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 December, 2012

Lewandowsky again attempting to sound authoritative

De-Published and Australian-resident psychologist of climate, Stephan Lewandowski, has once again attempted to establish his wisdom in the matter of climate beliefs. He has written an article for Australia's main public broadcaster (where else?) in which he makes some vanilla comments about what it takes to change people's minds (A lot. He should know) and attempts to portray climate skepticism as an unreasonably fixed belief.

He does the usual appeal to authority that is typical of people who do not want to look at the evidence but has a few refinements beyond the usual. I will add a few comments at the foot of the "pearls" concerned: I quote:
Those elements of a successful rebuttal can be illustrated with a recent article (paywalled) by climate "sceptic" Matt Ridley that has attracted considerable attention, having first appeared in The Wall Street Journal, before being taken up by The Australian and Forbes.

According to this article, we have nothing to worry about: the author acknowledges that the globe is warming and human greenhouse gas emissions are to blame, but claims that the warming will be slight and good for us.

However comforting it may be, this claim is misleading. The article cites only one peer-reviewed study, by Ring and colleagues, and it misrepresents the implications of their work. When I contacted one of the authors, Professor Michael Schlesinger of the University of Illinois, he replied:

"The author of the Wall Street Journal article that mentions the findings of our paper is just plain wrong about future warming. Our research shows that global warming will exceed 2C, defined as dangerous climate change, by the middle of this century."

This correction is straightforward but may be insufficient to permit discounting of this misinformation. Let's apply the three principles for successful debunking.

First, one must point out that the author, Matt Ridley, has financial interests related to coal mining (it must be noted that he does declare this interest at the end of his article). The possible conflict of interest is clearly relevant. Moreover, because climate change is an exercise in risk management, the author's record of risk (mis-)management is also relevant. One must be concerned that Matt Ridley was chairman of a bank that experienced the first bank run in the UK in 150 years, which led a member of the UK Parliament's Select Committee on Treasury to ask of Matt Ridley:

"you have damaged the good name of British banking; why are you still clinging to office?"

Second, one must point out that there is an overwhelming consensus in the peer-reviewed literature which suggests that future warming will be more than slight and that it will be far from beneficial for most societies. With natural weather-related disasters having nearly tripled in the last 30 years already, it takes a considerable leap of faith to hope, let alone claim, that future warming will have beneficial effects overall.

Finally, one must visualise the future warming using a graph. The figure below was provided by Professor Schlesinger, whose work was misrepresented in the Wall Street Journal piece, from one of his recent papers:

The figure shows that regardless of which data set is being used to produce projections (i.e., GISS, HADCRU, or NOAA), there will be considerably more than 2C warming (ie, the UNFCCC threshold) by century's end.


I have just re-read the Ridley article and following is the whole of what Ridley said about the Schlesinger article:

"Michael Ring and Michael Schlesinger of the University of Illinois, using the most trustworthy temperature record, also estimate 1.6°C."

What Lewandowsky has seized on was in other words entirely incidental to the thrust of Ridley's article, which relied principally on discussions with an IPCC statistician, Nic Lewis. And what Ridley has said does not necessarily conflict with the out-of-context quote put up by Lewandowski. Ridley quoted results for "the most trustworthy temperature record" and those results need not at all be the same as the results for all temperature records or even the mean temperature record. So no points to Lewandowsky so far.

Lewandowsky then goes completely "ad hominem", a mode of argument that has no scholarly repute whatever and which therefore proves nothing: He points out that Ridley was chairman of a failed British bank. I should ignore such an irrelevant argument but let me point out anyway that Lewandowsky somehow forgets to mention that heaps of banks worldwide -- mostly run by very bright people -- also went bust at roughly the same time (the 2007-2008 GFC). That hardly merits pointing the finger at Ridley. So no points to Lewandowsky for that little bit of nastiness either.

Lewandowsky then says: "With natural weather-related disasters having nearly tripled in the last 30 years..." but the link he gives for that claim is to one of his own prior articles! Since I have put up plenty of evidence to the contrary in recent times (e.g. here), I will say no more at this point. But Lewandowsky is just cherrypicking. Certainly no points for that.

His last stab is to put up a pretty-looking graph. But note the timescale that the graph covers. It is all prophecy and, as such, unfalsifiable. So in philosophy of science terms it is not even an empirical statement. It is a statement of belief and not a statement of fact. And prophecies are almost always false, as we saw with the recent Mayan debacle. So no points for that either.

So when it gets beyond vague principles and onto matters of fact, Lewandowsky is left clutching at smoke. And he greatly discredits his own claim to scholarship in the process -- JR

Sceptics weather the storm to put their case on climate

Some serious comments from an Australian cartoonist. It's presumably only his status as a cartoonist that got him published in Australia's most Leftist mainstream newspaper

WELL, so much for the 2012 apocalypse. If the ancient Mayans ever knew anything about the future, they made a serious miscalculation. The same fate has befallen the international climate change emergency brigade. About $1 billion and 18 "Kyoto" meetings later, the world has agreed to do nothing much more than meet again.

How did this frightening climate threat dissolve into scientific uncertainty and political confusion? What of the many billions of dollars of wasted public resources? Some might blame the "sceptics", the "merchants of doubt" or the "deniers". Others point to the global financial crisis.

We can say for certain that many hesitant individuals overcame the pressures of group-think, intimidation and tribal disapproval to have a closer look at the relationship between real science, politics and business.

I was once told by a friend that when it comes to scientific issues of major public concern, it is "not what you know but who you know". I think he meant that my fledgling scepticism about dangerous anthropogenic global warming (DAGW) was pointless, for as a cartoonist I was as unqualified to assess the science as he was.

The implication was that all who are untrained in "climate science" are required to accept the scientific and political authority of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its local colleagues such as the CSIRO: the scientific establishment.

I found my friend's advice baffling. Anyone familiar with the judicial process knows the gravest issues of liberty and fortune are often determined by a jury selected from the public. Expert witnesses can give evidence in support of either side at a trial. The judge must rule on questions of admissibility, but in the end it is the jury that decides which scientific evidence is to be believed.

In the climate debate, the only "judge" is the scientific method - a testable hypothesis followed by factual or experimental challenge. The "facts" here represent an anxious problem for the DAGW advocates. For example, everybody agrees that the warming trend paused 16 years ago, despite a corresponding 10 per cent increase in atmospheric CO2. This ought to be an embarrassment to the global warming alarmists. What exactly is the relationship between CO2 and temperature? Why did the warming trend stop as it did between 1945 and 1975, when CO2 emissions took off?

As Dr David Whitehouse, the former BBC online science editor, said in the New Statesman in 2007, "something else is happening to the climate and it is vital we find out what or we may spend hundreds of billions of pounds needlessly". Obviously we should pay close attention to the computer models that form the basis of climate scientists' projections. In fact these models apparently failed to anticipate the current pause in global warming, not to mention the abundance of post-drought rainfall in Australia. Scientific "consensus" based on these computer models is becoming rather shaky.

The reason why scientific consensus emerged in this debate is because political activists want to get things moving, and if they say that consensus is scary and urgent, then sceptics had better get out of the way.

The activist cause peaked early in 2007 when Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth became an international hit. This documentary was superficially compelling for the uninitiated, but in October 2007 the British High Court found the film contained nine errors of fact.

Professor Bob Carter of Queensland's James Cook University gave evidence in this case; few people in Australia are aware of this severe embarrassment for Mr Gore.

Later that year, the ABC broadcast Martin Durkin's provocative documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle, against the outraged objections of many prominent alarmists. How interesting. The science was "settled", the debate was said to be over and no further discussion was required. Any media professional should have been aroused by such an excited censorship campaign, and it stimulated my first cartoon on the subject (above), which depicted the family TV set as mediaeval stocks with an imprisoned climate sceptic being pelted by the family with their TV dinner.

It seemed to me that things changed after that documentary was screened. Perhaps the shock of hearing the likes of Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, and Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, had joined the ranks of the sceptical was just too much for some people.

Things got nasty. Someone came up with the brilliant but insidious idea of using the term "denier" to describe a person who remained agnostic or sceptical about the exact human contribution to the 0.7 degree global warming of the past 100 years. This malicious rhetoric came to be adopted by climate activists, media reporters and politicians up to head-of-state level. Many distinguished scientists such as Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT, and Bill Kininmonth, former head of our National Climate Centre, were casually defamed in this way. The same label was applied to world-renowned theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson and Australia's distinguished Professor Bob Carter.

Holocaust denial describes the heartless and despicable refusal by anti-Semites to acknowledge the historical truth of the Jewish genocide of World War II. If you use the offensive term "denier" you do so for reasons best known to yourself. You may be calculating or you may be indifferent, but as Wong, Rudd and Gillard would have known, the effect is pungent. No sensible, morally responsible person wants to be stigmatised in such a way.

Some prominent Australian intellectuals to this day continue to explicitly endorse the moral equivalence between Holocaust and global warming denial. This is all the more incredible because it comes from academics who understand the horror of the Holocaust. For good measure, sceptics have also been compared with 18th century slave trade advocates, tobacco lobbyists and even paedophile promoters.

But times have changed, and since 2007, the non-scientific players in this great intellectual drama have been confronted by creeping uncertainty about many of the major climate science issues. These have included the composition of the IPCC and the credibility of its processes; remember Glaciergate? The IPCC predicted the end of the Himalayan glaciers based on non-scientific literature; the unusual (or not) melting of sea ice and glaciers; the evidence for warm temperatures during the mediaeval period; the importance of sun spots; changes (or not) in patterns of extreme weather events; ocean "acidification"; ocean warming and rising sea levels; bio-mass absorption and the longevity of molecules of atmospheric CO2; the influence of short-period El Nino southern oscillation (ENSO) and other similar oscillations on a multi-decade scale; the chaotic behaviour of clouds; and the impact of cosmic rays on climate. Even James Lovelock, the founder of the "Gaia", movement has turned sceptic.

By early 2010, it seemed that nearly every single element of the global warming debate was up for grabs, and scandals like Climategate and gross mistakes in their work had weakened the credibility of the IPCC. Even Professor Paul Jones of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, a leading contributor to IPCC calculations, confirmed in a 2010 BBC interview that the warming rates of the periods 1860-80, 1910-40 and 1975-98 were statistically similar. He also said that "I don't believe that the vast majority of climate scientists believe that the climate change [debate] is over".

To the great credit of The Age and its pluralistic tradition, the occasional sceptical science article has been published along with regular cartoons on the issue.

However, I still feel that the voices of highly qualified sceptics are not heard enough. In an effort to redress this imbalance, an unusual book on the sceptics' view will be published in 2013.

The text, sprinkled with cartoons and illustrations, takes the Socratic form, giving answers to commonly asked questions about the science and economics of climate change. The content is provided by a collaboration of five highly qualified experts. They include a meteorologist, the former director of the Australian National Climate Centre; a geologist, a former member of the Australian Research Council and chairman of the Earth Sciences Panel; an independent energy consultant who manages his own small hydro power station; a professor of environmental engineering (hydrology) and one of Australia's leading tax consultants.

I trust the integrity and compassion of these "deniers", and admire their courage and awesome perseverance. We hope the book will help redress the imbalance in easily accessible knowledge for a "jury" of ordinary Australians.


The global warming scare has had almost continuous precursors

Though no other scare approaches it for profitability

In his 1702 opus Magnalia Christi Americana, the prominent Puritan Cotton Mather related a story about Francis Higginson, the first minister to serve the citizens of Salem, Massachusetts. Before Higginson sailed to New England in 1629, Mather wrote, he preached one last sermon to his old congregation in Leicester. The Lord, it seemed, was preparing a punishment for England. A war was coming, and Leicester in particular was going to suffer. So Higginson was heading across the sea to seek shelter in a place where God’s people could build a more holy commonwealth, a place safe from the destruction to come. The colonists, he concluded, were following the advice of Christ: “When you see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then flee to the mountains.”

Mather wrote those words long after the English civil war that saw Leicester besieged and sacked. Skeptics might suspect him of inventing or exaggerating a story that made a fellow Puritan look prophetic. But the idea that America could serve as refuge from an Old World apocalypse was not limited to the perhaps-apocryphal story of Higginson’s final preachment.

John Winthrop, an early governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, declared that “God hath provided this place to be a refuge for many whome he meanes to save out of the generall callamity.” William Bradford, an early governor of Plymouth, cited “the divine proverb, that a wise man seeth the plague when it cometh, and hideth himself.” After that civil war did break out in England, the Puritan poet and minister Michael Wigglesworth described the New World as a “hiding place, which thou / Jehovah, didst provide…When th’ overflowing scourge did pass / Through Europe, like a flood.” City upon a hill, schmitty upon a hill: America was a fallout shelter.

It wasn’t long before the settlers started spotting signs of Armageddon on this side of the Atlantic too. Wigglesworth described America as a place with “no enemyes” and with “such peace / As none enjoyd before,” but for Mather it was “a World in every Nook whereof, the devil is encamped.” When the Puritans weren’t fighting actual wars with French Catholic settlers and Native Americans, they were imagining conspiracies of Catholics, Indians, and invisible spirits all around them. Sometimes those alleged plots combined into a single cabal. At “their Cheef Witch-meetings,” Mather warned, “there has been present some French canadians, and some Indian Sagamores, to concert the methods of ruining New England.” Such anxieties would prove durable.

In Heaven on Earth, the Boston University historian Richard Landes presents a cross-cultural survey of millennialism—the conviction that we’re approaching either the end of the world or a sudden, radical global transformation. One theme of the book is the experience of “apocalyptic time,” that moment when men and women become convinced that the change they have anticipated is about to arrive. “Many things come to people who believe themselves in the midst of apocalyptic time; many things become possible,” Landes writes. “Such people bring us saintly men wandering through Europe preaching peace, and warriors with crosses wading in blood up to their horses’ bridles, both believing that this was the Day our Lord promised, to rejoice therein.”

The closer you look at American history, the more it seems that someone somewhere is always in apocalyptic time. Sometimes the whole country seems to plunge in together, as in such convulsive periods as the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the aftermath of 9/11. Other times a distinct subculture detects an eschaton invisible to everyone else. On October 22, 1844, the followers of William Miller abandoned their homes and fields and gathered to greet the end of the world; to quote Mark Twain’s account, they “put on their ascension robes, took a tearful leave of their friends, and made ready to fly up to heaven at the first blast of the trumpet. But the angel did not blow it.”

The Millerites came and went without hurting much more than the believers’ pride. But other millennial movements attracted a reputation for violence, for taking up arms to hasten or weather the oncoming collapse.

In the 1980s, for example, a far-right sect called the Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord convinced itself that the last days were at hand. “It will get so bad that parents will eat their children,” church leader James Ellison predicted. “Death in the major cities will cause rampant diseases and plagues. Maggot-infested bodies will lie everywhere. Earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanoes, and other natural disasters will grow to gigantic proportions. Witches and satanic Jews will offer people up as sacrifices to their gods, openly and proudly; blacks will rape and kill white women and will torture and kill white men; homosexuals will sodomize whoever they can. Our new government will be a part of the one-world Zionist Communist government. All but the elect will have the mark of the Beast.” Ellison’s followers started conducting military maneuvers and plotting terrorist attacks. Their career concluded in a 1985 standoff with the feds, a siege that lasted for four days before the militants surrendered.

Sometimes the story is inverted: A millennial movement inspires apocalyptic fears in the mainstream, and believers become the targets of violence rather than its perpetrators. The classic example is the Ghost Dance, a 19th-century messianic movement centered around a Northern Paiute Indian called Wovoka. There would come a day, Wovoka preached, when the familiar world would end and a new age would begin, when the living would become immortal and the ghosts of the dead would return. To hasten this day, Indians must set aside their differences, give up guns and alcohol and idleness, dance the Ghost Dance, and spread the good news.

The faith was transmitted orally, so it mutated and adapted rapidly, absorbing different attributes in different places as different tribes encountered it. Among the recently defeated Sioux, licking their wounds in the Dakotas, the religion took on a militant flavor, introducing the ideas that the white race would be wiped out and that special shirts would make their wearers impervious to bullets. Even in this form, the Ghost Dance was an explicitly nonviolent religion. If anything, it may have tamped down the impulse to attack whites, since it allowed angry Indians to believe that the intruders would soon be removed by supernatural means.

Nonetheless, when the Hunkpapa Sioux leader Sitting Bull endorsed the Ghost Dance in 1890, he broke a peace pipe in public and announced that he was ready to fight and die for the faith. That was enough for Maj. James McLaughlin, Washington’s representative in its interactions with the local Indians, to fire off a letter to the federal commissioner of Indian affairs. Sitting Bull, he warned, was “an adept in influencing his ignorant henchmen and followers, and there is no knowing what he may direct them to attempt.”

The McLaughlin letter leaked to the newspapers. The Chicago Daily Tribune published it under the headline “TO WIPE OUT THE WHITES: What the Indians Expect of the Coming Messiah.”The Philadelphia Telegraph fretted that “Army officers may be perfectly well informed of Sitting Bull’s intrigues, but they can do nothing until he deliberately perfects his rascally plans and gets ready to start his young bucks on a raid.” The New York Times announced that “the redskins are dancing in circles,” then quoted a “half-breed” courier as to what such symbolism must mean: “The Sioux never dance that dance except for one purpose, and that is for war.” At one point the Tribune reported that a battle with the Indians had already left 60 dead or wounded. In fact the clash had never occurred.

Nervous whites begged the government for greater protection. On December 15, 1890, a botched attempt to arrest Sitting Bull at the Standing Rock reservation ended in violence: The police killed Sitting Bull and some of his supporters, and his supporters killed several arresting officers. Fearing retaliation, hundreds of the Hunkpapa fled their homes, hoping to seek shelter with the Indians at Cheyenne River, but the Seventh Cavalry caught up with them and brought them to Wounded Knee Creek on December 28.

What followed was one of the most notorious massacres in American history. Government troops ended up killing between 170 and 190 of the Indians, including at least 18 children. More than two dozen whites died too, largely from friendly fire. Fearing an apocalypse, the soldiers inflicted one instead.

There has been no shortage of millennial movements and moments since then, from the saucer cults that started to mushroom after World War II to Christian sects convinced that Christ’s return was close. The 1960s and ’70s saw a general fear of an onrushing cataclysm, an anxiety circulating in secular as well as religious circles. The environmentalists of the era were often prone to mistaking ecological problems for imminent planetary doom. (In 1969, Ramparts magazine warned on its cover that the oceans could be dead in just a decade.) In Christian America, Hal Lindsey, co-author with Carole Carlsson of the immensely popular The Late Great Planet Earth, interpreted world events through the lens of Biblical prophecy and argued that Armageddon was nigh. This was no fringe phenomenon: Since its release in 1970, Lindsey and Carlsson’s book has sold more than 35 million copies.

Meanwhile, the rise of nuclear weaponry made the sudden destruction of the United States an actual possibility. And if the end of the Cold War diminished that particular anxiety, the September 11 attacks thrust the country into something even more intense: the possibility not that someone far away will fire a missile, but that anything around you might be a sign of a new terror plot. When people enter an apocalyptic frame of mind, Landes writes, “everything quickens, enlightens, coheres. They become semiotically aroused—everything has meaning, patterns.” In the months following 9/11, that mentality was almost inescapable.

And then there is what may be the most persistent source of American apocalyptic fear: the country’s physical terrain. Every natural disaster enacts the endtimes in miniature. As Hurricane Katrina crushed the Gulf Coast in 2005, there were enough signs of the last days to fill a thousand folk ballads: a drowning city, death and starvation, martial law, rumors of barbaric behavior. “It was kind of like the end of the world,” one survivor told a reporter from KTRK-TV.

But 9/11 and Katrina also remind us that the last days never quite seem to arrive. We exit apocalyptic time. A city starts to rebuild. Normal life resumes. Many people’s worlds come to an end, but the world itself persists.

And then the next disaster strikes from above, or the next millennial fever surges up from below. The endtimes never really end. It’s always Armageddon somewhere.


Proof of global cooling! Britain has wettest year on record

If a drought this year in parts of the USA proves global warming, then surely record floods in Britain prove global cooling!

Up to three inches of rain could fall today as 2012 goes out with a splash. This will be followed by further downpours tomorrow night, forecasters warn. With the ground already saturated, there is a high risk of further flooding.

Last night 78 flood warnings were in place and a further 192 flood alerts were issued. The Environment Agency has told those travelling over the weekend to take extra caution and plan ahead.

But the New Year finally promises some respite. It means most people should have clear skies for their New Year's Eve fireworks, and from Tuesday onwards only occasional showers are forecast, with several dry days.

The Met Office has already confirmed 2012 as the wettest year in England since records began in 1910 – and the threatened storms are likely to confirm it as the wettest for all of Britain.

Less than two inches of rain is needed for the record to be broken, remarkable considering much of the country was in drought in March with huge swathes subjected to hosepipe bans.

And after heavy overnight rain, there will be further blustery downpours this morning.

Experts warn that the North West can expect up to three inches of rain, while other areas can expect up to an inch.

In the past 10 days, 520 properties have flooded across the country. High ground water levels have meant that even places such as Common Moor, near Liskeard – one of Cornwall's highest communities above sea level – have been put at risk.

Flood defences have so far protected more than 21,000 properties across England and Wales, including 4,000 properties in Cornwall, while the Environment Agency's Floodline has received 28,000 calls.

Met Office forecaster Dave Britton said: 'Heavier rain will return on Sunday evening, with a new band of wet weather from the west. New Year's Eve will see further outbreaks of rain, but after a sodden day, the early forecasts are for the rain to clear in the evening.


Guess what 'fossil' fuels don't come from

There must be a lot of fossils in outer space

Astronomers are providing new evidence hydrocarbons are not a biological product but instead are created by inorganic chemical processes that occur on a continuing basis.

Scientists working at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, using the 30-meter telescope of the Institute for Radio Astronomy, have discovered a vast cloud of hydrocarbons within the Horse Head Nebula galaxy in the Orion constellation, according to reports published in The Daily Galaxy and in the oil industry publication Rigzone.

“We observed the operation of a natural refinery of gigantic size,” astronomer Jerome Pety told The Daily Galaxy.

Astronomer Viviana Guzman explained to both publications that the nebula contains 200 times more hydrocarbons than the total amount of water on Earth.

In 1951, Russian scientist and professor Nikolai Kudryavtsev articulated what today has become known as the Russian-Ukranian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins.

Essentially, the theory rejects the contention that oil was formed from the remains of ancient plant and animal life that died millions of years ago.

Thomas Gold was a professor of astronomy who taught at Cornell University and died in 2004, at 84 years old. In 1998, when he was 78, he published a controversial book , “The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels.”

As an astronomer, Gold was well aware that hydrocarbons are abundant in the universe. Since the early part of the 20th century, spectrographs that analyze wavelengths have permitted astronomers to determine with certainty that carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe, right after hydrogen, helium and oxygen.

Furthermore, Gold wrote, among planetary bodies, “carbon is found mostly in compounds with hydrogen – hydrocarbons – which, at different temperatures and pressures, may be gaseous, liquid, or solid.”

“Astronomical techniques have thus produced clear and indisputable evidence that hydrocarbons are major constituents of bodies great and small within our solar system (and beyond),” he said.

In other words, hydrocarbons are not “organic chemicals” resulting from life processes on earth, as is commonly assumed by proponents of the fossil fuel theory.

Rather, Gold argued, hydrogen is a fundamental element readily available in the universe that combines with carbon to form hydrocarbons, whether life is present or not.

What astronomers have known about the abundance of hydrocarbons in the universe, however, has not passed on to geologists. In contrast, geologists think of hydrocarbons as forming only through the activity of life – either in building life through photosynthesis or when forms of life die.

Abiotic oil found on Titan

NASA scientists, in conjunction with the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency, have determined from a Cassini-Huygens probe that landed in 2005 on Titan, the giant moon of Saturn, that Titan contains abundant methane.

“We have determined that Titan’s methane is not of biological origin, so it must be replenished by geological processes on Titan, perhaps venting from a supply in the interior that could have been trapped there as the moon formed,” Hasso Niemann of the Goddard Space Flight Center told reporters Nov. 30, 2005.

The Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer, or GCMS, an instrument that identifies different atmospheric constituents by their mass, provided measurements demonstrating the methane on Titan is composed of Carbon-13, the isotope of carbon associated with inorganic or abiotic origins, whereas living organisms are typically associated with Carbon-12.

Each Carbon-13 atom has an extra neutron in its nucleus, making Carbon-13 atoms slightly heavier than Carbon-12 atoms, permitting the GCMS to distinguish between methane isotopes with Carbon-12 and methane with Carbon-13 atoms.

Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth, according to a team of Johns Hopkins scientists reporting in February 2008 on their new findings from data collected from Cassini-Huygens probe radar data.

“Several hundred lakes or seas have been discovered, of which dozens are estimated to contain more hydrocarbon liquid than the entire known oil and gas reserves on Earth,” wrote lead scientist Ralph Lorenz of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., in the Jan. 29, 2008, issue of the Geophysical Research Letters.

Lorenz also reported dark dunes running along the equator cover 20 percent of Titan’s surface, comprising a volume of hydrocarbon material several hundred times larger than Earth’s coal reserves.

“Titan is just covered in carbon-bearing material – it’s a giant factory of organic chemicals,” Lorenz wrote.


The Political Superstorm that Devastated New York

Paul Driessen

“Superstorm” Sandy killed more than 100 people, destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, and left millions without food, water, electricity, sanitation or shelter for days or even weeks. Our thoughts and prayers remain focused on its victims, many of whom are still grieving as they struggle with the storm’s wintry aftermath and try to rebuild their lives.

Unfortunately, too many politicians continue to use the storm to advance agendas, deflect blame for incompetence and mistakes, and obfuscate and magnify future risks from building and development projects that they have designed, promoted, permitted and profited from.

Sandy was “unprecedented,” the result of “weather on steroids,” various “experts” insist. “It’s global warming, stupid,” intonedBloomberg BusinessWeek. “Anyone who says there is not a change in weather patterns is denying reality,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared. We must protect the great NY metropolis from rising oceans, said the Washington Post. This storm should “compel all elected leaders to take immediate action” on climate change, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pronounced.

Unfortunately for the politicians and spin-meisters, the facts do not support this obscene posturing.

North America’s northeastern coast has been battered by hurricanes and other major storms throughout history. A 1775 hurricane killed 4,000 people in Newfoundland; an 1873 monster left 600 dead in Nova Scotia; others pummeled Canada’s Maritime Provinces in 1866, 1886, 1893, 1939, 1959, 1963 and 2003.

Manhattan got pounded in 1667 and by the Great Storm of 1693. They were followed by more behemoths in 1788, 1821, 1893, 1944, 1954 and 1992. Other “confluences of severe weather events” brought killer storms like the four-day Great Blizzard of 1888. The 1893 storm largely eradicated Hog Island, and the 1938 “Long Island Express” hit LI as a category 3 hurricane with wind gusts up to 180 mph.

Experts say such winds today would rip windows from skyscrapers and cause a deadly blizzard of flying glass, masonry, chairs, desks and other debris from high-rise offices and apartments. People would seek safety in subway tunnels, where they would drown as the tunnels flood.

Sandy was merely the latest “confluence” (tropical storm, northeaster and full-moon high tide) to blast the New York-New Jersey area. It was never a matter of if, but only of when, such a storm would hit.

People, planners and politicians should have been better prepared. Instead, we are feted with statements designed to dodge responsibility and culpability, by trying to blame global warming. The reality is, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose to 391 ppm (0.0391%) today, average global temperatures have not changed in 16 years, and sea levels are rising no faster than in 1900. Even with Hurricane Sandy, November 2012 marked the quietest long-term hurricane period since the Civil War, with only one major hurricane strike on the US mainland in seven years. This is global warming and unprecedented weather on steroids?

In Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath – with millions freezing hungry in dark devastation – Mayor Bloomberg sidetracked police and sanitation workers for the NYC Marathon, until public outrage forced him to reconsider. While federal emergency teams struggled to get water, food and gasoline to victims, companies, religious groups, charities, local citizens and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie worked tirelessly to raise money and organize countless relief efforts.

Most outrageous of all, though, was how ill-prepared the region was for another major storm – and how many political decisions had virtually ensured that any repeat of the 1893, 1938, 1944 and other storms would bring devastation far worse than would likely have occurred in the absence of those decisions.

In one of the most obvious, architects, city planners, mayors and governors alike thought nothing of placing generators in the basements of hospitals and skyscrapers built in areas that are barely above sea level. Past storms have brought surges12 to 18 feet high onto Long Island, and studies have warned that a category 3 direct hit could put much of New York City and its key infrastructure under 30 feet of water. Sandy’s 9-foot surges (plus five feet of high tide) flooded those basements, rendering generators useless, and leaving buildings cold and dark. Perhaps if Mayor Bloomberg had worried less about 32-oz sodas and seas that are rising a mere foot per century, he could have devoted more time to critical issues.

The mayor has also obsessed about urban sprawl. However, when new developments mean high rents, high taxes and photo-op ground breakings, he has a different philosophy.

Mr. Bloomberg’s Arverne by the Sea initiative transformed what he called “a swath of vacant land” into a “vibrant and growing oceanfront community,” with “affordable” homes starting at $559,000. (The land was vacant because a 1950 storm wiped it clean of structures.) The new homes were built on 167 acres of land raised five feet above the surrounding Far Rockaway area.

Those Arverne homes mostly survived Sandy. But the high ground caused storm surges to rise higher and move faster elsewhere than they would have on Rockaway lowlands that are always hit head-on by northward moving storms.

If Sandy had been a category 3 hurricane like its 1938 ancestor, the devastation would have been of biblical proportions – as winds, waves and surges slammed into expensive homes, businesses and high-rises, and roared up waterways rendered progressively narrower by hundreds of construction projects.

Lower Manhattan has doubled in width over the centuries. World Trade Center construction alone contributed 1.2 million cubic yards to build Battery Park City, narrowing the Hudson River by another 700 feet. The East River has likewise been hemmed in, while other water channels have been completely filled. Buildings, malls and raised roadways constructed on former potato fields, forests, grasslands and marshlands have further constricted passageways for storm surges and runoff.

As a result, storms like Sandy or the Long Island Express send monstrous volumes of water up ever more confined corridors. With nowhere else to go, the surges rise higher, travel faster and pack more power. It’s elementary physics – which governors, mayors, planners and developers ignore at their peril.

No wonder, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo and other politicos prefer to talk about global warming, rising seas and worsening weather – to deflect attention and blame from decisions that have put more people in the path of greater danger. Indeed, the very notion of packing more and more people into “sustainable, energy-efficient” coastal cities in the NY-NJ area is itself madness on steroids.

Worst of all, politicians are increasingly and intentionally obscuring and misrepresenting the nature, frequency and severity of storm, flood and surge risks, so that they can promote and permit more construction in high-risk areas, and secure more money and power. They insist that they can prevent or control climate change and sea level rise, by regulating CO2 emission – while they ignore real, known dangers that have arisen before and will arise again, exacerbated by their politicized decisions.

As a result, unsuspecting business and home owners continue to buy, build and rebuild in areas that are increasingly at risk from hurricanes, northeasters and “perfect storms” of natural and political events. And as the population density increases in this NY-NJ area, the ability to evacuate people plummets, especially when roadways, tunnels and other escape routes are submerged. Let the buyer beware.

Sandy may have been a rare (but hardly unprecedented) confluence of weather events. But the political decisions and blame avoidance are an all-too-common confluence of human tendencies – worsened by the dogged determination of our ruling classes to acquire greater power and control, coupled with steadily declining transparency, accountability and liability.

How nice it must be to have convenient scapegoats like “dangerous manmade global warming” and insurance companies – today’s equivalent of the witches whom our predecessors blamed for storms, droughts, crop failures, disease and destruction. It’s time to use the witches’ brooms to clean house.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


30 December, 2012

Sunday sabbath

29 December, 2012

Insignificant and semi-literate attention-seeker jumps on the Warmist bandwagon

She is allegedly an academic but is a poor one. She says, for instance:

"From the moment I decided to carry my girls I have mitigated against every threat to their future."

She doubles confusion with that language. It is common to misquote "militate against" as "mitigate against", which no-one who knows any Latin would do, but she actually uses even the mistaken usage in a mistaken way. "Tried to mitigate" was what she probably meant. [Clue: "Mitis" is Latin for "mild"]. One really does expect better from an academic historian.

But that is only one indication of her low intellectual level. Her major failing is that she is completely unscholarly. Instead of examining the evidence for or against anthropogenic global warming theory, she just accepts partisan judgments of it as true: No evidence of critical thinking at all. She would seem to be motivated by a need to pump up her own importance rather than by any concern for the facts

I reproduce a fair bit of her little emission below so readers can judge for themselves. Note both the title she puts on her article and her acknowledged attention-seeking behaviour towards the end of the article

We are guardians of the future

By Liz Conor, a history (herstory?) academic at the National Centre for Australian Studies, Monash University.

It is our duty to protect the rights of the next generation. Climate change is a threat and we must take action - we must hold governments to account, writes Liz Conor.

Whenever my 14-year-old asks me if she can get a 'stretch' earring, a piercing or a tattoo I tell her I am the guardian of her 40-year-old self who might not like living in the future with the permanent choices her 14-year-old self made.

From the moment I decided to carry my girls I have mitigated against every threat to their future. I steered clear of alcohol during the pregnancies, and drugs during their births. I slathered them in sun block and plonked hats on their curly-haired heads. I buckled their squirming bodies into every seat they were transported in, took their little hands across every street, rinsed the pesticides off their fruit, rubbed salt off their chips, and more recently chased off a risk-taking boyfriend and blockaded their screen time.

When the latest findings of climate scientists came out last fortnight, just as Doha was coming to its negligent close, I knew then sorry doesn't quite cut it. A report released by the Global Carbon Project, a group of scientists, announced that the planet was on-track for the worst-case-scenario projections of the IPCC, of a rise in temperature of between 4 and 6 degrees by the end of the century. They found emissions have increased 54 per cent since 1990. A World Bank-commissioned study also warned that a four-degree leap was possible this century - even if current pledges to cut emissions are met. Meanwhile at the latest UN conference on climate change government heads finished a marathon meeting in Doha, Qatar, where they extended the Kyoto Protocol which proposes a set of measures many climate scientists have argued will be ineffective in halting rising greenhouse gas emissions.

For me the failure last fortnight to grasp the latest findings of peer-reviewed climate scientists, and act decisively to stop burning fossil fuels was my moral 'tipping point'. These reports are beyond alarming and frankly terrifying. They condemn our children and grandchildren to eke out a miserable existence, buffeted by violent weather, on a planet blighted by drought, fire, flood and no longer able to supply their basic needs. Already we see this nightmare of food shortages playing out in Africa as crops fail due to drought.

By any standard it is wrong, unconscionable, unfair and negligent to continue to go about my life in the business-as-usual bubble that we seem to have taken refuge in. On Monday last I took a bike lock to Parliament House and bolted myself to the members' gate. The police came and after cordial exchange called for Search and Rescue who would not wait for a key to materialise and angle grinded the lock. I was banned from the Parliament House precinct for a week and from the CBD for 72 hours. On the way home I picked up a new lock.

We are not in safe hands. For our children's and their children's sake the time has come to hold governments to account. When the full impact of climate change is massing on the horizon I hope to be able to look my girls and their children in the eye and tell them I did everything I could.


German Scientists Shoot Down Recent Claims Of “Rapid Warming” In Antarctica – Overall Continent Is Cooling!

The Bromwich data actually show NO WARMING since 1980. All the warming they show is before that. See the red line in Figure 2 below. Just the usual Warmist cherrypicking at work. I immediately labelled the Bromwich claims as hokum two days ago -- JR

Western Antarctica warms more quickly than thought – however, hardly at all in the last 25 years

By Dr Sebastian Lüning and Prof Fritz Vahrenholt
(Translated/edited by P Gosselin)

We recently got some hot news from Antarctica. According to a study by a team led by David Bromwich of Ohio State University in Columbus, which appeared just before Christmas 2012 in Nature Geoscience, Western Antarctica warmed up more quickly than first thought. This of course pleased alarmist newspapers like the online Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), who without hesitation wrote:

"With a temperature increase of 2.4°C since 1958, the central region of Western Antarctica is among the regions that are warming up the fastest on the planet. [...] There the temperature is rising three times faster than the global average.”

Now that really stirs up fear. Global warming is apparently advancing rapidly in Western Antarctica and temperatures are climbing and climbing. This is taking place year after year, and so it is only a matter of time before the catastrophe strikes.

To underpin this claim, the Süddeutsche Zeitung presents a temperature curve of Western Antarctica going back 55 years (Figure 1…in the SZ article it is necessary to click on the figure to see the curve). An enormous temperature jump is obvious beginning in the year 2000, as the temperature skyrockted. With another jump like that, the ice in Western Antarctica would never survive, one might think.

Figure 1: January temperatures of Western Antarctica. Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung, 23 Dec 2012.

But wait. When it comes to the the Süddeutsche Zeitung one has to be a little careful. It has long been known that the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) is cozily cuddled together with climate alarmism (e.g. see our blog article “Schlimmer als befürchtet: Die Süddeutsche Zeitung verliert den klimawissenschaftlichen Boden unter den Füßen“ (Worse than we feared: The Süddeutsche Zeitung loses its scientific bearings). So let’s take a closer look.

Unfortunately we quickly discover mischief. The temperature curve for January readings used in the SZ does not even get mentioned or appear in the quoted paper. The warming value named by David Bromwich and colleagues has much more to do with the annual average temperature of the Western Antarctica, and whose curve is of course depicted in the paper (red curve in Figure 2). This curve, however, shows a completely different course than the one used by the SZ. Do you see it?

Figure 2: Temperature development at Byrd-Station in Western Antarctica. Source: Realclimate

Heavens! In the last 25 years the West Antarctic has not gotten warmer! If anything, the temperature has remained flat. It is indeed quite a stretch to claim that Western Antarctica is among the most rapidly warming areas on the planet. Over the last two decades temperatures in the region have gone nowhere.

And now if you look a little closer, you see that the warming is mainly concentrated in the period of approx. 1962-1980. Did mankind produce an extraordinary amount of CO2 during that particular period? No. The Co2 emissions were nothing different from what we had at other times.

What is remarkable, however, is that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) during this time went from a negative cool phase to a positive warm phase (Figure 3). It cannot be ruled out that this nearby climatic oceanic phenomenon may have had something significant to do with the Western Antarctic 2.4°C warming until 1980 mentioned in the paper.

Figure 3: Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) over the last 110 years

Unfortunately the SZ reader is left alone with only the context of the article. According to new ICEsat satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet as a whole has increased in mass over the last years (see our blog article on this). The much larger Eastern Antarctica dominates, and that area has gotten colder over the last years. Also Antarctic sea ice reached a record high extent just a few months ago for the 30-year satellite era. Not a peep about both of these stories from the Munich-based SZ.

It also would have been nice if the SZ had provided its readers with another important piece of background information: Unexpected but true: the post Ice Age temperatures at the Antarctic Penninsula were at today’s levels for 7000 years (also see our blog article on this here). With this background, the temperature development of the last 55 years discussed by the SZ loses considerable relevance. And it was also a pity for the SZ that David Bromwich and his team dumped cold water on their results for sea level rise. With a gnashing of teeth, the SZ had no alternative but to report:

"Because at the high elevation Byrd-Region mean temperatures of -10°C prevail in the summertime, the warming does not lead directly to large-scale melting, say the scientists.”

It is quite amazing that the SZ creates almost only dramatic climate stories. Sober, non-alartmist reports just don’t seem to be of any interest for SZ editors. There’s plenty of non-alarmist material out there. At our blog we present new scientific results almost daily. We welcome editors at SZ to help themselves to it..

SOURCE (See the original for links)
Central West Antarctica among the most rapidly warming regions on Earth

By David H. Bromwich et al.


There is clear evidence that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is contributing to sea-level rise. In contrast, West Antarctic temperature changes in recent decades remain uncertain. West Antarctica has probably warmed since the 1950s, but there is disagreement regarding the magnitude, seasonality and spatial extent of this warming. This is primarily because long-term near-surface temperature observations are restricted to Byrd Station in central West Antarctica, a data set with substantial gaps. Here, we present a complete temperature record for Byrd Station, in which observations have been corrected, and gaps have been filled using global reanalysis data and spatial interpolation. The record reveals a linear increase in annual temperature between 1958 and 2010 by 2.4±1.2 °C, establishing central West Antarctica as one of the fastest-warming regions globally. We confirm previous reports of West Antarctic warming, in annual average and in austral spring and winter, but find substantially larger temperature increases. In contrast to previous studies, we report statistically significant warming during austral summer, particularly in December–January, the peak of the melting season. A continued rise in summer temperatures could lead to more frequent and extensive episodes of surface melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. These results argue for a robust long-term meteorological observation network in the region.


1947 Shock News : “Enormous” “Alarming” “Serious” “Catastrophic” Polar Melt To Drown The Planet. International Agency Needed To Study The Problem

Saturday 31 May 1947

Dr. Ahlmann added that temperatures in the Arctic have increased by 10 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900. An ‘enormous’ rise from the scientific standpoint. Waters in the Spitsbergen area, in the same period, have risen from three to five degrees in temperature, and one to one and a half millimetres yearly in level. ‘The Arctic change is so serious that I hope an international agency can speedily be formed to study conditions on a global basis.’ said Dr. Ahlmann. He pointed out that in 1910 the navigable season along the western Spitsbergen lasted three months. Now it lasts eight months.

Forty years later scientists told us that we were all going to freeze to death, and that we needed a commission to study it.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Climate Consensus: Do Little for Now

The 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that continued emission of greenhouse gasses (GHG) will raise the Earth’s temperature by 1.8°C (3.2°F) and sea level by one foot by 2100. Projected climate changes, if they come to pass, will have a number of effects on society, though not all of those effects will be negative.

Although debate over the IPCC’s projections continues, less attention has been focused on the ultimately more important result: cost-benefit analysis implies we should do very little to prevent climate change. Instead, we should create wealth. Expanding the productive capacity of the economy will compensate future generations better than reductions in GHG will. A richer world in 2100, after all, will be able to afford to do things like relocating people affected by rising sea levels and constructing new port facilities and seawalls.

A report by the liberal Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University observes, “Economists frequently . . . calculate the optimal policy response [to climate change]. This calculation often leads to the conclusion that relatively little should be done for now.”

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Businesses operate under the discipline of profit and loss based on market prices. Profit signals that an action generates benefits for the economy. Government does not face the discipline of profit and loss, but cost-benefit analysis, performed honestly, offers guidance about whether government actions benefit society.

Measures to reduce GHG emissions today typically fail a cost-benefit test due to the discounting of benefits. Discounting refers to applying a real interest rate to future values. Two arguments support discounting in CBA. The first is impatience, or what economists call time preference: $100 is worth more today than it is one year from now, even without inflation. The second is the return on savings and investment, or the opportunity cost of capital. Money spent now to reduce GHG could be saved and invested instead. The interest rate equates impatience and the return on investment on the margin, as investors must be compensated for delaying consumption.


The mathematics of discounting makes values more than about 50 years in the future worth little today. The Federal government makes cost-benefit calculations using 3 percent and 7 percent annual real (or adjusted for inflation) interest rates, approximating the historical risk-free interest rate and the annual real return on stocks. The present value of $1 million 100 years from now is $52,000 at a 3 percent discount rate, and $1,150 at a 7 percent discount rate. To see how this affects climate change economics, suppose that spending $100 billion annually—starting right now—we could prevent $1 trillion in annual damage, beginning in 100 years. The ratio of $10 in benefits to every $1 cost appears favorable, but this fails a benefit-cost test at either a 7 percent or 3 percent real discount rate.

Some observers respond to this math by arguing against discounting in climate change economics. Time preference is a questionable argument in intergenerational settings because future beneficiaries will not have to wait 100 years to realize climate benefits. But the opportunity cost argument remains. The Stern Commission in the U.K. applied an implausibly low discount rate to its calculations. Others imagine current benefits from GHG reductions rendering discounting irrelevant. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) included private benefits in a CBA of higher fuel economy standards to reduce GHG emissions, arguing that making people purchase higher-mileage cars than they prefer makes car buyers better off. Creating benefits today effectively makes reducing GHG a free lunch.

Wealthier is Healthier

Resources put into reducing GHG can’t be invested elsewhere, so the opportunity cost of GHG reduction amounts to the returns that could have been expected, based on historical rates. Maintaining opportunities to invest and create wealth for future generations requires the institutions of a market economy, or a high level of economic freedom, as the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Annual Report demonstrates. Bequeathing a higher standard of living to future generations also requires preserving economic freedom. Discounting mathematics ultimately tells us that economic freedom addresses climate change more effectively than energy central planning through carbon taxes or cap-and-trade.

Compensating the “victims” of climate change with extra wealth does have a potential limit. Extra resources provide inadequate compensation if climate change dramatically alters the world. Money will not typically fully compensate for a catastrophic injury; a quadriplegic is unlikely to enjoy the same level of utility or satisfaction after their injury, even if his medical bills and care needs are paid. Wealth accumulation will not adequately compensate future generations if climate change produced a world like those depicted in Waterworld and The Day After Tomorrow. Future generations would not be adequately compensated if climate change destroyed the economy’s ability to produce goods and services. Fortunately Waterworld is the stuff of Hollywood fiction; the largest of the upper range of sea level rise in any 2007 IPCC climate scenario is about 2 feet. That will have serious consequences, but it will hardly flood the entire world. It can be offset by wealth accumulation.

A Hundred-Year Plan?

Property rights and prices lead basically self-interested people to worry about the future. For example, property rights and markets for existing homes provide owners with incentives to keep their houses livable long after they plan to own them. And yet the mathematics of discounting implies that events too far in the future should not affect decisions much today. Growth, progress, and creative destruction limit the horizon for detailed planning in a market economy. Imagine a business in 1900 trying to plan its operations in 2000. The plan could not have included automobiles, planes, television and radio, satellites, computers, and many other conveniences of modern life.

Now let’s project ahead and consider planning for climate change. A number of fundamental innovations could substantially reduce if not eliminate the threat from climate change, such as effective, low-cost carbon sequestration or effective weather modification to smooth out precipitation patterns. And the development of a radical new clean energy source like nuclear fusion could render remaining stocks of fossil fuels uneconomic at any price.


A dynamic market economy will feature too much creative destruction to allow detailed planning for the distant future. Nothing is sure in a market economy ten years from now, much less 100 years, and discounting in cost-benefit analysis simply reflects this reality. The economic future becomes more predictable when government controls economic activity, but then stagnation results. Discounting in climate change economics tells us to create wealth to protect future generations. Economic freedom and the institutions of the market economy, not central planning of energy use, is the prudent policy approach to a changing climate.


About time Canadian skeptics put their money where their mouth is

American President Barack Obama has indicated that “stopping climate change” will be an important focus of his second term. Because our climate policies are closely tied to those of the U.S., it is therefore crucial that the Canadian government finally gets its act together on the issue. If it doesn’t, we will be swept up in increasingly expensive programs that many in the Conservative party, Prime Minister Stephen Harper included, must know are utterly futile.

Before first forming the government in 2006, Harper, a longtime climate realist, promised that the Conservatives would re-examine the file and handle it more sensibly. But they haven’t. Here are some of the ways the government is letting Canadians down on climate change, and what they must do differently in 2013.

* Despite strongly opposing the Paul Martin government’s decision to add carbon dioxide (CO2) to the list of toxic substances in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), the Conservatives have left the benign gas on the list. This provides the legal foundation for costly and useless CO2 emission regulations now being imposed sector by sector across Canada. CO2 is in no way toxic and so should be immediately removed from a list that includes mercury, lead, arsenic, sulphuric acid and PCBs.

Billions of dollars are being wasted trying to reduce CO2 in other ways as well, all based on the improbable assumption that emissions contribute to climate problems. Most egregious are pointless and potentially dangerous projects to stuff CO2 underground. Such speculative programs must be cancelled and the money transferred to worthwhile environmental initiatives such as cleaning up toxic waste dumps and reducing air pollution where it is a problem.

* Vast sums of money are also dedicated to wind and solar power, energy sources that have little chance of becoming economical in the foreseeable future. This raises electricity prices and drains funds away from upgrading conventional power systems we need to survive. Wind and solar power have had decades to mature. If they are not yet ready for head-to-head competition with conventional power systems, the government needs to stop throwing good money after bad.

* All government climate programs focus on possible warming impacts. The far more damaging effects of cooling are ignored. A drop of 2 C, for example, will result in the loss of virtually all of our wheat harvest, while, if it warms, we simply adopt farming practices used to the south of us. We must concentrate on preparing for dangerous possible climate change, and that is unquestionably not warming.

* Environment Minister Peter Kent promotes a worldwide climate treaty based on the United Nations Cancún Agreements. He does not seem to know that Cancún has an out-clause for developing countries that is not available to those in the developed world. In the unlikely event that the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused climate change were true, a treaty that lets China and India off the hook will accomplish very little climatically, and simply transfers wealth and jobs from developed to developing countries. Kent must stop promoting what is, in effect, another Kyoto Protocol.

* To substantiate its climate plans, the Harper government continues to use the rhetoric employed by previous Liberal governments. Kent is clearly being misled by activist scientists within Environment Canada who assert that there is no credible evidence to support the climate skeptics’ perspectives.

* But the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) demonstrates that the alarmists are mistaken. Citing hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers, NIPCC shows how the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has ignored or misinterpreted much of the research that challenges the need for CO2 controls. In other words, the science being relied upon by the Canadian government to create multibillion-dollar climate and energy policies is almost certainly wrong.

* Harper must order ministers to stop using the damaging and erroneous language of climate alarmism. Taking their talking points from David Suzuki while completely ignoring reports such as those from NIPCC is feeding the fire that threatens to burn down Canada’s economy.

* Aside from the Dec. 15, 2011 testimony of four climate experts before the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, the Conservatives have not permitted well-qualified scientists who disagree with climate catastrophism to testify in government hearings. Instead they invite members of non-governmental organizations with no training in science to testify in support of the scare. This must stop.

During the height of the oilsands pipeline controversy, the prime minister asserted “the only way that government can handle controversial projects of this manner is to ensure that things are evaluated on an independent basis, scientifically, and not simply on political criteria.”

2013 is the year they must at last do this on climate change.



Three current articles below

Greens seek millionaire tax to revive parent payments

Bandt was a Trotskyite but there were no votes in that so he turned Green. Sounds like his thinking hasn't changed

A "millionaires tax" increase of 5¢ in the dollar would raise enough money to restore payments to single parents cut in this year's budget.

The Greens' policy, costed by federal Treasury, would generate at least $790 million over the next three years by lifting the top tax rate on income above $1 million from 45 per cent to 50 per cent.

The revenue boost could even be much higher, closer to $500 million a year, but Treasury has assumed some people on high incomes will not earn as much if their top tax rate is lifted.

The acting leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt, compared the money raised by the tax increase to a similar amount saved by the government when it cut payments to some single parents, which take effect from the start of next year.

"I think this is a reasonable step that should get the support of the government," Mr Bandt said.

"What possible justification could Labor have for hurting single parents and yet not touching millionaires? The Treasurer said he's been listening to Bruce Springsteen but he must've been listening to the records backwards," the Greens MP said of Wayne Swan's vaunted affection for the US rocker.

It was the second Greens policy to be costed by Treasury's Parliamentary Budget Office, established by the Gillard government as a price of securing the Greens' support in Parliament, and the party plans to release at least two dozen more by the time of the next election.

The tax increase would bring the top marginal tax rate to a level it last sat at in 1987, but would affect only about 8000 people listed by the Australian Taxation Office as recording annual incomes above $1 million.

The expected revenue would double from about $800 million to $1.6 billion in the next four years if Treasury dropped its assumption of "tax income elasticity", which says that growth in tax revenue will fall if tax rates are lifted.

The Greens are framing the policy in the context of cuts that kick in next week for single parents. From January 1, single parents on the parenting payment with a youngest child over the age of eight will be moved onto the lower newstart allowance, costing them about $60 a week.

The measure will save the government about $700 million in the next four years, but it has been criticised by the welfare sector and by some backbench Labor MPs.

The Gillard government argues the benefit of the measure is in encouraging parents back into the workforce.

Mr Bandt said: "If the government is wanting to improve the budget position by somewhere around $300 million a year it has a choice. It could either increase taxes on the wealthiest Australians or it could hurt single parents."

In the 1950s, Australia's top marginal tax rate sat at 75 per cent. It was above 65 per cent for most of the 1960s, and was above 60 per cent for most of the 1970s and 1980s. It now sits at 45 per cent, for any money earned about $180,000 a year.

The first Greens policy costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office was a revised mining tax that showed the government could raise an extra $26 billion in the next four year if it reversed concessions to the mining industry.


Fall in demand dents shift to low emissions

THE shelving of EnergyAustralia's gas-fired power plant in Victoria raises fresh doubts about the incentives for power companies to move from high-polluting coal to lower-emitting technology, with one expert saying more projects could be cancelled.

The proposed plant, on the Yallourn power station site, was one of several gas-fired projects put on the drawing board several years ago by power companies to reduce emissions, and therefore costs, under the carbon price.

But the downturn in electricity demand due to retail price rises and the strong dollar has put pressure on generators to abandon new projects.

Bruce Mountain, the director of Carbon Market Economics, said more energy companies would be forced to consider moving away from low-emissions investments because of these changes.

"Many market pundits had three years ago indicated there would be more rapid transfer to low-emission technologies like gas-fired power generation," he said. "But with lower demand and higher gas prices, that shift is being pushed back in time."

He said power companies were more likely to close parts of their coal capacity to save money.

"Existing generators are having to fight very hard to compete in the market," he said. "The partial closures of brown coal plants makes more sense, because although they lose contribution to their profits, they are able to drive prices higher."


Greens platform 'will fail'

ANY attempt by the Australian Greens to make policies more palatable for mainstream voters is deceptive and doomed to fail, says Senate opposition leader Eric Abetz.

On Thursday The Age reported that the Greens had redefined the party platform to portray many core beliefs as "aims and principles" rather than explicit policies, to present a smaller target to critics in a federal election year.

Acting leader Adam Bandt said on Thursday the revised policy platform would give voters more information on what the party stood for and how its ideas would be funded.

Mr Bandt said the minor party wanted to go to the next election able to tell voters it had a fully costed set of policies. "Treasury wouldn't cost them for us and there wasn't an independent body that would do it," he said.

"So what we now have is a very strong policy platform that has been voted on and determined by our members by consensus."

Mr Bandt said the Greens would go to the next election on the same footing as the two major parties. "So our updated policy platform, together with the new parliamentary budget office, will allow the Greens to go to the next election as the most economically responsible party out of all the parties contesting the election."

But Senator Abetz said the Greens were trying to hide "extreme impulses" and this would fail. "The Greens will always be 'watermelons' - Green on the outside and red inside - no matter how they cloak their policies," he said. "The Greens need to actually repudiate their extremist policies before people will believe they've changed. Deciding simply not to talk about them simply will not wash."

Senator Abetz said the public viewed the party not as "benign environmentalists", but a hard-left movement bent on "Marxist social engineering".

The Greens were simply trying to change tack after setbacks in several recent state elections, he added. In the ACT election in October, the party's Legislative Assembly seats were cut from four to one.

The Greens will reportedly soften their stance on cutting federal government funding for private schools, and stop calling for the abolition of the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate.

Senator Abetz said the party had a history of supporting controversial ideas.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


28 December, 2012

Climate Change Misinformer Of The Year: Al Gore

Chief promoter of the global warming scare, Al Gore has been called "the Matt Drudge of climate scarers" the "king of the believers" and "a central cell of the climate-scare machine," and he revels in these descriptions.

Although he has no scientific expertise, he is adamant that manmade global warming is an urgent problem based on "settled science."

Gore gained prominence in politics for his time in the Senate and his Presidential bid and notoriously called climate change "the greatest threat ever to face the American people"

Gore has profited hugely from his advocacy.

The above is just a slight reworking of a hit piece on Marc Morano put up by Media Mutters.

Wind power by the numbers

We are constantly being told that wind is now a large-scale producer of electrical power, with much talk in the green press about the thousands of homes it is often said to light and heat. Well, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and such praise for wind turbines demonstrates that precise point.

Let me explain: The power that a wind turbine might produce under ideal circumstances is known as “nameplate capacity”, and to understand that, let’s consider a notional wind farm with, say, 150 towers, each topped by 2.5MW generator. That would give us a theoretical total output of 375MW.

Seldom mentioned is the fact that wind generators produce, on average, barely 30% of that nameplate total. This much lower number is referred to as the “capacity factor” (CF). The difference between nameplate and capacity is due to the fact that, as you may have noticed, wind is variable and does not always blow at the required speed to keep the blades turning, the turbine spinning and all those homes supplied with electricity. With no wind, the blades fall still; similarly, when the wind is too strong, they “feather” and also stop rotating. Let us now look at some actual figures, which will demonstrate just how little electrical power wind plants make available for actual consumption. For reasons of simplicity and access I will use Wikipedia as a reference for total wind power plants in the U.S.

This link quotes the total installed nameplate capacity for all wind power in the US as 51,630MW, which may seem a very impressive number. Compare that with a large nuclear plant (or coal-fired power station, for that matter), where a typical nameplate capacity is 2000MW. Wind turbines come in many sizes, with the current generation of individual units typically capable of 2.5MW to 3MW, substantially larger than earlier models. I will use an average generator size of 2MW, and with that overall nameplate capacity of 51,360MW we get a ballpark figure of 26,000 wind towers. In fact, since earlier generators were smaller, the actual number of US wind towers is more than 40,000 as shown at this link.

So, because this comparison is with nuclear plants, let’s then look for a total nameplate capacity, and for this I will use the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) site and the chart, provided at this link, detailing the nameplate capacity for all electrical power generation in the U.S. This reveals total nameplate capacity for nuclear power in the US is 106,731 MW. What we also see is that wind is listed as having almost half the nameplate capacity of nuclear. (51,630 MW). So wind is large contributor, right?

Not so fast! While you are inspecting that same chart, look at the total listed for Overall Nameplate Capacity (ONC), which is stated as 1,138,638 MW. From this we can work out the percentages of the total nameplate capacity for both wind and nuclear.Wind comes in at 4.53% of the total and nuclear represents 9.37% of ONC. Again, those figures make it look like wind power is making major inroads into total U.S. power generation.

And, once again, a little knowledge deceives. Remember, this is nameplate capacity, not the real-world power being generated for consumption -- the power actually delivered to the grid. However, we do have accurate data for that, drawn from the EIA’s huge database, and as of December, 2012, the available information was only three months old.

Let us now compare the actual power delivered for consumption from both wind and nuclear.

This is the link for the page that shows the overall data and at that page I will point you to the figures for nuclear, and also the total overall power figure. This is the link for the page that shows the data for renewable power, and at that page we find the figures for wind power.

At that first page look at the figures for the actual total generation (power delivered to the grid) from nuclear plants (scroll to the bottom of the chart and they are the figures along the line headed Rolling 12 Months Ending in September). The nuclear figures are the sixth from the left, shown as 783,940 GWH (GigaWattHours), each GWH being the equivalent of 1000 MWH.

Look next at the far right and you’ll see the total power delivered to grids for consumption from every power source in the U.S. That figure is 4,051,044 GWH.

Now, from those figures, we can work out the percentage of actual power delivered by nuclear, and it comes to 19.35%. Compare that with the percentage mentioned earlier for nameplate capacity, which was 9.37%, and the discrepancy demands an explanation. After all, how could nuclear be supplying more than twice the power of its listed theoretical maximum?

The answer isn’t too hard to nut out: Nuclear’s actual contribution is so much higher because other, less consistently productive sources – like wind, for example -- fall short. According to the EIA’s numbers, nuclear plants are producing reliable power almost 90% of the time, pretty much the only interruptions coming when they are offline for fuelling and maintenance.

See how using the nameplate capacity figure is misleading, vastly understating the actual level of power generated by nuclear? Use that smaller nameplate figure and it gives the impression that nuclear is not much of a contributor, when the fact of the matter is that it is the third-largest electrical power delivery source in the U.S. after coal- and gas-fired generation.

Now, do the same exercise for wind. At that second link, you will see the rolling, 12-month figure for wind is 135,506 GWH. After comparing that to the total power delivered, the percentage for wind comes in at only 3.34%, vs. the nameplate total of 4.53%.

What is interesting here is to compare both overall nameplate figures with power-delivered figures: nuclear delivers almost six times the power while being only twice the size in terms of nameplate capacity.

I mentioned earlier the variability of wind power, and cite again the capacity factor (CF). Wind’s CF, going on this data, is currently running at almost 30%. (29.9%) Over 12 months, and bearing in mind the total number of wind generators, that means a rule-of-thumb average per unit of just seven and a quarter productive hours per day.

And it gets worse – or just plain silly, depending on your capacity to be amused by human folly. Because of that inherent variability, wind power cannot be counted on to be available when needed, so conventional generating plants cannot be turned off if blackouts are to be avoided. What green advocates never seem capable of remembering is that conventional power plants are not wall switches; rather, they take hours to power up and power down. To be ready to make up for wind’s variability, they must be kept operating pretty much all the time.

Bottom line: wind plants provide power that isn’t needed and can never replace traditional methods of generation. As to the power they do provide, 40,000 turbines equal just nine nuclear plants.

Wind-power advocates may be inclined to accuse me of writing this in order to besmirch their favourite technology. They would be mistaken. I have no need to make wind generation look bad. It does that all by itself


Up to 70,000 British jobs 'are at risk from Brussels climate change law'

Up to 70,000 British jobs are at risk as a direct result of European carbon reduction targets, according to a report.

The policies have pushed up the cost of energy, threatening the vital mineral industries which deal in materials such as cement, chemicals, glass, ceramics and steel, the study claims.

It says the aluminium industry has been ‘virtually eradicated’ after closures in Anglesey and Northumberland, and blames policies which penalise ‘energy-intensive’ industries for emitting too much carbon dioxide.

As a result, firms in such industries, which employ 70,000 people, could be driven abroad where there are less stringent targets, costing jobs on our shores with no overall environmental benefits.

The study by think-tank Civitas claims the only way to save the £400billion-a-year industry is to scrap plans to fine firms which produce too much carbon dioxide.

Ministers should exempt such companies from the climate change levy – a tax on industries which do not use renewable energy – to the maximum extent permitted under EU directives.

And it says the Coalition should abandon its ‘unachievable’ target of generating 20 per cent of electricity by renewable methods by 2020 – the most far-reaching target in the EU.

The report said that EU legislation adds ‘considerable costs’ to energy prices, while the UK’s environmental strategy raises energy prices to high levels, even in comparison with the rest of the continent.

Unlike other countries with ambitious carbon reduction targets, Britain does not currently legislate to protect key industries.

Study author Kaveh Pourvand said: ‘Germany is careful to protect its energy-efficient industries with significant concessions on energy costs, estimated to be nine billion euros in 2011.’

The report advocates scrapping the ‘carbon price floor’, the amount companies will have to pay per ton of carbon dioxide they emit, which is intended to come into force in April.

The author points out that the EU-wide policy means that the continent is allowed to emit a certain amount of CO2 each year.

But the ‘obvious flaw’ is that if Britain reduces its amount of CO2, other countries will be allowed to produce more, meaning British industry is unfairly shackled.

It concludes: ‘Following David Cameron’s pledge to lead the “greenest” government ever, the Coalition has stuck firmly to the implementation and continuance of the 2008 Climate Change Act, committing the UK to a unilateral cut in carbon emissions of 80 per cent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels.

‘For British manufacturing to revive, the Government should abandon its expensive climate change policies.’


Environmental Protection Lessons from Ronald Reagan

‘Trust but Verify’

Cass R. Sunstein is a professor at the Harvard Law School and a former administrator of the Obama White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. His op-ed in the NY Times (Nov 11, 2012) tells us that a cost-benefit analysis convinced President Reagan of the value of the 1987 Montreal Protocol (to control substances that deplete the stratospheric ozone layer).

Sunstein then admonishes Republican lawmakers to apply Reagan’s lesson to global warming and CO2. But he seems to have forgotten his own published paper “Of Montreal and Kyoto: A Tale of two Protocols” (Harvard Environmental Law Rev 2007) in which he quite clearly explained why Kyoto does not work, one reason being that costs are huge and benefits small. But even Sunstein’s historical account is challenged in a guest post by Reiner Grundmann, a professor of Science & Technology Studies at the University of Nottingham.

According to Sunstein, Reagan evidently trusted and accepted the numbers he was given by his economic advisors. But he certainly didn’t verify them. Had he done so he might not have been as quick in his support as Sunstein suggests. The moral of the story: Cost-benefit analysis is fine, but the numbers must be supported by sound science. Note that chief US negotiator Richard Benedick recounts (with obvious pride) in his book Ozone Diplomacy, that the Montreal Protocol was negotiated without the benefit of any support from science.

The Antarctic Ozone Hole

In reality, the drive for Montreal was propelled by panic generated by lurid newspaper accounts of possible health consequences from the Antarctic Ozone Hole (AOH), which was discovered in 1985. Having personally devised the satellite instrument that tracked the AOH, I remember well the scary accounts of blind sheep in Patagonia—with suggestions that people living in the southern hemisphere would be similarly affected.

It is ironic that the AOH was never predicted but discovered by serendipitous observations. The original mechanism for ozone destruction discussed by the late Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina applied only to the upper stratosphere, where there is very little ozone—and is therefore of little practical significance. A more complicated mechanism apparently operates in the lower stratosphere where most of the ozone is concentrated; it was worked out only after the AOH discovery. It still involves chlorine as the agent for ozone destruction, but it also requires the presence of particulates in the stratosphere.

It is worth noting that at the time of the Montreal Protocol, published evidence did not indicate a detectable human contribution to stratospheric chlorine. It had been known that long-lived CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons, with a lifetime of a century or so) could reach the stratosphere. After all, there was an observed increase in fluorine, but there was no corresponding increase in chlorine. If there had been an important contribution from anthropogenic CFCs, one should have seen a gradual increase in the concentration of stratospheric chlorine. But that was only established some years after Montreal when NASA scientist Curtis Rinsland repeated some of the crucial measurements and found a quite different result. Up until then, it had seemed that natural sources would swamp any chlorine contributed from CFCs. In fact, the expert opinion of Professor Rowland was that the (natural) contribution to stratospheric chlorine could be ignored—that from ocean salt spray would be less than 1 part per 10,000—a claim nearly impossible to verify.

So President Reagan missed the chance to verify the benefits numbers he got from his economic team. He should have noticed, however, that despite the measured increase in CFCs there was no corresponding increase in solar ultraviolet radiation at the earth’s surface - as a consequence of possible ozone depletion. (Solar UV-B is the presumed agent that causes skin cancer.)

Fast forward to the Bush (41) administration: Premature reports of an incipient Arctic ozone hole (the notorious “Hole over Kennebunkport” that never existed) threw George Bush into a panic and caused him to advance the US phase-out date of CFCs by five years—at great expense. On the other hand, China will be the last country required to phase out CFCs—by 2016. Meanwhile, the rest of the world has switched to HFCs; they won’t deplete ozone, but they are global-warming gases which will face controls in the near future.

Skin Cancer Facts

Another fast forward—to the Clinton administration: One of the hot issues then was the possible ban on Methyl Bromide (MeBr), an extremely important agricultural chemical, used as a fumigant to preserve stored grain from all sorts of spoilage and pests. It became a ’cause celebre’ for environmental zealots who wanted to ban every possible agent that might destroy stratospheric ozone. Yet MeBr is very different from CFCs. Most of it originates from natural sources rather than from manufacture. Its atmospheric lifetime is only a few months rather than a century or so; it really is doubtful if it lasts long enough to reach the stratosphere. In any case, there was no measurement showing a stratospheric increase in bromine compounds. So again, no scientific evidence of a human contribution—and no effort to verify.

A key factor in phasing out MeBr was testimony by EPA assistant administrator Mary Nichols. (Yes, this is the same Mary Nichols who now heads the powerful California Air Resources Board). She told a hearing chaired by Congressman John Doolittle (R-CA) that the benefits of phasing out MeBr would be 32 trillion dollars—an incredible sum of money in the 1990s when even a billion dollars was real money.

Now it turns out that she got those numbers from a trusted (activist) economist in the Clinton White House, but of course she didn’t verify. If she had, she would have found that the serious form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, seems to be caused mainly by solar UV-A radiation, rather than UV-B. (All this was established in experiments by Richard Setlow at Brookhaven National Lab; in fact, recent research indicates that melanoma may develop without any solar radiation.) And since UV-A is not absorbed by ozone at all, efforts to protect the ozone layer would not protect against melanoma.

Prof. Sunstein tries to extrapolate the lesson from Montreal (as he sees it) to the Kyoto Protocol and to global warming. I agree with him that cost-benefit analysis is a wonderful tool, but it has to be verified by proper science. When we do that, we will find that all of the current efforts to eliminate the greenhouse-gas carbon dioxide are pointless, extremely expensive—and counterproductive.


The Obama Green Energy Scam You May Have Missed

Have you seen the latest development in President Obama's waste-ridden, clean energy program that's now under federal investigation at the U.S. Treasury Department?

Three of the country's biggest residential solar panel installers -- SolarCity, SunRun and Sungevity -- have been subpoenaed by Treasury's Office of Inspector General for their financial records to determine if they had inflated the market value of their costs when they applied for federal reimbursement.

The firms have reportedly received more than $500 million in federal grants and tax credits. Officials in two of them, Solar-City and SunRun, have been among some of Obama's most generous campaign donors.

The money these companies tapped into flowed from a $13 billion investment fund in Treasury that came from the president's economic stimulus program which has poured huge sums of money into clean energy programs across the country.

Obama has sunk billions of tax dollars into a scandal-ridden swamp of other energy deals that were crafted and promoted by administration business cronies who also were among his biggest fundraisers.

After an exhaustive analysis of thousands of memos, company records and internal e-mails about Obama's green-technology spending program, the Washington Post concluded that it was "infused with politics" at every level of the decision-making process. Political considerations dominated the White House's deal-making and all too often overruled warnings that billions of tax dollars would be lost on shaky energy projects that should never have been approved.

Take, for example, Sanjay Wagle, a venture capitalist and one of Obama's fundraisers in 2008. He left his firm in California to work in Obama's Energy Department on a $40 billion spending program to stimulate the economy by investing in clean technology companies.

It's questionable just how much "stimulus" much of this money provided to the economy when unemployment is still close to 8 percent, and a number of these firms went bankrupt and eventually laid off thousands of workers.

Nevertheless, over the next three years the Energy Department officials Wagle was advising plowed $2.4 billion into clean energy corporations that Wagle's former company, Vantage Point Venture Partners, had invested in.

"Overall, the Post found that $3.9 billion in federal grants and financing flowed to 21 companies backed by firms with connections to five Obama administration staffers and advisers," the newspaper reported at the time.

Those insider connections helped grease the wheels for dubious clean energy investments that went belly up, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill on loans guaranteed by the government.

One of them was a $535 million loan to the now-bankrupt solar panel firm Solyndra that Obama promoted against the better judgement of top budget and contract officials who warned the White House against the deal.

What has come to light so far as part of a congressional investigation is the administration's willful order to approve a bad loan, despite dire warnings from a number of federal officials that the California-based Solyndra was in deep financial trouble.

A steady stream of government e-mails released by a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee tell a sordid tale of a company Obama turned into an energy showcase for his $40 billion loan program -- until Solyndra declared bankruptcy in August, putting 1,100 employes out of work.

One of the people promoting Solyndra's $535 million million loan, which will be paid off by federal taxpayers, was Steven J. Spinner, a senior Energy Department adviser, an Obama campaign fundraiser, and a Silicon Valley investor given the job of guiding the administration's clean technology investments.

He was not only one of Solyndra's insider defenders, his wife worked for the California law firm that represented the solar panel company and helped it file for the federal government loan her husband was promoting, according to the Post investigation.

While growing internal concerns were being raised about Solyndra's shaky finances as early as the summer of 2009, Spinner e-mailed a top aide to then-Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that Solyndra was a financially solvent company that fully deserved the administration's support. "I haven't heard anything negative on my side," he assured Emanuel's aide in an e-mail about the warnings.

As the loan deal stalled over internal criticism of the firm's looming insolvency, Spinner grew more impatient. "How [expletive] hard is this?' he wrote to a career Energy staffer on Aug. 28, 2009 about its delayed clearance by an Office of Management and Budget official. "What is he waiting for?"

But complaints from Office of Management and Budget and Treasury officials about Solyndra's finances, as well as its favorable loan terms, still persisted.

"In an administration that said it would curtail lobbyists' influence, the documents show ardent lobbying by political appointees inside the agencies and significant White House access given to venture capitalists with a major stake in the $40 billion stimulus investment program for clean energy," the Post reported.

The demise of Solyndra and the loss of 1100 jobs was one of the administration's many investment failures.

Others have included Ener 1 that was awarded a $118 million "stimulus" deal from Obama, only to go bankrupt on Jan. 26, 2011; the North Las Vegas-based solar power firm Amonix that laid off 700 workers and shut down in May after receiving $6 million in federal tax credits and a $15.6 million federal grant; and Abound Solar that reaped a $400 million federal loan guarantee to build photovoltaic panel factories before halting production and laying off 180 employes in February and has since declared bankruptcy.

Although Obama declared that the energy grants and loans were all "based solely on their merits," Hoover Institution scholar Peter Schweizer reported in his book, "Throw Them All Out," that 71 percent went to "individuals who were [fundraising] bundlers, members of Obama's National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party."


Obama’s wind-production tax-credit swindle

Serves big business, hurts the environment

Regarding the federal deficit, President Obama famously said, “I will not support any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans [and yet does not ask] the biggest corporations to pay their fair share.” Now, however, Mr. Obama vigorously supports at least one policy that violates that pledge: the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy.

Conceived in 1992 as a means to spur the construction of wind-energy facilities that could compete with monopoly-owned conventional fossil-fuel power plants, this hefty tax credit mostly has benefited the same monopoly: conventional nuclear and fossil-fuel-fired electricity producers.

With wind plants totaling 9,289 megawatts of capacity, Florida-based NextEra Energy/FPL (aka Florida Power & Light) is the largest recipient of this tax credit. Of course, NextEra is only the largest, not the only, corporate beneficiary of taxpayer largesse. Nonetheless, the largesse it receives is huge.

Primarily because of the PTC’s generous tax benefit, BusinessWeek reports, from 2005 to 2009 “FPL has paid just $88 million in taxes on earnings of nearly $7 billion.” That gave FPL a tax rate of merely 1.25 percent over that period. Most corporations average a 30 percent tax rate. At that rate, FPL’s tax obligation would have been more than $2 billion.

This $2 billion tax avoidance is a result of the company’s “taking advantage of incentives to develop renewable resources.”

One might argue that these lavish tax credits are warranted, as they supposedly level the playing field between startup producers of “clean” wind energy and established “dirty” conventional energy producers. Yet NextEra/FPL is the eighth-largest power producer in the United States, with the bulk of its generation coming from fossil or nuclear sources.

The company owns the largest fossil plant in the United States, the recently completed West County Energy Center’s combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant, located on a 220-acre site in the environmentally sensitive Everglades.

Curiously, the price tag for this facility is also $2 billion, nearly equal to the value of NextEra/FPL’s combined tax credits from 2005 to 2009.

NextEra/FPL boasts that its huge number of PTC-driven wind-generation plants have “allowed FPL to avoid building 13 medium-sized power plants since 1980.” Ignoring the fact that intermittent wind turbines never can replace steady, reliable fossil plants, it appears that FPL more honestly could have stated the impact of the PTC thus: The wind-energy production tax credit funded the construction of America’s largest fossil-fuel generation plant, located in the heart of the environmentally sensitive Florida Everglades.

NextEra’s huge wind-turbine fleet seems impressive. When adjusted for wind’s on-again, off-again nature, however, the United States’ largest fleet of wind turbines will have an average capacity of perhaps 2,700 megawatts (ranging from zero to 9,000 megawatts hourly and daily) yet will cost $18 billion.

Had this $18 billion instead constructed eight gas turbine plants like NextEra/FPL’s new one in the Everglades, the company would have nearly 30,000 megawatts of dependable capacity versus wind’s paltry and unreliable 2,700 megawatts. Moreover, gas turbines, unlike wind turbines, actually could replace dozens of coal plants while reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by half.

This, too, is a return wind generation can never match because it forces “backup” fossil-fuel plants to ramp up and down constantly as wind speeds rise and fall, causing inefficiencies, high fuel use and high carbon-dioxide emissions.

What of the president’s pledge? While being committed to both “stopping the ocean’s rise” by controlling carbon dioxide and asking the “biggest corporations to pay their fair share,” he has let the PTC fail him on both counts.

Not only has the PTC helped a Fortune 200 company evade its “fair share” of corporate income tax, Mr. Obama has unwittingly let his beloved production tax credit fund the construction of the largest fossil-fuel gas-fired turbine plant in the United States a mere 1,000 feet from the Everglades’ Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge.

If Mr. Obama is serious about protecting the environment and making the “biggest corporations” pay their fair share, he should oppose any extension of the PTC.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


27 December, 2012

Ice sheet warming faster than thought: according to "adjusted" data

Hokum: They are attributing the adjustments to missing plots -- but that should not alter the final figure. Adjustments shmadjustments

A study of temperature records over more than half a century shows the west Antarctic ice sheet is warming nearly twice as quickly as previously thought.

A re-analysis of temperature records from 1958 to 2010 revealed an increase of 2.4 degrees Celsius over the period, three times the average global rise.

The increase means west Antarctica is one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth, according to paper co-author David Bromwich of the Byrd Polar Research Centre.

"Our record suggests that continued summer warming in west Antarctica could upset the surface balance of the ice sheet, so that the region could make an even bigger contribution to sea-level rise than it already does," he said.

The west Antarctic sheet is a huge mass of ice up to four kilometres thick that covers the land surface and stretches into the sea.

Scientists believe its shrinking is responsible for about 10 per cent of the global warming-related sea-level rise, which if unchecked threatens to flood many coastal cities within a few generations.

The American study fills in gaps left by incomplete data records kept at the US-run Byrd Station in Antarctica's central west.

Since being established in 1957, the research station has not been consistently occupied and has seen frequent power outages, especially during the long polar night, when its solar panels cannot recharge.

Dr Bromwich and a team from several US-based research institutions used weather data from different sources to plug holes in the Byrd data and corrected calibration errors.

The updated log was published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

"Aside from offering a more complete picture of warming in west Antarctica, the study suggests that if this warming trend continues, melting will become more extensive in the region in the future," Dr Bromwich said.

The researchers say the temperature increase is being caused by tropical winds from the Pacific Ocean, but they cannot be certain that human activity is playing a role.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 had projected a sea level rise of 18 to 59 centimetres worldwide by the year 2100.

But a study by the US National Research Council said in June the actual rise could be two to three times higher, with the polar ice-cap melt speeding up the process.


Global Warming Has Oceans Rising At Alarming Rate! (Or Maybe not)

Whew! We made it through that Mayan end of the world apocalypse thing. But don’t even begin to imagine that our doomsday problems are nearly over.

Even the Wall Street Journal breathlessly reported “Polar Ice Melt Is Accelerating: Shrinking in Greenland, Antarctica Has Sent Ocean Levels Higher, Study Says”. This ain’t just your typical run-of-the-mill, left of almost everywhere, New York Times or Washington Post global warming alarmist stuff. So it must be true… right?

To be more specific, the article discusses a study published in the journal Science states that higher temperatures over the past two decades have contributed to a nearly half-inch rise in global sea levels since 1992, attributing about 30% of that increase to melting of polar ice sheets. The study estimates that roughly half of that 0.43 inch rise was caused by thermal expansion of the oceans (as water warms, it becomes less dense and expands), some from from runoff from melting glaciers, and the rest from melting of Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets.

And by the way, it also points out that Greenland has been a bigger contributor to all of that because Northern Hemisphere ocean currents are warmer (yup, it’s called the” North Atlantic Oscillation”…a natural cycle that shifts about every 60-70 years), while “Antarctica is so cold that even if warming occurs it won’t melt” at the rate seen in Greenland (according to the study co-author). The study also admitted that it’s a tricky question whether or not the overall accelerated melting of polar ice sheets can be linked to man-made climate change influences; that current climate-change models predict that some parts of the Antarctic ice sheets will grow, while others will melt; that Antarctica is not losing ice as rapidly as suggested by many recent studies; and that “The signals suggest there is no immediate threat” from rising sea levels.

What a relief! I was really worried there for a minute.

In fact, another recent study posted in Science, concluded that polar ice sheet melting has been massively overestimated. That analysis is based upon new methods that filter out “noise” from “Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment” (GRACE) satellite data. As researcher Frederik Simons of Princeton explains, “Our technique learns enough about the noise to effectively recover the signal, and at much finer spatial scales than was possible before.”

Simons and his colleague Christopher Haig directed particular attention to the Greenland ice sheet, noting that the Antarctic ice cap is actually getting bigger. While they found that Greenland’s ice loss did consistently increase between 2003 and 2010, the change was very patchy from region to region. In addition, the enhanced detail of where and how much ice melted allowed them to estimate that the annual loss acceleration was much lower than previous research suggested, roughly increasing by 8 billion tons annually, Previous estimates were as high as 30 billion tons more per year.

Such rates of Greenland ice loss were barely larger than the margin of error in their readings, making it difficult to discern any difference between a supposed loss curve on a graph from a straight line. At the current rate, it will cause sea levels to rise about 2.4 inches over the next century. And according to the authors: “At current melt rates, the Greenland ice sheet would take about 13,000 years to melt completely, which would result in a global sea level rise of more than 21 feet (6.5 meters).”

The good news is that we are scheduled for the next Ice Age long before that. It should give Al Gore at least some comfort knowing that.

Sure, but even if Greenland and Antarctica melting is on ice for a while, what about that dreaded sea level-hiking runoff from those glaciers? After all, according to the EPA and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the main factors driving sea level changes now are: “the expansion of ocean water caused by warmer ocean temperatures, melting of mountain glaciers and small ice caps, and (to a lesser extent) melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the Antarctic Ice Sheet.”

Besides, we all knew there was a big crisis after the IPCC warned us that the Himalayan glaciers might disappear altogether by the year 2035, leading to flooding of rivers followed by imminent drought and starvation for billions of people. Well, okay, it later turned out that they made this all up, but never-the-less, those glaciers must be melting pretty fast, or they wouldn’t have worried their Nobel Peace Prize- awarded minds and have scared us all to death about it…would they?

Darn! Maybe we all might have gotten a lot more sleep had we known about recent results of another GRACE satellite study published in the journal Nature that shows that Himalayan glaciers are hardly melting at all. According to John Wahr at the University of Colorado-Boulder, glaciers and ice caps in places other than Greenland and Antarctica lost about 30% less ice than had previously been estimated.

Wahr expressed surprise at these findings, saying: “One possible explanation is that previous estimates were based on measurements taken primarily from some of the lower, more accessible glaciers in Asia and were extrapolated to infer behavior of higher glaciers. But unlike the lower glaciers, many of the high glaciers would still be too cold to lose mass even in the presence of atmospheric warming.”

Not only that, it appears that glaciers in the high Asian mountain ranges…the Himalayas, the Pamir and the Tien Shan…were even much better off (presuming they really care). Previous estimates suggesting depletion rates as high as 50 billion tons of ice per year were exaggerated by a plus-or-minus 20 billion ton error.

And what about those sea levels? Are they rising at a terrifying rate? Although the UN’s IPCC, based upon its highly theoretical climate models have predicted an increase in the rate of global average sea level rise during the 20th century, that rate has actually been rather stable, with no significant rise over the past 50 years. The rates in the 1920-1945 period were likely to have been just as large as today’s.

So please, someone, tell Al Gore that maybe it’s time to relax. When co-anchor Katie Couric asked him on the May 24, 2006 Today show “What do you see happening in 15 to 20 years if nothing changes?…Even Manhattan would be in deep water/”, he replied: “Yes, in fact the World Trade Center Memorial site would be underwater.” Then, much more recently when hurricane Sandy blew in, he knew exactly what to blame. Us of course…due to our coal-fired-electricity-powered laptop computers, fossil-fueled-climate-ravaging SUVs, and a host of other tide-raising influences. Wouldn’t you think that informing him about this recent research would make him feel a lot better, knowing that his new $9 million ocean-view villa in Montecito, California is safe?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Some more pesky history

New paper finds modern sea ice coverage in Canadian Arctic near highest levels of past 150 years

A new paper published in the European Geosciences Union journal Biogeosciences reconstructs sea ice coverage in the Beaufort Sea of the Canadian Arctic over the past 150 years and finds modern sea ice coverage [9.4 months per year] is significantly greater than during the period from ~ 1887-1945 [8.3 months per year]. Figure 4 of the paper shows modern sea ice coverage is amongst the highest levels of the entire 150 year record. The authors find that the reduced sea ice coverage from ~1887-1945 corresponded with reconstructed sea surface temperatures that were up to 3C warmer from 1885-1935 in comparison to the average modern temperature. According to the paper, sea ice coverage was dominated by natural variation from the Pacific Decadal Oscillation [PDO] and Arctic Oscillation [AO].

According to the paper:

4.4 Reconstruction of sea-surface conditions

Summer SST [sea surface temperature] reconstructions (Fig. 6c) are characterised by a decreasing trend between ∼ AD 1855–1960 and reconstructed SST between ∼ AD 1885–1935 are warmer by up to 3◦C with respect to the average modern temperature at the coring site which is ∼ 4.1◦C. During ∼ AD 1935–1975 reconstructed SSTs are ∼ 1◦C below the modern value. Within the next 10 yr, the temperature increases up to 5.4◦C (∼ 1987) and gradually decreases towards the modern value of 4.1◦C.

The reconstructed SIC [sea ice coverage] trend mirrors that of reconstructed SSTs (Fig. 6b). The root mean squared error (RMSE) calculated on SIC values, which is the difference between reconstructed and observed values, is 1.43 months yr−1, and re?ects the accuracy of the approach. For the period ∼ AD 1887–1945, reconstructed SIC values are an average 8.3 months yr−1 which is 1.1 months yr−1 lower than the modern values. In contrast, the period AD 1945–1975 is marked by reconstructed SIC values closer to the modern conditions, with an average value of 8.8 months yr−1

A decrease in SIC characterises the period AD 1975–1995, with an average value of 7.6 months yr−1, which is 1.8 months yr−1 below the modern value. Sea ice cover duration then gradually increases toward the modern value. All above reconstructed values are within or very close to the con?dence limits of the method.
Quantitative reconstruction of sea-surface conditions over the last 150 yr in the Beaufort Sea based on dinoflagellate cyst assemblages: the role of large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns

By L. Durantou et al.


Dinoflagellate cyst (dinocyst) assemblages have been widely used over the Arctic Ocean to reconstruct sea-surface parameters on a quantitative basis. Such reconstructions provide insights into the role of anthropogenic vs natural forcings in the actual climatic trend. Here, we present the palynological analysis of a dated 36 cm-long core collected from the Mackenzie Trough in the Canadian Beaufort Sea. Dinocyst assemblages were used to quantitatively reconstruct the evolution of sea-surface conditions (temperature, salinity, sea ice) and freshwater palynomorphs fluxes were used as local paleo-river discharge indicators over the last ~ 150 yr. Dinocyst assemblages are dominated by autotrophic taxa (68 to 96%). Cyst of Pentapharsodinium dalei is the dominant species throughout most of the core, except at the top where the assemblages are dominated by Operculodinium centrocarpum.

Quantitative reconstructions of sea-surface parameters display a series of relatively warm, lower sea ice and saline episodes in surface waters, alternately with relatively cool and low salinity episodes. Variations of dinocyst fluxes and reconstructed sea-surface conditions may be closely linked to large scale atmospheric circulation patterns such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and to a lesser degree, the Arctic Oscillation (AO).

Positive phases of the PDO correspond to increases of dinocyst fluxes, warmer and saltier surface waters, which we associate with upwelling events of warm and relatively saline water from Pacific origin. Freshwater palynomorph fluxes increased in three phases from AD 1857 until reaching maximum values in AD 1991, suggesting that the Mackenzie River discharge followed the same trend when its discharge peaked between AD 1989 and AD 1992. The PDO mode seems to dominate the climatic variations at multi-annual to decadal timescales in the western Canadian Arctic and Beaufort Sea areas.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Sea-level rise data based on shoddy science

Stemming the tide of political fear-mongering

There is much concern over rising sea levels and disappearing coastline. Yet how are such changes really measured?

Satellites can measure tiny changes in sea levels referenced to a known baseline, but those measurements have only been available since 1993. Two other methods used for changes occurring over more than 100 years are tide gauges and efforts by the United Nations‘ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in computer modeling.

A tide gauge monitors water level changes in relation to a local reference height. They are simple devices, not too different from a pingpong ball floating in a tube. Tide gauge data are available for more than 1,750 stations around the world and are the longest time series available. In the case of Delaware, records go back to the early 20th century, while in places such as Amsterdam they go back to the late 17th century.

How reliable are such data?

In Atlantic City, for example, coastal engineer Cyril Galvin says the tide gauge data may be too sensitive to local and regional activities that aren’t ultimately related to “natural” changes in sea level — including any that might be related to greenhouse gas-induced global warming.

In examining sea-level changes for 100 years or more from stations on the Eastern Seaboard, Mr. Galvin could not find any acceleration in sea-level rise. University of Florida professor Robert Dean and Army Corps of Engineers analyst James Houston have independently reached this same conclusion.

While examining tide gauge records from Atlantic City's Steel Pier, Mr. Galvin discovered a remarkable effect apparently caused by spectators who came to watch horse-diving between 1929 and 1978. From old photographs, it was estimated that there must have been about 4,000 spectators who would come to watch. Given that this crowd probably weighed about 150 tons, the pier was subject to significant loading and unloading cycles. The initial 1912-1928 data showed the sea level rising at a rate of 0.12 inches per year. The rate tripled around 1929 when the horses began diving. When the shows were suspended from 1945 to 1953, sea level fell at a rate of 0.06 inches per year. When the diving resumed, the sea level rose again at a rate of 0.16 inches per year.

Such clear documentation of the direct influence of local weight loading and unloading activities on tide gauge reading should add a cautionary note to connecting tide gauge data series to man-made greenhouse gas global warming phenomena.

Model projections of rapid sea-level rise and acceleration caused by global warming as proposed by the IPCC’s coming Fifth Assessment Report should also be subject to scrutiny.

The first bit of bad news for the IPCC is that scientists have always been uncomfortable in predicting climate 20, 50 or 100 years in the future because they know that climate models are simply not up to the task. Such long-term climate forecasting is more the result of political pressure.

The major problems with simulating variations and changes in ice sheets have been known for a long time now. The key issue is the accurate representation of topography. In the Fifth Assessment Report’s climate models, the representation of the Greenland Ice Sheet, for example, is clearly deficient. Without the correct accounting for the valleys and hills beneath the ice sheet, melted ice quickly drains off the ice sheet and is counted as a net loss of ice mass.

In the real world of bumps and valleys in ice surfaces, refreezing can quickly occur when cold temperatures return. This is why Swiss Federal Institute of Technology scientists long ago concluded that it may even be possible for both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to gain ice mass under the doubled atmospheric carbon-dioxide scenario if improved climate models are used.

In an eagerly anticipated paper in the Journal of Climate, a group of scientists from the British Antarctic Survey documented how all of the 18 climate computer models that are used in the Fifth Assessment Report failed in the simple task of simulating the annual cycle and trends in the Antarctic sea ice extent. The authors found the majority of the climate models have too small a sea ice extent at minimum in February, while several of the models have less than two-thirds of the observed values at September maximum.

Even more devastating news is that the observed Antarctic sea ice extent over the past 30 years is showing an increasing trend, while most climate models produce decreasing sea ice extent. Such an obvious discrepancy from observed phenomena should once again cast strong suspicion upon rapid sea level change scenarios in the Fifth Assessment Report and render them void for use in public policy.

Not surprisingly, objective sea level research should be based on observational facts in nature itself and not on computer models.

The message is clear. When it comes to sea level, any reliance on the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report is misplaced. Study of current and ancient climate tells us that climate model predictions of rapid acceleration in global and regional sea levels are simple scaremongering. Prudent policymaking should be based on objective science rather than fear.


More abuse of young minds

Fortunately, few people were interested

Local resident Thea Holm has just returned from a six month international leadership training course in education for sustainable development and her first project saw Hartbeespoort pupils play ‘energy detectives’ at a four star hotel in Pretoria.

Thea and her group convinced the Centurion Lake Hotel to take part in their experiment and convinced the hotel chef to use a solar cooker to prepare lunch while the ‘energy detectives’ take measurements of water, electricity, waste and assessing means of travel.

“The United Nations declared the decade from 2005 to 2014 the ‘UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development’. I have just returned from six month ESD leadership training of which the objective was for all of the 19 international participants to implement individual projects in their home countries, covering the topic of sustainable development. I decided on combining the tourism industry and schools to improve their strategy towards sustainability,” Thea said.

Although Thea had difficulty for almost 5 months to get a hotel interested in her project the Centurion Lake Hotel agreed to participate.

“The aim was to then get a participating school in the vicinity of the hotel, but then not one of the schools approached was interested to take part! Isn’t it sad that even when we offer so much to people in helping them to initiate change for a better world, that no interest whatsoever is shown? Not only sad, but also shocking”, Thea says.

Luckily, after some serious talks with Hartbeespoort High School the project could continue. Twenty two grade eight pupils were selected to be energy detectives who had to inspect the use of water, electrical appliances and lights, waste and travel.

Others had to do practical measurements of water flow and some had to have a closer look at appliances in use and their electricity consumption.

Thea has big sustainable development plans for the high school and early in 2013 she plans to help the school to join WESSA’s Eco school programme. Sixteen schools in our region already joined this programme the past year.”

Watch out, Thea is going to turn Hartbees-poort High School green.


The author is obviously a native Afrikaans speaker so forgive some curious grammar

Another mechanism for solar influence discovered

Finding: Small increases in radiation received from the sun clearly increase the transport of heat from equatorial to polar regions
Solar Irradiance Modulation of Equator-to-Pole (Arctic) Temperature Gradients: Empirical Evidence for Climate Variation on Multi-decadal Timescales

By Willie Soon & David R. Legates


Using thermometer air temperature records for the period 1850 to 2010, we present empirical evidence for a direct relationship between total solar irradiance (TSI) and the Equator-to-Pole (Arctic) surface temperature gradient (EPTG). Modulation of the EPTG by TSI is also shown to exist, in variable ways, for each of the four seasons.

Interpretation of the positive relationship between the TSI and EPTG indices suggests that solar-forced changes in the EPTG may represent a hemispheric-scale relaxation response of the system to a reduced Equator-to-Pole temperature gradient, which occurs in response to an increasing gradient of incoming solar insolation.

Physical bases for the TSI-EPTG relationship are discussed with respect to their connections with large-scale climate dynamics, especially a critical relationship with the total meridional poleward energy transport.

Overall, evidence suggests that a net increase in the TSI, or in the projected solar insolation gradient which reflects any net increase in solar radiation, has caused an increase in both oceanic and atmospheric heat transport to the Arctic in the warm period since the 1970s, resulting in a reduced temperature gradient between the Equator and the Arctic.

We suggest that this new interpretative framework, which involves the extrinsic modulation of the total meridional energy flux beyond the implicit assumptions of the Bjerknes Compensation rule, may lead to a better understanding of how global and regional climate has varied through the Holocene and even the Quaternary (the most recent 2.6 million years of Earth's history).

Similarly, a reassessment is now required of the underlying mechanisms that may have governed the equable climate dynamics of the Eocene (35 to 55 million years ago) and late Cretaceous (65 to 100 million years ago), both of which were warm geological epochs. This newly discovered relationship between TSI and the EPTG represents the “missing link” that was implicit in the empirical relationship that Soon (2009) recently demonstrated to exist between multi-decadal TSI and Arctic and North Atlantic climatic change.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


26 December, 2012

Russia's brutal winter claims 123 lives

A BITTER cold spell in Russia has claimed 123 lives in the past 10 days, an official says, with the unseasonably early freeze testing authorities in a country used to notoriously tough winters.

Temperatures have plunged to around minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Moscow region and minus 60 degrees Celsius (minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit) in Eastern Siberia.

"Since the start of the cold, 123 people have died of exposure and frostbite," a medical source was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

In the past 24 hours, 201 people had to be hospitalised for treatment for hypothermia and frostbite, including 14 children, the source added.

Since the start of the cold snap, 1745 people were affected, and more than 800 had to be hospitalised, the source said.

State television reports on Tuesday focused on a village in Tyva, one of Russia's poorest regions in southern Siberia, where temperatures of minus 40 degrees Celsius were coupled with an accident at the local heat station which left some 3000 residents stranded in the cold.

"There is nothing; not even water. We have to melt snow and the temperature at home is below zero," one bundled-up resident told Vesti-24 channel.

Some residents, including children, have been lifted by helicopter to the regional centre of Kyzyl, the report said.

Temperatures have been about 12 degrees Celsius lower than seasonal norms in Russia, where the coldest weather usually does not arrive until January or February.

In the Moscow region, Monday became an all-time record for the amount of electricity consumed by residents, Russia's power operator said on Tuesday, blaming unusually cold temperatures.

But Russia's weather service is predicting a drastic temperature hike in the European parts of Russia later this week, with 0 degrees Celsius expected in Moscow.

The emergency ministry warned however that the warming will be accompanied by strong winds and freezing rain that will likely damage communications and slow down traffic.

In neighbouring Ukraine last week, the cold claimed 83 lives, new data showed.

On Tuesday, the health ministry declared that the numbers of victims would now be made available only once a week.


Fascists sometimes wear spectacles and neckties: Not armbands or uniforms

"The banality of evil" again. The guy below is so full of hate that he wants the mass murder of climate skeptics even though his intellectual convictions tell him that the death penalty is wrong. And he bases his conclusions about the harm skeptics do on the word of "the authorities". Very Fascist

In this article I am going to suggest that the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for influential GW deniers. But before coming to this surprising conclusion, please allow me to explain where I am coming from.

For years, hard-nosed scientists have been predicting global warming (GW) and its devastating consequences. For a reputable summary of arguments for and against GW, see

Some accounts are clearly exaggerated (more). But given the inherent uncertainty surrounding climatic predictions, even exaggerated accounts must be considered possible, albeit with a low probability. Consider this: If ten million people are going to die with a probability of 10%, that is like one million people dying with a probability of 100%.

When the earth’s temperature rises on average by more than two degrees, interactions between different consequences of global warming (reduction in the area of arable land, unexpected crop failures, extinction of diverse plant and animal species) combined with increasing populations mean that hundreds of millions of people may die from starvation or disease in future famines. Moreover, an unknown number may die from wars over diminishing resources (more). Even if that does not happen, thousands of plants and animals will become extinct. Islands, shorelines and coastal communities will disappear.

So far, the political response to the threat of GW has been lots of talk and little action (more). But action is urgently needed. We are in a very real sense talking about something similar to the end of the world. What will it take to get people to sit up and listen?

Much more would have happened by now if not for the GW deniers. An amazing number of people still believe that GW is a story made up by scientists with ulterior motives. For a long list of climate change deniers and their stories see desmogblog. The opinions of everyday GW deniers are evidently being driven by influential GW deniers who have a lot to lose if GW is taken seriously, such as executives in transnational oil corporations.

Of course it is possible that scientists are just making it up for their own benefit. The trouble with that argument is that scientists who publish fake data or deliberately set out to mislead people about GW have a lot to lose and nothing to win. When scientists fake data and are caught, that usually means the end of their career. It’s not the kind of risk that a scientist would like to take. It is possible someone is paying the scientists behind the scences to publish environmental doomsday stories, but again the argument is problematic: there is simply no money in environmental doomsday stories (just like there is no money in writing internet pages like this one).

And here is why: It has been clear for a long time that the cost of reducing GW to a manageable amount (whatever that is) will be enormous, and the costs incurred by not doing that or doing it too late will be many times greater. The main problem is that no-one wants to pay this money. As a rule, those who make money out of ignoring GW would rather leave this problem for our children and grandchildren to deal with. (How kind of them!) In this situation, a corrupt scientist can certainly earn a lot of money by publishing research that plays down the importance of GW, so that those who profit from ignoring it can continue their environmentally unfriendly activities – and presumably many scientists have already done so. But there is no money in publishing the uncomfortable truth about GW, except for the ordinary rewards that ordinary scientists get for publishing good research reports.

The problem gets even more uncomfortable when you consider the broader context. Even without GW (or ignoring the small amount that has happened so far), a billion people are living in poverty right now. Every five seconds a child is dying of hunger (more).The United Nations and diverse NGOs are trying to solve this problem, and making some progress. But political forces in the other direction are stronger. The strongest of these political forces is GW denial.
The death penalty

In this article I am going to suggest that the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for influential GW deniers. But before coming to this surprising conclusion, please allow me to explain where I am coming from.

I have always been opposed to the death penalty in all cases, and I have always supported the clear and consistent stand of Amnesty International on this issue. The death penalty is barbaric, racist, expensive, and is often applied by mistake. Apparently, it does not even act as a deterrent to would-be murderers. Hopefully, the USA and China will come to their senses soon.

Even mass murderers should not be executed, in my opinion. Consider the politically motivated murder of 77 people in Norway in 2011. Of course the murderer does not deserve to live, and there is not the slightest doubt that he is guilty. But if the Norwegian government killed him, that would just increase the number of dead to 78. It would not bring the dead back to life. In fact, it would not achieve anything positive at all. I respect the families and friends of the victims if they feel differently about that. I am simply presenting what seems to me to be a logical argument.

GW deniers fall into a completely different category from Behring Breivik. They are already causing the deaths of hundreds of millions of future people. We could be speaking of billions, but I am making a conservative estimate.

My estimate of “hundreds of millions” is based on diverse scientific publications about GW. There are three important things to notice about those publications, in general. First, their authors are qualified to do the research. In general they worked hard and more than full-time for at least ten years before being in a position to participate credibly in research of that kind. They are not just writing stuff off their heads.

Second, they do not generally stand to gain or lose anything if their research concludes that GW will be more or less serious than currently thought. They have a different motivation: they want their research to be published in a good academic journal so that people will read it and it will improve their career chances. As a rule that depends only on the quality of the research. Third, the authors of different studies are generally working independently of each other in different countries, universities and disciplines. If so many unbiased people independently come to a similar conclusion, the probability that that conclusion is wrong is negligible.


Another day, another non-hockey-stick

A paper published today in Quaternary Research reconstructs June-July air temperature over the past 785 years in British Columbia, Canada. The paper shows that reconstructed temperatures at the end of the record in 2010 were colder than in the 1940's and during at least 6 other periods within the Little Ice Age from 1350-1850 AD. The temperature record shows there is nothing unusual, unnatural, unprecedented, or accelerated about the 20th and 21st centuries.


Most glaciers in the British Columbia Coast Mountains reached their maximum Holocene extent during the Little Ice Age. Early- and late-Little Ice Age intervals of expansion and retreat fluctuations describe a mass-balance response to changing climates. Although existing dendroclimatic records provide insights into these climatic fluctuations over the last 400 yr, their short durations prohibit evaluation of early-Little Ice Age climate variability. To extend the duration of these records, submerged coarse woody debris salvaged from a high-elevation lake was cross-dated to living chronologies. The resulting chronology provides the opportunity to reconstruct a regional June–July air-temperature anomaly record extending from AD 1225 to 2010. The reconstruction shows that the intervals AD 1350–1420, 1475–1550, 1625–1700 and 1830–1940 characterized distinct periods of below-average June–July temperature followed by periods of above-average temperature. Our reconstruction provides the first annually resolved insights into high-elevation climates spanning the Little Ice Age in this region and indicates that Little Ice Age moraine stabilization corresponds to persistent intervals of warmer-than-average temperatures. We conclude that coarse woody debris submerged in high-elevation lakes has considerable potential for developing lengthy proxy climate records, and we recommend that researchers focus attention on this largely ignored paleoclimatic archive.


American and Worldwide Blizzards

By Alan Caruba

Reports of recent blizzards in the Midwest and Northwest filled the television news and print media, but blizzards have always been part of the history of the nation and are occurring worldwide, taking a human toll.

We tend to dig out and forget them, but they are testimony to the power of Nature and have nothing to do with “climate change.” The four seasons are “climate change.” Blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods are “climate change.” It is wise to keep this in mind.

In the northeast, the great blizzard of 1888, March 11-14, wrote a chapter in the history books as one of the most severe. Snowfalls of 40-50 inches fell in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. It had sustained winds of more than 45 miles per hour and produced snowdrifts as high as 50 feet.

In a new book, “Disaster! A History of Earthquakes, Floods, Plagues, and Other Catastrophes” by John Withington ($14.95, Skyhorse Publishing, softcover) provides a look at some of the greatest blizzards to strike the nation. Writing about the Blizzard of 88, the author notes that “It paralyzed the east coast of the United States from Chesapeake Bay to Maine, as well as affecting parts of Canada.” The great plains of the nation had been hit by a comparable blizzard just three months earlier in January 1888. It killed an estimated 236 people.

The Blizzard of 88 literally shut down life for those impacted by it. “On land, an estimated 400 people died, including 100 in New York City. At least 100 seamen died.” It led to the creation of a subway system that was authorized in 1894.

There was no blather about “climate change” because people understood it was a natural event. Just like Hurricane Sandy or, earlier, Hurricane Katrina, that struck New Orleans and the Gulf States.

While there have been any number of big storms that have struck the nation, a blizzard in March 1993 was called “the storm of the century.” As with Hurricane Sandy, it was forecast due to advances in meteorology such as weather satellites. “On 12 March, though, snow began to fall as far south as Georgia and Alabama, with Birmingham recording twelve inches.” It closed airports from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Atlanta, Georgia. Altogether, 500 people died, many from heart attacks as they shoveled snow.”, a website maintained by Robert W. Felix, the author of “Not by Fire, But by Ice”, arguably the leading authority on past ice ages and based on the best science available, notes that the planet is on the cusp of a new ice age. His website tracks news of frigid weather events.

Since December 21, IceAgeNow has reported that dozens died in a Ukrainian “cold snap” that recorded at least 83 deaths, gripping that nation. In Poland, more than 60 have died since October. At the same time, heavy snowfalls occurred in Bulgaria. Russia has been particularly hard hit.

In the U.S. up to 18 inches of snow fell on West Virginia and we have noted the recent blizzard that hit the Midwest. California’s mountains have experienced heavy snowfall with 13 feet recorded on Mt. Shasta.

There is a strong possibility of more monster storms in America and worldwide. It could portend a new ice age because the average length of interglacial periods between ice ages is 11.500 and that is the length of time since the last ice age.

In addition, solar scientists are worrying about a natural cycle of the sun which is producing less radiation (warmth) in recent years.

When people like Sen. John Kerry, nominated to be the next Secretary of State, cites global warming as “the greatest long term threat to our national security” you need to pay attention because it demonstrates not just ignorance of the facts, but a dangerous stupidity.

As Dr. E. Kirsten Peters says in her new book, “The Whole Story of Climate: What Science Reveals About the Nature of Constant Change”, “Thus, if the Earth continues to behave as she has for the past two million years, we must expect a return to bitter cold at some point, with ice sheets that reach as far south as Nebraska once again. And, as scientists have recently learned, the change to that bitterly cold climate regime is likely to be fast, happening over a generation or two.”

“If we think of climate change as our enemy, we will always be defeated.” The last ice age was one in which “glaciers had once buried much of Europe and a good measure of North America.”
This is the reason to ignore the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that has been falsely predicting global warming since it conjured up the Kyoto Protocols in 1997 to require participating nations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that it claims cause global warming; a warming that is not happening and a baseless claim.

It is a reason to ignore and excoriate Al Gore who has greatly profited from the global warming scare campaign. It is a reason to be deeply suspicious of President Obama who continues to speak of “climate change” and the members and agencies of his administration such as the Environmental Protection Agency that justify a flood of regulations based on this false claim.
The politicians and pseudo-scientists have misled Americans and others worldwide who are beginning to experience a very different reality.


Does Melting Ice Cause Volcanic Eruptions?

The old "correlation is causation" fallacy. And since when have we had a "period of quickly rising global temperatures" anyway?. Not in the last 150 years for sure

After studying data from over a million years in our Earth’s history, researchers at GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany and Harvard University have discovered periods of high volcanic activity often follow periods of quickly rising global temperatures.

To best display this trend, these researchers looked to data collected as a part of the Collaborative Research Center “Fluids and Volatiles in Subduction Zones (SFB 574).”

This project has been gathering data from the volcanoes of Central America for more than 10 years.

“Among others pieces of evidence, we have observations of ash layers in the seabed and have reconstructed the history of volcanic eruptions for the past 460,000 years,” said Dr. Steffen Kutterolf, a volcanologist with GEOMAR in Germany.

“There were periods when we found significantly more large eruptions than in others” explained Kutterolf, who acted as the lead author for the corresponding paper which has been published in the latest issue of the journal Geology.

After looking at the data, the researchers noticed periods of high volcanic activity always follow a period of fast global temperature increases. This global warming in turn leads to a rapid melting of the world’s ice.

Looking for even more evidence, the teams expanded their research to cores taken from the entirety of the Pacific region. These samples had been collected as a part of the International Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) as well as earlier programs. These samples provide a history of the Earth more than 1 million years ago. According to Dr. Marion Jegen from GEOMAR, who also participated in the study, these Pacific samples confirmed what the Central American samples had shown. To explain the relationship, the GEOMAR and Harvard teams plugged this evidence into some geological computer models.

“In times of global warming, the glaciers are melting on the continents relatively quickly. At the same time the sea level rises, the weight on the continents decreases, while the weight on the oceanic tectonic plates increases. Thus, the stress changes within in the earth to open more routes for ascending magma” explained Dr. Jegen.

“If you follow the natural climate cycles, we are currently at the end of a really warm phase. Therefore, things are volcanically quieter now. The impact from man-made warming is still unclear based on our current understanding” said Dr. Kutterolf.

The team now plans to investigate the short term variations to better understand how these changes will affect us in the modern day.


Biodiversity: A Major Deception By Environmentalists

The headline says, “One million New Plankton Species Found.”

Leader Dr Bowler said, “It’s the first time that anyone’s done this expedition looking specifically for plankton life, and that’s why we found so many,”

How can this be? Don’t we know the number of species on the planet? We must know because alarmists claim they’re in dramatic decline. E.O.Wilson says species are going extinct at 3 per hour. He, nor anyone else can name one of these species. If you don’t know the total you only make inaccurate alarmists claims.

Wikipedia says, “Rapid environmental changes typically cause extinctions.”

But, “it is estimated that 99.9 percent of species that have existed on Earth are now extinct.”

Extinctions are normal? Is the current rate of extinction higher than normal? How did so many extinctions occur without the interlinked ecosystem collapsing? The truth is you can’t tell from the fossil record. It’s estimated you need 15 million in a species for it to show in the fossil record. Soft bodied species rarely survive, which is why the Burgess Shale discovery was important.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


24 December, 2012

Eat mealworms to save the planet

The first crunchy bite of an inch-long fried grasshopper in a chapulines taco is surprisingly palatable. The reddish-brown bug is coated in Oaxacan-style spices that pepper the tongue and enhance the underlying nutty, earthy flavor of the grasshopper itself. Admittedly, the most difficult part of eating the bug is taking that first bite.

“It isn’t as much an assault on the senses as it is an assault on the mind,” said Dan Childs, managing editor of the ABC News Medical Unit, who along with several other staff members resigned themselves to taste testing the little critters.

The practice of insect-eating or, entomophagy, as it is formally called, has been commonly touted in the media as an eco-friendly source of protein for a human population increasingly hungry for animal meat. Yet no published scientific studies have ever examined the full environmental effect of mass insect production from start to finish. That is, until now.

In a new study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers in The Netherlands examined the environmental effect of mealworm production and compared it to that of more traditional animal products. They found that production of one kilogram of edible mealworm protein created significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions and required much less land, when compared to beef, pork, chicken and milk production.

More than 1.7 billion animals are used in livestock production worldwide, consuming more than one-fourth of the Earth’s land, according to a 2010 report by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations in collaboration with several other leading environmental organizations.

The entire livestock sector accounts for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which are often produced in the intestinal tracts of animals like cattle and sheep and then released into the air during the digestive process. It is estimated that emissions from the livestock industry are greater than the total amount created by the world’s transportation sector, which accounts for 14 percent. These emissions are thought to be an important cause of global warming.

“The livestock industry is huge,” said Harold Mooney, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment and one of the key editors of the 2010 collaboration. He points out that excessive gas emissions along with large land and energy requirements are all problematic for the industry’s long-term sustainability.

Eating mealworms might help solve some of these problems, according to Dennis Oonincx and Imke de Boer, the new study’s authors. The researchers calculated that mealworm farming cut both carbon dioxide emissions and land use by about one-half to two-thirds when compared with milk, chicken, and pork production and by about 90 percent when compared with beef production.


Deadly cold snap sweeps across Eastern Europe

Global cooling!

A vicious cold snap has claimed nearly 200 lives across Russia and eastern Europe, and forecasters say the freeze could last until Christmas Eve.

In Russia, the cold has killed two people in the past 24 hours, the Ria-Novosti agency reported, citing medical sources, bringing the total number of deaths over the past week to 56.

Thermometers have been stuck below minus 20 degrees Celsius in Moscow and below minus 50 degrees in some parts of Siberia for a week.

Russian weather forecasters said the temperature in the Khabarovsk region in eastern Russia had dropped to minus 43 Celsius, while Krasnoyarsk in Siberia reported minus 47.

This "abnormal" frost would last till Monday because of a persistent anticyclone, they added.

In Russia's European region, meanwhile, the mercury is expected to fall to minus 31 degrees Celsius on Christmas Eve before rising rapidly afterwards.

Other European countries hit hard by the extreme temperatures were counting the toll as temperatures gradually started to return to normal.

In Ukraine, where heavy snowfall has been falling for weeks, authorities said 83 people have died of cold including 57 who were found on the street.

Homeless people are often the hardest-hit by the region's bitter winters.

Another 526 cold victims were reportedly receiving hospital treatment in Ukraine.

Overnight temperatures in Ukraine reached an average minus 15 degrees Celsius, which is common at this time of year.

Ukrainian authorities said 93 villages - mainly on the Crimean peninsula in the south of the country - were still hit by a power outage.

In Poland temperatures plunged to minus 10 degrees Celsius. Polish police said 49 people had died of cold exposures this month, with most of the victims homeless.

At least six people have died of exposure in Lithuania in the past weeks, police and emergency services said there.

In Latvia, temperatures reached minus 14 Celsius on Friday morning. In the capital Riga, authorities decided to drop public transport fares to encourage drivers to leave their cars at home and prevent crashes and jams.

On Christmas Eve temperatures in Latvia are expected to drop to minus 28 Celsius, a record low.


Some more examples of government false prophecy

A Summary Evaluation of the National Intelligence Council's report "Global Trends 2010"

Last week NightWatch promised to review the earliest Global Trends report it could find. The first report was published in 1997 and was entitled, Global Trends 2010.

NightWatch has been spending a lot of time just trying to understand the prolix and vague political science jargon of 1997, not to mention the meanings of judgments or predictions written in that language.

The language is imprecise, centered on the word "agendas" which is used repeatedly without definition. Every nation's agenda was to have been changed by 2010, the report asserts. It never explains to what that metaphor refers.

NightWatch knows from long experience that the only way to improve intelligence judgments is to evaluate their accuracy in hindsight. No one knowingly goes to a doctor who has a 60% cure rate. In that spirit, NightWatch is confident in asserting that it is hard to imagine a trends assessment that could be so wrong as Global Trends 2010.

If the world had not changed much between 1997 and 2010, some of the forecasts in the report might have been marginally accurate. But the world did change, but not fundamentally. The nation-state system did not decline, as the report predicted. The financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 made nation-state safety nets even more important than ever. It was a world-wide catastrophe that made almost every prediction in the report wrong.

Global Trends 2010 contains an underlying assumption of continuing world economic growth. Almost all of its judgments assumed that without articulating that. The document never examined that assumption. Thus, when the world economy contracted, that assumption failed and every judgment extrapolated from it did as well.

It is not the fault of the writers, necessarily, because US intelligence and most US bankers, high-end investors and financiers failed to predict the economic contraction of 2008. Almost no one saw the train-wreck as early as 1997, but that is the lesson of this retrospective look. Analysts profess greater confidence about the next 18 years than they do about the next 18 days.

The economic crisis in 2008 was a true Black Swan in 1997, in the terms that Taleb defined in his seminal study, The Black Swan. A Black Swan is an unknown event that makes wrong all predictions based on extrapolations from the present and recent past. Thus, the ability to name and define a high impact-low probability threat means by definition that it is not a Black Swan, as Taleb wrote about the topic.

The report Global Trends 2010 report contains no conditions or caveats to its predictions, no examination of low probability-high impact threats. The Global Trends 2030 report, just released, boasts that it has identified six Black Swans during the next 18 years. That assertion should warn NightWatch Readers that the intelligence writers of Global Trends 2030 missed Taleb's lesson.

The second major shortcoming of Gobal Trends 2010, in hindsight, is its insistence that the US was in decline at that time and would be restrained by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the breakdown of the nation-state system. Neither prediction proved accurate. The reasoning for these assertions might have been obvious to readers in 1997, but it is not presented.

Looking back from 2012 one wonders what were they talking about. The contraction of the world economy in 2007-2008 doomed NGOs, who have always depended on handouts from more prosperous nations. Despite world-wide economic contraction, the US remained the only safe investment and the importance of US economic and military strength grew, precisely the opposite of what was predicted in 1997.

A NightWatch check found that every Global Trends report conveys the theme of steady US decline. The reasons for the decline are different in every report, but the facts show the US is still the only indispensable power in the world, the only super power.

There are many more incorrect forecasts in 2010, a significant number of important omissions - things the 2010 report just failed to appreciate as important -- and a handful of accurate extrapolations. There is little point in going over them all, unless readers are interested.

Global Trends 2010 is a cautionary lesson in the hazards and hubris of long term forecasting and scenario-casting without using better techniques than were in use in 1997. The effort might have seemed worthwhile at the time, but the happy world future that the analysts and academics in 1997 predicted would arrive by 2010 never happened. In fact, most of the world trends they described went backwards because of the economic crisis of 2007 and 2008.


Obama Uses Monument Act in Another Western Land Grab

New Mexico is once again on the bottom of the list—or the top, depending on your perspective. Forbes recently announced the “death spiral” states. New Mexico was the worst “with 1.53 takers for every maker” (Forbes defines “takers” and “makers” this way: “A taker is someone who draws money from the government, as an employee, pensioner or welfare recipient. A maker is someone gainfully employed in the private sector”). It seems New Mexico can’t get a break from Washington. Instead of unleashing the state’s biggest single private-sector employer, the essential job-creating giant is impeded at every opportunity.

And we wonder why the economy is teetering.

In New Mexico nearly 50% of the state revenue comes from oil-and-gas activity. More than 11,000 people are directly employed in the industry. Schools, hospitals, and other government functions are funded as a result of oil-and-gas receipts that go into the Severance Tax and Land Grant Permanent Funds. The state has other resources such as copper, rare earth elements, and uranium. Their extraction often faces such stiff opposition that companies interested in investing in New Mexico give up, or run out of money fighting for the right to access the resource, before they ever get past the exploration phase.

There are myriad ways obstructionists slow or stop energy projects.

My first experience with the obstructionist’s model was with the battle over Mount Taylor’s Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) designation. I spent several years with the residents of Grants, New Mexico, fighting for their right to the economic freedom the proposed uranium mines could have given them. All of Mount Taylor was declared a TCP. The original TCP was 660 square miles—though public involvement did reduce it slightly. As a result, proposed uranium mining has never happened. Katherine Slick, the state employee, under Governor Richardson, who spearheaded the activities that led to locking up the public lands, was rewarded with a new job in Washington, DC.

Throughout 2011 and 2012, I was engaged in the very public debate regarding the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing of the sand dune lizard. Rallies were held and hearings were attended in the Permian Basin region of New Mexico and Texas. Had the little lizard been listed, extraction and economic development in the oil-and-gas-rich region could have been severely curtailed—not to mention ranching. Fortunately, six months ago the decision came down on the side of the citizens—something I am confident wouldn’t have happened had the people ignored the threat to their livelihoods.

Within the last twelve months, I’ve called attention to another area: the Organ Mountains and the adjacent Otero Mesa—which has known natural gas reserves. This part of south/central New Mexico has repeatedly been proposed for some federal designation that would prevent resource extraction, kick out ranching families who’ve held grazing permits for more than a century, and block recreational vehicle access. Thanks to Congressman Steve Pearce, the efforts have mostly been beaten back—though threatened again by National Monument requests that would be created by executive order and prevent Congressional review and local discussion.

Last week, a new threat was brought to my attention, and—surprise—once again, the proposed federal land grab has potential energy development. This time the “monument” in question has a high emotional quotient: the retirement of long-time New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman (an ardent supporter of renewable energy and opponent of New Mexico’s rich natural resources). He has been unsuccessful in his attempts to get Congress to pass the Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area Establishment Act before he retires at the end of 2012. A National Monument designation would be a reward for his efforts, a Bingaman bonus.

Why the sudden concern?

In late October, buried in election news, New Mexico’s two Senators, Bingaman and Udall, wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to use his authority to establish both the Organ Mountains and Rio Grande Gorge, near Taos, as National Monuments. The effort to establish the area around the Rio Grande Gorge as a National Monument is reported to have 100% support, “there’s no opposition”—which, of course, is not true (though Northern New Mexico doesn’t have a freedom-fighter Congressman like Pearce on its side).

Then, on December 14, in the midst of the fiscal cliff news and the public’s holiday preparations, it was announced that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar would “visit Taos on Saturday, December 15th to host a public meeting and listening session on exploring the best ways to protect the Río Grande del Norte in Northern New Mexico.” Salazar’s trip was in response to Senators Bingaman and Udall’s letter to establish the National Monument.

National monument designations were originally created for historical landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest as provided for in the Antiquities Act. However, because the monument designations can be made solely at the discretion of the Administration, they have been used, when the desired results cannot be achieved through Congress, as an excuse to reduce access and multiple-use of public lands.

The BLM website says the following about National Monuments: “The Antiquities Act of 1906 grants the President authority to designate national monuments in order to protect ‘objects of historic or scientific interest.’” Yet, the area proposed for (presumably the same as the NCA that Congress hasn’t passed) has no such features. Known as the Taos Plateau, it is a large swath of barren land; a vast flat plain with a thin layer of soil over volcanic flows. The proposed monument is to protect the Rio Grande Gorge’s narrow canyon, but it runs from just north of Santa Fe to the Colorado border where it is 25 miles wide. It conveniently sucks up all the BLM public land in the region.

While there are no features of “historic or scientific interest” in the proposed land grab, there are potential oil-and-gas resources that would provide economic benefit to the state and the residents in the form of good-paying jobs, local spending, and revenues for government functions, such as schools. The monument area lies between two known and very important natural-gas reserves—the San Juan Basin (which provides 15% of the natural gas used in America) and the Raton Basin. The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources calls the region a “frontier” area, saying: “Several of these frontier areas, although presently nonproductive and poorly explored, have many geologic characteristics in common with producing basins and hopefully represent a significant part of future oil-and-gas production.”

If New Mexico’s proposed National Monuments truly had public support, an executive-order end-run evading Congressional approval wouldn’t be needed. Senator Bingaman’s retirement and pending legacy provides obstructionists with the perfect excuse to ask for the monuments in his honor.

Since the national monument designation does not allow for public comment, unlike the Mount Taylor and sand dune lizard issues, which had extensive public input, what can American citizens concerned about the administration’s proclivity toward federal land grabs do? What can New Mexicans who want economic development for the state do?

We can let Ken Salazar know that there is opposition—even though the lacking-lead-time December 15 meeting may not have netted a public challenge. We can let him know that the public is watching. A recreational vehicle access advocacy group (Americans for Responsible Recreational Access) has set up an electronic letter to Secretary Salazar, which can easily be customized to include concerns over access to energy resources on public lands and the benefit from their use.

A National Monument designation for both the Organ Mountains in south/central New Mexico and the Northern New Mexico Taos Plateau would be like a going-away gift for retiring Senator Bingaman that would achieve his goals of locking up New Mexico’s energy resources and would keep the state dependent on the federal government—funded by tax dollars from all Americans.

And the death spiral continues.


WA ocean heatwave -- with cool pockets

You mean it's not global? Pesky! Where did I get the idea that there was no such thing as a natural climate change?

The West Australian Department of Fisheries says it will conduct further research on a marine heatwave that has been linked to a recent spate of fatal shark attacks in Western Australia.

Scientists say the unprecedented heatwave occurred off the WA coast between 2010 and 2011, and could be responsible for declining fish stocks and increased shark activity.

Ocean temperatures rose up to five degrees last summer, and the Department says that has led to pockets of cooler water developing near the coastline.

The Department's research director, Dr Rick Fletcher, says this may be causing sharks to move closer to shore.

"If there is a relatively smaller area of cooler water inshore, then the sharks could be concentrated in that smaller area," he said.

Dr Fletcher says further studies will be carried out to determine the long-term effects of the heatwave on fish stocks and shark activity.

"If we actually understand a little bit more about what conditions are more or less likely to have concentrations of White Sharks or Tiger Sharks, than we can inform the public about what the conditions are likely to be," he said.

"Two years post that initial heatwave, what's happened both to the stocks but also what's happened to the oceanographic conditions, have they returned? Or has that change dissipated over the past two years."

There have been five fatal shark attacks along the WA coast in the past two years, prompting a raft of research aimed at trying to better understand the animals.


Legal aid cuts a blow for anti-gas groups

(The Australian State of NSW has a recently-elected conservative government)

FARMERS and community groups will have to seek private funding for public interest court cases against coalminers and gas drillers, after a crackdown on Legal Aid funding by the NSW government.

The Attorney-General, Greg Smith, announced changes this week to stop the funding being used on behalf of "activists" and "lobbyists" who could impede minerals industries.

But Mr Smith refused to say what he meant by "lobbyist" and "activist", or say what means or merit tests would be applied.

Asked by Fairfax Media whether a farmer could still seek help over land access during a coal seam gas dispute, he declined to comment.

The new guidelines say any Legal Aid funding must not be used for "providing legal advice to activists and lobby groups".

The ruling is likely to mean that many groups, including the Environmental Defender's Office of NSW, can no longer perform their primary jobs.

"Most of our work is for rural community groups, most of those groups would be incorporated in some way, and most of them would have a constitution with a clause about protecting the environment where they live," said its executive director, Jeff Smith.

"It's not difficult to see them being caught. But it's difficult to know, because a lot of the answers will depend on details of how the government defines 'lobby groups'."

The office has had its resources cut, with reduced funding available only until March. It had received about $1.2 million a year from the Law Society's Public Purpose Fund, which is based on interest from unclaimed solicitors' fees. The office's staff of 25 would have to be cut to three people unless previous funding from the public purpose fund was restored, Mr Smith said.

Members of the public and the legal community, including 59 environmental law academics, have asked the state government to maintain funding for the office.

The office has achieved wins on behalf of community groups, including reversing the Catherine Hill Bay housing development bordering Lake Macquarie, in which a Labor Party donor had been granted approval to build on environmentally sensitive land. Others have been stopping pollution in the Sydney drinking water catchment and improving remediation of the Barangaroo development site.

The new rules will affect 36 community legal centres across the state. They received more than $18 million last year, including $5.26 million from the Public Purpose Fund.

The rule changes specify that funding should primarily be used to give legal advice to socially and economically disadvantaged people, and that these people should be subject to a means and merit test.

The Attorney-General's position on environmental campaigning has previously been endorsed by the Premier, Barry O'Farrell. The Energy Minister, Chris Hartcher, has accused the Environmental Defender's Office of supporting "the left agenda to destroy the economy".

Asked if the Attorney-General's office had produced or vetted the guidelines, or whether they had been developed by lawyers within the department, a spokeswoman for Greg Smith did not comment.

"The funding principles will be applied by the trustees of the Public Purpose Fund and Legal Aid NSW when making decisions about the future allocation of moneys from a pool of funds which is diminishing as interest rates continue to fall," the spokeswoman said.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


23 December, 2012

Some reminders about John Kerry

In addition to his being a lying traitor, Kerry's Poor Understanding of Climate Science Poses Threat to U.S. National Security

Democratic Senator John Kerry is set to become the next U.S. Secretary of State, replacing Sec. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Kerry has declared his intention to treat man-made global warming as a national security threat. See: Sen. John Kerry To Be Nominated As Next Secretary of State: Kerry 'believes climate change is the 'biggest long term threat' to national security' & A Secretary John Kerry Would Elevate Climate Issues: Reaction: 'about as far as 2010′s failed Kerry-Boxer climate bill, which failed to launch'

Climate Depot Statement on Sen. Kerry: “Senator Kerry is on record expressing outlandish climate and national security claims based on his basic misreading of climate science. Having a Secretary of State who views the emission of a trace essential gas in the atmosphere – CO2 – as some sort of monster threat o national security or the equivalent a the 9/11 terror attacks or the equivalent of old Soviet nuclear warheads, is a sad day in American history. Kerry is ignoring a large body of data and research that demolishes his beliefs. (see below) The American people deserve much better.”

See: Sen. John Kerry: Global Warming Is The Next 9/11: Kerry: 'On August 6, 2001, Pres. George W. Bush famously received an intelligence briefing entitled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." Thirty-six days later, al Qaeda terrorists did just that. Scientists tell us we have a 10-year window -- if even that -- before catastrophic climate change becomes inevitable and irreversible. The threat is real, and time is not on our side... 'Make no mistake: catastrophic climate change represents a threat to human security, global stability, and -- yes -- even to American national security'

2010: Sen. John Kerry: 'Equates nuclear Armageddon with fluctuations in a natural trace atmospheric gas': Kerry: 'The threat from Soviet nuclear warheads was a clear and present danger in our lives. Just as clear and present is the danger climate change poses...'

Sen. Kerry: Climate change 'as dangerous' as Iran's nukes; on the growth of climate skepticism: 'I have to say it's been a remarkably effective campaign, you can't sit here and say it hasn't worked'

'Just When You Thought Global Warming Couldn't Get More Stupid, In Walks John Kerry': 'Of all the ridiculous arguments in support of climate legislation, national security has to be the most idiotic'

Faith Based Science: Dem Sen John Kerry: 'An exceptional country does care about the rise of the oceans and the future of the planet. That is a responsibility from the Scriptures'

Watch Now: Climate Depot's Morano on Fox News rips Sen. John Kerry's global warming claims: Morano: 'The whole movement has collapsed. Sen. Kerry is a desperate man' -- Morano: 'Sen. Kerry once called the UN climate panel the 'gold standard' of science. Well Climategate exposed the IPCC as 'fool's gold.' Kerry would have you believe is that somehow acts of U.S. Congress can control the weather: If we pass a climate bill, we can reduce droughts, hurricanes & tornadoes. This is now akin to medieval witchcraft where we used to blame witches for controlling the weather. Now akin to Nostradamus & the Mayan calendar'

Warmist Sen. John Kerry: 'There's a lot of work that has to be done to revalidate the [global warming] science' -- Climate Depot Response: You are correct, Sen. Kerry. But it was your buffoonery that helped lead to the collapse of the movement. Please, get out front and center and spew more of your inane climate comments for all the world to hear.

Flashback 2007: Sen. John Kerry and Gingrich Hugging Trees -- & (Almost) Each Other -- Gingrich folds like pup tent in alleged 'debate' on AGW -- 'Positions himself as a tree-hugging green' -- 'Before Kerry got a word in, Gingrich conceded that global warming is real, that humans have contributed to it and that 'we should address it very actively.' Gingrich held up Kerry's new book, and called it 'a very interesting read.' -- Kerry gushed: 'I frankly appreciate the candor.'

More HERE (See the original for links)

The new robber barons

The Obama Gang is stealing our taxes, energy resources, revenues, jobs and economy

An oil and natural gas boom is underway in the United States, born of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” It has created tens of thousands of well-paying jobs directly, and hundreds of thousands more in hundreds of businesses that supply and support the industry and its workers.

In North Dakota, the unemployment rate is 2.4 percent, in large part because of a huge increase in natural gas and crude oil production from deep shale rocks that yielded nothing prior to fracking. The new technology is also driving job growth, higher incomes, and increased tax revenues for hard-pressed state and local governments in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas and other states.

Meanwhile, 350 miles north of Edmonton, Alberta, other innovators are producing billions of barrels from oil sands that stretch across an area the size of Utah. Shallow deposits are accessible via surface mining, while deeper lodes are tapped using in situ drilling and steam injection. As work is completed in an area, the land is restored to woodlands, grasslands, lakes and marshes, and the process moves on.

As with fracking, the oil sands create tens of thousands of high-paying jobs and generate billions in revenue, benefitting people from Fort McMurray, Calgary and Vancouver to Ottawa and Halifax, and throughout the United States. Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline would multiply these benefits.

And yet, despite ample evidence that responsible development of these enormous energy resources could power a national economic, manufacturing and employment renaissance, the Obama Administration’s environmental ideologies and political debts to radical green groups could delay or stymie progress.

The new robber barons in the Executive Branch and Congress are not content only with taxing job creators and saddling our children and great grandchildren with trillion-dollar IOUs. They are using hard-earned tax money to finance wind, solar, biofuel and other schemes that primarily reward crony capitalist campaign contributors. They’re also locking up centuries’ of oil, gas, coal and uranium that could generate an economic revival, millions of jobs, and many billions in federal, state and local royalty and tax revenues.

Some say the way these robber barons use, abuse and ignore laws to advance this agenda reminds them of the infamous James Gang, which plundered banks and trains until Northfield, Minnesota citizens ended their lawless ways. Others say a better example is the Chicago-based Al Capone mob.

Still others point to the Capitol Hill “fiscal cliff” negotiations, as providing clues as to what lies ahead. President Obama says he favors a “balanced” approach to avoid fiscal calamity, but insists on raising taxes on high-income citizens – and will not discuss reining in entitlement expenditures that are lead life preservers on taxpayers and our economy. His Treasury Secretary tells us, “There are no options.”

The President’s unique concept of “balance” also defines his “all of the above” energy program. Like Humpty Dumpty, his words mean just what he chooses them to mean – as in all of the above-ground projects, but none of the below-ground resources. Perhaps the real question is, who is to be master … of our lives, natural resources, nation and pursuit of happiness?

Thus the Administration banned oil development on 1.6 million more acres of federal lands in the West and millions more on the Outer Continental Shelf, while delaying leasing and drilling in still more areas – on top of vast acreage and resources that Congress placed off limits through legislation. The ruling czars and robber barons also imposed ethanol-in-gasoline requirements that turn 40% of the nation’s corn crop into fuel, converting an area the size of Missouri from growing food crops to producing fuel that we could get by drilling, and driving up the cost of countless food products.

windmill2Their wind and solar programs waste billions of tax dollars on expensive, unreliable electricity projects that blanket habitats and steal our wildlife heritage, in violation of clear environmental laws.

Meanwhile, EPA issued still more hugely expensive rules that effectively ban the use of coal in electricity generation – sending coal’s contribution from 45% a few years ago to 35% today, and killing thousands of mining and utility jobs. Its latest rules demand that the transportation sector slash its soot emissions another 20% – ostensibly to reduce asthma, other illnesses and “thousands” of premature deaths.

In reality, the only health or environmental benefits exist in EPA computer models, press releases and cover-ups of illegal experiments on humans, whose response to being subjected to “dangerous” levels of soot actually disproved EPA’s claim that tougher standards are needed. EPA has also ignored the significant health risks caused by its regulations, especially for now unemployed older workers.

In the midst of all this, at the just concluded United Nations climate change negotiations in Doha, Qatar, Obama Administration representatives entertained brazen proposals to require developed countries to compensate less developed countries for “climate change damages” – under a wealth redistribution scheme that could potentially cost United States taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. Also in the works are EPA rules, laws and treaty agreements to force the US to curb fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions.

Inconvenient facts about these decisions were simply ignored – or treated much the same way as Steven Spielberg handled his powerful and entertaining Lincoln movie. It was released after the 2012 elections, many believe, so that minority and other voters would learn too late that it was our sixteenth president and other Republicans who championed the end of slavery – and northern and southern Democrats who fought to prevent passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, outlawing the heinous practice.

The robber barons say whatever is expedient – and then pursue policies that undermine the overall public welfare, while postponing many costly and politically explosive actions until after elections.

They also ignore and undermine the recent International Energy Agency forecast that, by 2020, the USA could be producing more oil than Saudi Arabia, currently the largest oil producer on the globe, thanks to advances in seismic, fracking, deepwater drilling and other technologies. A March 2012 Citi Global Problems and Solutions report painted a clear picture of the benefits that domestic energy development could bring – if government “public servants” and environmental “public interest” groups would permit it.

Cumulatively, the new production, reduced consumption and numerous activities associated with these technologies “could increase real GDP by an additional 2% to 3%, creating from 2.7 million to as many as 3.6 million net new jobs by 2020,” the Citi report stated. They could also shrink America’s “current account deficit” by 2.4% of GDP (a 60% reduction in the current budget deficit) and cause the dollar to appreciate in real terms by +1.6 to +5.4% – all by 2020.

Pumping gas pickupIn the next few decades, Citi concluded, the energy sector “could drive an extraordinary and timely revitalization and reindustrialization of the U.S. economy, creating jobs and bringing prosperity to millions of Americans, just as the national economy struggles to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.” It would also “improve national energy security and reverse perennial current account deficits” for decades to come.

However, as the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research has made clear, these enormous benefits “are at risk if new restrictions are imposed on the industry, from delays in approval of liquid natural gas exports, to opposition to expanding ports for coal and gas export, to opposition to pipelines and refineries, and to the threat of redundant federal regulations on the technology of hydraulic fracturing.” Worse, foregoing these enormous benefits would bring little or no improvement to the environment or human welfare.

Abundant, reliable, affordable energy is the backbone of the US and global economy. Perhaps one day renewable energy will become a viable alternative to the hydrocarbons that sustain jobs and energize virtually everything we make, ship, eat and do. Until then, America and the world need to promote regulatory sanity and increased production of our enormous base of coal, oil and natural gas resources.


Some classic cherrypicking

“A team of scientists has reaffirmed that Earth’s climate has been warming for the past century, using an analysis of temperature records other than those from instruments. These scientists – including researchers from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), University of South Carolina, University of Colorado, and University of Bern in Switzerland – gathered temperature records from nature to show warming on Earth from at least 1880 to 1995.”

But what about from 1995-present, during which time we’ve added about 35+ ppm of CO2 to the atmosphere?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The curious task — natural gas edition

As Hayek wrote in The Fatal Conceit: "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

Evidently, the US now has lots of natural gas. There is a question of whether we should export some of it. Who knows whether that is good or bad for America? Ron Wyden knows. Or at least he wants to know. The Washington Post reports:
“We have so much gas we don’t know what to do with it, and it’s unlikely that we can create enough demand for all the gas coming on stream,” said Cherif Souki, chief executive of Cheniere Energy, which is spending $10 billion to add LNG export capability to an idle import facility in Sabine Pass, La.

Cheniere has its permit, but Dominion is one of 15 companies that have applications pending at the Energy Department to build export facilities.

Not so fast, Wyden says. He wants to be sure gas exports don’t raise prices and hurt U.S. consumers and manufacturers.

Under current law, the Energy Department must decide whether an LNG gas export operation safeguards domestic needs and meets the public interest, especially for gas going to countries with which the United States does not have a free-trade agreement. Japan is one of those countries.

On Wednesday, the Energy Department released a long-awaited study, carried out by NERA Economic Consulting, that acknowledged exports would raise U.S. gas prices. But it said that in all of the scenarios it modeled, “LNG exports have net economic benefits in spite of higher domestic natural gas prices. This is exactly the outcome that economic theory describes when barriers to trade are removed.”

Natural gas is a commodity. Increasing the world supply will lower its price. Discouraging American sources from coming on line because they cannot be exported will raise the price of natural gas world-wide including here. Turning natural gas into a political football is good for Senator Wyden and his friends. Bad for the rest of us

SOURCE (See the original for link)

Britain's Electricity bills up by 50% in surge to go green

Think-tank blames Government

MILLIONS of households will see electricity bills rise 50 per cent as the Government goes green.

Think-tank experts last night forecast the massive increase by the year 2020. And they put almost HALF the blame for it on ministers’ own policies.

Financial information provider Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicted bills could soar from £454 to £699.

Around 40 per cent of the increase is due to Government “green charges” such as a new carbon price that takes effect from April. This levy hits operators of coal-fired gas power plants generating the electricity, making it more expensive.

Another 28 per cent of the increase will be down to higher wholesale market prices.

Bloomberg did not give a forecast for gas bills but said it did NOT think “fracking” for underground shale gas would have a significant effect in bringing down prices. The controversial procedure, already widespread in America, got the go-ahead in Britain on Thursday.

Think-tank spokesman Brian Potskowski said: “There are a lot more planning issues here than in the US and there seems to be a lot more local opposition.”

The report comes five days after E.ON became the last of Britain’s Big Six energy suppliers to up residential charges.

Average dual-fuel gas and electricity bills are now at record levels of more than £1,300.


Climate Change, Dark Ages, and Armchair Disaster Prediction

Yes, but.

That may be the best way to describe the position taken by A. Bruce Mainwaring C’47, Robert Giegengack, and Claudio Vita-Finzi on the subject of global warming: Measures to cut carbon dioxide emissions definitely make sense, but science still has a ways to go to when it comes to reliably predicting future climate impacts. Oh, and paying more attention to how human societies in the past responded to severe climate change couldn’t hurt, either.

In the introduction to Climate Crises in Human History, a recently published collection of papers presented at a 2008 conference that they coedited, the three put their purpose this way: “to highlight the uncertainties in both stimulus and response, and in so doing rein in those who think they know what is best for the rest of us.”

At a November symposium at the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Giegengack—emeritus professor of earth and environmental science at Penn and a famously engaging teacher—resorted to a more colorful means to make the point that climate change is not a recent phenomenon and that the Earth’s temperature has been fluctuating for a very, very long time.

Allowing that it was an “outrageous metaphor,” Giegengack took a roll of toilet paper out of his bag. He told the amused audience at Rainey Auditorium that, when measured proportionally, each inch of the 1,000-sheet roll is roughly equivalent to one million years of the Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history. Using those proportions, 1/100 of an inch of the entire roll represents all of recorded human history. And despite there being evidence of “both the lowest temperatures and the lowest concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere” happening within the last million years, he said, today’s scientists are mainly looking at the last 200 years when studying climate change. That’s a lot of unused toilet paper.

“Climatologists … are taking records of those 200 years,” Giegengack said, “subjecting it to very detailed analysis, and projecting it into computer models of what the climate will be like in the future based on this.”

He held up the tiny sliver of one sheet of toilet paper to represent this.

“Those of us who have some experience looking at the longer-term history of climate,” he continued, “would like to think that speculation might benefit quite substantially from learning all we can from the information included in the previous 999 sheets.”

Such was the theme of the entire discussion, which didn’t so much delve into the specific archaeological evidence detailed in Climate Crises, but instead emphasized the necessity, in more general terms, of looking much deeper into the Earth’s history to find patterns of climate change that may very well help with today’s environmental issues. (As it happens, Penn researchers have recently documented sea-level changes, which are linked to climate changes, going back 2,000 years [“Gazetteer,” Sept|Oct 2011].)

In addition to Giegengack, the other panelists were Graeme Barker, the Disney Professor and head of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, and Joseph Farrell, professor of classical studies and the Joseph B. Glossberg Term Professor in the Humanities at Penn.

Barker, in the words of Museum director Richard Hodges, “took a romp around the globe” as he reviewed the record of climate changes during different civilizations throughout history, including the ancient Maya, the Saharan ancestors of the ancient Egyptians, ancient Romans, and medieval Europeans.

Farrell’s presentation focused on the treatment of climate change in Rhys Carpenter’s 1968 book Discontinuity in Greek Civilization, which he called “one of those books that actually changes your mind about something—and does so permanently.” Carpenter hypothesized that global warming was the cause of two “Dark Ages”: the famous one that followed the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century; and the period of Greek history between 1200 and 800 BC, for which, Farrell allowed, material evidence is comparatively scant.

But simply knowing that the Greek Dark Ages, as that period is called, existed got Farrell thinking that the “narrative of Western history that considered the later dark ages a kind of unfortunate and even anomalous interruption” was a lazy one. He suggested instead that recurring “dark ages” might even be the norm. He is convinced that global-warming trends led to the fall of the civilizations that preceded both of these dark ages.

“The most important events in history might not have anything to do with great men,” Farrell said, “and might have everything to do with occasional, however minor, fluctuations in climate.”

Farrell ended his presentation on a foreboding note—that the amount of time between Carpenter’s two dark ages is approximately the same amount of time from the end of antiquity to the present day. “In other words,” he said, “if Carpenter’s thesis were correct, and his dark ages were caused by periodic changes in the earth’s climate, then we should be just about ready for the latest installment of a long-running series of disaster movies.” Of course, he quickly added, it’s not quite that simple. We can only make educated guesses as to what the climate will do while taking measures to “at least not make the situation worse.”

What kind of measures can we take to help curb today’s evident global warming? Vita-Finzi, who was not a panelist but discussed some of the issues from the front row of the auditorium, said that two things we obviously should be doing, based on our past knowledge, is economizing on fuel and not polluting the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. “But,” he added, “pretending we know exactly what will happen in five or 10 years is insane.”

Vita-Finzi, who has written books on the sun and other earth-science topics and is affiliated with the Natural History Museum in London, also addressed the rarity of archaeologists studying climate change. Most of them, as he put it, seem to care more about “pots and jewels and swords and wars, and whether that scar was done by sword or axe” than climatic influence—which he admitted is more “indirect and often mysterious.” But books like Climate Crises in Human History are important, he said, even if they show that their authors don’t have all the answers when it comes to future climactic trends.

Giegengack has spoken out in the past about those who think they have all the answers based on so-called “recent” trends [“Gazetteer,” May|June 2007]. In a 2007 Philadelphia magazine story, the Penn professor blasted Al Gore for his global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which he said was filled with scientific inaccuracies and used “scare tactics” to get his point across.

For Giegengack, it’s difficult to see the global-warming issue being used as a political cudgel knowing that planetary temperatures have gone through regular cycles of rising and falling for the past 650,000 years.

“I think we can say, in the history of the Earth, there has never been a time when … people would not have been at risk to the consequences of climate changes, whether warming or cooling,” Giegengack said. “The problem today is the population pressure and the extraction of resources—because climate change has been with us continuously.”




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


21 December, 2012

TOO MUCH SNOW closing Washington ski areas

See here for some history of Warmist shrieks about vanishing snow

Mount Baker Highway will be closed at least until Friday, Dec. 21, while state Department of Transportation crews remove nearly 100 trees that toppled onto the road because of wet, snowy and windy weather.

The highway is closed from Coal Creek Bridge at mile post 35, just east of Glacier. It has been closed since Wednesday morning.

The closure is affecting Mt. Baker Ski Area, which also has been closed since Wednesday, when so many trees fell that crews couldn't keep up with their removal – and prompting DOT to close that portion of the highway out of safety concerns.

"Some of them have just snapped off and fallen because of the weight of the snow," Bronlea Mishler, DOT spokeswoman, said Wednesday. "They keep coming down," she added. "It's safety. We want to keep drivers safe. We want to keep our crews safe."

About six feet of snow has fallen on the area since Friday, according to Mishler.

The first trees fell Tuesday night. Crews were able to remove those. But tree after tree began toppling after a windstorm early Wednesday morning combined with more snow and then temperatures warm enough to make the snow sit even heavier on the trees.

DOT crews worked throughout Wednesday to remove the snow-laden trees from the highway. In some cases, the weight of the snow, coupled with the saturated ground, uprooted entire trees, and others snapped and came down across the road.

"It's a road issue. It's not a snow issue," said Gwyn Howat, Mt. Baker operations manager of the reason for the ski area's closure.

Officials hope to reopen the ski area on Friday, with Howat saying that the snow conditions were "fantastic."

"It is special snow right now," Howat said of the "champagne powder" that should be there on Friday when the ski area reopens.

By Friday, snowfall for the ski area could total 100 inches in less than a week, she added. "It's primo conditions for skiers and snowboarders," Howat said.


Warmist ties Newtown massacre to global warming

From the same jack-off who suggested Nuremberg-style trials for climate deniers.

“Surely we can do better in protecting today’s children from random acts of violence. But surely we can also do better in protecting tomorrow’s children from suffering that, however distant and theoretical it may seem to us now, will yield just as many broken lives and broken hearts.” [Grist]

Alarmist mouthpiece Andy Revkin thought Dave Roberts’ dreck was “deeply moving.”


Shouting from the Rooftops‏

By Alan Caruba

For years, decades actually, I and others have been shouting from the rooftops that global warming was a hoax. We were called “deniers” and “skeptics.” A lot of time has passed since the late 1980s when Dr. James Hansen, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, kicked off the global warming hoax with testimony before Congress.

Global warming gained momentum because the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seized on it as a means to redistribute the wealth from developed nations to those that have lagged behind and because the media love stories of imminent danger. The media remains largely committed to global warming despite ample evidence it is (a) not happening and (b) a complete lie.

While many regard former Vice President Al Gore as the poster boy of global warming, it has been the IPCC that has been the main culprit in advancing the hoax, issuing reports of dire consequences if nations do not reduce their “greenhouse gas” emissions (mainly carbon dioxide abbreviated as CO2) to avoid a dramatically increased warming in ten, twenty, or fifty years. As time went along, global warming was coming any day now, but it never seemed to arrive.

The problem the lead scientists providing the bogus data to support the IPCC reports encountered was the perfectly natural cooling cycle the Earth entered about sixteen years ago. In 2009, a leak of emails between them was dubbed “Climategate” as it revealed how these conspirators were panicked by the cooling that began to occur around 1998. It also revealed their efforts to smear scientists who dissented from their claims as “deniers” and “skeptics” and plotted to deny them access to leading science publications.

The primary claim made by the IPCC and other “warmists” was that there was a “consensus” among the world’s scientists, but anyone familiar with science knows that it does not operate on consensus. Instead, each new hypothesis or theory is always challenged, often for decades, until it is proven to be reproducible and resistant to alternative interpretation.

John O’Sullivan of Principia Scientific International, an organization of scientists and others battling the global warming hoax, recently reported to its members, interested parties, and science writers like myself of the leak of data by one of the IPCC researchers, Alec Rawls, who no longer wanted to be a party to its reports.

O’Sullivan reported that “Up till now the role of the Sun, referred to as enhanced solar forcing, received only scant mention in prior IPCC reports (AR3 and AR4) being glibly dismissed. But this is the first time IPCC authors have acknowledged the evidence that a solar mechanism seems to be at work.”

“The source of the leak, Alec Rawls, said, “I participated in ‘expert review’ of the Second Order Draft of AR5 (the next IPCC report), Working Group 1 (“The Scientific Basis”) and am now making the full draft available to the public. His reason for taking this action, a break in the confidentially agreement, was the “systematic dishonesty of the report” which he said was corrupted by “bad faith” and “fraud.”

It might seem obvious to most people that the Sun is the most powerful factor in climate change, given the records of the gains and reductions of solar radiation, the Earth’s many ice ages, and the simple fact that it gets colder at night than during the day!

The solar mechanism is, of course, the Sun.

The global warming—now called climate change—hoax depends on convincing people that greenhouse gases, the exhalation of carbon dioxide by humans and mammals, and emissions based on the use of coal, oil, and natural gas pose a threat to the planet’s temperatures. In a very real way, hard core environmentalists favor reducing the world’s population by any means possible and the reduction in all the modern technologies that use energy, coal, natural gas and oil, to enhance life around the globe.

“The (IPCC) admission of strong evidence for enhanced solar forcing changes everything,” said Rawls. “The climate alarmists can’t continue to claim that warming was entirely due to human activity over a period when solar warming effects…were acknowledged to be important.”

In other words, humans play a very small role in the Earth’s climate, especially when compared to the power of the Sun.

This is what some very brave climate scientists and meteorologists have been saying for decades! They have been ignored or derided by the mainstream media who are wedded to the global warming hoax. It had the power of the federal government behind it (and still does) because it remains the justification for costly programs. From the Environmental Protection Agency to the Defense Department and all federal agencies in between, they continue to pump out propaganda and regulations based on this Big Lie.

The United Nations program exists to redistribute billions from developed nations to those who have lagged behind. The recently concluded IPCC conference made the transition from global warming to climate change to “sustainability” with the demand that less developed nations receive funding if they are affected by natural weather events such as hurricanes, heat waves, floods, droughts, and tornadoes.

As Ralph B. Alexander, a physicist and the author of “Global Warming False Alarm”, recently noted, “The link between extreme weather and global warming has as much scientific basis as the pagan rite of human sacrifice to ensure a good harvest.”

Alexander noted that weather events “show no long-term trend whatever over more than a century of reliable data. Weather extremes have occurred from time immemorial, long before industrialization boosted the CO2 level in the atmosphere.”

Indeed, the increase of CO2 has not induced or deterred the current climate cycle; cooling. Since the length of interglacial periods between ice ages is about 11,500 years, the Earth is on the cusp of a new ice age. Ironically, the CO2 increase may be delaying it.


Greenie arrogance -- and ignorance

A young woman came to my door the other day and told me she was raising money to teach farmers in the Philippines about “sustainable agriculture.”

“Wow,” I replied, “You must be a major expert for Filipinos to reach out halfway across the world and ask you to come teach them.”

“Oh,” she said, “well, we haven't talked to the Filipinos yet. This is just the money we need to get our organization to the Philippines. Then we'll teach them all about sustainable agriculture.”

This 20-year-old, wearing her paisley bandanna and her hemp necklace, fabulously rich by global standards, is only one of the many idealistic people the West now exports to manage the lives of the global poor.

“Sustainability” and Time Preference

The concept of “sustainability” is now ubiquitous in international-development circles. It was most famously defined by the UN potentate and ex-Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. According to her 1987 UN report, sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

The international idealists now use this concept broadly to mean combining economic development with environmental preservation. One of the main fears of the advocates of “sustainable agriculture” is that farmers are unwisely degrading the quality of their soil by using chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

But are outside experts really qualified to determine each Filipino farmer’s proper balance between getting chemically induced high yields now and risking lower yields later?

Each person has his own subjective preferences about how to trade present enjoyment for future enjoyment (and present returns for future returns). Universally, as Ludwig von Mises explained, using the Austrian school’s concept of time preference, we humans are basically impatient. We generally want things now, now, now—instead of someday later. But for each human, the power of this preference depends on his own desires, resources, and judgment.

In the world of reality, in the living and changing universe, each individual in each of his actions is forced to choose between satisfaction in various periods of time. Some people consume all that they earn, others consume a part of their capital, others save.

Although delaying present gratification in favor of future satisfaction often leads to material success, it is ultimately a judgment that depends on each person’s goals and resources. And of course, it depends on the institutions on the ground. In situations where there are tragedies of the commons—e.g., people farming unowned or government-owned land—there are deep incentives to exploit the land. Where there is private property, there are greater incentives to preserve for future generations.

The internationalist concept of “sustainability” is an attempt to override the time preferences of Filipino farmers in favor of the time preference of Gro Harlem Brundtland. Any if any meaning can be given to the term “sustainability,” it would have to do with the real sustainability that comes from having the right rules in place—like property, prices, and profits, which help people avoid tragedies of the commons. And yet that’s not what advocates of sustainability want. They prefer command and control.

“The Needs of the Present”

The concept of “sustainability” depends on the assumption that humans have objective needs. Remember, Brundtland says that we must provide for “the needs of the present” without impinging on the “needs” of the future.

But what does a person “need”? What you need to survive is different from what you need to be happy or prosperous or loved.

What you need to live to age 60 is different from what you need to live to age 100. Where shall we draw the line?

Indeed, if we limit ourselves to the requirements for mere biological survival, a human’s needs could be met with a 6’x6’ concrete cell and a daily bucket of gruel. I don’t think this is what Brundtland has in mind. But she has something in mind. And she is willing to impose it.

Because there is no objective definition of human needs, and because there is no objectively correct tradeoff between present and future wants, “sustainable agriculture” simply means conserving whatever amount of resources the 20-year-old expert visiting your village thinks you should conserve based on some notion she picked up in college. And this is where things get uncomfortable.

Local Knowledge and International Aid

The woman at my door seemed honestly to believe that she was bringing powerful new knowledge to farmers in the Philippines, even though she’d never set foot in the country, let alone planted a crop there.

I asked her where in the Philippines she was going. She answered, “Oh, I'm not sure. Lanao del Norte, maybe? I don’t remember.”

The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, and it’s a highly diverse place, both geographically and culturally. It matters a lot, for instance, whether you're going to the big northern island of Luzon (controlled by the Christian majority and the U.S.-backed central government) or to the big southern island of Mindanao (where Muslim separatists routinely use kidnap-for-ransom schemes to fund their operations). By the way, Lanao del Norte is on the northern edge of that southern island.

This young woman was missing the essential requirement for all intelligent human action—what anthropologists call “local knowledge” and what F. A. Hayek called the “knowledge of people, of local conditions, and of special circumstances.”

To farm wisely, you need to know what kind of soil, topography, local plants, and insect pests you’re dealing with. You need to know what’s happening among your neighbors and nearby markets. And of course, everywhere in the Philippines, you need to know whom to bribe to get anything done. (It is widely considered the most corrupt country in East Asia.)

Filipino farmers are already working through those challenges on the ground every day. What special knowledge can their savior from North America bring to the table? And if this knowledge is so valuable, why hasn’t it percolated through to those markets already?

The last question is not merely rhetorical. It’s possible something is preventing this knowldege from getting through, or preventing Filipino farmers from taking full advantage of it. If so, what? Are laws in place preventing them from enjoying the full benefits of their work—such as confiscatory taxes, unreliable property rights, or agreements signed with international do-gooders to withhold technologically advanced equipment that could increase yield quickly? Of course, foreigners may have knowledge to share that will improve the long-term viability of the Filipino agricultural sector. But it’s not clear how much bureaucrats, ideologues, and twenty-year-old idealists have to contribute.

The well-meaning outsider believes that somehow, the local people aren’t already using every resource at their disposal carefully and energetically to make a good life for themselves and their children. When Filipino farmers buy a few jugs of insecticide to kill off the pests that eat their crops, so this line of thinking goes, they are making a terrible mistake. Without the outsider’s intervention and her superior, Gro-given knowledge, the Filipinos will surely reduce their landscape to a toxic wasteland.

How on earth did the people of these islands manage to “sustain” their farms before selfless Westerners showed up to guide them?

It is not for me, nor for the idealistic woman at my door, to decide what far-off peoples should do with their soil. Other people are not your property, and we do not know what is best for them. Of course, we can travel to distant places, act in good faith, and give advice after learning the ins and outs of a people’s circumstances. But they might very well tell us to go away. They might even teach us a thing or two.

Sustainability, Control, and Markets

This is not to say that we rich outsiders must ignore the cruel poverty of the world’s least fortunate, who must often choose between a meal today and a meal tomorrow—or indeed have no choice for any meal at all.

But projects aimed at teaching ignorant foreigners how to manage their own resources are rooted in arrogance. The ideal of “sustainability” some are exporting around the world is empty. Definitionless. It is merely a Rorschach test for the personal values of the idealists who employ it. It simply dresses up old-fashioned imperialism in contemporary clothing.

It is, as Morgan J. Polinquin explains, “another attempt to replace the collective decisions of many in the market place with the coercive will of the few.”

The decisions of the “many in the market place” emerge from each individual’s local knowledge—from, as Hayek put it, “the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess.”

The market is the best way humans have of bringing all those tiny fragments of specific knowledge—about crops, pesticides, bribes, and a million other variables—together. Through the price system, we humans work wonders of mass coordination without any one of us being able to see the grand scheme. And that people sometimes have to work those wonders in a climate of regulation, corruption, or idealistic arrogance makes them all the more unbelievable.

Furthermore, the market allows any person to try out new techniques, and see if they fit into the poverty-destroying global endeavor of free human cooperation.

Perhaps totally “organic” farming, with no chemical pesticides or fertilizers, is best for every farmer in the Philippines. Perhaps it would give everyone the best trade-off between feeding themselves today and preserving soil quality for tomorrow. Perhaps.

But no matter how high up you go in the UN hierarchy, there’s no seat in the sky for any human to sit on and pronounce that judgment for all the rest of the species.

When first-worlders traipse around the world touting cardboard concepts like “sustainability,” we are merely exerting control, once again, over the world’s poor—trying to make their lives fit into our designs.

When my front-door visitor finishes her overseas agricultural adventure, she’ll come back with a digital camera full of photos and a resume full of impressive entries. The Filipino farmers will still be there, living off that soil. Their children will still be there.

Who do you think has a better grasp of the balance between present and future uses of that plot of earth?


Another Blow to Malthus and His Successors

Growing up in the 1970s I learned that the earth was a fragile thing, that resources were limited and soon to run out, and that mankind could never produce enough to feed the burgeoning masses. I had not quite started driving when the first gas shortages of the early to mid 70s occurred, but I remember gas lines and odd/even days when my parents could buy gas. It seemed to me that the earth was in for a dire time and the future looked bleak.

Of course this is always the progressive mantra: too many people, not enough resources, Americans consume too much, blah, blah, blah. One of the mantras that everyone regardless of political stripe believed was that the days of America producing much oil or growing amounts of gas was over. We would obviously always be dependent on the Middle East and other parts of the world for our energy needs. Or not.

In fact one of the great surprises to almost everyone in this early part of the 21st Century is the explosion of American energy production. In “The North American Gusher” the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady says:

Among the world’s oil and gas producers, the U.S. is now growing the fastest. Even though the growth in U.S. demand for energy is slowing, the decline is offset by rising world demand. If North America’s total productive capacity in hydrocarbons increases by just 3% per year over the next 20 years, Mr. Mills says, the continent will become the largest supplier to burgeoning world markets.

This is almost as shocking as the fall of the Berlin Wall, if not quite as iconic. Maybe more so in that as far as I can tell there were no Ronald Reagan’s predicting anything like it. This surge can literally turn the geopolitical world upside down; it certainly helps when the good guys (that would be us just in case you’re a Democrat) have such energy leverage.

But how did this happen in a world of ostensibly scarce resources? According to the truncated materialist worldview of the modern liberal it shouldn’t happen. This worldview and its Mathusian assumptions infect much of Western culture. Its primary failing is that it never takes into account human nature, doesn’t even admit there is such a thing; since they are fundamentally materialists who eschew any sense of the transcendent or the philosophical, human beings are primarily social constructs enslaved to their environments.

So if it at one point in human history, say the 1970s, oil experts say we have 20 years left of oil, well that’s what we have. Better drive 55 so we don’t run out of the stuff. But human nature always seems to mess up liberal assumptions. To answer the question of how it did happen, just look to human ingenuity:

Mr. Mills’s paper points out that the Carter administration put restrictions on the use of natural gas because it believed there was so little to be had. Today’s bountiful oil and gas reserves, he notes, are “a function of technology, not of geology,” which is why it is revolutionary. “Technology unleashes resources, resource wealth creates capital, and capital is reinvested in new technology that in turn unleashes resources.” Market prices and the ability of investors to respond to supply and demand are crucial to this process.

Combine that ingenuity with free markets and the rule of law, and reasonable regulation, and you have America, energy giant of the 21st Century! Who woulda thunk it!


Australia: Unions versus Greenies

Unions win. Unusual for a Leftist government to approve that horror of all horrors: A MINE

FEDERAL Environment Minister Tony Burke has given an Indian mining company the green light to develop an iron ore project on Tasmania's West Coast.

The mine, one of a handful of proposals being fiercely opposed by Tarkine conservationists, is expected to create 125 jobs over its predicted decade of operation.

The National Tarkine Coalition said protesters would barricade the site as soon as work started.

TNC's Scott Jordan said Mr Burke had folded to pressure from the Australian Workers' Union which organised a loud and very angry pro-mining rally in Burnie last month.

'What the AWU wants, Tony gives, it seems," Mr Jordan said yesterday.

"We will monitor the situation and as soon as they start works on site we will be there."

Mr Burke has imposed 29 conditions on Shree Minerals' project including the development of plans to protect threatened species and the Tasmanian devil.

Shree Minerals said the Federal Government approval was a major milestone in its bid to start production at Nelson Bay -- near Couta Rocks -- and the ghost mining town of Balfour.

The company will now seek funding partners.

The Nelson Bay River project has already been approved by the State Government.

Shree Minerals chairman Sanjay Loyalka said the project's development would include measures to stop acid drainage and minimise the risk of road kill.

Mr Loyalka said the mine's footprint would be small compared to the social and economic benefits it would bring.

He said the project would also boost the state's finances through royalties and payroll tax.

Shree Minerals will commission a research program to understand orchid biology in the North-West and support the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.

Federal Braddon MP Sid Sidebottom said Mr Burke's decision was welcome news for the region.

"Mining has a long history and ongoing importance to the economy and I am pleased that it will continue to do so," Mr Sidebottom said.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


20 December, 2012

U.N. body now says humanity is causing warming AND cooling. No matter what, it's all YOUR fault

Interestingly from a philosophy of science viewpoint, they have no means of predicting which will be the stronger effect. They can only be wise after the event, What they say is not science, in other words. It's just a money-grubbing racket to fool the public

Ever wonder why IPCC scientists are losing credibility? Rudolf Kipp in a reader comment here points out an interesting claim being made by the IPCC 5 AR Summary for Policymakers (SPM) on page 10. It states:

"The greenhouse gas contribution to the warming from 1951–2010 is in the range between 0.6 and 1.4°C. This is very likely greater than the total observed warming of approximately 0.6°C over the same period. {10.3.1}"

What they are saying here is that the warming due to CO2 may have been as much as 1.4°C, but some external factor may have cooled the globe and offset much of that warming. According to the IPCC it is actually 0 to 0.8°C cooler than it should be. Chapter 10 (Page 15) mentions aerosols as the likely cooling factor:

"Over the 1951–2010 period, greenhouse-gas-attributable warming at 0.6–1.4 K is significantly larger than the observed warming of approximately 0.6 K, and is compensated by an aerosol-induced cooling of between 0 and –0.8 K (Figure 10.4b) (Jones et al., 2012).”

That means that the man-made global warming is actually more than what the temperature rise shows because man-made aerosol cooling offsets a part of the warming. Kipp surmises:

"If it doesn’t get warmer over the next years, then it likely will be blamed on the increased share of anthropogenic cooling.”

Obviously the IPCC is giving itself a back door for an escape should temperatures continue to stay flat or fall. No matter what happens, the IPCC will blame man-made climate change.

Kipp writes: "Is it any wonder that the credibility of climate scientists within the public has fallen to levels we usually associate with used car dealers or politicians?"

With this latest wishy-washy claim, the IPCC is thus admitting their models have huge uncertainty. This is hardly the kind of science that policy should be based upon.


U.S. oil prices could sink to $50

U.S. oil prices could sink to $50 a barrel at some point over the next two years, according to analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. But don't expect a corresponding drop in gas prices.

Merrill analysts expect U.S. oil prices to still average about $90 a barrel over the same time period. Global oil prices meanwhile, which more closely dictate the price of gasoline in the United States, are expected to remain high as growth in global oil supplies lags population growth and economic output.

The drop in U.S. oil prices would likely be temporary, caused by the difficulty in moving huge amounts of new oil from places like North Dakota's Bakken shale or Texas' Eagle Ford to market. Already, all the new production has led to a glut of oil in the region.

"No one expected output to grow by a million barrels per day last year," Francisco Blanche, Merrill's head of commodity research, said at a press briefing in New York. "No one."

As a result, oil has been accumulating in Cushing, Okla. -- home to the convergence of several pipelines and dozens of oil storage tankers that acts as the delivery point for the most commonly quoted U.S. oil price, West Texas Intermediate.

The problem for U.S. drivers is that WTI crude accounts for just a small percentage of the oil used to make gasoline in the United States. And prices for other types of oil -- such as Louisiana Light Sweet, Alaskan North Slope or Nigeria's Bonny Light -- remain high.

In fact, Blanche said the U.S. government may have to approve exports of WTI if it wants the oil boom in this country to continue, as $50 a barrel is below the cost of production.

Merrill also predicted relatively slack economic growth in both the United States and globally in the years ahead.

The bank predicts the U.S. economy will grow by 1.5% in 2013 and 2.8% in 2014. Globally, it sees 3.2% growth in 2013 before returning to a more average level of 3.9% the following year.

But there is some good news for investors.

Continued high prices and low yields on bonds, plus the successful resolution of the so-called fiscal cliff and an improving outlook in Europe, means money should pour into stocks. Returns could run between 9% and 16% in 2013, while the S&P 500 may hit an all time high, the firm predicts.

"We are unapologetically bullish for 2013 when it comes to the U.S. equity market," said Savita Subramanian, Merrill's head of U.S. equity research.


CA: Solar power adds to nonusers’ costs

Booming rooftop solar installations in California are bringing an unwelcome surprise to the homes and businesses that don't have the devices: an extra $1.3 billion added to their annual bills, more than half of that for Pacific Gas & Electric customers.

Power companies in the state, the nation's biggest for solar power, are required to buy electricity from home solar generators at the same price they resell it to other customers, meaning utilities earn nothing to cover their fixed costs. The rules are shortsighted because eventually rates must be raised to make up the difference, according to Southern California Edison, which has joined with competitors to estimate potential losses.

As more homes and warehouses get covered in solar panels, higher rates imposed on traditional consumers risk a growing conflict between renewable-energy advocates and power companies that foresee a backlash in California and 42 other states with similar policies. The tension has also emerged in countries including Spain and Germany, where solar investments are curbing investment in the power grid.

"You get into a situation where you have a transmission and distribution system with nobody paying for it," said Akbar Jazayeri, vice president of regulatory operations at Edison, a unit of Edison International and California's second-largest electric utility.

To deter losses as solar abounds, states typically set a cap on the amount of photovoltaic power utilities must buy under what is called net-metering policies. Those allow a meter to run backward during the hours a day when a home or business is selling the power to the utility. California's limit is 5 percent of a utility's aggregate peak load.
New customers

About 20,000 customers of San Diego Gas & Electric had connected 146 megawatts of solar panels to its grid as of Nov. 1, accounting for 1.2 percent of its peak load. The company is adding 409 new net-metering customers a month, said Stephanie Donovan, a spokeswoman for the state's third-largest utility.

SDG&E can't collect about $18 million to $20 million a year in grid costs from customers with rooftop solar panels, according to Dan Skopec, vice president of regulatory affairs for San Diego's Sempra Energy, the utility's owner.

The utility will be shifting about $200 million in annual costs to customers without panels when the state reaches its cap, Skopec said. Solar customers "avoid charges, not just for energy, but also the costs of the transmission and distribution system," he said. "That's why we say it is not sustainable."

Pacific Gas & Electric, the state's biggest utility, will pass on about $700 million in annual costs to people without solar systems when the state hits the cap, according to Denny Boyles, a spokesman. Southern California Edison will transfer about $400 million annually, according to spokesman David Song, for a total of $1.3 billion from the three utilities.

That's about 3.9 percent of the $33.5 billion spent on electricity in 2010 in California, based on the latest figures available from the U.S. Energy Department.

"The problem exacerbates with each new system that goes on a roof," said Mark Bachman, an analyst at Avian Securities Inc. "Utilities will need to get reimbursed for their grid costs by a shrinking number of consumers."

California utility customers installed 245 megawatts of solar panels in 2011 and have already added more than 315 megawatts this year, according to the California Solar Initiative, a state program to encourage rooftop energy systems.
Solar growth

Installations of U.S. residential and commercial solar systems totaled about 1,050 megawatts in the first three quarters of the year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, compared with about 1,100 for all of 2011.


Green building: More expensive and less efficient

Lawmakers are preparing to pass a tough new “green building” code, which supposedly will make our buildings more energy efficient and save money. But experience with such codes elsewhere show that they don’t always work as planned.

My colleague Todd Myers of the the Washington Policy Center has done a great job highlighting the many pitfalls associated with green building mandates. Myers has shown consistently that “green building” does not live up to its energy-saving promises. In particular, he points out that many of the certified “green schools” in his home state of Washington are among the least energy efficient schools. In a recent blog post, he explains: “[Green] Schools cost more to build and then end up using more energy, not less, in most cases. The state [Washington] itself confirmed those findings in its audit completed last year.”

A recent news story in USA Today, Myers notes, shows that the failure of “green” schools is a national problem. “[T]he real winners with green building standards aren’t students or the environment. They are the architects and engineers who charge more to design these buildings, and the politicians who tout support for ‘green’ standards in public campaigns, even if the schools are short on delivering real benefits,” Myers explains.


“Green” Wrapping Expensive Environmental Policies

From the World Resources Institutes initiative for Keeping Options Alive to the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, calls for conserving biodiversity are persistent. This goal appears reasonable, at least on its face. Who would argue against a wider variety of plants and animals increasing our chances for a life-saving drug in the future? It has, after all, happened before.

As we think through this appeal, however, harder to reconcile truths emerge. Policies to maintain or expand biodiversity may act as an attractive green wrapper on politically motivated redistributions that do little to improve environmental quality or economic opportunity.

One way to see through this wrapper is to consider not only the future benefits that people might enjoy from conserving biodiversity, but also an accounting of associated costs. A good way to measure these costs is to piggyback on those who buy and sell options in markets that are more economically mindful than those for political decisions that is, financial exchanges.

Ignoring an options cost can be politically attractive, but creates big losses if you are an exchange trader. Traders look to the Nobel Prize winning formula of Fischer Black and Myron Scholes for analytical guidance. Applying this model to biodiversity options suggests that conservation comes at a considerable cost, and this cost likely increases with top-down directives like those in charge of the UN.

According to this model, options cost more the longer they are open. They also cost more when interest rates are higher, which tends to be the case for long-term obligations. Programs to maintain biodiversity options, where benefits might be realized years from now, are expensive on both counts.

The cost of biodiversity options also increases with the expected price-volatility of associated assets. In the biodiversity case, such an asset could be a forest that might facilitate new biofuels. But the future price of such a habitat is sensitive to environmental conditions, the forecasts of which are highly variable.

From every economic angle, biodiversity options are expensive. Political-legalese can try to hide this price tag, but someone has to pay it.

The point here is not that maintaining biodiversity lacks merit. Rather, it is that pursuing such goals through detached and high level bureaucracies can miss the mark. The risk of doing so increases as those who will pay the price, such as todays high-income earners, become easier political targets. In addition, top-down conservation efforts are less likely to succeed when measuring a policy-success is difficult. It is hard to distinguish whether a medicinal cure or new biofuel should be counted as a policy-success or as a discovery that would have happened anyway.

Top-down programs to maintain or expand biodiversity options lack accountability on both dimensions. Bottom-up approaches, on the other hand, benefit from information reaching decision makers faster and from competitive markets encouraging an efficient use of that information. After reviewing several unsuccessful centralized attempts to preserve biodiversity, Professor R. David Simpson argued for arms-length payments to people in return for changing their land-use practices. Simpson appreciates that public support for businesses like ecotourism can work toward such ends, but points out they also keep wasteful enterprises alive and enrich those that would succeed on their own.

Real market strategies succeed by anonymously creating environmental and economic opportunities. Politics, instead, often supplants the invisible hand of economic efficiency with the visible hand of inefficient redistribution.


Back from the brink of extinction

Woods bison, muskeg swamps and Canadian oil sands prove energy and wildlife coexist

Dennis T. Avery

The last woods bison in the United States was apparently shot by a hunter in West Virginia around 1835. For many decades, the woods bison was presumed extinct – until an airplane spotted an isolated herd in the muskeg swamps north of Alberta, Canada.

My farm is near a Virginia village called Buffalo Gap, documenting the existence of these ”buffalos” long ago and this far south. These cousins of the Great Plains bison prefer wooded areas and they’re much larger than the species hunted by the Sioux Indians and Buffalo Bill.

So I was delighted to actually see another herd of the nearly extinct animals calmly munching on hay – right in the middle of the oil sands mining project in northern Alberta, which I visited a few weeks ago. Much of this oil is destined for the USA, to reduce imports from dictatorships, and more will come in the Keystone XL Pipeline, if President Obama ever approves it.

The bison living at the oil sands recovery site are direct descendents of the remnant herd found in 1957. They were busily browsing about 300 yards from a huge diesel shovel that loads 400 tons of oily sand at a time into a lineup of huge trucks. The trucks carry the sand toward a giant “cooker” where the oil is steamed out.

Then they haul the now-clean sand to an enormous pile where it is reserved for later reclamation work. Even the topsoil that covered the sand is set aside to recreate the hillocks, ponds and swamps much as they were before mining.

Once a sizable area of the enormous oil sands deposit has been cooked, and the oil has been further processed for shipment via pipeline, the sand and topsoil are put back into the mined area. The Canadian government resumes title to the land when its habitat and wildlife experts have ensured that each wilderness recovery is complete and sustainable.

The only thing missing is the smell, taste and ooze of oil, which has always permeated the local soils and often seeped into local streams. There was absolutely no noticeable oil or diesel smell anywhere at the mine, except inside one of the wellhead control buildings we visited. That’s where you would certainly expect to find it, but even there it was minimal.

The bison seem willing to “loan” this moving five-square-mile of surface mine (what some environmental activists prefer to call an “open wound”) in the midst of their vast muskeg swamp. They certainly don’t let it spoil their lunch or breeding. They may even sense that the intrusion is only temporary.

This part of Alberta features spindly black spruce and tamarack trees, intermingled with the muskeg--sphagnum moss and sedge grasses. It’s actually about 40 percent water, when you add up the ponds, lakes, streams and marshy areas. It isn’t much to look at, but it harbors lots of beaver, wolves that prey on the beaver and, hopefully soon, wild herds of woods bison that will continue to grow in number.

The open pit mining cycle travels slowly, with about 25 years of mining followed by another 25 years for complete site restoration. The miners and drillers bring up their own processing water from deep brackish groundwater formations, and they’re increasingly reusing the water.

The tar sands are a geological marvel: an 84,000 square miles deposit – an area the size of Kansas – but the sand is soaked with 5–25 percent heavy petroleum. In total, the Alberta sands are estimated to contain 169 billion barrels of oil, making it one of the largest petroleum deposits in the world. Experts say the oil sands’ operations could produce 465,000 U.S. jobs in construction, refining, petrochemicals and other sectors by 2035, if President Obama finally lets the Keystone XL pipeline go forward.

Where the sand is near the surface, as in the woods bison area, it’s mined with huge shovels and trucks. However, 98 percent of the oil sands lie in a thick bed 200 to 400 feet below the surface. That oil is recovered via drilling and steam injection.

Crews drill a pair of wells a precise five feet apart – one above the other. Each well goes straight down about 150 feet, and then turns to run horizontally for about a mile! Steam is pumped into the upper line. It escapes through perforations in the pipe, then heats and liquefies the oil. The hot liquid oil drips down to the lower pipeline, where more perforations collect the petroleum and pump it to the surface.

The steam recovery units occupy clearings in the muskeg forest, each several miles apart, and covering only about two football fields’ worth of land. These “wounds” also move slowly over the years. As each section of oil sands is steam-cleaned of about 75 percent of its petroleum, the drilling, steam and processing pad is vacated. Then it’s turned back into muskeg and forest.

Eco-activists loudly decry the oil sands, but it’s hard to understand why. If 84,000 square miles of wildlife habitat was being permanently converted to fields of corn and switchgrass for biofuels, I’d understand their concern about lost habitat. Taking that much land out of food crops has radically raised the price of corn, and thus of all the world’s meats, dairy products, corn syrup, tortillas. Even bread.

Instead of high-cost biofuels, the tar sands produce enormous quantities of petroleum for transportation, petrochemicals – and for the fertilizers and diesel fuel needed to produce high-yield crops on the world’s prime soils.

This modern farming method has saved nearly 7 million square miles of wildlife habitat (nearly twice the area of the entire United States) over the past 50 years. The high-tech farmers do this by raising far more food per acre than any other farmers in all history. To cap it all off, the tar sands’ pipeline product has a greenhouse gas profile much like that of Arab Medium, one of the oil market mainstays: in other words, not many greenhouse gases.

The activists have made a big mistake in offering the public only solar and wind energy. Both are costly, land-intensive, erratic and unreliable – and incapable of supporting our cities and farms. Biofuels are even worse. They use enormous quantities of water and sharply increase food costs for the world’s poor.

If the Greens had supported nuclear power, which emits no CO2 at all, they might have already won their battle over using coal and natural gas to generate electricity.

As it is, the activists risk losing their credibility on energy and other issues, by opposing virtually every technology that has been developed to benefit humans, wildlife and the environment.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


19 December, 2012

Evidence points to a further global temperarure rise of just 1°C by 2100. The net effect on the planet may actually be beneficial

Matt Ridley has some interesting updates on the latest findings below, which coincide closely with what climate skeptic Pat Michaels found 10 years ago. Ridley then follows with a point I often make (see sidebar here): That actual temperature trends give no cause for alarm. It is entirely theoretical ideas unrelated to known trends which are the basis for the Warmist scare

Forget the Doha climate jamboree that ended earlier this month. The theological discussions in Qatar of the arcana of climate treaties are irrelevant. By far the most important debate about climate change is taking place among scientists, on the issue of climate sensitivity: How much warming will a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide actually produce? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has to pronounce its answer to this question in its Fifth Assessment Report next year.

The general public is not privy to the IPCC debate. But I have been speaking to somebody who understands the issues: Nic Lewis. A semiretired successful financier from Bath, England, with a strong mathematics and physics background, Mr. Lewis has made significant contributions to the subject of climate change.

He first collaborated with others to expose major statistical errors in a 2009 study of Antarctic temperatures. In 2011 he discovered that the IPCC had, by an unjustified statistical manipulation, altered the results of a key 2006 paper by Piers Forster of Reading University and Jonathan Gregory of the Met Office (the United Kingdom's national weather service), to vastly increase the small risk that the paper showed of climate sensitivity being high. Mr. Lewis also found that the IPCC had misreported the results of another study, leading to the IPCC issuing an Erratum in 2011.

Mr. Lewis tells me that the latest observational estimates of the effect of aerosols (such as sulfurous particles from coal smoke) find that they have much less cooling effect than thought when the last IPCC report was written. The rate at which the ocean is absorbing greenhouse-gas-induced warming is also now known to be fairly modest. In other words, the two excuses used to explain away the slow, mild warming we have actually experienced—culminating in a standstill in which global temperatures are no higher than they were 16 years ago—no longer work.

In short: We can now estimate, based on observations, how sensitive the temperature is to carbon dioxide. We do not need to rely heavily on unproven models. Comparing the trend in global temperature over the past 100-150 years with the change in "radiative forcing" (heating or cooling power) from carbon dioxide, aerosols and other sources, minus ocean heat uptake, can now give a good estimate of climate sensitivity.

The conclusion—taking the best observational estimates of the change in decadal-average global temperature between 1871-80 and 2002-11, and of the corresponding changes in forcing and ocean heat uptake—is this: A doubling of CO2 will lead to a warming of 1.6°-1.7°C (2.9°-3.1°F).

This is much lower than the IPCC's current best estimate, 3°C (5.4°F).

Mr. Lewis is an expert reviewer of the recently leaked draft of the IPCC's WG1 Scientific Report. The IPCC forbids him to quote from it, but he is privy to all the observational best estimates and uncertainty ranges the draft report gives. What he has told me is dynamite.

Given what we know now, there is almost no way that the feared large temperature rise is going to happen. Mr. Lewis comments: "Taking the IPCC scenario that assumes a doubling of CO2, plus the equivalent of another 30% rise from other greenhouse gases by 2100, we are likely to experience a further rise of no more than 1°C."

A cumulative change of less than 2°C by the end of this century will do no net harm. It will actually do net good—that much the IPCC scientists have already agreed upon in the last IPCC report. Rainfall will increase slightly, growing seasons will lengthen, Greenland's ice cap will melt only very slowly, and so on.

Some of the best recent observationally based research also points to climate sensitivity being about 1.6°C for a doubling of CO2. An impressive study published this year by Magne Aldrin of the Norwegian Computing Center and colleagues gives a most-likely estimate of 1.6°C. Michael Ring and Michael Schlesinger of the University of Illinois, using the most trustworthy temperature record, also estimate 1.6°C.

The big question is this: Will the lead authors of the relevant chapter of the forthcoming IPCC scientific report acknowledge that the best observational evidence no longer supports the IPCC's existing 2°-4.5°C "likely" range for climate sensitivity? Unfortunately, this seems unlikely—given the organization's record of replacing evidence-based policy-making with policy-based evidence-making, as well as the reluctance of academic scientists to accept that what they have been maintaining for many years is wrong.


How can there be such disagreement about climate sensitivity if the greenhouse properties of CO2 are well established? Most people assume that the theory of dangerous global warming is built entirely on carbon dioxide. It is not.

There is little dispute among scientists about how much warming CO2 alone can produce, all other things being equal: about 1.1°-1.2°C for a doubling from preindustrial levels. The way warming from CO2 becomes really dangerous is through amplification by positive feedbacks—principally from water vapor and the clouds this vapor produces.

It goes like this: A little warming (from whatever cause) heats up the sea, which makes the air more humid—and water vapor itself is a greenhouse gas. The resulting model-simulated changes in clouds generally increase warming further, so the warming is doubled, trebled or more.

That assumption lies at the heart of every model used by the IPCC, but not even the most zealous climate scientist would claim that this trebling is an established fact. For a start, water vapor may not be increasing. A recent paper from Colorado State University concluded that "we can neither prove nor disprove a robust trend in the global water vapor data." And then, as one Nobel Prize-winning physicist with a senior role in combating climate change admitted to me the other day: "We don't even know the sign" of water vapor's effect—in other words, whether it speeds up or slows down a warming of the atmosphere.

Climate models are known to poorly simulate clouds, and given clouds' very strong effect on the climate system—some types cooling the Earth either by shading it or by transporting heat up and cold down in thunderstorms, and others warming the Earth by blocking outgoing radiation—it remains highly plausible that there is no net positive feedback from water vapor.

If this is indeed the case, then we would have seen about 0.6°C of warming so far, and our observational data would be pointing at about 1.2°C of warming for the end of the century. And this is, to repeat, roughly where we are.

The scientists at the IPCC next year have to choose whether they will admit—contrary to what complex, unverifiable computer models indicate—that the observational evidence now points toward lukewarm temperature change with no net harm. On behalf of all those poor people whose lives are being ruined by high food and energy prices caused by the diversion of corn to biofuel and the subsidizing of renewable energy driven by carboncrats and their crony-capitalist friends, one can only hope the scientists will do so.


The theological nature of Warmism shows its face

A prominent UC Berkeley professor recently linked ignoring global warming with watching people die during a guest seminar at Ohio State University.

Citing monsoons and other extreme weather phenomenon on the other side of the globe, Kirk Smith, a global environmental health professor, said climate change is “a moral issue.”

Smith told an anecdote to the audience of a professor who ignores a drowning child on campus as he rushes to teach a class. He then tells his students about ignoring the child, and they are aghast. Later at home, the hypothetical professor opens his mail and throws away a letter from the United Nation’s Children Fund.

“No one thinks that is immoral, and why not,” Smith said of throwing away the UNICEF letter. “What’s the moral distinction? … Today climate change is a sin of omission.”

What’s more, Smith argued, those who ignore global warming and climate change are not just guilty of a sin of omission, they’re also teetering on the verge of a sin of commission.

“Every time I come back from a site in the Third World, and a $16 pizza would feed a family in Guatemala for an entire month … we’re not going and shooting kids in the head, but we are moving in the distinction a bit to the commission side,” he said.

Smith is a highly decorated professor who “serves on a number of national and international scientific advisory committees, including the Global Energy Assessment, National Research Council’s Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate, the Executive Committee for WHO Air Quality Guidelines, and the International Comparative Risk Assessment,” according to a biography posted on his website.


Current sea levels are LOW, not high, by historical standards

A paper published today in Quaternary Research finds sea levels on the island of Curaçao [southern Caribbean] during the last interglacial were up to 9 meters higher than the present, and that during another interglacial period 400,000 years ago sea levels were up to 20 meters higher than the present. According to the paper, these significantly higher sea levels during prior interglacials "require major ice sheet loss from Greenland and Antarctica." The authors determine sea levels by dating fossilized reefs that are presently located high above current sea levels [photo below]. The paper also shows sea levels in the Red Sea were up to ~8 meters higher than the present within the past 5,000 years of the current interglacial, and up to ~12 meters higher than the present during the last interglacial. This and many other papers debunk claims by climate alarmists that recent sea level rise is unprecedented, unnatural, or accelerated.
Sea-level history of past interglacial periods from uranium-series dating of corals, Curaçao, Leeward Antilles islands

By Daniel R. Muhsa et al.


Curaçao has reef terraces with the potential to provide sea-level histories of interglacial periods. Ages of the Hato (upper) unit of the “Lower Terrace” indicate that this reef dates to the last interglacial period, Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5.5. On Curaçao, this high sea stand lasted at least 8000 yr (~ 126 to ~ 118 ka). Elevations and age of this reef show that late Quaternary uplift rates on Curaçao are low, 0.026–0.054 m/ka, consistent with its tectonic setting. Ages of ~ 200 ka for corals from the older Cortalein unit of the Lower Terrace correlate this reef to MIS 7, with paleo-sea level estimates ranging from − 3.3 m to + 2.3 m. The estimates are in agreement with those for MIS 7 made from other localities and indicate that the penultimate interglacial period was a time of significant warmth, on a par with the present interglacial period. The ~ 400 ka (MIS 11) Middle Terrace I on Curaçao, dated by others, may have formed from a paleo-sea level of + 8.3 to + 10.0 m, or (less likely) + 17 m to + 20 m. The lower estimates are conservative compared to previous studies, but still require major ice sheet loss from Greenland and Antarctica


Coal set to overtake oil as biggest energy source

Unless FRACKING (shriek!) for gas becomes more widely used

Coal will overtake oil as the world’s biggest energy source within a decade unless policies are changed, the International Energy Agency said yesterday.

Demand for the polluting fuel in China and India will continue to drive world usage, accounting for almost two-thirds of global coal demand by 2030, the agency said.

The relentless growth, which would imperil attempts to cut global carbon emissions, can only be stemmed if the coal is displaced by cheap gas, as seen with the US shale gas boom, the IEA said.

Electricity prices, which are affected by coal prices, could feel the ‘‘disproportionate impact of a few decisions taken in China and India’’, it warned.

Maria van der Hoeven, the IEA’s executive director, said: ‘‘Coal’s share of the global energy mix continues to grow each year, and if no changes are made to current policies, coal will catch oil within a decade.’’

The report, which predicts trends in the coal market to 2017, suggests coal demand will reach the energy equivalent of 4.32 billion tonnes of oil by that year - narrowly below 4.4 billion tonnes of demand for oil itself.

Global coal consumption, which is measured in in tonnes of coal equivalent - the industry standard to reflect energy content rather than physical weight - will reach 6.2 billion tonnes in 2017, up from 5.3 billion in 2011.

China’s share will rise to more than half of that, while India will become the world’s second-largest coal user.

‘‘With coal counting for more than 40pc of electricity generation globally it is clear that Chinese and Indian coal market decisions will have an impact on our electricity bills,’’ the IEA said.

With climate change policy low down international priorities, ‘‘neither climate policy nor a macroeconomic slowdown stops the relentless increase of coal - but cheap natural gas can’’, it said.

Highlighting the massive impact of the boom in shale gas in the US, the IEA said that coal demand would increase ‘‘in every region of the world except in the United States, where coal is being pushed out by natural gas’’.

But while cheap coal is currently fuelling demand in Europe, this trend is ‘‘close to peaking’’ due to environmental policies and by 2017 European coal demand will return to levels only slightly above those in 2011, the IEA said.


The federal wetlands war

In August 1993, the Clinton administration announced a new policy that tightened the federal noose over private lands. The White House Office on Environmental Policy (echoing a 1988 George H.W. Bush campaign promise) proclaimed a national goal of no net loss of wetlands, creating a presumption that any citizen whose land was labeled “wet” by a federal bureaucrat lost his right to use his land. Previous wetlands definitions specifically prohibited only activities such as dumping dirt on so-called wetlands or otherwise building on them.

The Clinton administration announced that it was banning any activities on so-called wetlands that “have environmental effects of concern.” A federal attorney told an appeals court that, under the new policy, the Army Corps “could require a permit to ride a bicycle across a wetland” — though the Corps was careful not to outrage the cycling lobby. A White House press release suggested that “Congress should amend the Clean Water Act to make it consistent with the agencies’ rulemaking.” It was unusual for federal officials to declare openly that Congress should be a rubber stamp; usually, agencies expand their own power and assume either that no one in Congress will notice or that no one on the Hill will have the gumption to stop them.

Federal agencies prosecuted private citizens on the basis of laws that had never been written, of memos that had never been made public, and of assumptions that could not stand the light of day. Nancy Cline, a mother of five young children, testified to Congress in 1995 that federal bureaucrats had hounded her and her husband for years. Her husband bought 350 acres of farmland in Sonoma County, California, to establish a winery. The fact that the land had been farmed for more than half a century did not stop the Army Corps from reclassifying it as a wetland. The Clines were threatened with fines of $25,000 per day and imprisonment up to one year if they continued farming.

When the Clines refused to bow to the Army Corps’s demands, the feds upped the ante and launched a criminal investigation. As Mrs. Cline told the House Judiciary Committee,
In January 1994, the FBI showed up. Obviously the Corps had no desire to discuss or resolve this issue. We were told to hire a criminal attorney…. Their issue was power and control. Their issue was an edict from the U.S. Attorney General demanding more criminal environmental convictions in the Ninth Circuit apparently short of the prescribed quotas.

The FBI and EPA interrogated neighbors, acquaintances, and strangers. They asked about our religion, whether we were intelligent, did we have tempers. They asked how we treat our children.

Our property was surveyed by military Blackhawk helicopters. Their cars monitored our home and our children’s school. They accused Fred of paying neighbors to lie. The FBI actually told one terrified neighbor that this investigation was top secret, with national-security implications. The community reeled, as did we.

We spent thousands of additional dollars to hire more attorneys. The Justice Department told our attorneys that unless we would plead guilty and surrender our land they would seek a criminal indictment of both Fred and me. According to one government attorney, I was to be included because I had written a letter to the editor of a local paper, in their opinion “publicly undermining the authority of the Army Corps.”

In December 1994, shortly after Republicans had recaptured Congress in part because of a “Contract with America” that called for greater respect for private-property rights, a Justice Department attorney informed the Clines’ attorney that the government had chosen not to proceed with criminal charges.

Other targets

Grace Heck, a 77-year old woman from Farmingdale, New Jersey, also submitted testimony to the House Judiciary Committee for its 1995 hearing on wetlands abuses. She related how she and her 82- year-old husband — who had had eight heart attacks — had been devastated by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Hecks owned 25 acres of land which a local government had approved for building a 45-house subdivision. But after the Army Corps expanded the definition of “wetlands” in 1987, the project was blocked. The Army Corps claimed that the hardwood forest was actually a wetland. Moreover, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protested that the project should not be approved because a federally protected plant species was “within five miles of the proposed project site.”

The land was practically the only asset the Hecks possessed; after the Army Corps’s ruling, it became practically worthless. Instead of selling their property for $2 million, the Hecks were driven into near-destitution — forced to move into their daughter’s small house, no longer able to afford their family doctor, and not even able to afford hearing aids. Heck bitterly complained,
We have never asked our government for anything. We were proud to be Americans. Now we are ashamed of our country and a government that allows the bureaucrats to steal from its citizens under the false pretense that it is for the public good.

Ocie Mills, a Florida builder, and his son were sent to prison for two years for placing clean sand on a quarter-acre lot he owned. Mills had been a vocal critic of the EPA and was targeted for punishment by prosecutors and bureaucrats. As the Washington Legal Foundation noted,

The EPA did not file any civil- enforcement action and instead sought criminal indictments. If EPA’s goal was truly environmental protection, EPA would have filed a civil suit ordering the removal of the so-called pollutant. Instead, the sand remained on the property over two years while Mr. Mills and his son were in prison.

After Mills was released from the pen, he filed suit to have his felony conviction overturned. Federal Judge Roger Vinson, ruling on Mills’s suit in 1993, denounced the federal government’s wetlands interpretations as a “regulatory hydra … worthy of Alice in Wonderland.” Vinson concluded, “A jurisprudence which allows Congress to impliedly delegate its criminal lawmaking authority to a regulatory agency such as the Army Corps — so long as the Congress provides an ‘intelligible principle’ to guide that agency — is enough to make any judge pause and question what has happened.” Vinson denounced a bureaucratic interpretation that “a landowner who places clean fill dirt on a plot of subdivided dry land may be imprisoned for the statutory felony offense of discharging pollutants into the navigable waters of the United States.”

Gaston and Monique Roberge bought several acres of undeveloped land in Orchard Beach, Maine, in 1964. In 1976, they allowed the city government to dump some clean fill onto part of their lot. In 1986, a developer offered the couple $440,000 for their land — which the two of them considered their personal retirement fund. But the Army Corps announced that the land had miraculously become a wetland — largely because they had allowed the local government to place the clean dirt on the land. After Gaston Roberge publicly complained about what he considered an unfair decision, Army Corps field officer Jay Clement wrote a memo to his superiors stating, “Roberge would be a good one to squash and set an example.” The Roberges fought the feds in court, and the government paid the couple more than $300,000 in 1994 to settle their lawsuit alleging that the U.S. had “effectively and unjustifiably grabbed the property.”

Louise and Frederic Williams, saw their Little Compton, Rhode Island, property plummet in value by almost 90 percent — from $260,000 to less than $30,000 after federal agents declared the land a wetland. The Williamses, who in 1988 had started construction on a new home on the five-acre plot, were ordered by state environmental officials to tear down the partly built structure, and, at their own expense, follow a precise 13-point property-restoration plan. Mrs. Williams complained, “Not only did we have to plant what they dictated, but we had to make sure the trees were alive and well when they inspected them the next year.”

No plot too small

Even the smallest amount of alleged wetland can be sufficient to allow federal bureaucrats to seize control and paralyze owners. John Piazza, president of a construction company, received a permit from his local government to build a mini-storage facility on a seven-acre tract in Mount Vernon, Washington. But a federal agent claimed he had found three small wet areas on the land. Piazza redesigned his facility so that it would affect only 0.18 of an acre of wetland and resubmitted his proposal to the Army Corps. While Piazza’s revised application was gathering dust, the federal government redefined “wetlands” and, under the new definition, the mini-storage project should have affected only 0.089 of an acre of wetland. Yet federal enforcers announced that Piazza would have to contribute $25,000 to a federal fund to buy wetlands elsewhere before he could build.

The Army Corps and the EPA were imposing controls over sections of a development as small as 26 square feet — roughly half the size of a Ping-Pong table. One Rhode Island town was forced to wait for almost two years to get federal permission to do mosquito-control work on 0.009 acres of wetlands. When federal bureaucrats assert control over a Ping-Pong-sized square in a plot of land, they can effectively prohibit the owner from building on a much greater portion of his property. And the legal costs of getting government permission to build on or near suspected wetlands can easily exceed $50,000 — a prohibitive cost for most individual landowners.

At the same time that federal officials were conducting vendettas against private citizens, a 1994 Interior Department report conceded that the federal government was the main culprit in the destruction of the nation’s wetlands. (The report had been mandated by Congress in 1985; in the time it took to complete the study, tens of thousands of jobs were lost and many lives were ruined because of arbitrary, absurd rulings against private landowners.) The 327-page report presented an alphabet soup of federal programs that undermined the American environment, ranging from the Army Corps of Engineers’ damming to the federal tax code. The report concluded that federal agricultural policy had played a key role in rewarding the conversion of more than 10 million acres of wetlands to cropland since the mid 1950s. The impact of agricultural policies dwarfed any other single factor in the loss of wetlands. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt declared, “Many of these programs are designed and financed in ways that violate the most basic principles of economics. Such programs distort market signals and provide subsidies that have both negative environmental and economic effects, wasting resources, and adding to the federal deficit.”

Unfortunately, this de facto federal confession did not stop bureaucratic vendettas against private property rights in the name of wetlands.



Three current articles below

Solar industry faces squeeze after review

Australia's nascent solar power industry is likely to face fresh obstacles after an independent federal agency backed further reductions in incentives for the sector although large-scale generators applauded the overall recommendations.

The Climate Change Authority today released its final report on its review of the Renewable Energy Target, which sets a goal for the electricity industry to draw 20 per cent of its power from renewable sources such as wind and solar energy.

As expected the agency left the target for large-scale generators unchanged at 41,000 gigawatt hours per year by 2020, a goal that has fostered a surge in investment in renewable energy. As overall demand for power drops, the 41,000 GW-hour figure would amount to about 26 per cent of the sector by 2020.

Stability in the overall target would "provide a degree of certainty and predictability to investors in renewables", Bernie Fraser, chairman of the Authority, told a media conference.

Large generators of renewable energy applauded the recommendation to leave their target unchanged.

Securing investor certainty "has been the key problem of our industry," Miles George, chief executive of Infigen Energy, said. "The recommendations in the final report will help enormously to reduce that regulatory uncertainty."

The main changes - if adopted by the Gillard government - will come for the small-scale renewable energy scheme (SRES), such as roof-top solar photovoltaic panels.

Groups such as the Australian Solar Council say that proposed changes to how much roof-top solar can be installed on buildings such as shopping centres and school will only add to uncertainty for that segment of the market.

Household costs

The CCA recommended a number of measures to contain SRES costs. All up, the renewable energy scheme will add between $12 and $64 a year to household bills - or 1 per cent to 4 per cent of the total - between now and 2020, Mr Fraser said.

"One (change) is to lower the SRES eligibility threshold for small-scale solar photovoltaic units below its current level of 100 (kilowatts) to, say, 10kW to reduce the risk of a surge in solar PV installations on commercial buildings driving up costs," Mr Fraser said in a statement.

Generous feed-in tariffs offered by state governments and tumbling prices for PVs have seen almost 1 million Australian homes take up solar power. The roll-back of incentives, though, has seen the industry's growth slow and attention shift instead to potential commercial customers.

"The Authority recommends that the Australian government consult with stakeholders to determine an appropriate revised threshold; units above this threshold would be included in the capped large-scale scheme," the statement said.

“This is one step forward, one step back for solar” John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council, said.

“The proposal to move solar systems above 10 kilowatts into the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target will significantly undermine investor certainty and lead to business plans being ripped up," he said. "We need to encourage larger power users to invest in solar and this will be a backward step."

Not enough

The government and the Coalition have said they back the 20 per cent RET goal. The Greens and environmental groups have called for the target to be raised.

“I hope the Climate Change Authority stands firm in the face of fossil-fuel lobbying,” Greens leader Christine Milne said on Tuesday. “What we actually need is to shift to 100 per cent renewable energy as soon as possible, so we should set a minimum goal of 50 per cent by 2030.”

The Australian Conservation Foundation called on the government to reject the CCA's "weak recommendation" that Australia not set a 2030 renewable energy target until after a review in 2016.

“A business-as-usual response to the urgent problem of climate change is not good enough,” Claire Maries, ACF climate campaigner, said in a statement.

“In the last few weeks scientific authorities and famously conservative institutions like the World Bank, Bloomberg Businessweek and the International Energy Agency have confirmed that a status quo approach will see us heading for a world that is hotter and more dangerous by the end of this century," Ms Maries said.

“That’s a world where heat-related deaths are much more common, where there are more catastrophic bushfires, more floods and more frequent droughts."

The recommendation not to increase the RET target "is emblematic of a systemic failure to take the threat seriously."

Some nations are seeking more ambitious targets for renewable energy, such as Scotland’s goal of sourcing half its power by 2020 from renewable activities.

Germany aims for 35 per cent by then and a reduction in energy consumption by 10 per cent, although a report out overnight suggests current policies will see achievements fall short of those goals.


Lovers of complusion attack freedom from Green mandates

People can still install all the rainwater tanks they like. The only difference is that it is now voluntary

KATTER'S Australian Party leader Ray Hopper said scrapping mandatory water tanks was short-sighted and showed the government had no plan for the future.

Mr Hopper, who defected from the Liberal National Party government a few weeks ago, said drought, rather than flood, was Queensland's natural state.

Laws needed to reflect that reality, he said. "At a time when water storages in Queensland remain full, we should be looking at ways to protect our scarce resources so that they last into the future," he said. "This government should be saving for the rainy day. Instead, it is flushing water security down the drain."

Earlier today, a sustainable housing lobby group attacked the Queensland government for scrapping green measures for new homes.

The government last week announced it would dump laws requiring all new homes to have rainwater tanks and gas, solar or heat pump hot water systems.

Housing Minister Tim Mander says the cost of building a new home could be reduced by more than $5000, and the initiatives are an unnecessary drag on the construction industry.

But the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) said the government had put the state in reverse with its "bizarre" decision.

Chief executive Rodger Hills said home sustainability measures were about keeping living costs down in the long term.

"They are consumer protection measures which stop people being locked into pain ... with homes that are not efficient, future-proof, and don't cater to cyclic drought conditions or energy price hikes," he said in a statement on Monday.

He said the policy to drop the sustainability measures guaranteed the average Queensland homeowner would be worse off.

"If the Newman government wants to see the voters who got them into office paying more for power and water in new homes, then scrapping these sustainability measures is the way to do it."


Qld. National parks to be unfrozen

Radical! People will actually be able to use them!

THE State Government has stepped away from fundamental national park protection introduced by a conservative government more than 50 years ago.

It is set to ignore the cardinal principle, which determines that national parks have the highest protection of all land classes, by approving recreational activities and introducing 30-year leases for resort developments.

National Parks Association executive director Paul Donatiu said the cardinal principle was already being eroded by starting mountain biking in Conway National Park in north Queensland, quad bike tours in Woondum National Park on the Sunshine Coast and horse-riding in other parks.

This gave recreational enthusiasts free rein to damage parks, as had occurred with 4WD, horse and bike riders trashing Beenleigh's Plunkett Conservation Park.

Under the cardinal principle, introduced in 1959, outdoor recreation that is nature-based and ecologically sustainable is encouraged provided it does not conflict with or degrade other values such as the conservation of nature.

Mr Donatiu said the cardinal principle was embodied in the Queensland Biodiversity Strategy, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Master Plan and underpinned every management action.

"Queenslanders should be very concerned that anticipated changes to the Nature Conservation Act could remove, erode or lessen the application of this principle," he said.

Premier Campbell Newman did not respond to questions about the cardinal principle yesterday, saying the Government sought to encourage tourism.

"We want Queenslanders to enjoy national parks rather than be locked out," he said.

Mr Newman said the previous government's move to stop 4WDs using two small sections of Moreton Island beaches to allow safe pedestrian access was heavy-handed. "We are ending that sort of nonsense," he said.

Asked if National Parks Minister Steve Dickson would abandon the cardinal principle, a spokeswoman declined to answer but said the department was consulting with industry as part of a review of the Act.

"Part of this will include the option of 30-year leases for development of eco-tourism facilities," she said.

"For too long, eco-tourism has been choked by legislative red tape, while other naturally beautiful regions including Tasmania and New Zealand have forged ahead in creating multibillion-dollar industries."

Mr Donatiu said the comparison was incorrect because Queensland parks occupied less than 5 per cent of the state compared with Tasmania 24 per cent and NZ with 11.4 per cent.

Mr Donatiu said significant numbers of park-associated resorts had gone into receivership this year and many larger US parks were removing heavy tourism infrastructure.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


18 December, 2012

Some rare optimism from Greenies

At least some of them have noticed the big gains in agricultural productivity. Malthus begone! (No mention of GM crops though! Heh!)

As agricultural production becomes more concentrated, growth in acreage devoted to food production has dropped far below projections, according to authors of a new paper. The graph shows how much land conversion has been avoided through this trend.

Jesse H. Ausubel of Rockefeller University has long been one of my core “go to” analysts of global resource issues and trends. Now he’s alerted me to a new study and related lecture on what he and his co-authors are calling “peak farmland” — an impending stabilization of the amount of land required for food as humanity’s growth spurt plays out. While laying out several important wild cards (expanded farming of biofuels among them), Ausubel and his co-authors see a reasonable prospect for conserving, and restoring, forests and other stressed terrestrial ecosystems even as humanity exerts an ever greater influence on the planet.

The study, “Peak Farmland and the Prospects for Sparing Nature,” is by Ausubel, Iddo K. Wernick and Paul E. Waggoner and will be published next year as part of a special supplement to the journal Population and Development Review, published by the Population Council.

Drawing on a host of data sets, the authors conclude that a combination of slowing population growth, moderated demand for land-intensive food (meat, for instance) and more efficient farming methods have resulted in a substantial “decoupling” of acreage and human appetites.

Here’s the optimistic opener:

Expecting that more and richer people will demand more from the land, cultivating wider fields, logging more forests, and pressing nature, comes naturally. The past half-century of disciplined and dematerializing demand and more intense and efficient land use encourage a rational hope that humanity’s pressure will not overwhelm nature.

Ausubel will describe the findings in a talk during a daylong symposium at his university on Tuesday honoring Paul Demeny, who at age 80 is stepping down as editor of the journal.

Ausubel’s prepared remarks are online. In his talk, he explains that while the common perception is that meeting humanity’s food needs is the task of farmers, there are many other players, including those of us who can choose what to eat and how many children to have:

[T]he main actors are parents changing population, workers changing affluence, consumers changing the diet (more or less calories, more or less meat) and also the portion of crops entering the food supply (corn can fuel people or cars), and farmers changing the crop production per hectare of cropland (yield).

The new paper builds on a long string of studies by Ausubel and the others, including the 2001 paper “How Much Will Feeding More and Wealthier People Encroach on Forests?.” Also relevant is “Restoring the Forests,” a 2000 article in Foreign Affairs co-written by Ausubel and David G. Victor (now at the University of California, San Diego)

This body of analysis is closely related to the core focus of this blog: finding ways to fit infinite human aspirations (and appetites) on a finite planet. The work presents a compelling case for concentrating agriculture through whatever hybrid mix of means — technological or traditional — that best fits particular situations, but also fostering moderation in consumption.


United Nations doubles down on ignorance

The United Nations is doubling down on ignorance and bias for its upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, investigative journalist Donna Laframboise reported in a bombshell presentation earlier this month in Munich, Germany.

Laframboise created a sensation in global warming circles last year when she documented rampant IPCC misbehavior in her book, “The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert.” Laframboise showed IPCC officials appointed unqualified scientists and blatant global warming advocates as lead authors for its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report.

Although IPCC claims it only appoints scientists at the very top of their profession to oversee its reports, it appointed several people without Ph.D.’s, or even Masters Degrees, as Lead Authors for its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report. IPCC also appointed scientists affiliated with environmental activist groups such as Greenpeace, Environmental Defense, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to steer the direction of the Report. Indeed, Laframboise documented formal connections between at least 78 IPCC scientists and the World Wildlife Fund environmental activist group.

WWF-affiliated scientists helped craft at least two-thirds of the Fourth Assessment chapters, Laframboise reported. WWF-affiliated scientists actually led one-third of the chapters. One chapter was crafted by at least eight WWF-affiliated scientists.

Although IPCC officials claim the group relies solely on peer-reviewed material for its assessment reports, Laframboise audited the Fourth Assessment and found 21 of the 44 Fourth Assessment chapters contained at least 40 percent non-peer reviewed reference sources, often taking the form of student theses and advocacy papers published by environmental activist groups. For the Fourth Assessment Report as a whole, more than 30 percent of the referenced sources were not peer-reviewed.

At the European Institute for Climate and Energy’s Fifth International Conference on Climate and Energy, co-sponsored by the Heartland Institute, Laframboise documented these IPCC outrages and reported that IPCC is planning more of the same in its Fifth Assessment Report, scheduled for 2014.

Laframboise reported 130 “leading climate scientists” have now joined WWF to work with the activist group, supplementing the 78 IPCC participants in the 2007 Report. Laframboise also reported that IPCC has issued two separate statements during the past six weeks that directly contradict IPCC Chairman Raj Pachauri on IPCC rules and procedures.

In another new development, Laframboise reports that IPCC lead author Andrew Weaver has dropped all pretense of political and scientific objectivity and is now running for political office in Canada representing the Green Party.

Shortly after IPCC announced its lead authors for the 2014 Fifth Assessment Report, the Heartland Institute reviewed the resumes of the lead authors and discovered rampant bias and agenda-driven research among the authors.

While Laframboise’s 2011 book created a sensation among people closely following the global warming debate, the mainstream media predictably attempted to sweep it under the rug. At the Munich global warming conference earlier this month Laframboise said the media continues to paint IPCC as an objective, authoritative scientific body and that neither the media nor global warming alarmists have addressed the IPCC shortcomings Laframboise revealed in her book.

Laframboise remains undeterred, publishing regular updates of IPCC misconduct on her website, No Frakking Consensus. She is also writing a follow-up book to document IPCC’s ongoing ignorance and bias regarding its upcoming 2014 Fifth Assessment Report.


Disgusting Indian Greenies trying to block electricity to the villages

The ongoing extension of the electric grid to the remote islands of Sundarbans will not only adversely affect the viability of existing renewable energy projects, but will also accelerate the process of climate change, experts say.

"In view of the growing threat of climate change and contribution of the electricity sector to the overall green house gas emission, there is need for adopting appropriate strategies to rationalise use of coal and fossil fuel in the electricity sector," according to a latest report by research body CUTS International.

India's fossil fuel-driven energy sector is one of the biggest contributors (more than 50 per cent) to carbon emission, widely considered to be chiefly responsible for climate change worldwide.

In West Bengal, 96 percent of electricity is generated through use of coal, officials say.

Under the Remote Village Electrification scheme by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, it is mandated to develop off-grid projects using renewable energy sources for remote villages in India.

However, with the demand for electricity expected to grow 10 to 20 fold between 2010 and 2020, the West Bengal government is extending grid-based electricity to about 1,076 villages in the Sundarbans.

Environmentalists warn that the soil in the wetlands of Sundarbans is soft and setting up of large and heavy transmission poles may increase erosion and even change the tidal patterns when installed in rivers and creeks, surrounding the fragile islands.

"The ecological footprint of this scheme will be massive with all these electric poles across the river," says Anshuman Das of Sabuj Sangha, an NGO that has been working in the Sundarbans for over 10 years.


“Harvard Needs Remedial Energy Math”

Environmental activist Bill McKibben and his organization,, are on a ”Do the Math” tour in which they urge colleges and universities to “divest their endowments, estimated at a total of $400 billion nationwide, from the fossil fuel industry.” The campaign is explicitly modeled on the 1980s divestment campaign that persuaded many universities to dump their stock in companies doing business in South Africa. Radical environmentalists view fossil-energy use as the moral equivalent of apartheid — or worse.

With about half of the student body polled, 72% of Harvard undergrads voted for the university to Go Fossil Free, reports energy scholar Robert Bryce in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. Harvard is renowned for educating the ‘best and brightest.’ Should U.S. and global policymakers do as these ivy leaguers say?

Bryce takes the ‘Harvards’ to school and shows them what doing the math really means.

About 33% of global energy comes from oil, which is indispensable to transportation. Most of those voting to Go Fossil Free probably did not walk or bike from home to Harvard. As Steven Colbert asked McKibben, a Vermont native, during a Washington, D.C. protest rally against the Keystone XL Pipeline: How did you get down here? Did you ride your bicycle? Did you ride ox cart? ”Or do you have a vehicle that runs on hypocrisy?”

But okay, unselfconscious hypocrisy is a prerogative of the young.

Byrce’s math lesson proper begins with the fact that since 1985, global electricity demand has increased by 121%, three times faster than the growth rate of oil demand. Over the past 25 years, global electricity consumption increased on average by 450 trillion watts-hours (“terawatt-hours”) per year. ”That’s the equivalent of adding about one Brazil (which used 485 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2010) to the electricity sector every year,” Bryce writes. “The International Energy Agency expects global electricity use to continue growing by about 450 terawatt-hours per year through 2035.”

The point? The world in 2011 had 240,000 megawatts of wind generation capacity, producing 437 terawatt-hours of electricity. “Therefore, just keeping up with the growth in global electricity demand — while not displacing any of the existing need for coal, oil and natural gas — would require the countries of the world to install about as much wind-generation capacity as now exists, and they’d have to do so every year.”

Well, what’s wrong with that? For one thing, it would put a big fat industrial footprint across a lot of green space: “Put another way, just to keep pace with demand growth, the wind industry will need to cover a land area of some 48,000 square miles with wind turbines per year, an area about the size of North Carolina.”

Okay, then, what about going fossil-free with solar power? Germany, with about 25,000 megawatts, has the most installed solar capacity of any nation on earth. In 2011, Germany produced 19 terawatt-hours of electricity from solar. “Thus, just to keep pace with the growth in global electricity demand, the world would have to install about 23 times as much solar-energy capacity as now exists in Germany, and it would have to do so year after year.”

Even those numbers understate the scale of the ‘challenge’ of going fossil-free, because ”we haven’t even considered the incurable intermittency of solar and wind, a problem that requires backup capacity from fossil fuels or nuclear power.”

Bryce’s column does not estimate how much wind and solar power would have to be built each year to meet both current electric demand and incremental demand by, say, 2035. Maybe because by this point in the tutorial, even an egghead should grasp that literally going fossil-free is an agenda of economic suicide.



Rising sea level has become an icon of global warming with claims that by 2100 many cities on the coast will face severe problems. In 2009 the Met Office, the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) and the Royal Society released a joint pre-Copenhagen Conference statement that included as one of its five main scientific points: “There is increasing evidence of continued and accelerating sea-level rises around the world.”

At the same time the Royal Society said in a press statement touching on sea level changes that, “…estimates generally larger than those previously projected including evidence of continued and accelerating sea-level change around the world.”

What a difference a few years makes.

Sea levels have been rising since the end of the last Ice Age as the Northern Hemisphere’s ice burden was lifted. From Roman times however there is no evidence of significant changes in sea level until about 1750 – 1800 when sea levels started to rise linearly until about 1910 when the rate of change increased. Since 1910 the rate of sea level rise has been, within the errors, constant, despite the statements made by the institutions listed above.

Recently however there have been signs things are changing in the opposite direction from the statements made in 2009. It is early days, but there does appear to be a lowering in the rate of rise, contrary to the IPCC’s assessment and predictions.

In 2009 – the year the Royal Society, the Met Office and NERC made their statements about the acceleration of sea level rise – researchers analysed TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 altimeter satellite data between January 1993 and June 2008. These calculations showed a reduction in the rate of sea level rise since 2005, by ~2 mm/yr. This is a 60% reduction compared to the 3.3 mm/yr sea level rise (glacial isostatic adjustment correction applied) measured between 1993 and 2005.

In 1997 Bruce Douglas of the University of Maryland looked at this data set and concludes that sea level rose at 1.8 mm per year between 1880 – 1980. The data was based on 24 measurement sites with the average data set length being 83 years. Douglas detected no acceleration at all between 1880 – 1980.

The Forth Assessment Report for the IPCC states that sea level rise was 1.8 mm per year between 1961 – 2003 and that the rate was faster, 3.1 mm/yr, between 1993 – 2003 (the satellite era).

Now a new report by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that global sea levels rose by only 1.1 – 1.3 mm/year from 2005 – 2012, which is less than half of the rate claimed by the IPCC. This is less than 5 inches per century.

A new paper in the Journal of Climate examines global sea level and shows that it is possible to reconstruct changes in global sea level from known contributors apart from a constant residual term that is small enough to be explained as a long-term contribution from the Antarctic ice-sheet.

The interesting thing about this work is that it shows that sea level has remained constant this century confirming what others have pointed out. There has been little, or very small acceleration in sea levels, despite the increasing anthropogenic forcing.

This observation that the rate of sea level rise has decreased has important implications for forecasting the future. Many models for projecting global sea levels rise depend on a relationship between global climate change and the rate of sea level rise, but the implication of the paper in the Journal of Climate Change is that such a relationship is weak.


German Lawmakers Reject Ban on Shale-Gas Fracking

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government won votes that will permit fracking to continue in Germany, saying the technique may help the country’s energy supply security.

Merkel’s coalition government defeated motions from the Green Party and Left Party that called for banning hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, after the opposition argued the technique is harmful to the environment. The vote was 309 against the Green Party’s motion, 259 in favor and two abstentions. There was no count for the second motion.

There’s no reason to prohibit a technique that’s been used in Germany for many years without incidents, said Andreas Laemmel, a lawmaker with the Christian Democratic Union.

“We need the technology and we need natural gas as a resource won domestically,” Laemmel said in parliament in Berlin before the vote. The U.K. government earlier today lifted a ban on shale-gas fracking.

Companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) have drilled test wells into unconventional natural gas reservoirs in Germany in an attempt to emulate the U.S. shale-gas boom. While a successful drilling campaign would redraw the energy map across Europe -- a continent reliant on Russia for about a quarter of its gas -- little headway has been made in Germany, largely due to public opposition on environmental grounds.

Fracking involves drilling hundreds of wells and cracking shale rocks with a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals, to unlock gas or oil from impermeable stone. The Green party says the method should be banned until possible risks related to groundwater pollution and seismic shocks can be managed.

Fracking has been practiced in Germany since the 1960s, and has been used at least 275 times at conventional gas and oil wells in Lower Saxony state, according to a study presented by the Environment Ministry in September. It was outlawed in France last year and the practice is also banned in Bulgaria.

The government has commissioned studies on fracking to further evaluate the method and will adopt regulation if necessary, Laemmel said.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


17 December, 2012

Skeptical German scientist finds fatal admissions in just-released IPCC data

A draft of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report has just been leaked, apparently being a summary of the scientific input, as distinct from the political input which will come later and probably change everything. Dr. Peter Heller sees the IPCC in a difficult position as the release confirms global temperature stagnation.

He released two summary graphs generated from the IPCC report, one of which shows that CO2 is increasing nicely, as predicted, and the second of which shows that temperature is NOT increasing nicely as predicted.

Heller notes that the conclusions of the new report have not changed to fit the data so the data will no doubt be massaged with lots of "corrections" in the final form of the report. The IPCC is now right into outright fraud. Even their own data contradicts them


On the stupid Lefty Luddites, green ideologues and Guardianista pillocks opposing Britain's glorious shale gas revolution…

By James Delingpole

Lord Justice Leveson has been in Australia giving the locals his tuppeny ha'penny's worth on press regulation. Given how gagmakingly PC they are over there these days, I'm sure they lapped up every word. The bits that most interested me were his views on the differences between the print media (or as Richard North calls it the "legacy media") and the blogosphere.

During a speech at the University of Melbourne, he insisted there was an important difference between mainstream journalists with "a powerful reputation for accuracy" and bloggers and tweeters who were "no more than electronic versions of pub gossip".

Who are these mainstream journalists with a "powerful reputation for accuracy", you wonder? (Well clearly he hasn't read much of the output of Fairfax Media, recently.) Maybe someone from somewhere like the Observer, I'm guessing, for I wouldn't have Lord Justice Leveson down as a Telegraph or Mail man and I doubt he touches the Murdoch press. In fact, I'd lay money that Leveson is a great admirer of the Observer's chief political writer Andrew Rawnsley. Many people are. Even I once quite liked the idea of him. He's the kind of political commentator you see on TV, looking quite cuddly and sounding quite reasonable, and mutter to yourself, "Well he seems an all right sort of fellow, that Andrew Rawnsley."

But is he? Since Shale Gas is very much the topic de la semaine, I thought I'd treat you to Rawnsley's insights on the subject from his Observer column last weekend. (Note to younger readers: The Observer used to be Britain's pre-eminent serious newspaper). Here's a flavour:

"Frack-heads talk feverishly about the reservoirs of shale gas being the equivalent of Britain's share of the original North Sea oil reserves. If that were to prove true, this would indeed provide a rich source of energy for Britain and a big boost to tax revenues for the Treasury. Some Tories even believe that shale gas could do for David Cameron what the black stuff did for Margaret Thatcher. The shale deposits under Lancashire alone, so they claim, could power the country for more than half a century. When they get really carried away, they reimagine Blackpool as the "Dallas of the North" with kiss-me-quick hats swapped for stetsons. Climate-change deniers are prominent among the frack-heads. Yet it also seems to offer something to greens because shale gas emits half as much carbon dioxide as coal.

Well, it is only human to dream and the temptation to fantasise about miraculous treasures is all the greater if you are a politician looking for relief from many more bleak years of austerity. The trouble with their dream is that it is very risky for Britain."

Now, speaking as a polemicist and a troll-baiter, I have a sneaking admiration for Rawnsley's style here. It's colourful, it's rude ("frack-heads" sounds a bit like, oo-er missus, something else, doesn't it?), it's combative, it's provocative and it's seething with but-barely-contained righteous rage. Problem number one is Rawnsley is not a blogger – he is the Chief Political Correspondent of Britain's once most-revered serious newspaper. Problem number two is that every word he has written here – including all the ands and buts – is total, abject, weapons-grade toss.

Fortunately, we have a journalist on hand to explain why it's a load of toss. No, wait. This guy's not a professional journalist at all – he's one of those dangerous blogger fellows Lord Justice Leveson warns us about: the type whose opinions are no better than an "electronic version of pub gossip."

Still, let's give him a fair hearing, eh? His name is Nick Grealy and he does seem to know quite a bit about the subject. For example, he has some facts and figures which would appear to make a mockery of the Great Rawnsley's Olympian scepticism and Ozymandias scorn.

The bit that particularly exercises Grealy is Rawnsley's claim that Britain's shale gas plays are thin and feeble:

"Shales in Europe are generally thinner and deeper, and therefore much more expensive to tap, than those that have been successfully exploited in the United States. And Britain looks likely to be one of the less promising prospects in Europe because its shales are typically among the thinnest."

It exercises him because this ludicrous claim is about as far the opposite of true that the opposite of true can be. Here are the DECC estimates:

So we've all heard of the Bakken and Marcellus Shales – the ones which have transformed the US economy, brought natural gas prices down by two thirds, etc. Well our own Bowland Shale, under Blackpool is up to 40 times thicker.

The depressing thing is that in a decade or so's time when the shale gas revolution has really taken off in Britain – bringing prosperity, jobs and dramatically cheaper energy – no one is going to remember the names of that rag bag of ideological greenies, wind turbine scamsters, ill-informed celebrities, enviro-loon activists and Guardianista pillocks who fought so hard to stop it happening.

But I wish they did. If there were any justice Cuadrilla would erect a huge statue of Andrew Rawnsley in Blackpool for dogs to urinate on and for shale industry workers to throw rotten fruit at and their privately educated offspring to laugh at. "This man tried to keep you poor," the plaque below would read. "This man tried to deny you jobs. He tried to make it more expensive for you to heat your homes. He tried to hold back the economic recovery. He tried to ensure that more of your countryside was obliterated with wind farms."

Maybe if they could find space for it, they could put up another statue to the lefty Twitter pontificator, anti-shale-gas campaigner, and occasional comedy writer Graham Linehan. Maybe there could even be a blue flame emerging from his posterior – in order to symbolise the origins of his political insights on shale, the NHS, climate change and other matters….


Greenie mavens Call for End to Climate Mega Summits: Focus on local mitigation efforts instead

The feeling of déjà vu was difficult to ignore. Immediately following the recently ended climate conference in Doha, German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier insisted that the gathering had "opened the door to the future of international climate protection."

It was a comment reminiscent of so many attempts by top politicians in recent years to sell yet another failed climate summit as a success. This year, the summit barely avoided collapse by forging a last-minute agreement that the 2015 meeting would be the one at which a global emissions reduction deal would be decided. That such a deal was supposed to be produced at the 2009 summit in Copenhagen seems to have been largely forgotten.
Even the definition of success has been dramatically diminished. The conference, said Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, the long-serving climate advisor to the government in Berlin, can be "counted as a success because a collapse of the arduous United Nations process was avoided."

Top climate researchers have had enough, though. Several leading experts at internationally renowned institutes in Germany are demanding an end to the climate summit charade. It is time to begin confronting the reality of a warmer future rather than meekly insisting that global warming can be slowed without taking action to make that happen, they say.

'Dream of a Deal Is Over'

The period characterized by "the UN's clever management of expectations" is coming to an end, says Oliver Geden, a climate expert with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. "The expectation that the worsening problem would put pressure on the international community to find a solution has not been borne out -- and isn't likely to be."

"The dream of a global deal is over," agrees Frank Uekötter, an environmental historian at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. "An elimination (of the summit regime) would create space for new momentum."

For many, such statements border on sacrilege, though. Environmentalists have had huge expectations of the UN climate negotiation process, believing for years that it would ultimately result in a global deal for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It was, in short, to produce the holy grail of a more rigorous successor to the weak, largely non-binding Kyoto Protocol -- one that would limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Instead, the process, culminating annually in highly publicized summits that invariably end in disappointment, has only managed to produce a series of agreements to reach an agreement. "I have never understood how negotiations that don't even work among 20 countries are supposed to work in the UN model with 194 countries participating," Geden says. "The US and China aren't going to be told what to do by Nauru or Tuvalu." He adds that it would likely be more productive if leaders negotiated in smaller groups.

Geden and Uekötter are joined in their skepticism by a number of respected academics and climate experts in Germany. Maximilian Mayer, a political scientist at the University of Bonn, says that the UN climate negotiations are at risk of becoming "a form of technocracy controlled by experts," and proposes a "significant slowdown in the UN climate process."

Discard 2 Degree Target?

Silke Beck, a climate expert at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research, blasts the summits for being little more than "symbolism" and says that the issue of global warming is "several sizes too big" for the UN process as it is now pursued. Hans von Storch from the Institute for Coastal Research at the Helmholtz Center adds that the process has transformed researchers into little more than "ushers in the political theater."

But what can be done? The answer given by many is a surprising one. The goal of limiting global warming to just 2 degrees Celsius has become much too central, they say, because it guarantees that the focus of the public debate remains almost exclusively on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Yet after two decades of failed negotiations, the 2 degree goal has likely already become unattainable. It's time to broaden the focus, they say.

"The current discussion is much too fixated on greenhouse gases," says Uekötter. He refers to the recent climate conference failures as the "phase of inaction."

Instead, many say that measures aimed at dealing with the inevitable consequences of climate change must become central. That would involve including local initiatives in the broader UN approach rather than just focusing on average global temperature. Germany, for example, has moved ahead with a multi-billion euro plan to protect its coasts from rising sea levels and worsening storm surges. But such issues are left largely unaddressed at UN climate conferences.

'Disregard for Reality'

"The situation is absurd," says Sebastian Wiesnet of the University of Bamberg. "It would be more forthright, with respect to voters, to step back and think about how global climate protection could really be implemented." Efforts to actually prepare for the effects of climate change, he says, could not only be implemented more quickly, but they would also be cheaper than emissions reduction efforts.

Furthermore, the effects of the changing climate are different from place to place and are often magnified by local realities. When it comes to dangerous storm surges threatening islands in the South Pacific, for example, the UN climate conference tends to focus exclusively on rising sea levels. But the problem is often magnified, for example, by the destruction of coral reefs by fishermen. "At the local level, other, more rapidly changing conditions are often more consequential than climate change," says political scientist Mayer.
Any sort of move away from the 2 degree Celsius target, of course, would be politically risky. To many, it would sound like an abdication and a retreat from decades of pledges to finally launch a global effort to combat global warming. But researchers are beginning to come to the conclusion that there might be no other way.

Today's computer-simulated climate models, the foundation of all UN climate negotiations, represent the "almost complete disregard for reality," says Werner Krauss, from the Helmholtz Geesthacht Center for Materials and Coastal Research. "A world is being saved that only exists as a model."


The Shale Gas Revolution: Reindustrialize the Economy

Marita Noon

The United States doesn’t usually look to Britain for guidance—the last time may have been when Winston Churchill was Prime Minister. That time has come again. This time, the US should follow the leadership of Prime Minister David Cameron, who last week said: “Britain must be at the heart of the shale gas revolution.” He pointed out that ignoring the “revolution” could be giving their economy “much higher energy prices than would otherwise be necessary.”

But, the most significant aspect of his comments may well be that the “shale gas revolution” has the potential to “re-industrialise” the economy. That one word—“re-industralise”—may hold the key to the Obama Administration’s opposition to our own “shale gas revolution.”

America’s own “shale gas revolution” is, in large part, responsible for the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recent announcement citing a 29% increase in natural gas production. The resource is so plentiful that supplies show a storage surplus and prices have remained near decade lows. As a result, in the past seven years, America has flipped from a potential liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer, to an exporter. Energy companies have proposed 16 projects to export LNG to Europe and Asia. The projects would, according to the New York Times, “generate thousands of construction jobs, spur further development of natural gas fields and generate lucrative export earnings.” Yet the Obama Administration has only approved one export terminal—stalling the economic development the remaining 15 projects would create.

According to Kathleen Sgamma, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for the Western Energy Alliance, there are two “fears” preventing approval of the 15 pending projects:

1) Fear that LNG exports will raise the cost of natural gas and, therefore, hurt consumers, and

2) Fear that LNG exports will cause environmental harm.

To point number 1, it is interesting to note that one of the loudest opponents of the huge opportunity to generate “thousands of construction jobs” and “lucrative export earnings” (which would have a positive impact on our balance of payments) is Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). Markey, “a critic of both fracking and natural gas,” “has introduced two [now-failed] bills in Congress with the stated purpose of protecting US consumers from increased natural gas prices,” while preventing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from approving new LNG export terminals. Following the approval of the first LNG export terminal, Markey issued a press release stating that LNG exports: “will increase electricity and heating prices for American consumers.” This is the same Markey of the Waxman-Markey bill (often referred to as the cap-and-trade bill), about which the Congressional Budget Office said would have a $175 per household annual cost—which Markey minimized by saying it was “the cost of about a postage stamp a day.” In 2009, he was okay with raising energy prices on consumers, yet now, in 2012, he wants to block LNG export terminals due to potential price increases for American consumers.

In a five-page letter to Secretary Steven Chu, dated January 4, 2012, in which Markey states: “I am worried that exporting America’s natural gas would raise energy costs for American consumers,” Markey calls upon the DOE to explore the “consequences” of exporting natural gas. He asks specifically for scenario comparisons: He asks specifically for scenario comparisons:

“Please compare this export scenario to a scenario in which no natural gas is exported, providing your near- and long-term expectations for

(1) domestic supply and consumer prices;

(2) U.S. economic competitiveness and manufacturing;

(3) consumption rates of oil, coal and natural gas in the United States and foreign countries; and

(4) greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and globally.”

Several such studies have been completed. One from the US EIA was released in January 2012 and found that “increased natural gas exports lead to higher domestic natural gas prices, increased domestic natural gas production, reduced domestic natural gas consumption, and increased natural gas imports from Canada via pipeline.” However, “the EIA also noted that U.S. natural gas prices are expected to increase even before considering the possibility of additional exports. Nonetheless, increased natural gas exports are expected to lead to higher domestic natural gas prices, although the precise amount depends on the ultimate level of exports and the rate of phasing in increased exports.”

Another report (an independent assessment done by the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions and Deloitte MarketPoint LLC), conversely, “found that any price increases resulting from US LNG exports would be quite minimal”—with an average price increase of 2% (according to a Bookings Institute report analyzing the various pricing studies that have been conducted on the impact of US LNG exports on the domestic price of natural gas).

Finally, on December 6, 2012 a new study was released from the DOE—which the Wall Street Journal reports is “central” to the Administration’s decision on approving exports and notes that “The Department of Energy had said it wouldn't issue permits for exports to countries lacking a free-trade agreement with the U.S., until the study was done and it could be assured that exports were in the national interest.” The NYT reports: “domestic prices would not rise sharply as a result of exports and that export revenue would generally help most Americans.” And, the WSJ states: the “long-awaited government study” “has the potential to reshape the global energy market.” The report, which analyzed more than a dozen scenarios for US production and LNG exports found that “across all these scenarios, the U.S. was projected to gain net economic benefits.”

On Wednesday I was flying from Albuquerque to Denver. As luck would have it, I was seated between two men who were both involved in the natural gas industry—though neither knew each other. In preparation for my conversation with Kathleen Sgamma, I was reading up on the just-released study. I was reading an article titled: “Report: Natural Gas Exports Would Benefit US Economy,” when I came upon this:

Across all these scenarios, the U.S. was projected to gain net economic benefits from allowing LNG exports. Moreover, for every one of the market scenarios examined, net economic benefits increased as the level of LNG exports increased. In particular, scenarios with unlimited exports always had higher net economic benefits than corresponding cases with limited exports.

I laughed. I read the quote to my seat partners, who also laughed. We questioned why this was even news. Then I read the next line—which not part of the report, but part of the article: “Some in the oil and gas industry contend the idea is a no-brainer.” Touché.

If this is a “no-brainer,” why the delay? Why did, in August 2012, a bipartisan group of lawmakers (ten Democrats and thirty-four Republicans) write a letter intended to pressure the Obama Administration to speed up approval for pending LNG export applications? Because, as Sgamma told me, the Administration has ceded power to environmentalists who have all kinds of excuses.

The WSJ supports Sgamma’s claim. The WSJ article points to Obama’s “political risk because of criticism from environmental groups, which have been among his strongest supporters.” Addressing the opposition, it says: “Environmental groups, meanwhile, fear that allowing exports would encourage more natural-gas production.” Sgamma told me: “The environmentalists hate that we have this abundance of natural gas.”

The Sierra Club has spearheaded opposition to new LNG export terminals. In response to the new report, Sierra Club executive director, Michael Brune says: “It is baffling that this report omits the serious threats increased fracking and gas production pose to our water, our air, and the health of our families.”

As I frequently cite, based on my own study of environmental groups goals regarding energy (as found in my book Energy Freedom), environmentalists would rather have us all living in caves. They oppose shale gas development and fracking—as evidenced by the Sierra Club’s position reversal on natural gas, found in its new “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign—for fear, as PM David Cameron said, regarding England, it could “re-industrialise” the economy. Just days after Cameron made this statement, the British government gave fracking the “green light.” Now, with the release of this newest report, it is time for the US to follow the UK’s lead and allow the shale gas revolution to reshape the global energy market. The Administration needs to stop dragging its feet and give the pending applications for LNG export terminals the green light.

Sgamma affirms that “Western producers are able to increase production as natural gas is exported abroad. We have the capability in the West to meet the growth in demand that would result, as indicated by the current oversupply of natural gas. Western producers are able to ramp up production to meet export demands, while maintaining an abundant supply of affordable energy for the domestic market as well. … Economists have not fully appreciated how available spare capacity today, constant improvements in technology, and new discoveries into the future will likely maintain the downward pressure on price.”

She closed our conversation with these important questions: “How much worse does the economy have to get? How much longer are the American people willing to tolerate policies that prevent job creation and economic growth today?”

Remember, it is the Obama Administration, under pressure from environmentalists and the likes of Rep. Markey, which is preventing US consumers from benefitting from an “increase in wealth transfer and export revenues.” The economic benefits, as proven by the latest study, far outweigh the potential for higher energy prices. It is time to allow the shale gas revolution to reshape the global energy market.


Aboriginal climate change

The entire premise of man made climate change is that we, mankind, because of our modern industrial lifestyle, have altered the natural order of the climate system and this is bad. It is so bad that mankind needs to do something to fix what we have done and stop what we are doing.

More and more however it seems that the climate change academia complex is undermining their own case for the very premise which is the foundation of their theory, not to mention their considerable tax payer funding. It is easy to see how this happens, academics knowing there is a honey pot of money for any research having to do with climate change combined with their undying faith in the reality of man made climate change conduct studies which to an objective observer actually undermines their case but to the academics it acts as another warning to the uniformed public..

The other day I pointed to a report of a study on how climate change had helped lead to the downfall of the Mayan Empire. The authors seemed not to realize that their findings went a long way towards undermining the "man made" ingredient of the entire theory. Everything that the alarmist community is trying to "sell" society is dependent on the idea that what we are experiencing or will experience is unprecedented and of course man made. So when they do studies which show that conditions in the past were as bad or worse than what we are experiencing or forecast to experience a reasonable person would ask how have we impacted the climate if the climate has always acted this way?

Again we have another example of a study disproving "man made" climate change out of the University of Queensland called Ancient culture affected by climate

Associate Professor Hamish McGowan from UQ's School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management said the studies in the north west Kimberley have shown there was a rapid change in climate around 5,500 years ago.

If there could be rapid change in climate 5,500 years ago in aboriginal Australia doesn't that sort of put a damper on the whole unprecedented not to mention man made claims of todays far less dramatic events? If you want to talk about some serious climate "disruption" consider this:

“Our research shows that the likely reason for the demise of the Gwion artists was a mega-drought spanning approximately 1,500 years,...."

A mega drought lasting 1500 years without benefit of modern society's fossil fueled input? is that even possible? What would cause such a thing?

"...brought on by changing climate conditions that caused the collapse of the Australian summer monsoon,”

If naturally occurring changing climate conditions could cause such havoc, I would consider a 1500 year long drought severe, why are our modern day soothsayers so convinced that we are responsible for far less dramatic climate change?

Just another example of pre-industrial severe climate change, far exceeding anything which sends the alarmist community into apocalyptic tizzydom.


Our Chaotic Climate System

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Over the last quarter century, mainstream climate science has changed dramatically, from a paradigm where climate changes naturally to one where climate forever remains the same unless humans meddle with it.

The reasons for this paradigm shift are clearly not based on science. Sure, you can always analyze some dataset in such a way that it gives the appearance of climate stasis (e.g. the hockey stick), but there is plenty of published research over the last 50 years supporting the view that climate changes naturally, and on all time scales…decadal, centennial, millennial, etc.

The claim that the Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age were only regional in extent is countered with considerable published evidence to the contrary. Besides…why is it that the pundits who claim these historic events were only regional in extent are the same people who place global significance on a U.S. drought or a heat wave in France? Hmmm?

No, the reasons for this paradigm shift are mostly political. Scientists play along for a variety of reasons which would take a series of blog posts to cover.

But they have been pretty successful at convincing the science-savvy public that climate will only change when we fire up our SUV, or turn on our incandescent light bulbs. The scientists say things like, “We tried putting natural forcings in our models, but we can get the models to produce the observed warming only when we include anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.”

Well, they only put in a few forcings which they know about: total solar irradiance changes, ozone depletion, and maybe a couple others.

But what about changes which are not “forced”?

Our Chaotic Climate System

Chaos theory was originally developed by Ed Lorenz during early experiments with computerized weather prediction models, the forerunners of today’s climate models. Lorenz found that, for example, even tiny changes in the initial state of the atmosphere can completely change how weather patterns evolve in the coming weeks. Chaos is what limits the predictability of weather to 10 days or so.

Chaotic behavior is a characteristic of most nonlinear dynamical systems, that is, systems which evolve over time and are governed by rather complex physical processes. We usually think of chaos in the atmosphere operating on time scales of days to weeks.

But the ocean is also a nonlinear dynamical system. And it has time scales ranging from years up to hundreds or even thousands of years…time scales we associate with climate change.

El Nino and La Nina can, for example, be thought of as a chaotic fluctuation in the climate system. Like the famous butterfly-shaped Lorenz Attractor, El Nino and La Nina are the two wings of the butterfly, and the climate system during Northern Hemisphere winter tends to alternate between El Nino and La Nina, sometimes getting “stuck” in a multi-year pattern of more frequent El Ninos or La Ninas.

Now, while El Nino and La Nina are the best known (and most frequently occurring) ocean-based climate phenomenon, what other longer-term modes of climate variability might there be which are “unforced”?) By unforced, I mean they are not caused by some external forcing mechanism (like the sun), but are just the natural results of how the system varies all by itself.) Well, we really don’t know, partly because so little research is funded to study the problem.

But How Can Chaos Cause “Global Warming”?

It is my belief that most climate variability and even climate change could simply be the result of chaos in the climate system. By how would changing ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns cause “global warming”?

One potential mechanism is through the impact of those circulation changes on cloud formation.

Clouds are the Earth’s natural sunshade, and very small (but persistent) changes in cloud cover can cause either warming or cooling trends. I know that scientists like Trenberth and Dessler like to claim that “clouds don’t cause climate change”…well, chaotic changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns can change clouds, and so in that sense clouds act as an intermediary. Of course clouds don’t change all by themselves, which is how some people disingenuously characterize my position on this.

Unfortunately, our long-term measurements of global cloud cover are not yet good enough to determine with a high level of confidence just how much recent warming was caused by climate chaos. Our experiments with a simple 1D energy budget model suggests that more frequent El Ninos since the late 1970s caused some of the warming we have seen (a position also taken by Bob Tisdale), but just how much of the warming remains uncertain.

Part of the El Nino warming seems to be through reduced cloud cover, which precedes peak warming by 7 to 9 months. But it is also through a decrease in the rate at which the ocean mixes heat vertically. Chaotic changes in ocean mixing alone can cause global warming or cooling, even without any cloud changes, the result of the fact that most of the depth of the ocean is very cold, and only the near-surface is relatively warm. If the ocean was vertically uniform in temperature, changes in ocean mixing would have little effect on climate.

This is the basis for Trenberth’s “missing heat” argument. If recent warming has indeed been caused by our greenhouse gas emissions, but there has also been an increase in the rate of overturning of the oceans, then surface warming will be reduced as colder deep water is brought to the surface and the deep ocean is slightly warmed from the warm surface waters being mixed deeper than usual. Unfortunately, since the oceans are SO deep, the deep ocean warming we would be talking about verges on being unmeasurable…thousandths of a degree.

While such a “missing heat” explanation for a lack of recent warming is theoretically possible, I find it rather unsatisfying basing an unwavering belief in eventual catastrophic global warming on a deep-ocean mechanism so weak we can’t even measure it. Larger changes in individual ocean basins might be measurable, but it is the global average deep-ocean temperature that we need to know very accurately.

The Need for Natural Climate Change Research

This issue of natural mechanisms of climate change is so important it boggles my mind that the U.S. Government has had almost zero interest in funding it. But I don’t see how we will ever confidently determine just how much of recent warming is human-induced without determining how much was natural.

If, say, 50% of the warming in the last 50 to 100 years has been natural, then this profoundly impacts our projections of human-caused warming in the future, slashing them by about 50%.

In my talks to groups around the country over the years, I find widespread public support for the idea that climate does indeed change naturally. For the scientists who the public supports financially to largely ignore the issue, I fear that there will eventually be a public backlash which will end up hurting taxpayer support of climate research.

Unless they start behaving a little more like objective scientists, I predict that global warming researchers are living on borrowed time.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


16 December, 2012

Warmist "proves" most people are Warmists

Krosnick is a sophisticated pollster and I agree with most of his methodolgical conclusions. And I am in a position to comment. I did many attitude surveys in my 20 year research career and had several methodological papers published as a result of that.

Krosnick is however a Warmist and it is child's play to get whatever answers you want out of surveys if you have an axe to grind. And it does appear to be Krosnick who provided the poll questions for the survey below. I'll warrant, however, that if Krosnick made the first statement on the poll: "Global Warming is a lot of baloney", the results would be very different.

Nearly 4 out of 5 Americans now think temperatures are rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds.

But only 45 percent of those surveyed think President Barack Obama will take major action to fight climate change in his second term.

Belief and worry about climate change are inching up among Americans in general, but concern is growing faster among people who don't often trust scientists on the environment. In follow-up interviews, some of those doubters said they believe their own eyes as they've watched thermometers rise, New York City subway tunnels flood, polar ice melt and Midwestern farm fields dry up.

Overall, 78 percent of those surveyed said they thought temperatures were rising and 80 percent called it a serious problem. That's up slightly from 2009, when 75 percent thought global warming was occurring and just 73 percent thought it was a serious problem. In general, U.S. belief in global warming, according to AP-GfK and other polls, has fluctuated over the years but has stayed between about 70 and 85 percent.

The biggest change in the polling is among people who trust scientists only a little or not at all. About 1 in 3 of the people surveyed fell into that category.

Within that highly skeptical group, 61 percent now say temperatures have been rising over the past 100 years. That's a substantial increase from 2009, when the AP-GfK poll found that only 47 percent of those with little or no trust in scientists believed the world was getting warmer.

This is an important development because, often in the past, opinion about climate change doesn't move much in core groups — like those who deny it exists and those who firmly believe it's an alarming problem, said Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University social psychologist and pollster. Krosnick, who consulted with The Associated Press on the poll questions, said the changes the poll shows aren't in the hard-core "anti-warming" deniers, but in the next group, who had serious doubts.

"They don't believe what the scientists say, they believe what the thermometers say," Krosnick said. "Events are helping these people see what scientists thought they had been seeing all along." ....

The AP-GfK poll was conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 3 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,002 adults nationwide. Results for the full sample have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points; the margin of error is larger for subgroups.


Richard Muller gets rational about Warmism

He pretends to be a Warmist to gain acceptance from the media and academe but he clearly knows better. Some interview excerpts below:

van Diggelen: What’s your message to climate change skeptics?

Muller: Most of your skepticism is still valid. When something extraordinary happens in weather, such as the accidental occurrence of Hurricane Sandy hitting New Jersey and New York City just at the peak of tides — many people attribute the event to “Climate Change.” That’s not a scientific conclusion, and it is almost certainly wrong. Hurricanes are not increasing due to human causes (actually, they have been decreasing over the past 250 years). Tornadoes are not increasing due to human causes. (They too have been decreasing.) So please continue to be skeptical about most of the exaggerations you will continue to hear! Proper skepticism is at the heart of science, and attempts to suppress such skepticism represent the true anti-science movement....

van Diggelen: What are YOU doing to reduce your carbon footprint?

Muller: I am trying to get people to stop asking that question! It is very misleading....

van Diggelen: What should others be doing? If you could have President Obama’s ear for 5 minutes, what would you say?

Muller: Double (or more) our efforts to help China become more energy efficient. And equally important: develop “clean fracking” standards. Work with China to expedite and accelerate their switch from coal to natural gas. Devise market-based approaches that will guarantee that the developing world will apply clean methods to their natural gas production.
Muller: We need to act, but no need to panic. I see no tipping points that are scientifically valid... Hurricane Sandy cannot be attributed to global warming. The rise over the oceans, in the last 50 years, has been about 0.5 degree C. That’s tiny! In those 50 years, sea level rose by 4 inches. So the high tide, if not for global warming, would not have been 14 feet but “only” 13 feet 8 inches. There was a similarly severe storm in 1938 (my parents lived through it out on Long Island). We should stop attributing all freak storms to climate change....

Unfortunately, there will always be scientists with some credentials that will exaggerate, maybe even convincing themselves. I recall back in the 1950s, when I was a kid in New York City, that the freak storms and changes in climate were attributed by some eminent scientists to atmospheric nuclear testing. (Maybe the freak storms and changes in climate should now be attributed to the nuclear test ban.) It is not science to list the bad things that have happened lately and claim that they “may be linked” to climate change. Even scientists, such as those who were passionately afraid of thermonuclear war, tend to see connections in things that aren’t there.

Climate change is real, and we need to do something to stop it. But it is not strong enough (0.6 C in the last 50 years) to be noticeable by individuals.


The Amazon 'could survive global warming': Study claims its tree species have weathered warmer than the worst case scenarios

Some common species of tree in the Amazon date back more than 8million years and have survived through epochs of massive temperature fluctuations, researchers say.

The findings suggest that man-made global warming may have little effect on the robust species, which have already weathered some of the worst nature can throw at them.

A new study claims that some of the Amazonian species are more than 5million years older than previously thought, and have survived warm periods similar to the worst case scenarios forecast for 2100.

Christopher Dick, of the University of Michigan, said in journal Ecology and Evolution: 'In the absence of other major environmental changes, near-term high temperature-induced mass species extinction is unlikely.'

The new study is at odds with earlier papers, which were based on ecological niche-modeling scenarios, that predicted tree species extinctions in response to relatively small increases in global average air temperatures.

Professor Dick and colleagues used a molecular clock approach by studying mutations in DNA to determine the ages of 12 widespread Amazonian tree species, including the kapok and the balsa.

Then they looked at climatic events that have occurred since those tree species emerged and inferred that in general, the older the age of the tree species, the warmer the climate it has previously survived.

Nine of the tree species have been around for at least 2.6million years, seven have been present for at least 5.6million years, and three have existed in the Amazon for more than 8 million years.

The Amazon constitutes more than half of the planet's remaining rainforest, and it is also the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world.

Brazil contains 63 per cent of the vast rainforest's 2.4million square miles.

Professor Dick said: 'These are surprisingly old ages. 'Previous studies have suggested that a majority of Amazon tree species may have originated during the Quaternary Period, from 2.6million years ago to the present.'

Air temperatures across Amazonia in the early Pliocene Epoch (3.6million to 5million years ago) were similar to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections for the region in 2100 with moderate carbon emissions

Air temperatures in the late Miocene Epoch - 5.3million to 11.5million years ago - were about the same as IPCC projections for the region in 2100 using the highest carbon-emission scenarios.

Professor Dick said: 'Our paper provides evidence that common Neotropical tree species endured climates warmer than the present, implying they can tolerate near-term future warming under climate change.'

Co-author Simon Lewis, of University College London, said that while the findings were good news it did not lessen the problems posed by global warming and the threats posed to the Amazon by deforestation.

He said: 'The past cannot be compared directly with the future.

'While tree species seem likely to tolerate higher air temperatures than today, the Amazon forest is being converted for agriculture and mining, and what remains is being fragmented by roads and fields.'

Professor Dick added: 'An important caveat is that because we've been in a cold period over the past 2 million years - basically the whole Quaternary Period - some of the trees' adaptations to warmth tolerance may have been lost.'


Stop Subsidizing the Mass Slaughter of Wildlife

Congress and the White House are struggling to find even one subsidy or entitlement program that they are willing to cut. Meanwhile, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) insists that the 2.2-cents per kilowatt-hour Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind electricity should be extended yet again – and then (maybe, partially) phased out over the next five years. By then, claims CEO Denise Bode, wind energy could be cost-competitive with other energy sources. What nonsense. No evidence supports any of this.

Wind energy is a net jobs and economic loser. By raising electricity costs for factories, internet hubs, offices, malls, hospitals, school districts and other businesses, industrial wind power kills two to four jobs for every wind job created through government mandates, subsidies and tax credits – which themselves extract billions of dollars from productive sectors of the economy, to support Big Wind. Its impact on the budgets, health and well-being of people on low and fixed incomes is equally damaging.

Wind energy will never be competitive with alternative electricity sources, especially with the shale gas revolution driving the price of natural gas down to $3 per thousand cubic feet to power high-efficiency combined-cycle generators. Intermittent, unreliable wind power is parasitic, entirely dependent on fossil fuel generators to provide electricity every time the wind is low or nonexistent.

From an ecological standpoint, wind is our least sustainable energy option. Industrial wind projects require huge swaths of land, often in pristine area, for turbines, access roads and ultra-long transmission lines. Turbines and transmission towers require enormous quantities of steel, concrete, rare earth metals, copper, unrecyclable fiberglass and other materials – more than fossil fuel power plants that generate 90% of US electricity. It makes far more sense to build conventional power plants, and forget about the wind.

But by far the most compelling reason to end the PTC, right now, and stop any further expansion of wind power is moral and environmental. Wind turbines disrupt and destroy wildlife habitats. They butcher birds and bats that are vital to ecological diversity and agriculture. It’s time to stop subsidizing the slaughter!

The US Fish and Wildlife Service and American Bird Conservancy say wind turbines kill 440,000 bald and golden eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, cranes, egrets, geese and other birds every year in the United States. Turbines also eradicate countless night-flying, insect-eating bats. However, new studies reveal that these estimates are frightfully low, and based on misleading or even fraudulent data. The horrific reality is that, in the United States alone, “eco-friendly” wind turbines are killing an estimated

13,000,000 to 39,000,000 birds and bats every year!

These shocking figures reflect the presence of some 39,000 turbines in the United States, located in habitats with widely varying numbers and species of raptors, other birds and bats, says Mark Duchamp, president of Save the Eagles International and chairman of the World Council for Nature. The estimates are based on a 2012 study by the Spanish Ornithological Society (SEO/Birdlife), which utilized data from nearly 100 official turbine monitoring studies from Spain, and are corroborated by a 1993 study of bird mortality from wind turbines in Germany and Sweden, Duchamp explains.

These figures cover only flying creatures that are struck and killed or mortally wounded by turbines, whose blade tips move at 100-200 mph. Over the past 25 years, 2,300 golden eagles have been killed by turbines just at Altamont Pass, California, Dr. Shawn Smallwood estimates. The subsidized slaughter “could easily be over 500” golden eagles a year in our western states, Save the Eagles International biologist Jim Wiegand told me, plus many bald eagles. Entire flocks of geese can blunder into turbines and get killed.

These are not sparrows and pigeons killed by house cats. They are our most vital and magnificent species.

In the 86-square-mile area blanketed by the Altamont wind facility, no eagles have nested for over 20 years, and golden eagle nest sites have declined by half near the facility, even though both areas are prime habitat, says Wiegand. Overall, there has been an 80% population decline for the golden eagle in Southern California, he notes. Since wind turbines began proliferating, there has been a 47% loss of raptors in Oregon, the USFWS states, and a 42% decline in bird populations in Iowa, according to an Iowa Department of Natural Resources researcher.

After being nursed back from the brink of extinction, magnificent five-foot-tall whooping cranes now face annihilation, due to thousands of turbines being erected within their 200-mile-wide, 2,500-mile-long migration routes, former FWS whooping crane coordinator Tom Stehn fears. From their small population, over 200 cranes have “gone missing” in recent years, and now Fish and Wildlife is deceitfully delaying the 2012 “whooper” count until after Congress votes on the PTC. It has also changed the survey methods, from a complete census with a 2% margin of error – to a “distance sampling method” that injects a 25% error margin that Stehn says is “unacceptable and useless for species recovery management.” (But the new methods are very helpful for hiding wind turbine kills, says Wiegand.)

These actions are an integral part of the corrupt practices, disinformation and double standards engaged in by politicians, government agencies and environmental groups to support Big Wind: outrage, intolerance and penalties for fossil fuels – subsidies, favoritism and exemptions from laws and regulations for wind.

The Interior Department has used sage grouse and lesser prairie chickens to justify prohibitions on oil leasing and drilling, and prosecuted oil companies for unintentional deaths of 28 mallard ducks in North Dakota – but it has never penalized a single wind turbine company for eco-slaughter. Now its Fish and Wildlife Service wants to issue “programmatic take permits” that would allow wind turbine operators to repeatedly, systematically, legally and “inadvertently” injure, maim and kill eagles, cranes and condors.

Possess a feather from an eagle killed by a wind turbine, trap a bat in your attic or smash a goose egg – and the penalties are swift and severe. But kill eagles, bats, geese or whooping cranes with a wind turbine, and there is no penalty and no outrage from the Sierra Club – only more subsidies and tax credits, and more exemptions from the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and NEPA/EIS studies.

Interior and the FWS also let monitoring ornithologists search for dead birds only within 130-165 feet from turbine towers, thus missing numerous birds that were flung further by the impact or limped off to die elsewhere, and search for carcasses only every few weeks, allowing scavengers to take most of them away. In addition, wind facility crews remove and bury carcasses illegally, say Wiegand, Duchamp and the Spanish Ornithological Society. Officials also let operators treat data as proprietary trade secrets, safeguarded under nondisclosure agreements or put into private data banks immune from FOIA requests; impose high security at turbine sites to make accurate, honest, independent mortality counts impossible; and filter, massage and manipulate data to make mortality appear minimal.

No other American industry is allowed to operate with such immunity and impunity. It is time to end the wind Production Tax Credit and the blatant favoritism and exemptions for the wind power industry. Big Wind must be held to the same standards, laws and regulations that apply to all other industries.

Industrial wind operators must be required to permit access by unbiased outside experts to their facilities, to ensure compliance with the law and facilitate regular, full, independent bird and bat mortality counts. They must be required to comply with all endangered species, migratory bird and other environmental laws.

Before acting on the PTC, Congress should demand an accurate and verifiable 2012 winter count for the whooping cranes, along with complete age class figures – and prohibit the Fish and Wildlife Service from implementing any programmatic take permit system for eagles and other birds. It should also demand a multi-year, independent, transparent study of bird and bat mortality, at every wind facility in America, before allowing the PTC to be extended or another turbine facility to be built in the United States.

Allowing current practices to continue – or worse, permitting Big Wind to expand to generate 25% of US electricity – would be a catastrophe of monumental proportions. Millions more birds and bats will die, and entire species will disappear from habitats, geographic regions and throughout the United States.


Radical Left Fanatics have fracking in their sights

We have all seen the outrageous, even violent, demonstrations by the leftist big-labor protesters in Michigan over the recently adopted Right-to-Work legislation. The mirror image happened last February-March when Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin legislature similarly addressed labor laws.

It seems the left – the same people with those "Tolerance" and "Diversity" bumper stickers on their Subaru – are the first ones to cross the line of civility.

In my home state of Colorado the left's latest hot button is hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." Fracking has been used for more than 60 years to successfully drill over a million oil and gas wells in the U.S. Nonetheless, the prevailing mythology on the radical left is that the technology is "poisoning our children" by polluting the water we drink and the air we breathe.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, avowed environmentalists themselves, have testified to Congress that there is no documented evidence of ground water contamination from any fracked well. But, the facts don't get in the way of the radicals real objective. They won't stop until there are no wells drilled at all, anywhere, fracked or otherwise.

In my native Boulder County, Colorado the fracking fanatics are out in force. They are marching door-to-door, petitions and mythology in hand, and they are storming city council and county commissioner meetings. For the unknowing, the left would be hard pressed to find a more accommodating political environment than Boulder County. The radicals have owned the Democrat Party here for decades. Obliging elected Democrats willingly pander to the radical lefties who elevated them to their throne.

But, even that isn't enough for the radical fracking fanatics who have showed up at recent Boulder County Commissioner public hearings. The modified regulations adopted by Colorado just last year have already been described as the most stringent of any state in the nation. But, that's not enough for this crowd.

At the insistence of these radicals, the Boulder County is considering overlaying existing federal and state regulations with even more restrictive local rules. This latest radical environmental movement is being carried out by extremists throughout Colorado in virtually every county and municipality.

Just in case you thought over-the-top protests only happened in Lansing, Michigan or Madison, Wisconsin, take a look at the following to videos from recent Boulder County Commissioners' public hearings. The first shows the shameless conscription of children into the fray. Be sure to watch the second one to the end to see the stalking of two Encana women employees to their car at night after they left the meeting amid taunting shouts including "where do you live" and "where do your kids go to school."

This is right up there with State Representative Douglas Geiss who said, "There will be blood, there will be repercussions" for the left not getting their way in Michigan. Then realize that whether it is about unions, fracking, a mouse, fern, or whatever, this is how the "tolerant left" plays the game, and they are likely coming to your town, too.


The Doha Wealth Redistribution Process Moves On

The eighteenth Conference of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP-18) has ended. It was the latest chapter in the interminable negotiations over wealth redistribution and control of energy use and economic growth – in the name of preventing “dangerous manmade global warming.”

For people who believe humans can prevent “catastrophic climate change” by adjusting atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by a few parts per million – or are determined to crave control “destructive” fossil fuels and “unsustainable” economic systems – Doha was a failure.

Only 37 of 194 nations signed the treaty that replaces the Kyoto Protocol, which expires December 31 – and several countries may withdraw their consent. That means the new agreement is legally non-binding and covers only 15% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

While the European Union joined in and remains committed to “carbon trading” (making former UNFCC chair Yvo DeBoer happy in his new role as a carbon trader, á la Al Gore), the United States, Brazil, Russia, India, China, Canada, Japan and other major emitters refused to sign, and the new treaty sets no binding emission limits. Atmospheric CO2 levels will thus continue to climb – and climate campaigners will remain distraught over allegedly disastrous weather events, imminent habitat devastation, species extinctions, injustice for the world’s poor, and the disappearance of island nations beneath the waves.

For those who say computer models are meaningless, climate change and weather extremes are natural, and economic growth should be sustained to lift more billions out of poverty – Doha represents a partial success. Few nations signed the treaty, even the Obama Administration did not commit to it, the document is not binding, and countless billions of dollars will be available for continued economic development and disaster relief – instead of being squandered on fruitless attempts to control Earth’s infinitely complex climate and weather.

Even Christina Figueres, DeBoer’s successor at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, could proclaim victory. She wants to keep the planet’s temperature from rising more than the internationally agreed maximum of two degrees Celsius. That goal has arguably been reached already. There has been no detectable increase in average global temperatures for 16 years.

In fact, while last summer was hot and dry in much of the continental USA, nearing records set during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, it was a very cold summer in Alaska and parts of Europe. Winter 2012 was snowy and nasty in Central Europe and very cold in South Africa and South America. Britain just had its coldest autumn in nineteen years, Himalayan glaciers are growing, interior Greenland is not melting, summer Antarctic sea ice is near record extent, and seas are not rising any faster.

All this helps explain why climate alarmists keep changing their rhetoric: from global cooling to global warming, to climate change to climate disruption, and now to extreme weather. Indeed, they now try to link every unusual weather event to CO2 (and now methane, or natural gas, the fuel produced through hydraulic fracturing or fracking). However, as Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. has noted, when the Atlantic hurricane season starts next June 1, it will have been 2,777 days since a category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane made landfall along the U.S. coast – the longest such period since 1900. 2012 also marked the quietest U.S. tornado season on record; only twelve tornadoes touched down in the United States in July 2012.

Of course, there are always disasters and human tragedies at the hands of a not-always-benevolent Mother Nature. Hardly a year has ever gone by without many such weather events somewhere on Planet Earth.

This year, however, climate alarmists have blamed virtually all of them on humans and CO2 emissions – from Sandy in the USA to 2011 and 2012 typhoons in the Philippines, and droughts in Africa. It’s easy to see why. As a Greenpeace director cogently explained, “The key issue is money” – as in the redistribution of wealth from rich, formerly rich and soon-to-be formerly rich nations to still poor countries. The other issue is power and control: as in who gets to make energy, economic, and human health and welfare decisions: individuals, families, communities and nations – or eco-activists and UN bureaucrats.

That brings us to the in-between: the uncharted waters separating “bitter failure” and “partial success.”

As climate activists and media “journalists” have observed, there is no legally binding agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The world’s two biggest CO2 emitters, China and the United States, did not sign. What was agreed to contains only vague promises that, “beginning in 2020, at least $100 billion a year will flow from public, private and other sources” to poor countries, supposedly to help them cope with the “devastating effects” of climate change and “extreme weather.” There is no agreement as to where that $1 trillion per decade will come from, or how much will be available annually between now and 2020, especially if the global economic downturn continues.

But don’t believe the vague promises, bitter failure, bitterly disappointed rhetoric. The climate alarmists got a lot of what they came for, they gave up little or nothing, they’ll be back for more, and in the meantime they will still get billions of dollars annually from taxpayers – to conduct climate change causation, mitigation, adaptation and compensation “research,” issue “balanced reports,” and attend many more conferences (all expenses paid) where virtually no one except alarmists is allowed to speak or participate in official “discussions” and “negotiations.”

More than 7,000 environmental NGO activists attended the Doha confab – and next time around they won’t forget who sent them, now that Jonathan Pershing, chief U.S. negotiator for climate change at Doha, has pointedly reminded them who paid for their presence in Qatar. They and the official delegates will be there for specific objectives: more money, more power, more control.

In Doha, they reached several benchmarks that they had achieved during previous COP events. Most important, they enshrined in the treaty the concept of “loss and damage” supposedly resulting from “manmade climate change” – and secured pledges from “rich” nations that poor countries would receive billions of dollars per year in “aid” to repair any “loss and damage,” as part of a “climate compensation mechanism.” They also incorporated “principles” of “equity” and “justice” and “common but differentiated responsibilities” – to distinguish between nations that “caused” climate change and “extreme weather events” and countries that presumably did not or are “especially vulnerable.”

It is true that words like “compensation,” “fault” and “liability” were excised from the final treaty language – and that it will be all but impossible to determine how much, if any, loss and damage from a tornado, hurricane, typhoon, flood or drought was due to “manmade climate change” versus how much from natural climate change and natural, normal extreme weather events. Who will pay how much, from existing aid programs versus new programs, and through what UN or other conduits, will likewise have to be decided at one of the presumably many future Conferences Of Parties to the new climate agreement.

“This is just the beginning of the process,” a Greenpeace activist, helpfully explained.

Indeed, the “parties” – and thus their taxpayers, food and energy consumers, and citizens hoping to pursue their dreams – are slowly but surely, piece by piece, surrendering their rights, freedoms, sovereignty and hard-earned wealth to a gaggle of unelected and unaccountable activists, agitators, bureaucrats, autocrats and kleptocrats. The slippery slope is just ahead, if we are not already on it.

The scientific case for manmade global warming disasters grows weaker by the day. But no one should ever underestimate the desperation, audacity and political brilliance of those who have staked their careers, reputations, salaries and pensions on the notion that our energy use and quest for improved living standards for all humanity have somehow usurped the natural forces that have driven climate changes from time immemorial. We underestimate the alarmists at our peril.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


14 December, 2012

Man-made global warming: even the IPCC admits the jig is up

Breaking news from the US – h/t Watts Up With That? – where a leaked draft of the IPCC's latest report AR5 admits what some of us have suspected for a very long time: that the case for man-made global warming is looking weaker by the day and that the sun plays a much more significant role in "climate change" than the scientific "consensus" has previously been prepared to concede.

Here's the killer admission:
"Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system (e.g., Bond et al., 2001; Dengel et al., 2009; Ram and Stolz, 1999). The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link. We focus here on observed relationships between GCR and aerosol and cloud properties."

As the leaker explains, this is a game-changer:
"The admission of strong evidence for enhanced solar forcing changes everything. The climate alarmists can’t continue to claim that warming was almost entirely due to human activity over a period when solar warming effects, now acknowledged to be important, were at a maximum. The final draft of AR5 WG1 is not scheduled to be released for another year but the public needs to know now how the main premises and conclusions of the IPCC story line have been undercut by the IPCC itself."

Over to you greentards. I look forward to reading your extravagant apologias as to why this is a story of no significance and that it's business as usual for the great Climate Change Ponzi scheme.


A US carbon tax wouldn’t slow down global climate change

There is one, and only one, reason for instituting a carbon tax: to attempt to mitigate the impacts of climate change induced by humankind's use of fossil fuels for the production of energy. And about the only thing that a carbon tax in the United States will not do is mitigate global climate change in any meaningful—scientifically, or otherwise—manner.

Why? Because, based on mainstream estimates, of the approximately 3°C of global warming that is being projected to occur between now and the end of the century as a result of anthropogenic carbon (dioxide) emissions, the U.S. contribution will only be about 0.2°C, or about 7 percent of the total warming. And this is assuming that no carbon tax is put in place. Carbon dioxide emissions from the rest of the world—primarily driven by rapid emissions growth in developing countries like China and India—will be responsible for the other 93 percent of temperature rise.

The best that any carbon tax in the United States could ever hope to achieve would be to reduce the amount of global warming across the 21st century from about 3.0°C down to about 2.8°C. And that tiny, inconsequential reduction would only occur if all greenhouse gas emissions from the United States were halted forever, starting tomorrow, which isn't the plan.

The emissions reductions under any sort of carbon tax will be realized slowly, reducing the magnitude of the global temperature rise that the tax would avert. For example, a carbon tax designed to smoothly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from their current level to zero by the year 2100 would result in only about 0.1°C of global temperature "savings"—an amount, on its own, not worth pursuing.

Any perceived utility of a carbon tax does not lie in domestic reductions, but in the hope that it will spur technological innovations for cheap, reliable, nondangerous, environmentally friendly, zero-emissions energy production which would then be freely shared with, and quickly adopted by, the rest of the world. That seems wishful thinking on the time scales that matter.


Bait and Switch in the Climate Debate

Normally I would not give this kind of facile argument much attention, but it is such a perfect illustration of a point I have made for years about the climate debate that I simply cannot resist.

Over at Salon (originally from Desmog Blog, I think) this chart is actually described as a “slam dunk” against “climate deniers.”

Woah, excuse me while I stagger around here in pain like the elder Sanford on Sanford and Son. ”Elizabeth, I’m coming Elizabeth.” Am I dating myself?

Seriously, this is not a slam dunk, it is just stupid. It purports to absolutely prove a proposition that is not even under serious debate. Most informed skeptics do not deny global warming — how could you, the world has clearly warmed over the last century (though some of us will argue that land-based metrics are exaggerating that warming). We skeptics don’t even deny that CO2 causes some warming. In my case I accept Michael Mann’s old number of about 1C of warming (before feedbacks) from a doubling in CO2.

What we skeptics “deny” is the catastrophe — that hypothesized positive feedbacks in the Earth’s climate system will multiply the initial warming from CO2 many times, raising it from a manageable one degree or less over the next century to three or five or ten degrees. Skeptics believe that temperatures will rise due to CO2, but will remain within the bounds of temperatures we have already seen over the last millenia, including those in the Medieval Warm Period during which European civilization thrived. And we believe that the cost of economic dislocations, particularly in developing countries, from limiting fossil fuel consumption will be far worse than from merely adapting to a one degree change. What fair-minded person could possibly imagine this black circle in any way is a rebuttal to this skeptic position?

Let me see if I can work by analogy. Let’s say I were to argue that President Obama has violated his campaign promises by accelerating the drone war and continuing indefinite detentions. Then imagine an Obama supporter counters with a pie chart saying that 99.99% of all people who have looked into the matter have determined that President Obama is a US citizen. That would be refuting the wrong proposition, but doing so in a sleazy and conniving manner. Because some of the crazier Obama opponents do indeed argue that Obama is not a US citizen, it might be possible to shift the debate away from my proposition to that topic, presuming one had a sympathetic enough media. One might be able to convince the world that I oppose Obama not based on a thoughtful concern about things like his drone policy but instead because I am part of the citizenship-denier crowd. If you can shift public perception of my position to that much weaker argument, then of course it is easy to “prove” that I am wrong.

In parallel to this example, there are of course folks out there who deny warming altogether or deny CO2 is a greenhouse gas. So what? They are no more relevant to rational discourse on important issues than are Joe Arpaio’s investigations of Obama’s birth certificate. But climate alarmists have been remarkably adept at defining fringe views as the mainstream skeptic position, a sort of bait and switch that allows them to avoid debating the more difficult topics (for example, the proposition that the Earth’s climate system is dominated by strong positive feedbacks is far from settled and a literature review of that critical topic would show an incredibly broad range of results). In the climate debate, the supposed “Defenders of Science” much prefer painting skeptics as beyond the bounds of polite society and therefore unworthy of response to actually debating the difficult points.

This is so common a bait and switch in dealing with skeptic’s arguments that I wrote a really long Forbes article to explain it here. For those who are honestly curious about more thoughtful critiques of catastrophic man-made global warming theory, I posted a summary of the mainstream skeptic position here. Also, if you are concerned with severe weather, I discuss how increased media coverage of extreme events is often mistaken for a trend in the underlying events here.

Postscript. I thought I would offer one small example of how poor your understanding of global warming probably likely is if you rely on the media for all your information. When people think of the Earth’s temperatures rising one degree, they usually think of daily high temperatures that are one degree hotter. That is why everyone believes (without actual evidence) that rising world temperatures are leading to more record hot summer days.

But in fact we have not seen any particular increase in record high temperatures, at least not in the US where we have the longest and most detailed temperature history. One reason is that most of the warming we have seen has been in nightly low temperatures. In other words, we are seeing higher lows rather than higher highs, if that makes sense. As you can see below, in the US during summer we are not setting an unusual number of daily high records (Tmax, the black line) but are seeing more records for high nightly low (Tmin, the grey line). Via Roy Spencer:

Because temperature numbers in the global warming indexes are usually the average of the daily high and daily low (I was surprised when I first found out that the averages were not some sort of more sophisticated time average) we can and do get global warming without large increases in daily high temperatures. I presume the reasons that this is not discussed more is that people worry about warming mainly as the hottest summer highs getting higher. Telling them the main effect will be higher nightime winter low temperatures doesn’t have he same power to create panic.

By the way, you will see some alarmists arguing that the number of daily high records is trending up, and they will appear to have graphs to prove it. I want to show this example because it is illustrative of how the climate debate often proceeds. Alarmists will show this chart, which is indeed based on real, official USHCN data (chart from here):

Game over for my argument, right? Well, there is a problem here. Many of the stations in this data set only have existed for 20 or 30 years. So their highest high has to be in the last 30 years, since this is all the data they have. The data is therefore biased by numerous short, recent records towards showing more highs in recent years. If we weed these shorter records out, and use the exact same data but only include stations with a full 100 years of data, this is what we get:

By the way, if you were to investigate, you would find the same lack of trend for US hurricane landfalls, total Northern Hemisphere hurricane strength (ACE), total US forest fires, US snow pack, US droughts, US tornado counts, US wet weather, US storm damage when adjusted for population and property value increases, etc. etc. As I have written many times in the past, when someone posits a trend, don’t accept it on one data point (ie Sandy). Demand a trend line.


'Fracking' to resume in search for shale gas in Britain but government promises tougher rules to prevent earthquakes

Energy Secretary Ed Davey made a statement to Parliament on the government's new policy on shale gas. Drilling to explore Britain’s reserves of shale gas is to be restarted, despite major concerns about the threat it could trigger earthquakes.

Ministers today cleared gas firm Cuadrilla to resume the controversial process of ‘fracking’ in Lancashire, 18 months after drilling was halted when the use of high-pressure liquid to split rock and extract gas caused two small earthquakes.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said tough new rules were being put in place to mitigate the risks of further tremors.

'Shale gas represents a promising new potential energy resource for the UK,' he said. 'It could contribute significantly to our energy security, reducing our reliance on imported gas, as we move to a low carbon economy.'

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of injecting liquid deep underground to fracture shale rock and release gas contained in it.

Mr Davey insisted his decision to resume fracking was based on evidence. The development of fracking 'should not come at the expense of local communities or the environment' and the public 'must be confident that it is safe', he added.

New controls to prevent more earthquakes include:

* A major review before fracking can begin to assess the risk of earthquakes and the existence of faults in the earth's crust

* Ministers must be told in a report to the Energy department how seismic risks are being countered

* A new traffic lights system will grade seismic risk with fracking halted in certain conditions

Cuadrilla Resources suspended test-drilling in June last year after its operation caused two small earthquakes, of 2.3 and 1.5 magnitude, which hit Lancashire's Fylde coast.

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, said: 'Today’s news is a turning point for the country's energy future. Shale gas has the potential to create jobs, generate tax revenues, reduce our reliance on imported gas, and improve our balance of payments.

'Our exploration has shown that under Lancashire there is a belt of gas-filled shale over one mile thick. Today’s decision will allow continued exploration and testing of the UK’s very significant shale resources in a way that fulfils the highest environmental and community standards.'

Tories in the coalition have pushed for Britain to exploit reserves of gas trapped deep in shale rock, believing it could secure energy supplies for decades and curb increases in household bills.

But environmentalists have warned about the risk posed to the stability of communities nearby, and suggested a ‘dash for gas’ could come at the expense of investment in greener technologies.
Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Leila Deen said: 'George Osborne's dream of building Dallas in Lancashire is dangerous fantasy.

However, Chancellor George Osborne has urged a more aggressive push to exploit shale gas. The sharp decline in North Sea gas reserves makes Britain more reliant on energy supplies from Qatar, Russia and the US.

The new Office for Unconventional Gas and Oil will join up responsibilities across government departments to provide a single point of contact for investors and streamline the regulatory process.

The rural splendour of George Osborne’s constituency in Cheshire could be blighted by his enthusiasm for shale gas exploration.
Tatton includes unspoilt countryside, the historic towns of Knutsford and Wilmslow, and villages such as Alderley Edge – said to have more millionaires per square mile than anywhere else in the country.

Professor Peter Styles of Keele University said the rocks in Tatton are of interest to energy firms as they are from the same period as those in Lancashire, where exploratory drilling suggests there could be enough shale gas to power Britain for decades. He added shale gas exploration requires ‘around a football pitch worth of land’ per site.

Mr Osborne indicated the government’s determination to press ahead with the expansion of gas exploration in Britain in his Autumn Statement last week.

The Chancellor unveiled a 'generous new tax regime' to encourage fracking exploration and unlock shale gas reserves that could be worth £1.5trillion to Britain's economy.

Mr Osborne told MPs: 'We must ensure we make the best use of lower cost gas power, including new sources of gas under the land. 'We don’t want British families and businesses to be left behind as gas prices tumble on the other side of the Atlantic.

'We are consulting on new tax incentives for shale gas and announcing the creation of a single office so that regulation is safe but simple.'

In the US, gas prices have tumbled as reserves of shale gas have been brought to the surface.

But there have been horror stories about tap water igniting when a match is lit and claims of contaminated water making people ill..
France has banned fracking from shale rock, while New York state introduced a moratorium.

The industry itself vigorously denies that shale gas is unsafe and blames pollution incidents as examples of bad practice, rather than an inherently risky technique.


Saving the planet – or protecting power grabs and cash cows?

Waning interest and credibility forced organizers to replace climate change with sustainable development as “the world’s most urgent problem” during the UN’s June 2012 Rio+20 Conference. However, climate alarmism is again taking center stage this week at the COP-18 confab in Doha, Qatar.

The agenda remains the same: slash or end hydrocarbon use, transfer wealth, and control energy use, economic growth and lives. The strategies likewise remain unchanged: treaties, laws, regulations and higher taxes for hydrocarbon energy – with control placed in the hands of unelected, unaccountable elites who claim they are saving Planet Earth from ecological collapse.

Previous events in Bali, Copenhagen, Durban and Rio de Janeiro lavished billions of dollars on proposals and discussions that led mostly to promises of more meetings in five-star venues like Doha. With the Kyoto Protocol set to expire, Qatar’s atmosphere is rife with grim determination to forge new international agreements, in the face of hard realities that portend still more failure for global governance stalwarts.

The United States never ratified Kyoto, isn’t bound by its dictates, and has limited economic and political stature to play a lead role in forging a new agreement, regardless of what President Obama might want. Canada, Japan and New Zealand have rejected participation in a new treaty. The European Union is drowning in debt, struggling under soaring renewable energy costs that threaten families, jobs, companies and entire industries, and little inclined to shackle its economy further.

China, Brazil, India, Indonesia and other emerging markets are loathe to sign any treaty that would limit the fossil fuels they need to grow their economies and lift more millions out of poverty. They say industrialized nations must agree to further greenhouse gas reductions, before they will consider doing so, and insist that holding developing countries to developed nation standards would be inequitable.

Poor countries increasingly understand that CO2 emission restrictions will prevent them from developing and subject them to control by environmental zealots and UN regulators. People in those countries are beginning to realize that massive wealth transfers from Formerly Rich Countries – for climate change mitigation, reparation and adaptation – are increasingly unlikely. If “Green Climate Fund” pledges ever do materialize, they will mostly end up in another unaccountable UN slush fund for bureaucrats, autocrats and kleptocrats, with only pennies trickling down to ordinary people.

On the scientific front, contrary to incessant claims that Earth is warming uncontrollably, average planetary temperatures have not risen in 16 years, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have crept upward to 391 parts per million (0.0391 percent). Temperatures may “remain well above the long-term average,” as some insist – but humanity also suffered through a 500-year Little Ice Age and a “coming ice age scare” during the 1940-1975 cooling period.

And while global warming alarmists continue to say 2010 or the U.S. summer of 2012 was “the hottest on record,” actual data reveal that there is only a few hundredths of a degree Fahrenheit difference between these and other alleged “hottest years,” such as 2005. The 1930s still reign supreme as the hottest in American history.

Arctic sea ice reductions during 2012 were caused by many factors, including ocean currents and enormous long-lasting storms that NASA finally conceded broke up huge sections of the polar ice cap, during a very cold summer. Meanwhile, Antarctic sea ice continues to expand, setting new records. The rate of sea level rise has not been accelerating and may actually be decreasing, according to recent studies.

Even with Hurricane Sandy, November 2012 marks the quietest long-term hurricane period since the Civil War, with only one major hurricane strike on the U.S. mainland in seven years. Large tornadoes have also fallen in frequency since the 1950s, and the 2012 season was the quietest on record; only twelve tornadoes touched down in the United States in July 2012, says NOAA, shattering the July 1960 record low of 42.

Climate change computer models predict every imaginable scenario – warmer and colder, wetter and drier, more snow or less snow in winter – so that human-caused disaster believers can always claim to be right. And almost nothing stops politicians and climate alarmists from saying Sandy was “unprecedented” and “proof that climate change is real,” no matter what history actually shows us.

Devastating hurricanes have struck New York, New Jersey and Canada’s Maritime Provinces many times over the centuries. Newfoundland’s deadliest hurricane killed 4,000 people in 1775, while category 1 to 3 ‘canes hit the provinces in 1866, 1873, 1886, 1893, 1939, 1959, 1963 and 2003. New York City was hammered by major storms in 1693, 1788, 1821, 1893, 1938 (the “Long Island Express”), 1944 and 1954.

Climate change is natural, normal, cyclical, frequent, unpredictable, and sometimes catastrophic – as the Little Ice Age certainly was for European agriculture and civilization.

Nor are we “running out” of oil and gas – the other rationale for irrational attacks on hydrocarbons. Thanks to new discoveries, technologies and techniques (like hydraulic fracturing), the world still has many decades of traditional energy. We need to develop it, not lock it up, to help people realize their dreams for a better tomorrow, and bring prosperity to families, communities and nations the world over.

These realities won’t stop the alarmists. There is simply too much money and power at stake. Tens of billions of dollars are transferred annually from taxpayers and energy users to activists, Mann-made global warming scientists, regulators, carbon tax “investors,” and renewable energy and carbon capture subsidy seekers – all of whom have every reason to promote climate scares and attack anyone who voices skepticism about CO2-driven climate change catastrophes.

Nor will scientific or economic reality stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is poised to impose a raft of economy-strangling, job-killing carbon dioxide regulations – or a Congress and White House that are desperate for new sources of revenue, to pay for stimulus and entitlement programs.

The real danger is not climate change. If we have the economic and technological resources, we can adapt to almost any changes Mother Nature might throw at us – short of another glacial period that buries much of the world under a mile of ice.

The real danger is policies, laws, regulations, restrictions and taxes imposed in the name of preventing global warming cataclysms that exist only in computer models, Hollywood horror movies, and UN and environmentalist press releases. Those political reactions will perpetuate and exacerbate poverty, disease, unemployment, and economic stagnation.

They will subsidize renewable energy programs that turn precious food into expensive fuel for cars, destroy wildlife and habitats, and leave the pursuit of happiness and human rights progress in the hands of pressure groups, politicians and bureaucrats who are convinced that mankind is a “cancer on the Earth.”

That is neither just nor sustainable. It is the reason the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow is in Doha. We want the United Nations to return to its founding principles, get serious about poverty alleviation and economic betterment for people everywhere – and implement constructive and sustained solutions to the real problems that continue to confront civilization, wildlife and the environment.


Forget the doom: coral reefs found to be much more robust and resilient than alarmists claim

Hoagy is astounded. Has his life's work of alarmism just fallen apart?

A WIDESPREAD belief that the world's coral reefs face a calamitous future due to climate change is proving less resilient than the natural wonders themselves.

Rising sea temperatures, storm damage and ocean acidification have grabbed the headlines as looming threats to reef survival.

But as each concern is more thoroughly investigated, scientists are finding nature better equipped to cope than they had imagined.

The latest research, published in Nature: Climate Change today, blows away the theory that reefs were doomed due to rising ocean acidification caused by the higher take-up of carbon dioxide in the seas.

Researchers have found a common coralline algae that grows at the leading edge of coral reefs is not nearly as susceptible to changing ph levels as coral because it contains high levels of dolomite. In fact, the dolomite-laden algae has a rate of dissolution six to 10 times lower than coral's.

The good news is that dolomite-rich coralline algae is common in shallow coral reefs across the world. "Our research suggests it is likely they will continue to provide protection for coral reef frameworks as carbon dioxide rises," the paper says.

Lead author Merinda Nash, a PhD candidate with the Australian research school of physics and engineering, says the phenomenon has been overlooked because research to date has been on coral, not coralline algae. "It is not very sexy so it has not got a lot of attention," she said.

"What the research demonstrates is there is a lot we have yet to understand about coral reefs."

This is a sentiment echoed by James Brown of the Kimberley Coral Research Station, who believes the hot water corals of the Kimberley coast hold a treasure trove of answers for marine biologists.

Mr Brown has questioned why the Kimberley coral reefs were thriving in water temperatures and at acidification levels well outside of the limits that conventional science said should be inhospitable for their survival.

"Measurements of dissolved carbon dioxide have shown levels of up to 50 parts per million compared with the average of 28 parts per million," Mr Brown said. "This is the outer limit of what scientists had believed would be habitable for corals. Water temperatures are also at the top end of what coral biologists say it is possible for corals to survive in.

"The more we find out about the Kimberley, the more it rewrites the book on coral biology."

Further counter-intuitive results on coral survival have come from an extended project on the Great Barrier Reef to measure the health of deep corals.

The Catlin Seaview Survey has found the damage to coral reefs is literally skin deep, with corals located in deeper water below even the worst impacted sites thriving and in pristine condition. The findings raise the possibility that damaged corals may have an increased opportunity for recovery by recruiting new corals both from adjoining reefs and those located immediately below.

The early findings from the survey have astounded the scientists involved, including Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a leading global figure in raising concerns about crown of thorns starfish, coral bleaching and ocean acidification.

"The survey has shown that deeper reefs may be protected to an extent from some of the perils of climate-driven events such as mass coral bleaching and storms," he said. "These deeper corals may be important refuges if we get big changes in the shallows."




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


13 December, 2012

Another "running out" screech

From big-time self-publicist Mark Hertsgaard. It's sort of tedious to keep pointing out how dishonest these screeches are but if we conceded everything he says below there is still no problem. Canada is already a big wheat grower and Canadian production would simply expand further North. And right at the moment Canada is wallowing in a bumper crop of all grains. And Canada is far from alone in having big wheat crops lately. So the screech below completely closes its eyes to the real trends at work. See also here

A world without pasta seems inconceivable. Mac-and-cheese-loving children across the United States would howl in protest. Italy might suffer a cultural heart attack. Social unrest could explode in northern China, where noodles are the main staple.

But if humans want to keep eating pasta, we will have to take much more aggressive action against global warming. Pasta is made from wheat, and a large, growing body of scientific studies and real-world observations suggest that wheat will be hit especially hard as temperatures rise and storms and drought intensify in the years ahead.

Hurricane Sandy’s recent devastation of New York and neighboring states reminded Americans of what Hurricane Katrina demonstrated in 2005: global warming makes weather more extreme, and extreme weather can be extremely dangerous. But flooding coastlines aren’t our only worry. Climate change is also imperiling the very foundation of human existence: our ability to feed ourselves.

Three grains—wheat, corn, and rice—account for most of the food humans consume. All three are already suffering from climate change, but wheat stands to fare the worst in the years ahead, for it is the grain most vulnerable to high temperatures. That spells trouble not only for pasta but also for bread, the most basic food of all. (Pasta is made from the durum variety of wheat, while bread is generally made from more common varieties, such as red spring.)

“Wheat is a cool-season crop. High temperatures are negative for its growth and quality, no doubt about it,” says Frank Manthey, a professor at North Dakota State University who advises the North Dakota Wheat Commission. Already, a mere 1 degree Fahrenheit of global temperature rise over the past 50 years has caused a 5.5 percent decline in wheat production, according to David Lobell, a professor at Stanford University’s Center on Food Security and the Environment.

By 2050, scientists project, the world’s leading wheat belts—the U.S. and Canadian Midwest, northern China, India, Russia, and Australia—on average will experience, every other year, a hotter summer than the hottest summer now on record. Wheat production in that period could decline between 23 and 27 percent, reports the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), unless swift action is taken to limit temperature rise and develop crop varieties that can tolerate a hotter world.


More on that "successful" IPCC temperature prediction

I laughed at the latest claim by Frame et al. as "cherrypicking" a few days ago but did not provide a graph to show the full reality. Here is one below, from Clive Best. Clive has put the 1990 IPCC predictions on one graph together with two records of what has actually happened since 1990. As I said earlier, all the rise was in the first half of the period, with flat to declining temperature since. The reality is nothing like the predictions.

Greenie bias in survey results

People tend to give "correct" Greenie responses when asked in surveys what they want. What they do, however, is quite another matter. Surveys on Greenie matters generally are hence suspect

Early in my transportation career, I learned to be very skeptical of stated preference surveys. Sometimes, as with introducing something completely new (e.g., the first express toll lanes), stated preference may be the only tool available. But survey writers can slant the results by how they word the questions, and respondents sometimes tell pollsters what they think is the politically correct answer (or what they might do if the alternative were better than what would actually be available).

A good example of the difference between stated preference and revealed preference results turned up in a recent New Geography article on California housing. A paper by Prof. Arthur Nelson (University of Utah), "The New California Dream: How Demographic and Economic Trends May Shape the Housing Market," was published recently by the Urban Land Institute. It identifies a strong trend in California's four major urban areas away from single-family houses on conventional lots and toward multifamily housing and single-family homes on small lots. According to article author Wendell Cox, Nelson's paper has proved influential with transportation and housing officials in the Golden State, who are revamping land-use plans toward higher densities.

Cox points out that Nelson's trend projections are based on data from three stated preference surveys conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California in the early 2000s. From these data, Nelson estimated demand for single-family/conventional, single-family small-lot, and multifamily housing in 2010, 2020, and 2035. His figures show demand for higher-density housing far greater than recent supply, and supply of single-family/conventional housing to be more than twice as great as demand.

But revealed preference data are available from the Census, enabling Cox to do a reality check on Nelson's 2010 trend prediction. From 2000 to 2008, 51% of new occupied housing in the four metro areas was detached housing on conventional lots, compared with Nelson's prediction of 16%.

It appears that developers were misled by projections such as Nelson and many others were making, as well as changed government housing and land-use requirements, to under-supply single-family homes on both conventional and small lots, and to significantly over-supply multifamily housing.

One reason planners (and survey question writers) think higher density is a good thing is their assumption that this will lead to shorter commutes. Yet assuming "shorter" means fewer minutes, there is no data supporting this. To be sure, data from the Southern California Association of Governments (included as a chart in Nelson's paper) do show that as housing density increases, average commute distance decreases. But the chart also shows that commuting time is virtually the same regardless of density, evidently because many commutes from low-density suburbs are not to a far-off central business district but to a suburban edge city.

Survey respondents also generally are positive about living within walking distance of a transit stop. Some 87% of people in the four major California metro areas have such a transit stop near their residence. But data from a recent Brookings report reveal that the average resident in those four areas can reach only 6% of the jobs in their region by transit within 45 minutes. Respondents to a stated preference survey have no conception of these numbers when they reply favorably about transit access—hence the large difference between stated and revealed preference on this aspect of housing choice.


Some Greenies are now acknowledging reality

In 2005, two renegade greens tried to kill off environmentalism in broad daylight. The environmental movement, they said in a provocative essay, had grown stale and ineffectual. It was beholden to a wooly-headed, tree-hugging worldview that was as dated as lava lamps, bellbottoms and Billy Jack. This save-the-Earth brand of environmentalism, which has long idealized wilderness (as true nature) while simultaneously designating humanity as the scourge of the planet, "must die so that something new can live," Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger wrote in "The Death of Environmentalism" (PDF).

Their critique landed like a thunderclap in green circles. Some environmentalists welcomed the jolt. But Sierra Club Executive President Carl Pope, channeling the reaction of many establishment green leaders, was dismissive: "I am deeply disappointed and angered by it," he wrote in a long retort.

For a few moments, though, environmentalists debated the state of their planet-saving enterprise. But this was in the middle of the George W. Bush era, when the environment was widely considered under assault. So green warriors soon returned to the trenches and focused on preventing the administration from rolling back existing environmental protections. They didn't have the time or luxury to reflect on their failings. The opportunity for a reimagined environmentalism seemed lost.

Or perhaps the seeds that had been planted a decade earlier were just budding. Because today there is a growing reassessment under way in the environmental community.

Leading the charge is a varied group of what I call modernist greens (others refer to them as eco-pragmatists). They are people with deep green bona fides, such as the award-winning U.K. environmental writer Mark Lynas, whose book The God Species champions nuclear power and genetically modified crops as essential for a sustainable planet.

Another is Emma Marris, author of the critically acclaimed Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World. She argues that “we must temper our romantic notion of untrammeled wilderness” and embrace the jumbled bits and pieces of nature that are all around us—in our backyards, in city parks, and farms.

This broader ecological view rankles traditional conservationists, who have long held that the best kind of nature is that which is protected and left to its own devices. At an Aspen Environmental Forum this summer, Marris annoyed eminent conservation biologist E.O. Wilson by talking about expanding our definition of nature, perhaps even to include invasive species. “Where do you plant that white flag you’re carrying,” Wilson asked.

Wilson is an iconic eco-hero for his eloquent championing of biodiversity. As such, he symbolizes the long-dominant, nature-centric wing of environmentalism. Taking on icons (be it Mother Nature or one of her most celebrated defenders) is not an easy thing. But Marris and Lynas, among others, have helped usher in an ambitious re-examination of green orthodoxies; insurgent (even heretical) ideas are gaining currency in books, at conferences, on blogs, inside NGOs and think tanks. There is—dare I suggest—a new and improved environmentalism in the making.

One of the other heavyweights in the conservation world, Peter Kareiva, the Nature Conservancy's chief scientist, has recently emerged as a blunt-talking modernist green—an environmentalist who has made it his mission to loosen nature’s grip on the green movement.

For example, earlier this year, he and a co-author wrote that "ecologists and conservationists have grossly overstated the fragility of nature, frequently arguing that once an ecosystem is altered, it is gone forever." This belief has flowed from the long-held notion (one that Marris has also forcefully challenged) of a pristine nature that exists apart from people.

But that is a false construct that scientists and scholars have been demolishing the past few decades. Besides, there's a growing scientific consensus that the contemporary human footprint—our cities, suburban sprawl, dams, agriculture, greenhouse gases, etc.—has so massively transformed the planet as to usher in a new geological epoch. It’s called the Anthropocene.

Modernist greens don't dispute the ecological tumult associated with the Anthropocene. But this is the world as it is, they say, so we might as well reconcile the needs of people with the needs of nature. To this end, Kareiva advises conservationists to craft "a new vision of a planet in which nature—forests, wetlands, diverse species, and other ancient ecosystems—exists amid a wide variety of modern, human landscapes."

This shift in thinking is already under way. For example, ecologists increasingly appreciate (and study) the diversity of species and importance of ecosystem services in cities, giving rise to the discipline of urban ecology. That was unthinkable at the dawn of the modern environmental movement 50 years ago, when greens loathed cities as the antithesis of wilderness.

Another important shift involves federal protection of imperiled species. Since its inception in 1973, the U.S. Endangered Species Act has pitted environmentalists against private property owners, whose lands often provide crucial habitat for species designated as threatened or endangered. (Controversy has also raged on public lands, with the spotted owl war perhaps being the most notorious and polarizing example.) Throughout much of its history, the ESA has triggered lawsuits and much acrimony.

But in recent years, changes in philosophy and approach at the federal level have fostered an increasingly cooperative relationship between conservationists and private property owners. Several months ago, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced a new agreement with farmers and ranchers that requires them to "voluntarily" implement measures that will improve habitat for a variety of species. In return, landowners will receive greater financial assistance and assurances that they will not be penalized if endangered species move on to their property.


Which Facts Does Piers Not Understand?

At the end of last week’s debate on Piers Morgan’s show between Marc Morano and Bill Nye, Morgan concluded by saying to Morano

OK. Look, I respect that you have views. I don’t think they’re facts and there are many scientists who would take issue with you about the use of the word facts.

So what were these facts that Morgan seemed to have trouble believing? The NewsBusters website has a full transcription of the debate, and includes citations for most of the points Morano made, and is well worth reading. But, to summarise, the points he made were as follows :-

There are quite literally hundreds of factors that influence global temperature, everything from tilt of the earth’s axis to ocean cycles to water vapour, methane, solar system, the sun, cloud feedback, and volcanic dust.

Peer-reviewed studies show the Medieval and Roman warming periods as warm or warmer than today, and evidence shows these were world wide phenomena.

We’ve had 16 years with no warming.

In the geological past, there have been warmer times when there was less CO2 than now, and colder periods when there was more.

The number of big tornadoes has declined since the 1950’s.

We’ve gone the longest period without a major hurricane hitting the US since 1900, and there are no unusual trends in hurricanes.

US droughts not getting worse.

US floods not getting worse.

Sea levels have been rising since the ice age, and there is no evidence of acceleration.

There is in fact very little disagreement amongst scientists about any of these issues, although there will be debate about the detail and nuances. There are possibly only two issues where there could be controversy.

1) There is clearly a debate about whether the MWP and RWP were global, or just limited to Europe, as Nye claims. However, even Michael Mann would not be able to deny that there are a host of serious studies which contradict the latter, and which cannot simply be swept under the carpet.

2) The question of whether sea level rise is accelerating. Uncertainty still exists about the exact measurements, but the worst case scenario suggests only an increase from 8 inches per century to 11 inches.

If Morgan genuinely does not believe these are facts, it really does prove just how brainwashed some people, who are otherwise intelligent individuals, have become.

So what did the “Science Guy” have to say?

Let’s finish by looking what Bill Nye contributed to the discussion. He appeared to be extremely badly prepared, with little understanding of the subject. But his main points were :-

The MWP and RWP were just in Europe. [Apparently he has not heard of Greenland.]

CO2 emissions are rising.

The world’s population is rising.

It’s the rate of CO2 increase that is the problem, not the actual level.[Not heard of that one before!]

This is the hottest two decades in recorded history.

Accusing Morano of stating the UN says it’s not the hottest 20 years.[ Where on earth does he get this from?]

Tens of millions will try to move north out of South East Asia.

In reply to Morano’s claim that Kyoto will make next to no difference to global temperatures, Nye responds “We’re not talking about the temperature.”

All in all, a rather rambling performance that showed he had very little understanding of the topic.


Why are moose endangered in Minnesota?

As Minnesota's moose population falls, so falls the population of its companion, the lesser-known and hardly heralded (until now) red parasol moss.

The moss, Splachnum rubrum, grows only on the dung piles of the moose, Alces americanus, in a delicate and odorous ballet of co-evolution that has allowed the moss to eke out the most meager of existences -- so rare that it has only been seen three times in Minnesota. The last was 2004. That's a scarcity that state scientists have concluded deserves special attention.

By comparison, the moose, with an estimated population of 4,230, might seem abundant, but its declining numbers have prompted scientists to conclude that it, too, deserves special attention.

Minnesota's moose population has declined for years, and the DNR's proposal to label it "special concern" shouldn't come as a surprise; in 2010, a majority of members of a state Moose Advisory Council supported the status for moose, and the following year, the DNR stated it supported it in its Minnesota Moose Research and Management Plan.

The designation carries little legal weight; for example, moose, which were hunted this fall, could still be hunted.

With 87 permits issued this fall, hunting isn't believed to be a driver of the moose's decline -- from 8,840 moose in 2006 to 4,230 this year. Scientists aren't sure what's killing the largest members of the deer family, but wildlife managers have said the main reasons likely include parasites, diseases and warmer weather.


Jim Beers [] wrote the following reply to the above report. It was not published:

For years now, as Minnesota wolf numbers have increased, Minnesota moose numbers have decreased. The latest annual report of this phenomenon from your paper and the Minnesota DNR “wildlife managers” attributes this to “the main reasons likely include parasites, diseases and warmer weather.” Not since Claude Rains blamed “the usual suspects” in “Casablanca” has a silly line brought more guffaws with its interminable use.

You misspelled predators (i.e. wolves) as p-a-r-a-s-i-t-e-s. What diseases? If lynx and fishers are doing well in a couple of warm spells: what is “warm weather” doing to moose?

Wolves have decimated Montana and Idaho moose. Moose are the reason Alaska has regular state-sponsored wolf control programs. Aren’t these “wildlife managers” the same experts that have regaled us for decades now about how wolves periodically eradicate moose on our own Isle Royal Park in Lake Superior? Yet wolves have nothing to do with this statewide decline?

Covering this bit of deceptive reportage with interwoven tales of moose dung moss “parasol” rarities and fears of an as yet undocumented bat disease can’t disguise the fact that this is a taxpayer-funded load of dung.

Doesn’t anyone care about the Minnesota moose? Doesn’t anyone really want to do more than shovel more money to the DNR and their contractors? Our moose are like school kids doing worse and worse academically as we shovel more and more money to teachers and administrators that then tell us they need more and more.



Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


12 December, 2012

Hilarious! NPR and psychologist rely on a withdrawn paper to prove that climate skeptics are bad eggs!

Earlier this year, Greenie psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky had a paper accepted by Psychological Science which claimed to prove that climate skeptics were bad eggs indeed. It was listed as "In press" as of July 27th. and was much publicized at the time.

Its research methods were so ludicrous however that protests to the journal caused it to be withdrawn -- perhaps for rewriting. I have however just done a search on the journal site and it is not mentioned at all. Only a 2011 paper by the nutty professor is listed. The 2012 paper has not been published nor is it any longer listed as "In press". It is rejected research -- rejected by the fellow psychologists who run the journal. It FAILED peer review.

But in the article excerpted below you get no hint of that. Lewandowsky speaks as if his paper were scientifically acceptable and accepted. If you read carefully, it appears that he did revise his paper but could get even the revised version published on a blog only, one called -- He He!

The article below is however carefully written to skate around all that. It is a DELIBERATE fraud -- JR

That's right: climate-change denial, discussed in last week's post by Adam Frank, is associated with conspiratorial thinking.

The paper that reports this finding, forthcoming in the leading journal Psychological Science, has already caused a major flurry in the blogosphere, particularly among those who reject climate science. Assorted bloggers denounce the paper's "Anthropogenic warmist nonsense," suggest that the paper is "not scientific or competent," and describe it as "an ad hom[inem] argument taken to its absurd extreme," an "inane, irrelevant and completely biased rant study."

Disgruntled climate skeptics have gone beyond digs at the science to suggest "hidden motivations" for the paper — perhaps a systematic attempt by left-wing academics to discredit those who reject climate science. And in support, they've cycled through a number of hypotheses for how the results were obtained: by deliberately biased sampling, by collecting data from "warmists" posing as "skeptics," or by statistical sleight of hand, among others. This sounds awfully ... conspiratorial (a point made here and here).

Meanwhile, calls for the paper's retraction and accusations of ethics violations on the part of the researchers have come to naught. The fact is, the paper reports solid research, with all major findings now replicated in a new sample and with several specific critiques addressed in detail by the authors in a series of posts at So why the aggressive (and ironic) response?

I recently had an opportunity to chat with Stephan Lewandowsky, the paper's first author, on his visit to California for the American Geophysical Union's annual fall meeting. Lewandowsky is a Winthrop Professor in the department of psychology at the University of Western Australia, with broad research interests that include human memory, the persistence of misinformation, and more recently, the motivated rejection of science.

Lewandowsky has also written for a general audience about why people reject science, the pivotal role of perceived scientific consensus, the distortion of climate science in the media and the link between climate change denial and free market ideology, among other toothsome topics, as well as co-authoring the handy Debunking Handbook, a psychologically-informed guide to combatting misinformation.

I asked Lewandowsky about his experience as a researcher working on the psychology of science denial, and in particular his take on the blogospheric reception to his forthcoming paper. He suggested that the paper engendered such hostility because it not only "cast people who rejected climate science in a less than favorable light," but also because "it was too close to the truth." Of course, he points out, "the way the blogosphere responded was really by confirming my finding. What they basically did was spin one conspiracy theory after another, trying to invalidate the data."

"They," a number of active bloggers who are skeptical of climate science, also tried to discredit Lewandowsky and the paper by contacting the editor of Psychological Science and officials at his university, and by filing four Freedom of Information requests for all correspondence associated with the research, including ethics approvals for the use of human subjects and communications between authors. "If you talk to climate scientists," Lewandowsky noted, "you find that pretty much anyone in climate science is subject to these kinds of attacks."


A SMALL CLARIFICATION: Since it was never in fact published, we may never see a formal withdrawal notice for the 2012 Lewandowsky paper. Its absence from the "In press" list indicates however that it is not currently accepted. It is conceivable that Lewandowsky may eventually produce a form of his paper which is acceptable to the journal. We will judge that if and when we see it.

Warmist professor has totally lost touch with reality

Mojib Latif Now Claims Half Of Both Poles Melted Since 1979!

Lately we’ve seen how leading IPCC scientists have been ignoring real data and presenting instead fantasized catastrophe scenarios as the real facts.

Global temperatures, they claim, are rising faster (in fact they haven’t risen in 15 years), sea level rise is accelerating (in fact it is decelerating), and storms are increasing (when in fact they have been decreasing). Yet, despite the recent flurry of hysterical claims, policymakers are no longer listening anymore. In Doha they simply brushed them aside and pushed off the whole process yet another year – this for the 19th time in a row.

So what are climate scientists to do?

The answer: exaggerate even more scenarios, like polar ice melt. At least that’s what leading IPCC scientist Prof. Mojib Latif of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research appears to have done. Just ignore the real measurements and make up your own scary story. And because you are a renowned climate scientist, hapless, lazy journalists will automatically believe everything you say.

Prof. Latif’s latest scare fantasy is reported by journalist Heinrich Pantel of the Kieler Nachrichten here. He reports, quoting Latif:
‘Whatever our grandparents and parents blew into the atmosphere is still there today.’ The problem here is: ‘The climate reacts slowly.’ It could take decades before we feel the full force of our actions.

The speaker [Latif] referred to the retreat of the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic. Since the first satellites in space have enabled precise measurements, it is known that the ice area at the poles has decreased by almost a half over the last 30 years.”

At the rate suggested by the Kieler Nachrichten, who we assume quoted Latif correctly, the remaining half of the ice at the poles will likely disappear over the next 30 years – if not sooner should the warming indeed be accelerating. Moreover, if half of the polar ice area has disappeared, wouldn’t sea levels be rising something like 100 times faster?

This is yet another classic example of both sloppy science communication by an IPCC scientist, and irresponsibe and negligent journalism by Pantel and the Kieler Nachrichten. Any journalist, who had even posessed just an inkling of knowledge about climate science, would have immediately known something was amiss here. Fact-checking? What for! Journalist Heinrich Pantel just accepted “expert” Latif’s nonsense as the Holy Gospel truth.

To be fair to Prof. Latif, it’s possible that the hapless journalist just got the facts all mixed up and thus completely misinformed his readers. Unfortunately this has become the norm of science communication in Germany.

And so one should not wonder that many German citizens and policymakers have become hopelessly hysterical on the climate issue. And we should not be surprised that more and more readers are turning their backs on the print media and opting instead for information from blogs.


Some polar facts

To help us evaluate Prof. Latif's verbal fart (above), let us look at an actual recent research report on the subject. Greenland is the only large ice-mass on land in the Arctic so as Greenland goes, so goes the Arctic. As the bit in red shows, Greenland ice is GROWING, not shrinking
Greenland ice sheet mass balance reconstruction. Part I: net snow accumulation (1600-2009)

By Jason E. Box et al.


Ice core data are combined with RACMO2 regional climate model (RCM) output (1958-2010) to develop a reconstruction of the Greenland ice sheet net snow accumulation rate (Ât(G)) spanning years 1600-2009. Regression parameters from RCM output regressed on 86 ice cores are used with available cores in a given year resulting in the reconstructed values. Each core site’s residual variance is used to inversely weight the cores’ respective contributions. The interannual amplitude of the reconstructed accumulation rate is damped by the regressions and is thus calibrated to match that of the RCM data. Uncertainty and significance of changes is measured using statistical models.

We find a 12% or 86 Gt y-1 increase in ice sheet accumulation rate from the end of the Little Ice Age in ~1840 to the last decade of the reconstruction. This 1840-1996 trend is 30% higher than that of 1600-2009, suggesting an accelerating accumulation rate. The correlation of Ât(G) with the average surface air temperature in the Northern Hemisphere(SATNHt) remains positive through time, while the correlation of Ât(G) with local near-surface air temperatures or North Atlantic sea surface temperatures is inconsistent, suggesting a hemispheric-scale climate connection. We find an annual sensitivity of Ât(G) to SATNHt of 6.8% K-1 or 51 Gt K-1.

The reconstuction, Ât(G), correlates consistently highly with the North Atlantic Oscillation index. Yet, at the 11-year time scale, the sign of this correlation flips four times in the 1870-2005 period.

Journal of Climate 2012

Misguided PBS spreads acid ocean alarm

On December 5, the PBS News Hour showed a segment titled “Endangered Coral Reefs Die as Ocean Temperatures Rise and Water Turns Acidic,” with Hari Sreenivasan reporting. The story discussed the recent loss of Florida coral reefs and the possible impact on recreation and tourism if reef degradation continues. But PBS wrongly told viewers that reef degradation was due to warmer ocean temperatures and “ocean acidification,” both allegedly caused by human carbon dioxide emissions. Sreenivasan concluded with, “Time that maybe is running out for coral reefs in Florida and elsewhere.”

Scientists, environmental groups, and the United Nations promote the fear of ocean acidification. According to claims, man-made emissions of carbon dioxide are absorbed by the oceans and converted into carbonic acid, thereby changing the chemical balance of the oceans. The basic concept of acidification is correct, but hugely exaggerated.

The PBS segment is wrong in several ways. First, while today’s temperatures are the warmest in the last 400 years, oceans were warmer still during the Medieval Warm Period ten centuries ago. Peer-reviewed studies found that both the Gulf of Mexico and nearby Sargasso Sea were warmer about 1000 AD than at present. These warm temperatures were due to natural climatic changes of Earth―not man-made emissions. Caribbean reefs adapted to these warm seas to remain with us today.

Second, the segment paints a misleading picture of carbon dioxide entering the oceans, without providing perspective for the viewer. Sreenivasan interviews scientist Chris Landon who states, “And it’s enough railroad cars stacked end to end to wrap around the earth seven times. That’s how much carbon is going into the ocean every single year.” This sounds alarming, unless you know that the oceans absorb and release about 90 times that amount of CO2 every year from the atmosphere naturally. In addition, carbon dioxide is absorbed by vast deposits of limestone rock in the ocean floor, removing it from sea water.

Third, the oceans are alkaline, not acidic. We’re discussing a reduction in alkalinity. Solutions are measured as acidic or alkaline (basic) on a logarithmic 14-point scale, called the pH Scale. Battery acid has a pH of about one, while the base lye has a pH as high as thirteen. Milk is slightly acidic, as are most of the foods we eat.

Measured in the open ocean, sea water is alkaline, with a pH of about 8.2. According to computer models, doubling of atmospheric CO2 would decrease ocean pH to about 7.9, still basic, but less so. The concern is that this change would destroy the coral reefs by dissolving the carbonate shells and skeletons of reef creatures. Sreenivasan states, “Acidification acts a lot like osteoporosis does in humans. But in marine animals, it makes their shells and skeletons brittle. The more acidic the water, the harder it is for corals to grow their skeletons.”

But, empirical evidence does not show it harder for today’s marine animals to grow their shells. A study of corals at the Great Barrier Reef shows that shell calcium growth rates today are about 25 percent higher than 300‒400 years ago when both ocean temperatures and levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide were lower.

Scientists still know little about the alkalinity of today’s ocean or the oceans of past centuries. Ocean pH varies by depth, becoming less basic as one goes deeper. It varies by latitude from the equator to the poles. It varies by location, such as the open ocean, coral reef, or kelp bed.

But the PBS segment ignores this uncertainty and implies that the rate of change in ocean pH is alarming. Dr. Langdon states, “What’s really and completely unique about what’s going on now is the rate of change. And that’s what is so difficult for organisms.”

However, evidence shows that a high rate of change in ocean alkalinity is natural. A 2011 study by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography found large variations in ocean pH by day, week, and month. Changes in some locations were as high as 0.35 units over the course of a day, higher than computer models are predicting for the next century.

Scuba divers know that reef creatures already experience acidic conditions near CO2 vents in the ocean floor. These vents bubble CO2 gas amidst coral reefs and grassy ocean pastures in millions of locations. Fish and reefs appear to be doing quite well near these CO2 vents.

The coral reefs in the Caribbean and other seas may be endangered due overfishing, chemical pollution, and human abuse. But let’s not blame reef degradation on misguided fears about global warming.


Yet more problems with Anderegg et al “denier black list” paper

In “Climate scientists’ “consensus” based on a myth” I described how one of the sources of the idea that 97% of climate experts agree there is a human-induced climate crisis—“Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” by Doran and Zimmerman—was not a meaningful indicator of expert opinion.

The other major source of the consensus myth is “Expert credibility in climate change”, the 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States by Anderegg et al. On December 5, the CBC cited this poll, writing:
“In 2010, a survey of more than 1,000 of the most cited and published climate scientists found that 97 per cent of them believe climate change is very likely caused by the burning of fossil fuels.”

What the network don’t know, or chose to not tell readers about, is that many articles have taken this study apart. Here are some:

* A New Black List, by Roger Pielke, Jr. professor of environmental studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

* The Myth of the 98 Percent, by Joseph L. Bast, President of The Heartland Institute, Chicago, Illinois.

* What else did the ’97% of scientists’ say?, Guest Post by Barry Woods, at

* “Climate change sceptics are less ‘credible’ scientists, finds survey”, by James Dacey, a reporter for

* “Science held hostage” by Thomas Fuller in “It is the creation of a blacklist designed to intimidate scientists going forward and persuade them not to sign public statements that deviate from the James Hansen climate hysteria line…. It wasn’t science–it is blackmail. They broke the rules to create an instrument that will be used in the future (Joe Romm has already called for this) to deny funding, grants and tenure to people who at any point in their career dared to criticize the consensus on climate change.”

* “Global warming: The Blacklist Paper violates every ethical standard“, by Thomas Fuller in “The paper is tagged ‘Climate Deniers.’…This is an outright violation of every ethical code of conduct for research…”

* “Global warming’s Stephen Schneider: The Light That Failed”, by Thomas Fuller in “…no matter how they pretty the title up, it’s essentially ‘Damned Global Warming Denialists Who Should Never Get a Job or Get Published Ever Again’ [list]. And that is how it will be used…”

* The Climate Experts, published in Collide-a-scape – many of the 409 comments are useful.

One of the major problems with the Anderegg et al study has not, to my knowledge, been discussed, namely the way it selects scientists to represent the two sides of the debate.

As has already been discussed by the authors of the above articles, dividing scientists into merely two groups makes no sense in such a complex field. Many scientists agree with some elements of the climate scare while disagreeing with others. Many scientists support the idea that, while humanity’s greenhouse gas (GHG, the one most discussed being carbon dioxide) emissions are causing some warming, it is not enough to be dangerous. Other experts dispute even the existence of the “greenhouse effect”. Many scientists, perhaps the majority of experts in the field, simply say they do not know the degree to which our GHG emissions affect climate (“Ask me in ten years!” is a common answer).

But let’s examine the way Anderegg et al derive their lists of scientists in the fictitious two camps to see if it makes sense.

The “convinced of the evidence”, or “CE” camp: Anderegg et al write in their paper. “We defined CE researchers as those who signed statements broadly agreeing with or directly endorsing the primary tenets of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report that it is “very likely” that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for “most” of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average global temperature [sic] in the second half of the 20th century. We compiled these CE researchers comprehensively from the lists of IPCC AR4 Working Group I Contributors and four prominent scientific statements endorsing the IPCC (n = 903).”

The “unconvinced of the evidence” or “UE”, camp: from the paper, “We defined UE researchers as those who have signed statements strongly dissenting from the views of the IPCC. We compiled UE names comprehensively from 12 [it was really 13] of the most prominent statements criticizing the IPCC conclusions (n = 472).”

Of course, the issue they are examining is wrong. Of concern is not whether “anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for “most” of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average global temperature [sic] in the second half of the 20th century”.

The public concern is whether scientists agree that we are due for dangerous warming and other problematic climate change due to continued GHG emissions. The past is past. It is the future we should be concerned about. Several authors point out that the Anderegg et al is therefore not helpful to today’s debate.

Regardless, let’s continue with analyzing whether the Anderegg et al study accomplished what it says it did, or if it was even possible, given the populations of scientists they chose to assess.....

Anderegg et al write concerning their work:

* “Such expert analysis can illuminate public and policy discussions about ACC [anthropogenic climate change] and the extent of consensus in the expert scientific community.”

* “…we have likely compiled the strongest and most credentialed researchers in CE and UE groups.”

* “We provide a large-scale quantitative assessment of the relative level of agreement, expertise, and prominence in the climate researcher community.”

* “…we provide a useful, conservative, and reasonable approach….”

* “Based on the arguments presented here, we believe our findings capture the differential climate science credentials of the two groups.”

Obviously, none of these statements are even remotely credible. Yet, Anderegg et al is cited by Professor Peter Doran (co-author of the Doran and Zimmerman paper), as evidence to help substantiate their equally flawed work.

Dr. Spencer Weart, past Director of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics and author of The History of Global Warming, summed up the feeling of many in the scientific community when he said that there were so many defects in Anderegg et al that the paper should never have been published.

“Expert credibility in climate change”, the 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences does make one contribution to the climate debate, however. It demonstrates that even peer reviewed papers in prestigious journals can be complete bollocks.

Much more HERE (See the original for links)


Three current articles below

Greenies using lies about Great Barrier Reef to attack industry

REEF experts believe the loss of half the coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef is a "national crisis" worthy of a rescue package similar to the $12 billion plan to save the Murray Darling Basin.

They blame Queensland's biggest industries, coal and sugar cane, for the rapid decline and question the fate of the $5 billion tourism icon given mining, farming and port developments.

But leading tourism identities warn the state's tourist trade and international reputation is being damaged as scientists send a "skewed" and "misleading" message that the Reef "is half-dead".

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke and Industry Minister Martin Ferguson met with state counterparts Andrew Powell and Andrew Cripps to discuss the Reef in Brisbane yesterday.

Professor Terry Hughes, director of the Townsville-based ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies, said the talks failed to reveal how officials would handle the show-cause notice by UNESCO on the Reef becoming an "at risk" World Heritage site.

Prof Hughes said authorities had to impose a cap on dredging and stop farm run-off.

"It is a national crisis and it needs a rescue package response equivalent to that in the Murray Darling Basin," he said. "We need to ask: 'Do we need to have a sugar industry or a coal industry?' "

Mike Ball, a veteran dive industry figure, said much of the outer and northern Reef system was still pristine and figures from coastal reefs sent a skewed message overseas.

Canegrowers chief executive Steve Greenwood said it was irresponsible for scientists to suggest the end of the state's $2 billion sugar industry.

Mr Powell said: "Our target is to see a 50 per cent reduction in nutrients run-off by 2013 and a 20 per cent reduction in sediment by 2020."


ABARES report confirms that Australian fisheries stocks are sustainable

The release of the ABARES wild fish stocks report today confirms what marine scientists such as Professor Robert Kearney have been saying consistently: that Australian fishing practices are some of the best in the world, Senator Boswell said today.

The ABARES report comes just one month after the Federal Minister for the Environment Tony Burke declared new marine reserves that will cover 2.3 million square kilometres around Australia -- banning commercial and recreational fishers from vast areas.

“Tony Burke has never explained why these areas needed to be locked up and what our oceans needed protection from. He has never established the case for declaring these marine parks -- and sadly Australian fishermen will bear the brunt of this flawed Government policy,” Senator Boswell said.

“This has never been about marine protection. Australia has a proud record of sustainable fishing practices. We extract less than 30 kilograms of marine catch per square kilometre compared to Thailand who extract almost 6000 kilograms of marine catch from their oceans.

“This Labor Government policy has been driven by a coalition of local and international green groups financed by the American PEW Foundation. The latest network of Marine Reserves will lock up sustainable, productive and valuable fishing grounds and will devastate coastal communities.

“Australians will be denied a vital source. We currently import 72 per cent of our seafood from overseas from countries with a less than enviable environmental record.

“The impact will be the greatest in Queensland with the Coral Sea marine park covering over 989,842 square kilometres, an area that is more than half the size of Queensland.

“The government’s own figures show that the planned fishing bans would have a substantial impact on Mooloolaba, Cairns and Karumba. “Cairns based fishers will lose catch valued at $3.6 million a year and Mooloolaba-based fishers will lose catch valued at $1.5 million a year.

“The declaration of marine reserves has been all about placating the Greens; meanwhile, commercial fishermen will be denied a living and face a compensation package that is woefully inadequate.

“Today’s report confirms what we have known from the beginning: these marine reserves are not about marine science but are all about Greens preferences at the next Federal election,” Senator Boswell said.

Press release from Qld. Nationals Senator Ron Boswell

Climate Skeptics in Australian politics still skeptical

THE most prominent political climate sceptics see no reason to change their minds, despite the welter of studies over the past fortnight showing forecasts of global warming were correct or underestimates.

Many of the climate sceptics, influential in elevating Tony Abbott to Coalition leader, say they see nothing to convince them that human activity is causing the climate to change.

The Global Carbon Project has released forecasts that the planet could warm by between 4 degrees and 6 degrees by the end of the century and Nature Climate Change on Monday published a study finding that warming is consistent with 1990 scientific forecasts.

South Australian senator Cory Bernardi, formerly Mr Abbott's parliamentary secretary, said: "I do not think human activity causes climate change and I haven't seen anything that changes my view. I remain very sceptical about the alarmists' claims."

Queensland senator Barnaby Joyce said the whole debate about whether humans were causing the climate to change was "indulgent and irrelevant".

"It is an indulgent and irrelevant debate because, even if climate change turns out to exist one day, we will have absolutely no impact on it whatsoever … we really should have bigger fish to fry than this one," Senator Joyce said.

West Australian backbencher Dennis Jensen, who had read the recent scientific literature, said he interpreted the findings in different ways and believed climate scepticism within the Coalition was increasing.

"The scientific papers saying it is as bad as we thought, or worse, are talking about concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere - and concentrations are indeed increasing - but global temperatures have not gone up in a decade," he said.

"It's the impact of the increased concentrations of CO2 that is in dispute and I agree with [US professor] Richard Lindzen that it is more likely to be 0.4 degrees than 4 to 6 degrees … the doomsday prophesies do not stand up to reason."

Mr Abbott now says he accepts "we have only one planet and we should tread lightly upon it".

Questioned about climate science last year, Mr Abbott said: "I think that climate change is real, mankind does make a contribution and we should have strong and effective policies to deal with it. As far as I am concerned, the debate is not over climate change as such. The debate is over the best way of dealing with it."

He has never repeated his 2009 comment that the "settled" science of climate change was "absolute crap".

His $10.2 billion "Direct Action" climate policy was deliberately crafted to straddle the deep divisions over climate science within his party.

To qualify for grants from the Coalition's proposed emissions reduction fund, a proposal must "deliver additional practical environmental benefits" as well as reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Mr Jensen said it was this proviso that allowed him to back the Coalition plan. "At least we will be doing things that make sense for other, practical reasons," he said.

Tasmania senator David Bushby said he remained a true "sceptic". "I know eminent scientists have one view but I know other eminent scientists - usually ones who have retired and are no longer reliant on government grants - have a totally different view," he said.


11 December, 2012

Another comment on the "correct" IPCC predicton

I ridiculed this yesterday as cherry picking but Vincent Gray, an IPCC reviewer, also has some thoughts below. He points out, inter alia, that the IPCC has actually ABANDONED the prediction concerned

Currently the world is awash with distortions and outright lies trying to boost the failure of Doha to railroad all of us to ruin our economies. This one relies on the fact that very few people have access to copies of the 1990 IPCC Report. It so happens that I have a copy of the Report in front of me. Let me quote from the Executive Summary which is on page xi

"Based on current model results we predict Under the IPCC Business As Usual (Scenario A) emissions of greenhouse gases, a rate of increase of global mean temperature during the next century of about 0.3§C per decade (with an uncertainty range of 0.2§C to 0.3§C per decade): this is greater than that seen over the past 10,000 years. This will result in a likely increase of global mean temperature of about 1§C above the present value by 2025 and 3§C before the end of the next century. The rise will not be steady because of the influence of other factors."

The "predictions* apply only to the year 1990. As I have said many times the IPCC ceased making "predictions" altogether after this. The 1990 Report had a Chapter headed "Validation of climate models". In the first draft of the next (1995) Report they also had such a Chapter. I commented that as no model had ever been validated, and no effort to do so is made, the term is inappropriate. So, the next draft changed the word "validate"to ‰valuate" no less than fifty times, and at the same time changed "predict"to "project"

This current paper shows how desperate they are. They cannot claim that current IPCC practise is capable of *predicting* any future climate, so they grub around in the past to try and pretend it can be done, when their circumstances and conditions were quite different.

There were four scenarios given in the 1990 report. All have been abandoned as unrealistic. Amongst other things, they all assumed that there would be no efforts to try and reduce greenhouse gases.

Then, all the models have changed and numerous extra greenhouse gases have been added. There is a generous uncertainty range and they cover themselves because of "the influence of other factors"

I still amaze myself that so many have confidence in their so-called "mean global temperature" It is simply not possible to measure the mean global temperature by any scientific means. The botch up that they use is based on a miscellaneous non representative, non standardised maximum and minimum actual measurements that are upwardly biased, subjected to multiple averaged, "faked"according the Climategate report by "Harry", subject to huge uncertainties which are never given honestly, and massaged to assist their absurd pretensions

In Doha, a big green rent-seeking machine

A couple of weeks ago the great global warming bandwagon coughed and spluttered to a halt in Doha, the latest stop on its never-ending world tour. The annual UN climate conference COP18 is no small affair. This is a bandwagon whose riders number in the thousands: motorcades of politicians, buses full of technocrats and policy wonks and jumbo-jets full of hippies travelling half way round the world, (ostensibly) to save the planet from the (allegedly) pressing problem of climate change

This is despite the fact that nobody seems able to point to any great problems caused by the modest warming of the globe at the end of the last century - with global flood and hurricane levels plumbing levels rarely seen in the historical record, global sea ice levels at around their long-term average, new research suggesting that claims of increased levels of drought have been overstated, oh yes, and a distinct absence of any warming - there has been precious little for the delegates to get alarmed about.

The lack of any unpleasant climate change impacts will no doubt have entered the conciousness of the delegates - not least when UKIP's Lord Monckton hijacked the conference microphone and pointedly explained some of these uncomfortable facts to them - but this knowledge will not have affected their thinking much. The ability of UN conference delegates to ignore empirical facts can at times border on the heroic.

A thick skin is necessary when there are millions of pounds of funding at stake. The vast majority of those present in Doha depend for their livelihood on the perception of global warming as an existential threat. Their jobs are quite simply going to disappear if they come up with the wrong answer about climate change. Any statement that comes out of the UN climate machine - the UNFCC, the COPs, UNEP or the IPCC - has to be seen through this prism. When did you ever hear a bureaucracy announce that it was no longer required?

So faced with a certain unwillingness by some delegations to take the unhinged policy steps that many at the conference advocated, but mindful of the need to keep the bandwagon rolling, COP18 did what UN conferences usually do, agreeing to take drastic (but unspecified) steps in coming years. This seems to have fooled few people, but fooling people is not really the game. Not rocking the boat is. So long as taxpayers continue to fund activist and technocrat alike, so long as there is a COP19 next year, and so long as politicians continue to play along with the charade, everyone is happy. Except the taxpayer, that is.

But while greens have been protecting their rents in Doha, the real action has been taking place in Blackpool. The news that the Bowland Shale, a humungous beast of a gas field under Lancashire, is actually 50 per cent bigger than previously thought, points clearly to a shale gas-dominated future for the UK. This is an outcome that should in theory please everyone since plentiful gas will unequivocally reduce carbon emissions as well as energy prices. But of course, in reality some parts of the climate debate will not be pleased at all, for the simple reason that the beast from Blackpool puts a fairly hefty spanner in the works of the big green rent-seeking machine. If gas gives you cheap energy and lower carbon emissions, why do you need windfarms? If anyone in DECC had any sense, an immediate halt would be called a halt to the Energy Bill right now.

In reality, however, there is little sign of anything changing. Politicians of all stripes, but particularly Lib Dems, are wary of the green lobby that was built up by Labour and that continues to operate within the civil service. Those who would speak out against the folly of the path we are on must watch their backs. So while new gas-fired power stations will be built and the lights will stay on, greens will be bought off by the continued expansion of the renewables programme. The costs will be astronomical - we are talking about a hundred-billion pound face-saving measure - but the big green rent-seeking machine will roll on.


Extreme weather & superstition

Ralph B. Alexander (Alexander is a a physicist)

Superstorm Sandy. Parching drought across North America. A scorching midsummer heat wave in the Midwest. All these weather extremes are telltale signs that CO2 causes climate change, according to global warmists.

Indeed, the global climate-change nomenklatura gathered last week in Doha, Qatar eagerly (if grimly) cited Typhoon Bopha, which had just wreaked carnage in the Philippines, as the latest proof.

But it's not. The link between extreme weather and global warming has as much scientific basis as the pagan rite of human sacrifice to ensure a good harvest.

Yes, the supposed connection between unusual weather events and global warming is often taken as self-evident.

It's even been propounded in scientific papers - but not persuasively. A recent paper from Goddard Institute for Space Science chief James Hansen, for example, was quickly debunked by climate scientists on both sides of the global-warming debate.

No, the main fodder for the claim is its repetition by climate amateurs, such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

The fact is that anomalous weather events, such as hurricanes, heat waves, floods, droughts and killer tornadoes, show no long-term trend whatsoever over more than a century of reliable data. Weather extremes have occurred from time immemorial, long before industrialization boosted the CO2 level in the atmosphere.

For that matter, even if there had been an uptick in extreme weather, the claim that global warming's the cause would have to contend with the inconvenient truth that global temperatures haven't risen for the last decade or more.

Extremes are a natural part of our climate, which constantly changes and is rarely stable for extended periods. In fact, weather extremes are the "old normal," not a "new normal," as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proclaimed in Qatar.

Why can't so many rational, well-educated people understand this simple fact? The answer may be superstition.

Superstition, which is rooted in fear and thought to emanate from the reptilian portion of our brains, has been part of the human psyche ever since the emergence of self-awareness in early mankind. Since then, we humans have learned to speak, write, read and live together in comparative peace. But we're still superstitious.

Superstition about the weather in particular is hardly surprising, given the awesome power of nature. Witnessing storms, lightning and even the daily rising and setting of the sun surely induced fear and wonder in primitive cultures. The same fear and wonder are what warmists exploit today in linking weather extremes to global warming.

Scholars tell us that weather superstition often found expression in ritual human sacrifice. The Mayans, for instance, tossed victims into a limestone sinkhole to appease the rain god Chaac.

And it's only a few centuries since superstition over the climate led to intensive witch hunts and widespread executions, usually by burning, for witchcraft.

University of Chicago economist Emily Oster demonstrated in 2004 that the most active era of witchcraft trials in Europe coincided with the Little Ice Age. Since then, other researchers have argued that chilly weather may have precipitated the Salem witch trials in the 1690s - one of the coldest periods of that epoch.

It was widely believed during the late Middle Ages that witches were capable of controlling the weather with their magic powers, and thus cause storms that could destroy harvests and hobble food production.

Things aren't so different now. The same predisposition for superstition that caused medieval populations to fear and hunt witches can explain today's hysteria over extreme weather. The present temperature trend is a good example. Global warmists constantly ignore the trend, labeling the flattening or even slight decline in global temperatures since 2001 or earlier as a "hiatus."

Our obsession with weather extremes has reached such heights that it has become a knee-jerk reaction for climate-change alarmists to ascribe any unusual weather event at all to global warming. So they tell us that heat waves, floods, harsh winters, dust storms - even wildfires - are all the result of man-made CO2. But a check of records from, say, the 1930s or the 1950s, when the CO2 level was much lower than now, reveals that such events are nothing new.

Climate-change skeptics might be regarded as modern-day witches because they think that global warming comes from natural forces. However, it's superstitious alarmists, who believe that extreme weather originates in our CO2 emissions and who have a dread of impending disaster, who are really the witches.


Ignore the doom merchants, Britain should get fracking

It's green, it's cheap and it's plentiful! So why are opponents of shale gas making such a fuss?? -- says London Mayor Boris Johnson

If it were not so serious there would be something ludicrous about the reaction of the green lobby to the discovery of big shale gas reserves in this country. Here we are in the fifth year of a downturn. We have pensioners battling fuel poverty. We have energy firms jacking up their prices. We have real worries about security of energy supply - a new building like the Shard needs four times as much juice as the entire town of Colchester.

Our nukes are so high-maintenance that the cost of disposing of their spent fuel rods is put at about œ100 billion - more than the value of all the electricity they have produced since the Fifties. The hills and dales of Britain are being forested with white satanic mills, and yet the total contribution of wind power is still only about 0.4 per cent of Britain's needs. Wave power, solar power, biomass - their collective oomph wouldn't pull the skin off a rice pudding. We are prevented from putting in a new system of coal-fired power stations, since that would breach our commitments under Kyoto. We are therefore increasingly and humiliatingly dependent on Vladimir Putin's gas or on the atomic power of the French state.

And then in the region of Blackpool - as if by a miracle - we may have found the solution. The extraction of shale gas by hydraulic fracture, or fracking, seems an answer to the nation's prayers. There is loads of the stuff, apparently - about 1.3 trillion barrels; and if we could get it out we could power our toasters and dishwashers for the foreseeable future. By offering the hope of cheap electricity, fracking would make Britain once again competitive in sectors of industry - bauxite smelting springs to mind - where we have lost hope.

The extraction process alone would generate tens of thousands of jobs in parts of the country that desperately need them. And above all, the burning of gas to generate electricity is much, much cleaner - and produces less CO2 - than burning coal. What, as they say, is not to like?

In their mad denunciations of fracking, the Greens and the eco-warriors betray the mindset of people who cannot bear a piece of unadulterated good news. Beware this new technology, they wail. Do not tamper with the corsets of Gaia! Don't probe her loamy undergarments with so much as a finger - or else the goddess of the earth will erupt with seismic revenge. Dig out this shale gas, they warn, and our water will be poisoned and our children will be stunted and our cattle will be victims of terrible intestinal explosions. Yesterday the Observer found some political support for the gloomsters, in the form of a German MEP. His name is Jo Leinan, and it seems he is a prominent member of the Euro-parliament's energy committee. There were only two countries interested in this procedure, he said - Poland and Britain.

And according to Herr Leinan, neither of us knows what we are getting ourselves into. We are about to release the pent-up shale gas of Britain from its sinister cavities beneath Lancashire and Sussex, and anything can happen. Before we touch the integuments of the planet, he says, the European parliament will produce some regulations to "discipline" the operation.

Regulations? From the Euro-parliament? And these people wonder why we in Britain are increasingly determined to have a referendum on our membership of the EU. I am sure that the SPD politician means well, but just what in the name of hell has it got to do with him? Before he draws up any regulations for the British fracking market, he might care to look at what has been going on in America in the past four years, where the discovery of large quantities of shale gas is turning into one of the most significant political events since the end of the Cold War.

In 2008 the cost of natural gas in the US was $8 a unit. It is now $3 a unit. In China it is still up at $12 a unit - and the result is that the US is now competitive in industries such as fertilisers and chemicals that American politicians had long since assumed were lost to low-cost economies of the East. As a result of the use of gas, the Americans have cut their CO2 emissions to levels not seen since the Nineties, in spite of a growing population.

Indeed, the Americans have now actually met their obligations under the Kyoto protocol on climate change - and they never even signed up for it. The shale gas industry is a huge employer, and has so far contributed $50 billion in tax. As for the anxieties about water poisoning or a murrain on the cattle, there have been 125,000 fracks in the US, and not a single complaint to the Environmental Protection Agency.

It is no wonder that some of the more heroic spirits in the Coalition Government are saying that we should get our act together, and make use of what nature has bestowed on Lancashire and elsewhere. As soon as he became Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson announced that he was going to make life easy for potential frackers, with a one-stop permit system. He has the support of George Osborne, who hailed the potential of fracking in the Autumn Statement.

Alas, we are in a Coalition, and the Liberals run the Department of Energy and Climate Change. They have announced a moratorium on fracking, claiming that there have been earthquakes in the Blackpool area - even though there are tiny quakes every day. In what they thought was a cunning move, the Lib Dems also leaked the location of two big reserves of shale gas - in Tatton and Shropshire North. Much to his credit, Owen Paterson immediately announced that he was all in favour of fracking his constituency if it would deliver jobs and growth, and he is dead right. The shale gas discovery is hateful to the Libs and the Greens, because it destroys their narrative about the ever rising cost of hydrocarbons. It is glorious news for humanity. It doesn't need the subsidy of wind power. I don't know whether it will work in Britain, but we should get fracking right away.


Van Jones and Exxon Mobil Support a Carbon Tax

It's a bad omen for free enterprise, prosperity and liberty when normally warring special interest groups such as big business and progressive activists agree on public policy.

During President Obama's first term big business interests led by the pharmaceutical industry joined the union lobby in successfully making ObamaCare the law of the land.

Shortly after Obama's re-election, history may be repeating itself this time regarding energy policy.

While it's known that politics makes strange bedfellows none can be more bizarre than former White House green jobs czar Van Jones and Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson agreeing on a carbon tax.

Coincidentally, just ten days after the presidential election, Van Jones co-authored a commentary, "To end the fiscal showdown, tax carbon," and on the same day Bloomberg News wrote an article, "Carbon tax: Exxon backs Obama plan to impose climate change fees."
In the latter story an Exxon spokesperson said, "Combined with further advances in energy efficiency and new technologies spurred by market innovation, a well-designed carbon tax could play a significant role in addressing the challenge of rising emissions."
As we witnessed with ObamaCare, the key to progressive legislative victory is converting a powerful opponent to a potent ally.

Transforming Exxon into a lobbyist for the left-wing's war on fossil fuels is a huge coup for progressives and it's been years in the making.

After hammering Exxon as the enemy of the environment for more than a decade and the public relations headaches that it brings to the board room - the company was ripe for waving the white flag.

Exxon faced the full armada of the environmental advocacy complex. Activist shareholders and protests at the company's annual shareholder meetings were part of the advocacy targeting the company.

Activist groups also tracked Exxon's financial support for conservative public policy organizations that conflicted with their view that industrial activity is responsible for global warming.

In an effort to repair its public image and lower its public profile Exxon ended its financial support of many conservative organizations and the company went soft on its global warming position.

A carbon tax meets both Exxon's financial and public relations needs which also meshes with Obama's war on coal.

Since coal emits twice as much carbon dioxide than natural gas, coal would be preferentially harmed by a carbon tax and open the door for Exxon - the largest producer of natural gas in the U.S. - to fill the void for electricity generation.


Climate Tyranny Avoids Scrutiny?

By Alan Caruba

You likely did not read much, if anything, in the mainstream press about the climate change conference that was held in Doha, Qatar. The same applies to television and radio news. These are the folks who introduced the Kyoto Protocols in 1997 with the intention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions said to be causing global warming. The U.S. Senate unanimously rejected them in an exercise of good sense we don't always associate with that august body.

COP18, shorthand for the Conference of Parties, brought together under the aegis of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was especially devious. Thanks to the Committee for A Constructive Tomorrow those of us keeping an eye on these charlatans, intent on transferring billions from developed nations to those that have failed to keep pace, we learned on December 8th that "The negotiations here in Doha have gone into overtime."

As reported by Craig Rucker, CFACT Executive Director, "After going until after 3 AM last night, negotiations resumed today. Negotiators have sprung a dangerous proposal on the conference at the 11th hour. This time they have inserted a `Loss & Damage Mechanism' into the final text which would require developed countries like the U.S. to pay poor nations for climate damages supposedly resulting from extreme weather events."

The conference ended on Friday and the last money grabbing gambit failed. It was time for the 7,000 "observers" and its delegates to go home, all knowing that even the Kyoto Protocols will end in 2014 and that COP18 was yet another monumental failure.

CFACT was founded in 1985 by Rucker and David Rothbard, both of whom believe strongly in the power of the market, combined with the applications of safe technologies, to offer practical solutions to many of the world's pressing concerns. They were soon joined by leading scientists, academics, and policy leaders, along with thousands of citizens from around the nation. CFACT has been especially watchful of the many "global warming", now "climate change", claims put forth by the IPCC, attending its conferences and reporting from them, as well as challenging the absurd claims made during them.

It is essential to understand that scientific literature shows no link between recent extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy and the bogus global warming. Indeed, the planet has been in a natural cooling cycle for sixteen years.

As to the weather, the best definition I ever heard was that it is best described as "chaos."

Rucker reported that those controlling the COP18 "have instituted a `paperless' policy, depriving delegates of daily programs and copies of negotiating instruments that keep them relatively informed." The justification for this is the number of trees saved from becoming paper and, as of Saturday last, it was determined to be 217! As for the delegates' carbon footprint, this policy totally ignores the emissions from their jet travel, their five-star hotels and restaurants, air conditioning, limousines, and the carbon dioxide they are all exhaling.

The delegates, if they could, would impose carbon taxes nation-by-nation and globally, but Chip Knappenberger, a leading "skeptic", writing in, asked "How much global warming will result from U.S. emissions over the course of this century and how much of that could be prevented by a carbon tax? These two questions have the same simple answer-virtually none. One or two tenths of a degree a century with or without a carbon tax makes the whole climate debate a peculiar exercise."

There have been periods in the Earth's history when there were far higher concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the result was an abundance of vegetation. Lots of dinosaurs ate it and other dinosaurs ate them. There was an increase in CO2 during our present period on Earth that began when the last ice age ended about 11,500 years ago. The rise of agriculture allowed our ancestors to feed more and more humans and livestock, giving rise to the spread of civilization and it too contributed to an increase in CO2. Presumably, these are good things because increase of CO2 suggests that the next ice age has been delayed to some extent.

Meanwhile, back at COP18 what amounted to secret negotiations caused a lot of anger among delegates to the conference. Cathie Adams, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, at a CFACT press briefing told attendees that "in all her 17 years of attending U.N. climate gatherings there has never been this much difficulty getting up-to-date information or reluctance to accommodate informed public input into the process."

As of this writing, it is unknown what the official U.S. response will be to the effort to get developed nations to ship bundles of cash to any undeveloped nation experiencing a hurricane, a typhoon, a blizzard, or any other "climate event." In a cash-strapped nation about to "go over the fiscal cliff" did President Obama instruct U.S. delegates to go along with this absurd demand? Probably.

It is useful to know that Canada, Japan, and New Zealand have already rejected any participation in the agreements to come out of COP18.

One assumes that the European Union, as financially challenged as the U.S. and struggling under soaring renewable energy costs, would be of the same mind. Add to them China, Brazil, India, Indonesia and other emerging markets that need to grow their economies and which are dependent--like every other nation--on coal, oil, and natural gas. Mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions would be the kiss of death.

The U.S. is about to undergo this madness in the form of a deluge of Environmental Protection Agency carbon dioxide regulations that will strangle the economy and kill jobs. Unless the Congress can eliminate them via legislation, it will constitute a form of national suicide.

The United Nations isn't just involved in climate treaties. It is seeking control over the worldwide Internet, the oceans of the world, gun control, and regulating the rights of parents to exercise control over their children's health and wellbeing.

If successful, the U.N. will lead the world back to a new Dark Ages.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


10 December, 2012

Lots of fun today:

Cherries anyone?

The academic journal article below is amusing. It could almost be a classic case study of cherrypicking. They say that warming over the past 20 years has been consistent with predictions but omit to mention a that ALL that warming took place in the first 10 years! In other words, the CURRENT trend is the opposite of what they predicted

Assessment of the first consensus prediction on climate change

David J. Frame et al.


In 1990, climate scientists from around the world wrote the First Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It contained a prediction of the global mean temperature trend over the 1990–2030 period that, halfway through that period, seems accurate. This is all the more remarkable in hindsight, considering that a number of important external forcings were not included. So how did this success arise? In the end, the greenhouse-gas-induced warming is largely overwhelming the other forcings, which are only of secondary importance on the 20-year timescale.


Pesky! Examining the evidence for global warming makes you more skeptical

Even when the "evidence" is presented by Warmists!

Republicans and Democrats have been sharply divided on the issue: a recent Pew Research Poll found that 85 percent of Democrats believe in climate change while less than half of Republicans do. And a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that conservative media outlets like FOX News and the Wall Street Journal routinely present misleading information on the state of climate science, while free-market organizations such as the Heartland Institute have planned anti-climate change educational programs.

Cook and his colleagues wanted to see what actually would change conservative minds. He asked a group of 225 people to fill out a survey, in which they rated their belief in human-caused climate change on a scale of 1 to 5. The survey also asked respondents to rate their belief in a free versus regulated market, as well as their distrust of climate scientists.

Cook identified those individuals with strong free-market beliefs as conservatives. (Past studies have shown that holding free-market beliefs correlates strongly with identifying as a Republican and with holding socially conservative views on gay marriage, abortion and other hot-button issues, Cook told LiveScience.)

Then, one group read a statement presenting evidence for climate change, while others read statements emphasizing the scientific consensus. A third, control group got the original survey, but without any climate statements.

None of the statements moved the needle very much, on average, but those who waded through facts about climate change reported more skepticism than those who read no statements about climate change at all.

But those reading about the scientific consensus were more convinced about the reality of climate change than were controls.

"It's quite counter-intuitive and not what I expected," Cook said. He plans to investigate why this contradiction exists in follow-up studies.


NYT ignores snow facts

The excerpt from their latest bit of Warmist propaganda below is derived from the work of "doctoral candidates in earth science at the University of New Hampshire". They imply that winter snow on ski slopes is declining. Is the UNH a diploma mill? Sounds like it from the quality of their Ph.D. students. Just 5 minutes googling got me the the following three recent headlines from Australia, Britain and California which tell the opposite story:

Best start to ski season in a decade

Snow across Britain brings early start of ski season

California Ski Resorts to Open Early

But Leftists are never bothered by the facts of course

Snow can be an entrancing sight or an exhausting burden, but for communities dependent on winter sports, it is one thing above all else: revenue.

In recent years, however, the cold cash that used to fall from the sky, giving an economic lift to 38 states, has become less reliable. Winters are getting warmer, less snow is falling, and snow seasons are starting later and ending earlier.

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the climate-themed industry group Protect Our Winters takes a look at the possible impact of climate change on the nation’s $12.2 billion snow sports industry and the 211,900 jobs it supports.

According to the research, which focused on data from 1999 to 2010 and was conducted by researchers at the University of New Hampshire, the downhill ski industry takes in about $1 billion less revenue in a poor snow season than it does in a good one. A bad snow year subtracts anywhere from 13,000 to 27,000 jobs.

Projections by climate scientists indicate that winter temperatures could rise by anywhere from 4 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, and the length of the snow season in the Northeast could be cut in half.

“Winter as we know it is on borrowed time,” said Elizabeth Burakowski, a co-author of the report with Matt Magnusson. Both are doctoral candidates in earth science at the University of New Hampshire.


Britain gives millions in 'climate aid' to tackle flatulent Colombian cows... plus £31m to Turkish wind farms and funding for talks with Kenyan 'rain-makers'

Millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money is to be spent on a scheme aimed at reducing the flatulence of Colombian cattle, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

A £15 million grant to ranchers and other organisations in the South American country is part of a £2.9 billion package of ‘climate aid’ to developing countries which critics have called ‘ludicrous’.

The initiative aims to improve animal diets by cultivating trees and plants on their grazing lands – in doing so reducing the amount of methane escaping through belching and flatulence.

As well as being seen as a waste of money, the scheme has darker undertones, with The Mail on Sunday learning that the recipients, Colombian ranchers’ organisation Fedegan, has been linked to a murderous paramilitary group.

Our investigation unearthed:

* A total of £14 million of climate aid finance to projects in Uganda, despite the Government recently stopping all aid to the country because of corruption.

* £31 million of British money going to Turkey – a middle-ranking economy – to help develop geo-thermal and wind power.

* The Department for International Development (DFID) funding meetings between tribal ‘rain-makers’ and meteorologists in Kenya.

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said: ‘After an Autumn Statement where people are making significant cuts, to have a £2.9 billion budget for a random collection of projects which have questions hanging over them as to whether or not they are corrupt is just an extraordinary waste of money.

‘The Government does not exist to make charitable donations – that’s something people should do privately. We’re looking for a further £10 billion of cuts and this seems to me the easiest place to start.’

Fedegan is one of three bodies due to share £15 million to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The group has long been linked to the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC), a collection of far-Right paramilitary groups designated a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

Hundreds of Fedegan’s farmers have been accused of helping to fund the AUC. Though supposedly demobilised in 2006, the paramilitaries have held on to their weapons and now operate as criminal gangs responsible for hundreds of assassinations and kidnappings.

Former Fedegan president Jorge Visbal Martelo was arrested in March over his alleged links to paramilitary groups. He is awaiting trial on conspiracy charges. Current president Jose Felix Lafaurie has denied the paramilitary links.

But in an article published this year, the respected Colombian weekly Semana asked: ‘How deep-rooted is corruption in Fedegan?’

The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) left such questions to the World Bank, which concluded that Fedegan was a ‘suitable partner’.

Another recipient of UK climate funding is Uganda, where £14 million will go to ‘small-scale projects’, mainly to generate hydro-electricity. The country was recently placed top of the East African bribery index – and 40 per cent of its citizens are said to have experienced bribery in dealings with the police, the judiciary, tax and land authorities.

One of the biggest recipients of Government climate finance is the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund (CTF), to which the UK has given or pledged £620 million.

The CTF bankrolls projects from Thailand to South Africa, and is spending £155 million on renewable energy schemes in relatively wealthy Turkey.

Another recipient of UK taxpayers’ money was a £25 million research study, part of which involved teaming meteorologists with ‘rain- makers’ in western Kenya.

They make their predictions by watching the movement of ants and the measuring the wind using the tops of earthenware bottles.

Last night DECC said that supporting developing countries in cutting emissions was a ‘sensible investment’, and added that ‘turning our back’ could ‘cause a range of impacts including conflict over resources, political upheaval and more extreme weather events’.

Questioned on Fedegan, it said it was ‘satisfied’ with the World Bank’s ‘thorough assessment’ and that the tree-planting idea had been shown to be successful.

Turkey, the DECC said, was a ‘middle income country’ and so eligible for funding, while the money for Uganda was not passing through the country’s government, but through the private sector, with protocols in place to prevent corruption.


New Energy Revolution Is Shaking Up Old World Order

By Nigel Lawson

Thirty years ago, I was Secretary of State for Energy in Margaret Thatcher’s government, and one way and another I have been a close observer of the energy scene ever since.

In all that time, I have never known a technological revolution as momentous as the breakthrough that has now made it economic to extract gas from shale.

Geologists have long known that shale — a finely grained rock created from compressed mud, which sits in layers — contains, trapped in it, massive amounts of gas, and in some cases, oil.

But getting it out of the ground is a tricky business. Below the North Sea, natural gas forms in sandstone and when a drill reaches the gas, it flows out.

But shale gas is locked in dense rock. Energy companies must drill a well hundreds or thousands of feet deep to reach the layer of shale — which can be just 50ft thick — and then turn the drill sideways to bore horizontally.

Water, chemicals and sand are pumped into the hole under enormous pressure until the rock cracks, allowing gas locked up in the shale to escape and flow upwards into the well.

This process is called hydraulic fracturing — or ‘fracking’ for short.

Until recently, the cost of extracting the gas has been prohibitive. But the combination of two innovative technologies — horizontal drilling and fracking to release the natural resources — has changed all that.

The consequences are difficult to exaggerate. Not just in terms of the economic benefit of a new and abundant source of relatively cheap energy, but in geopolitical terms, too.

Until now, the West has been heavily dependent for its supplies of oil and gas on an unstable Middle East and an unreliable Russia. Crucially, all that has changed because gas and oil-bearing shale is scattered throughout the world — including in Britain.

This has shaken up the old world order — and the global balance of power is being permanently transformed before our eyes.

The dramatic news emerged a few weeks ago that the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer in 2017.

America is already the world’s largest natural gas producer, and it is estimated that, by 2035, almost 90 per cent of Middle East oil and gas exports will go to Asia, with the U.S. importing virtually none.

For decades, the West in general, and the U.S. in particular, has had to shape, and sometimes arguably to misshape, its foreign policy in the light of its dependence on Middle East oil and gas. No longer: that era is now over.

For decades, too, Europe has been fearful of the threat that Russia might cut off the gas supplies on which it has relied so heavily.

No longer: that era will very soon be over, too. Thanks to the shale gas revolution, the newfound energy independence of the West is a beneficent game-changer in terms of world politics as much as it is in the field of energy economics.

Hardly a week goes by without new shale gas and oil deposits being discovered in America. As these new sources of energy are developed and extracted, energy costs are falling because of continuing technological innovation and economies of scale. And there are sizeable shale gas deposits in the UK, too.

At long last, at least part of the coalition Government has woken up to the significance of the shale gas revolution.

In his Autumn Statement on Wednesday, Chancellor George Osborne announced a new gas strategy designed to promote the fastest practicable exploitation of the UK’s shale gas deposits.

He explained: ‘I don’t want British families to be left behind as gas prices tumble on the other side of the Atlantic.’

In years to come, this may well be seen as a major turning point for the UK economy, when everything else in this year’s Autumn Statement has long been forgotten.

Gas, in liquefied form, is a globally traded commodity, and we will benefit from the cheap gas that is likely to transform the energy market for the rest of this century, wherever it is produced.

But transport costs can be significant, and the greatest benefit for the UK economy will clearly come from the development of our own indigenous shale gas deposits.

These are early days, and we do not yet know how much commercially exploitable shale gas there is in the UK. But the signs are encouraging. The first large discovery to be explored, the Bowland shale under the Blackpool area of Lancashire, turns out to be a thicker seam than any in the U.S.

The company behind the exploration has announced that Blackpool is sitting on one of the biggest shale gas fields in the world — with a reserve of 200 trillion cubic feet lying under the Lancastrian countryside.

To put that figure in perspective, it’s enough gas to keep the UK going for 50 years and create more than 5,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, shale gas production in the U.S. has rocketed from virtually nothing to 20 per cent of its gas supply in less than a decade. As a result, the price of gas in the U.S. has collapsed from $12 per thousand cubic feet in 2007 to around $3 today. Currently, known shale gas reserves alone will supply the U.S. with more than 100 years of gas at today’s consumption levels. By 2035, almost half of all U.S. natural gas output is projected to come from shale.

Over the past couple of years, huge shale reserves have been identified throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia, too. In Europe, the chances of finding shale gas are, from a geological perspective, as good as in the U.S.

For the world as a whole, technically recoverable gas resources are now conservatively reckoned to amount to around 16,000 trillion cubic feet. In short, as a result of the shale revolution, the Earth can now provide us with about 250 years’ worth of gas supplies.

The so-called ‘peak oil’ theory, which suggests that within the foreseeable future the world will run out of fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas — has never looked more absurd.

While the world’s shale gas reserves appear to be massive, they could even be dwarfed by global oil shale reserves in sedimentary rock, which contains solid organic material that can be converted into an oil-like product when heated.

According to the U.S. government, oil shale deposits in an area called the Green River Formation in the western United States are estimated to contain up to 3 trillion barrels of oil — three times more than the whole world has consumed in the past 100 years.

The economic and political repercussions of such discoveries cannot be understated. The cheap energy brought about by the shale gas revolution, for example, is already boosting the U.S. economy.

Indeed, sections of U.S. manufacturing are even repatriating their activities from China.

Sadly, however, Europe’s leaders have wholly failed to face up to this energy revolution and many European policy-makers are blocking shale gas developments.

This is despite the fact that gas-fired power stations emit roughly half the carbon dioxide that coal-fired power stations do, which is why the U.S. is the only country to have significantly reduced its CO2 emissions in recent years.

By going for those green energy targets, countries such as France and Germany are making their energy-intensive industries increasingly uncompetitive. Germany’s largest companies have warned that they are already losing out against their U.S. competitors thanks to rising energy costs.

The green lobby, of course, is terrified that, despite the promotion of expensive and heavily subsidised wind power at the heart of the Energy Bill — a subsidy paid to a considerable extent by poor householders through their bills to wealthy landowners with wind turbines — the emergence of large supplies of cheap gas will make this policy unsustainable.

Hence the scare stories, lapped up by the BBC in particular, about shale oil and gas extraction causing earthquakes and pollution of the water supply.

Needless to say, there is no substance whatever in these scares. As a joint study by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy Of Engineering has pointed out, the so-called Blackpool earthquakes caused by fracking last year were, in fact, barely perceptible tremors (no worse than a heavy lorry passing by your house) of a kind that occur quite frequently every year, sometimes caused by coal mining, sometimes naturally.

Scare stories about fracking leading to water pollution are equally unfounded, with upwards of a mile of solid rock separating the shallow aquifers from which we draw our drinking water from the deep deposits where the shale gas is to be found and where the fracking occurs.

The bottom line is that, contrary to the peak oil fantasists, fossil fuels are going to become more available, not less.


Energy Prices are the Fiscal Cliff

Marita Noon

The stalemate going on in Washington about the fiscal cliff highlights the two very different economic viewpoints held, not just in Washington, but across America: more government, more taxes; less spending, lower taxes. But there is a third prong that is largely absent from the discussion: growth and creating new wealth—and energy can play a big role, but it, too, has two divergent sides.

To have success, both sides need to feel that they are getting what they want.

Energy should be part of the current fiscal cliff discussions because all recessions since 1973 have been preceded by a spike in oil prices. In the last decade, we’ve seen a consistent climb in oil prices—with the average household’s gasoline expenditure now more than double what it was in 2002—coupled with a steady decline in Gross Domestic Product.

High energy costs are a drag on the economy—which is important to Republicans. But they also mean less federal and state tax revenues and lower revenues endanger entitlement programs—which are important to Democrats. Earlier this year, it was announced that Social Security is going to run out of money three years earlier than projected last year. The 2012 Social Security Trustees report states: “This is the largest actuarial deficit reported since prior to the 1983 Social Security amendments, and the largest single-year deterioration in the actuarial deficit since the 1994 Trustees Report.” The report cites “many factors.” However, it blamed “a surge in energy prices in 2011” for “lower average real earnings levels over the next 75 years than were projected.”

Energy can give both sides what they want. To achieve this, Democrats will need to understand that oil is important and Republicans will need to acknowledge that there is some role for government to play. Can both parties feel that they are getting what they want without sacrificing their core principles?

A new proposal put forth by the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC—a project of Securing America’s Future Energy [SAFE]) believes that there is a bipartisan solution that can improve the US economy, promote fiscal stability, and protect national security. ESLC brings together two sides that don’t typically communicate, yet have a common interest: energy security. One side is made up of high-volume oil consumers such as FedEx, Southwest Airlines, Coca-Cola, Waste Management, and Royal Caribbean International—and is chaired by FedEx’s Fred Smith. The other side is composed of former military leaders committed to improving US energy security through reduced oil dependence—led by former Marine Corps Commandant General P. X. Kelley. The oil consumers understand that rapid swings in prices directly affect the bottom line. The military leaders understand that US dependence on foreign oil limits our flexibility on foreign policy. Without the need for middle-eastern oil, our approach to Libya might have been totally different.

These two sides have come together and drafted: A National Strategy for Energy Security: Harnessing American Resources and Innovation. At a press conference where the proposal was released last week, co-chairs Smith and Kelley said: “As long as our nation remains dependent on oil, restoring economic growth and stabilizing our fiscal outlook will be undermined by the manipulated and volatile prices of a cartel-dominated global oil market. This report offers a framework for policymakers to leverage domestic energy abundance in support of mitigating the urgent and severe threat posed by oil dependence.”

Their plan includes some items that will be more attractive to Democrats and others with greater appeal for Republicans—though as Robbie Diamond, Founder, President and CEO of SAFE explains it, most of the suggestions will happen anyway within the next 30 years, but the plan lays out a path to expedite America’s energy security and economic recovery.

For example, Democrats will appreciate the proposal’s suggested “Energy Security Trust Fund,” seeded with revenue from new production—not new taxes; diversifying the fuel base of the transportation sector; and the suggestion that the Department of Energy “reorient” itself toward R & D activities to catalyze technologies most likely to improve US energy security. While Republicans will warm to the plan’s ideas for development of energy resources in the Outer Continental Shelf—with coastal states granted revenue sharing as an incentive; state participation in developing “best practices” for hydraulic fracturing; and improved federal permitting processes for major energy projects by streamlining authority, promoting transparency, and reducing frivolous litigation. Something for both parties—while benefitting America with a unified plan.

In our conversation, Diamond emphasized that the plan calls for government investment in R & D, not in individual companies. R & D is a role that has been historically and successfully held by government. If the concepts can stand on their own, the consumers will choose them. By contrast, current government “investing” picks winners and losers, and the heavy emphasis on wind and solar resources does nothing to improve energy security—hence the idea of the DOE “reorientation.”

Diversification of the fuel base for the transportation sector is important, even though the myth of peak oil has been shattered. Because of the global market, geopolitical crises can create a supply shortage, or cartels can slow production—both can cause price spikes. The report points out that both Canada and Norway are oil self-sufficient, yet they still face global pricing. By incorporating America’s abundant supply of natural gas and plug in electric vehicles where feasible, the US needs less foreign oil and is less susceptible to market manipulations with its volatility, and, additionally, the US market is more secure.

While the US natural gas and oil boom won’t result in greatly reduced oil prices, maximizing production can make our economy stronger, create jobs, and lower the trade deficit—and should be encouraged while protecting the environment.

As avoiding the fiscal cliff will require some give and take on both sides, the National Strategy for Energy Security: Harnessing American Resources and Innovation proposal offers insight as to how the two sides could find a solution without sacrificing their core principles. The ESLC started with the goal: energy security—and then together mapped out ways to reach it. They didn’t put ideology first, as has been done on the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Agendas are being set right now in Washington, DC, and the economic boost and energy security America’s resources and innovation can provide should be part of the solution.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


9 December, 2012

Pseudo forecasts good enough for NYT

Forecasting expert Prof. J. Scott Armstrong, of University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, writes:

On November 24, 2012, The New York Times published an article titled “Is this the End?,” which warned that manmade global warming is likely to destroy our civilization. The article was published nine days after the NYT published Cass Sunstein’s article advocating that policies on dangerous manmade global warming should be based on cost-benefit analyses, that the government had calculated a net benefit for costly policies, and that Ronald Reagan once agreed with a cost-benefit analysis.

I was unable to contact Professor Sunstein to find the sources of the “cost-benefit analyses.”

In an effort to calm panic-stricken readers, I wrote a Letter to the Editor at The New York Times revealing that while cost-benefit analysis is indeed the proper method, none has shown likely net harm arising from global warming. Evidence-based forecasts of dangerous warming and of the effects of alternative policies are missing.

Strangely, my evidence-based forecasts that our civilization is not threatened by dangerous warming did not meet the NYT criteria of “All the news that’s fit to print.” If you know any NYT readers, please inform them that they are safe.


Another "We're running out" shriek

I remember the phosphorous scare from the '70s. The big phosphate discovery in N. Africa shortly thereafter rather castrated it but the Green/Left never learn

A column by legendary asset manager Jeremy Grantham is more suitable for the tabloids than for one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious scientific weekly magazines.

Jeremy Grantham, a well-known presence in the financial world, recently published a World View column in the journal Nature in which he concludes that, “simply, we are running out’’ of almost all commodities whose consumption sustains modern civilization.

There is nothing new about such claims, and since the emergence of a vocal global peak oil movement during the late 1990s, many other minerals have been added to the endangered list. Indeed, there is now a book called Peak Everything. What makes Grantham’s column – published under the alarmist headline “Be Persuasive. Be Brave. Be Arrested (If Necessary)” – worth noticing, and deconstructing, is that he puts his claims in terms more suitable for tabloids than for one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious scientific weekly magazines.

His direst example is “the impending shortage of two fertilizers: phosphorus (phosphate) and potassium (potash). These two elements cannot be made, cannot be substituted, are necessary to grow all life forms, and are mined and depleted. It’s a scary set of statements…. What happens when these fertilizers run out is a question I can’t get satisfactorily answered and, believe me, I have tried.’’ Well, he could have tried just a bit harder: an Internet search would have led him, in mere seconds, to “World Phosphate Rock Reserves and Resources,” a study published in 2010 by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

This detailed assessment of the world’s phosphate reserves (that are the part of a wider category of resources that is recoverable with existing techniques and at acceptable cost) concluded that they are adequate to produce fertilizer for the next 300 to 400 years. As with all mineral resource appraisals (be they of crude oil or rare earths), the study’s conclusions can be criticized and questioned, and the statement by the Global Phosphorus Research Initiative is perhaps the best document of that kind. But even the most conservative interpretation of IFDC’s assessment shows that phosphates have a reserve/production ratio well in excess of 100 years, higher than that of many other critical mineral resources.

Even the most conservative interpretation of IFDC’s assessment shows that phosphates have a reserve/production ratio well in excess of 100 years, higher than that of many other critical mineral resources.

Grantham could have also checked the standard, and the most often quoted, sourcebooks on the world’s mineral resources, Mineral Commodity Summaries, published annually by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). In the latest edition, he would have found that the USGS made significant revisions to its phosphate rock reserves data for Morocco, Russia, Algeria, Senegal, and Syria, and that it now puts the global reserve/production ratio at about 370 years. Or he could have consulted the materials put out by the International Fertilizer Industry Association, whose members include many of the world’s most prominent fertilizer producers, traders, and shippers. The association (emphasis in the original) “does not believe that peak phosphorus is a pressing issue, or that phosphate rock depletion is imminent. Nevertheless, it believes that efforts to minimize phosphorus losses to the environment and optimize phosphorus use should be encouraged.’’

And that is precisely as it should be, because wasteful use of all kinds of fertilizers is common and optimizing the applications brings substantial monetary and environmental rewards (phosphates are a major cause of aquatic eutrophication, their worst effects are persistent dead zones in many coastal areas around the world). Larger gains in reducing phosphate applications could be made by moderating typical per capita meat consumption, and a great amount of the element can be recovered from waste. In all Western countries, most fertilizers are now applied to feed not food crops, and hence moderating the current high rates of meat consumption (commonly in excess of 100 kg per capita) would reduce the amount of needed fertilizer. Such cuts would also have environmental and health benefits.

An even more important option – especially given the facts that much of modern meat, milk, and egg production is done in a concentrated manner, and that half of the world’s population lives in cities – is now available thanks to advances in phosphorus reuse from manures and municipal wastes. Grantham could have talked to many experts in this flourishing field, or could have simply consulted the SCOPE Newsletter, which reports, several times every year, the latest scientific and commercial achievements regarding phosphorus recovery. In the latest issue of this newsletter he would have also learned that the world has, at the current rate of consumption, about 600 years of minable potassium reserves.

Grantham cannot dismiss all of this as just usual propaganda put out by the fertilizer industry. That a financier and asset manager – whose expertise does not include resource geology, soil science, plant science, or agronomy – comes to “only one conclusion,’’ namely that the use of fertilizers “must be drastically reduced in the next 20–40 years or we will begin to starve,” is as wrong as it is understandable. Clearly, he was after sensational headlines and, indeed, in his column he implores scientists to engage in “overstatement’’ and to be arrested (if necessary) in order to call attention to the imminent perils he describes. That the world’s leading scientific journal prints such tabloid talk is harder to comprehend. Do we not have science precisely in order to provide us with the best available evidence so we can understand the real challenges and make well-informed decisions to pursue the most responsible and the most effective solutions?


Good snowfall replenishes Himalayan glaciers

Report from India. Cycles are the norm for climate events but no Warmist wants to admit it. Cycles of precipitation are the main influence on glaciers

With high-altitude mountains in Himachal Pradesh experiencing up to 100 cm fresh snowfall in November month after 10 years, the abundance of snow on mountains has rejuvenated nearly one thousand glaciers and has ensured uninterrupted supply of water for drinking, irrigation and hydel [hydroelectric] projects.

Even after years of research on glaciers and climate of Himalayas, scientists have failed to learn the pattern of the weather here. While scanty snowfall and rising temperature in last decade had sparked the possibilities of fast shrinking of glaciers, good spells of snowfall in last three years have changed the trend with glaciers almost growing to their original size. Some scientists say that despite heavy snowfall in winters, the extreme heat in summers is causing the melting of the glaciers with abnormal speed and others say extreme cold in winters is neutralizing the minor effect of risen temperature in summer. Overall, speed of melting of glaciers has reduced over the past few years only due to good snowfall in winter months.

The 11-km-long Bara Shigri is the largest glacier in Himachal, but is shrinking very fast. The Dhaka glacier in Chandrabhaga mountain ranges is also losing its length, width and height. This was proved beyond doubt when wreckage of an AN-12 aircraft which remained beneath the glacier since 1968 recently surfaced due to melting of snow. However, the thick layer of fresh snowfall has again built a safety wall on all the glaciers. The extreme cold temperature is another advantage as melting of snow has stopped almost completely.

The Himalayas comprise about 15,000, glaciers which include more than 1,000 glaciers in Himachal and they store around 12,000 cubic kilometres of fresh water. Good snowfall in Himachal is beneficial for Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and other neighbouring provinces, besides Pakistan, which get water from the state.


Electric Cars: The Environmentally Friendly Way of Losing Money Since 2009

A Congressional Budget Office report released in the fall tells Obama what the rest of us have known for some time: Your bet on electric cars wasn’t an investment, but a gamble; a dumb gamble.

And now you’ve just come up snake eyes.

“Despite the federal government pumping $7.5 billion into the electric vehicle industry in the United States through 2019,” writes the, “overall national gasoline consumption is unlikely to be significantly affected, according to a report released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).”

The CBO says that even if Obama increased the amount of the subsidy, it would make little difference to the gasoline usage or emissions output because automakers would still be required to hit fuel efficiency targets. Instead, the CBO says that either a tax on gasoline or carbon is the only way to increase the attractiveness of electric cars to consumers.

Duh. That’s because electric cars don’t save gas, they don’t save money and they don’t save the “planet.” They are only a vanity-plumping, amenity purchase for the metro-testicled.

“Assuming that everything else is equal” says the CBO, “the larger an electric vehicle’s battery capacity, the greater its cost disadvantage relative to conventional vehicles—and thus the larger the tax credit needed to make it cost-competitive.”

It’s not like none of us pointed this out at the time Obama unveiled his plan to put a million electric vehicles on the road before he destabilized the Middle East.

Ok, so he didn’t tell us that last part. Dr. Strange-Chu told us about that one. “Somehow,” Strange-Chu said, “we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

Hey? How about a regional civil war? We could lob a few missiles at Libya?

But even with Middle East and North African disorders keeping oil prices high, electric vehicles are still not cost competitive- nor does the consumer seem to want them at any cost.

General Motors essentially confirmed Obama’s bad bet when they admitted that the recent rash of “viral” Chevy Volt sales have been stoked by discounts of as much as $10,000 off the MSRP of $40,000.

Three months ago industry insiders revealed that General Motors was taking a loss of around $50,000 per Chevy Volt sold. That was assuming a sales price without the new and improved $10k discount. If you add in the $7,500 government subsidy, the Volt’s cost to the consumer is around $22,500.

Cost to the taxpayers is much, much higher. Before the discount, the Volt cost General Motors- a joint venture between Obama, Inc., and the United Auto Workers that was subsidized by your tax dollars- around $650 million just this year according to estimates by industry insiders. In August alone the discount bumped up the price to GM by another $28 million.

So far this year the company has sold around 13,000 Volts, compared to the 60,000 unit goal that they set at the beginning of the year.

"Let's face it, over $40,000 is asking a lot for a compact car," says Bob Lutz, who helped develop the Volt- and was present when GM was hurling toward bankruptcy.

"Its prime purpose was to introduce a new generation of technology," says the now-retired Lutz, according to CBSNews. "And at the same time ... demonstrate to the world that GM is way more technologically capable than the people give it credit for."

Show-offs. I never knew technology was capable of losing this much money so quickly. I’m impressed.

And now so is the Congressional Budget Office.


UN conference adopts extension of Kyoto climate accord

But leaves out most of the important countries

Seeking to control global warming, nearly 200 countries agreed Saturday to extend the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that limits the greenhouse gas output of some rich countries, but will only cover about 15 percent of global emissions.

The extension was adopted by a U.N. climate conference after hard-fought sessions and despite objections from Russia. The package of decisions also included vague promises of financing to help poor countries cope with climate change, and an affirmation of a previous decision to adopt a new global climate pact by 2015.

Though expectations were low for the two-week conference in Doha, many developing countries rejected the deal as insufficient to put the world on track to fight the rising temperatures that are shifting weather patterns, melting glaciers and raising sea levels. Some Pacific island nations see this as a threat to their existence.

“This is not where we wanted to be at the end of the meeting, I assure you,” said Nauru Foreign Minister Kieren Keke, who leads an alliance of small island states. “It certainly isn’t where we need to be in order to prevent islands from going under and other unimaginable impacts.”

The two-decade-old U.N. climate talks have so-far failed in their goal of reducing the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions that a vast majority of scientists says are warming the planet.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which controls the emissions of rich countries, is considered the main achievement of the negotiations, even though the U.S. rejected it because it didn’t impose any binding commitments on China and other emerging economies.

Kyoto was due to expire this year, so failing to agree on an extension would have been a major setback for the talks. Despite objections from Russia, which opposed rules limiting its use of carbon credits, the accord was extended through 2020 to fill the gap until a wider global treaty is expected to take effect.

However, the second phase only covers about 15 percent of global emissions after Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Russia opted out.

The decisions in Doha mean that in future years, the talks can focus on the new treaty, which is supposed to apply to both rich and poor countries. It is expected to be adopted in 2015 and take effect five years later, but the details haven’t been worked out yet.

U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern highlighted one of the main challenges going forward when he said the U.S. couldn’t accept a provision in the Doha deal that said the talks should be “guided” by principles laid down in the U.N.’s framework convention for climate change.

That could be interpreted as a reference to the firewall between rich and poor countries that has guided the talks so far, but which the U.S. and other developed countries say must be removed going forward.

“We are now on our way to the new regime,” European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said. It definitely wasn’t an easy ride, but we managed to cross the bridge.” “Hopefully from here we can increase our speed,” she added. “The world needs it more than ever.”


Obama’s Walt Disney Energy Policies

In Walt Disney’s 1940 animated film “Pinocchio,” woodcarver Geppetto dreams that his wooden marionette will turn into a real boy. Geppetto’s hopes are immortalized in the song “When You Wish Upon a Star,” which begins: “When you wish upon a star/ Makes no difference who you are/ Anything your heart desires/ Will come to you.”

The song won an Academy Award. It didn’t win a Nobel Prize for Economics or any awards for public policy, and was never intended as a guide for government energy and environmental programs.

Nevertheless, President Obama and the radical environmentalists who helped him win a second term seem to believe that, if only they wish hard enough, they can make the sun, wind, waves, algae and fields of corn replace fossil fuels as the world’s primary energy sources.

Never mind that these misnamed “clean and green” energy sources are still too impractical, unreliable, expensive and land-intensive to compete with oil, natural gas and coal on a level playing field. Team Obama will make non-hydrocarbon energy more competitive, by tilting the playing field.

Knowing hope and hype energy can’t survive without mandates and subsidies, they are doubling down on grants and loans for campaign-contributing corporate cronies. They ignore environmental study, health and endangered species laws, to green-light favored projects and technologies, overlooking bird kills and habitats blanketed or impacted by wind turbines, solar panels and algal ponds, and disregarding impacts of wind turbines on the health of people living near industrial wind facilities. They dismiss the fact that ethanol production requires billions of gallons of water and prodigious amounts of diesel and natural gas.

President Obama’s hype, hope and wish energy extracts tens of billions of dollars a year from productive, profitable sectors of the economy – to subsidize “alternative energy,” at the rate of some $200,000 per job “created” by government dictate and taxpayer money. Equally bad, that expensive energy increases costs for every family, factory, farm, hospital, restaurant and other business in the country, adversely affecting job creation and retention throughout the nation.

For hydrocarbon producers, the Obama Administration is tilting the playing field the other way. Federal bureaucrats delay and prevent leasing, drilling, mining and production of the fossil fuels that provide 85% of all US energy, versus less than 3% from these favored “renewable” sources.

Hydrocarbons generate millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars annually in economic activity, royalties and taxes. And yet, the Administration continues to throw senseless obstacles in the way of efforts to produce more onshore and offshore oil and gas right here in the United States, utilize our abundant coal resources, and bring Canadian oil to U.S. refineries by building the Keystone XL pipeline.

While they ignore the slaughter of countless eagles, whooping cranes, egrets, falcons, hawks, geese, bats and other flying creatures by wind turbines – Interior Department bureaucrats use sage grouse and prairie chickens to stymie leasing, drilling and hydraulic fracturing on public and private lands alike.

Fracking was developed by private industry, using private funding and innovation on private lands. It is the primary reason petroleum production (oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids) has increased in the United States, despite Team Obama’s leasing and drilling moratoria. No wonder it blossomed in North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas, where the federal government owns just 2-5% of all land, and not in the thirteen states where the feds own and control 30% (Montana) to 85% (Nevada) of the land.

According to IHS Global Insight, this unconventional oil and gas revolution has already created 1.7 million new jobs, pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into the US economy, and generated over $60 billion in federal, state and local tax receipts during 2012 alone. By 2035, it could create another 2 million jobs, rejuvenate American manufacturing, inject more than $5 trillion in cumulative capital expenditures in the US economy, and generate over $2.5 trillion in cumulative added government revenues, to offset some of the profligate spending by the White House, Congress and many states (including California, Illinois and New York, which have thus far refused to tap their own ample shale resources).

Fracking has driven US natural gas prices to $3.70 per thousand cubic feet (or million Btu) today – versus a high of $8 in the US a few years ago, and $14 in Europe and $17 in Japan today. That means cheaper electricity for homes, businesses and charities, low-cost transportation fuel for natural gas-powered vehicles, and less expensive feed stocks for petrochemicals – which means more jobs, economic productivity and tax revenues. This natural gas has also replaced coal in factories and electric power plants, reducing emissions of particulates, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, mercury and carbon dioxide.

Fracking has also reduced US oil imports (and the export of US dollars). That’s made Russia, Venezuela and Arab states nervous that prices will fall and demand for their gas and oil will shrivel. It’s persuaded the United Arab Emirates to bankroll actor Matt Damon’s new anti-fracking film, “Promised Land.”

Contrary to what Damon and frack-frenzied factions assert, the process is safe. Having “fracked” almost 2.5 million wells since 1949, the industry increasingly uses kitchen-cabinet chemicals and saline water that is unfit for agriculture, recycles that water, and has disproven virtually every claim of water contamination. The “controversy” over fracking was manufactured, to enrich environmentalist groups.

Their latest “concern” is that methane leaking from well completions and pipelines could contribute to “runaway manmade global warming.” However, methane represents barely 0.00018% of Earth’s atmosphere (1.8 ppm, equivalent to 18 cents out of $100,000); its link to climate change is conjectural at best; and whatever might possibly escape from US operations is dwarfed by CH4 emissions from termites, cows, landfills, coal seams, and sloppy oil and gas operations in countries like Nigeria.

No wonder Great Britain has decided to embrace fracking – and give UK families and businesses a break from the soaring energy prices that have so outraged its citizens. No wonder former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has told fellow Democrat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo he’d be “frackin’ crazy” to continue banning the practice in economically depressed Upstate NY. Many families in the area are on the verge oflosing their farms and strongly support drilling operations that would generate jobs and revenues – and save their farms from vulture environmentalists who are waiting for foreclosures, to swoop in and grab them on the cheap, to create new parks and weekend homes for New York City elites.

Where are Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and other Farm Aid celebrities, when you really need them?

Meanwhile, EPA and Interior are devising excuses to impose layers of new federal regulations on fracking for oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids from state, federal and private lands alike: water use, water contamination, methane leakage, wildlife impacts, whatever it takes to delay and obstruct.

By raising interminable objections to proven, safe technologies, Team Obama hopes to limit supplies and raise production costs of these fossil fuels. This, they theorize, will increase oil and gas prices, making hype and hope energy more competitive – at the expense of jobs, economic growth and tax revenues.

In the final analysis, energy policy is about choosing among imperfect sources of power to support modern societies and living standards. No source of energy, anywhere, anytime, has zero environmental impact and carries no risk of something going wrong.

Rather than wasting billions more taxpayer dollars pursuing energy wishes on stars, President Obama, Congress and Governor Cuomo should pursue energy reality and security. They should let states continue regulating hydraulic fracturing on private land, and make it easier to get drilling and fracking permits on federal land – to ensure job creation, revenue generation, and sensible environmental protection for wildlife and ecological values that might be threatened by petroleum, wind, solar or ethanol programs.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


7 December, 2012

BBC Bias

An email to Lord Patten (Chairman, The BBC Trust) which has been copied to me:

I wish to make a formal complaint regarding the failure of Mr Roger Harabin to follow one of the basic requirements of the Royal Charter under which the BBC is granted a monopoly of raising licence fees.

I wrote to my Member of Parliament, Mr Robert Walter, expressing grave concern at the number of important issues on which the BBC had failed to show due impartiality but worse had shown blatant bias. Last month Mr Walter replied advising me to make a formal complaint to you.

For the sake of simplicity I will confine my complaint to the one subject of Climate Change. As you are well aware Mr Roger Harabin, as is confirmed by his own emails, and Mr Joe Smith in January 2005 held a secret seminar at which they claimed twenty-eight specialists had concluded that the science of Climate Change was settled, it was entirely due to man's activity and the increase in Carbon Dioxide emissions. The implication was all twenty-eight at this all day seminar were scientific experts. Despite the BBC's strenuous attempts at a cover up we now know only three people present had any scientific training and most of the rest had strong vested interests in promulgating Anthropological Global Warming.

I, with no interest but the truth, wrote to Mr Harabin pointing out that the science was far from settled. I explained that when I worked for ICI Plastics Division my scientific knowledge was extended by week long courses at our Research Laboratories at Welwyn Garden City. We mainly concentrated on the study of Carbon and all its characteristics as this element was the basis of practically all our products. I submitted the following to Mr Harabin and asked if, in the interests of balance, impartiality and fair reporting he would give this alternative view due coverage. I can only take Mr Harabin's failure to even reply, despite warning him I would otherwise complain to you, as complete disdain or unwillingness to even acknowledge that his biased view point could even be challenged. The implication for the industrial future of our country of getting this issue wrong will be catastrophic without exaggeration.

As I try to explain in the simplest possible terms:-

Carbon Dioxide is not responsible for Climate Change:-

So we are being told to sacrifice our standard of living to reduce the quantity of CO2 in our atmosphere? How big a factor is CO2 in our atmosphere?

It surprises everyone I ask when they learn that this beneficial trace gas is 0.037% of our atmosphere. The line would be so thin on a pie chart as to be near invisible. Not only is CO2 a benign gas it is essential for all plant life and we need 7% of it in our lungs to live. Furthermore it is at an historically low level. So how can this minuscule quantity of trace gas affect our climate? As common sense and real science tells us it cannot and does not!

So how did the myth arise in the first place? Since when out of curiosity the atmospheric constituents were measured a hundred and fifty years ago and subsequently monitored a 10% rise in CO2 has been recorded. In other words one tenth of 0.037% over 150 years. This does not in any way surprise those scientists who study climate change and attribute such change to solar activity; the sun being our only source of heat and energy. They know from recorded history we had a warm period at the time of the Romans - a very warm period with grape bearing vines under Hadrian's Wall. This was followed by the bitterly cold Dark Ages of plague and pestilence; then the Medieval Warm Period when human endeavour flourished again, which we call the Renaissance, a period of great warmth with winemaking grapes grown around Newcastle. The Mini Ice Age followed with the Thames freezing in winter with ice between twelve and fifteen feet thick.

It is our good fortune to be enjoying the peak of a warm cycle soon to end. It will not get warm enough to grow grapes in the north, let alone Scotland. Sunspot activity would indicate a Dalton or Maunder minimum in the near future. These historically recorded climate change cycles very neatly coincide with the known revolution of the Sun's magnetic field end for end every nine hundred years.

So how did CO2 ever come to be blamed for this warming cycle? Well possibly it was started by Professor Lovelock of Gaia fame, it had to be the wicked human race that was responsible for all ills. CO2 was rising and this could only be accounted for by human activity.

As a point of fact one good volcanic eruption produces more CO2 than humans in a decade. Volcanoes are the greatest producers of CO2 and there is almost continuous volcanic activity in the deep oceans. In the marvellous way our world balances itself the oceans are the greatest holder of CO2. However, as the solar warming cycle takes effect, the oceans will release CO2 which more than accounts for the measured increase. You can see this effect for yourself in a fizzy drink. The CO2 bubbles will stay until the drink warms then they will be released. In other words CO2 increase, small though it is, is the result of cyclical warming not the cause.

Professor Lovelock has stated in the last few days that he got it wrong. As Professor Lovelock and others of his ilk influenced the politicians of his day including Mr Blair it stands to reason they "got it wrong" too with quite horrendous consequences for us all.

It is not a moment too soon to repeal the disastrous Climate Change Act.

I will await your response with interest,

Yours sincerely, W.G.G. Woodhouse

CNN Gives Climate Change Skeptic A Platform

And "Media Mutters" (below) is cross about it, in an amusing sort of way. They discredit Morano's words because he has no relevant scientific background. But neither does Al Gore! If Morano should not be heard, neither should Gore! If only ....

And it seemes that Morano did not speak at all. He only "spewed". That hardly inspired confidence in their reporting and does suggest -- dare I say it? Hate -- JR

CNN anchor Piers Morgan hosted a "debate" on climate science between Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and professional climate misinformer Marc Morano. As Morano spewed myths about climate change, CNN failed to disclose that he has no scientific training and is paid by an industry-funded organization.

Offering two "viewpoints" about temperature data and suggesting that scientific facts are up for "debate" is misleading in and of itself. During the segment, Morano claimed that we "have gone 16 years without global warming according to UN data." Nye pushed back, saying "This will be the hottest two decades in history, in recorded history. So when you throw around a statement like the UN says it's not the hottest 20 years, I got to disagree with you." But the audience was left unaware that Morano was highlighting a short time period to obscure the overall warming trend..

If the role of the media is to inform its audience, anchors must recognize how people are informed and misinformed. When people are repeatedly exposed to a myth, it becomes more familiar and they are more likely to believe it. By giving Morano a platform to claim that average temperatures have not warmed in nearly 20 years, Morgan enabled him to familiarize CNN's audience with climate myths.

It's not surprising that Morano seized the opportunity to spread confusion about climate change. Morano is paid over $150,000 by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, an organization that has received funding from oil companies.* As New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin explained, "industry-funded groups have used the media's tradition of quoting people with competing views to convey a state of confusion even as consensus on warming has built." Morano has promoted extreme attacks on climate scientists and those that accept global warming. His website often publishes the email addresses of scientists, leading to a barrage of hate mail, and he defended a billboard campaign comparing those who accept climate science to the Unabomber, saying it was "edgy."

While Morgan tried to pin down Morano to acknowledge certain facts -- that the earth is warming and the vast majority of climate scientists agree that burning fossil fuels is the major cause of this warming -- Morano seemed to be stuck in an alternate universe, making the on-air exercise a waste of time. Or as Nye concluded at the end of the segment, "We just don't agree on facts. So we aren't getting anywhere."

UPDATE: In a blog highlighting the segment, CNN claims it invited "a pair of experts" to discuss climate change, without noting that Morano has no scientific expertise. The blog says Morano "presented an alternate theory regarding the impact, and concern, associated with carbon dioxide,"ignoring that the vast majority of scientists agree that carbon dioxide emissions are driving global warming and that the public should be worried about the impacts of it.


Sea level rise is not accelerating either

Meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Puls: Sea Level Rise Has Slowed 34% Over The Last Decade!

German veteran meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Puls here has done an analysis of sea level rise. Contrary to claims made by fringe alarmist physicists, we see that sea level rise has decelerated markedly since 2003.

In his report, Puls writes that even TOPEX and JASON 1+2 show no acceleration. “The acceleration calculated by the models and constantly reported by the media does not exist!” Puls adds:

"It is obvious to see that sea level rise has slowed down significantly. In view of the relatively short time frame in which the measurements have been made, it should not be speculated on whether the deceleration in the rise is a trend change or if it is only noise. What is certain is that there is neither a ‘dramatic’ rise, nor an ‘acceleration’. Conclusion: Climate models that project an acceleration over the last 20 years are wrong.”

Puls fitted a polynomial curve to the data from TOPEX and JASON 1+2:

“The result is no surprise. The 20-year data series of global sea level rise shows a weakening!” No wonder con-artist Al Gore bought a mansion on the beachfront. It’s great living in a world of suckers and dimwit media.

But let’s not rely solely on the satellite data, which has been around only a measly 20 years, to infer a trend. Let’s compare it to tide gauges, which have been used well over one hundred years. Puls presents the following chart of the trend of the German bight”. Puls writes:

"An evaluation shows: Also tide gauges indicate a slow-down in sea level rise, and do so with a statistically very ”robust” dataset of 160 years.”

Conclusion: "We have found no indication that sea level has accelerated over the last 30 years. It doesn’t look good for the fans of acceleration.”

Puls summarizes: "The latest alarmist reports on the supposedly dramatic sea level rise for the present and the future cannot be confirmed by actual measurements. Quite to the contrary, they are refuted by the data. Globally neither tide nor satellite data show an acceleration of sea level rise. Rather they show a slow-down. Moreover they starkly contradict the previous and current claims coming from climate institutes. Also there are good indications that the satellite data were ‘overly corrected’ using inflated amounts.“

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

Global cooling explained

An international research team led by the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Helsinki has discovered a surprising new chemical compound in Earth's atmosphere that reacts with sulfur dioxide to form sulfuric acid, which is known to have significant impacts on climate and health.

The new compound, a type of carbonyl oxide, is formed from the reaction of ozone with alkenes, which are a family of hydrocarbons with both natural and man-made sources, said Roy "Lee" Mauldin III, a research associate in CU-Boulder's Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department and lead study author. The study charts a previously unknown chemical pathway for the formation of sulfuric acid, which can result both in increased acid rain and cloud formation as well as negative respiratory effects on humans.

"We have discovered a new and important, atmospherically relevant oxidant," said Mauldin. "Sulfuric acid plays an essential role in Earth's atmosphere, from the ecological impacts of acid precipitation to the formation of new aerosol particles, which have significant climatic and health effects. Our findings demonstrate a newly observed connection between the biosphere and atmospheric chemistry."

A paper on the subject is published in Nature.

Typically the formation of sulfuric acid in the atmosphere occurs via the reaction between the hydroxyl radical OH—which consists of a hydrogen atom and an oxygen atom with unpaired electrons that make it highly reactive—and sulfur dioxide, Mauldin said. The trigger for the reactions to produce sulfuric acid is sunlight, which acts as a “match” to ignite the chemical process, he said.

But Mauldin and his colleagues had suspicions that there were other processes at work when they began detecting sulfuric acid at night, particularly in forests in Finland—where much of the research took place—when the sun wasn't present to catalyze the reaction. "There were a number of instances when we detected sulfuric acid and wondered where it was coming from," he said.

In the laboratory, Mauldin and his colleagues combined ozone—which is ubiquitous in the atmosphere—with sulfur dioxide and various alkenes in a gas-analyzing instrument known as a mass spectrometer hooked up with a "flow tube" used to add gases. "Suddenly we saw huge amounts of sulfuric acid being formed," he said.

Because the researchers wanted to be sure the hydroxyl radical OH was not reacting with the sulfur dioxide to make sulfuric acid, they added in an OH "scavenger" compound to remove any traces of it. Later, one of the research team members held up freshly broken tree branches to the flow tube, exposing hydrocarbons known as isoprene and alpha-pinene—types of alkenes commonly found in trees and which are responsible for the fresh pine tree scent.

"It was such a simple little test," said Mauldin. "But the sulfuric acid levels went through the roof. It was something we knew that nobody had ever seen before."

Mauldin said the new chemical pathway for sulfuric acid formation is of interest to climate change researchers because the vast majority of sulfur dioxide is produced by fossil fuel combustion at power plants. "With emissions of sulfur dioxide, the precursor of sulfuric acid, expected to rise globally in the future, this new pathway will affect the atmospheric sulfur cycle," he said.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 90% of sulfur dioxide emissions are from fossil fuel combustion at power plants and other industrial facilities. Other sulfur sources include volcanoes and even ocean phytoplankton. It has long been known that when sulfur dioxide reacts with OH, it produces sulfuric acid that can form acid rain, shown to be harmful to terrestrial and aquatic life on Earth.

Airborne sulfuric acid particles—which form in a wide variety of sizes—play the main role in the formation of clouds, which can have a cooling effect on the atmosphere, he said. Smaller particles near the planet's surface have been shown to cause respiratory problems in humans.

Mauldin said the newly discovered oxidant might help explain recent studies that have shown large parts of the southeastern United States might have cooled slightly over the past century. Particulates from sulfuric acid over the forests there may be forming more clouds than normal, cooling the region by reflecting sunlight back to space.


Lord Monckton still having fun with the climate crooks

The hereditary peer, an ardent climate change sceptic, appears in a video promoted by US lobby group riding a camel to promote a "different perspective" on the UN climate change talks in Doha, which he has been thrown out of.

Lord Monckton of Brenchley, who is not a member of the House of Lords, during the talks took the chair of Burma and spoke into the microphone against all UN protocol.

After a short speech, in which he was booed, he was escorted out of the meeting by UN guards.

The UN said Lord Monckton was escorted out for “violating the UN code of conduct" and "impersonating a party”. He has been ‘de-badged’, meaning he no longer has a visa to stay in Qatar and had 24 hours to leave the country.

Earlier in the week he appeared in a video promoted by US lobby group the Committee on a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) riding a camel to promote a "different perspective" of the talks.

The two-week meeting, due to end on Friday is deadlocked on modest goals such as aid and an extension of an existing UN-led plan to combat climate change into 2013.

The European Union, Australia, Ukraine, Norway, Switzerland are the main backers of Kyoto who are willing to extend legally binding cuts in emissions beyond 2012 until 2020. But they account for less than 15 per cent of world emissions.

Russia, Japan and Canada have pulled out, saying it makes no sense to continue when big emerging nations led by China and India have no binding goals.

Kyoto backers see it as a blueprint to help unlock progress on a deal last year to work out by 2015 a new, global agreement to fight climate change that would enter into force in 2015.

SOURCE. (Video at link)

Studies differ on climate change and warming severity, researchers trade jabs

Two heavyweight climate scientists have published very different ideas about how much the Earth is going to warm in the coming decades. And neither has much regard for the other’s estimate - casting light on a long-standing, thorny issue in climate science.

Future warming is likely to be on the high end of predictions says Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research who has been a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

But Michael Schlesinger, who heads the Climate Research Group within the Department of the Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois, has just published a study with his group finding warming will be at the low end of projections.

How much the Earth warms in the coming decades is an important societal and environmental issue. The more it warms the more difficult it will be to adapt to warming, avoid unwelcome consequences, and implement effective measures to slow it, namely reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The range of warming predictions for doubling carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - the so-called climate sensitivity - spans about 2 to 4.5 degrees C. according to the 2007 IPCC report. The Schlesinger group study says the most likely sensitivity is 1.5-2 degrees C, whereas Trenberth told New Scientist he thinks it is more like 4 degrees C, though he calls 3 degrees C “very viable.”

One rationale for Trenberth’s higher estimate is the headline-generating study he and UCAR colleague John Fasullo published in Science November 8. The study revealed the computer models that predict the most warming have the best track record in accurately simulating humidity in the atmosphere over a recent 10-year study period. The warmer models should be trusted the most, both Trenberth and Fasullo assert.

“The models at the higher end of temperature predictions uniformly did a better job,” Fasullo told the Washington Post’s Brian Vastag, adding that the models predicting less temperature change “should be outright discounted.”

But Schlesinger said he finds the Fasullo and Trenberth analysis “very uncompelling” and would have rejected the study had he been a reviewer.

“The Fasullo and Trenberth study is meaningless,” Schlesinger said. “[I]t does not address the zeroth-order question: What [climate sensitivity] best reproduces the observed changes in ... temperature from the 19th century to the present?”

The Schlesinger group study does exactly this, applying their in-house model to analyze historic changes in temperature to narrow predictions of the future. This method yields an average warming estimate of just 1.5-2 degrees C for doubling CO2.

The result is notable primarily for two reasons.

First, just a decade ago, Schlesinger had published research concluding “there is a 70 percent chance [the climate sensitivity] exceeds the maximum IPCC value of 4.5 degrees C”.” He and co-author Natalia Andronova at the time opined: “This is a disquieting result.” The new estimate of 1.5-2 degrees C is a striking reversal.

Second, it is the among the lowest estimates of climate sensitivity among actively publishing climate researchers. Only a small handful of studies have reached similar conclusions, and they have primarily been published by scientists unconvinced manmade climate change poses major risks. For example, Pat Michaels (and colleagues) of the libertarian Cato Institute published a paper in Climate Research in 2002 arguing warming would be at the low end of the IPCC’s projections (around 1.8 degrees C). And in 2011, Roy Spencer, a University of Alabama researcher and expert for the conservative-leaning Marshall Institute, published a controversial paper (with colleague William Braswell) asserting climate models with lower sensitivities do a slightly better job matching observations.

Scientists often say a single study is not gospel, particularly if the results depart drastically from the overwhelming body of existing literature. Contrary to Schlesinger’s result, the majority of state-of-the-art four-dimensional “general circulation models” (GCMs) - the kind used in the Trenberth and Fasullo study - estimate the climate sensitivity is closer to 3 degrees C. The 2007 IPCC report stated 3 degrees C is the “most likely” number.

Trenberth and Fasullo expressed major concerns about the Schlesinger paper and its much lower estimate.

“[Schlesinger’s] numbers have no sound or physical basis,” Trenberth said. “The problem is the paper uses a very simple model, one that has no hydrological cycle, and one where the ocean structure is fixed.”

Fasullo added: “Crude models such as the ones used in the [Schlesinger] study .... should not be used as a surrogate for GCMs as they are by their very nature simplistic and small changes in their basic assumptions can yield widely varying results.” [True of ALL models --JR)

It’s beyond the scope of this blog post to evaluate the merits (and/or limitations) of the Trenberth and Schlesinger papers. That is best done in the peer reviewed literature and forthcoming assessments.

But the disparity in the estimates of Trenberth and Schlesinger and their sharp criticisms of each other’s work highlights how little progress has been made in narrowing down climate sensitivity estimates since the 1970s.

The wide range of possible climate sensitivities poses challenges for policymakers who must decide how urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are and how much to cut them.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


6 December, 2012

Top UN Warmist has huge wealth transfer in mind

Craig Rucker

Talk about alignment of the stars! Barack Obama based his 2008 presidential campaign on the principle of “sharing the wealth.” He won, got reelected and now has, at least in his own mind, a flat-out mandate to extend his vision for wealth redistribution (and wealth destruction) planet-wide.

This week, as United Nations luminaries gather in Doha, Qatar, for the 18th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, the self-described “daughter of a revolutionary,” has presented her goals. The most important is a massive transfer of wealth – $100 billion a year – from soon-to-be formerly rich Europeans and Americans to UN bureaucrats who claim to represent the world's “developing” nations and Earth’s poorest citizens.

This astonishing concept is beyond surreal. It contends that the world already has enough wealth; that the developing world cannot or ought not generate any new wealth, certainly not from hydrocarbons, but rather should be content with receiving transfer payments monitored by the UN bureaucracy; and that the industrialized world should be put in an economic straitjacket, and yet charged $1 trillion per decade for climate change reparations and mitigation – on the premise that its carbon dioxide emissions have supplanted the many natural forces that caused extensive and repeated climate changes for eons.

Coupled with the underlying premise that wealth transfers are the only way to combat alleged planet-threatening, manmade global warming, is it any wonder that the entire Doha conference is like a bad dream (or horror movie)? Or that this ridiculous saga is taking place in the nation that boasts the world’s highest per capita carbon dioxide emissions?

Of course, the UN’s objective in Doha extends far beyond wealth transfers. It seeks a total restructuring of world political power, energy systems and economies – with the UN on top and nation states bowing before its ministers, just as a newly elected President Obama bowed before his eminence, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Just imagine: The gilded Lilliputians have gathered in Doha to strip the giants of their wealth, and oddly enough the giants (the EU and USA) are willing to be stripped naked, but only (apparently) if the emerging economic powers (including China and India) will follow suit and set their own economy-strangling carbon-cutting targets. We are witnessing Mutually Assured Destruction all over again! Except, of course, that China and very likely India will opt out of this charade, laughing all the way to the bank at this grand farce.

Despite 16 years of stable planetary temperatures, and growing evidence that prior projections of rapid warming were based on faulty modeling and outright disinformation, the mainstream media continue to hype the global warming cataclysm talking points.

Associated Press “reporter” Karl Ritter, for example, said the Doha battle “between the rich and the poor” is over “efforts to reach a deal to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2° C, compared to preindustrial times” – when Earth was emerging from the Little Ice Age. He cited a recent World Bank “projection” of an up to 4° C rise by 2100. Even worse, New York Times reporter James Atlas, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, warned that the Big Apple will likely sink beneath the sea in the next 50 to 200 years.

Both predictions must have been buried somewhere in Nostradamus or the Mayan calendar.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Energy Information Administration in 2011 forecast a 53% jump in world energy demand from 2008 levels by 2035. And the International Energy Agency predicted that the U.S. will be the world leader in natural gas production by 2015 and oil production by 2020, with Canada not far behind.

More to the point, despite Figueres’ blathering about increased investments in and reduced costs of “clean” energy, the fact is that oil, natural gas and, yes, even coal, will furnish much (if not most) of this expanding demand for energy. Expensive, subsidized, land-hungry, wildlife-killing, food-price-hiking “renewable” energy will remain a small niche player for decades to come.

It is not surprising that the bureaucrats at Doha are focusing on rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, given their catastrophic worldview that somehow fails to incorporate real economic progress for developing world citizens. They apparently see nothing wrong with the fact that most of the fossil energy production in Africa, for example, has contributed virtually nothing to constructing functional power grids, truck-worthy highways, or even air traffic routing that bolster trade, build local economies, lift families out of poverty, and help eliminate the wood and dung burning that kills millions from lung infections.

Instead, the energy is shipped overseas, to countries that don’t have enough indigenous energy – or to the United States, which refuses to develop its own vast hydrocarbon deposits.

And no wonder. Fossil fuel fired power plants in Africa do not fit the “Clean Development Mechanism” model that the UN devised – and foisted on poor countries – to enable rich nations to dump “clean energy” projects on the poor, while maintaining their own comparatively extravagant lifestyles and purchasing indulgences (carbon credits) to assuage their guilt.

Aside from the fact that someone (Al Gore, international bankers and their kin) will make a killing off any carbon trading schemes – and that the UN bureaucracy is seeking to pad its own employment rolls and pocketbooks – the sad reality is that none of the shenanigans at Doha (or at any previous or future UNFCCC dog and pony show) is likely to improve the well-being of the billions of humans in so-called developing countries one whit.

These people need cheap, reliable, abundant energy and the infrastructure it can support, in order to climb out of abject poverty, lengthen life spans grossly shortened by disease and malnutrition, and terminate the tyranny of neo-colonialists who, in the name of “preventing climate change,” continue to rule over them with iron fists.

By now, everyone knows that “global warming” or “climate change” or “weird weather” is nothing but a smokescreen for those like Figueres and Obama, who view economic growth as either evil or environmentally intolerable – and thus think taking from the rich and giving to bureaucrats who claim to represent the poor will even things out, and is the highest and best thing we can do.

A far better agenda for Doha would be encouraging the emergence of genuine leadership in the world’s poor nations (and its rich nations), to foster energy generation and infrastructure building, and unleash entrepreneurial instincts and wealth creation that truly enrich the lives and fortunes of their people.

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Chancellor confirms UK will chase US shale gas boom

The Chancellor today confirmed the UK will give chase to a US-style shale gas boom by consulting on what tax incentives to give the controversial fuel source and creating its own department, a new Office for Unconventional Gas.

The move will give certainty to developers in the UK including Cuadrilla Resources whose CEO recently suggested they would not wait forever to invest in the UK. However it is sure to be a bitter blow for environmental campaigners opposed to “fracking”.

Announcing the Government’s Gas Strategy in his yearly Autumn Statement today, Mr Osborne suggested shale gas would help British families benefit from low gas prices similar to those experienced in the States.

The Chancellor declared: “We are consulting on new tax incentives for shale gas and announcing the creation of a single Office for Unconventional Gas so that regulation is safe but simple. We don’t want British families and businesses to be left behind as gas prices tumble on the other side of the Atlantic.”

Contrary to demands from up to 300 protestors outside Westminster over the weekend to ditch a dash for gas, the publication of today’s Gas Strategy confirms unabated gas will “continue to play a crucial role in our generation mix for many years to come and the amount of gas we need to call on at times of peak demand will remain high”.

It adds DECC modelling suggests “up to 26 GW of new gas plant could be required by 2030 (in part to replace older coal, gas and nuclear plant as it retires from the system).”

Engineers said the Chancellor’s Statement gave “very welcome clarification” on the role of gas in bridging a “looming” energy gap in the middle of the decade.

Dr Tim Fox, Head of Energy and Environment at Imeche said: “It is sensible for the UK to invest in gas-fired power plants at this point in time as they are cleaner than coal, needed to back-up intermittent renewable energy sources and can be built quicker with much lower up-front costs than nuclear plants.

But he warned the UK must not become “over-reliant” on gas: “The UK’s off-shore gas reserves are dwindling and given that the contribution of shale gas will probably be limited to a few percent of future UK demand, we are unlikely to ever be self-sufficient in gas.”

David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association added: “Gas has a vital role to play in a balanced mix, not just for generation but for heating our homes. The UK’s energy future must be affordable and deliver on climate change targets and this means a balanced approach that retains gas for many decades.”

Last month the gas market had a brush with scandal when a whistle-blower at an energy reporting firm alleged prices were being fixed, Libor-style, prompting the Government to begin an investigation into the gas market.

Experts believe global wholesale gas prices are the cause of recent rises in energy bills. The Chancellor’s argument goes that a national shale gas resource would counter external gas price increases.

However environmentalists claim George Osborne is “misleading” the public about the benefits of shale gas.

Greenpeace political director Joss Garman said: “The Chancellor is misleading people to position shale gas as the answer to UK’s energy woes. The impact of fracking in the US is irrelevant because energy experts say the US shale gas boom cannot be replicated here.”

Andy Atkins, Executive director of Friends of the Earth said “The big polluters must think Christmas has come early – but if bad Santa Osborne’s gas-fired energy strategy gets the go-ahead it will leave cash-strapped households and the environment with a thumping hang-over for decades.”


Britain’s Green Energy Investment Collapsing

Fundamental ideological disagreements within the government about renewable energy have turned away droves of potential investors in crucial new green electricity generators, according to damning new research.

Britain needs to attract tens of billions of pounds of private investment in low-carbon energy in the next decade, to ensure the lights stay on while meeting ambitious environmental targets.

But alarming new research shows that investment in essential industrial-scale wind, water, solar, biomass and nuclear power projects has more than halved in the past three years, in the face of government indecision over its green energy policy.

Furthermore, last week’s energy bill failed to provide many would-be investors with the reassurance they need to “pull the trigger” on key renewable energy projects, warns Michael Liebreich, head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the researcher behind the report.

Experts blame the ideologically divided coalition for its failure to agree a coherent renewable energy policy and its, sometimes public, disagreements about low-carbon electricity subsidies and whether to introduce firm targets to reduce carbon emissions.

They say the resulting uncertainty has shaken the confidence of potential financiers who need a clear sense of their likely returns along with certainty that the government is in favour of green energy and won’t suddenly change its policy.

Michael Liebreich, head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said: “Yes, the coalition could have moved faster to eliminate uncertainty, especially in the past two months with the rise of the ‘dash for gas lobby’ and the sudden lurch to the sceptical which is very destabilising.”

Mr Liebreich is referring, in part, to David Cameron’s decision in September to replace pro-renewable energy minister Charles Hendry with John Hayes, a well-known opponent of wind power. Since his appointment, Mr Hayes has continued to voice his opposition to wind power – saying Britain was already “peppered” with onshore windfarms and that “enough is enough” - even though his stance contradicts the strategy of his boss, energy secretary Ed Davey, for whom the technology is key. Meanwhile, George Osborne, is set to announce formally place gas – a non-renewable, fossil fuel - at the centre of Britain’s energy strategy in his autumn statement tomorrow.

“Swapping out Charles Hendry seems pretty extraordinary, to be honest, if they want to attract investment,” said Mr Liebreich, adding that last week’s long-awaited and fiercely-negotiated energy bill was nonetheless a step in the right direction because it “establishes the principle of energy diversity and provides a good framework to achieve this.”

But although most experts agree that last week’s bill represents a progression, many are discouraged by the decision to drop a legally-binding target to make electricity generation almost entirely green by 2030. This was proposed by Mr Davey but later overruled by George Osborne and its removal has left many potential low-carbon investors unconvinced about the government’s commitment to renewable energy – although there is a possibility of an amendment to return it to the bill as it passes through Parliament.

Andrew Raingold, director of Aldersgate, an alliance of 50 major companies including Asda, BT, Marks & Spencer, Microsoft and Philips, is among those who argue that the energy bill doesn’t go far enough. “Delaying key decisions such as the decarbonisation target for 2030 risks damaging the UK’s future economic prospects and leaving the consumers over-exposed to the price and energy security risks of heavy dependence on imported gas,” Mr Raingold said.

Ditlev Engel, chief executive of the world’s biggest wind turbine maker, Vestas, was also critical of the bill, pointing out that its lack of clarity on green energy would also hit companies that supply what could be a burgeoning industry in the UK.

Mr Engel, who closed Vestas wind turbine manufacturing plants in the Isle of Wight and Southampton in 2009 and this summer pulled out of plans to set up a manufacturing plant in Kent, amid the lack of certainty, said last week of the energy bill: “The failure to establish a firm 2030 power sector carbon cap prolongs uncertainty to the supply chain where investment horizons extend well beyond 2020. This is a missed opportunity.”

His comments, in turn, come after a powerful alliance of companies including Siemens, Mitsubishi and Areva, the French nuclear giant, wrote to David Cameron, Mr Osborne and Mr Davey in October warning them that a lack of decision-making and threats to relax key green targets “have caused us to reassess the level of political risk in the UK.”

“We consider that a binding 2030 target for power sector decarbonisation would help reduce the political risk currently associated with long term UK industrial investment,” continued the letter, whose senders employ about 17,500 people in Britain and are planning “significant further development” which, they warned, was “critically dependent on a long-term stable policy framework”.

Although there has been a steady drum beat of warnings about the dangers posed to investment by what has been dubbed Britain’s “energy shambles”, the stark Bloomberg figures are the first to quantify the impact.

They show that investment in industrial-scale wind, solar, water, biomass and other renewable energy generators Such investment tumbled from a peak of $10.65bn (£6.6bn) in 2009, as potential backers felt increasingly confident that they would be eligible for significant subsidies, to $7.81bn in 2010.

The decline continued last year, as investment fell to just $5.0bn last year – less than half of its peak two years earlier – and is set to fall again in 2012 after just $3.63bn of cash was committed in the first nine months of the year, according to Bloomberg.

Nico Tyabji, also of New Energy Finance, said: “Investors have made clear to the UK government that policy uncertainty has undermined investment.”

The highest profile low-carbon energy project that has been put on hold because of uncertainty about government subsidy levels is the proposed £10bn power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, which would be the UK's first nuclear energy provider for more than a quarter of a century. However, the investors, British Gas-owner Centrica and Edf, the French energy giant, will not finally commit to project until they have agreed a minimum price with the government for the electricity it will generate.”

By contrast, investment in small generators by households and small businesses such as farms, jumped to $3.80bn last year from virtually nothing in 2010 as people scrambled to take advantage of generous government subsidies for solar panels. However, investment in these small-scale generators has declined this year after the government suddenly and unexpectedly attempted to reduce solar subsidy levels, in a move that the High Court ruled was illegal and which further rocked the confidence of potential investors. The government has since succeeded in reducing the solar subsidies.

Last week’s bill more than triples of the amount that will be available for a key subsidy to support low-carbon energy generation from £2.35bn next year to nearly £10.0bn by 2021 - much of it to be funded by consumers, who will see about £95 a year added onto the average household bill as a result.

However, although such a substantial sum represents a step in the right direction, critics say that with no indication of how the pot will be allocated to different forms of power generation, and on what terms, investors are still in the dark.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said it was “misleading” to blame the figures solely on proposed changes to the nation’s electricity market when the financial crisis has hurt other infrastructure investment, in the UK and overseas. Furthermore, the spokesman insisted that the government’s plans will accelerate investment and attract new low-carbon investment.


Teacher: Hurricane Sandy a Result of 'Massive Theft of Atmospheric Commons'

Social justice activist teachers see natural disasters like the recent Hurricane Sandy as opportunities to bring their political agendas into the classroom. And they rarely miss an opportunity.

Writing for the far-left Zinn Education Project (named for the late communist professor Howard Zinn), Portland, Oregon high school teacher Tim Swinehart opined:

“Hurricane Sandy, and the superstorms that will follow, are not just acts of nature—they are products of a massive theft of the atmospheric commons shared by all life on the planet. Every dollar of profit made by fossil fuel companies relies on polluting our shared atmosphere with harmful greenhouse gases, stealing what belongs to us all. But if we don’t teach students the history of the commons, they’ll have a hard time recognizing what—and who—is responsible for today’s climate crisis.”

He goes on to blame the “massive theft” on private companies that pollute the environment, and complains that textbooks have a bias toward treating the buying and selling of land as “normal” and even “inevitable.” In other words, private ownership is bad. Do you see where this is going?

So what is his solution? To begin teaching students that there needs to be a renewed effort to reclaim “the commons” for the collective benefit of all and drive a stake through the heart of those that profit from the earth and its atmosphere.

Because of that profit-making – or “theft” – we’re now experiencing global warming, melting ice caps and more destructive storms like Sandy, according to Swinehart. So students should learn about “the culmination of hundreds of years of privatizing and commodifying the natural world,” he believes.

Another radical education organization, Rethinking Schools, wrote that the “climate crisis” is an “education crisis” and teachers must take action in the classroom and school districts must lend full support.

“We can do a lot in our individual classrooms—but not everything. We need our professional organizations and school districts to provide professional development that is cross-disciplinary and that deals forthrightly with the climate crisis. We need administrators and educational policy makers to recognize that ‘skills’ that can and must be taught in the context of a curriculum about things that matter, including the climate. We need our districts to demand curriculum materials, including textbooks, that are honest and that equip students to understand what’s at stake.

“For education activists this work is part of a broader struggle to critique and oppose the equation of academic achievement with scoring well on tests. That schools seem to be sleepwalking through the climate crisis is one indication of the overall lunacy of the data-chase that became institutionalized in No Child Left Behind and embraced with gusto by the Obama administration.

“The fight for a climate-relevant education is part of the broader fight for a critical, humane, challenging, and socially responsive curriculum. It’s work that belongs to us all.”

So they’re telling us that schools should ignore the academic development of students (as measured by comprehensive testing), and should instead focus on teachers leading students into the freaky and drug-stained world of left-wing protest on behalf of Marxist causes.

Never mind that their theory of global environmental change is not accepted by everyone, and their proposed solution – the banning of private enterprise – is largely rejected in the United States. They want the right to ram their ideas down our children’s throats.

Be on the lookout, parents, because the organizations that peddle these bizarre ideas have national reach, and they work to influence K-12 classroom teachers across the nation. Don’t let your unsuspecting child fall into their trap.


A fanatical and self-righteous green religion stalks Britain. Now it wants to evangelise the Third World

Charles Dickens must be turning in his grave. We have a government that tells struggling families here at home to buck up and shell out to build wind farms in the developing world. Here, there are mothers worrying about stretching a very limited budget to cover Christmas lunch, with turkey and trimmings, and presents that don't all come from PoundLand; but the Coalition doesn't worry about the hardships under its nose, concentrating instead on those who suffer in distant lands. Dickens would have recognised this instantly as Mrs Jellaby charity – the mother in Bleak House who is obsessed with charitable work for the missions, while her own brood is starving in her kitchen.

How did this tragicomic state of affairs come to pass? The Tories (some of them at least) got not God but Green.

Fanatical, self-righteous, and bent on evangelisation, the green religion stalks the land. Its priests preach apocalyptic visions of a future so bleak that ordinary mortals fear for our lives – even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Now, the green lobby want to spread the word to the Third World. Yes, let there be wind turbines across Africa, and low carbon farming across Colombia! And let it all happen with the British taxpayer footing the bill – to the tune of £2 billion!

You don't need to be James Delingpole or Nigel Lawson to feel uncomfortable with the rise and rise of the green lobby. Climate change is a huge debate, and no one can afford to be partisan: our children, and our children's children will suffer if we don't get this right. But while some cautious experts are taking their time to sift through the evidence (much of it contradictory) the green lobby is imposing its mission on this Coalition. The Lib Dems are true believers, and have been from the outset; but so too are a surprising number of Tories.

The result is Dickensian. George Osborne today as he reads out his Autumn Statement will remind listeners of another of Dickens's famous creations – Scrooge.


Climate change funds earmarked for Africa 'are going to corporations'

Climate change: British taxpayers’ money for climate aid is going to large businesses such as Walmart rather than going directly to help poor people, according to campaigners.

At the latest round of climate change talks in Doha, Qatar, the UK pledged almost £2bn over the next two years to help poor countries cope with climate change.

But the World Development Movement said the money is going to large companies rather than helping poor people likely to suffer from climate change.

A recent example was £385m, channeled through a World Bank project to promote clean energy in poor countries.

WDM say that most of the money went to private companies to build wind turbines or solar panels for profit.

Some £10m ended up going towards a 27-turbine farm in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, operated by the French energy giant EDF, to be paid back in 15 years.

WDM claim that all of the electricity is being used by Walmart, the owner of the Asda supermarket chain, rather than for local people. Also land owned by indigenous people was used without their consent.

The latest tranche of UK climate change aid spending, includes £150 million towards projects such as building more solar panels in Africa.

Alex Scrivener, the World Development Movement’s policy officer, feared the money would again go to private companies.

“While it is good that the UK government has reaffirmed its previous commitments on climate finance, it looks like it has continued to move in the wrong direction in terms of how to spend the money. Most of the money will be spent on projects that put big business rather than the poor in the driving seat. This means we may see more large-scale corporate energy projects which fail to boost energy access.

“The UK government is trying to present itself as being progressive on climate change by making this announcement at Doha. But this conceals a pro-corporate agenda which risks channelling money meant for the poor to benefit big business.

“The UK’s obsession with bringing in big business at all costs risks leaving projects that help poor people adapt to the effects of climate change without funds. These projects are often not profitable and are therefore not attractive to private sector investors. It is these vital adaptation projects that should be made a priority for support with UK public money.”

Greg Barker, the Energy and Climate Change Minister, insisted that public money will continue to go directly to help poor communities adapt to floods and droughts and other impacts from global warming.

But he said that channeling money through the private sector could ensure billions more cash is spent on helping the developing world to go green.

He pointed out that UK investors could make money from leading the way on providing low carbon goods and services, not only helping out own economy but those in developing countries.

The CBI estimate this sector could be worth £4 trillion by 2015.

Mr Barker said he was pushing for City of London to lead the way in providing the financial instruments such as pension funds, insurance and ‘green bonds’ that will fund low carbon projects.

The UK is leading a meeting of private sector investors in Abu Dhabi early next year to develop these low carbon goods and services in the City.

“For me this meeting (in Doha) is about an audacious land grab for global green goods and services market,” Mr Barker said.

Climate change aid is a key part of the UN negotiating process moving towards a deal in 2015.

Poor countries want $100bn per year of funding by 2020.

A source close to the UK negotiating team said the money announced in Doha was designed to encourage the rest of the world to come forward with climate change aid, especially in Europe.

“Basically we are saying to the French: we have upped our contribution, now up yours.”




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


5 December, 2012

MINUS 20C? Britain faces coldest winter for 100 years as Big Freeze follows floods with wind so strong it blows water upwards

More evidence of global cooling

Britain will shiver tonight as temperatures plummet in the first taste of what promises to be one of our coldest winters for a century.

The cold snap is expected to last until the end of the week, creating dangerous conditions on the roads and adding to the misery of those already battling floods.

Temperatures could fall to as low as minus 3°c (27°f) in some places, with snow already falling in the Pennines. In Saltburn, North Yorkshire, northerly winds have become so strong that they are pushing water back up a cliff.

The torrential rain which has deluged the country for the last week is expected to ease at last but the clearer skies, coupled with northerly winds, will send the mercury plummeting.

Tonight’s cold snap heralds a freezing winter ahead with long-range forecasters warning that temperatures could fall to as low as minus 20°c (4°f) in some areas through December and January.

Local authorities say they are prepared for a harsh winter and have taken steps to avoid a repeat of two years ago, when a lack of gritters and snowploughs caused roads and transport networks to grind to a halt.


UK to build 30 new gas power plants by 2030:

Aaargh! Gas is a "fossil fuel"

Britain could have 30 new gas-fired power stations running by 2030 under a dramatic expansion of generation plans to be unveiled this week.

A Department of Energy and Climate Change gas strategy is expected to say 26 gigawatts (GW) of new gas capacity is needed - up to 30 plants - an increase from current plans for up to 20GW.

In a coup for the Chancellor, it will also show a scenario in which 37GW of gas plants could be built, making gas account for nearly half of the UK energy mix by 2030. That would require amending carbon emissions plans enshrined in law last year.

Mr Osborne has indicated he does not want to see Britain move faster than the rest of Europe in cutting emissions, while the 37GW scenario would be closer to European plans.

Gas expansion will horrify environmentalists, who already questioned how 20GW of new gas would square with Britain’s legally-binding long-term goal of an 80pc reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 from 1990 levels.

It will also raise questions about Britain’s dependence on potentially expensive imported gas at a time when rising gas costs have been blamed for soaring household energy bills.

But the plans will cheer those who believe a shale gas boom could keep prices down in Europe and make a cheaper alternative to renewables and nuclear.

Mr Osborne will this week confirm he is consulting on tax breaks for shale gas in the UK and will establish an Office for Shale Gas.

Adding to fears over costs of nuclear, EDF said on Monday that the price of its much-delayed Flamanville reactor in France had risen by a further €2bn, to €8bn. EDF plans to build the same reactor design at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

EDF said that its cost estimate for Hinkley Point – which it has provided to the Government for subsidy negotiations but has not publicly disclosed – “already include the lessons learned from Flamanville”.


Is Africa in an emissions arm lock?

First World industrialized nations are trying to prevent African development says Dr Kelvin Kemm (Dr. Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and business strategy consultant in Pretoria, South Africa)

The latest world environment and climate change conference (COP-18) is taking place in Doha, Qatar. One of the prime issues under discussion is the attempt to force countries all over the world to adopt binding agreements to limit “carbon emissions.”

The term “carbon emissions” really refers to emissions of carbon dioxide gas – but “carbon” and “carbon dioxide” are two totally different things. Carbon is a solid (think coal and charcoal) and the central building block of hydrocarbons, whereas carbon dioxide is the gas that all humans and animals exhale and all plants require to grow. Without carbon dioxide, all life on Earth would cease.

It is thus not just silly to talk of “carbon emissions.” It is also simplistic and grossly inaccurate – except when referring to carbon particulate matter released during the combustions of wood, dung, hydrocarbons and other carbon-based materials. Saying “carbon emissions” also reflects the appalling lack of scientific knowledge so prevalent today. But never mind.

The real issue is that some people insist that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is leading to an increased greenhouse effect, which in turn is leading to dangerous global warming.

However, the graph of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide over the last century fails to match the graph of measured temperature increases. In fact, average global temperatures have been essentially stable for 16 years, even as the carbon dioxide (CO2) level has continued to rise.

Henrik Svensmark and other scientists have shown that global temperature is much more accurately correlated to observed sunspot activity. Sunspots reflect solar activity, specifically the sun’s magnetic field, that affects the quantity of cosmic rays entering Earth’s atmosphere from outer space. That in turn is linked to the proposition that particles in the cosmic rays cause clouds to form, and varying cloud cover on earth has a great influence on global temperatures.

Fewer cosmic rays mean fewer clouds, more sunlight reaching the Earth, and a warmer planet. More cosmic rays mean more clouds, more reflected sunlight, and a cooler planet.

Indeed, historical sunspot records correlate quite well with warming and cooling trends on Earth, whereas carbon dioxide and climate trends do not correlate well – except in one respect. Warm periods are typically followed several centuries later by rising CO2 levels, as carbon dioxide is released from warming ocean waters, increasing terrestrial plant growth. Cooling periods eventually bring colder oceans, which absorb and retain greater amounts of CO2 – and less plant growth.

Thus the CO2 argument for global warming is very much in doubt – whereas there is a very viable, and more plausible, alternative.

However, CO2 is largely produced by automobiles and electricity generating power stations, which burn the fossil fuels so loathed by Deep Ecology environmentalists. That makes these energy, transportation and economic development sources the target of “carbon emission” reduction schemes.

I was a delegate at COP-17 in Durban, South Africa in 2011. As a scientist and resident of Africa, I walked around the Africa pavilion, discussing these issues and gauging the opinions of many people from African countries. To put it bluntly, the African representatives were not happy.

Their general feeling was that the First World is trying to push Africa around, bully African countries into accepting its opinions and, even worse, adopting its supposed “solutions.”

The “solutions” include moving away from fossil fuels and implementing supposed alternatives like wind, solar and biofuel power. Africans were unhappy about this. They still are. They can intuitively see that large scale wind or solar power is not practical – and biofuels mean devoting scarce cropland, water and fertilizer to growing energy crops, instead of using the crops for food. What Africa needs now is abundant, reliable, affordable electricity and transportation fuel, which means producing more of the Earth’s still abundant oil, coal and natural gas.

It is all well and good if highly variable, expensive wind power makes up ten percent or less of an already industrialized nation’s enormous electricity supply. If it varies significantly, or fails entirely, even on the hottest and coldest days (as it is prone to do), the loss of ten percent is not a disaster.

But First World countries have been telling poor African countries to base their futures on wind power as major portions of their national supplies.

What this implies is that, if the wind power fails, whole sections of a country can grind to a halt. “Oh, no problem,” say climate campaigners. “Just install a smart grid and longer transmission lines, so that when wind is blowing somewhere in the country the smart grid will do all the fancy switching, to make sure electricity flows to critical functions.” In theory, maybe.

But meanwhile, in the real world, in August 2012, industrialized Germany’s wind power was under-performing to such a degree that the country decided it must open a new 2,200-megawatt coal-fired power station near Cologne – and announced the immediate construction of 23 more!

Moreover, installing a smart grid assumes that the country concerned wants to develop a major complex national grid – and has the money to do so – or has one already. Bad assumption.

Africa is huge. In fact, Africa is larger than China, the United States, Europe and India added together. So it’s a mistake to assume African countries will want to implement major national grids, following European historical examples – or will be able to, or will have the vast financial and technical resources to do so, or will have the highway or rail capability to transport all the necessary components to construct thousands of miles of transmission lines.

Even in the USA, the electricity system in the state of Texas is not connected to the rest of the country, and the issue of building thousands of miles of new transmission lines and smart grids is generating controversy and serious funding questions.

In South Africa we already run major power lines, for example from Pretoria to Cape Town, which is the same distance as Rome to London. We need to ask:

Is it wise to keep doing this, or should smaller independent grids be developed as well? If compulsory carbon emissions come into force, will this limit African economic growth and African electricity and transportation expansion?

Should Africans be told to “stay in harmony with the land” – and thus remain impoverished and wracked by disease and premature death – by continuing to live in an underdeveloped state, because a dominant First World bloc believes its climate alarmism is correct, suppresses alternative evidence, and is more than willing to impose its views on the poorest, most politically powerless countries?

The promised billions in climate change “mitigation” and “reparation” dollars have not materialised yet, and are unlikely to appear any time soon. Even worse, the energy, emission and economic growth restrictions embodied in the proposed climate agreements would prevent factories and businesses from blossoming, perpetuate poverty, limit household lighting and refrigeration, and impede human rights progress on our continent.

Africa should resist the psychological and “moral” (actually immoral) pressure being exerted on it to agree to binding limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Any such agreement would place African countries at the mercy of bullying First World countries, put them in a crippling emissions arm lock, and bring no health, environmental or other benefits to Africa.

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Carson Was Wrong

Agrochemicals' Benefit to Human Health and the Environment

This year marks the 50th anniversary of biologist Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, which argued that man-made chemicals represented a grave threat to human health and the environment. Using harsh and unscientific rhetoric—which was rebuked in the journal Science magazine shortly after its publication—Carson postulated that man-made chemicals affect processes of the human body in “sinister and often deadly ways.”

History has proven Carson’s claims wrong. Contrary to her admonitions, a chemically caused cancer epidemic never came to pass. Researchers who identified environmental factors did not simply target trace chemical exposures as significant, but instead focused on major cancer causes such as tobacco and poor diets. In fact, people are living longer and healthier lives, cancer rates have declined even as chemical use has increased, and chemicals are not among the key causes of cancer.

As the world reexamines Carson’s anti-pesticide legacy, this paper focuses on the importance of chemicals designed for crop production. These agrochemicals represent a subset of the many technologies and practices designed to promote high-yield farming— making it possible for farmers to increase food production per acre. Other technologies include biotechnology, better soil and water management, among other things. Policies that allow strategic development and application of such tools will continue to facilitate the Green Revolution and increase agriculture’s ability to feed the world’s growing population. In addition, high-yield agriculture reduces the amount of land necessary to meet those needs, thereby providing more land for conservation and biodiversity. The adverse impacts of pesticides on human health and the environment are often greatly exaggerated and history shows that these risks can be managed to ensure substantial net benefits.

Unfortunately, these benefits are at risk as Carson’s legacy of misinformation lives on within the politically organized environmental movement. Green activists oppose strategic pesticide spraying to control deadly diseases like the West Nile virus and advocate “organic farming” using “natural chemicals,” even though there is little evidence that organic farming makes food any healthier. As a result, regulatory trends around the world have supplanted wise management with heavy regulations and product bans. The cost and risks associated with bureaucratic regulations alone dampens the market for innovative new products, diminishes the supply of pest control options for farmers, and reduces their efficiency. The result is lower food production, higher food prices, and fewer environmental benefits.


To Stop Climate Change, Students Aim at College Portfolios

Rather good to have them wasting their time on such pointless activity -- but it doesn't say much for the intellectual standards at Swarthmore or among Warmists generally. If a college sells its shares, it can only do so if someone else buys them! But I guess that that is too profound for the diseased intellects of the Green/Left

A group of Swarthmore College students is asking the school administration to take a seemingly simple step to combat pollution and climate change: sell off the endowment’s holdings in large fossil fuel companies. For months, they have been getting a simple answer: no.

As they consider how to ratchet up their campaign, the students suddenly find themselves at the vanguard of a national movement.

In recent weeks, college students on dozens of campuses have demanded that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks. The students see it as a tactic that could force climate change, barely discussed in the presidential campaign, back onto the national political agenda.

“We’ve reached this point of intense urgency that we need to act on climate change now, but the situation is bleaker than it’s ever been from a political perspective,” said William Lawrence, a Swarthmore senior from East Lansing, Mich.

Students who have signed on see it as a conscious imitation of the successful effort in the 1980s to pressure colleges and other institutions to divest themselves of the stocks of companies doing business in South Africa under apartheid.

A small institution in Maine, Unity College, has already voted to get out of fossil fuels. Another, Hampshire College in Massachusetts, has adopted a broad investment policy that is ridding its portfolio of fossil fuel stocks.

“In the near future, the political tide will turn and the public will demand action on climate change,” Stephen Mulkey, the Unity College president, wrote in a letter to other college administrators. “Our students are already demanding action, and we must not ignore them.”

But at colleges with large endowments, many administrators are viewing the demand skeptically, saying it would undermine their goal of maximum returns in support of education. Fossil fuel companies represent a significant portion of the stock market, comprising nearly 10 percent of the value of the Russell 3000, a broad index of 3,000 American companies.

No school with an endowment exceeding $1 billion has agreed to divest itself of fossil fuel stocks. At Harvard, which holds the largest endowment in the country at $31 billion, the student body recently voted to ask the school to do so. With roughly half the undergraduates voting, 72 percent of them supported the demand.

“We always appreciate hearing from students about their viewpoints, but Harvard is not considering divesting from companies related to fossil fuels,” Kevin Galvin, a university spokesman, said by e-mail.

Several organizations have been working on some version of a divestment campaign, initially focusing on coal, for more than a year. But the recent escalation has largely been the handiwork of a grass-roots organization,, that focuses on climate change, and its leader, Bill McKibben, a writer turned advocate. The group’s name is a reference to what some scientists see as a maximum safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 350 parts per million. The level is now about 390, an increase of 41 percent since before the Industrial Revolution.

Mr. McKibben is touring the country by bus, speaking at sold-out halls and urging students to begin local divestment initiatives focusing on 200 energy companies. Many of the students attending said they were inspired to do so by an article he wrote over the summer in Rolling Stone magazine, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.”



Three current articles below

Green/Left desalination plant to cost Victorians heavily

Desalination plants are the Greenie alternative to building dams, for which Australia still has plenty of sites. But Greenies loathe dams with a passion.

MELBOURNE water chiefs have admitted they expect Victorians to struggle to meet the added cost to skyrocketing water bills caused by the Wonthaggi desalination plant.

Releasing details of water price reviews that will see the average household bill rise steeply, water retailers said they expected hardship claims to soar.

The heads of Melbourne Water, City West Water, Yarra Valley Water and South East Water all blamed the desal plant for major price rises forecast for customers from July 1 next year.

They said their hands were tied because of the contract requiring them to pay $650 million to the project's consortium, AquaSure.

But not one would say whether they thought the $3.5 billion plant was too big for Melbourne's water needs, as the French boss of the project revealed in yesterday's Herald Sun.

City West Water yesterday estimated an average annual water and sewerage bill for its residential customers would increase from $793 this financial year to $1060 in 2013-14.

The same bill would rise from $829 to $1118 for South East Water customers, from $910 to $1220 for Yarra Valley Water clients and from $956 to $1014 for Western Water users.

Melbourne Water managing director Shaun Cox said its prices were likely to rise by 60.4 per cent next year, with customers bearing the brunt of desalination plant costs.

Yarra Valley Water managing director Tony Kelly said hardship claims from Victorians unable to pay their bill had already increased from about 1700 five or six years ago to 3000.

"It is very difficult to predict how that number will increase, but we are expecting it to rise because of the significant price rise and we have spoken to a number of community groups about the best way to handle that," he said.


Queensland households with solar panels likely to be hit with tariff to pay for 'poles and wires'

THOUSANDS of households with rooftop solar systems are set to be stung with significant fixed-tariff fees.

A report ordered by the Newman Government has recommended a special tariff for all solar households to force them to pay their share for the "poles and wires" network.

The tariff fees would be a bitter blow for households that shelled out thousands of dollar to fit solar systems to reduce their electricity bill. However, households without solar are being forced to wear the cost of subsidising those with such systems, as well as pay for the over-priced power they produce.

Solar households still need the electricity network to be capable of meeting their demands when their panels don't produce power.

However, they mostly avoid contributing to network costs, which account for about 50 per cent of electricity prices, because they regularly don't access the common household tariff.

Recent modelling showed the 44-cent solar feed-in tariff, currently paid by distributors for the power produced by more than 200,000 households, would add an extra $240 to average power bills.

Power bills would also rise by a further $40 to recover network costs avoided by solar households.

In a draft report, the Queensland Competition Authority recommended fixed fees be applied to solar households.

"Network tariff reform is a further option to be considered as a means of more equitably sharing the costs of the scheme," the QCA said. "Specifically, there may be scope for distribution businesses to establish new, cost-reflective network tariffs for PV customers which ensure that these customers are charged their full fixed-network costs, which are largely avoided under the present network tariff arrangements."

The QCA also recommended retailers, rather than state-owned distributors, pay for the power produced by solar households.

The report said the current system was so profitable for retailers that they were offering solar households up to 10 cents extra per kilowatt hour for the power they produce.

While the Government has committed to keep the 44-cent tariff for existing solar owners, the QCA said 6.8 cents per kWh was more realistic but prices should be unregulated in the southeast.

Queensland Greens Senate candidate Adam Stone said the QCA's reforms would take away the incentive for households to invest in solar.

"The recommended tariffs are solely based on the financial value of household solar to electricity retailers and do not even factor in the cooling effect household solar has on wholesale electricity prices," he said.


Another "Green" business collapses

A FIRM that touted itself as one of Australia's most established solar supply and installation companies has gone under owing more than $3 million.

Solagex Australia Pty Ltd ceased trading in early September and went into liquidation on October 29.

Customers and businesses from Queensland, Victoria, NSW and South Australia - including many who paid deposits between $500 and $5000 - never received systems.

Solagex was a national company, with its Queensland headquarters in Southport.

A creditor list compiled by liquidator David Ross, of Hall Chadwick, outlined 179 parties owed a total of $3.129 million.

Leading wholesale distributor Conergy Pty Ltd is out of pocket $2.5m, while other creditors include the Australian Taxation Office, AAPT, Workcover Queensland and the Office of State Revenue.

Mr Ross told The Courier-Mail that another company, Freetricity, had bought the business and was working with deposit holders to try to complete installations.

Noosa builder Peter Collins is among those waiting to see if they will recoup deposits

handed to Solagex before it hit hard times in a market that went into overdrive in the dying days of the State Government's 44 cents solar feed-in tariff, which ended on July 9.

Mr Collins said he paid $1210 last March but approached the firm a few months later to get his deposit back after having second thoughts.

"I had a big holiday planned so I asked for my money back. They stalled me and said that's no worries, we will delay your job until after you come home," he said. "Now they've gone belly up and I'm not real hopeful of recouping my money.

"I've had two in my life - where companies have gone broke owing me money - and never seen a cent."

"Pro-solar" Chinchilla mum Joanna Embry said she decided to sign with Solagex in June before the government incentives were reduced.

She paid a 10 per cent deposit of $1531.20 and was annoyed to learn the firm had gone into liquidation.

"It could have been worse as they wanted a much bigger deposit than I agreed to. "I paid by credit card and have checked with the bank to see if there is anything they can do. They have asked for more information and we'll just have to see what happens."


4 December, 2012

Philosophers psychologize climate skeptics

Well, I am a much-published psychologist so let me psychologize the philosophers. If there is "overwhelming evidence" of warming, how come they don't mention any? The latest HADCRUT data (if they know what that is) shows NO warming over the last 16 years. They just assume what they have to prove. Very poor logic, if logic it is.

They clearly don't know what they are talking about. Psychologically they are "deniers" of the facts and dependents on authority: Both are infantile disorders.

There are some facts given in the header to this blog that they might like to consider -- if considering facts is really within their capabilities

And they are obvious scientific ignoramuses anyway. They speak of "pouring carbon into the air". They clearly don't know the vast difference between carbon and carbon dioxide. Let me give them a grade-school type lesson on the matter: Carbon is little gritty bits of black stuff and CO2 is the air you breathe out. That's not precise but it's probably all that their tiny intellects can handle

I have reproduced the whole of their article below so you can see how devoid of information it is. It is just an exercise in hate-speech.

It actually reminds me of psychopathic speech -- and it may be just that. Psychopathic speech sounds sane and reasonable until you check it against the facts. I have a couple of published academic journal articles on psychopathy so I may know a bit about the subject

By Michael P. Nelson and Kathleen Dean Moore of OSU

According to the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, 14 percent of Americans deny that climate change is occurring. Because it persists in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, such denial might best be understood as an act of will, loyalty or something worse. Is there any logic to this? Actually, there is.

Consider the logic by which people reach policy decisions. Any argument reaching a conclusion about what we ought to do will have two premises. The first premise lays out the implications of scientific research: Unchecked anthropogenic climate change will profoundly harm the chances of future generations, undermining the necessary conditions for human life and liberty. The second premise lays out the values at stake, a culture's collective moral wisdom about what is just and good: It's wrong to violate human rights, condemning all future people to struggle and misery. When you combine these facts and these values, the conclusion is inescapable: We are obligated to act quickly to avert anthropogenic climate change.

If deniers want to reject the conclusion of a valid argument -- which is exactly what they want to do -- they have only two strategies. They could, of course, shrug off the moral principles. "Violating basic human rights of billions of people, present and future? Fine with me." But no one would use this strategy; that would reveal a moral monstrosity or sociopathology of cosmic proportions.

What's left? The only alternative is to deny the facts of the matter, undermining or profoundly misunderstanding the science. To endlessly, mindlessly quibble over the reality of melting sea ice only makes one, at worst, stubborn or stupid; to quibble over whether we should or should not massively violate human rights makes one dangerously immoral. It's an easy strategy decision: Go after the facts. Thus, millions of dollars are poured into attacks on climate science and scientists by those deeply invested in preventing society from drawing any conclusions that might block the unimaginably profitable activity of pouring carbon into the air.

We can learn from this. First, we should not write off climate-change denial as yet more evidence of scientific illiteracy or declining faith in science. That's not what's going on here.

Second, we should realize there's no point in debating the science. There probably is no science, no level of certainty or consensus that will change the denier's mind. That's a smoke screen, a black hole of effort to keep the rest of us busy. The deniers will reject the conclusion of any argument for meaningful climate action, and their professed rejection of the science is merely a means to that end.

There are undoubtedly many hapless people deluded by attacks on climate science. But those who launch the attacks are not deceiving themselves; they know better. For them, climate change denial is not a matter of ignorance or mistake or delusion, but a strategic decision. What they really must believe, but cannot say, is that greed and limitless profit trump the human rights of all future generations.

These are the beliefs requiring a full-blown public debate. Do we have obligations to future generations? Do we have obligations to rescue children in danger? Do we have an obligation to respect human rights? And above all, what are the limits to the values we would sacrifice and the moral principles we would violate in order to make a killing on investments in gas and oil?


“Let’s All Spread Hate Against The Skeptics” – Alarmists’ Panic Confirms Stark Fear Of The Skeptic Invasion

Today I present to you the latest wonderful example of tolerance and open-mindedness from fundamentalist warmist site here in green nutsy Germany.

Nowadays it’s hard to tell what the alarmists are more petrified of: the global climate catastrophe or the skeptic invasion in Europe. They are angry and panicked that the skeptics have succeeded in getting the public in Europe to question the dubious climate science.

It helps to recall that the klimaretter website is run by devout climate catastrophe alarmists who absolutely can’t live without the imminent threat of the end of the world. Don’t take my word for it, all you have to do is read their site. Of course, you may ask how anyone could possibly get so psychologically obsessed with and insistent about the end of the world? I’m afraid you’ll have to ask a psychiatrist that question.

You can be pretty sure that when December 21 passes many of the disappointed Mayan calender kooks are going to be hitching their wagons to the next best thing: the coming global climate catastrophe. But don’t try to tell them that it’s just another hoax. Good news on climate is like holy water to the devil.

I witnessed this first hand at a press conference when a klimabedwetter went into emotional seizures when Fritz Vahrenholt and Sebastian Lüning introduced their book Die kalte Sonne telling us that there wasn’t going to be a climate catastrophe after all. “Sorry – now go home and do something worthwhile for a living.” That good news was simply too much for the warmists in the audience to take.

So without further ado, here’s the latest spread-the-hate piece by It’s about the drive-by journalism hit on skeptics by weekly Die Zeit:
The unscrupulous schemes used by certain circles of business and politics to manipulate public opinion on climate change and renewable energies are revealed by a report by Die Zeit: “The Climate Warriors”. It exposes the crusade of these ideologically blinded deniers in horrifying detail. It is really shocking how professional PR strategists, with the help of lots of money and self-anointed climate experts, are hounding renowned scientists. It is of great worry that these well-paid ‘experts’ have in the meantime gotten gotten attention in Europen. Their crude claims have not only been picked up by the major dailies and talk shows, but also by the German parliament.

It is essential for us all to take a stand against these demagogues and to publicly denounce their unscrupulous schemes.

Die Zeit performed an exemplary service here. I really would like to see more of such detailed researched articles.”

What does this tell us about the warmists in Germany? Gandhi says it the best in a nutshell: First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.

The skeptics in Europe have made it to step 3 in almost record time. I suspect step 4 will the accomplished even more quickly.


America's hurricane drought continues

The graph above provides an update to data on the remarkable ongoing US "intense hurricane drought." When the Atlantic hurricane season starts next June 1, it will have been 2,777 days since the last time an intense (that is a Category 3, 4 or 5) hurricane made landfall along the US coast (Wilma in 2005). Such a prolonged period without an intense hurricane landfall has not been observed since 1900.

Some thoughts:

Even with hurricane Sandy and its wide impacts, things will indeed get worse. The US coastlines as a whole have actually been very lucky with respect to hurricanes since 2005, with aggregate damage (even including aggressive estimates for Sandy) 2006-2012 falling at or below the historical average. Sandy made landfall as a post-tropical cyclone of hurricane strength -- a phenomena that has only been documented 3 times since 1900 (1904, 1924, 1925 -- later this week I'll have a post on Sandy damage estimates).

The long-term intense hurricane drought means that a mere "regression to the mean" will see more hurricane landfalls and considerably higher damage in the years to come. The fashionable talk these days of a "new normal" is of course utter bullsh*t. Just wait until we return to the "old normal" -- I know that it may be hard to believe, but both hurricane damage and climate hype are set to increase dramatically in the years to come.


Climate change stand-off sparks concern

A stand-off over how many billions of dollars wealthy countries should stump up to help poorer nations cope with climate change over the next three years is prompting concern that fresh UN climate negotiations may be headed for collapse.

The talks in the Qatari capital of Doha are entering their final five days. But they risk collapse, according to some negotiators, unless developed countries formally agree to pledge as much as $60bn in fresh funding by 2015.

If the negotiators fail to reach an agreement in Doha, some say it could unravel the fragile accord wrung out at the last minute at last year’s UN talks in Durban, South Africa, to finalise a new global climate pact by 2015 that would enter force by 2020.
Such warnings are often seen as negotiating stances rather than real threats at this stage of the annual two-week climate talks. But some veteran negotiators said they were unsure if the Qatari hosts of this year’s talks were doing enough to pull negotiators together to iron out a compromise.

Others said developing countries’ funding calls should not be dismissed. “These are not idle threats, these are serious demands,” said Tim Gore of Oxfam, an experienced observer of the UN talks. “Developing countries are determined this year they won’t leave without knowing that finance levels will go up and not down from 2013.”

Wealthy countries agreed at the 2009 UN climate talks in Copenhagen that they would mobilise $100bn a year by 2020 to help poor countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. To prove it, they agreed to put up $30bn over the three years from 2010 to 2012 in what was known as “fast start finance”.

Some studies suggest countries have kept their word on this initial batch of funding. But poorer countries, especially island states most vulnerable to being swamped by rising sea levels, are worried money will start dwindling from next year, rather than getting scaled up to meet the $100bn-a-year pledge by 2020.

A negotiating group of developing countries known as the G77 and China want the Doha meeting to formally agree that industrialised countries produce extra funds totalling $60bn by 2015 to keep financing on track.

Getting some agreement at Doha was a “make or break” issue, according to negotiators from the Alliance of Small Island States, while Pakistan warned the failure to decide on a financing road map could risk the collapse of the talks.

The US and other wealthy countries have assured poorer nations they should not be concerned funding will suddenly dwindle, and it was well understood the need for extra money was enormous. However, these countries argue there is no need for a formal decision on scaling up funding to be made at this year’s talks.


There’s No Chance USA Signing Up To Climate Deal

US climate change negotiator Jonathan Pershing says there is no chance of the USA signing up to a climate deal that requires the country to make substantial cuts in its emissions.

The Times of India has obtained a transcript from a closed meeting with NGOs Pershing attended in Doha on Wednesday evening, where he outlined the USA’s ‘red lines’ when it comes to negotiations on a 2015 climate treaty.

In particular he takes issue with proposals for atmospheric quantities of CO2 to be ‘equitably’ divided among the world’s states, arguing that it would leave the US having to commit economic suicide.

“It’s a vision you can say that the atmosphere can take an X quantity of coal emissions and therefore what you do is you divide that number into percentage,” he said.

“The obligation it states is that you (the US) would have to reduce its emissions down to negative 37% (below 1990 levels).

“And the obligation of China will be a tiny bit, but India can still grow quite a lot. The politics of that quite frankly really don’t work. I can’t really sell that to the US Congress.

“One way to think about it is what you could deliver. You say what you are going to do and you will be held to that. So how do you marry the reality of what you are doing with the reality of what is needed. To me, it’s going to be a hybrid. It’s going to be something between those two.

“If we can’t take it home and sell it at home, in whatever political economy we are living in, we won’t do it.”

While the comments come as little surprise to observers who have followed the USA for many years, they do emphasise the challenge that negotiators will face as they dig into the detail of a 2015 binding agreement.

US President Barack Obama has already said he will only take actions that will boost US jobs: “if the message is somehow we’re going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don’t think anybody’s going to go for that. I won’t go for that,” he said.


Bummer: CO2 emitted in Topeka allegedly threatens "gross national happiness" in Bhutan?

Bhutan measures prosperity by gauging its citizens' happiness levels, not the GDP. Now its ideas are attracting interest at the UN climate change conference in Doha....

As world leaders prepare to meet in Doha on Monday for the second week of the UN climate change conference, Bhutan's stark warning that the rest of the world is on an environmental and economical suicide path is starting to gain traction. Last year the UN adopted Bhutan's call for a holistic approach to development, a move endorsed by 68 countries. A UN panel is now considering ways that Bhutan's GNH model can be replicated across the globe....

Despite its focus on national wellbeing, Bhutan faces huge challenges. It remains one of the poorest nations on the planet. A quarter of its 800,000 people survive on less than $1.25 a day, and 70% live without electricity. It is struggling with a rise in violent crime, a growing gang culture and the pressures of rises in both population and global food prices.

It also faces an increasingly uncertain future. Bhutan's representatives at the Doha climate talks are warning that its gross national happiness model could crumble in the face of increasing environmental and social pressures and climatic change....

In Paro, an agricultural region one hour out of the capital, Dawa Tshering explains how the weather is already causing him problems. The 53-year-old farmer grew up in Paro, surrounded by mountains and streams, but has found it increasingly difficult to work his two acres of rice paddy.

"The weather has changed a lot: there is no snow in winter, the rains come at the wrong times and our plants get ruined. There are violent storms," he says. Around 70% of Bhutan's people are smallholder farmers like Tshering.

Photographer Jean-Baptiste Lopez travelled to the remote and isolated kingdom of Bhutan in pursuit of happiness, a concept the Bhutanese value above all else – and one which is putting this tiny Buddhist state in the spotlight at the UN climate change conference in Doha

The first four episodes of the MTV series made scant mention of the difficult economic and social conditions of the countries visited. Bhutan, a country that received particular praise from Diaz for its environmental policies, has one of the highest infant mortality rates (103 infant deaths per 1,000 live births) and lowest life expectancies (54 years) in the world.

By comparison, the United States, which Diaz described as having too much "convenience," has an infant mortality rate of only 6.6 per 1000 and an average life expectancy of more than 77 years.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


3 December, 2012

Why don't all Greenies move to New Zealand?

New Zealand has a-plenty the sort of clean Green life that Greenies claim they want while also being a modern country where you can drink the water and speak English to everyone. An excerpt from a private blog written by a mother who has moved to a small town in New Zealand:

"The vege garden is another place my and Simon's time disappears into -- as we plant, weed & fertilise our pretty vast garden in the hope of having a large enough crop so we always have access to fresh organic veges whenever we like. It is an amazingly liberating feeling to have control of our food sources and we are learning more and more everyday about what it means to be a vege and fruit gardener. Also stay tuned as my Roses have just started to flower.. They are BEAUTIFUL!!

Last Monday the Playcentre organised a trip to a farm which is owned by one of the Playcentre families. The farm was HUGE and on arrival we all met and drove up to the cow milking shed. We had a tour then headed to a paddock which contained some pigs and also a herd of calves. There were great hay piles to climb and we enjoyed watching the calves being fed by a big trailer full of milk covered in teats for the calves to suckle. We then had some morning tea near the farm houses and then fed some lambs. Once that was done we headed to the farm owner's house and enjoyed a sausage sizzle and the kids played together in the large back yard and tennis court. We also had a celebration for one of the boys who is turning 5 which means he starts school. Kids start school on their 5th birthday in New Zealand which I feel is a nice way to transition the kids into school."

And the little two-year old girl in the family loves the lambs her family has adopted (Below)

I don't think Greenies know what they want

Emissions of Carbon Dioxide Hit Record in 2011. So where is the temperature rise?

Wisely, the following report from the NYT is pretty restrained about the implications of the finding. It reports what Warmists say but takes no position itself. For a full-blown Greenie heart attack this Australian comment is hard to beat

Global emissions of carbon dioxide were at a record high in 2011 and are likely to take a similar jump in 2012, scientists reported Sunday — the latest indication that efforts to limit such emissions are failing.

Emissions continue to grow so rapidly that an international goal of limiting the ultimate warming of the planet to 3.6 degrees, established three years ago, is on the verge of becoming unattainable, said researchers affiliated with the Global Carbon Project.

Josep G. Canadell, a scientist in Australia who leads that tracking program, said Sunday in a statement that salvaging the goal, if it can be done at all, “requires an immediate, large and sustained global mitigation effort.”

Yet nations around the world, despite a formal treaty pledging to limit warming — and 20 years of negotiations aimed at putting it into effect — have shown little appetite for the kinds of controls required to accomplish those stated aims.

Delegates from nearly 200 nations are meeting in Doha, Qatar, for the latest round of talks under the treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Their agenda is modest this year, with no new emissions targets and little progress expected on a protocol that is supposed to be concluded in 2015 and take effect in 2020.

Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the climate convention, said the global negotiations were necessary but were not sufficient to tackle the problem.

“We won’t get an international agreement until enough domestic legislation and action are in place to begin to have an effect,” she said in an interview. “Governments have to find ways in which action on the ground can be accelerated and taken to a higher level, because that is absolutely needed.”

The new figures show that emissions are falling, slowly, in some of the most advanced countries, including the United States. That apparently reflects a combination of economic weakness, the transfer of some manufacturing to developing countries and conscious efforts to limit emissions, like the renewable power targets that many American states have set. The boom in the natural gas supply from hydraulic fracturing is also a factor, since natural gas is supplanting coal at many power stations, leading to lower emissions.

But the decline of emissions in the developed countries is more than matched by continued growth in developing countries like China and India, the new figures show. Coal, the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, is growing fastest, with coal-related emissions leaping more than 5 percent in 2011, compared with the previous year.


Another comment on the latest Warmist orgasm

Some excerpts from Doug Hoffman below. I commented on the study in my lead post yesterday, mentioning some of the methodological difficulties in it, something Hoffman also refers to.

I mentioned yesterday how trivial was the sea-level rise reported but perhaps I can make it even clearer yet: The rise in ocean level reported was SIX TENTHS OF A MILLIMETER per annum. That translates to at most 60 millimeters over the next 100 years. 60 millimeters is just under two and a half INCHES! I think I am going to be referring to that often in future

A new “comprehensive” report about the melting of Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets is being touted by climate alarmists as “grim news” but in fact says no such thing. This latest estimate, published this week in Science, combines data from many sources including 20 years of satellite data and 32 years of ice-sheet simulations to arrive at a mixed conclusion. It estimates that, between 1992 and 2011, the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets lost 1350 ± 1010 and 2700 ± 930 Gt of ice, respectively. That is equivalent to an increase in global mean sea level of 11.2 ± 3.8 mm, less than 1/2 an inch. Moreover, while some areas were loosing ice mass others were gaining mass from snowfall. The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), which occupies over 75% of Antarctica, experienced mass gains during the final years of the study.

The intent of this new report is quite clear, come up with an unassailable new estimate for ice loss that can be included in the next IPCC global warming report. In “A Reconciled Estimate of Ice-Sheet Mass Balance,” Andrew Shepherd et al. begin with some historical perspective. “Analysis of the geological record suggests that past climatic changes have precipitated sustained ice-sheet contributions, in excess of 10 mm year−1 over millennial time periods, and the prospect of such changes in the future are of greatest concern,” they state, accurately stating that there has been significant variation in ice-sheet loss and ocean levels before the specter of anthropogenic global warming raised its climate destroying head.

Naturally, the authors could not resist bowing to the dominant consensus driven, group think pap: “Even the modest rises in ocean temperature that are predicted over the coming century could trigger substantial ice-sheet mass loss through enhanced melting of ice shelves and outlet glaciers. However, these processes were not incorporated into the ice-sheet models that informed the current global climate projections.” Their data may not be reconciled but the authors are certainly demonstrating that they are go-along types of climate scientists. Exactly how they performed this extensive and exhaustive study is stated early on in the Science paper:

"In this assessment, we use 19 years of satellite radar altimeter (RA) data, 5 years of satellite laser altimeter (LA) data, 19 years of satellite radar interferometer data, 8 years of satellite gravimetry data, 32 years of surface mass balance (SMB) model simulations, and estimates from several glacial isostatic adjustment models, to produce a reconciled estimate of ice-sheet mass balance. The satellite data sets were developed by using independent methods and, in the case of the LA, gravimeter, and SMB data sets, through contributions from numerous research groups. To enable a direct comparison, we reprocessed the geodetic data sets with use of common time intervals and common definitions of the East Antarctic, West Antarctic, Antarctic Peninsula, and Greenland ice-sheet (EAIS, WAIS, APIS, and GrIS, respectively) boundaries (16). The maximum temporal extent of the satellite data sets spans the period 1992 to 2011, and results from all geodetic techniques are available between January 2003 and December 2008. Unless stated otherwise, all results are presented with 1-sigma uncertainty estimates."

There are a plethora of abbreviations here but the main thing to bear in mind is that the two big repositories of glacial ice are the Greenland ice-sheet (GrIS) and Antarctica (EAIS, WAIS, APIS). Drawing on all the satellite sources listed above the international team of 47 experts led by Shepherd munged the datasets together—data collected from almost 30 previous ice-sheet studies, including 20 years of data from 10 different satellite missions, adding a large dollop of computer model simulation results. What was found was that “over the course of our 19-year survey, the average rates of mass balance of the AIS and the GrIS were –71 ± 53 and –152 ± 49 Gt year−1, respectively.” ....

It should also be noted that the response in Greenland is significantly different from the response of the much larger Antarctic ice-sheet. Here is a summary of the Antarctic findings.

"The pattern of WAIS imbalance is dominated by mass losses (Amundsen Sea sector) and gains (Kamb Ice Stream) of dynamical origin. Although close to balance during the 1990s, there have been significant mass losses from the APIS since then because of glacier acceleration in the wake of ice-shelf collapse and calving-front retreat. The APIS now accounts for around 25% of all mass losses from Antarctic regions that are in a state of negative mass balance, despite occupying just 4% of the continental area. In contrast, the EAIS, which occupies over 75% of Antarctica, was in approximate balance throughout the 1990s. Although the EAIS has experienced mass gains during the final years of our survey, our reconciled data set is too short to determine whether they were caused by natural fluctuations that are a common feature of Antarctic ice-core records or long-term increases in precipitation that are a common feature of global and regional climate model projections.

Consider what the term “reconciliation” means—an attempt to bring multiple datasets into agreement though they represent very different ways of gathering data and yield noticeably different results....

Both of the papers discussed here concentrate primarily on Antarctica, and rightfully so, since it contains most of Earth's glacial ice. For Greenland things are a bit murkier. “Assessments of GrIS mass balance require more careful consideration than was possible here, because the surrounding mountain glaciers and ice caps are included in some, but not all, of our geodetic surveys and because the ice-sheet domains varied in area by 2%,” explain Shepherd et al..

It is unclear how these trends, such as ice loss from Greenland, will evolve, says Ian Joughin, one of the paper's co-authors and a satellite expert at the University of Washington in Seattle: “It really remains unclear whether such losses will decline, whether they’ll level off or they’ll accelerate further.” This should be viewed in light of recent data that show Greenland underwent a similar episode of ice loss in the 1930s.

Indeed, Shepherd et al. admit that their work is based on too short a time span to draw any meaningful long-term conclusions. “We have shown that assessments of mass imbalance based on short geodetic records should be treated with care, because fluctuations in SMB can be large over short time periods,” they admit, hinting at the study's fundamental problem. Recent ice-core data reveal that the Antarctic Peninsula area undergoes bouts of rapid warming periodically.

It is striking that supporters of calamitous climate change always base their projections on the last three decades or so—a period that was, in fact, a time of increasing warmth. In this case, they found melting ice around the globe, just not as much as often claimed and certainly not justification for projections into the future for 50 or 100 years. Go back 150 years and people were not worried about retreating glaciers but advancing ones.

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

British company set to resume fracking as government backs UK shale gas

Cuadrilla is poised to spearhead the creation of a new UK industry in shale gas extraction, its chief executive has said, as the company prepares to resume "fracking" in Lancashire.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Francis Egan said the private-equity-backed company was ready to "press on quickly" once Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, lifts a moratorium on the controversial process.

Cuadrilla, whose chairman is former BP chief Lord Browne, believes it could be producing shale gas in the UK by March next year. "We are starting a whole new onshore gas industry. In our licence alone we can supply a quarter of the UK's gas demand," Mr Egan said.

Cuadrilla initially planned up to 800 wells but will need to secure local planning permission for each well.

The Chancellor will this week throw his weight behind plans for fracking, when he is expected to announce the creation of a new Office for Shale Gas to help shape the nascent UK industry.
Mr Osborne has already said he is considering tax breaks for shale gas.

Ministers will also unveil a new gas generation strategy, setting out plans for 20GW of new gas-fired generation – about 20 power plants – by 2030. The plans will alarm environmentalists but cheer those who believe shale gas could provide a source of cheap gas for the UK.

Mr Egan said: "Britain is spending tens of billions of pounds importing gas. If we are able to develop gas resources here . . . it could make a major difference for the country in terms of tax revenues, balance of payments and at a time when the economy is the pits."

The moratorium on fracking – which sees water pumped into rocks to remove oil and gas – was imposed in 2011 after drilling by Cuadrilla caused two small earth tremors in Blackpool.

A decision to lift the ban had been thought likely earlier in the year after an independent Government-commissioned report recommended it resume. It is now expected soon after Wednesday's Autumn Statement.

Mr Davey, who will take the decision in a quasi-judicial role, has said he will support shale gas exploitation only if it is economic and "can be carried out with the full protection of the environment".

Cuadrilla may not be prepared to wait much longer. "If we get a negative decision this week, we would have little alternative than to walk away," Mr Egan said.

"We have proven that there is gas and that it will flow. In the three years we have been doing tests, they have drilled 60,000 wells in the US. We don't have infinite patience and our investors don't have infinite patience."


Facing a Triple Threat: Doha, EPA and Congress

Climate alarmists are meeting in Doha, Qatar, to hammer out a new international treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol that expires this year. The US Environmental Protection Agency is poised to unleash its first wave of carbon dioxide regulations. And Congress is teaming up with the White House to legislate taxes on hydrocarbon use and CO2 emissions, on top of pending tax hike on “the rich.”

This serious triple threat to our energy, economy, jobs, living standards, health and welfare is justified by assertions that the actions will stabilize Earth’s climate and prevent a litany of global warming horrors.

Our planet’s climate has never been stable, and never will be. There is no empirical evidence that carbon dioxide drives climate change, or that greenhouse gases have supplanted the complex and interrelated natural forces that have produced big and little ice ages, floods and droughts, stormy and quiescent periods throughout the ages.

Even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen from 280 parts per million before 1880 to 391 ppm (0.0391%) today, average global temperatures have flat-lined for 16 years;hurricane and tornado frequency and intensity have fallen to new lows; Antarctic sea ice continues to expand, while Arctic ice caps were reduced, not by warming, but by huge storms; and the rate of sea level rise remains steady.

While alarmists insist that Hurricane Sandy was “unprecedented” and proof that “climate change is real,” it is just one of many major storms that have battered New York and eastern Canada over the years.

Moreover, every ton of painful, economy-crippling US carbon dioxide reductions would be offset by 100 tons from India, China and elsewhere, and atmospheric CO2 concentrations would continue to climb.

But these inconvenient truths are irrelevant to climate campaigners, who are using “dangerous manmade climate change” as the best pretext ever devised to control energy use and economies. They simply hypothesize, model and assert that every observed weather and climate phenomenon is due to human CO2 emissions. Warmer or colder, wetter or drier, more ice or less, more storms, fewer storms, occasional big storms – if not now, someday, sooner or later. It’s exactly what climate alarmists predicted.

This is not science. It is political science, rooted in a loathing of hydrocarbons, economic growth and humanity. It’s ideological, religious – the only state-sanctioned, state-supported religion permitted today.

If Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex was bad, what are we to make of today’s political-scientific-university-bureaucratic-military-industrial-media-environmentalist complex? Funded and driven by tens of billions of dollars annually for research grants, renewable energy programs and regulatory regimes, it has far too much at stake to forsake adherence to Mann-made global warming cataclysm hypotheses.

According to Government Accountability Institute president Peter Schweizer, well-connected political cronies take hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for “green energy” and “global warming prevention” programs, funnel it to soon-to-be-bankrupt companies, keep a few million for themselves, and launder a few hundred thousand back to the politicians who brokered the deals. Obama campaign bundlers, says Schweizer, received more than $21,000 of corporate welfare for each dollar they donated to the Obama reelection campaign. Big Green environmentalist groups also garner countless millions in taxpayer lucre.

The consequences for average workers and families are dire. If even one of these swords of Damocles falls – Doha, EPA or the carbon tax – the effects will be disastrous. If all three are imposed (or all three in conjunction with tax hikes on job and wealth creators), the impacts will be utterly devastating.

Ignoring these facts, extensive other evidence for natural climate change, and the numerous scientists who reject their manmade climate catastrophe claims, advocates of a new Doha climate treaty, EPA “CO2 endangerment” rules, and “carbon taxes” insist these actions are needed to avoid ecological calamities.

They are adamant in contending that carbon taxes will somehow benefit the economy, create jobs and balance out-of-control spending. One is reminded of Will Rogers insightful quip: “Suppose you were an idiot – and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

Every one of these actions is intended to increase the cost of the hydrocarbon energy that powers our economy. But raising the cost of transportation fuels, electricity, lighting, heating, air conditioning, and thus of food, materials and equipment will severely impact the bottom line for factories, utilities, offices, farms, shops, airlines, shippers, hospitals, schools, churches, charities and government offices.

The poorest families may get rebates for their increased energy costs. These institutions will not. They will be forced to reduce wages and benefits, hire fewer full-time employees, lay people off, outsource operations to countries where energy costs are lower, or even close their doors.

Taxes paid by companies and employees will dwindle. Instead of paying taxes, newly jobless workers will collect unemployment and welfare – from shrinking government coffers. Charities will have much less money, even if deductions for donations remain in the tax code.

Unemployment will bring reduced nutrition, increased stress, and higher rates of heart attacks and strokes, spousal and child abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide and premature death. The social, economic and healthcare costs will further “fundamentally transform” America, as President Obama is determined to do.

Even if Congress legislates carbon taxes, nothing suggests that Lisa Jackson will refrain from imposing EPA’s anti-hydrocarbon CO2 rules on top of them, or that the White House will reject any Doha treaty. There is no hint that the Interior Department will cease using the Endangered Species Act and other laws to shut down oil and gas drilling, while ignoring the ESA and growing slaughter of eagles and whooping cranes by wind turbines – or that the Energy and Defense Departments, EPA and Congress will stop spending more in borrowed funds to subsidize corn ethanol and Navy biofuel schemes.

These anti-hydrocarbon policies also mean the US Treasury will be deprived of hundreds of billions in lease bonuses, royalties, taxes and other revenues that it would realize from the development of our nation’s vast oil, natural gas and coal deposits. Instead, the United States will be forced to pay billions more for imported oil, often from dictatorial, unethical, environmentally reckless countries.

New hydrocarbon energy restrictions and green energy demands will deprive Third World families and communities of abundant, reliable, affordable energy, obstruct human rights progress, and keep entire nations impoverished. They will kill millions more from lung infections (from burning wood and dung), intestinal diseases (from contaminated water), malaria and other diseases of poverty and eco-imperialism.

Those countries will receive far less foreign aid from increasingly cash-strapped Western nations – and little of the Green Climate Fund cash that industrialized nations will supposedly transfer to kleptocratic ruling elites in poor countries, as reparations for supposedly causing climate change.

For every nation, this coerced energy and economic deprivation will make it increasingly difficult to adapt to future climate changes that nature will inevitably bring our way – in an era when mankind ought to have the wealth and technology to adapt far more easily than our ancestors were able to do.

The Climate Change Complex will do everything in its power to avoid discussing these issues, and vilify anyone who brings them up. However, we need to have this debate, and we need to have it now – in Doha, Congress, the courts and our state legislatures – before our fate is sealed for us.


Connecting the Global Cooling Dots

By Alan Caruba

Winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21, but winter has a mind of its own as does all of nature. While the United Nations charlatans gathered in Doha, Qatar to try to save its global warming hoax by first calling it “climate change” and then by fashioning a funding mechanism to transfer the wealth of developed countries to those who are not, winter has arrived “early” around the world.

That might just have something to do with the cooling cycle that has been active for the past sixteen years, “inconveniently” blowing a big hole in the global warming lies we’ve been hearing and reading since the late 1980s.

From, a site by Robert W. Felix, the author of a book about ice ages (the Earth has been through quite a few in its 4.5 billion years), here are some recent news stories:

On December 1, “Heavy snowfall severs Russia” told of “Hundreds of drivers (who) were caught by surprise in a 40km traffic jam after an unexpected snowfall and heavy winds.”

On November 30, “Finland snowstorm causes blackouts” reported that “Tens of thousands of households were without electricity on Friday as the result of a storm that dumped heavy snow across southern Finland and sent winds gusting up to 27 meters per second, felling trees and downing power lines.” That same day, across the former land bridge between Russia and North America, “Fairbanks – Coldest back-to-back November on record” was a news item what reported “The mercury hit 30 below for the first time this winter at Fairbanks International Airport…”

On November 29, the news was about a “Severe snow storm hits northern Japan” during which it was “blasted by an intense snow storm causing widespread havoc to residents of Hokkaido and Northern Honshu.”

On November 28, “Snowfall paralyzes life in China” was the headline of a report that “China has experienced the biggest snowfall in 52 years. Snow caused power outages in 57 villages, brought down thousands of trees and killed numerous domestic animals. Temperatures fell by as much as 14 degrees below zero in some areas.”

You don’t have to be a meteorologist to connect the dots. It is getting colder in the northern hemisphere of the world. To those who would dismiss this, saying that Russia has always been famous for its winters, that is the equivalent of whistling passed the graveyard.

In England, a November 29 report in The Telegraph, reported that “Councils are gearing up for what could be Britain’s coldest winter in 100 years, as sub-zero temperatures and snow follow days of downpours that have devasted large parts of the country.” The Met Office, England’s equivalent of the U.S. Weather Bureau, warned that “The forthcoming cold snap, caused by clear skies and northerly winds, could herald the start of a freezing winter.”

This was not unforeseen, however. In late January 2012, the British daily, The Mail, reported that “The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planning has not warmed for the past 15 years. The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th century.” England and much of the northern Europe and North America was gripped by a mini ice age that lasted from 1300 to 1850.

It is no secret to climate scientists that the sun is in what they call a “grand minimum” by way of describing relatively few magnetic storms, also known as sun spots. Few storms means less solar radiation and, since the sun is the primary source of heat for the Earth that means things get colder here. This is worth keeping in mind when the Secretary General of the United Nations or any other lying politician or alleged scientist tells you otherwise.

In a new book worth reading, “The Whole Story of Climate” by E. Kirsten Peters, the author brings a wealth of knowledge to the subject from the standpoint of a geologist. As to the claim that carbon dioxide emissions are the “cause” of a warming that is not happening, she points out that “The fact is, if human beings had remained hunter-gatherers throughout our entire history, never producing a single molecule of greenhouse gases through agriculture or industry, climate today would still be changing. It would be lurching toward higher temperatures, crashing toward vastly colder temperatures, or at least swinging toward something different from what has been. That’s just the nature of Earth’s climate.”

Preceding the introduction and rise of humans was an age known as the Pleistocene Epoch about 1.8 million years ago. It “was not a time of only monotonous cold. In fact, it alternated between long periods of cold—lasting roughly 100,000 years—and short periods of considerably warming times—lasting about 10,000 years.”

We humans are the result of the Holocene Epoch, a much more temperate, warmer period that followed the Pleistocene and, writes Peters, “From the Earth’s point of view, the Holocene is no different at all from other brief, warm intervals in the Pleistocene…” We are now about 11,500 years into this warmer cycle and, if the current cooling cycle continues and gets colder, we are knocking on the door of the next ice age.

Nor is this a problem for the northern hemisphere. Southern hemisphere polar sea ice expanded in September 2012 to its greatest extent since satellites began measuring the Antarctic ice cap in 1979.

That’s what Robert W. Felix has been warning about in his book, “Not by Fire, But by Ice”, published initially in 2005. He’s not alone. Habibullo Abdusamatov of the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences predicts that there will be a sharp drop in the temperature of the Earth starting in 2014. He’s predicting it will last about 200 years.

We are well past when the next ice age—mini or not—should have begun and, if all the global warming charlatans are right, we can actually THANK heightened levels of carbon dioxide for delaying it! However, the truth is that higher or lower levels of carbon dioxide show up centuries after any shift in the Earth’s temperature.

Just as the recent weather reports indicate, lower temperatures, greater snowfall, and other miseries of a colder Earth are in the future of the billions who live in the northern hemisphere. Bundle up.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


2 December, 2012

How scientists pull the wool over the eyes of the public

A study just out in "Science" has already been ingested by media outlets all over the world and then pooped out in considerably altered form. Why it has been taken so seriously is a bit of a mystery as it is in fact pretty run of the mill stuff.

It has been taken as "proving" human-caused warming but in fact it didn't address human influence at all!

What the article does is a type of meta-analysis: It tries to combine ALL the information on the subject to produce a more reliable conclusion than any single study could do. Such studies are often relied on in the medical literature due to the deluge of conflicting claims there.

As it happens, I know a little bit about meta-analyses and know how important goodwill is to their usefulness. To put it bluntly, you can prove just about anything you like in a meta-anaysis by what you select to include. Selecting the date from which you begin to assemble data is a classic dodge -- and one that seems to have been used in the present study -- but it gets as crude as ignoring hundreds of articles and datasets that you simply dislike.

So a good, sincere and unbiased attitude in the researcher is vital. If you start off with (say) a Warmist bias you will usually produce Warmist results.

As it happens, the bias readily apparent in the present study is mild. It seems to show only in the chosen starting point for the analysis. Why 1992 and not (say) the beginning of satellite measurements in 1979? 1992 must just have produced the best results.

But, even so, the results are not spectacular. As one summary put it:
They’re saying that only E Ant is gaining mass, and that at a low rate, so overall Ant is losing, and Greenland is losing even more. Still – that adds up to 0.6 mm/yr. So it will have to grow if its to become interesting by 2100. And undoubtedly it will, but that means predicting it remains interesting, since (linear) extrapolation is obviously pointless.

In case that's still not clear, the sea-level rise they assert is tiny and even if it continued in a steady way (most unlikely given past known variations in polar ice) it would take 100 years or more to become noticeable.

So the only way in which the study is notable is its claim to produce pooled wisdom -- and how influential that claim is depends very much on how much we believe in the objectivity of the researchers. As they would not be in their jobs if they were global warming skeptics, believing in their objectivity would be quite heroic. It's just another dodgy appeal to authority

I append the journal abstract.

Higher temperatures over the past two decades have caused the polar ice sheets to melt at an accelerating rate, contributing to an almost half-inch rise in global sea levels, according to the most comprehensive study done so far.

Scientists long have struggled to get a fix on whether the permanent ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are gaining or losing ice. Past satellite-based measurements either were limited in scope or suffered from methodological inconsistencies.

The new study, published Thursday in the journal Science, estimates that the melting of the ice sheets as a whole has raised global sea levels by 11.1 millimeters (0.43 inch) since 1992. That represents one-fifth of the total sea-level increase recorded in that period.

In the 1990s, melting of the polar ice sheets was responsible for about 10% of the global sea-level rise, but now it represents about 30%, the data suggest.

Higher temperatures can raise sea levels in several ways. Some estimates suggest that roughly half of the increase relates to the thermal expansion of the oceans: as the water warms, it becomes less dense and expands.

Another source is the runoff from melting glaciers. A third is the increased melting of the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland.

Greenland in particular has seen a greater melting of its permanent ice. One reason is that Northern Hemisphere ocean currents are warmer, which leads to more vigorous melting.

In addition, the air temperature in Greenland is much warmer than that in the Antarctic, so a rise in temperature in Greenland has a more profound effect.

"If you extrapolate these results, Greenland is going to be a serious contributor to global sea-level rise" in coming years, said Peter Wadhams, a professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge, England, who wasn't involved in the Science study. "Its contribution, relative to other sources, is becoming greater and greater," he said.

The issue of rising sea levels has gained more attention in recent months. The destructive flooding caused by the storm Sandy, which struck the U.S. East Coast in late October, revived anxieties about rising ocean levels in heavily populated coastal regions.

To assess the contribution from melting ice sheets, scientists try to measure "mass balance," which is the difference between the annual snow that falls on the permanent ice sheets each year, and the total mass of ice that melts or breaks off the sheets.

It is an extremely complex measurement, because there are so many factors at work: shifting ocean currents, the dynamics and movement of large ice shelves, and the varying temperature and saltiness of water at different places.

Consequently, researchers don't yet know exactly how much of the ice-sheet melt is caused by a warming atmosphere and how much by a warming ocean. [That's easy. There has been NO significant atmospheric warming in the atmosphere over the study period]

The last major assessment of mass balance was published in a 2007 report on climate change issued by the United Nations. But those findings were based on limited observations, and many scientists considered them to underestimate the melting.

The latest effort reconciles the differences among dozens of earlier measurements and includes new data to compile an estimate that is believed to be twice as accurate as previous ones, according to researchers involved.

"It allows us to make some firm conclusions," said Andrew Shepherd, a professor of earth observation at the University of Leeds in England and a lead author of the study. "It wasn't clear if Antarctica was gaining or losing ice. Now we can say with confidence it is losing ice."

The 2007 U.N. report, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, suggested that similar amounts of ice were being lost at both the polar regions. By contrast, the new study concludes that two-thirds of the ice loss was in Greenland and the remainder in Antarctica.

The latest findings show that the rate of ice loss in Greenland has increased almost fivefold since the mid-1990s, while Antarctica overall has been losing relatively small amounts of ice at a more or less constant rate.

"Antarctica is so cold that even if warming occurs it won't melt" at the rate seen in Greenland, said Ian Joughin, a glaciologist at the University of Washington in Seattle and a co-author of the new paper.

One tricky question is whether the overall accelerated melting of the ice sheets can be linked to man-made climate change.

The shrinkage of the permanent ice sheets can't entirely be explained by any of the decades-long or century-long natural shifts in climate cycles, according to Prof. Shepherd.

Scientists note that current climate-change models predict that some parts of the Antarctic ice sheet will grow while other parts will shrink, and that parts of the Greenland ice also will melt. Observations have borne out these projections so far.

"The signals suggest there is no immediate threat" from rising sea levels, Prof. Shepherd said. "But we can at least warn people that there are instabilities that need to be investigated."

The study involved 26 laboratories and was supported by the European Space Agency and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The data used for the study were based on measurements from 10 separate satellite missions

A Reconciled Estimate of Ice-Sheet Mass Balance

By Andrew Shepherd et al.


We combined an ensemble of satellite altimetry, interferometry, and gravimetry data sets using common geographical regions, time intervals, and models of surface mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment to estimate the mass balance of Earth’s polar ice sheets. We find that there is good agreement between different satellite methods—especially in Greenland and West Antarctica—and that combining satellite data sets leads to greater certainty. Between 1992 and 2011, the ice sheets of Greenland, East Antarctica, West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula changed in mass by –142 ± 49, +14 ± 43, –65 ± 26, and –20 ± 14 gigatonnes year−1, respectively. Since 1992, the polar ice sheets have contributed, on average, 0.59 ± 0.20 millimeter year−1 to the rate of global sea-level rise.

Science 30 November 2012, Vol. 338 no. 6111 pp. 1183-1189


It’s that time of year again when some call the global annual average temperature for the year, even though there are still two months of data remaining. Such a premature declaration is done for political reasons, such as the current UN climate meeting in Doha.

The UK Met Office, on the 28th November 2012, issued a ‘State of global temperatures in 2012,’ and it makes interesting reading.

The Met Office uses three “leading global temperature datasets” to conclude that the average temperature of 2012 is 0.45 +/- 0.10 deg C above the 1961-90 average. They add that these error bars mean that 2012 could be between the 4th and the 14th warmest year of the instrumental period, since 1850. Realistically though it’s going to be ninth or tenth. Fig 1 shows the Met Office data.

The Met Office then adds that due to a La Nina 2012 is cooler than the average for the last decade. Statistically speaking that is not the whole story. According to the data we already have, taking the errors into account, 2012 is statistically identical to all the other years of the past decade and beyond. The recent global temperature standstill continues.

What is an obvious standstill to some – the global temperature hasn’t increased for 15 years – is to others a not so rapid warming, or as the Met Office puts it; “Although the first decade of the 21st century was the warmest on record, warming has not been as rapid since 2000 as over the longer period since the 1970s.”

The Met Office continues: “This variability in global temperatures is not unusual, with several periods lasting a decade or more with little or no warming since the instrumental record began. We are investigating why the temperature rise at the surface has slowed in recent years, including how ocean heat content changes and the effects of aerosols from atmospheric pollution may have influenced global climate.”

Now I beg to differ. Since instrumental temperature records began in about 1850 lengthy standstills, such as the one between 1940 – 80, are evident. But we are not in that regime. We are supposed to be in the era of anthropogenically-dominated global warming. The IPCC put the transition between natural and anthropogenic influence as 1960-80. Since the global temperature started to rise about 1980, and continued to 1997, this makes the lack of variability seen in global temperatures since 1997 highly unusual. Indeed, as we have said before, it is the recent warm periods major characteristic, and climate models strain to account for it.

The Met Office carries on: Interannual variations of global surface temperature are strongly affected by the warming influences of El Niño and the cooling influences of La Niña in the Pacific Ocean. These are quite small when compared to the total global warming since 1900 of about 0.8 °C but nevertheless typically reach about +/- 0.10 °C, and can strongly influence individual years.

True, but a more pertinent point is that El Nino and La Nina have no effect on the 15-year global temperature standstill. Individual years go up and down due to these effects, but there is no statistically significant trend since 1997. In fact looking at the post-1997 data the El Nino and La Ninas seem to be the only statistical cause of variations from year to year.


Last year the Met Office said that 2011′s placing near the top of temperature datasets, which go back to 1850, continues a long-term warming trend in global climate. (Actually 2011 was even cooler than 2012, last year the Met Office put it as 11th warmest).

Again, the long-term warming trend is true if you combine the natural and AGW era, but not if one just considers the AGW period. Taking away 2012’s temperature from the recent data doesn’t make much difference, yet at the end of 2011 we had “the warming trend continues”, but after just one more year of data we now have “temperature rise at the surface has slowed.” If there is evidence that at the end of 2012 it has slowed, then there was also evidence it had slowed at the end of 2011.

To summarise: There is no point in putting out conclusions about the global temperature for any year until all that year’s data is available. It is misleading to only say that the global temperature rise has slowed down since 1980, when the evidence is that it has remained unchanged for the last 15 years.

The 15-year standstill is a real feature in the data. Arguments that it has been cherry picked are irrelevant. The climate models give probabilities of global temperature standstills – the longer the standstill the lower the probability. Such models do not make any stipulation other than the duration of the standstill, not its place in the dataset. The standstill is El Nino-La Nina independent.

It seems that the release of a years global temperature before the year has ended is a statistical dance we have to go through every year. But those who make decisions based on the Met Office press release announcing the year’s temperature do so without a complete picture.


Who Caused Sandy?

Meteorologist William M. Gray offers some logic more in accord with the facts

The main misconception among those who believe in human-induced global warming is to assume that all the many large and varying energy terms of the natural climate system remain constant over long periods and that the only changes that matter for climate are the very miniscule variations of human effects. As extensive and tragic as Sandy’s destruction has been, it is not at all beyond the range of what is known about the natural variability of the different meteorological elements which came together to produce it. What is more amazing, at least from an intellectual point-of-view, is the number of prominent government officials, the media, and private citizens who have concluded that Sandy’s destruction was the result (or partly the result) of human influences.

There is no rational basis for such a conclusion other than the prevalent psychological need of so many people to assign a simple explanation for any unusually rare and destructive weather event. Associated with this need for a simple explanation is the parallel psychological need of so many to find a scapegoat for our misfortunes. And this need for a scapegoat can often take the form of blaming ourselves (original sin) or the society in which we live.

History tells us of the strong link between the deteriorating weather which occurred in Europe between the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the Little Ice Age (LIA), and the burning of women believed to be witches. Estimates are that fifty thousand or more witches were burned to death during the 15th through 17th centuries in Europe. These women were imagined to have a pact with the Devil that enabled them to bring forth damaging weather events or deterioration of climate. And if the weather improved after such burnings it was taken as a sign that these women did indeed have a direct link to the Devil.

Despite the world’s enlightenment that has occurred since those times – there appears to still be a residue desire within our human nature, even today, for an easy explanation for unusual damaging events, a need to find a scapegoat and a need to look to ourselves for part of the explanation of destructive weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, heat waves, floods, etc. Blaming last summer’s US droughts, wild fires, and hot weather on human-induced climate change is a recent example. As if we humans would ever be able to influence such large and unique nature events!

Why must we, as in previous ages, continue to try to suggest that humans may have been a contributing element in major destructive weather events? If it were really possible for humans to be a contributor to severe weather or worsening climate, would it not also be logical to believe that humans might also be a contributing element to spells of good weather or favorable climate change?

The longest recorded period of no major (Cat 3-4-5) hurricane landfalls in the US has occurred during the last seven years (2006-2012). We have also had 20 fewer major US hurricane landfall events in the last 47 year period (1966-2012) than we had during the earlier 47 year (1919-1965) period. And this decrease in landfalling major hurricanes occurred during the time of rising CO2 levels. If humans could really influence destructive climate-weather events like Sandy, should they not also be able to take some credit for influencing the recent decades of reduced number of US landfalling major hurricanes? Landfalling US major hurricanes are known to cause about 80-85 percent of all normalized US landfalling tropical cyclone destruction.

It appears that we humans have, unknowingly, made an enormous contribution in recent decades to the reduction of US hurricane destruction (see Figure). Should we not pat ourselves on the back and continue to increase our fossil-fuel utilization?

Illustration of how US landfalling major hurricane numbers have been trending downward while atmospheric CO2 amounts have been increasing.

Received via email

Major British Science Body practices Global Warming Censorship

Shock new email revelations show that since 2007 senior members of the UK’s prestigious Institute of Physics (IoP) cynically locked down any debate about man-made global warming. Now seasoned writer, Andrew Montford, draws on hundreds of leaked emails exposing how a clique of Big Green activists hijacked one of Britain’s most venerated institutions to shamelessly promote a one-sided version of the hottest environmental issue.

In his startling new pamphlet, ‘Institutional Bias’ Montford lays out the evidence selected from a vast body of leaked internal emails. Two whistleblower insiders were the source, Peter F. Gill, formerly the chairman of the IoP’s Energy Group and Terri Jackson (MSc Mphil), former science adviser to Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Rev. Ian Paisley and Founder of the IOP’s Energy Group.

The incredible correspondence details a conspiracy to silence any and all dissent challenging the alarmist mantra of human-induced climate change. Self-serving senior figures within the IoP are shown to have harassed and harangued every attempt for a grassroots debate among members over the global warming controversy.

Montford, a well-respected figure on the skeptic side of the debate and author of the best seller ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion,’ the book that exposed climatologist, Michael Mann’s iconic ‘hockey stick’ graph, is damning in his assessment of this fiasco. Montford argues the leaked emails prove, “The voice of the membership is increasingly being silenced, with headquarters staff having arranged to abolish the annual representatives meeting, at which grievances had formerly been aired.”

The IoP is a vast organisation of 45,000 members with a multi-million income derived from member subscriptions, journal publishing and meetings. This new evidence puts flesh on the bones of what has for too long been glibly dismissed by elements of the mainstream press as “conspiracy theorization.”

We see in black and white the email evidence of how, when the Climategate controversy hit the news, pro-green elements in the IoP and British press were quick to paper over the cracks. Despite an upswelling among members for a full debate the IOP’s hierarchy silenced criticism in preference of a “clear” message on global warming. In this the IoP chose to state “there is no doubt that climate change is happening, that it is linked to man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, and that we should be taking action to address it now,” much to the ire of disenfranchised grassroots members. IoP’s Jackson was snipped by the green censor’s scissors when a version of her dissenting article, ‘Pouring cold water on global warming’ published in The Belfast Telegraph and due to also appear in The Times, was “blocked” by green activists in London. Meanwhile Gill’s integrity was thrown into question by The Guardian.

Gill is delighted with the impact Montford’s pamphlet is making, “I must say that the reaction so far has been largely positive albeit that it has made some people sad and depressed.”


UK Energy Plan Is Dangerous And Dated

Dieter Helm

After 12 years of reviews, white papers and some legislation, the UK government has finally come forward with what it regards as a definitive set of energy policy reforms. Sadly the Energy bill is anything but definitive. Over the long period of the bill’s gestation, the world’s energy markets have changed radically.

At the heart of the bill is the idea that the government should contract directly for new power stations, agreeing in advance a fixed price for the electricity they will generate. Contracting is not in itself a bad idea. Britain needs investment, much more than the market will deliver left to its own devices. The upfront capital required to develop nuclear power stations, in particular, requires political commitment. But there is a world of difference between auctioning contracts and politicians fixing them.

Once the government is picking the winners, it matters which sectors it chooses. Ed Davey, the energy secretary, comes armed with explanations. He predicts the future will be one of “volatile” gas prices, which will head ever upwards. And Mr Davey believes that his chosen technologies will insulate Britain against them.

For the past decade, gas prices have indeed been rising. But it is one thing to know the past and another to know the future. While officials and ministers have been working away at one energy plan after another, the world around them has changed. The idea of “peak oil” (the point at which the world’s oil supplies go into irreversible decline) has turned out to be nonsense. There has been a revolution in fossil fuel technologies. With shale oil and gas, North America is rapidly reaching energy independence and the price gap between the US and Europe on gas is now so enormous as to undermine Europe’s competitiveness and begin a process of re-industrialisation in the US. America’s shale bounty will feed through to world prices – and therefore Britain’s prices.

If this part of the rationale behind the energy bill has collapsed, it might be argued that the government is at least doing something about climate change. But a moment’s reflection yields the unfortunate conclusion that not only are current renewables making little difference to global warming but that they never could. Wind in particular is a low-density, intermittent energy source. Future renewables might well close the gap, but not the current forms of renewable energy.

Before deciding which technologies to award government contracts to, it would be wise to think through what might happen if the secretary of state turns out to be wrong. Power stations tend to be long-lived, which means that mistakes hang around the economy’s neck for a long time. Suppose the future is not going to be the one conjured up by the peak oil brigade, the supporters of current renewables, and by the secretary of state. Suppose world fossil fuel prices fall but Britain is committed to high- cost current renewables.

The UK’s carbon production might indeed fall: the deindustrialisation that might result from high energy prices is a sure route to lower emissions. But that would be a false blessing, offset by carbon-intensive imports, as is already happening. Energy demand would probably fall, too – not because of the Green Deal, Mr Davey’s programme to increase British homes’ energy efficiency, but because of higher prices. Reducing emissions by contracting energy-intensive industries and reducing household incomes is hardly an attractive route to decarbonisation.


China seeks delay over global climate treaty

Beijing wants industrialised countries to commit to cuts in greenhouse gas emissions before agreeing to an extension of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol

Beijing's top climate negotiator said yesterday that international discussions for a new global climate treaty starting from 2020 should not begin until next year, after the securing of renewed pledges by developed nations at climate talks starting next week to reduce their greenhouse gas emission from 2013.

But Xie Zhenhua also said that countries are still divided on which of the two focal points should be prioritised, resulting in a cloud of uncertainty over the United Nations talks due to begin on Monday in Qatar, which will last until December 7.

China, the world's top carbon dioxide emitter, wants to first secure a second commitment period of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that would go into effect from January 1 and which China hopes will include strong commitments from industrialised countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, according to Xie, who is deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission.

"Building on such progress, countries can move forwards to seek a consensus for the post-2020 scheme, with formal negotiations to be launched next year," Xie said.

Analysts said China's preference to delay negotiations is likely to be met with strong opposition from countries such as the United States, which has been trying to blur the divide between developed and developing countries in climate negotiations.

The Kyoto Protocol, the first phase of which expires at the end of this year, is the only existing global treaty that binds most industrialised nations on their emissions of greenhouse gases, while sparing China, India and other large, emerging economies, which have caught up quickly in carbon emissions.

Li Yan, a Greenpeace China climate campaigner, said that an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, with fewer countries ready to renew their emission-reduction pledges, would have only limited effectiveness in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. But Li said the accord remains politically significant after serving as the foundation for climate talks for nearly two decades.

"It is understandable that China and other developing nations do not want to see the new treaty move too fast before the sorting out of other problems - rich countries' commitments on emission reduction, financing and technical aide," Li said.

Delegates at UN talks in South Africa last year agreed that nations would hammer out a new deal by 2015 to fight climate change after 2020.

Li said that Beijing was prepared to take on some emission-reduction obligations after 2020, but it was not yet ready to formally commit to such obligations.

Xie also voiced strong opposition to the European Union's carbon tax scheme for airlines, calling it a violation of international laws. But he said China will take part in negotiations on emission cuts for the aviation industry.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported by the U.N. "experts" for the entire 20th century (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows, if anything, that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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