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, 2013

British wind farms handed £5 million to switch off turbines as thousands of homes left without power

Wind farm companies were paid almost £5 million to switch off their turbines while storms lashed the UK over the festive period and tens of thousands of homes were left without power, according to figures published today.

The ‘constraint payments’, which ultimately come from household bills, were payable when the National Grid was unable to cope with the extra power produced during the recent bout of stormy weather or usage was low.

More than £4.8 million has been paid out to wind farm companies since December 15, according to figures compiled from official data, almost as much as was handed over in the whole of 2012.

The total included more than £1.2 million during the first of the recent storms, on December 19, followed by nearly £800,000 on Christmas Eve, more than £400,000 on Christmas Day and nearly £300,000 last Friday.

The money was paid to switch off turbines over a period when winds of up to 100mph hit Britain, with the storms leading to a spate of deaths, travel chaos for millions of people trying to get home for Christmas and power cuts for thousands of homes.

Anti-wind farm campaigners said the figures would infuriate hard-pressed households and demonstrated that wind farms were being erected faster than the National Grid can absorb the electricity they produce.

It was reported on Boxing Day that constraint payments of £30.4 million had been paid out in 2013 compared with £5 million the previous year.

However, this did not include the money handed out to switch off turbines during the Christmas week storms and the total has since increased to £32.6 million. With more stormy weather forecast over New Year, the total is expected to rise further.

Murdo Fraser, a senior Tory MSP and wind farm critic, said: “Families who are struggling with overstretched household budgets at Christmas time and have to meet ever-increasing energy bills will be horrified to see such vast sums of their money being paid to wind power companies for doing nothing.

“This exposes once again the over-reliance on wind developments as part of our energy mix when the Grid capacity doesn’t currently exist to properly utilise the power produced.”

The constraint payment figures were compiled using official data by the Renewable Energy Foundation, a charity. The first bout of storms saw energy companies paid £653,727 on December 18 and £1.24 million on December 19 to switch off turbines at 31 wind farms.

A further £113,826 was paid out on December 21 and £248,399 the following day before the payments spiked again on Christmas Eve as storms tore across Britain.

As around 75,000 homes were left without power, the wind farm companies were paid £787,959 to switch off turbines at 18 of their developments. Around 50,000 households remained without power on Christmas Day when £432,445 of constraint payments were made.

Another £287,454 was given to the energy firms on December 27 and £126,827 on December 28, according to the figures.

The National Grid has said the system is needed to balance supply and demand and the money handed to wind farms make up only a small proportion of constraint payments made to generators of all types.

A spokesman for RenewableUK, the lobby group representing wind farm companies, said: “December has been a record-breaking period for the amount of clean power generated by wind, with the most electricity we've ever generated in a month – more than 2 million megawatt hours.

“It’s very easy to turn a wind turbine on or off compared to other forms of generation such as a nuclear power station. That is partly why the National Grid sometimes calls on wind developers to constrain their power.”


British wind farms 'slash up to a THIRD off value of nearby homes ... while developers pocket millions'

They are the bane of ramblers and birds alike, but now homeowners are being warned that a nearby wind farm could cut the value of their houses by up to a third, an MP has claimed.

Geoffrey Cox, Conservative MP for West Devon and Torridge, said some homes in his area are now worth 'significantly less' thanks to giant turbines, and that it is an 'injustice' that homeowners should lose out while developers and land owners potentially pocket millions.

Mr Cox says proposals for scores of turbines have pushed rural areas to 'tipping point' and has called for a new scheme to compensate those whose homes are affected.

Planning Minister Nick Boles has proposed direct compensation for lost property value thanks to developments such as turbines, and also nuclear power stations, rail links and factories.

The minister is eyeing a pilot scheme in the coming months, and it could be based on the Dutch model that pays out an average of around £8,000 to householders that have suffered 'detriment'.

Mr Cox said he welcomed the proposal, which is likely to curry favour across rural Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, where the growing number of wind farms are seen as a blight by residents.

The MP said: 'An increasing number of people are coming to me with clear evidence that the value of their home is significantly less than what it otherwise would be were the wind farm not there.'

He added: 'I’m seeing a minimum 10 per cent to 15 per cent reduction. Some are seeing a loss of one-third of the value... How can that be fair?'

'How can it be right that landowners and developers are making millions of pounds, while the ordinary household is losing the value of what is their pension, or nest egg in old age.'

Wind farms are the source of much debate in rural communities, with a number of protest groups furious at the loss of local beauty spots.

In October, campaigners living near Ilkley in Yorkshire, won a campaign to have four giant turbines dismantled - the first ever wind farm to be scrapped in the UK.

Residents and walkers were delighted by the return of unspoilt views across the rolling hills and deep blue waters of Chelker Reservoir.

And to their relief, the 150ft high turbines will not be replaced after the council refused permission for two even bigger machines.

Angela Kelly, the chairwoman of the anti-wind farm campaign group Country Guardian, says she has seen the value of a number of properties slashed thanks to the presence of a nearby turbine.

She claims she has even heard of buyers withdrawing at the last minute after discovering plans for a wind farm in the local vicinity.

Ms Kelly said: 'There is plenty of evidence that even the threat of a wind farm or a wind turbine  can prevent the sale of houses'.

She added: 'Certainly after a wind farm has been erected properties within sight or sound of the turbines can become virtually unsaleable.

Of the Planning Minister's proposal, Mr Cox said: 'I would completely support households having to be paid compensation for the depreciation of their house value as a result of wind turbines.'

'It is simple nonsense for the pro-wind lobby to say they have no effect on house prices.'

But he warned: 'The devil will be in the detail. How would you differentiate between those that are entitled and those that are not?'

The compensation package was revealed quietly in December’s autumn statement, but was detailed by Mr Boles when her appeared before the Local Government Select Committee of MPs.

He said the proposal was a 'radical departure' from Britain’s current planning rules, but would help speed up major infrastructure that will boost growth, and would bring “individual benefits” for local residents from new development.

His idea goes beyond existing schemes to compensate homeowners for roads and rail links which affect the property by creating noise and traffic.

Mr Boles said: 'I think that everybody recognises that countries have to do difficult things - build roads, build railway lines, build nuclear power stations and other kinds of power sources.'

He added: 'It is better for everyone that the amount of money is banged up in the transaction process - making the decision, let alone building the thing, as little as possible and relatively speedy. With certain projects there has been a principle established of some kind of a benefit being paid to very local communities.'

Mr Boles went on: 'One of the things we are keen to pilot is whether people who have properties very close to a substantial development might benefit from some form of compensation for the loss of property value, something that does happen in some other countries, the Netherlands have innovated with it.'

Reacting to Mr Cox's comments, Malcolm Prescott, managing director of local estate agent Webbers, said: ‘I’ve not experienced this myself... For every person who says I’m not keen on having a wind farm nearby, another will say it’s actually quite nice.'

He added: ‘I think so long as the thing isn’t on your actual doorstep and you can hear it buzzing, people just accept they are part of the landscape. Whether or not they affect property value is specific to each individual home and not something that will affect the entire region.’

Mr Prescott went on: ‘People are still far more concerned about other aspects of the sale. Is it the right location? Is there access to the beach? What are the schools like? Those are the things that really matter to people buying property around here’.


Ethanol Isn’t Green, Isn’t Efficient, and Shouldn’t Be Subsidized

My new Mercury outboard motor came with the following warning: “It is recommended that only alcohol-free gasoline be used where possible.” Gasoline blended with ethanol, an alcohol, does some nasty things to small motors. It corrodes metal, deteriorates plastic and rubber parts and creates difficulties with starting and operating the motors. Fuel lines have been known to leak, causing obvious dangers to operators. Where’s the Consumer Protection Agency when you need it? Not only won’t the government protect us consumers, it caused the problem.

Government legislation mandates the blending of ethanol into most gasoline sold in the United States and has set ever increasing amounts of ethanol to be phased in over time. This policy is an ill-advised attempt to reduce U.S. dependence on oil and to shift automotive fuel to a renewable source. Mandating the use of ethanol imposes more costs than benefits, including hidden costs on consumers that hit the poorest members of society worst, and provides billions of dollars in lucrative business to grateful campaign-donating special-interest groups. Making matters worse, supporters of ethanol make highly questionable claims about its environmental benefits. Ethanol’s got to go.

Ethanol can be made from various plant materials, but in the U.S. ethanol is made primarily from corn. In 2012/2013, approximately one-third of the U.S. corn crop went into ethanol production. U.S. annual production of ethanol has surged since 1998, increasing from slightly over one billion gallons to over 13 billion gallons in 2012. This surge in production and consumption is the result of state and federal mandates requiring it to be blending with gasoline.

The ethanol mandate has increased food prices, as the surge in demand from ethanol production has raised corn prices and corn profitability. Lands previously planted with other grain crops have been shifted into corn production, lowering supplies of other grains and raising their prices. Livestock that feed on higher-priced grains have had their costs of production and prices go up as well. These higher prices for food items are a “tax” on consumers—financial burdens that fall disproportionately on lower-income families whose budgets are heavily weighted towards food items. One nice benefit to politicians is that explicit agricultural crop subsidies have fallen as grain prices have gone up. In essence, the government has been able to legislatively shift the burden of the agricultural subsidy programs off the budget and onto consumers in the form of higher food prices.

The environmental benefits of corn-based ethanol are in doubt. While ethanol is an oxygenate that allows for the cleaner burning of gasoline, it comes with various other environmental costs. The environmental costs to manufacture and distribute ethanol are usually neglected by its proponents; increased grain output requires the use of more fertilizers, insecticides and ground water. Agricultural water runoff also imposes environmental costs, as does the diesel and gasoline farm machinery requires to grow corn. Ethanol is costly to transport since it is unsuitable for most pipelines, requiring other types of ground transportation that use fossil fuels as well. Drivers using gasoline blended with ethanol find their cars’ miles-per-gallon fall, so more gallons of blended gasoline are needed for traveling any given distance. All told, the environmental costs from using corn-based ethanol may be higher than using straight gasoline.


Colorado monument designation would quash mining claims

A Colorado lawmaker is seeking to put an end to two small mining claims on federal land in his state by having Congress designate the site and surrounding lands as a national monument.

Sen. Mark Udall (D) has introduced legislation that would create a 22,000-acre national monument in Browns Canyon in Chaffee County, Colorado.  To ensure that no mining, or any other new commercial activity, takes place on the site, Udall’s bill would designate 10,500 acres within the boundaries of the monument as wilderness.

Once federal land has been designated as wilderness, it is generally off limits to motorized and mechanical access.  Furthermore, construction of new roads and structures as well as any other “disturbances” are prohibited, as is oil and gas exploration and, of course, mining.

Chaffee County, which calls itself “the heart of the Rockies,” is located in central Colorado.  The land Udall wants to designate as a national monument/wilderness area straddles the Arkansas River.

Under Udall’s bill, the “Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act of 2013,” all the land in what would be called the “Browns Canyon National Monument” would remain under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service.  Because it is federal land, no Colorado agency has any jurisdiction over the area.

“Mining on the river could destroy the pristine water quality and scenery that has made Browns Canyon one of the top rafting and fishing destinations in the country,” Udall said (E&E Daily, Dec. 19).

In 2012, two mining claims, covering about 100 acres, were filed on BLM land in Browns Canyon.  At the time, the Interior Department’s Board of Land Appeals had temporarily opened up Browns Canyon to mining claims. Udall has called on BLM to challenge the two mining claims, and the agency has the matter under review.

Ball Could be in Obama’s Court

Having large swaths of federal land declared a national monument has become a favorite tool of those determined to shut off development in the resource-rich West.  Oftentimes this is done administratively through a legally dubious interpretation of the Antiquities Act of 1906, a law originally designed to protect Native American artifacts.

Udall’s bill, which currently has no companion measure in the U.S. House, would accomplish the same end legislatively.  If his bill fails to pass Congress, look for the Obama Administration to create the Browns Canyon National Monument administratively.


The Misguided Eco-Doomers

If you are a regular consumer of environmental news and commentary, you are familiar with the narrative of humanity’s downfall. The story, we are told, looks like this.  If we continue to ignore the danger signs while exceeding the planet’s carrying capacity, the future may get ugly.  For the time being, we are on a precipice.

Although our thought leaders and scholars have been giving us ample warning, we don’t seem to be paying attention. Maybe they should listen to the words of Jenny Price and try a new tack.

But that may be asking too much. Once someone starts down this civilization-is-collapsing road, like Guardian blogger Nafeez Ahmed, it’s hard to stop.  If you want a tour guide to the apocalypse, Ahmed is your guy. He is the erudite version of this fringe chararacter.

I must admit that I find the collapse junkies entertaining. I’m sure they believe the world is headed for a crash and their sincerity and eloquence is enough to scare some of us senseless

Others who drink too much from the ecocide well may sink into a fatalistic state of despair:

"Every time I read the NBL [Nature Bats Last] posts, I get the feeling that there´s nothing to be done with our lives, and our future. We have no future. We just have to wait for catastrophe."

A widely circulated piece from the New York Times recently advised:

"The biggest problem we face is a philosophical one: understanding that this civilization is already dead. The sooner we confront this problem, and the sooner we realize there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves, the sooner we can get down to the hard work of adapting, with mortal humility, to our new reality."

The problem that we are advised to confront is the very thing that has greatly advanced humanity in the last 200 hundred years: Industrialization. Indeed, the modernizing forces that shape our lives today are treated with contempt by many of the planet’s self-designated guardians.

Take industrial agriculture, for example. Do you believe that large scale mechanized farming, with its fertilizers and pesticides, has been a net plus for society? Now I’m not saying industrial agriculture is perfect; it has a major environmental impact that can’t be ignored or swept aside. But on the whole, are we better off today because of our industrialized food system (which still has plenty of room for improvement)? Or should we nix the tractors and go back to the horse plow? While we’re at it, should we go back to using cow dung instead of synthetic fertilizers? Should we nix the herbicides and go back to pulling out all the weeds by hand?

These are not trivial questions. For there are people who sincerely believe that organic farming is sufficient to feed the world. It is not a fringe view, either. The U.N. was touting agroecology a few years back, citing it “as a way to boost food production and improve the situation of the poorest.”

Evidence-based science tells us otherwise.

No matter, in a recent piece, Nafeez Ahmed told us of a new study that “raises critical questions about the capacity of traditional industrial agricultural methods to sustain global food production for a growing world population.” He then referred to that UN endorsement of organic farming:

Two years ago, a landmark report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food demonstrated that agroecology based on sustainable, small-scale, organic methods could potentially double food production in entire regions facing persistent hunger, over five to 10 years.

(This is the equivalent of those who insist that wind and solar and a heaping of hydropower could potentially meet the energy needs of the world by 2030. Nobody punctures that bubble more effectively than this guy.)

The problem with doomsday prophets like Ahmed isn’t so much their incessant warnings about imminent eco-collapse, but more the solutions they proffer, which, if carried out in the developing world, really would lead to societal catastrophe.


Australia: Climate policies helped kill manufacturing, says adviser

THE unprecedented cost of energy driven by the renewable energy target and the carbon tax had destroyed the nation's competitiveness, Tony Abbott's chief business adviser has declared.

Maurice Newman also says climate change policies driven by "scientific delusion" have been a major factor in the collapse of Australia's manufacturing sector. "The Australian dollar and industrial relations policies are blamed," Mr Newman said. "But, for some manufacturers, the strong dollar has been a benefit, while high relative wages have long been a feature of the Australian industrial landscape."

In an interview, Mr Newman said protection of climate change policies and the renewable energy industry by various state governments smacked of a "cover-up".

He said an upcoming review of the renewable energy target must include examination of claims made in federal parliament that millions of dollars were being paid to renewable energy projects that allegedly did not meet planning guidelines. Mr Newman's comments follow those of Dow Chemicals chairman and chief executive Andrew Liveris, who said Australia was losing its natural advantage of abundant and cheap energy.

"As far as new investments go, our primary energy sources of natural gas and electricity are now or will soon become negatives to any comparative calculation," Mr Liveris said.

"Average prices of electricity have doubled in most states in recent years and the unprecedented contraction in consumption threatens a 'death spiral' in which falling consumption pushes up prices even further, causing further falls in consumption," he said.

Mr Newman said Australia had become "hostage to climate-change madness". "And for all the propaganda about 'green employment', Australia seems to be living the European experience, where, for every 'green' job created, two to three jobs are lost in the real economy," he said.

"The scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade, is crumbling. Global temperatures have gone nowhere for 17 years. Now, credible German scientists claim that 'the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the little ice age of 1870'."

Mr Newman said the climate change establishment, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, remained "intent on exploiting the masses and extracting more money".

"When necessary, the IPCC resorts to dishonesty and deceit," he said.

In Australia, Mr Newman said, Victorian Democratic Labour Party senator John Madigan had told parliament how politicians and bureaucrats were paying tens of millions of dollars annually to wind turbine operators that had not received final planning approval.

"It could be hundreds of millions of dollars and we have a government that is keen to rein in the budget deficit," he said. "If you can save a million dollars that should never have been spent, we should be doing it."

Senator Madigan said the issuing of renewable energy certificates to one of the non-compliant wind farms, at Waubra in Victoria, reflected "a culture of noncompliance arising from systematic regulatory failure that impacts every wind farm in Victoria".

He said the issue involved "the pain and suffering of little people living in rural Australia, environmental damage, fraud on a grand scale, deception, lies and concealment".

The clean energy regulator has defended the decision to allow the Waubra wind farm to receive renewable energy certificates.

Mr Newman's comments came as the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission revealed that in the 18 months since the carbon tax commenced, it had received 3132 complaints and inquiries in relation to carbon price matters.

The Coalition has committed to bolstering the watchdog's powers, with additional funding and new penalties to ensure that companies lower energy costs after the repeal of the carbon tax laws.



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

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


30 December, 2013

Climate-Science Boatpeople, In Search Of Global Warming Signs, Trapped In Thousands Of Kilometers Of Sea Ice!

The metaphor just couldn’t be more fitting: desperate true believers of global warming/accelerating polar ice melt now find themselves trapped by thousands of square kilometers of summertime sea ice that wasn’t supposed to be there.

No picture could better symbolize and communicate the intellectual bankruptcy and disillusionment of a faithful group who refuse to believe they have been led astray. This has to be deeply embarrassing, if not outright humiliating.

It’s reported here that many of the climate science boatpeople are actually from renowned media outlets, like The Guardian, who we can safely assume were onboard hoping to capture dramatic images of vast areas of open sea water, or of calving ice sheets with hundreds of tons of ice breaking off and plunging into the sea hourly. And with a little luck, maybe even some photos of a couple of drowned penguins.

Nowadays true believers find themselves journeying to the extreme corners of the globe in a desperate search for signs of the coming climate catastrophe. Signs are getting tougher to come by.

Indeed in Antarctica what they found was a reality that was precisely the exact opposite of what they had expected or had hoped for: no open sea seas – just thousands and thousands of square kilometers of sea ice, which ironically turned on them.

“Post-hoc rationalizations of model failures”

To save face they are changing their story and concocting new rationalizations. Perhaps all the unexpected ice is in fact a sign of warming after all! This, for example, is what senior science writer for Comedy Climate Central Andrew Freedman is now claiming at Twitter, much to the rich entertainment of skeptics:

You see, Freedman explains, it’s all in connection with “ozone depletion” and it all comes “with human fingerprints“.

And when pressed on why warming is causing less ice in the Arctic but more in the Antarctic, climate science boat-person Freedman tweets: “…key to remember is the geographical circumstances are totally different.”

Freedmann gets so deep into it that Bishop Hill eventually calls his claims “handwaving post-hoc rationalisations of model failures.” Another reader writes he thinks Freedman ”is making it up as he goes along“. Anthony Watts tweets near the end: “Andrew Freedman is falling for the same ‘anything consistent with AGW’ silly logic fail that Laden did.”

Obviously the climate boatpeople are desperate and have nothing else left to lose.


Jay Lehr on Agriculture Appreciation

Heartland Institute Science Director Jay Lehr was a guest on Brownfield News Radio, after delivering a speech at the Iowa Farm Bureau annual meeting in Des Moines, Iowa.

The government has its hands in all sorts of industries, and Lehr believes the the agriculture industry is next. He thinks that Obama will use the EPA to push regulatory programs on farming and agriculture. Both Lehr and his interviewer were hopeful that since the whole healthcare disaster, people may be less trusting of the government’s regulatory fist. We can only hope, and although Lehr is optimistic, he warns that agriculture should still prepare for fight.

It’s clear that modern sentiments towards agriculture have changed; agriculture is no longer romanticized, but demonized- in a sense- by the environmental movement that started about 40 years ago. The environmentalists have had a very loud voice, and have “won” in terms of popular thought on big agriculture. Lehr recommends that farmers start talking and educating their communities of the truth about agriculture. He suggests taking two hours a month to talk to non-farming people about the new and exciting things happening on the farm.

Agriculture is moving at the speed of light; with new machinery technologies, growing technology, and farm science, there should be plenty to talk about! Agriculture needs to win back the minds of the public.


Climate stabilizers: How do people adjust?

Assuming warming:

I've been thinking over the last few days about ways in which people adjust to changes in climate and the like. As the climate warms, we might expect to see people reduce their demand for relatively resource-intensive warm clothing. Demand for heating oil will go down in exceptionally cold regions. The net effect on mortality will be ambiguous but likely positive: Indur Goklany argues that extreme cold kills far more people than extreme heat.

Norms will change. People are always coming up with new ways to solve problems, and with the global explosion in information technology I think we're just scratching the surface of what a truly global conversation will mean. In grad school, a friend told me his father's winter rule of thumb: if you're comfortable indoors without socks on, you have the heat on too high. Resources are needed to produce the socks, but I would be surprised if the net climate impact for extra socks is higher than the net climate impact of home heating.

As things get warmer, new types of vegetation will creep northward. Most of what I've seen has focused on bad flora and fauna, but again, this will be offset to at least some extent by the emergence of "good" flora and fauna. To use one example, we're doing an experiment with our kids in which we're going to learn why people don't grow avocados in central Alabama. We planted avocado pits, and they sprouted, but suffice it to say they don't do well in cold weather and will probably be dead before Spring. Changes in agricultural conditions will likely mean changes in the relative prices of meat and vegetable matter. Might climate change itself produce more climate-friendly diets?

I don't know. There are a lot of ways people will adjust to changing climate conditions. Some of them will be good, some of them will be bad, and in some ways ingenuity and markets mean that the system contains some of its own "automatic stabilizers" that will dampen the effects in either direction. I'll close with a quote from Friedman, who makes the most important (but most overlooked) point about the entire discussion in a post that is worth reading in its entirety (I'll even link to it again!):

"The answer, I think, is that nobody knows if the net effects would be good or bad, and probably nobody can know. We are talking, after all, about effects across the world over a century. How accurately could somebody in 1900 have predicted what would matter to human life in 2000? What reason do we have to think we can do better?

"Should we, for instance, assume that Bangladesh will still be a poor country a century hence, or that it will by then have followed the path blazed by South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong--and so be in a position to dike its coast, as Holland did several centuries ago, or move housing some miles further inland, at a cost that can be paid out of petty change? Should we assume that population increase makes agricultural land more valuable and the expansion of the area over which crops can be grown more important, or that improvements in crop yield make it less? While there may be people who believe that they know the answer to such questions, the numbers required to justify such belief are at best educated guesses, in most cases closer to pure invention. Someone who wants to prove that global warming is bad can make high estimates for the costs, low estimates for the benefits, and so prove his case to his own satisfaction. Someone with the opposite agenda can reverse the process and prove his case equally well."

America’s Bright Fuel Future Faces a Hostile White House

The International Energy Agency (IEA) made a mistake. Formed in 1974 at the behest of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and headquartered in Paris, the IEA was designed to be the organization for energy-consuming countries, countering OPEC, the organization representing the producers. It never really had much of a political role, and these days, its value lies in its statistics and energy predictions. Each fall, the IEA produces its "World Energy Outlook," and in 2012, the IEA estimated that "by around 2020 the U.S. is projected to become the largest global oil producer."

However, it looks like IEA's prediction was way off. In fact, this year, the IEA has predicted that the United States would take the lead in 2015, not 2020. We shouldn't be too hard on the IEA's number crunchers, though. Almost everyone who has looked at the American energy revolution has been on the low side, leading to a scramble to make revisions upward. Just this week, the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted that U.S. oil production would near a "historic high" by 2016. By this time next year, we may find that projections from both the IEA and the EIA were still too low.

"Historic high"? "Largest global oil producer"? That's pretty heady stuff, given that less than a decade ago, the United States was looking at a death spiral in oil and gas production, and experts were making very good livings predicting the imminent arrival of "peak oil." Statistics and predictions are all very well, but how does this play on the ground?

Reality check I: Let's look at Atascosa County, Texas. It's the closest county south of San Antonio. Until five years ago, it was struggling and had been for decades. There was not a lot of economic activity, and the young people who could, left the county for San Antonio or elsewhere. Twenty percent or so of the population was below the poverty level. Average income was below $15,000 per year.

Atascosa County sits on the northern edge of the Eagle Ford shale development. Interstate 37 from Corpus Christi to San Antonio and the railroad line from the Port of Corpus Christi to the railroad hub in San Antonio pass right through the county. This has now made it attractive for companies servicing the Eagle Ford to locate there. Almost every week, Leon Zabava, the oil and gas editor for the Pleasanton Express (Atascosa's weekly newspaper), reports on another new oil and gas company moving in. Commercial and residential construction is booming, new families are arriving, and the county is studying the idea of building a new high school.

On Dec. 9, Atascosa County commissioners held their regular meeting. According to the Pleasanton Express, when Judge Diana Bautista called the meeting to order, two new deputy tax collectors were approved, badly needed with all the money flooding into the county. The Murphy Exploration and Production Co. wanted county permission to make tests along a county road, and that was granted. The county treasurer announced that the county had more than $30 million in invested assets and about $2.7 million in debts, an asset-to-debt ratio of about 12 to one. Not many U.S. jurisdictions enjoy that sort of financial cushion.

The Express also reports the hiring of Roy Olivares as a car and truck salesman by the local Chevrolet dealer. Ford, GM and Dodge are doing well this year, and pickups are leading the charge. Given the demand for new trucks in the shale country, Mr. Olivares is likely to be very busy.

Thanks to the American shale revolution, Atascosa County's economic boom is being replicated in other small towns in western North Dakota, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, all of which have seen hard times until now.

Reality check II: Critics of the American energy revolution are hailing the appointment of John Podesta of the Center for American Progress to a senior White House position beginning in January. Recently, the center released its list of 55 corporate sponsors, none of which is in the oil and gas business. What the center did not do is draw attention to its left-wing billionaire contributors, including Tom Steyer. Last year, Mr. Steyer and Mr. Podesta co-wrote an attack on the Keystone XL Pipeline project in The Wall Street Journal. As The National Review recently put it, "Podesta is the vehicle through which a radical billionaire's energy policies are about to enter the Oval Office."

Would the White House really shut down the American shale revolution? We can only look at the record: President Obama has thrown the world's leading health care system into chaos. Never mind that high officials of other countries, including Canada, come to the United States for advanced treatment or that health care makes up a sixth of the American economy.

As with Obamacare, the shale revolution is entering uncharted waters now.


Michael Mann Retracts False Nobel Prize Claims in Humiliating Climbdown

Disgraced Penn State University (PSU) climatologist, Michael Mann, concedes defeat in his bogus claims to be a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Mann’s employer this weekend began the shameful task of divesting itself of all inflated claims on university websites and official documentation that Mann was ever a Peace Prize recipient with Al Gore and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Thanks to a tip off from respected climate researcher, Dr. Klaus Kaiser, myself and Tom Richard (who scooped the original Nobel story) obtained “before and after” copy images from PSU websites as records of this damning retraction.

But not only has Mann opened up a can of worms in the DC courts, he’s also rendered himself liable to full misconduct investigations by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and PSU for academic misrepresentation. No wonder that as of yesterday (Saturday October 27 2o12) the university began the task of ridding itself of their crestfallen ‘hockey sticker’s’ fake claims. In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky pedophile controversy it seems the penny has finally dropped at the scandal-ridden university that what was once disregarded as mere peccadillos actually bring unwelcome legal consequences. No one is buying any of the apologists’ assertions that the affidavit slip up was a trifling one off ”mistake.” Retrieval of third party archives of PSU web pages proves Mann has plied his fraudulent claims for years. So how many more times will Mann’s climate cronies seek absolution for His Phoniness?

It won’t surprise legal analysts if the removal of these bogus claims is swiftly followed by equally shaming corrections, if not complete withdrawal, of the current botched defamation suit. Also liable to collapse is Mann’s other libel claim dragging on since last year against Canadian climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball. In that related Vancouver action Mann also made the very same perjurious Nobel Prize claim. Heaven forbid, even Wikipedia is hurriedly re-writing their biography of the climate con artist within 24 hours of Tom Richard obtaining confirmation from the Nobel Committee that Mann had lied in his sworn affidavit filed last week in the District of Columbia Court.

Let’s not forget that much, if not all, of Mann’s lawsuit is an appeal to the DC court for it to uphold the rightness and sanctity of Mann’s beatified authority on all matters environmental. Therefore, lawyers for Steyn, Rand Simberg and their respective publishers, the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, defendants in the case, may reasonably and fairly assert that for the past five years Mann has unscrupulously touted these false claims to unjustly further his personal, financial and political ambitions. With his saintly mantle shattered he can expect an onslaught of accusations of related scientific misconduct. PSU’s own policy statement suggests Mann has certainly breached their code of conduct:

“Academic integrity includes a commitment by all members of the University community not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.” [1]

Expect all eyes to be on PSU’s hierarchy to see whether they dodge their own internal disciplinary policies. After the humiliation of the Jerry Sandusky scandal PSU will get no wriggle room to save a second bad boy. Likewise, the NSF has a detailed history of handling cases where individuals have falsified their degrees, memberships, prizes and other accomplishments. An AAAS report tells us, “Federal agencies finding scientific misconduct have subjected researchers to a variety sanctions from a letter of reprimand to debarment from receiving federal funding for a number of years.” [2]

We shall have to wait to see whether 2013 brings a new U.S. administration mindful to send a signal about the apparent slide in standards within American academia.


Crooked labs, agencies and prosecutors

EPA Nifongs and Beales prosecute US hydrocarbons, jobs, living standards and health

Paul Driessen

Former Durham, NC district attorney Mike Nifong was disbarred for withholding evidence from the defense and lying to the court in the trumped-up Duke lacrosse team rape case. Ex-Boston crime lab technician Annie Dookhan was prosecuted for faking test results and contaminating drug samples, to get accused dealers convicted. In both cases, charges against their victims were dismissed or are under review.

So how should we handle federal officials who’ve become unethical researchers and prosecutors – determined to get convictions, basing their cases on esoteric circumstantial evidence, allowing tainted and fraudulent evidence, hiding exculpatory information, rewriting the law, and denying defense counsel the right to cross-examine adverse witnesses or present their case?

As the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow explains in its amicus curiae brief to the US Supreme Court, that’s what Environmental Protection Agency regulators have been doing with global warming. They’re pulling every dirty prosecutorial trick in the book, to convict fossil fuels, carbon dioxide, and America’s economy and living standards of “endangering” the public welfare.

Since 2009, EPA regulators have shown a single-minded determination to slash hydrocarbon use, drive up the price of energy, and impose huge costs on companies, industries and an economy struggling to stay afloat and retain jobs. They want to control CO2 emissions from vehicles, electrical generating plants, and eventually the sources of nearly everything we make, grow, ship, eat and do. The damage to our livelihoods, liberties, living standards, legal system, health, welfare and life spans will be enormous.

The devious dealings have continued under new EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who has pronounced that there is “no more urgent threat to public health than climate change.” Now it appears the mendacious malfeasance is even worse than previously thought.

Newly released emails reveal that Ms. McCarthy was “very excited” in 2010 to “finally get the opportunity to work with” Mr. John Beale, who for several years was the senior EPA policy advisor helping Ms. McCarthy and her Office of Air and Radiation develop and implement tough air quality and climate regulations. When he wasn’t off on one of his Walter Mitty undercover CIA capers, that is.

Beale was just convicted of defrauding taxpayers out of $1 million in salaries and expenses for extended vacations that he took while claiming to be a high level intelligence operative. His attorney says he had a “dysfunctional need to engage in excessively reckless, risky behavior” and “manipulate those around him through the fabrication of grandiose narratives.”

It defies belief to suppose his dysfunctions and fabrications did not extend to his official EPA roles of devising agency air pollution and climate policies, then cherry picking reports and manipulating research to justify them. The criminal fraud for which Beale will serve 32 months in prison and repay $1.4 million is outrageous. The fraud on our economy, democracy and people’s lives is far more costly and despicable. Even worse, their regulatory fraud is a pervasive problem throughout EPA.

The Constitution specifies that the Executive Branch has no authority to engage in lawmaking, but must faithfully execute the laws as written – and not as regulators might wish the laws had been written, to advance their preferred policy agendas. EPA has violated these most fundamental rules, ignoring inconvenient statutory language, and devising and enforcing other provisions out of whole cloth.

Between 1989 and 2010, Congress considered and rejected some 692 bills addressing various aspects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. So President Obama’s EPA simply imposed carbon dioxide controls by executive fiat, using “prevention of significant deterioration” and “new source performance standards” to create new authority over coal-fired electrical generating plants. It then unilaterally changed precise statutory emission standards from 250 tons per year to 100,000 tpy – to avoid the public backlash that would come if it began regulating and shutting down all the natural gas generators, refineries, cement kilns, factories, paper mills, shopping malls, apartment and office buildings, hospitals, schools and even large homes that emit more than 250 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Those job-killing rules can come later, when radical environmentalists sue radical regulators, to enforce the statutory requirement.

In circumventing Congress, rewriting laws and ignoring the “separation of powers” doctrine, EPA accomplished an unprecedented power grab over the energy that fuels our economy and makes our jobs, living standards and civil rights progress possible. It also flouted clear NEPA, Clean Air Act and other statutory mandates that EPA protect the health, welfare and environmental quality of all Americans.

The agency remains fixated on the speculative impacts of sea levels, storms, droughts and other manifestations of allegedly “dangerous manmade climate change.” As CFACT’s amicus brief explains, it completely ignores the increasingly adverse effects that its boiler MACT, carbon dioxide and 1,9000 other Obama-era EPA regulations are having on companies, jobs, families, entire industries and communities – and thus people’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.

As breadwinners are laid off or reduced to part-time status, families are unable to heat and cool their homes properly, pay bills, rent or mortgage, buy clothing and medicines, or take vacations. Increasing numbers of families deplete their savings and are made homeless. Being unable to find or keep a job erodes self-worth, self-confidence and psychological well-being. The stress of being unemployed, or involuntarily holding multiple lower-paying part-time jobs, means reduced nutrition, sleep deprivation, increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, higher incidences of depression and alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse, more suicides and generally lower life expectancies.

It means the regulations are far worse than the harms they supposedly redress. For EPA to ignore this simple reality is illegal and unconscionable. For it to do so based on fraudulent science is outrageous.

The agency’s position hardly reflected genuine climate science in 2009, when EPA decreed that carbon dioxide endangers human health and welfare. Since then, Earth’s temperature and weather events have refused to cooperate with EPA’s dire predictions. But the agency’s views and decisions remain etched in stone, leaving the agency on the extreme fringe of alarmist opinion, insisting that its views are supported by IPCC predictions that are increasingly discredited by Climategate revelations, investigations into IPCC practices, the Beale scandal and even an exhaustive report by one of EPA’s own analysts.

When presented 37-year EPA veteran Alan Carlin’s analysis, his supervisor tried to suppress the paper and refused to forward it to the EPA group preparing the final report that would guide the endangerment decision. The supervisor told him: “The administrator and administration has [sic] decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision.”

Finally, even full compliance with EPA’s destructive regulations would achieve zero benefits, because emissions from China, India and other rapidly developing countries will continue increasing total atmospheric GHG levels – and because climate change is driven primarily by natural forces, not CO2.

For all these reasons, EPA’s carbon dioxide “endangerment” decision must be reversed; its stationary source regulations must be scrapped; and the agency must be required to fully evaluate the consistently adverse effects of its regulatory edicts on human health, welfare and environmental quality. If the Supreme Court fails to do so, the House and Senate must reassert their Constitutional roles.

Otherwise the United States will steadily fall behind its international competitors. The health and well-being of Americans will increasingly suffer. And the Legislative and Judicial Branches will become mere bystanders to an unelected, unaccountable, agenda-driven Executive Branch.

Via email



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


28 December, 2013

I just KNOW what causes what

Or so Thomas Mucha (below) seems to think. Which proves he hasn't got mucha of an idea about anything -- science in particular. He lists a range of bad happenings and offers not a shred of evidence that they are in any way abnormal. We just have to take his word for it, apparently. Too bad if you don't feel mucha inclined to do that. Perhaps we could call this "Warmism for the brain-dead"

For multitudes around the world today, calamity has already arrived. Drastic climate changes have sparked economic dislocation, political discord, and even death. And it's happening right now, in nearly every corner of the planet.

Above all, climate change — and what it means for life on Earth — is prompting fear and unease across the world.

For multitudes around the world today, calamity has already arrived. Drastic climate changes have sparked economic dislocation, political discord, and even death. And it's happening right now, in nearly every corner of the planet.

To help understand the breadth, depth and scope of climate change — and what it means to the people living through it — GlobalPost's award-winning team of correspondents and videographers spent much of 2013 investigating this global phenomenon, assessing the environmental, economic and political costs.

Their reporting mirrors the dire warnings of climate experts.

Our team has traveled to the Amazon rainforest, where scientists are struggling to understand what human activity is doing to the world's most complex ecosystem.

We've scaled the Himalayan mountains of northern India, where rapidly melting ice and shifting rains are triggering deadly flash floods.

We've explored the ice fields of Greenland, Alaska and Canada where glacial melting is altering landscapes and threatening traditional ways of life.

We've traveled to the southern African island of Madagascar where the world's only lemurs are disappearing amid a host of severe climate changes.

We've trekked across the North African country of Mali where desertification is contributing to rising political instability, including the growth of Islamic terrorist groups like Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.

We've visited the Gobi, a vast and expanding desert across Inner Mongolia and China that's hurtling sand and dust into the atmosphere, which then mixes with polluted skies to create toxic clouds that are choking some of Asia's most-populous cities.

We've also examined the impact of climate change on coastal regions and sea life, including the disappearing beaches of the Mexican tourist mecca of Cancun and the dying coral reefs off the coast of Belize.

And we've journeyed across the Great Plains of the United States, where increasingly extreme weather now threatens one of the world's most fertile agricultural regions.

Over the next 10 weeks we'll be featuring these stories and videos — one every week — in a series we've named Calamity Calling. We hope you'll follow along each week, and share these stories and videos widely.

As our reporting will illustrate, there is no bigger story on the planet. And none that so dramatically shows that, yes, we are all in this together.



Despite evidence that earth has not warmed for 15 years

Despite record cold around the globe, increasing ice sheets at the poles and vast snow fields covering large swaths of North America, the United Nations has announced its next global warming international meeting for New York City on Sept. 23, 2014, under the banner, “Climate Summit 2014: Catalyzing Action.”

The 2014 UN global warming summit is being billed as a prelude to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, Conference in 2015, at which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon hopes to advance the UN agenda to get a final international agreement signed in Paris to replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol carbon emission reduction agreement dating back to 2008.

“I challenge you to bring to the summit bold pledges,” Ban Ki-Moon said in a UN statement. “Innovate, scale-up, cooperate and deliver concrete action that will close the emissions gap and put us on track for an ambitious legal agreement through the UNFCC process.”

The UN is pressing ahead with a global warming agenda despite increasing scientific evidence the earth has entered a new cooling period and amidst continued fallout from what has become known as “Climategate,” the release in November 2009 of thousands of emails circulated among members of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] following the hacking of a server at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.

“Climategate” simply documented the falsification of scientific data to “prove” key global warming theories.

Global warming critic Marc Morano, in a debate televised on UN television during the UN’s 2013 climate summit in Warsaw, Poland, on Nov. 19, 2013, challenged a UN interviewer in a heated exchange that scientific evidence no longer validates the UN assumption the earth is warming.

In a sometimes contentious interview, Morano charged the UN IPCC reports are political, not scientific, arguing the most recent report, issued in September 2013, “was essentially written by a handful of UN scientists that they are fulfilling a narrative on man-made global warming.”

Morano cited various scientific studies that he asserts undermine the UN IPCC’s allegation that a scientific consensus has “settled the global warming thesis.”

“The settled science which the UN IPCC claims, seems to be changing by the week,” Morano countered. “We had two contrary studies in one week.”

The UN interviewer asked Morano what it would take for him to be convinced their exists a man-made global warming threat.

“You would have to see unprecedented climate and weather and we have neither,” Morano answered. “Multiple studies, in fact hundreds of scientists have shown the medieval warm period was as warm or warmer than current temperatures.”

2013: Least extreme U.S. weather ever

As the UN was announcing the 2014 Climate Summit in New York City, Morano’s website,, was publicizing a study issued this week by the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center documenting that U.S. weather in 2013 was the least extreme ever, with the number of tornadoes the lowest in several decades, the fewest U.S. forest fires since 1984, and the number of days of 100-degree Fahrenheit heat turning out to be the lowest in the past 100 years of available records.

“Whether you are talking about tornadoes, wildfires, extreme heat or hurricanes, the good news is that weather-related disasters in the United States are all way down this year compared to recent years and, in some cases, down to historically low levels,” Morano notes, citing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, data.

Among the “Top 10 Stories of 2013,” as reported by German Magazine Der Spiegel, was listed a 16-year global warming pause as documented by credible climate scientists worldwide.

“An unexpected development has been occupying the attention of climate scientists,” Der Speigel noted in the sub-heading to a story on “the mysterious” temperature development of the past years. “The air appears not to have warmed up in the last 16 years. Obviously natural phenomena are covering the increasing impact of greenhouse gases.”

Still, as suggested by Der Spiegel’s comment, “global warmers” appear reluctant to abandon an ideological commitment to the theory human-produced, or “anthropogenic,” causes have created a “greenhouse effect” in which carbon dioxide emitted in the burning of hydro-carbon fuels including oil, coal, and natural gas, have caused temperatures on earth to rise.

Global warming skeptics, in addition to Morano, have argued in print the evidence global warming has halted means UN theories of anthropogenic global warming should be abandon.

“It’s time to completely revamp the models so that they start to resemble reality,” wrote climate skeptic P. Gosselin this week in response to the Der Spiegel article. “It’s also time for the media to rethink their position ion the issue rather than trying to hopelessly prop it up.”

WND recently reported that within the span of a week, Cairo saw its first snow in 100 years. Oregon, like several other states, reached its coldest temperature in 40 years. Chicago saw its coldest days ever, and – as if to add finality to the trend – Antarctica reached the coldest temperature ever recorded anywhere on earth.

Ironically, just a few years ago, believers in anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming – since renamed “climate change” – claimed cold weather and snow would soon be just a memory.

“Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past,” announced the headline in Britain’s newspaper the Independent at the turn of the millennium. The report quoted David Viner, senior research scientist at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, long considered an authoritative resource for global warming research, as saying snow would soon be “a very rare and exciting event” in Britain.

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

The rhetoric and predictions of global warming acolytes have been every bit as confusing in the United States, with former vice president and carbon-credit entrepreneur Al Gore telling an audience in a 2009 speech that “the entire north polar ice cap during some of the summer months could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years.” And of course his 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” famously predicted increasing temperatures would cause earth’s oceans to rise by 20 feet, a claim many scientists say is utterly without rational basis.

How such predictions square with current weather reality – multiple reports of the coldest weather in a generation – is unclear.

Fact: The earth has not warmed for the last 15 years. This now-widely-known truth was confirmed in September in a leaked report, the result of six years’ work by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, touted as the world authority on climate change and its supposed causes.

Indeed, researchers were so flummoxed at the utter lack of evidence supporting anthropogenic global warming that, as the London Daily Mail reported, the “world’s top climate scientists were told to ‘cover up’ the fact that the earth’s temperature hasn’t risen for the last 15 years.”

“Climategate” exposes the global warming scam. Get it now at the WND Superstore.

Well-known scientist Art Robinson has spearheaded The Petition Project, which to date has gathered the signatures of 31,487 scientists who agree that there is “no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

They demonize capitalism and freedom … and it’s working! Read Brian Sussman’s new book, “Eco-Tyranny: How the Left’s Green Agenda Will Dismantle America”

Among the scientists signing the petition are 9,029 who hold doctorate degrees in their field of study.

“We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, and any other similar proposals,” the petition continues. “The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.”

Robinson, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry from Cal Tech, where he served on the faculty, co-founded the Linus Pauling Institute with Nobel-recipient Linus Pauling, where he was president and research professor. He later founded the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.

He told WND, very simply, that weather does change over time and that the global system goes through cycles, some slightly warmer and some slightly cooler than others.

Right now it’s cool. While it was snowing in Cairo for the first time in a century, Jerusalem received up to 20 inches.

Robinson also told WND it’s interesting to be living in a period when carbon dioxide is rising, yet temperatures are flat or going down.

“We just have to get used to fluctuations,” he said. “Earth does go through cycles.”

What, then, is behind the widespread obsession – with so little evidence – with global warming, and the resulting desire to implement massive new governmental policies? The answer, says Robinson, is not complicated: “Power and money.”

Power is obtained through laws and rules created in response to supposed global warming that limit what people can do with their own lives and property. Through carbon credits and “green” energy projects, which have made Al Gore enormously wealthy, massive amounts of money change hands.

Just weeks ago, the United Nations and World Bank lobbied for spending $600 billion to $800 billion a year on “sustainable energy” to replace oil and gas.

The U.S. has already given tens of millions of dollars to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


Stock Up Now: January 1 Is Lightbulb Ban

January 1 has gotten a lot of press for being the deadline for obtaining Obamacare health insurance, but it's going to be another deadline: the day that the federal government outlaws incandescent light bulbs.

As the Heritage Foundation notes:

"In 2007, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law an energy bill that placed stringent efficiency requirements on ordinary incandescent bulbs in an attempt to have them completely eliminated by 2014. The law phased out 100-watt and 75-watt incandescent bulbs last year.

Some may read this and think: Chill out—it’s just a light bulb. But it’s not just a light bulb. Take a look at the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program. Basically anything that uses electricity or water in your home or business is subject to an efficiency regulation.

When the market drives energy efficiency, it saves consumers money. The more the federal government takes away decisions that are better left to businesses and families, the worse off we’re going to be."

Stock up now. The law that was passed by Democrats and signed by President George W. Bush will soon take those incandescents away, to be replaced by slow-to-light "energy-efficient" bulbs and high-priced LED bulbs.


Unusual SUMMER ice catches the Akademik Shokalskiy

The MV Akademik Shokalskiy, a “highly ice-strengthened” Russian tour ship built in Finland in 1984 “for polar and oceanographic research,” is stranded in Antarctica’s summer ice with 74 passengers and crew members aboard.

The group, which includes two Guardian journalists, is retracing the harrowing 1911 Antarctic expedition led by Sir Douglas Mawson, who lost many of his team members and nearly died himself on the frigid continent a century ago.

The ship’s passengers include an Australian research team led by University of New South Wales Professor Chris Turney, who said in November that the voluminous data collected by Mawson 100 years ago is critical to understanding global warming.

But Turney reported that blizzard-like conditions and thick ocean ice is preventing the latest expedition from leaving.

“Unfortunately proceeding north we found our path blocked by ice pushed in by an increasingly strong southeasterly wind. On Christmas Eve we realised we could not get through, in spite of being just 2 nautical miles from open water,” Turney reported in his blog.

“According to reports nobody is in present danger and three nearby icebreakers are being sent to assist,” said, which books polar expeditions. The ship is “stuck part-way through her Australasian Antarctic Expedition towards Mawson's Hut at Cape Denison,” located about 100 nautical miles east of Dumont D’Urville, a French base on Antarctica, and 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart in Tasmania.

Three icebreakers – China’s Xue Long, Australia’s Aurora Australis, and France’s L’Astrolabe - have been dispatched to the scene, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is coordinating the international rescue after the Falmouth Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in the United Kingdom received a satellite distress call Christmas morning.

However, it will take the icebreakers at least two days to get to the stranded ship, which “is experiencing very strong winds and limited visibility.” The closest rescue ship is not expected to get to the scene until sometime Friday night.

“While it is early winter in the Arctic, it is early summer in the Antarctic. Continuing patterns seen in recent years, Antarctic sea ice extend remains unusually high, near or above previous daily maximum values,” according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

“Sea ice extent averaged 17.16 million square kilometers (6.63 million square miles) for November. The long-term 1981 to 2010 average extent for this month is 16.30 million square kilometers (6.29 million square miles),” the agency reported.


Birds More Important Than People? Feds Refuse Plea for Road Through Wildlife Refuge

Environmental priorities have trumped the medical concerns of a small Alaskan community. After four years of study, the Obama administration has decided on that the isolated community of King Cove, Alaska may not build a 22-mile, single-lane gravel road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge to the town of Cold Bay.

The decision, announced on Dec. 23 by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, has infuriated the people of King Cove, where the proposed road has been discussed since the 1980s.

The road would have given them access to emergency medical and other services by way of the all-weather airport at Cold Bay.

"Are birds really more important than people? It seems so hard to believe that the federal government finds it impossible to accommodate both wildlife and human beings," the Associated Press quoted Aleutians East Borough Mayor Stanley Mack as saying.

The proposed deal included a lopsided land swap: In exchange for using 200 acres within the wildlife refuge for road construction, the State of Alaska and the King Cove Corporation offered to add 55,000 acres to the Izembek Refuge.

But Interior Department refused the deal: "While the over 55,000 acres offered contain important wildlife habitat, they do not provide the wildlife diversity of the internationally recognized wetland habitat of the Izembek isthmus," the final Environmental Impact Statement said. "Simply exchanging lands will not compensate for myriad ripple effects on habitat and wildlife due to uses on and beyond the road, nor would new lands provide habitat for all the same species."

“We’ve undertaken a robust and transparent public process to review the matter from all sides, and I have personally visited the Refuge and met with the King Cove and Cold Bay communities to gain a better understanding of their concerns,” said Jewell. “After careful consideration, I support the (U.S. Fish and Wildlife) Service’s conclusion that building a road through the Refuge would cause irreversible damage not only to the Refuge itself, but to the wildlife that depend on it."

Jewell called Izembek "an extraordinary place," and she said "we owe it to future generations to think about long-term solutions that do not insert a road through the middle of this Refuge and designated wilderness."

Jewell said she understands the concerns about reliable medical transportation but she concluded that other modes of transportation could be improved to meet the needs of the community.

“We will continue to work with the State of Alaska and local communities to support viable alternatives to ensure continued transportation and infrastructure improvements for the health and safety of King Cove residents,” Jewell said.

The Anchorage Daily News noted that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) supported the road project, and even threatened to hold up Jewell's confirmation after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended against building it.

"I am angry. I am disappointed. I am frustrated. I am sad for the people of King Cove," the newspaper quoted Murkowski as saying. "Four thousand miles from where they're sitting, somebody has said you can't have a 10-mile, one-lane, non-commercial-use road so you can access the second longest runway in the state of Alaska to get out for medical reasons."

According to the Interior Department, the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1960, serves as vital habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl – including 98 percent of the world’s population of Pacific black brant -- along with grizzly bear, caribou and salmon. The refuge also contains "internationally significant eelgrass beds," lagoons, wetlands and hundreds of thousands of federally-protected waterfowl and shorebirds.

"These species are important subsistence resources for Native Alaskans. A road would have permanently bisected the isthmus, where most of the Refuge’s 315,000 acres of congressionally designated wilderness are located," the Interior Department said.

"By designating this area as wilderness in 1980, the most protective category of public lands, Congress recognized the need to protect Izembek as a place where natural processes prevail with few signs of human presence," Jewell's news release said.

Prodded by Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, Congress in 1998 provided over $37.5 million in federal funding as an alternative to a road through the Izembek Refuge and Izembek Wilderness. The funding upgraded the medical clinic, improved the King Cove airstrip, and created a transportation link between King Cove and Cold Bay via an unpaved road from King Cove to a hovercraft and terminal. But hovercraft service between King Cove and Cold Bay was halted in 2010.

Since the road will not be built, an aluminum landing craft/passenger ferry eventually may be used as a replacement for hovercraft service.


Western Australia to kill sharks -- Greenies disgusted

SHARKS bigger than three metres will be "humanely destroyed" with a firearm and discarded offshore, the tender for the State Government's baited drum line strategy reveals.

Commercial fishermen have until the end of next week to bid for the contract to deploy, manage and maintain up to 72 shark drum lines one kilometre off popular beaches in Perth and the South-West.

An "experienced licensed commercial fishing organisation" is sought for the service, which was announced following the death of surfer Chris Boyd, 35, at Gracetown last month.

The tender request includes new detail about the measure, including:

* Any white shark, tiger shark or bull shark greater than 3m total length caught on the drum lines will be "humanely destroyed";

* Current direction on the humane destruction of large sharks "involves the use of a firearm";

* Any sharks that are dead or destroyed will be tagged and taken offshore (distance to be confirmed) and discarded;

* In the initial stages of the program a number of sharks may be brought to shore;

* All other animals taken on the drum lines will be released alive "where possible";

* Any animals which are dead, or considered not in a condition to survive, are to be humanely destroyed, tagged and taken offshore for disposal;

* Drums will be supplied by the Department of Fisheries, but the bait will be supplied by the fishermen and preferably sourced from shark;

* The drum lines will be patrolled for 12 hours each day, between 6am and 6pm, seven days a week;

* Drum lines will be baited at both the commencement of, and prior to the end of, each patrol day, will all used baits disposed onshore;

* Exemptions from "various state legislation" which prohibit the take, or attempted take, of protected shark species will be provided;

* It is likely a 50m exclusion zone will be implemented around each drum line. Only vessels operated by the contractor will be allowed within the exclusion zone;

The successful firm will also respond to shark threats, including the deployment of additional drum lines within 30 minutes.

The document, issued by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, says the measure is a "direct response to the unprecedented shark fatalities that have occurred in Western Australia over the last three years".

Shark kill strategy 'disgusting'

Sea Shepherd Australia managing director Jeff Hansen described the measures as "absolutely disgusting" at a time when the rest of the world is moving towards shark conservation.

"I just don't know how the West Australian Government is getting away with what they are doing. We need more legal people to look into this to see how this is legal in this day and age," Mr Hansen said.

University of Western Australia shark biologist Ryan Kemptser, the author of an open letter calling for a rethink on the shark-bait policy, said: "Popular beaches and surf breaks can be protected just as effectively by simply moving sharks alive offshore instead of killing them and then dumping their bodies offshore, which is what the Government proposes to do.

"It would require exactly the same resources but it wouldn't result in killing any sharks, therefore protecting our local ecosystems."

Fisheries Minister Ken Baston today said since 2011 the State Government had invested $5m on taggging, deterrents and other innovations to better understand sharks.

"I agree research is important, however, we have seen seven fatal shark attacks over the past three years and it's time to put human safety first," he said.

"Western Australians who use the water expect the Government to take action to decrease the risk of shark attack at our popular beaches.

"Our new policy of setting drumlines to target sharks deemed a threat at these beaches will be in place very soon. The Government has committed to taking immediate steps, while continuing long term research."

As announced earlier this month, drum lines will be deployed 24 hours a day, initially from January until April.




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


27 December, 2013

Arctic Polar Ice Cap Reverses Shrinking Trend

An unusually cool summer in the Arctic has led to almost 50 percent more sea ice covering the polar region this fall than the year before.

Measurements from Europe’s CryoSat spacecraft reveal that about 2,160 cubic miles of sea ice covered the Arctic in late October.

That’s up from the 1,440 cubic miles that CryoSat measured during the record low for the ice in 2012.

Scientists say that about 90 percent of the increase is due to growth of multiyear ice, which is thick enough to last through more than one summer without melting.

“Although the recovery of Arctic sea ice is certainly welcome news, it has to be considered against the backdrop of changes that have occurred over the last few decades,” said Andy Shepherd of University College London.

He told the BBC that there were about 4,800 cubic miles of Arctic sea ice each October during the early 1980s, decades before a rapid warming of the polar region brought unprecedented melting.


NASA Satellite Data Contradict ‘Warmest November’ Claims

Global warming activists claim this November was the warmest on record, yet NASA and NOAA satellite data show temperatures were only modestly warmer than average. The discrepancy highlights global warming activists’ desire to have not only their own opinions, but their own facts as well.

NASA satellite instruments report November 2013 was merely the ninth warmest since 1979, when NASA satellites first began uniformly measuring Earth’s atmospheric temperatures. Microwave sounders aboard NOAA satellites report November 2013 was merely the 16th warmest since 1979.

The NASA and NOAA satellite instruments differ in the fine details of how they determine global temperatures. NASA satellite instruments, for example, report average temperatures in atmospheric layers while NOAA satellite instruments measure temperatures at specific levels. The NASA and NOAA satellite instruments each measure temperatures precisely and globally, and they each show temperatures warming more slowly than the warming claimed by overseers of NASA and NOAA’s surface temperature reports.

The NASA and NOAA surface temperature reports claim a more pronounced warming trend even though the surface temperature measurements themselves show only modest warming. Global warming activists who oversee the surface temperature data employ a variety of means to lower historical temperature readings below the raw measurements while raising recent and current temperatures above the raw measurements. The result is a manufactured rapid warming trend that defies the satellite data and the raw surface temperature data.

Steve Goddard’s Real Science website shows the satellite temperature reports for November 2013 compared to alarmist claims that November 2013 was the warmest November on record.


How far should we trust models?

The article below is by a Warmist but even he can see how much uncertainty there is in modelling

As computer modelling has become essential to more and more areas of science, it has also become at least a partial guide to headline-grabbing policy issues, from flood control and the conserving of fish stocks, to climate change and — heaven help us — the economy. But do politicians and officials understand the limits of what these models can do? Are they all as good, or as bad, as each other? If not, how can we tell which is which?

In this new world of computer modelling, an oft-quoted remark made in the 1970s by the statistician George Box remains a useful rule of thumb: ‘all models are wrong, but some are useful’. He meant, of course, that while the new simulations should never be mistaken for the real thing, their features might yet inform us about aspects of reality that matter.

‘The art is to find an approximation simple enough to be computable, but not so simple that you lose the useful detail.’

Because it’s usually easy to perform experiments in chemistry, molecular simulations have developed in tandem with accumulating lab results and enormous increases in computing speed. It is a powerful combination.

More often, though — and more worryingly for policymakers — models and simulations crop up in domains where experimentation is harder in practice, or impossible in principle. And when testing against reality is not an option, our confidence in any given model relies on other factors, not least a good grasp of underlying principles.

[W]e seem increasingly to be discussing results from models of natural phenomena that are neither well-understood, nor likely to respond to our tampering in any simple way. [A]s Naomi Oreskes notes, we used such models to study systems that are too large, too complex, or too far away to tackle any other way. That makes the models indispensable, as the alternative is plain guessing. But it also brings new dimensions of uncertainty.

First, you might be a bit hazy about the inputs derived from observations — the tedious but important stuff of who measured what, when, and whether the measurements were reliable. Then there are the processes represented in the model that are well understood but can’t be handled precisely because they happen on the wrong scale. Simulations typically concern continuous processes that are sampled to furnish data — and calculations — that you can actually work with. But what if significant things happen below the sampling size? Fluid flow, for instance, produces atmospheric eddies on the scale of a hurricane, down to the draft coming through your window. In theory, they can all be modelled using the same equations. But while a climate modeller can include the large ones, the smaller scales can be approximated only if the calculation is ever going to end.

Finally, there are the processes that aren’t well-understood — climate modelling is rife with these. Modellers deal with them by putting in simplifications and approximations that they refer to as parameterisation. They work hard at tuning parameters to make them more realistic, and argue about the right values, but some fuzziness always remains.

When the uncertainties are harder to characterise, evaluating a model depends more on stepping back, I think, and asking what kind of community it emerges from. Is it, in a word, scientific? And what does that mean for this new way of doing science?

What’s more, the earth system is imperfectly understood, so uncertainties abound; even aspects that are well-understood, such as fluid flow equations, challenge the models. Tim Palmer, professor in climate physics at the University of Oxford, says the equations are the mathematical equivalent of a Russian doll: they unpack in such a way that a simple governing equation is actually shorthand for billions and billions of equations. Too many for even the fastest computers.


Fracking Saves Water

Contrary to the conventional teachings of environmentalists, hydraulic fracturing (i.e., fracking) has at least one major environmental benefit: saving water.

Although most Americans are disturbingly ignorant about fracking, it is an issue of critical importance not only with respect to the environment but also in foreign policy and the economy. Typically, the debate is framed around priorities. If you care more about the environment, you are against fracking; but if you care more about energy independence and domestic economic opportunities, you are for fracking.

However, a new study out of the University of Texas at Austin - one of the top schools in the world for studying energy and engineering - disrupts the usual dichotomy. In a world where more and more climate change scientists are concerned about the effects of drought, the latest research shows that the water-intensive fracking method of extracting natural gas actually saves water overall.

Climate Central has the details (emphasis mine):

"Electricity produced using natural gas combustion turbines and natural gas combined-cycle generators requires roughly 30 percent of the water needed for coal power plants. The study estimates that the amount of water saved by shifting a power plant from coal to natural gas is up to 50 times the amount of water lost in fracking to extract the natural gas from underground shale formations.

The study’s authors estimate that for every gallon of water used to frack for natural gas, Texas saved 33 gallons of water by using that gas for electricity generation rather than producing the same amount of power with coal. During the 2011 drought, if Texas’ natural gas-fired power plants had generated electricity with coal, the state would have consumed an additional 32 billion gallons of water, or enough to supply about 870,000 people with water, accounting for water used for fracking, according to the study."

Environmental activists have long pushed for an end to fracking in America, or at least a drastic increase in governmental regulations. If they are truly concerned with climate change, the recent research should make them think twice.


Podesta to carry out the Obama Doctrine

Marita Noon

“Canada is a sovereign nation and we will develop our resources with appropriate regulations and enforcement to protect the environment,” said Paula Caldwell St-Onge. The Consulate General of Canada, St-Onge was in Albuquerque to talk up, and answer questions about, the Keystone pipeline.

She’d done media interviews prior to her arrival at the University of New Mexico Science and Technology Park where a smattering of aggressive, sign-waving Keystone opponents awaited. Security escorted St-Onge from the parking lot to the meeting room.

I, too, was addressing the folks who’d come in support of the controversial pipeline.

Sans security, I approached the rotunda alone. (Guards were present to keep the protesters from accosting the attendees who were bold enough to continue past the cluster of vocal opponents shouting accusations about “ruining the planet for the children.”)

When I passed by, one called out: “That’s Marita Noon! She supports the oil-and-gas industry! She doesn’t believe in climate change!” Basking in my newfound celebrity, I turned, smiled, and waved as if I was greeting adoring fans — and entered the building.

I was the first speaker, followed by Bill Eden, international representative of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada. St-Onge rounded out the trio.

Always the optimist, I opened with: “This is an exciting time to be alive!” and addressed the fact that we were on the cusp of achieving the holy grail of energy security that had eluded decades of American presidents. I pointed out how the Keystone pipeline was an important part of that goal. I talked about my visit to the Canadian oil sands and Mexico’s new energy reforms. I bragged about New Mexico’s energy riches.

I looked at St-Onge and repeated my frequent prediction that Keystone would not be approved under the Obama Administration. I stated: “We know that Obama doesn’t care about Republicans. We know he doesn’t care about the oil-and-gas industry. We may even question whether or not he cares about America. But he does care about his base—and, of his base, there are only two groups who care about the Keystone pipeline.” I asked the audience who those two groups were. They rightly asserted: “environmentalists” and “unions.”

I, then, explained what I call the Obama Doctrine — his primary mode of operation: “Reward your friends, punish your opposition.” With a shrug, I told them, “You don’t need to know anything more than that to know that Keystone will not be approved.”

At first the audience was puzzled — after all, both the environmentalists and the unions are “friends” of the Administration. I asked: “What have the unions done lately?” And answered: “Publically embarrassed Obama on his signature legislation.” The lights came on.

I backed up my view with a quote from the December 14 New York Times regarding John Podesta’s return to the White House: “his very presence could influence Mr. Obama’s thinking on the proposed pipeline from Canada’s oil sands — even though Mr. Podesta has said that he will recuse himself from the final decision because the liberal think tank he founded 10 years ago, the Center for American Progress, has been unsparingly critical of the entire enterprise.”

When St-Onge took the platform, she pointed to me and, in a jovial manner, said: “Marita, I hope you are wrong.” I called out: “I hope I am too! And, I hate to be wrong.”

All the while, the protesters were outside — at first pressing their signs against the windows (until the blinds were closed) and then shouting through a megaphone in a failed attempt to disrupt the meeting.

Fortunately, I’d had major plumbing problems at my home that morning. I am not happy that I had to leave two plumbers in my house when I headed off to speak at the Keystone meeting, but dealing with the problems prevented me from reading the pages of research I’d printed out on John Podesta and his views on the Keystone pipeline. I read them later in the day, on the plane on the way to join my family for Christmas.

Had I read everything I had on Podesta, I couldn’t have started with: “This is an exciting time to be alive!” I couldn’t have been my usual, positive, cheerleading self.

While I’ve been pessimistic about the future of the Keystone pipeline, I’ve spoken and written optimistically about America’s overall energy position and related politics. I’ve touted the increased domestic oil-and-gas development. I’ve pointed out the general demise of the climate change argument and the failure of Europe’s green energy policies. I’ve talked up the good-paying jobs provided by the energy industry. I’ve been encouraged by the changing politics in the other countries of the Anglosphere. I’ve said: “With my ear to the ground, I see good things coming…” But, with Podesta’s return to the White House as an advisor specializing in energy policy, I must admit my optimism was misplaced. I’ve been wrong. And, I hate to be wrong.

Having read extensively on Podesta and his policies, if I was giving the speech today, I’d have to start with: “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

The Daily Caller (DC) starts an article on Podesta’s White House return this way: “John Podesta’s return to the White House should have oil, gas and coal producers worried.” He is a former lobbyist and chief of staff to President Clinton. He is the founder of the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress (CAP) — which Bloomberg news called “an intellectual wellspring for Democratic policy proposals.” Many Obama staffers and policies have come from CAP. The DC says: “In 2010, Podesta wrote the foreword for a CAP report on how the president could use his executive authority to advance a progressive agenda, including actions to unilaterally force the U.S. economy to become greener.” CAP and the name Podesta have come up repeatedly in the Green-energy Crony-corruption Scandal that I’ve covered extensively with Christine Lakatos.

The New York Times states: “Mr. Podesta’s main task will be to give the Environmental Protection Agency the support it needs to devise new rules controlling greenhouse gases from new and existing power plants.” And, “He will further elevate the issue of climate change.” The New Yorker Magazine’s coverage of the Podesta position agrees: “Podesta’s climate-change portfolio will therefore be limited largely to overseeing the implementation of E.P.A. regulations.”

Regarding Podesta’s role, The Hill reports: it’s “likely to include administration decisions about how to lease out federal lands and which energy development and mining projects to permit.” It also cites Jay Carney as saying: “Podesta will help implement ‘executive actions where necessary when we can’t get cooperation out of Congress.’” And, states: “Officials and outside energy groups are particularly optimistic he’ll be able to advance the administration’s environmental agenda through administrative policy.” According to the New Yorker, Podesta believes that Obama needs “to be expansive in his use of executive power.”

Specifically addressing the Keystone pipeline, Podesta has said: “I think he should not approve it. I’m of the view that you just can’t meet the standard now that Obama set out: Does it or does it not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution? What are the net effects? And I think a fair review of that would say the net effects are big and they’re negative.” The New Yorker ends its “Podesta and the Pipeline” report with this: “If Obama approves the project, he will have to do so knowing that he is contradicting the assessment of his new climate-change adviser.” The Washington Free Beacon (WFB) claims: “President Obama has consigned Keystone to bureaucratic purgatory.”

According to the DC, the Keystone pipeline is: “A minor concern when compared to the potential regulatory onslaught that Podesta could unleash from within the White House” — about which the WFB coined the term “Regicide.”

Yes, oil, gas and coal producers should be worried — and the individuals and industries that count on America’s abundant, available and affordable energy should be afraid, very afraid.



Written by Dr Judy Ryan & Dr Marjorie Curtis

Below is a letter from Drs Judy Ryan and Marjorie Curtis to Mr Mark Scott, the Managing Director of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC). Up to 200 political, media and other interested, or possibly, concerned, parties such as the BBC, are openly copied in. Mr Scott is the first member of the Australian public to to be held accountable by public letter.ABC

Judy and Marjorie have been holding prominent Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) alarmists such as David Karoly, Tim Flannery, Will Steffen and Lesley Hughes individually accountable for close to one year now. The letters and email lists are on Judy’s Facebook page They will also be on the Galileo Movement Facebook page soon.

As many interested parties are openly copied in; the lack of response from the alarmist does not look good on the public record. A legitimate question is:- Why don’t they respond with the evidence to support their hypothesis? It should be easy. The case for holding CAGW alarmists individually accountable is building.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Mr. Mark Scott

Managing Director

Australian Broadcasting Corporation GPO Box 9994

Sydney NSW 2001

Dear Mr. Scott:

We are writing this public email to you to express our concern regarding the biased, inadequate, incorrect, and alarmist reporting by the ABC on the subject of ‘Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming’ (CAGW), or any other weather related event.

We notice that you were made aware of this matter on the 15th February 2013 by notice delivered by registered post from Mr. Malcolm Roberts

In that notice you were asked to ensure that unless you, as the managing director of the ABC, have empirical scientific evidence that damaging warming is caused by human emissions of CO2, the ABC should cease making direct or implied public claims that it is. You were also requested to retract past such claims and associated claims if you did not have the evidence to back them up. You were further requested to ensure that future ABC broadcasts on climate and the environment be objective, factual, balanced and correct.”

You did not respond to that notice or act upon any of the reasonable requests therein. Under your stewardship, the ABC has continued the policy of biased alarmist, reporting on CAGW. As the ABC chief executive receiving a handsome salary from the taxpayers you are the one person most responsible for ensuring that the ABC reports truthfully, factually and in accordance with the ABC Charter.

As managing director of the ABC you are required to provide reliable, evidence-based information. That means no exaggeration of effects, no misleading allegations and no omission of evidence that does not support the CAGW hypothesis.

The definition of fraud is, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, quote: “a false representation of a matter of fact, whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed, which deceives and is intended to deceive another so that he shall act upon it to his legal injury.”

The Australian people are experiencing financial disadvantage as a result of the Carbon Tax/ETS/Direct Action Policy and a host of other policies and administrative decisions driven by advice regarding the science of climate change. Much of that advice has been reported to the people via the ABC under your stewardship. Is that advice false or misleading? Does it deceive by concealing relevant facts? Has the ABC reported the evidence for and against CAGW in a balanced impartial manner?

A recent example of the ABC reporting (Dec 3rd 2013) can be seen here;

Another example;

Under Australia’s strong democracy no one is above the law. Judges, politicians, scientists, academics, senior public servants, and managing directors can be held to account for breaching their fiduciary duty.

For this reason it is important that you read and respond to the evidence provided below:-

The first few bullet points are links to the evidence for the null hypothesis versus CAGW. They are three references out of many, many thousands.

Wolfgang Knorr (no significant change in the airborne fraction of human caused CO2 since 1850)

Murry Salby (temperature, not man-made CO2, drives CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. )

Since replicated by Pehr Björnbom

Roy Spencer and John Christie (all the IPCC models have failed validity testing)

Green, Armstrong and Soon found that errors in the projections of the IPCC’s scenario of exponential CO2 growth for the years 1851 to 1975 were more than seven times greater than the errors from a no change from previous year extrapolation method.).

The next few bullet points provide the evidence that indicates that from as early as 1998 there was no overwhelming scientific consensus supporting CAGW. There are only a few studies that claim to have measured overwhelming scientific consensus for CAGW. We have read them and their critiques. The two main earlier ones are:-

(1) Doran and Zimmerman (where the researchers selectively whittled down a sample of over 10,000 geologists to just 77 then measured scientific consensus on the basis of two questions neither of which mentioned carbon-dioxide).

(2) The Anderegg et al study 2010 was not a survey. It was merely a methodologically flawed, subjective count and categorisation of publications. (Ref ‘Taxing Air 2013 ‘by Robert Carter and John Spooner).

(3) The 2013 study by Cook et. al. is also a methodologically flawed count and categorisation of publications.

By contrast there are several robust measures of scientific rebuttal of CAGW

The online petition which was launched in 1998 by the first group of dissenting scientists and has over 31,000 scientists signatures

The annual reports of the Non Governmental panel for Climate Change NIPCC (which is a scientific body founded in 2003 )

Various other methodologically sound surveys

The next few bullet points refer to evidence that indicates that CAGW is the current politically driven global scam.

Climate gate Emails 2009 (their content reveals scientific misconduct. The various investigations that found no misconduct BUT found that those scientists had refused to share their supporting data which shows a lack of transparency inconsistent with good science)

Armstrong, Green and Soon (Their audit found that the IPCC procedures violated as many as 72 of the 89 relevant forecasting principles (p. 997))

Kesten Green (identified 26 historical alarmist movements. (None of the forecasts proved correct. Twenty-five alarms involved calls for government intervention. The government imposed regulations in 23. None of the 23 interventions was effective and harm was caused by 20 of them.)

Impending legal action a possibility (John Coleman’s interview) .

In our opinion the ABC is deteriorating into a malicious, self -interest group, led by you. As recent events have shown, you are prepared to place the security of the ABC’s salary structure above the national security of Australia and its people.

You have allowed senior ABC journalists to conduct a smear campaign against scientists and citizens who are skeptical of CAGW.


Having digested all of the above we allow you 21 days to either publicly renounce your alarmist claims on the ABC news, or publicly provide empirical data-based evidence, that is available for scientific scrutiny, to support them.

It is on the public record that we issued a similar opportunity to Professor David Karoly in March this year. You received a copy by registered post with delivery confirmation. As we said in that letter, if CAGW turns out to be a politically driven scientific scam “every day that you delay is one day longer that the Australian people will hold you accountable”.

In closing, if there is anything we have said that you think is untrue please click reply all and let us know and we will apologise.




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


24 December, 2013

Those Stubborn Facts: 35-Year Cooling of South Pole Confirmed By NASA - Antarctica Ice Sheets Safe

Antarctica south pole cooling 35 years satellite co2 those stubborn facts nov2013The IPCC's climate science has long claimed that human CO2 emissions are producing an accelerated global warming, with a "runaway" warming trend, which is then being amplified in the north and south polar extremes. This dangerous warming is, of course, causing the ice sheets to melt, unleashing catastrophic sea level rise, and thus swamping coastal regions and low-lying islands, as we speak!

Hmmm.....despite over 845 billion tons of human CO2 emissions being added to the biosphere since 1978, that predicted dangerous warming, and associated catastrophes, have yet to materialize.

A BIG-TIME FAIL, no? As many are now saying, a rather robust and very significant embarrassment for all of the "consensus" involved: including the IPCC, the United Nations' science "experts," the governing elites and bureaucrats.

This huge fail is amplified because the South Pole region that includes Antarctica has done the opposite - literally a cooling temperature trend over the last 35 years.

NASA's satellites have now been measuring global temperatures for a full 35 years (420 months through November 2013), including the Antarctic. The above chart documents the measured southern polar region temperatures.

As can be seen, there has been a cooling trend - granted, a very tiny -0.04°C/century, but it remains far removed from the IPCC's unicorn science of "amplified" and dangerous polar warming.

And not only has it not warmed, the Antarctic sea ice has grown to a record amount.

Well, you might now be wondering if that imminent, catastrophic Antarctica ice sheets melting and collapse are still predicted. Nope. Eating a huge amount of that cooling crow, the IPCC has recently labeled that outcome as "extremely unlikely".....Ooops!!

In summary, those stubborn facts that are the archenemy of climate change alarmists are without mercy - after 35 years of high tech measurements, the South Pole region has nada, zilch, goose egg, naught, aught, nil, nix, nothing, null, zero, zip and zippo warming. Nuff said.


The Supreme Court is Undermining Science and Society?

By Alan Caruba

The Supreme Court has taken up another case based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s campaign of lies that carbon dioxide is the cause of “climate change” and claims about the quality of air in the United States. The Court is composed of lawyers, not scientists.

At this point in the present era, the Court has made rulings that run contrary to the original, clear intent of the U.S. Constitution and has wrought havoc on our society.

In 1973 it ruled that the killing of unborn babies was protected and millions since then have been deliberately killed. It extended protection to sodomy and same-sex marriage. It is destroying the fabric of our society that has served Americans well for more than two hundred years.

It ruled that the Affordable Health Care Act was a “tax”, enabling the Obamacare to be unleashed with the subsequent loss of health care plans by millions of Americans, often the loss of their personal physician, and the requirement that deeply-held religious opposition to contraception and abortion be negated by a law that requires their beliefs be overruled and denied.

In 2007, I wrote a commentary that was published in The Washington Times. I criticized a Supreme Court ruling that carbon dioxide (CO2) was a “pollutant”, opening the door to the EPA’s rapacious intent to control all aspects of our lives based on this lie that is used to justify its war on coal-fired plants that provide nearly half of all the electrical energy we use daily. “CO2 is not a pollutant,” I wrote, “It exists in the Earth’s atmosphere and every blade of grass and every tree depends on it.” It plays no role whatever in the Earth’s climate.

The Clean Air Act and revisions passed in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s. The original regulation of air pollution was a good idea, as were the laws affecting clean water, but the EPA has since used pollution to impose a vast matrix of regulations that do not reflect the fact that the nation’s air and water is now as clean as it ever can be.

Carbon monoxide emissions have fallen from 197 million tons to 89 million tons. Nitrogen oxide emissions fell from 27 million tons to 19 million tons. Sulfur dioxide emissions fell from 3l million tons to 15 million tons. Lead emissions fell by more than 98%. Particulate emissions (soot) fell by 80%. The air in the U.S. is considerably cleaner, but the EPA’s assertions continue to be made to expand its regulatory power and to attack the sovereignty of the states.

A case that was recently argued before the Court is another EPA effort to rewrite the Clean Air Act, asserting that it be given authority to regulate the flow of alleged “pollution” between “upwind” states and those who receive particulates and gases under its control. Some 27 states are considered “upwind” and those states along with all others have their own air control laws. In states that are more heavily industrialized and which have a large number of coal-fired plants on which the EPA wants to impose expensive standards that have no basis in fact.

A coalition led by Texas of more than a dozen other states brought a case, Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation, opposing the EPA’s regulatory re-write of the Clean Air Act. In August 2012, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the EPA which appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Wall Street Journal noted that “The D.C. Circuit only rarely overturns EPA rules, which shows how out of bounds the cross-state regulation is. The Supreme Court should overturn it for violating the federalist intentions of Congress, but there is also the added judicial incentive to show this increasingly rogue agency that it can’t rewrite the law as it pleases.”

The U.S. has been harmed by the many laws whose justification is based on the totally unscientific hoax regarding CO2. During the 101st and 111th Congresses, there were 692 laws introduced containing the term “greenhouse gas” when, in fact, CO2 is NOT such a gas, playing no role whatever in trapping warmth to affect the weather and/or climate of the Earth.

Stringent domestic laws and regulations, moreover, do not take into consideration the role of many other nations whose emissions are far greater than those produced here. However, reducing their emissions will have no effect on the Earth’s climate. The Earth is in what will likely be a lengthy cycle of cooling based on reduced solar radiation. It recently snowed in Egypt and in Israel where snow has long been a rarity.

The Obama administration’s “war on coal” has used the EPA to inflict an attack on the nation’s capacity to provide energy and the EPA has not ceased from using every ruling it has imposed to degrade the nation’s ability to maintain and expand the industrial base it needs to provide for economic growth, an increase in jobs, and the sovereign right of states to determine their own response to the need for clean air. The U.S. is a republic composed of separate republics.

At this point, control of the nation’s air and water quality should be returned in full to the states and the EPA should be eliminated as the threat to the nation it has become. The Supreme Court has played a role in this threat, ruling without any attention to real science, traditional values, and the clear intent of the Constitution.



Greenies hate "sprawl" but living in tiny spaces can cause psychological problems

New York City has a housing problem. Currently, it has 1.8 million one- and two-person households, and only one million studios and one-bedroom apartments. The obvious solution seems to be to develop more small residential units.NY apartment

But how small is too small? Should we allow couples to move into a space the size of a suburban closet? Can a parent and child share a place as big as a hotel room?

In January, Bloomberg’s office announced the winner of its 2012 competition to design and build a residential tower of micro-units—apartments between 250 and 370 square feet—on a city-owned site at East 27th street in Manhattan. According to the Mayor’s press release, the winning proposal, by the Brooklyn-based firm nARCHITECTS was chosen for its innovative layout and building design, with nearly 10 foot ceilings and Juliet balconies that give residents “substantial light and air.”

But as New York City’s “micro-apartment” project inches closer to reality, experts warn that micro-living may not be the urban panacea we’ve been waiting for. For some residents, the potential health risks and crowding challenges might outweigh the benefits of affordable housing. And while the Bloomberg administration hails the tiny spaces as a “milestone for new housing models,” critics question whether relaxing zoning rules and experimenting with micro-design on public land will effectively address New York’s apartment supply problem in the long run.

“Sure, these micro-apartments may be fantastic for young professionals in their 20's,” says Dak Kopec, director of design for human health at Boston Architectural College and author of Environmental Psychology for Design. “But they definitely can be unhealthy for older people , say in their 30’s and 40’s, who face different stress factors that can make tight living conditions a problem.”

Home is supposed to be a safe haven, and a resident with a demanding job may feel trapped in a claustrophobic apartment at night—forced to choose between the physical crowding of furniture and belongings in his unit, and social crowding, caused by other residents, in the building’s common spaces. Research, Kopec says, has shown that crowding-related stress can increase rates of domestic violence and substance abuse.

For all of us, daily life is a sequence of events, he explains. But most people don’t like adding extra steps to everyday tasks. Because micro-apartments are too small to hold basic furniture like a bed, table, and couch at the same time, residents must reconfigure their quarters throughout the day: folding down a Murphy bed, or hanging up a dining table on the wall. What might seem novel at the beginning ends up including a lot of little inconveniences, just to go to sleep or make breakfast before work. In this case, residents might eventually stop folding up their furniture every day and the space will start feeling even more constrained.

Susan Saegert, professor of environmental psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center and director of the Housing Environments Research Group, agrees that the micro-apartments will likely be a welcome choice for young New Yorkers who would probably otherwise share cramped space with friends. But she warns that tiny living conditions can be terrible for other residents—particularly if a couple or a parent and child squeeze into 300 square feet for the long term, no matter how well a unit is designed.

“I’ve studied children in crowded apartments and low-income housing a lot,” Saegert said, “and they can end up becoming withdrawn, and have trouble studying and concentrating.” In these situations, modern amenities—such as floor to ceiling windows, extra storage and a communal roof deck— won’t compensate for a fundamental lack of privacy in a child’s home every day.

She also doubts whether it’s a valid public goal to develop smaller units on city land. “In New York, property is just gold,” she points out. “Isn’t this something a developer could do in a [Brooklyn] neighborhood like DUMBO and make a lot of money?” By the same token, if micro-apartments are indeed the wave of the future, Saegert argues, they increase the “ground rent,” or dollar per square foot that a developer earns and comes to expect from his investment. So over time, New Yorkers may actually face more expensive housing, paying the same amount to rent a studio in the neighborhood where they used to be able to afford a one-bedroom. With the gradual erosion of zoning rules, the micro-apartment could very well become the unit of the future, the only viable choice for a large number of renters.

Beyond the economic impact of smaller spaces, our homes also serve an important role in communicating our values and goals, or what scientists call “identity claims.” We tend to feel happier and healthier when we can bring others to our space to telegraph who we are and what’s important to us.

“When we think about micro-living, we have a tendency to focus on functional things, like is there enough room for the fridge,” explained University of Texas psychology professor Samuel Gosling, who studies the connection between people and their possessions “But an apartment has to fill other psychological needs as well, such as self-expression and relaxation, that might not be as easily met in a highly cramped space.”

On the other hand, Eugenie L. Birch, professor of urban research and education and chair of the Graduate Group in City Planning at the University of Pennsylvania, says this certainly isn’t the first time we’ve had this debate over micro-living. New York has grappled with the public health costs of crowded living conditions and minimum apartment standards throughout its history.

“Over time, New York City developers conceived of many ways to address the need for affordable housing,” said Birch. “They built slums in the 19th century that reformers fought against. Other solutions have been boarding houses, missions, shelters, and what came to be known as single room occupancy units or SROs.”

While it might be stressful to live in crowded conditions, consider the alternative.

Rolf Pendall, director of the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center asks: Where would all these people be doing business and living without the density? Would they be commuting longer distances or earning less, and is living farther from economic opportunities “better” for them? In that context, Pendall says he welcomes micro-apartments as long as they fit within the larger housing ecology of the city, and don’t ultimately displace other types of units for families.
The problem is, there’s often a discrepancy between housing standards and actual housing conditions. Countless New Yorkers illegally share apartments, and current zoning rules can create poor living environments—dilapidated kitchens or dark, dingy rooms with a window that opens onto a brick wall. A worst case scenario would yield hundreds of thousands of micro-apartments and poor conditions.

For this project, while New York may be taking a step backwards in terms of square footage, Eric Bunge, a principle at nArchitects, (the firm that created the winning micro-apartment design), is adamant that the city is taking a big step forward in terms of actual living conditions.


A Science Journal Sting

Want to get your work published in a scientific journal? No problem if you have a few thousand dollars you are willing to part with.

These days a number of journals display trappings of a journal, promising peer-review and other services, but do not deliver. They perform no peer review, and provide no services, beyond posting papers and cashing checks for the publication fees. There has been a recent dramatic increase in the number of publishers that appear to be engaged in the practice, growing by an order of magnitude in 2012 alone. (1)

Network of bank accounts based mostly in the developing world
From humble and idealistic beginnings a decade ago, open-access journals have mushroomed into a global industry, driven by author publication fees rather than traditional subscriptions. Most of the players are murky. The identity and location of the journals’ editors, as well as the financial workings of their publishers, are often purposefully obscured. Invoices for publication fees reveal a network of bank accounts based mostly in the developing world, reports John Bohannon. (2)

A striking picture emerges from the global distribution of open-access publishers, editors and bank accounts. Most of the publishing operations cloak their true geographic locations Some examples: The American Journal of Medical and Dental Science is published in Pakistan, while the European Journal of Chemistry sees publication in Turkey. (2)

Inspired by the experience of a colleague in Nigeria, who felt deceived by a certain journal—one with a business model that involves charging fees to the scientific authors ranging from $50 to more than $3,000, the above-mentioned John Bohannon, a biologist at Harvard, submitted 304 versions of a wonder drug paper to open-access journals. More than half of the journals accepted the paper, failing to notice its fatal flaws. (2)

The paper, about a new cancer drug, included nonsensical graphs and an utter disregard for the scientific method. In addition, it was written by fake authors, from a fake university in Africa, and as a final flourish, changed it through Google Translation into French and back to English. Collaborators at Harvard helped Bohannon make it convincingly boring. (3)

“Any reviewer with more than a high-school knowledge of chemistry and the ability to understand a basic data plot should have spotted the paper’s short coming immediately. Its experiments are so hopelessly flawed that the results are meaningless,” Bohannon wrote in the journal Science. And yet his informal sting operation revealed that 156 publishers completely missed the hints. (2)

Whether fee-charging open-access journals were actually keeping their promise to do peer review

Bohannon wanted to find out whether fee-charging open-access journals were actually keeping their promise to do peer review—a process in which scientists with some knowledge of a paper’s topic volunteer to check it out for scientific flaws. In the end, what he concluded was that ‘a huge proportion’ of the journals were not ensuring their papers were peer reviewed. He added that his experiment could be the tip of the iceberg, and that peer review at traditional journals—not just fee-based open-access journals—could be just as bad. “It could be the whole peer review system is just failing under the strain of the tens of thousands of journals that now exist.” (4)

Some examples of the issue with ‘prestigious’ journals:

In a classic 1998 study, Fiona Godlee, editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ), sent an article containing eight deliberate mistakes in study design, analysis and interpretation to more than 200 of the BMJ’s regular reviewers. Not one picked out all the mistakes. On average they reported fewer than two; some did not spot any. (5)

Another experiment at BMJ showed that reviewers did no better when more clearly instructed on the problems they might encounter. They also seemed to get worse with experience. Charles McCulloch and Michael Callahan, of the University of California, San Francisco, looked at how 1,500 referees were rated by editors at leading journals over a 14-year period and found that 92% showed a slow but steady drop in their scores. (5)

The Economist adds, “As well as not spotting things they ought to spot, there is a lot that peer reviewers do not even try to check. They do not typically re-analyze the data presented from scratch, contenting themselves with a sense that the authors’ analysis is properly conceived. And they cannot be expected to spot deliberate falsifications if they are carried out with a modicum of subtlety.” (5)

On another front, The Institute of Medicine estimates that only 4 percent of treatments and tests are backed up by strong scientific evidence; more than half have very weak evidence or none. (6)

John Ioannidis reported that one-third of studies published in three reputable peer reviewed journals didn’t hold up. He looked at 45 studies published between 1990 and 2003 and found that subsequent research contradicted the results of seven of those studies, and another seven were found to have weaker results than originally published. In other words, 32% did not withstand the test of time. (7)

This translates into a lot of medical misinformation. Ioannidis reviewed prestigious journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and Lancet along with a number of others. Each article had been cited at least 1,000 times, all within a span of 13 years.

These results are worse than it sounds. Ioannidis had been examining only the less than one-tenth of one percent of published medical research that makes it to the most prestigious journals. Throw in the presumably less careful work from lesser journals discussed earlier, and take into account the way the results end up being spun and misinterpreted by university and industrial PR departments and by journals and it’s clear that whatever it was about the wrongness that Ioannidis had found in these journals, the wrongness rate would only worsen from there, notes David Freedman. (8)

All of this does not mean that medical studies are of no value or that health reports are always wrong. It simply serves as a warning that science is fluid, not static or absolute. It does suggest that every time you see a headline claiming that X causes cancer or that Y prevents it, some skepticism might be in order.



Written by Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser

Perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA) is the latest greenhouse gas scare (GHGS). The media and web sites like are full of statements like “PFTBA is 7,100 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the Earth” according to University of Toronto scientists who claim to have found an average of 0.18 parts per trillion of PFTBA in the Toronto air samples.

What does it mean for you – or not?

Greenhouse Gas Theory

The Greenhouse Gas Theory (GHGT) which – please know, is nothing but a theory – was invented 200 years ago and repudiated 100 years ago.

Al Gore and many non-governmental organizations use it regularly to tell you that we are all going to either (i) fry in hell, or (ii) freeze in the dark, and have to adjust our life styles of that of the Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal people, who lived a few ten-thousand years ago in caves.

Numbers in Perspective

In case you are not quite sure about the numbers and units of measurement (parts per trillion) touted, let me give you more useful and comparable information in the table below:Compound air concentration

In simple terms, a trillion is a million millions (by North American counting) or, what I have previously termed it, an “Illion-12.” As you can see from the table, when comparing the concentration of PFTBA in the air over Toronto to that of the major constituents, nitrogen and oxygen in the same parts per trillion units, it is miniscule. Even the “evil” carbon dioxide gas is 2,000,000,000 times more prevalent in the atmosphere. So, let’s go on to the claimed “greenhouse gas” effect.

PFTBA’s GHG Effect

The media reports say “PFTBA is 7,100 times more effective … than carbon dioxideover a 100-year time frame.” That statement, of course, is meaningless. Why not look at it over a 1,000-year or 1,000,000-year time frame? What’s wrong with its effect that is has to be expressed in units of 100 times the (actual) effect?”

The calculated “radiative forcing” of PFTBA is 0.00015 W per square meter. That is approximately 1/100,000,000 of the energy received on the earth’s surface from the sun’s radiation in mid-summer when the sun is straight overhead on a cloudless day. In other words, that calculated forcing is equivalent to about 0.001 seconds of the strongest sunshine you could experience on earth.

Your guess is probably correct, PFTBA’s calculated effect is so miniscule that it would be difficult to determine experimentally. Even if the 7,100 (time-multiplied) factor were correct, the cumulative effect (if any) of other atmospheric constituents, such as CO2, would have to be multiplied by the same time factor.

Therefore, the claimed GHGT effect of PFTBA would only amount to 1/2,000,000,000 of that of the CO2 in the atmosphere. That’s unless the earth’s atmosphere were to experience a rapid loss of its CO2, which would mean that nearly all life on earth would also rapidly come to a screeching halt.

We should be thankful for the CO2 in our air. As to the effect of PFTBA, forget it.


Dow Chemical holds back on investment in Europe, cites climate policies

EU proposals to limit the amount of free emission permits in its cap-and-trade program boost industry costs, and are one reason Dow limited capacity expansion in the region for the past 12 years. That compares with Dow's $4 billion of US investment planned for the next four years.

Europe’s “backfiring” climate and energy policies are adding to high natural gas costs and holding back Dow Chemical's investment in the region, said the company’s director of global climate change policy.

European Union proposals to limit the amount of free emission permits in its cap-and-trade program boost industry costs, and are one reason Dow and other chemical makers limited refining capacity expansion in the region for the past 12 years, Russel Mills said by phone from Zurich on Dec. 12.

That compares with the Midland, Michigan-based company’s $4 billion of US investment planned for the next four years, he said.

Dow, the biggest US chemical maker, joined companies including ExxonMobil in a Dutch court challenge to the European Commission’s decision to reduce the pollution rights it hands out to factories, Mills said. Manufacturers may seek compensation of about 4 billion euros ($5.5 billion) in total for the lost free permits, according to Utility Support Group, an adviser to some Dutch chemical factories on the matter.

“It really is a slap in the face for manufacturers,” Mills said. “Maybe they underestimate the efficiency with which markets can work if they are allowed to work.”

Commission spokesman Isaac Valero-Ladron in Brussels declined to comment when reached by e-mail.

Lower portion

The EU is seeking to curb a surplus of permits in its carbon market that pushed prices to a record low and eroded the incentive for companies to invest in emission-reducing technologies. The commission decided in September to lower the handout of free allowances to factories by 12% in the eight years through 2020.

Under the bloc’s emissions trading system, permits to emit carbon dioxide are mostly allocated for free to factories, which must surrender enough to match their CO2 output or pay fines. Power companies must pay for their allowances. Mills and Utility Support Group argue the commission isn’t giving enough free carbon rights for manufacturers’ heat generation and waste-gas production.

European gas prices are already relatively high, with the cost of the fuel in the UK more than twice the level in the US. BASF in Germany, India’s Tata Chemicals and Lotte Chemical of South Korea shut plants in Britain this year.

ExxonMobil’s Dutch unit is also appealing against the commission decision to cut free allowances, Richard Scrase, a Leatherhead, England-based spokesman for the company, said Dec. 12. The move was “a standard procedure to preserve our rights in anticipation of more data transparency from the EU commission on its calculation of free ETS allowances,” he said.

Europe’s adoption of renewable energy subsidies, Germany’s shift from nuclear power and the EU’s effort to support carbon prices are all adding to industry costs, Dow’s Mills said.

Nations embracing carbon markets need to “make it a low- cost club not a high-cost club,” he said.

EU carbon permits for December 2014 dropped 0.8% on Monday to 4.88 euros a metric ton on ICE Futures Europe in London. The benchmark contract was as high as 31 euros a ton in 2006




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


23 December, 2013

Warmists now in the super-activist phase of false prophecy

From Wikipedia:
"Festinger and his collaborators, Henry Riecken and Stanley Schachter, examined conditions under which disconfirmation of beliefs leads to increased conviction in such beliefs in the 1956 book When Prophecy Fails. The group studied a small apocalyptic cult led by Dorothy Martin (under the pseudonym Marian Keech in the book), a suburban housewife. Martin claimed to have received messages from "the Guardians," a group of superior beings from another planet. The messages puportedly said that a flood would destroy the world on December 21. The three psychologists and several more assistants joined the group. The team observed the group firsthand for months before and after the predicted apocalypse. Many of the group members quit their jobs and disposed of their possessions in preparation for the apocalypse. When doomsday came and went, Martin claimed that the world had been spared because of the "force of Good and light" that the group members had spread throughout the world. Rather than abandoning their discredited beliefs, group members adhered to them even more strongly and began proselytizing with fervor."

Warmists have now recovered from the fact that there is no warming going on and that all their predictions were wrong. And they have recovered just as Mrs Martin did: By finding a convenient but invisible explanation for why the world has been spared disaster. In the Warmist case they say that the warming is still going on but the extra heat is somehow magically slipping past both the ocean and terrestrial surfaces and burying itself in the ocean deeps. The fact that heat tends to rise rather than sink doesn't seem to worry them. And the fact that the ocean deeps are known mainly for the extreme stability of their temperature doesn't bother them either.

And now that they have that "explanation' for their prophecy failure, they are going on to the next phase recorded by Festinger: They are becoming more fanatical than ever and are proselytizing frantically -- as you will see below.

Incidentally, the group Festinger observed is not unique. The pattern has been observed repeatedly. A good historical example is the Jehovah's Witnesses. In the late 19th century, Pastor Russell predicted the second coming of the Lord in 1914. And -- frabjous joy! -- the vast and insane destruction of World War I broke out on cue. So when Pastor Russell died in 1916 he was sure he had seen the beginning of the end. Peskily, however, peace broke out in 1918 and no Lord descending in glory was to be seen anywhere.

Did the Russellites give up? No way! They said that the Lord HAD come on cue but had done so invisibly. And under the dynamic leadership of the feisty Judge Rutherford they renamed themselves Jehovah's Witnesses and began a huge evangelism campaign to persuade everyone else that we are in the last days -- a campaign which continues to this day. You've no doubt found JWs on your doorstep at times. Their degree of committment makes orthodox Christians look feeble.

And just as the JWs had an invisible "parousia" of the Lord, Warmists are now detecting invisible heating. We won't see the last of them for a long time.

Anyway, below are some excerpts from an article which tells how fired up the Warmists are getting:

Last year, a researcher presented a paper on climate change at the American Geophysical Union’s meeting entitled ”Is Earth F**ked?” which advocated “environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups.”

Last month, the Philippines climate commissioner and self-styled revolutionary Naderev “Yeb” Saño held a 13-day fast in the midst of an international climate summit, just hours after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged his home country. In a tearful speech quoting Gandhi, he said: “We cannot sit and stay helpless staring at this international climate stalemate. It is now time to take action. We need an emergency climate pathway.”

And only last week, a conference of climate scientists in London explored the theme of “radical emissions reduction” after noting that “nothing that we’ve said or done to date about climate change has made any detectable dip whatsoever”. Via a weblink, author Naomi Klein compared the fight against climate change with the struggle against South African apartheid, and said, “an agenda capable of delivering radical emissions reductions will only advance if accompanied by a radical movement.”

Fed up with slow (or in some cases, backwards) progress on climate change, environmental advocates are mulling desperate measures. Emerging at the head of this pack is arguably the world’s most prominent climate scientist: James Hansen, a former NASA researcher turned activist.

In a provocative study published earlier this month, Hansen and a group of colleagues make the case for why radical action is needed. The now commonly embraced international target of keeping global warming at a maximum of 2°C above pre-industrial levels—a hard-won, but politically negotiated goal—is actually much too high, Hansen says, and we should instead aim for 1°C. That would be barely a blip higher than current levels of global warming (around 0.8°C), but still the highest level ever experienced over the 10,000-year course of human civilization. ”Our objective is to define what the science indicates is needed, not to assess political feasibility,” the paper says.

Why 1°C is the danger level

Hansen’s main point is simple: If the Earth hasn’t experienced temperatures warmer than 1°C as a result of natural climate variability for at least the last 100,000 years, that’s probably about where we should draw our human-caused global warming line-in-the-sand. Beyond that point, things start to unravel pretty quickly. Environmentalists have dubbed this acceleration of warming “the wheelchair curve“:

Because the world is going to end up in a wheelchair if this happens.Jos Hagelaars/Max Edkins/World Bank

As warming crosses 1°C, Hansen and his colleagues’ research shows that additional heat is stored mostly in the deep ocean, where it can remain locked away for hundreds or thousands of years. (Water circulates very slowly down there). That essentially locks in further climate change, even if emissions are drastically reduced later on, because that circulating water will continually replenish the surface with relative warmth from below. Additional warming will also begin to trigger feedbacks (melting permafrost, thawing methane) that will unleash additional greenhouse gases and drive further warming.

As warming approaches 2°C, it locks in an additional 10-20 meters of sea level rise over the next few hundred years—enough to flood every coastal city in the world. Ecosystem collapse would be virtually assured, as plants and animals that have evolved into precise niches over hundreds of thousands of years are forced to adapt to new conditions in just a decade or two. Even assuming we eventually stop emitting CO2 completely, reaching 2°C could, the study shows, mean we remain above 1°C for hundreds of years or more.

As we reported recently, the UN has endorsed a carbon “budget”—a maximum of one trillion tonnes of carbon emitted into the atmosphere to keep warming below 2°C. To stay below 1°C, Hansen et al argue that the world can burn only half this amount.

But the cost of waiting is enormous. If global CO2 peaks in 2013—that is, sometime in the next week or so—followed by drastic reductions, we’re still locked in to climate change of 1°C or so until about 2100. If we delay this peak until 2030 (the green line in the chart on the right above), Hansen projects extensive climate-change impacts will continue for a further two centuries. If we delay until 2050 (the red line), dangerous climate change will be locked in until past the year 3000.

Hansen and his associates admonish the environmental community for doing the same things over and over again—advocating for renewable energy, recycling, and hybrid cars—and expecting different results. The change that is produced in this way is much, much too slow, they say. Their study concludes with what can only be characterized as a call to arms: a global challenge akin to the anti-slavery and civil rights movements, begging the world’s young people to disrupt their governments and demand immediate action on climate change.

In short, we’re talkin’ ’bout a revolution—or in the words of the paper, “a human ‘tipping point’.”

In Hansen’s view, young people have the best reason to fight the system. He has said he quit his job at NASA so he could more fully embrace climate activism, including a plan to sue the government on behalf of younger generations for failing to act on climate change in time. (At least in the United States, trying to sue corporations would probably fail). He explained his strategy of helping youth fight climate change through the court system in a recent op-ed for CNN.


Dec 16th Global Sea Ice Highest For 25 Years

Global Sea Ice Area at Dec 16th

Global sea ice area is the second highest on record for Dec 16th, and the highest since 1988. For most of this year, it has been above the 1979-2008 mean.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Media Bored with Climate Change: Study

A new FAIR survey looking at top national news networks found that while reports of extreme weather dominated the media in 2013, networks failed to include hardly any mention of human influence. From January to September 2013, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and ABC World News aired 450 segments consisting of 200 words or more, FAIR reported Wednesday. However, only 4 percent of those reports actually mentioned the words "climate change," "global warming" or "greenhouse gases."

Climate change coverage in the media has long been scarce. Similar reports of the media neglecting talk of global warming occured in the days after Hurricane Sandy, when CNN and Fox News made little to no mention of "climate change" in their reports. Fox News has been criticized several times in the past for its denial of the human impact on weather, and a study in August revealed that the more time viewers spend consuming conservative news, the more likely they are to become skeptical of climate science.


Lawrence Solomon: For global warming believers, 2013 was the year from Hell

Almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the cause of global warming

2013 has been a gloomy year for global warming enthusiasts. The sea ice in the Antarctic set a record, according to NASA, extending over a greater area than at any time since 1979 when satellite measurements first began. In the Arctic the news is also glum. Five years ago, Al Gore predicted that by 2013 “the entire North polar ice cap will be gone.” Didn’t happen. Instead, a deflated Gore saw the Arctic ice cap increase by 50% over 2012. This year’s Arctic ice likewise exceeded that of 2008, the year of his prediction. And that of 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Weather between the poles has also conspired to make the global warming believers look bad. In December, U.S. weather stations reported over 2000 record cold and snow days. Almost 60% of the U.S. was covered in snow, twice as much as last year. The heavens even opened up in the Holy Land, where an awestruck citizenry saw 16 inches of snow fall in Jerusalem, almost three feet in its environs. Snow blanketed Cairo for the first time in more than 100 years.

2013 marks the 17th year of no warming on the planet. It marks the first time that James Hansen, Al Gore’s guru and the one whose predictions set off the global warming scare, admitted that warming had stopped. It marks the first time that major media enforcers of the orthodoxy — the Economist, Reuters and the London Telegraph – admitted that the science was not settled on global warming, the Economist even mocking the scientists’ models by putting them on “negative watch.” Scientific predictions of global cooling – until recently mostly shunned in the academic press for fear of being labeled crackpot – were published and publicized by no less than the BBC, a broadcaster previously unmatched in the anthropogenic apocalyptic media.

2013 was likewise bleak for businesses banking on global warming. Layoffs and bankruptcies continued to mount for European and North American companies producing solar panels and wind turbines, as did their pleas for subsidies to fight off what they labelled unfair competition from Chinese firms. Starting in 2013, though, their excuses have been wearing thin. China’s Suntech, the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, has now filed for bankruptcy, as has LDK Solar, another major firm. Sinovel, China’s largest manufacturers of wind turbines and the world second largest, reported it lost $100-million after its revenues plunged 60%, and it is now closing plants in Canada, the U.S., and Europe.

While these no-carbon technologies get buried, carbon rich fuels go gung ho. Last month Germany fired up a spanking new coal plant, the first of 10 modern CO2-gushers that Europe’s biggest economy will be banking on to power its economy into the 21st century. Worldwide, 1200 coal-fired plants are in the works. According to the International Agency, coal’s dominance will especially grow in the countries of the developing world, helping to raise their poor out of poverty as they modernize their economies.

But important as coal is, the fossil fuel darlings are indisputably shale gas and shale oil. This week the U.K. sloughed off the naysayers and announced it will be going all out to tap into these next-generation fuels. Half of the UK will be opened up to drilling to accomplish for the U.K. what shale oil and shale gas are doing for the U.S. – drastically lowering energy costs while eliminating the country’s dependence on foreign fuels. China, too, has decided to tap into the shale revolution – in a deal with the U.S. announced this week, it will be exploiting what some estimate to be the world’s biggest shale gas reserves, equivalent in energy content to about half the oil in Saudi Arabia.

2013 as well marks a turning point for the governments of the world. January 1, 2013, Day One of the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, saw Kyoto abandoned by Canada and Russia, two fossil fuel powerhouses. With their departure Kyoto became a club for the non-emitters – the Kyoto Protocol now only covers a paltry 15% of global emissions. At UN-sponsored talks on global warming in Warsaw last month, the Western countries of Europe, North America, and Australia refused to even discuss a proposal from developing countries that would limit emissions in the future.

2013 also saw Australia elect a climate-skeptic government in an election that was hailed as a referendum on climate change. Upon winning, the government promptly proceeded to scrap the country’s carbon tax along with its climate change ministry, now in the rubbish heap of history. Other countries are taking note of the public’s attitude toward climate change alarmism – almost nowhere does the public believe the scary scenarios painted by the climate change advocates.

2013 was the best of years for climate skeptics; the worst of years for climate change enthusiasts for whom any change – or absence of change — in the weather served as irrefutable proof of climate change. The enthusiasts fell into disbelief that everyone didn’t join them in pooh-poohing the failure of the climate models. That governments and the public would abandon the duty to stop climate change was in their minds no more thinkable than Hell freezing over. Which the way things are going for them, may happen in 2014.


In Light of Decreased Global Temperatures, It's Time to Take a Look at the Global Warming Spending Racket

International media outlets deserve credit for reporting accurately on the redistribution schemes that flowed out from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. But they should follow up by asking some hard questions about scientific assumptions that have not materialized.

Since the planet appears to be getting colder rather than warmer, it would seem that public policy should be reshaped to reflect challenges that have gone unaddressed at the U.N. Part of doing that involves taking a harder look at the massive amounts of money that are being spent trying to fight a problem that increasingly appears not to exist at all.

Dozens of nations signed off on an agreement that said they would make “contributions” toward reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage is non-binding; so it’s not clear what the “contribution” actually means. In a press release, the UNFCCC said “detailed work” would begin next year in anticipation of upcoming conferences in Lima, Peru and Paris, France. That should give the media ample to dig into the impact global warming policies might have on the vulnerable populations the U.N. claims to champion.

They could begin with representatives from the 132 developing nations that walked out of the Warsaw conference when their demands were not met. If the Western governments genuinely believe in their claim that human emissions are responsible for dangerous levels of global warming, then there is an argument to be made that the poorer countries are in need of some form of financial aid.

But a rising number of climate skeptics now question the premise of man-made global warming theories. Almost half of meteorologists are of the view that human activity is not responsible for climate change. Marc Morano, editor of the Climate Depot site, has identified over 1,000 scientists worldwide who are firmly in the skeptical camp. Yet, Western governments continue to pour time, energy and precious resources into global warming initiatives as if widespread scientific skepticism did not exist.

The White House report on Federal Climate Changes Expenditures (budget authority) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, which ended on September 30, provided the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), with the opportunity to refresh its calculations of total government expenditures based on three reports: 1) "Climate Change: Improvements Needed to Clarify National Priorities and better Align Them with Federal Funding Decisions" by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), May 2011, which covers the period from 1993 (calendar year) to FY 2010; 2) "Funding for Federal Climate Change Activities, FY 2008 to FY 2012, from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), April 26, 2012; and 3) Federal Climate Change Expenditures: Report to Congress by the White House, August 2013, which covers FY 2012 & 2013.”

Here is what it found: “The GAO report shows a total of $107 billion in hard expenditures, including about $31.5 billion on climate science. These sums includes expenditures under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Stimulus Bill). The GAO report also shows . an additional $16 billion for soft expenditures. The CRS report shows $8.9 billion and $8.3 billion in hard expenditures in 2011 and 2012, respectively, of which $2.4 billion went to climate science each year. The White House report shows that in 2012 soft expenditures amounted to about $10.1 billion, roughly what was previously estimated. In 2013, total expenditures were $22.2 billion, of which $2.5 billion went to climate science, and about $13.1 billion were soft expenditures.

The total for the 21-year period are: $185 billion, with $133 billion for hard expenditures, of which about $39 billion went to science, and about $52 billion for soft expenditures.”

Since the planet has been getting cooler, not warmer since 1998, the media should be asking questions about the opportunity cost of the investments Western governments have been making. Since it is now evident there is a large and growing disparity between climate model predictions and actual scientific observations, it’s pretty clear the federal government’s spending priorities have been misplaced.

Astronomers are taking note of a calm solar cycle that translates into fewer sunspots. “It is the weakest cycle the sun has been in for all the space age, for 50 years,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association physicist Doug Biesecker has told members of the press. This could be a major contributing factor behind cooler temperatures that have been recorded recently.

A group of German scientists are now forecasting a cooling trend that will persist for the duration of the 21st Century as a result of decreased solar activity. This is what Donald Easterbook, a retired geologist from Western Washington University, anticipates 25 to 30 years of global cooling. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and sun spot activity over the past century strongly correlate with previous warming and coolings, Easterbook explains. The recent shift of the PDO back into a cool phase is “right on schedule,” Easterbook points out in a Dec. 2008 paper for the American Geophysical Union.

Contrary to what high profile U.S. government officials have said, historical records show that cooling phases tend to be more dangerous and destabilizing to vulnerable populations. Food shortages and civic turmoil have been linked to global cooling, not global warming, Morano reports on his web site. By denying developing countries access to cheap, affordable energy in form of fossil fuels, environmentalists and their allies in the U.N., are putting these populations in a more comprised position.

The draft version of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fifth Assessment (AR5), which is already on the Internet, is narrowly focused on the human contribution to global warming and its potential after effects. Updated scientific research now shows that these assumptions are well off the mark.

It’s time for members of the press to taking a harder look at the impact of global warming policies as opposed to global warming, per se.


Americans Have Little Faith In Scientists, Science Journalists: Poll

How much faith do Americans have in scientists and science journalists? Not a whole lot, a new survey finds.

In a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, only 36 percent of Americans reported having "a lot" of trust that information they get from scientists is accurate and reliable. Fifty-one percent said they trust that information only a little, and another 6 percent said they don't trust it at all.

Science journalists fared even worse in the poll. Only 12 percent of respondents said they had a lot of trust in journalists to get the facts right in their stories about scientific studies. Fifty-seven percent said they have a little bit of trust, while 26 percent said they don't trust journalists at all to accurately report on scientific studies.

What’s more, many Americans worry that the results of scientific studies are sometimes tainted by political ideology -- or by pressure from the studies’ corporate sponsors.

A whopping 78 percent of Americans think that information reported in scientific studies is often (34 percent) or sometimes (44 percent) influenced by political ideology, compared to only 18 percent who said that happens rarely (15 percent) or never (3 percent).

Similarly, 82 percent said that they think that scientific findings are often (43 percent) or sometimes (39 percent) influenced by the companies or organizations sponsoring them.

Republicans in the new poll were most likely to say that they have only a little bit of trust in scientists to give accurate and reliable information, and the most likely to say that they think scientific findings may be tainted by political ideology -- possibly reflecting distrust in scientists over topics such as evolution and climate change.




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


22 December, 2013

'Irreplacable scientific data must be saved'

Note the value which real scientists below place on keeping their research data generally available and contrast that with the nervous secrecy with which Warmists routinely hide their raw data. Despite huge legal pressures, Michael Mann, for instance, is still refusing to open up his files

Researchers at the University of British Columbia chose a random set of of 516 studies published between 1991 and 2001 and found that all data from the two-year-old papers was still available but that the chance of it still existing fell off by 17 per cent for each year of age.

The paper, published this week in Current Biology, warns that scientists are “poor stewards of their data” and calls for journals to begin uploading information onto public archives so it can be preserved for the future.

Having access to the raw data of a study is vital in order for other scientists to asses, replicate or build on that work.

Data was requested from the authors of each of the randomly-chosen studies, but the researchers found that the odds for even finding a working email address declined by seven per cent each year since publication.

Tim Vines, a visiting scholar at the University of British Columbia and one of the authors of the paper, said: “Publicly funded science generates an extraordinary amount of data each year. Much of these data are unique to a time and place, and is thus irreplaceable, and many other datasets are expensive to regenerate.

“The current system of leaving data with authors means that almost all of it is lost over time, unavailable for validation of the original results or to use for entirely new purposes.

“I don’t think anybody expects to easily obtain data from a 50-year-old paper, but to find that almost all the datasets are gone at 20 years was a bit of a surprise.”

Vines argues that papers with readily accessible data are more valuable for society and thus should get priority for publication.

“Losing data is a waste of research funds and it limits how we can do science. Concerted action is needed to ensure it is saved for future research,” he said.


European Union funding £90m green lobbying con

The European Union is paying green campaign groups millions of pounds effectively to lobby itself.

Activists are being given the grants from a European Commission environmental fund, which enables a network of green groups to influence and promote EU policy.

The practice has been branded a “cash carousel” by critics, who have called for the special fund — called Life+ — to be scrapped.

In total, the fund has handed out more than £90 million to green groups in the past 15 years, according to the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which has analysed its spending.

Just over a fifth of its funding — £7.5 million in the latest round of grants — went to help “strengthen” green groups “in the dialogue process in environmental policymaking and in its implementation”.

One Brussels-based campaign group, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), has received £10.5 million from the fund since 1997, according to the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

The group’s stated mission is to “influence EU policymaking” and ensure EU policies are properly implemented by member states.

The European policy office of the World Wide Fund for Nature, also based in Brussels, has received £7.4 million, while Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE), also based in Brussels, is the third highest recipient with £6.4 million.

In total, 25 groups have each been given more than €1 million (£850,000) from Life+. EU funding has helped to pay for a video, produced by FoEE, of a green superhero called Energy Savings Man, which lobbied the British and

German governments to back an EC energy savings directive, which has since come into force.

In its most recent round of grants for 2013, Life+ awarded £7.5 million to 32 groups, including:

* £290,000 to CEE Bankwatch Network, a Czech-based organisation which campaigns against “the activities of international financial institutions in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region that cause negative environmental and social impacts”;

* £80,000 to Counter Balance, also based in Prague, which lobbies banks to ensure they “adhere to sustainable development goals, climate change mitigation policy, and the protection of biodiversity, in line with EU goals”;

* £260,000 to Brussels-based Health Care Without Harm Europe, which campaigns to “address the environmental impact of the health-care sector in Europe … to make the health-care system more ecologically sustainable”;

* £44,000 to Kyoto Club, based in Rome, whose main actions include “lobbying and advocacy for EU climate change mitigation policies, through policy recommendations and reports, information-sharing and campaigning, participation in EU events and stakeholder meetings, and contacts with relevant MEPs, Council and Commission officials”;

* £350,000 to the Italian-based Slow Food, a group which campaigns to “reduce the impact of food production and consumption on the environment” and will achieve this by “participating in the international and EU debate about food through EU institution advisory committees, expert working groups and other high-level groups”.

Greenpeace, perhaps the best known environmental campaigning organisation, has refused to take any EU or government funding. A spokesman said it refused to take cash from government sources, including the EU, for fear of compromise.

“We want to be completely independent in terms of what we say and do,” said the spokesman. “Taking money from governments — central, local or European — would make it difficult for us to express our views without sullying the waters.”

According to FoEE’s accounts, published on its website, the charity received half of its £2.1 million funding last year from at least seven different departments of the European Commission.

By contrast, the charity’s arm in Britain said it receives less than one per cent of its budget from the EU, with the vast majority of its funding coming from individuals and trusts.

FoEE used its funding last year to produce a four-minute video to put pressure on the British and German governments to back a new EC directive which set a series of legally binding energy efficiency targets across Europe.

The video was co-produced with Climate Action Network Europe, which has received £2.3 million from Life+ to “improve existing EU climate and energy policies”.

The video depicted Energy Savings Man, dressed in green cape, tights and mask, who is tasked with promoting the EU directive and persuading the British and Germans to sign up.

It was used to lobby for a new EU directive that was due to be implemented but which the British and German governments were stalling on because of the costs.

The video begins in dramatic fashion. “In a land struggling with economic crisis. Unemployment at record highs. The Government in peril.

“But there is a glimmer of hope. The EU Energy Efficiency Directive can save Europe.”

It then goes on to introduce Energy Savings Man, who even speaks with a Euro-accent. “Europe needs a hero,” states the voice-over, “An energy hero.”

Life+ was set up in the 1990s with the aim of funding not-for-profit green groups “primarily active in protecting and enhancing the environment at European level and involved in the development and implementation of Community policy and legislation”.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance claims the scheme is costing the public twice — in expensive subsidies to green groups and then in additional costs as a result of the measures put in place as a result of successful lobbying.

Matthew Sinclair, the chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It is a disgrace that Brussels is squandering taxpayers’ money promoting its green agenda by funding activist organisations.

“This is a cash carousel. The campaigns these sock puppets run promote more wasteful spending, higher taxes and more levies added to people’s bills.

“The British Government need to make it clear they oppose these grants and press the European Commission to abolish the scheme.”

In a report into the scheme, the TaxPayers’ Alliance concluded: “The funding is an unfair subsidy on behalf of many people who may not agree with the environmentalist campaigns’ objectives and biases European environmental policy.”

The European Commission has defended its Life+ programme.

A spokesman for Janez Potocnik, the Commissioner for the Environment, said: “One objective of the funding is to ensure a broad policy debate among as many stakeholders as possible by bringing in the independent views of the NGOs. Such broad representation is in the public interest.

“The fact that an organisation receives funding from the EU budget has no implications for its independence and right to lobby and express views that might or might not be in support of the policy proposed by the Commission.”

The spokesman said all Life+ grants were awarded through an “open, competitive and transparent” process, insisting that “EU level” groups play an important function in helping to enforce its environmental policies.

A spokesman for FoEE said the Commission had “no role whatsoever” in any of the charity’s “decision making or planning processes”, adding: “Using less energy is the best way to cut energy bills, oil and gas imports, and emissions.”

Jeremy Wates, the secretary general of EEB, insisted that the body was independent of the Commission and was not “compromised” by receiving funding.

Mr Wates was invited to a Council of Ministers’ meeting held in Lithuania in the summer, at which he was, according to reports, given a platform to address governments on the dangers of fracking.

David Cameron last week warned the European Commission not to propose EU-wide legislation to regulate the fracking industry, saying that such a move could create uncertainty and stifle investment.

Mr Wates said: “The suggestion that the Commission funds NGOs to build support for its positions, or that the EEB’s independence is compromised by such funding, is not borne out by the evidence.

“It is neither surprising nor inappropriate that the EEB receives the largest share of the core grants among the environmental NGOs, because we are the largest and most representative federation of environmental organisations in Europe.”


Scientific Critique of IPCC’s 2013 'Summary for Policymakers'

The Summary for Policymakers released in September by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is filled with concessions that its past predictions were too extreme and misleading and unscientific language, according to a team of scientists from the U.S. and Australia.

The authors are part of the Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an independent auditor of the work of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The NIPCC receives no government or corporate funding. On September 17, ten days before the IPCC released its fifth assessment report, NIPCC released Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, a 1,000-page report listing some 50 climate scientists as authors, contributors, or reviewers.

In a new and smaller report issued in mid-October, titled “Scientific Critique of the IPCC’s 2013 Summary for Policymakers,” four of the lead authors of the NIPCC report offer a withering critique of the IPCC’s latest report. Among the 11 “retreats” they identify in the IPCC’s latest report:

* Global temperatures stopped rising 15 years ago despite rising levels of carbon dioxide, the invisible gas the IPCC claims is responsible for causing global warming.

* Temperatures were warmer in many parts of the world approximately 1,000 years ago, during the so-called Mediaeval Warm Period, due entirely to natural causes.

* Antarctic sea ice extent is increasing rather than shrinking.

* Climate computer models fail to reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10-15 years.

* Computer models fail to represent and quantify cloud and aerosol process.

* Solar cycles may account for the pause in global air temperature.

* “No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies” (SPM-11, fn 16).”

* “Low confidence” is expressed that damaging increases will occur in either drought or tropical cyclone activity.

The NIPCC scientists also condemn “statements by the IPCC ... written in such a way that although they may be technically true, or nearly true, they are misleading of the actual state of affairs.” They fault the IPCC for claiming the warming of the late twentieth century was “unequivocal” when many temperature databases show no warming, and for saying changes since 1950 were “unprecedented” when the historical record contains many examples of changes due to natural causes that were more rapid or more extreme.

The scientists are especially critical of the IPCC’s claim that it is “95% confident” that global warming is man-made and will be harmful. “This terminology is unscientific,” they write. “It has been used improperly to create a false impression of increasing statistical certainty through the most recent IPCC assessment reports.... IPCC’s quasi-numeric confidence statements represent considered ‘expert opinion,’ reflecting a process not very different from a show of hands around a discussion table. The terminology confers an impression of scientific rectitude onto a process that is inescapably subjective and has been widely criticized as misleading.”

Regarding the IPCC’s claim that “The ocean has absorbed about 30% of the emitted anthropogenic carbon dioxide, causing ocean acidification” (SPM_7), the NIPCC authors say “This is alarmist and scientifically pernicious terminology. What is being described is actually the uncertain occurrence of a small decrease in the average alkalinity of the ocean. The IPCC assesses the likelihood of future pH change using unvalidated computer modeling that is known to be unreliable.”

Regarding the IPCC’s claim that “The total natural RF from solar irradiance changes and stratospheric volcanic aerosols made only a small contribution to the net radiative forcing throughout the last century, except for brief periods after large volcanic eruptions” (SPM_10), the NIPCC authors say the statement “is trivially true and at the same time profoundly misleading. The Sun’s effect on Earth’s climate extends far beyond simple variations in total solar insolation (TSI), and importantly includes magnetic and solar wind particle streams and their modulating effect on galactic cosmic rays. These effects are largely ignored by the IPCC.”


Britain Wins Shale Battle As EU Leaves Fracking Out Of Stricter Environment Laws

EU governments on Friday endorsed an outline deal on new rules to assess the impact on the environment of projects such as oil and gas exploration, after removing references to shale gas that had blocked agreement.

Some European nations are eager to develop shale gas as they view the United States’ shale gas revolution and cheap energy costs compared with Europe as a huge competitive advantage.

But the geology in Europe is very different and public opposition is strong on environmental grounds.

Many of those keenest on exploiting shale gas, such as Britain, say extra EU regulations on the energy form are unnecessary and would get in the way of its development.

British Prime Minister David Cameron wrote to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso this month laying out his arguments against new rules for shale gas.

On Friday, EU ambassadors approved a revised draft law, updating legislation first agreed more than two decades ago and for the first time including an assessment of a new project’s impact on climate change, EU diplomats said.

In a statement, Valentinas Mazuronis, environment minister of Lithuania, which holds the EU presidency until the end of the year, said the reforms would streamline the process and set minimum requirements across the European Union.

The proposals, endorsed by ambassadors on Friday, still need to be signed off by the European Parliament and by ministers to become law.

The parliament had called for mandatory shale gas impact assessments, but EU diplomats said negotiations between representatives of the Parliament, the Commission, the EU executive, and member states had been blocked until that requirement was dropped.


Ice Age Winter

Cold weather is expected to continue through at least the balance of the year in the U.S. Midwest which will keep many river shipping channels frozen and prevent normally smooth transfer of grain, an agricultural meteorologist said on Friday. The Farmers’ Almanac in August, 2013 was using words like “piercing cold,” “bitterly cold” and “biting cold” to describe the upcoming winter.

Based on planetary positions, sunspots and lunar cycles, the almanac’s secret formula is largely unchanged since founder David Young published the first almanac in 1818. Modern scientists don’t put much stock in sunspots or tidal action, but the almanac says its forecasts used by readers to plan weddings and plant gardens are correct about 80 percent of the time.

Most modern scientists have lost their objectivity. Quantum physics predicted that and after all, we should know that objective things do not exist because the subjective is always projected onto the objective. The Almanac offers solid advice to farmers exactly because it is based on correct astrophysical principles. It is as scientific as it gets when it comes to dependable weather prediction.

"For rivers to be freezing this early in the year is a bit unusual but I don’t see any relief from that, as a matter of fact after next week another blast of Arctic air is expected," said John Dee, meteorologist for Global Weather Monitoring.

Cairo saw its first snow in years as a cold snap hits Egypt and the rest of the Middle East. This snowstorm named Alexa, brought more misery to thousands of Syrian refugees living in the region, many of whom were unprepared for the cold, brutal conditions.

In Israel, where the storm reportedly brought the heaviest December snowfall since 1953, roads had to be closed and thousands were left without power from the inclement weather.

Whatever may have seemed plausible 10 years ago Global Warming is over and there is no evidence that CO2 ever was, is or will be a driver of world temperatures or climate change – indeed evidence of this relationship is leaning the other way. World temperatures have been generally declining for about 10 years while CO2 is rising rapidly,” writes famous weatherman Piers Corybyn.

We know that small fluctuations in solar activity have a large influence on climate. Subtle connections between the 11-year solar cycle, the stratosphere, and the tropical Pacific Ocean work in sync to generate periodic weather patterns that affect much of the globe, according to research appearing this week in the journal Science. The study can help scientists get an edge on eventually predicting the intensity of certain climate phenomena, such as the Indian monsoon and tropical Pacific rainfall, years in advance,” writes Science Daily.

The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center has updated their monthly graph set and it is becoming even clearer that we are past solar max, and that solar max has been a dud. “The slump” continues not only in sunspot activity, but also other metrics.

Little Ice Age

Solar activity is now at a 200-year low! Back in July the low activity put us at only 100 year low but things are changing fast in a cooling direction. Solar Cycle #24 was then see to have been off to a sputtering start, and researchers that attended the meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Physics Division earlier that month were divided as to why. “Not only is this the smallest cycle we’ve seen in the space age, it’s the smallest cycle in 100 years,” NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center research scientist David Hathaway. Now in the Wall Street Journal, six months later, he is being quoted as saying, "I would say it is the weakest in 200 years."

David is a global warming proponent who is conceding the dimming sun will neutralize global warming to some extent but he keeps his mouth shut about the volcanic situation. Times of depressed solar activity do correspond with times of global cold. For example, during the 70-year period from 1645 to 1715, few, if any, sunspots were seen, even during expected sunspot maximums. Western Europe entered a climate period known as the “Maunder Minimum” or “Little Ice Age.” Temperatures dropped by 1.8 to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Conversely, times of increased solar activity have corresponded with global warning. During the 12th and 13th centuries, the Sun was active, and the European climate was quite mild.

According to NOAA and NASA, the sunspot cycle hit an unusually deep bottom from 2007 to 2009. In fact, in 2008 and 2009, there were almost NO sunspots, a very unusual situation that had not happened for almost a century. Due to the weak solar activity, galactic cosmic rays were at record levels. Solar Maximum: The sun’s record-breaking sleep ended in 2010. In 2011, sunspot counts jumped up. However, they remained fairly low with a small peak in February of 2012. Throughout 2013, the sun was relatively quiet.

Solar activity and sunspots are minuscule in comparison to what they should be right now. Even in accordance to all NASA’s predictions to date in recent years, solar activity is way off to the low side. We are now facing an extremely low period of solar activity over the coming years and decades. Due to the strong correlation of historical evidence we can conclude that we are sitting right on the cusp of the next ice age or at a minimum, another mini ice-age.

I said in my last global cooling essay people should prepare and take care. This winter is going to freeze the guts out of the global warming crowd, it’s going to drive up the price of energy, people will freeze to death and others will be strapped to the financial wall with the increased cost of heating their homes that leak badly having never been designed for a super cold climate.


Australia allegedly has its "hottest" year

While the global temperature remained stable, with annual average temperatures varying up and down by only tenths and hundredths of a degree -- So extra heat in Australia was balanced out by less heat in other places. In every year, some places will diverge (up or down) from the average more than other places do. That's how an average arises

2013 will go down as the year that registered Australia's hottest day, month, season, 12-month period - and, by December 31, the hottest calendar year.

Weather geeks have watched records tumble. These tallies include obscure ones, such as the latest autumn day above 45C (Western Australia's Onslow Airport at 45.6C on March 21), the hottest winter's day nationally (29.92C , August 31), and even Wednesday this week, with the hottest-ever 9am reading (44.6C, at Eyre weather station near the WA-South Australian border).

"We're smashing the records," says Professor Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of NSW. "We're not tinkering away at them - they're being absolutely blitzed."

Global interest in Australia's extraordinary year of heat flared early on. In January, when models started predicting heat that was literally off the charts, the Bureau of Meteorology added new colours to the heat maps - deep purple and pink - to accommodate maximum temperatures of 50-54 degrees. Moomba fell a shade short, reaching 49.6C on January 12.

But for Dr David Jones, head of climate analysis at the bureau, the year's stand-out event was a whole month largely overlooked by a media diverted by the football finals and federal elections. "From a climate point of view, what happened in September was probably the most remarkable," he says.

September's mean temperature soared to be 2.75 degrees above the 1961-90 average, eclipsing the previous record monthly deviation set in April 2005 by 0.09 degrees. Maximums were a stark 3.41 degrees over the norm, with South Australia's top raised by 5.39 degrees and NSW's by 4.68.

The heat swept away the previous September mean record by 1.1 degrees.

"To have 103-104 years of observations, you don't expect to break the record for a continent for a month by a degree," Jones says. "We're very fortunate we haven't had a month that anomalous in the middle of summer."

Summer heat

Summer was a scorcher. Sydney clocked its hottest day in records going back to 1859, with the mercury peaking at 45.8C on January 18. Hobart notched up 41.8C on January 4, its hottest in 120 years of data.

January baked, becoming Australia's hottest single month in the hottest-ever summer. The duration and area affected by the heatwaves - rather than heat spikes - came to characterise much of the year of exceptional conditions.

"January was incredibly hot for such a long time for such a large area," Jones says. "In many ways we were very fortunate not to have had a frontal system like Black Saturday [in 2009] to draw down that hot air into a coastal zone with a gale-force wind."

Fires destroyed hundreds of properties in Tasmania in January, and a similar number in NSW in October. The latter came after a remarkably warm and dry stretch, in which Sydney marked its hottest July and September, and second-warmest August and October.

Sydney's record year

"August was the first month in 2013 to see year-to-date records for Sydney," says Dr Aaron Coutts-Smith, head of climate monitoring in NSW for the bureau. "September onwards pushed us ahead."

Sydney's year will break the city's record for maximum and probably also mean temperatures, Coutts-Smith says. The former was running at 23.6C before Friday's blast of summer heat - well ahead of the previous high of 23.3C set in 2004.

The harbour city's average maximum is about 1.9C above the long-term norm - enough to match a typical year in Byron Bay, about 800 kilometres up the coast.

Australians might want to get out a map to consider conditions further north than where they live. Hot years are now about two to three degrees warmer than cool ones 100 years ago.

"It's a very large change," Jones says. "That's the equivalent of moving in the order of 300-400 kilometres closer to the equator."

Nowhere below average

For Australia, the year to beat for heat was 2005, when national mean temperatures were 1.03 degrees above the long-term average. As at the end of November, the country was tracking 1.25 degrees above the norm, with a hotter-than-usual December expected.

"As best as we can tell, not a single part of Australia has seen below-average temperatures for this year," Jones says, noting that the country hasn't had a cooler-than-average year for almost two decades.

Global temperatures are rising too. Last month was the hottest November in records going back to the 1880s, the US government reported this week. That put 2013 on track to be the fourth-hottest on record - behind 2010, in first place, and 2005 and 1998, roughly equal second.

Jones dismisses claims regularly aired by climate sceptics that the planet stopped warming in 1998.

Really? Only in his dreamworld. Below is the actual global temperature record for the 21st century. It oscillates but there is no rising trend. Note that it is calibrated in tenths of one degree. ALSO note that what he says about 1998 is absolutely false. Can we trust ANYTHING he says? It seems not. The data for the graph is from the University of East Anglia, a pro-Warmist outfit

"Certainly there is no global surface data set which shows 1998 was the warmest on record." Globally, the climate system holds significant heating momentum as humans continue to burn fossil fuels and drive the emission of other greenhouse gases.

Carbon dioxide levels rose 2.2 parts per million to 393.1 in 2012, bringing atmospheric levels to 41 per cent higher than in pre-industrial times, the World Meteorological Organisation said last month.

"If you actually look at the amount of heat that the earth's absorbing, it's tracking up almost monotonically," Jones says.

Wake-up call

Pitman says 2013's likely global ranking of fourth-hottest year ever is exceptional not least because the most significant driver of climate variation - the El Nino-Southern Oscillation in the Pacific - remains in neutral mode. He likens this to the surprise when an athlete at sea-level breaks a record that had been set at high altitude.

"We shouldn't be breaking records in any years other than an intense El Nino," he says. "Quite why the globe is as warm as it appears to be is worrisome."

By extension, the next El Nino - in which the central and eastern Pacific Ocean usually warms up and eastern Australia gets drier conditions - has the potential to exceed this year's record-breaking Australian heat.

"If we get that additional anomaly, it might even be enough to trigger an awakening in the eyes of some of our leaders," Pitman says.




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


20 December, 2013

Corn ethanol on the chopping block?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., are about as opposite politically as two people can be. Nonetheless, last week they joined forces to introduce a bill to repeal the federal requirement to blend corn ethanol into gasoline.

There's something in the ethanol mandate for almost everyone - but corn farmers - not to like. Supporters of the mandate meant well, but the law of unintended consequences has created an odd assortment of anti-ethanol bedfellows.

Environmentalists have turned on corn ethanol. It doesn't reduce greenhouse gases, they now say, and increased corn production has pumped more fertilizer into the water supply. Environmental Working Group Vice President Scott Faber told Congress that the corn ethanol Renewable Fuel Standard "is polluting America's air and water, contributing to climate change, hurting consumers and hindering the development of cleaner biofuels."

Big Oil doesn't like the ethanol standard. Federal automobile fuel-efficiency regulations have put a dent in the demand for gasoline. Oil companies already buy enough ethanol to blend 10 percent of it into gasoline; they are up against a "blend wall" - they have to buy more ethanol than they can use.

Big Food doesn't like the ethanol mandate; diverting roughly 44 percent of the corn supply to gas tanks has driven up the cost of livestock feed and people food. PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts the current renewable-fuel standards will increase costs to chain restaurants by up to $3.1 billion per year.

Antipoverty activists oppose the ethanol standard because of its effect on food prices and food supply. Oxfam America charges that the 2007 regulation has resulted in a 15 percent reduction in global corn supplies.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute and Taxpayers for Common Sense support the Feinstein-Coburn Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013.

According to conventional political wisdom, the Iowa presidential caucus has given ethanol an outsize advantage inside Washington. But the Environmental Working Group's Faber believes that theory doesn't hold water anymore. Former GOP nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney both opposed the scheme.

While voters in the Hawkeye State may support the Renewable Fuel Standard, Faber added, "corn ethanol is unbelievably unpopular" in three key primary states. In New Hampshire, voters blame it for engine damage. In South Carolina, it drives up the cost of raising chickens. There's "not a lot of corn grown in Nevada," but there is livestock.

In response to the growing resentment of the program, the EPA has proposed reducing the Renewable Fuel Standard's biofuels requirement in 2014. That's too little, too late. Feinstein predicts that under the proposed EPA regulations, gasoline prices still would rise, and California dairy farms still would struggle to stay in business.

Maybe there was a time when Washington's ethanol policies seemed smart and green. Now they carry the stench of failed ranches, high food prices and unnecessary environmental damage. So Congress should clean up after its mistake - and quickly.


How the EPA Plans to Kill Jobs and Reduce Your Income

How’s your heating bill? If you feel like you’re not paying enough, you’re in luck.

President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pushing new regulations on power plants—regulations that will kill jobs, jack up your energy costs, and even end up reducing families’ income because of the impact on the prices of everything you buy.

As Heritage experts Nicolas Loris, Kevin Dayaratna, and David Kreutzer explain:

"These regulations will act as a major energy tax that would negatively impact American households. Americans will suffer through higher energy bills, but also through higher prices for goods and services, slowing the economy and crippling the manufacturing sector.

…It will cost more to heat, cool, and light homes, and to cook meals. These higher energy prices will also have rippling effects throughout the economy. As energy prices increase, the cost of making products rises."

The EPA’s war is against coal, which is the main source of electricity for 21 states. In their research, Heritage experts analyzed a phase-out of coal (thanks to the EPA’s regulations) between 2015 and 2038.

Here are their dire warnings. By the end of 2023, they project:

* Employment falls by nearly 600,000 jobs (270,000 in manufacturing).

* Coal-mining jobs drop 30 percent.

* A family of four’s annual income drops more than $1,200 per year, and its total income drops by nearly $24,400 over the entire period of analysis.

And for what?

Certainly not helping the environment. The authors sum it up: “President Obama’s climate plan would have a chilling effect on the economy, not the climate.”

They explain that “regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions will have no meaningful effect on global climate change. The EPA admitted this in its own proposed rule.”

So—hundreds of thousands of lost jobs, thousands in lost income, higher prices across the board—and “no noticeable climate impact.” That’s what these regulations mean.

It’s important to remember that these rules are being developed by unelected bureaucrats at the whim of the Obama Administration. We’ve already learned that the Administration delayed a number of controversial regulations, including energy-related ones, conveniently until after the 2012 election. Why? Because they’re harmful to Americans.

The authority to make such sweeping changes doesn’t belong to these unelected bureaucrats, the Heritage experts say. Congress should take back its power and prevent these rules from inflicting harm on the economy—and our wallets.


Superpowers Strike Deal Over Fracking

The United States and China have agreed an unprecedented partnership on fracking to accelerate the energy revolution promised by previously unreachable gas reserves.

Under the terms of the deal, agreed after Joe Biden, the US Vice President, visited Asia this month, America will share its expertise to help to promote “sound and rapid” development of Chinese exploration for shale gas.

America’s “shale gale” has already started to alter global dynamics profoundly but the next chapter could prove to be the most spectacular, creating the conditions for co-operation between two superpowers, challenging Russian and Middle Eastern dominance of energy markets, and offering at least a short-term gain in the battle to respond to climate change.

The partnership comes as David Cameron fears that the EU may kill off investment in fracking at a critical moment by demanding new laws to regulate the industry. The UK Government believes shale gas could support 30,000 jobs and cut household bills.

Mr Cameron wrote to José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, warning that “our main competitors are already ahead of us”, citing the US and China.
Fracking is not new — the first experiments using high pressure water jets to open up stubborn layers of sedimentary rock began in the 1940s.

Since 2008, from North Dakota to the Appalachians, forgotten backwaters have become boomtowns as the drillers moved in.

America has gone from paranoia about its dwindling energy supply to the prospect of an abundance of fuel — there is enough shale gas to last a century, according to Government estimates.

Sarah Ladislaw, of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, who co-authored a report this year on the potential of fracking in the US, says the resource is enormous and readily available, but people can exaggerate the industry’s importance. “We have climbed down from the peak of hype — it is interesting, but there are limits — shale is not going to save the US economy on its own.

“The biggest significance, is that it has dampened this notion of the US in decline, a predominant theme in a lot of other countries who have been asking, ‘what does it mean if the US is less powerful?’ It tells us, don’t under-estimate the US, because things can happen that even the US didn’t think possible.”

She likens the energy boom to a second stimulus package for the US economy. Fracking probably won President Obama a second term as cheaper fuel bills pushed household disposable income up by $1,200 a year and kept unemployment below the 8 per cent mark, which has been fatal to presidents seeking re-election.


72% of Britons say living standards more important than climate change

Whilst two-thirds of the British population intellectually accepts the reality of manmade climate change, many deny some or all of the associated feelings and responsibilities needed to deal with the issue, according to a new report.

A YouGov poll commissioned for the study found that only 37% of respondents agree their actions are part of the climate change problem. This denial makes it very difficult to create the political will necessary to decarbonise the economy at the scale and speed required, it said.

Additionally, almost two thirds (61%) of participants said economic growth should be a priority even if it has a negative impact on the climate and 72% said their own standard of living was more important than climate change.

The responses suggest that the public is detached from the effects of climate change and don’t realise it poses a threat to public health, national security and the global financial system. This could be linked to that fact that only 60% of respondents had ever talked about climate change, with 71% of these speaking about it for less than ten minutes.

The report, A New Agenda on Climate Change, written by the RSA’s Social Brain Centre, calls for the climate change debate to be reframed and demands that politicians and businesses take leadership on the issue.

Dr Jonathan Rowson, author of the report and director of the RSA Social Brain Centre, commented, “The human response to climate change in unfolding as a political tragedy because scientific knowledge and economic power are pointing in different directions.

“There is a moral imperative to act, and the main barriers are not those who question the scientific consensus, but those who ‘get it’ but don’t give their politicians the mandate they need to act with strategic conviction.”

The report argues that the solution not only needs governments to connect with the public but that citizens need to challenge governments more in order to make changes to the energy supply of the country. Public action is hindered by six reasons, according to the study, including the belief that climate change doesn’t really matter in the UK and that actions will have no impact

Rowson added, “It’s not about being ‘green’, it’s about being more honest and strategic about the causes and impacts of the problem.”

The report concluded that a mixture of vested interests, political paralysis and civic ambiguity has caused the lack of progress on climate change.


China Discovers Major Methane Hydrate Reserve In South China Sea

China said it has identified a major gas hydrate reserve in the northern part of the South China Sea, joining a small group of nations in the world seeking to tap a potentially vast future source of energy.

China started studies of gas hydrate in 2002 when the government listed it as a national research project.

There is currently no technology to commercially unlock the energy also known as “flammable ice”, gas frozen in ice-like crystals buried deep under the oceans and experts say commercial, scaled development could be beyond 2030.

China’s Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) announced on Tuesday it had found a gas hydrate reserve that spans 55 square kms (34 square miles) in the Pearl River Mouth basin with controlled reserve equivalent to 100-150 billion cubic metres (bcm) natural gas, according to a report carried on the ministry’s website (

That would be the size of a major conventional natural gas field, like in China’s top gas province Sichuan.

Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey Bureau, an MLR unit, collected samples of “high purity” gas hydrates over nearly four months of surveys and drilling of 23 wells in the waters off south China’s Guangdong province.

Two gas hydrate layers with a thickness of 15-30 metres were found just below the seabed, which was at a depth of 600 to 1,000 metres.

“It marks a breakthrough in investigating the resource and proves that the Pearl River Mouth basin is rich in gas hydrate,” the report said, adding China becomes the fourth country in the world to have collected sample of the methane hydrate after the U.S., Japan and India.


Australian Greens ignore Israel's rights

The Australian Green party is full of old Commos and Trots -- JR

WHEN Norman Finkelstein, an icon of the anti-Israel movement, blasted the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign as a "duplicitous, disingenuous cult", his words were met with a great sense of betrayal among the campaign's adherents. After all, Finkelstein was once revered as a veteran campaigner who, among many other things, called Israel a "satanic state".

Finkelstein had experienced no great awakening. At the centre of his disassociation with the BDS movement, which has hijacked the Palestinian cause, is what he calls a "deliberate ambiguity" on Israel's basic right to exist. In Greens senator Lee Rhiannon, Australia has its own longstanding supporter of the anti-Israel movement. Unfortunately, the leaders of BDS in Australia have yet to heed Finkelstein's advice to be open about their aims and to cease their selective application of international law.

During a typically vitriolic and hateful speech in the Senate earlier this month, Rhiannon urged Australia "to cease military co-operation and trade with Israel ... as a small but significant step". In a new and bizarre line of attack, Rhiannon justifies this call on the basis that Israel perpetuates war and conflict to battle-test its weapons for "public marketing by the Israeli arms industry" as a means of boosting its sale of weapons to countries like Australia.

In her latest allegations, one detects a near pathological aversion to the Jewish state. As one would expect from Rhiannon, nowhere does she recognise that Israel has a very real and genuine need to defend itself. Nor does she entertain the idea that the Israeli army could have any legitimate defence function whatsoever.

To be sure, Israel exists only because it has defended itself from three invasions, two intifada, Iranian proxy campaigns, numerous border incursions, and the constant threat of war from enemies who do not bother to veil their desires to destroy Israel in the misappropriated language of human rights. This is the function of the Israeli army.

While presented as a pacifist's rebuke to militarism, Rhiannon's argument is steeped in double standards. If she opposes militarism in all its forms, why is Israel the only country with which Australia should sever military ties? If indeed her message is one of peace and demilitarisation, one could have expected her to start by calling for the disarming of a state less vulnerable than Israel.

There is also an uncomfortable inconsistency between Rhiannon's assault on Israel's means of defence and her history of support for the Soviet Union, which built and maintained an empire through force and coercion and whose arms exports had a uniquely deleterious impact on the world, not least in the Middle East. In the 1980s, shortly after Rhiannon led solidarity delegations to the Soviet Union, Moscow was responsible for 34 per cent of the world's arms trade, and supplied such states as Libya, Syria and Iraq. This is precisely the sort of hypocrisy to which Finkelstein refers.

While the anti-Israel movement goes to great lengths to demonstrate that its hatred of the Jewish state should not be mistaken for a hatred of the Jewish people, it is deeply troubling that Rhiannon's latest assault casts the Jewish state in a historically dubious and familiar light. The image of the Jew as a war profiteer, conspirator and driven solely by money is steeped in anti-Jewish tradition and it is alarming that such accusations have now been evoked and transferred to the Jewish collective, the state of Israel. Senator Rhiannon and her peers in the anti-Israel movement should recognise that advancing Palestinian rights does not need the denial of Israel's right to exist as a national home for the Jewish people.




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


19 December, 2013

Los Angeles Becomes First Major City To Require ‘Cool Roofs’

Highly reflective roofs are the coolest but not mentioned below is that highly reflective roofs, silver-coloured ones in particular, are banned in some jurisdictions because they create glare problems. The definition of "cool" below however is very loose and leaves even red roofs OK so this would appear to be a regulation that is merely for show and which would catch very few people

On Tuesday the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a building code update that will require all new and refurbished homes to have cool roofs, which use sunlight-reflecting materials. Los Angeles is the first major city to require such a measure, which was pushed for by the local organization Climate Resolve. Climate Resolve works throughout Southern California to prepare the region for the impacts of climate change.

UCLA research has suggested that temperatures in the area will increase between 3.7°F and 5.4°F by 2050. Southern California also already relies on outside sources of water to meet demand. With the state experiencing one of the driest years on record, climate change will make many different kinds of conservation measures far more critical.

According to the Climate Resolve press release, cool roofs, “can be more than 50°F cooler on the surface of the roof during a hot summer day and can cool the interiors of buildings by several degrees Fahrenheit, reducing chances of heat-related injuries or deaths.”

“Cool roofs are a win-win-win for the people of Los Angeles,” said Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director of Climate Resolve. “Keeping temperatures down on Extreme Heat Days will protect lives; energy efficiency will save millions of dollars; and cool roofs will help Los Angeles combat global climate change at the local level.”

According to the Global Cool Cities Alliance, reflective roof surfaces do not need to be white, but can come in shades of grey and even red. These surfaces reflect more sunlight than traditional dark-colored roofs, thus turning less of the sun’s energy into heat and minimizing the urban heat island effect in which urban areas are far hotter than surrounding rural regions.


Greece shows what Greenie pressure on energy prices could lead to among the poor worldwide

Hard-pressed families in Athens have been lighting open fires in their homes to keep warm as energy prices soar.

Millions of Greeks have been forced to burn wood in their homes after the country agreed to increase the price of heating oil by 48 per cent.

The move, which was under the terms of an EU bailout, was meant to see the price rise on a par with diesel and raise revenues.

However, the Times reports the plan has backfired and has cost the treasury £422million in lost income as low income families turn to raw materials to heat their homes.

The city now has dangerously high toxicity levels and health and environment officials have warned people to limit the use of open fires.

Alexandros Papayiannis, a physicist from Athens Polytechnic University, said: 'The toxicity levels are becoming dangerous. It's turning Athens into a gas chamber.'

EU regulations say countries have to keep air pollution under 50 microgrammes a day but this weekend saw the levels in Athens double that limit.

Temperatures in the country are set to drop still further and officials are now looking at shutting down industrial units to limit the pollution and families on low incomes will be given free electricity in a bid to stop them lighting open fires.

Athens-based consumer watchdog Inka says four out of five apartment blocks in the city have refused to pay for heating oil.

A 13-year-old girl died of carbon monoxide poisoning earlier this month at her home in northern Greece.

Panayiotis Behrakis, a professor in respiratory medicine at Harvard, said: ' Every citizen must show responsibility and restraint, or else all will suffer the dire consequences.'


Half of Britain to be offered for shale gas drilling

Fracking could take place across more than half of Britain under plans announced by the Government to “step up the search” for shale gas and oil.

Ministers said they would offer energy companies the chance for rights to drill across more than 37,000 square miles, stretching from central Scotland to the south coast.

Every county in England except Cornwall could have shale gas exploration, according to a map showing areas the Government plans to offer to energy companies.

A Government-commissioned report released on Tuesday said as many as 2,880 wells could be drilled, generating up to a fifth of the country’s annual gas demand at peak and creating as many as 32,000 jobs.

Michael Fallon, the energy minister, said that shale was “an exciting prospect, which could bring growth, jobs and energy security”.

However, the report warned that communities near sites where drilling took place could see a large increase in traffic. Residents could face as many as 51 lorry journeys each day for three years, the Government-commissioned study by consultancy Amec said.

It also warned of potential strain on facilities for handling the waste water generated by hydraulic fracturing, the process known as fracking which involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into rocks at high pressure to extract gas.

There were also concerns over the the potential environmental impact on the countryside.

The areas to be offered to companies for fracking include several National Parks, numerous Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and sites deemed of “international importance” for conservation and wildlife.

So far companies have rights to drill in 176 “licence” areas across 7,300 square miles of Britain, mostly concentrated in and around Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire and Sussex.

The addition of the areas mapped out on Tuesday means more than half of Britain, and about two-thirds of England, will be open to fracking.

Oil and gas companies will be invited to apply for access in a “licensing round” next summer. Companies will then need a series of planning and environmental permits before they are allowed to drill.

Mr Fallon said it was unlikely that companies would apply for licences in every area, but admitted that the area in which licences are taken up could roughly double. The report suggests up to 150 licences could be granted.

Communities where fracking takes place have been promised £100,000 in benefits by shale gas companies during initial exploration, and then a one per cent share of the revenues if fracking succeeds and gas is produced. Amec said this could be worth up to £4.8m per drilling site over the lifetime of the well. Total community benefits from fracking across 150 new licences could reach £600m.

Ministers are keen to encourage exploration for shale, which they believe could help to bring down energy prices.

A report earlier this year by the British Geological Survey suggested there could be enough gas in the north of England alone to supply the UK for more than 40 years.

“We have seen the enormous impact that shale gas extraction in the States has had on its economy, both on household bills and industrial prices. It has had a strong impact there and it has the potential to have an impact here,” Mr Fallon said.

“It will reduce our dependence on liquid natural gas. We import over half our gas at the moment and we face the prospect of having to import 70 per cent of our gas by 2030 if we haven’t found any shale by then.

"If we do find shale that will obviously reduce our dependence on those imports and reduce our dependence on wholesale gas prices. That in turn will be good for the economy”.

However the scale of shale production is highly uncertain. Amec’s report shows that in a “low” scenario there could be as few as 180 wells drilled in the new areas, creating as few as 2,500 jobs.

The report said that fracking could “have an adverse impact on traffic congestion, noise or air quality” . There could be between 14 and 36 lorries a day for up to 13 weeks of exploratory drilling, and then between 17 and 51 a day for a production period of up to 145 weeks.

Mr Fallon said lorry movements were “matters for each individual site”. He added: “Planning authorities have the power to impose conditions so the impact on the local quality of life will not be unacceptable.”

Peak annual gas production from the new licence areas could be as much as 706 billion cubic feet a year.

Britain’s current annual gas demand is 3.52 trillion cubic feet, and the total amount of gas produced from 150 new licences through the 2020s and into the 2030s could reach about 8.6 trillion cubic feet, Amec said.

A similar volume could be expected from the existing areas, Government officials said.

More than 650,000 cubic feet of waste water could be produced by each well, which could “place a substantial burden on existing waste water treatment infrastructure capacity”, Amec warned, although co-operation with water companies and local planning authorities could address this problem.

The report also warned there could be a “significant negative effect on climate change” at a local level.

The RSPB criticised the Government for failing to exclude environmentally-sensitive areas.

Harry Huyton, RSPB head of energy and climate policy, said: “The licensing area that is being considered covers many important natural areas, from Liverpool Bay to the Thames Estuary.

“We asked that the most ecologically sensitive parts of the country, such as protected areas, be excluded from licensing. Sadly, this scenario is not even considered in the documents released by the Government today because it might have the 'unintended consequence’ of restricting fracking activity.

“We believe that the impacts of commercial shale gas exploitation on the climate and on wildlife should fully assessed and that the industry should be strictly regulated to minimise any potential impact. Today’s announcements have done nothing to reassure us that Government will deliver this.”

The majority of the 37,000 square miles that will be offered in the so-called “14th licensing round” was offered up five years ago in the 13th round.

At the time, very little was known about Britain’s shale potential and so most of it was snubbed by oil and gas companies.

But since then shale gas has since transformed the energy landscape in the US and ministers hope it could do the same here.

Only a handful of shale gas exploration wells have so far been drilled while early attempts at fracking by Cuadrilla near Blackpool in 2011 caused two earth tremors that led to an 18-month ban on fracking.

Cuadrilla on Tuesday announced it was abandoning the Preese Hall site where the earthquakes were caused and would concentrate on drilling elsewhere instead.

Some of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies such as the French energy giant Total now want to join the search for shale in Britain. Centrica, the owner of British Gas, and France’s GDF Suez have bought into existing licence areas.


Senator to Obama: 'Stop Stalling' on Keystone XL Pipeline

"It is time for the president to keep his word, stop stalling, give us his answer on the Keystone XL pipeline and approve the Keystone XL pipeline for the jobs that it will create," Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said on Tuesday.

When President Obama met with Republicans on Capitol Hill last March, Barrasso says he "specifically asked him about approving the Keystone XL pipeline."

"And the president said his decision would come in a matter of months and certainly by the end of year. Since that time, we've heard nothing from the president other than criticism and ridicule when he talked about the Keystone XL pipeline. But the end of the year is here now."

Barrasso noted that President Obama's own State Department has said that construction of the pipeline would create 42,000 jobs.

On Tuesday, the same day Barrasso spoke, White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Obama "is focused every day" on growing the economy, expanding the middle class, and "bringing jobs back home to the United States so that we can have the kinds of industries and businesses that create good jobs, that sustain secure middle-class lives. That's his focus," Carney said.

So if the Keystone XL project creates jobs, what's taking so long for the Obama administration to make a decision? A reporter asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest about that last week. "I mean, this has been going on for years," the reporter said.

Earnest said the Keystone approval process was "slowed down" by concerns raised by the Republican governor of Nebraska about the proposed route of the pipeline.

"So I think that demonstrates the commitment of the administration to get this right. It demonstrates that there is -- that there are people in both parties who have a range of views on this topic. And, you know, what the State Department is doing is they're reaching a determination of national interests."

Because the pipeline crosses the border with Canada, the State Department must approve it before construction begins.

The reporter asked Earnest if this is a case of the Obama administration "running out the clock" -- delaying a decision so the pipeline will never be built.

"That's not how I'd characterize the ongoing policy process," Earnest responded.

As reported, President Barack Obama said this past June that the Keystone XL pipeline would not be built if it created more carbon pollution.

“Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest, and our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution,” the president said. “The net effect of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward."

In that same speech, Obama said, “Our energy strategy must be about more than just producing more oil, and by the way, it’s certainly got to be about more than just building one pipeline.”

The recent hiring of John Podesta as President Obama's energy and climate-change adviser has some Keystone supporters worried. Podesta is on the record as opposing the Keystone project, but he has said he will stay out of any decisions on whether to proceed with pipeline construction.

Secretary of State John Kerry, with whom the Keystone decision now rests, is also a true believer in climate change.

In his first major foreign policy address last February, Kerry called for the United States to work with other nations to "develop and deploy the clean technologies that will power a new world."

If it's ever completed, the Keystone XL Pipeline would run 1,179 miles, carrying crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Neb. From there, the pipeline extends to midwestern and Gulf Coast markets.

Because the pipeline crosses an international border, it falls to the U.S. State Department to decide whether the project is in the national interest. It's then up to the president to say yes or no.

In August 2011, the State Department issued a supposedly "final" environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL, saying the pipeline extension would not have a significant impact on the environment.

But following an outcry from environmental activists, the State Department three months later decided to seek additional information on alternative routes through the Nebraska Sand Hills.

Then in January 2012, President Obama denied Keystone's application for a permit, blaming Republicans for imposing a "rushed and arbitrary deadline" for him to make a decision.

TransCanada filed a new application for a permit in May 2012, starting the State Department's review process all over again.

Now, five years after Keystone first applied for a permit in 2008, there is still no final decision on the job-creating project


Death by renewables

“Even green projects have an impact on their surrounding environment.” Green energy, specifically so-called renewables, has been sold to the American public as the answer to a host of crimes against the planet. But, as Lex Berko points out in her post on Motherboard, “even green” has its downside. Biomass may be “renewable,” but burning it releases CO2. Then, it’s expensive: “A 100 percent renewable-energy mix from in-state sources could cost up to five times more,” reports the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). And, energy from wind and solar sources kills birds.

Wind turbines chop up bald and golden eagles, and other endangered species, like a Cuisinart — the taller turbines with longer blades (which produce more energy, and, therefore, is where the trend is heading) have a predicted annual ten-fold mortality increase. The authors of a new study on bird collision mortality at wind facilities concludes: “Given that we found evidence for increased bird mortality with increasing height of monopole turbines along with a move toward increasing turbine size, we argue that wildlife collision risk should be incorporated with energy efficiency considerations when evaluating the ‘greenness’ of alternative wind energy development options.” If the Department of Energy were to meet its 2030 goal of having 20 percent of the nation’s electricity generated from wind, they project: “a mean annual mortality estimate of roughly 1.4 million birds.”

Hundreds of acres of photovoltaic solar panels confuse migratory water birds, such as the “once-critically endangered brown pelican whose lifestyle involves fishing by diving into open water,” to veer miles out of their way to dive toward what they perceive are lakes or wetlands — only to die from “blunt force trauma.” At the largest solar thermal plant in the world, Ivanpah, owned by BrightSource Energy, the 170,000 reflecting mirrors — designed to “superheat liquid in boilers”—literally fries feathers. The USA Today reports that the intense radiation — called solar flux—has singed some birds, melted feathers, and denatured the protein in their wings as they fly through the intense heat. Unable to fly, the injured birds drop out of the sky and die.

The federally Endangered Yuma clapper rail, the dramatic-looking black-crowned night heron, double-crested cormorant, red-breasted merganser, American coots, warblers, goldfinches, a common raven, and a barn owl — just to name a few, may get a reprieve from being lured to their death by solar power plants.

USA Today references a “solar-industrial corridor” along I-10 in Riverside County, California,

which was to have 80 percent of its 148,000 acres covered with solar panels or mirrors. However, it reports: “Today, that seems unlikely. Industry trends are toward smaller solar projects and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan-guarantee program has ended.” (Remember, last week, I reported on the crony corruption behind the loan approval process for BrightSource’s Ivanpah project.) Additionally, Friday, December 13, was unlucky for the solar industry — but lucky for the birds. Giving official recognition of the threat solar power tower projects pose to wildlife, The California Energy Commission announced that it is “likely to deny approval to a major Riverside County solar power project that has been criticized for posing an unacceptable risk to birds and other wildlife.”

The bald and golden eagles aren’t so lucky. The Friday before, December 6, the Obama Administration announced an extension of the existing five-year eagle take permit. Effective immediately, the new rule issued by the Department of Interior (DOI) will grant 30-year permits allowing wind farms to “accidently kill federally protected eagles.” The “rule” is in direct violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act passed by Congress in 1940. Once again, executive action trumps the law. The DOI decision prompted this response from Mike Daulton, vice president of government relations for the National Audubon Society: “This is going to lead to more dead eagles — plain and simple.”

To encourage Interior Secretary Jewell to reverse the decision, the National Audubon Society has set up a direct email option with a customizable letter to Secretary Jewell that states: “The 30-year permit rule is a blank check for the wind industry and provides no comfort or confidence at all that you will be protecting America’s majestic Bald and Golden Eagles and safeguarding their populations.”

Like the expiration of the DOE loan guarantee program has increased the likelihood populations of migratory birds will survive death by renewables, the pending expiration of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy could help the eagles and other raptors that are attracted to the towering turbines.

A December 12 WSJ editorial, Powering Down the Wind Subsidy, points out, as the subtitle states: “How Congress can achieve something by doing nothing.” The WSJ is encouraging Congress to “do nothing” and allow the PTC to expire as scheduled on December 31 — which would save taxpayers $18 billion over the next five years. Expire it may, as the current budget deal takes away last minute negotiations that got it extended last year—but that doesn’t mean it is really gone. The PTC has expired several times in its twenty-year history and has always been extended retroactively — which is what we may be facing this year. The WSJ states: “The wind lobby is now trying to get the subsidy included in a January ‘tax extender’ package and made retroactive.”

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on December 13, for the first time hinted, according to, that he may push the Senate to consider a tax extenders package. Wyden said: “If you didn’t have tax reform and you didn’t have extenders, you’d do crushing damage to solar, wind and renewables.” No mention was made of the “crushing damage” to America’s migratory bird population or to the bald and golden eagles.

Wyden will likely have his way. While, as I’ve written previously, Republicans generally oppose government subsidies and support the energy that actually works, and Democrats, like Wyden, tend to favor government giveaways and support the energy that they “hope” will “change” and actually work — there are plenty of Republicans who will help him push the “extenders” package and give the PTC back (despite the probable expiration on December 31). Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, where the PTC extension originates, and he recently predicted a PTC extension. With just a handful of Republicans, such as Orin Hatch (UT), Pat Roberts (KS), John Thune (SD), and Mike Crapo (ID) — all of whom voted for the extension in 2012, the PTC could be hailed a “bipartisan victory.”

Think of the millions of birds being killed by renewables. Think of the billions of taxpayer dollars that have gone down the drain in “the quest for the holy grail of cheap renewable power.” Whether you oppose death by renewables for avian or economic reasons isn’t important. But what does matter is making your opposition heard. Send your customizable National Audubon Society letter to Secretary Jewell and contact the Republican Senators listed above and tell them to stop supporting wind welfare.


Reddit has banned climate change deniers, and ripped its own reputation to shreds

Reddit, the massively popular links-sharing website where users post stories, pictures or info that they find interesting, prides itself on being open and liberal. It describes itself as “passionately dedicated to free speech”. In which case, why has it banned from its forums anyone who raises awkward or annoying questions about the science of climate change?

In a move that has been described by one British academic as “positive censorship”, a Reddit moderator has announced that Reddit is becoming “increasingly stringent with deniers”. The Reddit moderator says climate “contrarians” were too often expressing “uninformed and outspoken opinions”, and so the site decided to adopt a much more “proactive moderation”. Now, whenever a user makes a “potentially controversial submission” on climate change, the moderators issue that user with a “warning”. If the user persists in posting “potentially controversial submissions”, he’s “banned from the forum”.

Reddit’s moderators are really happy with the results of their war against the expressers of “outspoken opinions” on climate change. They found that by “negating the ability of this misguided group to post to the forum” (a long-winded way of saying “banning them”), there has been a “change in the culture within the comments”. “Where once there were personal insults and bitter accusations, there is now discussion of the relevant aspects of [scientific] research”, we are told. In short, having expelled outspoken, controversial “deniers” from its forums, Reddit now finds that its discussions of climate change are more measured – that is, on-message, conformist, uncontroversial.

This is pretty shocking stuff. Of course, all online forums – including Telegraph Blogs – moderate their discussion threads, removing libellous, racist, homophobic, and gratuitously offensive material. That is absolutely fine. Such moderation often helps to keep debates on track.

But Reddit is talking about something quite different. It’s talking about removing specific political opinions; it’s talking about targeting the expression of a particular idea – that the case for climate change is overblown – and squashing it. This is political censorship, designed to silence the expression of dissent about climate-change alarmism on one of the internet’s most popular user-generated forums. This is clear from the Reddit moderator’s description of what is being targeted – not just libellous or hateful stuff, but “outspoken opinions”, “potentially controversial” views, and “contrarianism”. In short, critical or eccentric thinking, stuff that doesn’t fit with what the overlords of Reddit consider to be politically proper.

Not content with having purged from its own site the wicked people who deny climate change, Reddit now wants newspapers to do likewise. One of its moderators says that if Reddit can prevent its pages being used as “a microphone for the anti-scientific”, then “is it too much to ask for newspapers to police their own editorial pages as proficiently?” So let’s remove so-called climate change deniers from all forums and finally deny them the oxygen of publicity.

That one of the supposedly most free-speechy sections of the World Wide Web can be so upfront in demanding the “positive censorship” of controversial viewpoints is shocking. It shows just how successfully beyond the pale criticism of climate change alarmism has been put, and how even the young, funky overseers of modern, open discussion forums are willing to rein in free speech if they see or hear something that offends their Greenish sensibilities.

Society is becoming increasingly intolerant of the expression of dissent on climate change. Anyone who raises sticky questions about the politics or science of climate change is branded a “denier” – echoing the victims of the Inquisition, who were likewise accused of “denial” – and risks being expelled from polite society. Reddit might now feel very happy and smug about the fact that its science forums have become much more polite places following the expulsion of certain “contrarians”. But it should bear in mind the great liberal John Stuart Mill’s point that The Truth, including about climate change, can only be established through having the freest and frankest public debate possible: “Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action.”




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


18 December, 2013

What passes for "expertise" at the EPA

NBC News' Monday report on the misconduct of former EPA official John Beale is must be read to be believed. Honestly, if the following details didn't involve a lazy, greedy congenital liar swindling taxpayers out of nearly a million dollars over more than a decade of abuse, they'd be laugh-out-loud funny. Alas, it's all true, so indignation is the only proper response:

"The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change deserves to go to prison for at least 30 months for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job, say federal prosecutors. John C. Beale, who pled guilty in September to bilking the government out of nearly $1 million in salary and other benefits over a decade, will be sentenced in a Washington, D.C., federal court on Wednesday. In a newly filed sentencing memo, prosecutors said that his lies were a "crime of massive proportion" that were “offensive” to those who actually do dangerous work for the CIA. Beale’s lawyer, while acknowledging his guilt, has asked for leniency and offered a psychological explanation for the climate expert’s bizarre tales."

If you're interested in Beale's psychobabble defense -- courtesy of his therapist (yes, really) -- feel free to click through. The whole "woe is me" routine leaves me profoundly unmoved, however, so let's toggle ahead to more insane morsels from the article:

"Two new reports by the EPA inspector general’s office conclude that top officials at the agency “enabled” Beale by failing to verify any of his phony cover stories about CIA work, and failing to check on hundreds of thousands of dollars paid him in undeserved bonuses and travel expenses -- including first-class trips to London where he stayed at five-star hotels and racked up thousands in bills for limos and taxis...To explain his long absences, Beale told agency officials -- including McCarthy -- that he was engaged in intelligence work for the CIA, either at agency headquarters or in Pakistan."

At one point he claimed to be urgently needed in Pakistan because the Taliban was torturing his CIA replacement, according to Sullivan...In fact, Beale had no relationship with the CIA at all. Sullivan, the EPA investigator, said he confirmed Beale didn’t even have a security clearance. He spent much of the time he was purportedly working for the CIA at his Northern Virginia home riding bikes, doing housework and reading books, or at a vacation house on Cape Cod. “He’s never been to Langley (the CIA’s Virginia headquarters),” said Sullivan. “The CIA has no record of him ever walking through the door.”

The lies didn't stop with the CIA fantasies. America's highest paid global warming authority also claimed to have contracted malaria back when he was serving in Vietnam in order to secure a handicap parking space. He neither suffered from the disease, nor served in Vietnam -- thus qualifying Mr. Beale to be a US Senator from Connecticut:

"In 2008, Beale didn’t show up at the EPA for six months, telling his boss that he was part of a special multi-agency election-year project relating to “candidate security.” He billed the government $57,000 for five trips to California that were made purely “for personal reasons,” his lawyer acknowledged. (His parents lived there.) He also claimed to be suffering from malaria that he got while serving in Vietnam. According to his lawyer’s filing, he didn’t have malaria and never served in Vietnam. He told the story to EPA officials so he could get special handicap parking at a garage near EPA headquarters."

Beale finally got caught after he threw a lavish "retirement" party for himself aboard a yacht, then continued to draw a paycheck for the next two years. This manipulation was first uncovered in March 2012, but it took until this past April for investigations to play out. The jig was finally up. EPA's excuse for itself is that its internal culture is so mission-oriented that the agency is prone to overlook potential red flags.

Frighteningly, I think Allahpundit is right that if Beale had been just slightly less reckless in his machinations, his scheme might still be alive and well. Instead, it took a fake retirement to finally generate sufficient scrutiny from the branch of the federal government that's evidently too focused on bankrupting the coal industry to police its own fraudulent elites.

The Obama administration's ideological project is, as ever, about government control and authority. The men and women who work in coal-fired power plants are barely an afterthought to the central planners. And when I say work, I mean work work -- which typically doesn't involve billing your employer while claiming to be on a secret overseas mission when you're actually curled up with a romance novel at your vacation home. The feds' recommended two-and-a-half-year sentence hardly seems adequate for this cretin.


A "jumping" climate. Who knew?

Must be invisible jumps, I guess. The actual 21st century temperature record is below. Where's the jump? Note that the graph is calibrated in tenths of one degree Celsius

In recent years, California’s Agassiz’s desert tortoise population has been decimated by shootings, residential and commercial development, vehicle traffic, respiratory disease and predation by ravens, dogs and coyotes.

Now, dwindling populations of the reptiles with scruffy carapaces and skin as tough as rhino hide are facing an even greater threat: longer droughts spurred by climate change in their Sonoran Desert kingdom of arroyos and burrows, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Drought conditions are linked to declines in a population of desert tortoises in a square-mile study plot in Joshua Tree National Park, according to the study published in the online journal Biological Conservation.

The study, one of the few to examine a desert tortoise population’s response to climate change, surveyed about 1.4 generations of the species scientists know as Gopherus agassizii.

“The last time the climate of the Earth jumped as rapidly as it seems to be now was about 55 million years ago — and that was a five-degree increase over thousands of years,” Jeff Lovich, lead researcher of the USGS team, said in an interview. “The changes we are seeing now are virtually unprecedented, and they are occurring in a desert landscape fragmented by development and roads.”

“The desert tortoise is surviving in the current landscape by its toenails,” he said.


Stop Me Before I Shop in a California Emporium

For five years, California state Sen. Alex Padilla has been pushing a bill to ban grocers and large retailers from giving away single-use plastic bags. In May, he came close; his SB 405 fell 3 votes short of the 21 needed to pass in the state Senate. On Thursday, Padilla announced that he will try again in January. "I am convinced that a statewide policy is only a matter of time," quoth Padilla in a statement.

He's probably right. When Sacramento scolds decide that they've got the right to tell law-abiding taxpayers what they cannot do -- for their own good -- there's no stopping that train.

In 2007, San Francisco became the first city in America to prohibit grocers from giving away single-use plastic bags. Then-Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi boasted that his "first-in-the-nation" ban would spark similar legislation. In 2012, Ess Eff's plastic bag ban expanded to apply to all retailers. In October, the Special City's nanny bag law required restaurants to charge a dime for each paper takeout and delivery bag.

Politicians in search of easy headlines followed Mirkarimi's lead. Other cities -- including San Jose and Los Angeles -- passed their own bans.

A statewide bill by Assemblyman Marc Levine won the support of the California Grocers Association, as it promised "uniformity of experience" for shoppers and, more importantly, big retailers, which would have gotten to keep the bag fee.

It never ceases to amaze me how willingly Californians agree to be treated like sheep. Liberals are supposed to believe in choice -- but lawmakers happily abandon that mantra when they spy an opportunity to tell working people and shoppers what they cannot do.

In Sacramento, they don't even have to establish the need for their nanny laws, the science behind their nanny laws or the economics behind their nanny laws. The left has tapped into the guilt Americans feel for consuming groceries, clothes, stupid purchases. With the ban on bags, politicians have become the new priests. Their message: You can buy tons of crap -- but you have to atone by putting your purchases into sackcloth.

Do I exaggerate? Consider that Padilla's SB 405 exempted food stamp recipients because, he told me in April, he feared a bag ban would have a negative "impact on low-income families." As if their bags are different.

"It's a backlash against the consumption society," Sterling Burnett, senior fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis. Burnett examined six cities, including San Francisco, that had banned the free distribution of single-use plastic bags, only to find no proof that the bans save cities money as sponsors promised.

Plastic bags account for such a small amount of landfill -- less than 1 percent -- he explained, that banning these flimsy receptacles doesn't really change a city's waste stream. The problem with bag banners is, Burnett added, "you only talk about the benefits of getting rid of it. You ignore the costs of the other option."

The other option is reusable bags. A 2011 U.K. Environment Agency study found that reusable cloth bags have to be used more than 131 times to have less of a greenhouse gas impact than once-used high-density polyethylene bags.

Now you see reusable bags everywhere. When my county's ban began, I had one reusable bag. Now I cannot count all the cloth bags I have stashed at work, in my car and at home. They don't look all that healthy, so I doubt I'll reuse them more than 100 times.

At least I know enough to wash reusable bags. Most consumers do not wash their sacks in hot water; they risk putting their groceries in a germ incubator.

To sum up: Single-use bag bans don't really reduce greenhouse gases; they encourage the use of cloth bags that can be hazardous to your health; and if you choose to opt out because it's healthier and more convenient, you get nickeled and dimed when you go shopping. City politicians love to come up with taxes that are supposed to discourage what they consider to be bad behavior -- buying Happy Meals, drinking soda, maybe, and, it seems, spending money in San Francisco stores.

Mayor Ed Lee once defended the city's bag ban: "The intent was never to nickel or dime anybody. But if it takes 10 cents to remind somebody that their habits are in their control, I think that's something we're willing to consider doing."

Amazing. In that spirit, I recommend charging the mayor a dime for every mile he travels during one of his many greenhouse gas-emitting trade trips to China. I guess it's OK to shop in China.


Luke Warming: Pan European Networks Interview With Benny Peiser

Pan European Networks speaks to the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation about the findings and implications of the IPCC’s 2013 Report

The 2013 report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has argued that humans are the ‘dominant cause’ of global warming since the 1950s, and that without ‘substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions’, further warming and changes in all aspects of the climate system can be expected.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is an all-party and non-party think tank and a registered educational charity which, while open-minded on the contested science of global warming, is deeply concerned about the costs and other implications of many of the policies currently being advocated.

Following the publication of the IPCC’s new report, Pan European Networks spoke to the GWPF’s director, Dr Benny Peiser, to discuss the findings and implications of the report.

Dr Peiser is the founder and editor (since 1997) of CCNet, a leading climate policy network, and a visiting fellow at the University of Buckingham, and after whom a 10km-wide asteroid, Minor Planet (7107) Peiser, was named in his honour by the International Astronomical Union, to discuss the findings and implications of the report.

Pan European Networks: How would you describe your own position the ‘climate debate’?

Benny Peiser: I am critical of the more hysterical sides of the debate, but I think that it is important to try and understand why the climate alarm exists. I have my own interpretation of the scientific data, and while I don’t see any significant signals that any of the big, looming disasters that some people have predicted are set to happen any time soon, I am not ruling them out, either.

I oppose the hysterical and apocalyptic tone that the debate seems to sometimes take on. This is bad for climate policy, and bad for society as a whole. Perhaps it is now time to add an element of calm and to restore a sense of reason, because a calm and balanced assessment of the entire situation seems to have been lacking in recent years.

PEN: This certainly seems to have been the case, with immediate disasters being predicted by some, while others make claims of corruption and of scientists tampering with data in order to fabricate fake warming trends.

BP: Absolutely, this happens on the other side of the debate as well, with some people arguing that climate change is a hoax. While those who deny that CO2 has had any effect on global warming are relatively few in number, they do exist, and they are often used as straw men by the media, while those raising reasonable questions and arguments are all but drowned out.

PEN: According to the IPCC’s new report, ‘substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions’ is required to contain future warming trends. Is this achievable?

BP: Firstly, I think that it should be asked whether the IPCC is the right body to prescribe which policies governments should approach, and that arises from the fact that there are, broadly speaking, two possible approaches to the issue of climate change: one, that decarbonisation is urgently needed, which is the central argument of the IPCC, and secondly that it is more cost effective to adapt to the effects of global warming, which in my view makes more sense, because while it is likely that the warming trend will continue at some point, the extent to which this will happen is, as yet, unknown.

In any case, the IPCC’s call for decarbonisation appears to be unrealistic. There is little doubt that, from a technological perspective, the significant reduction of greenhouse gases could be achieved, through, for instance, the construction of thousands of new nuclear power plants around the world, which produce real and reliable energy and do not therefore rely on a conventional back up.

Economically and politically speaking, this is wholly unrealistic. There is a very simple reason for this: quickly developing economies such as China and India simply cannot afford to radically change to significantly more expensive forms of energy production, such as renewables. Indeed, it is already evident that those countries that began down the renewables path are cutting back on subsidies and funding, and many are facing a public backlash.

In the UK, the big issue now is energy prices, and Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour Party, recently announced at his party’s conference that if he wins the general election he will freeze energy bills, while Germany is also facing significant problems as energy prices are rising rapidly.

There is thus a political and economic cost to decarbonisation policies of this type, and it is therefore necessary to be realistic about what is politically and economically viable.

PEN: Do you think, then, that Europe should look to an American-style shale gas revolution?

BP: Absolutely, because this is a very important but unexpected development in the debate, in that the renewable agenda was based on two primary assumptions: that we are facing rapid and dangerous warming, and that we are running out of conventional fossil fuels. On the basis of these two assumptions, the push for renewables seemed to make sense prima facie because it was feared that, as we run out of fossil fuels, their price will rise significantly. It was also thought that while renewables may be expensive now, at some point they will become competitive.

The shale revolution in the USA has changed this, and the irony here is that CO2 emissions in the USA have fallen significantly – faster than anywhere else in the world – because they are switching from coal to abundant and cheap shale gas.

Nevertheless, there does not appear to be any international political will to actually adopt what the IPCC is advocating; international negotiations have reached a deadlock, and there is no appetite for any form of a legally binding agreement. Even Europe is increasingly divided over energy and emissions policies, because Eastern European countries are reluctant to give up on cheap forms of energy, particularly cheap coal.

Substantial and sustained CO2 reductions, then, are not really achievable.

While some claim that there is a green industrial revolution in China and other emerging economies, one has to look very carefully at what they are actually doing. For instance, the Chinese are doing what could be termed ‘green washing’, in that they are trying to portray themselves as taking a green approach, but in reality they are actually planning to invest very little in the green energy sector (less than 5%) in the next 20 years, with much of this (80%) coming from hydroelectricity.

China has, of course, developed a huge solar industry, but this was mainly for export purposes. Now that they are facing tariffs in Europe and the USA, they have begun to use the panels on their own buildings.

However, China is also sitting on abundant deposits of shale gas, but they lack the infrastructure to extract it – the drilling and energy companies that abound in the USA – and while they may not be ready to offer contracts to the Americans, they may not have much choice if they want to tap into this resource at short notice.

Despite such potential developments, there is no real sense that we will see a stabilisation of CO2 content in the atmosphere any time soon. Things might change completely, of course, if we were to see a strong and manifest warming trend in the coming decades, because the debate might then be re-opened with a new vigour, but in the meantime it seems that most governments have now adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach and, as such, will not see the new IPCC report as an immediate issue.

PEN: How significant is the change of the equilibrium climate sensitivity figure to 1.5-4.5°C from the 2007 range of 2-4.5°C?

BP: A number of UK policy makers have made an interesting point about this, arguing that the IPCC’s reduction of climate sensitivity means that we have more time to get our policies right – and cost effectively so. Indeed while the change is minimal (it is really more of a cosmetic thing), it ties in to other research which has come to suggest that climate sensitivity might be less significant than originally feared, and therefore that more extreme scenarios are unlikely.

This alteration of the equilibrium climate sensitivity figure is therefore good news, and can also be seen as an indication of how the IPCC has begun to adopt a less alarmist tone in their latest report.

PEN: Much has been made of the apparent pause in the increase in temperatures in the period since 1998 by both the media and those members of the scientific community sceptical of climate change arguments. What are your thoughts on this?

BP: From both a scientific and a policy point of view, this is by far the biggest problem facing the IPCC, because this global temperature standstill was not predicted by climate scientists, or indeed their climate models, and the IPCC has admitted that they don’t really know what is causing it.

It is now widely understood that if this standstill in the increase of the global surface temperature continues for much longer, then the models used by the IPCC will have to be re-assessed. After all the new report has predicted that manifest warming will soon recommence and continue in the next 20 years.

PEN: Given the fact that this hiatus is currently unexplainable and presents an argument against significant warming trends, do you feel that this furthers the call for more to be spent on adaptive strategies?

BP: Trillions of euros and dollars have been invested in various climate policies, despite the fact that, even if global warming were to continue, the extent to which it will happen is unknown.

An argument I have been making for some time now is that there will always be flooding, heat waves, hurricanes and other extreme weather events, regardless of who is right and who is wrong on climate science, and by investing in resilience and adaptation, in making cities more prepared and communities more resilient, this will be an effective and cost effective investment no matter what.

With the publication of the new IPCC report, there is now more time for policies to evolve; we have more time to discuss what appropriate measures and investments need to be made.

PEN: Do you think, then, that the new report will influence policy?

BP: I don’t think that this report will have any significant policy effects – it has just confirmed the arguments that have been made since the IPCC’s first report in 1990, but its overall tone is more moderate. Thus, if it does have any influence at all it will likely be a moderating one.

Indeed, the fact that the UK’s Environment Minister, Owen Patterson, has said that moderate warming might be good for the world – something no politician would have said six years ago – is an indication of the more cautious tone of this new IPCC report when compared to its 2007 previous versions.


Bill Gates sees compromise as the path to truth

Bill sees through a glass darkly but he does see some things. The idea that truth can be found by compromise is quite as mad as saying it can be found in consensus -- JR

By Bill Gates

The year 1981 was a big one in my business life. It was the year Paul Allen and I incorporated Microsoft in our home state of Washington.

As it turns out, 1981 also had big implications for my current work in health, development, and the environment. Right when Paul and I were pulling all-nighters to get ready for the release of the MS-DOS operating system for the brand new IBM-PC, two rival professors with radically divergent perspectives were sealing a bet that the Chronicle of Higher Education called “the scholarly wager of the decade.”

This bet is the subject of Yale history professor Paul Sabin’s new book. The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth’s Future provides surprising insights for anyone involved in addressing the world’s “wicked problems.” Most of all, it gave me new perspective on why so many big challenges get bogged down in political battles rather than being focused on problem-solving.

So what was the bet? University of Illinois economist Julian Simon challenged Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich to put his money where his mouth was and wager up to $1,000 on whether the prices of five different metals would rise or fall over the next decade. Ehrlich and Simon saw the price of metals as a proxy for whether the world was hurtling toward apocalyptic scarcity (Ehrlich’s position) or was on the verge of creating greater abundance (Simon’s).

Ehrlich was the country’s, and perhaps the world’s, most prominent environmental Cassandra. He argued in books, articles, lectures, and popular television programs that a worldwide population explosion threatened humanity with “the most colossal catastrophe in history” and would result in hundreds of millions of deaths from starvation and dire shortages not just of food but all types of raw materials.

Simon, who passed away in 1998, was a population optimist. A disciple of conservative University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman, Simon believed the doomsayers’ models gave little or no credit to the power of efficient markets and innovative minds for developing substitutes for scarce resources and managing out of crises. He went so far as to claim that population growth should “thrill rather than frighten us.”

At the time of the bet, Simon was a relatively unknown scholar who loved using the eminent Ehrlich as a foil. In public, Ehrlich didn’t even acknowledge Simon by name. Nonetheless, Ehrlich rose to Simon’s bait. “It seemed a small price to pay to silence Julian Simon for ten years,” in the words of Sabin.

Who won the bet? Simon. Definitively. Even as the world population grew from 4.5 to 5.3 billion in the 1980s, the five minerals that were included in the bet—chromium, copper, nickel, tin, and tungsten—collectively dropped in price by almost half. Ehrlich begrudgingly made good on the bet. But to this day he still does not concede that his predictions of Mathusian horrors have been off the mark. Similarly, he does not acknowledge that the discipline of economics has anything of value to contribute to discussions of population or the environment.

Even though I had gone back in recent years to read Ehrlich’s Population Bomb (1968) and the Club of Rome’s intellectually aligned book Limits to Growth (1972), The Bet was a stark reminder to me of how apocalyptic a big part of the environmental movement has been.

Ehrlich claimed to have science on his side in all of his predictions, including how many people the Earth can feed. He stated as scientific fact that U.S. lifestyles were unsustainable, calling developed countries “overdeveloped countries.” Limits to Growth claimed the credibility of computer modeling to justify its predictions of apocalypse.

Simon was equally extreme in his rhetoric. He was as reflexively dismissive of the discipline of ecology as Ehrlich was of economics. And his sound bites provided great fodder for Ronald Reagan and other conservative politicians eager to push back on the pronouncements of environmental scientists. But history generally has been kinder to his predictions than those of Ehrlich.

We know now that Ehrlich was extremely wrong and that following his scientific certainties would have been terrible for the poor. He floated the concept of mandatory sterilizations. He pushed aggressively for draconian immigration policies that, if enacted, would have kept out much of the foreign talent that came into the U.S. over the past three decades and added greatly to the U.S. economy. Ehrlich and his fellow scientists criticized the Green Revolution’s agricultural innovations because, in his view, “we [will] have an even bigger population when the crash comes.”

On population, Ehrlich ignored the evidence that countries that developed economically dropped their birth rate. (The current view is that population will rise only modestly after hitting a bit over 9 billion by 2050.) Granted, population growth is a huge issue in some poor countries, where it creates locally some of the instability and scarcity that Ehrlich foresaw for the entire world. But fortunately, there is strong evidence that if we continue to produce innovative reproductive health tools and make them available to women who want them, and we keep pushing forward on economic growth, there will be fewer and fewer of these places in the decades ahead.

Matt Ridley’s book The Rational Optimist (2010) is probably the best statement today of the Simon case, and Ridley was more careful than Simon was in his claims. Even though I agree with a lot of the book, it too easily dismisses the need to address problems of the poorest, climate change, and the oceans.

The recent Economist special report on biodiversity makes a strong case that economic growth allows us to make environmental concerns a priority. It contrasts the environmental record of the rich countries with that of poor countries to say that economic growth is the best hope for environment protection. All of this suggests to me that we should be wary of broad attacks on economic growth. (The authors of the special report admit that it’s not focused on climate change and mostly leaves aside the mismanagement of the oceans, which is tragic problem that deserves more focus.)

I recommend The Bet to anyone wanting to understand the history of the divisive discussions we have today, especially the stalemate over climate change. Sabin makes a strong case that Ehrlich’s brand of science made it easy for conservative critics to caricature environmentalists as doom merchants and fear mongers who peddle dubious science as a means of advancing their big-government agenda.

And Simon is far from blameless. “Julian Simon and other critics of environmentalism … have taken far too much comfort from extravagant and flawed predictions of scarcity and doom,” writes Sabin. “By focusing solely and relentlessly on positive trends, Julian Simon made it more difficult to solve environmental problems.”

It’s a shame that extreme views get more attention and more of a following than nuanced views. We see this dynamic clearly when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does its best to be clear and impartial in conveying what is known on the key issues, but both liberals and conservatives make it hard for the public to understand the panel’s nuanced conclusions.

I wish there more people who took the middle ground and who were as prominent as Simon or Ehrlich. So here’s my question to you: What’s the best way to encourage scholars to combine the best insights from multiple disciplines? How can we elevate the status of scientists and spokespeople who refuse the lure of extremism and absolutism?


Australia: Two high school students take on teacher over climate and win standing ovation

A reader Russell writes in to tell me his Year 9 son Jordan and his friend, Tom, took on their teacher’s sacred belief in man-made global warming. Given no warning, and called insulting names in front of the class, they took up the challenge with gusto and stayed up til 1am that night to put the presentation together. Not surprisingly the teacher tried to pull out the next day, but the class would not let her.

One of the slides quotes Al Gore mocking “the tiny minority”, like the ones “who still believe that the moon landing was faked…”. Then it shows and quotes four Apollo Astronauts and Burt Rutan (the first private astronaut):

"The other week at school my eldest son (15) was challenged by his teacher to present to the class why he is a ”climate change denier”. He had to do this presentation the next day.

At the start of his class the next day he advised the teacher he was ready. She told him she wasn’t interested now, maybe another day. His classmates started heckling her saying ”You Chicken Miss”. She eventually agreed and got another teacher to sit in as well. Before my son spoke she showed the class the promo to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. After his presentation the class gave him a standing ovation. There is a lot more to this story, the above overview sort of explains what occurred.

To start his talk he read out five quotes from the ”US Senate Minority Report” below, then his power point. She made him stop the Prof Carter video 3min into it, the Prof Ball podcast about 5min in and let the class watch the other 10min video all the way through."

May there be a thousand young rebels following in their footsteps, says Jo.

Russell explained his son and friends get a hard time at school, though it seems, give their teachers a pretty hard time in return:

“…They [the boys] question everything they being taught and who’s the messenger. They know the truth about AGW, Sustainable Development, UNESCO,OECD, over population, open borders, media, communism, politics, the list goes on. One his mates sent the 10min video ”Agenda 21 for Dummies” reply all on the schools email, even the teachers received the link.”

“… there is some history with the boys and this teacher, she is a true socialist. One example of this is she told Jordan ‘His opinion is irrelevant, and only when you become an adult people will listen to what you have to say. Shut up, I am the TEACHER and you’re here to learn.’

I expect the teacher in question will not forget this lesson (though possibly she will interpret her mistake as being to let students speak).

Russell says that skepticism is alive and well in teenagers, despite them being raised on the climate dogma:

“Children are waking up to this hoax. I know of at least 50 kids in year 9 that realise this. I coach an under 15 rugby team and all 20 of them don’t believe in AGW, plus his large group of friends that attend different high schools in the area.

Sustainable Development has overtaken AGW. AGW is still pushed in the classroom but SD is across every subject.’




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


17 December, 2013

More grief for Warmists

Up until now the Arctic has been their only friend. And they still can't let go. They talk about a mythical "long term" melting trend. And even if it were a trend, how do we know it will continue? Successful straight line extrapolations are rare in nature. An ogive is more typical

The amount of sea ice in the Arctic has increased by close to 50 per cent compared to last year, according to satellite measurements.

ESA’s CryoSat mission revealed that in October this year the Arctic had 9000 cu km of sea ice. This compares to just 6000 cu km in October 2012.

Scientists believe part of this stronger performance is due to a greater retention of older ice.

Measurements from CryoSat show that the volume of Arctic sea ice has significantly increased this autumn

Over the last few decades, satellites have shown a downward trend in the area of Arctic Ocean covered by ice.

However, the actual volume of sea ice has proven difficult to find out because it moves around and so its thickness can change.

The CryoSat-2 satellite was designed to measure sea-ice thickness across the entire Arctic Ocean, and has allowed scientists, for the first time, to monitor the overall change in volume accurately.

Scientists claim around 90 per cent of the increase is due to growth of multi-year ice – which survives through more than one summer without melting – with only 10 per cent growth of first year ice.

CryoSat-2 carries technologies to measure changes in the vast ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica and marine ice floating in the polar oceans.

By measuring thickness change in both types of ice, CryoSat-2 is providing information to better understand the role ice plays in the Earth system.

Launched on 8 April 2010, CryoSat-2 is in a highly inclined polar orbit, reaching latitudes of 88° north and south, to maximise its coverage of the poles.

Its main payload is an instrument called Synthetic Aperture Interferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL). Previous radar altimeters have been optimised for operations over the ocean and land, but SIRAL is the first sensor of its kind designed for ice.

They claim that thick, multi-year ice indicates healthy Arctic sea-ice cover. This year’s multi-year ice is now on average about 20 per cent, or around 30 cm, thicker than last year.

'One of the things we’d noticed in our data was that the volume of ice year-to-year was not varying anything like as much as the ice extent – at least in 2010, 2011 and 2012,' said Rachel Tilling from the UK’s Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, who led the study.

'We didn’t expect the greater ice extent left at the end of this summer’s melt to be reflected in the volume. But it has been, and the reason is related to the amount of multi-year ice in the Arctic.'

While this increase in ice volume is welcome news, it does not indicate a reversal in the long-term trend.

'It’s estimated that there was around 20 000 cu km of Arctic sea ice each October in the early 1980s, and so today’s minimum still ranks among the lowest of the past 30 years,' said Professor Andrew Shepherd from University College London.

The findings from a team of UK researchers at the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling were presented last week at the American Geophysical Union’s autumn meeting in San Francisco, California.
Sea ice

'We are very pleased that we were able to present these results in time for the conference despite some technical problems we had with the satellite in October, which are now completely solved,' said Tommaso Parrinello, ESA’s CryoSat Mission Manager.

In October, CryoSat-2’s difficulties with its power system threatened the continuous supply of data, but normal operations resumed just over a week later.

With the seasonal freeze-up now underway, CryoSat will continue its measurement of sea ice. Over the coming months, the data will reveal just how much this summer’s increase has affected winter ice volumes.


Climate Change This Week: Warmer Then, Not Now

A new study from Swedish climate scientists indicates that the earth was likely warmer during the ancient Roman empire and Medieval period than it is today. Leif Kullman, the study's author, found that tree lines were at higher elevation during those times than they are today, mainly because “summer temperatures during the early Holocene thermal optimum [Roman and Medieval period] may have been 2.3°C higher than present.” Something tells us that wasn't because of all the Roman SUVs.

Certainly, one report doesn't prove anything one way or the other, but the trend is certainly not going in favor of those who want to blame “global warming” on modern human activity and then clamp down on it with draconian government measures. Despite the alarmism today, temperatures have not increased globally since 1998, leaving warmists scrambling to come up with an explanation. Indeed, just last week saw 2,000 cold and snow records broken in the U.S.

In light of this mounting evidence, some climate scientists are – gasp – becoming skeptics. Judith Curry, a climatologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says, “All other things being equal, adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere will have a warming effect on the planet. However, all things are never equal, and what we are seeing is natural climate variability dominating over human impact.” That's worth repeating: Natural climate variability might have something to do with the climate.


Forest fires not a result of climate change

Some common sense from the normally moonbat state of California, in an analysis that would apply equally well in Australia:

For purposes of analysis, the history of wildfire in California can be loosely categorized into pre-European settlement fire regimes and post-European settlement fire regimes, especially the last fifty years where rigorous fire suppression efforts have been undertaken.

Natural fire regimes that existed prior to European settlement in California (pre-1700) involved a wide range of fire frequencies and effects on ecosystems; roughly one-third of the State supported frequent fire regimes of 35 years or less. Some areas likely burned on an almost annual basis. Pre-European settlement fire patterns resulted in many millions of acres burning each year, with fire acting as a major ecological force maintaining ecosystem vigor and ranges in habitat conditions. The pre-settlement period is often viewed as the period under which the “natural” fire regime standard for assessing the ecological role of fire developed.....

In the suppression (modern) era, statewide fire frequency is much lower than before the period of European settlement. Between 1950 and 2008, California averaged 320,000 acres burned annually, only a fraction of the several millions of acres that burned under the pre-settlement regimes. Land uses such as agriculture and urbanization have reduced the amount of burnable landscape, and most wildland fires are effectively suppressed to protect resources, commodities, and people.

Before the twentieth century, many forests within California were generally open and park like due to the thinning effects of recurrent fire. Decades of fire suppression and other forest management have left a legacy of increased fuel loads and ecosystems dense with an understory of shade-tolerant, late-succession plant species. The widespread level of dangerous fuel conditions is a result of highly productive vegetative systems accumulating fuels and/or reductions in fire frequency from fire suppression. In the absence of fire, these plant communities accrue biomass, and alter the arrangement of it in ways that significantly increase fuel availability and expected fire intensity.

Paul Homewood (h/t) summarises thus:

* Large and frequent wildfires were the norm before European settlement.

* Regular wildfires provide an essential ecological function and increase forest health and diversity.

* Acreage burnt reduced drastically during the 20thC, as fire suppression methods took effect.

* This fire suppression, though, had the calamitous effect of allowing a dangerous build up of biomass, that now makes fires larger and more intense.

Perhaps somebody might tell Obama.


A British municipality run by Greenies is a disaster

By James Delingpole

Another Little Nell moment in today's Guardian. It seems that Britain's greenest town council is also turning out to be Britain's most disastrous town council. This is what happens when you put a bunch of Greens, led by a man called Jason Kitcat, in charge and it isn't pretty.

Author and local resident Lynne Truss delivered a picture of what happened. "The place turned into Armageddon," she wrote. "Helped by foxes and the seagulls … a tide of used teabags, eggshells, soiled kitchen paper, banana skins, smelly tin cans, and used sanitary towels (yes!) advanced in such a determined and menacing manner down nice residential streets, you could almost hear it breathing." "It wasn't pleasant," says Kitcat. "It was very difficult. Of course it was. We didn't want to be there."

Poor Kitcat – quite moderate by Green standards – hasn't been helped by his deeper Green brethren.

Ben Duncan is one of the alleged watermelons, and the councillor who accused Kitcat of betrayal in his blogpost. A former journalist who now works for a Green party MEP, Duncan has floated a handful of provocative ideas, including a "tourist tax" on some of the city's bigger hotels, a possible boycott of one of the taxi firms opposed to the Greens' 20mph speed limit, and the possibility of Brighton allowing the opening of cannabis cafes and becoming the British version of Amsterdam. When asked on Twitter if he himself inhaled, he said this: "I only smoke weed when I'm murdering, raping and looting!" It was, he says, a reference to the famous anti-cannabis film Reefer Madness, but his political enemies didn't seem to get the joke. Now, he is really on the warpath. There is mileage, he reckons, in the idea of the Greens following the lead of Trotskyite Labour councillors in 1980s Liverpool, refusing to set a cuts-based budget, and thereby putting Brighton in the vanguard of UK-wide anti-austerity resistance.

Yes: turning an affluent middle class seaside town into Eighties Liverpool. That would work! [Liverpool is a mainly working-class British city principally noted for football and unemployment -- JR]


Wind energy costs four times more in UK than Brazil because of way green subsidies are handed out

Britain pays four times as much for its wind energy as Brazil, thanks to uncompetitive subsidies.

A damning report from the Policy Exchange urges the government to hold the wind industry to its pledge to slash costs by the end of the decade.

UK families are paying £95 per MWh for onshore wind, compared to £27 MWh in Brazil, according to its report. It argues that the government should hold an auction of renewable technologies to allow the industry to compete for state support. This could start as early as next year for projects which would begin in 2017.

Currently, ministers only plan to introduce energy auctions in 2018 for projects that will be commissioned after 2020.

But this week Energy Minister Michael Fallon is set to unveil detailed plans about how to make subsidies more competitive.

Critics fear this could mean more onshore windfarms by the backdoor as they are cheaper to run compared to offshore wind, which costs about 50 per cent more to generate.

But government sources insisted that the plan will make it more difficult for the onshore windfarms to get state handouts because they will be subject to a ‘constrained allocation’.

In Brazil, prices for onshore wind have dropped to world record lows since auctioning was introduced.

But in Britain, ministers are much keener on more expensive offshore wind because it is less politically controversial. While onshore windfarms trigger fury from local communities due to their visual blight and noise, offshore windfarms are far away enough from homes not to spark protest. But offshore wind is about 50 per cent as expensive as onshore wind, with a strike price of £155 MWh.

The most expensive technologies are tidal and wave power, which cost around £305 MWh.

Simon Moore, author of the report said: ‘The government needs to act more ruthlessly to reduce household energy bills by cutting state support for renewable technologies that do not come down in price.

He added: ‘Offshore wind may play an important role in our future energy mix. But it should not be given favourable treatment at the expense of other low carbon technologies which could reduce our carbon emissions at a much cheaper price.’

The report said of offshore wind, that ‘at its current costs it is simply too poor value an investment to be allowed to continue much longer’.

The Policy Exchange also called for the government to abolish the EU Renewable Energy Target which it said imposed unnecessary costs on Britain’s energy.

In its report, it said: ‘While the renewable energy target exists, introducing effective means of competition, or of cost-control more broadly, is seen as impossible. The legally-binding target makes no allowance for the potential high expense of meeting it.’

The EU Renewable Energy Target decrees that 15 per cent of all energy in the UK - or 30 to 35 per cent of electricity - is generated by renewable sources by 2020.

But emissions from the electricity sector are already capped by a separate European Emissions Trading System.

Average electricity bills are already £563 a year, out of a total dual fuel bill of £1255. By 2020, this will rise to £598 out of a total bill of £1331. Various renewables targets are already contributing to £37 of this rise, and will account for £110 in 2020.

‘A policy that imposes higher-than-necessary costs risks failing if public support is lost,’ the report said.

Part of the reason for Brazil’s low wind energy prices has been put down to unusually high wind speeds, a surplus of wind turbines and hidden incentives.

Its wind turbines have much better capacity of up to 65 per cent, compared to up to 35 per cent in the UK and much of Europe.


The Power-Mad EPA

By Alan Caruba

Barely a week goes by these days without hearing of some new demand by the Environmental Protection Agency that borders on the insane.

Increasingly, EPA regulations are being challenged and now reach the Supreme Court for a final judgment. This marks the failure of Congress to exercise any real oversight and control of an agency that everyone agrees is now totally out of control.

Recently the EPA ruled that New York City had to replace 1,300 fire hydrants because of their lead content. The ruling was based on the Drinking Water Act passed by Congress in 2011. As Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) pointed out while lambasting the agency, “I don’t know a single New Yorker who goes out to their fire hydrants every morning, turns it on, and brushes their teeth using the water from these hydrants. It makes no sense whatsoever.” Reportedly, the Senate is poised to consider legislation exempting fire hydrants if the EPA does not revise its ruling.

The EPA is not about making sense. It is about over-interpreting laws passed by Congress in ways that now continually lead to cases before the Supreme Court. The Court is composed of lawyers, not scientists. In an earlier case, they ruled that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a “pollutant” when it is the one gas that all vegetation requires. Without it, nothing grows and all life on Earth dies.

A federal appeals court recently heard a case about the EPA’s interpretation of the 2012 Mercury and Air Toxics Rule, yet another effort in the “war on coal” that would shut down more coal-fired plants that provide the bulk of the electricity the nation requires.

The EPA is asserting that the rule would annually prevent 11,000 premature deaths, nearly 5,000 heart attacks, and 130,000 asthma attacks. Moreover it asserts that it would help avoid more than 540,000 missed work days, and protect babies and children. These statistics are plucked from various studies published in journals and are typical of the way the EPA operates to justify its rulings. Their accuracy is dubious.

What makes this case, brought by EarthJustice--formerly the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund--of interest is the way the NAACP, along with 17 other organizations, came to the defense of the ruling. Are you surprised that the NAACP has a director of Environmental and Climate Justice?

Apparently civil rights for Afro-Americans now embraces the absurd claims about climate change, formerly known as global warming. “Civil rights are about equal access to protections afforded by law,” said Jacqui Patterson, the NAACP director. “These standards provide essential safeguards for communities who are now suffering from decades of toxic exposure.” If these essential safeguards are in place, on what basis does she make such a claim?

The EarthJustice attorney, Jim Pew, claims the case is about protecting “hundreds of thousands of babies each year from development disorders, and spare communities of 130,000 asthma attacks each year. If, in a lawsuit, you find yourself arguing against the lives of babies, children with asthma, and people suffering from your toxic dumping, then you are on the wrong side of both the lawsuit and history..”

Here, again, the claims about health-related harm are absurd. Who believes that asthma or development disorders are related to mercury? Who believes that communities served by coal-fired power plants are subject to major health hazards?

The claims about mercury are baseless, in a 2011 commentary published in The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Willie Soon, a geoscientist at Harvard and expert on mercury and public health issues was joined by Paul Driesson, a senior policy advisor for the Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), rebuts the claims about mercury that have been part of the environmental lies put forth for years.

“There is no factual basis for these assertions. To build its case against mercury, the EPA systematically ignored evidence and clinical studies that contradict its regulatory agenda, which is to punish hydrocarbon use.”

“Mercury has always existed naturally in the Earth’s environment…Mercury is found in air, water, rocks, soil and tries, which absorb it from the environment. This is why our bodies evolved with proteins and antioxidants that help protect us from this and other potential contaminants.”

Dr. Soon and Driessen do not deny that coal-burning power plants emit an estimated 41-to-48 tons of mercury per year, “but U.S. forest fires emit at least 44 tons per year; cremation of human remains discharges 26 tons, Chinese power plants eject 400 tons; and volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers, and other sources spew out 9,000-10,000 additional tons per year.”

“Since our power plants account for less than 0.5% of all the mercury in the air we breathe, eliminating every milligram of it will do nothing about the other 99.5% in our atmosphere.”

Such FACTS mean nothing to the EPA. The air and the water of the United States is remarkably clean, but to justify its existence and expand its power, the EPA continues to impose idiotic and unscientific rules about fire hydrants and power plants.

The threat is the EPA, not mercury.




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


16 December, 2013

Snow in Cairo for the first time in 112 years

Al Gore must be there. Gaia often thumbs its nose at him

WHEN you think Cairo you think heat and sand. But something unusual happened there overnight - it snowed! According to local reports it's the first time snow has fallen in the Egyptian capital in 112 years.

Incredible pictures show the normally sweltering city coated in white. Egyptians took to Twitter to post their amazement in words and pictures.

The Egyptian Meteorological Authority warned on Wednesday the unusual weather will drive down temperatures to between 5 and 15 Celsius.

Snow was reported on Mt. Sinai and Saint Catherine's monastery at the base of the mountain.

A powerful winter storm is affecting parts of the Middle East.

Sections of Israel saw heavy snow up to about a metre. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told The Times of Israel, "We're facing a rare storm the likes of which we've never seen." The local meteorological agency said it was the worst snowstorm seen since at least 1953.

The Holy City was closed to traffic and the nation's military was called out to rescue some 1500 people stranded in vehicles.

Highways and roads to Tel Aviv, the Golan Heights and other locales were reportedly closed. Ben-Gurion International Airport was forced to close for a period due to the snow and limited visibilities.

Other countries including Turkey and Syria also experienced widespread snow.


Biggest winter storm EVER to wreck holidays for millions in UK

CHRISTMAS will be ruined for tens of millions of people as the worst winter storms in recorded HISTORY rip through Britain, forecasters warned today.

Hurricane-force gales and torrential downpours will lash the country at the start of Christmas week, just as 18 million people take to the roads.

Even the 4.5 million planning to travel overseas will be caught in the 'total nationwide disruption' as airports, train stations and bus networks completely shut down at the busiest time of the year.

The shock warning came as a series of 'frenzied' storm systems - which have lined up in the south Atlantic - started to charge towards Britain.

Long-range forecasters said they will cause mayhem with 90mph winds and torrential downpours causing nationwide flooding and widespread blackouts.

The horrifying onslaught is expected to start as soon as next week as violent gales sweep in and torrential downpours bring the risk of flash floods.

Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, said: "We could be looking at the stormiest Christmas in living memory as a succession of Atlantic depressions sweep across the UK.

"There is the risk of persistent gales which could reach 90mph. "There is also the risk of torrential downpours bringing up to two inches of rain in localised areas triggering the risk of floods.

"This looks likely to continue into the New Year and possibly into the second week of January when it will turn much colder with the risk of rain turning to snow."

Met Office chief forecaster Will Lang said fierce winds will begin to batter parts of the UK this weekend. He added: "A vigorous depression is expected to run quickly northeastwards passing northwest Scotland on Saturday.

"As this happens, very strong south to southwest winds are likely to develop across much of the northern UK. "It remains possible that more of northern England and parts of Wales could also be affected."

The grim warnings follow predictions Britain could be facing the worst winter in decades with a major big freeze due to hit in the New Year.

Experts say temperatures are likely to plunge in January with Arctic gales and blizzards sparking chaos until the spring.

Long range forecasts show that a high pressure `blocking system' drawing cold air in from the Arctic will wreak havoc with our weather, generating prolonged spells colder than in Iceland, Norway and Sweden and even parts of the Arctic region.

Long-range forecaster James Madden, of Exacta Weather, said: "An exceptionally prolonged period of widespread cold is highly likely to develop throughout this winter and last into next spring. "It will be accompanied by snow drifts of several feet and long-lasting snow accumulations on a widespread scale.

"This period of snow and cold is likely to result in an incomparable scenario to anything we have experienced in modern times.

"There is also a high-risk scenario that we will experience a scenario similar to December 2010 or much worse at times (coldest December in 100 years), especially during the January 2014 period. "This is largely down to the period of low solar activity that we currently reside in, and how it intrinsically alters major factors factors such as ocean and jet-stream behaviour.

"This is likely to produce major disruption to the public transport network and school closures on a prolific scale, due to the adverse weather conditions that we are likely to experience in terms of consistent cold and major snow episodes, that will consist of snow drifts of several feet in depth."


Climate alarmists' search for proof going cold

Even China's coal-burning is offered to explain lack of global warming

By MARK LANDSBAUM / Register columnist

Recall global warming hysteria's halcyon days? Just 13 years ago, Dr. David Viner, senior scientist at Britain's University of East Anglia's climatic research unit, confidently predicted that, within a few years, winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event." "Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.

Of course, that doesn't mesh with what happened. This past October, the UK Express headlined, "Worst winter for decades: Record-breaking snow predicted for November."

By the end of November, Brits were shivering, "as Britain faces snow, ice and plummeting temperatures," reported the Mirror newspaper. "Most of Scotland has been issued severe weather warnings for ice, and temperatures are expected to remain low, causing problems with snow and ice across the country." Winter yet lay ahead.

We shouldn't pick on Great Britain. There is plenty of global warming foolishness here at home. Recall James Hansen, global warming guru whose alarmist campaign was underwritten by his NASA paycheck. By the 2020s, Hansen predicted in 1986, the U.S. average annual temperature would rise 9 degrees Fahrenheit, or more, and up to 3 degrees by the 2010s.

A funny thing happened on the way to the 2010s and 2020s. It didn't get so hot. In fact, depending on which data set you use, it probably has cooled down for 17 years.

A recent explanation for this pause (if not reversal), was offered in a scientific paper blaming the El Ni¤o Pacific Ocean warming in 1997-98 for triggering the hiatus.

As the theory goes, El Ni¤o caused a large heat transfer from deep in the ocean to the surface, which cooled the waters below. Since then, according to the theory, heat has been reabsorbed from the upper ocean, in turn cooling the atmosphere. Maybe. Maybe not.

There's no shortage of inventive excuses for why things aren't so hot, including, incredibly, China's increased use of coal, even though "dirty" fossil fuel is supposed to increase, not decrease temperatures.

Implicit in this "where-did-the-heat-go" shell game is an inconvenient reality.

Climatologist Roger Pielke Sr., University of Colorado, Boulder, professor emeritus of Atmospheric Science, says, if correct, the ocean paper means, "the end of surface temperature trends as the icon of global warming."

If so, that's a game changer for the climate wars. If surface temperatures lose their credibility (and we side with those who long have said that's the case), where will alarmists point to prove their point?

There always have been problems relying on land-based thermometers. For instance, where should thermometers be placed? How high off the ground? There are no worldwide uniform standards.

While airports, concrete and asphalt represent a scant percentage of Earth's surface, they are home to a disproportionate percentage of ground measuring stations. Does this matter? Consider the common sense knowledge that standing in a grassy field is cooler than standing on an asphalt runway. Not only are such locales hotter, they get hotter faster and hold their temperatures disproportionately longer.

Then consider that the preponderance of ground stations are located in developed countries, and a vastly disproportionate number of those are in the United States. Is Los Angeles a reasonable proxy for Peruvian farmland or the steppes of Russia?

Arguments against specious temperature measurements are too numerous to list here. But consider this:

Two separate satellite temperature data sets agree that whatever warming may have occurred peaked in 1998, and stopped around 2000. Ground-temperature records say 2006 or 2010 were hotter, and that the warming trend continues.

Worse yet, temperatures used by warming advocates collected from land-based thermometers are continually "adjusted." They don't measure the temperature. They change it. As Australian climate watchers David Evans and Jo Nova point out, "they are still changing the temperature record for the 1970s, 30 years later, and always in the direction of making recent warming seem worse."

We are told to trust people, who never seem to adjust questionable raw data to lessen the alleged threat.

It's a tragedy that we can't trust the science because of agenda-driven scientists. But it is more than an academic exercise. Global warming alarmists' temperature claims have driven political agendas across the world for decades.

The latest stampede to combat dreaded global warming says $100 billion a year must be paid by nations with more money to nations with less. If you are suspicious that this is more of a wealth redistribution than a climate-cooling maneuver, congratulations. It is.

Meanwhile, U.S. government bodies, forever searching for revenue to feed their appetites, are imposing costly taxes to save us from nonthreatening global warming, while conveniently expanding their control. That's why President Barack Obama had no qualms in claiming that we have had 10 years of "accelerated global warming," even in the face of contradictory facts. Hold on to your wallets.


British government backs coal-based energy revolution

Business and energy minister Michael Fallon sets up working party to investigate "coal gasification" to take advantage of coal seams on Britain's coast

The Government has signalled its support for a new coal-based mining technique which could satisfy Britain's energy needs for 200 years.

Michael Fallon, the business and energy minister, revealed this weekend that, after a meeting with one of the providers of the technique, he has now set up a working party to investigate the process.

"Coal gasification" would take advantage of the major coal seams which run under the seabed off Britain's coast. By pumping oxygen and steam into the seams, gas is released from the coal which can be collected and used to supply the National Grid.

Sources close to Mr Fallon said that the minister saw "exciting potential" for the technique as it has a lower carbon footprint than burning the coal directly.

Mr Fallon's review came after a meeting with Algy Cluff, one of the pioneers of North Sea oil exploration in the Seventies, who is now the chief executive of Cluff Natural Resources. The business is listed on the Aim market and is looking at commercial models for extracting gas from the coal seams.

"Underground coal gasification (UCG) is in its infancy and I am keen to create a regulatory structure which helps those with ambitions to exploit our home-grown energy sources," Mr Fallon said. "This can only be done if protection of the environment and health and safety remain paramount.

"The Coal Authority is in the lead as the freehold owner of the coal resource and the licensing body for the exploitation of coal. I am setting up a working group involving DECC [the Department of Energy and Climate Change] and the Coal Authority to assess the state of the UCG development and the licensing processes.

"It will also consider the interaction between UCG and other technologies such as shale gas and coal bed methane. I look forward to considering its findings."

Coal gasification is seen as less controversial than fracking as it takes place offshore, often many miles out to sea. Estimates by the British Geological Survey (BGS) suggest that because the coal seams are so thick there could be up to 17bn tonnes to be exploited.

"[It's] enough to last for several hundred years," the BGS says on its website.

"The gas contains both methane and hydrogen and it can be processed into a high quality diesel. This syn-diesel has greater environmental benefits than diesel derived from oil since it has a higher octane value and produces less nitrogen oxides and particulates when used."

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Cluff says there is significant potential in the new technology. "It is now chillingly clear that the UK, once so blessed with energy, is heading rapidly from feast to famine," Mr Cluff said, referring to fears that Britain could be heading for an energy crisis because of the high levels of imported gas the country relies on.

"The coal lies around our shores - billions and billions of tonnes of coal. "That coal is not only there but, thanks to the astonishing evolution of horizontal oil drilling technology, it can also be cheaply, quickly and safely converted into gas and piped ashore."


'Clean Air' Regulation Before High Court

For years, New York City insisted it did not have a pollution problem; the problem was the bad air coming in from New Jersey. But there is a federal remedy for just about every perceived wrong, and, in this case, it's the EPA and the "good neighbor" provision of the Clean Air Act to the rescue. The provision supposedly gives the EPA power to oversee remedies when alleged pollution in one state blows into a neighboring state. A state that significantly contributes to another state's failure to meet federal standards can be required to limit emissions by a commensurate amount.

Under the Clean Air Act, the regulation of air pollution was the primary responsibility of states and municipalities. The EPA's 2011 cross-state pollution rule, however, allowed the EPA to issue implementation plans immediately, instead of waiting for the states to develop their own. The EPA also promulgated a one-size-fits-all standard that doesn't recognize an individual state's contribution to downwind pollution.

More than a dozen states are now challenging these EPA mandates in Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation. In a 2-1 ruling, the DC Court of Appeals struck down the EPA rule in 2012, holding that the Clean Air Act "did not authorize EPA to simply adopt limits on emissions as EPA deemed reasonable." The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday.

The EPA rule was intended to implement the Obama administration's anti-carbon agenda, so, naturally, Democrats decried the Court of Appeals' decision - more so because a Bush appointee wrote the majority opinion. But it's telling that the DC Circuit also denied en banc review (i.e., review by the entire bench).

So we're off to see the Supremes, who should note that not only does the EPA rule violate principles of federalism, but also that the DC Circuit rarely overturns EPA rules, showing how extreme were the rules being reviewed. But if arguments were any indication, the Supreme Court may grant "a healthy amount of discretion" to the EPA. That's bad news.


An Australian Green Party senator is a REAL watermelon

The ABC wins an admission from a Greens Senator that she was educated - as a guest - by a Communist regime long infamous for its brutality and oppression:

James Carleton: Tell me, you did study - correct me if I'm wrong - in Russia? The International Lenin School for around 6 months or so, when you were a member of the Socialist Party? Is that correct?

Lee Rhiannon: Yes. Yes. I've always been very open about my work and I've studied in many countries - political economy, Marxism."

Hold it there. How frightfully interesting. Caught on the hop, Senator Rhiannon admitted that she had studied at the International Lenin School in Moscow at the time when the communist neo-Stalinist (to use Mark Aarons' term) dictator Leonid Brezhnev ran the Soviet Union. The year was 1977 and Rhiannon (born in 1951) was in her mid 20s....

But the point is that Lee O'Gorman (as she then was) undertook a course at the International Lenin School - which was an exclusive institution in Moscow which trained willing comrades for political action and which was controlled and funded by a totalitarian communist regime which locked up dissidents in psychiatric institutions and was overly anti-Semitic. The Greens Senator did not break with the pro-Moscow communists until 1990 - when she was close to 40 years of age....

MWD is astounded, absolutely astounded, that few members of the Canberra Press Gallery - outside the News Corp stable, where Christian Kerr has done considerable research - have focused on what Lee Rhiannon did between the ages of 18 and 39. Yet there has been excessive focus on David Marr's unproven (and now revised) claim that Tony Abbott punched a wall at Sydney University when still a teenager. See MWD passim.

And then there is the matter of double standards. Imagine what ABC journalists would say if Cardinal George Pell confessed on RN Drivethat he studied at, say, the International Mussolini School in Rome financed by the French National Front. Just imagine.




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


15 December, 2013

Sea levels expected to rise two feet within the next 70 years and eight feet by 2200

The latest bit of dumb extrapolation. Note that the journal it is published in is a "pay to publish" organ, very low on the food chain of academic journals and unlikely to present the best science. An interesting statement from the Abstract: "modern change is rapid by past interglacial standards but within the range of ‘normal’ processes"

Sea levels will rise two feet within just 70 years and eight feet by the year 2200, according to a new study which suggests hundreds of coastal cities face being wiped out within a matter of generations.

Scientists now claim we have awoken a 'sleeping giant' and that sea levels won't stop rising until they are between 25 to 30 feet higher than now.

Alarmingly those predictions are based on the assumption that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere remain at what they are today.

Some 600 million people currently live within 10m of present-day sea level and that area generates rougly 10 per cent of the world's total GDP.

The combined effects of rising sea levels coupled with land subsidence and population growth mean that by the 2070s, the population exposed to flooding risk may have tripled.

Researchers found current rate of sea-level rise are roughly twice as any other period between ice ages.

Meanwhile levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and other factors that cause temperatures to rise, are increasing 10 up to times faster than at any other period before the industrial revolution.

Eelco Rohling, a climate scientist at the Australian National University in Canberra, told NBC News: 'We have awoken a sleeping giant, he is now here to stay.'

The scientists sat that as the earth continues to warm, the major ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica will begin to melt, a process that takes a long time to start and stop.

The findings, reported in the journal Scientific Reports, are based on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels stabilising at today's level of 400 parts per million.

But if they continue to rise then even ice that is considered stable, such as the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, could also begin to destabilise.

According to Rohling, if levels hit a worst case scenario of 1,000 parts per million, then 'all bets are off'.


Nobel Laureate Declares Boycott of Top Science Journals

UC-Berkeley professor and 2013 Nobel Prize winner Randy Schekman says his lab will no longer send papers to Nature, Cell and Science as they distort scientific process.

This article reveals that leading scientists know that the “prestige” academic journals are biased in favor of flashy and politically correct research findings, even when such findings are frequently contradicted by subsequent research. This is important in the context of the global warming debate because Nature and Science have published the most alarmist and incredible junk on global warming and refuse to publish skeptics. (Full disclosure: Nature ran a negative editorial about us a few years back, and a much better but still inaccurate feature story.) Claims of a “scientific consensus” rely heavily on the assumption that expertise can be measured by how often a scientist appears in one of these journals. Now we know that’s a lie.

Along these lines, I highly recommend a 2010 book titled Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us – And How to Know When Not to Trust Them, by David H. Freedman, “a science and business journalist, contributing editor at Inc. magazine and has written for The Atlantic, Newsweek, NYT, Science, HBR, Fast Company, Wired, Self, and many other publications.”

He says experts can be wrong because:

1. Pandering to audience or client

2. Lack of oversight

3. Automaticity (assuming every problem has the same solution)

4. Flawed evidence (rely on other scientists for data)

5. Careerism (publish or perish, never admit mistakes)

6. Publication bias

7. Confounding variables

8. Conflicts of interest

He says we believe experts because we are predisposed to embrace people who espouse:

1. Certainty (absence of doubt)

2. Simple explanations (never more than three causes)

3. Universality (these factors/processes/principles apply to everything!)

4. Upbeat (good news)

5. Actionable (we can fix this)

6. Palatable solutions (we can afford to fix it)

7. Dramatic finding or insight (wow factor)

8. A compelling narrative (connects the dots)

9. Consensus (everyone believes this!)

Some excerpts from the book:

“In an anonymous survey conducted by Martinson and his colleagues and published in Nature in 2005, and responded to by some 3,200 researchers who had received funding from the National Institutes of Health, about one-third of participants admitted to at least one act of misconduct with regard to designing, conducting, interpreting, and reporting the results of studies within the previous three years.” (pp. 106-7)

“In a 2000 survey of biostaticians, half said they personally knew of research studies that involved fraud, and of that group, about half went on to say that the fraud involved the fabrication of falsification of data.” (p. 107)

“. . . researchers need to publish impressive findings to keep their careers alive, and some seem unable to come up with those findings via honest work. Bear in mind that researchers who don’t publish well-regarded work typically don’t get tenure and are forced out of their institutions.” (p. 108)

“Perhaps more important, tenured researchers still have to bring in research funding, and the pressure to do so often considerably increases with tenure, since senior researchers sometimes have to take most of the responsibility for getting entire labs funded.” (p. 109)

“Back in 1989 economists at Harvard and the National Bureau of Economic Research estimated that virtually all published economic papers are wrong, attributing this astoundingly dismal assessment to the effects of publication bias.” (p. 112)

“If a scientist wants to or expects to end up with certain results, he will likely achieve them, often through some form of fudging, whether conscious or not – bias exerts a sort of gravity over error, pulling the glitches in one direction, so that the errors tend to add up rather than cancel out.” (p. 114)

“Nature quoted the Princeton professor, Nobel laureate, and former Bell Labs researcher Philip Anderson as saying, ‘Nature’s editorial and refereeing policy seems to be influenced by the newsworthiness of the work, not necessarily its quality, and Science seems to be caught up in a similar syndrome.” (p. 119)

“Does the scientific community do anything effective to single out lousy research? Actually, yes – it makes sure that some of the worst research gets the most acclaim.” (pp. 122-23)

“Research by Dickersin and others suggests that on average positive studies are at least ten times more likely than negative studies to be submitted and accepted for publication.” (p. 123)

And my favorite:

“Many liberals, on the other hand, seem constitutionally incapable of giving fair consideration to, or in some cases even acknowledging, expert evidence and arguments (even if in the minority) that question whether we are really in the midst of a man-made global climate crisis.” (p. 78)


Slate Criticizes Heartland Science While Calling Penguins 'Mammals'

The liberal media outlet Slate embarrassed itself Tuesday by publishing an article referring to penguins as mammals, while simultaneously criticizing the Heartland Institute’s scientific writings.

In an article titled, “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” Slate claimed the traditional incarnation of Santa Claus as “an old white male” brings “insecurity and shame” to nonwhite kids. To solve the asserted problem, Slate argued Santa Claus should hereafter take the form of a penguin, which Slate asserted is a mammal.

According to Slate, it is time to let the “universally beloved waddling mammal” take over from the old white man the chore of handing out Christmas presents.

Responding to an army of outraged readers – presumably Kindergartners – Slate thereafter discovered penguins are actually birds rather than mammals and corrected its article.

Slate’s equal part appalling, equal part comical belief that penguins are mammals calls to mind a Christmas Eve moment in my household several years ago. My wife and I spread out a map of the world and asked our two daughters where they thought Santa might be.

“I think Santa is in Turkey,” said my older daughter, then five years old.

“I think Santa is in Ham,” said my younger daughter, then four years old.

“Ham?!! Ham isn’t a country!” exclaimed my outraged five-year-old daughter.

My four-year-old daughter may not have known at the time that Ham is not a country, but even she would have been able to tell you that penguins are birds.

Which brings us back to Slate. On the very same day that Slate scientifically soiled itself by proclaiming penguins are mammals, Slate published an article criticizing the Heartland Institute on scientific matters.

Last month I published an article at noting that a recent survey showed only 52 percent of American Meteorological Society members believe global warming is occurring and humans are the primary cause. Scientists have verified that my article was accurate. Nevertheless, upset that I did not make all sorts of caveats and excuses to hide the lack of scientific consensus, Slate – on the very same day that it claimed penguins are mammals – published a lengthy article attempting to smear the Heartland Institute on matters of science.

Well, we can all have our different scientific opinions, but we can’t all have our different scientific facts.

Only 52 percent of American Meteorological Society members believe global warming is occurring and humans are the primary cause.

And at least the Heartland Institute knows that penguins are birds.


Life-long exposure of corals to elevated CO2

Discussing: Noonan, S.H.C., Fabricius, K.E. and Humphrey, C. 2013. "Symbiodinium community composition in Scleractinian corals is not affected by life-long exposure to elevated carbon dioxide". PLOS ONE 8: e63985.

In the words of Noonan et al. (2013), "ocean acidification (OA) is expected to negatively affect coral reefs," but they say that "little is known about how OA will change the coral-algal symbiosis on which reefs ultimately depend." In fact, they indicate that "to date it remains unknown if corals are able to respond to rising CO2 concentrations by changing to better adapted dominant Symbiodinium types after long-term exposure to elevated pCO2 in the field," where field, of course, to them means ocean.

Against this backdrop Noonan et al., as they describe it, "used denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region of ribosomal DNA to investigate the dominant types of Symbiodinium associating with six species of scleractinian coral that were exposed to elevated partial pressures of carbon dioxide (pCO2) in situ from settlement and throughout their lives."

This was done "at three naturally occurring volcanic CO2 seeps (pCO2 ~500 to 900 ppm, pHTotal 7.8-7.9) and adjacent control areas (pCO2 ~390 ppm, pHTotal ~8.0-8.05) in Papua New Guinea," while "Symbiodinium associated with corals living in an extreme seep site (pCO2 >1000 ppm) were also examined."

The three Australian researchers report that within five of the six species studied, "85-95% of samples exhibited the same Symbiodinium type across all sites, with remaining rare types having no patterns attributable to CO2 exposure."

The sixth species of coral, however, did display "site specific differences in Symbiodinium types," but these were "unrelated to CO2 exposure."

Last of all, they found that "Symbiodinium types from the coral inhabiting the extreme CO2 seep site were [also] found commonly throughout the moderate seeps and control areas."

The findings of Noonan et al. suggest that the six species of coral they studied, plus the various Symbiodinium types they encountered, were all able to not only survive, but to function well throughout the full range of CO2-induced pH values to which they had been exposed throughout their entire life spans.


The strange "global warming" of the Antarctic peninsula -- where higher average temperatures have led to LESS extreme weather

Discussing: Franzke, C. 2013. "Significant reduction of cold temperature extremes at Faraday/Vernadsky station in the Antarctic Peninsula". International Journal of Climatology 33: 1070-1078.

Antarctica is a region of the planet expected to see a great increase in temperature as a result of greenhouse gas-induced global warming. Temperatures there have been routinely measured at the Faraday/Vernadsky station on the Antarctic Peninsula ever since February of 1947; and they reveal a warming of approximately 3.8°C through January 2011, making the peninsula a veritable global warmer's paradise.

But the location has one ... small ... problem. According to the study of Franzke (2013), "there is no evidence for an increase of the annual maximum temperature."

"Typically," in the words of Franzke, "one would expect that a significant warming also leads to absolute warmer temperatures and not just to a reduction in cold temperatures." But the latter is precisely what has happened at the Faraday/Vernadsky weather station: it's only the colder temperatures that have gotten warmer.

Franzke also notes that "global climate projections suggest that the frequency of hot extremes will increase due to global warming," citing Meehl et al. (2007). The models therefore also miss the mark as it applies to the Antarctic Peninsula, and to other parts of the world as well (see, for example, Kukla and Karl, 1993; Easterling et al., 1997).

And thus it is that Franzke writes that the data from the Antarctic Peninsula "are somewhat at odds with the general opinion that global warming leads to more frequent and larger extremes."

In fact, on the Antarctic Peninsula, Franzke finds that "annual maximum temperatures are almost constant over the last six decades," while minimum temperatures have actually gotten less extreme.

And so it is that there may not have been even a relative heat wave on the Antarctic Peninsula since the start of temperature measurements there some six and a half decades ago.


A darker shade of green

Miranda Devine on the Sydney scene in Australia

THE rape of a Belgian tourist in a dark alley in Potts Point last month is a warning that environmentally sensitive street lighting will take a terrible human toll.

The 25-year-old was walking down a dimly lit Victoria Street from her serviced apartment to buy food at 8.30pm when a man forced her into the alley between two terrace houses.

It was so dark that the traumatized woman could not give police a description of her assailant, or even tell them the color of his clothes.

The alley where she was attacked is at the northern end of Victoria street in a residential enclave just a block from the bright lights and fleshpots of Darlinghurst Road.

And yet the lighting was like something out of the backblocks of St Ives: completely inadequate as a deterrent to crime.

There was a solitary lamppost near where the alley runs into the dead-end Tusculum Lane, positioned 6m south and covered by a tree canopy three storeys high. Nor is there any street light on that side of the road for 50 metres in the direction the victim was walking.
It was clearly an ideal spot for a predator.

To the council’s credit, it has installed three new lights since the assault and is planning to install extra lights at nearby Butler Stairs.

The new lights are the low energy LED (light-emitting diode) lights which the council is rolling out across Sydney to replace traditional street bulbs.

But the big worry is that LED lights will make Sydney’s dim lighting fade even more, thanks to Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s jihad against “carbon pollution”.

Sure, LED technology is terrific in an enclosed space for focused light but there are drawbacks when it comes to providing uniform illumination for pedestrians to walk safely.

LED lights are white and easier to look at ,without the halo effect of traditional street lights. They have the advantage of being more focused so that light doesn’t “spill” into houses.

But the light doesn’t spread as far, so the area of illumination is smaller. Lighting is further reduced by tree canopies, which abound in areas like Potts Point.

What’s more, LED lights don’t suddenly blow, but degrade over time which means residents may not notice as illumination fades.
And while LEDs measure up to the old lights in “lumen output”, the human eye doesn’t perceive the same broad coverage.

But street lights are council’s biggest single contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and our Lord Mayor is an ardent greenie.

She boasts that Sydney is the first city in Australia to roll out the new lights, after a trial in Alexandria Park, Kings Cross, Martin Place and Circular Quay. The venture will reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2,185 tonnes a year.

The council claims 90 percent of residents surveyed during their trial found the new lights “appealing”.

But when towns in the US and UK have trialled LED lighting residents complained about reduced illumination.

Almost every resident in the two streets in Salford, England, where LED lights were fitted in 2011 signed a petition asking, unsuccessfully, for the old lights to be reinstated.

In Sydney, AUSGRID maintains the traditional street lamps on Victoria Street under contract for the council. A spokesman said yesterday it was in discussions about upgrading lighting there but that council decides how many street lights to install and Standards Australia “dictates how bright lights should be.”

You can expect those lights to be dimmer in future since the Australian standard AS/NZS 1158 has been under review to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

More secret enviro-meddling will come from a body called the “National Strategy on Energy Efficiency” which has been working since 2011 on a plan to “significantly improve street lighting energy efficiency by 2020.”

We can assume “improve” is meant in the Orwellian sense, as cities around the world dim their lights.

Electric light has been the wellspring of human progress over the last century, protecting us from the creatures of the night. Now the luddites of the green movement want to send us back to the dark ages.




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


13 December, 2013

Ozone Hole Hoax unravelling

I have been pointing out for years that there is no sign of any systematic change in it -- JR

The banning of ozone-depleting chemicals hasn't yet caused detectable improvements in the Antarctic ozone hole, new research suggests.

Instead, changes in the South Pole's ozone hole from year-to-year are likely the result of natural variations in wind patterns, researchers said here Wednesday (Dec. 11) in a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

"Ozone is produced in the tropics, but it's transported by the winds from the tropics to the polar region," said Anne Douglass, a scientist with the Aura project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. That transport "varies a little bit from year to year."

The findings suggest that measuring the total size of the ozone hole says little about ozone depletion, and that it's misleading to use the hole's extent alone to measure environmental progress. In fact, people won't be able to see the true impact of reducing ozone-munching chemicals in the atmosphere until around 2025, Douglass and her colleagues said. And, they added, the hole won't be completely healed until 2070.

The classic way of measuring the hole is by measuring the total area that contains less than 220 Dobson units of ozone. But the ozone layer extends vertically throughout the stratosphere, so using just one measure is like "looking at a flat table," Douglass said.


Danger of over-regulating fracking

The emergence of hydraulic fracturing to recover oil and natural gas generally is seen as an economic success story. It has vaulted the United States into the ranks of the world’s top oil and gas producers and led to a manufacturing renaissance whose effects few could have foreseen at the start of the 1990s.

A dozen years ago, shale gas amounted to only 2 percent of total domestic gas production. Today, it is 40 percent and rising. Natural gas is in such ample supply that its price is one-third to one-half less here than what it fetches in Europe or Asia.
U.S. consumers especially have benefitted from shale production, saving the average household $1,200 a year on its energy bills. And it has created tens of thousands of well-paying jobs and generated $74 billion in government revenues.

Another major benefit of the shale boom has been a major reduction in oil and gas imports, which has helped to lower the U.S. trade deficit. The question going forward is not how much oil and gas the United States will have to import but rather how much it may be able to export.

Still, domestic fracking for oil and gas faces some major obstacles. Companies need approval from state regulators if they want to drill or dispose of wastewater, a process that can be contentious and lengthy. They usually must divulge the types of chemicals used in fracking, even if disclosure helps competitors.

And stagnant or falling oil and gas prices can make fracking unprofitable for even the largest companies. It remains to be seen whether the latest gushers of oil from the Gulf of Mexico will have that effect.

Washington nevertheless is preparing to regulate fracking on federal and Indian lands, even though 98 percent of today’s fracking operations are on public lands in Utah and other western states where rules for shale oil and gas production already are in place. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has proposed a fracking rule focused on well casing and cementing, chemical disclosure, and water management practices, all of which currently are regulated in the U.S. west.

Since only a small percentage of fracking occurs on federal land in states not regulating that method of oil and gas recovery, complying with the proposed BLM rule might not seem too difficult or costly. But once the camel’s nose is under the tent, the new regulations could become the basis for federal regulation of fracking on private land as well.

What passes nowadays for sound environmental policy often is ineffective or produces “unintended” consequences, such as landowners’ willful destruction of natural habitats for endangered species or “shoot, shovel and shut up” before regulators can limit private property rights.

Prevailing state action makes federal fracking rules unnecessary and redundant. The BLM’s proposal creates a one-size-fits-all federal regulatory regime that ignores the geological and hydrological differences between states. What’s right for, say, Colorado, isn’t necessarily right for Texas and North Dakota.

Given that fracking has an excellent safety record—in fact, there hasn’t been a single case of groundwater pollution from fracking—it’s time to reconsider a government policy that places the states at odds with Washington.

In short, abundant domestic oil and gas production on federal and Indian land can be a huge source of growth for the economy. But to get there, we will need a clear strategy of allowing states to continue to regulate fracking without interference from federal agencies.

Duplicative federal regulations will raise compliance costs, which means oil and gas projects being abandoned, thousands of jobs lost, less government revenue, more public debt, less money available for building roads, ports and schools, higher oil and natural gas prices, and heavier dependence on the Middle East.


Spain Alters Environment Law to Speed up Shale Development

Spain changed environmental rules to speed approvals on industrial projects from pig farms to oil rigs and for the first time will regulate shale drilling.

Authorities will have six months to rule on projects based on the potential harm to nature, according to a law published Dec. 5 by parliament that will take effect after appearing in the government’s Official Bulletin. Spanish legislation previously set no clear timeline.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Lars Hubert, exploration manager for shale at San Leon Energy Plc (SLE), said by telephone from Poland. “It should make permitting easier.” The Dublin-based company has four Spanish licenses to prospect for shale rock and six more awaiting approval.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Peopleâ??s Party has used its congressional majority and a fast-track process to produce the biggest revamp of environmental-impact laws since 2008. The changes are designed to keep future projects from getting stuck for years in review and clarify developers’ legal liability.

Explorers including BNK Petroleum Inc. (BKX) of Canada and San Leon have set up Spanish offices to explore for shale resources, which have revolutionized natural-gas production in the U.S. while generating lawsuits over possible water contamination.

“Industrial companies in any sector need security to plan their investments,” Margarita Hernando, general manager of the Aciep trade group for oil and gas exploration, said in an e-mailed response to questions about the new law. “Without this security, investments don’t come, or they go away.”

In the U.S., Congress passed legislation in recent years that helped open the way for the shale boom, which requires large volumes of water for the thousands of wells drilled annually.

While Spain’s new law regulates industries from steel to agriculture, its most notable impact may be on oil and gas exploration in one of Europe’s most energy-deficient countries.

Spain imports about 99 percent of its oil and gas, paying 43 billion euros ($59 billion) this year through September. A groundswell of project interest emerged as the government embraced Repsol SA (REP)’s request to explore off Spainâ??s Canary Islands and backs the development of untapped shale areas.

About 70 permits are in effect for prospecting in Spain, 80 percent higher than five years ago, according to trade groups. Cairn Energy Plc has said waters off Spain have “enormous potential” for conventional drillers, or those not searching for shale.

Spain’s new law requires environmental clearance for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. At the same time it recognizes the water-intensive technique, giving drillers some measure of legal security in one of Europe’s most arid countries that’s also a leading fruit and vegetable producer.

The law widens authorization for water trading as well and creates “conservation credits.” Those can be used by developers to use additional public water or degrade the environment in one region, provided they restore it in another, using a trading mechanism.

The bill was introduced in Parliament in September. The government’s Environmental Quality General Manager Guillermina Yanguas said then that it would “reinforce protection for the environment, simplify steps and ease procedures” for projects.

For the first time a project’s effects on climate change, particularly its carbon footprint, must be taken into account. That was added to the existing list of environmental attributes at risk from development, from rivers and forests to biodiversity and health.


More Bankruptcies Just Mark of ‘Success’ for Dept. of Energy

Fisker Automotive declared bankruptcy last week, inspiring the eternally optimistic Obama Department of Energy to crow about its achievements again.

“Recognizing that these investments would include some risk, Congress established a loan loss reserve for the program, and the Energy Department built in strong safeguards to protect the taxpayer if companies could not meet their obligations,” Bill Gibbons, an agency spokesman, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. “Because of these actions…the Energy Department has protected nearly three-quarters of our original commitment to Fisker Automotive.”

Leave to the Obama administration hucksters to sell yet another green energy loser as a gain for the taxpayers. With this bankruptcy, it’s a $139 million loss that DOE gets to spin. The stellar defenders of the public purse originally thought Fisker was worth a $529 million risk, but quickly recognized that mistake and stopped paying at $193 million. Ever since it’s been a series of almost comedic errors that have included a partnership with battery-making dud A123 Systems, fire incidents, recalls, a bad Consumer Reports review, and other mishaps.

Like A123, a foreign investor will now buy Fisker’s cadaver. A group called Hybrid Technology LLC, led by Richard Li, the son of Hong Kong’s richest man, will buy the leftovers for $25 million. Bloomberg reported that Fisker listed assets of $500 million and debts of up to $1 billion in its Chapter 11 filing.

“(Hybrid Technology) is committed to building upon the Fisker legacy and presence in the United States as a foundation for the design and manufacture of advanced hybrid electric vehicles,” said a spokeswoman for the group, in another unfailingly positive statement put out by the DOE. “We will work to realize the full potential these fantastic cars offer in helping to remake the auto industry for the 21st Century.”

Fisker legacy? Fantastic cars? It’s too bad DOE’s breezy forecasts and eternal sunshine weren’t enough to power all the wind and solar projects they have forced taxpayers to subsidize. But the PR-ocracy has generated plenty to make even their worst “investment” disasters appear as if they were genius visionaries.

For example, in September DOE spokesman Bill Gibbons told the Washington Free Beacon that stimulus support for Ecotality was “meant to establish the seeds of infrastructure needed to support a growing market for advanced vehicles,” noting that “the company installed more than 12,500 charging stations in 18 US cities—or approximately 95 percent of their goal.” In other words, despite our loss of millions of dollars in public money, it was (almost) mission accomplished!

And when Colorado-based Abound Solar declared bankruptcy in June 2012, DOE deputy director of Public Affairs Damien LaVera wrote a lengthy article defending the agency’s “investments” in solar energy.

“Of the $400 million that Abound was originally approved for, the Department only lent the company less than $70 million,” LaVera wrote. “Because of the strong protections we put in place for taxpayers, the Department has already protected more than 80 percent of the original loan amount. Once the bankruptcy liquidation is complete, the Department expects the total loss to the taxpayer to be between 10 and 15 percent of the original loan amount.

“This effort has seen many successes as well as a few setbacks,” LaVera added, “but one thing is clear: America must continue playing to win in the clean energy race.”

Then there was the September testimony by former DOE Loan Programs Office director Jonathan Silver, in a hearing about secret email exchanges on private accounts held before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. When Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio questioned him about millions of dollars in lost “investments” thanks to his agency’s poor judgments, Silver said the losses only represented three percent of the portfolio and one percent of the loan loss reserve set aside by Congress for the stimulus, which Silver said made the program a “success.”

For its part, the relentless cheerleaders at DOE have rah-rah-ed praises for Silver.

“Under Mr. Silver’s leadership,” DOE’s Web site says, “the Loan Programs Office has grown to become the largest project finance effort in the United States. Since Mr. Silver took office, the agency has committed over $40 billion in 42 clean energy projects with total project costs of over $63 billion. Cumulatively, these projects create or save over 66,288 jobs across 38 states and avoid over 38 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to taking over 4.5 million vehicles off the road or about as many vehicles as in the state of Michigan. The program’s 23 generation projects produce over 32 million megawatt hours, enough to power nearly 3 million homes.”

So in the eyes of DOE you can mark down Fisker as another feather in their cap. When the Department announced in September it would auction the remainder of Fisker’s loan obligation – after coming to the conclusion that no one in their right mind would buy the company otherwise – current executive director of the Loan Program Peter Davidson saw the development as another opportunity to tout success.

“While our original loan commitment was for $528 million,” Davidson wrote, “only $192 million was actually disbursed. In addition, the Department has already recouped more than $28 million from the company’s accounts. These actions combined have already protected more than two-thirds of our original loan commitment….

“Despite Fisker Automotive’s bankruptcy setback, the DOE loan portfolio remains very strong – and is playing a crucial role in helping America’s auto industry thrive, innovate and compete.”

So the only people daring to rain on the bankruptcy positivity parade are those who are owed money by Fisker. News reports say a Delaware judge has the case on a fast track, with a hearing on the sale scheduled for January 3. According to Associated Press, unsecured creditors are owed $250 million, “but stand to receive a minimum total cash distribution of only $500,000.” Among those who have filed claims are former employees who say they are owed $4 million in back pay and benefits.

The Orange County Register reported the Fisker filings include a 669-page document of creditors. “Some of the names on the list indicate how well-connected the company was to Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.,” the newspaper reported. Among them are actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore, as well as Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. The vice president appeared at an announcement in Wilmington, Del. in 2010 to promote Fisker’s plans to produce its second model at a former GM plant there, which never happened.

John Doerr, a senior partner with the Kleiner Perkins tech investment firm and big supporter of President Obama, was also listed as a creditor. After the scandal of Solyndra, and the bondholders who got screwed in the government’s GM bailout, it will be interesting to see who gets what’s owed them in the Fisker case

“Fisker’s collapse closes yet another sad chapter in DOE’s troubled portfolio,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) in a statement. “The jobs that were promised never materialized and, once again, taxpayers are on the hook for the administration’s reckless gamble.”

Remember when the taxpayers were supposed to be the ones protected first in cases where their money went to failed enterprises? Don’t be such a stick in the mud; just enjoy the breeze and the sunshine.


UK Climate Change Committee Gives Green Light For Fracking

Britain should press ahead with fracking, the chairman of the Government’s climate change advisory body said yesterday. Lord Deben dismissed claims by green groups that fracking would cause significant damage to the environment, adding that Britain needed to drill shale wells to reduce reliance on foreign imports of fossil fuel.

Lord Deben, who as John Gummer served as Environment Secretary in John Major’s Government, told The Times: “It just isn’t true that fracking is going to destroy the environment and the world is going to come to an end if you frack. And yet to listen to some people on the green end, that’s what they say.”

Greenpeace argues that gas and toxic chemicals used in fracking could contaminate water supplies and that exploiting mineral reserves impairs efforts to cut emissions.

Lord Deben said that shale gas, which has helped the US to cut emissions because it is cleaner than coal, could give Britain greater energy security and should be exploited as quickly as possible. “I’m in favour of it. The carbon budgets have already assumed that we are going to use gas well on through the 2020s and into the 30s. There will be a need for gas [and] much better to have it from us and as soon as we can because I do genuinely think people ought to be worried about the security of our energy supplies.”

However, Lord Deben added that shale gas would not result in cheaper energy bills, even if widely exploited. “God has managed to put it in the places where it’s going to be most difficult for people to get planning permission to do this.

“There is absolutely no logical evidence to suggest that the amount of gas that we are likely to get in Britain, given the geological formation, given where the places are, given that we have gas at a deeper point and we don’t have the American advantage of the waylaws of ownership work, it isn’t going to be game-changing. The idea that we would have a lower price in Britain than the rest of Europe, [those who say that] just don’t understand how the gas price works.”


The deceptive and destructive David Suzuki

The cover story of the November 25, 2013 Canadian weekly magazineMacleans pictures self-appointed Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki. The caption reads,“Environmentalism Has Failed”“David Suzuki loses faith in the cause of his lifetime.”Suzuki admission

Suzuki doesn’t realize he‘s the cause of the failure as a major player in the group who exploited environmentalism and climate for a political agenda. Initially most listened and tried to accommodate, but gradually the lies, deceptions and propaganda were exposed. The age of eco-bullying is ending. Typically Suzuki blamed others for the damage to the environment and climate but now he blames them for not listening to him. He forgets that when you point a finger at someone three are pointing back at you.

Environmentalism was what academics call a paradigm shift, which Thomas Kuhn defines as “a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.” It was a necessary new paradigm. Everybody accepts the general notion it is foolish to soil your own nest and most were prepared to participate. Most were not sure what it entailed or how far it should go.

Extremists grab all new paradigms for their agenda but then define the limits for the majority by pushing beyond the limits of the idea. Environmentalism and the subset climate are at that stage pushed there by extremists like Suzuki. Instead of admitting the science is wrong they double down and make increasingly extreme statements, just like the IPCC. It underscores the political rather than the scientific agenda. For example, Suzuki, apparently frustrated that politicians were not listening to his demands for action on climate change said they should be jailed.

Environmental groups grabbed environmentalism and quickly took the moral high ground preaching that only they cared about the Earth. Suzuki set up the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) with tax benefits that required it to be non-political, but after active involvement in an Ontario election he was forced to resign. His major theme in the election was to push the climate change and alternate energies put in place in that Province when Maurice Strong was in charge of Ontario Hydro, the state controlled energy agency. Ontario is the perfect example of how and why climate energy policies promoted by Strong as Founder of UNEP are a disaster.

The Foundation campaigned on environmental issues most presented in deceptive or incomplete ways. An example was the attack on salmon farming and corrupted research onPCBs and sea lice. This was the focus of an interview of researcher Vivian Krause by Ezra Levant. Another was Suzuki’s parade across Canada pushing extinction theories and claims of DSF Board member E.O Wilson that 3 species go extinct every hour. He never named one. He never listed the plethora of new species found. He refused to discuss the issue and in his visit to schools pre-arranged and wrote a question for a selected student to ask. He promoted threats of global warming, but refused to debate the issue or answer questions. When asked questions on a radio interview in Toronto, he swore and stormed out of the studio.

He hired former Federal politician NDP (socialist party) David Fulton as Director of DSF. James Hoggan has been Chairman of the Board for many years. His PR Company has major alternate energy companies as clients. Hoggan is the proud creator of DeSmogblog a web site that claims it is “Clearing the PR Pollution that clouds climate science” but mostly involves personal attacks on people asking questions. The objective was to denigrate people by creating “favorable interpretations” to the following questions. “Were these climate skeptics qualified? Were they doing any research in the climate change field? Were they accepting money, directly or indirectly, from the fossil fuel industry?” This doesn’t answer skeptics questions about the science.

Their real agenda was disclosed in a Climatic Research Unit (CRU) leaked email dated December 2007 from senior writer Richard Littlemore to Michael Mann.

"Hi Michael [Mann],

I’m a DeSmogBlog writer [Richard LIttlemore] (sic) (I got your email from Kevin Grandia)* and I am trying to fend off the latest announcement that global warming has not actually occurred in the 20th century.

It looks to me like Gerd Burger is trying to deny climate change by “smoothing,” “correcting” or otherwise rounding off the temperatures that we know for a flat fact have been recorded since the 1970s, but I am out of my depth (as I am sure you have noticed: we’re all about PR here, not much about science) so I wonder if you guys have done anything or are going to do anything with Burger’s intervention in Science."

(* Grandia was a former writer for DeSmogBlog who moved there after serving as a research assistant for a Liberal Minister in Ottawa.)

Do as I say, not as I do is the hallmark of extreme environmentalists behaviour. Al Gore is the poster boy for this hypocrisy. It appears Suzuki is only different in scale. They were enumerated in programs by SUN TV Reporter Ezra Levant. They include the familiar list of funding and financial activities and personal wealth accumulated, especially in properties.

A major part of Suzuki’s attacks relate to global warming. His refusal to debate or even answer questions is legendary. He ignores his lack of qualifications on climate, but uses that challenge when it comes to his supposed expertise in genetics and genetically modified food. A possible explanation for his “environmentalism is a failure” claim is a PR move to divert from the exposure of his climate ignorance in an Australian interview. He could not answer questions about information fundamental to any understanding.

Suzuki abandoned his academic career in genetics decades ago explaining why in a 1999 Seattle speech. His concerns related to the internment of his Japanese Canadian family during WWII. Here are his words:

"In the exuberance of the excitement over the discovery of new principles of heredity — that seemed to apply across the plant and animal kingdoms — geneticists began to make wonderful, wild statements about the implications of their discoveries. I’m sure most of you know that it ultimately led to what was considered a legitimate area of science called Eugenics.

Some of our most eminent geneticists taught courses in eugenics, wrote textbooks in eugenics, published articles in eugenics journals. Eugenics being the attempt to apply the new-found knowledge of heredity to improve the genetic quality or makeup of human society."

It seems more logical to maintain standing as a geneticist and work to prevent such drifts occurring. Instead he quit and became a tele-evangelist using state television (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) to push his environmental/political agenda.

His television series became his undoing as a classic example of how extremism is its own undoing. It’s why Suzuki’s exploitation of environmentalism, as he defines it, caused failure. Most programs in the series were unjustified, misleading condemnations of different components of society. I identified some of the misinformation in a presentation to farmers in Saskatchewan a few years ago. Afterward a woman told me that a month earlier she would have disagreed with my comments. Now she understood because Suzuki did a program on farming and as a farmer’s wife she knew how wrong and biased it was.

Each new program exposed another segment of society to the deception. This created a populace open to and not surprised by the exposure of his hypocrisies. The same is happening to climate alarmism as more and more segments of society are negatively affected. His actions and climate driven energy policies close industries, decimate communities, cause job losses and force business closures, virtually all unnecessarily.

As Suzuki’s campaign to use environmentalism for a political agenda fails he lashes out, blaming others for the failure. It parallels what is happening in the climate alarmist community. The comments and claims become more extreme, but achieve the opposite of their goal. It is necessary to consider the further negative effects of their exploitation and deceptions. What is the damage to the credibility of science? Can we pursue environmentalism with rational, science based, prioritized policies?



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


12 December, 2013

Environmentalism's Endless Lies

By Alan Caruba

I am on the Friends of the Earth (FOE) email list and receive a steady stream of theirs and the Sierra Club’s lies about the environment. A recent FOE mailing stating that “Devastation from climate change has become all too frequent.”

This is simply an outright lie. Inherent in natural events such as hurricanes and typhoons, blizzards, tornadoes, floods, droughts, and forest fires is the damage they cause, but FOE asserted that “People in vulnerable communities are already struggling with dirty air, unsafe housing and increased cancer rates. So when extreme weather hits, its impacts are even more devastating.”

All communities, from small towns to major cities are by definition “vulnerable”, but the air has undergone significant clean-up over the years so this is not a common problem anywhere. As for cancer rates, they too have been in decline thanks to advances in medical care. It is doubtful that most Americans live in allegedly unsafe housing these days. Houses on both coastlines are vulnerable to ocean storms. Houses inland are vulnerable to floods and fires. There is nothing inherently "environmental" about this. It's about location.

All this is little more than blatant scare mongering and FOE was calling on its members and others who received its email to “Call on President Obama to ensure that all Americans are protected from climate disasters.”

No President has any control over weather events. To FOE, however, this is a call for “critical environmental justice.”

There is no such thing as “environmental justice.” It is an invention of environmental groups that are intent on convincing people that whatever they do or fail to do somehow has an impact on the weather.

Indeed, the entire global warming hoax, now called climate change, was based on the lie that humans were responsible for producing huge amounts of carbon dioxide via industry, driving, or making some toast for breakfast. The environmental enemy was and is the use of energy, but it is energy that has so vastly improved and protected everyone’s life.

In a recent article, Dr. Craig Idso, the founder and former president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a coeditor of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, and James M. Taylor, a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute and the managing editor of Environmental & Climate News, a monthly publication, examined how “Global Warming Alarmism Denies Sound Science.”

They took note of the way the Fifth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change moved away from its earlier predictions and assertions. “The IPCC report contradicts claims that global warming is causing more extreme weather” and “admits the lack of global warming this century defies nearly all computer models that predict rapid future warming.” The organization devoted to the global warming hoax has been forced to retreat from decades of lies about it.

While FOE tries to scare people with references to “extreme weather disasters”, Idso and Taylor pointed to the fact that “Global hurricane frequency is undergoing a long-term decline, with global hurricane and tropical storm activity at record lows during the past several years…The United States is benefitting from the longest period in recorded history without a major hurricane strike. Tornado activity is in long-term decline, with major tornado strikes (F3 or higher) showing a remarkable decline in recent decades.”

This is not to say that hurricanes like super storm Sandy or tornadoes have not occurred, but it is to say that there have been far less. These weather events affecting the United States have been in decline and that is the reality.

The FOE claim that any President can possibly “protect communities” is absurd. It is a lie.

The most worrisome aspect of environmental lies is that they are used to justify governmental policies.

The new Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Gina McCarthy, ahead of a trip to China, told a liberal advocacy group in Washington that she has devoted her life to protecting the environment: “And I really see no greater issue and no more urgent threat to public health than climate change.”

There is NOTHING the EPA can do about CLIMATE CHANGE.

The present global climate is, in fact, in a lengthy cooling cycle, not caused by anything to do with human activity, but by a reduction in solar radiation due to its own diminished cycle of magnetic storms (sunspots).

Cleaning the nation’s air and water is a public health activity, but denying Americans access to the nation’s vast reservoirs of coal, oil, and natural gas is an attack on the nation’s economic growth and a denial of the energy it requires to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, providing jobs and keeping energy costs under control.

Environmentalism is based on lies and the lies reflect an agenda that regards humanity as the enemy of the Earth.


BOOK REVIEW of The Age of Global Warming: A History by Rupert Darwall. Review by Australian scientist DAVID ARCHIBALD

As the pumped-up spectre of climatic catastrophe continues to deflate, Ruper Darwall's new book makes a handy guide to the conceits, careerism, delusions and blatant misrepresentations that debased the good name of science and set the stage for economic ruin

Rupert Darwall’s The Age of Global Warming: A History is a wonderful book, the best account of the politics of global warming to date — and the best likely to be written. It is engaging and doesn’t over-reach to become over-worked and tedious. As someone who has served as a foot soldier in the solar-science trench of the global warming battle for less than a decade, this book filled in a lot of the missing details.

It also offers some new insights. Environmentalism had a big run up from the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 to the first environmental conference in Stockholm ten years later. During that time, Ronald Reagan, as Governor of California, blocked the building of some dams and highways for environmental reasons, and Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. Then the Yom Kippur began on October 6, 1973. Interest in environmental matters as a popular issue was sidelined for some time by wars and oil-supply shocks. Nevertheless, notions of wealth redistribution from OECD countries to the Third World continued to be generated, their rationale based on the novel concept of “environmental justice”. The movement thrashed around until it lit upon the issue that would take it mainstream. Initially, the health of the oceans was promoted as the big concern, but then global warming emerged as the issue able to get the best traction.

One of the missing details that this book fills in is the lack of economic modelling on global warming policies.darwall cover The first governmental review of the costs and benefits of mitigation measures was that of the George Bush administration in 1990. No other government bothered, being quite happy to sign up to commitments to deep cuts in emissions without knowing or caring about the economic consequences. That is what I found strange when I got involved in this issue. Do you remember when Kevin Rudd said that fighting global warming would cost a family just $1 per day, as if they were signing up to a World Vision child sponsorship plan or the like? Of course the economic consequences have been much more burdensome than that, underwritten by the indisputble fact that environmentalism needs prosperity to flourish.

The first people to lose their jobs in Australia due to the global warming scare were cement workers in Rockhampton. One of the more recent victims was a restaurant in inner Sydney, where the owners could not afford to re-gas their fridges – collateral damage in the war on Western civilisation. A warehouse burnt down in New Zealand because the owners tried to save money by switching to a hydrocarbon refrigerant. The economic consequences are now coming faster and harder. The Europeans have suddenly become much more aware of what will happen to their power prices under the global-warming legislation they have enacted. Seemingly none of them did any economic modelling of what would happen. They were so very happy to sign up to the cause and equally eager to coerce others into committing economic suicide as well. Now the consequences are becoming grimly apparent.

[Australian politician] Malcolm Turnbull, a climate change true believer, once said that for global warming not to be true, it would have to be the largest conspiracy the world has ever seen. Darwall details the first stirrings of that conspiracy in the 1920s, and he tracks its progress over the near-hundred years since. Did the scientists actually believe the theory they were advocating? It seems they did and simply cooked the books to show that it was happening, fervently believing reality would eventually catch up with their projections. Gaia had other ideas, however. The planet has refused to warm for very nearly two decades, and there is a growing body of evidence and observations that suggest we may actually on the brink of global cooling.

For those thoroughly bored with global warming, Darwell’s book still represents a very good read because it shows how public opinion is shaped and prepared for concerted and calculated multi-year campaigns at the international level. I have heard speculation that “global warming” is to be replaced as a poster issue for the environmentalist cause by the notion of “sustainability”. One of the first indications that such a switch in emphasis is in progress was a recent campaign by the NSW EPA against food wastage. Seemingly, the state agency is reading the cues and reacting to them.

The vast majority of our polity here in Australia are still afflicted by global warming, either as believers or in paying lip service to it. The country at this juncture is still destined for one pointless burden or the other – be it the carbon tax or “direct action”. Tellingly, while the new Liberal Government was elected on a pledge to abolish the carbon tax, it has kept the National Greenhouse & Energy Reporting Act (NGER) — the last dark deed of the Howard Government in 2007. Howard pronounced himself as agnostic on global warming, but for some reason was very efficient at bringing in legislation that paved the way for the carbon tax. He later rewrote his autobiography to explain that he was panicked by a tidal wave of environmentalism. It seems Howard thought he would use global warming as an issue to push Australia towards nuclear power. Instead, he cast himself as another of Lenin’s “useful fools”.

Belief in global warming has been a litmus test for our politicians. If they have ever believed in it, or uttered the inane “we have decided to give the planet the benefit of the doubt”, they are fools for being so easily deluded. Repeal of the NGER is now the litmus test. If that act is not repealed, then it will be self-evident our current crop of leaders is not serious about Australia’s economic health, national security, liquid fuel supplies and similar grave matters of state. Our country will continue to suffer until the issue of global warming is entirely behind us. Reading Darwall’s book will bring forward that frabjous day.


Climate Change Task Force Meets at White House as Snowstorm Shutters Federal Offices in DC

A winter storm warning from the National Weather Service was enough to close down the federal government’s offices in Washington Tuesday.

But neither snow nor sleet could keep members of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience from their appointed round at the White House.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted a photo of Tuesday’s first meeting of the task force, which was created by an executive order of President Obama on November 1st as part of his Climate Action Plan. (See Climate Action Plan.pdf)

The meeting was also attended by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn – right after Chicago posted its lowest subzero overnight temperature since 1995 and one day after the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth in East Antarctica.

The task force’s mission is to “advise the Administration on how the Federal Government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with extreme weather, sea level rise, and other impacts of climate change.”

“I am pleased at the opportunity to serve, with my fellow governors and other leaders from across the country,” Inslee said on November 4th after he was one of eight governors, seven of them Democrats, appointed to the task force by President Obama.

“While we undertake actions to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving these dangerous climate shifts, we must as a state and nation better prepare our communities and our infrastructure to face these accelerating impacts.”


Big Green’s big price tag

Washington, D.C. has been consumed with an on-going battle over whether the bureaucracy can significantly expand the scope of legislation without getting legislative approval. It is the dry, boring stuff that defines why President Reagan once remarked that, “personnel is policy.”

While the attention has been on the increased costs of health care because of Obamacare’s implementation, it should not come as a surprise that over the past five years, Obama’s environmental regulators have been particularly mischievous in writing costly rules to further their agenda.

However, these new Executive Branch majordomos are in for a major comeuppance as the public becomes aware of the cause and effect of their actions on the cost of basic utilities.

One new rule by the Environmental Protection Agency will force the elimination of dozens of coal fired electric generating plants resulting in the loss of more than 3 percent of our nation’s electricity generation, due to a controversial regulation known as Utility MACT. Designed to shut down older technology coal and oil burning utilities, this EPA action is expected to result in significantly higher utility bills to customers serviced by these plants, while virtually assuring that consumers will suffer from increasing brownouts and blackouts due to the stress put on the system.

Consumers in regions dependent upon coal fired electric utilities will be particularly hard hit with increased utility bills, and environmentalists are hoping they don’t realize the cost increases are solely due to EPA regulations, and instead blame the power company which is forced to deliver the bad news.

In Chicago, Illinois alone, the regulations are expected to cost the City $5.4 million and the Chicago Public Schools $2.7 million in 2014. By 2017, the Illinois Power Agency estimates that rates could increase by 65 percent in the state.

Other “green” regulations will be teaching the people of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland the hard way that environmental laws come with real costs.

The town of just under 6,000 residents which lies about twenty five miles south of Annapolis on the Chesapeake Bay has heretofore been best known for charter fishing, having slot machines when they were illegal elsewhere, and being one of the few locales in that rural area with a water and sewer system.

Now, those residents are finding that this proximity to the Bay and their sewage treatment plant combine to create a massive headache and an even greater cost for water and sewer to residents.

The irony is that the town’s water system had been viewed as being environmentally sensitive for years, but new environmental regulatory interpretations governing the Bay require an approximate $16 million upgrade to the existing facility. The resulting increase of water fees will amount to hundreds of dollars of added monthly costs for many residents. Water users have few options, but Town leaders are hoping that Chesapeake Beach doesn’t become known as the place where flushing is optional.

As consumers become more and more aware that their basic costs for turning a light switch on, or flushing a toilet have been dramatically increased due to environmental regulations promulgated by the Obama Administration, or Governors like Maryland’s Martin O’Malley, the term going green will take on a whole new meaning.

All those voters who have to sacrifice to pay their increased water and electricity bills may finally connect that a green vote is really a vote to take more and more green out of your own wallet. And when that occurs the green teams political winning streak will end, and regulatory sanity will be restored.


JPL scientist: Industrialization likely caused end of Little Ice Age

A team of researchers led by a Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist may have cracked a cold case — quite literally — involving the rapid loss of glaciers in the 1860s.

Thomas Painter, a snow and ice scientist at JPL, joined scientists from UC Davis, University of Colorado and the University of Michigan in conducting the study. The team theorizes the soot and black carbon emissions from a booming, industrialized Europe in the 1860s attached to the glaciers in the European Alps, absorbing heat from the sun and causing them to rapidly retreat, or lose mass. The Industrial Revolution began in England in 1760 and lasted until around 1850.

“Scientists have thought the glacial retreat came from natural climatic anomalies along the way,” Painter said, “and yet this shows it’s very likely not a climate anomaly, but human particulate emission.”

Painter and his colleagues studied historical data of carbon particles trapped in the ice cores at the European mountain glaciers, determining how much black carbon was in the atmosphere and snow when the glaciers began to retreat at the end of the Little Ice Age, a cooler period between the 14th and 19th centuries when mountain glaciers expanded amid dropping temperatures.

The team studied computer models of glacier behavior that combined recorded weather conditions and the impact of pollution. The model’s glacier mass loss and timing were consistent with the historical records of glacial retreat during industrialization, despite cooling temperatures at the time, according to the study.

“It’s the same thing as if you were walking barefoot on the blacktop on a hot summer day,” said Waleed Abdalati, study co-author and director of the Cooperative Institute for Research and Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado. “The blacker a surface, the more energy it’s absorbing, and that’s what this effect is.”

The team’s research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept. 3. Georg Kaser, a glaciologist at the University of Innsbruck in Austria and lead author of the Working Group I Cryosphere chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, co-authored the study.

“The paper is not designed to prove anything but provides a robust observation and model quantification based on hypothesis on the causes of the glacier retreat in the Alps from approximately 1850 onward, despite slightly falling air temperatures and constant precipitation amounts,” Kaser said via email. “We see a hypothesis as an essential tool in science and along this hypothesis we and others may now perform more detailed studies with the aim to either verify or falsify the hypothesis.”

Black carbon is the strongest sunlight-absorbing particle in the atmosphere, according to a news release. Whereas light-colored objects like snow refract light, the dark-colored soot that blew in from Italy and Germany and attached to the glaciers caused the glaciers to heat up and melt faster.

Painter’s studies in glacial melting started as unfunded research in 2004. After acquiring funding, Painter traveled to the Rocky Mountains and found the dark dust mixed in the snow absorbed sunlight faster, melting the snow. He combined his understanding of the Industrial Revolution with his research before coming to the conclusion that industrialization was most likely the cause of the glaciers’ retreat, he said.

“I’m baffled that no one has looked into it before,” Painter said. “And yet, a strong understanding of the impacts of black carbon really began in the last 15 years.”

Though the study examines the effects of soot and black carbon on centuries past, the phenomenon, which Abdalati called “the human fingerprint,” is still seen today, despite efforts to be more eco-friendly.

“It stands to reason that the same type of phenomenon we saw in the Alps, but on a different scale, is probably at play in the Artic,” Abdalati said. “It stands to reason that some of the stuff we put in the atmosphere falls on the snow.”

Soot and black carbon emissions today specifically impact countries like India, an industrially growing area that is “passing carbon back and forth,” Painter said.


Prof. Will Happer comments on the above (via email):

Sounds like another “just so story.” There have been several similar retreats of mountain glaciers in the past few millennia. For example mountain glaciers had retreated before the death of the poor Neolithic hunter “Oetzi,” who was covered by advancing glaciers 5300 years ago in the southern alps. I am sure Oetzi relased as much black carbon as he could from his Neolithic campfires, trying to keep warm in the field or in his home, which was probably similar to the smoky Scottish “blackhouses” that are still remembered.

But I doubt Oetzi and his contemporaries released black carbon on the scale of the industrial revolution. There was a massive retreat of glaciers in Alaska that started about 1800, before the Industrial Revolution really got started and a long way from the furnaces of Western Europe. I think many southern hemisphere glaciers also began to retreat about the same time. Finally, glacier advance and retreat is controlled at least as much by snowfall as by temperature and melting by the sun.

China’s Renewables Industry Is Headed For Collapse

China’s aggressive push to “green” its economy and become the world leader in renewable energy is admired by many commentators in the West. Those admirers need to look again.

The country’s solar panel industry, which went from zero to become the world’s largest in five years, has crashed, with most producers now suffering from negative profit margins, soaring debt levels and idle factories.

Solar panel manufacturer Suntech, a national champion which became the world’s largest thanks to lavish state subsidies, filed for bankruptcy in March after it defaulted on payment of $541-million of bonds. The government is scrambling to tidy up the mess by offering tax breaks to all solar companies that acquire or merge with their competitors. One state-owned company recently tabled a $150-million lifeline to Suntech as it works its way through bankruptcy proceedings.

Likewise LDK Solar, another leading Chinese producer, was forced this year to turn to both provincial and local governments for protection from its creditors. The brainchild of the local Communist Party Secretary, LDK, received millions of dollars in state subsidies and cheap financing, land and electricity in 2005. The local government is now funnelling funds into the company to keep it from sinking, without complete success it seems – the company has shed 20,000 of its 30,000 employees and its shares are 98% below their peak in September 2007.

Yet China’s solar panel sector remains massively overbuilt. According to Bloomberg, if all of China’s solar producers were to run their factories at full speed, they could produce 49 gigawatts of panels annually – a ten-fold increase from 2008 and 61% more than global installed capacity last year. But demand for those panels has been shrinking as governments in the West cut many of the subsidies that made solar power attractive.

China’s experience with wind power is little different. Sinovel – one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers – went from earning hundreds of millions of dollars in profits in 2010 when the renewable energy industry was booming to millions in losses that grow by the day. Revenues are now just a fifth of what they were in 2010. The company has closed its overseas offices and recently laid off thousands of employees.

All told, in 2012 17% of all windmills lay idle, their power too expensive to connect to the grid. In some regions, 50% of all windmills remain unconnected to the grid.

China’s green crash is a textbook example of what happens when central planners substitute their economic decrees for the complex supply and demand decisions of a market.

Compounding the missteps of China’s green planners was a belief that the West’s love affair with green power was here to stay, despite its higher cost and unreliability. Believing that it could meet the world’s surging demand for solar and wind power, the Chinese state – from the supreme planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission down to city governments and state-owned banks – gave Chinese manufacturers near-monopoly powers and all-but-free money.

The torrid expansion of manufacturing capacity saw wind turbine capacity doubling every year until 2010. According to the China Renewable Energy Society in Beijing, half of China’s 600 cities have at least one factory producing photovoltaic products. The ensuing flood of solar panels and wind systems on the global market caused prices for those panels to plummet and, in turn, negative profit margins for many of the world’s largest producers. Those in the West almost all failed; those still standing, if tottering, are now mostly based in China. The worldwide renewables collapse left China’s renewables industry looking supreme only because it is the last corpse to fall. It is only by default that China makes seven out of 10 solar panels across the world and is home to eight of the 10 largest panel producers, many of which are on government life support. The combination of too much supply from years of over-expansion and too little demand produced low prices that have left most producers in China on the ropes.

Their prospects are likely to get even worse. The Bank of China, one of the country’s largest state-owned commercial banks, says that 21% of its solar loans are in or near default. By Bloomberg’s calculation, the country’s 10 largest solar manufacturers hold $28.8-billion worth of liabilities, most of which is owed to government-backed institutions. The average debt ratio of those companies – the amount of debt as a percentage of total assets – is 75.8%.




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


11 December, 2013

Greenpeace descends to upsetting children: ‘Santa’ Threatens to ‘Cancel Christmas’ Due to Global Warming

Greenpeace UK is soliciting donations to combat global warming with a video entitled “An Urgent Message From Santa.”

The video features a deeply depressed, creepy-looking Santa who claims that “melting ice” at the North Pole will force him to “cancel Christmas” unless world leaders act to stop global warming.

The Greenpeace “Santa” is played by British actor Jim Carter, a member of the environmental group who also plays the butler in the popular PBS “Downton Abbey” TV series.

But the only thing this doom-and-gloom “Santa” has in common with the beloved Jolly St. Nick figure is his familiar-looking red and white suit.

“Dear children, regrettably I bring bad tidings,” the Greenpeace “Santa” says, speaking from what looks like a stark, dimly lit bunker. “For some time now, melting ice here at the North Pole has made our operations and our day-to-day life intolerable and impossible, and there may be no alternative but to cancel Christmas.

“I have written personally to President Obama, President Putin, all world leaders. Sadly, my letters have been met with indifference. Needless to say, these individuals are now at the top of my naughty list.

“My home in the Arctic is fast disappearing and unless we all act urgently, then I have to warn you of the possibility of an empty stocking forevermore. Please help me.”

However, the video doesn’t mention the fact that the latest available data from the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) shows that last month the Arctic ice sheet covered nearly four million square miles [bigger than the USA], including the North Pole.

If the sight of a deeply depressed “Santa” isn’t enough to convince donors to reach for their checkbooks and credit cards, Greenpeace’s “Save Santa’s Home” website drives the message home by claiming that the North Pole is “melting away” and “world leaders are ignoring the reindeer’s cries for help as they sink in the melting ice.”

“The North Pole is Santa’s home, and where he, the Elves and Mrs. Claus produce, organize and deliver presents for all the children of the world. But the North Pole is only a frozen ocean and it’s melting away faster and faster. Santa can no longer function. His warehouse is flooded. All the presents are ruined,” according to the Greenpeace website.

“That’s bad enough. But oil companies are trying to drill in the Arctic Ocean around him. They want to extract the oil that – when it’s used – will make the melting of the Arctic all the quicker….Even the threat of being on Santa’s naughty list hasn’t prompted a rescue operation,” the website claims.

But Greenpeace may have gone too far by attempting to co-opt a mythical figure associated with generosity and joy, not climate apocalypse.

“It looks like a hostage video, but instead of Al Qaida, it’s Santa,”

CNN’s Jeanne Moos commented. “Not since a real-live bandit robbed a Nashville bank dressed as St. Nick have we seen such a sorry excuse for a Santa.”


The Greenie Origins of National Socialism

Few scholars have influenced culture as much as Prussian-born Professor Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919). In the 1860s he hatched the scientific discipline of “Ecology” and the philosophical doctrine of “Monism.” In 1906 Haeckel launched the Monist League, which within a few years recruited several thousand members including many prominent intellectuals.

By 1914, within German-speaking academia, Monists dominated the biological, zoological, and anthropological faculties. In addition to an impressive involvement in the life sciences, Monism shared other similarities with modern environmentalism.

Monists believed their superior knowledge of nature and evolutionary biology afforded them unique insights into social problems.

Monists disparaged “Western Civilization” for the inflated importance it extended to humanity and for invidiously separating Man from Nature.

Monists romanticised primitive cultures and disparaged urban-industrial society.

While Monists cannot be considered leftist, they did oppose capitalism and were particularly militant in their desire to rid the land-use system of the “scourge of capitalist speculation.”

Monists fixated on an elitist and racist population-control/eugenics agenda.
While posturing as hard-headed scientists, Monists described “Nature” in mystical, pantheistic terms. They attributed living qualities, even souls, to inanimate objects and to the world itself. Phrases like “Mother Earth” and “World Soul” appear ubiquitously in their writings.

Believing Christianity to be both an antiquated religion and an impediment to their political agenda, Monists sought to replace it with forms of neo-pagan Nature worship.

Professor Gasman is adamant that:

The modern theory of the totalitarian fascist state was adumbrated by the political and social ideology advanced by Haeckel and his followers. Its (Monism’s) major assumptions and proposals were in all important respects identical with the political and social program of later 20th century National Socialism.

The Scientific Origins of National Socialism came out in 1971 and was re-issued in 2004 with a lengthy new introduction. The original text was written without Gasman, having access to the Haeckel Archives. Two trips to these archives in 1991 to peruse hitherto unseen materials reinforced the connection between Haeckel and fascist ideology and provided grist for a separate text (Haeckel’s Monism and the Birth of Fascist Ideology).

Much more HERE

Morano Smacks Down Sierra Club Director: ‘Sierra Club Took 26 Million From Natural Gas’

For years, climate alarmists have dishonestly accused global warming skeptics of taking money from Big Oil to do their bidding.

On CNN’s 11th Hour Tuesday, when Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune made such a claim, Climate Depot’s Marc Morano marvelously fired back, “The Sierra Club took 26 million from natural gas and Michael has the audacity to try to imply that skeptics are fossil fuel funded”

"MICHAEL BRUNE, SIERRA CLUB: All of what Marc said would be very compelling if it were true. This is something that has been settled. The science is settled right now. The top climate scientists in the world, thousands of them, are now as confident that climate change is real as they are that cigarettes make people sick. The only folks who are arguing this are the occasional climate skeptic or the people who are paid for by the fossil fuel industry. We know that the extreme weather events that we're seeing, the record wildfires, the record droughts, the extreme storms that we're seeing, the hurricane that we saw with 1,000-mile diameter that hit the eastern seaboard late October of last year, are precisely what scientists have said would be the cause of global warming and climate change."

A few moments later, host Don Lemon asked Morano about a new study in the journal Nature claiming Arctic ice levels are linked to extreme weather further south. Morano responded:

"MARC MORANO, CLIMATE DEPOT: It's a wild theory. They had similar theories in the 1970s trying to blame extreme weather on these kind of variables. The bottom line is the Arctic ice was started monitoring in 1979 at a high point of the 1970s global cooling scare. We lost ice. This year by the way we rebounded depending on what dates you want to pick almost a third or more of the ice, and global sea ice currently is highest in 25 years. Antarctic sea ice is at or near record, which no one wants to talk about Antarctic sea ice because it's inconvenient to the narrative.

But the idea that we’re having extreme weather, listening to Michael talk there, it's mind boggling. I mean, the earth is geologically billions of years old and we're sitting around here scratching our heads saying wow we had a hurricane last year which was barely a category 1 when it hit. And then, by the way, it's not me, and he's mentioning funding by the way which I think is funny. The Sierra Club took 26 million from natural gas and Michael has the audacity to try to imply that skeptics are fossil fuel funded."

Not surprisingly, Morano was right. TIME magazine reported in February 2012:

"TIME has learned that between 2007 and 2010 the Sierra Club accepted over $25 million in donations from the gas industry, mostly from Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy—one of the biggest gas drilling companies in the U.S. and a firm heavily involved in fracking—to help fund the Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. Though the group ended its relationship with Chesapeake in 2010—and the Club says it turned its back on an additional $30 million in promised donations—the news raises concerns about influence industry may have had on the Sierra Club’s independence and its support of natural gas in the past."

But it's not just industry that funds global warming activism. A 2009 study by the Science and Public Policy Institute claimed that in the past two decades, the United States government has spent $79 billion on research and developing green technologies.

Just imagine where that figure now stands after almost five years of Barack Obama in the White House.

As such, the money spent on debunking this theory is dwarfed by the dollars allocated to advancing it - but don't expect the liberal media to point that out.

That said, kudos to CNN and Lemon for airing this segment.

Although it was a two on one - Philippe Cousteau Jr was also on the panel - it's nice to see a news network other than Fox bring on someone to present the skeptical side.

Beyond that, Lemon came prepared with some good questions for all of his guests.


More Tax Dollars for Neighborhoods Where Walking, Biking,Public Transit Is 'A Way of Life'

Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency planned to be in St. Louis Tuesday to award $29,623 to an environmental group that promotes a culture of walking and bicycling instead of driving.

"Trailnet advocates for creating neighborhoods where walking, biking and taking public transit is a way of life," the EPA news release said.

EPA says Trailnet’s Neighborhood Greenways St. Louis project will prevent and reduce pollution, help with watershed management, and reduce rates of obesity and asthma by making it possible for more people to walk or bike to their destinations.

Trailnet is getting the money from EPA's Environmental Justice Grant Program, which allows community groups to "develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in low-income, minority and tribal communities overburdened by harmful pollution."

According to Trailnet's website, people "value" biking and walking; people who bike tend to make shorter, more frequent trips to local stores and restaurants, spending more money overall; people traveling on foot and by bike have more opportunities to talk to neighbors, make spontaneous stops at stores, and meander through parks on their route; people are safer when there's more space on the street for bikers and walkers; and with safer streets, people who can't or don't want to drive have more options for getting to school, work, stores, or wherever they may need to go.

As reported four years ago, President Obama's first Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was a champion of using federal tax dollars to get people out of their cars and onto bicycles, walking paths or commuter transit.

In an appearance at the National Press Club in May 2009, LaHood plugged the idea of "creating opportunities for people to get out of their cars--and we're working with the secretary of HUD, Shaun Donovan, on opportunities for housing, walking paths, biking paths.” He described his vision as "livable communities.”

"Is this an effort to make driving more torturous and to coerce people out of their cars?” LaHood was asked at the event.

LaHood answered: “It is a way to coerce people out of their cars."


Ski Season Renews Calls for Federal Government to ‘Combat Climate Change’

Despite early snowfalls in many places

With the ski season underway in the United States, a petition that was announced in May asking lawmakers to address “climate change” is again in the spotlight as climate change advocates launched a video campaign on social media last week.

The 1-minute, 36-second video shows skiers in dramatic footage linked by messages about the economic benefits of the ski industry and the threat of climate change.

“We must tackle climate change to ensure #moresnowdays,” the video message states.

Ceres, a U.S.-based environmental advocacy group working for a “sustainable global economy” and its BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy) asked ski resorts and ski-related businesses to sign its “climate declaration,” which is “calling for U.S. policy action on climate change.”

“Tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century,” the declaration states.

To date, some 700 groups have signed on, ranging from Mt. Bachelor ski resort and Nike in Oregon, to the Leadership Council of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Michigan and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in Vermont.

The press release announcing the petition states that ski areas in the U.S. employ approximately 160,000 people and generate approximately $12.2 billion in annual revenue.

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) calculates that visitors to U.S. ski areas spent $5.8 billion at those resorts over the course of the 2011/2012 season, the press release states.

“The past ski season was a banner year for our guests and for our resort, but we can’t gamble on the weather in an uncertain climate,” Jerry Blann, president of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming is quoted as saying in the press release. "We have to take action.

“Resorts have made tremendous efforts to raise awareness on the issue of climate change and to adjust our operations to reduce carbon emissions and manage resources efficiently,” Blann said. "We need Washington to take those strategies seriously through stronger policies.”

According to snowfall analysis on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this season is starting out with record amounts of snow fall in the the U.S.

"During October, the wetter and cooler than average conditions across the Central and Northern Rockies and Northern Plains were associated with above-average snow,” the website states.

"According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the monthly snow cover extent across the contiguous U.S. during October was 132,000 square miles,” the web site states. "This was more than 60,000 square miles above the 1981-2010 average and the fifth largest October snow cover extent in the 46-year period of record.

"During the month, above-average snow cover was observed across the Central and Northern Rockies and the Northern Plains,” the website states



Four current articles below

Hoagy is at it again

After his own research showed that corals recover rapidly from damage, Hoagy went quiet for a couple of years -- but it looks like he is back at his old stand now. And even his fellow Warmists are predicting a temp rise of less than 4 degrees. And guess where corals thrive best -- in the warmest waters! Hoagy is a crook!

RISING sea temperatures might sound nice for us wanting to go for a warmer dip, but it could kill off the Great Barrier Reef by the end of the century, a scientist claims in a new book.

The coral would have to move 4000km southward over 100 years to survive scientists' worst-case scenario of a 4C degree rise in sea temperatures by 2100, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg says.

In his book, Four Degrees of Global Warming: Australia in a Hot World, the University of Queensland reef specialist says the outlook for the reef is bleak.

"In a four-degree world, the Great Barrier Reef will be great no longer. It would bear little resemblance to the reef we know today," he wrote.

"There is little evidence that marine resources like the Great Barrier Reef possess the resilience to withstand the impacts of a dramatically warming world." Even a more conservative 2C temperature rise estimate would likely be too much for the reef to handle, he wrote.

The death of the almost 2300km-long reef would destroy its $6 billion tourism industry as well as other areas like fishing. The book looks at how Australia will adapt to a warmer and drier climate in the next 100 years.

Warmer and more acidic seawater is a knock-on effect of increased atmospheric carbon levels.

Prof Hoegh-Guldberg wrote that sea temperatures rose by 0.5C in the 20th century but the effect is expected to speed up this century.

The result is that coral cannot move fast enough to cooler southern seas or genetically adapt fast enough to stay where they are.

"Unless we dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions which are acidifying our oceans and leading to their warming, we will face the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and serious decline in our marine resources," he wrote.


Coastal developments approved in Qld.

Greenies will all be holding their breath at the moment -- building up to a massive tanty. Note that Gladstone is South of the GBR anyway. There is no reef to speak of offshore from Gladstone

Several massive resource projects have been approved on the Great Barrier Reef coast by the federal government including the dredging and dumping of spoil near the reef and a new coal export terminal.

Environmentalists have hit out at the decision, with the WWF and the Greens saying it further industrialises and threatens the world heritage protected icon. Environmental campaigners Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Australian Marine Conservation Society, dressed as Nemo and turtles, will protest against the approval in Brisbane's CBD on Wednesday.

The projects approved by Environment Minister Greg Hunt late on Tuesday include the dredging of 3 million cubic metres of spoil - which will be dumped in the reef's waters - for the development of three coal export terminals at Abbot Point.

Mr Hunt also approved the building of a new coal terminal at Abbot Point by Indian mining giant Adani.

Approval was also given to a new processing plant for coal seam gas on Curtis Island, which includes 1.4 million cubic metres of dredging at Port Curtis and the mouth of the Calliope River near Gladstone. A pipeline to the plant - being proposed by Arrow Energy - was also approved.

In making the decision Mr Hunt said he had imposed 148 strict environmental conditions on the Abbot Point and Curtis Island developments. They included conditions to ensure the water quality impact from the dumping of dredging spoil was offset.

Mr Hunt said the offsets - which would stop sediments entering the Great Barrier Reef marine park from land sources such as farm runoff - would require an overall gain in water quality.

"It is important to note that each of these sites is already heavily industrialised and that the processes were highly advanced at the change of government," Mr Hunt said.

"The conditions I have put in place for these projects will result in an improvement in water quality and strengthen the Australian government's approach to meeting the challenges confronting the reef."

Water quality is a significant problem for the Great Barrier Reef with increasing pollutants and nutrients resulting in damage to corals, sea grass and other important marine habitats. There is also emerging evidence that poor water quality can encourage populations of a damaging starfish know as crown of thorns that has plagued the reef.

The World Heritage Committee has also been alarmed by increasing development on the reef's coast - with a number of major resource projects approved in recent years - and will consider in 2014 whether it should be placed on an "in danger" list of world heritage sites.

Richard Leck from WWF said Mr Hunt had failed the reef and had turned his back on scientific evidence of the damage dredging would cause.

"Approving a massive amount of sediment to be dumped at a time when the reef's health is so low, it really is against what the science tells us," he said.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche welcomed the decision and said it confirmed that industry could co-exist with the reef.


WA shark policy a 'cull by another name'

The Green/Left never have cared about human life, of course. Six people being attacked warrant no action at all to them. They prefer sharks to people anyway

Experts and conservationists have bitten back at Western Australia's tough new policies to prevent deadly shark attacks, which include the establishment of licensed offshore "kill zones".

Following the sixth fatal attack off the WA coast in two years last month, the state government announced tougher measures aimed at preventing attacks, but denied it was a cull.

Professional shark hunters will be paid to patrol WA waters, with a licence to kill any shark bigger than three metres spotted in designated zones spanning large parts of the metropolitan and south-west coastline.

And baited hooks will also be placed along the coast to catch sharks, with a larger strike team ready to scramble into action in the event of an attack.

Premier Colin Barnett said he knew the measures were controversial but refused to acknowledge he was sanctioning a cull.

Shark academic Christopher Neff, from Sydney University, disagreed. "This is a tool that is used to kill sharks and to reduce populations - that is by definition culling," Mr Neff said. "It is an unfortunate policy."

Two 'Marine Monitored Areas', stretching one kilometre offshore from Quinns to Warnbro in the metropolitan area, and Forest Beach to Cape Naturaliste and Prevelly in the state's south, will be established in coming weeks.

And drum lines - drums with a baited hook fixed to the ocean floor and designed to attract sharks - will be placed one kilometre from the shore of beaches and surf breaks, and will be monitored daily.

Federal environment minister Greg Hunt was consulted about the policies before they were revealed.

But Greens senator Rachel Siewert said she would move a motion in parliament calling on the federal government to maintain protection of the great white shark.

"The WA government's announcement opens the door to sharks being caught and killed. Measures based on the capture and killing of a threatened and protected species is not a responsible step," Ms Siewert said.

Piers Verstegen, director of the Conservation Council of WA, claimed the move could actually increase shark attack risk.

"This new cull policy amounts to indiscriminate fishing, and will not only cull potentially risky sharks, but we can expect to see dolphins, turtles, seals, nurse sharks and a range of other marine life killed off our beaches."

Treasurer Troy Buswell, who gains the fisheries portfolio on Wednesday admitted it was likely other marine animals would be caught with the baited hooks, and it was possible tagged sharks used for research could also be caught by the new policy.

But the government insisted public safety came first.

"This does not represent a culling of sharks. It is not a fear-driven hunt, it is a targeted, localised shark mitigation strategy," Mr Buswell said.

Experts from the University of WA - who are working with the government on research into sharks - have already said a cull would be a pointless reaction, and that a surge in shark-bite incidents off WA's coast are linked to the growing population, which means more people in the water.


Bat removal in Charters Towers in north Queensland goes off with a bang

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Charters Towers in north Queensland yesterday to see 80,000 bats driven from the town.

The sounds of horns, helicopters, gun blasts and even fireworks last night filled the air in Charters Towers to try and scare away a colony of bats that have infested a local park.

The Charters Towers council says it was forced to take the drastic action after other measures did not work.

Local residents were overjoyed to see the animals go. "They're terrible and the smell pervades everything," one resident said. "The droppings - everywhere - you can't even park your car here for one day."

Shop manager Ayla Pott says the smell of the animals drive away customers.

"It stinks, it smells - some days it's that unbearable you can't open your doors," she said.

But conservationist Priska Sussli says the removal was inhumane, because some bats were too young to fly away.

"How can people do this, why?" she said.

"It's just very bad timing to do this dispersal."

The council will use the drastic measures every morning and night for the next 10 days and monitor the park to see if the bats come back.




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


10 December, 2013

Stimulating Green electric dreams


Over the past decade, federal and state governments have significantly increased their support for nonconventional energy technologies, ranging from wind-powered electricity generators to battery-powered cars. One of the largest such programs was the Department of Energy’s Section 1705 Loan Guarantee Program—the subject of this study. The $16 billion dollar program “invested” in various failed enterprises, including Solyndra and Abound Solar. But those are just the tip of the iceberg of the DOE's poorly diversified portfolio of mostly “junk” grade investments, many of which, years later, are still “under construction.”

So why did the DOE systematically make loan guarantees to companies that are financially unsound? We found that many recipients had close ties to those in charge of approving the loan guarantees. Moroever, we found that the DOE allocated funds broadly in proportion to applicants’ lobbying expenditures. In other words, it is likely that loan guarantees were allocated not on the merits of the projects but, rather, according to the degree to which the applicants were able to use political connections.

The DOE's Section 1705 Loan Guarantee Scheme represents a multi-billion dollar transfer from taxpayers to political cronies. But if that weren't bad enough, this green cronyism likely undermined the very thing it was supposed to support: by encouraging private investment in unduly risky projects, it diverted money away from more sustainable projects that might actually result in environmental improvements.

To protect taxpayers from further waste and to increase the sustainability of investments in technologies that result in environmental protection, the government should stop guaranteeing loans for “green” energy projects immediately.

Much more HERE

Our Fragile Planet

Walter E. Williams

Let's examine a few statements reflecting a vision thought to be beyond question. "The world that we live in is beautiful but fragile." "The 3rd rock from the sun is a fragile oasis." Here are a couple of Earth Day quotes: "Remember that Earth needs to be saved every single day." "Remember the importance of taking care of our planet. It's the only home we have!" Such statements, along with apocalyptic predictions, are stock in trade for environmental extremists and non-extremists alike. Worse yet is the fact that this fragile-earth indoctrination is fed to our youth from kindergarten through college. Let's examine just how fragile the earth is.

The 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, in present-day Indonesia, had the force of 200 megatons of TNT. That's the equivalent of 13,300 15-kiloton atomic bombs, the kind that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. Preceding that eruption was the 1815 Tambora eruption, also in present-day Indonesia, which holds the record as the largest known volcanic eruption. It spewed so much debris into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight, that 1816 became known as the "Year Without a Summer" or "Summer That Never Was." It led to crop failures and livestock death in much of the Northern Hemisphere and caused the worst famine of the 19th century. The A.D. 535 Krakatoa eruption had such force that it blotted out much of the light and heat of the sun for 18 months and is said to have led to the Dark Ages. Geophysicists estimate that just three volcanic eruptions, Indonesia (1883), Alaska (1912) and Iceland (1947), spewed more carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere than all of mankind's activities in our entire history.

How has our fragile earth handled floods? China is probably the world capital of gigantic floods. The 1887 Yellow River flood cost between 900,000 and 2 million lives. China's 1931 flood was worse, yielding an estimated death toll between 1 million and 4 million. But China doesn't have a monopoly on floods. Between 1219 and 1530, the Netherlands experienced floods costing about 250,000 lives.

What about the impact of earthquakes on our fragile earth? There's Chile's 1960 Valdivia earthquake, coming in at 9.5 on the Richter scale, a force equivalent to 1,000 atomic bombs going off at the same time. The deadly 1556 earthquake in China's Shaanxi province devastated an area of 520 miles. There's the more recent December 2004 magnitude-9.1 earthquake in the Indian Ocean that caused the deadly Boxing Day tsunami, and a deadly March 2011 magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck eastern Japan.

Our fragile earth faces outer space terror. Two billion years ago, an asteroid hit earth, creating the Vredefort crater in South Africa. It has a radius of 118 miles, making it the world's largest impact crater. In Ontario, there's the Sudbury Basin, resulting from a meteor strike 1.8 billion years ago, which has an 81-mile diameter, making it the second-largest impact structure on earth. Virginia's Chesapeake Bay crater is a bit smaller, about 53 miles wide. Then there's the famous but puny Meteor Crater in Arizona, which is not even a mile wide.

I've pointed out only a tiny portion of the cataclysmic events that have struck the earth -- ignoring whole categories, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning strikes, fires, blizzards, landslides and avalanches. Despite these cataclysmic events, the earth survived. My question is: Which of these powers of nature can be matched by mankind? For example, can mankind duplicate the polluting effects of the 1815 Tambora volcanic eruption or the asteroid impact that wiped out dinosaurs? It is the height of arrogance to think that mankind can make significant parametric changes in the earth or can match nature's destructive forces.

Occasionally, environmentalists spill the beans and reveal their true agenda. Barry Commoner said, "Capitalism is the earth's number one enemy." Amherst College professor Leo Marx said, "On ecological grounds, the case for world government is beyond argument." With the decline of the USSR, communism has lost considerable respectability and is now repackaged as environmentalism and progressivism.


Same old New Scientist

Same old New Scientist. Their editorial today is desperately poor stuff, at best demonstrating a comical lack of understanding of the lukewarmer case and at worst deliberately mispresenting it.

[Sceptics] have been emboldened by scientists' acknowledgment that temperatures on the planet's surface have risen less sharply than expected in recent years. The scientists say that's down to natural variability; the doubters say it is a sign that climate change amounts to little more than ignorable, or even beneficial, "lukewarming".....

But it is misguided to focus only on the temperature of the thin layer of air that we live in. That is just one of many important indicators. In particular, the oceans are warming too: recent research suggests that in the last 60 years the Pacific's depths have warmed 15 times as fast as at any time in the previous 10,000 years.

Leave aside the fact that for years, upholders of the global warming consensus and their supporters in New Scientist focused relentlessly on surface temperatures. Leave aside the fact that people like Pielke Sr who called for a focus on ocean heat content were damned as heretics or the paid mouthpieces of oil companies. Consider instead the fact that the basis of the lukewarmer case is not based on the hiatus in surface temperature rises, it is that climate sensitivity is low. And climate sensitivity calculations take ocean heat content changes into account.

One wonders if the author took the trouble to actually find out what the lukewarmer argument is before criticising it.


A Heap of bull from the European Academies Science Advisory Council (whatever that is)

No statistics mentioned, no graphs provided. Why? Because it's all happened before and the trend is benign if anything

Many people could die as extreme weather becomes common. There will be more freak winds like the October storm, which killed four people.

Heatwaves will be lethal and the sea level will rise, leaving coastal towns at risk of being swamped by storm surges.

Sir Brian Heap, president of the European Academies Science Advisory Council, said he felt “obliged” to issue the warning after a new study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It comes on the back of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which has killed more than 5,000 people.

Sir Brian said: “Given the tragic events this year in the rest of the world and the recent IPCC report, EASAC feels obliged to draw attention to the growing impact of extreme weather in Europe.”

The continent’s leading experts had made a detailed study of likely extreme weather, he said.

Sir Brian warned: “From the major loss of lives in heatwaves to the economic and human costs of floods and storms, the implications are worrying.

“They present the European Union and Member States with significant challenges in preparing Europe for a future with greater frequency of extreme weather.”


Axe carbon tax to keep Britain's lights on and cut energy bills, says ScottishPower chief

Britain's unilateral carbon tax should be scrapped before it causes blackouts, pushes up household bills and makes the UK uncompetitive, ScottishPower argues.

Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer, warns that the “carbon price floor” (CPF), which taxes companies for burning fossil fuels, will make Britain’s remaining coal plants “largely uneconomic by around the middle of the decade”.

With Britain’s spare power margin already forecast to fall as low as 2pc by 2015, the carbon tax will force more closures and “threatens to make us even more vulnerable to the risk of blackouts”, he warns.

Writing in Monday’s Telegraph, Mr Anderson also calls for a review of Britain’s £12bn programme to install “smart” electricity and gas meters in every home, suggesting costs should be cut to reduce the impact on consumer bills.

Several coal-fired power plants have already shut this year under EU rules to help curb acid rain and pollution. About a dozen plants remain operational and provide about 40pc of UK power; ScottishPower’s own Longannet coal plant powers about one-quarter of Scottish homes.

But a combination of further EU rules and the carbon tax, which increases steeply every year, means most of these coal plants may be forced to close by 2015 or 2016.

“Abolishing the CPF, or freezing it at the current rate, would help to reduce upward pressure on bills, improve UK competiveness and help in cost effectively maintaining security of supply,” Mr Anderson says. “We estimate that abolishing it could save some £33 from a typical dual fuel bill in 2015/16; freezing it at the current rate from April 2014 would save around £24.”

Manufacturing bodies and consumer groups both attacked the Chancellor for failing to cut or scrap the carbon tax in last week’s Autumn Statement, despite the Prime Minister's pledge to “roll back” green levies.

Mr Anderson also calls for other changes to reduce customer bills, including “a careful review” of the £12bn programme to install meters that send automatic gas and electricity usage readings back to suppliers. His comments come as both EDF and Centrica called for greater co-operation between politicians and companies to address rising bills and keep the lights on.

Ministers hope new wind farms and gas plants will replace old coal plants but investment in both is stalling amid policy uncertainty.

The Government wants some coal plants to convert to burn biomass instead and is offering subsidies for plants to do so. The giant Drax and Eggborough coal-fired power stations are both pursuing this option. However, Eggborough’s plans are now in disarray after ministers announced last week an annual cap on subsidies, which appears too low for both projects to go ahead.

Eggborough, which supplies about 4pc of UK power, hoped to start conversion in January but is now waiting to find out whether it will get the necessary subsidies.

Neil O’Hara, Eggborough’s chief said: “The carbon price floor means just at a time where the UK desperately needs to keep capacity on the grid, it becomes very difficult to see... whether it will be economic to run past 2015.

“It’s a race against time for affordable, shovel-ready projects like Eggborough to convert [to biomass]. Time is running out and the signals from Government are currently highly contradictory.”


Australia: Sea levels no longer included in State Government planning

THE State Government has controversially removed sea level rises from planning policy so as not to inhibit development and to allow councils greater independence in deciding development issues.

The move has been dubbed a major legal and insurance nightmare, with the potential to send councils broke because a forecast 0.8m rise by 2100 has the potential to cause billions of dollars in damage.

Although 35,000 Queensland homes are at risk of inundation, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the Government would not apply an arbitrary, blanket ruling on sea levels.

"We believe local governments are the best placed to make planning decisions according to their local circumstances and their communities and we are empowering them to do so," Mr Seeney said.

"Under the State Planning Policy, the State will still require councils to consider coastal storm surges and other natural hazards in preparing their local planning schemes.

"Queensland is not alone in adopting this approach. The NSW Government determined the same policy framework for their planning schemes a year ago."

Local Government Association of Queensland chief executive Greg Hallam said the issue was a legal minefield.

He said it could send councils broke and impact on residents because it might not be possible to insure properties in low-lying areas in future.

If the Government chose not to accept sea level rises, then councils should receive indemnity.

"We've been very clear on this. The Government can't have it both ways," he said. "If they don't think sea level rises will occur, fine, indemnify us."

Opposition environment spokeswoman Jackie Trad said the Government had abandoned any pretence of believing in or planning for the effects of any climate change.

"Because the Newman Government is refusing to act on climate change, future generations will have to pay the cost of coastal rehabilitation and repairing or relocating infrastructure and property damaged as a result of sea level rises," she said.

The Climate Commission has warned that scientific consensus on warming leading to sea level rises, heatwaves, bushfires and drought has strengthened.

Mr Hallam said the LGAQ accepted that sea level rises occurred but no one knew to what level they might go.

Ms Trad said developers would not have to deal with the consequences of bad planning laws, it would be average Queenslanders who would pay higher taxes and struggle to find home insurance.

Mr Hallam said the LGAQ as an organisation also was exposed because it owned Local Government Mutual Liability, the council insurer.

Mr Seeney declined to say whether he believed in sea level rises, if councils would be indemnified or who would pay for development which might be impacted. "...People should have the right to make up their own minds as to whether or not they'd like to live and work close to the ocean," he said.

A leaked Property and Infrastructure Cabinet Committee paper says: "Any local government that elects to include some allowance for sea level rise in their planning schemes will need to justify that the state interests relating to economic development are not materially affected by this."

The worst hit areas are deemed to be Cairns, Mackay, Hervey Bay and the Gold Coast.

Mr Seeney said the SPP was landmark reform that would revolutionise the way councils, the development and construction industry and the State worked together.




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


9 December, 2013

That "buried" heat again

A couple of Warmist old campaigners have just published an article in a semi-academic journal saying that surface winds have been burying lots of heat in the ocean depths -- How? It's an extraordinary claim by any standards.

The abstract is below and note the weak claim that the ocean deeps have "apparently" been absorbing lots of heat lately. That is a clear admission that they cannot prove it. Since temperatures at the depths of the ocean normally vary by only hundredths of a degree they would be hard put to prove their assertion. The whole article is just a statement of faith

I call "Earth's Future" a semi academic journal because it presents itself as a "trans-disciplinary journal exploring global change and sustainability". It would clearly be more apt to describe it as a campaigning journal.

An apparent hiatus in global warming?

Kevin E. Trenberth, John T. Fasullo


Global warming first became evident beyond the bounds of natural variability in the 1970s, but increases in global mean surface temperatures have stalled in the 2000s. Increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, create an energy imbalance at the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) even as the planet warms to adjust to this imbalance, which is estimated to be 0.5–1?W?m?2 over the 2000s. Annual global fluctuations in TOA energy of up to 0.2?W?m?2 occur from natural variations in clouds, aerosols, and changes in the Sun. At times of major volcanic eruptions the effects can be much larger. Yet global mean surface temperatures fluctuate much more than these can account for. An energy imbalance is manifested not just as surface atmospheric or ground warming but also as melting sea and land ice, and heating of the oceans. More than 90% of the heat goes into the oceans and, with melting land ice, causes sea level to rise. For the past decade, more than 30% of the heat has apparently penetrated below 700?m depth that is traceable to changes in surface winds mainly over the Pacific in association with a switch to a negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) in 1999. Surface warming was much more in evidence during the 1976–1998 positive phase of the PDO, suggesting that natural decadal variability modulates the rate of change of global surface temperatures while sea-level rise is more relentless. Global warming has not stopped; it is merely manifested in different ways.


Newly translated Russian paper says that a new ice age is the real threat

Grand Minimum of the Total Solar Irradiance Leads to the Little Ice Age

Habibullo Abdussamatov


Significant climate variations during the past 7.5 millennia indicate that bicentennial quasi-periodic TSI variations define a corresponding cyclic mechanism of climatic changes from global warmings to Little Ice Ages and set the timescales of practically all physical processes taking place in the Sun-Earth system. Quasi-bicentennial cyclic variations of the TSI entering the Earth’s upper atmosphere are the main fundamental cause of corresponding alternations of climate variations. At the same time, more long-term variations of the annual average of the TSI due to changes in the shape of the Earth's orbit, inclination of the Earth's axis relative to its orbital plane, and precession, known as the astronomical Milankovitch cycles, together with the subsequent feedback effects, lead to the Big Glacial Periods (with the period of about 100,000 years).


German scientists predict global temperature will decline throughout this century

German scientists contend that two natural cycles will combine to lower global temperatures throughout the 21st Century.

The scientists show that there is an approximate 200-year solar cycle, supported by historical temperature data and proxy data from stalagmites in caves. “The solar activity agrees well with the terrestrial climate. It clearly shows in particular all historic temperature minima.”

There is also an approximate 65-year cycle of the Atlantic/Pacific oscillation (AMO/PDO) which is well-established by multiple lines of observations.

The 200-year solar cycle has just passed its maximum and will decline during the 21st Century. It is at least in part responsible for the warming of the last decades of the 20th Century. The AMO/PDO cycle is also beginning its cool phase and will reach a minimum in 2035.

The scientists say that “Non-periodic processes like a warming through the monotonic increase of CO2 in the atmosphere could cause at most 0.1°C to 0.2°C warming for a doubling of the CO2 content, as it is expected for 2100.” This positive forcing will be overwhelmed by the stronger negative forcing of natural cycles. They conclude that “the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the “little ice age” of 1870.” Read more here. Below is a graph of historical temperatures and temperature predictions.

2100 temp prediction

This work has been published in two papers:

H.-J. Lüdecke, A. Hempelmann, and C.O. Weiss: Multi-periodic climate dynamics: spectral analysis of long-term instrumental and proxy temperature records, clim. past, 9, 447-452, 2013

F. Steinhilber and J. Beer, Prediction of solar activity for the next 500 years, Jour. Geophys. Res. Space Phys., Vol. 118, 1861-1867 (2013)


The choice may be global warming or a new Ice Age, say scientists

Yeb Sano, leader of the Philippines delegation to November’s UN climate conference in Warsaw, doubtless spoke for many when he implicated global warming for the Super Typhoon Haiyan, which has so far claimed more than 5,000 lives and left 500,000 homeless.

There can be no doubting his sincerity. Yet while he is not alone in seeing the disaster as proof of the reality of calamitous climate change, few scientists have been happy to make the connection.

They are all too aware of falling for the notorious fallacy known to logicians as post hoc, ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this).

Many, perhaps most, scientists are convinced that global warming is taking place, and it seems that more violent storms are a natural consequence.

Higher temperatures mean more thermal energy being packed into the oceans, and more powerful convective currents, resulting in more powerful storms.

Yet scientists have long recognised that climatic phenomena are rarely that simple. In the case of tropical storms, the processes are still too poorly understood to make sense of the latest spate of severe storms.

Indeed, there is no clarity even about so basic a fact as whether such storms are becoming more common. While tropical cyclone intensity has increased since the 1970s, the trend is within the normal range of long-term historical records.

It does seem that such storms are causing more damage, but that could reflect the fact that there are just more people and buildings in harm’s way. The population of the Philippines has doubled since the mid-1970s, with some predicting it will exceed 100 million in the next year.

Yet whatever the reality of a link between climate change and Typhoon Haiyan, the chances of Mr Sano’s conference plea to combat global warming leading to action are low to zero.

Barely had he sat down than the government of Japan announced a new greenhouse gas emission target that allows an increase rather than a drastic cut over coming years. Other governments, most recently Australia and Canada, have made their lack of enthusiasm for drastic action no less clear.

So are we now condemned to seeing ever more climate-related tragedies? If so, the blame will certainly lie with mankind alone – at least, that is what environmentalists would have us believe. By disturbing the balance of nature, they argue, disaster will surely follow.

Once again, however, climate science is revealing a more complex reality. Evidence increasingly suggests that man-made global warming may actually be preventing a worldwide calamity, in the form of a new Ice Age.

Despite its pejorative image, the “greenhouse effect” of our atmosphere is all that stands between us and our being plunged into the bitter cold of the space around the Earth.

It keeps us warm by trapping the sun’s heat using molecules of certain gases – notably carbon dioxide and methane – in the atmosphere.

The heat we get from the sun ebbs and flows over millennia according to changes in the Earth’s orbit and orientation in space.

And calculations suggest we should have been heading back into a terrible Ice Age for the past few thousand years.

Fortunately this hasn’t happened – but why not?

Around a decade ago, a team of climate scientists led by Prof William Ruddiman of the University of Virginia suggested that humans may have been holding off the next Ice Age through our wilful production of greenhouse gases.

These are usually thought of as products of the Industrial Revolution. But Prof Ruddiman and his colleagues pointed out that basic agricultural practices, such as crop planting and deforestation, generate hefty amounts of carbon dioxide and methane – and perhaps even enough to cancel out the Big Chill that should have set in over the past few thousand years.

The idea has received a predictably frosty reception from environmentalists. But studies have since shown that greenhouse gases did indeed rise about 5,000 to 8,000 years ago – in line with the origins of large-scale agriculture in Asia and extensive deforestation in Europe.

Now fresh evidence that we humans are holding off an Ice Age has emerged. The journal Science has just published research by a team led by geochemist Prof Logan Mitchell at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, who have compared methane levels trapped in ancient ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica.

The significance of the two locations is that human population growth has been different over the northern and southern hemisphere. So if methane levels have risen as the result of human activity – as Prof Ruddiman originally claimed – the ice cores from each hemisphere should show a different rate of increase in methane levels.

The team has now confirmed a substantial rise in methane in ice-core samples dating back up to 2,800 years. Crucially, however, the rise was bigger in the northern hemisphere, and could only be explained by including human activity – such as rice cultivation.

All this serves to underline the dangers of simplistic thinking in our approach to climate change. Trying to prevent it through drastic reduction of greenhouse gases may have disastrous consequences.

The cause of the calamities that have struck the Philippines is no more certain.

But when it comes to climate change, both science and history suggest adaptation is the surest route to safety.


Polar Ice Caps Are Global Warming Deniers

Southern Hemisphere polar ice extent set new records this week, combining with fairly average Northern Hemisphere polar ice extent to set the final stages of a year marked by above-average global polar ice extent. Polar ice caps, apparently, are global warming deniers, attacking the science of alarmist global warming predictions.

Average Southern Hemisphere polar sea ice extent during November 2013 was nearly 1 million square kilometers above the long-term average.

When polar ice happens to be below average in a given year, global warming alarmists cite the annual departure from the long-term mean as proof of a human-induced global warming crisis. During years like 2013, when polar ice extent is above the long-term average, global warming alarmists are largely silent on the topic.

Importantly, even if the years with below-average polar ice extent began to form a meaningful trend, this in itself would not constitute a global warming crisis. Polar ice retreat would merely reflect warming temperatures, even if the warming is modest and benign. During recent years when global polar ice extent has been below normal, it has been Northern Hemisphere polar ice – floating in the Arctic Ocean – driving the global trend. When floating sea ice melts, it does nothing to raise global sea levels.

Southern Hemisphere polar ice, resting primarily on the Antarctic continent, has been consistently expanding during the 30-plus years since NASA/NOAA satellites first began precisely measuring polar ice extent.


Almost 1000 record low max temps vs 17 record high temps

Let’s face it. The idea of human-caused global warming is a con job.

Records in the last 7 days:
205 snowfall records.
969 Low Max. 203 Low temps.
17 High Temp.
61 High minimum.

Yes, those are snowfall records in Texas. And yes, it is still Fall.

Thanks to Ralph Fato for this link. “I must of missed this,” says Ralph. “Was this on the news?”




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


8 December, 2013


Agnotology is the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data -- and the Warmists are very shrill in saying that skeptics do that -- e.g. here -- so I thought it is time I mentioned it.

There is an excellent and thorough rebuttal of the Warmist claims here, focusing on the Warmist claims just mentioned. The paper is behind a paywall but is a great read if you do have access to the whole thing. I reproduce below the abstract and a paragraph I particularly like. The old 97% consensus claim has been thoroughly debunked many times but it is worth noting that the claim is unscientific in the first place

Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation’: A Rejoinder to Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change

By David R. Legates, Willie Soon, William M. Briggs & Christopher Monckton of Brenchley


Agnotology is the study of how ignorance arises via circulation of misinformation calculated to mislead. Legates et al. (Sci Educ 22:2007–2017, 2013) had questioned the applicability of agnotology to politically-charged debates. In their reply, Bedford and Cook (Sci Educ 22:2019–2030, 2013), seeking to apply agnotology to climate science, asserted that fossil-fuel interests had promoted doubt about a climate consensus. Their definition of climate ‘misinformation’ was contingent upon the post-modernist assumptions that scientific truth is discernible by measuring a consensus among experts, and that a near unanimous consensus exists. However, inspection of a claim by Cook et al. (Environ Res Lett 8:024024, 2013) of 97.1 % consensus, heavily relied upon by Bedford and Cook, shows just 0.3 % endorsement of the standard definition of consensus: that most warming since 1950 is anthropogenic. Agnotology, then, is a two-edged sword since either side in a debate may claim that general ignorance arises from misinformation allegedly circulated by the other. Significant questions about anthropogenic influences on climate remain. Therefore, Legates et al. appropriately asserted that partisan presentations of controversies stifle debate and have no place in education.

And a paragraph:

As Legates et al. (2013) had argued, the philosophy of science allows no role for head-count statistics. Aristotle’s Sophistical Refutations, (circa 350 B.C.), codi?ed the argument from consensus, later labeled by the medieval schoolmen as the argumentum ad populum or head-count fallacy, as one of the dozen commonest logical fallacies in human discourse. Al-Haytham, the eleventh-century philosopher of science who is credited as the father of the scienti?c method, wrote that ‘‘the seeker after truth’’ (i.e., the scientist) places no faith in mere consensus, however venerable. The English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley (1866) wrote ‘‘The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such…For him, skepticism is the highest of duties, blind faith the one unpardonable sin.’’

Global sea ice extent at highest level since 1994

The southern hemisphere sea ice areal extent continues its recent impressive run at daily record high levels when compared to all prior years in the satellite record-keeping era which began in 1979. This stretch of daily record high sea ice areal extent in the southern hemisphere has actually been occurring for the past several weeks. In fact, the southern hemisphere sea ice areal extent has had quite an amazing run during the past few years from below normal levels to the current well above normal values (above map courtesy University of Illinois "cryosphere"). On a global basis, sea ice areal extent is currently above normal and, in fact, has now reached levels not seen since around 1994 - thanks in large part to the happenings in the southern hemisphere.


The author adds that changes at the North pole are mixed but fails to confront the fact that the ice at both poles should be shrinking according to global warming theory.

Climate Change Moving Down Americans’ Foreign Policy Priority List

The number of Americans who think “dealing with global climate change” should be a top U.S. foreign policy goal continues to fall in a poll that has tracked the issue since the 1990s, and five years under an administration more inclined to make it an issue does not appear to have stemmed the slide.

The latest Pew Research Center poll surveying Americans’ foreign policy goals also found a significant partisan difference when it comes to the importance of prioritizing climate change.

Out of 11 foreign policy goals featured in the poll released Wednesday, climate change ranks fourth from the bottom, with 37 percent of respondents saying it should be a top priority. That has dropped slowly but steadily from 50 percent in 1997, to 44 in 2001, 43 in 2005 and 40 in 2009.

Of the other goals, “protecting U.S. from terrorist attacks” and “protecting U.S. jobs” get the most support, at 83 and 81 percent respectively, while “promoting democracy in other nations” gets the least, at 18 percent.

Unlike the climate change goal’s downward movement, most of the others have risen and fallen in importance at various times over the years of polling, although “reducing dependence on imported energy” has dropped since 2005 (from 67 to 61 percent) and “promoting democracy in other nations,” after climbing from 1997 to 2001 (from 22 to 29 percent), has dropped steadily ever since.

The other goals featured are “preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction” (73 percent in 2013) “combating international drug trafficking” (57 percent), “reducing illegal immigration” (48 percent), “strengthening the United Nations” (37 percent), “promoting and defending human rights in other countries” (33 percent) and “helping improve living standards in developing nations” (23 percent).

Pew also tracked the differences between Republicans’ and Democrats’ views on the 11 foreign policy goals, and found that the widest gap – a difference of 41 points – applies to climate change: Fifty-seven percent of Democrats, and only 16 percent of Republicans, believe it should be a U.S. foreign policy priority.

The next biggest partisan gaps relate to strengthening the U.N. (50 percent Democrats vs. 25 percent Republicans) and illegal immigration (62 percent Republicans vs. 38 percent Democrats).

An earlier Pew poll found that Republicans associated with the tea party account for most of the skepticism about global warming: Just 25 percent of tea party Republicans agreed there was “solid evidence the earth is warming” compared to 61 percent of non-tea party Republicans. Eighty-four percent of Democrats shared that belief.

But even among the non-tea party Republican respondents in that survey, only 32 percent said human activity was to blame, while 24 percent attributed warming to “natural patterns.”

Overall, fewer than half of the respondents of all political persuasions (44 percent) believed human activity is to blame.

The continuing downward trend in prioritizing climate change in foreign policy comes despite the fact that President Obama has, in the words of Secretary of State John Kerry, placed the issue “back on the front burner where it belongs.”

Attributing climate change to human activity is a view strongly held by senior administration officials. Kerry himself, who as a senator was an outspoken advocate, has prioritized the issue of human-induced global warming as America’s top diplomat. He recently declared himself “amazed” that some Americans do not recognize the urgency of climate change “for life itself on the planet as we know it.”

His predecessor at the State Department, Hillary Clinton, said in May 2011, “there is no doubt, except among those who are into denying the facts before their eyes, that climate change is occurring, and it is contributed to by human actions at every level.”

In its most recent report, released last September, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that global warming is “unequivocal” and that it is “extremely likely” that human activity has been the main cause.

That was stronger language than appeared in the IPCC’s previous report, in 2007, which asserted that global warming was “very likely” man-made.

A year ago, a peer-reviewed journal published the results of a survey of more than 1,000 professional engineers’ and geoscientists’ views on climate change, and found that only 36 percent fitted into a group that “express[ed] the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”

“They are the only group to see the scientific debate as mostly settled and the IPCC modeling to be accurate,” the survey found.

The rest of the respondents, with slight variations, expressed varying degrees of skepticism about the causes of climate change, the extent of risk it poses, and the accuracy of IPCC modeling.


Fail: US Has Wasted $154 Billion on 'Renewable Energy'

On Thursday, the Associated Press reports, “President Barack Obama is ordering the federal government to nearly triple its use of renewable sources for electricity by 2020.”

In October, the Department of Energy announced $60 million in subsidies for solar energy research and development programs as part of the SunShot Initiative. The primary goals of the program are to reduce the cost of photovoltaic solar energy systems by 75 percent and to double the generation of clean energy in the U.S. over the next 25 years—goals that are probably unachievable.

These announcements come on the heels of the recent bankruptcy of the government-subsidized electric vehicle technology company ECOtality, which received $115 million in federal stimulus grants. Of course, that followed the multimillion dollar failures of solar energy companies Solyndra ($529 million) and Abound Solar ($70 million). With last week’s bankruptcy filing by government-backed hybrid car manufacturer Fisker Automotive, a failure which will cost taxpayers $139 million, the question must be asked: Why is the federal government funneling good taxpayer money to bad companies and failing technologies?

The answer may be that cronyism and influence often decide where these loans and subsidies go. In a new study published this week by Reason Foundation, we examined the loan guarantees made by the Department of Energy (DOE) under its “Section 1705” program from 2009 to 2011, which were part of the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act. We looked at lobbying expenditures by recipient companies and correlated them with the size of loan guarantees received. We found a correlation suggesting that the DOE made choices on the basis of the information that was most cognitively available – information provided by lobbyists – rather than on the basis of the viability of the technology and the soundness of the company applying for the subsidies.

In some cases we found evidence of even more direct forms of cronyism. For instance, during his tenure as governor of Maine, now U.S. Senator Angus King signed into law a bill requiring utilities to generate at least 30 percent of their electricity from “green” sources such as wind. After leaving the governor’s office, he founded a wind-energy company, Independence Wind, whose first project, Record Hill Wind, received a $102 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy — and King received a $407,000 “success” fee. The loan guarantee almost looks like a pat on the back from the DOE for King’s efforts in promoting their agenda while he was governor of Maine.

The worst part is that these crony subsidies and loan guarantees aren’t even going to particularly sound companies or innovative forms of technology. Twenty-two out of the 26 projects funded through the Section 1705 program were rated “junk” level investments. Yet, they were given millions in taxpayer dollars. To date, only four of the projects have been completed and three of the companies receiving Section 1705 loan guarantees have already gone bankrupt. Several other recipients, including SoloPower and the Spanish company Abengoa Solar, are in the process of laying off workers, selling off equipment, and are not paying contractors for services provided.

The DOE’s lack of skin in the game means that they have less incentive to ensure that the money they spend is wisely invested in the best technologies, and in the best companies. It’s much easier to lobby or hoodwink the government into investing in a bad company because unlike a venture capital firm, the money they’re playing with isn’t their own— it’s yours.

Since 1973, U.S. government agencies have spent $154.7 billion on “renewable energy” with very little to show for it. Proponents of solar technology claim that their favored technology is on the verge of being competitive with traditional forms of energy, but they have made the same claim since at least the mid-1990s. Billions of dollars in subsidies later, solar still only comprises at most 0.2 percent of U.S. electricity production according to the Energy Information Administration.

“Green” energy subsidies benefit the politically connected while harming future generations as hundreds of millions of dollars are added to the country’s debt burden with each green failure. It’s time to end all subsidies—for all energy companies, not just green ones—and let the best technologies win.


The Energy Department's Solar Cronyism

The Department of Energy recently announced another $60 million in subsidies for solar energy. Yet the billions of dollars the government has already spent subsidizing solar and other forms of "renewable" energy have done little but line the pockets of cronies. Worse, these subsidies have likely reduced investment in truly innovative energy technologies. Instead of throwing good money after bad -- and thereby increasing further the debts that will fall on our children -- the federal government should terminate this line item of discretionary spending.

The new subsidies are part of the department's SunShot Initiative, the primary stated goals of which are to reduce the cost of photovoltaic solar-energy systems by about 75percent -- to $1 per watt -- by 2020 and to help reach President Obama's goal of doubling the generation of clean energy in the U.S. over the next 25 years. Even renewable-energy advocates admit that these goals are probably unachievable. Worse, solar subsidies divert energy investments away from more productive uses that would more effectively reduce emissions.

Over the course of the past decade, the United States has shifted dramatically to the use of lower-carbon fuels, but almost none of that shift has come from solar. According to the Energy Information Administration, solar currently contributes at most 0.2 percent of U.S. electricity production -- an amount that makes even geothermal (at 0.4 percent) look significant. While a small part of the shift toward low-carbon generation has come from so-called "renewable" energy (specifically, windmills, which now generate about 3 percent of electricity -- up from 0.3 percent in 2003), the vast majority has come from natural gas, which went from about 17 percent of electricity production in 2003 to 30 percent in 2012. And the switch to gas was driven by the widespread adoption of hydraulic fracturing as a means of extracting gas from shale deposits.

Solar's market share is low because solar power is very expensive compared to the alternatives for most applications under most circumstances. Solar power is great if you happen to be trekking in remote parts of the world that lack distributed electricity. It is not so great if you want to heat your home at night during the winter. Solar propagandists claim that their favored technology is within spitting distance of competitiveness. But they have made the same claim since at least the mid-1990s. And for decades the government has been providing subsidies -- with no end in sight.

In a paper published this week by the Reason Foundation, we examined one such subsidy, the loan guarantees made by the Department of Energy under its "Section 1705" program from 2009 to 2011, which were part of the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act. If the DOE wanted to increase the amount of power produced from low-carbon sources, it would make sense to fund the low-carbon sources that are most cost effective and therefore most likely to be self-sustaining once the subsidies end. But we found that was not the case.

Out of the 26 projects funded under the 1705 program, only four have been completed, and the company behind one of those projects, Beacon Power, actually went bankrupt shortly after the project was finished. Two recipients, Abound Solar and Solyndra, went into bankruptcy before their projects were even completed, leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab of close to a billion dollars with nothing to show for it. Meanwhile, several other recipients, including SoloPower and the Spanish company Abengoa Solar, are in the process of laying off workers and selling off equipment, and are not paying contractors for services provided.

In all, while the DOE was not required to put any money into solar projects specifically, it chose to give such projects 83 percent of the funds it allocated under this program, amounting to guarantees for $13 billion. So what drove the choice of recipients? We looked at expenditures on lobbying by recipient companies and correlated them with the size of loan guarantees received. Excluding companies whose main business is not renewable energy generation, because their lobbying expenditures (sometimes massive) would likely be more geared towards influencing their primary mode of business and not necessarily obtaining green-energy loans, we found a correlation of nearly 0.5, suggesting that DOE loan officers made choices on the basis of the information that was most cognitively available -- because it had been fed to them by lobbyists -- rather than on the basis of a more rational analysis.

But in some cases, we found evidence of more sinister and direct cronyism. For instance, during his tenure as governor of Maine, Angus King signed into law a bill requiring utilities to generate at least 30 percent of their electricity from "green" sources such as wind. After leaving office, he founded a wind-energy company, Independence Wind, whose first project, Record Hill Wind, received a $102 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, in relation to which King received a $407,000 "success" fee.

Even if cronyism were absent, the fact that government agencies are not spending their own money would mean that they have less incentive to ensure that the money they spend -- our money -- is wisely invested. By contrast, angel investors and venture capitalists who spend their own funds have strong incentives to invest wisely. So it hardly surprising that the $154.7 billion that has been spent on "renewable energy" by U.S. government agencies since 1973 has achieved very little.

The recent partial shutdown of the federal government reminds us that we are currently living beyond our means. Every dollar issued in loan guarantees and other subsidies to renewable-energy companies comes from debt issued on our behalf. On present projections, our children and even our children's children will still be paying off the federal debt. Is it morally acceptable to force our children to pay off debt that primarily benefits a few of today's already-wealthy investors, while doing nothing to improve their lot? Our children would, we think, thank us if the federal government stopped subsidizing energy and furloughed the loan officers at the DOE permanently.


Electricity Blackouts Could Result from Green Energy Grid Woes

I am a technological optimist. Given enough time and the proper institutions, e.g., property rights, free markets, human beings can innovate around just about any problem, and create more wealth to boot. But do those conditions exist for the massive rollout of solar and wind energy that some policymakers and activists are demanding be done in response to their concerns about climate change?

An article, "Power Struggle: Green Energy versus a grid that's not ready," in today's Los Angeles Times looks into the problem of integrating the highly variable sources of renewable power into the electrical grid. As one power engineer asserted to me years ago, electricity is the only product that must be delivered to millions of customers as soon as it's produced and in the exact amounts that they want. As the Times reports:

Nobody can say for certain when the wind will blow or the sun will shine. A field of solar panels might be cranking out huge amounts of energy one minute and a tiny amount the next if a thick cloud arrives. In many cases, renewable sources exist where transmission lines don't.

"The grid is not built for renewable," said Trieu Mai, senior analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The frailty imperils lofty goals for greenhouse gas reductions. Concerned state and federal officials are spending billions of dollars in ratepayer and taxpayer money in an effort to hasten technological breakthroughs needed for the grid to keep up with the demands of clean energy.

How much money? The article cites a study suggesting as much as $1 trillion must be spent by 2030 to enable the grid to manage fickle renewable energy supplies. One paradox is that renewables can overload the grid forcing operators to dump power. As the Times reports:

Officials at the California Independent System Operator, which manages the grid in California, say renewable energy producers are making the juggling act increasingly complex.

"We're getting to the point where we will have to pay people not to produce power," said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, a system operator board member.

If federal and state governments insist on subsidizing low-carbon electrical power generation (and I am against all such subsidies), why not subsidize power sources that provide stable, rather than whimsical, supplies? Like, say, nuclear power? Perhaps small modular reactors or traveling wave reactors.

As I have explained elsewhere, I am attracted to the development of liquid fluoride thorium reactors because I think them "technically sweet":

One innovative approach to using nuclear energy to produce electricity safely is to develop thorium reactors. Thorium is a naturally occurring radioactive element, which, unlike certain isotopes of uranium, cannot sustain a nuclear chain reaction. However, thorium can be doped with enough uranium or plutonium to sustain such a reaction. Liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTR) have a lot to recommend them with regard to safety. Fueled by a molten mixture of thorium and uranium dissolved in fluoride salts of lithium and beryllium at atmospheric pressure, LFTRs cannot melt down (strictly speaking the fuel is already melted).

Because LFTRs operate at atmospheric pressure, they are less likely than conventional pressurized reactors to spew radioactive elements if an accident occurs. In addition, an increase in operating temperature slows down the nuclear chain reaction, inherently stabilizing the reactor. And LFTRs are designed with a salt plug at the bottom that melts if reactor temperatures somehow do rise too high, draining reactor fluid into a containment vessel where it essentially freezes.

It is estimated that 83 percent of LFTR waste products are safe within 10 years, while the remainder needs to be stored for 300 years. Another advantage is that LFTRs can use plutonium and nuclear waste as fuel, transmuting them into much less radioactive and harmful elements, thus eliminating the need for waste storage lasting up to 10,000 years.

Finally, with regard to subsidies, in my fourth dispatch from the Warsaw climate change conference, I argued that cutting hundreds of billions in subsidies for fossil fuels and agriculture would help protect the climate from whatever damage increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases might cause.




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


6 December, 2013

Global-warming ‘proof’ is evaporating

By Michael Fumento

The 2013 hurricane season just ended as one of the five quietest years since 1960. But don’t expect anyone who pointed to last year’s hurricanes as “proof” of the need to act against global warming to apologize; the warmists don’t work that way.

Warmist claims of a severe increase in hurricane activity go back to 2005 and Hurricane Katrina. The cover of Al Gore’s 2009 book, “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis,” even features a satellite image of the globe with four major hurricanes superimposed.

Yet the evidence to the contrary was there all along. Back in 2005 I and others reviewed the entire hurricane record, which goes back over a century, and found no increase of any kind. Yes, we sometimes get bad storms — but no more frequently now than in the past. The advocates simply ignored that evidence — then repeated their false claims after Hurricane Sandy last year.

And the media play along. For example, it somehow wasn’t front-page news that committed believers in man-made global warming recently admitted there’s been no surface global warming for well over a decade and maybe none for decades more. Nor did we see warmists conceding that their explanation is essentially a confession that the previous warming may not have been man-made at all.

That admission came in a new paper by prominent warmists in the peer-reviewed journal Climate Dynamics. They not only conceded that average global surface temperatures stopped warming a full 15 years ago, but that this “pause” could extend into the 2030s.

Mind you, the term “pause” is misleading in the extreme: Unless and until it resumes again, it’s just a “stop.” You don’t say a bullet-ridden body “paused” breathing.

Remarkably, that stoppage has practically been a state secret. Just five years ago, the head of the International Panel on Climate Change, the group most associated with “proving” that global warming is man-made and has horrific potential consequences, told Congress that Earth is running a “fever” that’s “apt to get much worse.” Yet he and IPCC knew the warming had stopped a decade earlier.

Those who pointed this out, including yours truly, were labeled “denialists.” Yet the IPCC itself finally admitted the “pause” in its latest report.

The single most damning aspect of the “pause” is that, because it has occurred when “greenhouse gases” have been pouring into the atmosphere at record levels, it shows at the very least that something natural is at play here. The warmists suggest that natural factors have “suppressed” the warming temporarily, but that’s just a guess: The fact is, they have nothing like the understanding of the climate that they claimed (and their many models that all showed future warming mean nothing, since they all used essentially the same false information).

If Ma Nature caused the “pause,” can’t this same lady be responsible for the warming observed earlier? You bet! Fact is, the earth was cooling and warming long before so-called GHGs could have been a factor. A warm spell ushered in the Viking Age, and many scientists believe recent warming was merely a recovery from what’s called “the Little Ice Age” that began around 1300.

Yet none of this unsettles the rush to kill debate. The Los Angeles Times has even announced that it will no longer print letters to the editor questioning man-made global warming. Had the Times been printing before Columbus, perhaps it would have banned letters saying the Earth was round.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration continues to push to reduce supposed global-warming emissions. Last month, the president even signed an executive order establishing a Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience that could dramatically expand government bureaucrats’ ability to restrict Americans’ use of their property, water and energy to reduce so-called “greenhouse gas emissions.”

Such attempted reductions in other countries have proved incredibly expensive, while barely reducing emissions. But damn the stubbornly weak economy, says President Obama, full speed ahead!

This, even as new data show that last year the US median wage hit its lowest level since 1998 and long-term unemployment is almost the highest ever.

People have a right to religious and cult beliefs within reason. But the warmists have been proved wrong time and again, each time reacting with little more than pictures of forlorn polar bears on ice floes and trying to shut down the opposition. (More bad timing: Arctic ice increased by almost a third this past year, while that at the South Pole was thicker and wider than it’s been in 35 years.)

In war and in science, the bloodiest conflicts always seem to be the religious ones. Time for the American public to say it’s no longer going to play the victim in this one


U.N. Repudiates Global Warming

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations (U.N.) is regarded by the believers in anthropogenic global warming (warmists) as a definitive authority on climate change. That the reports issued by the IPCC are filled with errors, are internally inconsistent, and have consistently and laughably backtracked from their own conclusions (as widely reported in AT) seems not to have cooled warmists' ardor. Nor, it seems, have warmists lost any love for the totalitarian, national sovereignty-sapping U.N.

Now comes another report, from the very same U.N. so beloved and relied upon by the warmists, that tells a different story.

The U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division (2) was established in the earlier years of the United Nations to serve as the Secretariat of the then Population Commission, created in 1946. Over the years, the Population Division has played an active role in the intergovernmental dialogue on population and development, producing constantly updated demographic estimates and projections for all countries. The World Population Prospects publications released by the Population Division are the official U.N. population estimates and projections. These are used widely throughout the United Nations and by many international organizations, research centers, and academic researchers, as well as by the media.

The Population Division recently released the 2012 Revision, its most recent update to the World Population Prospects, as its twenty-third round of global demographic estimates and projections. (By contrast, the IPCC is still working on its fifth round.) The 2012 Revision includes yearly population projections for 233 countries beginning in the year 2010 and continuing each year for 90 years until 2100. Eight different scenarios are presented, representing different levels of fertility, migration, and mortality. Might some indication of the effects of so-called global warming lie inside?

The answer is yes. A close look at the fortunes of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in the 2012 Revision unmasks the folly of global warming. AOSIS is an intergovernmental organization of low-lying coastal and small island countries, established in 1990 to address global warming and climate change. One would expect that these low-lying island nations would be the most strongly affected by the global warming and sea level rises predicted by the warmist IPCC and that their populations would experience dramatic reductions during the 21st century.

Unfortunately for the warmists, the 2012 Revision demonstrates the opposite. The countries of AOSIS grow +25.2 percent in population through 2100, giving a lie to the warmist claims that they are threatened by global warming and are rapidly sinking beneath the waves. Even the infamous Indian Ocean islands that include the Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives, and Comoros, whose very existence was said to be threatened by global warming according to 2007 Nobel Peace Prize co-winners Al Gore and Rolph Poyet, are predicted in the 2012 Revision to increase in population by a robust +75.1 percent throughout the 21st century (by contrast, the global population growth rate during the same time period is +56.9 percent, while ex-Africa it is only +13.3 percent). Thus, it is closer to the truth to state that AOSIS thrives during the period of so-called global warming, the exact opposite of what is predicted by the liberal warmist catechism. Thus, the U.N.'s own population studies soundly repudiate its own so-called global warming studies.

So who is to be believed: the tiny and shrinking group of deluded warmists and their error-filled upstart IPCC reports, or the rest of the rational world and the venerable U.N. Population Division World Population Prospects? This is more than hilarious.


Warmists want to stamp out meaningful debate

Andrew Bolt

Former Australian prime minister John Howard is called a "conviction politician". But the media - corrupted by alarmists - got too much even for him.

This week Howard admitted he'd caved in to the global warming hype not because of "the science" but the votes.

"I am unconvinced that catastrophe is around the corner," Howard said in London, where he told the pro-sceptic Global Warming Policy Foundation he was a warming "agnostic".

But in his last year as prime minister, Howard could no longer resist the panic pushed by our Leftist media. "Late in 2006 my Government hit a 'perfect storm' on the issue," Howard said.

"Drought had lingered for several years in many parts of Eastern Australia, leading to severe restrictions on the daily use of water; not for the first or last time the bushfire season started early; the report by Sir Nicholas Stern hit the shelves .?.?. and .?.?. Al Gore released his movie An Inconvenient Truth.

"To put it bluntly 'doing something' about global warming gathered strong political momentum in Australia."

Howard, in desperation, promised an emissions trading scheme, but still lost to the more convincingly warmist Kevin Rudd.

It is easy to damn Howard for weakness - and I do. Still, how could he keep fighting a media that screamed down any sceptics?

Now, of course, the drought is ended, the dams have refilled and the atmosphere hasn't warmed in 15 years. The hype has receded.

But in 2007, almost no one in the media pointed out Gore's movie was riddled with errors.

Almost nobody in the media pointed out warmist scientists were also wrong in claiming the drought was evidence of global warming, although even Tim Flannery's Climate Commission years later had to admit it couldn't "identify anything that is distinctly unusual about the post-1950 pattern" of rainfall, after all.

One TV station even showed animation of huge fireballs smashing into our cities as a warning.

And still the media misleads us. Worse, journalism academics praise what is the most shameful collective failure of journalism in my lifetime.

Wendy Bacon [an old communist from a Communist family] is a professorial fellow at the UTS Australian Centre for Independent Journalism and led students in an investigation into how newspapers report global warming.

Astonishingly, Bacon, interviewed last week on the ABC's Media Report, praised Fairfax papers such as The Age and Sydney Morning Herald as true believers in the global warming faith who'd silenced heretics.

"Fairfax media basically says and does in practice accept the consensus position and recently they've said that very explicitly and they are not publishing sceptic letters," she said.

"What that means in practice is that they've pretty much stopped publishing any columns from outside by sceptic authors."

A real journalist should be horrified by newspapers shutting down a debate in which even leading global warming scientists disagreed.

But, no, the sympathetic Media Report host didn't even blink. And Bacon, who earlier this year declared "I'm voting Green in the election because I'm a journalist", reserved her outrage for the country's "most prominent sceptic". Yes, modest me.

Why, Bacon protested, were my editors "providing this strategic role to this person who is actually abusive to climate scientists".

Abusive? Yes, because "he says it in a factual way that they are lying".

Indeed, I've presented evidence in such a factual way that Bacon and her students do not identify a single error. (I don't actually call scientists "liars", by the way.)

Let me now demonstrate the kind of journalism that so offends Bacon and which the ABC deplores rather than practises.

Two weeks ago Greens leader Christine Milne made at least seven false or misleading claims about global warming when interviewed by the ABC.

Another non-surprise: not one of her claims was challenged by the host, exposed on the ABC's Media Watch or criticised on any ABC program.

But "mistakes" they clearly were. For instance, Milne linked last month's NSW fires to global warming because "we know that south-eastern Australia is experiencing a drying trend".

In fact, NSW's rainfall has increased over the past century.

Milne claimed we've had "the hottest winter". In fact, that's not true of Australia or the Southern Hemisphere and not a measure of global warming anyway.

Milne even urged us to "look at Cyclone Yasi" as evidence of warming. In fact, the Bureau of Meteorology reports a big fall in the number of cyclones here.

A warmist like Milne can exaggerate wildly, yet gets nothing but praise on the ABC and in Fairfax newspapers.

A sceptic can point out Milne's mistakes and that's just "abuse".

That's just another wicked sceptic who "says it in a factual way that they are lying".

No wonder John Howard gave up.


Warmists preach hunger, but crops grow and grow

How often have warmists peddled the starvation scare? Some examples:

* Mark Rosegrant, International Food Policy Research Institute , February 2013:

* FRAN Kelly: Dramatic falls in staple crop production, and a jump in malnutrition are predicted across the Asia Pacific in coming decades due to climate change. . . (Dr Mark Rosegrant) . . . according to your research which crops would be most affected?

* Rosegrant: We’re finding that the key staples of rice, wheat and maize are going to have very large declines through most of Asia—anywhere from 15 to 25 per cent compared to a no-climate-change scenario.

* Professor Ian Lowe, president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, December 2012:

For example, the United Nations food agency has warned that it will be less and less likely that we can feed the human population if climate change continues on its present trajectory.

* The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2001:

Acute water shortage conditions combined with thermal stress should adversely affect wheat and, more severely, rice productivity in India even under the positive effects of elevated CO2 in the future.

* German Advisory Council on Global Change, 2007:

The Climate Change as a Security Risk report by the German Advisory Council on Global Change called on governments meeting this week at the climate change conference in Bali to adopt deep emissions cuts to avert disaster.... According to the report… India, Pakistan and Bangladesh could see falls in wheat and rice yields as the monsoon changes.

* David Lobell, Stanford University, 2008:

Impoverished farmers in South Asia and southern Africa could face growing food shortages due to climate change within just 20 years, a new study says…

“The majority of the world’s one billion poor depend on agriculture for their livelihoods,” said the lead author of the new study, David Lobell of Stanford University.

“Unfortunately, agriculture is also the human enterprise most vulnerable to changes in climate.”

* Elizabeth Ainsworth, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2008:

Rice is arguably the world’s most important food source and helps feed about half the globe’s people. But yields in many areas will drop as the globe warms in future years, a review of studies on rice and climate change suggests.

...when the evidence from some 80 different studies is combined, the outlook is bleak, says Elizabeth Ainsworth of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

* Green activist Cameron Scott :

Most major political shifts are caused at least in part by economic pressures. Food prices are now at an all-time high. Those prices have, according to a wide range of analysts, contributed to the political revolts first in Tunisia and now in Egypt… But here’s the kicker: Food prices aren’t just some arbitrary economic statistic. They measure (inversely) the planet’s success at sustaining its human population. And right now, it’s not doing so well. The reason? Erratic weather spurred by climate change.

* The Age, 2013:

Imagine India in 2033. It has overtaken China as the most populous nation. Yet with 1.5 billion citizens to feed, it’s been three years since the last monsoon. Without rain, crops die and people starve.

* The seeds of conflict take root.

This is one of the scenarios Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, presented today to members of the United Nations Security Council in New York to show the connection between climate change and global security challenges.



Warmists urge allies to support nuclear power

Four scientists at the forefront of global warming activism published an open letter this week encouraging their fellow warmists to embrace safe nuclear power as a means of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The four scientists are pretty close to embodying a Mt.Rushmore of global warming activists. They are James Hansen at the Columbia University Earth Institute, Tom Wigley at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Kerry Emanuel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Ken Caldeira at the Carnegie Institution.

“Continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change,” the scientists wrote. “We call on your organization to support the development and deployment of safer nuclear power systems as a practical means of addressing the climate change problem. Global demand for energy is growing rapidly and must continue to grow to provide the needs of developing economies. At the same time, the need to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions is becoming ever clearer.”

Nuclear power is about 50 percent more expensive to produce than conventional power. Much of that cost disadvantage is due to excessive government regulation that is unique to nuclear power, but there is no reason to expect government will ease such regulation anytime soon.

Nuclear power is much more reliable and substantially less expensive than wind and solar power. Also, nuclear power avoids many negative environmental impacts of wind and solar power, including millions of bird and bat kills each year and a huge land development footprint.

It will be interesting to see how other warmists, and particularly the large environmental activist groups, respond to the embrace of nuclear power by some of the most prominent scientists leading their cause.


A strange alliance in Australia

Greens and conservatives agree to increase debt ceiling with the left opposed

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has mocked Labor’s response to a deal he struck with the Australian Greens to end the row of the debt ceiling, calling it "absolutely bizarre".

Mr Hockey on Wednesday reached the extraordinary last-minute deal with the Greens - once dubbed "economic fringe dwellers" by the government - to scrap Australia's $300 billion borrowing limit.

The rare Coalition-Greens alliance, designed to circumvent Labor's opposition, means the Treasurer will no longer have to seek parliamentary approval to lift the maximum borrowing cap.

The deal requires further debt reporting in the budget and its updates.

Greens leader Christine Milne said the debt ceiling had been a "toxic political tool" that rendered the Australian debate around debt artificial.

The new agreement will allow for a "reasonable debate" to take place, she said.

But shadow treasurer Chris Bowen questioned how the new measures would improve the transparency over debt.

"More transparency is always welcome but the ultimate transparency is seeking parliamentary approval and having to answer questions," Mr Bowen told ABC radio.

To suggest that the new requirements would boost transparency "is a bit of a big call", he said.

He accused the Greens of an about-face on the debt issue, saying Senator Milne had originally opposed lifting the ceiling to $500 billion.

"She’s gone from saying that the increase wasn’t justified to ‘why do we have this debt limit at all’," Mr Bowen said.

Mr Hockey said that the reaction of Labor to the debt deal was "absolutely bizarre".

"It’s like a husband being upset that their ex-wife went off and had a cup of coffee with some other man," he said, in reference to the Greens support for the minority Gillard government.

Labor’s Kelvin Thomson joked that the Greens-Coalition alliance was "a bit more than a cup of coffee".

"I think it’s the candlelit dinner and flowers," he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

The Coalition, which railed against debt continually while in opposition, will have unrestricted access to credit, only having to issue a statement to both houses of Parliament every time it racks up another $50 billion in debt.

With just days to go before the existing legislated debt ceiling was reached on December 12, the Treasurer sealed the agreement late on Wednesday with Greens leader Christine Milne.

To do so, he has agreed to increased reporting requirements to Parliament on the nature of Commonwealth borrowings and the ongoing debt position of the government, but Parliament will have surrendered its capacity to veto government borrowings.

Mr Hockey praised the Greens for coming to the "sensible middle" on economic policy.

"The Labor Party is stuck in the basement on economic policy and all of their own making," Mr Hockey told Sky News.

Senator Milne was due to introduce the legislative repeal of the debt ceiling in the Senate on Wednesday evening with a view to the controversial bill being passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday.

The strange political marriage came after Coalition frustrations reached boiling point as Labor and the Greens used their combined numbers in the Senate to block an increase to a new limit of half a trillion dollars - a $200billion increase in one increment.

In a letter to Senator Milne on Wednesday, Mr Hockey wrote: "We have agreed to repeal the current legislative limit on the total face value of stock and securities on issue set out in the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act 1911."

Earlier in the day, Labor had sought to head off the deal which it knew would render its opposition to the proposed $200 billion debt increase irrelevant.

In response to a question from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he agreed that the Greens were on the economic margins.

"I agree, Madam Speaker, that the Greens have been economic fringe-dwellers, and that just means that [Labor] members opposite are worse," he said.

Labor brandished a photo of Senator Milne in the lower house to taunt the government, suggesting it was taking its orders from the minor party.

It was the second day in a row that her photo had been used after Immigration Minister Scott Morrison made the same case against Labor on Tuesday when it sided with the Greens to block temporary protection visas.

Under the arrangement, Mr Hockey has agreed to "comprehensive debt reporting" in the annual budget papers as well as in other regular economic statements and forecasts.

There will also be additional debt statements tabled in Parliament within three sitting days of a $50billion increase in debt, setting out the reasons, the extent of the debt incurred as a result of falling revenue, higher spending, capital purchases, or payments to states and territories.

Other transparency measures have been agreed to but the statements will not set out specific borrowing purposes in all cases, despite a Greens request for that level of detail.

Shadow finance minister Tony Burke was furious, and slammed the Coalition for breaching its intentions to reduce debt and its statements opposed to dealing with the Greens.

He said Mr Hockey "was no Peter Costello" and had even suffered the humiliation of not getting to announce the move, which had been announced first by Senator Milne.

"In one stroke today, they cut a deal with the Greens, to make Australia's debt allowed to be unlimited," he said.

"The level of hypocrisy today from the government is way beyond where I thought they would be."

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox strongly supported the removal of the debt ceiling, saying it was "good public policy".

He said the ceiling was an "artificial device" that imposes unnecessary inflexibility and creates unhelpful openings for political opportunism.

"It is vital that we have transparency of, and clear accountabilities for, public finances but the debt ceiling is a poor substitute for these and, at best, gives a false assurance that appropriate restraint is being exercised," he said in a statement.




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


5 December, 2013

Law professor doesn't care about reality

Since there has been no climate change for 17 years, none of the events she describes can be attributable to it

Climate change has negatively affected people around the world, but it has hit native and indigenous populations especially hard, driving them from their homes, altering their ways of life and threatening their survival. A University of Kansas law professor has submitted an amicus brief to one of the nation’s top courts on behalf of several native organizations. In the underlying litigation, children are, in essence, suing the federal government for failure to take action on climate change.

On Nov. 12, Elizabeth Kronk Warner, associate professor of law and director of the Tribal Law and Government Center at the School of Law, who wrote the brief, and Michael Willis, counsel of record, submitted an amici curiae brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Filed on behalf of the National Congress of American Indians, The Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, Forgotten People Inc., National Native American Law Student Association and several other organizations and law professors, the brief chronicles the extreme impacts of climate change on native nations. The brief also discusses how federal law applies different to federally recognized tribes.

The underlying action seeks to hold the federal government responsible for failure to take meaningful measures on climate change. This legal action is the first at a federal court to argue that the federal government has not protected the public trust by failing to protect natural resources and air quality. The U.S. Supreme Court has established that the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate greenhouse gases, and the agency began efforts to start regulating such gases several years ago. Because of the EPA’s efforts, the U.S. Supreme Court held that litigants could not sue private parties under federal public nuisance common law in 2011.

“This is a friend of the court brief to show how people in indigenous nations are disproportionately affected by climate change even though they contribute little, if any, to the problem,” Kronk Warner said. “We’re trying to find a way to get a viable climate change claim in front of the federal courts.”

The brief has been submitted, but oral arguments have not yet been scheduled. Once the arguments are made, the court will make a ruling. If the brief is unsuccessful, the parties will need to decide whether they want to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. If it is successful, the defendants will have the opportunity to do the same. Kronk Warner said she hopes the court will make a decision by the end of 2014.

She compares the process to the suits brought against big tobacco in previous decades. It took many years of legal arguments before tobacco companies were found liable for the negative health effects their products caused and were required to pay compensation.

Kronk Warner was approached by Our Childrens Trust to write the brief. An expert in federal Indian law, tribal law, environment and natural resources and property, she co-edited the book “Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: The Search for Legal Remedies” with Randall Abate, professor of law at Florida A&M University. The book was released earlier this year.

The book examines how climate change has affected native populations around the world. In the United States, native nations in Alaska have been especially hard hit as rising temperatures have melted permafrost, endangered animals that tribes depend on to subsist, flooded villages and hindered tradition and customs. The petitioners in the case are all children, and the brief shares stories of young people who have lived with the reality of climate change.


Why climate change is (still) far too important to be left to scientists

By James Delingpole

Like Anthony Watts, I have only recently discovered the best, funniest and truest ever thing written about Climategate: an hilarious essay, published in 2009, by author Michael Kelly.

It begins:

"Like an Aristophanes satire, like Hamlet, it opens with two slaves, spear-carriers, little people. Footsoldiers of history, two researchers in a corrupt and impoverished mid-90s Russia schlep through the tundra to take core samples from trees at the behest of the bigger fish in far-off East Anglia. Stepan and Rashit don't even have their own e-mail address and like characters in some absurdist comedy must pass jointly under the name of Tatiana M. Dedkova. Conscientious and obliging, they strike a human note all through this drama. Their talk is of mundane material concerns, the smallness of funds, the expense of helicopters, the scramble for grants. They are the ones who get their hands dirty, and their vicissitudes periodically revived my interest during the slower stretches of the tale, those otherwise devoted to abstruse details of committee work and other longueurs.

'We also collected many wood samples from living and dead larches of various ages. But we were bited by many thousands of mosquitos especially small ones.'

They are perhaps the only likeable characters on the establishment side, apart from the exasperated and appalled IT man Harry in the separate 'Harry_read_me' document, and I cheered up whenever they appeared. 'Slaves' is horseshit, and 'footsoldiers' insulting, but if scientists are allowed to put a creative spin on facts, I can certainly do so.

They are respected scientists: in fact, it emerges, eminent or destined to be eminent. But they talk funny and are at the beck and call of CRU, are financially dependent on them; when the film is made they will be comedy relief, played by Alexei Sayle and the dopey one out of The Fast Show.

In the early parts of the story those who are to become the bigger players are not much better off, though. The mails start in 1996 when they have not yet attained world fame and the ear of statesmen, and often do not know where their next grant is coming from. There are moments of poignance:

"As always I seem to have been away bullshiting and politiking in various meetings for weeks! I try to convince myself that this is of use to us as a dendrochronological community but I am not so sure how much that is really true these days."

After an intro like that, how could you possibly not want to read on? And just in case you foolishly don't, let me at least treat you to Kelly's riff on the absurdity of warmism: The real ending is up to us.

At this point we are already guaranteed to be the laughing stock of the future, for having entertained this nonsense for even a single year. A cautionary tale of mass hysteria, comparable to the witch-burners or the millenarian doom-cults, all the more so because we were more technologically advanced and fancied ourselves so superior to them.

If you're a fairly youngish person reading this, you can expect one day to have bratty grandkids dancing around you taunting you about it. 'Ha ha ha! In Granddad's day they were afraid of carbon dioxide! Ha ha ha!' They will breathe on you. 'Look, look, I'm poisoning Granddad! Look, I'm destroying the planet with my poison breath! Oh no, Granddad – I think I'm going to fart – shall I put a cork in? Granddad, there's a cow in the field going to fart – shall we kill it? Granddad, do you think Mummy will burn in hell for driving a car? Do you call them the Devil's Chariot, Granddad? Do you think light-bulbs are sinful, Granddad? Do you flog yourself when you turn one on? Do you think Mummy was sinful for having children, Granddad? Should I not have been born, Granddad? Granddad … you're choking me…'

And also to his wise, measured, summation of what it is we really learn from the Climategate emails:

The scientists depicted in the CRU mails have little directly to do with all that. They are just doing their job. They are deluded, some have crossed the line between scientist and lobbyist, but, based purely on the evidence of these mails, they are not deranged misanthropists and haters of civilisation like many of the people who have enthusiastically embraced their theory.

I think only a couple of them are anything close to conscious and deliberate f-words. Only a couple of them are genuinely unpleasant people, and even they would be genuinely surprised if you told them that. 'Seems like we are now the bad guys,' Phil Jones says wonderingly after the 'Kinne character' of Climate Research refuses to bow to all their demands. They genuinely believe their theory is correct and that they are doing right in bending all the rules to serve it. It has been an idee fixee with them since before the mails open; and of course their careers are now built upon it. They are a clique, not a conspiracy.

They should be objects of pity, for the most part. Anyone can be wrong. Their failings are human ones of seeing what you want to see, preferring your friends to strangers, not going out of your way to do the right thing if it will harm your career. But these failings and the behaviour they have indulged in have absolutely no place in science or the determination of public policy.

'Climate science' is rotten, a joke. But the real rot is in the media. All through these mails there are examples of scientists doing the right thing, standing up against groupthink, calling their friends to account, sometimes even among the inner circle. But the honourable ones have had to fight not only the zombie scientists but the journalists who unquestioningly arrayed themselves with them. Save for a few loose-cannon columnists the media by and large have been a bloody embarrassment, acting as unpaid flacks to zealots, hysterics and hucksters.

Where were you? Where are you now? This used to be the stuff that Pulitzers were made of. The thing is, there is much that is shocking and outrageous but so far little that is actually really new in these files. It's just all the things skeptics have been saying for years, but straight from the guilty parties' mouths.

There is no shame in having been deceived or mistaken. The shame would be in failing to admit that when it stares you in the face. If someone like George Monbiot has the integrity and courage to admit these revelations are appalling, there is no excuse for anyone else not doing so.

I used to groan at people who thought the net could, would or should take over from the mainstream media. But it looks as though it may have to do so. There are stories that can only be covered properly by a big organisation's resources, but I for one am not going to pay to be lied to and treated like an idiot. What are you for, if not to be on the people's side in cases of this kind?

But the net can only take us so far. We aren't going to fix this by sitting mesmerised in front of a screen compulsively clicking on links and reading about it. There need to be letters and faxes, angry and unequivocally demanding phone calls to politicians, above all demos. Where are our marches? Where's our ten tons of shit dumped on someone's lawn? Why are the other side always making all the noise?

This essay is gold, I tell you, gold. What makes it so is the way it combines close textual analysis with a broader appreciation of the overarching narrative; the way it employs witty analogies, tropes, digressions, asides, high and low cultural references, complex structure, colourful turns of phrase to lure the reader in and make the argument more attractive, readable, comprehensible, enjoyable, worth pursuing right to the end… Maybe – contra some of our more rabid trolls – non-scientists do have something to contribute to our understanding of the climate debate after all….


Property values are the new front line in the war over wind turbines

Property values are the new front line in the war over wind turbines in Vermont. And town listers are the new arbiters of just how much impact commercial wind turbines are having on neighbors.

From Georgia to Lowell to Sutton, local town officials are being asked to put a dollar value to the impact that noise, flickering shadows and altered views of recently installed wind projects is having.

“This is new territory for us,” said Sutton lister Mary Gray, who said she has heard that town residents near the Sheffield wind project plan to challenge their assessments in the spring.

The strategy is divisive.

Town officials who lower property assessments because of wind projects are misguided, said Gabrielle Stebbins, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont, an industry advocacy group.

“It would be wiser if they looked at data. If there’s no data really verifying what they’re doing, ultimately they’re just reducing their operating revenue,” she said. “I think in five to 10 years, the data will show it’s not based in fact.”

Stebbins pointed to national studies that find wind projects elsewhere have had no discernible effect on real estate prices. Critics of wind power argue those studies take in too broad an area, whereas the real impact on property values is closer to the towers.

Regardless, real-life real estate data have yet to be generated around Vermont’s three largest wind projects — in Georgia, Lowell and Sheffield — both because the projects are too new, and because the number of properties involved were too few to generate many sales. Some argue that the lack of sales also is an indication that the turbines are having an impact.

Appraisers, however, warn that data are necessary to make valid adjustments to property values.

Bill Hinman, a professional property appraiser who is Georgia’s town assessor, rejected requests by the McLanes and another couple on their road to lower assessments, because there were no comparable real estate sales to judge whether the value of the property had changed, and if so, by how much. He’s bound by state law to base his decisions on market evidence, he said.

“We do not have any direct evidence,” Hinman said. “As an assessor, I would never be able to change an assessment unless I had direct evidence.”
Board appeal

The McLanes appealed Hinman’s decision to the Georgia Board of Civil Authority, made up of publicly elected town officials who are not bound by the same rules as assessors. A six-member panel agreed that the noise from the four turbines was a detriment. The board lowered the McLanes’ assessment from $409,900 to $360,712.

“It was a really difficult decision,” said Don Vickers, chairman of the Board of Civil Authority.

The six board members — three Democrats and three Republicans — visited the McLanes’ house as many as five times to experience life near the turbines, Vickers said. They each came away persuaded that the sound of the turbines hurt the value of the property, he said.

The real debate, he said, came in figuring how much the turbines hurt. The panel looked at property assessments that were adjusted in Williston near Burlington International Airport and tried to make comparisons, he said. Those properties were reduced up to 15 percent, he said. Although airplanes are louder than the turbines, they also pass quickly and don’t fly all night, and people living near them expect some noise, Vickers said.

The board settled on a 12 percent reduction for the McLanes and an 8 percent reduction for their neighbors, Andrew Thompson and Erica Berl, who can hear the turbines but have no direct view, Vickers said.

“I like wind power, but I think we realized any time you put a commercial development nearby, there should be some compensation,” Vickers said. “This is a property on 15 acres on a dirt road with a beautiful mountain view. You don’t expect to have a commercial installation.”

Hinman disagreed with the board’s decision, but he said the 12 and 8 percent reductions were not substantial enough for him to appeal them to the state Board of Appraisers. If the local board had made a 40 percent reduction, as the McLanes had sought, he might have, he said.

The McLanes, who have lived on Georgia Mountain Road for 25 years and raised four sons there, cited several factors for seeking a reduction: their altered view, the flickering shadow effect of the turbines and the noise.

Vickers said the board decided that virtually the whole town was affected by the site of the turbines, that the flickering was difficult to pin down, but that the sound uniquely affected homeowners closer to the turbines.

The McLanes were satisfied with a 12 percent reduction. “We felt almost fortunate that we got anything, because nobody has ever acknowledged anything,” Melodie McLane said. “The validation is valuable to us.”

The McLanes, who have no desire to move, will pay about $700 less a year in taxes, she said, but the real value was an official recognition that sitting on their porch was less appealing, and sleeping with the windows open was more difficult when the turbines were rumbling. They aren’t loud all the time, McLane said, but when a southwest wind is blowing, the turbines sound like an airplane going overhead that never passes.

“We live in the country so we wouldn’t have noise from an industrial plant. That’s been taken away from us on some days,” McLane said. “This has turned us into people we’re really not. We’re not complainers.”

Martha Staskus, manager for the Georgia Mountain Community Wind project, said the project has been well-received overall and has operated within the state-required 45-decibel sound limit. Of the town’s decision to lower assessments, she said, “What the town does is the town’s business.”


Britain's £85 billion bill for climate policies

A new study claims Britain's climate change initiatives are both 'staggeringly costly and excessive'

Climate-change policies are expected to cost Britain more than £80 billion by the end of the decade, as critics warn that the global-warming industry is spiralling out of control.

Vast sums are being spent on initiatives ranging from climate-change officers in local councils to the funding of "low carbon" agriculture in Colombia at a cost of £15 million alone. Billions of pounds are also being added to fuel bills to pay for green policies.

The full cost is contained in a study published on Monday by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think tank founded by Lord Lawson, the former chancellor.

Its analysis puts the cost to the British public of climate- change policies at £85 billion in the 10 years to 2021. More than half - about £47.6 billion - will have gone on funding green levies, such as subsidies for wind farms, added to consumer fuel bills.

A further £17 billion will have been spent by government departments and quangos, according to the study.

The rest - about £20 billion - will have gone to the European Union for global-warming initiatives.

Last month, the EU's commissioner for climate action said that a fifth of the EU's £805?billion budget from 2014 to 2020 would go on "climate-related spending". Britain contributes about an eighth of the total EU budget.

Benny Peiser, the foundation's director, who compiled the report, said: "The public has absolutely no idea how staggeringly costly and excessive the Government's climate initiatives are. Even we were shocked when we discovered the astronomical funding streams and added them up.

"Britain's climate policies combine to a mind-boggling amount of subsidies and departmental spending, which will drastically increase in the next few years."

Dr Peiser said Britain needed urgently to rethink its climate policies. "Major economies such as Canada, Australia and Japan have now begun to curtail and abandon their unilateral climate policies and targets," he said. "It does not make any sense that the UK alone is accelerating its exorbitant spending."

Although the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) sets policies on green levies, much direct spending comes from other departments and quangos, such as the Department for International Development (DfID), which the foundation estimates spends £610 million a year on climate initiatives overseas.

The study also found more than £2 billion is being spent by the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs on climate-change policies over a decade; £1.5 billion by the Department for Transport; and £1.3 billion by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Quangos spending millions include the Committee on Climate Change and the Carbon Trust, the study says. Ofgem, the energy regulator, is investing nearly £100 million over three years in "contributing to the achievement of a low-carbon sector" and delivering of government programmes "for a sustainable energy section".

An EU database of UK schemes details 185 payments totalling £1.5 billion to overseas projects.

By contrast, France's spending totals £275 million.

British spending includes:

* about £135,000 a year by local authorities on climate-change officers;

* a £15?million grant over four years in Colombia to "reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, improve the livelihood of farmers, protect local forests and increase biodiversity";

* £323,000 on a pilot programme for "climate resilience in Tajikistan";

* £7?million on a "Carbon Markets Readiness Fund", to give grants to "middle-income" countries, such as China, to develop policies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions;

* £35,000 on a report on how climate changes might affect the Caribbean tourism sector.

A DECC spokesman said: "The evidence for climate change is clear, and we need to act now. Alongside this, the Government needs to ensure security of energy supply, whilst ensuring consumers get the best deal.

"Our long-term economic and climate security depends on developing countries being more low-carbon and adapting to the impact of climate change. Climate investments in developing countries represent about 0.05 per cent of UK gross national income."


Majority Rules on Climate Science?

Jeff Jacoby

Back in 2006, around the time Al Gore's global-warming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," was released, I started a file labeled "What Climate Consensus?" Gore was insisting that "the debate among the scientists is over," and only an ignoramus or a lackey for the fossil-fuel industry could doubt that human beings were headed for a climate catastrophe of their own making. But it didn't take much sleuthing to discover that there was plenty of debate among scientists about the causes and consequences of global warming. Many experts were skeptical about the hyperbole of alarmists like Gore, and as I came across examples, I added them to my file.

The thicker that file grew, the more shrilly intolerant the alarmists became.

Over and over the True Believers insist that their view is not just widely accepted in the scientific community, but virtually unanimous apart from some crackpots. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has likened doubters to members of a Flat Earth Society. CBS news reporter Scott Pelley, asked why his "60 Minutes" broadcasts on global warming didn't acknowledge the views of skeptics, reached for an even more wounding comparison: "If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?"

It seems to make no difference that those challenging the doomsday narrative include some of the world's most distinguished scientists, or that numerous experts in climatology and related earth sciences have repeatedly gone public with their critiques. To climate ideologues, they're invisible. "Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous," President Obama tweeted in May.

Really? That's not what the American Meteorological Society learned from a recent survey of its professional members. Only a bare majority, 52 percent, said that climate change is mostly being driven by human activity. Scientists with a "liberal political orientation" were much more likely to regard global warming as human-caused and harmful, the survey's authors found — in fact, as a predictor of respondents' views on global warming, ideology outweighed greater expertise. "This would be strong evidence against the idea that expert scientists' views on politically controversial topics can be completely objective," the authors observe.

In that light, consider the findings of a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Of 117 global warming predictions generated by climate-model simulations, all but three "significantly" overestimated the actual amount of warming that occurred during the past 20 years. The models typically forecast that global surface temperature would rise by more than twice as much as it did.

Why would so many scientists have relied on models that turned out to be so wrong? The authors propose several plausible explanations — volcanic eruptions? solar irradiation? — but their bottom line is that climate science still has a long way to go: "Ultimately the causes of this inconsistency will only be understood after … waiting to see how global temperature responds over the coming decades."

That understanding won't be advanced one millimeter by ideologues who thunder that the "science is settled" and that anyone who challenges the current consensus is no better than a flat-earther or a Holocaust denier. Perhaps all those climate models wouldn't have been programmed to overpredict global warming if the pressure to conform to the alarmists' view weren't so pervasive.

In a classic 1955 lecture on "The Value of Science," the celebrated physicist (and future Nobel laureate) Richard Feynmann warned that science would be hobbled if it tried to stifle its doubters and skeptics. "If we want to solve a problem that we have never solved before, we must leave the door to the unknown ajar…. [D]oubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed."

Science isn't settled by majority vote, and invoking "consensus" to shut off debate is authoritarian and anti-scientific. There are always inconvenient truths to challenge what the majority thinks it knows. Ninety-seven percent of experts may be impressed with the emperor's new clothes. That's no reason to silence those who insist he's actually naked.


New Research Challenges Global Warming Theories

The role of natural cyclical weather trends has been underestimated, while the effects of greenhouse gases have been greatly exaggerated, two experts on global warming write in the peer-reviewed "Climate Dynamics."

The paper by Professor Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Dr. Marcia Wyatt, an independent scientist who earned her degree at the University of Colorado, challenges the conventional view, held by most scientists associated with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that the planet is getting inexorably hotter due to greenhouse gas emissions.

The new research raises the possibility that orthodox climate models are fundamentally inadequate – which would explain the divergence between U.N. climate simulation models and actual observations, Curry said.

Wyatt and Curry point to an oscillating natural phenomenon. They call it a "stadium-wave" – like a crowd rising to cheer at a football game – a three-hundred year-long cycle that explains why earth is currently experiencing a pause in the rise of temperatures. Now into its 17th year, the hiatus may continue for decades to come.

The paper analyzed atmospheric, oceanic and sea ice data since 1900.

Actual temperatures are now lower than predictions made by most models used by the UN panel. Yet the North Atlantic Ocean continued to warm and Arctic sea ice continued to decline. The two scientists hypothesize that, like a "stadium-wave," the North Atlantic Ocean will now begin to cool and sea ice in the Arctic will begin to rebound.

"Current climate models are overly damped and deterministic, focusing on the impacts of external forcing rather than simulating the natural internal variability associated with nonlinear interactions of the coupled atmosphere-ocean system," Curry wrote.

In other words, said Curry, the new research provides a very different view to the orthodox claim that "we are toast by 2047."




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


4 December, 2013

Fossil fuels now beat wind and solar on environmental as well as economic grounds

When governments try to impose large-scale renewable technologies, they lay waste to nature

Non-renewable energy is sustainable; renewable energy is not, not even close, not by any meaningful yardstick, not in our lifetime or in that of our children. Renewables cannot passably meet any of the important needs claimed by their champions, whether economic or environmental. Despite the hundreds of billions of dollars governments have spent over the decades in aid of kick-starting a large-scale renewables industry, wind and solar complexes are generally incapable of helping humanity progress today or in the foreseeable future. Fossil fuels, in contrast, have gone from success to success for several centuries now, with no end in sight.

Prior to the industrial revolution of the 1700s, when the world depended almost exclusively on renewable energy, poverty and subsistence was the rule. The rise of mass affluence only came when highly concentrated energy – in the form of fossil fuels — made sustainable progress possible, both material and social. Lifespans improved along with living conditions and eventually the environment did too, as fossil fuels curtailed the denuding of forested lands to obtain charcoal for industry and wood fuel for heating.

Fossil fuels continue their dominance unabated – recent projections by the International Energy Agency show the world will be consuming ever more in the decades ahead as the United States becomes self sufficient and China and India become major importers of oil and coal, the better to bring their poor out of poverty. Despite all the fossil fuels consumed in recent centuries, the world’s available store continues to increase – at existing rates of consumption, the world has centuries of fossil fuel left.

Wind and solar power – the darlings of environmentalists and multinationals alike – meet but a picayune proportion of the world’s energy needs and even then they need a crutch – generally in the form of fossil fuel backup – to sustain them. Because the Sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow, society would be vulnerable – unsustainable – if these renewable technologies tried to meet human needs on their own.

The environment would be vulnerable, too. When governments and industry try to impose renewable technologies on us on a large scale, they lay waste to nature. Industrial wind farms have become major killers of birds, from the majestic bald eagle to tiny songbirds. Last year, according to the United States Geological Survey, wind turbines killed some 900,000 bats, in the process harming farmers who depend on bats for pest control – the USGS pegs the value of bats to the agricultural industry at $23-billion annually.

Wind’s ecological trail of destruction extends back to China, which supplies most of the rare earths required in the construction of wind turbines. When we in the West erect a wind turbine, reported an investigative article in the UK’s Daily Mail, we help create “a vast man-made lake of poison in northern China” that, according to locals, withers their crops and kills their animals.

Solar, too, is anything but benign. A major 2009 report by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, a pro-solar California-based environmental justice non-profit, described the many toxic threats that come of solar, often because the toxic chemicals involved in its manufacture are haphazardously processed in China. But problems abound in the U.S., too, where solar companies such as Solyndra and Abound Solar went bankrupt after their subsidies ran out, leaving behind sites abandoned with millions of pounds of toxic waste that taxpayers will somehow have to clean up. Most cash-strapped solar companies, in fact, don’t report the levels of toxic waste they generate to state authorities, as required by law, and they are even tight-lipped about their environmental procedures to their environmental allies.

“We find the overall industry response rate to our request for environmental information to be pretty dismal for an industry that is considered ‘green,’” the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition told Associated Press earlier this year, after only 14 of 114 companies deigned to respond to them.

Solar, like wind, also draws ire from environmentalists for the ecological implications of the enormous amount of land required — last year Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and Natural Resources Defense Council sued the federal government to stop a giant solar plant that would have been built on 7.2 square miles in the Mojave Desert, threatening imperiled wildlife such as the golden eagle and the desert tortoise.

On the plus side, because solar hasn’t been widely adopted – it provides less than one-tenth of 1% of North America’s energy — the damage it could cause has been limited. And with subsidies now ending, solar will soon be fading into the sunset.

Fossil fuels also cause pollution in our society but – thanks to past environmental pressure – relatively little: The enormous volumes of fly-ash, mercury, SOX and NOX that once dirtied the environment belong to a bygone era. Today, BTU for BTU, fossil fuels are generally more benign to human health and the environment than wind and solar, not to mention ethanol and hydroelectricity, which have often devastating impacts through air pollution (ethanol) and flooding (in the case of China’s Three Gorges Dam, the casualties included the farms, fisheries and livelihoods of some 1.4 million people).

The chief remaining environmental knock against fossil fuels today relates to carbon dioxide emissions which, according to a major survey, most scientists believe to be beneficial – known as “nature’s fertilizer,” carbon dioxide has led to a greening of the planet, as satellite imagery over the past 30 years makes evident.

Fossil fuels have sustained the blows of their detractors and remain unambiguously ascendant. Wind and solar are undone, and unsustainable.


Second new British nuclear plant given go-ahead

The second of a new wave of nuclear power stations will be built by private investors with government support, the Treasury will announce on Wednesday.

The power station, at Wylfa on Anglesey in Wales, is among the major infrastructure projects that will go ahead after ministers promised to support commercial interests.

The station, to be built by Hitachi and Horizon, follows an agreement earlier this year for French and Chinese investors to build a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Suffolk. Ministers have suggested that as many as a dozen nuclear reactors will be built in the coming years as fossil fuels are phased out and public hostility to renewables such as wind turbines mounts.

The nuclear plan will be announced by Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who will also detail plans to sell the Government’s stake in the Eurostar rail link as part of a plan to privatise £20?billion of assets by 2020.

Mr Alexander will also reveal that plans for a new toll road on the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon have been dropped. Improvements to the road will be funded by private investors instead.

The announcement is part of the Coalition’s attempt to deliver £375?billion of infrastructure projects in energy, transport, flood defence, waste, water and communications by 2020.

Such capital projects are said by some economists to boost growth in both the short and long-term.

Ministers have previously been accused of cutting government spending on major capital projects too sharply as part of their austerity programme. They have responded by trying to encourage private investors, such as insurance companies and pension funds, to invest in large projects, offering government guarantees as incentives.


"Enviro Charge": DC Restaurants’ "Transparent" Green Tax

Before I enjoyed my Toasted Marshmallow milkshake from Good Stuff Eatery, a local Washington, DC establishment, I noticed a tax on my receipt that said, "enviro charge." Curious, I asked an employee what it meant.

He said it was a tax they charged for their environmental usage and, “Unlike others, we don't hide it.” I left the restaurant, however, still scratching my head. For further explanation, I emailed their PR contact, Jordyn Lazar.

“Both Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza have a one percent environmental administration charge added to orders," she explained. "Our company prides itself on Goodness at all levels, including our environmental impact in the world. We used eco-friendly cleaning supplies, recycled construction materials and use local suppliers. These business practices come at a higher cost. We choose to work with environmentally conscious vendors and pay environmental charges to them. This charge offsets a minimal portion of these costs.

We hope that our customers will continue to support us in our efforts to help make our environmental impacts as minimal as possible. For those who choose not to participate, the charge is immediately removed.”

She then explained their restaurants are partnering with Plant a Billion Trees and directed me to Good Stuff Eatery’s Environmental section, where it explains, at the bottom of the page,

Our customers are part of the solution with us, 1 percent of your total bill is donated to plant a tree a day and sustain various environmental efforts.

Hm, so I wouldn’t have known about this charge if I hadn’t happened to notice the fine print on my receipt and asked an employee, or gone to their web page and scrolled down. After doing more research, it appeared I wasn’t the only customer to be a little irked about this largely hidden fee. Here were just a few of the comments from regarding the tax:

“Yeah, sounds like a 1 percent arbitrary-markup-but-if-you-call-us-on-it-we’ll-just-drop-it tax. pretty cheeky.”

“Reminds me of the ‘hazardous waste’ fee or ‘shop materials’ fee with an oil change. It’s just a way to weasel more money out of the customer without being upfront about it. Sketchy sketchy sketchy.”

Spike Mendelsohn, a former contestant on Bravo TV’s "Top Chef," opened Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill in 2008, and then We, the Pizza in 2010. He gave an interview in the Washington Post a few years ago about his restaurants and received a blunt question from one customer about their environmental charge.

“If you really want me to know what I'm paying for, why not a line item breakdown of all the costs that go into a $4 slice of pizza? How much the dough and ingredients cost etc.

I applaud you wanting to be environmental, I think its very noble. But you are really, really rubbing customers the wrong way with this "tax" - and on top of that passing it off like you are doing us a favor.”

Mendelsohn responded:

“I think I know who you are and I'm sorry that you feel that way but the answer you're looking for. I think I have explained to you before... We do a lot of green stuff in the company and it cost us a pretty penny. The environment tax comes out to a couple of pennies on your bill and we will always happily refund if you want.”

It may cost Mendelsohn’s company a pretty penny, but why should customers be the ones to provide them? Not everyone is as adamant about being green and, while many may applaud the restaurateur’s environmental efforts, customers didn’t ask him to employ these green practices, so why should they have to fund them? What if, instead of planting a tree, they just want to enjoy a shake and burger?

It looks like this tax is not only going to be limited to DC. Mendelsohn is opening a new Good Stuff Eatery in Philadelphia as it continues expanding. And, considering the Good Stuff Eatery employee's earlier comments about them not "hiding" the environmental charge "like others" do, it makes me wonder how many other restaurants are charging customers more green for being green.

What do you think? Would you be upset if you were being charged a not-so-advertised environmental fee, or do you think it's an ideal way to promote a noble effort?

Regardless of your opinion, hopefully this will encourage you to read your receipts before taking the first bite.


EPA Chief: 'No More Urgent Threat to Public Health Than Climate Change'

Ahead of her upcoming trip to China, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy told a liberal advocacy group in Washington on Monday that she has dedicated her life to protecting the environment: "And I really see no greater issue and no more urgent threat to public health than climate change."

McCarthy said the goal of her trip is to support the Chinese "in meeting their air pollution challenges," and she said China has much to learn from the United States.

"Climate change is not just a public health and safety issue," McCarthy told the Center for American Progress. "I consider it to be one of the greatest economic challenges of our time as well, which is why I'm really looking forward to the trip and why I was very excited back this summer when President Obama spoke so eloquently and so comprehensively about the urgency to act on climate change when he spoke at Georgetown University."

McCarthy said Obama "showed enormous courage and he showed enormous strength as well as he challenged us all to not just acknowledge the science of climate change, to understand that it's real and it's happening, but to also charge the Cabinet to take immediate action."

To help the EPA "acknowledge the science of climate change," McCarthy last week appointed a "scientific integrity official." Dr. Francesca Grifo will help the EPA communicate scientific information "with the highest degree of integrity and transparency to the American public," McCarthy said on Nov. 25.

Grifo comes to EPA from the Union of Concerned Scientists, where she helped to expose political interference in science -- threats to the liberal climate change agenda, in other words. At the EPA, Dr. Grifo will help to implement "strong scientific integrity standards in a way that will persist through various presidential administrations," the Union of Concerned Scientists blogged.

In her remarks on Monday, McCarthy said one of her main concerns is EPA funding: "You know, one of the concerns I have is resources just continue to be challenged and challenged, and Congress continues to challenge us, especially on the House (Republican) side. And I really want EPA to maintain its stature that it has internationally and it has with the American people of being THE best science agency that knows how to do the science and turn it into real-life improvements for American families. We are not telling that story effectively. And I -- we need to do that."

McCarthy said the EPA will continue to take the lead in implementing President Obama's Climate Action Plan, including additional regulations to curb pollution from existing power plants. Those regulations are expected in June, and they follow rules issued in September for new power plants.

"We have authority to do it. We are charged with responsibility to do it," McCarthy said about implementing President Obama's Climate Action Plan. "And we will meet that challenge to address the action items in the report and the plan, as well as continue to engage our international partners, because it's all about reducing carbon pollution, it's all about adapting to a changing climate, and it is all about the United States playing a leadership role in international discussions. Climate change is a global issue. We need global action."

McCarthy said she's "really excited" about her trip to China next week: "The U.S. and China represent the world's largest economies, the world's largest energy consumers and the world's largest emitters of carbon pollution. One out of three isn't that good. I'd rather not be the largest energy consumers or the largest emitter of carbon pollution, but since we are, we're going to get together and we're going to talk."

McCarthy said pollution from China makes its way to the West Coast of the United States, and mercury emitted in China goes into the atmosphere, and is "redeposited" in U.S. rivers and streams.

She said can learn from the U.S. experience, where "public outcry" in the 1950s and 60s "led to significant laws being enacted."

"China also is facing significant public outcry and they have significant challenges that they need to address, but the good news is that we have been there before," McCarthy said. "The U.S. has faced these challenges. We have faced them well. We have faced them over time. We know the technologies that are available. We know what planning can do. We know that there are many ways in which you can engage your states, and in China's case, provinces, to bring a sense of urgency to this issue. And we are going to be working with them on these air quality challenges moving forward."


Fracking: Greener than ‘Green’

Fracking is friendly to protected species and mosquito-devouring bats.

A constant, mild hiss. That was my chief observation when I returned to Anadarko Petroleum's Landon Pad A, a natural-gas site in Lycoming County, Pa. October's quietude was totally unlike the cyclone of equipment, personnel, and activity that dominated this spot last June, when Anadarko and the American Petroleum Institute hosted journalists and policy analysts here.

Back then, engineers used a pressurized blend of 90 percent water, 9.5 percent sand, and 0.5 percent chemicals to shake subterranean shale deposits and awaken natural gas that has slumbered since the dinosaurs died. This hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," occurs some 6,000 feet underground. This is 5,000 feet beneath the water table - deep enough to bury three Empire State Buildings.

This spot now resembles the scene of a once-raging party that has been cleared out and cleaned up. The trucks have driven off. Dozens of workers have moved on. The cranes are gone. What remains are three acres of gravel-covered farmland, five completed wells, and a steady, low-volume whoosh. This is the sound of natural gas being captured; counted by a "cash register" gauge that measures output and, thus, royalties; and conveyed via yellow pipes into the broader natural-gas market. The result? Warm bedrooms on crisp nights and hot showers on cold mornings.

Despite the shrill complaints of fracking foes, this productive but tranquil patch demonstrates how much greener fracking is than other power sources - even "green" ones.

Since 2002, carbon dioxide output has grown 32 percent globally, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Robert Bryce wrote for Bloomberg View in September. "In the U.S., meanwhile, carbon dioxide emissions were 8 percent lower in 2012 than they were in 2002, largely due to a surge in shale gas production, which has reduced coal use." Indeed, fracking has helped America keep its unratified Kyoto Protocol commitments while other countries decry so-called global warming and yet continue boosting CO2.

New York City, home of über-frackophobe Yoko Ono, is benefiting enormously from fracking. "New York has the cleanest air now of any major American city," Gotham mayor Michael Bloomberg told journalists on September 26. Thanks to both purer heating oil in local buildings and the conversion of others to natural gas fracked along the Marcellus Shale, New York's air has not been this clear in 50 years, officials say.

As the Associated Press's Deepti Hajela reported, decreases in sulfur dioxide, soot, and other pollutants are preventing 2,000 emergency-room visits and 800 deaths annually. This concrete positive vastly outweighs the theoretical risk that fracking someday, somewhere possibly might taint someone's drinking water - maybe.

Water is a precious resource. So, conservationists should smile at how little water fracking requires - compared to other energy sources. According to the U.S. Energy Department and the Ground Water Protection Council, it typically takes three gallons of water to produce 1 million British thermal units of energy from deep-shale natural gas/fracking. Atomic energy requires 11 gallons per million BTUs. Coal: 23 gallons. Corn ethanol? A whopping 15,800 gallons. And soy biodiesel requires nearly triple that amount: 44,500 gallons per million BTUs. That's 14,833 times the water needed for fracking.

But what about ground-water pollution? The hysteria that fracking poisons drinking water lacks one key ingredient: evidence.

As former EPA chief Lisa Jackson testified before Congress in May 2011: "I'm not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water." New York State's politically frackophobic Andrew Cuomo administration even concluded that "no significant adverse impact to water resources is likely to occur due to underground vertical migration of fracturing fluids through the shale formations." A December 2011 Department of Environmental Conservation draft report added that "there is no likelihood of significant adverse impacts from the underground migration of fracturing fluids."

Protecting habitat is another key eco-priority. Fracking succeeds here, too. An SAIC/RW Beck study found that natural-gas companies use 0.4 acres of land to generate a year's supply of electricity for 1,000 households. Nuclear power requires 0.7 acres. Coal consumes 0.75 acres. Wind power needs six acres. And solar cells require 8.4 acres to fuel 1,000 households annually. This is 21 times the habitat impact of natural gas. So, if you are a Gila monster or a Joshua tree, cheer fracking and hiss solar.

What about wildlife?

Anadarko's Brad Milliken says that rattlesnakes are protected in Pennsylvania, unlike his home state of Texas. The company, Milliken says, retains "what I would call a rattlesnake wrangler. If we see a snake, we call him up, and they relocate him temporarily" until work has been completed. "All of our contractors understand not to disturb the snakes."

Before installing a new pipeline, Anadarko checks for Indiana bats as they migrate in May and June. Obstructing their flight paths "changes their way of life and can be detrimental to their health," Milliken explains. In such cases, he says, Anadarko would reroute a pipeline rather than threaten these bats.

In contrast, the "Earth friendly," taxpayer-subsidized wind industry slaughters thousands, perhaps millions of bats unlucky enough to fly into the giant Cuisinarts that are their turbines. (My friend Paul Driessen of the Center for a Constructive Tomorrow has documented this carnage with tragic eloquence.)

Nearly a century of horror movies have equated bats with Dracula. Too bad. These hideous creatures do a beautiful thing: Gobble mosquitoes. By one estimate, a brown bat devours nearly 8,700 such insects annually. So, ironically, "ecologically sensitive" wind turbines are butchering bats. This is great news for mosquitoes, which do suck human blood. On this vile path lies a hike in West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.

Could gas producers frack even more cleanly? Innovation, of course, could yield safer and more Earth-friendly production methods. Cal Cooper of the Apache Corporation wisely proposed at a Manhattan Institute energy-policy conference that gas companies "could transport fracking chemicals in powder form and mix them with water at production sites, rather than ship them around in liquid form, which risks a spill in transit."

Rather than blindly decry fracking, environmentalists should encourage more ideas like Cooper's. Beyond that, they should embrace fracking for being easy on the air, water, land, and wildlife - in most cases far easier than the "sustainable" energy sources that ecologists adore.


So much for the Southern summer: snow predicted in Southern Australia tomorrow

Global cooling

Snow will fall on Victoria's Alps on Thursday as a cold blast of wintry air hits the state.

Between 10 and 20 centimetres could fall on the Alps, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, while rain will continue steadily elsewhere. Already more than 30 millimetres of rain has fallen in Melbourne and regional areas.

"We'll see that snow falling, snow down to 1100 metres on Thursday," said Bureau forecaster Michael Efron. "We'll see that really cold air arriving over the state."

Nearly 20 millimetres has fallen on Melbourne since rain began on Tuesday night. Falls have been markedly heavier in the south-eastern suburbs, with Moorabbin receiving 30 millimetres and Mentone, Hampton and Sandringham 29.

Elsewhere in the state, Mt Buller has had 45 millimetres and Mildura, 35. Melbourne could get another 10 to 20 millimetres on Thursday, said Mr Efron, and parts of Victoria between 10 and 20.

A top of 17 is expected for Melbourne on Thursday, with gusting south-westerly winds. "It could feel a lot colder than 17 with those winds," said Mr Efron.

Fortunately, the cold won't be around for long. Friday will be 20 ndegrees, with a shower or two, but Saturday will be warm and 27, Sunday a shower or two and 29. Monday and Tuesday will have temperatures in the low 20s.

"Saturday is looking the best day in the outlook," said Mr Enfron.




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


3 December, 2013

The secret society of Warmists

The climate scientists who advise our politicians are so sure they are right that it is impossible to have any serious dialogue with them

In this week's Spectator Diary, Lord (Nigel) Lawson, chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, partly lifts the veil on a curious "secret meeting" held at the House of Lords between a team from his GWPF and six scientists from the Royal Society. This arose from a bizarre personal attack made on Lord Lawson as a "climate denier" at an Australian university, by the Royal Society's president, Sir Paul Nurse - a geneticist who has publicly shown that he knows little about climate science, but who believes that rising CO2 is disastrously causing the world to warm. After Lawson pointed out to Nurse that his attack was factually inaccurate, Nurse offered to send some of his "experts" to put the GWPF straight on science.

The society insisted that the meeting be shrouded in secrecy; not even the names of those present were to be revealed. What might have surprised it was the calibre of the scientific team the GWPF was able to muster, including three fellows of the Royal Society itself, and Dr Richard Lindzen, the world's most distinguished atmospheric physicist. Although the GWPF has in general scrupulously observed the "Chatham House rule" that the society imposed on the meeting, we can piece together something of how it went.

Nurse's team, led by Sir Brian Hoskins of the Grantham Institute, who also sits on the climate change committee advising the Government on policy, trotted out all the familiar arguments for the orthodoxy, including several "hockey stick" graphs to show global temperatures now soaring to levels unknown for thousands of years. They threw in some of the scare stories warmists have come up with to counter evidence that for 15 years temperatures have failed to rise as their computer models predicted, such as that "the oceans are acidifying" and that there has been a dramatic increase in "extreme weather events" (neither claim is true).

As one present put it, "it was like talking to members of a cult". What particularly struck the GWPF team was their opposite numbers' refusal to discuss the policy implications of their beliefs, even though Hoskins is a leading member of the "independent" committee which advises the Government on its increasingly disastrous and futile "low carbon" energy policy. In short, the meeting seemed perfectly to exemplify the real mess we are in, where the officially approved scientists who advise our politicians are so sure they are right that it is impossible to have any serious dialogue with them.


The new anti-Darwinians

Written by Dr. Vincent Gray

Until the middle of the 19th century everybody believed that the earth was static and unchanging, interrupted by earthquakes, hurricanes and other disasters, caused; usually by Gods, but after which the earth returned to its original static state.

It was the developments of the science of geology by Hutton and Lyall that changed this picture. They showed that the earth is in a constant state of change. Many of the rocks are formed from deposits made in previous history. In addition they contain remains of organisms that had lived at the time they had been deposited.Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin, who joined captain Robert Fitzroy in a voyage around the world in HMS Beagle in 1831, was an enthusiastic naturalist who had also studied the new geology. He took the first volume of Lyall's "Principles of Geology" with him on the voyage and picked up the second volume at Valparaiso during the trip.

It became obvious to him that the remains of early living organisms in geological strata were often very different from those alive today, so there must be an evolutionary change over time.

The concept of "Climate Change" promoted by The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) denies the existence of evolution. They believe in the old Medieval concept of an unchanging static world, affected only by "Natural Variability" which can only be "changed" by human greenhouse gas emissions.

Evolution of living organisms means their ever changing interaction in every place at every level. This process was called "Ecology" by Ernst Haeckel.

Environmental "Ecologists" treat the whole world as a collection of static "ecosystems" - regions where the organisms are uniformly distributed. They believe that there is a moral virtue in their largest possible variety; in "biodiversity." Both these concepts are unknown to evolutionary theory.

Evolution is also diametrically opposed to the concept of "sustainability." Evolution happens, it cannot be stopped or reversed. The only sensible policy is adaptation.

Darwin tried to find a cause for the changes in living organisms over time. He had noticed that the offspring of many organisms were often not identical with one another and also too numerous for all of them to survive. The next generation would consist of those who were more successful in coping with their current, changed circumstances; the "survival of the fittest." Each generation would be different from the last one and over sufficient time would explain the observed changes.

Darwin was unable to explain how it worked. Now we know that the mechanism is controlled by genetic changes in the DNA of each organism.

The evidence that organisms evolve and that the mechanism is selection of favourable genes is overwhelming and most professional biologists purport to agree that this is so and routinely honour the memory and work of Charles Darwin. But very few are prepared to accept the full implications of these two theories.

Darwin himself was unwilling to accept some of them and his mistakes have been subsequently copied by many others.

Since the evolution of humans has occurred in the same way as all organisms humans cannot claim special privileges. There is thus no scientific basis for the existence of a superior being providing privileges to humans alone, not available to the others. There is no scientific basis for any religious belief.

Darwin had a degree in theology and had prepared for service as a country parson. His wife was an enthusiastic Christian who worried that her husband was losing his faith.

Darwin struggled all his life with this dilemma and it was only in his last work, his autobiography, that he tackled it head on and confessed that he was "agnostic;" which means that he was not sure, despite the certainty of his theories.

His confession so horrified his family that they censored his autobiography. His true opinions were only made known when the uncensored book was published by his granddaughter, Nora Barlow as late as 1958.

A belief in some form of religion is part of the emotional apparatus which binds humans to their particular society. Even many scientists try to make the excuse that religion can be an explanation for that part of their knowledge of which they are ignorant, thus preventing further research.

Darwin's second mistake was to assume that humans were in some ways different from all oher organisms. He expressed this difference by the very mechanism of evolution - of SELECTION. The process of selection from a set of offspring contending for survival can cover the spectrum of complete accident (such as the luck to survive a disaster) to deliberate measures to obtain an advantage. There is no need for a distinction between different organisms. Yet Darwin chose to make a distinction between NATURAL SELECTION and ARTIFICIAL Selection. Implying that Darwinian selection carried out by humans is different or superior to selection that occurs with non humans.

The Environmental Movement goes way beyond this departure from evolutionary science by claiming that humans are not only superior to other creatures but ara also responsible for them.

Darwin went to a great deal of trouble to explain that the hierarchical classification system which is used to classify organisms is arbitrary, based on personal opinions of taxonomists.

In his most influential book "The Origin of Species" he showed that the particular classification level "species" is not the sacred unchanging category believed by the originator of the term, Carl Linnaeus but it depends entirely on what characteristics are chosen to distinguish one species from another. The choice may be different for different groups of organism in different periods and places and it can even depend on similarities of DNA instead of physical characteristics.

Environmentalists regard every organism that at one time or another has been given a species name by a taxonomist as sacred. It must never be permitted to evolve or become extinct, but must often be considered as "endangered", preserved forever, or "conserved."

The IPCC Climate Models and the Environmental Delusions that inspired it not only contravene basic principles of physics and mathematics. They are also at odds with the basic principles of biological science.


Green Energy Could Kill Britain's Economy

The Chancellor is to knock £50 off the average energy bill by replacing some green levies with general taxation and extending the timescale for rolling out others. On the face of it, the possibility that global energy prices may start to fall over the next few years might seem like good political news for him, and some of the chicken entrails do seem to be pointing in that direction. There is, however, a political danger to George Osborne in such trends .

For Government strategists reeling from the twin blows of Ed Miliband's economically illiterate but politically astute promise of an energy bill freeze and the energy companies' price hikes, the prospect of lower wholesale energy prices might seem heaven sent. But in many ways it only exacerbates their problems, for the Government is right now fixing the prices we will have to pay for nuclear, wind and biomass power for decades to come. And it is fixing those prices at quite a high level.

The more that oil, gas and coal prices drop, the worse these deals look and the more they threaten our economic competitiveness. The Liberal Democrats have not allowed the Chancellor to cut subsidies for the renewable energy industry, the most regressive redistribution of wealth since the Sheriff of Nottingham was in his pomp.

They argue that what has driven energy bills up threefold in ten years is mainly an increase in the wholesale price of energy, rather than any great lurch towards subsidising renewables. True, but most of the lurch is yet to come and as wind power capacity quadruples by 2020, it will add £400 to average bills - not to mention driving up the price of energy to industry, which will pass it on to consumers.

"There is not a low-cost energy future out there," said Ed Miliband when Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in 2009, at the time an enthusiast for discouraging energy use by price rises. It even became fashionable to argue, when Chris Huhne filled that post, that higher prices would cut bills (yes, you read that right) by encouraging people to use less power.

Anyhow, the forces that have driven energy prices up in recent years appear to be fading. Consider some of the reasons that oil and gas prices rose in 2011, the year energy companies pushed up prices even more than this year. Japan suffered a terrible tsunami, shut down its nuclear industry and began scouring the world for gas imports to keep its lights on. At about the same time Libya was plunged into civil war, cutting off a key supplier of gas. Add in simmering tension over Iran, Germany's sudden decision to turn its back on nuclear power, the legacy of a couple of cold winters and the lingering depressive effect on oil and gas exploration of low energy prices from much of the previous decade, and it is little surprise that oil and gas producers pushed up prices.

Contrast that with today. Several years of high prices have driven a surge of new exploration. Deep offshore technology is advancing rapidly and huge gas fields have been found in the Mediterranean and in the Indian and Atlantic oceans. In the United States, the shale revolution has glutted both gas and oil markets, displacing imports. Iran is coming in from the cold, Libya is back on stream and Australia is preparing to export huge volumes of gas. Should the rest of the world start producing shale gas - China, Argentina, Poland and others are on the brink, even Britain might one day deign to join them - that would further add to supply.

A decade is a long time in energy policy. Ten years ago, no less an oracle than Alan Greenspan told Congress: "Today's tight natural gas markets have been a long time in coming, and distant futures prices suggest that we are not apt to return to earlier periods of relative abundance and low prices anytime soon." Abundance and low prices are exactly what America now has: so much so that it is using gas instead of coal to provide base-load electricity, investing heavily in manufacturing and chemical industry, and shifting some of its road transport from oil to gas. By 2020, shale gas will have boosted the American economy by £500 billion, 3 per cent of GDP and 1.7 million jobs, according to McKinsey Global Institute.

Meanwhile, the argument that the running out of fossil fuels is what has been driving up prices has been proven once again, for the third time in my lifetime, to be bunk. America, the most explored and depleted oil and gas field in the world, is now increasing its oil and gas production at such a rate of knots that it is heading towards self-sufficiency. If an oil field as gigantic as the Eagle Ford can be found (through technological innovation) in Texas, think how much awaits explorers in the rest of the world. Even five years ago, gas was thought likely to be the first of the fossil fuels to run out. Nobody thinks that now.

At least nobody outside Whitehall. As Professor Dieter Helm told a House of Lords committee last month: "I think one should be very sceptical about this Government and the last Government embarking on policies that require them to assume that the oil and gas prices are going to go up and then pursuing those policies and not being willing to contemplate the consequence of that not being the case." According to Peter Atherton of Liberum Capital, the recent "strike price" deal with EDF to build a nuclear power station at Hinckley Point in Somerset will only look good value to consumers if gas prices more than double by 2023.

Suppose, instead, world energy prices come down, even as the cost of subsidising renewables and nuclear starts to bite. We will have rising energy bills while the rest of the world has falling ones. That is a recipe for job destruction.

One of my favourite charts - I know, I should get out more - comes from Professor Robert Allen of the University of Oxford. It shows the cost of energy, as measured in grammes of silver per million BTUs, in various world cities in the early 1700s. Newcastle stands out like a sore thumb, with energy costs much lower than London and Amsterdam, and far lower than Paris and Beijing. The average Chinese paid roughly 20 times more for heat than the average Geordie. This meant that turning heat into work (via steam engines) throughout the north of England was profitable. In China, by contrast, it made more sense to employ lots of people, on low wages . The result was an industrial revolution in Britain with innovation and rising living standards and an "industrious" revolution in China (and Japan) with falling living standards.

Affordable energy is the indispensable lifeblood of economic growth. Back in 2011, David Cameron was warned by an adviser that electricity, gas and petrol prices were of much greater concern to voters than any other issue, including the NHS, unemployment, public sector cuts and crime. If subsidies for windmills prevent us from passing on any future falls in gas and oil prices, and jobs flee to lower-cost countries, the voters will not be forgiving.


Climate Expert von Storch: Why Is Global Warming Stagnating?

Climate experts have long predicted that temperatures would rise in parallel with greenhouse gas emissions. But, for 15 years, they haven't. In a SPIEGEL interview, meteorologist Hans von Storch discusses how this "puzzle" might force scientists to alter what could be "fundamentally wrong" models

SPIEGEL: Mr. Storch, Germany has recently seen major flooding. Is global warming the culprit?

Storch: I'm not aware of any studies showing that floods happen more often today than in the past. I also just attended a hydrologists' conference in Koblenz, and none of the scientists there described such a finding.

SPIEGEL: But don't climate simulations for Germany's latitudes predict that, as temperatures rise, there will be less, not more, rain in the summers?

Storch: That only appears to be contradictory. We actually do expect there to be less total precipitation during the summer months. But there may be more extreme weather events, in which a great deal of rain falls from the sky within a short span of time. But since there has been only moderate global warming so far, climate change shouldn't be playing a major role in any case yet.

SPIEGEL: Would you say that people no longer reflexively attribute every severe weather event to global warming as much as they once did?

Storch: Yes, my impression is that there is less hysteria over the climate. There are certainly still people who almost ritualistically cry, "Stop thief! Climate change is at fault!" over any natural disaster. But people are now talking much more about the likely causes of flooding, such as land being paved over or the disappearance of natural flood zones -- and that's a good thing.

SPIEGEL: Will the greenhouse effect be an issue in the upcoming German parliamentary elections? Singer Marius Müller-Westernhagen is leading a celebrity initiative calling for the addition of climate protection as a national policy objective in the German constitution.

Storch: It's a strange idea. What state of the Earth's atmosphere do we want to protect, and in what way? And what might happen as a result? Are we going to declare war on China if the country emits too much CO2 into the air and thereby violates our constitution?

SPIEGEL: Yet it was climate researchers, with their apocalyptic warnings, who gave people these ideas in the first place.

Storch: Unfortunately, some scientists behave like preachers, delivering sermons to people. What this approach ignores is the fact that there are many threats in our world that must be weighed against one another. If I'm driving my car and find myself speeding toward an obstacle, I can't simple yank the wheel to the side without first checking to see if I'll instead be driving straight into a crowd of people. Climate researchers cannot and should not take this process of weighing different factors out of the hands of politics and society.

SPIEGEL: Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, outside Berlin, is currently Chancellor Angela Merkel's climate adviser. Why does she need one?

Storch: I've never been chancellor myself. But I do think it would be unwise of Merkel to listen to just a single scientist. Climate research is made up of far too many different voices for that. Personally, though, I don't believe the chancellor has delved deeply into the subject. If she had, she would know that there are other perspectives besides those held by her environmental policy administrators.

SPIEGEL: Just since the turn of the millennium, humanity has emitted another 400 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, yet temperatures haven't risen in nearly 15 years. What can explain this?

Storch: So far, no one has been able to provide a compelling answer to why climate change seems to be taking a break. We're facing a puzzle. Recent CO2 emissions have actually risen even more steeply than we feared. As a result, according to most climate models, we should have seen temperatures rise by around 0.25 degrees Celsius (0.45 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 10 years. That hasn't happened. In fact, the increase over the last 15 years was just 0.06 degrees Celsius (0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) -- a value very close to zero. This is a serious scientific problem that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will have to confront when it presents its next Assessment Report late next year.

SPIEGEL: Do the computer models with which physicists simulate the future climate ever show the sort of long standstill in temperature change that we're observing right now?

Storch: Yes, but only extremely rarely. At my institute, we analyzed how often such a 15-year stagnation in global warming occurred in the simulations. The answer was: in under 2 percent of all the times we ran the simulation. In other words, over 98 percent of forecasts show CO2 emissions as high as we have had in recent years leading to more of a temperature increase.

SPIEGEL: How long will it still be possible to reconcile such a pause in global warming with established climate forecasts?

Storch: If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models. A 20-year pause in global warming does not occur in a single modeled scenario. But even today, we are finding it very difficult to reconcile actual temperature trends with our expectations.

SPIEGEL: What could be wrong with the models?

Storch: There are two conceivable explanations -- and neither is very pleasant for us. The first possibility is that less global warming is occurring than expected because greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have less of an effect than we have assumed. This wouldn't mean that there is no man-made greenhouse effect, but simply that our effect on climate events is not as great as we have believed. The other possibility is that, in our simulations, we have underestimated how much the climate fluctuates owing to natural causes.

SPIEGEL: That sounds quite embarrassing for your profession, if you have to go back and adjust your models to fit with reality…

Storch: Why? That's how the process of scientific discovery works. There is no last word in research, and that includes climate research. It's never the truth that we offer, but only our best possible approximation of reality. But that often gets forgotten in the way the public perceives and describes our work.

SPIEGEL: But it has been climate researchers themselves who have feigned a degree of certainty even though it doesn't actually exist. For example, the IPCC announced with 95 percent certainty that humans contribute to climate change.

Storch: And there are good reasons for that statement. We could no longer explain the considerable rise in global temperatures observed between the early 1970s and the late 1990s with natural causes. My team at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Hamburg, was able to provide evidence in 1995 of humans' influence on climate events. Of course, that evidence presupposed that we had correctly assessed the amount of natural climate fluctuation. Now that we have a new development, we may need to make adjustments.

SPIEGEL: In which areas do you need to improve the models?

Storch: Among other things, there is evidence that the oceans have absorbed more heat than we initially calculated. Temperatures at depths greater than 700 meters (2,300 feet) appear to have increased more than ever before. The only unfortunate thing is that our simulations failed to predict this effect.

SPIEGEL: That doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

Storch: Certainly the greatest mistake of climate researchers has been giving the impression that they are declaring the definitive truth. The end result is foolishness along the lines of the climate protection brochures recently published by Germany's Federal Environmental Agency under the title "Sie erwärmt sich doch" ("The Earth is getting warmer"). Pamphlets like that aren't going to convince any skeptics. It's not a bad thing to make mistakes and have to correct them. The only thing that was bad was acting beforehand as if we were infallible. By doing so, we have gambled away the most important asset we have as scientists: the public's trust. We went through something similar with deforestation, too -- and then we didn't hear much about the topic for a long time.

SPIEGEL: Does this throw the entire theory of global warming into doubt?

Storch: I don't believe so. We still have compelling evidence of a man-made greenhouse effect. There is very little doubt about it. But if global warming continues to stagnate, doubts will obviously grow stronger.

SPIEGEL: Do scientists still predict that sea levels will rise?

Storch: In principle, yes. Unfortunately, though, our simulations aren't yet capable of showing whether and how fast ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will melt -- and that is a very significant factor in how much sea levels will actually rise. For this reason, the IPCC's predictions have been conservative. And, considering the uncertainties, I think this is correct.

SPIEGEL: And how good are the long-term forecasts concerning temperature and precipitation?

Storch: Those are also still difficult. For example, according to the models, the Mediterranean region will grow drier all year round. At the moment, however, there is actually more rain there in the fall months than there used to be. We will need to observe further developments closely in the coming years. Temperature increases are also very much dependent on clouds, which can both amplify and mitigate the greenhouse effect. For as long as I've been working in this field, for over 30 years, there has unfortunately been very little progress made in the simulation of clouds.

SPIEGEL: Despite all these problem areas, do you still believe global warming will continue?

Storch: Yes, we are certainly going to see an increase of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) or more -- and by the end of this century, mind you. That's what my instinct tells me, since I don't know exactly how emission levels will develop. Other climate researchers might have a different instinct. Our models certainly include a great number of highly subjective assumptions. Natural science is also a social process, and one far more influenced by the spirit of the times than non-scientists can imagine. You can expect many more surprises.

SPIEGEL: What exactly are politicians supposed to do with such vague predictions?

Storch: Whether it ends up being one, two or three degrees, the exact figure is ultimately not the important thing. Quite apart from our climate simulations, there is a general societal consensus that we should be more conservative with fossil fuels. Also, the more serious effects of climate change won't affect us for at least 30 years. We have enough time to prepare ourselves.

SPIEGEL: In a SPIEGEL interview 10 years ago, you said, "We need to allay people's fear of climate change." You also said, "We'll manage this." At the time, you were harshly criticized for these comments. Do you still take such a laidback stance toward global warming?

Storch: Yes, I do. I was accused of believing it was unnecessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is not the case. I simply meant that it is no longer possible in any case to completely prevent further warming, and thus it would be wise of us to prepare for the inevitable, for example by building higher ocean dikes. And I have the impression that I'm no longer quite as alone in having this opinion as I was then. The climate debate is no longer an all-or-nothing debate -- except perhaps in the case of colleagues such as a certain employee of Schellnhuber's, whose verbal attacks against anyone who expresses doubt continue to breathe new life into the climate change denial camp.

SPIEGEL: Are there findings related to global warming that worry you?

Storch: The potential acidification of the oceans due to CO2 entering them from the atmosphere. This is a phenomenon that seems sinister to me, perhaps in part because I understand too little about it. But if marine animals are no longer able to form shells and skeletons well, it will affect nutrient cycles in the oceans. And that certainly makes me nervous.


David Viner Gets It WrongAgain

By Paul Homewood

He had us all falling about in our seats with his epic "snow is just a thing of the past" routine.

And we were rolling around on the floor when he claimed that "continental tourists would be flocking to Blackpool for their holidays to enjoy the mediterranean climate there."

So it will come as no surprise to find that our favourite junk scientist came up with this gem back in 2006, in the Guardian:

Dr Viner added that Britain could experience more dramatic and unpredictable weather in the future, including tornados.

“We saw a tornado in Birmingham last year and I think generally we are likely to see an increase in localised, unforecastable and unpredictable weather.

Wow, tornadoes!!

Fortunately, we have the ever sensible meteorologist, Philip Eden, to tell us the real story. From the Sunday Telegraph:


Unfortunately, the Telegraph never put his articles on line, but he points out that, back in the 1950?s most meteorologists did not believe that tornadoes occurred in Britain. He goes on.


According to the TORRO website, the UK gets about 35 to 40 tornadoes a year, but this number will increase "with the improved communications and a growing network of TORRO reporters."

It is also worth pointing out that, according to NOAA, "In fact, the United Kingdom has more tornadoes, relative to its land area, than any other country. Fortunately, most UK tornadoes are relatively weak."

So, next time you hear a junk scientists making up claims about tornadoes, suggest that they check the facts first


First Climate Change Refugee Appeal Officially Rejected

Townhall covered a Pacific Islander's attempt to become the first climate change refugee and avoid deportation from New Zealand. It's official: the High Court described the appeal as "novel," but ultimately inadequate. If you missed the original story, here is the background:

France 24 reports that the man, Ioane Teitiota, is currently appealing the New Zealand High Court's decision to refuse him refugee status on the basis of climate change predictions.

Teitiota, 37, has had three children in New Zealand and argues that returning to Kiribati would endanger his family:

"There's no future for us when we go back to Kiribati," he told the appeal tribunal, adding that a return would pose a risk to his children's health. ... "Fresh water is a basic human right ... the Kiribati government is unable, and perhaps unwilling, to guarantee these things because it's completely beyond their control," [his lawyer] told Radio New Zealand.

Thankfully, this case is finally closed (assuming he doesn't attempt to appeal the ruling on his appeal - a futile exercise). He and his family will likely be deported to his home in Kiribati soon.

Perhaps the most ironic aspect of the whole affair is that, despite thwarting Teitiota's attempt, both New Zealand and Kiribati have taken UN climate change warnings very seriously and are taking pre-emptive action. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Worries over the impact of rising sea levels prompted the Kiribati government to buy 6,000 acres of land in neighboring Fiji this year to grow food and potentially resettle some of its 100,000 people if the country were to become uninhabitable.

Last month, the United Nations reiterated in a landmark report that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal," saying that air and oceans are getting warmer, ice and snow are less plentiful and sea levels are rising. New Zealand has made tackling climate change an environmental priority, and rolled out an emissions-trading program in 2011.




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


2 December, 2013

U.N. climate change talks: it’s really all about the money

“Rich countries are still not pledging enough money to begin financing a shift to a cleaner global economy,” reports the Financial Times (FT) in its coverage of the United Nations climate talks in Warsaw that ended with little more than a “vague road map on how to prepare for a global climate pact they’re supposed to adopt in two years.”

Leading into what has now been called an “unsatisfactory summit,” predictions suggested the “talks could collapse because of a lack of financial support from rich nations.” Delegates from developing countries, such as Ecuador’s lead negotiator Daniel Ortega, believe “an effective 2015 emissions reduction agreement has to be based on a clear financial package.”

Ortega stated: “I’m not personally expecting any commitment by Warsaw. What we need to have is a clear roadmap of how the discussions of financing will allow us to have a clear idea of commitments by 2015.”

Even low expectations like Ortega’s were dashed when, on the opening day of the climate talks, November 11, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government produced a document, outlining its position at the Warsaw conference, which boldly stated: “Federal cabinet has ruled that Australia will not sign up to any new contributions, taxes or charges at this week’s global summit on climate change.” The Australian points out: “This rules out Australia playing any role in a wealth transfer from rich countries to developing nations to pay them to decrease their carbon emissions.” But, perhaps, the most dramatic line in the government document is: Australia “will not support any measures which are socialism masquerading as environmentalism.”

A few days later, November 15, Japan announced that “its emissions would increase slightly rather than fall 25 per cent as promised in 2009.” Japan was struggling to meet its previous emissions promises—which were the most aggressive of any big developed country—even before the Fukushima accident prompted the shutdown of its 50 still-operable nuclear reactors and its corresponding rise in the supplemental use of fossil fuels.

Then on November 20, news came out of England stating that Prime Minister Cameron is telling everyone: “We’ve got to get rid of all this green crap.”

All of this is on the foundation of Todd Stern, the Obama Administration’s chief climate diplomat, dialing back expectations when, during an October 22 speech in London, he addressed U.S. involvement: “an international agreement is by no means the whole answer.” He pointed out “the need to be creative and flexible” and acknowledged the “hard reality” that “no step change in overall levels of public funding from developed countries is likely to come anytime soon.” Stern added: “The fiscal reality of the United States and other developed countries is not going to allow it.”

Toward the end of the conference, “six environment and development groups walked out, saying the annual round of talks had delivered little more than hot air.” A statement from Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Oxfam, ActionAid, the International Trade Union Confederation and Friends of the Earth said: “The Warsaw climate conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing.” Samantha Smith, leader of the WWF’s climate and energy initiative called the meeting a “farce.” She told the FT: “Finance is one of the big reasons we walked out. Expectations were that developed countries were going to put money on the table, but what happened when we got here was exactly the opposite.”

In a statement, Smith blamed: “Japan's announcement that it would not reduce emissions as promised, Australia’s decision to end its carbon tax and Canada’s congratulating the latter on its new climate policy.”

Just as it looked like predictions of collapse would come true, a last-minute compromise came through in overtime: the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage (IMLD). Stern led the 36 straight hours of “bad-tempered negotiations”—including a standoff between the US and developing nations—in which “countries of the South … finally won.”

Addressing the IMLD, the Associated Press (AP) reports: “agreements were watered down to a point where no country was promising anything concrete.” While the IMLD was agreed upon, according to The Hindu, “deciding how this mechanism would get the funds in future” remained unresolved. And, bemoans: “the vague wording fell short of the kind of detailed commitments on additional funding and avoided a commitment to compensation that many developing nations had been seeking.”

So, while a deal was reached that allows “just enough to keep things moving,” little is really expected. The AP states: “In two-decades, the U.N. talks have failed to provide a cure to the world’s fever.” Even Connie Hedegaard, European climate commissioner, acknowledges: “the process needs to provide a ‘substantive answer’ to global warming in two years to remain relevant.”

Fortunately, Mother Nature can’t be bought. Despite the billions the world’s wealthy nations have provided to poorer countries, global CO2 emissions have continued to rise. As the Washington Post reports, from 2010-2012 only about $5 billion of the $35 billion actually went toward helping poor countries prepare for actual climate change impacts. $100 billion per year is expected by 2020 but “most developed countries are failing to demonstrate promised increases.”

Britain was one of the “wealthier nations” to promise billions in aid, but it is balking, too. Ed Davey, energy and climate secretary, believes that paying additional compensation to poorer nations is “not fair or sensible.” The Telegraph states: “Growing numbers of Tory backbenchers are now calling for the government to withdraw from expensive climate change and carbon commitments.”

Douglas Carswell, Tory MP, sums up the so-called climate compensations: “We’re spending money that we don’t have to solve a problem that doesn’t exist at the behest of people we didn’t elect.”

Canada, Australia, Britain, and even Japan—home of the landmark Kyoto climate talks two decades ago—are coming to their senses. The US held out until the very last minute—and then capitulated by agreeing to the IMLD.

It really is all about the money. The Abbott Administration has stated: Australia’s efforts on greenhouse gases will be conditioned by “fiscal circumstances.” Japan, acknowledges its need for energy: “Although Japan’s economy is one of the world’s most energy efficient, the country is still the fifth-biggest CO2 emitter, owing to its large-scale concentration of manufacturing industries.” Britain’s Carswell says: “The rethinks that have happened in Japan and Australia and elsewhere desperately need to happen here as well.” Ditto for America. After all, they’ve had their way for twenty years—CO2 emissions have gone up, the economy has gone down, and global warming has stalled.


History falsifies climate alarmist sea level claims

Seas have been rising and falling for thousands of years – without help from the EPA or IPCC

Robert W. Endlich

Sea levels are rising rapidly! Coastal communities are becoming more vulnerable to storms and storm surges! Small island nations are going to disappear beneath the waves!

Climate alarmists have been making these claims for years, trying to tie them to events like “Superstorm” Sandy, which was below Category 1 hurricane strength when it struck New York City in October 2012, and Typhoon Haiyan, which plowed into the low-lying central Philippines in November 2013.

For alarmists, it does not seem to matter that the strength and frequency of tropical storms have been decreasing in recent years, while the rate of sea level rise has fallen to about seven inches per century. Nor does it seem to matter that the lost lives and property have little to do with the storms’ sheer power. Their destructive impact was caused by their hitting heavily populated areas, where governments had not adequately informed citizens of the size and ferocity of imminent storm surges, too few people had evacuated – and people, buildings and emergency equipment were insufficiently prepared to withstand the furious storm onslaughts.

The alarmist cries are not meant to be honest or factual. They are intended to generate hysterical headlines, public anxiety about climate change, and demands for changes in energy policies and use.

China is rapidly becoming one of the richest nations on Earth. It is by far the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide, which alarmists claim is causing “unprecedented” storms and sea level rise. And yet at the recent UN-sponsored climate talks in Warsaw, China led a walkout of 132 Third World countries that claim First World nations owe them hundreds of billions of dollars in “reparations” for “losses and damages” allegedly resulting from CO2 emissions.

The Obama Administration brought (perhaps “bought” is more apt) them back to the negotiating table, by promising as-yet-unspecified US taxpayer money for those supposed losses. Details for this unprecedented giveaway will be hammered out at the 2015 UN-sponsored climate confab in Paris, safely after the 2014 US mid-term elections. Meanwhile, a little history will be instructive.

In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama proclaimed, “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow.” He was actually right. Sea level rise has slowed, but not because of CO2 emissions, which are still increasing. Mother Nature cannot be bought.

Sea level changes over relatively recent geologic and human history demonstrate that alarmist claims do not withstand scrutiny. Sea levels rose significantly after the last ice age, fell during the Little Ice Age, and have been rising again since the LIA ended around 1850. In fact, Roman Empire and Medieval port cities are now miles from the Mediterranean, because sea levels actually fell during the Little Ice Age.

During the deepest part of the last ice age, known as the Wisconsin, sea levels were about 400 feet lower than at present. As Earth emerged from the Wisconsin some 18,000 years ago and the massive ice sheets started to melt, sea levels began rising. Rapid sea level rise during the “meltwater pulse phase,
” about 15,000 years ago, was roughly five meters (16 feet) per century – but then slowed significantly since the Holocene Climate Optimum, about 8,000 years ago.

Those rising oceans created new ports for Greek and Roman naval and trade vessels. But today many of those structures and ruins are inland, out in the open, making them popular tourist destinations. How did that happen? The Little Ice Age once again turned substantial ocean water into ice, lowering sea levels, and leaving former ports stranded. Not enough ice has melted since 1850 to make them harbors again.

The ancient city of Ephesus was an important port city and commercial hub from the Bronze Age to the Minoan Warm period, and continuing through the Roman Empire. An historic map shows its location right on the sea. But today, in modern-day Turkey, Ephesus is 5 km from the Mediterranean. Some historians erroneously claim “river silting” caused the change, but the real “culprit” was sea level change.

Ruins of the old Roman port Ostia Antica, are extremely well preserved – with intact frescoes, maps and plans. Maps from the time show the port located at the mouth of the Tiber River, where it emptied into the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Battle of Ostia in 849, depicted in a painting attributed to Raphael, shows sea level high enough for warships to assemble at the mouth of the Tiber. However, today this modern-day tourist destination is two miles up-river from the mouth of the Tiber. Sea level was significantly higher in the Roman Warm Period than today.

An important turning point in British history occurred in 1066, when William the Conqueror defeated King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings. Less well-known is that, when William landed, he occupied an old Roman fort now known as Pevensey Castle, which at the time was located on a small island in a harbor on England’s south coast. A draw bridge connected it to the mainland. Pevensey is infamous because unfortunate prisoners were thrown into this “Sea Gate,” so that their bodies would be washed away by the tide. Pevensey Castle is now a mile from the coast – further proof of a much higher sea level fewer than 1000 years ago.

Before modern Italy, the region was dominated by the famous City States of the Mediterranean, among which is Pisa, with its picturesque Cathedral Square and famous Leaning Tower. Located near the mouth of the Arno River, Pisa was a powerful city, because maritime trade brought goods from sailing ships right into the port. Its reign ended after 1300 AD, the onset of the Little Ice Age, when sea levels fell and ships could no longer sail to her port. Once again, some say “river silting” was the cause.

However, Pisa is now seven miles from the Tyrrhenian Sea, with large meanders upstream from Pisa and little meandering downstream. When a river is “at grade,” the downstream gradient is as low as possible, as with the meandering Mississippi River and delta in Louisiana. Rivers with a strong downstream gradient flow to the sea in a direct route, with few meanders, as with the Rio Grande in New Mexico.

The facts of history are clear. Sea level was 400 feet lower at the end of the Wisconsin Ice Age, 18,000 years ago. Sea levels rose rapidly until 8,000 years ago. As recently as 1066, when the Normans conquered England, sea levels were quite a bit higher than today.

During the Little Ice Age, 1300 to 1850 – when temperatures were the coldest during any time in the past 10,000 years – snow and ice accumulated in Greenland, Antarctica, Europe and glaciers worldwide. As a consequence, sea levels fell so much that important Roman Era and Medieval port cities (like Ephesus, Ostia Antica and Pisa) were left miles from the Mediterranean.

Since the Little Ice Age ended about 160 years ago, tide gauges show that sea level has risen at a steady rate – with no correlation to the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

Sea level is a dynamic property in our planet’s climate cycles, which are closely linked to changes in solar energy output and other natural factors. It is unlikely to change in response to tax policies that make energy more expensive and economies less robust – no matter what politicians in Washington, Brussels or the United Nations might say.

Much to their chagrin, Mother Nature doesn’t listen to them. She has a mind of her own.

Via email

Carbon Dioxide & Water Vapor COOL Earth's Atmosphere

A Mexican study affirms a 1951 finding by top American scientists that carbon dioxide (CO2) cannot cause global warming. Applying known scientific values, more eminent scientists are coming forward to confirm that atmospheric CO2 mixes with clouds and water vapor to cause only cooling. As such, the credibility of "consensus science" claims about man-made global warming being caused by rises in CO2 levels are left in serious doubt.

Professor Nasif Nahle (Monterrey, Mexico) provides a peer-reviewed paper, 'Determining the Total Emissivity of a Mixture of Gases Containing Overlapping Absorption Bands,' that uses known and well-established values from the results of experiments performed previously by H. C. Hottel, B. Leckner, M. Lapp, C. B. Ludwig, A. F. Sarofim, et al, showing that the combined effect of overlapping absorption bands of water vapor with CO2 causes a reduction on the total absorptivity of the mixture of those gases in earth's atmosphere. As such, water vapor and CO2 are proven to combine to cause global cooling, not warming.clouds

Nahle's paper affirms the long-forgotten findings of the eminent former head of Britain's Met Office, CEP Brooks, and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) that also revealed that CO2 in the atmosphere could not cause warming. Brooks, Britain's top climatologist at the time, along with America's best meteorologists agreed that the idea that CO2 could warm the climate:

“was never widely accepted and was abandoned when it was found that all the long-wave radiation [that would be] absorbed by CO2 is [already] absorbed by water vapor.”

[see:“Geological and Historical Aspects of Climatic Change.” In Compendium of Meteorology, edited by Thomas F. Malone, pp. 1004-18 (at 1016). Boston: American Meteorological Association]

Scientists at Principia Scientific International (PSI), who peer-reviewed Nahle's paper, are currently advising colleagues that the most reliable data available now confirms that CO2 is shown to act as a coolant in earth's climate. As such, the notion of a so-called 'greenhouse gas' warming effect may be regarded as refuted, while environmental measures by governments and individuals to reduce “carbon emissions” to combat climate change are, in turn, rendered pointless.

For those interested in reading Professor Nahle's full paper (revised April 2011), we publish it below:


According to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory, carbon dioxide increases the potential of water vapor to absorb and emit IR radiation as a consequence of the overlapping absorption/emission spectral bands. I have determined the total emissivity of a mixture of gases containing 5% of water vapor and 0.039% of carbon dioxide in all spectral bands where their absorptivities/emissivities overlap. The result of my calculations is that carbon dioxide reduces the total absorptivity/emissivity of the water vapor, working like a coolant, not a warmer of the atmosphere and the surface.

Much more HERE

U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Fall Dramatically, Again, in 2013

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions declined by 3.7 percent in 2013, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (U.K.) reports. The decline in U.S. emissions continues a dramatic drop in U.S. emissions this century, even as global emissions rapidly rise.

The new Tyndall Centre report says there is enough data regarding 2013 carbon dioxide emissions to accurately project emissions for the final two months of the year and for 2013 as a whole. Global emissions will rise by 2.1 percent during 2013, powered mainly by a 5.9 percent increase in China and a 7.7 percent increase in India.

U.S. emissions have declined 14 percent since the year 2000. The decline is even more dramatic since 2007, with U.S. emissions down 16 percent in that short time.

Global emissions continue to rise despite the ongoing decline in U.S. emissions. Global emissions are up 45 percent since 2000, and up 16 percent since 2007.

China now emits approximately double the emissions of the second largest emitter, with China accounting for 27 percent of global emissions and the United States accounting for 14 percent of global emissions. Since the year 2000, China alone is responsible for two-thirds of the global increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

The new emissions data confirm the success of free-market emissions reduction programs relative to government-centered restrictions. Environmental activists routinely criticize the United States for being one of the few nations never to sign the Kyoto Protocol, which sought to impose emissions quotas on the United States while imposing no such quotas on China, India, and other developing nations. Nevertheless, emissions data show the United States has reduced more carbon dioxide emissions this century than any other nation. The U.S. emissions decline is due in large part to technological advances in natural gas production and power plant operations.


Germany plans to scrap air passenger tax

Germany’s next government is set to scrap the country’s air passenger duty which could make flights up to €40 cheaper. The move follows pressure from the airline lobby but has upset environmental groups.

Members of the transport group decided on Thursday during coalition talks between Chancellor Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) to abolish air passenger duty, which applies to departures from German airports, the Bild newspaper reported.

The tax was introduced in Germany two years ago but the parties believe that it is costing the country more money than it brings in as passengers are put off flying from German airports by the high cost of travel.

If the duty is abolished, ticket prices would be reduced by €7.50 on short-haul journeys, €23.43 on medium-haul and slashed on long-haul flights by €42.18, the Bild said.

Air passenger duty is higher in other European countries such as Britain which, behind Chad, is the world’s second most expensive country to fly from, according to research by the World Economic Forum published in March this year.

In the US, international flyers are charged $13.40, the State Department’s website shows.

When Germany’s tax was introduced in 2011 CDU Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble bore the brunt of considerable criticism from the CDU’s then coalition partners the Free Democratic Party (FDP).

But the mark-up on ticket prices helped shore up the budget and contributed almost €1 billion to the treasury every year, according to Bild.

The tax was also seen as an important move by environmental groups to make flying more expensive.

When the German parliament took the decision to introduce the tax in November 2010, a statement from Bund, Germany’s branch of Friends of the Earth, called it “one of the few measures for more climate protection in the transport industry.”

In response to plans to abolish the tax, the organization issued a statement urging the coalition to maintain and increase the duty.

“The air passenger duty does not lead to the exodus of passengers to foreign airports or to the loss of jobs in airlines as the Federal Association of the Air Travel Industry (BDL) claims," it said.

“In order to develop a guiding impact and generate additional income for the financing of environmental protection in developing countries, air passenger duty must be increased further,” the NGO argued.

But the BDL, which has campaigned against passenger duty since its introduction, stands fully behind the tax cut.

It claimed that in 2012 Germany’s five biggest airline companies lost €513m to the government through the tax.

The body’s president Klaus Peter Siegloch said on Tuesday the increase in ticket prices was “a considerable burden for the German flight industry and airports,” Bild reported.

The association points to the fact that air traffic has increased faster in neighbouring countries than it has in Germany, despite the fact that these states have weaker economies.



Tim Blair

Australian pride is restored. This is no small accomplishment, considering the depths to which we sank in 2009, when then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd offered this wince-making speech to that year’s United Nations climate conference in Denmark:

“Before I left Australia, I was presented with a book of handwritten letters from a group of six-year-olds. One of the letters is from Gracie. Gracie is six. ‘Hi,’ she wrote. ‘My name is Gracie. How old are you?’ Gracie continues, ‘I am writing to you because I want you all to be strong in Copenhagen. Please listen to us as it is our future.’ I fear that at this conference, we are on the verge of letting little Gracie down.”

We were a different country back then, outsourcing economic policy to babies and actually admitting it to the world. Happily, things have changed. For this year’s UN climatefest in Warsaw, Poland, Tony Abbott’s government didn’t even bother to send the environment minister, much less the Prime Minister and his pre-teen fan mail.

Instead we sent some delegates who quite properly treated the whole exercise as a lark, much to the consternation of Gaia’s little Gracies. “They wore T-shirts and gorged on snacks throughout the negotiation,” fumed Ria Voorhaar, a spokeswoman for the Climate Action Network. “That gives some indication of the manner they are behaving in.”

Back in 2009, Rudd negotiated pointlessly for 40 hours, grabbing just one hour of sleep. This year’s Australian delegates don’t go for that sort of nonsense. “They made an intervention that late-night negotiations were bad for health and should be stopped,” complained Voorhaar.

And the meetings were indeed halted, with many blaming the snack-chomping Aussies and their t-shirts. “Their behaviour caused over 130 developing nations to abandon discussions on the controversial issue of climate compensation at 4am,” seethed Sophie Yeo of the activist group Responding to Climate Change. “It is one thing to be tired in a negotiation meeting, another to turn up in pyjamas,” huffed EU negotiator Paul Watkinson on Twitter. “Respect matters.”

With all due respect, the EU and the UN can shove it.

The Australians’ fine performance in Warsaw recalls the great Ipswich Meat Battle, when Queensland abattoir workers set a new global standard for environmental negotiations. One April morning in 2006, the workers arrived at their abattoir to find animal activists had chained themselves to the facility’s killing area.

Rather than give up and go home, however, the industrious workers advanced on the chained idiots. As the ABC reported: “The 12 protesters got a fright when meatworkers took matters into their own hands and used angle grinders to cut the chains off the activists so they could get back to work.”

Police are usually called to deal with protesters. In this case, the protesters actually called police. “The workers, they were standing around cheering and whooping and yelling and making lewd comments,” protester Angie Stephenson wailed. “We had to call the police and tell them to get out here straight away.”

“We begged for the police,” confirmed another protester, Patty Mark, who said that the abattoir owner joined about 40 of his workers in removing the stupid activists.

“They were yelling and screaming, and he got the angle grinder himself and started to cut right near where we were chained,” pity Patty pleaded.

“It was terrifying. We didn’t have protection on our eyes. The sparks were flying.”

If ever we send any further delegations to UN climate talks, these boys should lead the way. “Like, this guy was basically coming at us with an angle grinder, so there were people shaking, there were people in tears,” said protester Noah Hannibal. “And he was just saying, you know, ‘I’m enjoying this.’ “

That’s the spirit. The UN better get used to it.




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


1 December, 2013

Lies My President Told Me

Paul Driessen

“Under my plan, if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan. Period. Nothing changes, except your health insurance costs will go down.”

It was just a couple of renegade IRS agents in Cincinnati. Benghazi was a spontaneous protest that got out of control in direct response to an inflammatory video posted on the internet. During September 2012, our rebounding economy created an astonishing 873,000 jobs. And on and on.

If we have learned anything about President Obama and his administration, it is that they are compulsive, practiced prevaricators – determined to advance their agenda of “fundamentally transforming” America and imposing greater government control over our lives, living standards and pursuit of happiness. When caught, they dissemble, say they were “not informed directly,” issue false apologies, or fire back with “What difference, at this point, does it make anyway?!?”

Keep all this in mind when the President and other Washington politicos bring up “dangerous manmade global warming,” insist that we slash fossil fuel use, and tell us we need to give poor countries billions of dollars a year to compensate them for “losses and damages” they incurred due to warming we caused.

When they claim “97% of scientists say the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it,” remember: This is based on 75 of 77 “climate scientists” who were selected from a 2010 survey (that went to 10,257 scientists). 700 climate scientists, 31,000 American scientists and 48% of US meteorologists say there is no evidence that humans are causing dangerous warming or climate change.

Moreover, “contributing to” is meaningless. Is it a 1, 5, 20 or 90% contribution? Is it local or global? Do scientists know enough to separate human factors from the numerous, powerful, interrelated solar, cosmic, oceanic, terrestrial and other forces that have repeatedly caused minor to major climate changes, climate cycles and weather events throughout human and geologic history? At this point, they do not.

When the President says “carbon pollution in our atmosphere has increased dramatically,” remember: It’s not “carbon” (soot) – it’s carbon dioxide. It’s not “pollution” – it’s the plant-fertilizing gas that makes all life on Earth possible. Increased “dramatically” means rising from 330 ppm (0.030% of the atmosphere) in 1975, when scientists were concerned about global cooling, to about 400 ppm (0.040%) today.

(Oxygen represents 21% of atmospheric gases (210,000 ppm). Argon is 0.93% (9,300 ppm). About 90% of the “greenhouse effect” is from water vapor. And roughly 95% of the annual addition to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels is from volcanoes, subsea vents and other natural sources.)

Over the past 16 years, while CO2 levels continued to increase “dramatically,” average planetary temperatures did not budge. The eight years since a Category 3 hurricane made landfall in the United States is the longest such period since 1900 or even the 1860s. Even with the recent Midwestern and East Coast twisters, US tornado frequency remains close to a record low. Is that due to CO2 emissions?

There is one point on which the President is correct. In 2008 he said “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow.” And indeed, they are now rising at a mere seven inches per century.

All of this should fascinate the scholar and climate realist that lurks inside each of us. But what should concern us is the pernicious effects that the constant barrage of “manmade climate change” hype and headlines is having on public policies, taxpayer and consumer expenditures, and our daily lives.

Like threads in a tapestry, “dangerous manmade climate change” is intertwined with anti-hydrocarbon, imminent resource depletion, renewable energy, sustainable development, and wealth redistribution theses and ideologies. They are used to concoct and justify energy and economic policies, ranging from delays and bans on oil and gas leasing and drilling, to the war on coal mining and use, and diehard opposition to hydraulic fracturing and the Keystone XL pipeline.

They promote spending $22 billion just in federal money during FY-2014 on climate change studies; costly solar projects of every description; wind turbines that blight scenic vistas and slaughter millions of birds and bats annually, while wind energy developers are exempted from endangered species and other environmental laws that apply to all other industries; and ethanol programs that require millions of acres of farmland and vast quantities of water, fertilizer, pesticides and fossil fuel energy to produce a gasoline additive that reduces mileage, harms engines, drives up food prices … and increases CO2 emissions.

The policies pummel jobs, families and entire communities around coal mines and coal-fired factories and electrical generating plants, impairing the health and welfare of millions. Being unemployed – or holding multiple lower-paying part-time jobs – means greater stress, reduced nutrition, sleep deprivation, family discord, higher incidences of depression, greater alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse, higher suicide rates and lower life expectancies. It means every life allegedly saved by anti-fossil fuel regulations is offset by lives lost or shortened because of those rules.

The policies, laws and regulations affect everything we make, grow, ship, eat, drive and do – 100% of our energy based economy, not just one-sixth under ObamaCare – and put legislators, bureaucrats, activists and courts in ever-increasing control over our lives, livelihoods, liberties, living standards and life spans.

Even worse, it’s all for nothing – even if carbon dioxide plays a bigger role in climate change than many scientists believe it does. Germany is relying increasingly on coal for power generation. Australia has junked its cap-tax-and-trade program. Britain is reexamining its commitment to CO2 reduction. China and India are building new coal-fueled power plants every week, and neither they nor any of the real “developing countries” are required to commit to “binding targets” for lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Under agreements signed at the just-concluded UN climate conference in Warsaw, 130 developing nations must merely make “contributions” toward lower emissions, and only when they are “ready to do so.”

But then international climate programs were never really about preventing climate change. As IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer has admitted, they are about “how we redistribute the world’s wealth.” First, tens of billions continue flowing annually to IPCC scientists and bureaucrats and renewable energy programs. Then we start talking about real money.

Now that the IPCC, President Obama and hordes of other climate alarmists have convinced so many people that climate change is “real,” it’s “happening now,” humans are “contributing to” myriad disasters on an “unprecedented” scale – the Group of 130 expects the FRCs (Formerly Rich Countries) to pay up.

China, India, island nations and poor countries demand “compensation,” “adaptation” and “mitigation” money, to pay for “losses and damages” from rising seas and more frequent, more intense storms and droughts – which they say are happening already, and which they blame on industrialized nations that helped raise CO2 levels from 280 ppm at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution to 400 ppm today.

They want $50 billion immediately, followed by $100 billion to $400 billion per year, plus free transfers of our best energy, pollution control and industrial technologies. It’s too late to prevent, mitigate or adapt to climate change, they say. You “rich countries” need to start paying for the damage you are causing.

20% of the EU budget will now go toward CO2 emission reductions and helping poor countries adapt to climate change: €180 billion ($245 billion) by 2020. What the United States will have to pay in “compensation” and under ClimateCare schemes being hatched at EPA, DOI and Energy headquarters is yet to be determined. But the payments will be substantial, even crippling.

We are caught in a climate trap of our own (bureaucrats and politicians) making. How will we get out?


Faith-Based IPCC Turns Science into Sin

The Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes clear that climate alarmism is now and has always been a matter of faith, and not science.

The just-released report includes remarkable revelations. Contrary to previous IPCC reports, this report shows that planet Earth’s mean temperature is not directly tied to the concentration of one relatively weak greenhouse gas — carbon dioxide — floating around in the atmosphere. It shows that other forces influence the planet’s climate, which for the most part are well beyond our control.

Volcanoes can pump particulate matter into the air, a phenomenon that lowers global temperatures by dissipating sunlight. The planet’s oceans — in particular, the massive Pacific — serve as enormous heat sinks, effectively modulating any natural temperature variations. And perhaps most importantly, the ultimate source of our day-to-day temperature fluctuations, the Sun itself, undergoes its own fluctuations that influence our lives far more than the burning of carbonaceous compounds in order to generate heat and power.

All of these facts, truths that “skeptics” such as the Heartland Institute (and yours truly) have been trumpeting for years, are acknowledged in the latest IPCC report.

However, that same report tells us to believe none of these other influences matters nearly as much as the small amount of carbon dioxide that mankind adds to the atmosphere. Doomsday is still on the way, according to the IPCC. Its arrival has merely been delayed a bit by an unexpectedly frivolous Mother Nature. We must not waver in our confidence that ruination is just around the corner.

We are supposed to forget how confident the prophets of doom were thirty years ago when they first began asserting that unless we kicked the fossil fuel habit, disaster was sure to arrive early in the 21st century. Well, here we are. The global climate is not markedly different from what it was when they started their predictions of doom. The “hockey stick graph” indicating a drastic temperature increase has given way to a broomstick, with temperatures lying flat for the past 15 years.

In just about any realm of human study, being this dramatically wrong would cause the authors of the errors to be dismissed as unreliable, and perhaps as quacks. But in the world of environmental fearmongering, a spectacularly false prediction is no obstacle. There is no “wrong” in climate activism, there is only the message, which must be pushed continuously without regard for contrary evidence or honest scientific skepticism. Unsettling facts must not get in the way of “settled science.”

If you disagree, you are labeled a flat-Earther. The IPCC says the science is settled, what more evidence does one need?

If you have the temerity to question prominent alarmist Michael Mann’s refusal to test his climate claims against real world measurements, you’ll be told that proofs are for mathematics, and that only a blockhead would not accept Mann’s word on the matter.

Climate science is both solid and liquid at the same time, although uniquely neither, a paradox reminiscent of the Trinity in Christian doctrine. And although I’m a fan of the Trinity, perhaps doctrines such as this should be reserved for religion. Though since environmental and climate activism has always been a matter of faith rather than science, perhaps such essentially religious formulations were inevitable.

The First Church of Climate Change needs a reformation. According to its leaders, we peasants are no more qualified to understand the subtle nuances of climate science than the serfs of medieval Europe were qualified to understand the mysterious motions of the heavens. And so we are told to put our faith in the modern-day version of the papal astronomer and to never, ever question the word of the educated elite. To do so would be heresy, a sin that has the most heinous of consequences.


Wind turbines: Health Warning issued

The Waubra Foundation has just issued an “Explicit Warning Notice” (1) to wind turbine manufacturers, developers, acousticians and governments worldwide.

Recently “rediscovered” research funded by the US Department of Energy and involving NASA and multiple other research organizations has shown that the health damaging effects directly caused byinfrasound and low frequency noise (ILFN) emitted by wind turbines have been known to the wind industry, governments and acousticians in general, since 1985 (date of the official field study led by Dr. Neil Kelley).epaw logo But this health risk has been covered up ever since, denounces the Foundation. “Health authorities have been careful to exclude ILFN measurement and exposure limits from noise regulations”, said its CEO, Dr. Sarah Laurie. “To this date, they continue to deny any problem exists with ILFN emitted by wind turbines, ignoring complaints of victims and their right to be protected against known health hazards from industrial installations”.

The wind industry argues that modern turbines are different, but it has not proved that they are safe with respect to the emission of ILFN. The onus is on them, and on the health authorities, to “prove a positive”, argues the Foundation. “Like any product, it must be tested to be safe before it is sold”, says Dr. Laurie. “There is gross negligence on the part of the authorities for approving modern wind turbine installation close to habitations without having verified that these machines are harmless.”

In view of this, and in the name of thousands of victims, the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW), and the North American Platform Against Windpower (NA-PAW), are hereby demanding that governments immediately:

1) - adopt the evidence-based health protective ILFN exposure limits recommended by Kelley in 1985;

2) - wherever wind turbine neighbors complain of effects on their sleep and/or health, monitor in their homes the full spectrum of noise pollution and infrasound down to 0,1 Hz, accurately, transparently and independently of wind developers, and

3) - actively enforce regulation breaches, ensuring affected neighbors are able to have the non-compliant wind turbines turned off at night so they can sleep.

“Sleep deprivation has been used as an effective means of torture and a technique for extracting confessions,” stated Dr. William Hallstein in his recent letter to the Board of Health of Falmouth, Massachusetts. (2)

Dr. Neil Kelley said in a recent interview: “ (subsequent research found that) the majority of the physics responsible for creating the annoyance associated with this (1985) downwind prototype are applicable to large (modern) upwind machines.” (3) Dr. Laurie concludes: “wind turbine designs may have changed, but human physiology has not”.


Fads Come and Go -- is the Electric Car a Fad?

Fads come and go, but sometimes they stay around and, after a while, everyone wonders how the world ever lived before. The question here is whether electric cars are just another fad or are they the beginning of a whole new way of doing things, such as going to the beach, or grocery shopping.electric car

In order to get a handle on that question, let’s look at some critical information.

Energy Equivalency

First, consider the amount of a typical gas tank’s worth of electric energy. Let’s say your car has a tank of 50 L (approximately 15 US gallons) gasoline. The energy equivalency is 33.4 kWh (kiloWatt-hours) per gallon of gasoline. Therefore, if your car had batteries and an electric motor only and everything else being equal, you would need a battery system with a storage capacity of approximately 10 times the number of kWh of the number of liters of gasoline; therefore 500 kWh of electric energy storage.

Energy Efficiency

The internal combustion engine (ICE) has a lower efficiency of energy (fuel to usable power) conversion than an electric motor (EM); roughly 27% compared to 80% for the EM. In other words, the ratio of stored power to usable power for the EM is approximately three times that of the ICE. Therefore, in calculating the effective cost of running an electric car this also needs to be considered.

Cost of Electricity

Nationwide, the average residential cost of electric power is in the order of 12.5 cent/kWh, prior to additional costs. Adding those additional costs would bring it to somewhere in the $0.15 to $0.20 range per kWh, depending on other conditions such as “cost of delivery”, taxes and so forth. With that, to “fill up” your electric car with 500 kWh of electricity would cost about $90 on average.

Using a price of $4/gallon, the cost of the equivalent energy in the form of gasoline would actually be less; namely $60.

Cost of Vehicles

Next, let’s consider the cost of an electric-power-only vehicle (EV). Until now, the cost of EVs is well above the average car price. Let’s just say that the average car (all costs included) has a price of $25,000. You certainly have to shell out more for any EV; in fact quite a bit more, sort of like $100,000. A large part (50%?) of that amount is due to the cost of the batteries. Batteries are the real weak point of the EV craze.

Energy Storage Capacity

Energy storage is another critical point. Batteries, being chemical systems, just can’t compete with gasoline. Even the best batteries have an energy density of only 1/40 of that of common gasoline or diesel fuel. Therefore, even the combustion engine’s lower efficiency is negligible in terms of those carbon fuels’ energy storage capacity in comparison to any battery system of equal weight.

Durability and Cost of Batteries

Of course, batteries for EVs must be rechargeable and, primarily for weight reasons, they are lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). You find LIBs in many modern electronic devices such as cell phones, cameras, tablets and the like. These gadgets are using micro-circuits with extremely low energy needs to function quite well for many years.

If you have used such a device for a few years you likely will have noticed a decline in battery performance. Not only are they slowly losing power even when not used, perhaps they even develop a “memory lock” despite (or because of?) regularly being recharged to “top them up.” In short, after a while, they need to be replaced. That’s when the cost hits home; I just had to replace one for a cordless telephone at a surprising $30.

Don’t expect any different “sticker shock” for your EV battery replacement when needed.

Recharging EV Batteries

Companies selling EVs, like Tesla, have come up with novel incentives. Currently Tesla offers free electricity recharge at their stations. Of course, that will last only for a while. But more importantly, even at a charging rate of 120 kW, it’s not an “instantaneous refill” as you would get with gasoline. Even at its super-quick charging stations you have enough spare time to go shopping for a while, i.e. 30 minutes. Other commercial outfits only have chargers delivering 10 kW (using 40 amperes at 250V) where it takes more like 6 hours to “fill-up.”

While Tesla claims a recharge time of 20 min with supercharging it would only give you a 50% recharge under such conditions. Their web site also says that an 80% level (of battery capacity) recharge will take 40 min and a 100% recharge 75 minutes. They also offer a complete (?) battery exchange in less than two minutes at an unstated cost. Having seen one of their cars stripped down to the batteries which cover the entire frame, I wonder how that is done.

Range Limitations

With a fully charged 60 kWh (approximate energy equivalent to 2 gallons gasoline) battery as in the Tesla model S with a curb weight of 4,700 lbs, the company claims a range of 230 miles (temperature dependent) at highway speed. That’s unless you use the air conditioner, go uphill and downhill, turn on the headlights, or drive at a temperature less than 55 F. Quite telling is that their interactive web site does not even allow you to calculate a range limit at temperatures below freezing. Presumably, nobody needs to drive their car in winter.

Putting it All Together

When putting it all together, i.e., the purchase price plus the costs associated with depreciation, battery deterioration and operation of any EV are still much higher than that of any car with a combustion engine. Combined with the range and temperature limitations, EVs are more like expensive toys.

When you count in the time (your time) and frequency of recharging and limited range to go just a couple of hundred miles, even in warm California, it ought to be clear that EVs are not a wise investment, certainly not in colder climes or at this time and, more likely, if ever. Perhaps Tesla’s recent stock price action reflects such recognition.

But if you have money to burn…


Junk Science: Sea Level Rise Paper Exposed

I also scoffed at this study -- on 21 August



By Albert Parker

The lack of global warming over this century in the measurements of ground and deep oceans temperatures and the lack of positive acceleration in the measurements of sea levels suggest that the climate models have greatly exaggerated the influence of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide emission. However, rather than feeling uncomfortable with possibly wrong theories, many authors have recently re-focused their attention from “warming” to “weather extremes”, blaming climate “variability” and “uncertainty” for the lack of warming, or sorting out the most unrealistic explanations for the lack of warming of temperatures and accelerations of seas as it is the case of the claimed storage of 4.572·1012 m3 of water in Australia discussed in the commented paper.

The latest news about global warming report of temporary falls of the rate of rise of sea levels because of formation of Lake Eyre in Australia.

“Global sea level has been rising as a result of global warming, but in 2010 and 2011, sea level actually fell by about a quarter of an inch. Scientists now say they know why: It has to do with extreme weather in Australia. The sea level drop coincided with some of the worst flooding in that continent's history. Dozens of people died and torrents washed away houses and cars, forcing thousands from their homes. Some of those floodwaters simply ran back into the ocean, so they didn't affect sea level. But a lot of that water was trapped on the Australian land mass. That's because the continent has an odd geography.” writes Richard Harris [1] reporting on a work recently published by John Fasullo and others in the paper here commented [2].

The claim by Fasullo surprisingly accepted in the peer review is that “Australia's hydrologic surface mass anomaly is responsible for the fall in the reconstruction of global mean sea level.” Apart from the fact that the global mean sea level (GMSL) reconstructions are not measurements but very questionable computations, it appear unbelievable that the natural formation of Lake Eyre in the centre of Australia can be considered responsible for a drop of a quarter of an inch in the GMSL.

Lake Eyre (Kati Thanda) is the lowest point in Australia, at approximately 15 m below sea level (lowest point when empty) and when it fills is the largest lake in Australia and the 18th largest in the world. The temporary shallow lake is found in South Australia some 700 km north of Adelaide. The surface area is 9,500 km2 maximum, with average depth 1.5 m every 3 years and 4 m every decade.

A good reviewer of the paper by Fasullo should have asked him why the 2010-2011 pattern is not evidenced a decade before in the GMSL computation that started early 1990s. Similar rain falls were indeed experienced about a decade ago [3], but the oceans did not fall that much.

Same good reviewer should also have asked Mr. Fasullo if he considers conservation of mass must be enforced when asserting that “the sea level dropped by a quarter of an inch during these raining times for Australia though normally it rises by an eighth of an inch per year and since that time the global sea level has risen by nearly an inch”. Approximately 72% of the planet's surface totalling about 3.6x108 km2 is covered by saline water. In terms of the hydrosphere of the Earth oceans contain 97% of the Earth's water. Half inch of oceans translates in 4.572·1012 m3 of water. The average deep of Lake Eyre should have been 486 metres to store all that water that it does not seem to be the case.

Same good reviewer should have asked Mr. Fasullo why all the long term tide gauges continue to show same oscillations about a linear trend without any sign of accelerations since the beginning of the 1900 and during the two decades of the satellite reconstruction of the GMSL [4-10].

Same good reviewer should have asked Mr. Fasullo why there should be a rise in the level of the oceans if the thermometers have measured a flat ocean temperature up to 2000 m the first decade that measurements have been collected [10] and the ground temperatures have also been stable.

Same days Scott Simon [11] reports on the opportunity to cool down the warming climate with engineering projects. “Draft report from the intergovernmental panel on climate change was leaked to the media this week. The scientists will report to the U.N. that it is nearly certain that human activity has caused most of the earth's climate change over the last 50 years. Now, this leak is certain to rekindle debates about how best to contend with events like increasing temperatures and rising sea levels, and it might make some people take a new look at what's called geo engineering.” writes Scott Simon.

The best energy policy options according to many climate advocates is to impose huge taxes on everything is carbon related to subsidise projects such as building machines that would suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, reflecting sunlight away from the earth, changing the hydrology of a continent and similar.

With reference to this latter option, it has already been proposed to flood Lake Eyre with seawater brought to the basin via canal or pipeline to increase rainfall in the region downwind of the lake [12]. If the computations of Mr. Fasullo are correct, this would certainly reduce at least temporarily the rate of rise of sea level [2], but we do have some doubts about the “sustainability” of digging channels of almost 700 km from the sea to Lake Eyre then to be kept clean of salt deposits all with tax payers’ monies.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

British energy bills expected to fall £50 a year following cuts to green levies

Household energy bills are expected to fall by £50 a year as a result of cuts in green levies to be announced in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement next week.

Final negotiations between the Big Six energy firms and ministers are taking place this weekend and suppliers could announce a reduction in prices as soon as Sunday. Some are also expected to pledge that they will freeze prices until spring 2015, unless wholesale energy costs rise.

David Cameron promised on Friday that by “eroding” the levies on gas and electricity bills, the Government will deliver “sustainably low energy prices” and help households struggling with the rising cost of living. The Daily Telegraph has been given details of the reforms under negotiation ahead of the Chancellor’s appearance in the Commons on Thursday.

The Autumn Statement will be the culmination of the Coalition’s drive to answer Labour attacks over the cost of living and stop the issue dominating the agenda before the 2015 general election. Despite a return of growth, many households are still worse off in real terms than before the recent recession.

“Green” levies contribute £112 to the average annual household energy bill, the Government has said. Without reform, that could rise to £194 by 2020.

The levies include support for renewable energy, and “social” levies to fund insulation and subsidies for poorer households. Industry sources said that ministers were preparing to reduce the impact of “social” costs on bills with immediate effect.

A “warm homes” levy that costs households £12 a year will be funded through taxes instead of bills. Fees imposed on companies for using power distribution networks will be reduced, taking another £5 off bills.

Further cuts will come from reforms of the energy companies’ obligation, a complex set of requirements for firms to reduce carbon emissions by insulating customers’ homes.

The 2015 deadline for meeting that obligation will be delayed. Other energy efficiency levies will also be reduced.

Sources said that the combined changes could be enough for suppliers to promise that the average bill will be around £50 lower.

While ministers will present any reductions as real help for households, a £50 fall would not fully offset increases announced by many of the big suppliers earlier this year.

Those rises have added an estimated £107 to the average dual fuel bill this year, taking it to almost £1,300.

But speaking at an EU summit in Lithuania, Mr Cameron insisted that the Government would deliver on his promise.

“I want to help households and families by getting sustainably low energy prices. Now, the only way you can do that is by increasing competition and eroding the costs of some of the levies on people’s bills,” he said. “I said that’s what we were going to do, that is what we are going to do.” The comments come as ministers denied reports that the Government had asked companies to freeze bills until the election in 2015.

Ed Miliband has promised that a Labour government under his leadership would change the law to freeze energy bills until 2017, a plan ministers have dismissed as a “con”. Yesterday he said that Mr Cameron was “flailing” over energy prices, accusing the Coalition of failing to act on the cost of living.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, said that the Government had an “absolute duty” to reduce the bills.

But he insisted that the Coalition would not cut subsidies for renewable energy sources such as wind farms, or help for poorer households. Ministers will “continue to safeguard and maintain our environmental objectives,” Mr Clegg said.

Sophie Neuburg, a fuel poverty campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said it would be “appalling” if big energy firms were allowed to dilute their obligations.

She said ministers should increase funding for energy efficiency if they were committed to reducing bills.




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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman


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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