in small things where 97% of the world is paying only lip service to global warming.  The Paris agreement gives him a horn even though NOBODY actually seems to be doing anything about it. He ignores things like the burgeoning American  coal exports to Europe and all the coal-fired generators being built in "Green" Germany. As usual with Leftists you have to know what he leaves out.

He may for instance be right in saying that the Trans Canada pipeline may not be completed because it product will be too expensive but he slides over the reason why:  The cornucopia of inexpensive oil and gas produced by fracking.  It's SUCCESS of the evil fossil fuels that is at work, not their obsolescence.

And one has to chuckle at his naivety when he says that scientists "aim for truth rather than for power or wealth". In fairy tales, maybe. It would be more realistic to say that scientists aim primarily for promotion and research grants.  He obviously is unaware of the recent large literature on unreplicable research results.

And most amusing of all is his apparent belief that banks always get it right. Did 2008 tell him nothing?

His little essay is rather a pathetic and very premature declaration that his battle has been won.  One can admire his confidence but it is a desperate confidence built on sand

The world is moving to a low-carbon energy system built on wind, hydro, solar, and other zero-carbon sources and the electrification of transport, heating, and industry. Thirty years from now, today’s American fossil fuel giants — ExxonMobil, Chevron, TransCanada, Koch Industries, among others — will be shadows of today. Coal companies such as Peabody will be found only in the history books. President Trump’s attempts to protect the fossil fuel interests will have no success.

One can’t really be surprised at the arrogance of David and Charles Koch or the US Chamber of Commerce or the Republican leadership in their defense of a dying industry. For a century, Big Oil was king. Oil elected presidents, made fortunes, and stoked wars — indeed, many of them. Coal, oil, and gas powered the economy. It’s hard for this sector to believe it’s on the way out.

Yet facts are stubborn things. The climate is changing whether Trump likes it, believes it, and accepts it or not. Fossil fuels are the heart of the problem and will have to go. Trump tried mightily to break the Paris climate agreement in the lead-up to the G-20 meeting in Hamburg last month. He thought he’d peel away Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Indonesia — all fossil-fuel-producing nations. But Trump had no success. The G-20 went 19-1 against the US position; every other country declared the Paris agreement to be non-negotiable.

At the end of the day, the politicians are not the key to this drama. Scientists and engineers have the upper hand, the former because they aim for truth rather than for power or wealth, and the latter because they hold the real keys to the kingdom: the technological systems that make the modern economy function. Elon Musk, not Donald Trump, will do the most to shape the future of transportation. And Tesla’s moderately priced Model 3, out this week, will deliver another sharp blow to the fossil fuel lobby.

In the end, smart money will follow the scientists and engineers, not the politicians, and today’s smart money will be the future’s big money. All signs are that the smart money is already on the move toward low carbon. Here are some particulars.

First, JP Morgan announced this week that it would channel $200 billion into green investments, including wind and solar power, by 2025, as well as go to renewables in its own energy use. This is not only a considerable sum in its own right, but an important signal by America’s leading commercial bank about its bet on the future of the economy. It squares with the ongoing boom in global green-bond funding, which looks set to reach around $200 billion this year, roughly double of last year’s total.

Second, the fossil fuel investments that Trump is trying to resurrect look unlikely to rise from the dead. The biggest stakes are the Keystone XL Pipeline project of TransCanada, a proposed pipeline from the heavy oil sands of Alberta Canada to US refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Barack Obama closed down the project in 2015 because of its adverse impacts on global warming; Trump, with much bravado, issued an order this January to restore it.

The problem for Trump and Trans-Canada is that the world does not need, and cannot safely use, Canada’s oil sands. They are expensive to produce, result in high carbon emissions per unit of energy produced, and will have no market in the carbon-constrained world economy of the late 2020s and 2030s, when global energy consumers will be accelerating the shift to renewable energy. As Clint Eastwood might have said to TransCanada, “Go ahead, make my day.” If TransCanada puts down the billions to complete the pipeline, the company and its creditors will end up with a bankrupt project.

Even TransCanada is waking up to the hard truth. In its mid-year earnings call in July, the management disclosed that the company had not yet determined whether it would pursue the project, leaving the decision until the fall. The problem, it seems, is that it can’t be sure of customers down the road. Indeed.

We are in a time of rapid change — technological, economic, and political. The vested interests of the old order are resisting change, and Trump is resister in chief. But the direction of change is clear, and the industries of the future are already pushing aside the laggards.


A Greenie idea: The government should pay people not to reproduce

So there would be nobody to support the elderly?

A slightly alarming piece by an opinion columnist in the Dominion Post newspaper in New Zealand last week: It is entitled “Why the Greens should offer tax cuts for the childless”. For our, demographic, purposes, the real meat is from about halfway down where the columnist makes some slightly outdated assertions I would have thought:

“Strangely, in an overpopulated planet, more stigma is still attached to women who decide not to have children than to women who believe it is their right to breed, and expect a government handout to support them from the get-go.”
Of course, the notion of an overpopulated planet has been with us for many years, decades and centuries, yet with 8 billion people on the planet, the world has never been better fed and the standard of living of the planet overall is at historically undreamed-of levels. Furthermore, in a few short decades the demographic story is not going to be overpopulation, except in Africa. It will be demographic implosion. Just ask Elon Musk…Secondly, is it true that there is such stigma attached to women who decide not to have children? I would think that such women who can have children and choose not to are probably making the wrong decision as I contemplate the joys that my own children have brought me. But I don’t think I stigmatise them. And I certainly wouldn’t say anything. Furthermore, I have no idea why the women that I know who do not have children are in that situation, so for me to stigmatise them would be presumptuous in the extreme. But maybe I’m wrong, maybe there is such stigma out there that I’m not aware of…

But because the planet is overpopulated, the author believes that a better policy for the Greens to have announced would have been a tax break for the childless:

“Deciding to have none-in-the-oven and stop sucking the planet of its valuable resources is a more rational decision than putting pressure on an overtaxed environment. But still the childless are viewed as selfish. Surely it would have been more in keeping with the Greens’ pro-planet philosophy to award tax cuts to the childless? It’s not just the cows who are gross waste producers.”
Of course, who is going to be paying for the healthcare and the pensions of the childless in the decades to come? The children of those who decide to have them now (and don’t get a tax cut for it). Perhaps there is merit in such a tax cut scheme if it were introduced with a scheme that one’s entitlement to pensions and heathcare as an elderly person was linked to the number of taxpayers one had “bred”. The matriarch of 15 grandchildren would stand to benefit…Finally, there is a slight difference between cows and people. People are not “gross” waste producers. Or at least, they are not just such things. They are also producers, conservers, technological innovators, columnist, Green party leaders etc etc That is, to look as people as waste producers is to look at less than half the story. It is synecdoche without remembering that the part describes the whole and that the part is not the whole. One hopes that the Green party don’t read this column and start getting any ideas…


A common grassland species found in Greece benefits from elevated CO2 levels
Paper Reviewed: Kostopoulou, P. and Karatassiou, M. 2017. Lotus corniculatus L. response to carbon dioxide concentration and radiation level variations. Photosynthetica 55: 522-531.

Writing as background for their study, Kostopoulou and Karatassiou (2017) state that Lotus corniculatus L. (birdsfoot trefoil) is a common grassland species found in Greece that thrives under a variety of soil conditions, including hardpan, dry, moist, acid, saline and infertile soils. Agronomically, it is important "because of its high nutritive value, and the nonbloating features when grazed directly by livestock." Given its relative importance as a forage species, the two Greek researchers thus set out to examine how L. corniculatus might respond to future changes in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration.

To accomplish their objective Kostopoulou and Karatassiou measured a number of gas-exchange parameters (net photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance and intercellular CO2 concentration) under ambient (380 ppm) or elevated (800 ppm) CO2 on L. corniculatus plants growing at two separate field sites: a mountain grassland and a lowland grassland.

Results of their analysis revealed that elevated CO2 slightly reduced the transpiration rates of L. corniculatus at both sites (by 15% in the mountains and 3 % in the lowland). In addition, elevated CO2 marginally reduced stomatal conductance, by 4 % in the mountain location and 14% in the lowlands. Intercellular CO2 concentration and net photosynthetic rate, however, both experienced large increases under elevated CO2; intercellular CO2 increased by 90% in the mountains and by 122% in the lowlands, whereas the net photosynthetic rate increased by around 80% at both sites. Plant water use efficiency, calculated as the ratio of net photosynthetic rate over transpiration rate, increased by a whopping 116% for L. corniculatus plants growing in the mountain site and by a respectable 85% for the plants growing in the lowland site, which enhancements Kostopoulou and Karatassiou say will enable the plants "to use more efficiently the available water reserves under drought conditions."

All things considered, it would thus appear that this important grassland species will benefit from future increases in the air's CO2 concentration.



Four current reports below

Hundreds of thousands left in the dark as Adelaide suffers ANOTHER blackout

Ain't "renewable" power grand?

Parts of northern Adelaide are without power with police calling on motorists to take care as lights are out. Power is out across the city and early morning commuters are facing delays due to a number of traffic lights not working in the area.

Images have been posted to social media of baristas attempting to make coffee using the lights on their phones as they wait for power to return.

Motorists are advised to avoid O'Connell Street which is without working traffic lights, with Main North Road, Barton Terrace and Chapel Street also affected, South Australian police say.

Street lights are also out in the area, causing extremely dangerous conditions for drivers and pedestrians travelling in the area.

Major traffic delays are expected while the power problem is resolved.

The outage was first reported around 5am on Friday and has left approximately 268 properties without power.

It is the latest in a string of power failures in Adelaide, as the city seeks alternative energy systems including Musk's megawatt battery.

Diesel generators are being rushed to be installed in the city, but The Advertiser reported the nine 'state-of-the-art' turbines will lose 25 per cent of their capacity in extreme heat.

Premier Jay Weatherill said Tuesday the generators would be operational by December, but will lose a quarter of the 276MW production when temperatures exceed 40 degrees.

The forced blackouts Adelaide experienced in February this year were the result of a 41 degree day. South Australia went through a state-wide blackout in September last year.


Queenslanders blame renewable energy for rising power prices, Galaxy Poll finds

QUEENSLANDERS are blaming renewable energy for their surging power prices, forcing them to cut spending on holidays, dinners and clothes to cover the costs.

Most Queenslanders have also backed a proposal for a new coal-fired power station in the north of the state to help drive economic opportunities and bring down prices.

The findings from a new Galaxy Poll, commissioned exclusively for The Courier-Mail, are a bitter blow for the Palaszczuk Government which has hotly pursued a 50 per cent renewable energy target and condemned the costs of new coal-fired power.

Ahead of a crisis meeting on prices next week with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, energy retailers yesterday blamed the lack of a coherent national policy for forcing up costs.

The Reserve Bank also warned the rising price of electricity and gas would put pressure on inflation, hitting households with higher bills as well as increased costs passed on by business.

Queensland’s standard electricity tariff has surged from 14¢ per kWh with a $5.40 a month service fee to almost 26¢ per kWh and 87¢ a day over the last decade.

A typical Queensland customer will pay almost $2000 for power in 2017-18 while small businesses will pay $2550 after rises of 3.3 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

The Palaszczuk Government spared households from further price pain by absorbing the $770 million cost of the solar bonus scheme’s 44¢ feed-in tariff over the next three years. However, the high-priced home-produced power was forecast to add $4.1 billion to power bills overall.

The Galaxy Poll found 47 per cent of voters believed renewable energy was driving up their prices, while just 14 per cent thought solar, wind and other sources were keeping costs down.

It found 28 per cent believed renewables were having no impact.

One in three of Labor’s own supporters were critical of renewables.

Opposition was strongest at 62 per cent among One Nation voters, the key group both major parties are desperate to appeal to ahead of the looming state election.

The poll found 50 per cent of voters supported a coal-fired power station in north Queensland while 40 per cent were opposed. Support was strongest in regional Queensland and among LNP voters.

Respondents were also asked about the impact power bills was having on their spending. Voters identified little luxuries (43 per cent), holidays (42 per cent), eating out (37 per cent) and purchasing new clothes (33 per cent).

The impact escalated as household income declined, however those on more than $100,000 were also cutting their spending.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her Government had kept the electricity assets and increased concessions. “We kept our power generators in public hands and we are attracting new private sector investment in large-scale projects because we have energy security,” she said.

“The LNP liked coal-fired generation so much, they wanted to sell them off to overseas interests and those returns would have gone offshore as well.”

Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls blamed recent wholesale power price spikes on Labor’s decision to load up Government-owned generators with debt.

“Queenslanders know Labor’s headlong rush to a 50 per cent renewable energy target will just drive up prices even more, not to mention the risk that we will do a South Australia and battle to keep the lights on,” he said.

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren insisted the best way to put downward pressure on power prices was to introduce a “coherent national energy”.  “Recent power price increases are the result of old generators closing and the lack of a consistent plan as to how to replace them,” he said. “This is a national policy failure that has been a decade in the making.”

In its latest statement on monetary policy, the RBA also blamed a lack of investment caused by policy uncertainty for impacting prices. “Along with the direct effects on household utility bills, there will also be indirect effects on inflation as a result of rising business input costs,” it said.


ANOTHER coal mine in central Queensland has been given the green light

Meteor Downs South project had been given the go ahead by Sojitz

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the Meteor Downs South project had been given the go ahead by Sojitz Coal Mining and U&D Mining. It follows the green light for the $1.7 billion Byerwen project by QCoal and the restart of the Isaac Plains mine, the Blair Athol mine and Collinsville.

The project, about 45km southeast of Springsure, would be operated by Sojitz Corporation subsidiary SCM which also owns and operates the Minerva Mine, and is expected to generate 40 to 50 full time jobs for the local community when fully operational.

“The decision by Sojitz and U&D is more positive job and economic news for central Queensland communities,” he said. “This investment of more than $30 million represents another vote of confidence in our state, as we continue to see the sustainable development of our resources sector.

“For locals and families in towns like Springsure, Rolleston and across the surrounding region, this is a real shot in the arm.”

Dr Lynham said preliminary onsite activities for the project were expected to commence later this year, with construction expected to start in January 2018. “Once Meteor Downs reaches the production stage, the mine is expecting to export coal via the Port of Gladstone,” he said.

The mine will have an annual capacity of more than 1.5 million tonnes when fully operational and a mine life of about 10 years


Cut power prices or business will go bust, says Glencore boss

The nation’s biggest coalminer and copper producer, Glencore, has called for the abolition of the renewable energy target and suggested delaying Paris climate commitments as Australian industry struggles under the weight of rising power costs.

And in comments backed by big manufacturers, Glencore says Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s proposed clean energy target will not be enough to save heavy industry, which needs pricing concessions from policies designed to tackle emissions reductions.

Speaking in Sydney yesterday, Glencore’s senior Australia-based executive, its global coal chief Peter Freyberg, said 10 years of poor policy development was coming home to roost.

“Electricity prices have got to a level where many industries, both large and medium, are either suffering or are becoming uneconomic because of high energy prices,” he said. “Either we intervene now to protect those businesses or we let them go — that’s a government decision.”

He said the RET, which was put in place with bipartisan support, and state-based renewable targets needed to be abolished and a national energy policy that allowed exemptions for heavy industry put in place.

“All we have is a renewable ­energy target that is seeing billions of dollars chucked into ­renewables and baseload power being shut down,” he said. “We are seeing the consequence of that in elevated energy prices and businesses going out of business.”

He said that if something had to take a back seat in solving the so-called energy “trilemma” of ­affordability, reliability and emissions reductions, it should be emissions.

“Let’s get energy and affordability right and then work emissions reductions into that in an orderly way,” Mr Freyberg said.

“That way we can achieve emissions reductions by sustaining the economy rather than achieving it by destroying the economy.”

If exempting heavy industry from emissions targets meant a delay in meeting Paris climate accord commitments, that should be looked at, he said.

Glencore makes almost all its coal profits from exports so is not overly exposed to reductions in the nation’s coal-fired power use.

But its Australian electricity bill is about $400 million a year and power is a third of the costs at its Mount Isa copper smelter and Townsville copper refinery.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott, who has called for a freeze on the renewable energy target at 15 per cent, said low power prices were critical for industry. “You can’t run a business, you can’t produce a great product and can’t employ people without energy and without power,” Mr Abbott said yesterday. “We need affordable, reliable power and policy has to change.’’

Federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the Turnbull government was committed to the RET. “The government remains committed to the renewable energy target, as legislated in 2015, recognising that it was the Coalition that ensured a 100 per cent exemption for emissions-intensive trade-exposed businesses,” Mr Frydenberg said.

He said Mr Freyberg was “absolutely right” that affordable, reliable power must be the number one priority.

“We support his call for the abolition of state-based renewable energy targets which only create inefficiencies across the system,” he said.

The Coalition and the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council have supported 49 of the 50 Finkel recommendations.
But the last, the CET, has not cleared the Coalition partyroom, where there is concern it will push up prices by discouraging coal-fired generation.

The Glencore boss said Dr Finkel’s CET was not enough on its own to take care of energy policy, no matter where the target was set and whether or not it encouraged cleaner coal technologies.

“There are a number of unanswered questions in terms of the modelling and analysis in the review, such as ‘what is the assumed make-up and nature of Australia’s industrial base — and, just as importantly — what are the policy recommendations around future energy affordability’?” he said.

This was backed by Manufacturing Australia, which represents the chief executives of 10 of the nation’s biggest manufacturers, including BlueScope Steel, Brickworks, CSR, Rheem, Dulux and Incitec Pivot.

“The Finkel report had some good recommendations with regards to security and emissions, but it really misses the mark on affordability, or internationally competitive prices,” MA chief executive Ben Eade said.

Targets had been recommended for emissions, through the CET, and reliability, through obligations for reliability, but none for prices, he said.

“If success is measured in getting electricity prices down from $120 a megawatt hour to $100 a megawatt hour, that’s not going to be good enough for heavy industry,” Mr Eade said.

“We need a grown-up discussion about what an internationally competitive energy price is for heavy industry and we think it is in the $60 to $80 range.”

Rio Tinto’s global chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques, who has railed against the impact of power prices on his Queensland aluminium assets, said affordability was key.

“What we want is an affordable and reliable source of energy, we want to make sure that Australia is globally competitive,” Mr Jacques said.

Mr Freyberg last week increased Glencore’s Australian coal presence by taking a stake in Rio Tinto’s Hunter Valley coalmines.




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, 2017

We only have a 5 percent chance of avoiding ‘dangerous’ global warming, a study finds

This is just prophecy.  And we know how good Warmist prophecies are.  They haven't got one right yet.  Note some other prophecies following the one below.  They can't all be right but they could all be wrong

In recent years, it has become increasingly common to frame the climate change problem as a kind of countdown — each year we emit more carbon dioxide, narrowing the window for fixing the problem, but not quite closing it yet. After all, something could still change. Emissions could still start to plunge precipitously. Maybe next year.

This outlook has allowed, at least for some, for the preservation of a form of climate optimism in which big changes, someday soon, will still make the difference. Christiana Figureres, the former head of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change, recently joined with a group of climate scientists and policy wonks to state there are three years left to get emissions moving sharply downward. If, that is, we’re holding out hope of limiting the warming of the globe to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures, often cited as the threshold where “dangerous” warming begins (although in truth, that’s a matter of interpretation).

Yet a battery of recent studies call into question even that limited optimism. Last week, a group of climate researchers published research suggesting the climate has been warming for longer than we thought due to human influences — in essence, pushing the so-called “preindustrial” baseline for the planet’s warming backwards in time. The logic is clear: If the Earth has already warmed more than we thought due to human activities, then there’s even less remaining carbon dioxide that we can emit and still avoid 2 degrees of warming.

Two new studies published Monday, meanwhile, go further towards advancing this pessimistic view which asserts that there’s little chance of the world will stay within prescribed climate limits.

The first new study calculates the statistical likelihood of various amounts of warming by the year 2100 based on three trends that matter most for how much carbon we put in the air. Those are the global population, countries’ GDP (on a per capita basis), and carbon intensity, or the volume of emissions for a given level of economic activity.

The research finds that the median warming is likely to be 3.2 degrees Celsius, and further concludes that there’s only a 5 percent chance that the world can hold limiting below 2 degrees Celsius and a mere 1 percent chance that it can be limited below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). That will come as bad news for vulnerable small island nations in particular, which have held out for a 1.5 degree target, along with other particularly vulnerable nations.

“There is a lot of uncertainty about the future, our analysis does reflect that, but it also does reflect that the more optimistic scenarios that have been used in targets seem quite unlikely to occur,” said statistician Adrian Raftery of the University of Washington, Seattle. Raftery conducted the study, which was just published in Nature Climate Change, alongside colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Upstart Networks.

The research is significant because 2 degrees Celsius has often been regarded as the threshold for so-called “dangerous” climate change. Figueres herself put it this way in an interview with CBS News: “Science has established for quite a while that we need to respect a threshold of 2 degrees, that being the limit of the temperature increase that we can afford from a human, economic and infrastructure point of view.”

The second new study, meanwhile, takes a different approach, analyzing how much global warming the world has already committed to, since the warming due to some emissions has not yet arrived. Nonetheless, with the planet at a so-called energy imbalance, that warming is inevitably coming, and the study — conducted by Thorsten Mauritsen of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany and Robert Pincus of the University of Colorado, Boulder — finds that it probably pushes us several slivers of a degree beyond where we are now.

The upshot is that we may already have firmly committed to 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming even if emissions were to stop immediately and entirely (which is not going to happen). One scenario presented in the study finds a 13 percent chance that 1.5 degrees is already baked in; another finds a 32 percent chance. And again, the margin for avoiding 2 degrees C narrows accordingly.


German Scientists Claim Climate Change Is Cyclical, Global Cooling Coming Next

In a just published study in The Open Atmospheric Science Journal here, German scientists Horst-Joachim Lüdecke and Carl-Otto Weiss have used a large number of temperature proxies worldwide to construct a global temperature mean over the last 2000 years, dubbed G7, in order to find out more about the sun’s role on climate change.

Their results drop a huge surprise on the laps of scientists who have long believed the earth is warming due to human-emitted CO2.

The analysis by the German scientists shows the strongest climate cycle components as 1000, 460, and 190-year periods. The G7 global temperature extrema coincide with the Roman, Medieval, and present optima, as well as the well-known minimum of AD 1450 during the Little Ice Age.

Using further complex analyses, they constructed a representation of G7, which shows a remarkable Pearson correlation of 0.84 with the 31-year running average of G7.

The authors used extensive local temperature proxy data [2 – 6] together with Britain’s Hadley CRU temperature records since 1870 and the recent satellite measurements, and combined them to make up the global temperature time series G7 for the last 2000 years.

The detailed analysis of the local records show in general a multitude of peaks, the authors say, and the G7 however shows only 3 dominant peaks, which correspond to cycles known from local studies, of approx. 1000, 500, 200-year periods. The combination of local records to a global record apparently averages out local cycles and emphasizes global cycles.

In particular the sum of the three cycles shows the temperature increase from 1850 to 1995 as a result of the three natural cycles, the German researchers say, adding: “Thus one can conclude that CO2 plays only a minor role (if any) for the global climate.”

Lüdecke and Weiss note that the present maximum of the cycle sum corresponds well with the world temperature stagnation since 1995 AD, the stagnation unexplained by current climate models. As the dominant cycles have persisted for an extended time, one can assume that they will persist for the near future. They write: “This allows to predict cooling until 2070 AD.”


Diminishing solar activity may bring new Ice Age by 2030

The arrival of intense cold similar to the one that raged during the “Little Ice Age”, which froze the world during the 17th century and in the beginning of the 18th century, is expected in the years 2030—2040. These conclusions were presented by Professor V. Zharkova (Northumbria University) during the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno in Wales by the international group of scientists, which also includes Dr Helen Popova of the Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics and of the Faculty of Physics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Professor Simon Shepherd of Bradford University and Dr Sergei Zharkov of Hull University.

It is known that the Sun has its own magnetic field, the amplitude and spatial configuration of which vary with time. The formation and decay of strong magnetic fields in the solar atmosphere results in the changes of electromagnetic radiation from the Sun, of the intensity of plasma flows coming from the Sun, and the number of sunspots on the Sun’s surface. The study of changes in the number of sunspots on the Sun’s surface has a cyclic structure vary in every 11 years that is also imposed on the Earth environment as the analysis of carbon-14, beryllium-10 and other isotopes in glaciers and in the trees showed.

There are several cycles with different periods and properties, while the 11-year cycle, the 90-year cycle are the best known of them. The 11-year cycle appears as a cyclical reduction in stains on the surface of the Sun every 11 years. Its 90-year variation is associated with periodic reduction in the number of spots in the 11-year cycle in the 50-25%. In 17th century, though, there was a prolonged reduction in solar activity called the Maunder minimum, which lasted roughly from 1645 to 1700. During this period, there were only about 50 sunspots instead of the usual 40-50 thousand sunspots. Analysis of solar radiation showed that its maxima and minima almost coincide with the maxima and minima in the number of spots.

In the current study published in 3 peer-reviewed papers the researchers analysed a total background magnetic field from full disk magnetograms for three cycles of solar activity (21-23) by applying the so-called “principal component analysis”, which allows to reduce the data dimensionality and noise and to identify waves with the largest contribution to the observational data. This method can be compared with the decomposition of white light on the rainbow prism detecting the waves of different frequencies. As a result, the researchers developed a new method of analysis, which helped to uncover that the magnetic waves in the Sun are generated in pairs, with the main pair covering 40% of variance of the data (Zharkova et al, 2012, MNRAS). The principal component pair is responsible for the variations of a dipole field of the Sun, which is changing its polarity from pole to pole during 11-year solar activity.

The magnetic waves travel from the opposite hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere (odd cycles) or to Southern Hemisphere (even cycles), with the phase shift between the waves increasing with a cycle number. The waves interacts with each other in the hemisphere where they have maximum (Northern for odd cycles and Southern for even ones). These two components are assumed to originate in two different layers in the solar interior (inner and outer) with close, but not equal, frequencies and a variable phase shift (Popova et al, 2013, AnnGeo).

The scientists managed to derive the analytical formula, describing the evolution of these two waves and calculated the summary curve which was linked to the variations of sunspot numbers, the original proxy of solar activity, if one used the modulus of the summary curve (Shepherd et al, 2014, ApJ). By using this formula the scientists made first the prediction of magnetic activity in the cycle 24, which gave 97% accuracy in comparison with the principal components derived from the observations.

Inspired by this success, the authors extended the prediction of these two magnetic waves to the next two cycle 25 and 26 and discovered that the waves become fully separated into the opposite hemispheres in cycle 26 and thus have little chance of interacting and producing sunspot numbers. This will lead to a sharp decline in solar activity in years 2030—2040 comparable with the conditions existed previously during the Maunder minimum in the XVII century when there were only about 50-70 sunspots observed instead of the usual 40-50 thousand expected.

The new reduction of the solar activity will lead to reduction of the solar irradiance by 3W/m2 according to Lean (1997). This resulted in significant cooling of Earth and very severe winters and cold summers. “Several studies have shown that the Maunder Minimum coincided with the coldest phase of global cooling, which was called “the Little Ice Age”. During this period there were very cold winters in Europe and North America. In the days of the Maunder minimum the water in the river Thames and the Danube River froze, the Moscow River was covered by ice every six months, snow lay on some plains year round and Greenland was covered by glaciers” – says Dr Helen Popova, who developed a unique physical-mathematical model of the evolution of the magnetic activity of the Sun and used it to gain the patterns of occurrence of global minima of solar activity and gave them a physical interpretation.

If the similar reduction will be observed during the upcoming Maunder minimum this can lead to the similar cooling of the Earth atmosphere. According to Dr Helen Popova, if the existing theories about the impact of solar activity on the climate are true, then this minimum will lead to a significant cooling, similar to the one occurred during the Maunder minimum.

However, only the time will show soon enough (within the next 5-15 years) if this will happen.

Dr. Helen Popova of the Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics and of the Faculty of Physics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University. Image credit: Lomonosov Moscow State University.
Dr. Helen Popova of the Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics and of the Faculty of Physics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University. Image credit: Lomonosov Moscow State University.
“Given that our future minimum will last for at least three solar cycles, which is about 30 years, it is possible, that the lowering of the temperature will not be as deep as during the Maunder minimum. But we will have to examine it in detail. We keep in touch with climatologists from different countries. We plan to work in this direction”, Dr Helen Popova said.

The notion that solar activity affects the climate, appeared long ago. It is known, for example, that a change in the total quantity of the electromagnetic radiation by only 1% can result in a noticeable change in the temperature distribution and air flow all over the Earth. Ultraviolet rays cause photochemical effect, which leads to the formation of ozone at the altitude of 30-40 km. The flow of ultraviolet rays increases sharply during chromospheric flares in the Sun. Ozone, which absorbs the Sun’s rays well enough, is being heated and it affects the air currents in the lower layers of the atmosphere and, consequently, the weather. Powerful emission of corpuscles, which can reach the Earth’s surface, arise periodically during the high solar activity. They can move in complex trajectories, causing aurorae, geomagnetic storms and disturbances of radio communication.

By increasing the flow of particles in the lower atmospheric layers air flows of meridional direction enhance: warm currents from the south with even greater energy rush in the high latitudes and cold currents, carrying arctic air, penetrate deeper into the south. In addition, the solar activity affects the intensity of fluxes of galactic cosmic rays. The minimum activity streams become more intense, which also affects the chemical processes in the Earth’s atmosphere

The study of deuterium in the Antarctic showed that there were five global warmings and four Ice Ages for the past 400 thousand years. The increase in the volcanic activity comes after the Ice Age and it leads to the greenhouse gas emissions. The magnetic field of the Sun grows, what means that the flux of cosmic rays decreases, increasing the number of clouds and leading to the warming again. Next comes the reverse process, where the magnetic field of the Sun decreases, the intensity of cosmic ray rises, reducing the clouds and making the atmosphere cool again. This process comes with some delay.

Dr Helen Popova responds cautiously, while speaking about the human influence on climate.

“There is no strong evidence, that global warming is caused by human activity. The study of deuterium in the Antarctic showed that there were five global warmings and four Ice Ages for the past 400 thousand years. People first appeared on the Earth about 60 thousand years ago. However, even if human activities influence the climate, we can say, that the Sun with the new minimum gives humanity more time or a second chance to reduce their industrial emissions and to prepare, when the Sun will return to normal activity”, Dr Helen Popova summarised.


Recent warming was not global

China is a rather large chunk of the globe

Eastern China is in the midst of a two decade-long cooling trend, according to a new study, which labeled it a continuation of the “warming hiatus” that global temperatures experienced in the early 21st Century.

“During the past two decades since 1997, eastern China has experienced a warming hiatus punctuated by significant cooling in minimum temperature (Tmin), particularly during early-mid winter,” researchers with the China Meteorological Administration wrote in their July study.

An incredibly strong El Nino warming event largely ended the 15-year global warming “hiatus” in global average temperatures — and the two-decade hiatus in satellite data warming — but not in eastern China.

“There is no evidence indicating a termination of the recent warming hiatus in eastern China,” researchers found. “The question of when the accelerated warming trend will resume needs to be answered by climate model prediction.”

The study found from 1998 to 2013 “the domain-averaged Tmin exhibited the strongest cooling trend and the number of significant cooling stations peaked.” There was “significant cooling” in minimum temperatures through 2016 in northern China, the Yangtze-Huai River Valley and southern China.

“This sustained hiatus gave rise to increasingly frequent and severe cold extremes there,” researchers wrote.

“Concerning its prolonged persistency and great cooling rate, the recent warming hiatus over eastern China deviates much from most historical short-term trends during the past five decades, and thus could be viewed as an outlier against the prevalent warming context,” researchers stated.

The Chinese report comes amid media fervor over a new study claiming a less than 5 percent chance the Earth will avoid “dangerous” levels of global warming by the end of the century.

“The likely range of global temperature increase is 2.0-4.9 [degrees Celsius] and our median forecast is 3.2 C,” Adrian Raftery, the study’s co-author, told CNN.

“Our model is based on data which already show the effect of existing emission mitigation policies,” Raftery said. “Achieving the goal of less than 1.5 C warming will require carbon intensity to decline much faster than in the recent past.”


Australia: External experts in BoM review

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has rejected calls for an independent investigation of the Bureau of Meteorology’s temperature data collection and hand­ling but promises to release findings of an in-house review.

Mr Frydenberg said on Tuesday he had spoken to BoM chief executive Andrew Johnson and instructed that two independent external experts be included on the review panel.

"We are treating this issue seriously and I look forward to a set of recommendations which ensures ongoing public confidence in the integrity of the bureau’s data collection and temperature records," he said. "When the review is complete I will make the findings public."

Dr Johnson said he had initiated an internal probe with outside input after shortcomings were confirmed in recording minimum temperatures at a number of weather stations.

Scientist Jennifer Marohasy, who exposed the failure of two stations to record low temperatures of minus 10.4C, said a parliamentary inquiry was needed. "I have no doubt an inquiry would find major problems in terms of how BoM is dealing with temperature records and data handling," Dr Marohasy said.

BoM has confirmed there were issues with recording low temperatures at Goulburn and Thredbo weather stations.

But in a letter to Mr Frydenberg, Dr Johnson said the bureau did not deliberately limit the tem­peratures recorded: "The ­bureau’s systems are designed to alert us to unusually high or low temperatures so they can be checked for their veracity."

A preliminary review of out­ages at Goulburn and Thredbo Top station had been undertaken. "This identified that the electronic hardware not only at Goulburn and Thredbo Top station, but also a small number of stations in cold-climate location are not fit for purpose and previous outages have occurred at temperatures below minus 10," Dr Johnson said. Steps had been taken to ­replace the hardware at these places.

Dr Johnson said he had initiated an internal review of BoM’s Australian weather station network and associated data quality control processes for temperature observations. The review was expected to take several weeks.

Previous concerns over the BoM’s temperature data handling have caused deep divisions in the federal government.

Documents released under Freedom of Information have shown former prime minister Tony Abbott pushed for a forensic audit of its performance. However, the review was scaled back after lobbying by then environment minister Greg Hunt.




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, 2017

Why People Like Al Gore Hate The World’s Poor

Manipulating people isn’t something of which to be proud. Granted, marketing campaigns and large corporations know how to leverage the emotions of people. The same goes for politicians. However, at what cost?

For Al Gore, the cost of manipulating people comes at the price that negates industrialization in some of the poorest places in the world. And that, my friends, is the reason the former vice president shows no regard for the poor.

As Gore prepares for the release of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” his highly anticipated sequel to his Academy Award-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” people will continue to buy into the idea that the crisis of energy poverty comes second to climate change. This is entirely unacceptable.

Many of the world’s issues of poverty can be solved with the implementation of policies that advocate for energy affordability. However, this can be achieved only through legacy methods of energy generation — not forcing the reliance on energy production on intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

You may have heard this sentiment before, but manufacturing wind turbines, specifically, is expensive and requires raw and finished materials created by petroleum products, fossil fuels and rare earth metals. Plus, wind turbines are unreliable as a source of primary electrical generation. When they don’t spin, there is no power. When the wind picks up and the turbines spin too fast, they’re shut off. Unless there is some place in the world where the wind blows 8 to 12 mph, maybe higher, at a constant, a switch to totally renewable energy will be unsustainable on this basis.

Though a mixture of all types of energy generation can be beneficial, the truth of the matter is that sources like wind and solar do not generate enough power to provide adequate delivery for the world’s energy crisis as primary methods of delivery.

Billions of people are without reliable sources of electricity or heat (for warmth, cooking, etc.). And, through the narrative that this massive commitment for energy can be met by intermittent energy sources is entirely misguided, false and ignorant. If you can get past my credentials, my affiliations, and my beliefs, this is a question of common sense. Nothing else.

Energy poverty is a greater threat to the world than a sudden climate disaster. Here’s why. According to the International Energy Agency, 1.2 billion people lack access to modern sources of electricity. About 2.7 billion lack consumer access to natural gas, petrol products, propane and kerosene. Rather, they’re dependent on biomass. Though most biomass meant for cooking, like wood and coal, aren’t invalid ways to cook, burning gas and electricity would do wonders for the impoverished populations of the world and, yes, even the environment.

This is unchallengeable. However, limiting how many of these modern sources of energy are produced — like how shale-derived fossil fuel is produced, for example— you can’t provide the supply for the worldwide demand. Hydraulic fracturing, offshore drilling and the general exploitation of a country’s natural resources for energy development is the way to go. Having nongovernmental organizations and intergovernmental panels dictate what a developing country can do to industrialize is immoral and a clear symbol that the rich want to keep the poor, poor.

And, surprise, Al Gore, with a net worth of several hundred million dollars, falls into the category of the rich controlling the poor.

Even Fortune 500 companies and some of the biggest players in the private sector want to propagate the fear of climate change because it is profitable.

Cases of crony capitalism also come from this good ole’ boys’ club of rich, leftist politicians, big government, and big business controlling the free market, small energy producers and individuals.

The reliable solution for solving energy poverty is, in fact, legacy energy sources. Only then can people work themselves out of poverty, grow the global economy, and bring stability to their lands.


Why coal is Number One

The ‘booming’ solar energy field accounts for only one percent of American power production

Quick: what was the number one source of electricity production in the U.S. during the first half of 2017? If you answered renewable energy, you are wrong by a mile. If you answered natural gas, you were wrong by a tiny amount.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which tracks energy use in production on a monthly basis, the single largest source of electric power for the first half of 2017 was coal. See chart.

That’s an amazing finding because liberals and especially environmental groups keep telling us that coal is a dead industry. They have ridiculed Donald Trump, and called him a liar, when he has said that he will revive the coal industry and the related jobs. “Coal Isn’t Coming Back,” a New York Times piece assured us a few weeks after the election. “Saving coal is one promise he (Trump) won’t be able to keep,” the author predicted. The Financial Times was even more blunt in its headline last month: “Coal Is Dead; Long Live the Sun.”

Let’s see if the left issues a retraction. Don’t hold your breath.

According to the EIA’s July report, “EIA estimates that the share of total U.S. generation fueled by natural gas during the first half of this year averaged 29 percent. In contrast, coal’s share of generation rose from 28 percent in the first half of 2016 to 30 percent in first half of 2017.” For the full year 2017, EIA estimates that coal will generate 3.453 million kilowatts per day, while natural gas, because of a rise in its retail price this year, will generate a hair less, or 3.432 million kilowatts. Wind and solar remain niche sources of energy providing about one-seventh as much power as coal and gas.

That’s not all. The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released July 21, 2017, reports that “mining increased 21.6 percent. The first quarter growth primarily reflected increases in oil and gas extraction, as well as support activities for mining. This was the largest increase since the fourth quarter of 2014.”No other major American industry had such gains and across all industries output was up less than 2 percent.

As for the drilling and mining industries, they have gained more than 50,000 jobs since President Trump’s election with 8,000 added in June alone. Many of these were in the oil and gas industry, but some were in coal, whose output has increased 12 percent this year.

Liberals complain that coal activity isn’t a major producer of jobs because the industry is producing a lot more coal with a lot fewer workers. That is absolutely true. Ladies and gentlemen, that is called productivity. A new study by the Institute for Energy Research points out that it takes wind and solar at least 30 times more man hours to produce a kilowatt of electricity than are required to produce that same energy from coal or oil. If you don’t think this productivity advantage of fossil fuels is a good thing, then you probably think we should bring farm jobs back by abolishing tractors and modern farm equipment.

But coal jobs are not just tied to the actual mining of coal. Coal is tied to steel jobs, trucking jobs, and manufacturing jobs. Using cheap and efficient energy makes every other American industry more productive, and thus makes American employers far more competitive in global markets. Productivity creates higher paying jobs in America, it doesn’t destroy them.

We are not the only country that is using a lot more coal. Of all places, The New York Times reports that “Chinese companies are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that burn little or no coal.” India is building hundreds more.

Does any of this sound like the last gasps of an industry that is “dead?” The reason these nations are turning to coal and natural gas is very simple: price and reliability. On both measures fossil fuels are much more efficient than wind and solar generation. Here and abroad solar and wind only survive due to massive government subsidies that mask the real cost. For all the talk of the “booming” solar energy field, it accounts for one percent of American power production.

Amazing that even with the tens of billions of dollars of subsidies to tilt the playing field away from fossil fuels and regulations meant to kill them, they are still flourishing as never before.


Transforming the Science Used For (Climate) Regulations

The massive number of rules and regulations issued in the United States annually impose billions of dollars in costs on individuals and businesses. Regulatory costs top $1.9 trillion annually, amounting to $14,842 per U.S. household. That’s nearly $15,000 unavailable to pay for health insurance, medicine or medical bills, college expenses, groceries, a new car, or vacations.

Because the economic and human health implications of regulations are profound, the science they are built upon must be unimpeachable. Yet the public can have little confidence the rules forced upon them are scientifically justified. Regulatory agencies repeatedly take actions to keep the science they’ve used to justify regulations secret, hidden from review by outside researchers and the congressional committees charged with exercising oversight over them.

The science used to justify the Obama administration’s climate policies lacked transparency. Nevertheless, because the costs of those policies in terms of dollars and cents and personal freedom are so high, they are slowly being brought to light. The revelations demonstrate why secret science must not be allowed to shape federal regulations going forward.

A number of questions have been raised concerning the science used to justify the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) rules. A recent study by James Wallace II, Joseph D’Aleo, and Craig Idso shows the warming trend upon which EPA’s endangerment finding was based relied on politically manipulated global average surface temperature (GAST) data sets. The three GAST data sets were adjusted to remove historic cyclical temperature patterns, making the past temperatures appear cooler than was measured and current temperatures seem warmer than has been measured, resulting in a steeper- than-measured increase in temperature across the twentieth century.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget estimates every $7.5 million to $12 million in regulatory costs imposed on the economy results in a life lost. We can all be thankful CPP never took effect.

EPA, with reason to paint the benefits of its plan in the best light possible, estimates CPP would prevent 21,000 premature deaths through 2030. The Energy Information Administration pegged the cumulative costs of the rule through 2030 at $1.23 trillion in lost gross domestic product. Thus, the estimated 21,000 lives saved are dwarfed by the 102,500 to 164,000 early deaths CPP could be expected to cause.

Importantly, almost all the lives anticipated to be saved by CPP were due not to reduced carbon dioxide emissions—since carbon dioxide is not toxic at any reasonably expected level—but as “co-benefits” of reducing regulated pollutants, primarily particulate matter. Steve Milloy, founder of, recently requested the New England Journal of Medicine retract the key studies used by EPA to claim reducing particulate matter will save thousands of lives annually. In support of his request, Milloy cites a series of articles showing air pollution at current levels is not causing illness or premature deaths in the United States.

In CCW 240 I detailed how researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) violated their agency’s own data quality and documentation policies in a rush to publish now thoroughly discredited studies that purported to show there had been no 18-year-long pause in rising temperatures in order to bolster President Barack Obama’s efforts to negotiate the Paris climate agreement. Prior to this disclosure, NOAA had rebuffed efforts by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology to obtain the studies’ underlying data and any documents related to its findings. Now we know why. After the agency refused to deliver all the requested data, the committee issued its first subpoena in 21 years to compel disclosure of the taxpayer-funded research. Ultimately the committee issued a record 25 subpoenas for scientific research used to shape rules during Obama’s final two years in office. Regulatory agencies often ignored the subpoenas. This is unacceptable.

Federal agencies should be required to disclose all the science, models, and information exchanges used to make agency decisions, and no agency should be allowed to use any report to support or justify a rule if the research is not open to verification by outside parties. Every government research contract should require recipients to make available all assumptions, models, data, and e-mail exchanges related to the contracted research upon receiving a Freedom of Information Act request or a request by the congressional committee with oversight responsibility.

Researchers who reject such oversight and the universities or private research institutes employing them should be denied government research grants until they agree to these terms. Transparency of all taxpayer-funded research or any research used to make rules imposed on the public should be the norm.

In addition, regulatory agencies should be required to supply any information requested by any congressional committee with oversight authority over them. Any agency employee or administrator who refuses to comply with a congressional request for information in a timely manner should be open to discipline, including fines and immediate termination.


Climate Change Isn’t the End of the World

Even if world temperatures rise, the appropriate policy response is still an open question

Climate change is often misunderstood as a package deal: If global warming is “real,” both sides of the debate seem to assume, the climate lobby’s policy agenda follows inexorably.

It does not. Climate policy advocates need to do a much better job of quantitatively analyzing economic costs and the actual, rather than symbolic, benefits of their policies. Skeptics would also do well to focus more attention on economic and policy analysis.

To arrive at a wise policy response, we first need to consider how much economic damage climate change will do. Current models struggle to come up with economic costs commensurate with apocalyptic political rhetoric. Typical costs are well below 10% of gross domestic product in the year 2100 and beyond.

That’s a lot of money—but it’s a lot of years, too. Even 10% less GDP in 100 years corresponds to 0.1 percentage point less annual GDP growth. Climate change therefore does not justify policies that cost more than 0.1 percentage point of growth. If the goal is 10% more GDP in 100 years, pro-growth tax, regulatory and entitlement reforms would be far more effective.

Yes, the costs are not evenly spread. Some places will do better and some will do worse. The American South might be a worse place to grow wheat; Southern Canada might be a better one. In a century, Miami might find itself in approximately the same situation as the Dutch city of Rotterdam today.

But spread over a century, the costs of moving and adapting are not as imposing as they seem. Rotterdam’s dikes are expensive, but not prohibitively so. Most buildings are rebuilt about every 50 years. If we simply stopped building in flood-prone areas and started building on higher ground, even the costs of moving cities would be bearable. Migration is costly. But much of the world’s population moved from farms to cities in the 20th century. Allowing people to move to better climates in the 21st will be equally possible. Such investments in climate adaptation are small compared with the investments we will regularly make in houses, businesses, infrastructure and education.

And economics is the central question—unlike with other environmental problems such as chemical pollution. Carbon dioxide hurts nobody’s health. It’s good for plants. Climate change need not endanger anyone. If it did—and you do hear such claims—then living in hot Arizona rather than cool Maine, or living with Louisiana’s frequent floods, would be considered a health catastrophe today.

Global warming is not the only risk our society faces. Even if science tells us that climate change is real and man-made, it does not tell us, as President Obama asserted, that climate change is the greatest threat to humanity. Really? Greater than nuclear explosions, a world war, global pandemics, crop failures and civil chaos?

No. Healthy societies do not fall apart over slow, widely predicted, relatively small economic adjustments of the sort painted by climate analysis. Societies do fall apart from war, disease or chaos. Climate policy must compete with other long-term threats for always-scarce resources.

Facing this reality, some advocate that we buy some “insurance.” Sure, they argue, the projected economic cost seems small, but it could turn out to be a lot worse. But the same argument applies to any possible risk. If you buy overpriced insurance against every potential danger, you soon run out of money. You can sensibly insure only when the premium is in line with the risk—which brings us back where we started, to the need for quantifying probabilities, costs, benefits and alternatives. And uncertainty goes both ways. Nobody forecast fracking, or that it would make the U.S. the world’s carbon-reduction leader. Strategic waiting is a rational response to a slow-moving uncertain peril with fast-changing technology.

Global warming is not even the obvious top environmental threat. Dirty water, dirty air and insect-borne diseases are a far greater problem today for most people world-wide. Habitat loss and human predation are a far greater problem for most animals. Elephants won’t make it to see a warmer climate. Ask them how they would prefer to spend $1 trillion—subsidizing high-speed trains or a human-free park the size of Montana.

Then, we need to know what effect proposed policies have and at what cost. Scientific, quantifiable or even vaguely plausible cause-and-effect thinking are missing from much advocacy for policies to reduce carbon emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “scientific” recommendations, for example, include “reduced gender inequality & marginalization in other forms,” “provisioning of adequate housing,” “cash transfers” and “awareness raising & integrating into education.” Even if some of these are worthy goals, they are not scientifically valid, cost-benefit-tested policies to cool the planet.

Climate policy advocates’ apocalyptic vision demands serious analysis, and mushy thinking undermines their case. If carbon emissions pose the greatest threat to humanity, it follows that the costs of nuclear power—waste disposal and the occasional meltdown—might be bearable. It follows that the costs of genetically modified foods and modern pesticides, which can feed us with less land and lower carbon emissions, might be bearable. It follows that if the future of civilization is really at stake, adaptation or geo-engineering should not be unmentionable. And it follows that symbolic, ineffective, political grab-bag policies should be intolerable.


South Australia to buy nine new power generators

A confession of failure. With huge blackouts, "Green" power was a disaster.  They have in fact walked away from low CO2 power sources altogether.  They were going to build a gas-fired generator but have abandoned that in favour of good ol' smoky diesels.  They have clearly lost their mojo

South Australia will buy nine new generators to overcome any shortfalls in electricity during summer. The government says the generators will be installed at two temporary locations for the next two summers before being moved to one permanent site.

They have the capacity to provide up to 276 megawatts but will only dispatch energy to the grid if there are shortfalls that could result in load shedding.

The nine new aeroderivative turbines, which work like jet engines to produce electricity, will be initially fuelled by diesel before being connected to a gas supply.

They replace the government's plan to build a new gas-fired power station and to put temporary diesel generators in key locations across the state.

Premier Jay Weatherill says the generators will be funded within the existing $550 million energy plan, with the bill to be lower than the previous options.

The plan also includes construction of the world's biggest battery in the state's mid-north by tech billionaire Elon Musk and was developed following the statewide blackout in September 2016 and major load shedding in February.

"Rather than purchasing temporary generators before building a new gas plant, this solution will deliver long-term, back-up generation for South Australia before this summer," the premier said on Tuesday. "Importantly, this solution will deliver more generation capacity than originally planned while emitting less carbon pollution."

The temporary locations to be used will be alongside Adelaide's desalination plant in the city's south and on the soon-to-be-vacated Holden car assembly plant in the northern suburbs.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the existing infrastructure at the two sites made them good strategic locations for connection to the energy grid. He said work was continuing to select the permanent location.




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


2 August, 2017

Scientists go cold on global warming goals

Scientists have scotched hopes of achieving the global warming goal set at the Paris climate conference, giving just 1 per cent odds that the rise can be contained to 1.5C this century.

A new study has found that even the secondary target adopted at Paris — a 2C increase — is a “best-case scenario”, with a 95 per cent probability it will be exceeded. Meanwhile, separate research has found a 1.5C rise could eventuate even if all fossil fuel emissions stopped now.

The two studies are among a slew of new papers charting the current and projected impacts of greenhouse gas emissions. They have been published this morning in the journals Nature Climate Change and PNAS.

The first paper estimated the likely average temperature rise by 2100, based on world population, GDP per person and “carbon ­intensity” or the amount of carbon emitted for each dollar of economic activity.

It found a 90 per cent ­likelihood of warming between 2C and 4.9C, with 3.2C a likely outcome.

The Paris agreement committed signatories to hold the ­increase in global average temperature to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels, and to endeavour to limit the rise to 1.5C.

Lead author Adrian Raftery, of the University of Washington, said Paris delegates had argued for the 1.5C target because of the potential ramifications of exceeding that threshold.

“We’re closer to the margin than we think,” he said.

Professor Raftery said the ­increase would not primarily be caused by a more crowded world, even though the population is tipped to pass 11 billion this century, because most of the growth would be in Africa where comparatively little fossil fuel was used.

Carbon intensity was the critical factor, suggesting using fuel more efficiently could make a big dent in warming.

Meanwhile a study led by the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Germany, has found that “committed warming” — heating due to past emissions — will push average temperatures up by between 0.9C and 2.3C this century.

Rather than running computer models, the team focused on measurable dynamics such as the cap­acity of oceans to absorb ­carbon and the impact of ­temperature on fine atmospheric particles.

It calculated 13 per cent odds that the world was already ­committed to 1.5C warming by 2100. “Our estimates are based on things that have already happened,” said lead author Thorsten Mauritsen.

A North Carolina study has concluded that the climate’s ­effects on air pollution will trigger an extra 60,000 deaths a year in 2030, and 260,000 by 2100.


First ‘summer-less’ July in Denmark in 38 years

Global cooling!

A ‘summer day’, which is defined as any day in which temperatures top 25C (77F) at least somewhere in Denmark. According to the Danish Meteorology Institute (DMI), July is likely to end without reaching 77F anywhere in the country. If that prediction holds up, it will mark the first time that Danes will have suffered through a summer-less July in nearly four decades.

“There are only three years in our records in which July contains a big fat zero when it comes to summer days and temps above 25C. That’s 1962, 1974 and 1979,” climatologist John Cappelen said on the DMI website.

DMI’s database goes back to 1874.


Electric, hybrid and low-emission cars:  The problems of having lots of them

Britain last week joined France in pledging to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 in an attempt to cut toxic vehicle emissions. The move to battery-powered vehicles has been a long time coming. Environmental campaigners claim that charging cars and vans from the grid, like a laptop, is sure to be cleaner than petrol or diesel power. The government agrees and says it will invest more than £800m in driverless and clean technology, and a further £246m in battery technology research.

BMW plans to build a fully electric version of the Mini at Cowley in Oxford from 2019. Volvo announced earlier this month that from the same year, all its new models will have an electric motor.

Huge potential profits await those that can tap into this burgeoning market. Transparency Market Research estimated the global lithium-ion battery market at $30bn in 2015, rising to more than $75bn by 2024. Morgan Stanley analysts expect global car sales to rise by 50% by 2050 to more than 130m units a year, and estimates that electric vehicles will account for at least 47% of that total.

Lithium-ion batteries have long been used to power smartphones, laptops and other gadgets. Scaled-up versions are now being developed for electric vehicles. These batteries should last for at least 10 years, or 150,000 miles, until they need to be replaced.

However, the road to a promised land of zero-emission vehicles is littered with speed bumps and red lights that threaten to seriously slow the progress of the electric car. Battery makers are struggling to secure supplies of key ingredients in these large power packs – mainly cobalt and lithium. The hopes of both battery and vehicle manufacturers hang on the mining sector finding more deposits of these precious minerals.

Trent Mell of First Cobalt, a Toronto-based mining company, said: “Cobalt is tricky because of the scarcity of supply. There aren’t a lot of producers. We’re relying on more discoveries. It’s out there: we’ve just got to find it.”

The First Cobalt boss added that his company was currently confident of making discoveries in Idaho and Ontario. Investors see a chance of cashing in on the mineral’s key role: the price of shares in the Canadian firm has risen from C$0.06 to C$0.76 in the past year.

This is the mother of supply chain headaches, and one hi-tech car manufacturers and electronics firms could do without. At the heart of the global cobalt trade is Glencore. The metals and mining giant produces almost a third (28,300 tonnes) of the world’s annual supply. As much as 65% of this global supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where cobalt production has fallen this year because of the unstable political situation. This sparked a 90% jump in the price of cobalt to a peak of $61,000 a tonne earlier this month.

Macquarie Research predicts that trouble in the DRC and rising demand for electric vehicles will lead to a four-year-long cobalt shortage. Writing in academic journal The Conversation, Ben McLellan, senior research fellow at Kyoto University, warned further: “Manufacturers such as electric vehicle makers should be concerned that the supply of one of the key mineral components, or the processing and refining infrastructure, could become too centralised in a single country. Without diverse source options, the possibility of supply restriction becomes more likely.”

The squeeze on cobalt has sent car giants such as Volkswagen scurrying to lock in supply deals with the likes of Glencore. First Cobalt’s Mell said: “I think there is going to be some jockeying for supply.”

Volkswagen, which had been slow to develop battery-powered vehicles, it is now pushing through an ambitious programme as it seeks to regain the trust of customers and investors after the diesel emissions scandal. The German manufacturer wants to launch more than 10 electrified models by the end of next year and is aiming at 30 battery-powered models by 2025. It plans to increase electric-car sales to a million a year by 2025, from tens of thousands at present.

Demand for other key battery ingredients, such as graphite and lithium carbonate, is also outstripping supply. The current shortage of lithium has seen prices double since 2015. Global lithium demand was 184,000 tonnes in 2015, with battery demand accounting for 40%. Analysts at Deutsche Bank expect demand to increase to 534,000 tonnes by 2025, with battery manufacturers accounting for 70%. Lithium deposits are found mostly in China and Bolivia.

Two South Korean battery makers – Samsung SDI and LG Chem – have responded to the crisis by stepping up development of new power packs that use more nickel and less cobalt.

Other battery pioneers are trialling alternative materials in an attempt to crack the booming energy storage market. In June, the US Naval Research Laboratory signed a commercial licensing agreement with California-based EnZinc. This firm was co-founded by Michael Burz, who worked previously on the design of the Tomahawk cruise missile as well as for Nissan.

The agreement gives EnZinc exclusive rights to a nickel-zinc battery for use in electric road vehicles, to hybrid cars that use that battery, and microgrids (small localised electric grids that can run independently) of up to 60 megawatts. Burz expects his zinc-based battery technology to be ready for market in about two years, with another year to gear up production.

Lithium-ion batteries can include other materials such as magnesium, cadmium, manganese and cobalt oxide. They also use a flammable electrolyte, which makes them more risky than lead-acid batteries. EnZinc’s solution is to incorporate less-volatile metals – zinc and nickel – in a battery with sponge-like silicon electrodes.

A key advantage of EnZinc’s plan is that zinc is in much more plentiful supply than cobalt and lithium. Deposits of the metal are found in China, Australia, Peru and the US among others. The US alone produces about 900,000 tonnes of zinc a year, much of it from the huge Red Dog Mine in Alaska, operated by Vancouver-based Teck Resources. It is thought around 600,000 tonnes of zinc would be required to make batteries for a million electric vehicles. One large international zinc company mines around 14m tonnes a year.

But while big corporations work on a green energy revolution, Amnesty International has shone a light on the dark side of this dream. The human rights group says children as young as seven continue to work in perilous conditions in mines in the DRC.

In 2014, according to Unicef, about 40,000 children were working in mines across southern DRC, many of them extracting cobalt. A report by Amnesty and Afrewatch (African Resources Watch) published in January said corporations such as Apple, Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, Daimler and Volkswagen were failing to do basic checks to ensure that they did not use cobalt mined by child labourers in their products.

Mark Dummett, business and human rights researcher at Amnesty International, said: “The glamorous shop displays and marketing of state-of-the-art technologies are a stark contrast to the children carrying bags of rocks, and miners in narrow manmade tunnels risking permanent lung damage.

“Millions of people enjoy the benefits of new technologies but rarely ask how they are made. It is high time the big brands took some responsibility for the mining of the raw materials that make their lucrative products.”


US coal floods Europe despite continent's fear about climate change

Coal exports to Europe and Asia are surging despite criticism from countries such as France and China over President Trump's decision to exit the Paris climate change agreement, according to new federal data.

Coal exports for making steel and generating electricity rose 58 percent in the first three months of the year compared to the first quarter of 2016, the Energy Information Administration reported this month. The Energy Department's independent analysis arm said it is not sure how long the trend will last.

The trend is continuing into the second quarter, with exports up 60 percent from a year ago, Reuters reported Friday.

However, the levels are still much lower than the peak exporting days of five years ago.

The first-quarter export numbers show coal supplies to Europe and Asia for electricity production rose by 6 million short tons while metallurgical coal rose by 2 million short tons. Nevertheless, the agency's most recent projections show the trend will eventually subside.

One of the interesting points in the rise of U.S. coal exports comes from who is buying it — Europe. Many of the countries on the continent have criticized Trump's decision to withdraw from the United Nation climate deal that the Obama administration signed onto.

Trump called the climate agreement a bad deal for the U.S. because it allowed some of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, principally China and India, to continue their use of the fossil fuel over the next decade, while the U.S. would be required to begin phasing down its emissions from fossil fuels sooner. Many scientists blame the emissions from burning fossil fuels for driving man-made climate change.

The agency said the jump in coal shipments was coming from demand in the United Kingdom, which has climbed 175 percent, and a doubling of exports to France, which has been the most vocal critic of Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris deal.

The export surge to Europe has climate change economists wagging a finger at European nations that like to criticize Trump. "If Europe wants to lecture Trump on climate, then EU member states need transition plans to phase out polluting coal," said Laurence Watson, a coal researcher at the Carbon Tracker Initiative based in London.

Although increased coal demand is helping Trump's energy agenda, the mining industry is still recovering after a number of top coal producers had been in bankruptcy proceedings a year ago. Many of the coal export facilities on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts are working well below their intended capacity, while plans to build export facilities in the Northwest have been delayed or scuttled completely.

"With coal exports running well below export capacity, no significant expansions of coal export facilities in the United States are currently under construction," EIA said in this month's public coal reporting.

Consol, a former coal firm turned natural gas company, operates one of two coal export facilities on the Atlantic Coast that ships out of Baltimore.

The Consol terminal, along with another owned by railroad giant CSX, has the ability to export slightly more than the 21 to 22 million short tons that were shipped from the U.S. in the first quarter of 2017, according to Energy Information Administration.

"Facilities in the Norfolk, Va., area alone have the capacity to export approximately 84 [million short tons] annually," which is more than the 61 million short tons that were exported in 2016. The U.S. had the capability of shipping 257 million short tons of coal in 2016, which means 196 million tons of capacity went unused.

The Trump administration for the most part is not focused on coal exports as much as it is on increasing natural gas exports from the U.S. to ports in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Trump has made increased use of American natural gas a top priority in discussions with foreign leaders, and the number of natural gas export terminals is set to grow through next year.

Talk of coal export terminal expansion projects in Baltimore have not taken any serious steps forward, while expansion projects at smaller terminals on the Great Lakes and California have stalled, according to the EIA. One project in the Pacific Northwest is awaiting a major environmental permit decision from the state and the Army Corps of Engineers later this year to be built in Washington state, called the Millenium Bulk Terminal. But the administration has been quiet on the topic, while other projects in the region have been canceled.


The lying BOM again

They can't even keep their story straight

RATHER than admit that temperature dropped to a record low -10.4 degree Celsius on the morning of Sunday 2nd July at Goulburn, the Bureau of Meteorology has come-up with yet another even more absurd story.

Responding to a letter from Josh Frydenberg, the Minister for  Environment and Energy, Andrew Johnson, CEO and Director of Meteorology, has claimed the weather station malfunctioned.  Previously the Bureau claimed that they had placed new limits on how cold it could get at Goulburn.

This is a contrived story, easily disproven with the following evidence.

We know that the Goulburn AWS recorded -10.4 on the morning of Sunday 2nd July from a screen shot taken from the observation page at the Bureau’s website:

The observation sheet shows a minimum of -10.4, this temperature is recorded every second and downloaded every minute. The lowest value recorded normally becomes the minimum for the day.  Contrary to previous policy, on 2nd July, this value was rounded to -10.0, which became the minimum for that day.

Subsequently, the Bureau sent an email confirming:

“The correct minimum temperature for Goulburn on 2 July, 2017 is -10.4 recorded at 6.30am at Goulburn Airport AWS… The Bureau’s quality control system, designed to filter out spurious low or high values was set at -10 minimum for Goulburn which is why the record automatically adjusted.”

In short, after initially recording -10.0 in the CDO dataset, this was changed to -10.4 three days later following a blog post (Bureau Erases Goulburn Record Minimum), an outcry on Facebook, and enquires from prominent journalists.

By 28th July when the above letter was sent to the Minister, the correct value of -10.4 had been showing in the CDO dataset for some 23 days.

This is a screenshot from the CDO database taken today, 30th July 2017. Contrary to the letter from the Bureau to the Minister it shows -10.4 as having been recorded on 2nd July 2017.

Yet in the letter from the Bureau’s Johnson to Minister Frydenberg it is claimed that: “the AWS at Goulburn stopped recording when the temperature fell below -10°C.”

This is demonstrably false. The Bureau has mislead the Minister – yet again.




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, 2017

Britain’s energy policy keeps picking losers

The public have paid the price for years of missteps: it’s time to scrap Hinkley Point C [nuclear] and support the shale revolution

Shortly before parliament broke up this month, there was a debate on a Lords select committee report on electricity policy that was remarkable for its hard-hitting conclusions. The speakers, and signatories of the report, included a former Labour chancellor, Tory energy secretary, Tory Scottish secretary, cabinet secretary, ambassador to the European Union and Treasury permanent secretary, as well as a bishop, an economics professor, a Labour media tycoon and a Lib Dem who was shortlisted for governor of the Bank of England.

Genuine heavyweights, in short. They were in general agreement: energy policy is a mess, decarbonisation has been pursued at the expense of affordability and, in particular, the nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C in Somerset is an expensive disaster. Their report came out before the devastating National Audit Office report on Hinkley, which said the government had “locked consumers into a risky and expensive project [and] did not consider sufficiently the risks and costs to the consumer”.

Hinkley is but the worst example of a nationalised energy policy of picking losers. The diesel fiasco is another. The wind industry, with its hefty subsidies paid from the poor to the rich to produce unreliable power, is a third. The biomass mess (high carbon, high cost and environmental damage) is a fourth.

The liberalised energy markets introduced by Nigel Lawson in 1982, embraced by the Blair government and emulated across Europe, delivered both affordability and reliability. But they were abandoned and, in the words of the Lords committee, “a succession of policy interventions has led to the creation of a complex system of subsidies and government contracts at the expense of competition. Nobody has built a power station without some form of government guarantee since 2012.”

All three parties share the blame. Labour’s Climate Change Act of 2008 made Britain the only country with mandatory decarbonisation targets, a crony-capitalist’s dream. The Lib Dems who ran the energy department for five years, Chris Huhne and Ed Davey, negotiated the disastrous Hinkley contract. The Tories reviewed the decision in 2016, by which time it was clear we had managed the unique feat of finding a technology that was untested yet already obsolete. They decided to go ahead anyway, missing the chance to blame the other parties for it. As the energy analyst Peter Atherton put it, the three parties “have managed to design possibly the most expensive programme for delivering nuclear power we could have come up with”.

The chief Lib Dem mistake was to ignore the shale gas and oil revolutions under way in America and assume that fossil fuel prices would rise from already high levels. By 2011, influenced by peak-oil nonsense and lobbied by professors of “sustainability”, the department of energy and climate change was projecting that the oil price would be between $97 and $126 per barrel in 2017. Today it is about $50 a barrel, roughly half the lowest of the 2011 projections. Gas prices were expected to be about 76p per therm by now, whereas they are actually about half that: 37p.

The shale revolution is gathering pace all the time. Britain has very promising shales and could prosper and cut emissions if it joins in, so let us hope the first wells about to be drilled in Lancashire by Cuadrilla, against the determined opposition of wealthy, middle-class protesters, prove successful. (No, I don’t have a commercial interest in shale.)

American industry pays about half as much for its electricity as we do
This forecasting mistake is behind much of the rising cost of Hinkley. In 2015 the whole-life cost of its power was expected to be £14 billion. Now it is £50 billion. Because consumers are on the hook to pay the difference between the wholesale price of electricity and the “strike price” for Hinkley, we must hope that the project is badly delayed, because that way our children will at least spend fewer years paying inflated electricity prices.

These bad forecasts, widely criticised at the time, make all strike prices horribly expensive, for onshore and offshore wind and solar as well. Lib Dem ministers kept saying at the time that subsidies for renewables and Hinkley would protect the consumer against “volatile” gas prices. Yes, they have done so: by guaranteeing high prices. Oh for a little downward volatility!

Britain’s industrial and commercial users now have some of the highest electricity prices in the developed world, which find their way to households in cost of living and a downward pressure on wages. American industry pays about half as much for its electricity as we do, and everyone benefits. Energy prices are not just any consumer price: they determine the prosperity of the entire economy.

It is just possible some new arrangement could be salvaged
Well, no use crying over spilt future money. What are we to do? Here is where it could get interesting. Almost nobody wants Hinkley to go ahead, apart from the contractors who get to build it. EDF and Areva, the French owner and developer, are in trouble over the only two comparable reactors in Europe. The one at Flamanville is still to start working, many years behind schedule. The French unions want Hinkley cancelled. Lord Howell of Guildford, the former energy secretary, wisely pointed out in the Lords that the key player is China, a partner in the project. Rather than cost, the government’s excuse for revisiting Hinkley last year was partly worries about security. This was a silly worry and bad diplomacy. However, it is not clear China wants to go ahead, and subtle negotiation could tease this out. The great prize for China was regulatory approval through Britain’s gold-standard “generic design assessment” process, which could unlock foreign markets and give a green light for a Chinese-built reactor at Bradwell in Essex.

But Lord Howell says the Chinese increasingly realise that the Hinkley design is a dead end, as costs escalate and delays grow. And they know that the future for nuclear power must lie in smaller, modular units, mass-manufactured like cars rather than assembled from scratch like Egyptian pyramids. Their “Nimble Dragon” design could slot into both the Hinkley and Bradwell sites, perhaps beside the larger Hualong design.

Cancellation would cost some £20 billion. But if the initiative comes from Beijing it is just possible that some new arrangement could be salvaged from the certain wreckage of the EDF scheme, without seriously damaging both livelihoods and our relations with China.


Man Made Warming from Adjusting Data

Roger Andrews does a thorough job analyzing the effects of adjustments upon Surface Air Temperature (SAT) datasets. His article at Energy Matters is Adjusting Measurements to Match the Models – Part 1: Surface Air Temperatures. Excerpts of text and some images are below.  The whole essay is informative and supports his conclusion:

In previous posts and comments I had said that adjustments had added only about 0.2°C of spurious warming to the global SAT record over the last 100 years or so – not enough to make much difference. But after further review it now appears that they may have added as much as 0.4°C.

The current GISS series shows about 0.3°C more global warming than the old version, with about 0.2°C more warming in the Northern Hemisphere and about 0.5°C more in the Southern. The added warming trends are almost exactly linear except for the downturns after 2000, which I suspect (although can’t confirm) are a result of attempts to track the global warming “pause”. How did GISS generate all this extra straight-line warming? It did it by replacing the old unadjusted records with “homogeneity-adjusted” versions.

The homogenization operators used by others have had similar impacts, with Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) being a case in point. Figure 3, which compares warming gradients measured at 86 South American stations before and after BEST’s homogeneity adjustments (from Reference 1) visually illustrates what a warming-biased operator does at larger scales. Before homogenization 58 of the 86 stations showed overall warming, 28 showed overall cooling and the average warming trend for all stations was 0.54°C/century. After homogenization all 86 stations show warming and the average warming trend increases to 1.09°C/century:

The adjusted “current” GISS series match the global and Northern Hemisphere model trend line gradients almost exactly but overstate warming relative to the models in the Southern (although this has only a minor impact on the global mean because the Southern Hemisphere has a lot less land and therefore contributes less to the global mean than does the Northern). But the unadjusted “old” GISS series, which I independently verified with my own from-scratch reconstructions, consistently show much less warming than the models, confirming that the generally good model/observation match is entirely a result of the homogeneity adjustments applied to the raw SAT records.


In this post I have chosen to combine a large number of individual examples of “data being adjusted to match it to the theory” into one single example that blankets all of the surface air temperature records. The results indicate that warming-biased homogeneity adjustments have resulted in current published series overestimating the amount by which surface air temperatures over land have warmed since 1900 by about 0.4°C (Table 1), and that global surface air temperatures have increased by only about 0.7°C over this period, not by the ~1.1°C shown by the published SAT series.

Land, however, makes up only about 30% of the Earth’s surface. The subject of the next post will be sea surface temperatures in the oceans, which cover the remaining 70%. In it I will document more examples of measurement manipulation malfeasance, but with a twist. Stay tuned.


The 6 biggest reasons I’m a climate-change skeptic — and why you should be a skeptic too

For nearly 30 years, some scientists and many liberal activists have been alleging that the world is on the verge of collapse because of humans’ use of fossil fuels, which they say have been causing global warming.

For example, the San Jose Mercury News (Calif.) reported on June 30, 1989: “A senior environmental official at the United Nations, Noel Brown, says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ‘eco-refugees,’ threatening political chaos, said Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program. He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human [control.]”

But despite the constant cries from the left proclaiming the “science is settled” and that there’s a “scientific consensus,” there are many reasons to reject these assumptions. Here are six of the most important ones:

1. Climate alarmists’ temperature-predicting track record is abysmal.
Most people don’t know anything about climate science, and with all that’s going on in the world, who can blame them? Instead of studying the issue for themselves, people rely on the media and the scientists the media has promoted to provide them with scientific conclusions. In other words, to the extent the public believes in the theory humans are responsible for global warming, it’s because they trust the scientists and media outlets they hear from most often on this issue, but should they? Based on climate-alarmist scientists’ track record, the answer is clearly “no.”

Over the past three decades, many climate scientists have repeatedly made a number of significant and alarming predictions about global warming, and the vast majority of the time, they’ve been wrong—really, really wrong. As Roy Spencer—who earned his Ph.D. in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin in 1981 and previously served as the senior scientist for climate studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center—wrote in 2014, greater than 95 percent of the climate models through 2013 “over-forecast the warming trend since 1979.”

2. Climate alarmists’ predictions about extreme weather and other crises have also failed.
It’s common for climate alarmists to argue that global warming has caused and will continue to cause a significant increase in extreme weather events, including hurricanes, and that sea levels will eventually rise to the point that massive cities will someday be flooded and uninhabitable, but the available data say otherwise.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., a research fellow specializing in environment and climate issues for The Heartland Institute, where I work as executive editor, wrote in January for Red State, “For instance, climate models predicted more intense hurricanes, but for nearly a decade, the United States has experienced far fewer hurricanes making landfall than the historic average, and those hurricanes that have made landfall have been no more powerful than previously experienced.”

“Additionally,” Burnett continued, “while scientists have claimed anthropogenic warming should cause sea levels to rise at increasing rates—because of melting ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica and the thermal expansion of water molecules under warmer conditions—sea-level rise has slowed. Sea levels have always risen between ice ages or during interglacial periods. Indeed, sea levels have risen more than 400 feet since the end of the last interglacial period. However, the rate of sea-level rise since 1961 (approximately one-eighth of an inch per year) is far lower than the historic average (since the end of the previous ice age), and sea-level rise has not increased appreciably over the past century compared to previous centuries.”

3. There are many unexplainable problems with the theory rising carbon-dioxide levels have caused global temperature to increase.
One of the most common misconceptions in the climate-change debate is that skeptics reject the claim global temperatures have risen in recent decades. Virtually everyone agrees temperatures have increased, the primary issue is the reason or reasons for those increases. Climate-change alarmists say humans are to blame, and skeptics believe, to varying degrees, humans’ responsibility is relatively minimal or nonexistent. One of the reasons, but not the only reason, many skeptics have rejected the assertion carbon-dioxide and temperature are linked is that there have been periods during the past two centuries in which global temperature has dropped or paused.

For instance, from the 1940s to the 1970s, Earth experienced a global cooling period, even while carbon-dioxide levels continuously rose. In the early 21st century, global temperature “paused” for 18 years, again during a period in which carbon-dioxide levels increased.

4. It’s not clear the most widely used climate data are accurate.
For many years, climate skeptics, concerned by numerous leaked documents showing climate data had been unscientifically altered to make it appear as though warming had been more significant than it actually was, have argued many of the climate datasets advanced by prominent organizations, including NASA, are not accurate. A new peer-reviewed study by prominent researchers James P. Wallace III, Joseph S. D’Aleo and Craig Idso seems to support that belief.

In their study, titled “On the Validity of NOAA, NASA and Hadley CRU Global Average Surface Temperature Data and the Validity of EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding,” the researchers “sought to validate the current estimates of GAST [global average surface temperature] using the best available relevant data,” the authors wrote. “This included the best documented and understood data sets from the U.S. and elsewhere as well as global data from satellites that provide far more extensive global coverage and are not contaminated by bad siting and urbanization impacts.”

They concluded—by comparing trusted raw climate data with the widely used altered datasets, which have been adjusted to account for numerous problems, such as contamination from heat in urban areas—the datasets used by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Met Office in the United Kingdom “are not a valid representation of reality.”

“In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data,” the researchers wrote. “Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent years have been the warmest ever — despite current claims of record setting warming.”

5. Even if humans are creating a slightly warmer climate, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The underlying assumption that virtually all climate alarmists operate under is that the warming Earth is experiencing now is harmful, destructive and dangerous, but there is much evidence to suggest that moderate warming benefits most plants, animals and humans. We know, for instance, that plants grow significantly better with higher carbon-dioxide concentrations, which is why many greenhouses pump additional CO2 into their buildings.

It’s also been confirmed by multiple studies that greening has increased in recent decades — and likely because of higher carbon-dioxide concentrations. According to a study by Martin Brandt et al., published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution in May, 36 percent of the continent of Africa became greener over the 20-year period from 1992 to 2011, while only 11 percent became “less green.” Interestingly, the researchers found the increased greening was likely “driven” by higher carbon-dioxide levels and precipitation, and the decreased greening was largely a result of humans cutting down vegetation.

A greener planet means there is more food for humans and animals to consume, but a cooler global climate has historically been associated with significant food shortages and, in extreme cases, starvation. An article in the influential journal The Lancet, published in 2015, examined health data from 13 countries, accounting for more than 74 million deaths. The authors concluded cold weather, directly or indirectly, kills 1,700 percent more people than hot weather.

6. There’s no reason to believe humans won’t develop cheap energy alternatives during the next century.
Let’s assume the climate is warming because of human action and will eventually become problematic. The most serious problems are still a century or more away, even under some of the most dire, scientifically unsupported models. That means the world has at least a half-century to come up with alternate energy sources and determine once and for all whether fossil-fuels are truly causing the problem.

A century ago, civilized nations were still fighting each other on horseback and traveling using steam engines. Fifty years ago, cellphones were the stuff of science fiction. Thirty years ago, the average American household didn’t have a computer. Today, people fly across the world in a few hours on planes equipped with Wi-Fi, allowing them to access a nearly endless supply of news, information, and entertainment using pocket-sized super computers. Does anyone really think energy won’t change over the next century as well?

Being a climate-change skeptic doesn’t mean you deny Earth’s climate has warmed or scientific findings. It simply means that you let facts, not speculation and fear-mongering, guide how you view the debate. If that sounds reasonable, then you’re probably a climate-change skeptic too.


Study blows 'greenhouse theory out of the water'

'All observed climatic changes have natural causes completely outside of human control'

A new scientific paper contends the entire foundation of the man-made global-warming theory – the assumption that greenhouse gases warm the atmosphere by trapping heat – is wrong.

If confirmed, the study’s findings would crush the entire “climate change” movement to restrict CO2 emissions, the authors assert

Some experts contacted by WND criticized the paper, while others advised caution.  Still others suggested that the claimed discovery represents a massive leap forward in human understanding – a “new paradigm.”

The paper argues that concentrations of CO2 and other supposed “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere have virtually no effect on the earth’s temperature. They conclude the entire greenhouse gas theory is incorrect.

Instead, the earth’s “greenhouse” effect is a function of the sun and atmospheric pressure, which results from gravity and the mass of the atmosphere, rather than the amount of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and water vapor in the atmosphere.

The same is true for other planets and moons with a hard surface, the authors contend, pointing to the temperature and atmospheric data of various celestial bodies collected by NASA.

So precise is the formula, the authors of the paper told WND, that, by using it, they were able to correctly predict the temperature of other celestial bodies not included in their original analysis.

The paper

The paper, published recently in the journal “Environment Pollution and Climate Change,” was written by Ned Nikolov, a Ph.D. in physical science, and Karl Zeller, retired Ph.D. research meteorologist.

The prevailing theory on the earth’s temperature is that heat from the sun enters the atmosphere, and then greenhouse gases such as CO2, methane and water vapor trap part of that energy by preventing it from escaping back into space.

That theory, which underpins the anthropogenic global-warming hypothesis and the climate models used by the United Nations, was first proposed and developed in the 19th century.

However, the experiments on which it was based involved glass boxes that retain heat by preventing the mixing of air inside the box with air outside the box.

The truth about global warming is no further than the WND Superstore, where “Climategate,” “The Greatest Hoax,” and more publications are available.

The experiment is not analogous to what occurs in the real atmosphere, which does not have walls or a lid, according to Nikolov and Zeller.

The new paper, headlined “New Insights on the Physical Nature of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect Deduced from an Empirical Planetary Temperature Model,” argues that greenhouse theory is incorrect.

“This was not a pre-conceived conclusion, but a result from an objective analysis of vetted NASA observations,” Nikolov told WND.

The real mechanisms that control the temperature of the planet, they say, are the sun’s energy and the air pressure of the atmosphere. The same applies to other celestial bodies, according to the scientists behind the paper.

To understand the phenomena, the authors used three planets – Venus, Earth and Mars – as well as three natural satellites: the Moon of Earth, Titan of Saturn and Triton of Neptune.

They chose the celestial bodies based on three criteria: having a solid surface, representation of a broad range of environments, and the existence of reliable data on temperature, atmospheric composition and air pressure.

“Our analysis revealed a poor relationship between global mean annual temperature] and the amount of greenhouse gases in planetary atmospheres across a broad range of environments in the Solar System,” the paper explains.

“This is a surprising result from the standpoint of the current Greenhouse theory, which assumes that an atmosphere warms the surface of a planet (or moon) via trapping of radiant heat by certain gases controlling the atmospheric infrared optical depth,” the study continues.


The paper outlines four possible explanations for those observations, and concludes that the most plausible was that air pressure is responsible for the greenhouse effect on a celestial body.

In essence, what is commonly known as the atmospheric “greenhouse” effect is in fact a form of compression heating caused by total air pressure, the authors told WND in a series of e-mails and phone interviews, comparing the mechanics of it to the compression in a diesel engine that ignites the fuel.”

And that effect is completely independent of the so-called “greenhouse gases” and the chemical composition of the atmosphere, they added.

“Hence, there are no greenhouse gases in reality – as in, gases that can cause warming,” Nikolov said when asked to explain the paper in layman’s terms.

“Humans cannot in principle affect the global climate through industrial emissions of CO2, methane and other similar gases or via changes in land use,” he added. “All observed climatic changes have natural causes that are completely outside of human control.”

For the first time, Nikolov said, there is now empirical evidence from NASA data that the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere is not caused by the trapping of heat, but by the force of atmospheric pressure.

The pressure is the weight of the atmosphere, he added.

And the combination of gravity and the mass of the atmosphere explains why the Earth, for example, is warmer than the moon.

“The moon receives about the same amount of heat from the sun as Earth, yet it is 90 degrees [Celsius] colder than the Earth, because it has no atmosphere,” Nikolov explained.

What it all means for science and the climate debate

This is not the first paper to reject the greenhouse-gas theory entirely.

In 2009, for example, Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf Tscheuschner published a paper titled “Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics” in the International Journal of Modern Physics.

They wrote that the “atmospheric greenhouse effect” that “is still supported in global climatology” basically “describes a fictitious mechanism.” The second law of thermodynamics, they said, shows that “can never exist.”

However, their paper did not propose a mechanism to explain the higher temperature of Earth relative to the moon.

The new paper by Nikolov and Zeller does propose such a mechanism – atmospheric pressure.

If correct, the implications of the discovery would be enormous, multiple scientists told WND.

For one, it means the climate projections used to forecast warming doom and justify a wide range of policies are completely wrong.

That is because they were produced by computer models built around a “physically deeply flawed concept, the radiative greenhouse theory,” said Nikolov, who works as a federal scientist but did the new study completely on his own time.

“One major implication of our recently published study is that there is indeed a fundamental problem with the physics of current radiative greenhouse concept,” he told WND, highlighting the origin of the “inaccurate” theory in two 19th century papers.

“The foundation of the greenhouse theory was born of an assumption, it was never shown experimentally, and our results show this is completely wrong,” Nikolov said. “Our study blows the greenhouse theory completely out of the water. There is nothing left.”

“Hence, the public debate on climate needs now to shift focus to the fact that the basic science concept underlying current climate projections by the UN [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] IPCC and other international bodies is physically flawed,” Nikolov added, saying the new findings require a “fundamental overhaul of climate science” and that Earth may be heading for a cooling period.

“This is what the data shows,” he said. “We didn’t start with a theory, we started with the data, which is the opposite of how the greenhouse theory came about.”

The greenhouse theory, Nikolov explained, is based on the assumption that a free convective atmosphere – an atmosphere with no “lid” on it – can trap heat.

“This was an assumption born out of a misinterpretation of experiments involving glass boxes in the early 19th century by Joseph Fourier, a French mathematician,” he said.

“Glass boxes get warmer inside when exposed to the sun not because they trap long-wave radiation, as thought by Fourier, but because they hamper the exchange of air between the inside of a box and the outside environment,” he added.

Next came Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist, who assumed Fourier was correct and in 1896 created an equation to calculate the Earth’s temperature based on CO2 in the atmosphere.

“This equation is both mathematically and physically wrong,” argued Nikolov. “Yet, this paper is still cited as ‘evidence’ that the physics of the greenhouse effect have been well-known for over 100 years.”

More HERE 

Australian Greens plan to curb property investment

There are actually some good points in the plan.  Reverting to inflation adjustment for assessing capital gains rather than giving a fixed 50% discount is much fairer though more complex to administer

The attack on negative gearing is very unrealistic, however. It would simply prevent a lot of property investment occurring so would constitute no gain to the treasury while reducing the supply of rental accommodation.  But it is mostly the poor who rent so the plan would hit the poor while trying to hit the rich.  But maybe that scenario appeals to the elitist Greens. 

The Australian Greens are preparing to unveil the most ambitious plan yet to get young people into homes, costed at an extraordinary $51 billion. The $51 billion figure is a net saving to the budget rather than a cost, calculated over 10 by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

The three-point plan, Houses for Young People: Freeing up Investment Properties, would phase out the capital gains tax discount available to property investors over five years.

During the first year, the standard 50 per cent discount on capital gains tax would shrink to 40 per cent, to 10 per cent after four years and zero after five years.

Income from capital gains would be then be taxed at almost the same rate as income from other sources, except that the inflation component would be tax exempt, as it used to be before 1999 when the Howard government replaced the exemption with a 50 per cent discount.

Reverting to the original means of compensating investors for inflation would bring in an extra $2.75 billion over four years and $16.1 billion over 10 years.

It would make property investment and speculation less attractive, winding back the competition faced by owner-occupiers at auctions.

The plan would also end negative gearing for all new property purchases. Businesses would continue to be able to negatively gear non-property investments.

Landlords would continue to able to write off property investment costs against property investment income, but not against salaries and other income.

His part of the plan would bring in $2.4 billion over four years and $34.5 billion over 10 years.

The third leg of the plan would limit existing negative gearers to one property. Only 583,000 out of Australia's 1.5 million property investors invest in two or more investment properties.

The deductions available for second or more properties would shrink by one-fifth each year until reaching zero after the fifth year.

The limit would bring in an extra $100 million in tax revenue in the first four years and $1.3 billion over 10 years.

Launching the plan on Saturday, Greens leader Richard Di Natale will say it is "time to dismantle the rigged system that privileges investors and landlords over everybody else".

"Australia is facing a housing crisis. Everyone needs a home where they can feel secure, live comfortably and be part of the community," his speaking notes say. "But this is becoming increasingly difficult for millions of average Australians."

Greens Treasury spokesman, senator Peter Whish-Wilson will say the government has "rigged the tax system to favour wealthy people".

"Negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts have driven house prices sky high, making it easier for wealthy people to buy more homes and harder for first home buyers," he will say. "At the same time, stamp duty raises the price of homes and stops people from moving house, even when they're ready to downsize."

The Greens will also push the Commonwealth government to back state governments that replace stamp duty with land tax.

The plan goes further than the one Labor took to the election that retained negative gearing for all pre-existing investors, no matter how many properties they geared.

Labor proposed halving the capital gains tax discount from 50 per cent to 25 per cent rather than abolishing it and replacing it with indexation.

In the budget Treasurer Scott Morrison wound back some of the excesses of negative gearing by withdrawing deductions for things such as the cost of travel to inspect rented-out properties.




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



Home (Index page)

There are no forbidden questions in science, no matters too sensitive or delicate to be challenged, no sacred truths.

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

"Thinking" molecules?? Terrestrial temperatures have gone up by less than one degree over the last 150 years and CO2 has gone up long term too. But that proves nothing. It is not a proven causal relationship. One of the first things you learn in statistics is that correlation is not causation. And there is none of the smooth relationship that you would expect of a causal relationship. Both temperatures and CO2 went up in fits and starts but they were not the same fits and starts. The precise effects on temperature that CO2 levels are supposed to produce were not produced. CO2 molecules don't have a little brain in them that says "I will stop reflecting heat down for a few years and then start up again". Their action (if any) is entirely passive. Yet temperature can stay plateaued for many years (e.g. 1945 to 1975) while CO2 levels climb. So there is clearly no causal link between the two. One could argue that there are one or two things -- mainly volcanoes and the Ninos -- that upset the relationship but there are not exceptions ALL the time. Most of the time a precise 1 to 1 connection should be visible. It isn't, far from it. You should be able to read one from the other. You can't.

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

Climate change is the religion of people who think they're too smart for religion

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."

Warmists claim that the "hiatus" in global warming that began around 1998 was caused by the oceans suddenly gobbling up all the heat coming from above. Changes in the heat content of the oceans are barely measurable but the ARGO bathythermographs seem to show the oceans warming not from above but from below


"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: As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: 'A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.'

Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

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.”

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"I always think it's a sign of victory when they move on to the ad hominem -- Christopher Hitchens

"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

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

The frequency of hurricanes has markedly DECLINED in recent years

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Another 97%: Following the death of an older brother in a car crash in 1994, Bashar Al Assad became heir apparent; and after his father died in June 2000, he took office as President of Syria with a startling 97 per cent of the vote.

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

How 'GREEN' is the FOOTPRINT of a WIND TURBINE? 45 tons of rebar and 630 cubic yards of concrete

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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