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, 2015

Totally empty Warmist thinking

The puff below appeared in The New Daily, which aspires to be a serious newspaper.  It was headed "Why Australia is sitting on a clean energy goldmine" and was written by Rob Burgess, their  economics commentator and previously a journalist on Left-leaning newspapers.

I looked forward to hearing what particular activity or resource Australia had that would give it the great advantage claimed.  Do we have rare earth metals in abundance?  Do we make very efficient solar cells?  Do we make better wind turbines?  I knew in advance that the answers to those question would be No, so what was it that had I not thought of or what was it that did I not know?

I was disappointed entirely.  All there is below are conventional prophecies and some very airy generalities that are well known but  are in no way explicitly tied to the subject at hand. 

Take this sentence:

"The expertise we develop in energy efficiency, renewable technologies, power grid management and transport networks can be exported to nations trying to catch up".

That is just a pious hope with no evidence or argument offered that it is happening or will happen.

Mr Burgess clearly has nothing to say but says it at length. But Warmist thinking is generally brainless so I don't suppose I should have been surprised

Australia has for a long time become convinced that it ‘got lucky’ via the mining boom, and that the subsequent boost in national income and household wealth could not be generated any other way – a defeatist position that would make industrial nations such as Germany and Japan, or newly-industrialised Malaysia, cringe.

That’s because their growth stories are not put down to ‘luck’ but to successful deployment of financial capital, innovation, development of human capital, and transparent and stable systems of governance.

Australia’s new comparative advantage, then, will be found in acknowledging how far along the non-luck path we are.

Despite pockets of deprivation, Australia is still one of the wealthiest nations in the world and its people rank second only to the Norwegians on the United Nation’s human development index.

The USA is eighth, the UK 14th and Japan 20th, by way of comparison.

Our rule of law, and stable and well-regulated financial markets, make Australia an excellent place to invest, meaning financing our renewable energy future will be easier and cheaper than for developing nations.

And to those advantages – strong human capital and attractiveness to investors – can be added a growing recognition that services exports will form a large part of our future economic growth.

The expertise we develop in energy efficiency, renewable technologies, power grid management and transport networks can be exported to nations trying to catch up.

Oh, and there’s a bit of luck too – we have excellent natural resources to develop in renewable energy areas such as solar, wind, wave, biomass and biofuels. We also have huge scope to offset future carbon emissions via carbon forestry.

In short, Australia is sitting on a carbon-free goldmine. We are smart enough, wealthy enough, export-oriented enough, well governed enough and blessed enough in natural resources to be ahead of the curve in the transition to clean energy.
The five-year challenge

At the heart of the Paris agreement is a five-yearly ‘stocktake’ of how each nation is doing with meeting its self-nominated targets.

Australia took a very modest target to Paris at the end of November, but it will now face five-yearly check-ups to see if, firstly, it has met the target, and, secondly, whether it will offer a stronger target for the next five years.

As the US, China and others strengthen their targets, they will not idly disregard laggard nations – the threat of trade measures such as ‘border tax adjustments‘, are the means by which ‘non-binding’ pledges will, in effect, be made binding.

Also, as with all 195 nations who have signed up to the Paris agreement, Australia is committed to globally binding transparency measures – that is, we can’t fake our carbon emissions.

But why would we?

The tide of history is running, strongly. The arguments put forward by the fossil-fuel lobby, the Abbott government, and a few King Canute-like backers in the media, have been lost.

Yes, Australia has among the highest per-capita carbon emissions in the world, and the highest carbon-intensity per unit of GDP. So we have more work to do than comparable nations to keep up with the post-COP21 pack.

But the point that must not be missed is that those reductions will be easier here than just about anywhere.

It is our new comparative advantage.

And though it’s based partly on luck, to capitalise on it we will need world-beating innovation, business acumen, policy responses and, most importantly, a voting public given the full facts of where the tide of history is flowing, rather than the unworthy fear campaigns of the past few years.


Myth: The human population is growing exponentially (and we're doomed)

This belief is a favorite of the Green/Left.  The example of  Malthus does not deter them

Fears about overpopulation began with Reverend Thomas Malthus in 1798, who predicted that unchecked exponential population growth would lead to famine and poverty.

But the human population has not and is not growing exponentially and is unlikely to do so, says Joel Cohen, a populations researcher at the Rockefeller University in New York City. The world’s population is now growing at just half the rate it was before 1965. Today there are an estimated 7.3 billion people, and that is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Yet beliefs that the rate of population growth will lead to some doomsday scenario have been continually perpetuated. Celebrated physicist Albert Bartlett, for example, gave more than 1,742 lectures on exponential human population growth and the dire consequences starting in 1969.

The world's population also has enough to eat. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the rate of global food production outstrips the growth of the population. People grow enough calories in cereals alone to feed between 10 billion and 12 billion people. Yet hunger and malnutrition persist worldwide. This is because about 55% of the food grown is divided between feeding cattle, making fuel and other materials or going to waste, says Cohen. And what remains is not evenly distributed — the rich have plenty, the poor have little. Likewise, water is not scarce on a global scale, even though 1.2 billion people live in areas where it is.

“Overpopulation is really not overpopulation. It's a question about poverty,” says Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographer at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington DC. Yet instead of examining why poverty exists and how to sustainably support a growing population, he says, social scientists and biologists talk past each other, debating definitions and causes of overpopulation.

Cohen adds that “even people who know the facts use it as an excuse not to pay attention to the problems we have right now”, pointing to the example of economic systems that favour the wealthy.

Like others interviewed for this article, Cohen is less than optimistic about the chances of dispelling the idea of overpopulation and other ubiquitous myths, but he agrees that it is worthwhile to try to prevent future misconceptions. Many myths have emerged after one researcher extrapolated beyond the narrow conclusions of another's work. That “interpretation creep”, as Spitzer calls it, can lead to misconceptions that are hard to excise. To prevent that, “we can make sure an extrapolation is justified, that we're not going beyond the data”, suggests Spitzer. Beyond that, it comes down to communication, says Howard-Jones. Scientists need to be effective at communicating ideas and get away from simple, boiled-down messages.


Dead wrong on oil

The green doomsayers have repeatedly claimed the fuel is disappearing

It would be hard to find anyone in all of America who has been more wrong on the American energy story than Barack Obama.

Oil prices have fallen from $105 a barrel in the summer of 2014 to hovering at $35 a barrel today. That’s a two-thirds reduction in the price and the biggest factor is shale oil brought to you by fracking. In many areas of the country gas is now less than $2 a gallon and it could fall further in the weeks ahead.

The falling price means, of course, an expanded supply. But now listen to President Obama, who has lectured the nation on energy as if he were one of the top experts for the last eight years.

In a 2008 Speech in Lansing, Michigan, presidential candidate Obama was all doom and gloom about oil, advising: “We cannot sustain a future powered by a fuel that is rapidly disappearing.”

Then in 2010 from the Oval Office he solemnly declared: “We’re running out of places to drill,” and he jeered that the oil and gas industry might want to start pumping for oil near the Washington Monument.

During a 2011 weekly address he referred to oil and gas as “yesterday’s” energy sources.

Then during a speech at Georgetown University, he pontificated: “The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity, our long-term security on a resource (oil) that will eventually run out.”

By the way this discredited Malthusian belief that we are running out of oil is still widely believed by many scientists and pundits as well. Paul Krugman of The New York Times wrote in 2010 that “the world is fast approaching the inevitable peaking” of global oil production and that “world commodity prices are telling us that we’re living in a finite world.”

That was when prices were abnormally high. So if high prices tell us we are running out, then obviously low prices must tell us supply is rising.

These stupid predictions of the end of oil have been going on for most of the last century. Just over 100 years ago, the U.S. Bureau of Mines estimated total future production at 6 billion barrels, yet we’ve produced more than 20 times that amount. In 1939 the Department of the Interior predicted U.S. oil supplies would last 13 years. I could go on.

The wonder is that smart people like Nobel prize winners Krugman and Obama haven’t learned anything from history and instead keep regurgitating these myths about “running out.”

The folks at the Institute for Energy Research recently published a study showing three data points: first, the government’s best estimate of how much oil we had in America 50 years ago.

The second was how much U.S. oil has been drilled out of the ground since then. And the third is how much reserves there are now. Today we have twice as many reserves as we had in 1950. And we have already produced almost 10 times more oil than the government told us we had back then.

Technology and innovation account for the constant upping the amount of “finite” oil we can produce. We discover new sources of oil much faster than we deplete the known amount of reserves and so for all practical purposes, oil and natural gas supplies are nearly inexhaustible. Fracking is the latest game changer and the access it gives us to shale oil and gas resources has virtually doubled over night. And this technology boom in drilling is just getting started.

My point is how absurd it is for Americans to blindly trust any “scientific consensus” on any of these natural resource or environmental issues. The credibility of the alarmists is just shot. In 1980, hundreds of the top scientists in the United States issued a report called “The Global 2000 Report to the President” — which was a primal scream that in every way life on earth would be worse by 2000 because the world would run out of oil, gas, food, farmland and so on.

My mentor Julian Simon and Herman Kahn challenged this conventional wisdom. Today they would be disparaged as “deniers.” Yet on every score these iconoclasts were right and the green scientific consensus was wrong.

Lately, even Mr. Obama doesn’t make the ridiculous claim that we have to use green energy because we are running out of oil.  Instead he now says we should keep our super-abundance of oil “in the ground,” even as he tries take credit for the low prices.

In reality, if we do what Mr. Obama wants, gas at the pump and electricity are going to be more expensive. If you don’t like $1.89 gasoline at the pump, you’re probably a big fan of the Obama energy/climate change agenda.

Hopefully, the neo-Malthusians like Mr. Obama will stop resorting to the century long false fear that we are running our of oil as an excuse for using much more expensive and much less efficient “green energy.”

Many years ago I was quoted in The New York Times as making this point about our infinite oil supply and a high school science teacher wrote me and huffed: “Even my 14 year olds know that oil is finite.”This teacher is probably now a top science advisor to Mr. Obama.


John Kerry Proves He Doesn’t Understand Climate Science

In an interview at the close of the recent Paris climate conference, Secretary of State John Kerry scolded Republican senators for saying out loud that the next president may not be a big supporter of President Barack Obama’s climate policies. Kerry asserted voters won’t allow a change, “I don’t think they’re going to accept as a genuine leader someone who doesn’t understand the science of climate change and isn’t willing to do something about it.”

But Kerry disproves his own theory. In a widely covered speech in Jakarta, Indonesia Kerry gave an absolutely cringe-worthy explanation of CO2 and global warming.  Of course the press totally ignored his bizarre CO2 science lesson:

“I know sometimes I can remember from when I was in high school and college, some aspects of science or physics can be tough – chemistry. But this is not tough. This is simple. Kids at the earliest age can understand this.

“Try and picture a very thin layer of gases – a quarter-inch, half an inch, somewhere in that vicinity – that’s how thick it is. It’s in our atmosphere. It’s way up there at the edge of the atmosphere. And for millions of years – literally millions of years – we know that layer has acted like a thermal blanket for the planet – trapping the sun’s heat and warming the surface of the Earth to the ideal, life-sustaining temperature. Average temperature of the Earth has been about 57 degrees Fahrenheit, which keeps life going.”

He probably should have stopped with “physics can be tough.” His “a quarter-inch way up there” absolutely does not describe CO2 in the atmosphere. It seems what Kerry had in mind is a very abstract representation of the ozone layer. This may have been relevant a long time ago in a debate far, far away, but it is not a description of CO2 in the atmosphere.

His notion that the Earth has had a steady temperature for “literally millions of years” is also way off base. This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration webpage shows temperatures have bounced around by 10-25 degrees Fahrenheit ten or so times in the last 800,000 years.

Kerry dismissively lecturing climate skeptics brings Emily Litella to mind. Emily was Gilda Radner’s “Saturday Night Live” character whose bad hearing led to impassioned, but hilariously misguided, editorial responses.

Who knows what Kerry’s aides were thinking as he recited his mixed-up ozone lecture in the carbon dioxide forum? You can almost imagine them trying to catch Kerry’s attention, “Psst! We are talking about CO2, not O3.”


Climate Models Have Been Wrong About Global Warming For Six Decades

Climate models used by scientists to predict how much human activities will warm the planet have been over-predicting global warming for the last six decades, according to a recent working paper by climate scientists.

“Everyone by now is familiar with the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in the rate of global warming that has taken place over the past 20 years of so, but few realize is that the observed warming rate has been beneath the model mean expectation for periods extending back to the mid-20th century—60+ years,” Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger, climate scientists at the libertarian Cato Institute, write in a working paper released in December.

Michaels and Knappenberger compared observed global surface temperature warming rates since 1950 to what was predicted by 108 climate models used by government climate scientists to predict how much carbon dioxide emissions will warm the planet.

What they found was the models projected much higher warming rates than actually occurred.

“During all periods from 10 years (2006-2015) to 65 (1951-2015) years in length, the observed temperature trend lies in the lower half of the collection of climate model simulations,” Michaels and Knappenberger write, “and for several periods it lies very close (or even below) the 2.5th percentile of all the model runs.”

To further bolster their case that climate models are over-predicting warming rates, Michaels and Knappenberger looked at how climate models fared against satellite and weather balloon data from the mid-troposphere. The result is the same, and climate models predicted way more warming than actually occurred.

“This is a devastating indictment of climate model performance,” Michaels and Knappenberger write. “For periods of time longer than about 20 years, the observed trends from all data sources fall beneath the lower bound which contains 95 percent of all model trends and in the majority of cases, falls beneath even the absolute smallest trend found in any of the 102 climate model runs.”

“The amount of that over-prediction comports well with a growing body of scientific findings and growing understanding that the sensitivity of the earth’s surface temperature to rising atmospheric greenhouse gas levels… lies towards (and yet within) the low end of the mainstream assessed likely range.”

Satellite temperatures, which measure the lowest few miles of the Earth’s atmosphere, show there’s been no significant global warming for the last two decades despite rapidly rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

The so-called “hiatus” in warming has sparked an intense debate among climate scientists over what’s caused warming to disappear. Dozens of theories have been put forward as to why global warming has stalled, but no one has cracked the case.

Michaels and Knappenberger, however, suggest the “hiatus” and the previous decades of overblown temperature predictions point to a huge flaw in climate science: the climate isn’t as sensitive to CO2 as previously thought.

The Cato scientists argue “climate sensitivity” estimates are too high and are causing climate models to over-predict how much warming will happen with increases in greenhouse gas emissions. Climate sensitivity refers to how much warming would occur with a doubling of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

Climate scientists typically put climate sensitivity at 3 degrees Celsius, but a slew of new studies suggest that’s way too high an estimate based on how much warming has been observed in recent decades. One estimate put together by the U.K.-based Global Warming Policy Foundation last year found climate sensitivity may be as low as 1.75 degrees Celsius — almost half what mainstream climate models use.


Virginia Lawmakers Urged to Question Taxpayer-Subsidized Climate ‘Alarmists’

Conservative lawmakers, scholars, and activists say it’s time for the Virginia General Assembly to look into the taxpayer funding of academics and scientists who don’t want President Obama to tolerate dissenting views on climate change.

The question, they told The Daily Signal, is why taxpayers should pay for the work of radical academics and scientists who want Obama to launch a racketeering investigation of organizations that have an open mind on how much mankind contributes to global warming.

“I’m just not sure about where we are right now on the question of climate change,” said Angela Chellew, a legislative liaison in the Virginia House of Delegates.

“I’ve been reading about sea level rise near where I live off Norfolk,” Chellew said, “but then I read conflicting things about what it all means. I do think we need to be careful about how we spend our taxpayer dollars and how government regulations will impact average people.”

Chellew and other climate change skeptics spoke to The Daily Signal during the 2014 Republican Advance, a weekend retreat held at the Omni Homestead in Hot Springs.

About 500 Virginia legislators and party activists attended Dec. 12, even as hundreds of government officials and delegates from across the globe gathered in Paris to reach an international pact to counter climate change.

Rick Buchanan, chairman-elect of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation, agreed with Chellew.

As the federal government continues to pump billions of dollars into activities related to climate change, Buchanan said, he is concerned that it subjects honest scientific inquiry to a highly politicized process.

Between 1993 and 2013, the U.S. government spent more than $165 billion on global warming or climate change issues, according to federal reports.

“I’m what you call a scientific skeptic,” Buchanan told The Daily Signal, adding: "I’ve studied the issue very carefully, and there’s plenty of science out there that refutes the theory of man-made global warming. But government officials are still racing ahead with very expensive regulations".

Government funding of climate change research is a big part of the problem because it tends to fuel global warming alarmism that isn’t rooted in sound science, Rep. Robert Wittman, R-Va., said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

“Scientists should be in a position where they can freely pursue research without any strings attached,” Wittman said. “But the government funding can have a chilling effect on the scientific method.”

Wittman, a candidate for Virginia governor who has a background as a biologist, said he would like to see more attention focused on ice cores and tree rings. Both, he said, point to significant periods of global warming in earth’s past, before the emergence of human industrial activity.

The recent United Nations Conference of Parties, also known as COP21, produced the Paris Agreement, a pact described as legally binding on nations in some respects but voluntary in others. The stated goal: limiting the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees C (or 3.6 degrees F) by the end of the 21st century.

Obama’s representative was among more than 190 government ministers who adopted the pact by consensus. But the agreement’s restrictions on carbon dioxide would cost American consumers and businesses a pretty penny in higher energy bills, warned Nicolas Loris, a Heritage Foundation economist.

Contrary to what Obama and other government leaders have told the public, Loris argued, the most reliable scientific data show Earth is not heading toward a climate crisis and that natural forces, not human activity, are at work.

‘A State Tradition’

John Taylor, president of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, told The Daily Signal that the Virginia General Assembly particularly ought to investigate the tens of  millions of taxpayer dollars, including state funds, that went to the work of a George Mason University professor specializing in atmospheric, oceanic, and earth studies.

That professor, Jagadish Shukla, led a recent call for the Obama administration to prosecute climate change skeptics. “Unfortunately, double-dipping is nothing new in the state of Virginia,” Taylor said. “In fact, it is a state tradition. We have college professors and commonwealth attorneys in the General Assembly, and this has been going on for some time.”

Many Virginia residents and leaders don’t buy into what they consider alarmist claims about man-made global warming, interviews at the Republican retreat confirmed. Even so, state taxpayers may not know they fund political activism that not only advances “alarmist” theories, but works to silence, marginalize, and even criminalize dissent.

That much became apparent earlier this year when 20 taxpayer-funded academics from Virginia’s George Mason University and other public universities from across the country signed a letter to Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for criminal investigations of scientists and organizations that disagree with the administration’s position on global warming.

Shukla was the first of the 20 public employees to sign the letter to Obama calling for a probe of  “corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change.”

They asked for the probes under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO.

Also signing the so-called RICO 20’s letter were five of Shukla’s colleagues at George Mason University and academics from the University of Washington in Seattle, Rutgers University in New Jersey, the University of Maryland, Florida State University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Columbia University. All are publicly funded universities. 

As previously reported by The Daily Signal, a  U.S. House committee wants to know more about Shukla’s work and the relationship between taxpayer money received by the academics and their urging of Obama to use racketeering law to go after businesses and other groups that oppose his climate change agenda.

The India-born Shukla, 71, is the founder of the Rockville, Md.-based Institute of Global Environment and Society, a nonprofit that received $63 million in taxpayer funds since 2001, according to financial data first compiled by the Washington Free Beacon. The $63 million accounts for over 98 percent of his environmental institute’s revenue in that time.

Critics say Shukla broke the law governing nonprofit groups by calling for the RICO investigation. They say the professor also appears to have violated George Mason University’s stipulations against conflict of interest as well as rules for federal grant recipients who work for universities.

One such critic is Ron Arnold, who has written about Shukla and his environmental institute at LeftExposed.Org, a project of the Heartland Institute. 

Shukla receives a six-figure salary at George Mason University. He and most of the other George Mason academics who signed the RICO 20’s letter did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request earlier this year for examples of scientific skeptics who “knowingly deceived” the public about the risks of global warming.

A George Mason spokesman also did not respond to requests for comment on whether the university had concerns about Shukla’s environmental institute and whether it was confident he operated within school guidelines.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, questioned Shukla in a letter and followed up with a separate letter to Shukla’s attorney asking for related financial documents.

Shukla’s environmental institute, Smith wrote to the professor, “appears to be almost fully funded by taxpayer money while simultaneously participating in partisan political activities by requesting a [federal] investigation of companies and organizations that disagree with the Obama administration on climate change.”

“Our staff has been in regular contact with GMU and Mr. Shukla’s attorney and are continuing to look into the matter,” a committee aide said in an email to The Daily Signal. “We don’t have anything to publicly report at this time.”

‘No Further Response’

Paul Dirmeyer is another of the six George Mason University professors who signed the RICO 20 letter. Dirmeyer is a meteorologist who researches the role of the land surface in the climate system.

“Some press reports have distorted what the letter stated and its context,” Dirmeyer said in an email to The Daily Signal.  He said a blog post by Barry Klinger, another George Mason professor who signed the letter, “clarifies several points.”

“Further background that may answer your questions may be found in an article in Science or references therein,” Sirmeyer said in the email. “I will have no further response.”

The Virginia Institute for Public Policy describes its mission as promoting policies that uphold the rule of law and constitutional limited government.

Taylor, the organization’s president, said he faults the Republican Party for not doing more to dismantle incestuous relationships between academics and government agencies as well as similar arrangements that give rise to conflicts of interests, wasteful spending, and bloated bureaucracies that burden taxpayers.

“Every time the Republicans come to power they leave the infrastructure the Democrats put into place untouched,” Taylor said. “This way when the Democrats come back into power, they just pick up right where they left off.”

With the Virginia General Assembly set to convene its 2016 legislative session on Jan. 13, Marc Morano, editor of Climate Depot and producer of the new film “Climate Hustle,” said he sees an opportunity to push back against the infrastructure Taylor describes.

“Since George Mason is a state university, the relevant government oversight should be taken,” Morano said in an email to The Daily Signal. “What Shukla has done may be the tip of the iceberg.”

‘Politically Imposed Orthodoxy’

Like Wittman, the congressman running for governor, Morano sees federal funding corrupting the scientific process.

“The funding of climate and climate-related studies by the U.S. government are now fueled by studying man’s influence on climate,” Morano told The Daily Signal. “And the researcher had better not have in mind any notion of challenging the politically imposed orthodoxy that mankind is driving dangerous climate change.”

He added:

"Study after study seems to be just a series of models-based predictions of the future. In fact, they use model predictions to counter the current data, which shows mankind’s influence on climate is not even measurable. The prediction studies can claim ‘it is worse than we thought’ not because current data is showing that, but because predictions of 50 to 100 years out are now more dire and thus ‘worse than we thought.’

“If a scientist publishes something ‘off message’ from the warmist narrative, they quickly find out that their results are not welcome,” he said. “Renowned scientists like hurricane expert Dr. Bill Gray found out that when you challenge skepticism, your federal funding dries up.”

Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., one of several Republican congressmen who addressed the Advance gathering, told The Daily Signal that the letter to Obama from Shukla and the other academics encourages action to thwart freedom of speech.

“I’m not real big on having investigations into what people think,” Forbes said. “We have the First Amendment. So let’s have a full, fair, open debate, and [let] the pieces fall where they may.”



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30 December, 2015

Toon time

Another example of scientists getting it wrong

Even if 97% of scientists DID support global warming, it would not be very convincing.  Scientists have been getting it wrong at least since the phlogiston theory. Rejection of continental drift, peak oil, global cooling etc. 

In 1997, physicians in southwest Korea began to offer ultrasound screening for early detection of thyroid cancer. News of the programme spread, and soon physicians around the region began to offer the service. Eventually it went nationwide, piggybacking on a government initiative to screen for other cancers. Hundreds of thousands took the test for just US$30–50.

Across the country, detection of thyroid cancer soared, from 5 cases per 100,000 people in 1999 to 70 per 100,000 in 2011. Two-thirds of those diagnosed had their thyroid glands removed and were placed on lifelong drug regimens, both of which carry risks.

Such a costly and extensive public-health programme might be expected to save lives. But this one did not. Thyroid cancer is now the most common type of cancer diagnosed in South Korea, but the number of people who die from it has remained exactly the same — about 1 per 100,000. Even when some physicians in Korea realized this, and suggested that thyroid screening be stopped in 2014, the Korean Thyroid Association, a professional society of endocrinologists and thyroid surgeons, argued that screening and treatment were basic human rights.

In Korea, as elsewhere, the idea that the early detection of any cancer saves lives had become an unshakeable belief.

This blind faith in cancer screening is an example of how ideas about human biology and behaviour can persist among people — including scientists — even though the scientific evidence shows the concepts to be false. “Scientists think they're too objective to believe in something as folklore-ish as a myth,” says Nicholas Spitzer, director of the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind at the University of California, San Diego. Yet they do.

These myths often blossom from a seed of a fact — early detection does save lives for some cancers — and thrive on human desires or anxieties, such as a fear of death. But they can do harm by, for instance, driving people to pursue unnecessary treatment or spend money on unproven products. They can also derail or forestall promising research by distracting scientists or monopolizing funding. And dispelling them is tricky.

Scientists should work to discredit myths, but they also have a responsibility to try to prevent new ones from arising, says Paul Howard-Jones, who studies neuroscience and education at the University of Bristol, UK. “We need to look deeper to understand how they come about in the first place and why they're so prevalent and persistent.”

Some dangerous myths get plenty of air time: vaccines cause autism, HIV doesn't cause AIDS. But many others swirl about, too, harming people, sucking up money, muddying the scientific enterprise — or simply getting on scientists' nerves.


Low oil prices mean few assets will be stranded


Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, in an exercise of warmist wishful thinking a few weeks ago, warned banks and by extension energy companies of the problem of “stranded” assets, left without value by environmental regulation. Naturally, this was just part of the threats and bluster designed to change behavior ahead of the Paris global warming conference. However I thought it worth considering whether the concept of stranded assets had any validity, and in what circumstances. My conclusion is that the stranded asset concept is valid but that current low energy prices greatly reduce their danger.

In essence, the concept of stranded assets is similar to the Austrian economic concept of “malinvestment.” In every economic cycle, some investments will be made which turn out in retrospect to have been a mistake. Those investments have to be liquidated at a loss or in some cases for no return at all, and the debt secured against them is generally lost.

There are three major reasons why malinvestment takes place. One is sheer bloody stupidity on the part of the investor, generally when a stock market or real estate bubble is in effect, pumped up by artificially easy money and low interest rates. A gigantic amount of malinvestment will undoubtedly have been caused by the zero interest rate policies of the Fed and other central banks since 2008. For example, the hotel sector has seen year after year of massive investment in new properties, with supply running far ahead of the most optimistic realistic projections for vacation and business travel demand.

Capitalism cannot work if the risk free real cost of capital is negative, because in that case any investment, even one with zero return, is attractive. As I discussed in an earlier piece when looking at the possibility of the Fed abolishing cash and pushing interest rates substantially negative, it would then be attractive to build ziggurats or other religious buildings with no monetary return and no resale value – you could live off the interest you received on the debt used to finance them.

A second form of malinvestment is that incurred when prices move dramatically and unexpectedly, as with the recent halving of oil prices. In this case, the investors are unlucky rather than stupid; if oil prices stay at $100 a barrel for several years, and everyone in the market has endless reasons why their future trend will be up, not down, then it is not necessarily foolish to make heavy investments in fracking opportunities that require an oil price of $70 per barrel to be viable. However the result is the same as if you had been foolish; if oil prices drop to $40 a barrel and stay there, as appears to have happened, then all that fracking investment has been wasted and needs to be removed from the market and written off.

The combination of these two forms of foolish and unlucky investment is currently causing severe problems in the junk bond market, which are likely to continue. Energy related investments that depended on $70 oil have neither value nor cash flow, and if they are dependent on fracking technology also have a relatively short lifespan, of around 18-24 months. Empty hotels produce a heavy cash flow drain, so will cause bond defaults pretty quickly. As bonds default, the value of other bonds goes down and bond mutual funds become more difficult to sell – we saw this dynamic play out with subprime mortgages in 2007. Consequently a junk bond market meltdown, in which the market seizes up altogether and credit becomes unavailable, is very likely at some point before the middle of 2017.

This is not however what Carney was talking about. The junk bond meltdown and massive financial panic that is shortly about to occur has not been deliberately caused by the world’s central banks; they are foolishly under the impression they have done all they can to avert it. On the other hand, Carney at least hopes that by dire warnings of “stranded assets” he can prevent energy companies from investing in fossil fuel projects, thus producing the carbon-free future the naïve little man imagines we ought to want. Like all government bureaucrats since the glory days of Gosplan, he hopes to prevent investment in areas he does not favor by warning potential investors of the costs of acquiring assets that cannot be utilized because of government regulation.

Energy companies considering new projects must therefore consider the probable future course of the world’s political/economic system, as well as the likely future trend in energy prices. If they believe today’s low prices are the new normal, then they probably won’t invest much in unconventional energy, developing only assets in which they have a lot of confidence, perhaps deep-sea assets in politically stable regions for which they have paid a great deal of money (probably too much, at current energy prices) for the leases. At low prices it is thus very unlikely that the oil companies will have much in the way of stranded assets; they will invest only modestly, so consumption will keep up with production, Even if an effective control or “carbon pricing” mechanism is introduced, the low-risk investments they are currently making are likely to pay their way so long as the oil deposits last.

The problem becomes more difficult if oil prices rise again (almost inevitable given the majors’ current reluctance to invest and Small Oil’s massive flirtation with bankruptcy.) In that event, investment projects will be more potentially profitable, but also located in more difficult areas and taking more time to come to fruition. These are the projects that can become stranded; if the regulators force down the use of oil by higher taxes or simple bullwhips, high-cost projects with heavy capital investment and long lives will become unviable, as it will become impossible to exploit them fully.

If prices rise, energy companies will have to engage in a two-pronged calculation: will prices stay high enough for the new investments to be profitable, and will the fad of global warming regulation last long enough for regulations against fossil fuel use to become effective.

The answers will differ depending on the project. For coal projects, the popular hatred for coal may just be sufficient to keep heavy regulations in force, whether or not the global warming problem is fashionable. Coal is in this sense like nuclear power; it can make a great deal of sense as an energy source but the political risk of hysterical reactions by a population driven mad by the media and by opportunistic politicians makes investment in it always a high-risk prospect. The only coal projects that are truly politically viable are those in countries like India and China, where the growth in energy demand is rapid and Western do-gooder politicians and regulators are even more unpopular than coal companies.

For oil and gas, on the other hand, the chances of Carney’s “stranding” appear pretty slim. If the world was not able to come up with binding climate change targets with the most environmentally committed President the U.S. has ever had or is ever likely to have, then it will be politically impossible to get the populace out of their petrol-driven cars, even if the ineffable Elon Musk brings down the cost of his alternative to say $40,000 before any subsidies. Budgetary constraints, which will increase exponentially after the next recession, will prevent the government from granting large enough electric car subsidies to overcome popular reluctance to spend that kind of money.

Accordingly, oil companies will continue to claim their product is essential (as indeed, it will be) and therefore politicians won’t be able to shut it down. Indeed, it seems likely that the Paris conference marked the point of “peak climate change” after which it becomes increasingly difficult to gain popular support for the increasingly Draconian regulations the Carneys of this world consider necessary. Energy companies (outside the coal sector) will be able to invest in full confidence that their assets can only be “stranded” by technological change, or by to the assets purchased being overpriced, either directly or in terms of the output they produce. The decision, in other words, will become once again a business one, of the type these highly analytical MBAs at the top are paid exorbitantly to take.

Mark Carney should concentrate on raising sterling interest rates, as far and quickly as possible; that is where his duty lies. Collapsing the British housing market is not a “bug” in this recommendation, it is a feature. The sooner real interest rates are again positive, and the detritus of regulation imposed in the last decade is swept away, the quicker will the global economy return to the rapid pace of growth which the world’s inhabitants demand. With rapid global growth and positive real interest rates, very few assets will be “stranded” either by Mr. Carney or by the market.


Days when wind farms run at 10% capacity: Union say figures show renewable energy cannot be relied upon and Britain needs nuclear and gas-powered energy plants

Wind turbines produced just 10 per cent of their energy capacity during almost a fortnight of the last three months, it was claimed yesterday.

Monitors tracking the energy generated from Britain's wind farms found 12 days when output dropped to 10 per cent of capacity or less, according to the GMB union.

It said its 'wind watch' figures demonstrated that Britain could not rely on renewable energy and needed nuclear or gas-powered plants to ensure its supply.

Britain has invested £1.25billion in wind power, which is now the country's biggest renewable energy source.

But critics have accused the Government and the National Grid of complacency over the risk of blackouts following the closure of coal-fired power stations.

A wind shortage last month (November) forced the National Grid to use new 'last resort' measures to keep the lights on in homes across the country on November 4.

Major industries were asked to down tools to protect energy supplies following high demand, power plant breakdowns and low wind power output.

At one point, wind farms were meeting only 0.5 per cent of the nation's electricity demand, compared to the average 10 per cent.

But in late November, dozens of wind turbines had to be switched off due to safety concerns when Storm Barney hit Britain.

Gusts of up to 85mph swept across the country, prompting fears they could overload the system or damage turbines.

The GMB, which supports more gas-fired power plants, said wind power produced 10 per cent or less of its energy capacity on 12 days during the three months from October 1 to December 21.

The figures related to wind farms connected to the national transmission system and not to turbines connected to local networks.

GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny said: 'The renewables lobby has to face up to the need for a base load electricity capacity that is reliable and clean on the days that the wind does not blow and the sun doesn't shine.

'When your electricity supply has 'Gone with the Wind', the response of the renewable energy suppliers that 'Frankly my dear we don't give a damn' is just not acceptable.'

Industry body RenewableUK has insisted that wind power is a 'success story' for Britain, and generated 9.5 per cent of the UK's electricity from July to September, the last period for which figures were available.

Overall, 23.5 per cent of the UK's electricity for the same period was generated by renewable sources, including bioenergy, solar and hydro power.

RenewableUK and the Department of Energy and Climate Change did not respond to requests for comment on the GMB figures.

A National Grid spokeswoman said: 'A diverse mix of generation is essential to the national transmission network in terms of security of supply.'


Mission impossible

On climate change, curb your enthusiasm. It’s not that the recent international conference in Paris didn’t take significant steps to check global warming. It did. Nearly 200?countries committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from preindustrial times was reaffirmed. The trouble is that what’s being attempted is so fundamentally difficult that even these measures may be wildly unequal to the task.

What’s being attempted, of course, is the wholesale replacement of the world economy’s reliance on fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) for four-fifths of its energy. To be sure, the shift is envisioned to take decades, four or five at a minimum. Still, the vast undertaking may exceed human capability.

Hence, a conundrum. Without energy, the world economy shuts down, threatening economic and social chaos. But the consequences of climate change, assuming the scientific consensus is accurate, are also grim — from rising sea levels (threatening coastal cities) to harsher droughts (reducing food supplies).

It’s useful to split the discussion into two parts. On the existence of human-driven warming, I accept the dominant scientific view, mainly because I’m not technically qualified to dispute it. But I have doubted that, without major breakthroughs in energy technology, we can do much about warming. The addiction to fossil fuels will triumph.

Paris confirms that view. Rather than show how much progress we’ve made, it demonstrates how little maneuvering room we have. Consider some estimates from IHS, a consulting company. In 2012, it reports, the world generated 45?gigatons of greenhouse gases, up 50?percent since 1990. Without new policies, that total would rise to 60 gigatons by 2030, IHS projects. But the national pledges made in Paris would hold the 2030 total to 50 gigatons. That’s good news, right? Well, not exactly.

Limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius would require that emissions in 2030 drop to 35 gigatons, reckons IHS. So even with the Paris pledges, we’re about 40 percent above the goal. Moreover, IHS thinks that some pledged cuts won’t materialize. They are political gestures or depend on unproven technologies. There are no enforcement mechanisms.

True, renewable energy is expanding rapidly in the United States. In the next two years, the solar industry expects to double its installed U.S. capacity. In 2014, wind generation was up 51 percent from 2011, according to government figures. Moreover, costs are said to have fallen sharply. The wind industry puts its decline at 60 percent over the past four years; the solar industry reports a 70?percent drop since 2009.

But these achievements need to be qualified. For starters, renewables’ rapid growth comes off a tiny base. As a result, wind supplied only 4.4 percent of U.S. electricity in 2014. Solar’s contribution was smaller, about 1 percent; for 2020, the industry’s target is 3.5 percent. Global figures are lower. The Economist magazine puts renewables’ share of world energy production at 1 percent . The fact that wind and solar are heavily subsidized in the United States, through tax breaks, suggests that recent cost reductions haven’t yet made renewables competitive with other energy sources.

Another handicap is physics: Wind and solar generate electricity only when the sun shines or the wind blows. They need backup power supplies. This hasn’t been (so far) a big problem in the United States, because we have many “base” power plants — typically fueled by coal and natural gas — that can provide backup. Developing countries are another story. Seeking to reduce their poverty, they need more bulk power, says Robert Bryce, an energy expert at the Manhattan Institute. They have favored coal.

Despite Paris, we haven’t acknowledged the difficulties of grappling with climate change, whose extent and timing are uncertain. We invent soothing fantasies to simplify matters. The notion that the world can wean itself from fossil fuels by substituting renewables is one of these. The potential isn’t large enough.

Actual choices are harder. For example, Bryce argues that only an expansion of nuclear power could replace significant volumes of fossil fuels. But greater reliance on nuclear poses its own dangers, including the disposal of atomic waste, operational accidents and vulnerability to terrorism.

It’s true that technological breakthroughs could change this. We know what’s needed: cheaper and safer nuclear power; better batteries and energy storage, boosting wind and solar by making more of their power usable; cost-effective carbon capture and storage — making coal more acceptable by burying its carbon dioxide in the ground.

We have been searching for solutions for decades with only modest success. We need to keep searching, but without meaningful advances, regulating the world’s temperature is mission impossible.


El Niño is causing 'see-saw' weather: Fewer hurricanes formed in the Atlantic this year, but the Pacific was a hotbed for storms

El Niño dampened this year's Atlantic hurricane season while simultaneously creating conditions for powerful hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean.

This is according to a new study has found that an El Niño in the Pacific Ocean almost always hampers hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean–sometimes by as much as 50 per cent.

This year, only 11 named tropical storms formed in the Atlantic Basin, with four transforming into hurricanes.

In contrast, there were 18 named storms forming in the eastern Pacific this year and 14 named storms in the central Pacific.

El Niño is caused by a shift in the distribution of warm water in the Pacific Ocean around the equator.

Usually the wind blows strongly from east to west, due to the rotation of the Earth, causing water to pile up in the western part of the Pacific.

This pulls up colder water from the deep ocean in the eastern Pacific.

However, in an El Niño, the winds pushing the water get weaker and cause the warmer water to shift back towards the east. This causes the eastern Pacific to get warmer.

But as the ocean temperature is linked to the wind currents, this causes the winds to grow weaker still and so the ocean grows warmer, meaning the El Niño grows.

This change in air and ocean currents around the equator can have a major impact on the weather patterns around the globe by creating pressure anomalies in the atmosphere

An El Niño occurs when warm waters in the Pacific Ocean influences weather patterns around the world.

Researchers in Texas considered two distinct types of El Niño: a Central Pacific, also known as 'warm pool' El Niño; and East Pacific or 'cold tongue' El Niño.

'During both El Niño types, Atlantic hurricane seasons tend to become less active,' says Christina Patricola of Texas A&M University.

'This happens because the unusual warming of the Pacific Ocean leads to a shift in the typical location of deep convection (intense rainstorms), which in turn impacts high-level winds, causing greater wind shear which leads to unfavourable conditions for storms to develop.

'We also found that under the right conditions, in particular strong warming of the central Pacific, El Niño can suppress hurricane activity by as much as 50 per cent compared to normal conditions.'

Patricola and colleagues also found that the reverse can happen in other locations creating a 'see-saw' weather scenario.

She said a strong El Niño can produce more frequent hurricanes in the eastern North Pacific.

'This year is an excellent example of that,' she adds. 'Very strong El Niño conditions in 2015 contributed to the second most active hurricane season ever recorded in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

'So while an El Niño can help reduce hurricane impacts in the Atlantic basin, impacts can be much worse over the eastern North Pacific basin.'

Patricola says the findings, published in Nature Geoscience, could help improve seasonal and climate change forecasts.

'Our study gives us a more general understanding of how El Niño and its variations in location and intensity, influence hurricane seasons in both the Atlantic and eastern Pacific,' she points out.

'In essence, we found that strong El Niño events that occur over the warmer locations of the Pacific drive the greatest changes in Western Hemisphere hurricane seasons.

Thirty major hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones occurred in the northern hemisphere in 2015; the previous record was 23 (set in 2004).

Twenty-five of those storms reached category 4 or 5, well beyond the previous record of 18.

In the Atlantic, tropical storm Ana formed in early May off the southeastern coast of the United States, well before the June 1 start of hurricane season.

But the months that followed were relatively quiet, with 11 named storms, four hurricanes—the second year in a row below the 1981-2010 median—and no major storms making landfall.

Yet one storm, Fred, became the easternmost hurricane on record in the Atlantic, lashing the Cabo Verde islands in September.

In November, Hurricane Kate hit The Bahamas, becoming one of the latest storms ever recorded in the islands.

The waters of the eastern Pacific warmed significantly in 2015 with the arrival of a potent El Niño.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the region was stirred by 18 named storms and 13 hurricanes, nine of them major—the most since reliable records were started in 1971.

Fueled by warm air and sea temperatures, Patricia grew rapidly into the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, with wind gusts approaching 200 miles (320 km) per hour and air pressure at 879 millibars.

But as research meteorologist Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University noted, one of the biggest stories was the amount of activity in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

In the region above the equator from 140 to 180 degrees western latitude—the North Central Pacific—14 named storms and eight hurricanes formed or moved into the region.

Five of this year's storms reached category 3 or above (major), eclipsing the previous record of three.

At one point in August, three major hurricanes spun through the region east of the International Date Line at the same time, the first time any meteorologist has seen such activity.

'The 2015 season broke pretty much every prior record for that portion of the Northeast Pacific basin,' Klotzbach said.

'That portion of the basin had record-warm sea surface temperatures and record-low vertical wind shear, a prime combination for hurricane intensification and maintenance.'

'El Niño produces a see-saw effect, suppressing the Atlantic season while strengthening the eastern and central Pacific hurricane seasons,' noted Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, in a press release.

'El Niño intensified into a strong event during the summer and significantly impacted all three hurricane seasons during their peak months.'

Vertical wind shear was particularly strong in the Atlantic, cutting down storm systems before they could organize.

In the Central Pacific, the wind shear was the weakest on record, leaving nothing to stop the evolution of hurricanes and typhoons.

In the western Pacific, near Asia and the islands of Oceania, the season was noteworthy not for the total number of storms, but for the number of intense ones.

Fifteen typhoons grew to category 3 strength or higher in 2015, tying records set in 1958 and 1965. El Niño plays a different role in the western Pacific because slight decreases in water temperatures and wind fields push storm formation farther to the east, Klotzbach explained.

This allows the storms more time to intensify as they move from east to west with prevailing winds.



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29 December, 2015

China is officially Warmist

Mainly because they are desperate to get their appalling particulate air pollution down.  So they are trying all alternatives to coal -- with nukes the big alternative

Chinese scientists have published two alarming reports in a matter of weeks. Both conclude that the Himalayan glaciers and the Tibetan permafrost are succumbing to catastrophic climate change, threatening the water systems of the Yellow River, the Yangtze and the Mekong.

The Tibetan plateau is the world’s "third pole", the biggest reservoir of fresh water outside the Arctic and Antarctica. The area is warming at twice the global pace, making it the epicentre of global climate risk.

One report was by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The other was a 900-page door-stopper from the science ministry, called the “Third National Assessment Report on Climate Change”.

The latter is the official line of the Communist Party. It states that China has already warmed by 0.9-1.5 degrees over the past century – higher than the global average - and may warm by a further five degrees by 2100, with effects that would overwhelm the coastal cities of Shanghai, Tianjin and Guangzhou. The message is that China faces a civilizational threat.

Whether or not you accept the hypothesis of man-made global warming is irrelevant. The Chinese Academy and the Politburo do accept it. So does President Xi Jinping, who spent his Cultural Revolution carting coal in the mining region of Shaanxi. This political fact is tectonic for the global fossil industry and the economics of energy.

Until last Saturday, it was an article of faith among Western climate sceptics and some in the fossil industry that China would never sign up to the COP21 accord in Paris or accept the "ratchet" of five-year reviews.

They have since fallen back to a second argument, claiming that the deal is meaningless because China will not sacrifice coal-driven growth to please the West, and without China the accord unravels since it now emits as much CO2 as the US and Europe combined.

This political judgment was perhaps plausible three or four years ago in the dying days of the Hu Jintao era. Today it is clutching at straws.

Eight of the world’s biggest solar companies are Chinese. So is the second biggest wind power group, GoldWind. China invested $90bn in renewable energy last year and is already the superpower of low-carbon industries. It installed more solar in the first quarter than currently exists in France.

The Chinese plan to build six to eight nuclear plants every year, reaching 110 by 2030. They intend to lever this into worldwide nuclear dominance, as we glimpsed from the Hinkley Point saga.

Home-grown energy is central to Xi Jinping's drive for strategic security. China's leaders know what happened to Japan under Roosevelt's energy embargo in the late 1930s, and they don't trust the sea lanes for supplies of coal and liquefied natural gas. Nor do they relish reliance on Russian gas.

Isabel Hilton from China Dialogue says the energy shift has reached a point where Beijing has a vested commercial interest in holding the world to the Paris deal. “The Chinese think they can dominate low-carbon technologies,” she said.

This is why they feel confident enough to forge ahead with a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions in 2017, covering more CO2 than all of the world's 40 existing schemes put together.

China is changing fast. The energy intensity of Chinese GDP is in freefall as Xi Jinping tries to wean the economy off primitive metal-bashing and move up the technology ladder.

The "tertiary sector" has jumped from 42pc to 51pc of the economy since 2007, taking the baton as the Party starts to tackle vast swathes of excess capacity in steel, cement and shipbuilding.

It comes at a time when the cost curve for renewables has fallen far enough to make the post-carbon switch economically painless. "The average cost of global solar was $400 a megawatt/hour worldwide in 2010. It fell to $130 in 2014, and now it has fallen below $60 in the best locations. Almost nobody could have imagined this six years ago," said Mark Lewis from Barclays.

China installed a record 23 gigawatts (GW) of windpower in 2014. It did so because wind is quick and cheap. Lazard calculates that the "levelized cost" of unsubsidized onshore wind has dropped 61pc globally, thanks to smart software, better blades and higher turbines that catch the sweet spot. It thinks wind now undercuts coal and gas, and by a wide margin in optimal spots.

Specifically, the levelized cost has fallen "well below" coal in Jilin, Jiangsu and Zhejiang with new turbines, according to a study by the North China Electric Power University.


Will Global Warming Heat Us Beyond Our Physical Limits?

The report below is a little less frank than one in "New Scientist" on the same topic recently.  It did not for instance say how many degrees of global warming were assumed in the MIT study.  So I will say again what I said a couple of months ago about the MIT study:

This is a typical bit of brainlessness from the Warmists.  They assume a very high global temperature rise (4 degrees) and calculate from that a wet-bulb temperature in the Gulf states of 35 degrees, which they say would make life impossible in the Gulf.  They then inform us that Gulf temperatures already run as high as 34.6.  But these things all operate on a continuum so if 35 is fatal, 34.6 should be extremely stressful too and more vulnerable people should start dying off at that point.  Yet there is no claim of that.  Half the Hajjis were not wiped out this year.

Clearly the 35 figure is just a theoretical one divorced from reality.  And I know from my own early life in the tropics that heat-adaptation does occur in humans.  The wet-bulb temperatures I experienced in Cairns would have been close to those recorded in the Gulf but we all just went about our business pretty much as usual.  We just took it a bit easy and drank a lot of beer. A cold beer on a hot day is one of life's great pleasures.  But our heat adaptation betrays us when we move away from the tropics.  A temperature that a Scot would experience as a pleasant summer's day becomes to us quite chilly

If greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, rising temperatures and humidity wrought by global warming could expose hundreds of millions of people worldwide to potentially lethal heat stress by 2060, a new report suggests.

The greatest exposure will occur in populous, tropical regions such as India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. But even in the northeastern United States, as many as 30 million people might be exposed at least once a year to heat that could be lethal to children, the elderly, and the sick, according to the new study.

It’s the first study to look at future heat stress on a global basis, says Ethan Coffel, a PhD candidate in atmospheric sciences at Columbia University, who presented the results on Monday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. Coffel and his colleagues used climate models and population projections to estimate how many people could face dangerous heat in 2060—assuming that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise sharply on a “business-as-usual” course.

The findings are based on forecasts of “wet bulb” temperatures, in which a wet cloth is wrapped around a thermometer bulb. Whereas standard thermometer readings measure air temperature, a wet bulb measures the temperature of a moist surface that has been cooled as much as possible by evaporation.

That reading depends on both the heat and the humidity of the surrounding air. It’s generally much lower than the dry-bulb temperature, and it’s a better indicator of the humid heat that humans and other large mammals find hardest to deal with.

The normal temperature inside the human body is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37 degrees Celsius. Human skin is typically at 35°C. When the wet-bulb temperature of the air exceeds that level, it becomes physically impossible for the body to shed its own metabolic heat and cool itself, especially by evaporating sweat. Even a fit individual would be expected to die from such heat within six hours.

Today, even in Earth’s hottest, muggiest spots, the wet-bulb temperature does not rise above 31°C. (The highest dry-bulb temperature ever recorded is 56.7°C, or 134°F.)

But a study published in October by MIT researchers found that by 2100, in Persian Gulf cities such as Abu Dhabi or Dubai, the 35°C threshold of human survival may occasionally be exceeded—again, assuming that greenhouse emissions continue to rise unabated.
Where Heat, Humidity, and People Intersect

In practice, wet-bulb temperatures below the 35°C threshold are dangerous for children, the elderly, people with heart or lung problems—or anybody actively working outside. By the 2060s, according to Coffel and his colleagues, 250 million people could be experiencing 33°C at least once a year. As many as 700 million could be exposed to 32°C. For many people, those conditions could be lethal.

“You have a large portion of the world that’s very densely populated and potentially at risk,” says Coffel. “Populations which right now work primarily outdoors and have very little access to air conditioning. It’s hard to function outdoors in those kinds of temperatures.”

The MIT study concluded that wet-bulb temperatures of 32°C or 33°C could be expected to arise later this century in Mecca, for example, where they might sometimes coincide with the Hajj, when millions of pilgrims pray outdoors all day long.

But as rising temperatures push more moisture into the atmosphere, particularly near warming oceans, spells of extreme heat and humidity will become more frequent and intense in many parts of the world. Even residents of cities like New York and London could encounter future temperatures that are near the limits of what their bodies can tolerate, according to the Columbia researchers.

“Local ocean temperatures can be a really big driver for the extent of these high heat and humidity events,” says co-author Radley Horton of Columbia. “How far inland away from the coasts will we see some of these really deadly high heat and humidity events penetrate? Will this impact where people are able to live?”

Bryan Jones, a postdoctoral fellow at the City University of New York who also studies future heat exposures but was not part of the Columbia study, said its “projections of exposure to extreme heat stress seem very reasonable. In fact, they may even be conservative, depending on how populations in West Africa, India, and Southeast Asia are distributed in the coming decades.”
Heat Is Already A Big Killer

Heat already kills more people than any other form of extreme weather. In the past decade, heat waves that featured wet-bulb temperatures between 29°C and 31°C have caused tens of thousands of deaths in Europe, Russia, and the Middle East.

Last summer more than 2,300 died from extreme heat in India, where air temperatures reached 122°F. High humidity and temperatures topping 116°F also proved deadly in Egypt this year. And work stopped for several summer days in Iraq while thermometers hovered around 120°F.

Air conditioning protects those who have access to it and can afford it. The spread of high-heat-stress events is likely to produce a surge in demand, says Horton. Air conditioners don’t function as efficiently in humid conditions, however—and as long as the electricity for them is generated with fossil fuels, they add to the underlying problem.

The other approach to coping with dangerous heat, Coffel says, is “reorganizing your society, like when you work outside, like giving people the day off when it’s hot.”

Neither air-conditioning nor staying inside is an option for other large mammals, which are affected by climbing heat and humidity in much the same way as humans. The impact on them is a “wild card,” says Horton. Little research has been done.


Vatican rumblings

If the Pope wants his teaching on global warming to be regarded as authoritative, he should declare it to be infallible.  That would put the cat among the pigeons.  He could do so but he has not

A heated exchange regarding global warming and magisterial teaching between a top Vatican official and various other presenters ended a December 3 Acton Institute conference in Rome.  Argentinean Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, a close advisor to Pope Francis and the Chancellor of both the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences stressed that the pope’s declarations on the gravity of global warming as expressed in the encyclical Laudato Si’ are magisterial teaching equivalent to the teaching that abortion is sinful.

Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, the founder of Ignatius Press who obtained his doctorate in theology under Joseph Ratzinger prior to his elevation to the pontificate, told LifeSiteNews, “Neither the pope nor Bishop Sorondo can speak on a matter of science with any binding authority, so to use the word ‘magisterium’ in both cases is equivocal at best, and ignorant in any case.” Fr. Fessio added, “To equate a papal position on abortion with a position on global warming is worse than wrong; it is an embarrassment for the Church.”

The conference, "In Dialogue with Laudato Si': Can Free Markets Help Us Care for Our Common Home?" was held at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross with over 200 attendees including members of the media, professors, and students of the Pontifical Universities.

The controversy was sparked when in his address Bishop Sorondo spoke of “global warming” saying that in Laudato Si “for the first time in the Magisterium” Pope Francis “denounces the scientifically identifiable causes of this evil, declaring that: ‘a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases released mainly as a result of human activity.’” He repeated the point later, saying, “faith and reason, philosophical knowledge and scientific knowledge, are brought together for the first time in the pontifical Magisterium in Laudato Si'."

These points were contradicted in the presentation by Acton Institute founder and President Father Robert Sirico who said it is “important to underscore the distinction between the theological dimension of Laudato si’ and its empirical, scientific, and economic claims.” He explained, “The Church does not claim to speak with the same authority on matters of economics and science… as it does when pronouncing on matters of faith and morals.”

Quoting the Compendium of Catholic Social Doctrine to support his point, Fr. Sirico said: “Christ did not bequeath to the Church a mission in the political, economic or social order; the purpose he assigned to her was a religious one.  . . . This means that the Church does not intervene in technical questions with her social doctrine, nor does she propose or establish systems or models of social organization. This is not part of the mission entrusted to her by Christ” (CCSD 68).

Father Joseph Fessio: “To equate a papal position on abortion with a position on global warming is worse than wrong; it is an embarrassment for the Church.”

When asked in a question and answer period that concluded the conference about the weight of the pope’s opinions regarding global warming in Laudato Si’, Bishop Sorondo distinguished between infallible statements and statements of the pope’s “Ordinary Magisterium.”  The distinction is important because ex-cathedra statements are in Catholic teaching “infallible” or never in error and require absolute adherence by all Catholics, while some of those in the “Ordinary Magisterium” could be in error but nonetheless teachings to which Catholics should submit “in mind and will.”

However, even asserting Pope Francis’ reflections on global warming in Laudato Si’ are part of his Ordinary Magisterium would propose a grave challenge to all those scientists who have asserted global warming is a hoax.

Comparing the Pope’s teaching on global warming to the Church’s teaching on abortion, Bishop Sorondo said the “judgement must be considered Magisterium – it is not an opinion.”

“It is under Ordinary Magisterium,” he explained, “that abortion is a grievous sin – this is Ordinary Magisterium because there is not the revelation of it.” So there is an assumption of “moral doctrine,” he continued, that even though the majority opinion is contrary, we accept that “abortion is a grievous sin” is Magisterium.

This led to a heated exchange with panel presenters at the conference, especially journalist Riccardo Cascioli, who objected to the suggestion that Catholics must submit to pronouncements on “scientific theories” rather than “faith and morals.”

Sorondo retorted by saying, “When the Pope has assumed this, it is Magisterium of the Church whether you like it or not -- it is the Magisterium of the Church just as abortion is a grievous sin – equal (it is the same)…  it is Magisterium of the Church... whether you like it or not.”

Pope Francis in Laudato Si’, says, “The Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics,” and that he seeks to “encourage an honest and open debate” (para 188). Nevertheless Bishop Sorondo seemed to oppose the contestability of global warming theories.

When Cascioli suggested Catholics could follow their consciences on the theoretical scientific matters, Sorondo rejoined, “If you were a scientist and had a serious (difference of) opinion,” then you could follow your conscience, “but since you are a journalist it is better you follow the opinion of the Pope!” Cascioli reminded the bishop that he too was not a scientist, to which Sorondo replied, “But I am in the Academy of Science of the Pope.”

When Fr. Sirico suggested that there are other experts or scientists with different opinions on the matter of global warming, Sorondo fired back, “But don’t follow them, follow these.  Just like in philosophy, there are many philosophers.. But the Magisterium of the Church follows the philosophy of the being, the person. There are many who say the person does not exist – the Pope does not follow them.... I say it is Magisterium.”

Fr. Fessio was unabashed in his criticism. “Bishop Sorondo is unknown to me, and – judging by this statement – eminently worthy of that ignorance,” he commented. “The best I can say of his remarks is that they seem to have been unprepared.”


Chilling climate of UN control


Like ancient Druids pleading with the gods for good seasons, world leaders and their aides recently devoted a fortnight in Paris to pleading with each other to stop global temperatures from rising more than an average 2C above pre-industrial levels, when the Earth was emerging from the Little Ice Age.

Of the 196 nations represented at the COP21 conference, 154 were developing economies. Regardless of the direction of world temperatures, they left Paris happy that the UN’s Green Climate Fund, which aims to reach $US100 billion a year by 2020, will give them cash for anything they can pass off as remotely ­related to their intended national contributions to world CO2 ­reduction. They argue this is only fair. Poor countries fare worst from climate change and must be compensated for unspecified damage and their share of repairing the West’s legacy. You can bet $US100bn a year won’t do it.

Overwhelmingly, the money for the fund will come from 42 guilt-racked wealthy nations. That is their moral responsibility. They caused the warming. They threaten the planet. It’s time for them to repay their climate debts.

It matters not that there is no empirical scientific evidence to support these claims. Even the 2C target is not based on science, it was originally plucked out of thin air by the European People’s Party for election purposes. But then climate change is not about credible scientific evidence. It has its roots in Marxism, and ultimately the Green Fund is presided over by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, run by Costa Rican Marxist Christiana Figueres. The “paradigm-shifting” fund will provide employment for an army of green bureaucrats who will offer “concessional finance” for the development needs of less advanced countries.

China, the leading emitter, venting one billion tonnes of CO2 a year more than it admits to, has been adroit in dealing with the politics. It approaches its domestic air quality crisis under the banner of climate action and so turns a domestic necessity into a global virtue. From this and its lack of interest in aid for itself, China projects moral authority and, while there is no cap on its emissions and only a promise that they will peak by 2030, promotes emission restraints for others, for its own competitive advantage.

India has adopted a similar line. The world’s third largest emitter is set to overtake China. It will not accept constraints on ­development and does not spell out when emissions will peak. Like China, it will adopt cleaner energy to improve air quality and will claim UN compensation.

Having successfully captured the West, post-Paris, the noose will tighten. Despite assurances that intended nationally determined contributions, delivered before the conference, would keep temperature increases to no more than 2C, we are now told that even if fully implemented, temperatures will rise by 2.7C by 2100. So the Paris agreement will “only lay the groundwork” and all those hard-won pledges were based on a miscalculation.

How disappointing. But there is now an aspirational 1.5C ambition on the table that Figueres quickly endorsed. Should it ever be agreed to, expect more ambit claims. And without a Tony ­Abbott in Canberra or a Stephen Harper in Ottawa, no world leader utters a peep in protest.

Caught in a moral dilemma of its own making, the developed world concedes its culpability. Its representatives succumb to propaganda and bullying and credulously accept bogus science and catastrophism. They pay no heed to alternative views. They consider abandoning fossil fuels, the world’s cheapest, most ­efficient and wealth-creating power source, and baulk at ­nuclear alternatives.

Instead, they pour hundreds of billions of dollars into costly, ­­in-efficient renewable energy, robbing their industries of flexibility and competitiveness and, punishing the world’s poorest citizens.

Indeed, Western capitalist societies have given up on rational thinking. They embrace junk ­science and junk economics and adopt wealth-destroying postmodern pseudo-economics, which teaches that taxpayer subsidies can produce desirable “economic transformation” and faster growth. Pigs may also fly.

Climate change has cowed once great powers into meekly surrendering sovereignty and independent thought to unelected bureaucrats in Geneva. From the White House to the Lodge, private choice now runs a distant second to collectivist visions.

Although only an aspiration now, the 1.5C target will be relentlessly pursued until adopted. The media, in step with the Green ­Machine, will bombard us with climate alarmism to the applause of the leader of the free world, Barack Obama, who says: “My mission is to make the world aware that climate change is a bigger threat than terrorism.” ­Really? That’s serious. Clearly authority, not common sense or science, now rules the world.

While some activists such as James Hansen may criticise the Paris agreement as “worthless words”, those such as Figueres, interested in reconfiguring the world’s political and economic structure, will be pleased with progress. We are another step closer to her ideal of ‘‘centralised transformation”, with the UN at the authoritarian centre, calling the shots and doling out transfer payments from the rich to ensure poor countries remain her ­mendicants. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says: “If we really want to put an end to global poverty, if we really want to make the world healthier and planet Earth environmentally sustainable, we have first to address the climate change issue.”

The only certainty to come out of COP21 is that there will be a COP22.


Are Record Breaking Christmas Temperatures Proof of Global Warming?

It’s not every year that New Yorkers get to experience Christmas in a t-shirt. This year, New Yorkers, as well as others on the United States east coast got to experience some of the warmest Christmas temperatures on record.

Are these record breaking Christmas temperatures proof of global warming or simply a fluke of nature? According to CNN, some meteorologists have referred to these unusually warm December temperature patterns as the “blowtorch.”

National Geographic attributes the warmer than usual Christmas temperatures to El Nino and climate change. El Niño, which is the periodic warming of the Pacific Ocean, tends to bring with it more moisture and warmer than usual air temperatures. Some experts state that the same El Niño air patterns that are bringing warm weather to the east coast are also responsible for the heavy snow in areas like Denver.

As of last week, December alone already brought over 2,600 record high temperatures along the east coast, and even more are expected before ringing in the New Year. Accuweather reported that some locations across the southeast and up to New England have broken their previous record temperatures by 10 degrees or more.

“One of the most impressive records on Christmas Eve occurred in Burlington, Vermont, when the city set their all-time December high temperature. New York City and Baltimore are some of the cities that could break records yet again on Sunday before a cold front washes away the warmth,” said Brian Lada, an AccuWeather Meteorologist.

On Christmas Day, five locations around New York shattered previous Christmas day temperature records. It’s reported that some people were even playing volleyball in Central Park; something that is completely unheard of for winter in New York.

According the New York Times, the unusually warm Christmas weather interfered with typical Christmas traditions, as New Yorkers traded snowmen and ice skating for ice cream and summer sports.

The only location across the northeast that reported a white Christmas was northern Maine with about an inch of snow. Yet, some are still skeptical to attribute the heat wave to global warming and climate change.

The blog Real Science stated their opposition to the global warming argument by saying, “Christmas Eve 1955 was much warmer. Three-fourths of the country was over 60 degrees, and Ashland Kansas, Geary Oklahoma and Encinal Texas were all over 90 degrees. Fort Lauderdale was 85 degrees. Last winter, the East Coast had record cold. That was ignored because it was ‘less than 1% of the Earth.’ But this week, the Eastern US defines the global climate.”

Meanwhile, alternative news site Common Dreams explained that the correlation between El Niño, climate change and global warming often gets muddied, but that global warming is a factor in the record breaking December temperatures.

Erika Spanger-Siegfried senior analyst in the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists said, “2015 is the hottest year on record by a wide margin, topping 2014. 2014 became the hottest year even in the absence of El Niño. We’re climbing the stairs, picking up pace, and taking some two at a time. So. Whatever we want to call December’s freakishly warm weather, whatever we’re tempted to call the punishing cold and snow that could follow, we ought not to leave out the global warming propping it all up.”


Manufacturers, Chamber of Commerce Sue EPA Over Its New Ozone Rule

The National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the EPA over its revised ozone rule, calling it “unworkable and overly burdensome.”

In October, the EPA changed the standard for ground-level ozone from 75 parts per billion, which was set in 2008, to 70 parts per billion.

“The EPA’s ozone regulation, which could be one of the most expensive in history, is unworkable and overly burdensome for manufacturers and America’s job creators," said Linda Kelly, NAM's senior vice president and general counsel, in a statement. "Manufacturers across the United States need regulations that provide balance and allow us to be globally competitive."

The Chamber of Commerce agreed.

“The EPA has created a web of regulations that makes it almost impossible for businesses to succeed in this already tough economic climate,” said William Kovacs, the Chamber’s senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs, reports The Hill.

NAM led the charge against the ozone rule while the EPA was considering updating the standard. The group commissioned a report saying that a standard of 65 parts per billion — which the EPA had considered — could cost up to $1.1 trillion to implement.
The EPA and the rule’s supporters have questioned those analyses, and have said the rule will help improve public health. Green groups and health organizations, though, have criticized the rule for not going far enough toward cutting down smog.

NMA and the Chamber of Commerce are just the latest groups suing the EPA over the revised rule. Murray Energy Corp., a coal company, and five states—Arkansas, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Arizona—also filed lawsuits shortly after the rule was announced in the fall.



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28 December, 2015

British Greenies need instructions on how to open a door!

At least their bosses think they do

Civil servants have been given a safety guide that instructs them how to use doors after a shocking 14 members of staff  were hurt walking through them in five years.

A step-by-step memo was sent to 2,440 people at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, run by energy secretary Amber Rudd.

The vital instructions include 'open the door slowly' and if the door has a 'vision panel' look through to 'judge if there's someone on the other side'.

The guide was issued because of the number of accidents staff had experienced in recent years.

However,  it has left others raising their eyebrows, with criticism over it being a waste of time and resources.

Jonathan Isaby, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'This is patronising rubbish of the highest order and proof that there remains plenty of fat to trim at Whitehall departments.

'Families facing huge bills because of green taxes this department is responsible for will be appalled to see their money wasted like this.

'Perhaps it's those responsible for producing this 'advice' who should be shown how to use the door.'


Government’s Gold King whitewash

Double standards and pollution continue, while the feds exonerate themselves from blame

Paul Driessen

When a private citizen or company violates rules, misrepresents facts or pollutes a river, government penalties are swift and severe. It’s different when the government lies or screws up.

Two weeks ago, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell testified before Congress on a toxic spill that federal and state agencies unleashed into western state rivers last August. Supervised by officials from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS), an Environmental Restoration (ER) company crew excavated tons of rock and debris that had blocked the portal (entrance or adit) to the Gold King Mine above Silverton, Colorado.

The crew kept digging until the remaining blockage burst open, spilling 3,000,000 gallons of acidic water laden with iron, lead, cadmium, mercury and other heavy metals. The toxic flood contaminated the Animas and San Juan Rivers, all the way to Lake Powell in Utah. EPA then waited an entire day before notifying downstream mayors, health officials, families, kayakers, fishermen, farmers and ranchers that the water they were drinking, paddling in, or using for crops and livestock was contaminated.

Ms. Jewell told Congress she was unaware of anyone being fired, fined or even demoted. In fact, federal investigations and reports didn’t hold anyone responsible for the disaster. (Maybe they even got bonuses.) Considering the spill’s severity, the gross incompetence of government officials, their advance knowledge of the dangers, and the way they downplayed and whitewashed their actions, this is intolerable.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy did say she was “absolutely, deeply sorry.” But then FEMA denied disaster relief to the Navajos, and EPA sent them emergency water tanks contaminated with oil!

As I explained in a detailed analysis, experts had warned that contaminated water had probably backed up hundreds of feet upward into the mine, creating the risk of a sudden, powerful toxic flashflood. EPA, DRMS and ER’s prior experience with nearby mines meant they personally knew the high risks in advance. In a June 2014 work plan for the planned cleanup, ER itself had warned: “Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediment from inside the mine, which contain concentrated heavy metals.”

Yet they went ahead, with no emergency plans for dealing with a toxic spill. They didn’t even follow their own ill-conceived plan. As the contamination moved downstream, they claimed they had simply “miscalculated” how much water had backed up and insisted they had been “very careful.” Barely a week after the spill, Ms. McCarthy said the river is “restoring itself” to “pre-spill conditions” – something she would never say if a privately owned company had caused similar contamination.

On August 24, EPA issued a preliminary report that can only be called a Tom Sawyer whitewash, designed to absolve the perpetrators of any blame, liability, civil penalty or criminal prosecution. 

It says the state and federal personnel at Gold King were “senior mining experts” and “experienced professionals” who have “extensive experience with the investigation and closure of mines.” But their names were all redacted from the summary, and their actions strongly suggest that they had little training or experience in reopening mines or dealing with possible water impoundments and toxic spills.

The EPA/DRMS determination that there was “no or low mine water pressurization” at Gold King was supposedly based on actual observations. However, the EPA review team said it “was not able to identify any calculations made on the possible volume of water that could be held behind the portal plug.”

In fact, the “professionals” simply claimed ongoing mine drainage showed that a pressure buildup was not likely. Wrong. It simply showed that the compacted overburden was able to hold back an enormous volume of water – until they destroyed its structural integrity. They also said a similar excavation at a nearby mine “did not result in a blowout.” But that’s irrelevant. Every mine is unique and must be treated as if a worst-case scenario could unfold. The other mine didn’t have serious water backup; Gold King did.

Perhaps the most blatant example of self-serving excuses is on page 7, which says in relevant part:

“Mine water pressurization data from behind the blockage potentially could have been obtained through a drill hole inserted further back into the [Gold King] Adit from above the mine tunnel. Such a technique was … not used at the [Gold King] Adit [because it] would have been very difficult and expensive … and require much more planning and multiple field seasons to accomplish. Although difficult and therefore expensive and technically challenging, this procedure may have been able to discover the pressurized conditions that turned out to cause the blowout.” [emphasis added]

In truth, the crew could easily have drilled a borehole lined with steel pipe from above the portal into an area behind the blockage, and then used simple instruments to determine the water pressure and extent of water backup, before beginning to dig. They had done this elsewhere and at could have done it at Gold King for less than $75,000, experienced miners told me. It was not “technically challenging.”

These “experienced professionals” guessed but did not test. They simply assumed there was limited water in the mine, and charged blindly ahead. And they did it after bullying their way onto the Gold King premises by threatening its owner with $35,000 per day in fines if he did not allow them on his property.

Their actions were grossly negligent. In fact, they are criminal offenses under the Clean Water Act and other laws that the government routinely uses to fine and jail private citizens and company employees, such as John Pozsgai, Bill Ellen, and employees of Freedom Industries and the Pacific & Arctic Railway. None of these “convicted felons” intended to cause those accidents, and all were “absolutely, deeply sorry” for what happened. Why should the state and federal culprits be treated any differently – get off scot free – after causing far worse environmental damage?

Before the blowout, the Gold King Mine was leaking 206 gallons of acidic, metals-laden but mostly clear water per minute in 2010, 140 gpm in 2011, 13 in August 2014 and 112 in September 2014, just before EPA first began working at the mine portal. On August 5, 2015, it flash-flooded more than 3,000,000 gallons of turmeric-orange, toxic-sludge-laden pollution.

The mine is now leaking 500-900 gallons per minute: 720,000 to 1,300,000 gallons per day – a huge increase in pollution into these important waterways. Until winter set in, most of it was finally being treated before entering Cement Creek, the Animas River and downstream waters.

So we must ask, what was the emergency that “forced” the EPA and DRMS to return to Gold King, demand immediate access to the site – and proceed in such a hasty, negligent manner? Unfortunately, this incident and the whitewashing that followed is too typical of government agencies that have become increasingly dictatorial, unaccountable, and dismissive of other interests, outside expertise, and people’s needs for jobs, minerals, energy and quality living standards.

Today, throughout the Rocky Mountain region, waters are still polluted by metals and minerals that are present in underground mines … along with the gold and silver that have long drawn prospectors, created jobs, and built state and local economies. Hopefully, effluents from all these abandoned mines will soon be minimized via practical, efficient, low-maintenance treatment systems, under legal regimes that do not assign unlimited liability to private sector entities that try to fix these problems.

That will greatly improve water quality in many streams – while suggestions presented in EPA’s otherwise shoddy internal review could do much to prevent a repeat of Gold King, if they are followed.

Meanwhile, Congress and state legislatures should further investigate the Gold King disaster, and compel witnesses to testify under oath. They should also improve relevant laws, ensure that agency personnel are truly qualified to do their tasks, and hold agency incompetents and miscreants accountable.

Via email

Two cheers for the Chevy Volt

Electric cars are nice to drive and the Volt should have range  enough for most commutes.  A useful second car for affluent families, perhaps?

MY TRIP FROM L.A. to San Francisco in a 2016 Chevrolet Volt was an outlier, as Malcolm Gladwell would say. The redesigned Volt is a city car, with 53 miles of all-electric-vehicle range before it has to fire up the range-extending 1.5-liter gas engine. That’s enough to cover Americans’ average daily commute (37 miles) with room to spare. And within those 53 miles, the Volt thrives as a light, quick presence, an electric hummingbird, with premium cabin innards and 0-30 mph acceleration (2.6 seconds) that will dispatch your coffee to the back seat.

Beyond those 53 miles, in range-extender mode, the hummingbird sounds a bit more like a wasp trapped in the windscreen. Particularly up the merciless grade known as the Grapevine on the I-5 toward the Tejon Pass, the Volt struggled with the physics of the affair, which sussed out to be 101 horsepower drawing a 3,543-pound car up a mountain (once the batteries are depleted the engine power is routed directly to the front wheels). At 80 mph the little engine was working hard and the noise-abatement measures weren’t.

Then I had a revelation, one that Volt designers must have had many years ago: You can’t make range-extender mode too pleasant, lest consumers just forget it’s a plug-in hybrid car and keep filling it with gas and never plugging in. That would be, in engineering parlance, stupid. So, I was in “punishment mode” the whole way to San Francisco, which I thought was pretty funny.

I know the Volt fires up the political bases. Rolled out in the days of GM’s government-financed restructuring, the tidy plug-in hybrid was loathed as Obama’s Popemobile, even though the Volt project was initiated during the Bush administration. And to people who declaim it as a worthless product of governments’ intervention in markets and industry, I say, yes, that’s correct, except for the worthless part.

Actually, the Volt is quite worthy and still a bit visionary. You don’t think plug-in hybrids with range-extenders will ever catch on? Just hold your breath, 1, 2, 3.

If I may write two terms on the blackboard: urbanization and low-emissions zones (LEVs). As to the first, 81% of Americans live in urban areas, and U.S. rural population is ticking down. So any rules that affect solely urban areas would still affect the vast majority of Americans. Globally, half the world’s population are city dwellers; the U.N. predicts by 2050 two out of three persons will live in urban areas.

At the recent Paris climate-change conference, a group representing the world’s largest cities, the C40, announced aggressive targets to cut carbon emissions. Dozens of European cities have low-emission or no-emission zones in place or in progress. Of particular gravity is the financial and cultural giant London, which was a leader in congestion taxes. London aims to cut emissions by 60% over 1995 levels in the next decade. That will require steep cuts in vehicle emissions. Pretty soon if the world’s elite want to wheel their Ferraris down to Kensington, they are going to need a plug.

Urban populations in the U.S. are reliably politically blue and can be counted on to advance a progressive agenda regarding carbon and vehicle emissions at the ballot box. For example: If auto makers want to sell their wares in California, the most populous state and largest car market, they have to play by rules set by Californians themselves, through the California Air Resources Board, among other agencies. Because of this , California clean-air rules have had a determinative effect on most of the automotive world.

Seattle, New York, Portland, San Francisco and Austin are among the U.S. cities pledging to move toward carbon neutrality. Further out are weather-makers like the U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, which will require auto makers to achieve 54.5 mpg fleet average by 2025. The EU has its own upward slope of standards.

A common refrain of EV doubters is that lower-cost efficiencies can still be found in the internal combustion engine. Actually, the 2016 Volt agrees. Replacing the first generation’s port-injected, iron-block 1.4 liter that drank premium unleaded, the new direct-injection, aluminum-block 1.5 liter is lighter and more powerful (101 hp vs. 84 hp) and quieter overall, unless you are flogging it across the Imperial Valley on dinosaur fumes.

The fresher engine, part of GM’s EcoTec family, accounts for the Volt’s higher combined fuel economy (106 mpg-e) and higher efficiency in range-extender mode (42 mpg combined). The tweaks to the powertrain hardware net a weight savings of more than 100 pounds.


Let’s all boo the global warming panto villains
It may be only now that the post-Christmas pantomime season opens, but one pantomime running throughout the year has been that staged by all those comic characters who try to persuade us that the world is faced with deadly “global warming” (“Oh no it isn’t,” shouts an ever louder chorus from the audience).

Much on show, for instance, has been our favourite “pantomime dame”, Prof Julia Slingo, the Chief Scientist for the Met Office, with her organisation’s latest bid to alarm us by giving cute little names such as “Storm Eva” to all these episodes of seasonal wind and rain, which may be hell for those flooded out, but are technically not “storms” at all.

It is she who presides over those wacky computer models that have raised so many laughs over the years, with such predictions as that “barbecue summer”, which inevitably led to weeks of rain. Last week one media outlet mischievously reminded us of Dame Julia’s claim in 2013 that the melting of Arctic ice was now “loading the dice” in favour of “colder, drier winters”, only for this to be followed by the three wettest winter months since records began in 1766.

Also much on stage has been “Buttons”, played by Roger Harrabin, the BBC’s environmental correspondent. Last week, undeterred by his failure to foresee the entirely predictable fiasco of the Paris climate summit, he invited Friends of the Earth to explain how “outrageous” it is that “the government can continue to hand out billions of pounds a year in subsidies to climate-wrecking fossil fuels”. Buttons somehow forgot to tell us that even the Department of Energy and Climate Change insists on the obvious fact that “the UK has no subsidies for fossil fuels”.

Finally bounding on to the stage again, greeted with customary boos, is our favourite pantomime villain Bob Ward, the chap paid by a billionaire climate fanatic to hurl derision at anyone daring to question the warmist faith. He now informs us that, thanks to “Britain’s commitment to the climate deal”, all use of gas for cooking, heating or making electricity “will be phased out, probably as soon as possible”.

"Scrapping gas has long been our own government’s policy, as the only way it can meet our insane commitments"

This would come as no surprise to readers of this column, since I have long been reporting on it, as in my Christmas article last year, headed “Forget your gas cooker – we’re headed for zero-carbon Britain”.

But the plan that within not many years, those 23 million UK households that rely on gas will have to scrap their cookers and central heating has nothing to do with that Paris “deal” (which committed no one to anything). Scrapping gas has long been our own government’s policy, as the only way it can meet our insane commitments under the Climate Change Act.

Another difference between me and Mr Ward is that while I argue that all this amounts to no less than a national suicide note, he believes it would be a jolly good thing.

Please hiss the poor boob off the stage.


The phantom menace

A red herring useful to the Left

This is the least important of the big stories because it’s not about something that’s actually happening. It’s about how a whole section of our top political and cultural leadership is pretending that something that isn’t happening is actually the most vital and pressing issue of the day. That is pretty important in its own right.

I’ll call this The Phantom Menace, which you can consider a tribute to the return of the Star Wars saga, or perhaps an unwelcome reminder of everybody’s least favorite prequel. (It’s a close call between the three, but Phantom Menace had the most Jar-Jar Binks, so it wins.)

I am talking, of course, about “climate change,” the lame euphemism for claims about catastrophic human-caused global warming.

The role of global warming in this year’s news is summed up in the recently concluded Paris Agreement: a gigantic international meeting held within a month of a massive terrorist attack on that city, for the purpose of diverting everyone’s attention away from the threat of terrorism.

As I wrote last week:

    "After last month’s massive terrorist attack brought the disastrous civil war in Syria and the renewed threat of radical Islam back to the forefront of everyone’s minds, world leaders met in Paris to forge an ambitious agreement — about global warming.

    You didn’t think they were going to do something big and important about terrorism, did you?

    No, they’re much more interested in what our own president clearly regards as the real issue of the day, “climate change.” And so the global warming conference ended with the Paris Agreement, which was hailed by both The Guardian and Slate as the “end of the fossil fuel era.”

I also noted that, for all that triumphalism about ending fossil fuels, the Paris Agreement is just a massive pretense in which “everything is legally binding, except the actual heart of the agreement.” But I noted that it serves a purpose.

    "Consider President Obama’s pronouncement that the agreement is “a testament to American leadership.” “We came together around a strong agreement the world needed. We met the moment.” For a president whose administration is known for the absence of American leadership and who is palpably not “meeting the moment,” you can see the incentive to pretend that he is by signing some phony-baloney agreement to solve a phony-baloney problem.

The intellectual basis for this evasion is summed up in the preposterous claim that global warming caused ISIS. After tracing the actual causes and origins of the Syrian civil war, I noted:

    "All of these facts are readily available to anyone who follows the news. And then there is the role in these attacks of a major world religion with about a billion followers that has been around for 1400 years — a primary cause that is a little hard to miss. Yet President Obama, [Bill] Nye, and many other water-carriers for the left offer us glib pronouncements about how this is all about water shortages in Syria. This is spectacular, willful ignorance dressed up as love for science."

This is the reason Obama doesn’t have much of a strategy for destroying ISIS and recently admitted that he was out of touch about how important the Paris attacks were because he didn’t watch enough cable news shows. I don’t even know where to start in describing how pathetic that is.

But the Left does have a plan to vilify and censor global warming skeptics, with New York’s attorney general launching an investigation to punish Exxon-Mobil for having briefly funded a few climate skeptics.

    "To be sure, this case will take forever to go through the courts…. But this is another case where the prosecution is the punishment. Just the prospect of being dragged through the courts and publicly maligned by prosecutors is deterrent enough.

    This prosecution is not really aimed at Exxon, which has pockets deep enough to fight if it chooses…. [T]he real target is everybody smaller than Exxon. The message is going out that they will face political reprisals, including embarrassing and expensive persecution in the courts, if they ever give a dollar to a climate skeptic….

    It seems Schneiderman has learned from the neo-authoritarians in Russia and China how to impose political control. There is no need for anything so crude as outright censorship. Anybody can say what they like, if they’re shouting on a street corner or writing in the pages of some obscure journal for intellectuals. But nobody can get any money to broadcast their views more widely because anyone with money faces ruin if they stand out against the powers that be."

And President Obama has a plan of attack for destroying our most plentiful sources of energy, under the guise of a transition to “clean power.” This “clean power,” as I explained, is based on absurd assumptions and is scientifically impossible.

    "So why create a national electricity scheme that is impossible to build? Perhaps because its purpose is not to build but to tear down. If you come up with a plan that claims it will reduce existing sources of energy in favor of new sources of energy — and those new sources turn out to be speculative at best, and physically impossible at worst — then it’s fair to conclude that the real essence of the plan is simply to reduce existing sources of energy."

So our leaders are dispirited and ineffective when it comes to deciding on a plan to destroy our actual enemies — but apply endless vigor and initiative to coming up with plans to dismantle our own civilization.

The delusion that global warming is the only really important issue of our era, eclipsing everything else, is embraced by elites in all areas of the culture. It benefits from the kind of universal dissemination characteristic of a new religion — which is reflected in the inroads it has made in converting leaders of the old religion.

Thus, for example, Christians are under unprecedented attack in the Middle East. Syrian Christians who speak the language of Christ, Aramaic, and whose churches were first established by the apostles themselves, have survived for 2000 years but are now fleeing the expansion of ISIS. Yet Pope Francis, who should be one of their most outspoken champions, has been devoting much more of his time as a partisan shill for global warming. I pointed out the totally one-sided presentation of the scientific claims about global warming in the Pope’s latest encyclical.

    "Francis is just repeating what he has heard from mainstream environmentalists and international green activists. The problem is that those are apparently the only people he is listening to….

    Pope Francis has sealed himself off in an ideological bubble that is harder and more impenetrable than the Popemobile. He refuses to recognize that there are alternative ideas outside the leftist orthodoxy on capitalism and the environment. The result is a sense that I’ve never quite gotten before from a papal encyclical: the sense of the pope as a narrow ideologue, captive to a relatively recent political fad.

    This is a real shame because the Vatican and the papacy are supposed to operate on a longer time scale, less affected by the political fads of the moment, or even of the century. After all, the Catholic Church is a 2,000-year-old institution with a timeless spiritual remit. It’s what usually makes the popes so interesting to contend with, even for an atheist who frequently disagrees with them."

But Francis has a whole history of merging leftist politics with religion in a kind of “reverse syncretism,” a trend I discussed after a Latin American socialist gave Francis a “Marxifix,” a bizarre mash-up of the crucifix and the hammer and sickle.

    "I am not a Catholic nor even a Christian, and I know many American Protestants who, shall we say, were never deeply invested in the moral authority of the pope. So what does it matter to us whether or not this pope is surrendering the Church to the left?

    Historically, it does matter, because in the 20th century the Church helped change the course of history, vastly for the better, by offering ideological and material resistance to Communism. It mattered that there was a large institution with deep historical roots that was independent from the socialist state and politically correct orthodoxy, driven a different set of values. And it’s discomforting to think what might happen if that’s no longer true."

The religion of global warming is being invoked as a reason to overturn every big institution in our society, from Wall Street to the Vatican. Yet this is just another false god, based on an illusion.

That’s why the biggest theme in my coverage of global warming this year was fighting to reassert a truly scientific outlook in the face of pseudo-scientific propaganda. I debunked the claim that 2014 was the “hottest year on record.” Expect a repeat for 2015, if they can fudge the numbers enough. And expect that the real data will indicate the same thing: that 2015 was about as warm as 2014, which was about as warm as 2010 and 2005. Climate stasis, a plateau in temperatures that has lasted nearly 20 years now, will be re-defined as a runaway increase, in a testament to the warmists’ dedication to post-facto rationalization.

    "There is an important difference between prediction before the fact and explanation after the fact. Prediction requires that you lay down a marker about what the data ought to be, to be consistent with your theory, before you actually know what it is. That’s something that’s very hard to get right. If your theory is going to be able to consistently predict data before it is gathered, it has got to be pretty darned good. Global warming theories have a wretched track record at making predictions.

    But explanations of data after the fact are a lot easier. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. It’s a lot easier to tweak your theory to make it a better fit to the data, or in this case, to tweak the way the data is measured and analyzed in order to make it better fit your theory. And then you proclaim how amazing it is that your theory “explains” the data."

Speaking of predictions, I catalogued seven big failed predictions from environmentalists, from global cooling to overpopulation. (On that one, to my great surprise, even the New York Times is starting to come around — after only 47 years.)

    "But by now you can get an idea for the major outlines of an environmental hysteria. The steps are: a) start with assumption that man is “ravaging the Earth,” b) latch onto an unproven scientific hypothesis that fits this preconception, c) extrapolate wildly from half-formed theories and short-term trends to predict a future apocalypse, d) pressure a bunch of people with “Ph.D.” after their names to endorse it so you can say it’s a consensus of experts, e) get the press to broadcast it with even less nuance and get a bunch of Hollywood celebrities who failed Freshman biology to adopt it as their pet cause, then finally f) quietly drop the whole thing when it doesn’t pan out — and move on with undiminished enthusiasm to the next environmental doomsday scenario."

I traced that pattern with five more recent debunked claims, including an astonishing and eye-opening report about “horizontal gene transfer.” Seriously, the article is worth reading if only for that one piece of genuine science.

Most fundamentally, I examined what it would really take to prove that catastrophic global warming is happening and that humans are causing it. No one ever lays out the steps it would take, because if they did, they would have to acknowledge how far they are from proving it.

That’s the same reason they’re elevating the imagined threat of global warming over real and immediate threats like terrorism: because they don’t want to grapple with the implications. Terrorism is a problem that calls for solutions the Left doesn’t want to pursue — whereas global warming calls for solutions they have been longing to implement for more than a century. It’s almost as if they called the problem into existence for precisely that reason.

Hence the monumental absurdity of events like the Paris climate summit. The more important other issues become — the more our political leaders are called upon to deal with problems whose solutions don’t fit their agenda — the more they have to double down on the failed predictions, overinflate the phantom threat, project it as the real root of every other problem, and then proclaim every minor, ineffectual attempt to address the problem as a historic achievement of bold leadership.

But behind this there is a palpable desperation. Global warming persistently remains near the bottom of voter’s priorities — while terrorism is back on the top of the list. It seems that the more they try to puff up their phantom menace, the more insubstantial is appears alongside all of our real problems.


December heatwave shatters record temperatures in south-eastern Australia

Global warming, right?  Not quite.  In S.E. Queensland where I live we had an unusually COOL December.  So whatever is going on is not even Australia-wide, let alone global

Sunday night was Sydney's warmest in three years but a cool change will bring rain over Monday and Tuesday, aiding fire risk reduction efforts in the Newcastle and Wodonga areas.

It might be hard to recall after the past few days of torrential rain, but December has been hot - the records don't lie.

The extreme heat prompted the Bureau of Meteorology to issue a Special Climate Statement, confirming record temperatures across South Australia, NSW, Tasmania and Victoria, where the highest daily minimum temperature ever recorded was reached (31.9 degrees in Mildura).

"The most intense phase of the heatwave began on December 16 as high pressure became established in the Tasman Sea and directed hot, north-easterly winds over South Australia," the bureau said.
Children took to the Nepean River at Penrith as the mercury rose into the 40s on Sunday.

Children took to the Nepean River at Penrith as the mercury rose into the 40s on Sunday. Photo: James Alcock

"The heat spread over much of south-eastern Australia from 18 December as winds turned more northerly, reaching its most intense levels over the weekend of 19-20 December. A trough and cold front crossed the region on 20 December, bringing the heatwave to an end over the most-affected areas although hot conditions continued over parts of New South Wales on the 21st."

Sydneysiders have surely not forgotten the night of 20th, when they sweated through the hottest December night in 15 years, during which the mercury was still sitting at 29 degrees at 10pm in the city, before dropping briefly to a low of 22.6 degrees just after 3am.

An extended period of hot weather in South Australia concentrated on Adelaide, where temperatures reached 40 degrees on each of the four days from December 16 to 19.

"This was the first occasion that four consecutive days of 40 degrees or above had occurred in Adelaide in December," the bureau said.

"The highest temperatures of the heatwave occurred on 19 December. Hottest of all was the upper Spencer Gulf region, where Port Augusta reached 47.2 degrees, with 45.8 degrees at Whyalla and 45.6 degrees at Port Pirie."

Bureau senior climatologist Blair Trewin said the South Australian heatwave was particularly interesting as heatwaves usually occurred in late summer.

"Systems tend to be more stable and slow moving," he said. "It's unusual to get a heatwave in December. We've had that a few times in January and February but never December."

However, the fact a heatwave occurred early in summer did not suggest even hotter conditions for the coming January and February, Mr Trewin said.

"The seasonal climate outlook is leaning towards cooler conditions in much of Victoria and South Australia," he said. "We are experiencing a strong El Nino, but the main effect of that on temperatures in Southern Australia is actually in the second half of the year.

"El Nino effects on average temperatures disappear in Southern Australia from January onwards."

In Victoria, El Nino summers tend to bring more extremes at both ends of the scale, meaning more hot days but also more unusually cool temperatures as well.

The remarkable global heat experienced this year may not be the last of it, with forecasters already predicting next year will be hotter again - marking three years in a row of record annual warmth.

The prediction, by Britain's Met Office, came just days after almost 200 nations agreed in Paris to a new global agreement to tackle climate change.

Under the pact, to take effect from 2020, nations would review efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions every five years with the aim of keeping temperature increases to "well below 2 degrees" of pre-industrial levels.



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

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


27 December, 2015

Another brain-dead food shortage scare

Greenies have been making false prophecies of food shortages for years now.  Even Hitler did it. And I have often rebutted them. In brief: The world's internationally-traded food problem has for a long time been glut;  Warming would open up new agricultural land in Canada and Russia; Warming should cause more evaporation from the oceans, thus giving MORE rainfall, not less.  A prediction of flood might make some sense but a prediction of water shortage makes no sense at all

Widespread water shortages caused by rising global temperatures could lead to food shortages and mass migration, an expert has warned.

The head of the World Meteorological Society, Michel Jarraud has warned that of all the threats posed by a warming climate, shrinking water supplies are the most serious.

It is predicted that by 2025, some 2.8 billion people will live in 'water scarce' areas - a huge rise from the 1.6 billion who do now.

Parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia will be worst affected, with pockets of Australia, the US and southern Europe also predicted to suffer.

Mr Jarraud told Carbon Brief that although it has been a few years since a spate of major food crises, 'all the ingredients are there for a food crisis to come back on a very large scale.' 


Three Global Warming Stories The Media Don't Want You To See

 Want to know the latest global warming news? Don't bother looking in U.S. media. They can't be bothered with stories that contradict the man-made climate change narrative. But the truth is out there.

Let's start with a new paper from NASA — a distinctly American organization — that was covered by the British Express.

The newspaper tells us that our space program has "found the Earth has cooled in areas of heavy industrialization where more trees have been lost and more fossil fuel burning takes place."

This is, of course, the opposite of what we've been told for decades.

The Express reports that the findings confirm that the aerosols from fossil-fuel combustion "actually cool the local environment, at least temporarily," as they reflect "solar radiation away from the planet."

A NASA official said solar radiation is similarly bounced away from Earth when "deforestation in northern latitudes" results in bare land that "increases reflected sunlight."

The Express further reports that the NASA paper's lead author said the findings show the "complexity" involved in estimating future global temperatures.

This is something we've been saying for years. While the mainstream American press can't get off its carbon-dioxide fixation, we've noted that far too many variables affect global climate to focus on a single influence.

The British Daily Mail also wrote about this NASA paper, which clearly has high news value.

But the U.S. press couldn't get out of bed to cover the story. As far as we can tell, the legacy media in this country ignored it entirely.

The same can be said about a study conducted by the Norwegian Polar Institute, which found "that there are probably more polar bears than the last time the bears were counted in this area in 2004, in spite of the fact that there have been many years with poor ice cover during this period." The American press doesn't want the public to know this because it throws into doubt the story it's been feeding us since the 1980s.

Remember, we have been told over and again that man-made global warming was a grave threat to polar bears, which are an endangered species.

Yet here's this study telling us that "scientists now estimate that there are around 975 polar bears in the Norwegian region, whereas they estimated a number of 685 in 2004," while another has found them to be in "excellent" condition, with some being "as fat as pigs."

Indeed, polar bears are making "a surprise comeback."

Finally, in an effort to deliver a public service that the mainstream media refuse to provide, we point out that the temperature data that supposedly show warming have been corrupted by poor positioning.

"The majority of weather stations used by (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to detect climate change temperature signal have been compromised by encroachment of artificial surfaces like concrete, asphalt and heat sources like air conditioner exhausts," says Anthony Watts, a former meteorologist who is the lead author of a study of temperature station locations.

Watts believes his work "demonstrates conclusively that this issue affects temperature trends and that NOAA's methods are not correcting for this problem, resulting in an inflated temperature trend."

As a result of this systematic error, Watt believes the U.S. temperature record needs to be revised.

Nor is this problem limited to America.

Watts says there's also "evidence of this same sort of siting problem around the world at many other official weather stations, suggesting that the same upward bias on trend also manifests itself in the global temperature record."

All three of these are significant stories. But instead of doing its due journalistic diligence, the press would rather muse about the role climate change might be playing in the warm Christmas weather in the Eastern part of the country.

It's all part of the liberal narrative. Science that doesn't agree with the media's agenda is treated as if it's myth.


Will global warming slow the earth's rotation?

The latest scare about man-made global warming is that it is slowing the earth’s rotation. The reasoning is that ice melting at high latitudes results in the melt water moving to lower latitudes, which increases the moment of inertia and slows rotation.

Although this is theoretically correct, the amount would so tiny as to be immeasurable. However, the Harvard scientist who announced this, claimed to have found a measurable amount via satellite.

There are all kinds of problems with this. First of all, angular momentum is conserved, so when the ice reforms the rotation rate will increase. But again, the amount would be infinitesimally small, so the whole thing is simply lunch conversation at the physics lab. Okay, but what about the measured amount?

The earth’s axis wobbles on several periods of rotation and this probably would cause tiny, but measurable, change in rotational velocity, but again, angular momentum is conserved and the lost velocity will return when the axis straitens.


Judicial Watch sues government for records in global warming dispute

The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch announced Tuesday that it is suing the Obama administration to obtain the same internal communications of federal scientists sought by a House committee in a dispute over global warming research.

The group said in a news release that it filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington on Dec. 2 against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, seeking the agency’s “methodology for collecting and interpreting data used in climate models.”

The suit stems from an investigation by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, into a blockbuster June study by NOAA scientists that refuted the notion of a global warming “pause.” The research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Science, undercut a talking point for skeptics of the conclusion that the planet’s warming is man-made.

Smith has subpoenaed NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan for the internal communications of the scientists who did the study, as well as emails among other staff members. Last week Sullivan gave the committee about 100 emails written by non-scientists on her staff, but not of the scientists, which Smith has taken off the table for now.

Judicial Watch said it submitted its Freedom of Information Act request for the records in late October. After NOAA did not respond, the group sued. Among the data it is seeking are atmospheric satellite temperature readings. Smith has said that these readings are more reliable and show smaller rates of warming than the ocean and land data used in the study. Climate scientists, including those at NOAA, have said that it’s the satellite data that is unreliable.

Judicial Watch took credit for prodding NOAA to release the emails to the committee last week.  “We have little doubt that our lawsuit helped to pry these scandalous climate change report documents from the Obama administration,”  Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.

NOAA has already provided all the data and methodology it says its scientists used in the study. Agency staff said they had been in communication with the science committee staff for several weeks before they handed over the emails.


‘Climatarian’: These People Think Their Diets Will Reverse Global Warming

You’ve heard of vegetarians, but have you heard of “climatarians”?

A climatrian is a new dieting fad among eco-conscious food snobs purporting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising, transporting and disposing of foods. They believe their dieting choices will help reverse global warming.

The New York Times even listed climatarians as one of the top new food words of 2015 along with “hangry,” “piecaken” and “zarf.” The Times defined a climatarian as a “diet whose primary goal is to reverse climate change.”

“This includes eating locally produced food (to reduce energy spent in transportation), choosing pork and poultry instead of beef and lamb (to limit gas emissions), and using every part of ingredients (apple cores, cheese rinds, etc.) to limit food waste,” The Times reported last week.

In environmentalist circles, climatarianism has caught on among those who think veganism isn’t hardcore enough (though being a climatarian is nowhere near mainstream).

Enviro blog EcoWatch praised the diet in a Tuesday article, claiming the “evidence supporting a climatarian diet is abundant.”

“Several reports within the past year, including one from the UK think tank Chatham House, have found that eating less meat and dairy is essential to curbing climate change,” according to EcoWatch. And a carbon-conscious diet is not only good for the planet, but is healthy for people, too.”

Increasingly, international groups and environmentalists have been pushing people to eat less meat, saying it’s not just unhealthy, but is also bad for the environment. Earlier this year, the United Nations released a report linking processed meats to cancer.

The U.N. has also encouraged substituting insects in people’s diets as a way to reduce consumption of beef and pork, which environmentalists commonly cite as big emitters of greenhouse gases.

Before you go ditching your hamburgers for roasted cockroaches, it’s not clear that being a “climatarian” is all that good for the environment. In fact, years of evidence from the “eat local” movement show the tenets of eco-friendly diets are often worse for the environment than eating a normal diet.

For example, “locavores” argue locally-grown food is better for the environment because it reduces the energy use from transportation — all that gasoline contributes to global warming, they say.

Numerous studies, however, have debunked the idea that locally-grown food is more environmentally friendly.

Efficiencies in agriculture are highly dependent on trade specialization, meaning certain regions will just be better at growing things at a lower cost than others. The locavore movement ignores this central tenet of economics, according to experts.

“Forsaking comparative advantage in agriculture by localizing means it will take more inputs to grow a given quantity of food, including more land and more chemicals—all of which come at a cost of carbon emissions,” agricultural economist Steve Sexton wrote in 2011 for the blog Freakonomics.

“In order to maintain current output levels for 40 major field crops and vegetables, a locavore-like production system would require an additional 60 million acres of cropland, 2.7 million tons more fertilizer, and 50 million pounds more chemicals,” Sexton wrote. “The land-use changes and increases in demand for carbon-intensive inputs would have profound impacts on the carbon footprint of our food, destroy habitat and worsen environmental pollution.”


Australia: Isn't the sunny optimism below wonderful?

Unmentioned is that this is an old idea and that there are already a lot of these plants around to assess how successful they are.  Huge projects of the sort are already in operation in both California (See here and here) and Spain (See here).  And guess what?  They do produce some power but have big problems and need big subsidies from government to stay in operation

After hours of steady rain, there is not a ray of sunshine in sight and the mud is thick on the ground at the $20 million Jemalong pilot solar thermal plant near Forbes in central west New South Wales.

But in a way, the fact it is overcast helps to explain the importance of this technology, which enables both capture and storage of energy from the sun, according to James Fisher, chief technology officer of Vast Solar.

The engineer, who formerly worked in the fossil fuel industry and said he never thought renewables could compete with coal, now has a much sunnier outlook on the subject.
Technology behind solar thermal power plant

The Australian company has developed what it hopes will be a low-cost, high-efficiency Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) generation technology.

The Jemalong pilot plant will be ready for commissioning in mid-January and is designed to prove the technology works.

Five modules of 700 mirrors — or heliostats — will concentrate the sun's energy onto a receiver mounted on a 27-metre high tower.

Sodium will then be pumped through the receiver where it will be heated up to 565 degrees Celsius and stored in a tank.

When power is needed, the hot sodium will be put through a steam generator, similar to a big kettle, which will boil the water, generating steam and driving the turbine in the same way a coal-fired plant operates.

Mr Fisher said traditional solar or photovoltaic power production converted the sun's energy directly into electricity which then had to be stored in expensive batteries.

He said the difference with CSP was that it captured the sun's energy in heat which was cheaper and easier to store.

"So the big advantage with solar thermal is the storage. Our storage costs around $25 a kilowatt an hour, compared to lithium ion batteries which cost about $300 a kilowatt hour," Mr Fisher said.

He said the system meant power production could happen whenever it was needed and until now, that role of maintaining a steady electricity grid had mainly been provided by coal power.

"We can run 24 hours a day and providing base load is really the key to solar thermal," he said.

Mr Fisher said if the 1.1 megawatt Jemalong pilot proved the technology was viable for 30 years, billion dollar commercial plants would be built.

"This sort of technology will put massive amounts of money into regional Australia if it takes off," he said.

Vast Solar has revealed plans for a 30 megawatt commercial plant — at a yet to be determined location — and Mr Fisher said the company had progressed well in attracting investment.

"But a problem is it's big money to develop it. These plants you can only build in large scale, so a tiny plant will be $100 million and a good-sized plant will be $500 million," Mr Fisher said.

The commissioning process at the Jemalong pilot will take four to six months and experts ranging from representatives of power utilities to academics from the Australian National University will be involved.

The project is also being closely watched by the Australian Government's Renewable Energy Agency, Arena, which has committed $5 million.

Mr Fisher said commercial solar thermal plants could be producing power at seven cents per kilowatt hour, which was cheaper than the most up-to-date coal-fired plants.

"I think we'll look back in 50 years and think, 'wow, what were we doing building coal mines to power a plant that has to run 24-hours a day when the sunshine's free?'"

He said solar thermal technology had a bright future. "Hopefully it will be Vast Solar that cracks it but someone will do it, there's no question in my mind," he said.



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

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


26 December, 2015

Opec faces a mortal threat from electric cars (!)

I don't believe it but the Business Editor of the Telegraph has drawn together below a great range of optimistic prophecies which claim that electric cars will become the normal car in the near future.  But prophecies are a dime a dozen in economics and are mostly wrong.  The key of course is a big leap in battery capacity but that is only a promise so far. 

The author below could easily have  quoted problems which puncture his balloon but he prefers to talk only of do-gooder prophecies.  Just off the top of my head:

Take the problem of winter. Nobody these days would drive an unheated car during a snowy winter. Yet heating drains batteries at a great rate.  Driving with the heater on can easily halve the distance you can drive.   To overcome that would require a miracle in battery development.

And then there is the SUV.  Where would a Texan be these days without his big SUV?   But SUVs are heavy and most owners of them like them that way.  And electric cars are usually the opposite of that.  They are tiny little bubble cars.  They have to be.  They are tiny so that the batteries don't have to push much weight. A battery-powered SUV is possible but you won't be able to drive it far.

The failure of a very well-thought-out and well-executed electric car experiment in Israel is also instructive.  As a small densely populated place with a moderate climate, Israel should have been ideal for electric cars but the whole thing was a flop.

So I can't see electric cars selling in the Northern United States because of the winter problem and I can't see them selling in Texas and other places where SUVs are immensely popular.  That doesn't leave much of a market, does it?

The greatest marketing flop of all times was Ford's Edsel. And the Edsel was only a minor change.  Ford sunk $250 million into Edsel development for nothing.  And that was in the late '50s when a dollar was worth a dollar.  The funds being poured into electric cars are far greater than that but are equally no greater guarantee of success

OPEC’s World Oil Outlook released today is a remarkable document, the apologia of a pre-modern vested interest that refuses to see the writing on the wall.

The underlying message is that the COP21 deal is of no relevance to the oil industry. Pledges by world leaders to drastically alter the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions before 2040 - let alone to reach total "decarbonisation" by 2070 - are simply ignored.

Global demand for crude oil will rise by 18m barrels a day (b/d) to 110m by 2040. The cartel has shaved its long-term forecast slightly by 1m b/d, but this is in part due to weaker economic growth.

One is tempted to compare this myopia to the reflexive certainties of the 16th Century papacy, even as Erasmus published in Praise of Folly, and Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church.

The 407-page report swats aside electric vehicles with impatience. The fleet of cars in the world will rise from 1bn to 2.1bn over the next 25 years – topping 400m in China – and 94pc will still run on petrol and diesel.

“Without a technology breakthrough, battery electric vehicles are not expected to gain significant market share in the foreseeable future,” it said. Electric cars cost too much. Their range is too short. The batteries are defective in hot or cold conditions.

OPEC says battery costs may fall by 30-50pc over the next quarter century but doubts that this will be enough to make much difference, due to "consumer resistance".

This is a brave call given that Apple and Google have thrown their vast resources into the race for plug-in vehicles, and Tesla's Model 3s will be on the market by 2017 for around $35,000.

Ford has just announced that it will invest $4.5bn in electric and hybrid cars, with 13 models for sale by 2020. Volkswagen is to unveil its "completely new concept car" next month, promising a new era of "affordable long-distance electromobility."

The OPEC report is equally dismissive of Toyota's decision to bet its future on hydrogen fuel cars, starting with the Mirai as a loss-leader. One should have thought that a decision by the world's biggest car company to end all production of petrol and diesel cars by 2050 might be a wake-up call.

Goldman Sachs expects 'grid-connected vehicles' to capture 22pc of the global market within a decade, with sales of 25m a year, and by then - it says - the auto giants will think twice before investing any more money in the internal combustion engine. Once critical mass is reached, it is not hard to imagine a wholesale shift to electrification in the 2030s.

Goldman is betting that battery costs will fall by 60pc over the next five years, driven by economies of scale as much as by technology. The driving range will increase by 70pc.

This is another world from OPEC's forecast. Even this may well be overtaken soon by further leaps in science. A team of Cambridge chemists says it has cracked the technology of a lithium-air battery with 90pc efficiency, able to power a car from London to Edinburgh on a single charge. It promises to cut costs by four-fifths, and could be on the road within a decade.

There is now a global race to win the battery prize. The US Department of Energy is funding a project by the universities of Michigan, Stanford, and Chicago, in concert with the Argonne and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories. The Japan Science and Technology Agency has its own project in Osaka. South Korea and China are mobilising their research centres.

A regulatory squeeze is quickly changing the rules of global energy.The Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics counts 800 policies and laws aimed at curbing emissions worldwide.

Goldman Sachs says the model to watch is Norway, where electric vehicles already command 16.3pc of the market. The switch has been driven by tax exemptions, priority use of traffic lanes, and a forest of charging stations. [And acceptance of tiny cars]

California is following suit. It has a mandatory 22pc target for 'grid-connected' vehicles within ten years. New cars in China will have to meet emission standards of 5 litres per 100km by 2020, even stricter than in Europe.

Beijing's pilot scheme to promote electric cars has fallen short - chiefly because there are not yet enough charging sites - but this will change soon with drastic rationing of permits for petrol cars. If you want a car as the authorities grapple with 'airpocalypse', it may have to be electric.

China's Geely Automobile aims to generate 90pc of its sales from electric vehicles by 2020. Bill Russo from Gao Feng Advisory in Shanghai says China is about to "leapfrog" the rest of the world and become the epicentre of the electrification drive.

OPEC does not deny that the Paris accords change the energy landscape, but they view this as a problem strictly for the coal industry. There will be a partial switch from coal to gas, with a little nuclear thrown in, along with a risible contribution from wind and solar.

Their own charts seems to show that coal, gas, and oil will together emit a further 1,200 gigatonnes of carbon by 2040. This would blow through the maximum carbon budget deemed allowable by scientists if we are to stop temperatures rising by more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100 - let alone to achieve the 1.5 degree 'ambition' agreed by world leaders in Paris.

Saudi Arabia's belief that it can carry on with business as usual into the mid 21st Century is what informs the current OPEC strategy of flooding the crude market to eliminate rivals.

The report admits that this is proving to be a costly undertaking. Tight oil and shale in North America has not buckled - as presumed in last year's forecast - and OPEC now expects it to keep rising slightly in 2016 to 4.5m b/d, and again to 4.7m in 2017.

In the meantime, OPEC revenues have crashed from $1.2 trillion in 2012 to nearer $400bn at today's Brent price of $36.75, with fiscal and regime pain to match.

This policy has eroded global spare capacity to a wafer-thin 1.5m b/d, leaving the world vulnerable to a future shock. It implies a far more volatile market in which prices gyrate wildly, eroding confidence in oil as a reliable source of energy.

The more that this Saudi policy succeeds, the quicker the world will adopt policies to break reliance on its only product. As internal critics in Riyadh keep grumbling, the strategy is suicide.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are lucky. They have been warned in advance that OPEC faces slow-run off. The cartel has 25 years to prepare for a new order that will require far less oil.

If they have any planning sense, they will manage the market to ensure crude prices of $70 to $80. They will eke out their revenues long enough to control spending and train their people for a post-petrol economy, rather than clinging to 20th Century illusions.

Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the former Saudi oil minister, warned in an interview with the Telegraph fifteen years ago that this moment of reckoning was coming and he specifically cited fuel-cell technologies.

"Thirty years from now there will be a huge amount of oil - and no buyers. Oil will be left in the ground. The Stone Age came to an end, not because we had a lack of stones."

They did not listen to him then, and they are not listening now.


25 December, 2015

Revisiting John Cook's 97% climate consensus study. How bad was it?

My conclusions at the end of this post may surprise you

Jose Duarte is one of the few genuine scientists in social psychology.  I am in a position to know that.  Over a period of 20 years beginning in 1970 I encountered countless pieces of published social psychological research that were so flawed that they proved nothing. And that's not just my opinion.  I put my thoughts into writing and on many occasions, journal editors saw that I had a point and published my critiques.

And it is notable that they did so.  Journal editors HATE publishing critiques.  It exposes their own review processes as inadequate.  So I had to be making a very strong scientific case in what I wrote.  So the fact that more than half of my critiques did get into the journals is actually rather amazing.

What I found was that any thin excuse to come to a Leftist conclusion will get published.  Nothing else much seemed to matter as long as there was a veneer of scientific method to it.  It was actually common for authors to come to conclusions which were contradicted by their own data!  Their urgent priority was to prop up their fallacious Leftist wordview.  That trumped everything else.  More on that here.

So I gave it 20 years of doing social psychological research but in the end concluded that I was pissing into the wind.  Truth and the facts were just not of interest to most of my colleagues and my pointing the facts out was CERTAINLY not of interest.  The Leftist talent at denial -- ignoring uncomfortable facts -- was in full force when it came to my writings.

So over two decades ago I gave up doing survey research and concentrated on family and business interests instead, with results that please me.  I still occasionally read the literature, however and I am pleased that there is a small band of real scientists trying to make social psychology more scientific.  Duarte is one, as are Jonathan Haidt, Lee Jussim and that old hand, Philip Tetlock.

Those four obviously know one-another.  They were co-authors of a paper 18 months ago that pointed out what I have just said about ideological bias in psychology.  The paper is:

Duarte, J. L., Crawford, J. T., Stern, C., Haidt, J., Jussim, L., & Tetlock, P. E. "Political diversity will improve social psychological science". Behavioral and Brain Sciences / Volume 38 / January 2015, e130

It appeared earlier this year but a preprint was available from around July, 2014.  There is a Readers Digest form of the paper here

Why am I noting this on a blog devoted to tracking environmentalism?  Because the situation in climate science is incomparably worse than in psychology.  The global warming enthusiasts make the psychologists look rigorous. And Jose Duarte has noticed that. Below are some of his astounded comments on the subject.  He is looking particularly at the risible "97% consensus" studies that have come out, particularly the study by John Cook, a psychologist from the University of Queensland in Australia. 

If some third world political leader gets 97% of the vote, we know immediately that the vote was rigged and laugh at the naivety of the leader in thinking anyone would believe that figure.  Yet Warmists do exactly the same.  They are too fanatical to see how absurd they are. Their need to believe has overcome their reason and sense of caution.  Their claims are not even good propaganda.

But over to Duarte.  He details just how bad the Warmist studies are:

"Ignore climate consensus studies based on random people rating journal article abstracts. Ignore them completely – that's your safest bet right now. Most of these studies use political activists as the raters, activists who desired a specific outcome for the studies (to report the highest consensus figure possible), and who sometimes collaborated with each other in their rating decisions. All of this makes these studies completely invalid and untrustworthy (and by customary scientific standards, completely unpublishable.) I had no idea this was happening. This is a scam and a crisis. It needs to stop, and those papers need to be retracted immediately, especially Cook, et al (2013), given that we now have evidence of explicit bias and corruption on the part of the raters. (It's crazy that people think the consensus needs to be artificially inflated to absurd heights – do they think 84% or 90% isn't good enough?)

In social science, it's common to use trained human raters to subjectively rate or score some variable — it can be children's behavior on a playground, interviews of all kinds, and often written material, like participants' accounts of a past emotional experience. And we have a number of analytical and statistical tools that go with such rating studies. But we would never use human raters who have an obvious bias with respect to the subject of their ratings, who desire a specific outcome for the study, and who would be able to deliver that outcome via their ratings. That's completely nuts. It's so egregious that I don't think it even occurs to us as something to look out for. It never happens. At least I've never heard of it happening. There would be no point in running such a study, since it would be dismissed out of hand and lead to serious questions about your ethics.

But it's happening in climate science. Sort of. These junk studies are being published in climate science journals, which are probably not well-equipped to evaluate what are ultimately social science studies (in method). And I assume the journals weren't aware that these studies used political activists as raters.

Examples of the unbelievable bias and transparent motives of the raters' in Cook, et al (2013) below. These are excerpts from an online forum where the raters collaborated with each other in their ratings:

"BTW, this was the only time I "cheated" by looking at the whole paper. I was mystified by the ambiguity of the abstract, with the author wanting his skeptical cake and eating it too. I thought, "that smells like Lindzen" and had to peek."

"Man, I think you guys are being way too conservative. Papers that talk about other GHGs causing warming are saying that human GHG emissions cause global warming.  How is that not an implicit endorsement?  If CFC emissions cause warming because they're GHGs, then CO2 emissions cause global warming for the same reason.  That's an implicit endorsement."

Jesus. This is a joke. A sad, ridiculous, confusing joke. And it's exactly what you'd expect from raters who are political activists on the subject they're rating. Who in their right minds would use political climate activists as raters for a serious report on the consensus? This is so nuts that I still have a hard time believing it actually happened, that the famous 97% paper was just a bunch of activists rating abstracts. I've called on the journal – Environmental Research Letters – to retract this paper. I'm deeply, deeply confused how this happened. If this is what we're doing, we should just call it a day and go home – we can't trust journals and science organizations on this topic if they're going to pull stunts like this.

I don't care who you are – even if you're a staunch liberal, deeply concerned about the environment and the effects of future warming, this isn't something you should tolerate. If we're going to have a civilization, if we're going to have science, some things need to be non-political, some basic rules need to apply to everyone. I hope we can all agree that we can't seriously estimate the AGW consensus by having political activists rate climate paper abstracts. It doesn't matter whether the activists come from the Heritage Foundation or the Sierra Club – people with a vested interest in the outcome simply can't be raters.

We don't need random people to interpret climate science for us, to infer the meaning of abstracts, to tell us what scientists think. That's an awful method – extremely vulnerable to bias, noise, incompetence, and poor execution. The abstracts for many papers won't even have the information such studies are looking for, and are simply not written at the level of abstraction of "this study provides support for human-caused warming", or "this study rejects human-caused warming". Most climate science papers are written at a more granular and technical level, are appropriately scientifically modest, and are not meant to be political chess pieces.

There's a much better method for finding out what scientists think — ask them. Direct surveys of scientists is a much more valid method than having ragtag teams of unqualified political activists divine the meanings of thousands of abstracts. I don't mean ask about them their abstracts, as Cook, et al did – that inserts an unnecessary layer and potential selection bias. I mean ask them directly what they think about the principal questions. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, survey studies tend to report smaller consensus figures than the abstract rating studies (I'll have more on that later, see the Bray and von Storch series for now) The consensus will be strong regardless, so it's especially confusing why people feel the need to rig it.

(For subjective ratings of abstracts to be a valid and useful method, it would need to be a carefully selected pool of raters, without ideological agendas, implementing a very specific and innovative method, under strict procedures of independence. I can imagine deep philosophy of science questions that might be anwerable by such methods, things like the usage of certain kinds of words, the way hypotheses are framed and results reported, etc. – but much of that could be done by computers. The studies that have been published are nothing like this, and have no hope of being valid.)

NOTE: The Cook, et al data was leaked or hacked a few months ago – I'm confused by what's going on here. Cook wouldn't release some of his data, and ultimately a bunch of data was hacked or scraped off a server, and it included the raters' online discussion forum. Climate science features far too many stories of people refusing to release their data, and mysteriously hacked data. The person who posted this data, Brandon Shollenberger, is a complete unknown. It's amazing that if it weren't for him, we wouldn't know how rigged the study truly was. There's much more to report – the issues raised by the leaked dataset extend far beyond the quotes above.

The University of Queensland has apparently threatened to sue Schollenberger, on some sort of "intellectual property" grounds. Australia is one of my favorite countries, but we need to stand up for him. To the best of my knowledge, he hasn't done anything wrong – he hasn't posted any sort of sensitive information or anything that would violate our core principles of scientific ethics. The identities of the raters were not confidential to begin with, so there was no new disclosure there. He's exposed the cartoonish bias and corruption of the rating process that underlied this "study", and in so doing, he's served the interests of scientific ethics, not violated them".

Much more from Duarte HERE.  See also here for another searching critique of the Cook et al. paper.  The extraordinary actions of the University of Queensland in defence of Cook are detailed here

The original Cook paper is here.  Cook is in fact usually misquoted by Warmists.  People allege that Cook showed that 97% OF ALL climate scientists support global warming.  Cook did not say that at all.  He said:  "Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming". And he adds that two thirds of the papers took no position on global warming (which was wise of them). So even in Cook's own words he showed that a MINORITY of papers supported global warming.  The 97% was not of all scientists nor even of climate scientists.  It was 97% of a minority of climate scientists.  Below again is that amusing video of a poor bewildered black man using like a crutch Cook's misquoted findings.  The habitual misquoting just shows how desperate Warmists are.

So although Cook's research methods were rubbish and a disgrace to psychology, I am inclined to think that he is more sinned against than sinning.  I would be quite happy to quote his figures in any debate with a Warmist.  The only difference would be that I would quote what he ACTUALLY said rather than what Warmists say he said!  LOL

24 December, 2015

Denier (Morano) admits: Humans cause "Global Warming"... With Windmills

One of Marc Morano's correspondents wrote as follows:

"The kinetic energy of wind, equivalent to ~10 billion barrels of oil, has in the past blown our ~6,000,000 billion tons of air at a speed of ~15 mph continuously around the Earth, bringing us rain and cooling.

But now, humans have built and are building more windmills that are reducing this natural cooling process. Present level of reduction is ~10%. There is no mechanism in nature that replenishes wind energy removed by humans."

Tear down all windmills!

Via email

California Governor Hails ‘Coercive Power of Government’

A genuine Fascist

California Gov. Jerry Brown raised some eyebrows while attending the U.N. Climate Summit in Paris this month, proclaiming that the “coercive power of the central state” is needed to promote good public policy, specifically when it comes to a cleaner environment.

Taking part in an onstage presentation with billionaire and climate activist Tom Steyer, Brown said government regulations force companies to adopt clean technologies.

After Steyer mentioned business frameworks, Brown said, “Tom, you used the phrase ‘policy.’ Good policy. But I want to unpack that term a little bit. Inside the policy, you need a law. You need a rule. You need the coercive power of government to say, ‘Do this.’ Now, you have to be wise and don’t say something stupid or order something stupid, but the fact is, the regulations supported by the laws drive innovation.”

The Sacramento Bee reported that Brown later urged a small crowd to “never underestimate the coercive power of the central state in the service of good.”

“You can be sure California is going to keep innovating, keep regulating,” the 77-year-old Democrat said. “And, shall I say, keep taxing.”

The Brown administration has been aggressive in instituting stricter environmental laws and regulations in California.

In October, the four-term governor signed legislation calling on California to generate half of its electricity from sources such as solar and wind by 2030. At the same time, the law mandates that homes, offices, and factories double their energy efficiency.

Such moves have prompted opposition from the energy industry, saying they will raise utility bills and gasoline prices, and Brown’s comments in Paris drew a swift reaction from critics, who seized on the “coercion” remark.

“Gov. Brown’s statement is a frank admission that politicians and government in the U.S. are out of control,” said Dan Kish, senior vice president at the Institute for Energy Research, a public policy organization that calls for free-market solutions on energy policy.

“The governor bragged about the ‘coercive powers of government’ and how his state would keep regulating and taxing. The United States was formed to put citizens in charge of their lives by putting a fence around government power and control,” Kish said in an email to

“Gov. Brown has shown he thinks people should be inside the fence, with government, and their crony business partners, using its coercive and taxing powers to make them do what the politicians say, and it’s illustrative he is doing it at the Climate Summit in Paris. This is how freedom is lost and tyranny and coercion prevail.”

Brown led a California delegation in Paris that includes Steyer; Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León, D-Los Angeles; and other state legislators.

Brown made the remarks in a discussion about reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“This is an art and a science,” Brown said. “You have to push business further than they want to go, but within their capacity to reach it.”

Clean power companies have long been criticized for their reliance on federal and state subsidies and tax credits, with the bankruptcy of California-based solar company Solyndra used as a prime example. The U.S. Department of Energy awarded Solyndra $536 million in loan guarantees prior to the company’s collapse in 2011.

Green energy advocates have defended the subsidies, arguing that fossil fuel industries have long received tax credits and that government help is often a necessity to launch companies that require large start-up costs.

“Just as with any other major economic transition—the Industrial Revolution, the Marshall Plan, the fall of Communism—there is a role for government policy, finance and investment in speeding the adoption of the new, while easing the phaseout of the old,” Kate Gordon, vice chair at the Paulson Institute, said in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year.

At a news conference in Paris, K.R. Sridhar, CEO of the fuel cell technology company Bloom Energy, said it would be wrong to single out renewable companies, saying that taxpayers pay for highway and road maintenance that benefits gasoline-powered cars.

Clean technology, the Bee quoted Sridhar, only needs a “helping hand,” not a permanent subsidy. “For us,” Sridhar said, “it’s a feeding bottle and not an addiction bottle.”


Meet the House science chairman who’s trying to put global warming research on ice

The article below was apparently intended as a hit piece but I think it celebrates a doughty devotee of truth

When Republican House leaders appointed Texas Republican Lamar S. Smith to lead the House science committee after a headline-grabbing run as chairman of the Judiciary panel, it looked like the veteran lawmaker could head into obscurity.

He had previously championed an end to automatic citizenship for children born in the United States and riled up advocates for freedom of expression on the Internet. Yet Smith’s new role in 2013 as the House’s science boss seemed less influential, leading a committee viewed as a backwater and first stop for freshman lawmakers.

But he quickly remade the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology into a bulldog as ferocious as any in a Congress riven by partisanship. As the Obama administration escalated its fight against climate change with new environmental regulations, the lawyer from San Antonio, Tex. became a key player among the holdouts.

As lawyers and lobbyists were devising legal strategies to try to dismantle the president’s climate-change agenda, Smith became the lawmaker bent on debunking the science behind it.

Now finishing his third year as chairman, the Yale-educated lawmaker who has represented Texas Hill Country and parts of Austin and San Antonio since 1987 has used new subpoena powers to an unprecedented degree.

He’s called on the administration to account for air-pollution regulations he says are not backed up by science. He’s tried to slash NASA’s budget for earth sciences. He’s subjected grant reviews at the National Science Foundation to extra scrutiny. One of Congress’s most prominent global warming skeptics, Smith, 68, has railed against environmentalists and the media for buying into the “climate-change religion.”

In the fall he took on his biggest target yet, accusing federal scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of colluding to doctor data in a pivotal global warming study that refuted the long-held notion that the planet’s warming had “paused.”

“He’s taken the science committee to a new level,” said Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), a freshman who leads the committee’s oversight panel. “We’re challenging the status quo… You’re talking about very significant regulations imposed by this administration. We’re asking, ‘Is the science behind them valid?'”

His detractors accuse Smith of taking oversight to a new level of bullying by questioning the motives of federal scientists and threatening their freedom. Critics say he’s out of step with mainstream scientific thinking on climate change, which concludes that man-made pollution is behind the planet’s warming.

His confrontation with NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan started over the summer, soon after a team of scientists on her staff published their findings on the global warming pause in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

Smith accused the scientists of altering historical global temperature data and rushing to publish their research to advance Obama’s “extreme climate agenda.” The chairman subpoenaed the scientists and other NOAA staff and demanded that they turn over internal emails related to their research.

Sullivan balked for weeks, finally releasing about 100 emails from non-scientists last week that NOAA officials say contain none of the evidence Smith is seeking. Meanwhile, prominent societies representing thousands of scientists have rallied around her, warning the congressman in a letter in November that his efforts are “establishing a practice of inquests.”

“He is bringing more prominence to the committee by challenging the integrity of scientists,” said Rush Holt, a physicist and New Jersey Democrat who served with Smith in the House from 1999 until this year.

“It’s an interesting way to raise the profile of a science committee,” said Holt, now chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “In fact it seems to be Smith who is substituting politics for evidence and not the scientists.”

Smith, through his staff, declined repeated requests to be interviewed for this article or to answer questions by email.

He and his allies reject criticism that he is politicizing science as head of a committee that oversees space exploration, research and development and has jurisdiction over agencies from NOAA to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. They say it’s the government that’s doing just that in the service of excessive federal regulation of the environment, with mandates that threaten the economy and crucial industries like gas, oil and coal.

“His constituents see a man that’s fighting for the energy community here in Texas, which is a large part of the employment base,” said Charles McConnell, who served two years in the Obama administration as assistant secretary for the Energy Department, responsible for fossil fuels. Now at Rice University, McConnell has criticized new Environmental Protection Agency air quality regulations as “rampant environmentalism.”

“I don’t believe Smith is against regulation,” said McConnell, who has testified before the committee. “He’s interested in scientifically based regulation.”

As the climate change summit got underway in Paris in November, the science committee held a hearing whose title revealed precisely where Smith stands: “Pitfalls of Unilateral Negotiations at the Paris Climate Change Conference.”

Two of the three witnesses the Republicans called to testify were not scientists, but policy experts representing conservative think tanks, a common practice at hearings. Other witnesses have affiliations with the energy industry, Democrats complain.

Earlier this year, Smith issued a subpoena to compel the Environmental Protection Agency to produce text messages and phone records for Administrator Gina McCarthy as it investigated proposed limits on ozone it said would amount to the most costly federal regulation in history.

He has also demanded EPA cor­res­pond­ence with out­side groups on a range of en­vir­on­ment­al rules and reg­u­lat­ions, to show that they collaborated with the administration, for example in curtailing power-plant emissions.

Supporters say the chairman’s roots in Texas —a state that has objected strenuously to EPA rules slashing ozone levels and pollution from coal-fired power plants —form the core of his skepticism.

“Scrutiny of global warming started here,” said Michael Nasi, an Austin air-quality lawyer who represents many of the state’s electric power producers. “It’s incumbent on any federal lawmaker to be asking, are we looking at controls that will really have legitimate health benefits?” Texas regulators, for example, have questioned whether EPA’s emissions crackdown would really improve public health.

On the foundational question of whether human behavior is behind the earth’s rising temperatures, Smith has been called a truth seeker, a climate skeptic and a climate denier. He is fond of saying that “good science” should rule the day, while his detractors say it’s Smith who has lost sight of good science.

Just before he was installed as committee chairman, Smith said in a statement in response to questions from reporters that he believes climate change “is due to a combination of factors, including natural cycles, sun spots, and human activity.”

“But scientists still don’t know for certain how much each of these factors contributes to the overall climate change that the Earth is experiencing.”


Don’t believe the eco-hype: For all the optimism about wind and solar, renewables are nowhere near viable

After COP21, the Paris conference on climate change, it’s time to puncture green euphoria about renewable energy

Among greens, technological innovation is the new black. After all, dissing the plebs for their ignorant and greedy, carbon-guzzling behaviour hasn’t proved very popular. Similarly, protesting coal-fired power stations in Asia has cut little ice. So now environmentalists have conveniently discovered that technological innovation in wind and solar power will rapidly supply much of the world’s electricity.

Since 2008, the US has wanted wind power to account for a fifth of its electricity generated by 2030, up from 4.5 per cent today. Likewise, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton envisages America as the ‘clean-energy superpower’, one where renewables generate ‘at least a third’ of electricity as early as 2027. Now the Paris Agreement upholds what it calls ‘universal access to sustainable energy in developing countries, in particular in Africa, through the enhanced deployment of renewable energy’. Indeed, at the Paris talks, US secretary of state John Kerry proclaimed ‘clean’ energy to be ‘cheaper against today’s alternatives’.

Is any of this credible? No. We are in no shape to make renewable electricity supplant the conventional sort within the next 15 years.

The dishonesty of green tech

During COP21, the US, much of Europe, China, India and several other major nations launched Mission Innovation, aimed at doubling research and development (R&D) into renewables by 2020. Significantly, Bill Gates and 28 other billionaire investors joined the mission. For Gates, this intrepid group of ‘patient’ capitalists has a philanthropic goal: the investors’ aim is ‘as much to accelerate innovation as it is to turn a profit’. Gates hopes that, over at least a decade, photovoltaic panels might morph into ‘solar paint’; rechargeable electrolyte in batteries, or ‘flow batteries’, might beat the lithium-ion sort; and sunshine might help make hydrogen and hydrocarbons in a process he calls ‘solar-chemical’.

While Gates believes that renewables need big improvements in clout and cost, Kerry imagines they’re already profitable – even without the subsidies they bask in. As he told COP21, renewables today are ‘one of the greatest economic opportunities the world has ever known’, and investors can now ‘do well and do good at the same time’. To complete the euphoria at the Paris talks, solar power in developing countries enjoyed special support. Thus, on top of Mission Innovation, a second key initiative emerged alongside COP21. Launched by India and France, the International Solar Alliance brings together around 120 tropical nations to attract $1,000 billion of investment in solar by 2030. The aim: to cheapen existing solar technologies, but also develop new ones ‘tailored to the specific needs of members of the Alliance’.

What dishonesty surrounds green tech! Today, ‘tailoring’ solar to the reputed needs of developing countries won’t build them the kind of electricity capacity that can continuously power ‘factories, skyscrapers, and other large consumers of energy’, as Gates rightly observes is necessary. Drawn up by international elites and the United Nations, the official programme for developing countries in solar is paltry by comparison. It plans to give the rural poor ‘access’ to electricity that’s ‘decentralised whenever possible and based on clean energy’.

As ever, climate negotiations form a diplomatic charade that only reveals the West’s grimy conception of how the developing world should develop – with just enough low-tech, low-output green electricity-lite to power a village hut, no more.

The idea that solar panels have now reached ‘grid parity’, or price equivalence with fossil fuel-powered electricity, is another charade. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the efficiency of solar (12 per cent) and wind (26 per cent) remains way below the efficiency notched up by conventional power plants, such as gas (42.9 per cent).

Yes, solar efficiencies have improved, but it has taken decades – and strides have mostly been made in laboratories, not under the more arduous conditions of everyday use. The economies of scale and subsidies enjoyed by Chinese manufacturers of solar panels have bankrupted their rivals and lowered prices. Yet with improvements in efficiency so slow, panels will go on occupying a lot of land, or roof space, for years and years. That will keep their installed costs buoyant, as well as counteract the falling costs of installation, maintenance and financing that US solar-services firms have recently achieved.

As Gates’ proposal for solar paint suggests, buildings and especially homes, not expansive ‘farms’ of panels, remain the principal units of account for solar power. Yet how can household panels, still less those mounted atop blocks of flats, provide enough reliable energy to power fleets of computer servers and trains, still less the processes involving heat that are at the core of making steel and cement? Solar can never be an easily concentrated, continuous source of baseload power in the way that fossil-fuel-fired and nuclear-power stations can be. Every spurious exaggeration of solar power’s capabilities in developing countries consigns them to stunted development – to intermittent, weak electricity.

Perhaps better battery storage of energy – including flow batteries – offers hope. Yet here, too, illusions are enormous. Storage will add to the costs of wind and solar. Moreover, even the breakthrough lithium-air battery, just announced by Dr Clare Grey at Cambridge University, will require at least a decade to be commercialised.

Why we need R&D

One of the chief dangers emerging from COP21 is that the misconception that renewables are saving the planet, along the lines of Germany’s disastrous, nuclear-free ‘energy transformation’, will now be taken as given.

Now, of course, no silver bullet will solve the issues of energy supply; so, for all their depressing intermittency, wind and solar power deserve, in principle, the kind of large and long-term R&D budgets that fossil fuels and nuclear power ought to enjoy. But, in fact, R&D expenditures by the West on renewables are, like those on fossil fuels and nuclear, utterly negligible. In 2014, Europe spent just $1.52 billion on R&D for renewables, while the US and Canada spent $1.08 billion. As for R&D in fossil fuels, Europe spent a mere $0.57 billion; the US and Canada, just $0.8 billion.

Yes, on a good day wind turbines can now generate a lot of a country’s electricity; yes, the price of solar electricity is now going down; and yes, innovation always needs to think about the longterm. But in the case of renewables, reliably generating a quarter of the world’s electricity at prices that compare well with fossil fuels and nuclear will have to wait until 2040 or later, not 2030. Even then, renewables will still need a lot of fossil-fuel backup to ensure continuous electricity generation.

Governments, and now philanthropically minded capitalists, may stress the ‘creative’ side of the creative destruction of the fossil-fuel and nuclear industries. Yet the preference for renewables has up to now meant subsidising yesterday’s technologies more than spending on tomorrow’s R&D. So, despite all the self-loathing of the fossil-fuel and nuclear industries, and despite the relative lack of profitability of nuclear, renewables will not wreak destruction on them for a long time to come.

There is simply not enough investment being made in new industries to eradicate the old. Capitalism is barely interested in general investment and innovation – let alone investment in energy, where the installed base and sunk costs of fossil-fuel infrastructure will only be overcome over decades.

John Kerry can claim that ‘over the next 15 years, $17 trillion is expected to be invested in energy, and the vast majority of that is going to be in clean energy, thank heavens’. But such a flow of investment into renewables is about as likely as the widely ridiculed ‘flows’ of renewables promised to developing countries by developed ones.

The numbers say it all. Kerry promises trillions of investment, when, in fact, the amount of credit extended by the West to help companies sell wind and, to a much lesser extent, solar power to the richer developing economies (‘middle-income countries’) was just $1.6 billion in 2013-14. And North America and Europe’s R&D budgets for renewables, are, as we have seen, even less than that.

So, don’t buy the hype: for a quarter century or more, renewables won’t make much of a difference to the world’s electricity supply.


How the Post-Soviet Left Latched Onto Climate For its Crusade on Capitalism


The opening of the Paris conference on climate change will be the occasion for the customary lamentations about the imminent demise of life on Earth if we do not pull up our socks as a species and reduce carbon emission levels, and thus avoid the toasting of the world. The adduced scientific evidence does not justify any such state of alarm.

Every sane and informed person in the world is concerned about pollution and demands vigilance about any clear trends of climate change and any convincing evidence that human behavior influences the climate. Because the Copenhagen climate Conference of 2009 had promised agreement on imposition of dramatic measures to reduce fossil fuel use and resulting carbon emissions, thus avoiding apprehended rises in world temperature, and broke up in acrimonious farce and recrimination, the Paris conference has been more carefully and less ambitiously prepared.

At Copenhagen, the demand arose from developing countries that the economically advanced countries had permanently impaired the under-developed countries and that the $100 billion compensation fund that President Obama had promised to raise for the less-advanced countries was completely inadequate, mere reparations instead of a serious response to a moral debt that could only be quantified in trillions of dollars. (Mr. Obama had no takers, including his own Congress, when his Democrats controlled it, for one cent of such payments.)

Mr. Obama was unable even to get an interview with the Chinese prime minister, a historic first in lack of access for a U.S. president, as the Chinese, by far the greatest carbon emitter and polluter of all countries, cheekily set themselves at the head of the G-77 countries who with cupped hands and in stentorian voice, demanded immense monetary compensation for the sins of the carbon emitters, also led by themselves.

The world’s temperature has risen approximately one half of a centigrade degree, or almost one Fahrenheit degree, in 35 years. There has been minimal global warming for 18 years, though carbon emissions in the world have steadily increased throughout that period. It is indisputable that the world has been warmer several times in its history than it is now, so whatever impact man may have on it, the world’s temperature is evidently subject to fluctuations for other reasons.

There is also legitimate disagreement about the consequences of such warming as might occur. Recent research at the University of Sussex, widely recognized for its expertise in this field, indicates that warming up to 3.5 centigrade degrees from where we are now would have no appreciable impact on anything, except a positive impact where increased volumes of carbon dioxide increase arable area and make crops more drought-resistant.

Also there has been a good deal of reciprocally corroborating research in different countries by recognized experts that uniformly demonstrates that the world’s temperature is much less sensitive than had long been feared to increased carbon use. Antarctic polar ice is thickening and world water levels are not rising. Apocalyptic statements of imminent consequences of not reducing carbon use have been fairly thoroughly debunked.

Not only is the evidence of the effects of increased carbon use unclear, but the economic consequences of discouragement of carbon use are very clear and very harmful to the most vulnerable countries. China and India, the two most populous countries and the first and third carbon emitters, are eagerly pursuing economic growth, which is the only method for pulling the many hundreds of millions of desperately poor people in those countries upwards out of poverty, and they are not going to change policy to accommodate the militant ecologists of the West.

They don’t attach the slightest credence to the alarmist comments of the more strident ecologists, other than as an excuse for demanding monetary compensation for how the economically leading countries have disadvantaged them. The International Energy Agency estimates that the underdeveloped countries as a group, will emit 70 per cent of the carbon output of the world in the next 15 years, and will be responsible for all of the increase in carbon use over that time.

President Obama has called the Paris conference a “historic turning point,” but it isn’t, and claimed (in February) that climate change was a greater problem than terrorism. He and John Kerry (secretary of state), have several times called it the world’s greatest problem. This is bunk. The pope stated that we are “at the edge of suicide.” If so, it is not for climatic reasons. (The Holy See has placated the greens, but emphasized that “The Church cannot take the place of scientists and politicians.”)

Many in those groups are more impetuous in their assertions. And everyone seriously involved with the Paris conference knows that it is not really going to accomplish much. As Lord Ridley pointed out in the Wall Street Journal on November 28, the NGO spokespeople attending at Paris will scream like banshees of imminent disaster, for fear of having their budgets cut, despite contrary evidence and although it is now clear that decarbonization is much more harmful to the world than increased carbon emissions.

Alternate sources of energy, such as wind and solar, are hideously more expensive and much less productive, a luxury no country can really afford, and certainly not the poorer countries. But the conference will be hamstrung. Countries will volunteer their own individual targets for reduction of carbon emissions, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDC’s.

The INDC of China only predicts that such emissions will meet their peak by 2030, while, for all his militancy, President Obama’s U.S. INDC will be a reduction of between 26% and 28% in ten years, yet the outline of hoped-for gains, which the Congress will not endorse, and for years Obama will only see as a private citizen, only calls for half the volume reduction of emissions necessary to meet his pledge. The American INDC is a scam.

Even the Obama administration is demanding an involuntary international verification mechanism (much more rigorous than what it settled for in the rather more urgent matter of Iranian nuclear military development), and the elimination of the so-called “firewall” of separate arrangements for the developed and under-developed (or developing) countries. The developing countries, led by China and India, refuse, unless they are solemnly promised a $100 billion a year climate fund, as Obama imprudently pledged at Copenhagen.

This remains completely out of the question and furnished the justification in advance for the developing countries to fall short of their INDC targets, which will provide the cover for the developed countries to do the same. Everyone will solemnly announce ambitious INDCs, but there will be no verification, ample excuse for non-compliance for everyone and this charade will continue to the next portentous and verbose conference.

What seems to have happened is that the international far left, having been decisively routed with the collapse of the Soviet Union and of international communism, has attached itself to the environmental movement, usurped the leading positions in it from the bird-watching, butterfly-collecting, and conservation organizations, and is carrying on its anti-capitalist and anarchist crusade behind the cover of eco-Armageddonism.

While this has been rather skillfully executed, many office-holders and aspirants, including Mr. Obama, have used dire environmental scenarios to distract their electorates from their own policy failures, much as Arab powers have long diluted anger at despotic misgovernment by harping on the red herring of Israel.


Global warming: deluge first, wisdom later

Some breathtaking wisdom from Uganda below.  It probably makes sense to Greenies

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference was recently held in Paris, France.

Also known as COP21 alias CMP 11, it was attended by 196 state parties and led to the Paris Agreement aimed at reducing the rate of climate change (global temperatures). The agreement talks of reducing global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, self-review every five years and promises of financial transfers from rich to poor countries.

Despite self-congratulation by states and the UN, the agreement is not legally binding; the 13 days in Paris with per diem have now been added to the 23 years wasted since the UN started crying foul about the global climate crisis.

From the first such conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the root cause of the crisis – a socio-economic model that treats life not as harmonious relationships between humans and with all other creation but as unlimited private appropriation and aimless consumption – is deliberately dodged.

Lessening use of fossil fuels or emissions of greenhouse gases per se is not enough to rescue planet Earth and human beings from the impending catastrophe. It requires reduction of per capita energy exploitation and general destabilization of the various natural systems and cycles.

The fashionable concepts ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ are even a misnomer; the situation is outrageous natural destabilization. Humankind has destabilized the natural foundation that helped it build civilization – in quest for super profits and dominion – and any simplistic sentimentalism will solve nothing.

The solution would require a big change in our worldview and lifestyle, more so abandoning the ones promoted by the UN under grand projects like Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals, and certain religious beliefs and practices that divide humankind rather than unite it.

Like with earlier agreements on climate, the states (read politicians) will renege on their promises and even forge statistics. No wonder many scientists and social activists feel betrayed already.

In the absence of a legitimate global authority that can whip each country or social grouping, trusting politicians who come to power through national elections after wild materialistic promises and protecting their domestic (economic and military) policies is a daydream.

Politicians and their economic advisers will never care about the common good for nature and other humans. The agreement doesn’t show any pathway to achieving even the shady goal, as if mere signing of aspiration leads to compliance.

The United Nations, as a club of states, cannot alone manage the problem of climate change. The minimum effort would involve participation of religious organisations, corporate institutions (directly rather than acting through politicians) and civil/social movements so as to bring to table all relevant issues.

There must be serious opposition to social monotonization (by promoting diversity in ideas, beliefs, ideals, and lifestyle), anthropocentrism, (the belief that only humankind is created in the image of God, that the world purposely exists to be dominated by and serve humankind) and the delusion of linearism (belief that we are ever on a continuity to higher progress), among others.

Otherwise, it is going to remain the same business as usual until three extra-human interventions take place: cumulative mass destruction as a form of natural self-purification and throwing off an unbearable burden; or a great sudden deluge, something like the biblical flood or collapse of the tower of Babel. Second will be the multiplication of new breeds of surprise leaders and individuals, the likes of Pope Francis, President John Mafuguli, former president Jose Mujica and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Third, will be a spiritual revival around a global prophetic movement without a spatially-localized nucleus and not requiring paternalistic evangelization waves.

However, in the meantime, let the wise and concerned embark on social (activist/solidarity) movements working across all strata and nations to boost those already suffering the effects of nature destabilization, and expose and sabotage various criminals and ignoramuses responsible for the brewing catastrophe.



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

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


23 December, 2015

Will global warming kill off our pine trees?

The modelling crap below claims it will but is most implausible.  Pine trees are very widely distributed -- from the near-Arctic to the tropics.  As I look down at the floor of the room where I am writing this, I see polished floorboards made of slash-pine, once super-abundant but now mostly cut out, in sub-tropical Queensland where I live.  That such a versatile and hardly genus could be disturbed by a few degrees of climate change is absurd. The distribution of species might alter a little but that's it.

They have been around for at least 300 million years so they have survived huge climate changes in the past -- so it is unlikely that any piddly Warmist scenario will bother them.  And note that some species -- such as the Bristlecone pine -- are amazingly hardy and survive in very unpromising situations to this day. 

I like this humble sentence below however:  "Our ability to accurately simulate drought-induced forest impacts remains highly uncertain"

UPDATE:  Here's some info from the FAO on how pines fail to thrive  in warm climates:

Tropical pine species play an especially important role in modern plantation forestry. Several species, mostly originating from the American or Asian tropics and subtropics are now widely cultivated.  Pines enjoy such great popularity because:

the large number of species allow choice for widely varying environmental conditions;

many thrive on a wide range of sites;

many flourish in dry, nutrient-poor soils or degraded sites;
the volume production of some species can be high to very high, even under unfavourable site conditions;

being robust pioneer species, pines are well suited for reforestation and for simple silviculture (monocultures and clear-felling);

wood qualities that are otherwise in limited supplies in the tropics - of uniform coniferous wood valued for production of lumber, chemical pulp, paper, particleboard, etc

Tragic, isn't it? [/sarcasm]

Multi-scale predictions of massive conifer mortality due to chronic temperature rise

N. G. McDowell net al


Global temperature rise and extremes accompanying drought threaten forests1, 2 and their associated climatic feedbacks3, 4. Our ability to accurately simulate drought-induced forest impacts remains highly uncertain5, 6 in part owing to our failure to integrate physiological measurements, regional-scale models, and dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs). Here we show consistent predictions of widespread mortality of needleleaf evergreen trees (NET) within Southwest USA by 2100 using state-of-the-art models evaluated against empirical data sets. Experimentally, dominant Southwest USA NET species died when they fell below predawn water potential (?pd) thresholds (April–August mean) beyond which photosynthesis, hydraulic and stomatal conductance, and carbohydrate availability approached zero. The evaluated regional models accurately predicted NET ?pd, and 91% of predictions (10 out of 11) exceeded mortality thresholds within the twenty-first century due to temperature rise. The independent DGVMs predicted ?50% loss of Northern Hemisphere NET by 2100, consistent with the NET findings for Southwest USA. Notably, the global models underestimated future mortality within Southwest USA, highlighting that predictions of future mortality within global models may be underestimates. Taken together, the validated regional predictions and the global simulations predict widespread conifer loss in coming decades under projected global warming.

Nature Climate Change (2015) doi:10.1038/nclimate2873

Obama Vetoes Bill To Dismantle EPA Global Warming Rules

President Barack Obama has vetoed legislation to repeal Environmental Protection Agency regulations on power plants that are a key part of the administration’s global warming agenda.

Obama announced Sunday morning he would not be considering bills to repeal the EPA’s power plant rules, meaning the bills are subject to a “pocket veto.”

“The Clean Power Plan is a tremendously important step in the fight against global climate change,” Obama said in a statement. “[T]he resolution would overturn the Clean Power Plan, which is critical to protecting against climate change and ensuring the health and well-being of our nation, I cannot support it.”

Obama’s veto stops the last chance a Republican-controlled Congress has this year of derailing EPA rules to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Congress passed bills in November that would have repealed these regulations under the Congressional Review Act.

“The president’s veto of legislation that would have halted his EPA’s regulatory overreach ignores reality in favor of politics, and leaves the legal system as the best remaining course for those of us who are seeking to protect consumers and businesses, at least during the remainder of this administration,” Karen Harbert, who heads up energy policy at the Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.

The Chamber has joined dozens of business and union groups challenging the EPA’s power plant rules. Twenty-seven states have also sued the EPA, arguing its CO2 regulations violate the Clean Air Act and infringe on state powers to set their own energy policy.

“The EPA’s carbon regulations will irreversibly harm America’s power sector and raise the costs for every business and every American that uses electricity,” Harbert said. “These rules will negatively impact every industry and damage the economy without any significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. We look forward to our day in court.”

Obama’s veto will likely be welcomed by environmentalists, who along with the administration, argue EPA rules are necessary to prove to the world the U.S. is taking global warming seriously. Obama and his allies say the U.S. needs to commit to emissions cuts if it wants other major countries, like China, to also fight warming.

Obama got his wish earlier this month when nearly 200 countries approved a United Nations treaty to cut global emissions levels, but the agreement is not legally binding — an international strategy used by the White House to keep any agreement from having to go before a Republican-controlled Senate.

Republican lawmakers have vowed to derail Obama’s global warming agenda, but the recent $1.1 trillion budget bill did little to keep the EPA from regulating CO2 emissions or keep the president from funding the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund.

The budget bill does, however, impose a little more oversight over EPA and holds the agency’s budget to $8.1 billion — that’s lower than the agency’s 2010 funding levels.


Scientist: Global Warming Won’t Be Dangerous

Global warming won’t raise global temperatures enough to be dangerous, according to an analysis of satellite data released over the weekend by University of Alabama scientists.

The analysis of satellite data stretches back 37 years and estimates that the temperature increase will be only 1.15° Celsius over the century. Keeping global warming below 2° Celsius by 2100 is the widely accepted goal promoted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations COP 21 Paris summit. Such a low rate of temperature increase would prevent what global warming alarmists say are the most hazardous impacts of global warming.

The average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere has warmed just over four tenths of a degree Celsius (almost three fourths of a degree Fahrenheit) during the past 37 years, with the greatest warming over the Arctic Ocean and Australia,” Dr. John Christy, director of the University of Alabama’s Earth System Science Center who preformed the analysis, told the global warming blog Watts Up With That. “That would put the average global temperature change over 100 years well under the 2.0 C (3.6 degrees F) goal set recently at the climate change summit in Paris.”

Christy is best known for being the first person to successfully develop a satellite temperature record.


Global Warming Is Now A ‘Women’s Issue’ Due To ‘Ecofeminism’

More evidence that most feminism is just a subset of Leftism, with the best interests of women  just a front

Environmentalists are increasingly claiming that global warming is a “women’s issue” and that the world needs “eco-feminism” as a path forward.

“We know that the world’s poor feel the effects of climate change most acutely, but it turns out there is an even more vulnerable subset to that population: women” reads the article The Sierra Club tweeted Monday.

The author worries about a “agricultural resource gap for women farmers” and that global warming could increase the risk of sexual assault. The author even notes that “women are too often portrayed only as victims of climate change who must learn to adapt, rather than potential leaders and decision-makers.”


The socialist connection again

Bernie Sanders: ‘I'm Running Because We Need to Address the Planetary Crisis of Climate Change’

In his opening statement at the third Democratic presidential debate hosted by ABC News at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire on Saturday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said he is running because America needs to address “the planetary crisis” caused by climate change.

Sanders also said he is running because “our economy is rigged” and the campaign finance system is one where “billionaires are spending hundreds of millionaires of dollars to buy candidates," and because he wants a new foreign policy "that destroys ISIS, but...does not get us involved in perpetual warfare in the quagmire of the Middle East."

Here is Sen. Sanders' opening statement:

I am running for president of the United States because it is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics.

I'm running for president because our economy is rigged, because working people are working longer hours for lower wages and almost all of new wealth and income being created is going to the top one percent. I'm running for president because I'm going to create an economy that works for working families not just billionaires.
I'm running for president because we have a campaign finance system which is corrupt, where billionaires are spending hundreds of millionaires of dollars to buy candidates who will represent their interests rather than the middle class and working families.

I'm running because we need to address the planetary crisis of climate change and take on the fossil fuel industry and transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

I'm running for president because I want a new foreign policy--one that takes on Isis, one that destroys ISIS, but one that does not get us involved in perpetual warfare in the quagmire of the Middle East but rather works around a major coalition of wealthy and powerful nations supporting Muslim troops on the ground. That's the kind of coalition we need--and that's the kind of coalition I will put together.


Groundwater depletion adding to global sea-level rise

Increasing amounts of water are being depleted from the world’s aquifers, and scientists have estimated that a large portion of the water ends up flowing into the oceans.

So much groundwater is being pumped from wells that researchers say it is contributing significantly to global sea-level rise.

Hydrologists Yoshihide Wada and Marc Bierkens have calculated estimates of the amounts of groundwater depleted annually since 1900, and their findings are striking. When plotted on a chart, their figures show depletion occurring at an accelerating pace – which in turn is pushing the levels of the oceans higher.

The quickening rate of global depletion adds an alarming dimension to scientists' findings, based on satellite measurements, which reveal widespread declines in aquifers around the world. And as that water flows off the continents, it is adding to the problem of rising seas as glaciers and ice sheets melt due to global warming.

“If we want to understand current sea-level rise, which we need to understand to better predict future sea-level rise, we have to take account of this groundwater contribution,” said Bierkens, a professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands who is also affiliated with the institute Deltares.

Wada, a research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, said the world’s demand for water has grown significantly in the past 15 years as the global population has swelled. More water is being used to produce food, and much of that water is being pumped from aquifers.

Climate has also played a role in places like California, where drought has led farmers to pump groundwater more heavily to make up for the lack of surface water.

As water is pumped from wells, some of it is taken up by crops or piped to cities. Some evaporates and ends up in the clouds. In places, some of the water soaks back into the ground and replenishes aquifers. But scientists have calculated that much of the groundwater winds up in rivers and ultimately in the oceans.

Bierkens and Wada have estimated that in 1960, the amounts of groundwater depleted each year contributed between 0.09 and 0.27 millimeters to sea-level rise. By 1990, that had grown to 0.25-0.54 millimeters per year. And in 2014, they estimated groundwater depletion was causing between 0.41 millimeters and 0.89 millimeters of sea-level rise each year.

Researcher have produced varying estimates, with groundwater depletion accounting for between 10 percent and 30 percent of annual sea-level rise in recent years. Bierkens and Wada came down in the middle at roughly 20 percent in a 2012 research paper.

That makes groundwater a small yet significant chunk of the projected rise in the world's oceans, which threatens to swamp many low-lying islands and inundate coastal cities in places from the United States to China to Brazil.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has projected using a range of scenarios that the seas could rise by between 1 foot and slightly more than 3 feet by 2100. Other researchers have warned that the oceans could rise faster.

Because groundwater pumping isn't well monitored or measured in most places, scientific estimates of depletion are calculated based on limited available data. That includes recorded declines in groundwater levels when that information is available. In many places, though, measurements of changes in water levels aren't publicly shared or are only partially released, complicating the work of researchers.

In a 2011 study, Leonard Konikow of the U.S. Geological Survey calculated that groundwater depletion accounted for about 6 percent of sea-level rise during the 20th century. But he estimated that share grew to 13 percent between 2000 and 2008.

Konikow said even though the rate of sea-level rise has increased, the rate at which the world’s aquifers are being depleted "has increased proportionately more.”

Special Report – Pumped Dry: The Global Crisis of Vanishing Groundwater

Wada said more studies of this groundwater contribution will be vital in planning mitigation measures to adapt to rising seas.

The trends also point to a need to increase the efficiency of irrigation and take other steps to lessen overpumping, Bierkens said.

Groundwater has been called a "hidden resource" because in many areas people have long been largely oblivious as aquifers have receded. But Bierkens said that doesn't lessen the urgency of doing something about the world's growing depletion problem.

“Per person on this Earth, we should try to decrease water demand,” Bierkens said Thursday in an interview by Skype from San Francisco, where he and Wada were attending a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Bierkens likened overpumping to living on borrowed money.

“You’re basically depleting your savings to feed yourself, and that is actually not a good idea,” Bierkens said. “Everybody who runs a household knows that this is not sustainable in the end.”

In a 2014 article in the journal Nature Geoscience, Wada and other scientists analyzed several strategies for lessening “water stress” around the world in the coming decades. The strategies ranged from moving toward more efficient irrigation systems and improving crop yields to increasing the amounts of water stored in reservoirs and building more desalination plants.

They concluded that with a variety of strategies, it would be possible to hold steady the number of people living in water-stressed areas – now about one-third of the world’s population – or even reduce that number.



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


22 December, 2015

Batteries And Bulldust: Why ‘Living Off The Grid’ Is Not As Green As You Think

The arrival in Australia of the Tesla "Powerwall" storage battery has produced lots of erections among Australian Greenies.  They see it as the longed-for solution to the intermittent nature of wind and solar power.  The article below however points out that such systems do not add up as a replacement for reticulated electricity.  The author offers nuclear power as the best replacement for hydrocarbon energy sources.

As you could probably guess from the angry tone of it, the article appeared in a far-Left publication, "New Matilda".  It is however perfectly rational and numerate in its critique of the batteries.  There have always been some Green/Leftists who like nukes.  The Left in fact hailed nuclear power when it was first rolled out in the '50s.  It was "new" so they liked it.

This is not the first pro-nuke article to appear in "New Matilda". Editor Chris Graham is evidently balanced in his thinking on some occasions.  He even published a critique of extreme feminism recently. But he did have to publish a Greenie reply to the article below which I don't think is worth linking to.

By Geoff Russell

You can bet that a newsreader who pronounces film as ‘fill-em’ will receive a flood of complaints. Similarly, spelling mistakes in the written word will be pounced upon by the eagle-eyed readers with howls of protest and claims of declining standards and the impending end of civilisation.

But when people screw up with numbers, there’s a stunned silence. Our innovation hungry Prime Minister recently announced $48m to combat falling maths science standards, but it isn’t just children that need help with numbers.

Take, for example, the Climate Council’s Tim Flannery and SBS journalist Emma Hannigan in a recent news report about household battery technologies. Flannery responded to Hannigan’s statement that sales of battery systems were predicted to be 50,000 per year for the next decade by saying “… when you get to that point, you won’t need coal fired power systems any more”.

Get any 10-year-old (with a phone) to do the maths. 50,000 x 10 is half a million batteries. And how many households do we have?

Maths won’t help you here, you need data. Google it… number of households in Australia. It’s about 9 million.

So will half a million batteries make a dent in our electricity emissions? A tad useless would be an appropriate technical estimate, but since household electricity is only about a quarter of electricity, it’s really a quarter of a tad useless.

Put simply, half a million batteries, at around $7,150 dollars each (current price) is an incredibly stupid way to spend $35 billion dollars. For comparison, the United Arab Emirates bought 4 x 1.4 gigawatt South Korean nuclear plants for $20 billion (US) and they’ll all be running by 2020.

That would generate enough electricity to charge half a million 7kw Tesla batteries 126,000 times in a decade; if they could handle it. They are only rated to handle 5,000 charge discharge cycles.

But cost isn’t the biggest reason for not using big batteries in houses. Let’s consider the situation in Germany, mainly because the data comes easily to hand and because they’ve just wasted 15 years mucking around with renewables at great cost, but with trivial impact.

They expect to take 50 years to do what France did in 15 with nuclear power. Consider the following chart of German electricity use in January 2015.

Can you see the days with very little wind and sun? There’s one run of five in a row starting on the 19th of January. In the absence of their fossil fuel and nuclear plants, how much battery storage would the Germans need to cover this kind of run?

They’ve just signed the COP21 agreement that should stop them expanding their logging of forests for electricity; in fact I’d argue that Article 5 requires them to reduce it.

To make the maths trivial, lets assume they only need to supply 50 gigawatts of power for five days. That’s 5 x 24 = 120 hours. Do the sums and you’ll see that the batteries will need to supply 6,000 gigawatt-hours of energy (120 x 50). A gigawatt is a ‘1’ with 9 zeros. So, how many fully charged Tesla 7 kilowatt-hour Powerwalls would you need to supply this? All those zeros make what is a trivial calculation look complex: 6,000,000,000,000 divided by 7,000 is 857,142,857.

That’s 857 million batteries at a current cost of … $6.1 trillion dollars.

In the real world, many industries need their electricity in a particular form, but the numbers at least give us a feel for the scale of the problem.

But, as I said, cost isn’t the biggest reason people shouldn’t do this.

Consider the much-vaunted Tesla gigafactory? When it’s finished in 2020, it will produce batteries for half a million vehicles a year. That’s impressive and useful, but how many such giga factories will it take to supply batteries for those five days of German power?

Each year the giga factory can produce 35 gigawatt hours of battery storage. So how many years of production will it take to supply 6,000 gigawatt hours worth of batteries… 6,000,000,000,000/35,000,000,000… roughly 171 years; assuming Germany is the only customer.

You can do such calculations without all those zeros by using the Exp button on your phone calculator App.

But of course, real engineers wouldn’t use Tesla Powerwalls for such a purpose, they’d go for something much cheaper like pumped hydro. This is where you pump water from a low place to a high place when you have cheap electricity and then let it fall back down through a turbine to generate electricity at some later time.

It’s great when the geography is suitable and you don’t mind trashing some high mountain valley.

But surely batteries will get cheaper? Agreed. The Climate Council has just published a modest battery report. They make a general claim that the cost of battery storage should fall to $200 per kilowatt hour by 2020.

If that comes to pass, the Germans could provide for a run of 5 cold still days using an as yet undeveloped technology at a projected cost of just $1.2 trillion. That makes me feel much better!

So we probably can’t afford them, and it will be incredibly tough to build enough of them, but there’s still another far more important reason that using big batteries in houses, or for general grid backup, is dumb enough that it should be made illegal where there is no actual need.

Has the penny dropped yet? Here’s a hint. The world sells 70 million cars a year and the Tesla giga factor will make half a million car-sized batteries a year when it’s finished in 2020.

It should be obvious now… we will desperately need good, big batteries for electric vehicles.

Batteries and hydrogen fuel look to be our only choices for vehicles. So we shouldn’t be wasting valuable battery production resources to make batteries for houses because some puddle shallow thinkers reckon it’s cool to live off-grid.

We know how to cleanly and efficiently power houses; you build nuclear power plants and hook them into a grid. In developing countries, there is a pressing need for grids and that will be a huge challenge. Wasting valuable battery production capacity on powering houses will make everything that much harder.

The whole batteries-in-houses idiocy is part of what is inevitable when rich countries transfer spending decisions from Governments to individuals via low taxation rates and small government; or more accurately, incompetent Government; Governments who no longer have the skills and vision to pursue major projects in the national interest, let alone the international interest.

Traditionally, when Governments spent money, there was at least a fighting chance that a competent bureaucracy would act rationally and in the public interest.

But when it’s up to individuals, particularly rich, self-centered individuals who can’t think quantitatively, then they will buy Tesla batteries and Tesla will happily supply them.

If Tesla boss Elon Musk had even half the environmental concern he professes, then he wouldn’t make the bloody things.


Oil and our inalienable right to free trade

by Jeff Jacoby

WHO SAYS nothing ever gets accomplished in Washington? When the House of Representatives voted this fall to lift the nation's 40-year ban on exporting crude oil produced in the United States, the measure seemed doomed in the face of White House opposition. But on Wednesday, congressional leaders settled on a massive spending and tax package, and, wonder of wonders, the resumption of oil exports made the final cut. Both House and Senate were expected to pass the legislation promptly (albeit grudgingly); President Obama has said he'll sign it.

Like a lot of dubious ideas from the Nixon era — wage and price controls, the abandonment of the gold standard, the political misuse of the IRS — the oil export ban was a piece of folly that only grew worse with time. Imposed in the wake of the 1973 Arab oil embargo, it was one of several responses aimed at softening the blow of the oil shock on the US economy. The most notorious of those responses, gasoline price controls and rationing, were such obvious failures that they soon collapsed amid long lines and shortages at filling stations.

But the law barring US oil exports persisted. Policymakers imagined that forbidding producers to sell crude oil to foreign customers would enhance American energy by conserving domestic reserves and thus make the nation less reliant on imported energy. That's not what happened. US crude-oil production began to dwindle, shrinking from 10 million barrels per day in the early 1970s to only half as much by 2008. Far from depending less on imported petroleum, Americans required steadily more of it. When Nixon was in the White House, the nation imported 6 million barrels of petroleum daily; 30 years later, the daily intake of foreign oil had surpassed 13 million barrels.

In effect, America had imposed punitive sanctions on its own energy industry, the only significant oil-drilling country to so hobble its producers. After a while the export ban no longer seemed to matter. Production had fallen so far that there wasn't much crude oil to export anyway.

But then came the shale-oil revolution and the miraculous boom unleashed by fracking and horizontal drilling. Suddenly the United States was an oil-producing superpower again, with crude oil being pumped from the ground at a daily rate of almost 10 million barrels, a level not seen since 1970. In the space of a few short years, the United States had unexpectedly become the world's foremost oil producer. Yet thanks to an export ban that had never made sense, much of that oil had nowhere to go, and piled up in storage tanks. As of last week, US crude-oil inventories were at 490 million barrels, an 80-year high.

In a world thirstier for oil than ever, the absurdity of the US export ban at last became impossible to deny. Voices from across the political spectrum — elected Republicans and Democrats, as well as researchers at Columbia University, the Brookings Institution, the Government Accountability Office, the Aspen Institute, and Resources for the Future — joined in calling for exports to be revived. The realization had finally taken hold that, in a global energy market, to hobble American producers is to hobble American consumers, and the best way to enhance US energy security is to free US energy to compete in the market.

So goodbye to the oil-export ban. And good riddance to a policy that never worked as its advocates predicted. But let's not stop there. What we really should be jettisoning is the notion that the right to buy and sell across borders is a privilege that governments bestow or withhold as they see fit, instead of a human right — a natural liberty — that governments must not infringe except in extreme and very limited circumstances.

The freedom to trade — to engage in mutual,voluntary, and honest commerce — is as fundamental a human right as freedom of religion, or the freedom to work and own property.

Human beings, by virtue of being human, are entitled to worship as they choose, to own property, to emigrate from their country, and to form peaceable associations. Those are fundamental rights, not dependent on the government's political preferences or utilitarian considerations. The freedom to engage in mutual and honest commerce is just as fundamental, and it should be just as immaterial whether lawmakers approve of the bargain struck between seller and buyer. Jones shouldn't have to lobby public officials for the right to hire Smith or teach Smith or pray with Smith, or seek Smith's opinion. Nor should he have to win government approval for the right to sell his goods and services to Smith. Not even if Smith lives in another neighborhood, or another state, or another country.

Edmund Burke, the great Irish statesman and philosopher of liberty, wrote in 1795: "Free trade is not based on utility but on justice." Your property and labor are your own, and so is your freedom to trade them with a willing partner. When legislators and regulators impose biased or inequitable barriers to free trade, they violate a universal human right. That is why they should be opposed by Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.

Punitive tariffs or export bans, arbitrary quotas or domestic-content restrictions — all such impediments to peaceful commerce are transgressions against the rightful autonomy of free human beings. Prohibiting Americans who pump oil from selling that oil abroad was always economically short-sighted and counterproductive. But worse than that, it was immoral. The right to trade is as indispensable as the right to work. When politicians usurp that right, they render all of us less free.


The anti-science president

By Victor Davis Hanson

President Obama talks a lot about the scientific method. On climate change, he has often invoked the idea of a great divide between those on the progressive left, such as himself, who believe in “settled science” and thus a looming man-caused climatological disaster, and those, presumably on the Neanderthal Right, who are slaves to superstition, ideology, prejudice, and self-interest—and thus deny that the planet is rapidly warming due to inordinate human-induced releases of excessive carbon.

Obama’s view of science is reductionist. It relies on count-em-up numbers: if more university professors (not known to be an especially independent or courageous cohort) believe in dangerous man-caused climate change than doubt it or its seriousness, and if climate change fits a larger progressive agenda, then it becomes factual.

Would we assume thereby that Newton, Galileo, and Darwin were all exemplars of groupthink, and worked through consensus and collegiality, especially with the support of status-quo institutions and universities, in advancing majority-held theories?

When Obama signed legislation in his first weeks in office enabling human stem cell research, he pontificated that his act was about ensuring “that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.” Aside from the fact that there were and are methodologies of harvesting stem cells without resort to embryonic protocols, the president’s entire approach to science, data, and the inductive method is to privilege ideology and subordinate facts.

In short, Obama is the most anti-science, anti-factual president in modern memory.

The president has warned the nation, usually on the most inappropriate and untimely occasions, of the American tendency to succumb to Islamophobia. But to support such an assumed pathology, the president adduced no evidence that Americans are more likely to target Muslims than other groups.

If we were to rely on “scientific” research, there is statistical evidence that in general hate crimes in the U.S. are rare, and that in particular they tend to focus on Jews. The most recent survey (2014) of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program shows 58% of hate crimes were directed at Jews, while just 16% were against Muslims. Thus, if the president felt that there was a real danger of American citizens or residents harming others due to their religions, then obviously he would warn us not to attack Jews, who suffer more hate crimes than all other religious groups combined.

As a student of science, Obama should incorporate such findings in his pop editorializing and not, for example, sloppily characterize the deliberate sorting and murdering of four Jews in a Paris delicatessen as if it were a random attack on “a bunch of folks” (e.g., “violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris”).

If Obama really wished to address hate crimes in more precise scientific fashion, he would ask for data concerning not just the most likely group to suffer such attacks, but the most likely group statistically to commit them. But then again there is an anti-scientific resistance to investigating the matter further, given the likely results that would suggest an unwelcome reality.

The president also insists that the government in reaction to the San Bernardino terrorist attacks must now rush to make it illegal for anyone on the no-fly lists to buy guns. Is there any scientific evidence that such a move would have much effect in preventing or abating terrorism? Or is such a call based on folklore and ideologically driven superstition?

Over 800,000 are on the terrorist watch list, and about 64,000 of them are additionally on the no-fly list. Aside from the facts that both lists grow and do not seem to shrink, and that reasons are not always provided for adding names to the lists, there is no evidence that those included in the past on the no-fly list so far have been the perpetrators of post-9/11 terrorist attacks. Banning guns to those on a no-fly list may in theory be wise, but there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it would be. If one were to consult other various lists of the major terrorist operations in the U.S. since 9/11—and they range in number from 50-60 depending on the criteria used—the vast majority were committed by those who self-identified as acting on behalf of Islam.

In rejecting the Keystone pipeline, the president ignored the scientific conclusions of his own State Department’s body of expert consultants who found no major negative impact to the climate by building the pipeline. In fact, statistically it is likely far less deleterious to the environment to ship oil-sand products by pipeline through the United States than to transport it by existing rail and truck. The Keystone cancellation was emblematic of making scientific decisions based on ideology, not facts.

NASA, as its name implies, by all accounts is a scientific government agency devoted to the exploration of the upper atmosphere and space. Its mission is not, as its Director Charles Bolden understood his mandate from President Obama, a sociological one: “And third, and perhaps foremost, (emphasis added) he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering.” Once the U.S. again has its own rockets, such outreach may be a nice thing to do. But “feel good” is not the “foremost” mission of that government scientific organization. Envision the next present promising to use NASA to ensure that Christian nations “feel good” about past Christian “contributions to science, math, and engineering.” Almost instantaneously we would hear—and rightly so—charges leveled against an anti-science president subverting for ideological purposes and a “political agenda” an historic government scientific enterprise.

Most climatologists do not connect the California drought with global warming. To the degree that we can ascertain a cause, given the paucity of weather-related data in California dating much before 1850, scientists point to the El Niño effect. Slight changes in east-central Pacific Ocean temperatures have historically affected the formation and trajectories of West Coast storms. To the degree temperature per se is the culprit, our present drought is largely a result of oceanic temperatures being too cool—in other words, too little of an El Niño effect.

Yet Obama flew into the Central Valley of California, Ground Zero of the drought, pronounced climate change the culprit, promised federal monies for that purpose, and flew out. Aside from politicizing a natural disaster for contemporary political advantage, anti-science also plays a role in the drought. Activists and government officials, state and federal, did not calibrate rising state population with increased needs for water storage and transfers.

Instead, in an ideological and anti-science frenzy, they suspended completing the California Water Project and Central Valley Project infrastructure, and embraced romantic but unproven theories about diverting contracted irrigation water to reintroduce salmon to the San Joaquin River and to restore delta smelt populations to assumed normal levels. Both anti-scientific efforts failed to increase those populations, but only after the wastage of several million acre-feet of precious water. Releasing scarce storage water in a drought—contrary to the initial aims of the Central Valley and California Water Projects of flood control, irrigation, recreation, and power generation—on the theory of altering fish populations is about as anti-scientific and anti-human as one can get.

If one were to characterize the Obama administration approach to the natural world, it is precisely an historical effort to privilege ideology over facts. In matters of gun control, Obama ignores how, where, and why most Americans are killed by guns because the facts do not fit a preconceived narrative. In matters of the Affordable Care Act, the administration made unscientific claims about affordability, budgetary consequences, coverage, and access that were quickly proven contrary to available evidence.

In reaction to the Benghazi killings, the Obama team advanced a narrative about a right-wing video maker prompting such “spontaneous” violence that contradicted eyewitness accounts, forensic evidence, and the social media testimonies of the attackers and the reports of the attacked. Then there is the matter of racial violence such as Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson. The president evoked it as an example of police excess, even though his own Justice Department found no culpability on the part of the officer in question and the narrative of an innocent victim crying out "hands up, don’t shoot" to be an entire fabrication. For political and ideological purposes, the Obama Justice Department supports flawed studies theorizing that one in four females on campus will be a victim of sexual violence during her college years—a theory debunked by facts as often as it is resurrected for its electoral utility.

Obama does not believe in science because science is blind. In today’s political climate, disinterested inquiry is a mortal sin. We live in an age in which aims that are declared socially just require any means necessary to achieve them—even if that ensures a denial of the scientific method and facts themselves.


The nutty and impotent fossil fuel divestment movement

The fossil fuel divestment movement, currently active on more than one thousand college and university campuses, is an attack on freedom of inquiry and responsible social advocacy in American higher education.

This report traces the origins of the movement, examines in detail its motives and methods, and presents an objective record of its successes and failures.

The fossil fuel divestment movement emerged from a single campaign at Swarthmore College in fall 2010 and has grown into an international movement orchestrated by Bill McKibben’s activist group Its success in casting itself as this generation’s defining cause has made it a powerful influence on the opinions
of today’s youth.

The fossil fuel divestment campaign has reinvented itself several times. At Swarthmore in 2010 and 2011, the movement presented itself as a solidarity campaign with “frontlines” communities resisting coal extraction.  Since Bill McKibben brought the campaign to national prominence, it has evolved into a moral crusade against global warming, and then an Occupy Wall Street-style revolt against privileged power-holders. The movement is now in the midst of a fourth transformation, this time into a financial advisor that foresees investment risks in coal, oil, and gas companies.

The movement’s abiding purpose has been to pressure governments to favor wind, solar, and hydro power, and to make colleges and universities pressure cookers of sustainability. The divestment movement is itself a spin-off from the larger campus sustainability movement. Many students encountered the ideas that form the premises of the divestment movement in sustainability classes and sustainability activities sponsored by their colleges.

At least two campaigns (at De Anza College and at California State University, Chico) took root when professors gave college credit to students who worked on a fossil fuel divestment campaign. Another campaign, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, started after the university assigned every freshman a summer reading of "Eaarth" by Bill McKibben, and invited McKibben to speak on campus.

As this report goes to press, activists have named this fall “escalation season,” a period running from October 1 until December 12, the day after the UN Climate Summit in Paris concludes. Every semester is now “escalation season,” part of a throbbing cycle of contrived, organized angst. Spring 2016 “escalation” is already scheduled to revive in April, when the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network plans to hold 20 college sit-ins. In spring 2015, 11 colleges and universities saw sit-ins for divestment.

The National Association of Scholars has observed and critiqued the campus sustainability movement over the last seven years, and followed the fossil fuel divestment movement since its emergence at Swarthmore five years ago. We offer the most thorough encyclopedia of collegiate fossil fuel divestment activism
published to date.


The fossil fuel divestment campaign is:

1. Growing but overstated: The number of fossil fuel divestment campaigns has skyrocketed from 1 in 2010 to more than a thousand, according to Go Fossil Free. Many are run by small numbers of full-time organizers.

2. College-born but professionally managed: Both the idea of fossil fuel divestment and the main organization supporting it ( grew out of college student campaigns at Swarthmore College and Middlebury College respectively. Students remain the face of the movement, and at least one student-run organization, the Fossil Fuel Divestment Students Network, supports divestment campaigns. But much of the organizational and intellectual framework comes from professional environmental activists and environmentalist organizations that train college students.

3. Modeled after the Arab Spring: Activists say their cause is cut from the same cloth as the Middle Eastern push for democracy, because trustees who oppose divestment are oligarchs who ignore pro-divestment students’ voices.

4. Self-consciously impotent against fossil fuel companies:  Advocates of divestment, including Bill McKibben, acknowledge that divestment will not decrease the share prices of fossil fuel companies or appreciably shrink their profits and access to capital.

5. A game of bluff: Few divestments are complete. Only 34 percent of “divested” colleges and universities have fully shed their fossil fuel investments. Four have sold no investments at all since their divestment decisions: Humboldt State University, Syracuse University, Oxford University, and the University of Otago Foundation Trust (New Zealand). We label these “DINOs”—divestments in name only.

6. Elitist:  The divestment movement is most fervent at wealthy, elite colleges and universities, though it has had little
success persuading administrators there.


The Ugly Face of Climate Cultists

In his daring masterpiece, Alex Epstein exposes modern environmentalists for what they really are: pro-nature and human-hating. For them, the slightest modification of Mother Nature’s virgin work is a crime worse than the Holocaust. With COP 21 now fully operational we are hearing those anti-human environmentalists more than ever.

And they spare no one when they spit their venom. David Suzuki, Canada’s Green Pope, recently compared the defense of the oil industry to the defense of slavery. You read that right. Defending forced labor is akin to wanting to keep the cheapest, most reliable source of energy ever mastered as of now.

Of course, he only wants you to be “free” of this evil form of energy. He wants to keep traveling in order to spread his green gospel while you use a horse and bugey. He wants others to have fewer children while having 10 children and grand-children. And he wants scientists that agree with him to speak freely while imprisoning those who dare having different views.

He is not the only one with this mindset.

Only a few weeks ago many public university professors came forward and asked the federal government to prosecute “deniers” using the RICO Act – originally created to prosecute the mafia. Like any group, these professors know that if their scam is exposed they will lose everything. Therefore they need to use every means possible to keep earning their income. This seems to include hiding inconvenient facts.

Still about politics, there are elected representatives – I will let you guess their color – that want to bar one of the only profitable uses of public lands in honor of Mother Nature. Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, and Sen. Jeff Merkley, of Oregon, introduced a bill that would ban any new fossil fuel exploitation on federal lands (including water) in order to stop carbon “pollution” … from greening the Earth.

Of course, as a “democratic” socialist Sanders couldn’t help but exposing his Koch derangement syndrome by blaming the hard-working entrepreneurs for wanting to enrich themselves while benefiting society. Strangely enough, he doesn’t speak out about against billionaire George Soros.

This liberal “philanthropist” has recently bought off two major coal businesses who were about to go bankrupt thanks to President Barack Obama’s war on coal, among others. Sanders is also silent towards another billionaire, Tom Steyer. Not only did Steyer spend an insane amount of money to influence the 2014 elections, but the coal projects he once invested in will emit carbon “pollution” for decades to come.

Finally Sanders seems to be rather silent on the dire consequences of “renewable” energy. He wants more hybrid cars, therefore encouraging a tremendous amount of pollution in China from rare earth mining. He also wants more wind energy, therefore encouraging the slaughter of millions of birds.

In short, the anti-human environmentalists are actually the ones who destroy the planet the most. They promote sources of energy that are highly inefficient, highly polluting and that would be unaffordable without subsidies. And that’s exactly why they promote these energies. That way, populations will sharply decline and lead to the promised Green Ecotopia.


"Fake electricity"

Let’s look at a real-life example of climate aid in eastern India — not one involving governments but the international environmental group Greenpeace. On its website Dharnai Live, we see smiling people and solar-panel-covered roofs, and we’re told that after “30 years of darkness” green energy came to the rescue.

But here’s what really happened: last year, under the slogan “Energy access simplified”, Greenpeace supplied Dharnai with a solar-powered micro-grid — not connected to India’s central grid. Greenpeace writes that “Dharnai refused to give into the trap of the fossil fuel industry”.

That is a somewhat loose paraphrasing of what the people who lived there wanted for themselves.

Back in 2010, Dharnai’s inhabitants had collected $US680 in the hope of buying their way into the power grid, which in most of India is supplied by coal-fired power plants. Four years later, still with no electricity, Greenpeace swooped to the rescue with a solar system.

The day the electricity was turned on, the batteries were drained of power within a few hours.

A boy from Dharnai remembers wanting to do his homework early in the morning before leaving to work in the fields, but there wasn’t enough power for the family’s one lamp.

Today, power from the solar system costs up to three times as much as power from the central power grid, and it also requires the use of energy-efficient light bulbs, that cost 66 times more than normal light bulbs.

But fortunately for the people of Dharnai — if not for the Greenpeace narrative — the town today is connected to the central power grid. You see, Greenpeace invited the state chief minister to the inauguration of the solar system so he could meet the grateful inhabitants.

When he showed up, he was met by a large crowd of people, with signs and songs demanding “real electricity” (the kind you can use to run the stove and the refrigerator) and not “fake electricity” (meaning solar energy).

A week later, a 100kWh transformer was installed, and Dharnai received modern electricity.

Today, two-thirds of the original recipient households have opted out of the solar-panel scheme, and the rest use it primarily as a backup when the central power grid fails.

This is a part of the story you won’t hear from Greenpeace — but it shows why it’s necessary to question when well-meaning people tell us that dishing out solar panels is a good way to spend development money.

And it points to a broader problem with the state of green energy.
Here in Paris, there are many well-meaning people who argue that we need strong carbon cuts and green-energy production subsidies now and for many years to come, to get the world to move towards tackling climate change.

But at the same time, these same people argue that solar and wind is already competitive and effective, or that this moment is just around the corner. The strange thing is that those two arguments are incompatible.

We are often told that green energy is competitive in developing countries, and particularly Africa. Green energy, especially wind, can indeed help African countries, for example, to get electricity to remote, rural areas.

But that is only a small part of the big picture. As we saw in Dharnai, the grid will do by far the most good for the most people. According to a 2011 World Bank study, renewable energy “will be the lowest cost option for a minority of households in Africa, even when likely cost reductions over the next 20 years are considered”.

Popular solar lights cost almost $US2 per kilowatt hour. Using hydro, gas and oil, the grid cost for the main population centres in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Kenya will likely be US16c to US25c a kilowatt hour. In South Africa, where coal powers 90 per cent of electricity, the cost is just US9c a kilowatt hour.

Green energy costs $US168bn in subsidies right now each year, and by 2040 we’ll be paying even more at $US206bn a year.

However, it is also interesting — and surprising to many — to note that even with these massive subsidies and green policies, doing everything governments are now promising, we’ll get just 2.4 per cent of our energy from green sources in 2040, according to the International Energy Agency.

You really have to put on a pair of green-tinted spectacles to see a world in which renewable energy is about to become competitive or already is.

It is for that reason that the Paris Treaty  will cost a fortune and do very little. Until there is a breakthrough that makes green energy competitive on its own merits, massive carbon cuts are expensive and extremely unlikely to happen.



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

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21 December, 2015

Crocodile baloney

The Warmists never stop.  Always a new scare.  This time it's crocs that are going to eat you as a result of global warming.  Why?  Because global warming will drive them towards the cooller waters of Southern Australia.  Just one problem:  Crocs are reptiles and they LIKE warmth. The warmer they are, the more active they are.  So where are they generally found?  In TROPICAL Australia -- around Cape York Peninsula and the Top End.  It's the HOTTEST part of Australia that they like.  They vote with their feet to show the best habitat for themselves. No wonder those who know crocodiles well in the wild dismiss the laboratory study reported below

And I have done my usual trick of looking up the underlying academic journal article (Diving in a warming world: the thermal sensitivity and plasticity of diving performance in juvenile estuarine crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus)).  When I do that, I often find that the authors have concluded what they wanted to conclude regardless of what their results show.  And so it seems here too.  I note the following sentence in the Abstract: "Maximal dive performances, however, were found to be thermally insensitive across the temperature range of 28–35°C".  Come again?  28–35°C is the temperature range they studied and the central claim of the article is that crocs can't stay underwater for long if the water is hot.  Yet that sentence asserts the exact opposite.  I give up!

The little lady whose Ph.D. research the article was based on -- Essie Rodgers -- would appear to have been very poorly supervised


Saltwater crocodiles may be forced to migrate from the north of Australia to the southern states because of global warming

A University of Queensland study has found the man eaters may be ill-equipped to adjust to rising water temperatures, prompting them to migrate to cooler environments.

The researchers found the higher water temperatures hindered their diving ability, putting the young crocs at risk from predators.

Professor Craig Franklin of the university's School of Biological Sciences said they have found crocodiles are not hardwired to adapt to water temperatures – unlike other cold blooded animals.

'It's likely that if the water is too hot, crocodiles might move to cooler regions, or will seek refuge in deep, cool water pockets to defend their dive times,' he said.

Lead author for the study, PhD student Essie Rodgers, said the study showed increases in water temperatures severely shortened crocodiles diving times.

'Crocodiles are ectothermic animals – where environmental temperatures strongly influence their body temperatures,' she said.

The lethal temperature for crocodiles is in the high 30s to low 40s, making water a critical refuge for the reptiles to avoid dehydration.

Experts have cast doubt on the study, with Crocodylus Park expert Grahame Webb telling NT News the prehistoric animals are highly resilient.

'They've been through plenty of dramatic changes in temperature and they've gone through that okay,' he said.

'I think its important to be careful with these doomsday predictions.'


Now FARMING is bad for the planet

A dubious statement below: "Species distribution in the environment had remained relatively constant for around 300 million years before humans began farming".  Species go extinct all the time.  That's evolution. More than 99 percent of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct

The impact of humans on the environment is often cast as a modern problem due to pollution, habitat destruction and man-made climate change.

But new research has shown that the activities of our species have been reshaping nature for more than 6,000 years.

In a study that examined the distribution patterns of species over the past 307 million years, researchers have pinpointed a 'tipping point' when mankind's activities began changing ecosystems.

They said increases in hunting as stone technology improved, the spread of farming and the domestication of animals changed the world in irreversible ways.

This heralded a new stage in global evolution of plants and animals as a force other than nature shaped how the world looked.

Kathleen Lyons, a palaeobiologist at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, said species distribution in the environment had remained relatively constant for around 300 million years before humans began farming.

She said: 'This tells us that humans have been having a massive effect on the environment for a very long time.'

The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Nature, evaluated changes in plant and animal organisation over the past 307 million years.

They quantified the co-occurrence of more than 359,000 different fossilised and modern species from North America, Europe and Africa, examining the possibility of two species occurring in a landscape at the same time.

For example, elephants and giraffes often appear in the same landscape as they prefer the same habitat while lions and zebra also occur side-by-side as the predators prey on the herbivores.

The researchers found that for around 300 million years, it was more common for species to occur together – or aggregate – on a landscape.

Through the Carboniferous period to the early Holocene epoch - 11,700 years ago - they calculate there was an average of 64 per cent of species who occurred in these aggregated relationships.

However, around 6,000 years ago, this appears to have changed with just 37 per cent of species pairs having aggregated relationships.

Since then, they said, species have become more segregated - meaning where you find one species, you are less likely to find another.

Dr Lyons told the Smithsonian Magazine this could have important implications for species alive today.

She said: 'We're living in a lot of areas where species used to overlap their distributions. They don't overlap anymore because they can't get through the areas where we're living now.

'It probably means species are more vulnerable to extinction because there are fewer connections between them.

'And because their geographic ranges are smaller, their abundances are almost certainly smaller.'


The death of rooftop solar -- in CALIFORNIA

If rooftop solar is a dodo in sunny CA, where is it a good thing? It's not dead yet in CA but Jerry Brown and his merry men have pulled their support out from under it

California's aggressive push to increase renewable energy production comes with a catch for people with solar panels on the roof: You don't count.

If a home or business has a rooftop solar system, most of the wattage isn't included in the ambitious requirement to generate half of the state's electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030, part of legislation signed in October by Gov. Jerry Brown.

That means rooftop solar owners are missing out on a potentially lucrative subsidy that is paid to utilities and developers of big power projects.

It also means that utility ratepayers could end up overpaying for clean electricity to meet the state's benchmark because lawmakers, by excluding rooftop solar, left out the source of more than a third of the state's solar power.

Owners of rooftop solar systems and their advocates aren't happy about the policy.

"Ratepayers essentially subsidize utility companies," said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Assn. "We all get taken to the bank" if utilities are spending to reach a 50% clean-energy mandate that could be attained faster and cheaper with the help of roof panels.

For homeowners such as Carrie McCandless, the state's policy on rooftop solar came as a surprise.

"I'm stunned," said McCandless, a Livermore, Calif., resident who wanted to help improve the environment because her daughter suffers from severe asthma.

Her solar panels fit the bill, producing clean energy for her family. And they gave her a sense of pride, she said, in helping the state reach its energy targets — or so she thought.

"We all think we're making a difference and contributing," McCandless said. "I'm just so angry."

The rooftop solar industry and consumer advocates say opposition to including rooftop solar in California's renewable energy mandate came from large developers that feared competition for subsidies as well as unions that were upset because rooftop solar installers typically aren't members.

"They excluded it because the unions and corporate entities didn't want it," said Jamie Court, president of the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia include rooftop solar panels in their mandates for clean energy, with varying benefits for participants.

Among the states with clean-energy mandates, the solar industry says, California is alone in its approach of counting mainly commercial installations that sell to utilities — Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric — or facilities that the utilities own themselves.


Another False 'Turning Point' on Climate

By George Will

History, on the “right side” of which Barack Obama endeavors to keep us, has a sense of whimsy. Proof of which is something happening this week: Britain’s last deep-pit coal mine is closing, a small event pertinent to an enormous event, the Industrial Revolution, which was ignited by British coal.

The mine closure should not, however, occasion cartwheels by the climate’s saviors, fresh from their Paris achievement. The mine is primarily a casualty of declining coal prices, a result of burgeoning world energy supplies. Thanks largely to the developing world, demand for coal is expected to increase for at least another quarter-century.

The mine is closing immediately after the planet’s latest “turning point” — the 21st U.N. climate change conference since 1995, each heralded as a “turning point.” The climate conference, like God in Genesis, looked upon its work and found it very good. It did so in spite of, or perhaps because of, this fact: Any agreement about anything involving nearly 200 nations will necessarily be primarily aspirational, exhorting voluntary compliance with inconsequential expectations — to “report” on this and “monitor” that. A single word change that brought the agreement to fruition: it replaced a command (nations “shall” do so and so) with an entreaty (nations “should” do so and so).

Secretary of State John Kerry knew that any agreement requiring U.S. expenditures and restrictions on wealth creation would founder on the reef of representative government. He remembers why Bill Clinton flinched from seeking Senate ratification of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol: The Senate voted 95-0 for a resolution disapproving the Protocol’s principles, with Massachusetts Sen. Kerry among the 95.

Eighteen years later, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of whose invaluable functions is to be a wet blanket about moveable feasts such as the Paris conference, says: “Before [the president’s] international partners pop the champagne, they should remember that this is an unattainable deal based on a [U.S.] domestic energy plan that is likely illegal, that half the states have sued to halt, and that Congress has already voted to reject.”

The Paris agreement probably occasions slight excitement among the planet’s billion people who lack electricity, and the hundreds of millions in need of potable water. Historians, write Walter Russell Mead and Jamie Horgan of The American Interest, are likely to say that the Paris agreement ended climate change the way the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Treaty ended war. But as the ink dries on the Paris gesture of right-mindedness, let us praise the solar energy source most responsible for the surge of human betterment that began with the harnessing of fossil fuels around 1800.

The source is, of course, coal, a still abundant and indispensable form in which the sun’s energy has been captured from carbon-based life. Matt Ridley, a member of a British coal-producing family and author of “The Rational Optimist,” notes that the path of mankind’s progress, material as well as moral, has been from reliance on renewable but insufficient energy sources to today’s 85 percent reliance on energy from fossil fuels.

The progression has been from reliance on human (often slaves') muscles, to animal energy (first oxen, then horses), to burning wood and peat as stores of sunlight, to energy from water and wind, to, at last, fossil fuels. Sustained economic growth, a necessary prerequisite for scientific and technological dynamism, became possible, Ridley writes, when humanity was able to rely on “non-renewable, non-green, non-clean power.” Because “there appeared from underground a near-magical substance,” Britain’s landscape was spared: “Coal gave Britain fuel equivalent to the output of 15 million extra acres of forest to burn, an area nearly the size of Scotland. By 1870, the burning of coal in Britain was generating as many calories as would have been expended by 850 million laborers. … The capacity of the country’s steam engines alone was equivalent to 6 million horses or 40 million men.”

And cheap coal produced the iron for new labor-saving machines. The environmental toll from burning coal (it emits carbon dioxide, radioactivity and mercury) has been slight relative to the environmental and other blessings from burning it.

In May 1945, Aneurin Bevan, a leading light among British socialists, said: “This island is made mainly of coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organizing genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time.” Genius was not required. Socialism — command-and-control government of the sort that climate fine-tuners recommend for the entire planet — soon accomplished this marvel, with coal rationed and the price of fish soaring.


A Climate Agreement Powered by Hypocrisy

Bjorn Lomborg

The beautiful Champs-Élysées is lit with millions of sparkling lights. This year, they are powered by renewable energy. There is a wind turbine as tall as the Arc de Triomphe, and 440 solar panels take up much of the Champs-Élysées roundabout. One evening during the COP21 climate change conference this month, there was neither sunlight nor wind, so organizers asked those of us strolling down the avenue to power the lights via stationary bikes and hamster wheels.

“Pedal power” delivered great images for the television crews that were here to cover the summit. But these “green energy” bikes amount to a victory of empty gestures over substance and reason – which makes them sadly representative of COP21 itself.
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The agreement reached in Paris contains promises that, if enacted between now and the target date of 2030, will cost the global economy at least $1 trillion dollars a year – and possibly twice as much if politicians make inefficient policy choices. This makes the agreement the costliest in history.

My peer-reviewed research paper, published in Global Policy, shows that the 2016-2030 promises on cutting emissions of carbon dioxide will reduce temperatures by 2100 by just 0.05° Celsius (0.09° Fahrenheit). Even if the promised emissions cuts continued throughout the century, the Paris agreement would cut global temperature rises by just 0.17°C. Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology find a similar temperature reduction.

This is why former US Vice President Al Gore’s climate adviser, Jim Hansen, who first brought concern about global warming to the public in 1988, called the Paris agreement “a fraud really, a fake” and “just worthless words. There is no action, just promises.”

But politicians suggest the agreement will do much more. The agreement concluded at COP21 goes further than the much-discussed target of capping the global temperature increase at 2°C above pre-industrial levels, but actually states that the aim is to keep the increase “well below 2°C,” with an effort to cap it at 1.5°C.

This is simply cynical political theater, meant to convince us that our leaders are taking serious action. But none of the actors is talking about the impact of the actual, concrete commitments agreed in Paris. Instead, they are placing their faith in deus ex machina: all the vague vows and rhetoric about what will happen after 2030 and toward the middle of the century.

The United States is a prime example of how far-fetched this drama is. It’s no sure bet that if a Republican succeeds President Barack Obama in 2016, even the next four years of promised carbon cuts will happen. It’s even more ludicrous to suggest that promises with a due date of 2050 will be fulfilled by whoever is president after 2030.

The Paris agreement features pledges on greenhouse-gas emissions from developing countries, in exchange for which they will receive huge sums of cash from richer countries. The poor countries will certainly take that money, and some of it may even be spent reducing emissions. But the world’s poorest don’t want solar panels or wind turbines: they have much more immediate needs, not the least of which is for modern energy – which mostly means more access to fossil fuels. It seems likely that by 2030, we will recognize that much of this money-go-round has done very little to help global warming.

So, the Paris agreement is a phenomenally expensive but almost empty gesture – much like the bicycles and hamster wheels cluttering the Champs-Élysées. When I came across them, they and the huge wind turbine and hundreds of solar panels had produced 321kWh of energy in nine days. But the total power requirement of the Champs-Élysées lighting for those days was ten times higher – about 4,500 kWh. Even if 200 professional bikers pedaled nonstop throughout December, they would not produce enough electricity for the Christmas lights.

What’s more, none of the pedaling is actually CO2-neutral. The power needed to manufacture and move the bikes, batteries, wind turbine, and solar panels probably produces higher CO2 emissions than are saved. Just the food consumption for riders to produce electricity emits 24 times as much CO2 as the most polluting coal-fueled power production.

And even if the lights had been produced with dirty old coal, the emissions could have been entirely offset on the European Trading System for about €120. Then it would have been 100% CO2 free. But of course, it wouldn’t have felt as good or created “green” images for television crews.

The really important news from Paris was the announcement of a Bill Gates-led renewable-energy innovation fund. The fund is needed because, despite the arguments of the green-energy lobby and climate activists, today’s inefficient, intermittent solar and wind sources are not yet ready to take over from fossil fuels. Indeed, the International Energy Agency estimates that the world paid $84 billion to subsidize solar and wind power last year, and it expects that 25 years from now, we will still be paying about $84 billion in annual subsidies.

We need to take other actions, too, like ending fossil-fuel subsidies. But the smartest long-term climate policy is the one envisaged by Gates: to invest heavily in research and development to push down the future price of green energy. The promise made by Gates, together with 20 countries, to double R&D funding to $24 billion annually by 2020 is a fantastic development – exactly what is needed. However, much more must be spent to bring forward the arrival of a breakthrough.

Until then, activists and politicians can cynically proclaim their “triumph” over straw-man enemies and global warming itself. But, like those on the stationary bikes in the City of Light, they are spinning their wheels and getting us nowhere.


Proselytizing in Paris?

More on the recent Paris meeting (aka  COP21 — i.e. the UN’s 21st "Conference of Parties")

Let’s cut to the chase: these assemblies have n-o-t-h-i-n-g to do with CO2, Climate, or Science. Instead they are about money, power, control and promulgating doctrine.

It is increasingly apparent that the most fundamental objective of this crusade, is to substantially undermine Western civilization. If you are the slightest bit skeptical of this reality, then please read some of the books written by US environmental leader, Bill McKibben. One of his recurrent homilies is that “modernity” (aka Western civilization) is a bad thing.

With Bill and his fellow acolytes, this is literally a religion. (See here, here, here, here, here & here for sample reports about this.) It’s important to note that when discussing someone’s religious beliefs: facts, logic, Science, etc. are irrelevant (and irreverent) matters that only come into play when they accidentally coincide with the dogma being proselytized.

The good news is that these people are so mesmerized by their own gibberish and greed, that (so far) they have been incapable of coming up with anything meaningful. As Voluntary Mush says: in the end, what we got out of Paris is:
    1) voluntary emission caps,
    2) voluntary progress reviews,
    3) no international oversight of any voluntary progress, and             
    4) voluntary contributions to the Fund.

That these preachers are spinning this pablum as a major accomplishment, tells you all you need to know about the credibility of anything they say.

Who is the biggest beneficiary of this insidiousness? China. What would China and some of our largest environmental organizations have in common? Communism — which they’d like to replace Western civilization with. It’s all explained quite well in the trailer for Grinding America Down.

In any case, below is some reasonable commentary on the Paris convocation, roughly arranged in chronological order: before, during and after.

Email from John Droz


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

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20 December, 2015

What happens when you use only quality data to measure warming?

I generally don't comment on reports that appear on the site of Anthony Watts, because I assume that anybody reading this blog will already be reading that one.  He has a much bigger readership than I do. This time I think I need to say something however. 

The background is that Anthony is a skeptical meteorologist who has long bent over backwards to achieve some respectability among climate scientists. That is not my style at all  -- I never give an inch for the sake of popularity --  but maybe Anthony is right and I am wrong in the great scheme of things.  And he has finally got what must be his heart's desire by being allowed to present a paper at the AGU.  And it is that paper that I want to talk about.  The report below tells you some things about it but not, in my view, the most important things.

For a start, there is here a graph that summarizes Anthony's findings. It is too large for me to reproduce usefully on this page but you can see it if you click on the link.  It is an extraordinarily poor graph.  If I had been handed it as a student assignment in my statistics classes, I would have failed it. There is no calibration on the X axis and unexplained calibration on the Y axis.  So I have to be a bit approximate in some of the things I want to say about it.

One of the reasons statisticians graph things is to detect non-linear relationships -- and when I look at Athony's graph I immediately detect something of that kind.  The graph seems bimodal to me.  The temperature seems just about flat up to about the year 2000 and then takes a leap onto a new plateau after that time.  So what I think we see is not a steady upward trend but two flat records with a short sudden leap from one to the other.

But Anthonly ignores that.  His analysis looks only at a steady upward trend.  Why?  Because his whole presentation is designed not to rock the boat too much.  By combining the data from the '80s and '90s (which did show some warming) with the 21st century data (which shows no warming), he gets an overall upwards temperature rise -- which is just what the Warmists want.  By failing to consider the pre- and post- 2000 data separately, Anthony ignores the "pause", the period in the 21st century temperature record that even Warmists concede has shown no statistically significant change in global temperature.

Anthony will no doubt say that I misconceive what he was trying to do and that may be so but I am concerned that Warmists will now be able to say that a prominent skeptic has admitted that the globe is still warming after all -- when that is clearly not the case.  The overall temperature rise that Anthony reports is nothing more than a statistical artifact, and a deliberate one at that.

Here once again is the graph of the satellite temperature record:

Anthony's data are of course from the USA only so, logically, one could say that they tell us nothing about global temperatures. The USA could be entirely atypical of the globe.  I am not, however, aware that anybody has ever put forward such an improbable proposition.  In any case, my criticism concerns the misinterpretation of a graph, nothing more.

And if the graph is typical of the globe, it gives Warmists a new big problem.  None of their models and theories even begin to account for a recent sudden step change in temperature over just a year or two.  Or have we already had the famed "tipping point"?!

Surface temperatures recorded over three decades at 410 ideally situated weather stations are markedly lower than temperatures recorded at stations located near multiple heatsinks, according to a new study presented Thursday at the 2015 fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

The study examined the 30-year temperature records collected from a subset of 410 weather stations belonging to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) of 1,218 stations.

“A 410-station subset of U.S. Historical Climatology stations is identified that experienced no changes in time of observation or station moves during the 1979-2008 period. These stations are classified on proximity to artificial surfaces, buildings, and other such objects with unnatural thermal mass,” according to the study, entitled Comparing of Temperature Trends Using an Unperturbed Subset of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network.

 “The United States temperature trends estimated from the relatively few stations in the classes with minimal artificial impact are found to be collectively about 2/3 as large as US trends estimated in the classes with greater expected artificial impact,” the researchers report.

The study “suggests that the trend for U.S. temperature will need to be corrected. We also see evidence of this same sort of siting problem around the world at many other official weather stations, suggesting that the same upward bias on trend also manifests itself in the global temperature record.”

However, “the data suggests that the divergence between well and poorly sited stations is gradual, not a result of spurious step change due to poor metadata,” they concluded.

“The majority of weather stations used by NOAA to detect climate change temperature signal have been compromised by encroachment of artificial surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and heat sources like air conditioner exhausts. This study demonstrates conclusively that this issue affects temperature trend and that NOAA’s methods are not correcting for this problem, resulting in an inflated temperature trend,” said lead author Anthony Watts, who blogs at Watts Up With That?

The best stations (Class 1) are defined as those situated on “flat and horizontal ground surrounded by a clear surface with a slope below 1/3 (<19 100="" and="" area="" artificial="" as="" at="" away.="" bodies="" buildings="" centimeters="" concrete="" cover="" deg.="" elevation="" except="" far="" from="" grass="" ground="" heating="" high.="" if="" is="" it="" large="" least="" located="" lots.="" low="" meters="" no="" of="" or="" parking="" reflecting="" representative="" sensors="" shading="" such="" sun="" surfaces="" the="" then="" vegetation="" water="" when="">3 degrees,” according to NOAA's 2002 Site Information Handbook.

The worst (Class 5) have their “temperature sensor located next to/above an artificial heating source, such as a building, roof top, parking lot, or concrete surface.”

“The poorest sites tend to be warmer,” explained co-author John Nielsen-Gammon, professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University.


Greenland Ice Sheet lost mass twice as fast between 2003 and 2010 as it did during the ENTIRE twentieth century

There was NO global warming during the period concerned (2003-2010).  That pesky graph again:

So global warming cannot be held responsible for the changes  described below.  So what might have been the cause of the melting? Probably vulcanism of some sort.  Greenland is not generally known for volcanoes at present but had a lots of them in the distant past.  And the Arctic as a whole is still volcanically active. The volcanoes of neighboring Iceland are of course well known and the underwater volcanoes of the Gakkel ridge are quite explosive.  So there may be more going on under the Greenland icecap than we know. 

Some years ago an "unexpected" hotspot was discovered under the Greenland ice and that could well not be the whole of it.  One might note that the extensive volcanic activity under the Antarctic icecap has only recently become known.  It is therefore entirely reasonable to expect that something similar lies ready to be discovered in the Arctic

Note also that the melting recorded below was quite uneven -- not Greenland-wide.  That is much more consistent with random vulcanism events than with an effect of global warming, which would affect the whole of Greenland

The Greenland ice sheet - a potentially massive contributor to land-encroaching sea-level rise - lost mass twice as fast between 2003 and 2010 as during the entire 20th century.

This is according to the first direct observations of the region's melting during the latest 110 years.

Greenland ice loss contributed to a global average sea level rise of 25 millimetres (about an inch) between 1990 and 2010 - mainly from surface melt.

The total mass lost was over 9,000 gigatonnes (billion tonnes). It was net loss, meaning the difference between ice melt and ice gain from falling snow or rain.

The study is the first time scientists have been able to provide an accurate estimate of how much Greenland contributes to sea level rise.

Data on the Greenland ice sheet has been lacking in reports of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists in the study said.

It also allows researchers to pinpoint where the ice sheet is particularly sensitive and what controls the loss of glacier ice in Greenland.

'If we do not know the contribution from the all sources that have contributed towards global sea level rise, then it is difficult to predict future global sea levels,' said first author of the paper, Kristian Kjeldsen from the Natural History Museum of Denmark.

'In our paper we have used direct observations to specify the mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet and thereby highlight its contribution to global sea level rise'.

The scientists were particularly interested in the changes of the ice sheet after the Little Ice Age, a period from c. 1200 AD to the end of the nineteenth century.

This marks when the ice sheet was at its largest during the past millinium.

Changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet are observed when the ice retreats and leaves an imprint on the landscape.

The vegetation along mountain slopes was removed by the advancing ice and once the ice begins to retreat the freshly eroded part of the mountain slope is seen as a lighter colour than the non-eroded part where plants were growing all along.

The results show that some areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet have lost considerable amounts of ice during the twentieth century.

The mass loss along the southeastern and northwestern coast contributed between 53 and 83 per cent of the entire mass loss for the individual periods.

'One of the unique things about our results - which distinguish them from earlier model studies - is that we not only estimate the total mass loss of the entire ice,' said Kjeldsen.

'But we can actually calculate changes all the way down to regional and local levels and say something about changes for individual outlet glaciers'.


White House: Spending Deal Allows Obama to Shift Money to Green Climate Fund

The $1.2 trillion year-end spending bill released by House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday does not include money for the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund (GCF), but it does not prevent President Obama from shifting funds to it from other areas, according to the White House.

“Based on what we have reviewed so far, there are no restrictions on our ability to make good on the president’s pledge to contribute to the Green Climate Fund,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.

Obama has pledged $3 billion to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“When you take a look at the entire package, I think the country can feel good about how this budget reflects the priorities that the President has laid out when it comes to transitioning to the low-carbon economy of the future,” Earnest said.

The GCF is the financial mechanism that will be used to implement the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement adopted on December 12.

James Taylor, senior fellow for environment and energy policy at the Heartland Institute, told that the Paris agreement “hamstrings Western economies to utilize much more expensive energy sources that put them at a competitive disadvantage and hands over $100 billion to developing nations, which may presumably include China” - despite “real-world evidence [that] continues to contradict the notion of a global warming crisis.”

Taylor pointed out that China is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide on earth and emits “more than all the nations in the Western Hemisphere combined.” Chinese finance minister Yingming Yang is on the GCF’s board.

James Taylor (Heartland Institute)
However, under the agreement, China and India, another major CO2 emitter, “don’t have to do anything,” he told

Under the non-binding agreement, China has merely promised to “peak” its CO2 emissions “around 2030”, but has not agreed to any actual reductions.

In contrast, Obama pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by at least 26 percent below 2005 levels over the next 10 years. That goal would require implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s controversial Clean Power Plan, which is being challenged in court by 26 states.

Nevertheless, Taylor characterized the Paris agreement as a “crushing defeat” for the Obama administration. “They did not achieve their objective, which was to obligate the United States to internationally enforceable carbon dioxide restrictions,” he told

“The only way that would happen is if U.S. policy makers decide to implement the plan, and for that Congress has to come on board. And Congress is not that foolish,” he predicted.


Republicans to Keep Trying to Block Obama’s International Climate Change Deal

Republicans upset with President Barack Obama’s international climate change agreement remain committed to the few options they have to do something about it.

“Honestly, I never feel helpless,” insisted Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., one of the leaders in the House opposing Obama’s climate change plans. “Whatever is going to happen today is going to happen today. This is a generational battle. If we think after one battle, one skirmish, we should throw in the towel, we are not leading the America that we have been entrusted with.”

“We will just keep fighting and are never, ever going to give up,” Kelly added. “I just keep asking our guys: What else can we do?”

Since it became clear that Obama intended to pursue an accord committing nearly every nation to lower planet-warming emissions without seeking congressional approval, Republicans have tried to insert their authority into the matter.

But Obama has no intent to oblige, and negotiators went out of their way to word the agreement in such a way to where they believe it does need to be submitted to the Senate as a treaty.

Opponents are also threatening to use their “power of the purse” to withhold money that the U.S. plans to contribute to developing nations to combat climate change.

Obama has pledged to contribute up to $3 billion in U.S. spending on the Green Climate Fund, including $500 million in fiscal year 2016.

The Green Climate Fund is a pool of money through which developed countries, with contributions from public and private sources, help developing nations confront climate change.

The climate change agreement does not legally bind countries to contribute money to the climate fund, but it sets the goal for rich countries to contribute together at least $100 billion per year.

A new spending bill appropriating money for this fiscal year—which is expected to be voted on by lawmakers this week—does not assign money for the Green Climate Fund.

But Republicans were unable to attach a proposed policy provision that would have explicitly blocked Obama from sending federal money to the Green Climate Fund.

In addition, the $1.1 trillion spending bill does not prohibit the administration from transferring money from other accounts for the climate fund.

On Wednesday, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama is interpreting the spending bill as allowing him to pay into the climate fund, since Republicans did not explicitly bar the funding.

“Based on what we have reviewed so far, there are no restrictions on our ability to contribute to the Green Climate Fund,” Earnest said.

Kelly, in an interview with The Daily Signal, said Republicans would continue to try to stop efforts to appropriate the money, although it’s unclear how they can.

“If it comes down to this and we are going to take hard-earned American taxpayer money to pay for it, than that is a no-go for me,” Kelly said. “That is not a bus I am ever going to get on.”

If the funding issue is indeed resolved for this fiscal year, Kelly and other Republicans are still pushing for Congress to review the climate deal.

Kelly is the author of a resolution “expressing the sense of Congress” that Obama should submit the climate deal struck in Paris last week to the Senate for approval.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced an identical resolution in his chamber.

The combined measure, filed as a “concurrent resolution” last month, is non-binding, meaning it does not function as law or require approval of the president.

Instead, it is meant as a messaging vehicle to pressure Obama to submit the climate deal as a treaty. The House and Senate have not yet voted on the resolution.

Yet the Obama administration, mindful that the Republican-led Congress would block the deal, says it is not obligated to share it with the Senate.

Negotiators argue that the climate change agreement does not include target levels for countries to reduce their emissions. While every country is required to put forward a plan, there is no legal requirement dictating how, or how much, countries should cut emissions.

In addition, though, the countries party to the deal have to legally monitor, verify, and report progress on their emissions-reductions, there is no enforcement mechanism, or penalty, for not doing so.

So because the Obama administration says the agreement does not include “targets and timetables,” U.S. negotiators contend that it can be produced as an executive agreement that is already legally protected under a 1992 United Nations climate change treaty.

Lee, in an interview with The Daily Signal, says he is not buying this argument.

“I am aware of no exception to the ratification requirement in the Constitution saying if you don’t have any specific emissions targets in a global climate change agreement, that means you don’t need advice and consent from the Senate,” Lee said. “There are still obligations. That is the nature of an international agreement. And when we are making obligations, regardless of the nature of the obligations, we need to have that review process—that’s what the Constitution contemplates, and that’s the kind of process that guarantees the American people will have some input.”

Lee said he has not received a commitment from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that he would bring the “concurrent resolution” to the floor for a vote, although Lee believes there’s a “decent” chance it happens next year.

Even if the measure passed, it would be nothing more than symbolic, and Lee said it’s unlikely a court would intervene to force Obama to submit the climate agreement as a treaty.

“This is not the kind of thing that is likely to be enforced by a court,” Lee said. “This interaction is between two branches of government, and if we don’t make sure that it happens, we can’t assume anyone else will do it for us.”

Both Senate and House Republicans have already passed measures striking down Environmental Protection Agency rules cutting carbon emissions, but Obama would veto those measures.

The EPA regulations, which form the basis of the U.S. commitment to the larger global climate deal, are being challenged in court by two dozen states.

Republicans’ best chance to fight the international climate agreement may not come soon.

Since much of the agreement is not legally binding, a potential future Republican president does not have to uphold it.

“One of the consequences of not getting Senate ratification is that it’s not binding on a subsequent president, and I would not anticipate a subsequent Republican president would be inclined to honor an agreement that does not carry the force of a ratified treaty that amounts to the law of the land of the constitution,” Lee said.

Kelly is less diplomatic.

“The reality is, the whole world committed to a conversation,” Kelly said. “This is a wish list. It has nothing to do with reality. I don’t know who the president is going to be, but I hope that person understands they are the best chance we have to make sure that in our lifetime we are never going to walk away and say we can’t win.”

Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, says Obama is not worried about Republican attempts to undo his executive actions.

“I don’t believe you can be elected president of the United States if you don’t understand climate change or you’re not committed to this kind of a plan,” Kerry said on ABC this past weekend.


Shafting taxpayers – promoting crony corporatism

Omnibus budget deal ends oil export ban, perpetuates renewable subsidies, redistributes wealth

Paul Driessen

President Reagan once said, “The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.” The omnibus budget package being negotiated on Capitol Hill is a perfect example.

The wheeling and dealing is too complex and fast-moving for anyone to follow or understand. But its energy components center on trading an end to the 40-year-old oil export ban in exchange for extending and perpetuating renewable energy programs and President Obama’s dictatorial Clean Power Plan.

It is especially maddening when supposed Republican fiscal conservatives are supposedly in charge of Congress and the purse strings. It’s especially despicable when the energy policies are based on lies and fraud about “dangerous manmade climate change,” and on blatant crony corporatism that gives coerced taxpayer subsidies to companies that then make campaign contributions to helpful legislators. It makes it perfectly clear why voters are spitting mad, and “outsiders” have an inside track on presidential races.

The not-a-treaty arrangements just concluded in Paris allow climate alarmists to claim 100% of countries now agree that climate change is a huge problem – even though most American disagree, and some 90% of those countries signed the agreement just to get their “fair share” of the $100 billion per year that they demand from developed nations, which are now expected to de-carbonize, de-industrialize and de-develop.

But where are the dangerous, unprecedented rising seas and stronger storms? They’re not happening in the Real World. They exist only in computer models and White House press releases. But we are supposed to accept the hysteria as fact; base laws and policies on them; and destroy millions of coal, oil, natural gas and factory jobs, while we prop up wind, solar and biofuel industries to replace fossil fuels.

The ban on exporting American crude oil was enacted after the Arab oil embargo, and long before the fracking revolution, when politicians thought we were running out of petroleum. Now the United States and world have abundant oil and natural gas, oil prices have plummeted to $40 per barrel, oilfield jobs are threatened, and letting American companies export crude to Europe and other regions would spur drilling and job preservation, generate major tax revenues and greatly reduce balance of trade deficits.

However, Democrats detest drilling and fossil fuels, and President Obama had threatened to veto any bill that ends the export ban. So congressional leaders cobbled together a deal that would lift the ban – in exchange for extending wind and solar subsidies, and sending billions of dollars to “poor” countries like China and India, for climate change “adaptation and reparations,” while they burn more and more coal.

The reported deal extends subsidies five more years. The wind energy Production Tax Credit would be reduced 20% in 2017, 40% in 2018 and 60% in 2019, after which it would finally expire (unless Congress extends it yet again). For solar, the 30% Investment Tax Credit would remain in place past 2017, then drop to 26% through 2020, then to 22% through 2021, then remain at 10% in perpetuity. Biofuel mandates would also remain.

Just as bad, wind and solar would continue to be exempt from the Endangered Species Act. Companies would still be allowed to bury, hide, incinerate or ignore millions of eagle, hawk, other bird and bat carcasses – and never be subjected to penalties imposed on oil and coal companies for a few dozen deaths.

As Politico explains, the “logic” behind these arrangements is that solar (and wind) companies need this “lifeline” so that they can survive over the next few years, “until EPA rules kick in and boost demand for their carbon-free power.” As I see it, the omnibus bill sanctifies EPA’s draconian Clean Power Plan and other anti-coal regulations, which force coal-fired power plants to close in favor of wind and solar.

That would mean millions more jobs lost in factories and communities that depend on low-cost coal-based electricity, and on natural gas-fueled power plants that are also under environmentalist and EPA assault. It would mean ruling elites again get to decide whose jobs get preserved, and who get the shaft.

It seems Congress doesn’t dare imperil jobs and companies created via government diktats and taxpayer largesse. They are granted eternal life. It likewise doesn’t dare furlough federal workers for a few weeks, during another government shutdown over the budget. Fear of being blamed for a government shutdown drives Republican decisions – even though the feds would again get full back pay when they return to work, unlike private sector workers whose jobs get destroyed, often sacrificed on the climate altar, or for campaign contributions from crony corporatist friends.

As to “carbon-free” power, there is no such thing. Enormous wind and solar installations require coal or gas-fired backup generating plants, operating at peak inefficiency as they ramp up and power down when wind or sun conditions repeatedly change. That means even more carbon dioxide emissions.

And as even Secretary of State John Kerry recently admitted, with nearly 200 other countries still operating, building and planning thousands of coal-fired power plants, even if Americans all biked to work and ended all U.S. fossil fuel use, atmospheric CO2 levels would continue to rise. So even if carbon dioxide actually does drive climate change (which it doesn’t), our sacrifices would be for nothing.

In fact, even EPA analyses make it clear that a fully implemented job-killing Clean Power Plan would bring an undetectable, irrelevant reduction of 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.05 F) in average global temperatures 85 years from now – because the rest of the world is not about to stop burning oil, gas and coal.

But meanwhile we are supposed to blanket millions of acres with solar panels and wind turbines, convert millions of acres of crop and habitat land into biofuel plantations, send electricity prices “skyrocketing” for families, factories and hospitals, and kill millions of jobs – because our government says we must.

Then, even more insane, the Republican leadership also seems prepared to end the ban on using American dollars to bankroll our “fair share” of the $100-billion-a-year Green Climate Fund. And they’re planning to participate in this massive global wealth redistribution program in a sneaky, stealthy way.

They plan to let the Obama Administration have total control over $171 million that’s been appropriated in the omnibus spending bill for the Clean Technology Fund and $50 million appropriated for the Strategic Climate Fund – both of which feed into the GCF. They’ll also end prohibitions on reprogramming $168 million of Global Environment Facility money, so that it can be transferred to the GCF, and let the Treasury Department use $50 million of International Bank for Reconstruction and Development money for the same purpose. Otherwise no ending the oil exports ban.

Presto! $439 million in hard-earned taxpayer money becomes a down-payment to the Green Climate Fund, as “reparations” for climate changes we never caused, and “adaptation” money for future climate changes that will be no different or worse than what humans have experienced throughout history. Of course, the president and Democrats want a lot more – something closer to $3 billion a year.

Finally, let’s assume Republicans agree to all this pain, waste and joblessness, to end the oil export ban – and Mr. Obama refrains from vetoing it, because he gets the “renewable” energy subsidies he wants. Can we trust this president not to impose more regulatory edicts to block leasing, drilling, fracking, pipelines and exports? Or will we again be left holding an empty bag and looking like suckers?

Simply put, would it be better to give up on ending the export ban until we get a less anti-American occupant in the White House – and just eliminate these wind, solar and climate fund subsidies right now?

Voters should remind their rank-and-file representatives and the Republican (and Democrat) leadership that they are sick of the duplicity, double dealing and job destruction at the hands of ruling elites. No budget deal is better than a domestic version of the Iran nuclear deal or Paris climate non-treaty.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Via email

Solar subsidy cuts in Britain put up to 18,700 jobs at risk

Government to slash rooftop solar subsidies as it admits for the first time that thousands of jobs could be lost as a result
Solar panel subsidy cuts could result in 18,700 job losses, ministers have admitted, as they confirmed payments to homeowners would be slashed in the new year.

The Government on Thursday said it would cut level of 'feed in tariff' subsidies for rooftop solar panels by 64pc - less severe than an 87pc cut first proposed in August.

The drastic reduction is nevertheless expected to deter more than 700,000 of the 900,000 households that would otherwise have installed the panels over the next five years.

More than half of the 32,000 jobs in the solar panel installation industry could be lost as a result as work dries up, the Government's impact assessment suggests.

It said: "There are assumed to be between 9,700 and 18,700 (out of c32,300) fewer solar jobs supported on a headcount basis, and between 4,500 and 8,700 (out of c15,100) on an full-time equivalent basis by the end of 2018/19, as a result of these changes."

Several solar firms have already gone into administration since the planned cuts were announced in the summer.

Alasdair Cameron, of Friends of the Earth, said the "slight improvements" to the new subsidy level would be "cold comfort to those who have already lost their jobs and mean an uncertain Christmas for thousands more who are set to lose theirs in the coming months".

To date about 700,000 households have solar panels installed. This would have more than doubled to 1.6 million households if subsidies had remained unchanged, the Government estimates.

Instead, the total is forecast to remain at less than 900,000 by 2020.

The subsidies are funded through levies on household energy bills. A typical household bill will be £5 lower in 2020 as a result of the changes, DECC estimates.

But the industry has argued that a less severe cut could still have saved households money without leading to such a drastic reduction in installations.

A DECC spokesman said: “The Government continues to support the low-carbon sector but for this to be sustainable it needs to be driven by competition and innovation, not subsidies. Subsidies are supposed to be temporary not part of a permanent business model.

"We believe that the industry can continue to grow and maintain jobs and we estimate that by 2019 the plans we have set out today will still support between 15,000 and 23,000 jobs in the solar industry."



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18 December, 2015

Scientific dissent squelched

Peter Wood, chairman of the National Association of Scholars has sent the  email below to members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). He has also  sent a version to the board members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  It explains itself pretty clearly. 

But some important background:

The National Association of Scholars was drawn into this by James Enstrom, a former UCLA senior scientist who was fired after he blew the whistle on a major fraud at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) which is something like the California version of the EPA.  CARB had issued research findings (and ultimately regulations) based on a study that Enstrom demonstrated was fraudulent.  The main author of the study had a mail order Ph.D.—as it happens, the address of the phony degree-granting institution is on Madison Avenue two blocks from my office.  There was other mischief too, involving several of Enstrom’s colleagues who had seats at CARB.

The National Association of Scholars championed Enstrom’s case from the beginning, and we were not alone in doing so.  If you’d like more details, there is a pretty full public record up to the point where UCLA settled the case with Enstrom out of court in an agreement that sealed the record.  Enstrom, however, is still determined to set the scientific record right, and that has become more difficult as the EPA itself has built more regulations on the basis of CARB’s discredited findings.

Enstrom sought to publish some account of this in Science, the flagship journal of the AAAS, under the editorship of Marcia McNutt. He didn’t get anywhere. But he did end up making the acquaintance of other scientists who had similar experiences with McNutt, who seems to have a track records of bolting the door against scientists who dissent from establishment positions.

As it happens, McNutt is now a candidate—the only candidate—to be president of the National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious body of scientists in the country.  Enstrom hoped that if he could draw attention to this aspect of McNutt’s record, the members of the Academy might have second thoughts.

I don’t want to put the National Association of Scholars into a campaign against McNutt’s election, but it does seem to me a good opportunity to raise broader questions about how science bearing on public policy issues is now conducted in the United States, where legitimate dissent is often squelched.

The occasion for this letter is Dr. Marcia K. McNutt, Editor-in-Chief of Science. We are concerned that she is the only official candidate to be the next NAS president.  To be clear, the National Association of Scholars does not oppose Dr. McNutt’s candidacy.  We simply believe that members of an important national organization like NAS should have at least two candidates to consider when voting for your next president.  Indeed, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which publishes Science, always has two candidates for president and its other elected positions.  Other scientific organizations also have two candidates for their elected positions.

Also, we want to bring to your attention our serious concerns about the current state of discourse in the sciences.  Dr. McNutt has played a significant role in three active controversies involving national regulatory policy that deserve attention in themselves and that are also part of a larger problem.  The larger problem is how the scientific establishment, particularly Science and NAS, should evaluate and respond to serious dissent from legitimate scientists.  This is an especially important consideration for NAS, which was established to provide “independent, objective advice on issues that affect people's lives worldwide.”   

The three controversies are:

1.  The status of the linear no-threshold (LNT) dose-response model for the biological effects of nuclear radiation.  The prominence of the model stems from the June 29, 1956 Science paper, “Genetic Effects of Atomic Radiation,” authored by the NAS Committee on the Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation.  This paper is now widely questioned and has been seriously critiqued in many peer-reviewed publications, including two detailed 2015 papers.  These criticisms are being taken seriously around the world, as summarized in a December 2, 2015 Wall Street Journal commentary.  In August 2015 four distinguished critics of LNT made a formal request to Dr. McNutt to examine the evidence of fundamental flaws in the 1956 paper and retract it.  However, on August 11, 2015 Dr. McNutt rejected this request without even reviewing the detailed evidence.  Furthermore, Dr. McNutt did not even consider recusing herself and having independent reviewers examine evidence that challenges the validity of both a Science paper and an NAS Committee Report.

This is a consequential matter that bears on a great deal of national public policy, as the LNT model has served as the basis for risk assessment and risk management of radiation and chemical carcinogens for decades, but now needs to be seriously reassessed.  This reassessment could profoundly alter many regulations from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and other government agencies.  The relevant documents regarding the 1956 Science paper and Dr. McNutt can be examined at   

2.  Extensive evidence of scientific misconduct in the epidemiology of fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) and its relationship to mortality.  Since 1997 EPA has claimed that lifetime inhalation of about a teaspoon of particles with diameter less than 2.5 microns causes premature death in the United States and it established an national regulation based on this claim.  Science has provided extensive news coverage of this issue and its regulatory significance, but has never published any scientific criticism of this questionable claim, which is largely based on nontransparent research.

Earlier this year, nine accomplished scientists and academics submitted to Science well-documented evidence of misconduct by several of the PM2.5 researchers relied upon by EPA.  The evidence of misconduct was first submitted to Dr. McNutt in a detailed June 4, 2015 email letter, then in a detailed July 20, 2015 Policy Forum manuscript “Transparent Science is Necessary for EPA Regulations,” and finally in an August 17, 2015 Perspective manuscript “Particulate Matter Does Not Cause Premature Deaths.” Dr. McNutt and two Science editors immediately rejected the letter and the manuscripts and never conducted any internal or external review of the evidence.  This a consequential matter because many multi-billion dollar EPA air pollution regulations, such as, the Clean Power Plan, are primarily justified by the claim that PM2.5 is killing Americans.  The relevant documents regarding this controversy can be examined at  

3. Science promotes the so-called consensus model of climate change and excludes any contrary views.  This issue has become so polarized and polarizing that it is difficult to bring up, but at some point the scientific community will have to reckon with the dramatic discrepancies between current climate models and substantial parts of the empirical record.  Recent evidence of Science bias on this issue is the June 26, 2015 article by Dr. Thomas R. Karl, “Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus”; the July 3, 2015 McNutt editorial, “The beyond-two-degree inferno”; the November 13, 2015 McNutt editorial, “Climate warning, 50 years later”; and the November 25, 2015 AAAS News Release, “AAAS Leads Coalition to Protest Climate Science Inquiry.”

Dr. McNutt’s position is, of course, consistent with the official position of the AAAS. But the attempt to declare that the “pause” in global warming was an illusion has not been accepted by several respected and well-informed scientists. One would not know this, however, from reading Science, which has declined to publish any dissenting views.  One can be a strong supporter of the consensus model and yet be disturbed by the role which Science has played in this controversy.  Dr. McNutt and the journal have acted more like partisan activists than like responsible stewards of scientific standards confronted with contentious claims and ambiguous evidence.  The relevant documents and commentary regarding the Karl paper and McNutt editorials can be examined at  

All three of these controversies have arisen on issues in which a strong degree of scientific consensus became intertwined with public policy and institutional self-interest.  That intertwining can create selective blindness.

Dr. McNutt has in her career found herself faced more than once with the challenge of what to do when an entrenched orthodoxy meets a substantial scientific challenge.  The challenge in each case could itself prove to be mistaken, but it met what most scientists would concede to be the threshold criteria to deserve a serious hearing.  Yet in each case Dr. McNutt chose to reinforce the orthodoxy by shutting the door on the challenge.

The three areas that I sketched above, however, seem to have such prominence in public policy that they would warrant an even greater investment in time, care, and attention than would be normally the case. In that light, Dr. McNutt’s dismissive treatment of scientific criticisms is disturbing.

I bring these matters to your attention in the hope of accomplishing two things: raise awareness that the three issues represent threats to the integrity of science arising from the all-too-human tendency to turn ideas into orthodoxies; and suggest that it might be wise for NAS to nominate as a second candidate for president someone who has a reputation for scientific objectivity and fairness and who does not enforce orthodoxy.


Climate deal 'signals end to gas cookers': They'll have to be phased out to meet new targets

Yet more expense and disruption from this evil Leftist hoax.  And even if we grant them their assumptions, what sense does it make?  Replacing a gas heater by a heat pump does not eliminate the need for an energy supply.  Heat pumps run on electricity that has to be generated somehow -- but how would the vast new demand for electricity be met?  Britain is already substantially over-run with windmills and solar farms but still gets only a tiny fraction of its electricity supply from them.  And domestic heating is mostly used at night, when the sun doesn't shine -- not that it shines much in Britain anyway

The Paris climate change deal spells the beginning of the end for cooking and heating with gas, experts claimed yesterday.

Within 15 years, British families may have to start phasing out gas cookers, fires and boilers if the UK is to meet new tougher targets aimed at halting rises in global temperature.

The United Nations agreement to stop global warming, approved by 195 countries at a summit in Paris after two weeks of intense negotiations, commits nations to reducing greenhouse gases from 2020 onwards to halt climate change.

It was hailed as historic by politicians. David Cameron said: ‘This global deal now means that the whole world has signed to play its part in halting climate change.’

But Britain’s energy plans will now have to be revised as our already stringent targets to reduce greenhouse gases are based on limiting global warming to a rise of 2C.

The new agreement is more ambitious, aimed at limiting warming to ‘well below’ 2C by the century’s end.

The UK is ‘absolutely committed’ to the deal and will be ‘making sure we deliver on it’, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said yesterday.

Experts predict the stricter targets will mean the familiar sights of gas hobs and ovens and gas-fired boilers will become a thing of the past.

Jim Watson, professor of energy policy at Sussex University, said: ‘This will affect the power sector first, but as we move through to the 2030s and beyond we’ll have to find new ways of heating our homes and cooking our food.’

The Government’s Committee on Climate Change is pressing for alternatives to boilers such as heat pumps – devices which extract warmth from the ground or air.

It wants four million homes to be heated by such devices by 2030, despite each costing £12,000, with installations accelerating after that until gas plays a minimal role in heating and cooking in homes by 2050.

All gas-fired power stations must also close by the mid-2030s unless they strip CO2 from emissions.

Professor Watson added: ‘Gas has served us very well since the 1970s. Whatever we move to next, people will be moving to similar levels of comfort and controllability, which engineers need to get on with.’

Around 23million British homes use gas, with a third of natural gas used in Britain burnt by domestic boilers, cookers or heaters.

Britain is already committed to phasing out coal fired power stations by 2025.

But gas power stations will have to be phased out next, unless a way is found of capturing the CO2 they create – known as carbon capture and storage.

Gas, although cleaner than coal, is our biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions – generating 169million tons of CO2 in 2014.

Bob Ward, who is policy director at the Grantham Research Institute of Climate Change, said that to meet Britain’s commitments the days of cooking with gas were numbered.

He said: ‘The only possible use of fossil fuels that will continue is if they are used to generate electricity, but this will only happen if the carbon dioxide they create is captured and stored.

‘Gas cookers will be phased out, probably as soon as possible. I suspect manufacturers will simply stop making them.’

He added that in years to come some form of carbon tax putting up the cost of gas is inevitable – which will make electric cookers much cheaper than their gas rivals.

CCC chief executive Matthew Bell said: ‘For something like heating, by 2050 gas will be playing a much more limited role and a range of other technologies will have taken its place, meaning low-carbon sources of warmth – heat pumps and so on.’


Climate Make-Believe in Paris

Saving the planet has never been so easy.  The Paris climate talks concluded in a rousing round of self-congratulation over an agreement that, we are told, is the first step toward keeping Earth habitable. If generating headlines and press releases about making history were the metric for anything, Paris might be as consequential — if misbegotten — as advertised.

The fact is that Paris is very meta. The agreement is about the agreement, never mind what’s in it or what its true legal force is — namely, nil. Paris is a legally binding agreement not to have legally binding limits on emissions. It might be the most worthless piece of paper since the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawed war — about a decade prior to the outbreak of World War II.

Politico reported that the talks were almost derailed at the last minute by the accidental insertion of the word “shall” deep in the text, which, by implying a legal obligation, was to be avoided at all costs (the U.S. Senate would never give its assent to a legally binding treaty). The U.S. scrambled to change the offending word to “should.”

The Paris summit operated on the principle of CBDRILONCWRC, or “Common but Differentiated Responsibility in Light of National Circumstances With Respective Capability.” That means nothing was actually mandated on anyone because that proved — understandably enough, dealing with all the countries in the world — completely unworkable.

Instead, countries came up with so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. That’s climate bureaucratese for “You make up your emissions target, whatever it is, and we will pretend to take it seriously.” Thus, do the waters recede and Earth is saved from looming climate catastrophe.

Even if you believe the extremely dubious proposition that somehow the climate “consensus” perfectly understands perhaps the most complicated system on the planet, and can forecast with certitude and in detail what the global temperature will be a century from now, Paris is a charade. The best estimates are that, accepting the premises of the consensus, the deal will reduce warming 0.0 to 0.2 degrees Celsius.

President Barack Obama praised 180 countries for coming to Paris “with serious climate targets in hand.” This was ridiculous climate grade inflation. As Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute points out, Pakistan produced a one-page document promising to “reduce its emissions after reaching peak levels to the extent possible.” For this we needed a headline-grabbing global confab?

No one will mistake Pakistan for an industrial juggernaut. How about China, the world’s largest carbon emitter? It promises to reach peak emissions around 2030, when one U.S. government study estimates that it would hit peak admissions anyway, Cass notes. The more China promises to confront climate change, the more it stays the same.

India’s assurance that it will make a roughly 30 percent improvement in carbon intensity is, according to Cass, also about where it was projected to be headed anyway. India still wants to double its output of coal by 2020. As The Guardian put it, India “says coal provides the cheapest energy for rapid industrialization that would lift millions out of poverty.” India would be correct.

The agreement’s celebrants believe that by making countries report their progress on cutting carbon emissions and by sending a stern signal against fossil fuels, Paris will catalyze painful cuts in carbon emissions somewhere off in the future. It speaks to a naive belief in the power of global shame over the sheer economic interest of developing countries in getting rich (and lifting countless millions out of poverty) through exploiting cheap energy — you know, the way Western countries have done for a couple of centuries.

If this is the best hope of the climate alarmists, their global campaign will be a welcome fizzle. All things considered, it probably is best that they occupy themselves with grand meetings and with the exertions attendant to believing their own PR. Otherwise they could do real damage.


EPA Rebuked for Abusing the Law

Fresh off the heels of the Paris climate talks, the Environmental Protection Agency has already made headlines. However, this time it’s not because of failing to protect the environment, but because of failing to obey the law. With the EPA being Barack Obama’s favorite ecological weapon to enforce his agenda, one would think that the all-powerful agency would be a bit more careful in pushing its proposals.

It is worth recounting several of the EPA’s abysmal failures leading up to the newest wrongdoings. First, we previously reported that an EPA employee confessed to downloading more than 7,000 pornographic files to his computer and watching them for two to six hours a day. Not exactly the type of worker taxpayers want to be paying for.

Then recall that back in August the very agency that is supposed to protect the environment was found responsible for breaching a retaining wall during an inspection that led to the spillage of three million gallons of toxic chemicals and waste into the Animas river. Of course, the EPA apologized for the incident, but had someone in the private sector been responsible for the spill, the fines would still be piling up.

Then in October, a federal court ruled that the EPA had to stop encroaching on all of the small waterways nationwide. The EPA’s expanded interpretation of the Clean Water Act was an attempt by the agency to take control of every waterway in the United States. The EPA has no regard for state sovereignty, but in this case the court prevailed and the EPA had to stop its power grab.

Yet despite farmers, landowners, businesses and the courts opposing the overreach in the name of the Clean Water Act, the EPA decided to mount an effort to engage the public on the issue with the end being enough congressional support to pass legislation. Rather than relying solely on the mainstream media to push its proposals the EPA turned to different means — social media.

According to The New York Times, congressional auditors have concluded that “the Environmental Protection Agency engaged in ‘covert propaganda’ and violated federal law when it blitzed social media to urge the public to back an Obama administration rule intended to better protect the nations streams and surface waters.”

That’s right; the Government Accountability Office ruled that the EPA went too far to push its cause. As the Times notes, “Federal laws prohibit agencies from engaging in lobbying and propaganda.” Not surprisingly, an EPA official downplayed the findings by GAO and claimed that the EPA was simply using social media as a tool to stay connected and inform people of its activities. In other words, move along; nothing to see here.

Further, the Times notes, “The E.P.A. rolled out a social media campaign on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and even on more innovative tools such as Thunderclap, to counter opposition to its water rule, which effectively restricts how land near certain surface waters can be used. The agency said the rule would prevent pollution in drinking water sources.”

Moreover, federal agencies are not allowed to engage in propaganda or other covert activity for the sole purpose of influencing the American public. Federal agencies are also not allowed to use federal resources to lobby for the American public to contact Congress to act on legislation that is pending. Yet the Environmental Protection Agency did engage in propaganda and did conduct lobbying according to the GAO report.

Here are the examples cited in the report:

    A thunderclap message was used to reach out to 1.8 million people to urge them to support the clean water proposal. The message read, “Clean water is important to me. I support EPA’s efforts to protect it for my health, my family and my community.”

The problem with this message was that the millions of people who read it didn’t know it was being put out by the EPA; hence it is deemed to be covert activity.

    In a blog post, one of the public affairs officers named Travis Loop claimed he was a surfer and posted a message stating that he did not “want to get sick from pollution.” In addition there was a link to an advocacy group for clean water and a “take action” button that told the public to “tell Congress to stop interfering with your right to clean water.”

There is definitely some lobbying in that post, but further, there’s the made-up notion that we have a “right” to clean water as enforced by bureaucratic mandate.

    The GAO also determined that the EPA violated a federal Antideficiency Act, which prohibits federal agencies from spending money without authorization.

In other words, taxpayer dollars were used to fund the propaganda and lobbying efforts. So instead of the Environmental Protection Agency, we’re left with the Environmental Propaganda Agency.

If only the three-strikes-and-you’re-out rule could be applied to this agency. But since actual accountability likely won’t happen, maybe, just maybe the GAO report will have done enough damage and exposed the EPA for what it is and the legislation before Congress will receive enough “no” votes to stop this group of unelected bureaucrats from their attempted power grab.


The Great Climate Hoax

Comment from a Danish writer

President Obama attended the climate summit (COP21) in Paris with lukewarm support from the people of his polluting superpower.  One in five Americans don’t believe in climate change.   In contrast to the almost unanimous opinion of climate researchers around the world, only one in two Americans believe that human activity is the cause of the rise in global temperatures. 

One of the skeptics is Wade Linger who introduced his doubt into the school textbooks in West Virginia.

The row over big American cars and sports cars make it evident.   Wade Linger (pictured) just wants to give it gas and hit the accelerator on one of his 12 polished show cars without thinking of the environment.

But resistance to the climate debate runs deep in the 58-year-old father of five and owner of a software firm and garage called Wade’s Garage for so-called hotrod cars with lots of horsepower in Fairmont, West Virginia.

He is convinced that the alarming reports of the warming of the climate are part of a great hoax.  At the beginning of the year he became well known in the USA as a member of the state’s Board of Education, who was able to change the rules for the state’s school textbooks so that they would cast doubt on the causes of climate change.

In West Virginia, where the coal industry is almost being wiped out due to the strict environmental requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington and stiff competition from other forms of energy, such as natural gas, this is definitely not an unpopular position.

In the run-off of the closures of coal mines and mass layoffs of mining workers, many towns in the coal belt in the southern part of the state are awash in unemployment and social problems.  The climate debate and stiff environmental requirements for coal-fired power plants share a large part of the blame.

Therefore, no one was particularly surprised when the West Virginia legislature passed a law that prohibited the direct sales of the electric vehicles in the state because it is done without traditional car dealerships. The preferred vehicle in West Virginia includes the pickup truck, and the speaker of the state Senate, Bill Cole, just happens to own a large automobile business.

Fear of student indoctrination

"If I believed that we were saving the world, I would join forces with the environmental activists.  But I don’t think that we have data that supports the scientists’ catastrophic theories about the climate.  It may well be that we are destroying entire towns and ruining the lives of thousands of families for nothing," says Linger, who emphasizes that he has neither family nor financial interests in the coal industry.

According to Linger, "all hell broke loose" in December 2014 when he introduced and got the unanimous approval to change statements in the state’s science textbooks.  From stating that the temperatures only rise, Linger recommended wording that temperatures have seen "rise and fall" over the past century.

His changes also state that there can be natural reasons for climate change, and that climate change is not just man-made.  This triggered a storm of protest.  Linger received hateful emails from across the USA and opponents started a petition against the proposed standards.

"My goal was to create balance in education.  Instead of becoming indoctrinated, students can now critically analyze all of the data and make their own decisions", he says.

Ironically, there was a blizzard and freezing temperatures when climate activists, or alarmists as he calls them, arrived at the capital of West Virginia, Charleston, to protest Linger’s recommendations and also to discuss drops in temperatures.

The demonstrators were given time to talk at the meeting.  One of them compared Linger’s requirements for "balance" with forcing teachers to invite a person who believes that tobacco is good for your health into the classroom for discussions about smoking.

"This is actually a good example.  Because we know that it isn’t just tobacco that leads to lung cancer. But they don’t want to talk about the other causes," answers Linger.

Uncertain of the science

In January, the Board of Education in West Virginia voted to bow to the protesters and cancel the changes.  But three months later, Linger got his way.  With the help of two newly-appointed board members, he managed to get a majority to support a compromise in April.  Today in West Virginia textbooks and teachers must respect that there is doubt about why there are changes to the climate. Instead of "rising temperatures", as is stated in the books in the rest of the USA, students in West Virginia are taught that "changes" in the climate occur both up and down.

Linger is far from alone in the USA.  A survey from Yale University last year showed that 1/5 of Americans do not believe that climate change is occurring at all. Only 63% believe the predictions of the vast majority of the world’s climate scientists.

Attempts to undermine Obama

Last year, a survey from the Pew Research Center showed that only 50% of respondents believed that emissions are the reason for global warming.

Many Americans have never heard the climate warnings. The debate is low on the list of everyday worries in the USA, and when the topic does appear, it most often occurs in the form of fear that the fight against pollution will lead to taxes on carbon dioxide, and thereby raise the price of fuel and threaten the American lifestyle.  The fact that new, American fracking industry has also made the superpower almost entirely self-sufficient in terms of oil and gas also plays a role.

This has made gas prices fall and car sales to rise.  Americans are increasingly choosing to forego small and environmentally-friendly vehicles, and instead are buying large SUVs and trucks.

Every year the coal and oil industry uses its assets to lobby against stricter environmental regulations. Republican politicians play an important role as spokespeople for the industry, under the guise of fighting against layoffs and economic crises.

Over 100 Republican members of the House of Representatives, and several dozen senators, are pressing to block Barack Obama’s plan to give billions of dollars to poor countries in the fight against climate change.

USA’S CO2 emissions are dropping

The President wants to give $3 billion to the green climate fund, which, under the UN’s direction will give 100 billion dollars each year to developing countries.  According to many observers, this is one of the keys to ensure the success of the summit.

Republican politicians make no secret of the fact that they are prepared to use their power in the coming budget negotiations to prevent the USA from entering into a binding climate agreement.

The majority of Republican presidential candidates recognize that climate change is taking place.  But the position is that the USA should not enter into agreements that could damage the American economy, especially if there is doubt about the size of the impact.

New numbers from the American Department of Energy are helping to remove the pressure from politicians. They show that the USA’s CO2 emissions dropped dramatically since 2007 and then flattened out.  In 2014, the USA’s share of the world’s combined CO2 emissions dropped to less than 15%, not least due to a sharp reduction in coal-fired power plants.  The Earth’s largest CO2 emitter is still China with over 23%.

From ice age to heat wave

Wade Linger emphasizes that he does not want to be a spokesperson for climate deniers. But for a man who claims to have no scientific background, he is remarkably well-equipped with documents that cast doubt on the almost unanimous opinion of global scientists.

During the conversation, just a few meters from his favorite car, a Chevrolet Nomad station wagon from 1957, with a lowered undercarriage and a new 8-cylinder Corvette engine, he passes paper after paper across his desk.

The first includes an interview with the meteorologist Richard Lindzen from the elite engineering school MIT.  The 74-year-old professor recalls how the hysteria in the 1970s over a new Ice Age transformed into hysteria about global warming.  He compares the proponents of the climate debate to members of a religious cult.

In another document, Don Easterbrook, a geology professor at Western Washington University, maintains that it is a lie that 97 percent of all scientists are in agreement that CO2 is the cause of catastrophic, global warming.  He claims that an analysis of their papers show that only 64 of 11,944 scientists believe that CO2 is a threat to the climate.

Others show that inland glaciers started to melt long before we began to release CO2, and that the number of hurricanes has dropped in the past 35 years and that CO2 is good for crops.

Wade Linger does not have any explanation for what he sees as a conspiracy, but says: "my greatest hope is that people will remember, when they finally are forced to admit that this entire thing was a hoax, how adamant they were and how they considered people like me to be crazy.  I hope the people will be a little more skeptical when we are presented with the next great political hoax."


Measured or faked climate?

A Finnish professor looks at the hanky panky in a climate record from Australia -- showing how "adjustments" have turned a cooling trend into a warming one.  My rough translation from the Finnish below.  Finnish is a really pesky language

I wrote earlier today  on the Paris climate agreement, and in connection with our neighboring area, changes in climate statistics graphs.

I compared the current GISS statistics in 2011 to previous  statistics. And I was shocked. See below the past equivalent comparisons of Alice Springs climate statistics.

By way of background  I on April 16, 2012 made ??a screenshot of Alice Springs temperatures developments, because it differed significantly from months earlier. Which differed from the earlier again (and which does not exist anymore on the GISS website, even though it was still there in March 2012 when I took the screenshot of the then uploads). In April 2012, the statistics showed a  climate that cooled dramatically.

The Alice Springs temperature history, however, was once again changed dramatically  on 10/22/2014 far as the screenshot shows.

Time changes in the Australian climate statistics do not, however, stop there. From the evidence of the current GISS: Look at the  image today. It tells more than a thousand words.

Pay attention to the last, and its differences to previous years.  And think about why all the latest measurements have been in need of repair? Originally they seemed quite unbiased.

Compare also the magnitude of the changes throughout the period. Most simply, it is by evaluating the images with minimum temperatures. You will see that in the last hundred years, climate change has accelerated remarkably high between October 2014 and to this day.

This is due to the fact that a hundred years ago temperatures have been shown to have cooled considerably compared to the current high.

After all, have we just been fooled? Surely!



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

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


17 December, 2015

Plankton and global warming:  Another big crock of the brown stuff

A totally boring finding to the effect that warm-water creatures tend to live in warm water has been hyped into a threat to our fish dinners

I noted yesterday a new report that said plankton were dying out due to global warming.  And plankton are an important part of the marine food chain so the implication was that our fish dinners are threatened!  As someone who likes fish dinners I take that seriously, but I recently noted another threat to my fish dinners that turned out to be "poorly understood" so I was inclined to be suspicious of this threat too.   But I was a bit rushed for time yesterday -- I had to set aside some time for a sociable  dinner of excellent chili con carne -- so I contented myself with noting just a few immediately apparent oddities in the news report yesterday.

But today I have had time to look up the underlying academic document. It is Plankton 2015: State of Australia’s oceans, by Anthony Richardson et al., which describes itself as a "brochure".  It is NOT an academic journal article that has undergone the rigors of peer review etc. And the apparently most relevant piece of research by others that they cite turns out to be an unpublished honours thesis!  Rigor get thee behind me! 

It is basically a bureaucratic document from the CSIRO, a once respectable but now rather controversial publicly-funded Australian scientific research organization.  Warmists have got hold of it so there goes scientific caution and integrity.

And the latest "brochure" is a good example of its intellectual decline and irresponsibility.  The very first statement in their "Summary for Policymakers" is: "Climate change is altering plankton distributions".  That is partly all well and good:  Plankton distributions along the long East coast of Australia do appear to have changed in various ways.  But no evidence that any have died out is presented and there is no note of any significant shrinkage in overall abundance -- so the threat to our fish dinners dies at that point.

But what about the first part of that sentence?  Is "Climate change" behind the plankton change?  We delve further into the report and find that claim most interestingly expanded:

"Water temperature off Maria Island (east coast of Tasmania) has warmed by 1.5°C since 1944, and is a consequence of global warming and its influence on the intensification of the warm, poleward-flowing East Australian Current (EAC). The EAC now makes more incursions into Tasmanian waters than previously. The increase in strength of the EAC is likely to be a response to climate change, and has contributed to ocean warming off Australia ~3–4 times the global average."

Isn't that fun? It's changes in ocean currents that are now the culprit and those changes are now only "likely" to have been effected by global warming!  Not a single piece of evidence or reference is given to support that "likelihood" however.  Let me guess why:  There isn't any.  It's just a statement of Warmist faith.

So they have NO data about effects of global warming.  And in fact it is worse than that.  Their findings are demonstrably NOT an effect of global warming.  They are a result of LOCAL warming.  How do we know that?  Because, as they themselves admit, the warming in Australian waters is much greater than the global average.  If it's not global, it's not global, if I need to put it that way.

So what the report amounts to is a report of totally predictable effects of a change in ocean currents.  And ocean currents change all the time and tend to be cyclic anyway.  So the opportunistic  pseudo-scientists of the CSIRO have dressed up a perfectly routine and uninteresting piece of research as if it proved something dramatic:  A threat to our food chain from global warming.  It does nothing of the sort.  It is just self-serving propaganda designed to shore up their research grants -- JR.

Arctic has its warmest year in history as experts say temperatures there are rising TWICE as fast as anywhere else in the world

Which means that what is going on there is NOT global warming.  It is LOCAL warming.  Yet another desperate attempt to seize on a local phenomenon as if it proved something global. And with the long line of active volcanoes in the Gakkel ridge right underneath it, there is no real doubt where the Arctic's warming is coming from

The warming Arctic has set another record.  The average air temperature over Arctic land reached 2.3 degrees F (1.3 degrees C) above average for the year ending in September.

Maximum Arctic Ocean sea ice extent, which occurred February 25, 2015, 15 days earlier than average, was the lowest extent recorded since records began in 1979

The average air temperature over Arctic land reached 2.3 degrees F (1.3 degrees C) above average for the year ending in September.

The new mark was noted in the annual Arctic Report Card, released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

'Warming is happening more than twice as fast in the Arctic than anywhere else in the world,' NOAA chief scientist Rick Spinrad told reporters in San Francisco at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.  'We know this is due to climate change' [How>]

LOL. Are vegetarians to blame for climate change? Researchers find lettuce is 'three times worse than BACON' for emissions

This is going to put a lot of noses out of joint

Sticking to a vegetarian diet may not be as beneficial to the environment as you think — in fact, it might be helping to destroy it.

A study from Carnegie Mellon University has found that many common vegetables require more resources per calorie, and produce higher greenhouse gas emissions than some types of meat.

While lowering the weight of the general population has been shown to positively affect the environment, the researchers found that healthy eating leads to a higher environmental impact.

The study examined the impact of food from growing, processing and transporting, to food sales, service, and household storage, according to Carnegie Mellon.

Researchers also measured the changes in energy use, blue water footprint, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

'Eating lettuce is over three time worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon,' said Paul Fishbeck, professor of social and decisions sciences and engineering and public policy.

'Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think. Eggplant, celery, and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken.'

Michelle Tom, a Ph.D student in civil and environmental engineering and Chris Hendrickson, the Hamerschlag University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering examined the food supply chain to understand the relationship between obesity in the U.S. and the environment.

The researchers found that eating fewer calories and reducing the weight of the population would lead to reductions in energy, along with a 9 percent drop in water use and GHG.

Eating these healthier foods, however increased the environmental impact.

Fruits, vegetables, dairy, and seafood contribute to a 38 percent increase in energy use, along with a 10 percent increase in water use, and 6 percent GHG emissions.

'There's a complex relationship between diet and the environment,' says Tom.

'What is good for us health-wise isn't always what's best for the environment. That's important for public officials to know and for them to be cognizant of these trade-offs as they develop or continue to develop dietary guidelines in the future.'


Scientists Who Back Paris Agreement Say to End Global Warming World Must ‘Abandon Fossil Fuels Completely’

So no coal, natural gas, oil or gasoline?  They're dreaming wet dreams

Scientists who back the United Nations-backed climate change agreement adopted in Paris say it won’t stop global warming and to reach that goal will require future commitments that will eventually put an end to the use of fossil fuels.

On Saturday, “Weekend Edition” host Scott Simon asked reporter Christopher Joyce whether the agreement would actually reduce global warming.

“Actually, scientists say the emission reductions that have been pledged so far here are not enough to keep the world from a dangerous level of warming,” Joyce said. “So the latest text says everyone has to keep coming back and reducing omissions more and more.

“This has been quite controversial,” Joyce said. “And eventually, they say, the world has to just abandon fossil fuels completely.

Joyce noted in the story that Republicans in Congress are against the agreement and that lawmakers would have to approve funding the agreement.

“President Obama knows that Senate Republicans won't buy this,” Joyce said, “but the strategy is - the pledges to reduce emissions are really not legally binding, only the mechanisms to make it happen.

“So this is the way they figure they'll finesse it,” he said, “but then there's the whole notion of getting the money to pay for all of this.

“That's the next chapter in this saga,” Joyce said.


Study: Allowing Energy Production on Federal Lands Would Create ‘Broad Based Economic Stimulus’

Opening federal lands that are statutorily or administratively off-limits to oil, gas and coal extraction would amount to a “broad based economic stimulus… without any increase in direct government spending”, according to a new study commissioned by the Institute for Energy Research (IER).

It would raise the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $127 billion annually over the next seven years and generate 552,000 jobs, the study found.

“Wages would increase by $32 billion annually in the short run, with long run annual effects of $163 billion.”

Over the next 37 years, tapping these domestic energy sources would increase the nation’s GDP by $20.7 trillion and create 2.7 million jobs, according to Louisiana State University Finance Professor Joseph Mason, the study’s author.

Twenty-trillion dollars is about the same size the national debt will be when President Obama leaves office.

“The economic impulses created by opening federal lands and waters to oil, gas, and coal extraction could help…break the economy out of it sluggish post-recessionary malaise…without any increase in direct government spending.

"Rather, increased output would refill national, state, and local government coffers without additional government outlays,” the study found.

“Production on federal lands has lagged significantly behind the private sector,” IER President Tom Pyle said during a conference call with reporters last week. “We know that energy drives economic growth, so when we produce more, we see a better economy.

“And we hear all this talk in Paris about de-carbonizing the global economy, we hear presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders introduce legislation called the Keep It InThe Ground Act, which in essence would mean that there would be no production on federal lands.

“And so we’re here to show that these policies have consequences, real consequences,” he said.

Those consequences include forgoing the “broad based economic stimulus” that fossil-fuel production on federal lands would deliver as well as imposing massive “switching costs” that would be needed to power the national economy with alternative sources of energy, Mason noted.

“So the point here is that with a full economic analysis of energy, we have to admit that we would be willing to forgo $20.7 trillion in GDP over 30 years, 81 million jobs, $5.1 trillion in wages, $1.9 trillion in state and local taxes, and $3.9 trillion in federal taxes," Mason said.

"Forgo those amounts before trying to make those up in other energy sectors, and of course maintain other economic growth throughout the economy in the meantime.

“So this talk in Paris of switching to different energy sources embeds in it a lot of very complex switching costs which need to be completely taken into account, and I hope that this study fills a void in that analysis.” he said.


After Britain's floods: More development needed

Greens are using Cumbria's troubles to argue for tough climate action. Bad idea.

‘Countries across the world must cut carbon emissions quickly or we’ll face many more storms like Desmond. This week’s climate talks in Paris are a perfect chance for leaders to act.’ So say eco-ambulance-chasers Friends of the Earth, exploiting the flooding in Cumbria to make the case for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. But flooding is hardly new in what is the wettest part of England. Instead of trying to blame our apparently planet-wrecking lifestyles for flooding, it would be far better to figure out how to make ourselves resistant to future deluges.

It is impossible to attribute any particular weather event to climate change. At most, climate change may increase the risk of bad weather, but how exactly that will manifest itself, and where, is beyond us at the moment.

Those demanding action on climate change understand this uncertainty, so prefer more circuitous formulations. So Professor Dame Julia Slingo, the Met Office’s chief scientist, said: ‘It’s too early to say definitively whether climate change has made a contribution to the exceptional rainfall. We anticipated a wet, stormy start to winter in our three-month outlooks, associated with the strong El Niño and other factors. However, just as with the stormy winter of two years ago, all the evidence from fundamental physics, and our understanding of our weather systems, suggests there may be a link between climate change and record-breaking winter rainfall.’

It’s a very convenient message to be able to deliver during the Paris climate talks: if we don’t do something about our wicked, carbon-spewing ways, then the waterlogged streets of Kendal will soon become the norm.  Which is a bit odd, since, in 2013 – when Britain was just getting over a period in which water supplies had been running low due to dry winters – the Met Office’s Hadley Centre reported that ‘droughts could become more severe in the UK, particularly in the winter months and towards the latter half of the century’.

In its fifth assessment report in 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was non-committal on whether flooding had increased as temperatures have risen, observing that ‘there is currently no clear and widespread evidence for observed changes in flooding except for the earlier spring flow in snow-dominated regions… there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale’. In other words, there might be more flooding around the world or less – we don’t know.

Events like those in Cumbria last week, and in Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire in 2012, were the result of quite specific circumstances – heavy showers getting stuck over a specific area for hours at a time, magnifying the impact of otherwise normal, if very wet, weather. More generally, the particularly wet weather we’ve had at times in the past couple of years seems to have more to do with variations in the jet stream, the fast-moving winds that circle the Earth. It’s not clear how driving a Toyota Prius or turning the heating down a little could prevent those variations.

Much more important than fretting about greenhouse-gas emissions is figuring out how to control such inundations to minimise damage to communities in their path. This means spending more money on flood defences, but it also requires more imagination about other flood-mitigation measures. As has been widely noted, flood defences in Kendal had been raised after major flooding in 2009, yet the recent torrent topped these new defences. Those defences still helped to reduce the amount of water entering the streets, but perhaps in retrospect other kinds of measures may have been better.

Coping with flooding may also require households and businesses to spend money on making their properties more resistant when flooding does come. Adding flood protection to your own house may, in the future, be as much a part-and-parcel of living on a flood plain as having substantial home insulation and powerful heating systems if you want to live in chilly Norway or Canada.

Adapting to possible climate change – or better still, innovating around climate change – seems a better bet than making feeble and highly expensive steps to cut greenhouse-gas emissions in order to produce marginal reductions in global temperatures. Preparing for reasonably predictable problems like floods in the right manner will protect us against all such floods. The same sums spent on reducing emissions could only, at best, protect us against some possible future floods.

The real danger here is to give in to the anti-development mood of our times. Building homes on flood plains does create the risk of those homes being flooded from time to time, but we can surely do a lot to reduce that risk, from the way we design new homes to manipulating river courses so that the worst of any excess water is diverted away from settlements or slowed down so it doesn’t arrive in a single torrent.



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

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


16 December, 2015

John Kerry gets something right

Although he probably didn’t mean to, Secretary of State John Kerry made a compelling case for why the U.S. and other countries should not go down the path of shutting down coal-fired plants, raising energy prices and stunting economic growth to combat global warming.

Speaking in Paris, Kerry said:

    “The fact is that even if every American citizen biked to work, carpooled to school, used only solar panels to power their homes, if we each planted a dozen trees, if we somehow eliminated all of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions, guess what – that still wouldn’t be enough to offset the carbon pollution coming from the rest of the world.

    “If all the industrial nations went down to zero emissions – remember what I just said, all the industrial emissions went down to zero emissions – it wouldn’t be enough, not when more than 65 percent of the world’s carbon pollution comes from the developing world.”

He’s exactly right. Paul Knappenberger and Patrick Michaels estimate that the climate regulations the Obama administration are imposing on the energy sector – costs that will be passed down to households – will avert a meager 0.018 degree Celsius of warming by the year 2100.

In fact, the U.S. could cut 100 percent of its CO2 emissions and it would not make a difference in global warming.

Using the same climate sensitivity modeling as the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world would only be 0.137 degree C cooler by 2100. What’s worse is that if you included 100 percent cuts from the entire industrialized world in their modeling, then you would only avert warming by 0.278 degree C by the turn of the century.

If Kerry got his wish, developing countries like India and China would play ball. But they’re not going to and quite frankly, neither is the rest of the developing world and some parts of the developed world.

According to the Climate Action Tracker, there are plans to build more than 2,400 coal-fired power plants over the next 15 years. That includes plants that have been announced, in the pre-permit stage, permitted or under construction. These countries want access to cheap and abundant energy, in order to provide their citizens with a stable current of electricity and to keep their economy growing.

Kerry got one point very wrong, however. We’re talking about carbon dioxide emissions, not carbon pollution. The administration has evolved their message on this issue, from global warming, to climate change, to carbon pollution.

Carbon dioxide is a colorless, non-toxic gas that does not have adverse impacts on human health. Calling CO2, carbon pollution, is deceiving the public. But at least Kerry spoke clearly about the futility of any unilateral or multilateral plans to address global warming.


Paris Climate Deal Calls for America to Transfer Wealth to 'Developing' Countries

 The draft of the international agreement to deal with climate change, which is being considered today in Paris by representatives from 195 countries, calls for the developed nations of the world (which include the United States) to transfer wealth to developing nations, including through “public funds.”

“Developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention,” says Article 9 of the draft agreement.

“As part of a global effort, developed country Parties should continue to take the lead in mobilizing climate finance from a wide variety of sources, instruments and channels, noting the significant role of public funds,” says the draft.

The draft agreement sets a goal for developed countries to dole out at least $100 billion per year by 2020.

The agreement at one point says: “Resolves to enhance the provision of urgent and adequate finance, technology and capacity-building support by developed country Parties in order to enhance the level of ambition of pre-2020 action by Parties, and in this regard strongly urges developed country Parties to scale up their level of financial support, with a concrete roadmap to achieve the goal of jointly providing USD 100 billion annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation while significantly increasing adaptation finance from current levels and to further provide appropriate technology and capacity-building support.”

The text of Article 9 of the agreement states:

Article 9

    1. Developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention.

    2. Other Parties are encouraged to provide or continue to provide such support voluntarily.

    3. As part of a global effort, developed country Parties should continue to take the lead in mobilizing climate finance from a wide variety of sources, instruments and channels, noting the significant role of public funds, through a variety of actions, including supporting country-driven strategies, and taking into account the needs and priorities of developing country Parties. Such mobilization of climate finance should represent a progression beyond previous efforts.

    4. The provision of scaled-up financial resources should aim to achieve a balance between adaptation and mitigation, taking into account country-driven strategies, and the priorities and needs of developing country Parties, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and have significant capacity constraints, such as the least developed countries and small island developing States, considering the need for public and grant-based resources for adaptation.

    5. Developed country Parties shall biennially communicate indicative quantitative and qualitative information related to paragraphs 1 and 3 of this Article, as applicable, including, as available, projected levels of public financial resources to be provided to developing country Parties. Other Parties providing resources are encouraged to communicate biennially such information on a voluntary basis.

    6. The global stocktake referred to in Article 14 shall take into account the relevant information provided by developed country Parties and/or Agreement bodies on efforts related to climate finance.

    7. Developed country Parties shall provide transparent and consistent information on support for developing country Parties provided and mobilized through public interventions biennially in accordance with the modalities, procedures and guidelines to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, at its first session, as stipulated in Article 13, paragraph 13. Other Parties are encouraged to do so.

    8. The Financial Mechanism of the Convention, including its operating entities, shall serve as the financial mechanism of this Agreement.

    9. The institutions serving this Agreement, including the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism of the Convention, shall aim to ensure efficient access to financial resources through simplified approval procedures and enhanced readiness support for developing country Parties, in particular for the least developed countries and small island developing States, in the context of their national climate strategies and plans.


The BBC drops climate criticism down the memory hole

This week climate fanatics have given us more conclusive proof – if we ever needed it – that they have no interest in debate, or even allowing anyone to question their crushing ‘consensus’. In fact, debate was off the agenda entirely this week, after the BBC was reprimanded for having the audacity to spend taxpayers’ money questioning the climate orthodoxy.

What’s the Point of the Met Office? aired in August, as part of a light-hearted Radio 4 series that takes on British institutions. It featured a number of climate-change sceptics, including two MPs, who criticised the eco-establishment – one going so far as to call climate change a ‘fiction’. Naturally, this sparked a backlash among climate scientists and members of the public who couldn’t deal with the thought of people, in the free world, questioning conventional opinion.

A BBC Trust review, which published its findings this week, deemed the programme a serious breach of BBC rules on impartiality and accuracy. The BBC officially apologised in October, admitting that the show failed to make clear that sceptics represent a ‘minority’ that is ‘out-of-step with scientific consensus’. Now, in an alarming development, the BBC has deleted the programme from its internet archive.

The implications of this are startling. Just because a few sceptics dared to question the consensus, their contributions have been scrubbed from the internet. It puts one in mind of Orwell’s memory holes, in which documents can be dropped and thus wiped from the history books.

Even if you have little time for climate sceptics, this should concern you. One day it could be you who finds yourself in the intellectual ‘minority’. By turning a blind eye to censorship you make a rod for your own back. What’s more, you stifle the pursuit of scientific truth. Indeed, if the establishments of past eras had succeeded in purging all scientific dissent, we’d all still think that the Sun orbits our flat Earth.

Cracking down on dissenting opinions benefits no one. If this is how the BBC and the climate fanatics treat scientific inquiry – with utter contempt – we should all fear for the progression of scientific knowledge, and, for that matter, the progression of the human race.

SOURCEQuentin Letts has more detail on this story

Vermont State Arrogance…Vows Windparks Despite Residents’ Huge "Stinging Rebuke" Against 500-Foot Turbines!

TV station WPTZ reports that developers planned to build seven 500-foot-tall wind turbines near the town of Swanton, Vermont, near Lake Champlain. However the industrial colossuses are no longer welcome in a state that proudly views itself as green.

Vermonters are finding out quickly that wind parks are massively industrial, not environmentally friendly, pose a serious threat to human health and birdlife, and that they are eyesores that ruin the state’s idyllic landscape.

Wind parks installed in Lowell and Sheffield have clearly demonstrated that such projects are in fact far more environmental vandalism than they are "protection".

The latest proposed Swanton wind park went up for a straight up or down vote among the local residents. The Result? "Residents voted 744-142 to support legislation giving towns the ability to oppose future projects." That’s 83% to just 17%!

Residents be damned

So is this going to impress state officials, led by Governor Peter Shumlin? WPTZ reports:

State officials warned that the results of the two proposals are not binding. […] Townspeople currently don’t have a say in area wind development. […] Even with voting results, the state can still move forward with the development plan."

In other words: Votes (democracy) are apparently no longer binding in Governor Peter Shumlin’s the kingdom of Vermont. Has he lost it?

Moreover, developers cried that the wording made it difficult to get a fair vote because it focused on the negatives of wind energy and not the positives. However many residents argue that there aren’t really any positive points and that the "clean energy" claim is only a feel-good argument.

Wind energy is unpredictable, wildly fluctuating, severely stresses the power grid, and it is NOT cheap.

One resident in Vermont informed me by e-mail that the vote will not impress the state and that it will take a voters-be damned-view and simply steamroll the project through.

Irasburg residents reject wind park 274 – 9!

Meanwhile the VermontWatchdog here reports that the residents of Irasburg, located in rural, scenic northern Vermont, just a stone throw away from the now infamous Lowell windpark, also recently voted on a proposed wind park, rejecting it by a vote of 274 to 9 (97% to 3%)! That vote result was so lopsided that the 9 votes probably came exclusively from the landowner and a few of his buddies. The VermontWatchdog called the result "a stinging rebuke".

The spirit of Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys is alive again in Vermont it seems. Vermonters must keep up the fight. The VermontWatchdog quotes citizen Paul Drayman:

There are big companies that are right now buying up some very large plots of land, and they’re targeting areas like this. … If we do not stop this, in 20 years you will not recognize this area. It will look very different." The "ruralness" that characterizes Vermont will be lost at least for a generation.


Study: Acid in Oceans Not Harmful to Coral

Scientist have described the process that allows corals to form skeletons, and they say water acidity doesn’t affect the process.

Those skeletons—destined to become limestones—form massive and ecologically vital coral reefs in the world’s oceans.

In a publication in Current Biology, Tali Mass and colleagues at the Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences show that specific proteins produced by corals can form limestones in test tubes.

These proteins, secreted by corals, precipitate carbonate that forms the corals’ characteristic skeleton.

"This is a first step toward understanding how coral build their skeleton," says Mass, a postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study.

Water acidity does not affect the process, which suggests that these organisms will survive in coming centuries when the world’s oceans are predicted to become more acidic. That also potentially bodes well for the health of the world’s coral reefs, which support ecosystems essential to marine diversity that in turn support fisheries.

"The good news is that the change in acidity will not stop the function of these proteins," says Mass.

But she is quick to warn that her work shouldn’t make people complacent. "Pollution and rising water temperatures also pose major threats to these essential marine organisms."

Limestone rocks are all around us and have been central human history. The Egyptians used them to build pyramids and today they are still used to build monuments.

Surprisingly, all limestones are created by living organisms. The rocks are everywhere, it seems, but how they form has not been answered until now.

Scientists have long known that corals made their external skeletons from a matrix of secreted proteins, but didn’t understand the mechanism.

Draft genome

Mass and colleagues began by asking which proteins might be responsible for the process. They identified over 30 proteins from coral skeleton that could be involved. They described that work earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

At the same time they searched for genes in the coral genome for proteins that could potentially assist with production of the skeletal mineral calcium carbonate.

For this, the scientists went to Debashish Bhattacharya, professor of ecology, evolution, and natural resources, director of the Rutgers Genome Cooperative, and a co-author of the paper. A genome is the entirety of an organism’s genetic information (DNA)—in this case, of the particular coral that the researchers were studying.

"We produced a ‘draft’ genome," Bhattacharya says. "Basically, that’s a genome that is not yet fully assembled into chromosomes. So, you don’t have the DNA puzzle completely put together, but you have all of the pieces of that puzzle and can figure out what the many pieces—for example, the genes—do in the coral."

The genome analysis, done by Ehud Zelzion, bioinformaticist at the Genome Cooperative, led the researchers to four particular proteins. The genes encoding these proteins were cloned and expressed in bacteria, then isolated and placed in solutions representing the current acidity of seawater and the more acidic levels scientists predict for the end of the century.

Acidic oceans

On the commonly used pH scale, where lower numbers are more acidic, today’s seas are a moderately alkaline 8.2. But they are expected to creep toward 7.6 as carbon dioxide concentration increases in the air.

Using a scanning electron microscope and other measurement devices, the scientists examined the proteins and found that all had begun to precipitate calcium carbonate crystals in the test tube at both pH levels.

"This work goes a long way toward explaining how corals precipitate calcium carbonate skeletons and clearly shows that the reaction can work at more acidic pH levels," says Paul Falkowski, also a co-author of the study and professor of geological and marine sciences. "It doesn’t mean that ocean acidification is not a concern, but it does suggest that corals will still be able to form skeletons, and coral reefs will continue to exist."


Change in Australia's plankton population, as climate changes, threatens human food chain

Amusing that 30 years was chosen below as the start of the period under examination.  Carefully choosing your starting and ending points for a sequence is one of the classic ways of lying with statistics.  Had they chosen to study the last 18 years -- when there has been NO global warming, the results might have been very different.  So it is entirely possible that the effects they have reported originated ENTIRELY in the late 20th century, when there was some slight warming.  Is that the case?  They do not say.  If it is the case, the alarm they are trying to generate is a hoax

Just by the by, there is a bit of a puzzle in the report below.  Plankton are much more plentiful in temperate seas than tropical ones so what is meant by saying that plankton have "moved" into cooler (more Southerly) seas?  Weren't they there already?  Are they saying that tropical plankton are dying out?  That could conceivably be but if so, why not say so?  The idea of plankton "moving" seems very odd

If we leave aside silly talk about "moving", is their basic finding that plankton are becoming more abundant in cooler seas?  If so, that CONTRADICTS global warming -- as warmer seas should have LESS plankton.  What a mess of a report!

Australia's plankton population, a vital key in the human food chain, has moved 300 kilometres south in 30 years, new research has found.

Scientists attributed the shift to the warming oceans caused by climate change.

In some regions there was also a shift from cold-water to warm-water plankton species.

The Plankton 2015 report from the CSIRO is based on data from the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), which looks at why plankton is important to ocean health.

The report's lead author, Dr Anthony Richardson, said how much plankton there is, and where it is, determines how many fish, marine mammals and turtles are in the sea.

"The key findings are that plankton, which are really important to people, are changing and changing really in response to climate change," he said.

"Plankton are responsible for about half the oxygen we breathe, and are critical to the marine food web. "They can impact human life."

The report compiles information from plankton studies and data sets from across Australia giving a snapshot of the climate, the state of global fisheries and marine ecosystem health and biodiversity.



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

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


15 December, 2015

Arrogance in the U.S. Senate

Last Tuesday, Mark Steyn appeared before a Senate Inquiry chaired by Ted Cruz (See the post below this one for details).  He did not like what he saw of the way senators treat such sessions.  An excerpt from his report below:

In the US Senate, at least on Tuesday, senators wander in and out constantly. Their five-minute "question" sessions are generally four-minute prepared statements of generalized blather followed by a perfunctory softball to "their" witness, after which they leave the room without waiting to hear the answer - and then come back in when it's their time to speak again at which point the staffer feeds them the four-minute blather they're supposed to be sloughing off this time round.

So by the time Senator Ed Markey turned up, I'd had enough of it. Markey is the Massachusetts guy (whom I discussed on the radio with Howie Carr yesterday afternoon) and he began by comparing Rear Admiral Titley to Galileo - at which point I threw up my arms. I would have let this twaddle go, except that Markey then went on to insult the three scientists on my right. And, as with so many of the staffer-insulated ignorant bullies of the Senate, he did so with no intention of letting them respond.

Dr Judith Curry is a very brave woman who has withstood an extraordinary onslaught from the ugly misogynist types that climate alarmism attracts. She was not cowed by this know-nothing senator and she wished to respond, as she indicated discreetly.

Markey ignored her. Again, we're way beyond the rules of the Senate here. In the rules of life, a gentleman does not insult a woman and then stand on parliamentary dignity to deny her a reply. If that's the "decorum of the Senate", then Senator Markey puts the dick in decorum. Nevertheless, with characteristic pomposity, he sought to use the Senate's crappy rules to prevent those he'd abused from responding to his crude insults:

Markey must have been a little shocked when climatologist Judith Curry demanded to be able to respond to his testimony trying to discredit her views on climate science:

"I did not ask you a question," Markey, a Democrat, retorted when Curry asked if she could respond to his testimony during a Senate hearing Tuesday on the science behind global warming.

"Why can't she respond senator?" Conservative author and columnist Mark Steyn shot back at Markey. "You impugned her integrity. I think she's entitled to..."

"I was basically called a 'denier' — that I'm denying science," said Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech University. "Did you read my written testimony?"

Markey sought to discredit Curry in his testimony by framing her as ignoring the evidence humans are putting the planet at risk. Curry was not happy with essentially being labelled a global warming "denier" and pushed back against the senator's remarks.

"Are you aware the IPCC and the consensus has no explanation for the increase of ice in the Antarctic?" Curry said. "Are you aware that they have no explanation for the fact the rate of sea level rise from 1920 to 1950 was as large, if not larger, as it currently is?"

"Are you aware that temperatures have been warming for more than 200 years, and, that in the 20th Century, 40 percent of the warming occurred before 1950 when carbon dioxide was not a factor in the warming?" Curry continued.

Curry highlighted even more uncertainties among climate scientists many Democrats and environmentalists are loathe to admit. For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has trouble explaining the recent "hiatus" in warming as well as the warming trend before the 1950s.

"Doctor, as I just said in my testimony — corroborated by Dr. Titley [another witness on the panel] — this is the warmest year ever recorded," Markey shot back. "Last year was the warmest year ever recorded until this year. This was the warmest November ever recorded. October... was the warmest ever recorded."

"You do not have an answer for that," Markey said before going on to cite Galileo and claim Curry was relying on "something that is perhaps God-made rather than dependent upon something that is man-made" and backed by science.

"Are you saying there's no natural variability senator?" Steyn cut in. "There were alligators at the North Pole. What was that? Was that you in your SUV?"

Markey was forced to acknowledge the planet does in fact warm and cool on its own, but said natural variability is regional and the warming trend "is straight up."

"Do you know what the little ice age was senator?" Steyn said to which Markey responded by claiming Boston's record levels of snow are a product of global warming.

Steyn: What percentage of climate change is man causing, senator? What percentage of climate change in anthropogenic?

Markey: Well, according to the scientists who are in Paris right now, which would fill pretty much the entire space of the building in which we're in right now and the number of deniers would still be the ones who are at the table.

Steyn: Yeah, what's the percentage senator?

Markey: What I am saying is that this warming is something that while it may have variability, year-to-year in specific parts of the planet that the trend is straight up.

Steyn: Yeah, do you know what the Little Ice Age was, Senator?

Markey: Again it is climate change. We had a hundred and ten inches of snow in Boston last year with measurements of water 21 degrees warmer than normal off the coast of Massachusetts. This was an unusual event for us. The warming of the ocean intensifies the amount of precipitation when arctic air hits that water. Now if you want to deny that, if you watch these changes are taking place and that they're having a dramatic impact, you are in the right place.

Steyn: You know what the winters were like at Plymouth Rock, Senator?

Here is the relevance of my question. The snow last winter in Boston is only relevant in the context of the snow a century ago and two centuries ago. Otherwise, it's merely an old weather forecast. So I was interested to know whether Senator Markey knew anything about the Massachusetts climate before last winter's snowfall.

Certainly, Senator Markey, like so many cowardly bullies, didn't take it well. He was supposed to come back for his scheduled second round of questions. But, after that exchange, he declined to return.


Reports of the confrontation by others (e.g. here) conclude that Markey was shown to be as shallow as a birdbath

Sen. Ted Cruz: ‘Global Warming Alarmists’ Ignore Scientific Data ‘Inconvenient’ to Climate Change Narrative

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz convened a subcommittee hearing Tuesday to dispute the validity of research from climate "alarmists," whose findings have become central to crafting environmental policy.

Cruz used his opening remarks to detail the 2013 expedition where a ship of 74 people sent into Antarctica to research climate change got stuck in ice, forcing an airlift rescue a week later.

"This expedition was there to document how the ice was vanishing in the Antarctic, but the ship became stuck," Cruz said before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness. "It had run into an inconvenient truth, as Al Gore might put it."

Cruz, who chairs the subcommittee, also noted Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2009 claim that the Arctic would be "ice-free" by the summer of 2013—which was the same year the researchers became trapped in ice.

Republicans on the committee said the hearing was intended to shed light on "opposing viewpoints in the field of climate science," which Cruz said are "reflexively" brushed aside by policymakers.

He repeatedly pointed to satellite data that found no significant global warming during the past 18 years, a slowdown often referred to as the warming "pause."

"Global warming alarmists don’t like these data. They are inconvenient to their narrative," Cruz said. "But facts and evidence matter."

Judith Curry, former chair of Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, testified that while climate scientists uniformly agree that surface temperatures have increased during the past century, there is "considerable" disagreement about whether humans drive global warming and if warming is dangerous to the planet.

Curry’s research led her to findings that natural causes could be playing a larger role in warming than human activity, challenging what many consider "settled" conclusions in the climate debate.

But instead of leading to reignited deliberation, Curry said the science community quickly branded her a "heretic" for challenging the status quo.

"In their efforts to promote their ‘cause,’ the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem," she said, adding: "This behavior risks destroying science’s reputation for honesty and objectivity. Without this objectivity and honesty, scientists become regarded as merely another lobbyist group."

Democrats denounced the four witnesses Republicans called to testify as climate change "deniers" in a press conference held prior to the hearing.

"This hearing doesn’t make a lot of sense, given the challenges we are facing," said Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, the top Democrat on the subcommittee. "When it comes to climate change, the science is pretty clear. It is basically settled."

As reason to close debate on the issue, Democrats routinely float the statistic that 97 percent of scientists agree that human activity causes climate change. But those on the right have pushed back on the number, arguing it’s contrived from vague surveys.

"Any time you hear people say scientists should not question the conventional wisdom, you are hearing someone advocating essentially for the abolition of science," Cruz said.


Climate deal faces wrath of GOP senators

President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the climate change agreement passed by world leaders as a major achievement that could curb global warming, but they got a quick reminder that Republicans will fight it.

The immediate reaction of leading Republican critics was a stark reminder of the conflict that lies ahead. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Obama is "making promises he can’t keep" and should remember that the agreement "is subject to being shredded in 13 months," referring to the upcoming presidential election.

And Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma said that Americans can expect the administration to cite the agreement as an excuse for establishing emission targets for every sector of the US economy.

Kerry said from Paris: "I have news for Senator Inhofe. The United States of America has already reduced its emissions more than any other country in the world.

"This has to happen," Kerry said of the agreement, predicting that voters would reject any candidate that doesn’t believe that. "I don’t think they’re going to accept as a genuine leader someone who doesn’t understand the science of climate change and isn’t willing to do something about it."

Through careful legal wording, the Paris agreement will not be considered to be a separate treaty under US law but rather as an extension of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which the Senate ratified in 1992.

In an interview taped for CBS’s "Face the Nation," Kerry called the climate pact "a breakaway agreement" that will change how countries make decisions and "spur massive investment."

He acknowledged that a Republican president could undo the agreement but said there is already plenty of evidence that climate change is having a damaging and expensive impact with more intense storms, wildfires, and melting glaciers.

Leaders at the global talks in Paris agreed that while legislation and regulation are essential to set the ground rules for the marketplace, the ultimate goal of replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy will require accelerated research, investment, and technological breakthroughs.

Kerry said the US government had helped catalyze the agreement by toughening fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, cracking down on emissions from coal-fired power plants, and reaching a deal with China, the only country that emits even more greenhouse gases.

Obama has endorsed the idea of a price on carbon — in the form of a tax, or a cap-and-trade system like California’s — and leaders of Canada, Chile, Ethiopia, France, Germany, and Mexico endorsed the idea at the Paris conference, but there was not nearly enough support to incorporate it into the agreement.

Although the pact was adopted "by consensus," no nation has signed it. Countries will be invited to do so in a ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York on April 22. The agreement officially will take effect after at least 55 countries, representing at least 55 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, have officially signed on.

With nearly every nation having now pledged to gradually reduce emissions, much of the burden for maintaining the momentum shifts back to the countries to deliver on their pledges.


The Greenies are not deceived by Paris "deal"

The new climate framework that’s been negotiated in Paris relies on ambition at the national level, and a burgeoning civil disobedience movement is planning to push for it on a global level. Thom Mitchell reports from Paris.

Activists have drawn a ‘red line’ under a new global climate regime decided in Paris overnight, arguing it’s a compact inked in the interests of big polluters, rich countries, and without regard for scientific reality.

Crowds approaching 10,000 defied a French ban on political gatherings to march from the Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower, in a prelude to a campaign of civil disobedience which they say will continue until concrete steps are taken to solve the climate crisis.

Negotiators who’ve spent the last two weeks at a sprawling 18-hectare conference centre at Le Bourget, on Paris’ outer fringe, claimed on Saturday that they had cleared the way for a clean energy future free of fossil fuels.

They received qualified but enthusiastic support from major environmental groups, which framed it as a good deal, and the best that could realistically have been hoped for in the context of international negotiations involving nearly 200 countries.

But Naomi Klein, a Canadian activist, author, and board member of climate advocacy group, echoed the sentiments of thousands assembled in the shadow of the Eiffel tower when she told them the "agreement, as we knew it would, puts us on a course towards disastrous levels of warming".

"We heard our leaders say many of the right things over the last two weeks in beautiful speeches," Klein said, "and yet despite their words, they remain trapped in a broken system and a crashing worldview based on dominance of people and the planet".

"That world view simply does not allow them to align their words with their actions. And so the gap is immense between the rhetoric and the goal of safety, and the reality of the epic danger they are allowing to unfold."

Earlier, as demonstrators occupied a bridge leading up to the famous French monument, one organiser had declared the text "a big f*ck you from Le Bourget". "We say f*ck you too," he said, to rapturous applause from the crowd.

As it became clear in the afternoon what the final form of the text would be, another organiser noted "they have dropped any reference [in the main text]to human rights, to Indigenous rights; they have locked us in to a three degree world".

Demonstrators had endorsed calls for a lower threshold for temperature rise of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, chanting the call for "1.5 to stay alive" which was issued most strongly at the conference by Pacific Island leaders and other climate-vulnerable nations.

Protestor Gwendolyn Grey told New Matilda that the three degree temperature rise which current national commitments would add up to is a clear failure.

"For me it’s like, just set your house on fire and get ahead of the game," the seasoned Canadian climate campaigner said.

"If you’re young, you don’t realise a decade is like nothing," she said. "It’s like the snap of a finger. It’s like having ten dollars. It’s not much money, and it’s not much time. We’re on borrowed time, and it behooves us to start acting now like all the people here today."

Another activist, Sam Castro, from Australia, said "people are understandably angry". "This is our future and there’s no more time to mess around with this," she said. "This falls back on the leaders of the world which have been unable to reach an agreement which is actually stop our Pacific brothers and sisters from drowning.

"It’s their fault that we’re all out on the streets. So if it’s an inconvenience, we’re sorry, but the people are pretty determined to express themselves."

The deal which was done in Paris sets out a pathway towards closing the gap between the two degree target, and the at least 2.7 degrees current plans would lock in, and it includes an aspirational reference to staying below 1.5 degrees warming.

But the ‘bottom-up’ approach the United Nations process took, asking individual nations submit increasingly ambitious climate change plans over time, offers no concrete assurance that these targets will be met.

The plans that countries do put forward are not legally binding in terms of their implementation, but environmental campaigners elsewhere have welcomed the "balanced" plan which includes periodic reviews that will "inform" governments with a view to "updating and enhancing" their efforts.

The activists who descended on the Eiffel Tower yesterday are determined to ensure that the large-scale expression of urgency they represent also informs national level policies.

"It even says it in the text itself," Klein said. "What it says is ‘we note with concern’ that the commitments that governments have brought to not bring us to 2 degrees celsius, or 1.5 deg celsius.

"We note this as well, but not just with concern; we note this with alarm, and we say that our leaders have shown themselves willing to set our world on fire, and we will not let them," she said.

"And that our mood today, here in front of the Eiffel Tower, earlier at the Red Lines event, is not one of despair but rather our mood is one of clarifying purpose and commitment.

"We knew that those were not the real leaders: We knew that the leaders were in the streets, that the leaders were in the fields, that this city is filled with climate heroes."

"It’s our responsibility to keep [fossil fuels]in the ground" was one of the most common refrains of the demonstration, but there was also widespread concern that the climate regime which has been codified in Paris does not address many of the systematic root causes which gave rise to the climate crisis in the first place.

"System change, not climate change" has been an overarching message at political demonstrations in Paris during the course of the two-week climate negotiations. Yesterday, demonstrators diverted occasionally from climate-related chants, launching instead into refrains like "say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here".

Again, Klein captured the mood when she said "the gap is immense between the expressions of solidarity with the most vulnerable, and the reality of those leaders consistently putting the interests of the rich and the powerful before those interests of the vulnerable, and indeed all of humanity".

"I did a search," she said. "I did a word search on the final text, and the words ‘fossil fuels’ do not appear once in the text. What that means is that our leaders have none of the courage it takes to stand up to those corporate interests that are responsible for this crisis.

"They can’t even say the words. So it is up to us to do what they so clearly refuse to do, which is stand up to the polluters and make them pay, and we will do this everywhere, using every tool that we can," she said.

"We will do it in the streets with protests like this, and we will do it in the face of every single polluting project that they decide to try to roll out."

A major program of civil disobedience is planned to take place across 12 countries between May 7 and 13 next year, announced at the Paris climate summit.


Top science groups tell Congress to stop probing NOAA’s alleged misdeeds

Must not challenge the Gods

Saying it will have a ‘chilling effect’ on science, eight scientific organizations have sent a letter this week to Rep. Lamar Smith (R) for investigating corruption at NOAA.

Whistleblowers came forward during a congressional oversight hearing about data manipulation in a much-hyped global warming study. Rep. Smith, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, has subpoenaed government-owned emails related to NOAA’s work to determine if a landmark global warming study was "rushed to publication" to fit Obama’s "aggressive climate agenda."

The top scientific organizations opposed to this investigation, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, American Statistical Association,Ecological Society of America,Geological Society of America, and the Society for Conservation Biology, believe Smith’s investigation is an "affront to science" and a partisan witch hunt.

All of the organizations ostensibly represent the will of its members, but surveys have shown that’s not necessarily the case.

At issue is a June paper (a.k.a. the Karl study) released by NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) that claims the global warming pause for the last 18-26 years was a figment of "uncorrected" data. NOAA removed the pause by tinkering with the data to produce the desired outcome, leaving many top climate scientists bewildered. And not just skeptics.

And those that speak up or challenge the underlying science are quickly "tossed out of the global warming tribe," writes The Spectator. Michael Mann, a climate scientist and professor at Penn State, is one of that tribe’s leaders. A "vociferous advocate of extreme measures to prevent a climatic Armageddon," Mann calls anyone that questions it ‘anti-science.’ Much like the organizations attacking Rep. Smith’s congressional inquiry.

One reason Smith is investigating the whistleblowers‘ accusations in the Karl study isbecause "businesses, governments, and academics rely heavily on NCEI data to make informed decisions to help grow the economy and protect public safety and theenvironment." But if the data has been willfully tampered with, the outputted figures are essentially useless. Prior to the Karl study, NOAA and other scientific organizations have released numerous studies that acknowledge a global warming pause for the last 18-26 years, and there have been nearly 70 excuses trying to shoo it away.

Once NOAA rewrote its own temperature data, NASA announced a month later it would now supplant its own temperature data with those from NOAA. That brought the total to two government agencies saying the global warming pause never occurred and that 2015 was turning out to be the hottest year since recordkeeping began (with the Paris Climate Talks kicking off this weekend, its not surprising). This despite a severe lack of "extreme weather" or climatostrophies that scientists claimed would happen in a warming world.

But facts say differently. As laid out by the popular science blog Watts up with that?, this year has shown record sea ice in Antarctica, Arctic sea ice extent rebounding, record snowfall across the country, record cold (e.g., Polar Vortex) across the globe, no increase in sea level rise, a thriving polar bear population (despite the so-called heat), CO2 levels rising less than 2 parts per million in 2014, and satellite data showing that 2014 (and 2015) has not been the warmest year ever. Most ground-based weather monitoring stations are affected by their surroundings, with many situated in cities where the Urban Heat Island effect makes them all but useless.

Another reason Rep. Smith may be asking for government-owned work emails related to the Karl study is the fiasco that happened in 2009. At that time, hackers (or possibly an insider) broke into the servers of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia/UK and released thousands of emails onto the web. The emails showed a disturbing trend to silence dissension, and "manipulated or suppressed evidence in order to support their cause."

While it garnered worldwide attention and generated much debate, it also showed unbecoming behavior by many prominent climate scientists (and even inspired a scathing Law & Order episode). Internal investigations by the organizations impacted by the email scandal showed "no wrongdoing," but all agreed that scientists needed to be more transparent and openly share their data (sound familiar?).

So far NOAA isn’t budging and is refusing to comply with Smith’s requests. So much so that Smith had to send a second letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who oversees NOAA. In it he asks Pritzker to have her NOAA employees comply with his request or he will be forced to use a Congressional subpoena.

As of press time, Pritzker has refused to comply, and Smith subpoenaed the requested internal documents. What NOAA scientists are disputing is that government-owned emails are not the property of the government and cited ‘confidentiality concerns.’ This was the same justification the EPA used when they were asked to produce the "secret science" behind all the new rules and regulations it has imposed since Obama took office.

Ironically, Rush Holt, who is the CEO of the AAAS and who spearheaded the letter, told the Washington Post: "This is not just a few scientists grousing about somebody besmirching the work of a group of scientists. It’s an affront to the scientific process."

That was also one of the chief complaints by whistleblowers, who said the Karl study ignored the basic tenets of the scientific method, "rushed to publication despite concerns from other scientists," ignored "established NOAA standards" and possibly violated its own "integrity policies." Smith continues to wait for these internal documents.

The letter to Smith by these eight organizations admits that Congress does have oversight responsibility, but that its inquiries "should not be used as a tool to inhibit the ability of federal scientists to fulfill" their goals. But Smith isn’t investigating NOAA’s goals, only its alleged misdeeds. Why was the Karl study rushed to publication over the objections of other NOAA scientists and why did it ignore the scientific method?


Paris Climate Deal: Australian government stares down dissenters

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has defended the non-binding nature of the Paris climate agreement, as the Turnbull government stares down climate change dissenters within its own ranks.

Liberal MP Dennis Jensen, an outspoken climate change sceptic, warned the agreement was "essentially meaningless" and Australia should avoid "metaphorically burning our economy just to appear good on the global stage".

"Basically countries set their own targets and there’s no enforcement strategy. It provides flexibility to do anything essentially," he told ABC Radio.

"The entire globe needs to have similar commitments and be similarly achieving those goals."

Another Liberal MP, Craig Kelly, mocked the agreement on Facebook: "Hallelujah. The world is saved ... The polar bears can sleep soundly tonight."

Mr Hunt regretted there would be "no sanctions or penalties if a country falls short of its target".

"Our preference would have been for that. That’s probably the only real and significant element that we would have wanted, but we all knew that that wasn’t possible for the United States, it wasn’t on China’s agenda," he told Macquarie Radio.

"Others haven’t always honoured their agreements in the past, that is true. But the difference this time is everybody’s in the cart, everybody’s made their commitment; if countries fall short of that or indeed they renege on it I think there would be enormous internal and external pressure and criticism."

Mr Hunt said Australia was on-track to meet its 2030 target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent, relative to 2005 levels.

Andrew Leigh, the opposition assistant treasury spokesman, applauded the deal’s aim of keeping the global average temperature rise below 1.5 degrees.

"It leaves Australia out of the pack from the rest. We know Australia’s targets are now well in excess of what other countries have. We’re failing to demonstrate the level of ambition that Britain, the United States, Canada now ... are showing," he told Sky News.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said the government trusted Mr Hunt to ensure Australia met its targets. He said South Australian premier Jay Weatherill deserved "full credit" for his "brave" decision to launch an inquiry into nuclear fuel cycle.

"Ultimately nuclear power will be something that is determined by … whether the community will accept it and … the economics of it," Senator Fifield told Sky News.

Dr Leigh said Labor was opposed to establishing a domestic nuclear power industry.



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14 December, 2015

LOL.  An unenforceable agreement to do the impossible!

The Greenies are right about the climate agreement just signed in Paris.  They think it's a crock.  It is.

Here's what the Solons agreed to in Paris:

1. A long-term goal to limit global warming to 2C, or 1.5C if possible

2. National pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the 2020s

3. A plan to make countries pledge deeper emissions cuts in future, improving their plans every five years

4. Rich nations to provide funding to poorer ones – ‘mobilising’ $100bn a year until 2025, and more thereafter

5. A plan to monitor progress and hold countries to account

It's all just an expression of intentions with the only definite goal being to limit global warming. But they have no means of doing that.  Warming does not track CO2 and they have made no firm committments to control CO2 anyway.  And since the warming has already stopped the goal is pointless.  You can't close a door that is already closed!  And most of the goals are nicely in the future when most of the signatories will be hors de combat

And it has no enforcement mechanism anyway

There were tears of joy as delegates finally agreed to the world's first comprehensive climate agreement after two weeks of negotiations in Paris.

The Paris Agreement was passed with no objections by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, bringing to an end four years' of discussion and debate.

Nearly 200 nations adopted the global pact, calling on the world to collectively cut and then eliminate greenhouse gas pollution - but imposing no sanctions on countries that don't.

To a reception of whoops and cheers, Laurent Fabius told the hall: 'I now invite the COP [conference of the parties] to adopt the decision. I see no objections. The Paris agreement is adopted.'

The plenary hall then rose to give him a standing ovation.

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said: 'I used to say we must, we can, we will - today we can say we did.'

The first draft of the 'historic' legally binding agreement had been reached around midday.

The report confirmed countries - if they accept the 31-page draft - will be expected to work towards limiting global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels.

However, the agreement took several more hours to reach - with one western diplomat revealing it was held up for two hours by the U.S., which was unhappy with one word. 

The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. wants the word 'shall' changed to 'should' in a clause on emissions targets out of fears that it might require the Obama administration to seek approval from the Republican-controlled Senate.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the universal climate deal agreed in Paris 'means that the whole world has signed to play its part in halting climate change', adding: 'It's a moment to remember and a huge step forward in helping to secure the future of our planet.'

President Barack Obama tweeted: 'This is huge: Almost every country in the world just signed on to the on climate change—thanks to American leadership.'

Christine Lagarde, the IMF's managing director, said: 'The Paris Agreement is a critical step forward for addressing climate change.'

Kevin Watkins, executive director of the Overseas Development Institute, said: 'It is a tough message to deliver after two weeks of intense negotiations that have delivered an ambitious deal, but the challenge governments are facing can be summarised in five words – 'now for the hard part'.' 

Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace praised the accord was a good start but isn't enough.

'Today the human race has joined in a common cause, but it's what happens after this conference that really matters,' he said. 'This deal alone won't dig us out the hole we're in, but it makes the sides less steep.'

But Friends of the Earth said it was a 'disaster'.

In a statement released by the group, they said: 'The draft Paris agreement puts us on track for a planet three degrees hotter than today. This would be a disaster.

'The reviews in this agreement are too weak and too late. The finance figures have no bearing on the scale of need. It's empty.'

Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, added: 'It's outrageous that the deal that's on the table is being spun as a success when it undermines the rights of the world's most vulnerable communities and has almost nothing binding to ensure a safe and liveable climate for future generations.'


The trillion pound bill: That's what this respected expert says the climate summit may cost the world each year. And yet, he argues, it will hardly change a thing 

By Bjorn Lomborg

As you might expect, the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, which reached an agreement yesterday to limit the rise in global temperature to less than 2C, has been an international festival of hot air.

The bland, suburban conference centre hosting the two weeks of talks is populated by oversized animal cut-outs – a blue giraffe, a red camel – that we attendees use as landmarks to find our way around.

You hear people shouting into their phone, ‘I’m waiting by the pink kangaroo!’ But the outwardly cheerful menagerie is actually a Noah’s Ark installation designed to remind delegates of the perils of inaction. Woe to the pink kangaroo if the delegates fail to halt global warming.

Even the ‘welcome bags’ are worthy, made out of politically correct recycled cloth.

Our French hosts are quick to point out that their government will purchase ‘carbon offsets’ – somewhere a lot of trees will be planted – to balance the environmental damage caused by this massive talkfest.

Within limits, of course. Though there are an astonishing 40,000 people here (30,000 more than recent conferences), the French will ‘offset’ the emissions of just 22,000 official delegates. The other 18,000 should presumably plant their own trees.

The first two days belonged to politicians, and were dominated by lofty rhetoric. Nearly 150 world leaders gathered, delivering speeches that were fairly interchangeable: there was much talk of ‘ambition’ and ‘the next generation’.

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe stood out, lambasting the West for causing global warming, and declaring that Africa would not cut its carbon emissions.

Then, soundbites duly issued, the leaders jetted home, leaving hundreds of national delegates bustling from meeting to press conference to side event, and activists exhorting them via press releases to commit to ever-bigger carbon cuts.

Yet after two weeks of negotiations about rising temperatures, the main thing that has risen is expectations. When a deal couldn’t be reached, the conference was extended into ‘extra time’. Delegates talked around the clock, agreeing the fine print for an agreement that will commit the world to massive economic costs while doing very little for the environment.

In a peer-reviewed research paper based on pre-conference pledges, I measured the environmental impact of every nation fulfilling every carbon-cutting promise between 2016 and 2030. I found that the total temperature reduction will be just 0.048C by 2100.

Even if we assume that every one of these promises would not only be fulfilled but extended for another 70 years (and countries don’t just import more products from carbon polluting nations) then all the promises made in Paris will reduce temperature rises by 0.17C by 2100. This is very similar to a finding by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology.

Much higher figures have been bandied about by activists, delegates and even the United Nations’ global-warming body, the UNFCCC.

The problem is that such claims are based on a wholly unrealistic scenario where governments do little now, then embark on incredibly ambitious and unlikely climate change reduction policies after 2030.

This is vanishingly unlikely. The only global treaty to agree a cut in carbon emissions – the Kyoto Protocol – failed when it was never ratified by the US, and eventually abandoned by Canada, Russia and Japan. In the 1990s and early 2000s, we learned that the only surefire way to make substantial emissions cuts was to go through a major economic recession.

Emissions dropped precipitously when the Soviet Union collapsed, and again during the 2008 financial crisis. Understandably, this approach is not very popular with politicians or voters.

But still the politicians make lofty carbon-cutting promises. And what they don’t talk about is the cost. In Paris you won’t hear it mentioned that this is likely to be the most expensive treaty in the history of the world. If you try to cut carbon dioxide, even with an efficient carbon tax, you end up making cheap energy more expensive and this slows economic growth.

Energy-economic models, including the gold standard Stanford University Energy Modelling Forum, show the EU’s GDP will have grown 1.6 per cent less by 2030.
Dishing out solar panels is feeble - even immoral

That means the Paris agreement will cost Europe £200 billion in lost GDP every year by 2030 – and this is if the EU enacts its regulations most efficiently. Otherwise the cost could double to £400 billion a year. For the United Kingdom, that could mean £50 billion lost every year. And for the world, this bill could run from £600 billion to £1.2 trillion per year.

Why so expensive? Because current green technology is inefficient. If it were economically advantageous to dump fossil fuels, why would we need to sign a treaty? Every right-thinking nation on the planet would stampede to cut CO2.

There has been much focus in Paris on the £65 billion committed to ‘climate aid’. This includes £4 billion from the UK. Much of that money – including the UK’s portion – is coming from cash intended for global development. Yet climate aid is a feeble response to global challenges.

Concerned about agriculture? Then invest directly in agricultural research and better farming technologies, not subsidising inefficient wind turbines.

Worried about ‘extreme weather’ events? These hit the poor the hardest: helping people out of poverty is a thousand times more effective than relying on carbon cuts.

Nor is climate aid what the world’s poor want. A global poll of 9.7 million people shows that the citizens of the world’s poorest countries say climate action is their lowest policy priority, behind education, healthcare, jobs and governmental reform.

When two billion people suffer from some form of malnourishment, and it is an underlying cause of death of 2.6 million children each year, 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty, and 2.4 billion lack clean drinking water and sanitation, then dishing out solar panels is a feeble – and even immoral – response.

We can help them better, cheaper and more effectively.

However there has been some good news from Paris – and it has nothing to do with the agreement. It’s something that was announced on the sidelines on the first day, when Microsoft founder Bill Gates, other wealthy individuals and about 20 governments revealed that they will double green energy research and development.

This could put us on a pathway towards finally solving global warming. A huge increase in spending on research and development is the most efficient way to find new breakthrough energy technologies cheaper than fossil fuels.

When the thousands of Paris attendees meet again for a review, maybe they will realise that they should forget about their futile policies that throw away trillions of pounds in lost input and invest instead in something with a real chance of working – innovation.


Binding Paris treaty now voluntary mush

But Obama still wants to send US energy use and living standards backward

Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek

Paris climate talks became frenzied, as delegates desperately tried to salvage an agreement beyond empty promises to do something sometime about what President Obama insists is the gravest threat to our planet, national security and future generations.

Determined for once to lead from upfront, he took a 500-person greenhouse gas-spewing entourage to the City of Light, to call for preventing increasing droughts, floods, storms, island-swallowing rising acidic ocean levels, and other disasters conjured up by alarmist computer models.

Legally binding carbon dioxide emission targets were too contentious to pursue. So was modifying “differentiated responsibilities,” the notion that countries which historically caused the recent atmospheric carbon dioxide build-up must lead in cutting their emissions, while helping developing countries eventually do likewise, by pouring trillions of dollars in cash and free technology into the Green Climate Fund for supposed adaptation and compensation. Developing countries had insisted on that massive wealth redistribution as their price for signing any binding document.

Although China now emits far more CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHG) than the USA or EU, it refused to fast-track reducing those emissions. China and wealthy petro-states also opposed paying into the Climate Fund. Other major bones of contention were likewise never resolved.

Thus, in the end, what we got out of Paris is voluntary emission caps, voluntary progress reviews, no international oversight or enforcement of voluntary progress, and voluntary contributions to the Fund.

Of course, the entire climate cataclysm mantra is based on the claim that carbon dioxide has replaced the solar and other powerful natural forces that have driven climate change throughout Earth and human history. Now, merely tweaking CO2 emissions will supposedly stabilize climate and weather systems.

President Obama fervently believes this delusion. He will likely use the Paris gobbledygook to say America somehow has a “moral obligation” to set an example, by de-carbonizing, de-energizing, de-industrializing and de-developing the United States. Thankfully, Congress and the states will have something to say about that, because they know more anti-fossil fuel edicts will destroy jobs and living standards, especially for poor, working class and minority families.

The impacts would be far worse than many news stories and White House press releases suggest. Those sources often say the proposed climate treaty sought seek GHG reductions of 80% below predicted 2050 emission levels. The real target proposed by the White House, EU, Germany and Britain was 80% or more below actual 1990 levels by 2050.

Those targets meant the world would have to eliminate some 95% of the greenhouse gases that all humanity would likely release if we reach world population levels, economic growth and living standards projected for 2050. The United States would likely have to slash its CO2 and GHG reductions to zero.

Moreover, current 2050 forecasts already assume and incorporate significant energy efficiency, de-carbonization and de-industrialization over the next 35 years. They are not business-as-usual numbers or extrapolations of past trends. Further fossil fuel and CO2 reductions beyond those already incorporated into the forecasts would thus be increasingly difficult, expensive, and indeed impossible to achieve.

As we explain in our analysis, there is a strong positive relationship between GDP and carbon-based energy consumption. Slashing fossil energy use that far would thus require decimating economic growth, job creation and preservation, and average per-person incomes. In fact, average world per capita GDP would plummet from a projected $30,600 in 2050 to a miserable $1,200 per year.

Average per capita GDP in 2050 would be less than what Americans had in 1830! Many futuristic technologies might still exist, but only wealthy families and ruling elites could afford them.

That would be catastrophic for jobs, health and welfare in developed countries – and lethal to millions in poor nations, who would be denied the blessings of electricity and fossil fuels for decades to come. That is indefensible, inhumane and immoral. And for what?

Mr. Obama and the Paris alarmists insisted that drastic GHG reductions will hold global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius (3.5 F) above pre-industrial, post-Little Ice Age levels, since 1860. We’re already halfway to that. And now some even claim the upper safety limit is 1.5 degrees C (2.7 F), which would require even more draconian energy and emission cutbacks. Otherwise we face climate and weather calamities, they insist. It’s utter nonsense.

EPA’s own analyses suggest that its fully implemented Clean Power Plan would bring an undetectable, irrelevant reduction of perhaps 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.05 F) in average global temperatures 85 years from now – assuming carbon dioxide actually does drive climate change.

In the Real World, climate changes regularly, and recent climate and weather trends and events are in line with historic experience. In fact, average global temperatures haven’t risen in nearly two decades; no category 3-5 hurricane has struck the USA in a record ten years; Greenland and Antarctic ice are at record levels; and still firmly alkaline sea levels (8.1 pH) are rising at barely seven inches per century.

Many scientists believe the sun and other powerful natural forces may soon usher in a new era of colder temperatures, regardless of whether atmospheric CO2 rises above 0.04% (400 ppm). That would pose much greater threats to human health, agriculture and prosperity (and wildlife) than global warming.

Never forget: Fossil fuels facilitated successive industrial revolutions and enabled billions to live better than royalty did a century ago, average incomes to increase eleven-fold, and helped average global life expectancy to soar from less than 30 in 1870 to 71 today.

Carbon-based energy still provides 81% of world energy, and supports $70 trillion per year in world GDP. It will supply 75-80% of global energy for decades to come, Energy Information Administration, International Energy Agency and other studies forecast. Carbon-based energy is essential if we are to bring electricity to the 1.3 billion people who still do not have it, and end the rampant poverty and lung, intestinal and other diseases that kill millions of people in poor countries every year.

Furthermore, thousands of coal-fired power plants are built, under construction or in planning around the world. China and India will not consider reducing GHG emissions until 2030, and even then it will be voluntary and dependent on how their economies are doing. That means atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will continue to climb, greening the planet and spurring faster crop, forest and grassland growth.

President Obama and the 40,000 climate alarmists gathered in Paris ignored these inconvenient realities, and whitewashed the adverse consequences of anti-hydrocarbon policies. Even binding targets would have minimal or illusory health, climate and environmental benefits.

Instead, they would have horrendous adverse effects on human health and environmental quality, while doing nothing to prevent climate change or extreme weather events. What alarmists wanted in Paris would let unelected, unaccountable activists and bureaucrats decide which industries, companies, workers, families, states and countries win the Climate Hustle game, and which ones lose.

And it’s not just President Obama. He wants to slash America’s carbon dioxide emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025 – and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050! Every Democrat presidential candidate demands similar actions: Hillary Clinton wants one-third of all US electricity to come from wind and solar by 2027; Bernie Sanders wants 50% by 2030; Martin O’Malley wants 100% by 2050.

Obligating the United States to slash its fossil fuel use, and send billions of taxpayer dollars annually to dictators, bureaucrats and crony industrialists in poor countries would be disastrous. Thank goodness it did not happen. But we are not out of the woods yet.

Via email

Scientists criticize climate agreement

The researchers — including Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester and a major critic of unrealistic assumptions about how easily the world can limit warming to below 3.6 degrees — were reacting to the latest draft agreement text, released late Thursday.

The document embraces a goal of limiting warming to well below 3.6 degrees above preindustrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 2.7 degrees —a strengthening of goals that many scientists and also vulnerable nations have applauded.

But the text goes on to say that this will be achieved through capping greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, followed by "rapid reductions thereafter towards reaching greenhouse gas emissions neutrality in the second half of the century."

It is the second part of this that drew the scientists’ ire. It’s not clear that a mere peaking "as soon as possible," or "greenhouse gas emissions neutrality" thereafter, will be enough to hit the most ambitious climate targets, they suggested.

Rather, the researchers said, to stay within a given temperature threshold, emissions have to be taken to zero — a word that does not appear in the current text — and for 2.7 degrees in particular, they need to be cut rapidly and immediately.

The current text is "not consistent with science," said Anderson.

"The frustration as a scientist at this point is that once you set that global planetary guardrail, everything else must be consistent with that target," added Steffen Kallbekken, research director for the Climate Economics Unit at the University of Oslo.

"It means reaching . . . 70 to 95 percent reduction in emissions by 2050 as an absolute minimum, and it actually means being careful with statements like ‘greenhouse gas neutrality,’ " Kallbekken said.

Kallbekken, Anderson, and the other scientists suggested that the language about "greenhouse gas neutrality" could open up a massive door to so-called "negative emissions" technologies that could theoretically remove large amounts of carbon dioxide from the air, even as humans keep on emitting it.

If we emit too much carbon dioxide to stay within a given temperature target, meanwhile, negative emissions technologies might theoretically cool the planet back down again, allowing for a temporary overshoot without too much lasting planetary harm.

However, scientists have recently been highly critical of assumptions that we can launch these technologies on a mass scale without suffering major side effects, such as using vast amounts of land that might otherwise be used to grow food.

At the panel on Friday, Anderson suggested that relying on these technologies may lead us to believe in "spurious options for the future."

Another researcher present, Joeri Rogelj, a research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, is one of the few scientists to have published a study on precisely what it would take to keep warming below 2.7 degrees in the long term.

The current draft text’s language about "greenhouse gas neutrality," he said, "kind of obscures the fact that global carbon dioxide emissions will have to become zero to stabilize warming at any level."

Rogelj said the world must start reducing emissions by 2020 or earlier to meet the goals. But the current draft’s call for merely peaking emissions "as soon as possible" leaves vast wiggle room.

The researchers praised the inclusion of a 2.7 degree temperature increase in the current text, along with the idea of holding warming well below 3.6 degrees. And they emphasized that the current text could change again by Saturday, perhaps in the direction they’re hoping for — but also perhaps becoming weaker.

"It’s incredibly positive that world political leadership has now recognized the science," said Kallbekken. "It has to then stay scientifically consistent right through."


5 Facts the Left Isn’t Trumpeting About Paris and Climate Change

In his opening statements, President Barack Obama claimed that "there is such a thing as being too late. And when it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us."

In the midst of such self-induced high-pressure politics and the alleged immediacy of the situation, here are a few numbers to keep in mind.

    An Arbitrary Goal: 2 Degrees Celsius

The U.N.’s stated goal of the Paris conference is "to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius" from preindustrial levels. But as the Wall Street Journal reports and others have pointed out well before the Paris talks, many scientists—including those who believe we are facing catastrophic global warming—find the benchmark of 2 degrees Celsius arbitrary.

Professor of climatology at University College London Mark Maslin said, "It emerged from a political agenda, not a scientific analysis. It’s not a sensible, rational target because the models give you a range of possibilities, not a single answer."

In other words, the entire premise of the conference is faulty.

    $100 Billion (or More)-per-Year Climate Fund

A major sticking point leading up to and during the Paris climate conference has been a Green Climate Fund that would collect $100 billion per year by 2020 to subsidize green energy and pay for other climate adaptation and mitigation programs in developing nations.

Only $10.2 billion has been pledged so far ($3 billion has been promised by Obama), but that’s already $10.2 billion too much.

World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change Rachel Kyte said that "the $100 billion was picked out of the air at Copenhagen."

Executive secretary for the U.N.’s climate change conventions Christiana Figueres has further admitted that the $100 billion is merely a proxy to win the trust of developing countries and that "we are talking here about trillions of dollars that need to flow into the transformation at a global level."

    Amount of Warming Since 1998: Almost None

Even as global carbon dioxide emissions have increased, warming has plateaued. Most scientists would agree that the Earth has experience some warming over the past century, but there is little agreement as to how much is attributable to human activity or if warming is even harmful. An analysis by Judith Curry comparing five data sets of actual global temperatures found that all but one showed that global warming is on a break.

However, climate models have predicted far more warming than has actually happened in the past 18 years. If models have been unable to accurately project climate conditions ten years out, how can even longer-term projections be depended upon to make good policy decisions?

    Number of Coal Power Plants Planned Around the World: 2,440

A December report by four climate institutes found that far from decreasing in number, over 2,000 coal power plants are planned around the world in developing and industrialized nations. And for good reason—coal remains an efficient, affordable, and reliable resource to generate electricity.

It’s worth noting, too, that modern American coal power plants aren’t the plants of a century ago (or like the ones in China today) and can filter out 90 percent of mercury emissions and 99.8 percent of soot.

Too many politicians appear out of touch with reality, though. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has suggested that "fossil fuel power generation without [carbon capture and sequestration be] phased out almost entirely by 2100" to mitigate warming.

To this end, the Obama administration’s emissions reduction commitment to cut 28 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 further stated that this was only a "pathway … to deep, economy-wide emission reductions of 80 percent or more by 2050."

    Amount of Warming Avoided by the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan: 0.02 Degrees Celsius Over the Next 85 Years

The Clean Power Plan is at the heart of Obama’s U.N. climate commitment. But regardless of one’s opinion of global warming, the Clean Power Plan does next to nothing to reduce global temperatures.

Models created by the Environmental Protection Agency show that the climate impact of the Clean Power Plan is less than 0.02 degrees Celsius in warming avoided over the next 85 years. Meanwhile, it will be extremely costly to American families and businesses, and particularly so for the poor Midwestern states, which rely more heavily on coal for electricity, and the manufacturing sector, which is on the threshold of renewed growth brought on by the oil and gas revolution.

Obama has maneuvered to avoid Senate ratification of a treaty. But regardless of one’s position on global warming, the Paris climate agreement is shortsighted and a bad deal for Americans and the world’s most vulnerable.


NASA Scientist: No Global "Climate Danger"

NASA Meteorologist and member of the Johnson Space Center Climate Group (Ret.), Tom Wysmuller (photo) was interviewed in New York by Celestin Ngoa Balla for the weekly Cameroon newspaper Journal Integration.

Q: Mr Wysmuller:  When did you start investigating the global climate change phenomenon and what evidence do you have to convince our readers of the seriousness, of the rigour of your work?

Thomas Wysmuller:  I’ve always had a love for Meteorology, studied it in school, and forecasted weather at the Royal Dutch Weather Bureau in Amsterdam, before working at NASA before, during, and after the Moon Landings.  Mathematics I helped develop while assigned to work at Jet Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney is being used by most climate scientists all over the world.  In the late 1990s I started lecturing on formation of the Ice Ages; ergo the copyright on The Colder Side of Global Warming.  I continue doing so to this day, and am part of the NASA: The Right Climate Stuff (TRCS) group centered at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas.

Q: At a recent conference in New York, you stated that after the Paris Summit on climate change, the planet will go back to the stone age. Can you demonstrate that to our readers?

Thomas Wysmuller: The context of that assertion was that we would revert to Stone Age conditions if every proposal, change, and energy destroying wish list item would be enacted as a result of the Paris COP21 conference.  It would mean that inexpensive coal generated electricity would be barred in Africa.  Third World nations would be limited to non-utility scale wind and solar power generation. Africa, South America, and Central America would never develop continent-wide electrical grids, nor would be permitted to develop their own natural resources.  I could go on, but hopefully you are getting the idea!

Q: In the same vein, you are also ringing the alarm bell that behind the Paris summit lies the real agenda of some of the great powers and of some notorious people: reducing Earth’s population. What are your reasons to make such a statement?

Thomas Wysmuller:  Once inexpensive electrical power is denied to those most needing it, diseases will continue taking their toll in the Third World, decent drinking water will remain in short supply and delivery systems for it will remain substandard compared to Europe and North America.

Keep in mind that there are some truly misguided but well-meaning people believing they are doing environmental good involved in COP21.  But others want to keep the Third World poor and relying on "handouts" from the so-called "developed world."

Even our own (in my view "poor choice" as) president has declared that:  "Ultimately, if you think about all the youth that everybody has mentioned here in Africa, if everybody is raising living standards to the point where everybody has got a car and everybody has got air conditioning, and everybody has got a big house, well, the planet will boil over—unless we find new ways of producing energy".

Now this is simply false.  The planet will never "…boil over," unless new laws of physics get invented. But keeping Africa poor will result in more deaths resulting from not "…raising living standards."

And you should not have to wait for someone else to "…find new ways of producing energy." What if they don’t?  Does that mean that you and your descendants should wallow in poverty?

Do NOT take our president’s statement as what the American people want for your country.

For me, I would like to see every African of driving age able to 1: Have one or two cars, 2: Have a decent road system upon which to drive them, 3: Have Air Conditioning, 4: Have a big house or elegant apartment, 5: Have a job making, selling, or distributing things like Air Conditioners, Cars, Farm Equipment, or teaching others how to do just that, and all those things that make life pleasant and a lifestyle you can be proud of.

Q: Can you explain your statement that "global warming is not an issue that concerns Africa"?

Thomas Wysmuller:  To begin:  The planet’s atmosphere has not warmed for almost two decades, and that includes Africa.

If we look at the total emissions of CO2 produced by man since 1750, we find that one third of these emissions occurred in only the last 18 years and 9 months. However, the most reliable measurements of the Earth’s surface temperature obtained by satellites show no indication of global warming over this period. There is no evidence to support the claims that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are causing a sudden, dangerous change in the Earth’s climate.

I pose the following question from time to time: Pick any day of the year, any season. Add two degrees. Notice any difference? Enjoy life. Save $Billions that your government wants to spend or divert on this foolishness.

A small fraction of those same "$Billions" could develop a power grid across all of Africa, provide cheap, reliable and clean coal-fired electricity for all.  CO2 additions would benefit the planet, allowing more rapid plant and crop growth, while CO, Carbon particles, and real pollutants would be controlled with modern engineering techniques. 

A competent Physicist or Meteorologist would let you know that equatorial regions of Earth would radiate most of that added heat into space – the colder regions would warm, but not enough to cause major ice depletion.  Recent evidence points to Antarctica gaining so much more ice/snow so as to drop world sea levels by 0.23mm each year. Truly, "global warming is not an issue that concerns Africa" Economic impoverishment most certainly is!

Q: Should we fear the return of colonialism particularly in Africa?

Thomas Wysmuller:  Under real colonialism, you knew from whom you wanted to be liberated.  However, "economic subjugation" is likely even more insidious than that of your past colonial experience.

Keeping Africa from utilizing your own natural resources, keeping you without reliable power, denying you a decent transportation infrastructure to move goods throughout the continent, or even withholding reliable electrical power to make those goods, is true repression.


Q: The Paris Summit organizers think that the growth of jihadism and wars in Africa is linked to global warming. What do you think?

Thomas Wysmuller:  The recent unrest in the world and attacks in Paris "feed" this kind of thinking.  In truth, poverty and lack of food and water are the "fuel" for jihadism.  This results in destabilization attempts directed towards governments who are unable to "cure" these societal ills.  If reliable electricity would power desalinization plants and provide water for agriculture and industry, the attractiveness for regime destruction relied upon by jihadists would dissipate.

Q: Is there a relationship between the warming of the oceans and the emissions of CO2?

Thomas Wysmuller:  Absolutely!  As the oceans warm, they release the heavier dissolved CO2 molecules contained within them.  In fact they are responsible for almost all of the CO2 emissions added to the atmosphere every year.  Humans account for less than 4%, and half of that is re-absorbed by either plants or the oceans each year!!!

Q: What advice would you give to the African heads of state that have already accepted the invitation to go to the Paris Summit? Should they refuse to sign the protocol to impose a worldwide climate policy?

Thomas Wysmuller:  Go to the Paris Summit.  Do NOT give up your nation’s right to explore for, extract, utilize and develop your natural resources.

Review any technical assistance offered, but have your own scientists that have high integrity, analyze any offers and accept only those that:  1: Give your nation capability that it doesn/t presently have, 2: Contribute to your own energy independence, 3: Grant meaningful employment for your people, 4:  Improve your nation’s infrastructure, and 5: Allow you to increase your nation’s competitiveness in all aspects of world trade.  There are many more in addition to these 5, but starting with these, your heads of state will earn their right to remain in their positions.

And yes, they should absolutely refuse to sign the protocol as it has been described to me.  Signing will guarantee permanent mediocrity for those African nations that are tricked into supporting the protocol.

Q: And what message do you have for the African population who, not long ago, heard Barack Obama tell them that it is dangerous for the planet that every house should have electricity?

Thomas Wysmuller:  Tell Barack Obama to cut power to the US White House 20 times per day, sell his jet plane Air Force One, and get rid of the cars that he rides in on the way to golf courses on a weekly basis.  When all of those happen, then consider that you might not want every house having electricity, and decide that his house will be the only one in that category.

Q: Nonetheless, the phenomenon of global warming is not a myth. And you are saying that it has some good advantages such as creating jobs?

Thomas Wysmuller:  We are in a 2 degree C plus and minus temperature band for the past 10,000 years!  300 years ago we were cooling. 100 years ago we started warming again.  We are still in that 2 degree C range, and not anywhere near the top of that range.

Add atmospheric CO2 and plants grow more and need less water to do so.  Satellite imagery of the Sahel region of Africa shows greening during the 20 years after the satellites were first put in orbit.  If there is any myth, it is that of taking just the past 100 years of temperature change and insisting that it will go on forever.  Over 100 climate models have failed to accurately project the Earth’s atmospheric temperature – and all but 3 failed on the high side because of CO2 increase assumptions and feedbacks built into the modeler’s assumptions.

Jobs will follow as a result of NOT following the proposed resource development restrictions that some would impose upon your country and delight in your continued subservience.  I’m not one of them!!!

Q: The way things are going right now, some scientists fear an increase of floods, cyclones and other natural catastrophes. Can you comment?

Thomas Wysmuller:  Those scientists to whom you refer just are not keeping up with reality.  I cannot apologize for their ignorance, but hopefully they can.  There is a concept called "Accumulated Cyclonic Energy" (ACE) and it is tracked worldwide.  It takes the energy components of storms wind speed, storm duration measured in 6-hour intervals, and area covered.  This ACE statistic trend is tracked, and for the past 15 years the trend is down, and decidedly so, even as CO2 has risen.

Hurricanes, Cyclones, Typhoons, etc., are within their historic ranges though not fewer in number, but this is likely due to better satellite tracking of these systems.  In areas where there is high accuracy in storm tracking, such as the United States, numbers of Tornadoes in all categories are either diminished or flat, none increasing!

Please keep in mind that the "catastrophes" referred to are all "Weather" related, not "Climate" related, as "Climate" is the result of very long term changes in the averages of many meteorological factors, and CO2 is not the major one involved.

Q: What can explain that two weeks before the Paris summit, the conclusions of your work and your observations are not well-known around the world? Are there some people that don’t want your voice to be heard?

Thomas Wysmuller:  Many highly regarded and recognized scientists with world class reputations share my outlook and have similar opinions.  I give lectures, talks and presentations all over the world, and those conclusions that I have arrived at with others are actually quite well known.

I am sure there are some that "…don’t want your (my) voice to be heard," but those are the actions of fear; fear that they will be exposed as less than competent, and have to defend policies that damage the very people and nations that they pretend to be helping.

Q: Can you tell us why you are not afraid to oppose the powerful nations and powerful people (including even the Pope) who are involved in promoting this climate change agenda? They say that that there is a danger! Are you trying to tell us that the right of all nations to develop, the need to create jobs, and the need for science to be truthful, is more important than fear?

Thomas Wysmuller:  Absolutely!!! And there is no "climate danger" to worry about but there is a very real danger that lack of development, poverty, and lack of economic opportunity present to your country and the world!

I have easily developed a lack of fear with respect to my positions, as they are grounded in hard science, accurate data, and a structured approach in problem solving that I learned during my days at NASA.  Over the years I have applied my Meteorological, Mathematical, and Earth Sciences background to my presentations, and acquired an understanding of climate, and Ice-Age formation.

I believe my "advice" to the developing world will actually allow them to DEVELOP!!!  Rise to the level that brings the best lifestyle, medical health, and prosperity that you can hope for and then benefit all of humanity!!!  When your nation’s intelligence and intellect is focused on becoming equal partners in the world, the rest of the world’s nations will welcome your inclusion in mainstream economic progress, and I not only look forward to that day, but will work hard to convince others to help you achieve it.

I thank you for your work in communicating my viewpoints to your country’s leaders and your general readership.  Political decisions based upon sound science and correct information are the recipe for national achievement, and I wish you the very best in attaining that success!!!



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

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


13 December, 2015

Scientists create stunning map of what's under the Antarctic - and reveal mysterious volcanic ‘hot zones’ are recently active

A most interesting map. Warmists recently have been dining out on reports of ice melting in West Antarctica generally and in the Antarctic peninsula in particular.  I have always pointed out on such occasions that melting in one small part of Antarctica is hardly indicative of a global process and also pointed out the probable explanation for what is going on:  Reports of vulcanism in the area.  The map above now puts the matter beyond doubt.  Note how hot the Antarctic peninsula is shown to be. It's full of volcanic activity.

And note below that the findings are said to explain the retreat of the Thwaite and Pine Island Pine Island glaciers -- exactly the two glaciers that Warmists have been getting erections over. So it's all just volcanic activity!  How boring and disappointing for the Warmists. I do enjoy being proved right, though

The new findings will not slow the Warmists down much, however.  We have long known of the Gakkel ridge in the Arctic -- a long line of active volcanoes underneath the floating ice of the Arctic -- yet Warmists persist in claiming that the occasional melt in the Arctic has significance for global warming.  It does not.  It just reflects the variability of volcanic activity in the Arctic.  So in both the Arctic and the Antarctic, volcanoes should be taking the Warmists' joy away. But when you are as good at ignoring reality as the Green/Left are, they will no doubt continue to peddle their fraudulent claims

There is a mysterious line of volcanoes that have formed in certain areas of Antarctica - and could hold the key to the area's future.

For years, researchers have been trying to look below the ice sheets to find out why, but due to extreme cold their technology has not been able to gather any answers.

Now with the assistance of ruggedized seismometers, geologists have been able to get the first look at the mantle below the ice, revealing areas of 'hot rock'.

This was the first time researchers had technology that was tough enough to withstand Antarctica’s harsh weather and the first time humans eyes have seen below this region.

A giant blob of super heated rock about 60 miles beneath Mount Sidley was seen on the map.

This is the last chain of volcanic mountains in Marie Byrd Land at one end of the transect.

What surprised researchers the most was the hot rock beneath Bentley Subglacial Trench, a deep basin at the other end of the transect.

This means the rift system just recently became active.

Mount Sidley, the highest volcano in Antarctica, sits directly above a hot region in the mantle, Lloyd said.

Mount Sidley is the southernmost mountain in a volcanic mountain range in Marie Byrd Land, a mountainous region dotted with volcanoes near the coast of West Antarctica.

‘A line of volcanoes hints there might be a hidden mantle plume, like a blowtorch, beneath the plate,’said Doug Wiens, PhD, professor of earth and planetary sciences and a co-author on the paper.

‘The volcanoes would pop up in a row as the plate moved over it.’  ‘But it's a bit unclear if this is happening here,’ he said.

‘We think we know which direction the plate is moving, but the volcanic chain is going in a different direction and two additional nearby volcanic chains are oriented in yet other directions.’

‘If this was just a plate moving over a couple of mantle plumes, you'd expect them to line up, as they do in the Hawaiian Islands.’

It was apparent that there was higher heat flow into the bottom of the ice sheet in this area, regardless of the hot zone’s ill-defined shape, according to the researchers

The West Antarctic Rift is less known, because it’s so hidden and leaves a lot of room for research and discovery.

‘We didn't know what we'd find beneath the basin,’ Wiens said.

‘For all we knew it would be old and cold.’

‘We didn't detect any earthquakes, so we don't think the rift is currently active, but the heat suggests rifting stopped quite recently.’

The rift valley was created in the late Cretaceous period, a time of diffuse extension, and more focused extension created deep basins like the Bentley Subglacial Basin and the Terror Rift in the Ross Sea.

‘This period of more focused extension likely occurred in the Neogene,’ Lloyd said.

‘If it's still hot there, it might also be hot under other basins in the rift system.’

This system is known to have the most influence on ice streams in West Antarctica.

The researchers believe that seismic surveys, similar to this one, will improve the models of the ice sheets, as the modelers require an estimate of the heat flow and need to know what the geological conditions at the bottom of the ice are in order to estimate drag.

In July, scientists reported the heat flow at one of these spots was four times higher than the global average, which raised the question to why the reading was so high. Researchers think this recent extension in the Bentley Subglacial Trench might explain these findings.

The second issue was understanding the structure under the Thwaite and Pine Island Pine Island glaciers, which are closer to the shoreline than the Bentley Subglacial Trench.

The two glaciers have been described as the ‘weak underbelly’ of the ice sheet because surges in the ice flow there could possibly cause the rapid disintegration of the entire West Antarctica ice sheet.


Massive El Niño sweeping globe is now the biggest ever recorded

So here we have an explanation of the recent small apparent rise in global temperatures.  If a global temperature increase this year rises to statistical significance, it will be clear what is going on.  Ocean currents rather than global warming will be behind the statistics.  This could be roughly adjusted for in the statistics -- by substracting the rise above surrounding years of the 1997-98 El Niño.  That calculation may never be made public, however.  The Warmists are very prolific with very dubious adjustments but they won't like that obvious one

The current extreme El Niño is now the strongest ever recorded, smashing the previous record from 1997-8. Already wreaking havoc on weather around the world, the new figures mean those effects will probably get worse. Climate change could be to blame and is known to be making the extreme impacts of El Niño on weather more likely.

The 1997-8 El Niño killed 20,000 people and caused almost $97 billion of damage as floods, droughts, fires, cyclones and mudslides ravaged the world.

Now the current El Niño has surpassed the 1997-8 El Niño on a key measure, according to the latest figures released by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency.

El Niño occurs when warm water that has piled up around Australia and Indonesia spills out east across the Pacific Ocean towards the Americas, taking the rain with it.

A key measure of its intensity is the warmth of water in the central Pacific. In 1997, at its peak on 26 November, it was 2.8?°C above average. According to the latest measurements, it reached 2.8?°C on 4 November this year, and went on to hit 3.1?°C on 18 November – the highest temperatures ever seen in this region.

"The El Niño community is closely watching the evolution [of this El Niño] and whether the current event will surpass the 1997-8 event," says Axel Timmerman at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. "Monthly and weekly central Pacific temperature anomalies clearly show that this current event has surpassed it."

The temperatures in the central Pacific have the biggest impact on the global atmospheric circulation, and therefore the biggest impacts on global weather, says Timmerman, who has been warning that this El Niño is likely to be a record-breaker.

The event hasn’t broken temperature records across the entire eastern Pacific, but in the central eastern Pacific. "It’s shifted into an area where most likely the atmosphere will respond even more," Timmerman says.

Timmerman and others showed in 2013 that El Niños have been stronger in the last few decades than in any period over the past four centuries. It is unknown whether that’s because of climate change, but Timmerman and colleagues have also shown that extreme impacts from El Niño’s will double in frequency this century as a result of climate change.

In similar findings, Scott Power at the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia and colleagues showed that climate change will amplify the way that El Niño redistributes rainfall, making droughts and floods worse.

El Niño has been implicated in a host of extreme weather events across the globe. Combined with global warming, it’s partly responsible for 2015 being the hottest year on record. In India, more than 2000 people died in a heatwave caused by a delayed monsoon – an effect of El Niño.

Now the region is experiencing unusually heavy rains as the monsoon has finally arrived – also an expected impact of El Niño. "Southern India is having a lot of rain as it goes into winter, having come out of the dry monsoon. This is only so during extreme El Niño, so it is a confirmation that the El Niño is huge," says Wenju Cai at Australia’s government scientific research body, CSIRO in Melbourne.

El Niño is also probably making record-breaking illegal fires in Indonesia worse, by reducing rainfall there.

Massive El Niño sweeping globe is now the biggest ever recorded
And in some Pacific Islands, water levels have dropped so much that coral reefs are exposed, in a phenomenon known as Taimasa, Samoan for "smelly reef". New Scientist has received photographs from Guam showing this dramatic effect, only seen during extreme El Niño events. Across the globe, the El Niño has also begun a mass coral bleaching.

Australia has dodged some of the worst effects of El Niño, as the Indian Ocean Dipole – an oscillation of sea temperatures in the Indian Ocean – which was amplifying El Niño, has eased off. And because of the location of the warmest water, some regions like Peru and Ecuador are also likely to experience fewer impacts.

But overall, Timmerman suspects that the impacts of this record-breaking El Niño will be record-breaking too.

Many of the effects are yet to come. For example, whether it will bring rains to California and relieve the drought – or even whether it will go too far and cause floods – isn’t yet known. Timmerman says the models are predicting a higher chance of rain for California.

And once the El Niño is over, it might not be time for celebration, since it’s likely to be followed by a strong La Niña, which will bring roughly opposite effects to the world’s weather. La Nina’s are also expected to be about twice as common as a result of climate change this century.


No agreement in Paris so far

China and India won't budge so any final agreement will be a paper tiger

Talks to agree a new international deal to tackle climate change are set to overrun as many countries remain divided over the key issues.

Ministers from 195 countries worked through the night as fraught discussions on how to phase out greenhouse gases and finance for poorer nations continued to stall the UN's climate summit in Paris.

The talks were due to end tonight after two weeks of wrangling, but the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, who is chairing the summit, conceded the talks would run in to Saturday.

He said a final version of the draft agreement will not be produced until Saturday morning and will then be voted on by delegates.

However, many countries including China and Saudi Arabia have been refusing to yield ground on key issues within the agreement.

The conference is the last chance for 195 countries to agree on a strategy since members agreed in 1992 to stabilise greenhouse gases 'at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.'

The text has already been slimmed down since the talks started from 43 pages to just 27 in an attempt to find compromises, but Saudi Arabia said it would continue to oppose the text.

It fears that plans to limit global temperature rises to within 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels could jeopardise oil production.

The latest draft, which was published on Thursday night, also sets targets that would see countries attempt to become 'greenhouse gas emissions neutral' in the second half of the century by shifting to cleaner energy sources.

This was target was more ambitious than in previous texts and was insisted after many countries such small island states and members of the European Union pushed for more stringent commitments to emissions cuts.

Arguments over finance deals to help poor countries cope with climate change and adapt to low carbon economies has also been a major point of disagreement.

The United States has said it remains opposed to any wording that might force it to give compensation to developing nations struggling to cope with the impacts of climate change as a result of past emissions by developed countries.

Gurdial Sing Nijar of Malaysia, the head of a bloc of hardline countries including India, China and Saudi Arabia, said: 'We are going backwards.'

They have put up the fiercest resistance against attempts by the U.S., the European Union and other wealthy nations to make emerging economies pitch in to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and help the poorest countries cope with climate change.

The issue, known as 'differentiation' in United Nations climate lingo, was expected to be one of the last to be resolved.

Nijar said it was unreasonable to expect countries like Malaysia to rapidly shift from fossil fuels - the biggest source of man-made greenhouse gas emissions - to cleaner sources of energy.

'We cannot just switch overnight ... and go to renewables,' he said, on a coffee break between meetings at 1:30 am.  'If you remove differentiation you create very serious problems for developing countries.'

US Secretary of State John Kerry held several meetings with ministers from around the world through the night as he attempted to haggle them into an agreement.  'We're working on it,' said Mr Kerry as he emerged from one meeting.

However, Matthieu Orphelin, spokesman for the Nicolas Hulot Foundation which advises President Francois Hollande on climate change, said: 'Major countries have entrenched behind their red lines instead of advancing on compromise.


Fault found with the facts in Obama's  presentation in Paris

Paris, the City of Light, which earned its moniker by being an early adapter of natural gas to light its public spaces, is currently hosting COP21 (the 21st Conference of the Parties) — often referred to as the UN Climate Change Conference — that aims to end the use of fossil fuels. There, more than 150 world leaders gathered under the guise of, supposedly, slowing the warming of the planet.

Ask anyone on the street: "What is the big international conference on climate change, going on right now in Paris, about?" — and, assuming you find someone who actually knows it is happening, they will tell you it is to stop global warming.

However, on December 4, five days into the 12-day event, Christina Figueres, the UN’s top climate change official, made clear, that the meeting isn’t "about the temperature" — which she said "is just a proxy." Instead, she revealed: it "is about the decarbonisation of the economy" — which means ending the use of fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil, and coal.

No wonder, this year, the world leaders wanted to speak on the opening day of the conference — before the messaging got muddled by comments such as Figueres’. At the start of the show, they could wax eloquent instead of being embarrassed by the meetings’ eventual failure to produce the touted deal. Each world leader was given three minutes to speak. All followed the rules and stayed within the limited timeframe — except for President Obama. In an incredible show of hubris, he over-spoke by nearly five times what he was allotted and ignored the frequent beeps designed to signal that time is up.

What did he have to say that required 14 minutes of prepared remarks?

Apparently, if he’d been honest about the "decarbonisation" goal, he wouldn’t get the needed cooperation of countries like India and China — which are continuing to build new coal-fueled power plants at an alarming rate and which intend to remain reliant on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. Instead Obama’s speech was filled with hyperbole and distortions such as these:

"The sea is already swallowing villages"

The above statement is referencing his trip recent to Alaska and likely is describing Kivalina — a village of indigenous people that he flew over on Air Force One. It is located on a barrier Island, a spit of land not reachable by road. By nature, barrier beaches, islands and other ephemeral structures are constantly changing. For example, in the 1990s the National Park Service had to move the iconic Hatteras Lighthouse because its barrier island had moved away from the ocean and towards the sound side; this migration of the Outer Banks has been ongoing the last 10,000 years—long before any talk of "climate change."

Despite increasing CO2 levels, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tide gauge station closest to Kivalina is in Nome, AK. It shows no sea level rise in that part of Alaska.  Kivalina may face changes due to nature, but not because of fossil fuels.

"Glaciers are melting at a pace unprecedented in modern times"

During his Alaska trip, Obama visited Exit Glacier, near Seward. Historians, geologists, Park employees, and glaciologists have been keeping track of glaciers for hundreds of years, and the records for Exit Glacier are no exception. The records show for more than 100 years, Exit Glacier has been retreating, but the maximum retreat rate was 300 feet per year in 1918. Last year Exit Glacier retreated a mere 187 feet. Near Exit Glacier, at Seward Alaska, sea levels, as measured by the tide gage there, are actually falling.

Similarly, in Glacier Bay — which Obama didn’t see, but cruise ships frequent —  retreat has slowed from its peak in the 1860s.

"Submerged countries. Abandoned cities. Fields that no longer grow"

Here, based on later comments, we can guess that he is referring to the coral islands of the Pacific. However, researchers J. R. Houston and R. G. Dean examined 57 tide gauges: East, Gulf, West, Alaskan, Aleutian and Island having 100-year-long periods of record and they show no late 20th century acceleration of sea level rise. Additionally, recent research confirms that of Charles Darwin on the HMS Beagle in the 1830s: corals keep up with rising seas. In July 2014, Science Magazine published a report titled: "Warming may not swamp islands." It states: "Studies suggest that atoll islands will rise in step with a rising sea."

Regarding his "fields that no longer grow" comment, we’ve seen historic records of changing patterns of coastlines and abandoned lands. One such example is found in the 1897 National Geographic magazine. It makes clear that before the establishment of the Mississippi channel and building of levees, and because of the natural sinking of the Mississippi Delta, the Mississippi overflowed every spring, spreading fresh sediment on the land. Construction of the levees brought that process to a halt. It states: "It is a fact well known to people living in the delta of Mississippi that large tracts of land were long ago abandoned in consequence of overflow by Gulf waters, due to the sinking of the lands."

These three examples are just a sampling of the extreme statements Obama offered in his 14-minute opening speech that was filled with soaring rhetoric and scary statements. Had he stuck to his three-minute timeframe, he might have had to acknowledge that temperature is just a proxy. What this is really about, as Figueres revealed at COP18, is "a complete transformation of the economic structure of the world."

Early this year, Figueres restated the same basic ideas: "This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution."

But that would be a tough sell, maybe not at the meeting in the City of Light, but to average Americans who aren’t looking for a complete transformation of the structure of the world — which sounds a lot like the goal of ISIS and its terrorist allies.

Maybe climate change, or, more accurately, the proposed cure, is the biggest threat facing the world today.


Yet another "last chance"

Leaders from around the world, including President Barack Obama, have been saying that the COP21, also known as the Paris climate conference, is the last best hope to save the planet from catastrophic warming. Evidence and observed data, however, suggest otherwise.

History shows us that this isn’t the only time international leaders have cried that the sky is falling when it comes to global warming.

French President François Hollande said last week that "[n]ever have the stakes of an international meeting been so high, since what is at stake is the future of the planet, the future of life."

Obama echoed those sentiments in his opening remarks, claiming that "there is such a thing as being too late. And when it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us."

In 2011 in Durban, Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, the World Council of Churches general secretary, called the United Nations UNFCCC COP17 meeting the "last opportunity for the international community to be responsible in addressing climate change."

At the 2009 United Nations global warming conference in Copenhagen, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:

    If we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement in some future period can undo that choice. By then it will be irretrievably too late.

Stavros Dimas, European Union environment minister, warned the world that "Copenhagen [is] the world’s last chance to stop climate change before it passes the point of no return."

Philip Clapp, head of the Washington-based National Environment Trust, said that 2007 was the imperative deadline for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: "The scientists are telling us that this is the world’s last shot at avoiding the worst consequences of global warming."

You get the point.

Virtually every international global warming summit has been deemed the last chance for the world. Dismissing problems of world poverty, hunger, disease, and terrorism, leaders have claimed that climate change is the world’s greatest problem.

The climate data simply does not suggest that man-made global warming should be at the top of the list of concerns. The climate models international bodies are using to justify regulations and commitments to restrict the use of affordable energy to reduce carbon dioxide are over-predicting warming.

As climatologists Patrick Michaels and Paul Knappengerger note:

    "Recent climate change literature has been dominated by studies which show that the equilibrium climate sensitivity is better constrained than the latest estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA) and that the best estimate of the climate sensitivity is considerably lower than the climate model ensemble average. From the recent literature, the central estimate of the equilibrium climate sensitivity is ~2°C, while the climate model average is ~3.2°C, or an equilibrium climate sensitivity that is some 40 percent lower than the model average".

Even studies that have attempted to refute the 18-year pause in global warming show that the temperature trend is much less than that projected by climate models. And even though man-made greenhouse gas emissions have increased, the world has not experienced trends in the increased frequency or magnitude of extreme weather events.

Although the media and international leaders have hyped the Paris climate conference as the last chance to save the planet, 2015 is not very different from most of years’ worth of failed negotiations.

What is different in 2015 compared to past years is that the Obama administration is unilaterally imposing carbon dioxide regulations on America’s energy sector. The administration’s regulations on new and existing power plants are perhaps the most harmful example of Obama’s push to regulate CO2.

The regulations will drastically shift the energy economy away from coal, which provides approximately 40 percent of America’s electricity. Restricting the use of that affordable, reliable energy supply will raise electricity rates, and those higher prices will reverberate through the economy, resulting in hundreds of thousands of jobs lost and tens of thousands of dollars lost for American households.

When it comes to global warming, the sky isn’t falling.

But if the administration continues to drive up energy costs for families and businesses with top-down climate regulations, economic growth and the rate of employment certainly will fall.


‘Green’ Cronyism Is on Full Display In Paris

Cronyism is on display here at the United Nations climate conference (COP21), as developing countries aren’t the only ones trying to cash in on carbon regulations.

The conference is full of exhibitors showcasing their carbon cutting technologies–each of which would benefit greatly from taxing carbon or forcing commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The general conference arena contains rooms filled with vendors demonstrating how their business is reducing mankind’s carbon footprint. They include:

    Reinsurance companies (warning against greater costs from extreme weather events).

    Water systems companies.

    Companies that make charging stations for electric vehicles.

    Organizations dedicated to planting more trees.

    Companies dedicated to capturing carbon from power plants and storing it underground.

The list is certainly exhaustive. The problem with all of them, however, is that they’re in Paris pushing for special privileges that will help their businesses at the expense of their competitors and at the expense of a competitive free market.

It doesn’t matter what policies are advocated for – subsidies for carbon free energy technologies, a Green Climate Fund that finances green projects in developing countries, regulations that restrict the use of carbon-emitting natural resources or a carbon tax – those with special connections will benefit and the costs will be dispersed among the rest of us.

These are policies that will cost American households and businesses – at least those businesses not connected to politicians and bureaucrats – leading to lower levels of output, income and employment.

Because more than 80 percent of America and the world’s energy needs are met through carbon-emitting conventional fuels like natural gas and coal, reducing CO2 emissions will increase energy prices and force consumers to use less.

In addition to the direct budget impact of higher costs for electricity, gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas, higher energy costs force cutbacks in both the production and consumption of all goods and services because energy is a staple input for the economy. The ultimate result is economic retraction and a reduction in living standards.

Crony policies that favor the well connected do more harm than the direct higher prices we pay. They harm competition and skew how markets should work. Businesses can and should take advantage of emerging markets and innovate to provide products people want.

That’s not what’s going on in Paris.

Companies here are bent on crafting policies with the government and international bodies that would direct taxpayer money and private investment toward their projects. Private investment dollars will follow taxpayer-funded, subsidized projects because those government programs reduce the financial risk. Those are private investment dollars that can’t be spent on other potentially promising ideas. The result is a system that rewards what the government wants rather than what the market would produce, crippling innovation, competition and growth.

There also have been calls for energy policy reform and energy subsidy reform here in Paris, but even those calls are off base. They continue to get it wrong by calling for the end to subsidies for conventional resources like oil, coal and natural gas and pouring more money into intermittent, expensive renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

True policy and subsidy reform would eliminate preferential treatment for all energy sources and technologies and get the federal government and international bodies like the United Nations out of the energy businesses altogether.

The world has a diverse mix of energy producers and suppliers and the demand for affordable and reliable electricity and transportation fuel isn’t going anywhere any time soon. They don’t need help; they need bureaucrats to get out of the way. Only then will we eliminate cronyism in energy policy, encourage innovation, and have the resources to protect the environment



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

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


11 December, 2015

Obama’s Ridiculous History Lessons on Climate Change

President Barack Obama last week tried to give us a history lesson on climate change. "As human beings are placed under strain, then bad things happen," he said. "And, you know, if you look at world history, whenever people are desperate, when people start lacking food, when people are not able to make a living or take care of their families, that’s when ideologies arise that are dangerous."

Welcome to leaps in logic that would span the Grand Canyon. Apparently excruciatingly slow, contradictory, and sometimes nearly imperceptible changes in the atmosphere’s temperature are capable of spawning ideologies like communism, fascism, and now Islamic jihadism, although the president won’t use that term. Never mind all those historical details about what actually caused these ideologies to rise—social upheavals like industrialization, philosophical disputes unleashed by the Enlightenment, and the crises inside Islam. The president has got it figured out.

It’s the weather—a kind of meteorological determinism befitting a climate Marxist.

Never to be left out in doubling down on a bad idea, the president’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, jumped into the fray. She blames the Syrian civil war on climate change.

This would come as a great surprise to protesters who in March 2011 found themselves fired upon by Assad’s security forces. They were not the slightest bit interested in the drought that Rice and others argue caused the war.

Protesters were asking not for water, but for democracy, and as any college sophomore would know, the unrest that gave rise to the conflict was caused not by dry weather, but by Assad’s oppression.

If you don’t believe me, take it from the co-author of the report that spawned the "climate change did it" theory of the Syrian war, Richard Seager. After arguing that global warming made the offending Syrian drought worse, he quickly adds, "We’re not saying the drought caused the [Syrian] war."

Indeed it didn’t, because that would be preposterous.

And yet that is precisely what Rice would want you to believe. Seager may cover himself with a categorical denial after the fact, but he, Rice, and others like them know that their supporters will pick up their true meaning.

Such leaps in logic have a name. It is called sophistry.

Vague statements about what the "science" supposedly means hang out there as mere suggestions, to be denied or embraced depending on how useful they are to the political agenda. That’s the literal meaning of sophistry: the use of subtly deceptive argumentation to make a falsehood sound true—otherwise, and crudely, known as a lie.

Can there be any question as to why so many people are so skeptical of claims made by climate change advocates? Instead of a cautious scientific method, we get alarmism and wild speculations that cannot be supported by the facts.

I suggest that the president take some courses in history and logic. Somehow he must have missed them at Columbia. If he doesn’t want to do that, then perhaps he can at least spare us the inane world history lessons.


Memo to Poorer Countries: Congress Isn’t Going to Fund Obama’s Green Climate Fund

One week into the Paris climate change negotiations, and it’s now doubtful whether President Barack Obama will be able to make good on his promise to provide billions of dollars to the "Green Climate Fund." The goal of this fund is to give U.S. taxpayer dollars to poorer nations in order to subsidize their climate programs.

During a press conference at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21), Todd Stern, Obama’s chief climate negotiator, was asked about congressional opposition to the Green Climate Fund. Stern could only say, "For this [budget] year we’re seeking $500 million, and I hope we can get as close to it as we can, but we don’t know yet."

Ten Democrat U.S. senators flew over to Paris and held their own press conference, but not one of them addressed the funding issue.

This is understandable, as climate change alarmists in the White House and the Senate don’t have a good answer to the significant opposition within Congress for the climate fund. Thirty-seven Republican senators have already pledged "that Congress will not allow U.S. taxpayer dollars to go to the Green Climate Fund until the forthcoming international climate agreement is submitted to the Senate for its constitutional advice and consent."

On the House side, 110 members have likewise pledged to block budget requests for the Green Climate Fund unless the Paris agreement is brought to Congress for its approval.

This is a significant embarrassment for the president’s negotiating team in Paris, since it is clear to all present here that the "developing" nations of the world will not agree to anything unless they are guaranteed the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars that they have been promised.

Unlike under the terms of the 1997 Kyoto climate protocol, developing countries are now pledging to reduce their carbon emissions—but only if they are provided the financing and technology to do so. And any projects they take on to adapt to the climate change already occurring must also be underwritten by the world’s wealthy nations.

So while it has become clear that Obama fully intends to bypass Congress on the Paris agreement, he has no choice but to go to Congress with his begging bowl for the billions of dollars he needs to fund the Green Climate Fund.

Given the current political climate in Washington, D.C., the world’s developing countries that are in attendance at the Paris Climate Conference should take the Obama administration’s assurances of climate funding with a very large grain of salt.


The U.S. Department of the Interior preaches Warmism too

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) claims that climate change will cause the disappearance of the glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park in just 20 years.

"Climate change affects every corner of the American continent," the DOI website stated. "It is making droughts drier and longer, floods more dangerous and hurricanes more severe.

"The glaciers in Montana's Glacier National Park are melting so quickly, they’re expected to disappear in the next two decades," the website stated, although no documentation is provided to substantiate that claim.

The section of the DOI website dedicated to climate change also reveals how much of the land in the United States and its resources are controlled by the federal government: "one-fifth of the land in the country, 35,000 miles of coastline, and 1.76 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf."

"The impacts of climate change are forcing us to change how we manage these resources," the website stated. "Climate change may dramatically affect water supplies in certain watersheds, impact coastal wetlands and barrier islands, cause relocation of and stress on wildlife, increase wildland fires, further spread invasive species, and more."

The DOI’s National Park Service (NPS) website also described the more than one million acre park:

"Glacier National Park is not named so much for its small glaciers, but for the colossal work of colossal glaciers in the past," the NPS website stated. "Ten thousand years ago, the topography of Glacier looked much the same as it does today."

The NPS website also predicted the end of glaciers at the park in just 15 years.

"Since the last ice age ended, around 10,000 years ago, there have been many slight climate fluctuations that have been mirrored by the growth or recession of glaciers," the NPS website stated. "Based on current trends, however, glacier recession models predict that by 2030, Glacier National Park will be without glaciers."

The NPS website also credited weather for the diversity of plants and animals in the park.

"Glacier Park's varied climate influences and its location at the headwaters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Hudson Bay drainages have given rise to an incredible variety of plants and animals," the website stated. "Its diverse habitats are home to nearly 70 species of mammals including the grizzly bear, wolverine, gray wolf and lynx.

"Over 270 species of birds visit or reside in the park, including such varied species as harlequin ducks, dippers and golden eagles," the website stated.

The NPS website also tells potential visitors about how unpredictable the weather is at the park.

"Weather is always unpredictable in the mountains," the website stated. "Be prepared for all types of weather!"


At UN Climate Conference, Placating China More Important Than Including a Big Polluter

The United Nations and its member states may be engrossed in the drive to achieve a new global climate agreement in Paris this week, but not to the extent that they are willing to challenge China’s decades-old refusal to allow Taiwan to be treated as a normal country.

Taiwan – a thriving, independent democracy of 23 million which Beijing regards as a renegade province – has been excluded from participation as a state in the U.N. climate conference despite the much-touted urgency about reaching a global deal.

Rather than have a national delegation at the talks, as almost 200 other countries do, Taiwan has sent a team that is attending in the capacity of a non-governmental organization, unable to participate in the talks officially – or even as an observer state.

Taiwan’s exclusion comes despite the fact it is a relatively big emitter of the "greenhouse gases" blamed for climate change.

According to the latest available data from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Taiwan is the 25th biggest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2) resulting from "fossil-fuel burning, cement production, and gas flaring."

That puts it ahead of more than half of the specified developed nations whose contributions to CO2 emissions were considered grievous enough to have emission-reduction targets set under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

On the other hand, Taiwan as an island nation is allegedly susceptible to rising sea levels which the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change blames on climate change, particularly in lower-lying western parts of the island where the population centers are located.

The COP21 talks in Paris – the 21st Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – aim to forge a new global agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol – by a Friday deadline.

Eager to be part of the international effort, the Taiwanese government, like other countries, offered a climate action plan, a so-called "intended nationally determined contribution," ahead of the conference.

But it was not allowed to formally submit its INDC – which as a result does not appear on the UNFCCC’s INDC list – and the U.N. has not permitted it to take a seat at the negotiating table.

In 1971 the U.N. General Assembly expelled Taiwan and gave its seat the communist People’s Republic of China. Taiwan’s attempts since 1993 to rejoin the world body have been blocked by Beijing and its allies.

China says that granting Taiwan legitimacy in the international arena would violate its "one China" principle and – in a phrase used when Taiwan tried to participate in a previous U.N. climate conference, in Copenhagen six years ago – "hurt the feelings of the 1.3 billion Chinese people."

"Taiwan is ready, willing and able to make meaningful contributions to tackle climate change as an observer to the UNFCCC," Taiwan’s foreign ministry in Taipei pointed out in a recent edition of its Taiwan Review publication. "As climate change is a global problem, all the nations of the world must work together to achieve a global solution."

Speaking at a forum on the sidelines of the COP21 on Monday, the head of Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), Wei Kuo-yen, called again for the UNFCCC to include it in the fight to combat climate change.

"Obviously, Taiwan has disappeared from the INDC map," Taiwan’s official Central News Agency quoted him as saying.  "With such intentional blindness in the international community, it is ironic that one cannot see the real existence of Taiwan in the U.N.’s bright meeting rooms."

Despite the UNFCCC snub, Wei launched an initiative in Paris last weekend aimed at helping countries in the region deal with the effects of climate change – the Pan-Pacific Adaptation on Climate Change (PPACC).


More outrages and insanities in Paris

If alarmists get what they want at the climate gabfest, the consequences will be disastrous

Paul Driessen

The Senate will not approve or appropriate money for anything President Obama might agree to in Paris, and developing countries will not (and should not) stop building coal-fired power plants and using fossil fuels to lift billions out of abject poverty. However, we cannot let down our guard.

Mr. Obama will do everything possible to go around Congress and impose more Executive Branch anti-hydrocarbon edicts, to get a hypothetical, undetectable 0.05 degree reduction in average global temperatures 85 years from now.  Meanwhile, the $1.5-trillion-per-year Climate Crisis Industry is determined to protect its money train, redistribute the world’s wealth, and increase its power over our lives, livelihoods and living standards. That means the mischief afoot in Paris will never stay in Paris.

The vast majority of the 40,000 attending the climate gabfest are alarmists, who have their time and lavish expenses paid by taxpayers or corporate cronies. But they still want to silence the few "dangerous manmade global warming" skeptics who have been able to attend the event on their own nickel. They want to revoke our conference credentials … and prosecute us as "racketeers" and "climate criminals" – when the real criminals are the alarmists, who are committing crimes against humanity and our planet.

They use climate chaos claims to justify spending countless billions of dollars annually for biased, pseudo-scientific research. They then use that "research" to justify programs that convert croplands into ethanol plantations, raising food and food aid costs, and leaving more people starving longer – and convert habitats into wind farms and solar facilities, to slaughter birds and bats by the millions;.

Alarmist policies cause numerous deaths every year from lung, intestinal and other diseases due to an absence of electricity, refrigeration and safe drinking water, and Western governments and banks refusing to provide financial support for power plants. It’s not fossil fuels that kill. It’s the absence of fossil fuels.

Unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats and their radical environmentalist allies in the EPA, UN and EU want to de-carbonize, de-industrialize and de-develop rich countries – and tell poor countries what level of development and "sustainable" living standards their families will be permitted to enjoy.

Meanwhile, Malaysian representative Gurdial Singh Nijar told the 40,000 attendees: "You [developed countries] grew to this level of prosperity because you burned fossil fuels at an unabated rate. You created the [climate] problem." India Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has bluntly said "the bill for climate action for the world is not just $100 billion. It is in trillions of dollars per year." To be paid by countries that climate policies will make less developed, less rich and less employed every year!

So first, the bill for WHAT problem, exactly? White House press releases, COP21 climate conference speeches and climate computer models are not evidence – especially when real-world events completely contradict the Climate Hustle and Hype. Global temperatures haven’t risen in 19 years. Greenland and Antarctic ice caps are growing, not shrinking. Sea levels are rising at barely seven inches per century. Oceans are firmly alkaline, not acidic. Hurricane and tornado activity is below historic averages.

So before alarmists say another word about responsibility, prevention, reparation and compensation, they need to prove that real-world climate disasters and extreme weather events from the past few decades are due to humans and fossil fuel emissions – instead of natural forces and fluctuations. They need to prove that those events are unprecedented – beyond what humanity has had to deal with in the past.

Most of all, they need to do it in a full-throated debate, where they have to defend their claims, data and studies in the open – and be questioned, challenged and cross-examined by experts from our side.

Second, fossil fuels power technologies that have lifted billions out of poverty, disease and despair … and that poor developing nations are now using to do the same. Developed countries burn fossil fuels to create and manufacture those technologies. Do poor countries want them or not? They can’t have it both ways.

Third, what Mr. Obama and climate alarmists at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris are trying to impose on the world should chill rational people to the bone.

The president has unilaterally "pledged" that the United States will slash its carbon dioxide emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025 – even after America already reduced those plant-fertilizing emissions significantly since 1990. The impact on poor, working class and minority families will be disastrous, but he and his bureaucracy and Big Green allies don’t give a spotted owl hoot.

Now, on top of that, they and the alarmists gathered in Paris have prepared a draft climate treaty that really will "fundamentally transform" the United States and industrialized world, just as President Obama promised he would do. You can find the full text of the draft COP21 agreement here, in obtuse UN-speak – and the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow’s plain-language analysis here. The Heartland Institute provides extensive additional realism here, addressing climate change and the Paris process.

Most developed countries want binding commitments by all nations: that they will reach specified CO2 reduction targets by specific dates. The huge coalition of "Like-Minded Developing Countries," led by China and India, want nonbinding commitments, or no commitments. They will agree only to do their best to cap their emissions by around 2030, and then gradually reduce them as their economies improve and their power plants, factories and cars become more efficient, less polluting, less CO2-emitting.

This is called "differentiated responsibilities." It means CO2 reduction commitments will apply only to already developed nations, which may also be subject to a new International Tribunal of Climate Justice. Currently rich countries will also have to provide additional "justice" in the form of cash: $100 billion a year to begin with, then 1% of GDP (which would be some $167 billion per year for the USA alone), plus billions more in free technology – to cover alleged climate adaptation costs, reparations for past climate damages, and "losses and damages" from extreme weather events caused (solely) by now-rich countries.

The theory, the claim, the delusion – the money-grubbing, power-grabbing pretense – behind all of this is that controlling FRC (Formerly Rich Country) CO2 emissions will somehow hold the projected global temperature increase to 1.5 or 2.0 degrees Celsius (2.7 or 3.6 deg F). In other words, alarmists want us to believe that carbon dioxide now functions as Earth’s thermostat and weather control system, even though it represents barely 0.040% of the atmosphere (argon is 0.93% and oxygen is 20%).

Just as absurd, this is supposed to happen even if poor countries continue building coal-fired power plants, driving more cars, emitting more greenhouse gases, and increasing atmospheric CO2 to perhaps 0.05% (500 ppm), from its pre-industrial level of around 0.028% (280 ppm).

All this may happen in Fantasy Land computer models. It doesn’t and won’t happen in the Real World.

Climate Chaos Theory also absurdly assumes that any global average temperature increase above 2 deg C will somehow be cataclysmic – even though a warmer planet with more CO2 in the air will greatly improve forest, grassland, algae and crop growth. And all this nonsense is driving the Paris insanity.

Nevertheless, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are determined to lock the United States into this Iran-2 deal – legally, "morally" or just because they signed it. It’s all part of their latest apology tour: America’s mea culpa for having used fossil fuels to improve lives all over the world.

Perhaps craziest of all, President Obama and too many others think these computer-world, Sim Planet climate disasters are far worse than the all-too-real butchery we have witnessed in San Bernardino, Boston, Chattanooga, Fort Hood, Israel, Bali, Mali, Madrid, Mumbai, London, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Kenya, Nigeria – and Paris! With more undoubtedly to come.

When will the insanities cease? Speak out. Help Paris collapse like the house of cards it is.

Via email

Australia concerned over draft climate deal

Australia has 'serious concerns' over the latest form of a global climate agreement, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop warning of a challenging few days ahead in Paris.

A new draft agreement was revealed on Wednesday at the United Nations climate change conference, with no clear landing point on key hurdles of finance, ambition and differentiation.

Ms Bishop warned the document was a long way from attracting her signature.

Australia's environment ambassador Peter Woolcott - speaking on behalf a negotiating block of developed countries - told the conference the group had serious concerns about the text. 'We are deeply disappointed at the weakening of several provisions,' he said on Wednesday night.

'As we move forward we must avoid a situation where, in an effort to reach consensus, we strip the Paris outcome of its ability to be a genuine step change.'

It comes as the United States joined around 100 countries in a new alliance dubbed the high ambition coalition which vows to strengthen Wednesday's draft.

Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum said the coalition comprised countries big and small, rich and poor and would not be trading off any demands. 'We will not accept a minimalist or barebones agreement,' he told media on Wednesday night.

The coalition is calling for five yearly reviews of country emissions pledges, adequate climate finance for poor countries and a clear pathway to a low-carbon future. It also wants recognition of an ambition to limit global warming to 1.5C - below the 2C target accepted by most developed countries.

Australia isn't in the coalition and Ms Bishop couldn't confirm if it had been invited. 'I'll have to check on that, we've got so many invitations to so many events and so many groupings,' she told reporters in Paris.

She remains optimistic 196 parties will walk away with a strong agreement at the end of the talks but warns it won't be an easy road. 'Clearly, this is the beginning of the end of the negotiations and there's still a lot of work to be done,' she said. 'Our negotiators are working through the night.'

There's still disagreement on who should do what, with an option still in the draft agreement to hold only rich countries to account on action.  Australia opposes that option, calling for each country to do its part to curb global emissions. 'All countries need to take action and there should be a level playing field,' Ms Bishop said.

Earlier, the foreign minister flagged Australia's intention to sign onto a New Zealand-led initiative to boost transparency and integrity of international carbon markets.

Australia doesn't use international units, but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has flagged it as an option when domestic climate policies are reviewed in 2017.



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10 December, 2015

Climate non-change: Global carbon dioxide emissions stall for second year in a row

This is a horror story for the Warmists.  What if CO2 levels stabilize naturally?  What would be left for Warmists to do? What if nature stabilizes CO2 levels without any sacrifice from people?  How then could Warmists justify all their calls for economic upheaval?  So they are frantically trying to blame China and anything else they can think of to create the impression that this "pause" is temporary too.

Blaming China is an act of desperation.  China is just one part of the world and the world as a whole has been undergoing steady if slow economic growth in recent years.  And eonomic growth means increased enegy demands, which are still almost entirely met by burning hydrocarbons -- coal, oil and gas.  And burning hydrocarbons gives off CO2.  So the GLOBAL output of CO2 from human activity has to have been going up.

So what is going on?  How come mankind has been at least as naughty as ever but CO2 has stopped rising?  What it clearly shows is that human emissions are totally trivial in the overall CO2 budget. The big influences on CO2 levels are natural -- NON-anthropogenic.

So why have CO2 levels stopped rising?  Probably because the oceans have stopped outgassing.  And why is that happening?  Probably because the stasis in surface temperatures over the last 18 years has now worked its way through to the ocean deeps. They had been warmed by the increased  surface temperatures of the '80s and '90s but have now gradually released the gas that was incompatible with those temperatures. And with no new warming in the 21st century, they have reached an equilibrium between their temperature and their gas content

Time will tell if that is so

The underlying journal article appears to be this one -- an article written by Uncle Tom Cobley and All.  It seems to be a compilation of "national" CO2 emissions but I note this sentence "The global atmospheric CO2 concentration is measured directly".  In other words measurement from observatories like Mauna Loa and Cape Grim were used to get the overall CO2 numbers that are stirring the pot.  So all the talk about national emissions is just persiflage, a largely irrelevant distraction. 

National emissions are of course very rubbery numbers.  As the same authors say:  "CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry (EFF) are based on energy statistics and cement production data, while emissions from land-use change (ELUC), mainly deforestation, are based on combined evidence from land-cover-change data, fire activity associated with deforestation, and models"

Global emissions of carbon dioxide this year have stalled for the second year in a row, but scientists have warned that this does not mean the world has reached "peak carbon" with greenhouse gases set to fall year on year.

Latest figures on fossil-fuel emissions for 2015 show for the first time during a period of global economic growth that the amount of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere has remained stable for two consecutive years.

Scientists believe however that the unprecedented decline is almost entirely due to the economic slowdown in China, now the world’s single biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, which is likely to see a rapid return to growth in carbon emissions as its energy-hungry economy picks up again.

India and other developing nations are also expected to increase the amount of coal they burn in the coming years. This is likely to feed in to an overall increase in the growth in global carbon emissions globally, making the current slowdown a transitory "blip", the scientists said.

"With two years of untypical emissions growth, it looks like the trajectory of global emissions might have changed temporarily," said Professor Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre at the University of East Anglia, a lead author of the study presented at the Paris conference on climate change.

"It is unlikely that emissions have peaked for good. This is because energy needs for growing economies still rely primarily on coal, and emissions decreases in some industrial countries are still modest at best," Professor Le Quéré said.

"Global emissions need to decrease to near zero to achieve climate stabilisation. We are still emitting massive amounts of CO2 annually, around 35 billion tonnes from fossil fuels and industry alone. There is still a long way to near zero emissions," she said.

Carbon emissions for 2014 grew by just 0.6 per cent compared to an average annual increase of between 2 and 3 per cent since 2000, apart from a brief period of decline in 2009, explained by the worldwide economic recession leading to a fall in energy demand.

The latest figures for 2015 indicate that decline in emissions has continued with the amount of carbon being pumped into the atmosphere this year compared to the previous year ranging from a slight rise of 0.5 per cent to a decline of 1.6 per cent.

"It’s encouraging in a way. It’s a bit of fresh air, but I don’t think this is the peak in terms of carbon emissions. We may see a lot of flat growth, depending on China, but India has incredible energy needs and they are growing rapidly," Professor Le Quéré told The Independent.

"It will be a real possibility that we will see Indian growth picking up and so allowing emissions globally to grow rapidly. India now is where China was in the 1990s. This is why Paris is so critical," she said.

The emissions figures, published simultaneously in the journals Nature Climate Change and Earth System Science Data, show that China was the biggest CO2 emitter in 2014, releasing some 9.7 billion tonnes. Last year China experienced an increase in emissions growth of 1.2 per cent, compared to an annual growth rate of 6.7 per cent for the previous decade.

The US was the second biggest emitter in 2014, releasing 5.6 billion tonnes, followed by the EU and India with 3.4 billion tonnes and 2.6 billion tonnes respectively.

The UK released 0.43 tonnes of CO2 in 2014, which was 1.2 per cent of the world total, a decrease of 9 per cent on the previous year, and 28 per cent below 1990 levels.

Professor Myles Allen of Oxford University said that global temperatures respond to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – not the rate of emissions in any given year – nevertheless, the latest figures are encouraging.

"Is this the beginning of the end of global warming? Probably not. But let’s hope it is the end of the beginning," he said.

Professor David Reay of the University of Edinburgh, said: "There is a long, long way still to go. To stay within the 2C global warming target emissions can't just stall, they need to fall. Whether 2015 is the year we truly turn the corner on global emissions or is just a blip in the upward march towards dangerous climate change now depends on Paris."


"The climate hustle": The Perfect Antidote To Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth"

Cinema du Pantheon, Sorbonne, Paris, France – World Premiere of Climate Hustle

By James Delingpole

"Ooh look, it’s James Delingpole, the most hateful man in Britain. No I WON’T pose for a photograph with you, you piece of filth.

Go away don’t touch me," snarled an unhappy crusty-looking fellow, as I squeezed through the throng of protestors at entrance. I was dressed in black tie; they were dressed for the revolution.

"Join us! We’re your friends," cooed three girls in blonde wigs and sparkly coal miners’ outfits handing out lumps of coal. (They weren’t really my friends. They were green activists too. But, like most of the renta-mob crowd, perfectly amiable)

"Howl! Howl!" bayed two men dressed as giant spoons.

Then the police turned up and in characteristic no-nonsense French style forced the protestors to disperse before the stars – including 92-year old rocket scientist Fred Singer and Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore – in black tie arrived in their stretch limos and walked up the red carpet.

It was the perfect launch for Marc Morano’s climate skeptical movie Climate Hustle – the skeptics’ long-awaited answer to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – which staged its triumphant world premiere in Paris last night.

The protestors had come fresh from the COP21 climate conference, alerted by Wanted posters plastered by activists over the streets of central Paris warning them that seven of the world’s most evil fossil fuel lobbyists were in town to disrupt their holy mission to bomb the global economy back to the dark ages with carbon reductions, regulations and wealth redistribution.

In fact though – an irony lost on the protestors: they really don’t do irony, these people – it was the greenies who were doing all the disrupting.

Earlier in the day they’d tried to sabotage a conference of climate skeptics being hosted in central Paris by the Heartland Institute. (You can see the footage of the presentation – Examining The Data – here).

Now they’d come to jeer outside a film they’ll never watch made by people they won’t listen to presenting a message they’re ideologically incapable of comprehending.

If they ever did see Climate Hustle it would be totally lost on them.

Climate Hustle is the Anti Inconvenient Truth. It’s for people with an open mind who want to know what’s really going on with the world’s climate – as opposed to what hucksters like Al Gore want to persuade them is going on with the world’s climate – all backed up with hard data and evidence presented by scientists who know and understand, among them the Nobel-prize-winning Norwegian physicist Ivar Giaever.

Its message ought not to be dynamite, for it is no more than basic science and established fact.

But Climate Hustle is dynamite – at least it will be to most viewers, especially younger ones – because what it says is so totally at odds with almost every documentary, TV programme and film that has ever been made on the subject of global warming. (Apart from Martin Durkin’s The Great Global Warming Swindle, climate skeptical documentaries are pretty much non-existent).

Man-made climate change – most especially the notion that global temperatures can be turned on and off by tiny alterations in the quantities of the trace gas carbon dioxide – is nothing more than a green fantasy being used as an excuse for a money making scam by corporate shysters, a wealth redistribution scheme by the Third World, and as a power grab by one world government freaks.

One of the key myths it demolishes is the one established by Al Gore in his pimped-up power point lecture, An Inconvenient Truth, where he climbs onto a scissor lift to show how dramatically – and apparently unprecedentedly – CO2 levels have risen in the late Twentieth Century with inevitably disastrous consequences for the planet.

This scaremongering claim by Gore is a perfect example of what presenter Marc Morano means by the "Climate Hustle": just like in a card game where tricksters use sleight-of-hand, distraction techniques, and dirty tricks in order to con the mark (the mug punter) out of his money, so the alarmist establishment is withholding key details and presenting false or distorted information in order to extract vast sums from the gullible public.

In this case, the details that Gore isn’t giving us are

1. Almost invariably throughout geological history, CO2 increases have lagged rises in temperature not preceded them. In other words, it’s more likely that global warming causes increased CO2 rather than that increased CO2 causes global warming.

2. Current carbon dioxide levels are minuscule compared to what they were in our deep geological past. As several earth scientists testify in the movie, our planet is – in terms relative to the past – "CO2-starved".

Also, in historical terms, we are living through a cold period not a warm one. This is true of both the long term geological record and also of more recent history. Until green activists like Michael Mann started cooking the books with dodgy artefacts like the "Hockey Stick" it was a widely accepted fact among climate scientists that the earth was warmer during the Medieval Warming Period (when there were no passenger jets or 4x4s or Chinese building coal-fired power stations every five days) than it is today.

One of the most powerful sections of the documentary is the one where various scientists and academics who have dared speak the truth about global warming describe how they have suddenly found themselves ostracised by their peers.

Among them is Judith Curry, former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who describes CVqdkm2U4AE3QbDhow she lost her faith in the alarmist establishment at the time of the Climategate emails, when climate scientists were caught red-handed in emails conspiring to withhold scientific information from their peers. She was subsequently branded a heretic.

Another one is Sallie Baliunas, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. She was viciously traduced and ostracised by her peers for questioning so-called "consensus" climate science. In the film she draws parallels with witchcraft trials in 13th century France where witchcraft was declared the most urgent threat to mankind of all and where anyone who dared CVsVn0JWsAAzuSLdisagree ran the risk of being declared a sorcerer and rejected – or worse – by mainstream society.

Another is Caleb Rossiter, a left-leaning statistician at American University, who spoke out against the alarmists when he discovered that their statistics were junk and that the measures being introduced to "combat" climate change were harming the world’s poorest. For his troubles, Rossiter had his fellowship at the US Institute for Policy Studies terminated.

By the end of this jaunty, likeable, fact-rich journey through the history of the "global warming" the viewer will be left in no doubt that climate change is one of the most egregious political and scientific hoaxes in history.

Morano – even if he does look and dress a bit like a junior Mafiosi – makes a funny, engaging, no-nonsense presenter.

The science is unimpeachable.

I only spotted two mistakes: no Canute did not think he could stop the waves (quite the opposite actually) and no he is not, as unfortunately billed in the closing credits,  "Prince Charles of Wales."

But I’m being pernickety here. Climate skeptics operate on a fraction of the budget available to Big Green (which, it has been calculated, has 3,500 times more money than skeptics and is an industry worth in excess of $1 trillion a year). So if it’s clunky in places, that’s just part of its rough-hewn charm.

Every person who has ever been exposed to the lies of An Inconvenient Truth should watch Climate Hustle immediately afterwards an antidote.

Finally a prediction: Climate Hustle is not going to win a prize at Sundance (where it won’t be screened if greenie Robert Redford has anything to do with it), nor will it win an Oscar from a Hollywood swarming with green activists like Leonardo di Caprio and Mark Ruffalo.

But the prizes it is not going to win should be considered a point in its favour, not as a sign of weakness. As George Orwell said: "In a time of universal deceit, truth-telling is a revolutionary act."


97% Climbs to 99.5%: Obama Increases Percentage of Scientists Who Agree on Climate Change

President Obama said Tuesday that he's confident his successor will honor any climate change agreement negotiated in Paris becasue "99.5 percent of scientists and 99 percent of world leaders" think that climate change "is really important."

Obama’s claim that there is a 99.5 percent consensus among scientists on climate change represents a 2.5 percent increase since May 16, 2013, when the president tweeted: "Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous."

"Everybody else is taking climate change really seriously. They think it's a really big problem. It spans political parties," Obama said during his press conference in Paris, where the United Nations’ COP 21 climate change summit is being held.

Responding to a question about whether foreign leaders can believe the U.S. will keep any commitments it makes in Paris if a Republican succeeds him in the White House, Obama said:

"Whoever is the next president of the United States, if they come in and they suggest somehow that that global consensus — not just 99.5% of scientists and experts, but 99% of world leaders — think this is really important, I think the president of the United States is going to need to think this is really important."

The origin of the "97 percent" statistic has been traced back to a 2009 study by University of Illinois/Chicago graduate student Kendall Zimmerman, who sent a survey to 10,257 earth scientists asking them two questions:

 "When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?" and

 "Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?"

Eighty-two percent of the 3,146 scientists who completed the survey (a 30.7% response rate) answered "yes" to question 2. That figure included 75 of the 79 individuals (97.4%) who self-identified themselves as climate scientists.

In a 2013 paper published by the Institute of Physic’s IOPScience and cited by NASA, University of Queensland climate communication fellow John Cook also stated that 97 percent of scientists who took a position on global warming agreed that humans were the primary cause.

"Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW [anthropogenic global warming], 97.1% endorsed the consensus that humans are causing global warming," Cook and his co-authors stated.

However, a peer review of Cook’s paper by David Legates, a former state climatologist and professor at the University of Delaware, that was published in the April 2015 issue of Science and Education debunked the 97 percent consensus figure.

Legates pointed out that only 41 of the 11,944 academic papers Cook examined in his meta-analysis (0.3%) explicitly stated that most of the global warming since 1950 was caused by human activity.

 "It is astonishing that any journal could have published a paper claiming a 97% climate consensus when in the authors’ own analysis the true consensus was well below 1%," Legates wrote.

Cook’s paper was also criticized by other scientists for what they said was a number of methodological errors.

"Probably the most widely repeated claim in the debate over global warming is that ‘97% of scientists agree’ that climate change is man-made and dangerous," the three authors of Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming wrote in a just-released book published by the Heartland Institute.

"This claim is not only false, but its presence in the debate is an insult to science."


Why Obama's obsession with climate?


BREAM: "Well, and you mentioned how much people do or don’t care about this. In polling, our most recent Fox News polling on the important issues facing the country, and this is from mid-November, terrorism is at the top of the list with 24 percent. You have to go a lot further down to find climate change and it’s 3 percent. Why this continued campaign by the administration and hundreds of leaders around the world gathering in Paris?"

KRAUTHAMMER: "Because this president lives in a world of his -- idealistic, if you want to be favorable to it -- and benign about idealistic and deluded, undergraduate imaginations. This is as if the League of Nations and the U.N. and everything in between hadn’t happened. Remember, Obama had a summit in Washington a few years ago to end nuclear proliferation. He thought it was a great event. I remember the one announcement of a success was that Canada had given away some extra surplus stuff, as if the threat of the world is from Canada.

He lives in a world where people get together -- reasonable, educated, Harvard law school educated people from all over the world, and agree on futuristic designs that mean nothing, like the League of Nations, like the U.N., but we have learned something since then, he has learned nothing. This global warming is the same thing.

Nothing will come of it because it’s not a treaty, it would never get through the Senate, it’s not going to be binding on anybody. And the great announcement he made when he was in China, is that we would radically reduce our emissions by 2025 and China would begin its reductions in 2030. And he thought that was a triumph. Look, this is wonderful, he said, What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than lead it? How about a serious air campaign over Syria? How about destroying their oil infrastructure for a start? But that doesn’t occur to him."


An elitist people hater

Sir David Attenborough has travelled to places most of us can only dream of.

But his favourite holiday destination of all is one that is reasonably attainable - although you may have to save for years to follow in his footsteps - North Queensland in Australia, which is home to the Great Barrier Reef.

But Sir David has warned that future generations of holidaymakers could soon be unable to enjoy the same experience because of the damage global warming is doing to the reef. 

Speaking at a screening of his new documentary on the reef at Australia House in London last week, he said: 'The real danger is the rising temperatures and acidity and the effect that has - if the acidity grows to a certain limit it will damage the coral itself.

'The issue at the moment is those changes in the ocean and the speed with which the planet is warming.

'In 20 years, those changes will be imminent and present and unless we control those changes, there will be severe bleaching of the coral.

'The great thing is that it does recover if the conditions improve.

Sir David lays the blame solely at the door of the increasing human population and says that there are now too many of us.

He said: 'The greatest concern at the moment is the warming of the planet and the speed with which the human species are spreading.

'There were 2.5 billion people on the planet when I first went to the Great Barrier Reef and there are now three times that. We're overrunning the Planet.'

But rising temperatures are having a destructive effect on the ecosystem  [Since they are not rising, that must be difficult]

In fact, he claims to have seen no damage with his own eyes from visitors to the reef and says that the people he encountered there were very respectful of the famous ecosystem.

He said: 'That the change is only something that an expert can see, to my eye it was a ravishing appearance.

'The obvious [change from] when we sailed there 60 years ago is then we hardly saw anyone at all - it's not like that now, the population has increased.'

'[But] people are usually very well behaved because they are so stunned by what they see, so they see it with great respect.'

Sir David was talking about the reef ahead of the launch of his new three-part documentary on the world's largest living organism

Last year, he spent three weeks exploring the reef as part of the TV series for the BBC called The Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough, which will air on BBC1 later this month.

The show will look at the animals that live on the reef as well as the effects of global warming and the people who are working to protect the reef and its inhabitants from this danger.


Green/Left governments are bad for roads

California’s roads are an obstacle course of potholes and as Foon Rhee of the Sacramento Bee notes "the repair backlog is estimated at $78 billion for local roads and another $59 billion for state highways." The rough roads are also highly congested but the massive California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is not eager to build new roads and claims to have "solid science" on their side in the form of Increasing Highway Capacity Unlikely to Relieve Traffic Congestion, a National Center for Sustainable Transportation Brief.

According to author Susan Handy of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at UC Davis, "adding capacity to roadways fails to alleviate congestion for long because it actually increases vehicle miles traveled (VMT)." Handy, who is in fact the director of the federal National Center for Sustainable Transportation, further explains, "capacity expansion does not increase employment or other economic activity." So building new roads and highways is a lose-lose proposition for the workers, and refusing to build new roads is a winner for ruling-class bureaucrats and politicians.

As Foon Rhee observes, endorsement of the induced travel theory "does keep Caltrans in tune with Gov. Jerry Brown’s crusade to put California at the forefront of adapting to climate change." So climate change dogma gets right down to where the rubber meets the road, as the tire commercial used to say. "By being part of the climate change team with the governor," Rhee writes, "Caltrans could eventually have fewer projects to oversee and less work to do. A government agency not expanding its empire – now that would be a new one." That would indeed be a new one, but it won’t happen with Caltrans.

As we noted, Caltrans maintains 3,500 full-time engineers who do little more than show up at their desks, and the state recently gave them a raise. So Caltrans will hardly hesitate to maintain full-time employees who don’t build new roads. California taxpayers might also note that neither induced travel theory or climate change dogma stopped Caltrans from building the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, which came in 10 years late, $5 billion over budget, and which remains unsafe. No Caltrans boss lost his job, and nobody has been held accountable.



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


9 December, 2015

‘Complete Transformation’ of US Energy System Will Stop four hundredths of one Degree of Global Warming, Congress Told

 The projected increase in global temperature averted by President Obama’s pledge to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 28 percent over the next decade comes out to an "environmentally inconsequential" 0.04 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, the assistant director of the Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science testified before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology last month.

"I basically told the committee that U.S. actions aimed at mitigating future climate change by limiting CO2 emissions from U.S. power plants and the rest of the economy would have a very small impact on future climate change,"  Paul "Chip" Knappenberger told

"So small, in fact, that it probably wouldn’t be scientifically detectable."

Knappenberger said a widely available climate modeling tool developed under funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that compared to worldwide CO2 emissions, any cutbacks by the U.S. would amount to "a proverbial drop in the bucket, they’re so small," he said.

Knappenberger warned Congress that President Obama’s stated goal to decrease CO2 emissions 80 percent by 2050 will require a "complete transformation of the energy system beyond what we can even imagine."

"Basically there’s no way to get there right now with current technology."

But even if CO2 emissions were scaled back to Civil War-era levels, it would only avert four one-hundredths of a degree of global warming by the end of the century, he told 

Although some people are going to gauge the success of the United Nations’ COP21 climate change conference in Paris "on whether they come back with something that’s legally binding," Knappenberger said he would be "surprised" if they did.

"The pledges just weren’t designed that way," he told They are "very loosey-goosey, along the lines of ‘We’re going to try to reduce our emission intensity by 40 percent by some year in the future’."

However, even if all the carbon-reduction pledges were honored, their total impact comes "very, very close to the same temperature you get if you just presume business as usual going forward with no directed actions at mitigating climate change," he said.

"So basically whatever comes out of Paris will have no impact on the future course of climate."


The Burden of Proof on Climate Change

By S. Fred Singer 

The burden of proof for Anthropogenic Climate Change falls on alarmists. Climate Change (CC) has been ongoing for millions of years—long before humans existed on this planet.

Obviously, the causes were all of natural origin, and not anthropogenic.

There is no reason to believe that these natural causes have suddenly stopped; for example, volcanic eruptions, various types of solar influences, and (internal) atmosphere-ocean oscillations all continue today. (Note that these natural factors cannot be modeled precisely.)

Let’s call this the "Null Hypothesis." Logically therefore, the burden of proof is on alarmists to demonstrate that the Null Hypothesis is not adequate to account for empirical climate data; alarmists must provide convincing observational evidence for Anthropogenic CC (ACC)—by detailed comparison of empirical data with GH models.

I am not aware of such proofs, only of anecdotal info—although I admit that ACC is plausible; after all, CO2 is a GH gas, and its level has been rising, mainly because of burning of fossil fuels.

However, ACC appears to be much smaller than predicted by GH models; there is even believed to be a period of no warming ["hiatus"] during the past 19 years—in spite of rapidly rising atmospheric CO2 levels [1].

There seems to be no generally accepted explanation for this discrepancy. Yet as the gap grows, the five IPCC reports insist there is no gap—with ever greater claimed certainty; rising from 50% to 99%.

Even necessary conditions for empirical data (like temperature rise vs altitude and latitude; cloud cover; precipitation) are difficult to establish; any major disagreement with models disproves ACC.

IPCC’s GH models are not validated—and not policy-relevant

In other words, GH models have not been, and may never be validated; hence are not policy-relevant. They are scenario-generation machines that rest on assumptions and incomplete science—not on actual observations [2].

Anyway, warming appears to be trivially small, and most likely economically beneficial overall—as established through careful studies by leading economists.

I therefore regard the absence of any significant GH warming as settled, and policies to limit CO2 emissions as wasting resources needed for genuine societal problems—and even as counter-productive, since CO2 promotes plant growth and raises crop yields [3]

Surviving a coming climate cooling

I am much more concerned about a cooling climate, as predicted by many solar scientists [4], with its adverse ecological effects and severe economic consequences for humanity.

Singer and Avery [5] have described the cyclical CC, seen during the past major glaciation; Loehle and Singer [6] see evidence for extension of the cycles into the current Holocene.

In particular, historical records [7] identify the recent cycle of a (beneficial) Medieval Warm Period and the (destructive) Little Ice Age (LIA) with its failed harvests, starvation, disease, and mass deaths.

I have therefore explored ways [8] to counter the (imminently expected) next cooling phase through low-cost and low-ecological-risk methods of a specific GH effect—not based on CO2.

At the same time, assuming that our scheme does not work, we need to prepare for adaptation [9] to a colder climate—with special attention to supply of food, and of sustainable water and energy.

The outlook appears promising—provided there is adequate preparation. However, the coming cold period will test the survivability of our technological civilization.


The Paris Summit on Climate Change: Another Kyoto?

The climate summit underway in Paris will almost certainly not be an occasion to take stock of what’s been wrong with policymakers’ approach to rising temperatures in the past few decades. What a pity. If this were all it did, its contribution would be far more useful than the unrealistic goals, ideological sophistry, and political posturing likely to fuel the final conference report.

What should the fiasco of the Kyoto Protocol have taught our leaders? If anything, it should have taught them that, in public policy, the means by which one tries to achieve a goal are at least as important as the goal itself, and that pursuing an objective with ideological obsession, without understanding the consequences of the means employed, can cause much harm.

Signed in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels within a decade and a half. To achieve this, it placed binding caps on emissions in industrialized countries. The deadline passed, and Kyoto is now synonymous with utter failure. What conclusion did the major players extract? Basically, the idea that its fatal flaw was the international imposition of caps, something that could be easily remedied by having each country impose a reduction in emissions on itself. Thus, the United States decided to cut emissions about 27 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, and the European Union set for itself the aim of cutting them 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. And so on.

They should have been paying attention to the real problem. One statistic says it all: coal, the dirtiest of the dirty energy sources, is now responsible for 40 percent of the world’s electricity and about 30 percent of its energy overall, the highest level in decades—a testament to the failure of the politically favored alternatives.

By setting arbitrary goals for themselves, the leading countries went on to pick whatever means were deemed necessary. A major effort was made, for instance, to spread the use of wind turbines and solar panels. This effort proved extremely expensive and achieved almost nothing. Less than half of one percent of our energy comes from solar and wind sources today. According to the International Energy Agency, another $2.5 trillion in subsidies will be needed over the next 25 years to keep up with political promises. What would that achieve? By 2100 the temperature rise would be a mere 0.03 degrees Fahrenheit less than without the subsidies.

Not to mention other sources dear to politicians, especially biofuels (which comprise about three-quarters of renewable sources today). Pursuing them has worsened the pressure on scarce water resources, caused more pollution through the expanded use of fertilizers, led to greater deforestation in several counties and, of course, made food a lot more expensive. Several times in the past few years these consequences even triggered violent riots in Asia.

The realization that the emission goals were unrealistic, and that the means adopted to achieve them were useless or even counterproductive, has led long-time supporters of these policies to admit that, in the words of The Economist, "global warming cannot be dealt with using today’s tools and mindsets."

We need to conduct a lot more research, use market mechanisms to bring about innovative technology, have a much clearer understanding of the economic trade-offs related to the various options available and, above all, approach the subject with humility. Bombastic goals and pernicious means have not led us anywhere since Kyoto. Paris looks likely to prolong the tradition.


Why China Shouldn’t Be Trusted on Its Climate Commitment

There has been a lot of attention given to China at the climate conference in Paris. As the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, a lot depends on what China will do—or more accurately what it won’t do. Lots of media reports have commended China for its sudden commitment to climate change. But how the media is portraying China’s commitment to combat global warming isn’t based on reality.

China’s Air Pollution Is Not Carbon Dioxide

Many stories about China and climate change mention China as the top polluter, complete with nasty pictures of factories spewing out black smoke, while also discussing the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

It’s true that China has serious air and water quality problems. But do not associate those problems with carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas. The U.N.’s push to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions is predicated solely on carbon dioxide’s alleged impact on the climate, which appears to be much smaller than the climate models are projecting.

Unlike China, America’s power plants are largely clean of the pollutants that we know have adverse health effects.

We should also be wary of any commitment from China because they’ve been grossly underreporting their carbon dioxide emissions and use of coal.

According to a recent story from the New York Times:

China, the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases from coal, has been burning up to 17 percent more coal a year than the government previously disclosed, according to newly released data. The finding could complicate the already difficult efforts to limit global warming. Even for a country of China’s size, the scale of the correction is immense. The sharp upward revision in official figures means that China has released much more carbon dioxide—almost a billion more tons a year according to initial calculations—than previously estimated.

China is building more than 350 coal-fired power plants and has plans to build another 800. This is the country we’re going to trust to peak emissions 15 years from now?

The rest of the world should encourage China to address the issue of smog and water contamination. These environmental problems have real adverse human health and environmental impacts. Instead, international bodies are pressing for China to divert resources to address global warming—resources that country could use to truly clean up its environment.

The Problem With International Climate Negotiations

Generally speaking, there are two fundamental issues that have broken down international climate negotiations every year. The developing world’s refusal to curb economic growth to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the amount of money developing countries want compared to what the developed world is willing to shell out.

Proponents of a negotiation argue that this time is different and that China is making moves to reduce its carbon footprint. China has entered into a climate pact with the U.S. to peak greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 and has set up a pilot cap-and-trade program, and its government continues to pour billions into renewable energy.

If China is not addressing its harmful smog and poor water quality issues, we should be skeptical of its commitment to address global warming. (Again, nor should we be encouraging CO2 reduction. Instead, we should focus on real environmental problems.)

We should also be skeptical of the notion that China will stay true to its word 15 years into the future. Effectively, the agreement the Obama administration made with China is that American households and businesses will suffer from higher energy costs now because of carbon regulations in exchange for China maybe doing something in 2030. Importantly, there has been no discussion of India. If China actually did follow through with its commitment to peak carbon emissions in 2030, India likely will have overtaken China as the most populous country.

China’s Increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are a Good Thing

The developing world’s use of coal, oil, and natural gas should be celebrated, not condemned. Affordable and reliable energy is an essential input for a better standard of living and economic growth. China’s gross domestic product per capita has increased from a little more than $300 in 1990 to nearly $7,000 today. The increase is impressive, but it’s nowhere near the levels of the GDP per capita of the developed world. The U.S. GDP per capita is more than $53,000.

The focus for China, India, and the rest of the developing world should be promoting economic development and introducing economic freedom. Economically freer countries also enjoy cleaner environments.

Freer economies have access to more products and technologies that make our lives healthier and the environment cleaner. For instance, the availability of simple products like soaps, cleaners, and detergents makes our homes dramatically cleaner and healthier. Freer economies with a sound rule of law protect private property rights. And as a country grows economically, it increases the financial ability of its citizens and businesses to care for the environment and reduce pollutants emitted from industrial growth.

You don’t have to scratch the surface too deeply to understand that China’s about-face on climate change is nothing more than a charade.


Inhofe leads the way against Obama’s climate slush fund

Imagine a country paying other countries to regulate itself out of productivity and prosperity. Then imagine that the same regulations would bind the first country more so than the others. Then again, imagine that the first country in question was doing all of this for a reason that cannot effectively be quantified or scientifically replicated, but persists anyway in the midst of stagnating growth and crushing debt.

So much for imagination.

The Obama administration is rushing onward in Paris with the hopes of funding an ongoing global scheme to pay poorer countries to atone for our supposed contributions to climate change. The administration is pledging to siphon $3 billion annually into what will eventually become a $100 billion a year fund, with the U.S. contribution rising to more $25 billion annually. This money is leveraging cooperation from reticent countries who themselves are looking to grow their economies, as well as their carbon output.

In true United Nations (U.N.) fashion, American taxpayers present and future, will be paying the countries that ultimately compete with us on the world stage. Their incentive is to take the money, and return to future climate conferences where they will have a say in further limiting American carbon emissions and production, and with it our economic productivity.  What can be done about it?

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) was the first to say no. Sen. Inhofe, along with 36 other Senate colleagues, said in a letter that no funds would be disbursed to the U.N. fund until the President introduced his climate agreement to the Senate as a treaty. The President likely plans to bypass the Senate’s constricting purse strings as well as the treaty clause and unilaterally obligate the United States to the terms of the Paris agreement.

In a statement on Thursday, Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning weighed in, saying, "Congress should just say no to Obama’s $3 billion promise to the U.N. Green Climate Fund by explicitly stipulating in the omnibus that no funds shall be spent on it. The reality is that the U.S. commitment to the Green Climate Fund is anticipated to dramatically expand in the years to come to more than $25 billion annually as part of a $100 billion a year global wealth transfer to developing economies."

"We already subsidize developing economies with world trade rules that grant special and differential treatment, and the new Paris climate deal will exempt developing economies from the punitive regulations that the U.S. adheres to. Not to be outdone, then those same countries will receive $100 billion a year that U.S. taxpayers will disproportionately fund," Manning added.

Most of the Republicans in the Senate have already taken a stand to withhold funds from the President’s U.N. climate fund scheme. Their leadership should be matched in the House of Representatives with a formal defund in the coming omnibus that overtly bans further monies from being spent to undermine the American economy with this climate fund. The majorities in both chambers were empowered to stop job killing policies such as this one, and funding the President’s reckless, unilateral climate policies endanger both their majorities and their constituents.


Wanted’ posters targets Climate Criminals at Paris summit

Reminiscent of Stalin's "enemies of the people"

The seven most insidious fossil fuel lobbyists in Paris to weaken attempts to agree a global climate deal have been named and shamed as ‘climate criminals’ in a dossier published by the global citizens movement Avaaz.

The group, which spearheaded last weekend’s climate marches which saw 785,000 people take to the streets globally, posted over a thousand ‘Wanted’ posters outside 5-star hotels in the French capital on Monday morning. The poster highlighting the seven most notorious dirty energy lobbyists unearthed from the list of more than 50,000 delegates at summit.

On Monday morning,  Avaaz ‘Climate Cops’ will hand out flyers outside key Metro stations leading to the Le Bourget with photos of the lobbyists, who are expected to ramp up their efforts to derail a deal when ministers arrive this week to negotiate the deal.

Emma Ruby-Sachs, Acting Executive-Director of Avaaz says: "These lobbyists have come to Paris to sabotage a global deal for ambitious climate action, despite over 3.6 million citizens around the world calling for 100% clean energy. Ministers must listen to their people, not polluters, and refuse meetings with climate criminals who want to derail a deal the whole world wants."

Each of the seven named lobbyists is renowned for their backroom dealings to to stop the transition to clean energy and push the interests of dirty fossil fuels. Some have resorted to harassing climate scientists and even calling for them to be ‘publicly flogged’.

The lobbyists include:

*  Benjamin Sporton, head of the World Coal Association

*  Fiona Wild, representative of mining-giant BHP Billiton

*  Marc Morano, whose trademark activity is to publish the email addresses of climate scientists to expose them to hate mail.

*  Myron Ebell, director of US think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute known for receiving money from ExxonMobil

*  Chris Horner, funded by the coal industry and known for "harassing" climate scientists in order to access to their email

*  Bjorn Lomborg, previously backed by funders with links to the Koch brothers, he’s most known as the 'delayer in chief' when it comes to climate

*  James Taylor, senior fellow at climate denial lobby group Heartland Institute

Examples of lobbyists’ far-reaching influence within climate meetings include The World Coal Association setting up shop next to the COP19 summit in Warsaw in 2013 to convince negotiators to embrace coal as a solution to climate change.

This resulted in the Warsaw Communiqué promoting clean coal, which has been deemed as "a myth" by National Geographic. At the COP17 in Durban in 2011, the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (comprised of major fossil fuel and power companies) successfully lobbied for carbon credits for new coal plants.

With global warming a clear scientific reality, the world has become increasingly intolerant of the fossil fuel industry’s attempts to undermine climate science and climate legislation. The campaign comes off the back of recent cases cracking down on "climate criminals," including the investigation into Exxon for allegedly lying to the public about the risk of climate change.

The dossier is published as part of Avaaz’s 100% Clean campaign, which has been backed by more than 3.6 million people.


How embarrassing!  I have been left off the list of "criminals" -- JR


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


8 December, 2015

Skeptic-abuser Lewandowski is just one symptom of a wider malaise among psychologists

At the back of a small room at Coogee Beach, Sydney, I sat watching as a psychologist I had never heard of paced the room gesticulating. His voice was loud. Over six feet tall, his presence was imposing. It was Lee Jussim. He had come to the Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology to talk about left-wing bias in social psychology.

Left-wing bias, he said, was undermining his field. Graduate students were entering the field in order to change the world rather than discover truths. Because of this, he said, the field was riddled with flaky research and questionable theories.

Jussim’s talk began with one of the most egregious examples of bias in recent years. He drew the audience’s attention to the paper: "NASA faked the moon landing – therefore (climate) science is a hoax." The study was lead by Stephan Lewandowsky, and published in Psychological Science in 2013. The paper argued that those who believed that the moon landing was a hoax also believed that climate science was a fraud. The abstract stated:

We…show that endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the CIA killed Martin-Luther King or that NASA faked the moon landing) predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientific findings above and beyond commitment to laissez-faire free markets. This provides confirmation of previous suggestions that conspiracist ideation contributes to the rejection of science.

After describing the study and reading the abstract, Jussim paused. Something big was coming.

"But out of 1145 participants, only ten agreed that the moon landing was a hoax!" he said. "Of the study’s participants, 97.8% who thought that climate science was a hoax, did not think that the moon landing also a hoax."

His fellow psychologists shifted in their seats. Jussim pointed out that the level of obfuscation the authors went to, in order to disguise their actual data, was intense. Statistical techniques appeared to have been chosen that would hide the study’s true results. And it appeared that no peer reviewers, or journal editors, took the time, or went to the effort of scrutinizing the study in a way that was sufficient to identify the bold misrepresentations.

While the authors’ political motivations for publishing the paper were obvious, it was the lax attitude on behalf of peer reviewers – Jussim suggested – that was at the heart of the problems within social psychology. The field had become a community in which political values and moral aims were shared, leading to an asymmetry in which studies that reinforced left-wing narratives had come to be disproportionately represented in the literature. And this was not, to quote Stephen Colbert, because "reality had a liberal bias". It was because social psychology had a liberal bias.

Jussim explained that within the field, those on the left outnumbered those on the right by a ratio of about 10:1. So it meant that even if left-leaning and right-leaning scientists were equal in their bias, there would be at least ten times more research biased towards validating left-wing narratives than conservative narratives. Adding in the apparent double standards in the peer review process (where studies validating left-wing narratives seemed to be easier to publish) then the bias within the field could vastly exceed the ratio of 10:1. In other words, research was becoming an exercise in groupthink.


Jussim appears to have had an anti-authoritarian streak since day one. Born in Brooklyn 1955, his family moved to Long Island when he was twelve. He lost his mother the following year from illness, and after that, he lost his father as well, although this time not from illness, but from grief. It was at this tender age that Jussim entered into a life of self-reliance. Ferociously independent, Jussim describes having little respect for, or deference to, authority figures. In high school he says he purposely made life miserable for his teachers, and later he would become an anti-war activist.

In 1975, at the age of 20, he was a university dropout. He did not return again to study until four years later, when he began undergraduate psychology, and it was not until 1986, at the age of 30, that Jussim achieved his first publication. By this stage he was already married with a baby.

Jussim may not have known at this point that he was destined to continue living a life of non-conformity. He was a reformed delinquent and anti-Vietnam war activist. He had his PhD and a publication under his belt. He had settled down. His former life of rabble rousing and trouble making was over.

Or so he thought.

Very early in his career, Jussim faced a crisis of sorts. An early mentor, Jacquelynne Eccles, handed him some large datasets gathered from school children and teachers in educational settings. He tried testing the social psychology theories he had studied, but consistently found that his data contradicted them.

Instead of finding that the teachers’ expectations influenced the students’ performances, he found that the students’ performances influenced the teachers’ expectations. This data "misbehaved". It did not show that stereotypes created, or even had much influence on the real world. The data did not show that teachers’ expectations strongly limited students’ performances. It did not show that stereotypes became self-fulfilling prophecies. But instead of filing his results away into a desk drawer, Jussim kept investigating – for three more decades.

The Crisis in Social Psychology

Some months after Jussim’s presentation at the 2015 Sydney Symposium, the results of the Reproducibility Project in psychology were announced. This project found that out of 100 psychological studies, only about 30%-50% could be replicated.

The reproducibility project follows in the wake of a crisis that has engulfed social psychology in recent years. A slew of classic studies have never been able to be fully replicated. (Replication is a benchmark of the scientific method. If a study cannot be replicated, it suggests that the results were a fluke, and not an accurate representation of the real world).

For example, Bargh, Chen and Burrows published one of the most famous experiments of the field in 19963. In it, students were divided into two groups: one group received priming with the stereotype of elderly people; the other students received no priming (the control group). When the students left the experiment, those who had been primed with the stereotype of the elderly, walked down a corridor significantly more slowly than the students assigned to the control. While it has never been completely replicated, it has been cited over 3400 times. It also features in most social psychology textbooks.

Another classic study by Darley & Gross published in 1983, found that people applied a stereotype about social class when they saw a young girl taking a math test, but did not when they saw a young girl not taking a math test5. Two attempts at exact replication have failed6. And both replication attempts actually found the opposite pattern – that people apply stereotypes when they have no other information about a person, but switch them off when they do6.

In the field of psychology, what counts as a "replication" is controversial. Researchers have not yet reached a consensus on whether a replication means that an effect of the same size was found. Or that an effect size was found within the same confidence intervals. Or whether it is an effect in the same direction. How one defines replication will likely impact whether one sees a "replication" as being successful or not. So while some of social psychology’s classic studies have not been fully replicated, there have been partial replications, and a debate still rages around what exactly constitutes one. But here’s the kicker: even in the partial replications of some of these stereotype studies, the research has been found to be riddled with p-hacking4. (P-hacking refers to the exploitation of researcher degrees of freedom until a desirable result is found).


When I went through University as a psychology undergraduate Jussim’s work was not on the curriculum. His studies were not to be found in my social psychology textbook. Nor was Jussim ever mentioned in the classroom. Yet the area of study Jussim has been a pioneer of – stereotype accuracy – is one of the most robust and replicable areas ever to emerge from the discipline.

To talk about stereotypes, one has to first define what they are. Stereotypes are simply beliefs about a group of people. They can be positive (children are playful) or they can be negative (bankers are selfish), or they can be somewhere in between (librarians are quiet). When stereotypes are defined as beliefs about groups of people (true or untrue), they correlate with real world criteria with effect sizes ranging from .4 to .9, with the average coming in somewhere around .8. (This is close to the highest effect size that a social science researcher can find, an effect size of 1.0 would mean that stereotypes correspond 100% to real world criteria. Many social psychological theories rest on studies which have effect sizes of around .2.)

Jussim and his co-authors have found that stereotypes accurately predict demographic criteria, academic achievement, personality and behaviour7. This picture becomes more complex, however, when considering nationality or political affiliation. One area of stereotyping which is consistently found to be inaccurate are the stereotypes concerning political affiliation; right-wingers and left wingers tend to caricature each others personalities, most often negatively so7.

Lest one thinks that these results paint a bleak picture of human nature, Jussim and his colleagues have also found that people tend to switch off some of their stereotypes – especially the descriptive ones – when they interact with individuals7. It appears that descriptive stereotypes are a crutch to lean on when we have no other information about a person. When we gain additional insights into people, these stereotypes are no longer useful. And there is now a body of evidence to suggest that stereotypes are not as fixed, unchangeable and inflexible as they’ve historically been portrayed to be8.

A Cool Reception

Studying the accuracy of stereotypes is risky business. For many, investigation into stereotypes is tantamount to endorsing bigotry. To understand why this is the case, one has to take a long view of the discipline’s history.

Social psychology arose from the ashes of World War 2. An entire generation had to come to terms with the legacy of the war, and the study of prejudice and authoritarianism naturally captured their imaginations. Gordon Allport, a mentor of Stanley Milgram, conceptualised stereotypes in his 1954 book The Nature of Prejudice as inaccurate, pernicious and unshakeable, and influential in shaping the social world9. From this point onwards, this conception has largely remained unchallenged.

Reactions to Jussim’s findings about the accuracy of stereotypes have varied on the scale between lukewarm and ice cold. At Stanford this year after giving a talk, an audience member articulated a position reflected by many within his field:

"Social psychologists should be not be studying whether people are accurate in perceiving groups! They should be studying how situations create disadvantage."

Jussim has heard this position over and over again. Not just from students, but also colleagues. One might find it surprising that psychology researchers would become so invested in shutting down research they find politically unbearable. But one shouldn’t be.

It is not uncommon for social psychologists to list "the promotion of social justice" as a research topic on their CVs, or on their university homepages. One academic, John Jost at New York University, who argues that conservatism is a form of motivated cognition, runs what he calls the Social Justice Lab. Within the scientific community, the blending of science with political activism is far from being frowned upon. One only has to take a brief look at Twitter to see that scientists are often in practice of tweeting about "white privilege", "women in STEM", "structural disadvantage", "affirmative action", and "stereotypes". For many scientists, the crusade to change the world is seen as part of one’s job description.

Jussim has weathered aloof, and at times openly hostile attitudes to his work for virtually three decades. In an email to me earlier in the year, he wrote that he felt like his work life has been lived in solitary confinement. It is possible that Jussim’s citation count – or impact factor – has been artificially suppressed. And for renegade academics such as Jussim to get published, they often must resort to sugar-coating and camouflaging their results, leaving important findings out of journal titles and abstracts.

Yet he points out that despite the hostility towards stereotype accuracy, he has been well treated by social psychology – having being given an American Psychological Association Early Career Award in 1997 – and being cited by his peers over 6000 times. Jussim also points out that while doing research that breaks taboos and undermines political narratives is hard, it is not impossible. Ultimately the scientific method wins.

It is too early to know how research into stereotypes will unfold in the future. And we do not know yet if social psychology will ever be able to achieve ideological diversity, or realistically address its left-wing bias. What is certain, however, is that despite producing work that has been unwelcome and unpopular, Lee Jussim has remained a faithful servant to the scientific method. Even in the face of great personal costs.


I could see that the Lewandowski article stank from day 1. And I said so at the time.  An incidental point of interest:  I put up conclusions about stereotyping long ago that are essentially the same as Jussim's points -- JR

Have greenhouse gases peaked? As politicians battle to reach a deal at Paris climate talks, CO2 levels could be falling

Once again, natural climate events are overtaking and surprising the Warmists

Dangerous levels of carbon dioxide blamed for climate change could have peaked after decades of almost non-stop rises.

As ministers from around the world arrive in Paris for the final week of UN climate talks, figures published this week will reportedly show that greenhouse gas emissions have stabilised and could be on course to start falling.

It suggests world leaders could yet meet targets to almost halve CO2 emissions by 2050 to limit rising temperatures while still meeting energy demands.

Negotiators from 195 countries at the Paris talks have produced a draft of the climate deal, which aims to curb temperature rises and avoid dangerous climate change.

Much still needs to be agreed by ministers in the high-level talks that begin on Monday.

But expectations are running higher that they are closer to securing a global climate deal than at a United Nations summit in Copenhagen six years ago.

Key to limiting global warming to below 2C by 2100 is a major reduction in carbon emissions.

In the last decade, CO2 levels have more than trebled since the early 1960s and are up by almost a third in the last decade.

However figures due to be published tomorrow will say emissions 'nearly stalled' at 37bn tonnes of CO2 last year, according to The Sunday Times.

It suggests that emissions could be level or even fall in 2015, raising early hopes of turning point in the battle to limit the environmental impact of human behaviour.

It would raise expectations of meeting ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gases dramatically, from a total of around 37billion to just 15billion by 2050.

Justine Greening, Britain's International Development Secretary, warned climate change will make the world more unstable, with consequences that end up on the UK's doorstep.

Speaking at the climate talks in Paris, she said rising temperatures put stability, prosperity and security at risk. 'We see the issues of conflict and instability literally ending up on our doorstep; you only have to look at the migration crisis over the summer from Syria to see today things that happen around the world impact Britain.

'It also matters from a prosperity perspective, when we're helping countries develop ... that's in our interest.  'How does climate change fit into that? It puts both at risk,' she told the Press Association.  'It makes our world more unstable, unless we can tackle it, and it hinders prosperity at the same time.'

She announced a new initiative to give millions more people insurance against climate-related disasters in developing countries.

And she said felt there was a 'real will to reach a positive, sensible and ambitious outcome', though she acknowledged the remaining negotiations would be tough.

Key issues that are yet to be agreed include a long-term goal for reducing the emissions that cause dangerous climate change by the second half of the century and the provision of finance for poor countries to cope with global warming.

Countries are also being urged to revisit pledges already made to cut their greenhouse gases up to 2030, and potentially improve on them.

Tasneem Essop, head of WWF's delegation to the UN climate talks in Paris, said it would be 'quite a sprint' for ministers to secure a strong deal by Friday, when the talks are scheduled to end, and it was up to the French, who as hosts preside over the meeting, to take the talks to the finish line.

'The draft negotiating text, while more clear in terms of options, still reflects most of the divergences amongst countries. This will require immense skill on the part of the French presidency and absolute co-operation between governments to mediate these differences.

'We're hoping that in the rush to the end, ministers do not trade ambition for expediency, and remain true to the science.'



A new strategy for tax cheats

You can guess what would happen if you used the same tactics that climate alarmists employ

Paul Driessen

Suppose you’ve been using some creative data, accounting and legal interpretations for years to reduce your tax bill – and the IRS suddenly flags you for a full-blown audit. Instead of trembling in your boots, shredding your records, calling a top-flight lawyer, and preparing for an extended jail visit, just do this:

Patiently explain that your raw data, records and other documents are your private property. Your legal analyses, accounting methods, and unique computer codes and algorithms are proprietary. The IRS has no right to see them. When the agents ask you questions, explain that you don’t recall any details. If they get testy or threaten you with arrest, just say you resent their intimidation tactics.

Absurd? A ticket to the slammer? Maybe not. Similar ploys worked for Lois Lerner and Hillary Clinton.

More to the point, they’ve worked like a charm for scientists who’ve received millions of tax dollars to crank out studies insisting that we face increasingly serious, previously unimaginable climate and weather cataclysms, because we use fossil fuels to power our economy, create jobs and improve living standards.

These studies do not merely sit on shelves. Politicians, bureaucrats, journalists, activists and scientists cite them to justify policies that require us to dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions – and thus our energy use, employment rates and living standards. If the studies are biased, based on "homogenized," exaggerated, manipulated or fabricated data, or result from garbage-in/garbage-out computer models – we need to know that, before expensive, destructive regulations are imposed on us. Or so we would think.

World leaders are meeting right now in Paris, often using absurd claims, and alarming reports, to forge a global treaty saying the world must eliminate 96% of the greenhouse gases that all humanity would likely release if we reach world population levels, economic growth and living standards predicted for 2050 – by steadily eliminating increasingly more energy efficient, low-carbon fuels and technologies.

Such reductions would mean slashing energy use and average world per capita GDP from its projected $30,600 in 2050 to a miserly $1,200 per year, says energy analyst Roger Bezdek. Average per capita GDP in 2050 would be less than what Americans "enjoyed" in 1830! Many futuristic technologies would still exist, but only wealthy families and ruling elites would be able to afford them.

Congress is therefore absolutely right to demand access to the raw data, accounting and data revision methodologies, computer codes and algorithms, emails and analytical methods that taxpayer-financed scientists and agencies used in developing and justifying EPA’s Clean Power Plan, NOAA’s declarations that various months were the "hottest on record," claims that myriad disasters will occur if we don’t curb carbon dioxide emissions, and assertions that only a global treaty will save planet and humanity.

That’s why House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) has asked NOAA director Kathryn Sullivan to turn over documents related to a study that claimed global warming has not stalled for almost 19 years, as satellite records show. The NOAA study adjusted sea-surface temperature data from a global network of buoys upward by 0.12 degrees Celsius (0.25 F), to "homogenize" the buoy data with records from engine intake systems on ships – and thereby create a previously undetected warming trend.

But the intake data were contaminated by heat from the ships, whereas the buoy network was designed for accurate environmental monitoring. A more honest, defensible study would have adjusted the ship data downward, to "homogenize" them with more reliable buoy data. But the feds needed a warming trend.

Smith has threatened to use "civil and/or criminal enforcement mechanisms" if the agency doesn’t provide the documents. The American Meteorological Society says these are "intimidation" tactics that unfairly question the integrity of NOAA scientists. However, Smith is right to defend to public interest in knowing that such studies are honest and credible.

After all, we taxpayers paid for them, and they are being used to promote policies that will affect our livelihoods, liberties, living standards and even life spans. If the scientists have nothing to hide, they should be happy to engage in a robust peer review – in essence, to defend their novel PhD thesis.

Instead, requests to see data or engage in discussion or debate are met with outright refusals. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has said she would "protect" her agency’s data, analyses and reports from people and organizations that she alone decides "are not qualified to analyze" the materials. The agency has implemented numerous costly regulations with no attempt to verify IPCC "science" or even consider the rules’ impacts on the health and welfare of families whose breadwinners will lose their jobs.

Other tax-funded groups have likewise refused to discuss their findings with climate disaster skeptics. Some have even asked the Justice Department to initiate RICO racketeering prosecutions of organizations that raise inconvenient questions about climate studies. The White House has enlisted virtually every US Government agency, including the Defense Department, in its determined effort to employ global warming claims to "fundamentally transform" the United States before President Obama leaves office.

We should not be surprised. Billions of dollars in annual US government grants and a $1.5-trillion-per-year climate crisis and renewable energy industry mean people will jealously guard their money trains.

EPA has paid members of its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee $180.8 million since 2000. Grants from EPA and other federal agencies to the American Lung Association over the same period total $43 million, for rubberstamping and promoting government decisions on pollution and climate change.

Courts have let former U of Virginia researcher Michael Mann refuse to provide tax-funded data and emails, even to the former Virginia Attorney General, on the ground that they are proprietary. DMD (Data Manipulation Disease) is not confined to the USA or Britain’s Climate Research Unit. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has also "homogenized" temperature records so thoroughly that it was able to convert a cooling trend of 1 Celsius degree per century (1.8 F) into a 2.5 degree C (4.5 F) warming trend!

And now developing countries want $1 trillion from developed nations between 2020 and 2030, for climate "reparations and adaptation." Otherwise the poor countries won’t sign any document drafted in Paris. Meanwhile, those (formerly) rich countries are expected to sacrifice their jobs, economic growth and tax revenues in the name of preventing climate and extreme weather catastrophes.

The EPA, NOAA, IPCC, CRU and Meteorology Bureau are acting like unethical prosecutors, determined to convict carbon dioxide of dangerous global warming by: basing their case on circumstantial evidence, allowing tainted evidence, hiding exculpatory evidence, and denying the defendant the right to present a defense, cross-examine adverse witnesses, or even offer testimony attesting to the good conduct and character of defendant – as a vital plant-fertilizing gas that makes all life on Earth possible.

Thankfully, it’s likely the Paris climate gabfest will result in little more than a lot of "sound and fury, signifying nothing" – except more dire fear-mongering about imminent planetary doom, lofty promises of intent to do something 15-20 years from now to prevent the crisis, and plans to fly 40,000 delegates and hangers-on to more meetings, in other delightful destinations replete with 5-star hotels and restaurants. Billions more will be wasted, but no binding CO2 targets will destroy energy systems and economies.

The US Senate will not approve or appropriate money for any emission reductions or climate reparations President Obama might agree to in Paris. EU nations cannot afford to do so, even if developing countries agree to binding emission goals – which they will never do. Poor nations would face open rebellion if they stopped using fossil fuels to lift billions out of abject poverty, or ceased building the 1,800+ coal-fired power plants that are under construction or in the planning process in their countries.

So maybe relax a little on Paris – but keep railing against destructive climate deals, wind and solar production tax credits, ethanol mandates and global warming con artists. However, don’t try using those climate scientist gambits with the Internal Revenue Service.

Via email

US Candidates Offer Vastly Different Views on Climate Change

As world leaders gather for a major climate conference in Paris, the U.S. delegation headed by President Barack Obama is pushing for strong, collaborative action based on the "overwhelming judgment of science," but the next administration led by his successor could have very different views on the issue.

Businessman Donald Trump leads the race for the Republican Party’s nomination in the 2016 election and has said he does not believe in climate change or that it is a major problem for the United States.

"I consider it to be not a big problem at all," he said in September. "I think it’s weather changes. It could be some man-made something, but you know, if you look at China, they’re doing nothing about it. Other countries, they’re doing nothing about it." He went further in a Twitter post this month, saying global warming was created to hurt the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing and benefit China.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has been rising in recent polls, has the field’s strongest opposition to scientific claims that the planet has been getting warmer at a historical pace, as well as plans to change U.S. energy policy to try to help curb the impact. He said satellite data has recorded no warming for the past 17 years and that scientists were "actually adjusting the numbers." He asserted data was being used to control the economy and energy industry.

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (, there is "overwhelming scientific evidence that Earth is warming and a preponderance of scientific evidence that human activities are the main cause." The agency says the planet is getting warmer at a faster rate than at any time in the past million years, with the global average surface temperature progressively rising in each of the past three decades.

Scientists have warned that letting global temperatures rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will bring extreme weather and rising seas that would affect populations all over the world. Temperatures are already up almost one degree, mostly since 1976, according to NOAA.

Protect the economy first

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul all said the science was not settled when it came to climate change, with both Bush and Paul saying it was not clear how much is attributable to humans.

Bush said it would be "really arrogant" to say the science was decided, and that he would not want to "destroy the American economy" as a solution.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, running third in recent polls, agreed with the idea that confronting climate change should not come at the price of harming the economy. He cited China as the top carbon producer and said he would not make it harder for U.S. companies to create jobs for the sake of policies that would do "nothing to change our climate," in reference to Obama administration plans.

In August, Obama announced a new plan to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and to boost the amount of power generated by renewable sources to 28 percent of overall power production.

Power companies already have been converting some of their operations in recent years, increasing their reliance on natural gas, solar and wind. As a result, government data has shown a drop in carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants. Reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere is a major focus of global efforts to contain the rise in temperatures.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley — the three Democratic presidential candidates — all support Obama’s plan.

Alternative energy and morality

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said global warming "is real," but that he did not believe the issue required major government intervention. He has touted his state’s use of alternative, cleaner energy sources that he said have grown because of his administration’s efforts to make them "economically feasible."

Paul agreed on the need to involve solar, wind and hydropower, but that coal and natural gas should still be major parts of what he called an "all of the above policy." He said historically there have been times when the temperature went higher or lower and that at times the carbon in the atmosphere has been higher.

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who is second in the Republican polls, said there was "always going to be cooling or warming going on," something that he considered irrelevant. He said the obligation was to protect the environment.

For Sanders, climate change is "a moral issue."

"Nothing is going to happen unless we are prepared to deal with campaign finance reform, because the fossil fuel industry is funding the Republican Party, which denies the reality of climate change," he said in an October debate .He added that the U.S. needed to be aggressively working with China, India andRussia.

Clinton, too, cited the need to bring China and India together with the rest of the world. She said the Paris climate talks needed to bring a "verifiable commitment to fight climate change from every country gathered there."


Climate Talks Reveal Progressivism's True Hypocrisy

What do you call it when elites fly their private jets to an international climate change conference to forge a deal with despots that caps American prosperity without our consent? You call it progressivism.

It’s estimated that 50,000 carbon-spewing humans participated in the Paris climate conference. But while President Barack Obama was taking his working dinner at the three-Michelin-star L'Ambroisie, public protesters were banned from protesting in the aftermath of the Islamic terror attacks. Liberté? Not so much.

It took a handful of gunmen only one night to impede free expression in Paris. Yet according to the president, the 0.1 to 0.2 C of warming we might see over the next decade — the worst-case scenario predicted by global warming alarmists — is the biggest crisis facing mankind, worthy of a massive and expensive curbing effort.

That doesn’t mean Obama won’t use the issue of terrorism to refocus our attention where it belongs. Millions of people might live in fear and suffer under the genuine, deadly threat of radical Islam, but the president contends that the Paris conference itself is "a powerful rebuke to the terrorists" and an "act of defiance" in the face of extremism.

Why not? True believers are rarely dissuaded by reality. Socialist Francois Hollande, president of a country that not only was recently a target of Islamic terror but also witnessed the bloodiest conflict of the 20th century, claimed: "Never have the stakes been so high at an international conference. It’s about the future of the planet, the future of life." Never?

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a man whose divided nation still suffers unconscionable destitution and tyranny, told leaders that humankind has "never faced such a test" as climate change. Never?

These are preposterous exaggerations that have as much to do with history and science as the book of Revelation. But that’s nothing new, is it? On Wednesday, Obama alleged that without a climate change agreement, there could be "submerged countries, abandoned cities, fields that no longer grow" — assertions that are no more than fearmongering, ratcheted up over the decades by frustrated environmentalists and now confidently thrown around by presidents. These prophecies are tethered to reality in the same way Donald Trump’s whoppers are, although the media treat the former with undeserving respect.

Transforming ideology into a "science" is not a new development on the left. But the most useful indicators tell us that humanity’s prospects are on the upswing. Poverty is declining; crops are producing higher yields; and humans are living longer and healthier lives despite the mild warming we’ve experienced. And in spite of these advancements (or maybe because of them), Western leaders are prepared, conveniently enough, to cap growth, spread wealth and centralize power in the way progressives have always wanted to cap growth, spread wealth and centralize power.

The world looks ready for a deal. Developing nations will receive reparations for the capitalist sins of advanced nations — about $100 billion each year. Corporations will be subsidized so they can create more unproductive industries to meet arbitrary caps. And the worst carbon offenders in the world will have to do nothing. What’s not to like?

If a deal can be reached, Obama will have to trust that Communist China — the world’s most prodigious carbon emitter — will voluntarily implement economic restraints about 30 years from now, by which time the U.S. will have to reach a 26 to 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Obama will implement regulations to get that done unilaterally. So China will have more of a say in what happens to our environmental policy than Congress. But Obama will also negotiate with a number of other unsavory despots, such as the homicidal Robert Mugabe, who represents the African position at the Paris negotiations. He will not, however, bring the deal to Congress, which represents the majority of the American people.

The Paris agreement might be the biggest, most crucial international deal the world has ever known, but it is not important enough to be subjected to the traditional checks and balances of American governance. Global warming "does not pause for partisan gridlock," the president explained this summer. In other words, the president does not have to "pause" for Congress if he feels like using the regulatory state to implement his preferred partisan policy.

This kind of circumvention will be cheered by those who once feigned indignation when prior presidents abused executive power. This is really important, as you know. Obama hopes "to make climate change policy the signature environmental achievement of his, and perhaps any, presidency," said an approving New York Times editor. Progressives are perfectly content to surrender freedoms to fight global warming — perfectly content to give the executive branch unprecedented power to "act." And when the private jets come back and the pretend offsets are cashed in and the moralizing begins, you will know they did it for your own good.


Warmists are holding us to mad ‘greenmail’

Widely-read columnist Piers Akerman comments from Australia

AS predicted, the great Paris global warming conference has turned to custard.

China, which is home to more billionaires than any other nation, and India, second only to China in terms of population, along with a gaggle of other opportunistic nations are demanding hundreds of ­billions of dollars from the ­developed world to meet the unproven challenge of man-made climate change.

With breathtaking arrogance, the clamorous pseuds gathered in the French capital without care for their massive carbon footprint claim to have the power to control the temperature of Earth — given enough of your money. This is such a preposterous notion that no one at the conference will even state the ­obvious — its impossibility.

Instead, we have self-­anointed, self-righteous, self-important lackeys of the UN claiming that global warming is responsible for extreme weather (despite zero evidence), poverty (hardly), drought and floods (that’s tricky), family violence (what about the TV remote), Middle Eastern violence (where’s that in the Koran), prostitution and alcoholism (they would, wouldn’t they).

The more than 4000 ­delegates and assorted hangers-on are actually perpetuating the greatest fraud since we were warned that the Y2K bug would send aircraft into tailspins, freeze elevators, close bank accounts and crash the internet (warmist Al Gore’s claimed invention).

The mere fact that these junketeers have gathered when, according to satellite data, there has been no warming for more than 18 years, should have been enough to warn politicians off but no, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has paraded his moral vanity (and a warm overcoat) at the conference and there is no shortage of others eager to be associated with the ­delusionists.

The demand by developing nations that the developed ­nations hand over cash should have been met with a Western walkout. It’s nothing but greenmail.

Led by Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, (UNFCCC) the G77 countries (there were originally 77 developing nations in this bloc when it formed in 1963; now there are 134) are demanding more than $US100 billion a year to help them meet any targets set in Paris.  This seems to be their prerequisite just for turning up.

The UNFCCC is the parent treaty of the 2005 Kyoto ­Protocol. Initially 27 developed nations pledged $10.2 billion to "stabilise greenhouse gas ­concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will ­prevent dangerous human ­interference with the climate system" — as meaningless a piece of rhetoric as the UN ever presented — but Figueres determined that wouldn’t be enough.

Using figures from the UN’s now discredited computer ­climate models, she claimed that amount wouldn’t be ­sufficient to prevent global temperatures from increasing by 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

But Figueres has also admitted that the real goal of the gathered eco-freaks should be to ­destroy capitalism which she sees as the real enemy of the planet despite obvious evidence that it has been the only economic model to deliver real development and uplift billions from poverty in ­history.

Earlier this year, she outlined her thoughts for the Paris conference saying: "This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ­ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial ­Revolution.

"This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to ­intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human ­history."

According to an 86-page draft proposal prepared for the conference, the developed countries have the greatest ­responsibility to cut carbon emissions "without conditions".

Australia just cannot afford to be a signatory to such ­lunacy.
"Developed countries shall provide financial resources to developing country parties for the full and enhanced ­implementation of the (Climate Change) Convention," according to the draft.  "The GCF (Green Climate Fund) shall be the main financial entity under the new agreement," it added.

The GCF is merely a mechanism to redistribute wealth from developed countries to poorer nations in order "to promote the paradigm shift ­towards low-emission and ­climate-resilient development pathways".

The draft calls for developed countries to provide "at least 1 per cent of gross domestic product per year from 2020 and additional funds ­during the pre-2020 period to the GCF," which would act as the "main operating entity of the Financial Mechanism" under the new treaty, according to the draft.

Forget it. Taxpayers should demand that Turnbull call Paris and tell the Australian delegation to get out to Charles de Gaulle airport tout suite and fly home. Unfortunately, he has yet to show any spine when it comes to confronting the Left. It is not in his nature.

Disappointingly, his wife, Lucy, the newly appointed chairman of the Greater Sydney Commission, is also ­displaying the same tendencies. She is on the board of the Leftist think tank the Grattan Institute.

Little wonder that Liberals are concerned about the direction their party is taking under Turnbull’s leadership.



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

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


7 December, 2015

What Will All The Hot Air In Paris Actually Do?

Bjorn Lomborg
Negotiators and activists are getting increasingly serious about the prospects of finalizing a carbon-cutting deal here in Paris. No doubt if they are successful we will see much back-slapping and exhortations of “success” in 7 days. But the bonhomie will hide a rather inconvenient truth: even if it’s successful, any deal negotiated in Paris is going to do very little to rein in temperature rises.

In a recent peer-reviewed research paper, I looked at all the carbon-cutting promises countries committed to ahead of Paris (their so-called “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” or INDCs) for the years 2016-2030. These are what the global treaty will be based on (along with a bunch of hot air about what might happen outside those dates – something that’s easy for politicians of today to talk about, but that we just can’t take seriously).

What I found when I looked at the national promises was that they will cut global temperatures by just 0.05°C (0.09°F) by 2100.

And even if every government on the planet not only keeps every Paris promise, reduces all emissions by 2030, shifts no emissions to other countries, but also keeps these emission reductions throughout the rest of the century, temperatures will be reduced by just 0.17°C (0.3°F) by the year 2100.

And let’s be clear, that is incredibly – probably even ridiculously – optimistic. Consider the Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, never ratified by the US, and eventually abandoned by Canada and Russia and Japan. After several renegotiations, the Kyoto Protocol had been weakened to the point that the hot air left from the collapse of the Soviet Union exceeded the entire promised reductions, leaving the treaty essentially toothless.

The only reason any of the Kyoto goals were almost achieved was the global 2008 recession. Moreover, emissions were just shifted from one country to another. The EU, the most climate-engaged bloc, saw an increase in its emission imports from China alone equaling its entire domestic CO? reductions. In total, 40% of all emissions were likely shifted away from the areas that made promises.

Of course, Paris has been talked up by the likes of the UNFCCC’s Christiana Figueres, very busy here in Paris, who says: “the INDCs have the capability of limiting the forecast temperature rise to around 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100.”

That entirely misrepresents reality. The 2.7°C essentially assumes that although governments do little in Paris then right after 2030 they will embark on incredibly ambitious climate reductions, thus getting us to 2.7°C. That way of thinking is similar to telling the deeply indebted Greeks that just making the first repayment on their most pressing loans will put them on an easy pathway to becoming debt-free. It completely misses the point.

Figueres’ own organization estimates the Paris promises on the table will reduce emissions by 33Gt CO? in total. To limit rises to 2.7°C, about 3,000Gt CO? would need to be reduced – or about 100 times more than the Paris commitments.

Negotiators here in Paris are trying to tackle global warming in the same way that has failed for 30 years: by making promises that are individually expensive, will have little impact even in a hundred years and that many governments will try to shirk from.

The real goal here isn’t to negotiate a deal, it’s to make an impact on temperature rises. This approach didn’t work in Kyoto, it didn’t work in Copenhagen, it hasn’t worked in the other climate conferences or international gatherings. And regardless of any declarations of success, it’s not going to happen here in Paris.


Obama's Paris climate treaty spells doom for TPP

Whatever is signed in Paris will not be ratified by the U.S. Senate so Obama will use the TPP to bypass the Senate in future and enforce his Green agenda -- so Congress cannot allow it (the TTP) to pass

President Obama will sign on to some form of a climate change treaty in Paris and he will refuse to submit it to the Senate for ratification.

Why is the lame-duck Obama emboldened to flout the Constitution on this landmark treaty?

The answer lies in Congress's attempt to force the president to bring his Iran deal to the Senate for ratification. When Republicans decided to "assert their authority" by passing legislation requiring that Obama submit the nuclear deal to Congress in a form that could only be rejected if a two-thirds majority in both chambers were willing to override his veto, the seeds were sown for Obama's complete disregard for constitutional treaty powers.

Not coincidentally, during the same timeframe, Obama and Republican congressional leaders were working overtime to provide the executive with what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) then called "an enormous grant of power" by allowing him to fast-track trade deals through Congress.

These two actions in tandem have set the stage for the imperial Obama who will sign the treaty, use his regulatory agencies to write rules based upon it and dare Congress or the courts to stop him.

And it is this experience that will doom Obama's attempt to rewrite the rules of the world's economy through his recently completed, yet unsigned, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Under the rules of fast-track, once Obama signs the TPP, Congress will be on the clock to have an up-or-down vote in both the House and the Senate without amendments or filibusters. Into this decision-making mix, the majority in Congress will be pulling out the stops to stop the Paris treaty.

TPP matters in this post-Paris climate treaty signature context because it provides the international framework to enforce the climate change agreement without any additional congressional approval. The U.S. Trade Representative's office made the importance of using the TPP to enforce the green agenda clear in a January 2014 press release when they declared:

The United States' position on the environment in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations is this: environmental stewardship is a core American value, and we will insist on a robust, fully enforceable environment chapter in the TPP or we will not come to agreement.

Our proposals in the TPP are centered around the enforcement of environmental laws, including those implementing multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) in TPP partner countries, and also around trailblazing, first-ever conservation proposals that will raise standards across the region.

There can be little doubt that Obama plans on using the Trans-Pacific Partnership governance as the means to enforce whatever he agrees to in Paris on the U.S. all the while our trade partners will ignore it, with the threat of international trade sanctions imposed against the United States should Congress or a future president roll back his agenda.

It is also clear that Obama intends to force a ponderous federal court battle over whether the Paris treaty should be subjected to Senate ratification, buying him time to move forward with a regulatory agenda designed to meet the terms of the non-ratified agreement.

Given the likelihood that the TPP governance board (which consists of one vote for each of the 12 countries who are currently participating) will act to enforce the Paris climate treaty against the U.S. (but not themselves) for noncompliance during a Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders presidency regardless of the will of Congress, the vote on TPP will become the proxy for Obama's climate agenda.

The truth has always been that the TPP has never been about trade, but instead has been about a rewriting of the rules of the world economy negotiated by a president who vowed to fundamentally transform America. And it is through the TPP that any future president who shares his vision will be able to finish the transformation and no one in Congress will be able to stop it.


Hope for our water woes found in fracking technologies

For years, water, or, more accurately, its scarcity, has been predicted to be the next doomsday scenario. In 1994, the American Philosophical Society published a book bearing the title: Is water our next crisis? In 2007, NBC featured: Crisis feared as U.S. water supplies dry up. More recently, in 2011, NPR did a story on Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization — a new book in which the author posits: “water is surpassing oil as the world’s scarcest critical resource.” This year, a Business Insider (BI) report called “water scarcity problems” a “looming national issue.” In September, the Associated Press declared: “The water crisis is already here.”

Hydraulic fracturing is often blamed for exacerbating water concerns. The BI states: “In Colorado … they’re keeping an eye on the effects of fracking on the state’s water supply. Using water for fracking could contribute to local shortages in the drought-prone state.”

Addressing the water problem, NBC offers hope: “Technology holds promise.” While not specifically referencing fracking, the 2007 feature couldn’t have predicted how integrally linked ever-improving fracking technologies and hope for our water woes could be.

Instead of being the perceived problem, the oil-and-gas industry could just be the solution.

Water is important to the hydraulic fracturing process. Fresh water is used to help transport the tiny grains of sand deep underground where they are used to hold open the fissures in the fracked rock—allowing the oil or natural gas to flow at economic rates. When the resource is extracted, it comes out of the ground with not only the water that was pumped in, but also with “produced water” from deep in the earth. This water mixture — that contains both the chemicals used to reduce friction in the frack job, and very high concentrations of salt, other minerals and metals — needs to be disposed of.

Historically, the wastewater — which can have as high a ratio as 10 barrels of water for every barrel of oil — has been trucked off-site and then injected thousands of feet underground into “disposal wells.” The disposal process is expensive and could potentially be the source of the spate of small earthquakes being experienced in Oklahoma.

The industry has been in search of a solution that would improve both safety and the bottom line.

Two years ago, I wrote about water reprocessing technologies that were able to clean the water at the well site so that it could be used again, and again, for hydraulic fracturing — virtually eliminating wastewater for many scenarios.

As technology does, it is continuing to improve.

What was “wastewater,” can now have new life irrigating crops in the arid southwest — or, at least, that is the apparent result of a research project conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Research team, the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC), and a coalition of oil-and-gas companies. The initial results look very promising.

Bill Weathersby, Chairman and CEO at Energy Water Solutions — a company that uses a patented technology to successfully recycle more than 8 million barrels, so far, of wastewater — spearheaded the effort. Katie Lewis, PhD, designed the experiment at the AgriLife Experimentation Station near Pecos, TX. Anadarko Petroleum brought the wastewater from a nearby well and Gibsons provided the tanks to store the water on site. The RRC permitted the use of the recycled water for the noncommercial cotton crop, which was planted on June 2, 2015. The size of the project was designed around the amount of water permitted.

Portions of the controlled field were watered with well water, while others received a blend of 1 part recycled water and 4 parts well water. About 30,000 barrels of recycled water were used for the project.

I had the opportunity to see the field, feel the cotton, and talk with Lewis — who told me the cotton grown with the blended water is doing as well as the cotton irrigated with well water. Soil analyses have demonstrated that there should not be adverse effects when irrigating with the blended water. The cotton will be tested for quality and strength. The soil will be sampled to be sure there is no contamination. Full reports on the economic and agricultural aspects will be produced.

Everyone involved is extremely optimistic and enthusiastic about the results.

Commissioner David Porter, RRC Chairman, describes the project as: “An important first step,” and said it was “a perfect example of the collaboration we need” and “evidence that free markets do work.”

Assuming the test results are as expected and the project expands next year, Porter told me the RRC will likely permit more recycled water. Weathersby hopes more companies will participate in additional testing to expand the project. Lewis would like to have a test field with differing ratios of recycled and well water: 4:1, 3:1, 2:1 and 1:1. Ultimately, participants hope the Texas legislature will use the results to change the law to allow the use of recycled water for agriculture.

While this project and collaboration are unique, there are many other companies with water recycling technologies and numerous other tests being conducted.

One of the new technologies being tested is developed by Kaizen Fluid Systems and uses an electromechanical process that can break down the molecular bonding agents to produce clean water with commercially viable by-products and no toxic waste stream. Kaizen’s system, which is scalable to meet the client’s needs or volume requirements, is especially effective in North Dakota’s Bakken Field where the wastewater disposal costs are very high and produced water is too salty to be recycled cost effectively by evaporation or reverse osmosis systems.

The type of hydraulic fracturing frequently used in the Bakken, cross link gel, requires exceptionally clean water with no salt or metals, and tests found that the Kaizen technology was able to deliver. The model is currently being scaled up and soon will be available for wide-scale wellsite use — with the mobile system processing 50 gallons a minute and the fixed base: 300 gallons per minute or 10,000 barrels (420,000 gallons) per day. Additionally, Sandy McDonald, Kaizen’s CEO, told me their system removes present and future environmental liabilities for the producers.

Recycling produced water and reusing it for hydraulic fracturing and/or agricultural use provides more water for everyone’s use, while eliminating the need for disposal wells.

The oil-and-gas industry’s search to do things better and more cost effectively, could provide the answer to America’s water woes.


Obama Apologizing to the World for US on Climate Is Ridiculous

President Obama’s opening remarks at the Paris climate agreement were effectively an apology for industrial progress. At the kickoff of the talks, Obama remarked, “I’ve come here personally, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter, to say that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem; we embrace our responsibility to do something about it.”

Obama should not be apologizing for the economic growth that dramatically improved Americans’ and much of the world’s quality of life. Instead, the president should apologize for pushing costly and ineffective climate policies that will make us worse off and trap the world’s poorest citizens in poverty.

The Cost of Climate Policies

The real problem facing American households and businesses is the Obama administration’s climate policies. The administration has finalized a slew of regulations to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions. Through a set of regulations known as the Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency has required states to meet carbon dioxide emissions reduction goals for existing power plants.

At the same time, the EPA finalized a regulation capping emissions of carbon dioxide from new power plants so low as to effectively prevent any coal power plant from running without carbon capture and sequestration technology (which has yet to be proven feasible). The federal government also implemented climate regulations on vehicles, light and heavy-duty trucks, and fracking.

Heritage analysts modeled the cumulative costs of the Obama administration’s climate agenda by modeling the economic costs of a carbon tax. Taxing carbon dioxide energy incentivizes businesses and consumers to change production processes, technologies, and behavior in a manner comparable to the administration’s regulatory scheme—though neither regulations nor a tax is good policy. By 2030, Heritage economists estimate the damage would be:

    An average annual employment shortfall of nearly 300,000 jobs

    A peak employment shortfall of more than 1 million jobs

    A loss of more than $2.5 trillion (inflation-adjusted) in aggregate gross domestic product (GDP)

    A total income loss of more than $7,000 (inflation-adjusted) per person

The trade-off that Americans receive for higher electricity rates, unemployment, and lower levels of prosperity is not an appealing one. Even though electricity generation accounts for the single largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, the estimated reduction is minuscule compared to global greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, even if you do believe that the Earth is heading to catastrophic warming, the warming mitigated by the president’s plan would be barely measurable—unlike the economic consequences.

Is Climate Change a Problem?

This “problem” of climate change is hardly one at all. Natural variations have altered the climate much more than man has. Proponents of global action on climate change will argue that 97 percent of the climatologists agree on climate change. There is significant agreement among climatologists, even those labeled as skeptics, that the Earth has warmed moderately over the past 60 years and that some portion of that warming may be attributed to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. However, there is no consensus that temperatures are increasing at an accelerating rate.

In fact, the available climate data simply do not indicate that the Earth is heading toward catastrophic warming or more frequent and severe natural disasters. Quite the opposite. The earth has experienced a pause in warming since 1998, and data shows that the climate is less sensitive to increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions than the climate models predicted.

Dr. Roger Pielke, a professor at the University of Colorado’s Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, testified last year, saying:

    … there exists exceedingly little scientific support for claims found in the media and political debate that hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and drought have increased in frequency or intensity on climate timescales either in the United States or globally".

In his remarks, Obama stressed that “[n]o nation—large or small, wealthy or poor—is immune.” Such a sentiment also holds true for climate policies. Policies that restrict the use of conventional fuels will make everyone poorer. And it’s the poorest who will suffer most.

Let’s place blame on the policies and regulations that obstruct citizens around the world from obtaining a better standard of living.


India is right: coal makes the world go round

India's defiance at the Paris climate talks should be celebrated

The Paris climate summit (COP21) is underway, and the usual handwringing over the threat of climate change is unfolding. There’s been the familiar ‘now or never’ and ‘the end is nigh’ rhetoric, the demand that Something Must Be Done, and, of course, heightened concern about countries like China and India’s insistence on coal-powered growth.

Now, Western leaders are much more sympathetic to developing countries this time around. Barack Obama has said that the responsibility for the problem of climate change lies most with the developed West. Where previous conferences were overshadowed by a blame game between developed and developing countries, commentators insist that this year will be different. Nevertheless, India and China are still expected to make a far greater commitment to renewables. In May, the two countries agreed to invest $22 billion in renewable-energy projects, and Indian president Narendra Modi unveiled a ‘global solar alliance’ of 120 countries at COP21.

However, India’s climate plan, which was submitted ahead of the talks, made clear that coal would continue to play a large role in its development. In a speech to the COP21, he insisted that Western nations should offer more investment to make renewables affordable for developing nations. While climate pundits and negotiators are talking of a drastic ‘decarbonisation’ of the global economy, Modi’s speech made clear that he would not be forced to rein in economic growth.

Statements from various world leaders have suggested that achieving a legally binding target to reduce carbon emissions may well prove difficult – even though climate commentators appear to be more hopeful. And, now that China, previously vilified as the world’s No1 polluter, has won favour for its apparent u-turn on fossil fuels, India is being painted as the new troublemaker, thwarting negotiators’ goal of doing away with the coal industry.

Indian officials have made clear their nation’s intention to continue using coal – and this has sparked tension. According to Time, India’s insistence on using ‘cheap, dirty electricity’ puts it at odds with the rest of COP21. A BBC report asked if the Paris conference can ‘overcome the India challenge’, adding that, ‘if any country embodies the challenge of reaching an agreement, it is India’.

But India’s defiance is something to be encouraged. Coal is the most readily available means of motoring the sort of development that India, and other developing countries, so desperately needs. India has 301 billion tonnes of available coal – the fifth largest reserve in the world. And it plans to open one mine a month over the next five years. None of this is a bad thing. Coal is not just a polluter, a source of carbon emission; it is an abundant energy source – energy that can drive human activity and push development in low-income countries.

Coal has been crucial to lifting millions out of poverty in India and China over the past two decades. Building schools and roads, powering villages, towns and commercial centres, supplying food and sustaining production – all this depends on readily available energy. Between 2004 and 2011, the number of poor people in India fell from 407million to 269million. Since India won its independence from Britain, life expectancy has doubled. In 2013, India eradicated the scourge of polio. All of this is an offshoot of coal-fired development.

Of course there is much further to go. It is unacceptable that in the 21st century millions of Indians still live below the poverty line, and a quarter of the population still live in darkness without electricity. But the response to this should be to ramp up energy production. India’s aim is to produce 1.5 billion tonnes of coal by 2020, a steep rise from the 600million tonnes that have been produced since 2012, to power 400million homes and sustain the growing economy. Coal is not just some black stuff in the earth – it has the potential to transform peoples’ lives in the here and now.

Although India has agreed to expand the amount of renewables in its energy mix, coal is by far the cheapest, most reliable and abundant source of energy available to meet the scale of demand for development. Coal costs less than one quarter of the price of oil and natural gas. According to one report, a hydropower plant in India generates 33 per cent less electricity than a coal power plant – and coal is also far cheaper than hydro. The cost of natural gas, considered much cleaner than other fossil fuels, is 175 per cent higher than current coal prices. While India proposes to take the lead in solar energy, coal will be the mainstay of its energy mix for decades to come. Nuclear is another cheap option, but it is expensive to build nuclear plants, and India’s technical capacity is still limited.

Indian officials recognise that burning coal can cause pollution, but a country’s capacity to tackle such problems depends on development. Richer countries have managed to reduce their dependence on coal and switch to cleaner fossil fuels, and, in future, they may progress to even more viable sources.

Most countries at COP21 have taken a far narrower position in relation to climate change. Against developed countries’ call to limit their carbon footprint, Modi made a strong statement on the importance of development. The obsession with carbon output and ‘tipping points’ limits human activity and imagination, rather than expanding it. The expansion of the human footprint is essential if we are to solve the problems of the future. For this to happen, we must exploit the resources that are readily available to us.


Australian solar households decry ‘unfair’ tax

They don't want to pay their way.  They think that they are so virtuous that other people should give them money

SOLAR rooftop power owners in WA have labelled a proposal to charge them more to be connected to the grid an unfair “sun tax”.

Lyndon Rowe, the chairman of state-owned electricity utility Synergy, says people who use solar power are not paying the fixed cost of being connected to the network, leaving other consumers and taxpayers footing the bill.

Solar Citizens consumer campaigner Reece Turner said Mr Rowe was proposing a “discriminatory charge” that would hit WA’s solar homeowners hard.

“These people have made the sensible decision to invest in clean, abundant energy and should not be penalised,” Mr Turner said.

There are more than 191,000 solar panel owners in WA, accounting for one in five households.

Mr Turner said if they’re hit with extra costs it would risk holding back investment in renewable energy. “These people have made the sensible decision to invest in clean, abundant energy and should not be penalised,” he said. “Targeting solar households is not the way to go.

“Synergy is looking for a scapegoat to cover up for its spiralling budget losses.”

But Mr Rowe said it was fair to target solar panel owners — with the number growing by 20 per cent each year.  “The unfair part is those subsidies going to people that can afford to pay for electricity,” he said.

“People having difficulties paying their electricity bills do not have solar photovoltaic … I’m not suggesting only rich people have solar — that’s clearly not the case.

“If we don’t change the tariff structure, because of this growing subsidy the concession they currently get could become at risk.”

Treasurer and Energy Minister Mike Nahan said the State Government would be reforming tariff systems and it would considered in the next Budget.



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

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


6 December, 2015

How can global warming be a hoax when most important people everywhere in the world accept it?  Surely they can't all be wrong?

When President Eisenhower warned that American politics risked being captured by a military-industrial complex his warning was widely taken seriously -- on both the Left and the Right of American politics.

And he had good grounds for his warning: Just about the whole of human history.  The whole of human history is a history of elite dominance via elite collusion. As far back as we can go, human societies have mostly been ruled by the King and his barons. The ordinary people had no say in government at all.  There was the Athenian democracy for a while and then the Roman Republic but neither lasted as the old ways steadily reasserted themselves. And even those two were very limited democracies by modern standards

Then out of the woods of Germany emerged primitive hunter-gatherer tribes whose lifestyle was inimical to centralization and who needed the co-operation of all to defend themselves from other warring tribes.  So they all had systems of consultation which worked toward consensus action.  Even their system was not a direct democracy, however.  It was a "Senate" ("Witan") of elders who made the decisions.  But the elders really were what the name implied: Heads of family who really represented their families and could bring their families with them if common action was required.

And when some of those tribes invaded and took over Romanized Britannia and made it into England, they brought their ideas of governance with them. There was some survival of that in Germany too.  Even such a powerful and militaristic state as Prussia had a parliament that not even Bismarck could ignore for long.

And when, after huge religious struggles, those ideas of governance became allied with ideas of religious tolerance, the individual in those lands was freed to think for himself.  And that eventually led to the leap of technological progress in Britain known as the Industrial Revolution. And when others copied the British model, the Western world as we know it today was created.

With ups and downs, England has been a democracy of one sort or another for around 1500 years now -- already lasting 3 times longer than the Roman Republic.

But "ups and downs" is the word. Britain was on various occasions theatened by a drift into the sort of tyranny that ruled most of the world.  Along the way, Magna Carta had to be signed and a King beheaded to defend traditional English liberties.

But the battle has always been a close-run-thing. And even now it has not been totally won. The graduates of the Greater Public Schools (i.e. private schools) and the two great universities still run Britain.  The present Prime Minister is an Oxford graduate, as is the Chancellor of the Exchequer (treasurer, finance minister) and as is the Mayor of London.  Even the recently defeated leader of the Labour party was an Oxford graduate.  So even in Britain, elitism makes only some compromises with democracy.

Let me point out two examples of how that elitism still rules -- regardless of what the people want. 

The classic example is the death penalty for serious crime.  Outside the USA, most Western governments now forbid that penalty altogether.  Yet, as I pointed out long ago, that is not the popular will.  Clear majorities of the national populations concerned  want the death penalty retained.  The elite has over-ridden the popular will.

A rather different but much more pervasive example of elite dominance is the phenomenon of trade protectionism: taxing imports with "tariffs".  Repeatedly, big business will collude with big labour to restrict competition from overseas.  With both business and labour lining the pockets of politiciasns, the people are readily betrayed. 

Who does not want to spend less to acquire his purchases if that were possible?  There must be very few of us who don't respond favourably to the possibility of a "bargain".  Yet the whole point of protectionism is to keep prices up.  It takes money out of the pockets of ordinary people in order to benefit special interest groups. The elite do what suits them and who cares about the average Joe?

And a very contemporary example of elites defying popular sentiment is the way the elites worldwide treat popular anger with Muslims and call it "Islamophobia".  An unending sequence of  great horrors done in the name of Allah is not deemed sufficient justification for criticism of Islam. Anger at Muslim deeds is not only ignored but actively criminalized.  History has seen many examples of whole populations being expelled for bad reasons so, in a kneejerk way, Western elites are determined not to let their Muslim populations be expelled for good reasons.

So we come to global warming: A classical example of elite collusion over-riding the best interests of the people.  Scientists, journalists and politicians all benefit from the scare so that is what dictates policy.  It is a steamroller that flattens most opposition.  Almost every national leader is bowing down to the scare in Paris as I write this.  And they are doing that in the context of global warming having stopped over 18 years ago. Here's the graph:

So on a mere PROPHECY of global warming resuming, the great and the good of the world are trying to upend the world's electricity supplies.

It is understandable, however, that people with little historical awareness find implausible the idea that all the serious people endorsing the scare are just participating in a racket.  How can so many people be getting it wrong, they ask? This little essay is designed to show them how.  Elites regularly co-operate, and when they do, anything is possible.  And scientists, journalists and politicians all have good reasons to co-operate on this one.

It is basically scientists who keep the whole racket afloat.  If they universally pooh-poohed it, the whole scare would fall apart.  And their support for the scare is well understood in the light of the old courtroom enquiry: "Cui bono" -- who benefits? 

The Holy Grail of scientists is research grants.  Without research grants, they cannot do research and research is their lifeblood.  And the global warming scare has produced a downpour of research grants onto any scientist working in climate-related fields.  They would be mad to do or say anything to dry up that blessed shower.  To use another metaphor, they would be mad to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. So a small and unscrupulous minority actively promote the myth while most just keep "shtum", but give   token support if demanded.

And the participation of journalists in promoting the scare is perhaps even more easily understood.  Scares sell papers.

And the scare suits the political Left extremely well, which is why belief in it is heavily polarized along political lines.  To quote Obama, Leftists want to "fundamentally transform" the societies in which they live.  And the global warming scare also calls for a complete upheaval of how we live.  Leftism and Warmism are two peas in a pod.

So elite collusion is nothing new and it's clear what is behind it. Warmism suits a lot of elite people and it is mainly their voices that are heard -- JR

Gov’t-Funded Study: Skeptics Are Winning The Global Warming Debate

A government-funded study has bad news for environmentalists: skeptics are winning the battle to sway public opinion on global warming.

Michigan State University (MSU) researchers gave nearly 1,600 participants fake news articles about global warming — both skeptical and alarmist — and had them complete surveys about their beliefs on the issue. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Researchers found none of the alarmist arguments about global warming changed “core beliefs” on the subject, but survey participants presented with skeptical arguments said they are more likely to doubt man-made global warming.

“This is the first experiment of its kind to examine the influence of the denial messages on American adults,” says Aaron McCright, an MSU sociologist and the study’s lead author. “Until now, most people just assumed climate change deniers were having an influence on public opinion. Our experiment confirms this.”

The study comes as President Barack Obama meets with world leaders in Paris to negotiate a global agreement to cut carbon dioxide emissions — the greenhouse gas blamed for rising temperatures. Obama warns that “no nation — large or small, wealthy or poor — is immune to what this means.”

World leaders met Monday to kick off the United Nations 21st climate summit, and hopes are high a global agreement on CO2 cuts will be reached. But Obama seems more concerned about global warming than the Americans he represents.

A November Fox News poll finds only 3 percent of American voters listed global warming as their top concern, down from 5 percent in August. Only 6 percent of Democrats listed global warming as their top concern, compared to 1 percent of Republicans.

American voters are much more concerned with issues like terrorism, immigration and the economy over global warming. McCright’s research seems to add to evidence that people aren’t being convinced the world is headed for environmental catastrophe.

“That’s the power of the denial message,” says McCright. “It’s extremely difficult to change people’s minds on climate change, in part because they are entrenched in their views.”

Most shockingly, McCright finds both conservatives and liberals are more likely to become skeptics when presented with arguments doubting man-made global warming. Even when researchers put up fake news stories arguing the positives of global warming, liberals and conservatives aren’t convinced.

“Medical experts argue that dealing with climate change will improve our public health by reducing the likelihood of extreme weather events, reducing air quality and allergen problems, and limiting the spread of pests that carry infectious diseases,” reads one fake news article on the alleged health impacts of global warming.

On the other hand, negative messaging on global warming — trying to frame it as a conspiracy of the left — was able to get liberals and conservatives to become skeptics, or become further entrenched in their already skeptical views.

“However, most conservative leaders and Republican politicians believe that so-called climate change is vastly exaggerated by environmentalists, liberal scientists seeking government funding for their research and Democratic politicians who want to regulate business,” reads on of the fake articles on global warming skeptics.


Hannity on Obama’s Climate Change Claim: I Have a Whole List of Threats Bigger Than Climate Change

On his show Tuesday, nationally syndicated radio host Sean Hannity argued against Obama’s claim at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference that, “It’s hard to come up with a tougher problem than climate change.”

“I can name a few,” Hannity said. “Radical Islamic terrorism. … Radical Islamic mullahs getting nuclear weapons, threatening to wipe Israel off the map.”

Here is a transcript of Hannity’s comments:

    “Do you realize with every problem we have our president, so delusional, so out of touch with reality, thinks it’s harder to think of a tougher problem than climate change.

    “I can name a few. Me! Me! Oh! Oh! Pick me! Pick me, in the back! Radical Islamic terrorism. One! Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.

    “Radical Islamic mullahs getting nuclear weapons, threatening to wipe Israel off the map. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

    “Americans in poverty on food stamps, unemployed, labor force participation rate down, doubling of the debt – all bigger problems than climate change – but our president thinks it’s climate change.

    “Now here’s an interesting side note to all of this. All these people are going into Paris, and the president’s flight, a whopping 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide is going to be churned out during this two week climate change summit that began yesterday in Paris.

    “Now the bump in dangerous greenhouse gas comes—get this—50,000 people, including the media, world leaders, the Anointed One, gathering to discuss ways to wean the world off fossil fuel.

    “By the way we’ve already discovered that here in this country, and I’ve actually talked about that on the program yesterday, that the U.S. has radically cut CO2 emissions, even though the president is apologizing for us being the second largest emitter in the world.

    “But we cut back CO2 emissions more than any other country since 2006 according to the International Energy Agency, and emissions today are back to 1992 levels. And by the way, back then we had 50 million fewer people in this country. A lot of them are undocumented, but that’s a whole other story. A whole other argument for a whole other day.

    “But this president, himself, flying to the beautiful City of Lights, emitted roughly 189 tons of carbon alone. The bump in dangerous gas, 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide will be churned out going to and from the summit.

    “The president’s trip alone will burn 19,275 gallons of jet fuel. His entire trip will send more carbon dioxide into the air than the combined emissions of 31 U.S. homes over the span of a year.”


Misunderstandings, questionable beliefs mar Paris climate talks

By Freeman Dyson (Freeman Dyson is professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.)

REPRESENTATIVES FROM 196 countries are in Paris to negotiate an agreement about climate change, specifically a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. But the basic beliefs of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is organizing the talks, are questionable, and any binding agreement would likely do more harm than good.

The IPCC believes climate change is harmful; that the science of climate change is settled and understood; that climate change is largely due to human activities, particularly the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by industrial societies; and that there is an urgent need to fight climate change by reducing the emissions of carbon dioxide.

The most questionable of these beliefs is the notion that the science of climate change is settled and understood. The biggest of all climate changes have been the ice ages, which have covered half of North America and Europe with kilometer-thick sheets of ice. Ice ages happened repeatedly in the past, and we are about due for another one to start. A new ice age would be a disaster far greater than anything we have to fear from climate warming. There are many theories of ice ages, but no real understanding. So long as we do not understand ice ages, we do not understand climate change.

Another important thing that we do not understand is the possible effect of the sun on climate. The sun’s magnetic activity is strongly variable, and it appears to be correlated with the earth’s climate. When the sun is magnetically active, climate gets warmer. We do not know how much of the warming is caused by the sun. If the effect of the sun is large, any effort to control climate change by human action is futile.

The environmental movement is a great force for good in the world, an alliance of billions of people determined to protect birds and butterflies and preserve the natural habitats that allow endangered species to survive. The environmental movement is a cause fit to fight for. There are many human activities that threaten the ecology of the planet. The environmental movement has done a great job of educating the public and working to heal the damage we have done to nature. I am a tree-hugger, in love with frogs and forests. But I am horrified to see the environmental movement hijacked by a bunch of climate fanatics, who have captured the attention of the public with scare stories. As a result, the public and the politicians believe that climate change is our most important environmental problem. More urgent and more real problems, such as the over-fishing of the oceans and the destruction of wild-life habitat on land, are neglected, while the environmental activists waste their time and energy ranting about climate change. The Paris meeting is a sad story of good intentions gone awry.

The most important fact in the history of the 21st century is that China and India, with about half of the world’s population, are getting rich. To get rich in the next 50 years, they must burn prodigious quantities of coal and add big quantities of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. China and India have a simple choice to make. Either they get rich and cause a major increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Or they stay poor. I hope they choose to get rich. The choice is theirs and not ours. Whatever we may choose to do will not make much difference. The discussions in Paris will not make much difference. The good news is that the main effect of carbon dioxide on the ecology of the planet has nothing to do with climate. The main effect of carbon dioxide is to make the planet greener, feeding the growth of green plants of all kinds, increasing the fertility of farms and fields and forests.


Bill Nye Tells Another Whopper of a Lie

As hard as it sounds, someone actually managed to outperform Barack Obama for stupidest comment award at the UN climate summit. Bill Nye, who’s commonly known as “The Science Guy” — or “The Science Lie” in our humble shop — spewed more pompous rhetoric in an interview with the Huffington Post. “It’s very reasonable,” he asserted, “that the recent trouble in Paris is a result of climate change.”

Recall Obama’s remark earlier this week: “We salute the people of Paris for insisting this crucial conference go on. An act of defiance that proves nothing will deter us from building the future we want for our children. What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to save it.”

Both comments are asinine, but Nye’s is downright astonishing.

“There’s water shortage in Syria, this is fact-based,” Nye went on to explain. “Small and medium farmers have abandoned their farms because there’s not enough water, not enough rainfall. And especially the young people who have not grown up there, have not had their whole lives invested in living off the land, the young people have gone to the big cities looking for work. There’s not enough work for everybody, so the disaffected youths … are more easily engaged and more easily recruited by terrorist organizations, and then they end up part way around the world in Paris shooting people.”

“You can say, ‘Well stamp out the terrorists,’” he concluded. “But if everybody’s leaving their farms because of water shortages, that’s a little bigger problem.”

This isn’t the first time Nye’s made ridiculous surmises. This is the same person who last November blamed anomalous lake-effect snowfall on climate change, absurdly suggesting: “Everybody, when Lake Erie’s warmer, more water evaporates into the air and it snows more. I don’t make the rules, people.” Only Lake Erie was sitting at four degrees below average at the time. Oops. Just two months later, in January 2015, he again blamed a major nor'easter on man-made global warming without a shred of evidence.

Any rational scientists knows that long-term precipitation patterns naturally fluctuate. What does Nye believe is driving Boko Haram, the Nigerian terrorist group whose country has been abnormally wet for the last two decades? But that’s the problem — he’s not a rational scientist. As meteorologist Joe Bastardi recently opined, “[T]he fact is [Nye] is not a man of science. He is an actor. That is his profession.” As are most politicians. And so far, they are doing a terrible job convincing the public that global warming is “our greatest national security threat.” And with comments like these, it’s no wonder.


The ill-timed climate change talk

American energy can help defeat terrorism

President Obama has been mocked and appropriately so for his ludicrous comment that the upcoming climate change summit in Paris will be a “powerful rebuke” to the terrorists. No. This summit is a powerful rebuke to common sense.

It says a lot about the lack of clarity and commitment to the growing threat of the Islamic State that the world leaders are gathering in the city where the murderous attacks just happened with the blood barely dry and the prime topic off discussion will be stopping the rise of the oceans.

Amazingly, the White House then wonders why so few voters have any trust in his handling of the terrorism crisis.

The concern isn’t just that climate change derangement syndrome has such an obsessive grip over this president and other world leaders that they choose to take their eye off the ball. It’s worse than that: the entire global warming agenda is an impediment to the war against terror.

One of our most effective economic swords to use against ISIS — and Iran, Putin’s Russia, and OPEC — is America’s vast shale oil and gas reserves as well as our 500 years worth of domestic coal resources. This point should be self-evident: Every barrel of oil we produce here at home is one less barrel we have to purchase from abroad.

We know from intelligence reports that the Islamic State receives as much as one-half billion dollars a year in petro-dollars. ISIS’s access to Middle Eastern oil finances a growing army of terrorists that are well armed, trained and coordinated to wreak havoc on the western world.

Why then do we continue to buy oil from those who are trying to kill us? That’s especially crazy given that we now have the capacity to achieve real energy independence within five years by pursuing a pro-America energy development strategy.

Our own Energy Information Administration reports that we have access to more recoverable fossil fuel resources than any nation in the world thanks to the new and ever-improving smart drilling technologies. We have hundreds of billions of barrels of oil underneath us, and by 2020 we can and should become the energy dominant nation in the world. This could be an economic and geopolitical game-changer, yet President Obama recently nonsensically declared in a speech on climate change that we should keep these resources in the ground.

No matter how severe one believes the threat of global warming, the inescapable reality is that for at least the next decade and even with a rapid conversion to renewable energy, the United States and the rest of the world will continue to heavily rely on oil, natural gas and coal for about two-thirds of our transportation fuel and electricity. If we don’t produce our vast domestic fossil fuel energy, the world will buy oil and natural gas from somewhere else — and the terrorist networks will grow richer and more militant.

This may be inconvenient truth, but it’s an economic reality. Another inconvenient reality is that regardless of what the United States does to force-feed expensive and unreliable green energy on our economy, the rest of the world is building hundreds of new coal plants every year and drilling for oil wherever they can find it.

Mr. Obama could and should announce several emergency steps either with the stroke of a pen or with congressional approval to make America less reliant on terrorist oil and the blood money that too often goes with it.

First, immediately repeal the 1970s law that prohibits the exporting of American gas and oil. Doing so could increase U.S. production by as much as $50 to $100 billion annually.

Next, build the Keystone XL Pipeline and many other pipelines awaiting government approval so we can safely and swiftly transport North American oil to the markets where it is needed. This could create thousands of high-paying union jobs as well.

We should also allow drilling on federal non-environmentally sensitive lands. More than 90 percent of the drilling boom has been on private lands. Use the royalties to retire some of our debt and for an anti-terrorism fund.

Finally, suspend some of the more strident EPA rules that are shutting down our coal producers across the nation even as Asia is building 500 new coal plants this year alone.



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4 December, 2015

Paris climate conference: 10 reasons why we shouldn't worry about 'man-made' global warming

The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris would have us all terrified about the future of the environment. Here's why I'm not

Christopher Booker

Yesterday, President Obama and a phalanx of other world leaders joined 40,000 delegates in Paris for the formal opening of what has been billed as “one of the most important international conferences in history”.

Its aim is to win agreement on a plan that would halt global warming, by holding down temperatures to 2 degrees C above their pre-industrial level.

They want “a binding treaty” committing the world’s nations to make massive cuts in their emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

For 30 years we have been told how, thanks to the dramatic rise in CO2, temperatures have been soaring to unprecedented levels. This is causing polar ice to melt, sea-levels to rise and has brought a dangerous increase in “extreme weather events”, such as hurricanes, heatwaves, droughts and floods.

Nothing has been more influential in promoting this “consensus” view than a succession of reports by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These are based on computer models which predict that, unless the world abandons fossil fuels, temperatures will rise through the 21st century by 0.3 degrees per decade. Indeed by 2100 they could even have soared by as much as 5 degrees.

So what could be wrong about the world’s nations getting together to prevent such a disaster before it is too late?

In fact, in more recent years scarcely a single point in this “consensus” theory has not been questioned by a growing array of independent experts, including some of the most eminent scientists in the world.

Here are 10 of the claims made by those gathered in Paris, with commentary on just how far their fears are really justified:

1. Thanks to the rise in CO2 emissions, we are faced with a rise in global temperatures never before seen in history

It is true that when the alarm over global warming was set off in the 1980s and 1990s, the world was undoubtedly hotting up, apparently in tandem with an inexorable rise in CO2. But this rise in temperatures was not unprecedented. The world has in fact been heating up for 200 years, ever since it emerged from what climatologists call the “Little Ice Age’ when, between 1350 and 1800, it markedly cooled. The temperature rise of 0.5 degrees C between 1975 and 1998, hailed as “the hottest year in history” was no greater than that recorded between 1910 and 1940, before “global warming” was thought of.

The graph by Phil Jones of East Anglia University’s Climatic Research Unit shows that the late 20th century temperature rise was very similar to that between 1910 and 1940

2. But what about the so-called “Pause”, the claim by “climate sceptics”, that after 1998, temperatures again fell, and have shown no rising trend since?

It is true that some surface temperature records have continued to rise, showing 2010 and 2014 as even hotter than 1998. But the much more comprehensive temperature measurements made by satellites have shown a very different picture. Since falling back after 1998, the rising trend in temperatures has for 17 years come to a halt – what even the IPCC accept as “the Pause”.

The significance of this stalling of the temperature rise is that it was not predicted by any of those IPCC computer models, programmed to predict that, as CO2 continued to rise, temperatures must inevitably follow. Even fervent supporters of the “consensus” have found this hard to explain, and have had to admit that natural factors, such as changes in solar radiation and ocean currents have much more influence on climate than their computer models allowed for.

3. The overall temperature rise of the past 200 years has been wholly unprecedented, and the C02 emitted since the start of the industrial revolution must still be a major factor

Nothing more troubled the supporters of the “consensus” theory than worldwide evidence that 1,000 years ago the world was even hotter than it is today: what climatologists call “the Medieval Warm Period”.

But in 1999 this led to the producing of a new graph, nicknamed “the Hockey Stick” and heavily promoted by the IPCC, which rewrote climate history. This purported to show that the Medieval Warm Period had never existed, and that temperatures had suddenly shot up in the late 20th century to 1998 as “the hottest year in history”.

Expert computer analysts then demonstrated, however, that the methods used to construct this graph were hopelessly flawed. It became the most discredited artefact in scientific history. The Medieval Warm Period was back, showing that the heating up of the world 1,000 years ago had nothing to do with human CO2 emissions and was entirely natural.

4. Two recent studies have shown that “97 per cent of all climate scientists” still believe in man-made global warming. How can this evidence be denied?

It is true that no statistic has been quoted more often by supporters of the “consensus” than this, including President Obama. But analysis of how these two studies were conducted have shown them as even more dodgy than the “Hockey Stick”.

The first was based on a survey by a student for a Master’s degree. Of her original sample of 10,257 scientists, she eventually identified only 77 as bona-fide “climate scientists”, all but two of whom had endorsed the “consensus” view on man-made climate change. Hence her “97 per cent”. But this represented only 0.007 percent of her original sample.

When another academic, John Cook, attempted to produce a more convincing result, based on a sample of 4,011 academic papers, he claimed that “97 percent” of them endorsed the “consensus” that “humans are the primary cause of recent global warming”. But closer examination showed that only 65 papers argued that man-made CO2 was responsible for more than half of the warming. Cook’s true percentage should have been far, far smaller.

5. Melting polar ice is threatening a disastrous rise in sea-levels (not to mention those vanishing polar bears)

Ever since 2007, when Arctic summer ice hit a record low, we have been warned that summer ice in the Arctic ocean is melting so fast that that it will soon be “ice free”. But repeatedly the date when this would come about has been moved forward. In fact, since 2007 satellite measurements have shown the ice recovering, until in 2013 less of it melted than at any time for nine years.  In 2013 and 2014, according to the European Space Agency, the volume of Arctic ice jumped back by more than 30 per cent.

Even more remarkable, however, is what has been happening at the other end of the world. In recent years the extent of sea ice around Antarctica has been greater than at any time since Nasa’s satellite records began in 1979. A recent Nasa study showed that the mass of ice and snow covering the 5th largest continent on earth has been growing dramatically.

In recent years the extent of sea ice around Antarctica has been greater than at any time since Nasa’s satellite records began in 1979

In fact there is as much polar ice in the world today than at any time since satellite measurements began in 1979. As for those polar bears, they are doing absolutely fine. Experts such as biologist Dr Susan Crockford who rely on direct observation rather than computer models agree that their numbers are well up on where they were 40 years ago.

6. Global sea levels are still rising – so worryingly that little island nations like Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Maldives may soon have vanished beneath the waves

Despite the best efforts of those supporting the “consensus” to use their computer models to claim otherwise, all direct evidence indicates that if anything these “small island states” are not shrinking but actually growing in size.

According to one study, the main atoll on Kiribati has recently been increasing its area by up to 4 per cent or more for four decades

As for the Maldives, where their former President famously staged a Cabinet meeting under water to publicise his country’s plight, Dr Niklas Morner, a former president of the International Commission on Sea Level Changes, says that in 40 years of studying their tide gauges and shorelines, he has observed no sea level rise at all.

7. No evidence for the impact of climate change is more alarming than the increase in “extreme weather events”, such as heatwaves, storm, droughts, floods and hurricanes

Again, however often we are told this – as we are by the BBC and others every time there is a disastrous heatwave, flood or cyclone somewhere in the world – even the IPCC itself had to concede this in its latest report that there is no hard evidence that any of these things are becoming more frequent or intense than they were previously.

As for droughts, one comprehensive study showed that, far from becoming worse as the 20th century progressed, they actually became rarer. Of the last century’s “30 major drought episodes”, 22 were in the first six decade. The two decades between 1961 and 1980 produced just five. The final two decades, when the global warming scare was taking off, saw only two.

8. Terrible hurricanes and cyclones like Katrina and Erica give clear proof of how global warming is bringing us more deadly storms.

The curious thing is that, however much these storms may make global headlines, not one has broken any records from the days before global warming was heard of.

In fact the evidence shows that in the past 45 years the world has seen no increase in the frequency or intensity of such storms at all.

9. It’s still better to rely on “renewable energy” than fossil fuels

Christiana Figueres, the UN’s “climate chief” and organiser of this week’s conference argues that, even if global warming is not taking place as fast as predicted, it would still be sensible to “decarbonise” the world’s economy and rely on renewables, because fossil fuels are a finite resource.

Ms Figueres argues that not only should richer countries abandon their dependence on coal, oil and gas, to rely on renewables, they should also be prepared to pay “$1 trillion a year” to help poorer countries develop their economies on the same lines.

But, despite all the hundreds of billions of dollars, euros and pounds Western countries have already put into windfarms and solar panels, the results are not, so far, encouraging, According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, wind turbines are currently supplying only 1.2 per cent of the world’s energy. The contribution from solar is just 0.3 per cent. To realise Ms Figueres’s dream, we still have some way to go.

10. The Paris summit will come up with a result: a binding treaty that will change the world

Unlikely. China, already responsible for 50 per cent of all the world’s CO2 emissions, has made clear that it now plans to double them within 15 years. India, the third largest emitter, insists that it will treble its CO2 output by 2030.

The story from most of the other major “developing countries”, such as Russia, Brazil, South Korea and Vietnam, is much the same. Not one of them has any intention of reducing its “carbon emissions”.

The best they can offer is that, if Western countries want them to build more windmills and solar farms, we must be prepared to pay them to do so out of a “Green Climate Fund”, which the UN plans by 2020 to be handing out $100 billion a year. Pledges so far amount to just $700 million. We still have $99.3 billion to go.

However much the EU and President Obama may huff and puff, and however much they may end up with a meaningless fudge of an “agreement”, the binding treaty they want is simply not going to happen. Now or ever.

But don’t worry. This won’t have the slightest effect on the world’s climate. We shall just have to go on putting up with whatever nature sends us – as we have had to do throughout history.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

The Paris climate scam treaty about wealth redistribution, nothing more

“Justice demands that, with what little carbon we can still safely burn, developing countries are allowed to grow. The lifestyles of a few must not crowd out opportunities for the many still on the first steps of the development ladder.”

That was Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, writing in the Financial Times on Nov. 29 on the new Paris climate treaty.

Here, Modi explains why India and other developing economies should be given unfair economic advantages over the West as a matter of treaty law, and why the Paris agreement should treat his country differently than ours.

Not that anyone can blame him. The treaty stinks.

And yet, no more concise explanation of the current state of the global economy exists. Global climate pacts, like that being negotiated in Paris, or even trade agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership are designed with one intention: To redistribute wealth globally.

That is, to hamper growth in the West by continuing to increase the cost of doing business, and continuing to shift production to so-called developing economies like China or India.

There may not be much more to it than that.

Sure, it is shrouded in all sorts of happy talk like saving the planet or creating jobs, all the while carbon emissions targets are never met and the jobs are still nowhere to be found.

Global emissions will still increase 25 percent in the next 20 years based on continued growth in emerging markets, the BP Energy Outlook 2035 finds.

Meanwhile, the employment-population ratio in the U.S. of the working age population — 16 to 64 years old — still has not recovered from the last recession, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.

In 2007, the percent of the non-seasonally adjusted working age population with jobs averaged 71.8 percent. Today it stands at 68.9 percent, representing 6.4 million potential jobs that have been lost in the past 8 years alone.

The U.S. via the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal government agencies is one of the most heavily regulated economies in the world. Rules have been put forth with the singular intention of restricting coal-fired electricity plants, to reduce our output on the grid. In the process, electricity becomes more expensive. In the meantime, labor costs here are prohibitively high. Why build a factory in the U.S.?

All because world trade rules and these silly climate agreements grant favors — special and differential treatment — to developing economies like India.

Why would we continue with an approach that already subsidizes foreign competition with unfair rules, and then offer them even more subsidies on top of that? Because “justice demands it”?

Yes, it creates an opportunity for lower cost investment in certain quarters, which, if you know the right people or where to look, could be very lucrative from an investment standpoint.

But with the loss of productive capacity and the ability to employ one’s own citizens to do jobs, it is insane from a national standpoint to continue making these bad deals.

Sometimes if something sounds like a scam, or too good to be true, it usually is. This is a scam through and through that will saddle the U.S. with a higher cost of business and fewer jobs, and redistribute wealth overseas. Why would we do that?

This is all about knocking America down a notch. Nothing more.


The emotional David  Suzuki makes “Big Foot” size carbon footprint to attend Ottawa rally —- to tell attendees to drive and fly less

Like most progressives, David Suzuki believes in one set of rules for himself, and another set of rules for the rest of us.

This week Suzuki flew all the way to Ottawa from Vancouver to attend a climate change rally. He was joined by thousands of other believers who were bused in from outside Ottawa. Did I mention their bus was left idling while they tended to the important business of listening to people like Suzuki lecture everyone else about climate change?

According to a website that lets people pay their climate guilt through offsets, his flight to Ottawa spewed out nearly two tons of carbon emissions which is almost a quarter of the average Canadian’s yearly output.

Why didn’t Suzuki send a video message instead of flying across the country for a few minutes of speaking and a photo op? The protestors ended their march on Parliament Hill where a large TV screen was parked, running off of a truck and generator, showing images of other climate change rallies, so it shouldn’t have been too difficult to “connect” all these individuals who are so worried about climate change.

When you tally up all of the jet-setting Suzuki and other progressive heroes do, I can only conclude they don’t really mean what they say. They just believe in lecturing the rest of us, trying to control us and making government bigger so they can push their agenda on us.

But don’t expect them to change any time soon because with progressives, it’s always just more “do as I say, not as I do”.


Cocaine users endanger the environment

This is getting serious now

Affluent middle-class cocaine users who turn a blind eye to the misery caused by the drug were accused of ‘hypocrisy’ last night.

They were urged to ‘look to their consciences’ because of the grave toll it inflicts on those enslaved by ruthless cartels and on the environment.

A leading expert in stemming its flow into Britain called on the country’s dinner party set and professional classes to ‘open their eyes’.

Tony Saggers, of the National Crime Agency (NCA), said people may campaign against fur or consume fair trade coffee but are often happy to snort cocaine at weekends.

This is despite the fact it is responsible for murder, violence, slave labour and massive damage to the South American rainforests where it is produced.

‘Cocaine is an attractive drug and the majority of people who use it can afford to do so and make a choice to use it,’ he said.

‘They live affluent lifestyles, they may be at university, and they choose to consume the drug. But do they release it is behind such human exploitation?

‘If people continue to use cocaine knowing the misery that lies behind it and at the same time have other conscience issues I do believe that is hypocritical.

‘There are people in society performing a range of roles and functions designed to make this country safe and make it a better place.

‘If these people are also snorting cocaine its use is in complete contradiction with their general lifestyles.

‘This is not saying I would like to lock people up and throw away the key for using this exploitative drug, but I would like them to look to their conscience.’

His comments came as the NCA launched a campaign to highlight the harm caused by the production and distribution of cocaine.

The #everylinecounts campaign is aimed at users who care about social issues but are apparently happy to ignore them with their recreational drug habit.

Britain is a lucrative market for cocaine gangs who are flooding the country with the drug, which sells for a minimum of £40 a gram, in the hunt for huge profits.

Earlier this year it was revealed cocaine use has trebled in two decades with rising consumption among people in their forties and fifties.

A government report found the drug is now ‘firmly embedded in UK society’ amid concern it is seen as safe and no longer ‘the preserve of wealthy bankers and celebrities’.

Mr Saggers, who has appeared as an expert witness in many high profile drug cases, said Britain is an ‘attractive market’ to drug traffickers.

But those who consume it are often not aware of the grim reality of how it is produced or transported, often inside the bodies of drug mules.

‘People sit there at dinner parties and discuss what they find abhorrent in the world and then they make a choice to consume something generating huge exploitation,’ he said.

‘A classic example is the fur trade. People may have a very noble and high profile publicity campaign saying ‘not on my body – I won’t wear fur.’

‘What if these people go on to snort cocaine which is significantly more directly exploitative – a glamourous white powder they perceive to be harm free and socially acceptable.’

Police chiefs have repeatedly vowed to crack down on middle-class cocaine users, amid fears they are not seen as a priority for over-stretched officers.

Cocaine can cause significant harm even in first-time or occasional users, including strokes, heart attacks, life-threatening over-heating and psychiatric problems.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said the drug has spread throughout all areas of society since the mid-1990s.

Experts have warned that its use poses a ‘huge challenge’ to the health service, law enforcement and educators.


Just Keep on Pumping Ethanol

The EPA announced updated renewable fuel standards this week, choosing to perpetuate the travesty that is ethanol rather than let the overhyped fuel additive die the death it so richly deserves. The new standards, though lower than originally mandated in 2007, are still high enough to place undue pressure on energy producers and consumers, which will ultimately pay the price in higher gas prices.

The new EPA regulations mandate that companies will have to blend 18.11 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol into gasoline in 2016. This is up from the 17.4-billion-gallon mark proposed in May, but down from the 22.25 billion gallons the 2007 guidelines required. As a consequence, nearly everyone is upset.

Ethanol producers and farmers claim the numbers represent a shift away from renewable fuels. Bob Stallman of the American Farm Bureau Federation, told The Wall Street Journal he was disappointed to see the EPA “move forward with a decision that will stall growth and progress in renewable fuels.”

Jeff Broin, head of Poet LLC, an ethanol producer, said, “[T]hese numbers fall well short of our capacity to provide clean, domestic ethanol to America’s drivers.”

On the other side, gasoline refiners expressed optimism about the lower standards, but remain concerned that the mandate still exists at all. “Today’s rule is further proof that the [renewable-fuel standard] program is irreparably broken and that the only solution is for Congress to repeal it outright,” said Chet Thompson, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, an industry trade group.

Fully 10% of gasoline consumption in the U.S. comes from biofuels, and nearly all of that is corn-based ethanol. The latest numbers mandated by the EPA push the ethanol quota to the “blend wall,” the point at which the oil industry believes the amount mandated exceeds the amount that can realistically and safely be blended into the gasoline supply.

There is also concern that the vast quantity of ethanol being added to gasoline will have an adverse effect on the vehicles and small equipment that is running on the fuel additive. Environmentalists and corn-based ethanol producers have brushed off these concerns as overblown. Tell that to the consumers making trips to the repair shop because of ethanol-damaged engines.

The mandates may also be tied to the gas-price bubble that is costing consumers billions. Gas prices routinely rise and fall based on the price of oil, but, while the price of crude oil has fallen close to 50% in the past year, the price of a gallon of gas has only fallen 28%. This amounts to a pricing disparity in which drivers are paying $1 billion more for gas than they would have if the typical market pattern was in place.

Refiners have been keeping a larger chunk of profits by spending less for oil, but federal taxes and the additional manufacturing cost of adding ethanol to gasoline are also part of the problem. “The gap is higher than it has been since the 1970s,” according to Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service. “There is no question: gasoline should be cheaper.”

It is for no other reason than political posturing that we are still dealing with the ethanol issue. It has been well documented that ethanol production is actually a boondoggle causing more harm to the environment than good. It uses billions of gallons of water that would otherwise be left alone. It is responsible for soil erosion due to the increased production of corn, not to mention the pollution of water tables by the added use of fertilizers.

Furthermore, there has been no substantive proof that ethanol is leading to lower CO2 emissions or that it is linked to the slightly lower overall CO2 levels in the atmosphere over the past several years. The supposed need for ethanol is further negated by the fact that global surface temperatures have been stagnant for 18 years without any rise. This comes as bad news to the group now gathered in Paris to hamstrung American manufacturing in the name of the planet.

While Republicans frequently battle with the EPA and the ecofascists over their plans to remake the economy for their own purposes, few politicians left or right are willing to go against the farm lobby, which stands to lose big if ethanol standards are repealed.

Ted Cruz is the only GOP presidential candidate who had the backbone to tell Iowans that he was against renewable-fuel standards. None of the other candidates, even the bombastic Donald Trump, have delivered a full-throated refusal to the continued adherence to the ethanol mandate. Until more politicians open their eyes to the truth about ethanol, we’ll continue to be stuck with this loser.


Climate mumbo jumbo

This reminds me of medieval controversies about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  I know the answer but I'm not telling

Australia: Environment Minister Greg Hunt says Australia will back a call from small island nations for a Paris climate change agreement to include an aspirational goal of capping global temperature rises at 1.5 degrees celsius which is lower than the United Nations current target of 2C.

Pacific states and other nations vulnerable to rising sea levels are calling for a tougher cap on global warming at the UN Paris talks taking place over the next fortnight. Their concerns are heightened by the series of national carbon reduction pledges made in the lead up to the UN conference which will not be enough to meet the agreed goal of keeping warming to within 2C of pre-industrial levels - estimates suggest the current commitments add up to about 2.7 degrees of warming.

The government's attitude towards its smaller regional neighbours came into question this week after an attempt by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to ridicule Labor's Tanya Plibersbek backfired. Ms Bishop accused her rival of wrongly claiming the island of Eneko had "disappeared" but instead got the name of the island wrong herself.

However, the Alliance of Small Island States, whose members include Fiji and Jamaica, has used Australia as broker in its discussions with bigger nations about including the 1.5C aspiration in the wording of any agreement. The 1.5C goal cannot be included as a firm target because it would be vetoed by larger developing nations who argue it would put too much pressure on the their growing economies which require fossil fuels to overcome issues such as access to electricity.  

"The small island states would obviously like to see a clear goal for 1.5 degrees," Mr Hunt said. "Some of the largest developing countries are more resistant to that. Australia is happy to have a reference to 1.5 degrees with obviously the clear over-arching goal fo the agreement being below 2C. We are acting as a broker in that space. Our approach is to be flexible and construtive."

Mr Hunt said one of the main challenges for the more than 190 countries represented at the Paris summit will be agreeing on "genuine" five-yearly reviews of national carbon reduction targets. Developed countries such as the US, Australia and France - as well as some fast-growing economies such as China - believe reviews are critical to ensuring nations meet and then progressively improve their carbon reduction targets for 2030.

"I think that the central element to a solution here will be the review mechanisms," Mr Hunt said.  "We have said that genuine five-year reviews beginning with a review that takes real effect in 2020, 2025, 2030 is the right way to do it."

France has set a Saturday deadline for the various negotiating groups to come up with a draft document that eventually could form the basis of a formal agreement. The text of this preliminary document will be at the heart of further negotiations between countries - Australia will be represented by Ms Bishop - during the second week of the conference.

Mr Hunt caused a minor commotion when he appeared to suggest the host nation had already produced a "French text". Smaller nations are sensitive to suggestions that France and other richer countries have pre-judged the process. However, Mr Hunt's office later clarified his reference was meant to refer to the text that would be produced as a result of the negotiating groups.

Mr Hunt said he remained confident that India - which is resisting strict five year reviews - would not be an obstacle to a binding agreement. 

"I remain confident it will be hard fought two weeks but at the end of the day we are likely to achieve - and will achieve - an agreement," he said.



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

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


3 December, 2015

Is there no limit to the utter nonsense poured out in the name of global warming??  And it's not just some Al Gore type.  It's coming from NASA's chief scientist

Isn't the blonde Ellen Stofan gorgeous?  Maybe she is just NASA's token female

I quote Ms Stofan:  "Photosynthesis declines rapidly at temperatures above about 95 degrees Fahrenheit".  Has the good woman never heard of the tropics?  I was born in the tropics and temperatures there are very commonly above 95F, quite a bit above sometimes.  So were the plants around me all dying?  Not on your Nelly!  You've never seen such vigorous growth. They'll almost leap out and grab you and yours if you let them. So they were all photosynthesizing like mad, in other words. I think the woman must be mad.

Climate change due to human activity is causing visible shifts on our planet, and NASA is uniquely positioned to observe these effects.  “If we continue on our current course, it’s going to be hard to feed this planet because it’s so hot,” Ellen Stofan, NASA’s chief scientist, told Business Insider.

In fact, photosynthesis — the process all plants use to convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates — declines rapidly at temperatures above about 95 degrees Fahrenheit, Stofan explained during a talk October 16 at The James Beard Foundation Food Conference, a meeting to discuss the future of food.

And the evidence suggests that we could reach too-high temperatures too soon.

Stofan has spent most of her career studying Venus, a planet with a major greenhouse effect — a fancy term for a planet’s atmosphere trapping the sun’s heat and warming its surface.

Here on Earth, NASA satellites are seeing a similar trend, and it’s veering toward dangerous levels. This warming trend is bad news for our ability to grow food.

This wouldn’t be the first time human-caused climate change has affected our ability to grow food, Stofan pointed out. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s, which had a devastating effect on agriculture in the US and Canada, can be traced to poor farming practices and severe drought brought on by climate change. [Whoa!  I thought anthropogenic global warming started in the second half of C20, not the first half!  She doesn't even have her Warmist gospel straight]


Fiorina: ‘It Is Delusional’ to Say Climate Change Is Our Most Severe Security Threat

Obama and the Left are just using Warmism to divert attention from a problem they have no clue how to solve, if indeed they want to solve it. The problem?  Islam

 GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina told “Fox News Sunday” that it is “delusional” to suggest that “climate change is our near-term most severe security threat.”

“It is delusional for President Obama and Hillary Clinton and anyone else to say that climate change is our near-term most severe security threat. It is ISIS, period, followed closely by Iran and perhaps Russia,” said Fiorina.

President Barack Obama has said on multiple occasions – including in his State of the Union address in January - that climate change is the greatest threat. In May, he even linked Islamic terrorism to climate change. In 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry calledclimate change “the biggest challenge of all that we face right now.”

“Your reaction to the summit and to the contention by some in the Obama administration that climate change is, if not the biggest, certainly the most immediate threat to our national security?” host Chris Wallace asked Fiorina.

“Well, that's delusional. It is delusional for President Obama and Hillary Clinton and anyone else to say that climate change is our near-term most severe security threat. It is ISIS, period, followed closely by Iran and perhaps Russia,” said Fiorina.

“President Obama continues to think that somehow our behavior causes terrorism, so he says the climate change summit is a powerful rebuke. No, it's not,” she said.

Obama is taking part in the latest UN climate change summit in Paris, also known as the COP21 event. In a speech last week, he linked the summit to the war on terror, saying, “What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.” 

“The terrorists don't care that we're gathering in Paris other than it provides a target, just as he said, well, Republicans are giving terrorists a recruiting tool when we don't think Syrian refugees should be allowed to enter this country if we cannot properly vet them,” Fiorina said.

“President Obama is delusional about this. He’s delusional about the threat, which apparently is why he won't do anything about it,” she said.

“Do you think it's worthwhile for him to go to Paris, to go to this international summit and try to work out emissions limits?” Wallace asked. 

“Well, look, if you read the fine print of the science, what the scientists tell us, all those scientists who say climate change is real and manmade, they also tell us that a single nation acting alone can make no difference at all. that it would take a concerted global effort over 30 years, costing trillions of dollars. I think the likelihood of that is near zero,” Fiorina said.

“So, no, I don’t think it’s particularly productive,” she said. “I think it would be far more productive if President Obama instead was there leading an international coalition to stop human trafficking or an international coalition for humanitarian relief for the refugees or an international coalition to defeat ISIS. All those would be more useful than time in Paris spent talking about climate change.” 


Paris climate summit: The doom-mongers should look at the science

In Paris, 147 heads of government will give speeches on what they agree is the world’s most pressing problem: climate change

So, the problem they are discussing - not warming, but dangerous warming - has not yet manifested itself. It lies in the future. The climate has changed, for sure, as it always does, but not yet in a way that is harmful or unprecedented. As far as we can tell from satellites, global average temperatures are less than half a degree warmer than they were in 1979, when satellite data became available, though surface thermometers suggest a bit more warming.

This year looks likely to be a lot warmer than last, though still not as warm in both standard satellite data sets as 1998, the last time that a strong El Niño in the Pacific Ocean boosted the global air temperature a lot (surface thermometers say it will be warmer than 1998, once adjusted in various ways). The average trend over the past 35 years is 0.1 degrees of warming per decade according to the satellite data, less than 0.2 per decade according to the surface thermometers. Neither trend is fast enough to produce significantly dangerous climate change even by the latter part of this century.

The warming has been much slower than was predicted when the scare began. Nor is it evenly spread. The Antarctic continent has warmed hardly at all, and the entire southern hemisphere has warmed about half as fast as the northern. The Arctic has warmed more than the tropics, night has warmed more than day and winter has warmed more than summer. Cities have warmed faster than the countryside, but that’s because of local warming factors, not global ones: buildings, vehicles, industry, pavements and people trap warmth.

How unusual is today’s temperature? As I did this weekend, you have no doubt had conversations along the following lines recently: “Hasn’t it been mild? End of November and we’ve hardly had a frost yet!” All true. But then be honest: can you not recall such conversations throughout your life? I can. And here’s what the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, had to say about November 1938, long before I was born: “The weather of the month was distinguished by exceptional mildness: at numerous places it was the mildest November on record.” In 1953 November was even milder and there was no air frost recorded in Oxford in the last four months of the year at all.

I am not saying it has not generally become warmer, but that the variation dwarfs the trend. Let’s go back a little further, to the Middle Ages. It used to be argued by some that the “medieval warm period” of about a thousand years ago, when mountain glaciers retreated, vines grew further north and Iceland was widely cultivated, was confined to Europe. We now know from multiple sources of evidence that it was global. Tree lines were higher than today in many mountain ranges, for example. Both North Pacific and Antarctic Ocean water temperatures were 0.65C warmer than today.

Go back yet further, still within the current interglacial period, to the so-called Holocene Optimum of 6,000-9,000 years ago. Ocean temperatures were up to two degrees warmer than today, the Arctic Ocean was nearly or completely ice-free at the end of summer in many years, and the boreal forest in Siberia extended 150 miles further north than today. July temperatures were up to six degrees warmer than today in the Siberian Arctic.

Was this Holocene Optimum a horrible time of droughts, storms, disease and famine? Not especially. It was the period in which agriculture spread rapidly across the globe from five or seven centres of invention. Abundant rainfall in Africa led to lakes in the Sahara with crocodiles and hippos in them, surrounded by green vegetation in the monsoon season.

Today’s gentle warming, progressing much more slowly than expected, is also accompanied by generally improving conditions. Globally, droughts are declining very slightly. Storms are not increasing in frequency or intensity: this year has been one of the quietest hurricane seasons. Floods are worse in some places but usually because of land-use changes, not more rainfall. Death rates from floods, storms and droughts have plummeted and are now far lower than they were a century ago. Today, arid areas such as western Australia or the Sahel region of Africa are getting generally greener, thanks to the effect of more carbon dioxide in the air, which makes plants grow faster and resist drought better.

Besides, we have to make allowance for a human tendency to read far too much into short-term weather changes - and to assume that all change is bad. Consider this newspaper cutting: “The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot. [There are] hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.” It’s not from recent decades at all, but from 1922. Or this one: “The ice of the Arctic Ocean is melting so rapidly that more than one third of it has disappeared in fifty years”. From 1940.

In fact, the Arctic, and the world as a whole then cooled between 1950 and 1970, which then led to these headlines, all from 1970: “Scientists See Ice Age in the Future” (The Washington Post), “Is Mankind Manufacturing a New Ice Age for Itself?” (Los Angeles Times), “Scientist predicts a new ice age by 21st century” (The Boston Globe), “US and Soviet Press Studies of a Colder Arctic” (The New York Times) and (my favourite) “Dirt Will Bring New Ice Age” (The Sydney Morning Herald).

The 40,000 people meeting in Paris over the next 12 days are committed to the view that the weather is certain to do something nasty towards the end of this century unless we cut emissions. In this, they are out of line with scientists. A survey of the members of the American Meteorological Society in 2012 found that only 52 per cent agree that climate change is mostly man-made, and as to its being very harmful if unchecked, only 34 per cent of AMS members agree. The rest said they think it will be either not harmful or not very harmful.

Are we certain we are not overreacting?


Britons warned to watch out for RATS invading their homes this winter as odds are slashed on it being the coldest winter in a century

But actual weather doesn't matter, of course. According to NOAA, the November just past will be the warmest ever. See if I am right. When you have Warmists in charge of the temperature record, it's like employing a fox to guard the hen house

Britons have been warned to watch out for rats invading their homes after the odds were slashed on it being the coldest winter in a century.

Pest controllers say rodents are responsible for causing millions of pounds of damage to properties across the UK by gnawing their way indoors to escape freezing weather.

The warning comes after temperatures plummeted as low as -6C over parts of Britain last week - sparking fears the country will experience its coldest winter in decades.
Britons have been warned to watch out for rats invading their homes after the odds were slashed on it being the coldest winter in a century

Britons have been warned to watch out for rats invading their homes after the odds were slashed on it being the coldest winter in a century

Pest control firms normally see a 40 per cent rise in call-outs for rodent infestations at this time of year and have offered advice on how to stop rats from finding their way indoors.

A spokesman for Cleankill Environmental Services said today: 'With forecasters predicting the harshest winter the UK has seen in half a century, pest controllers are now advising people to make sure their homes are fully protected against invading rodents.

'At a time when we feel like bolting our doors and keeping winter cold outside, it is hardly surprising that mice, rats and squirrels are trying to join us in our sanctuaries of warmth.

'They will not only scratch, gnaw and rip items apart to make nesting materials but they will also chew beams and joists, causing structural damage, and through electrical cables, which can cause fires.'

Tips for avoiding an infestation this winter include clearing out stair cupboards, checking pipework for holes and checking in the loft for signs of rats.

The firm also suggests checking brickwork to make sure air bricks, which allow ventilation, are intact as larger Victorian ones have gaps large enough for rodents to sneak through.

Other tips include cleaning under kitchen units and keeping a tidy garden and putting brush strips on doors.

Mother- of-two Rosie Spears, of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said she had been 'invaded' by rats for the past three years before getting a pest controller in to kill them off.

The 43-year-old said: 'The whole experience was horrid. They kept me awake at night with their scuttling around and gnawing, but whenever we set traps they just ignored them.

'We put up with it for three years and then got someone in and they were gone within a month, so hopefully this year they won't come back as we've plugged all the gaps we can see.'

Ladbrokes has cut their odds from 4/1 to 7/2 on Britain experiencing its coldest winter in more than 100 years after sleet, snow and ice continued to sweep across the country.

There have been reports temperatures could drop around the end of December and fears that more than 40,000 sick and elderly could die as a result of the cold.


Expedition To Study Global Warming Put On Hold Because Of TOO MUCH ICE

An expedition to study the effects of global warming was put on hold Wednesday. The reason? Too much ice.

The CCGS Amundsen, a Medium Arctic icebreaker and Arctic research vessel operated by the Canadian Coast Guard, was to travel throughout Hudson Bay, a body of water in northeastern Canada, but was rerouted to help ships who were stuck in the icy water.

A Coast Guard officer said the conditions were the “worst he’s seen in 20 years,” reports CBC news.

“Obviously it has a large impact on us,” says Martin Fortier, executive director of ArcticNet, which coordinates research on the vessel. “It’s a frustrating situation.”

ArcticNet is a network of scientists who study “the impacts of climate change and modernization in the coastal Canadian Arctic.”

The vessel is one of only two icebreakers in the Arctic, leaving the ship obligated to reroute their travel plans to help break ice for resupply ships.

Johnny Leclair, an assistant commissioner for the Coast Guard, said there should be two more icebreakers headed to the Arctic in the next week, which would free up their ship to continue on their originally planned trip.

Fortier is hopeful the season will still be productive.

“The people planning the large expeditions have a plan B,” Fortier said. “We have already curtailed or either moved to a later date some of the stations and some of the areas we were suppose to sample.”

The ship even has a blog post that it has been updating. Here is an excerpt:

“Meanwhile, we’ve run into ice and out of darkness. During our night of action, the sun didn’t set, so only the face of my watch was there to tell me that it was 3 AM as we were tying down incubators. At five thirty in the morning, as the sun rose — or, rather, got a bit brighter in the sky — filling the world with a deep pink, and the waves turned glassy and viscous and bright, our fingers finally fell numb and our setup was finally done, just in time for a quick nap before breakfast. Tonight, likely, well see the stuck ships.”


Obama talks the talk

His speeches sound good -- until you  check his facts

In opening remarks Monday at the climate change conference in Paris, France, President Barack Obama again tied the terrorist attacks in Paris to climate change, saying the conference is a “rejection of those who would tear down our world.”

“We stand united in solidarity to deliver justice to the terrorist network responsible for those attacks but to protect our people and uphold the enduring values that keep us strong and keep us free, and we salute the people of Paris for insisting this crucial conference go on – an act of defiance that proves nothing will deter us from building the future we want for our children,” Obama said.

“What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to serve it?” he added.

Obama said the world leaders have “come to Paris to show our resolve,” and he offered “condolences to the people of France for the barbaric attacks on this beautiful city.”

“One of the enemies we’ll be fighting at this conference is cynicism – the notion we can’t do anything about climate change,” the president said.

Obama echoed comments he made while visiting Alaska this summer, saying he saw a “a glimpse of our children’s fate if climate keeps changing faster than our efforts to address it.”

“This summer I saw the effects of climate change firsthand in our northernmost state Alaska where the sea is already swallowing villages and eroding shorelines, where permafrost thaws and the tundra burns, where glaciers are melting at a pace unprecedented in modern times,” he said at Monday's summit.

“It was a preview of one possible future – a glimpse of our children’s fate if the climate keeps changing faster than our efforts to address it: submerged countries, abandoned cities, fields that no longer grow, political disruptions that trigger new conflict, and even more floods of desperate peoples seeking the sanctuary of nations not their own,” Obama added.

“Earlier this month in Dubai, after years of delay, the world agreed to work together to cut the super pollutants known as HFCs. That’s progress. Already, prior to Paris, more than 180 countries representing nearly 95 percent of global emissions have put forward their own climate targets. That is progress,” the president said.

Obama said the U.S. is already on track to reach emissions targets he set six years ago in Copenhagen to reduce carbon emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2020, so he set a new target last year to reduce emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 in 10 years.



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

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


2 December, 2015

NASA says Antarctic has been COOLING for past SIX years

This adds to the Zwally findings of a month ago to similar effect.  Much to amuse here, though.  The NASA report is very cagey, as you would expect. For a start, they put a very boring headline on it:  "NASA’s Operation IceBridge Completes Twin Polar Campaigns", then they flood their report with no doubt worthy technical details and even hark back to a 2012 study in an endeavour to blunt the impact of their findings.  So it seems that only the Daily Express writer excerpted below read the report carefully enough to sift the wheat from the chaff. All subsequent media reports of the matter go back to the DE article.

ANTARCTIC temperatures have cooled over the past six years, according to US space agency NASA.

An intensive scientific study of both Earth's poles has found that from 2009 to 2016 overall temperature has dropped in the southern polar region.

NASA’s Operation IceBridge is an airborne survey of polar ice and has finalised two overlapping research campaigns at both the poles.

In the last few weeks NASA has revealed the overall amount of ice has increased at the Antarctic and the amount of sea ice has also extended.

Coupled with the latest announcement of slight cooling in the area, it has fuelled claims from climate change deniers that human industrialisation is not having the huge impact on global temperature as often is claimed.

Christopher Shuman, a University of Maryland, Baltimore County glaciologist working at Goddard, said: "Field data suggests that there’s been a modest cooling in the area over the 2009–2015 time period, and images collected during that time by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on the Terra and Aqua satellites show more persistent fast ice (sea ice that is attached to the shore) in the Larsen A and Larsen B embayments”

However, Mr Shuman warned that in some areas of the Antarctic, glaciers continued to melt at significant levels, despite  the slight temperature drop.

During one flight in the Peninsula that mapped the drainage area of several glaciers, a drop of more than 490 feet (150 meters) in the height of two glaciers since IceBridge last plotted them, in 2009, was measured.

Both glaciers, called Green and Hektoria, were tributaries to the Larsen B ice shelf, which disintegrated in 2002.

After the ice shelf collapsed, it stopped buttressing the glaciers that fed it, and glacier elevations have fallen dramatically since then.

A study published in 2012 showed average elevation losses of up to 82 feet (25 meters) per year for the lower Green and Hektoria glaciers from 2006 to 2011.

A NASA spokesman said: "So IceBridge’s discovery that both are still losing ice fast many years after the loss of the adjacent ice shelf is “not all that surprising given what we have observed with other sensors,” said Mr Shuman.


China talks the talk but will it walk the walk?

As noted below China this year to date has recently approved the construction of 155 new coal powered plants. It is true that China leads in many areas, e.g. solar hot water heating, but it has not yet begun to reduce net emissions. China's urgent need is to reduce REAL pollution, particulate pollution, and they will no doubt get somewhere with that.  And it is cleaning up coal-fired power station emissions that is needed for that.  But cleaning up particulate pollution should also reduce CO2 emissions as a byproduct of that.  So they are getting some propaganda leverage out of that.  The Warmists desperately want to believe that China is on their side but China is only on China's side

Back in 2009, China was a reluctant partner during major climate negotiations in Copenhagen that eventually collapsed amid recriminations between rich and poor nations. This time around the world’s biggest polluter is regarded as a driving force behind what could be a comprehensive deal at a world climate summit in Paris.

The change in stance has a lot to do with the record levels of foul air that often hang over China’s major industrialized urban centers, undermining public health. The resulting backlash over the smog has made President Xi Jinping’s government far more serious about combating climate change and investing in cleaner forms of energy.

China’s resolve will be tested along with other countries as world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and China’s Xi, gather in the French capital on Monday. The talks organized by the United Nations are scheduled to run for two weeks and include the biggest ever gathering of leaders on a single day.

“Nowhere has our coordination been more necessary or more fruitful” than on climate, Obama told reporters as he met Xi Monday morning in Paris. “As the two largest economies in the world and the two largest carbon emitters, we have both determined it is our responsibility to take action.”

The road to Paris for China and others has been in the works for some time.  In March 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang declared war on pollution, telling the National People’s Congress that his government would accelerate efforts to tackle environmental problems.

At the same time, China has embarked on a makeover designed to shift its $10 trillion-plus economy away from reliance on big, energy-consuming heavy industries and toward services and consumer spending. For climate deal warriors, both moves have added up to a big and welcome policy shift.

“The fact that you’ve got some countries like China and Russia actively talking about their role is a complete change, so we’ve made tremendous progress,” U.K. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd said in an Oct. 15 interview in London.

The nascent alliance between the world’s two biggest polluters stands in stark contrast to Copenhagen in 2009 where China’s premier at the time, Wen Jiabao, missed a scheduled meeting with Barack Obama, and the U.S. president later forced himself into a meeting of the Chinese with Brazil, South Africa and India in order to get face time with the leaders he felt necessary to forge a lasting deal.

China’s Xi, building on the November 2014 accord with Obama, promised in September that China will start a national pollution-trading system to cut global-warming emissions in 2017. China will also partner with the U.S. on other ways to cut emissions, has pledged $3.1 billion to help developing countries combat climate change and also promised to cut carbon dioxide emitted per dollar of economic output by 60 percent to 65 percent from 2005 levels.

“The fact that the United States and China at the presidential level joined arms and stepped forward in November of last year in the ramp up to 2015 and put forward strong targets together, these two historic antagonists at the presidential level, was a big shot in the arm to the negotiations,” Todd Stern, U.S. special envoy on climate change, told reporters Oct. 23 during a conference call.

China’s pollution scourge is a public health crisis. Air pollution is killing 4,000 people a day in the country, according to a recent study by Berkeley Earth, an independent research group funded largely by educational grants. The researchers cited coal burning used to produce electricity and heat homes and offices as the likely principal cause.

Much of the drive to do something about emissions in China is borne by the need for action on pollution.

China was the biggest renewables market in the world with 433 gigawatts of generating capacity at the end of 2014, more than double the second place U.S., according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data.

The Asian nation added more than four times as much clean energy capacity as the U.S. in 2014. Moreover, solar installations have gone from about 300 megawatts in 2009 at the time of Copenhagen to almost 33 gigawatts at the end of 2014 -- a 110-fold increase. China accounts for almost one of every three wind turbines in the world at the moment.

“Peak demand for coal will happen at some point for China in the future and if anything this year has brought a number of surprises and indicators, whether it’s economic growth or electricity demand consumption,” said Justin Wu, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Hong Kong. “Everything is pointing to the (coal) peaking happening earlier or sooner than even previous estimates.”

China remains a voracious consumer of coal regardless of the boom in clean energy. The most polluting fossil fuel still accounts for more than 60 percent of the nation’s total power installations. Some 155 coal-fired power plants, or four per week, have received environmental permits in the first nine months of this year, according to Greenpeace East Asia.

As long as coal is seen as the cheapest form of energy, the fossil fuel may still remain an attractive option for regional governments eager to promote economic development.


Causes of climate change?

The rather childish presentation below was apparently written by Mohamed Alhwaity and appeared in "The Conversation", a webzine that claims to offer "Academic rigour, journalistic flair". If only it did!  What I have excerpted below is the core of an article titled: "How scientists know climate change is happening".  I have added a few basic notes below to show that they DON'T know that

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presents six main lines of evidence for climate change.

* We have tracked the unprecedented recent increase in the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Big deal.  That only matters if we know the sensitivity of climate to CO2.  It looks like zero or not much more

* We know from laboratory and atmospheric measurements that such greenhouse gases do indeed absorb heat when they are present in the atmosphere. Aren't they supposed to REFLECT heat?  Mohamed hasn't even got his Warmism straight.

* We have tracked significant increase in global temperatures of at least 0.85°C and a sea level rise of 20cm over the past century. And why is such a trivial temperature rise a problem?

* We have analysed the effects of natural events such as sunspots and volcanic eruptions on the climate, and though these are essential to understand the pattern of temperature changes over the past 150 years, they cannot explain the overall warming trend. Svensmark has shown a strong solar effect.  Now confirmed by experiments at CERN

* We have observed significant changes in the Earth’s climate system including reduced snowfall in the Northern Hemisphere, retreat of sea ice in the Arctic, retreating glaciers on all continents, and shrinking of the area covered by permafrost and the increasing depth of its active layer. All of which are consistent with a warming global climate. But the Antarctic is what matters and it has been COOLING

* We continually track global weather and have seen significant shifts in weather patterns and an increase in extreme events all around the world. Patterns of precipitation (rainfall and snowfall) have changed, with parts of North and South America, Europe and northern and central Asia becoming wetter, while the Sahel region of central Africa, southern Africa, the Mediterranean and southern Asia have become drier. Intense rainfall has become more frequent, along with major flooding. We’re also seeing more heat waves. The statistics indicate FEWER extreme weather events

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) between 1880 and the beginning of 2014, the 19 warmest years on record have all occurred within the past 20 years; and 2015 is set to be the warmest year ever recorded. And those "warm" years have differed from one-another by only hundredths of a degree, which is not statistically significant.  The figures in fact show a plateau, not a rise


Clean Nuclear Power versus Regulatory Excess

Twenty years in the making, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s “new” nuclear reactor will soon go online. It will also be technologically behind the times: it’s only a Generation II reactor, rather than the Generation III type used in Canada, France, and Japan.

Climate policymakers gathering in Paris this week should lament the regulatory chicanery responsible for the delays. After all, “nuclear power is a carbon-footprint-free technology,” writes Independent Institute Research Director William F. Shughart II. In a recent op-ed for Investor’s Business Daily, Shughart explains that excessive government regulation has been a great hindrance to nuclear power in the United States—much to the detriment of humanity and to the cause of a cleaner environment.

“U.S. politicians who are legitimately concerned about the impact of fossil fuel combustion on the world's climate should be among the strongest advocates of nuclear energy,” Shughart writes. “It is clean, safe and reliable (much more reliable than solar and wind power).”

The Obama administration says very little about nuclear power in its recent “Clean Energy Plan.” So perhaps we should just be thankful that it did not further delay the Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor. “The NRC’s decision to license the operation of another nuclear reactor in the Tennessee Valley deserves one-and-a-half cheers,” Shughart continues. “Were it not for the time and money the government unnecessarily squandered on the project they might get three cheers.”


Paris climate summit: US hard line opens split on carbon

Summary from Australia

Deep divisions resurfaced ahead of last night’s opening of the Paris climate talks, with the US and Australia digging in to insist that developed nations’ historical responsibilities for carbon dioxide emissions be scrapped.

The issue has been a “red line” for developing nations led by India, which is pushing ahead with economic development to bring millions of people out of poverty.

A change to how historical carbon emissions are treated would require India and other nations to contribute more to future emissions cuts and climate finance.

A confidential “non-paper” discussion document issued by the US sets out the hard line that the US and Australia intend to take in the Paris talks.

Together with more than 100 world leaders, Malcolm Turnbull was due to address the Paris conference to outline Australia’s position early today.

Australia has pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions by ­between 26 and 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

The Prime Minister has said tougher cuts may be possible in future and has supported a UN process under which country pledges are reviewed every five years and progressively tougher measures agreed.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has said he believes a deal is possible in Paris. “It won’t be a perfect outcome but I think it will be a critical outcome and it will be a success,” Mr Hunt said.

Big differences remain over whether a Paris agreement should be legally binding and how it will deal with the issues of historical ­responsibility for carbon dioxide emissions and who should fund and administer a $100 billion-a-year fund.

Underlining one of the major challenges to reaching a universal deal, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned last night that poor nations had a right to burn carbon to grow their economies.

Chinese intransigence on the issue of historical responsibility was largely blamed for the breakdown of the 2009 UN climate change talks in Copenhagen.

The US discussion paper brought the most contentious ­issues to the surface on day one.

At the previous round of ­climate talks in Bonn, Germany, last month, negotiators representing 80 per cent of the world’s population walked out when references to historical responsibilities were left out of the negotiating text.

They were subsequently ­reinstated, more than doubling the size of the text that has now made its way to Paris.

Leaking of the confidential US discussion paper has caused a ­furore in India, which has made keeping the issue of historical ­responsibility on global carbon ­dioxide emissions a condition of its agreement at the Paris talks.

US President Barack Obama and Mr Modi were due to share the stage at the opening ceremony of the Paris conference to announce new measures on ­research and development.

Behind the scenes, negotiators face significant hurdles in finalising a Paris text. A report in India’s Business Standard said that in the US discussion paper, the US said it wanted each country’s greenhouse gas reduction pled­ges determined independently by each nation rather than through a process of international negotiation.

The report said any move to remove the wall of differentiation between developed and developing countries would end any ­notion of historical responsibility.

The US position paper also wants developing countries to contribute to the climate funds in future and not just the developed countries as is required under ­existing UN arrangements.

Mr Modi issued his challenge as the 12-day conference opened.  “Justice demands that, with what little carbon we can still safely burn, developing countries are allowed to grow,” he wrote in the Financial Times. “The lifestyles of a few must not crowd out opportunities for the many still on the first steps of the development ladder.”

A spokesman for the ­Department of Foreign Affairs said Australia was aware of the US discussion paper.

“Like the US, we want a common platform for all countries to take action from 2020, moving past binary differentiation between developed and developing countries, and allowing for continuous improvement over time.”

In India, the US and Australian position is considered against the spirit of the UN negotiations. The existing UN convention distributes the burden of emissions reduction and other actions based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities, respective capabilities and national circumstances”.

Maintaining this position was fundamental to India agreeing to the Paris round talks. India claims it is not responsible for historical emissions and therefore should not be penalised in efforts to develop and alleviate poverty.

The US and Australia now wants the Paris agreement to focus only on existing economic capabilities of countries and their existing circumstances.


Paris, Reeling From Terrorism, Blames Global Warming

The UN’s much-anticipated COP21 — a 12-day climate summit that promises to reduce chronic health issues, quash terrorist groups, usher in social justice and all-around save the planet — gets underway today in Paris. Did we mention it’s the key to stopping the raucous bloodshed from groups like the Islamic State? “I will be joining President Hollande and other world leaders in Paris for the Global Climate Conference,” Barack Obama proclaimed last week from the White House before burning through an ungodly amount of fossil fuels on his way to France. “What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.”

Actually, they couldn’t care less, because it’s blood and dominion they’re after, not a stable climate that’s never existed. It’s incredible the things Democrats purport will be solved by the summit. They’d say the snowstorm blanketing the Midwest this week is actually CO2 falling from the sky if it makes reaching an agreement more attainable.

But we digress. What, exactly, will the conference accomplish, assuming a deal is even reached? Even regulatory advocates aren’t entirely sure. The Wall Street Journal reports, “The single most important benchmark underpinning this week’s talks in Paris on climate change — two degrees Celsius — has guided climate-treaty discussions for decades, but scientists are at odds on the relevance of that target. …

Policy makers tend to assume the two-degree target expresses a solid scientific view, but it doesn’t.” In fact, the IPCC’s own studies say nothing about this supposed benchmark. And here we thought the science was settled! “Still,” adds the Journal, “many scientists back the goal because they see it as giving policy makers a clear-cut target to shoot at in the fight against global warming.” Translation: Never let a good crisis go to waste.

Delegates have a lot going for them — perhaps not-so-coincidentally. Last year was (wrongly) declared the warmest on record, and a powerful El Niño virtually guarantees this year will be even hotter (based on NOAA’s methodology; again, satellite data suggests otherwise). You could easily argue that things line up a little too well.

As we reported earlier this year, the government is fudging global temperature data to fit the narrative, which London Telegraph writer Christopher Booker rightly says “is the biggest science scandal ever.” And as Investor’s Business Daily editorializes, “No one knows, nor will ever know, if man-made climate change even exists outside of imaginative thinking and flawed computer models. So no one can ever know if it’s defeated or not.” What a powerful message it would send to jihadis if world leaders would use all that energy in Paris to annihilate the real enemy — radical Islamic terrorism.



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1 December, 2015

Experts call for reduced meat consumption to prevent climate change

They are pissing into the wind on this one.  As China and India become richer, meat consumption will RISE

SORRY world. Your Friday night burgers, Saturday morning bacon and Sunday afternoon barbecues are putting us all in danger.

That’s the warning from the authors of Changing Climate, Changing Diets who argue cutting down the amount of meat consumed could significantly contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming.

Authors Laura Wellesley, Catherine Happer and Antony Froggatt say while leaders from 195 nations will meet in Paris next week to discuss ways of keeping climate change within the critical two degrees, they are mising a trick by failing to address the issue of meat consumption. They’re calling for governments to consider a range of policy measures from a tax on meat and other unsustainable products to clearer labelling and public awareness campaigns.

“Globally we should eat less meat. Global per capita meat consumption is already above healthy levels; critically so in developed countries. We cannot avoid dangerous climate change unless consumption trends change,” they write.

The reports states livestock farming and meat production is regarded as a driver of deforestation and habitat destruction around the world and accounts for 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emmissions - around the same amount as “tailpipe emissions from all the world’s vehicles.”

“Even with best efforts to reduce the emissions footprint of livestock production, the sector will consume a growing share of the remaining carbon budget,” it says, as a “protein transition” takes place around the world with growing demand for meat from burgeoning middle classes in India and China.

“Governments need credible strategies to close the gap, and reducing meat consumption is an obvious one: worldwide adoption of a healthy diet would generate over a quarter of the emission reductions needed by 2050.”

The 14-month project done in conjunction with Glasgow University used focus groups in Brazil, China, UK and US and found people eat double the recommended amount of meat in industrialised countries leading to pressure on resources and health concerns such as obesity and cancer.

Despite what they describe as a “compelling case” for action, the research found governments are loath to intervene because they fear a backlash and are “trapped in a cycle of inertia”.

“They fear the repercussions of intervention, while low public awareness means they feel no pressure to intervene,” the report states.

“Soft interventions to raise awareness among consumers or ‘nudge’ them towards more sustainable choices, for example by increasing the availability and prominence of alternative options at the point of sale, are likely to be well received.”

It comes a month after the World Health Organisation warned red and processed meat were carcinogenic for humans. Eating just 50 grams a day of processed meat like bacon, sausages and biltong, was enough to increase the risk of cancer. Meanwhile red meat was classified as “probably carcinogenic” based on limited evidence it caused colorectal cancer.

The UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s Corporate Affairs manager Andy Hutson said the “simplistic suggestion” that cutting meat consumption will make a difference to the environment “doesn’t hold water” and won’t improve efficiency when it comes to livestock consumption.

“We do not believe a meat tax is realistic. Potentially, it could fuel a social divide where poorer families could be priced out of the consumer market, while opening that market to more imports from global competitors,” he said, adding that consumption is already falling in the UK as the price of protein becomes more expensive.

He said the industry has also produced three “roadmaps” covering practical ways for producers to reduce their “environmental footprint.”

“We are also funding a range of research projects, including investigation of dietary ingredients to reduce methane emissions from the rumen of beef cattle, and a suite of projects aimed at improving the health of animals – which will improve welfare and performance alongside reducing the lifetime greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”


Bernie Sanders and Vermont to lead carbon tax effort

Underneath all of Sanders’ rhetoric to fight class inequality and Wall Street corruption is an initiative that may directly contradict this platform. Sanders, likely more than any other 2016 presidential candidate, is spearheading the initiative for a carbon tax.

As the mover and shaker George Soros sponsored media outlet Mother Jones article recently highlighted, Sanders is the leading climate change candidate. Sanders was recently endorsed as the number one member of the Senate by Climate Hawks Vote, a new super PAC. He recently did an editorial for the Huffington Post reiterating his conviction.

“Global warming is real and it is caused by human activity,” he wrote. “In terms of droughts, heat waves, floods, forest fires, disease, rising sea levels and extreme weather disturbances, global warming is already causing devastating problems. The simple truth is that if we do not act boldly and quickly these problems will only get much worse in the years to come.”

At the first Democrat debate for the 2016 election, Sanders called global warming the biggest threat facing the U.S. He went on to call for the carbon tax as the primary solution.

Back in Sanders’ home state, Vermont’s East Montpelier Rep. Tony Klein, Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Energy stated in late 2014 that Vermont will likely be the first in the union to implement a carbon tax.

Alongside the carbon tax is another climate change initiative, lesser known but similar in aim. It is called the renewable energy portfolio standard, states that adopt these must convert energy production into non-carbon alternatives at an increasing percentage every few years. The goal in Vermont is currently 15 percent and up to 90 percent by 2050. Currently, 29 states have signed onto a REPs, but none since 2009. At least two have backed out or put a freeze on it.

An example of renewable energy costs hitting the local rate payer can be found in Hardwick, Vermont. The town’s electric department told the Hardwick Gazette that clean burning coal (just water vapor and carbon emitted) can be purchased for just about 4 cents per kWh. Solar panels which are being purchased to fill REP requirements can cost around 12 cents per kWh, that’s not including subsidies.

In an interview with Dr. Bronner Cohen of the National Center for Public Policy Research, he commented on the high costs of alternative energy.

“If you just look at solar nationwide, it just provides U.S. with two tenths of 1 percent of our electricity, and this is after decades of subsidies,” he said. “Wind is slightly above 3 percent. Put the two together and it’s still fewer than 3.5 percent. So how would you propose to get to 12 or 15 percent? It’s not going to happen.”

He added efforts to reach those goals would be prohibitively expensive and hurt those who would be least capable to withstand the financial burden, namely the middle and lower class.

The much touted scientific consensus that carbon is causing global warming is apparently not a consensus for everyone. As a Forbes article from January pointed out, there is no such poll indicating that “97 percent” of any group of scientists supports the theory of man-made global warming.

Were it assumed the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models are true, the U.S. acting alone would barely make a difference according to journalist Ronald Bailey for a 2013 story.

“Assuming the projected trajectory of overall global emissions by all countries,” wrote Bailey. “If the U.S. were somehow to completely eliminate all of its greenhouse gas emissions now that would reduce future warming by only 0.2 degree Celsius by 2100.”

The very notion that carbon dioxide causes warming at all was disputed by Cohen.

“Carbon dioxide does not drive temperature,” he said. “If temperatures rise for whatever reason, carbon dioxide will rise afterwards. It does not drive temperature. It’s the other way around, it’s a lagging indicator.”

A looming shadow in the backdrop is the 2009 scandal of leaked emails from East Anglia University. The emails revealed manipulation of data and deception by IPCC climatologists according many media outlets including English columnist James Delingpole who dubbed it “climategate.”

Sanders is not the only high profile leader ratcheting up calls for the carbon tax.

“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications,” said Pope Francis on the issue. “Environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods, it represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

If there were ever a means to micromanage economic development, it would be the carbon tax. Any energy, any fuel, building, producing, transporting, breathing, having a kid … every conceivable human activity can be associated with carbon.

“Whether that’s the goal or not, that (austerity) will most certainly be the result,” said Cohen. “You are imposing additional costs on middle and lower class people. You may have millionaires who are going to shrug their shoulders, they can do it. But what about people further down the food chain? They can’t do it, this is very regressive. It is going to hurt those most who are at the very bottom of the income scale.”


The People’s March for Climate? Yeah, right

This week, outside my local London Tube station, Farringdon, people dashing home from work have been greeted by leafleters urging them to take part in the People’s March for Climate. ‘To change everything, we need everyone’, the leaflet declares. But what exact kind of change do they have in mind?
The People’s March for Climate leaflet

A quick look at the back of the leaflet reveals the thinking behind the march. First off, who are The People? Are they the people paying more for their energy thanks to eco-taxes and subsidies? Are they the people heading for Heathrow today, hoping to jet off to some other part of the world, whose journey was delayed by disapproving activists who will do everything they can to make sure the airport can never expand to meet rising demand? It’s doubtful if they are the people around the world desperately trying to work their way out of poverty, relying on the very fossil fuels the marchers disapprove of to power that economic development? Declaring this to be a march by and for The People is pretty much the exact opposite of the truth.

The leaflet then tells us: ‘In days, world leaders are meeting for a global climate summit [in Paris] that is our generation’s best chance to end fossil fuels, and move to a game-changing 100 per cent clean-energy track.’ At the moment, ‘clean’ energy makes up a small fraction of the world’s energy use. Even if the world pursues the aim of lowering greenhouse-gas emissions, low-carbon energy – including nuclear and burning biomass as well as wind, solar, etc – will still only supply a quarter of our energy needs by 2040. The rest of our energy will come from fossil fuels – which are cheaper and much more reliable. Nothing that happens at the climate talks in Paris will change that very much, thankfully.

The leaflet goes on to talk about how the ‘the people of Paris’ have been ‘silenced’, kept from ‘taking to the streets to meet world leaders as they land for the meeting’ because of (fairly understandable) security concerns. But the funny thing about this protest is just how many campaigners will be inside the conference. According to the conference website: ‘The conference is expected to attract close to 50,000 participants including 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society.’ This march is not a demand for action emanating from outsiders against the wishes of world leaders. It’s a stage army designed to reinforce the entire purpose of the event, to dress it up as the will of The People.

The climate talks in Paris are, in reality, driven by a coterie of unelected officials, multinational NGOs and politicians desperate to convey some moral leadership on the world stage. The aim is to control The People, to use the environment as an excuse to restrict their ability to live their lives as they choose and realise their ambitions. There’s nothing democratic about that.


Massive Tampering With South African Temperatures

There are only ten GHCN stations currently operating in South Africa, and only one of these, Calvinia, is classified by GISS as rural. It has a population of 9000, and is situated inland in the Northern Cape province.

This is the actual temperature trend at Calvinia, based on GHCN V2 raw data in 2011. 

There has been no warming since the start of the record. Yet the current version of GISS, which is based on adjusted GHCN data, has miraculously morphed into a sharply rising trend.

Temperatures prior to 1989 have been marked down by around 0.7C, and those 1940’s ones by even more.

So, what about the other nine sites? We have three with long, and pretty much continuous, records back to the 19thC.

There was a large drop in temperatures at Port Elizabeth between 1950 and 1951, but there also large drops at that time at Capetown, Kimberley and other sites, including East London, which is nearby. There is no evidence that the change was due to anything but natural factors.

All the graphs have one thing in common – that tell tale peaking of temperatures around 1940, which we see so often. There is even a glimpse of this at Calvinia, where the warmest year on record was 1945.

All of these stations will, of course, have been heavily affected by UHI effects since the 1940’s.

For instance, much of the warming at Port Elizabeth in recent decades is likely due to the siting of sensors  in the middle of the runways at the airport there.

Out of the ten stations mentioned above, there has been marked warming trends introduced by adjustments at eight. One, De Aar shows little change, but Upington, oddly enough, bucks the trend with a cooling trend added. However, when the adjustments at all ten are averaged together, the overall effect is obvious.

One oddity is the 1990’s period, when seemingly temperatures were over adjusted up, only to be adjusted down since. It is one thing questioning whether temperature measurements taken in the 1880’s were accurate, but the 1990’s? Are we seriously saying they were understated by half a degree? This is clearly a nonsense, and it goes to the heart of how adjustments have corrupted the temperature dataset.

No reputable scientists would go near this garbage with a barge pole.

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

The 21st Birthday Party in Paris - It’s Time they Grew Up

Global Warming Alarmists are about to gather in Paris for the biggest climate carnival in their 21 year history – they hoped to see 25,000 official guests and 15,000 hangers on. Surely on their 21st birthday it is time they grew up and faced some adult world problems.

Any urchin on the streets of Paris today could tell buffoons like Ban Ki-moon and Barack Obama that the “biggest security threat facing the world today” is NOT a miniscule increase in atmospheric plant food, caused mainly by gentle natural global warming which has triggered minor expulsion of carbon dioxide from the oceans.

Obama and his side kick Kerry call climate change the biggest threat to national security:

But the US Congress is not supporting the Paris party:

Radical Islamist terrorists just maimed and murdered hundreds of people in Paris, dozens more in Mali, still more in other nations. They promise more atrocities in the United States and around the globe.

Meanwhile some 40,000 bureaucrats, politicians, scientists, lobbyists, activists and journalists plan to enjoy five-star Parisian hotels and restaurants, while attending COP21, the twenty-first UN Climate Change Conference, from November 30 through December 11. Like President Obama, they insist that humanity faces no greater threat than climate change. Some are even saying that ISIS attacked Paris to disrupt the climate confab.

Napoleon once said: “Only a foolish horse fights with his nose bag”. But today we have many foolish people fighting their nose bag. They are weakening Earth’s food chain with a war on carbon.

Carbon is the building block of life. “Organic” means “containing carbon” and every bit of plant and animal life is built around the carbon atom.

Carbon enters Earth’s cycle of life via plants, which extract it from the rare and precious carbon dioxide plant-food in the atmosphere. Living things use this carbon, plus water, oxygen and minerals, to create the proteins, fats, carbohydrates and skeletons they need.

Plant growth responds quickly to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

However, today’s levels are far below those that sustained the abundant forests, grasslands, wetlands, herbivores and carnivores of past eras.

The biggest long term threat to abundant life on Earth is natural carbon sequestration, especially during the recurring cold dry eras when cooling oceans absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and growing ice sheets capture most of its water.

Nature is very efficient at carbon capture and burial. Enormous quantities of carbon and hydrogen have been removed from past atmospheres and buried under ancient sediments in extensive beds of coal, oil shale, limestone, marble, dolomite and magnesite, and in diffuse deposits of hydro-carbon liquids and gases. The result is that the carbon dioxide level in today’s atmosphere is not far above the minimum needed to sustain plant life (which is why nurserymen pump more carbon dioxide into their green-houses).

However, in a rare piece of environmental serendipity, man’s extraction and use of coal, oil, gas, limestone and dolomite for power generation, transport, aviation, steel, cement and fertilisers is recycling a tiny part of this storehouse of buried carbon. For example, for every tonne of coal burned, 2.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide plant food plus one tonne of fresh water is added to the atmosphere; and producing one tonne of cement releases about one tonne of carbon dioxide.

Every tonne of wheat grown needs a tonne of carbon dioxide just to get the carbon for the grains, and other foods have similar needs. Carbon industries thus help to feed all of Earth’s plants and animals.

Industrial use of carbon-bearing mineral resources also recycles other essential nutrients such as nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus which are present in variable amounts in coal, oil and carbonates. Any of these by-product gases can be toxic if concentrated in confined spaces, and all of man’s activities can pollute crowded cities, but in the open atmosphere, plant life often suffers because of a deficiency of these key elements.

Those waging a war on hydro-carbons and carbon dioxide are enemies of the biosphere. Their foolish policies like carbon taxes, emissions trading and “Carbon Capture and Burial” are denying essential nutrients to the food chain.

The failed global warming forecasts show that these policies will have no effect on climate, but will reduce the atmospheric supply of food nutrients and fresh water for all life on Earth.

Life is a carbon cycle – don’t break the food chain.

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

The carbon promises of the Australian Left will hit the cost of living

Bill Shorten has sparked a polit­ical fight over the cost of living after setting a climate change target that could impose a cost burden 10 times greater than Julia Gillard’s carbon tax.

The new Labor target was branded “way out of range” of other countries as world leaders prepare to meet in Paris on Monday to try to agree on a united plan to address global warming.

Labor is defending its goal of a 45 per cent cut in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by insisting­ it will not need an expensiv­e price on carbon that drives up household energy bills.

In a break from bipartisanship on previous targets, Labor’s ambition is almost twice the size of the government’s offic­ial goal of cutting carbon pollution by 26-28 per cent, which Malcolm Turnbull will reiterate when he attends the Paris talks.

The Opposition Leader’s move prompted concerns yesterday that a partisan brawl over competing targets would damage the prospects for real action on climate change, frightening investors and making a consensus more difficult.

Former Reserve Bank board member Warwick McKibbin, the author of a detailed economic study of climate change targets, warned that the Labor plan went too far beyond the commitments being made by similar nations.

Professor McKibbin estimated that the Labor goal would need a carbon price of $200 a tonne without access to inter­national credits — almost 10 times the $23 fixed price in Ms Gillard’s carbon pricing scheme four years ago.

While only an early estimate, the $200 figure is a like-for-like comparison in today’s dollars based on the fact that the carbon tax only needed to achieve a 5 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Mr Shorten said yesterday that Labor would set up an “internationally linked” emissions trading scheme, suggesting it could allow the purchase of permits that might keep the price down. The new Labor and Coal­ition targets aim to cut carbon emissions by 2030, compared with the base year of 2005.

Professor McKibbin, who holds the chair in public policy at the Centre for Applied Macro­economic Analysis at the Australian National University, said Labor’s target was “far more than any other country” was planning at Paris.

“Why would you go much harder than everyone else when it’s the global target that matters?” he asked.

“At the moment, Australia is contributing a greater economic loss than other countries with the 26-28 per cent target. To be going further out in front is not good policy.”

The Labor target compares with commitments by Japan (25 per cent), the US (41 per cent) and Europe (34 per cent).

Frontier Economics director Danny Price said the real impact on Australians was greater on a per-capita basis and showed that Labor was too far ahead of other countries. “The problem with such tough targets and high costs is that they generate objections to clim­ate change policies,” said Mr Price, an expert in the carbon pricing debate over the past decade.

“You can see why Labor’s doing it, because they want to appeal to Labor/Green voters. But in appealing to those voters it makes the actual­ implementation of the policy less likely.”

The Business Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group welcomed the chance to consult with Labor on the new target, but the Minerals Council of Australia dismissed it as an “ambit claim” and favoured the government plan instead.

Climate Institute chief John Connor said the Labor target was “stronger and more credible” and would achieve the agreed inter­national goal of preventing global temperatures rising by 2C — something he said the government target would not do.

The Climate Change Author­ity, set up by Labor, recommends a cut of 40-60 per cent.

Labor is yet to reveal how its ETS would work or what price it would set, the key factor in shaping the cost impact on households.

Professor McKibbin’s economic analysis with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade this year found that a 26 per cent target would trim 0.6 per cent from gross domestic product in 2030 while a 45 per cent target would trim 1 per cent from GDP instead.

Given that the government’s Intergenerational Report forecasts GDP to reach about $3 trillion in 2030, Labor’s target would in theory cost $30 billion in forgone economic output in that year. The government target would cost $18bn. Economic growth continues under both targets.

Mr Shorten countered the idea that his target would hurt the economy, saying “this modelling took no account of the ­economic consequences of not adopting this sort of target”.

Setting out his policy in a speech to the Lowy Institute in Sydney yesterday, Mr Shorten made it clear there would be help for families to deal with the costs.

“We will undertake this process mindful of the consequences for jobs, for regions and for any impact­s on households,” he said.

Labor also argues it will not have to rely only on an ETS to reach its target because of its commitment to make renewable energy account for half of all power by 2030.

Scott Morrison warned of the economic damage from the Labor plan while Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said the policy would “smash household budgets” and the economy by re­introducing a carbon tax. Labor rejected­ the claim that its ETS would be a carbon tax, citing a comment from the Prime Minister in September that drew a distinction between a carbon tax and an ETS and other mechanisms to reduce emissions.



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

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



This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Scientists are Warmists for the money it brings in, not because of the facts

"When it comes to alarmism, we’re all deniers; when it comes to climate change, none of us are" -- Dick Lindzen

The EPA does everything it can get away with to shaft America and Americans

Cromwell's famous plea: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" was ignored by those to whom it was addressed -- to their great woe. Warmists too will not consider that they may be wrong ..... "Bowels" was a metaphor for compassion in those days

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

Leftists have faith that warming will come back some day. And they mock Christians for believing in the second coming of Christ! They obviously need religion

Global warming has in fact been a religious doctrine for over a century. Even Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, believed in it

A rosary for the church of global warming (Formerly the Catholic church): "Hail warming, full of grace, blessed art thou among climates and blessed is the fruit of thy womb panic"

Pope Francis is to the Catholic church what Obama is to America -- a mistake, a fool and a wrecker

The plight of the bumblebee -- an egregious example of crooked "science"

This Blog by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

Inorganic Origin of Petroleum: "The theory of Inorganic Origin of Petroleum (synonyms: abiogenic, abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, juvenile, mineral, primordial) states that petroleum and natural gas was formed by non-biological processes deep in the Earth, crust and mantle. This contradicts the traditional view that the oil would be a "fossil fuel" produced by remnants of ancient organisms. Oil is a hydrocarbon mixture in which a major constituent is methane CH4 (a molecule composed of one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). Occurrence of methane is common in Earth's interior and in space. The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust. Some oil drilling now goes 7 miles down, miles below any fossil layers

As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms.

David Archibald: "The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better life on Earth will be for human beings and all other living things."


Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


Today’s environmental movement is the current manifestation of the totalitarian impulse. It is ironic that the same people who condemn the black or brown shirts of the pre WW2 period are blind to the current manifestation simply because the shirts are green.

Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

After fighting a 70 year war to destroy red communism we face another life-or-death struggle in the 21st century against green communism.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported by the U.N. "experts" for the entire 20th century (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows, if anything, that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)


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